News is an interesting beast. Sometimes it is interesting, informative and makes you consider things you’d never thought about or heard of. Other times, it makes you confused, angry or just plain sad to be living on this planet.
This is the news of the second type. Little more serious in tone, and lots of commentary on the state of the industry. So grab a coffee and pull up a chair.
Pre-ordering a game is a pretty standard practice nowadays. Often times you’ll get a bunch of perks for doing so, be it in-game items, cool looking boxes or even miniature dragons to put in hilarious places, photograph, and put on the internet.
Well, 11 Bit Studios is doing something a little bit different. Instead of Pre-ordering a game you know you’ll want to play, like the fifth in an epic series or something with particularly good pre-order bonuses, you’ll need to pre-order the game, to find out what the game is!
While this game, which will form now on be referred to as THE GAME, will be officially announce on February 28, 11 Bit is encouraging “brave people” to preorder it at 50% off with only a uninformative teaser to go on. I cannot help but remember a certain American politician who said “ We have to pass the bill so you can find out what’s in it…”
In response to gun violence and political shenanigans, many people turned to the video game industry. Perhaps there is something to this, or perhaps they simply see it as a scapegoat, but many people feel that the video game industry isn’t doing enough to protect young innocent minds.
They seem to have forgotten the video games are rated like movies and that, really, parents should use these to determine what kind of media their children should be exposed to. Now, a valid criticism of this would be that parents may not know about the ESRB rating system, and have no way of knowing what games are good and bad for children.
Well, it seems that this is not the case. A recent interview with the ESRB president reveals that people DO know about the ESRB ratings and DO use them.
“We have seen a fairly stable percentage of parents in terms of awareness and use in the last several years,” ESRB President Patricia Vance told GamesIndustry. “I don’t know how much higher we’re going to be able to push that. We’re now at about 85 percent awareness among parents with kids who play videogames, and 70 percent say they use them all the time or most of the time.”
Used games are a whole can of worms that gets opened every once in awhile in the gaming world. Players love them, Companies don’t seem to, and without them, Gamestop would lose a chunk of change form their annual profits.
Well, the impossible has happened. An executive in a major gaming company, EA even, has said that the used game industry is not a bad thing.
“EA would obviously prefer to sell everything at full price, but the used game trade creates “liquidity” and that’s good for everyone. If someone goes in and trades in a game, there’s a good chance they’re going to buy another one of our games,” he said. “And so if there’s a liquid market, I think that that’s not a bad thing at all….I think that the consumer likes [the used games trade], and it’s been good for the retail channel.”
An entirely reasonable and measured response. Well-thought out and sensible. I honestly did not expect that. I think that the used game is an essential part of the commercial side of things. It is the free exchange of goods between gamers, and doing anything to the hardware or software side of things to make this impossible is pretty morally corrupt. The fact of the matter is, people are going to trade used games on an individual level no matter what you do.
Nat Brown was one of the original designers of the Xbox. While you might expect him to have some different opinions on how the Xbox 360 has developed, I’m not sure that vibrant hate would be my first guess.
Brown recently wrote a large critique of the XBox 360 and the choice recently made the team at Microsoft.
“But the past 5 years, and the last year in particular, have been simply painful to watch. Coasting on past momentum. Failing to innovate and failing to capitalize on innovations like Kinect. Touting strategic and market success when you’re just experiencing your competitor’s stumbling failure (yes, Sony, Nintendo – you are, I’m afraid, stumbling failures). A complete lack of tactical versus strategic understanding of the long game of the living room. It culminated for me in recent coverage1 of interviews with Yusef Mehdi and Nancy Tellem and reports of the goals of a new LA xBox studio to create interactive content.”
It is an intriguing critique, particularly coming from someone who designed the original XBox. It’s worth a read in full if you get a chance.
Last week, I reported on the fact that Dead Space 3 was actually encouraging what could only be called an exploit, allowing player to farm materials that could be used in the game. I was a bit surprised that what could only be called an exploit.
Well, turns out that this might be a new type of theft. Sort of.
“If you go into a baker’s to buy a bun and they give you the wrong change and you walk away knowing you have been given more change than you handed over in the first place, that’s theft,” IP expert, Sara Ludlam, told the BBC last week.
“So, arguably if you go into this game knowing you are supposed to be paying for these weapons and you notice a glitch allows you to accumulate them without paying, that’s theft as well,” she said. “But it is arguable because it’s a new area.”
Now there are massive holes in this argument, namely that EA is aware and encouraging this ‘theft’. Second, this exploit doesn’t let you have access to anything that you couldn’t get in the game in some other way; it just lets you get it quicker.
Frankly, I LOVE that we are having this discussion. It’s a growing pain in action; Video games are more main steam than they ever have been, and at some point we were going to encounter legal issues like this. This particular case may not be the best example, but it is still an interesting thought experiement.