July 27th, 2009
In a stunning realization, gamers discovered that the people who develop and produce their beloved games are actually allowed to determine their own price for the products they make. Tempers flared in the gaming community when it was announced that the PC version of publisher Activision Blizzard’s Modern Warfare 2 would cost $60, prompting a possible boycott.
“I couldn’t believe it,” said avid button-masher Joe McCrybaby. “I always just figured that there was some law that dictated that games were $50, especially PC games. When I found out that wasn’t the case, I was shocked.”
Infinity Ward, the developers of the game, noted that publishers have been able to set the prices of games for years.
“There is precedent for this, believe it or not,” said Infinity Ward’s Community Manager Robert Bowling. “In the past, publishers have been able to determine what they thought was a fair value for their game. This would sometimes lead to bargain games like Serious Sam for $20. On the other end of the spectrum, Warcraft III originally debuted at $60. We believe that’s a fair price for our game as well.”
McCrybaby reacted to this explanation with anger.
“Sure, less than $50 is fine. But anything more than that is crap. Blizzard learned their lesson after trying to pull that crap with Warcraft III.”
When it is pointed out that Warcraft III actually set sales records when it came out, McCrybaby simply complained that it would’ve done a lot better if it had debuted at the $50 pricepoint.
“A lot of people boycotted that game then just like I’m going to boycott Modern Warfare 2 now. I’ll have plenty of other things to play anyway like Guitar Hero 5, Band Hero, World of Warcraft and even Starcraft 2 is probably right around the corner!”
Activision Blizzard is the publisher of all of those games, as well as Modern Warfare 2.
*Note: This is satire. None of the quotes above are real and no interviews took place.
Posted in Humor, Idiocy, Industry, Jeff, PC | 3 Comments »
June 8th, 2009
Left 4 Dead was a successful game. It reviewed well, sold a lot of copies on both Xbox 360 and PC and has built up a solid and dedicated community with its compelling co-op and versus modes, as well as some free updates released by Valve. So naturally, Valve is making an (allegedly) improved sequel and announced it at E3. So we have a successful game with a dedicated fanbase followed up with an obvious sequel. Instant recipe for success, right?
Apparently not, as that dedicated fanbase for the game is apparently made up of whiny babies who aren’t satisfied with the dozens or likely even hundreds of hours of enjoyment they’ve already gotten for their $50-$60 game purchase. A boycott? Great… less whiny babies on chat for the sequel. I admit that many of the new features that are being touted sound like they could be patched in or released as DLC for the current Left 4 Dead… but I’m sorry, I just don’t have that much sympathy for a group of alleged fans who not only have probably gotten well worth their purchase, but are probably the same kind of people that buy new Call of Duties, Maddens, Rock Bands and Guitar Heroes every year.
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Posted in E3, Idiocy, Jeff | 5 Comments »
June 2nd, 2009
Sony just officially announced the PSP Go at E3 (which, as described by Kaz Hirai himself was not really a secret any more), which amounts to a slightly smaller PSP with no UMD drive and slide-out controller. While I’m personally skeptical that a fully digital portable game device is something most consumers want, I could see how it could fill a particular niche in the market. However, Sony appears intent on pricing the PSP Go out of consideration for, I’m guessing, the vast majority of their potential customers. The PSP Go will retail for $250 when it debuts, compared to the retail price of $170 for the current PSP-3000 (the PSP-2000 can still be found and is even less than that).
So, let me see if I understand this. I have a choice between a product with a larger screen, full backwards and forwards compatibility with games (UMD discs) that can be resold if necessary or another system that is slightly more portable (because its smaller), but doesn’t play UMD discs so cannot play virtually every game already released for the system and cannot be resold if you wanted. I would think that the choice between those would be fairly obvious, and that’s before I even take into account any price. Even so, the $80 difference would certainly be a big enough difference to seal my choice. I’m sorry, the PSP Go basically adds no value to the PSP… in fact, it subtracts a tremendous value from it unless the only thing you care about is having something a little smaller.
Sony’s mistake here seems to be that they are pricing the PSP Go as an upgrade from the PSP 3000, rather than an alternative. I haven’t seen anything to suggest that it is the former, so it seems very much the latter, and it should be priced to reflect that.
Posted in E3, Idiocy, Jeff, Sony | 3 Comments »
June 1st, 2009
Can someone explain to me the value proposition to gamers behind downloadable games from Xbox Live? The only - and I mean only - benefits I can see from this development are for console manufacturers, since most everyone else loses.
- Retailers no longer get to provide distribution or act as a middle man for the publishers, losing revenue and margin.
- Publishers presumably lose margin to the console manufacturers (and may get cut out of the loop entirely, since their distribution and packaging functions disappear).
- Developers find that their choice of console is ever more important to their existence and lose even more negotiating leverage.
- Gamers get to pay essentially the same amount of money for a significantly cheaper product, yet have to compress it onto fixed hard drive space, lose the tangible product of a CD/DVD, and potentially subject themselves to ever more intrusive DRM and support restrictions (and anything else companies seize on to further “monetize” their content).
Perhaps more worrisome, I don’t see this even being reported in the mainstream press… it’s like gamers have decided to collectively plug their ears with their fingers. Hopefully this does not catch on.
Posted in Geoff, Idiocy | 4 Comments »
April 8th, 2009
GameLife brings news of a new Nielsen study suggesting that female gamers represent the largest demographic in the industry. They also note that the reason for this is that the definition of gaming is so broad that it includes even the casual games built into your computer. Obviously, this is silly, but the part that confuses me is that this is Nielsen, a marketing data company.\
Research that isn’t actionable isn’t worth paying for. And this type of information - which is so undifferentiated as to be meaningless - is exactly that. Yet Nielsen, a company in the business of selling people information, doesn’t seem to understand this fairly obvious point. I assume that they’re mainly interested in trying to make headlines, but I don’t really get their angle.
Posted in Geoff, Idiocy | 2 Comments »
March 19th, 2009
I should mention I´m backpacking in South America with limited email access, so posting will be light. Interestingly, Germány is considering a blanket age restriction on ¨addictive¨games to minors. Obviously, this policy is stupid on its face, not least because addictiveness is difficult to define. That said, what struck me about it was how the cure doesn´t actually solve the problem.
Why exactly are children less capable of managing addiction than adults? If you shoot heroin, does it have less of a pull on you if you´re over 18? Bizarre. It seems like some people just like to think that doing ¨something¨ is good politics.
Posted in Geoff, Idiocy | No Comments »
January 28th, 2009
I’m all for mainstream acceptance of gaming, but this seems like it verges on self-parody. (Or at least a gut course.) Plus, it’s likely to backfire and result in more anti-gaming rhetoric and attitudes.
Posted in Geoff, Idiocy | 7 Comments »
January 23rd, 2009
Seriously, I don’t know what else to say about this study. GamePolitics has a sharp post up about the research, published by BYU professors who themselves admit that the results aren’t particularly conclusive of any course of action. The authors indicate (the study itself is paywalled) the following:
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Posted in Geoff, Idiocy, Politics | No Comments »
October 17th, 2008
I have to admit that I’m more than a little confused about the news that LittleBigPlanet is being delayed because they licensed music that contains “expressions that can be found in the Qu’ran”. And… nothing. They offer no explanation as to why this would prevent the game’s release. They simply say that they are taking “immediate action to rectify this.” What exactly are they “rectifying”?
I thought… maybe there’s a copyright dispute? But I’m pretty sure that the Qu’ran isn’t copyrighted, and they certainly don’t make any mention of what exactly the issue is that some background music happens to quote “expressions” from the Qu’ran. The only other explanation I can think of would be that the “expressions” were actually pushing a religious message, but if that’s the case, Sony certainly hasn’t made that clear.
Sony says that they “apologise for any offence this may have caused,” but I think the fact that they’re actually delaying a game for seemingly no other reason that some background music contains some unidentified passages from the Qu’ran. That’s some nice PR work there, Sony.
Kotaku has the offending “expressions” that caused the game to get delayed:
1- In the 18th second: “كل نفس ذائقة الموت” (”kollo nafsin tha’iqatol mawt”, literally: ‘Every soul shall have the taste of death’).
2- Almost immediately after, in the 27th second: “كل من عليها فان” (”kollo man alaiha fan”, literally: ‘All that is on earth will perish’).
Does this justify the recall? Perhaps it seems slightly more reasonable with this… having a message about dying in a sort of happy, family game like LittleBigPlanet may not really mesh well. On the other hand, it’s not so much a religious message as much as it is sort of a depressing one. I think Sony could’ve done a much better job explaining this rather than just saying that they needed to remove them because they were in the Qu’ran.
Posted in Business, Idiocy, Industry, Jeff | 3 Comments »
October 8th, 2008
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Attention game industry, we already have a standard for which we can purchase items: money. Let’s use it, shall we?
Obviously, we all know about Xbox Live Points, which inexplicably have a conversion rate of 80 points to every $1. There’s just no reason to have such a stupid conversion rate except to slightly obscure the true price of downloadable items.
Nintendo/Wii Points are slightly better, but only because they have a sensible conversion rate of 100 points to every $1. At least when you buy something there’s not a weird conversion that you have to pull off in your head to figure out how much it is. Now we learn, however, that instead of just using the same pool of Nintendo points for DSi downloads, you will have to keep completely separate accounts for both.
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Posted in Idiocy, Jeff, Online, PSN, Virtual Console, Wii, Xbox Live | 3 Comments »