owsf2000: (Default)
Looks like Bethesda is at it again with paid mod systems. I agree with various people in the comments about how any kind of paid mod system is going to just destroy the modding community as a whole.

The current attempt is at least trying to avoid the obvious problems of their Steam workshop attempt of a year or so ago where you immediately had people submitting other people's mods as their own. It's also apparently not going to try to stop free mods from happening - although like any company we can see that stance changing once they get a taste of the money.

But as I was thinking over this, I realized that this is just the next step down that slope of shit the video game industry has been taking for the last decade. The whole idea of cranking out games faster and cheaper with a higher price tag - with massive side effects.

1. Not doing proper QA/Beta testing - why do that when they can have the gamers themselves do the beta testing, or the bulk of it, after the game is released and patch it up (potentially) after the fact.

2. Cutting content, sometimes significant content, out of the game to sell as DLC later on. Sometimes as unlock codes for stuff already done. Other times (And more common now) with the dev teams just explicitly planning on the content to be done after a release date is set.

3. Cutting back on packaging with physical releases - gone are the days of the manual. Nowadays if a manual is included a company will even toot that as SPECIAL BONUS!

... It's early, I don't really feel like listing ALL the shit that's been happening right now, but you can get the idea. Basically games aren't actually sold complete anymore.

But really these paid mod systems are just the latest advancement on these cutbacks on paid labor.

After all, these things are basically nothing more than DLC. DLC the devs no longer have to plan for or write themselves. But they can take a chunk of the price tag for having someone else do it with a minimum of QA done on top.

As time goes on, if it catches on, you can expect games to come out more and more bare bones with the explicit intent that modders will willingly finish the game for shit pay after the companies take their share. (This particular attempt will have Bethesda taking a 30% cut. But as companies continue with this practice you can expect to see that percentage go up and up, bit by bit, until finally modders just stop applying to be slave labor. And then it'll go down a couple percentage points and everyone will thank the publisher gods for their kindhearted gesture to only request 85% of the profits instead of 90. :)
owsf2000: (Default)
The idiocy numbs the mind.

To clarify, I actually approve of the change from greenlight to steam direct. Greenlight is gamed far too easily by bots or by just making sure you have a highly popular youtuber with millions of subscribers to back your game.

The idiocy I'm referring to is the commenters and how you have about 200+ comments all saying the same uninformed thing, repeatedly. It's a shining example that NOBODY READS THE EXISTING COMMENTS before standing on a soap box and repeating the exact same shit.

ie: This won't solve anything, greenlight cost 100 dollars already! (About 100-150 of the comments in one version or another)

Remaining ones are "Now it will be 100 per game, not 100 per developer."

Apparently a lot of people don't seem to understand the people abusing greenlight to get shit on steam just to milk card drops to make money weren't releasing 1 or 2 games. They were likely releasing 100-200 games or more. All under the same developer fee. So divide $100 by 100 or so and you get these guys spending a buck to get a shit game on steam without needing to worry about getting it voted on by real people since they had their bot armies to do the voting for free.

Voting may be going away, but there won't be any way for abusers to divide the costs of getting each individual game on steam since the cost will now scale. Add to this that Valve is going to be constantly tinkering with the metrics to make it harder for these fake games to get cards to drop at all.
owsf2000: (Default)
So since I like anime based games now and then, I picked up Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception today when it launched. (Well, Tuesday.) I do suspect I'll enjoy the game ultimately but there are a couple of things that pissed me off already.

1. I tried searching online to see what the state of DLC is with this game. Only answer I could see was one site claiming it had none. (Given it's been out in Japan already I figger that was their source.) I checked the online store after bringing it home and there's some DLC. -_- I won't be buying it. Apparently a total of 4 costumes for a couple of the characters for some price tag over 10 bucks. I'm going to presume it was 11.99 (canadian) since buying the 4 separately was 3.99 each I believe.

This is a relatively minor issue I suppose. As I said, I won't be buying it. But it's still a demerit if I go ahead with rating these games.

2. Right after starting the game and just before getting to the main menu screen the PS4 popped up a notice that recording was blocked because the game was entering a "protected scene".

Let that sink in for a second.

The TITLE SCREEN was a protected scene. This leads me to believe that the entire game is probably "protected". (Which means people will go back to recording the game the older ways naturally.)

Again this doesn't affect me much since it's not like I have any intention of streaming or uploading videos of any game any time soon. But it reminded me of Persona 5. And yes this is an Atlus game. And since Sega owns them you can transfer some blame to them as well. "Oh it's our masters in japan that's making us do this!" Blah blah blah, don't care.

There's a second game for this coming out later this summer: Mask of Truth. I may end up getting it as well depending on if I ultimately don't feel let down by this game. However I'm thinking Atlus/Sega will be joining SquareEnix on my ban list for the next few years. The Mask of Truth game may be the only exception I let slip through. We'll see how this game turns out however.

(This last one is more about the state of the video game industry as a whole.)

3. The Launch Edition of this game came with Extras! This is a criticism. Why? Because the Extras include a small sized, thin looking, 50 page art book. Seriously if it was just a -little- bit smaller it would have fit snug inside the case. The second extra was... can you guess? No, not a CD. The music is apparently suppose to be awesome in this game so no way you can expect them to give that away for free. (We'll see if the game oavs are sold separately later.)

No, the second bonus they were so proud of that they had to list it as a bonus on the box, was a "collectors slip case".

A paper (ok, good quality paper at least. Somewhere near bristle board in thickness.) sleeve to hold the game case and the art book. There is no artwork on this slip case. It's mostly black, with the title of the game and the names of some of the companies involved. Namely Atlus itself, and Aquaplus. Near the bottom of the case that blackness fades into a wallpapery diamond pattern.

I checked older games I have that had "collectors slip cases" as part of the collector/limited editions. By comparison, in all of those that I have the artwork on the sleeve was like 100% better. Ie: There WAS some artwork. NONE of them tried tooting the slipcase as being part of the bonuses. Let alone 50% of the bonuses. I guess these day's a publisher is desperate to mention anything and everything to fill up room on the back of the box.

You can see the glorified cardboard displayed here. It's that ugly black thing on the left.

This is how far game packaging has fallen. Where including anything at all counts as a "bonus". I suspect by next gen we'll probably be grateful to receive a plastic case to hold the game in rather than some paper insert.

Yeah, not too happy with the state of physical games these days but publishers don't seem to realize that they're not going to be getting my money for digital-only at these prices. Hell, even at 50% off I'd probably pass on most of these games digitally. There's only been one digital game I've bought at full price at launch - that being the Hatsune Miku Future Tone game. And while I don't mind playing that there are a lot of things about that game that make me regret buying it.

Anyway, I'm probably going to start in on this game by the weekend. I started up Shantae after finishing up with Nier:Automata so I might just go ahead and see if I can complete that first.
owsf2000: (default)
I've tried to put this into words a few times now this week but I end up erasing it because it doesn't seem to come out right. So let's try again! People that read over my journal might come to the conclusion that I hate video games.

On the contrary, I actually still very much love video games. It's why I end up ranting about all the bullshit that is perpetuated by the big names in the video game industry today - the use of excessive DLC, buggy releases, full-price (at times FAR MORE than full price) pre-alpha ("early access") sales, to name just a tiny portion of what I've ranted on about over the last year.

If I gave up on the industry, I'd probably never speak of it again - after all it wouldn't be an issue for me anymore. Although it does mean I choose to "miss out" on a lot of games that could have been epic had they been done "right". But the push is to squeeze every single dollar out of a gamer's budget on a single game by charging insane base prices for a portion of the game, then finding new ways to sell DLC without calling it DLC. (Kinda like how some people like to make a distinction between DLC and "micro-transactions". Usually the only difference between the two is that you're actually downloading something with a DLC. Usually. Given that some DLC (lookin' at you Capcom) is just locked out content on the disc you've purchased, and some DLC (I'm lookin at you NIS) are just variable modifiers in the cases of free stats, gold, experience, or adding items to your inventory that are otherwise in the game.

All of this is done to hide the fact that the most expensive form of media entertainment (Compared to movies, books, music, and the like) even MORE expensive while letting them collect that money sooner (before the base game is even completed or bug-tested - indeed people are now charged money to do the beta testing, not that it helps with actual release quality) and more often, while doing less and less actual work for it.

They do this rather than trying to make the industry more accepted, understood, entertaining for, etc the general population. Why try selling 1000000 for 30 bucks when you can sell 100000 for 300 bucks right? But this approach is self destructive in the long term. But the short term thinking industry professionals either fail or refuse to see it. Why would they care so long as they can bail with a golden parachute before it happens amirite?

Right now you have an industry being propped up primarily by hardcore, long term, gamers. We're the type that aren't worried about paying a lot for our entertainment. But as the price tag continues to increase, the CHANCE of getting REAL mainstream market attraction fades. And eventually gamers are going to be FORCED to wake up and realize they just can't afford this shit anymore. By that time, every single gamer that gets alienated by the insane price tags will be felt pretty sharply by the industry.

I'm already alienated by most of the industry over this. There have been times back in the PS2 days when I actually went into gamestop and plunked down close to 300 dollars in games. (Hell, I did that once in 2014 although it just barely broke 200 that time - and overall I regretted it afterwards, unlike in the PS2 days.) So I'm doing the only thing I can do - vote with my wallet, the exact same way everyone who's encouraging all the BS in the industry is doing.

If you're tired of sloppy, poorly done ports, or excessive DLC whoring, etc. (Sometimes DLC can be done "right", but be honest with yourself, you know most of the time they just ripped the content out of the main game. "Oh we didn't have time to add it at launch" means "We decided NOT to add it at launch so we could sell the base game sooner and charge you extra afterwards.") then vote appropriately.

If a game is buggy as hell, get a refund. This is especially for Steam users. Don't just hope they patch it later. Refund it and play something else, then check back again later if it's something you REALLY wanted. Why are you paying for broken goods?

If the game has 100+ dollars of DLC, pointless or not, don't buy it. Especially at launch. ESPECIALLY if it's a digital release. At the very least wait for it to drop in price, and then try to avoid the DLC anyway.

If a company has a history of DLC whoring or buggy releases (At this point you can pretty much say "all of them" I guess) then DON'T buy the game at launch. Wait til you hear reviews about bugs which will definitely surface within a couple of weeks of release. Wait approximately 2 months or more on DLC Whorers since they adapted to those who refuse to buy a game at launch based on DLC Whoring practices by slowly dripping out the already completed, at times included on the disc, DLC over 2-3 months. A little each week. I find this is most common with JRPG types. If the DLC is still minimal after that long, it might be safe to attempt to pick up a copy.

Whatever you do, do NOT buy a game simply because you want to support your beloved developer. Publishers (And developers) are already exploiting this gamer weakness by pretty much threatening and actually proceeding, to dismantle the developer that fails to meet arbitrary publisher expectations.

Don't worry. Developers are the people, not a company. The actual talent, if they care about the industry, will move on and form a new group and continue to do what they do best. The best of the best always do this. It's not your job, or duty, to make sure a particular group of devs stays together by accepting shitty products/service. All you do by accepting those shitty products/services is ensure you WILL receive said shitty products/service. Stop hurting yourself. Stop hurting the rest of the industry.

But yeah, I love video games. :)

I just wish I wasn't expected to pay $300 dollars for the same content, but more poorly coded, than I would have received for $60 just 5 years ago. Fuck off with your inflation comparisons. They aren't relevant unless you also adjust salaries of the typical gamer for inflation as well. (Hint: It doesn't look good.)

Dammit, this still isn't exactly how I wanted it all worded, but I'm sick of trying to rewrite it. So let's just let the rant fly and I'll try again next year. XD
owsf2000: (default)
You know, they're bragging about how the steam winter 2015 sale was so profitable and all that. But I have to wonder myself. The current estimates, which say "at least" $270 million was made in revenue during the sale, appear to be a bit lower than the winter sale from back in 2013 which topped $340 million.

Yeah, this year's sale isn't finalized yet but 2 years later you would expect them to beat that old 340 million easily. I tried to find quotes for 2014's Winter sale but I can't find anything mentioning it myself. The thing is, they yanked out the flash sales, community sales, and essentially any sale that was really worth looking at. They went through the trouble of referencing the success of this winter sale by comparing it to the summer sale - which I think did have flash sales. And they mentioned how the winter sale made twice as much money as that... but... the summer sale doesn't take place at Christmas when people are more likely to be buying games instead of outside partying. Also, I wonder if they're being honest about that comparison as well. According to steamspy, which tracked 1355 games in the summer sale (Those that sold more than 5000 copies only) and the total -revenue- from that summer sale on just those games was over $245.5 million. That's just the games themselves. I don't think it counts DLC and other things. If this is an indication, it doesn't look like this winter sale actually did double the revenue compared to the summer sale.

"The Winter Sale, like the Autumn Sale before it, did not feature daily deals or flash sales, something that was done as “a better way to serve customers that may only be able to visit Steam once or twice during the 13-day event,” Valve explained. “We also saw this change as an opportunity to showcase a deeper variety of titles to customers each day, while having confidence that any game being highlighted would be at its lowest discount.”"

I spent less than $0.00 on the steam winter sale this year. Compared to the 70-80 dollars I spent last Christmas. How did I spend LESS than nothing? I mindlessly clicked through the game queue 3 times a day to get those temporary Christmas sale cards. I completed a badge from those doing that, then started selling any others I received on the marketplace. Made probably 2-3 bucks, of which I still have a little bit left over. I just bought a couple of permanent cards from badges I was mostly finished and a 4-pack of rpgs that look like they were done in RPGMaker2003, of which they all had bland reviews but I figured why not. it was a buck. total.

Getting back on track, I found the winter sale (And the autumn sale just before it) rather bland. True to Valve's promise, you could check the entire sale on day 1 - and if you don't see anything you want, you're done. No reason to visit the store again during the sale. Unless you wanted to grind out some free holiday cards to make some cash. o/

For me the front page was littered with the same garbage each and every day - remember I was grinding cards, so I had to check in every day anyway. The only things to go over 75% off were things Valve owned, or were several years old. And none of it interested me. How the hell is this "personalized" front page suppose to work if it fails at showing me anything I want. Some things from my wishlist occasionally showed up, but nothing spectacular. Most of it was AAA garbage I most definitely don't put on my wishlist or follow but hey it got "good reviews" so let's spam you with it.

It took a few days for me to find out how to get to the other things on sale. Somewhere in the middle of the store page there was a small sentence saying "see all the other 10053 items on sale!" And when you click to it you get to a search page. And that search page worked HORRIBLY for the first week. Most times it'd come back as blank for no reason (likely lag on their servers) and the only way to fix it seemed to be to start over again. Refreshing it just refreshed the blank page. Now get to page 5 of 20 and have that happen. Yeah, didn't encourage me to check through it.

Regardless, of most of the things on sale, there were DLC items puffing up the ranks and anything that went over 75% off there tended to be either Valve's games (Again), ancient games (again), or games with mixed or simply bad reviews. (most.) IE: Things you likely already have or would have absolutely no desire to own at any price.

You also had to be careful what you were buying. There were cases where buying a bundle for 75% off was actually more expensive than buying the individual games in the bundle which had their own different sale prices.

Well. Whatever, ultimately it doesn't matter a great deal to me. End of the day: I sure hope Steam -did- make a lot more money with their bland, poor quality sales (personal opinion I guess.) because they sure as heck didn't make any money from me with it this year.

Egads, I think I've ranted.

*update* And since I forgot to link the original article, here it is. Looking over the comments section (I know, I know) I can see some of the typical Valve shills regurgitating the information they were fed in Valve's defense (ie: "People who say that the price cuts were less than usual don't know what they're talking about. It was a completely normal sale just a bit more convenient.") but overall a lot of people seem to be agreeing with my opinion that it was a pretty piss poor sale.

I still don't know why people seem to think the discovery queue is useful. The only reason they probably find it useful is because they already like the types of games being repeatedly suggested over and over. ("This game has positive feedback!" "... from completely unrelated people with entirely different gaming tastes than yourself.")

If the only things you wanted to buy were the things that were plastered on the storefront (That for many of us, like myself, overall had nothing to do with our personal tastes or preferences, then you can argue the sale was "a bit more convenient". The game you want would be on the front page and you would be looking at the lowest price it'll ever go in the sale. No checking back later to see if you should buy it now or not. But the sale itself would be uninspiring and many of us apparently just ignored it. If what you wanted wasn't what Valve was forcefeeding you on the front page, it was far far FAR from being convenient and you had better hope the only good sales hidden in the background were things already on your wishlist or you were spending hours looking through those 10000 items.

I will reiterate though. There -were- games that hit the 90 to 95% off in this sale. I had to go through that search option to -find- them however and as I said up above, they were all games that were ancient and with mixed or bad feedback. As people mention in the comments, the games that did get up to 75% off were all for old games that have been around for a few years (on average). The new games, which use to get the 75% discounts back in the day, were generally poor 10-30% off. Basically normal every day sales. Not Massive Holiday Sales.

Egads I ranted more. Ok I'm done this time.
owsf2000: (default)
This is a perfect example of why people should never buy into games released in an episodic nature. (Like Minecraft: Story Mode for instance, although only using that as an example of the practice.)

It should also hit home to gamers that this is very clear evidence that it's BECAUSE gamers decide to back these kinds of methods to fleece your cash from your wallet before the work is completed that it's even an issue at all. IE: We're doing it to ourselves. Well, you're doing it to yourselves. I'm ignoring them until they're completed.

Imagine if most people insisted on waiting for a game to be completely finished before buying it. Why, all these episodic trash games (my opinion of the practice) would do the same as the one in the link. At which point the developer (And publisher) would have to either get back to finishing what they started before trying to hand it off to their customers or simply go bankrupt. I can't say I'd feel too sorry if they went bankrupt. Sorry if that offends anyone but I can't and won't fake feeling something I don't.

If you're going to do a game like this, then make damned sure you're going to finish what you start. You can prove this by finishing the damned thing regardless of whether or not you feel enough people are buying the game. If you do finish it, great! People like me, if we were interested in the game in the first place, will probably end up buying the completed version. The boycott in this case is only until YOU finish your job.

Let's be serious here. If you're trying to make money like this, and you cancel your game half way through, what have you done? You've essentially lined up and BITCHSLAPPED every person that gave you money for the portions you DID release. Guess what? You better make sure your next game is INSANELY GOOD and the most interesting thing this side of the galaxy because you'll now have a reputation for not delivering on your promises. And the people that gave you money this time around are likely going to be on this side of the boycott fence when you release the first episode of your next great game.

Keep in mind, this also goes for the other annoying practice of game devs that insist on linking their games together with big ass cliffhangers at the end of each one. Failing to finish your little trilogy, or whatever, leaves the same kind of bitter taste in the mouths of your fans. (As a shenmue fan I can definitely assure you this happens. And waiting a decade before getting around to finishing it, while appreciated by those who didn't die of old age while waiting, isn't going to completely clear your record. >_>)
owsf2000: (default)
I've ranted on what Microsoft attempted to do the console industry with their xbone plans a few years back before outcry made them pull a 180 so fast I'm sure some of them got whiplash. But I wonder if Microsoft (And Sony, who had secretly planned to do the same thing until they saw the reaction Microsoft got.) realize how close they came to potentially ending consoles entirely - except for the Wii U which was already released and very much a relatively "normal" console. Tablet controller aside...

If you think about the differences between consoles and PCs, you'll probably notice that the lines have becomed very blurred over the last few years as consoles adapt all of the worst parts of PC gaming, make it worse, then export it back to PC gaming.

Reasons to use a console include:
1. The Game Just Works.
2. The Game is Complete and bug free.
3. The Game can be traded with friends.

Of these, the games rarely "Just Work" anymore, often requiring patches or even firmware updates to launch. They're virtually NEVER complete with anywhere from 20-300 dollars of DLC, etc.

Meanwhile consoles start their life cycle off with aging hardware compared to PCs. They have lower frame rates on average, lower resolutions, less effects, etc. PC Master Race, blah blah blah, you get the idea. During the console's 5-10 year lifetime the difference simply grows. A LOT. At least in the cartridge era they could hide that somewhat by adding hardware to the cartridges to expand ram, rom, sound, video effects, etc. Plus modding (assuming it survives the TPP) is far easier on the PC whereas most modding is limited or simply extra DLC on the console. (I'm lookin' at you Minecraft)

So now consoles have none of the PC advantages, but they also don't have their OWN advantages anymore. With one exception. You can trade your games with others, buy and sell games you bought, etc. This was something Microsoft had intended to END with the xbone. The very last benefit to having a console, period since PC gamers lost that ability decades ago over bullshit EULA abuse that did a run around the first sale doctrine and whatnot. If they had succeeded, and Sony had followed through as well, I suspect we would have had a much much smaller install base on both consoles and a surge, if any, on PC gaming. Yes you would have had the die hard fanboys on both consoles still. But the companies would have been taking a lot longer to make the consoles profitable with the much smaller audience.

Let's face it, the vast majority of console AAA games are also PC games nowadays - although that's another of those things that Consoles have taken in, made worse, and exported back to PCs. Consider the various horrible PC launches lately. The reasons for those existing is because the game was designed and tested on consoles, then hastily, and sloppily, ported to PCs. People wouldn't have lost out on much gaming, and odds are some of those console exclusives would have ended up being PC exclusives.

Ok finished ranting. For now. >_>
owsf2000: (default)
I guess this is for anyone who uses AVG products. (Antivirus, etc)

To keep it free, they will essentially begin selling out their own users to online advertisers. More details about what exactly are going to be collected are listed here.

"AVG also adds that personal, identifiable information like addresses, age, or IPs, even if not sold, may sometimes be shared with collaborators."

In other words, they will be giving out your personal information despite saying they will not be doing so. (They just won't be -directly- selling it. It'll be more like a bonus tossed in I guess.)

Some people are defending it as "well at least they're giving a free product in exchange for your personal information. Most companies take your data after charging you for the product first." but really... is that how bad the online environment has gotten? Where having your data sold or given to people (Or hell, just collected in the first place) is OK?

People have to realize that online identity/credit/etc theft is ON THE RISE. We shouldn't be tolerating all these companies that want to grab our data as a bonus - because the idiots are often quite horrible at securing those big ass data bases they keep. And BECAUSE those databases are so huge, they become a real sweet target for online crime. Even if I trusted AVG, I don't want yet ANOTHER stockpile of personal data on the web by yet ANOTHER company looking out for itself and nobody else. Because as soon as they're hacked, their own data is only a very tiny portion of what gets stolen.

I may try to start a tag of "not so free" for shit like this. Because the cost we pay is just not measured directly in dollars. (But then you know how I am with tags.)
owsf2000: (default)
Now, if this is true then it looks like companies are starting to jump forward in my predicted DLC path, perhaps to the point of jumping over a step or two. Such as the step where they'd have everything on the disc but completely locked out with an unlock code. (But that prediction is more focused on console games - PC games have been like that forever already with their limited-activations DRM)

Normally when a person buys a physical copy of a game, they expect to receive... I dunno, the game. If you buy Metal Gear Solid V on the PC however, you'll instead get a fancy disc containing a 9meg Steam installer. I'm assuming it also includes a game coupon. Apparently inclusion of steam is somewhat common on physical releases these days as it's used as a form of DRM, but this is probably the first time that the disc will not include ANY of the actual game. You'll be expected to download all 28 gigabytes. Apparently you can't even pre-load the game.

Glad I'm not going to be buying anything on Steam soon, as I wouldn't be surprised if the servers are bogged down from all those massive downloads. As it says, supposedly Steam isn't required to actually run the game - you just need it to install it or download patches.
owsf2000: (default)
This seems excessively retarded to me as an excuse for forcing online connection.

Glad I've never had an interest in the Need for Speed franchise since that means this doesn't impact me in the slightest. I can just imagine how abused that liked-for-ingame-cash thing is going end up being.

In unrelated news, I found this page on PC Gamer a while back. "Free Games of the Week". They update the page each week pretty much with various freebies available on the net. I just bookmarked it and check it now and then to see if there's anything worth downloading. One of the games this week is made using GameMaker Studio - pushing it to it's breaking point to pull of a PS1-era styled 3d horror game. "Engine aside, this is an atmospheric horror game that stacks up nicely against the likes of Silent Hill and Overblood, even if it's obviously several shades behind those games on account of it being made by one person"

Guess it shows the power of the non-free version of the GameMaker Studio. The free version locks down a few things and doesn't do 3D at all if I remember correctly. Once I finish Graze on the 7800 I may attempt to port it to PC using the free version of the studio - and depending on how it looks, I might shell out some money for it the next time it goes on a flash sale. But that's likely nothing to think about til the Christmas sale.
owsf2000: (default)
I must admit I know pretty much nothing about the game in question. Not surprising since I've long since stopped caring about what Ubisoft releases. However this should spark some warning signs to those who preordered or are thinking of getting it at launch.

Remember, this is the company that tied up their early reviewers of the game with non-disclosure agreements that forbid them from actually reviewing Assasin's Creed Unity until 17 hours after the game had launched. You know, enough time for all the initial sales to be made. And we all saw how horrible that launch turned out right?

So. With that in mind. Why oh why would Ubisoft suddenly pull the advance beta of this game that was promised to all the people that pre-ordered it? And instead, if I read it right, they're just going to get some free/exclusive DLC. DLC they won't be able to use until after the game is released and bought of course.

Personally, if I -did- have a preorder for the game, I'd have cancelled it at this news. Even if it isn't going to be a horrible buggy experience at launch, this is still bait and switch tactics. If I preordered it because I wanted in on the early beta, that's what I want to get. Especially if I wouldn't have preordered it for some DLC.

(Just so we're clear, I'm now eagerly awaiting to hear news on the state of this game when it launches. I really would like to see if it ends up being an embarrassment like Unity was.)
owsf2000: (default)
I'm not sure why they seem to think this is some kind of revolutionary new breakthrough in awesomeness. You unlock DLC by playing the game. Well... not QUITE.

By playing the game, you earn "fight money", which you can then use to buy DLC inside the game - to unlock it. This is their alternative to doing the costly approach of Street Fighter II of days long past, or Street Fighter IV - where you have the original, Super, Arcade, Ultra, or whatever other thousands of disc re-releases.

If you don't want to play the game to unlock the content, then you can purchase "Zenny" money with real money, and use that to purchase DLC in the game instead. Just between us, I don't think it's going to be a secret that you're going to be playing the game 24/7 trying to raise the necessary "fight" money to buy even a single DLC item. If this proves to be true (And someone else will have to verify it for me because I ain't touching the game.) then it shows that they balanced the value of fight money to help frustrate players enough to open their wallets and just pay for the damned things.

This approach lets them avoid having to repackage the base game and omg give out all the new content - minus new DLC - to every player. Lots of money saved, welcome to last generation Capcom where every other game series has already been doing this.

Also, this is Capcom we're talking about here. The masters of on-disc DLC unlocks. Certainly the later crap will be actual DLC, but it won't surprise me in the least to find out a lot of the initial DLC will be on the disc you paid for.

Here's what this deal really seems to be. We've gone from having games that use to have unlockable perks that you'd get from just playing the game to where you're shown all the things they're locking out and then given a choice between spending a third of your waking life trying to unlock shit which may never stop coming, or open your wallet to purchase it so you can actually HAVE a life. There's no way to wait for a Game of the Year edition with all this shit included (Which is what those Super/Turbo/Hyper/Ultra/etc editions tended to be.) because they've flat out said there won't be any. You MUST start at ground zero and work your way up. And the longer you wait, the higher the climb is going to be.

It's, as some have correctly deduced, a way to bring micro-transactions into the game. Like a freaking mobile game.

One of the commenters had this to say to justify Capcom's decision to milk it's user base:
"If you dont wanna pay you dont have to, if they set it up that way and you dont like it, then dont buy/play the game. I for one am glad that you can actually play to unlock DLC without paying, same thing with MKX, never touched the 20 dollar krypt key button and still unlocked all of its goodies. If a sucker is going to spend 20 bucks to unlock, then they are the ones you should be mad at, not the devs who cash in on that sucker."

I can certainly blame Capcom for preying upon people that don't have the time to spend 50hrs a week playing a video game (because hey, they have jobs.) but still want to access to the more yummy content which surprise surprise will be the content that's likely locked up.

Another said:
"This is actually the best thing that has happened to the series. Would you prefer it to be like SF4 with a new entry every couple years for full price with extra DLC out the ass every time that you're completely locked out of unless you fork up the money?"

If THIS is the "Best thing to happen" to the series, it should show you how badly the series was handled before. There's still going to be DLC out the ass - it's just going to be non-stop, continuously piling up and if anyone wants to jump into the game later on down the road, they HAVE to start at ground zero. This is going to cause late comers to the game to open their wallets just so they have a little bit of the content others have.

To recap, this is nothing different than how you unlocked characters in Marvel Vs Capcom 2 on the PS2. Except on that game, yes everything was on the disc (obviously), but there was ONLY in-game money/points for unlocking stuff. So those points were balanced in such a way to make it seem ok. Playing through arcade mode a few times generally was enough to unlock a character. About half an hour of work tops. It's not going to be anywhere near that quick and easy to unlock stuff in SFV - if it was, they'd never sell any of this "Zenny" money.

"so you can unlock everything in the game just by playing it.....you mean like it was in the old days when you had to completely finish a game to get the next bit unlocked ???"

No, it'll probably be closer to you'll have to completely finish a game 10-100 times per new thing you want to add. As I said, if it's going to be easy to unlock shit with fight money, there would be absolutely no point to taking the time and ... money, to write and test the code for a second fake currency that you buy with real money. We'll see how it looks when the game is finally released.

"Micro transactions are nothing new, you're kind of late to the party to be "outraged"."

And this is why you should make sure you rant and rave about things that upset you in this industry WHEN it happens. Because if you adopt a wait and see approach to see if it's going to be as terrible as you expect it to be, then people will start throwing this at you. Like you've lost your right to publicly announce your distaste/rage/whatever. It is never too late to rant at something. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

The whole reason to add "Fight Money" in this game is to derail arguments about the microtransactions since they're now "optional".

And I fully expect, in 2-3 years, like any other game, they'll just drop SFV and announce SFVI and you can all start over from scratch again. Except that all those unlockables, free as they might be if you play away your life to it, will eventually be simply gone when the DLC is taken down in the future. I can start a new game in Marvel Vs Capcom 2 and still unlock everything in the game by playing it. Wouldn't be able to do that with SFV.
owsf2000: (default)
Seriously, it's starting to make me wonder.

Game Publishers and Developers cry all the time about how expensive it is to develop AAA titles (Even if they give F results) but.. why?

Many of the changes we've seen over the last decade to the video game industry has been geared towards removing a finished product from gamers hands at Launch Day. But we're still paying full price for it, and in fact the actual price has gone up. I use to expect new games to be 49.99 to 59.99. Lately I've been seeing quite a few 69.99 for anything that's been advertised.

All the changes have been geared towards increasing the price, getting the game out faster, and getting paid sooner, and more often.

Kick Starter - This funding mechanism, which isn't exactly new in and of itself, has certainly gotten more popular lately. It lets the developers get paid, potentially before they even start working on the game. This comes complete with all the risks of failure and outright betrayal by the developers failing to either finish the project or decided they didn't need to actually honor promises made to backers. But it's the first payday for the Developers. The only people that lose out are the gamers that support them if the project goes south, or as indicated, when the game delivered isn't what was promised.

In short, Devs can now get paid (without taking "loans" from publishers) before they even start their actual job.

Early Access - This new fad, started probably by Minecraft, essentially lets the developer get paid during development. Basically with the buggy, feature-incomplete state of the game, gamers are allowed to pay for the privilege to play the game early. In some cases that early access can cost several times the cost of the actual final game. When Mojang did this, they did this the right way. At first it was free to play the game. Then when it started getting features, the alpha version had a small 10 dollar charge. Then later the beta version had a slightly higher cost of 15-20 dollars. Then the final game is as it is now. (20-30 depending on what platform you're buying it on.)

Somehow developers saw Mojang's success story and thought the system would work equally well if they just inverted the early access costs, with the cost slowly decreasing towards the cost of the final product instead of increasing up to it. Either way, this means that devs nowadays get paid during the development of the game - despite that they likely have the game fully financed if they did a proper Kickstarter campaign. Furthermore, this is basically them removing one big cost of development, having to hire people to actively betatest the game to find and report bugs, and turning that cost into a revenue stream. Gamers are now -paying- the developer for the chance to do the beta testing for free! Not that the developer often listens to all the feedback they get.

So next we're reaching the actual Launch Day. When the game is suppose to be finished and released in all it's glory! With bug patches and DLC options available to devs, they can now ship their product earlier and earlier than they use to. They also don't have to worry about the shoddy work done by their paying volunteer betatesters, as the game can be released as a roach hotel and completely unplayable with relatively little in the way of risk. As is often the case the company turns around, offers some sort of misguided apology then distracts the masses with a free game or two. At this point the company doesn't really care as they already have your money from the Day 1 sales. (And these are the largest sales the game generally receives, particularly if it was highly anticipated due to the marketing hype.)

This could be avoided of course by not buying on Day 1. But to counter that, developers have started using DLC as a means to secure pre-orders. Essentially by axing out content that would have otherwise been in the game, sometimes important parts of said game in the eyes of the fans of the game. Project Diva F 2nd also did this by axing off a couple of songs from the Live Stage mode unless you've pre-ordered. To my knowledge those songs aren't even available as DLC currently for those of us who didn't pre-order.

They do this to help force people rush to buy the game without knowing if it's even payable.

So now we have devs are paid in advance before starting work. Getting paid again all throughout the development process, as often as they desire - they just have to sell new rounds of beta. Selling their game months to probably a year earlier than they would have been able to in the past thanks to the ability to patch out crappy workmanship, and ensuring that they still make a lot of sales on day 1 with the use of hacking out parts of the game that actually get done as incentives to buy it at all.

That's not enough however!

Now they can sell the game with fewer and fewer features at launch because they can ALWAYS add content later on via paid (or free) DLC. Isn't that great that after spending 50-70 dollars on your brand new game, you're given the option to spend an extra sum of money that can easily reach HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS if you want the actual full experience. Yes, Train Simulator is an extreme example with literally thousands of dollars of addon content. But a LOT of games released by NIS America often have up to 100-200 dollars of DLC content. And for game franchises that they've had prior to the introduction to DLC, you quickly notice the kinds of things that they're charging extra for are things that use to just be included in the game as hidden unlockables for gamers to find. Why find it when you can be charged for it eh?

But wait wait wait! Why wait until the DLC is completed to charge for it? That's way too much to expect when the devs can be paid before they even lift a finger on THAT as well. Enter the Season Passes and "Clubs". Basically paying for access to DLC that won't be released right away, but rolled out over a length of time. For instance the "Costume Club" of Project Diva F 2nd. For a mere 69.99, you can get over 40 new modules for Miku and her friends! But wait, they're not all done yet, and they'll be rolled out over the next 6 months. We'll also forget the base game cost 49.99. Their Song Club is almost as bad, giving only 10 or so new songs to play, for a cost of 29.99. They're not all done yet either.

So in summary: Devs get paid before they start working. Get paid while they're working. Can release the game much sooner in a buggy state which they aren't required to fix unless they care about selling a second game. Can ensure people won't wait to see what the game's like when it's released since they EXPECT bugs nowadays by axing out further content to prompt pre-orders. And they can get paid for finishing the game (DLC) before even starting in on the actual DLC.

Where the fuck is the "risk" they keep bitching about. The money is handed over to them before a product is ever delivered.
owsf2000: (default)
Right here we have another example of game devs trying to justify DLC tactics in a good light. CD Projekt claims to be targetting predatory DLC tactics of other companies (NIS America in particular is mentioned in the article, as is a game called Train Simulator).

Their plan is that anyone who buys Witcher 3, be it digital or physical, will get 16 pieces of DLC free! Wow right?

Marcin Iwinski, cofounder of the group says "We always thought it's best to follow what you believe in, so here we are," he said. "Others may or may not do the same, but this is who we are and what we think gamers deserve."

When asked why the free DLC would be rolled out over the next 6 months (most of it launching in March iirc although some soon after the game's release) instead of included on the disc, he replied "It's not done yet."

So. While it's great that they're basically doing this to spite the tactics employed by game devs that will charge you full price for a game, then charge you 2-5 dollars for all sorts of unlockables - and in many cases it does appear to be unlock codes in the case of NIS America, they're still going the DLC route.

And the DLC route is being planned before the game is released. Back in the day when the game wasn't done YOU DIDN'T SHIP YOUR PRODUCT. They mention the DLC is free, but they also mention people who buy the game. IE: Initial new buyers of the game. If those people try to sell the game afterwards, the DLC is locked to them so the new owners will be subjected to 16 pieces of DLC that they will either need to buy individually (predatory) or they will need to buy a single "DLC program" to get all 16 together for one likely larger lump sum. (which can still be predatory depending on the cost they give it.)

So what we have here is that in order to cash in on the gamer's wallet 6 months sooner, they've deliberately planned to axe content that was planned but "not done yet" from the main game. The "not done yet" excuse is basically confirmation that content is being ripped out of the planned product.

They've done all but outright say that this was a plan to attack legal used game sales. Something companies use to complain about and equate as worse than outright piracy and for a time was very vocal in trying to demonize legal consumer rights. I'm guessing it's not cool to shamelessly admit to this kind of tactic right now since it didn't catch on outside the most extreme fanboy apologists no matter how often game journalists tried to shove the idea down our throats.

And remember, this is what the head of the company said "gamers deserve". Personally, I think gamers deserve a finished product instead. The same way any consumer in any other market would take for granted.
owsf2000: (Default)
I probably have that title typoed, but if you can't understand the title as is, I think the typo is the least of your problems! ;)

So. The new Resident Evil game on the 3DS has a very interesting problem. You can't clear it. At all. So if you start completing stuff, and unlocking stuff, you can't go back and play it from scratch again if you want to.

This also means if you bought it used, you can't ever play the game from the beginning.

Capcom swears up and down that they weren't attempting to attack the used game market and that they had no malicious intent by omitting the very basic functionality that has existed in console save files since save files existed. (I think that would be Zelda on the NES?)

Malicious is a pretty subjective word however. As one person put it, they're sure that Capcom may think they weren't being malicious in not adding the ability to reset your save file, but at the same time considers people selling or buying games used to be doing so maliciously. In the end it's all in the eye of the beholder - and if the VP of Capcom came out and confirmed that it was done with malicious intent, they'll be slapped with a class action lawsuit by the end of the week.

As it is, there only way to do a refresh of your save is to corrupt the save.

For what it's worth, apparently BlazBlue and another couple 3DS games do the same douchbaggery.

I'm glad I've already decided not to buy a 3DS.
owsf2000: (Default)
While I'm on the Rant Train and being pissy about shitty company policy and decisions in the game industry, allow me to confirm that GameStop has again lost an extra 35 dollars in sales by gutting the only copy of Radiant Historia they had left in town. As you know, I only count the lost sales when it fits two main points:

1. I actually ask the clerk for a factory sealed copy and get told they don't have any - and I have evidence they had "new" copies in the store. (Holding the gutted copy in my hand while doing so for instance.)


2. If I fully intend to buy the game I'm referring to if they say "Yes, one moment I'll get it."
Meaning I can't just ask out of curiosity to pump up the "lost sales". So when I'm quoting 500-700 dollars in lost sales, it's LOST SALES.

So yes, this is indeed a lost sale like the many titles over the last year. (I didn't post about every single instance mind you. I just do it when I'm extra pissed about it because I was looking forward to the game in question.)
owsf2000: (Default)
A Role Playing Game That Makes You Pay For Your Party Members

I've been fuming over DLC ever since it started to be honest. And more so when it became a bit more common. It's now practically a requirement.

It's also more intrusive and in your face. (See link.)

I don't give a damn about what the industry is doing. I don't care if "everybody's doing it". Just because it's become the standard doesn't make it RIGHT.

I have this bought. Limited edition direct from NIS America's shop. If I had known they had done something like this back before having the preorder placed, I would have never bothered.

I also have Ar Tonelico 3 preordered. It's already bought and paid for. I fear seeing them do something like this with that as well. I will be livid if I find out they actually have more DLC for Ar Tonelico 3's NA version compared to the original Japanese release. (By that I mean them cutting more out of the game to serve as DLC)

Regardless, these are the last two games I will be buying from NIS America. And I am...was... a huge fan of a lot of the things they released over the years. Ar Tonelico 3 can be the best thing since sliced bread and it still won't save them from my future shit list.

I don't even have the damned consoles for this generation yet (Getting a Wii later today tho most likely) and I already feel let down. This might be a good thing in the end. It'll help re-affirm my dedication to stop getting the next gen consoles when they arrive. I'm already dead set against the 3DS, and the PSP2 is looking like it won't be going anywhere with my wallet either.


Also, just so we're clear. I was planning on tracking down copies, new if possible, of Trinity Universe, Cross Edge, Atelier Ronona, the upcoming Phantom Brave remake (PSP), and Last Rebellion, but ... well, welcome to the shitlist NIS. I know you won't even notice the string of lost sales over the years, in the same way that Gamestop hasn't noticed the 500-700 dollars per year they lose from gutting their merchandise resulting in me not buying from them, but at least I'll have more money to spend on other things.
owsf2000: (Default)
This is an article by Stan (A person who happens to post at Atari Age as well) taking a closer look at downloadable content for consoles that brings up the question as to whether or not it's really good for the video game industry overall. In particular, the views he tackles in particular are from the collector/gamer approach than the pure gamer approach.

I tend to agree with what he says, since I love having an actual physical collection. Proof of my purchase, and a far more solid reassurance that the games are actually there rather than on some corrupted hard drive/flash disk/etc.

One thing he didn't deal with however is that DLC is a bit more insidious than simply not being able to even get a game (secondhand or firsthand) 10 years down the road if you didn't buy it when it was first released. Sure you can back stuff up in some cases, but that's not always perfect either.

Consider Heavy Rain. A game that, unlike the DL-only Mega Man 10, has a physical disc that you buy. So for collectors, excellent! You can keep it! Display it! And 10 years later you can play it just the same as now right?!


But Heavy Rain, like what seems to be an increasing number of modern games, has a lot of bugs in it. Enough so that on zero-day there was already a large enough patch to download and install that they packed in some origami for players to play with while waiting for it to download and install.

Ten years from now are those bug patches going to be (LEGALLY) available? It's not enough to say "I'm sure they'll do something to ensure gamers aren't affected when the time comes." Because that's nothing more than hopeful guessing. Unless you have some inside knowledge to the contrary, it's far safer to assume that players will be SOL since by then they already have your money.

So 10 years later you have your physical copy of the game and you go to reinstall it to play through it a few more times. At best, you have nothing more than a bug ridden game to enjoy. At worse, the PS3 might refuse to play it at all until you download the by then nonexistent bug patches...

I'm the type of gamer that:

1. Will go back years later and play through a game I've enjoyed in the past.


2. Buys so many games at times that it takes years before I even get around to PLAY it for the first time.

Seriously. I have about 20 games from as far back as 2008 that are still factory sealed. And many others before that which I opened and maybe played an hour of before getting distracted by the Next Big Thing that I was more interested in. (I do plan on getting back to Doom 3 at some point for instance.)

So what does this mean for me? It means I spend less money on current gen games ... period. Last thing I want to do is buy a game that I won't have time for for a year or three (but have to buy NOW since it likely won't be easily available by then) and by the time I finally get around to playing it, I find out there are massive game wrecking bugs in it and quite likely by the time I first try to play it the patches will no longer be available.

This is why I'm interested in knowing, in particular, whether there are bugs in modern games. I need it to determine if I will be buying a game or not. Minor bugs such as Cool Ass Weapon never actually dropping from a monster you defeat I can probably live with unless you need Cool Ass Weapon in order to complete the game. Game breaking bugs and annoyances however I plan on avoiding like the plague if possible. If I accidentally buy one with a massive bug patch, I'll probably play through it once then trade it in to go buy something else. Ideally tho I'd prefer to avoid purchasing it altogether.


Feb. 5th, 2010 05:16 am
owsf2000: (Default)
Ok, it's probably a good thing I'm not registered at Kotaku to go making replies to fucking brain dead assholes, but I feel I must vent on a few tidbits. Also, before I start, I apologize to Kane right now as I know he tends to side with the other camp in this particular argument.

Anyhow, it starts with this:

"I do not understand how one can be against piracy but support used games. In much the same way as there are pirates who would never buy the game, there are people who flat out can't/won't buy new."

Feel my Rage )

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