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 14th, 2009
This is more of a thought than a post, but a Benjamin Quintero post on why he prefers single-player to multiplayer games struck a nerve given the comments on Left 4 Dead 2 earlier on this blog. I loved L4D but played it a lot less than many other games in part because it was multiplayer, which meant that it was less convenient. If I wanted to play with friends, which generally I find much preferable to strangers for a whole host of reasons (they won’t drop out of pique, I trust that they won’t spray the airwaves with racist profanity, and I know how good they are, among others).
But given that it’s harder to to set up and play - you need to make sure friends are online, that they’re interested in playing, that they’re at the same level of proficiency in the game as you - which are all very difficult to ensure if you’re not as dedicated as they are to the game as they are, I much prefer a game I can pick up and play whenever I have a spare moment. I appreciate the additional dimensions that a game like CoD4 and L4D can bring to a console game, but the busier I get, the more I value single player experiences.
Posted in Etc, Geoff, Industry | 1 Comment »
June 11th, 2009
I’m always struck by convention season, because it seems like a time in which we’re provided with enormous quantities of data but not much in the way of information. E3 is a good time to reflect on this for me because it’s perhaps the oldest quintessential example. We’ve been treated to days of end-to-end, wall-to-wall coverage of new games, ideas, and consoles. And yet, all we’re really getting are glorified press releases - previews with some basic impressions and, if you’re lucky enough to be at the conference, a minute or two of hands-on experience.
Perhaps just as significantly, we’re being shown the product of a great deal of effort rather than the creative process that generates that change. In fact, it seems like the events that really move the industry are the small, incremental changes and concepts that occur throughout the year, while the release of a new game that sparks chatter online is rarely concentrated at the same time. This is as much a function of the structure of E3 and related shows as anything else. And yet, we’re pumped every time the latest show comes around. Ironic.
Posted in Commentary, Geoff, Industry | 4 Comments »
May 18th, 2009
GameLife makes the sharp point that Take-Two’s lawsuit against 3D Realms is probably just a bid to get a hold of the rights to Duke Nukem Forever (obviously, the company doesn’t have a spare $12M lying around to give away to someone who almost certainly isn’t a key creditor). Perhaps I spoke too soon.
Posted in Geoff, Industry | No Comments »
May 7th, 2009
3D Realms is closing up shop, and Duke Nukem Forever is no more (dare we hope?). As happy as I am that I’ll no longer have to read bad jokes about the game, I truly loved Apogee’s games, and even several 3D Realms titles. In memoriam:
- Crystal Caves
- Duke Nukem
- Rise of the Triad
- Commander Keen
- Wolfenstein 3D
- Blake Stone
- Wacky Wheels
- Duke Nukem 3D
- Shadow Warrior
And those were just the good ones.
Posted in Geoff, Industry | 7 Comments »
April 9th, 2009
1) Make a movie of it.
Perhaps that’s not exactly fair, but the track record really speaks for itself. It is really depressing that Shadow of the Colossus, a game that was lauded for its serious and emotionally charged tone, is now going to be made into a movie that’s being written by the same guy who wrote “Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li” and produced by the guy who did “The Scorpion King”. This really feels like it sets the whole “Games as art” argument back, as now instead of SOTC being a beautiful, emotional, and, yes, fun experience it is now just another franchise to be milked.
Also worth mentioning is the fact that Gore Verbinski of “Pirates of the Carribean” fame is going to direct the Bioshock movie as well. While the game didn’t pack quite the emotional punch that SOTC did, I doubt they’ll be able to, or even care about trying to produce the same level of intellectual discussion as the game did. Just imagine how lame the “big twist” in the game would be as a passive 3rd-person rather than an interactive first-person experience. I don’t think it’d be quite the mindf*ck that the game produced, which is really the reason why it’s a game in the first place, and not a movie.
Posted in Commentary, Etc, Industry, Jeff, WTF | 2 Comments »
April 1st, 2009
We’ve said this a lot here, but what Jeff Kaplan says. The fact that we analogize with other media shouldn’t in any way force us into tunnel vision when it comes to realizing video games’ potential to be distinct, as opposed to just different.
Posted in Geoff, Industry | No Comments »
February 27th, 2009
Did you know that Dead Space only sold around 500,000 copies? I don’t know that I’d call a half-million copies of an unknown franchise a “failure,” but EA definitely had higher expectations. Along with Mirror’s Edge, EA is looking to retrench its launch strategy by keeping a longer publicity window open for its games prior to release.
Whether or not this is really why the games sold so poorly is somewhat questionable - Mirror’s Edge, at least, had highly mixed reviews (I didn’t buy it because of concerns about controls and replayability). That said, it definitely seems reasonable to think that a longer launch window would definitely help acculturate gamers to games with some fundamentally new ideas.
I think it’s reasonable to think that gamers might pick up on new ideas quickly. But things that are different need some time to seep into our consciousness, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing; sometimes they work, and sometimes they don’t, and it helps to have time to sort through them.
Posted in Geoff, Industry | 2 Comments »
December 9th, 2008
I’m going to be in Steamboat Springs and Australia starting at the end of the week, so I’m getting all of the game of the year nonsense out of the way before I go. I’ve always found the idea of anointing one game “the best” of its peers to be subjectively absurd at best and downright flamebait at worst. So why am I doing it? It’s entertaining and I think it’s worthy of debate, if not resolution.
So herewith, my games of the year, for each console which I own.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in DS, Geoff, Impressions, Industry, Microsoft, Nintendo, PS3, PSP, Sony, Wii, Xbox 360 | 7 Comments »
December 8th, 2008
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Fascinating article on the newly lucrative career possibilities of video game scoring. I rarely listen to the music playing in my games, but sometimes it can be quite effective. I was a little sorry to see that many composers fail to take this seriously - sometimes they play for only seconds to compose a section’s music, leading me to believe that they may be taking advantage of people who are not musically inclined to begin with and who don’t have a clear vision for where their game’s mood needs to go (a gaming nouveau riche?). Watching special features on Wall-E, I was surprised to see how involved Andrew Stanton was in the musical direction.
Fallout and Bioshock get it right, though.
Posted in Business, Geoff, Industry, Personalities | No Comments »