Archive for the “Bad Policy” Category

When people go batshit about games.

First, I really want to play MW2. It certainly holds up to my expectation of a sequel. What doesn’t appeal is of course, the multiplayer implementation.

The essential PC experience is being stripped away. When you try to align the experiences of three different platforms, what differentiates them? What motivates the choice to choose one over the other? In the PC experience, customizable dedicated servers appealed to many over the static match-made console experience. It’s a fact that most gamers who own high-end computers also own at least one next-gen console. If you suddenly make the PC experience less attractive, why choose the PC version? If they’re all the same, why not choose the console version? They’re all the same price anyway.
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For those who don’t know, the new LucasArts game Star Wars: The Force Unleashed will be released on every platform except PC. As a hardcore PC gamer, this really burns me. As a 20 year customer of LucasArts products, this is a betrayal. The producer in charge of the xbox360 and ps3 versions of the game, Cameron Suey said in a May 12th Interview with videogamer.com reporter Wesley Yin-Poole that “…someone with a low-end PC would have a watered down experience, they would have to turn all the settings down and it wouldn’t be the same game.” A watered down experience?

According to this July 16th article, SW:TFU is coming to the iphone. Wouldn’t be the same game you say? In fact, the game is going to be released on Xbox360, PS3, PS2, Wii, PSP, DS, and now the iphone.

Cameron, when you talk about the PC, please be honest with the people who have paid salaries at LucasArts for 20 years. LucasArts wouldn’t exist without the PC platform. I think LucasArts owes their PC platform customers a debt. You can easily repay it by investing in full development of The Force Unleashed on PC.

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As mentioned in my previous editorial, I purchase games from Steam. This time, I purchased Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 which is available here. Not 20 minutes later, a cracker group already released the game on the Internet. Ubisoft is really keeping their “la la la” policy. By that, of course, I mean they as a corporation are sticking their fingers in their ears and singing loudly so they simply cannot hear what’s going on around them. It is quite a bad policy.

The optimal answer to piracy here is to provide instant supply. When it’s available to pirate before it’s available for sale, who’s going to wait to buy it? Obviously this guy! I dare say not many others. Ubisoft fix this policy. It’s alienating your paying customers!

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Steam Logo
Steam Watch!

I purchased Assassin’s Creed from Steam last week. It’s available for purchase from the Steam Store Here. While I am a huge advocate of Steam due to its ease of content management for both sides of the cash register, there is a 400lb. gorilla in the room. Assassin’s Creed was released by two separate cracker groups this morning. I won’t link to it. With the use of a bit torrent client and a few hours of time, someone could be playing the full retail version of Assassin’s Creed before I can and save fifty bucks in the process. I’ve noticed the standard policy of the majority of entertainment software publishers is to censor any discussion of piracy on their forums. I can fully understand this policy and it makes sense fiscally. The larger issue isn’t whether isn’t about whether a few hundred customers decide to download the pirated version of a game because they read about it in a forum. It’s fully about the 400lb. gorilla in the room, distribution. We all know that nine times out of ten, someone working in the supply chain for these products is responsible for stealing a copy and releasing it on the Internet. That becomes ridiculously easy when you no longer have to deal with a physical medium like CD or DVD. Assassin’s Creed is due to be officially released on April 9th. Despite this, people can download the game for free from bit torrent. That really begs the question, why buy it? Well, that depends on what’s important to you. For me, I am a gamer; I want more games in the future. If games aren’t a profitable venture, why make them?

The failure of publishers to offer immediate supply when demand is skyrocketing hurts the entire industry. I am looking forward to a lot of games this year. I am willing to pay for them. Making paying customers wait an extra couple of weeks (or even hours in the case of a pre-loaded game) is bad business. It motivates people to download the pirated copy. While I realize steam is not responsible for the release schedules of other publishers, steam loses money as well. The purchase/download distribution model is the future of pc gaming. The publishers save money on actual physical product. The customers no longer have to deal with damaged physical media. As I mentioned above, I love Steam. I have a large collection of Steam powered games. If I’m being honest, Steam, while at the forefront of game publishers, is just lagging behind the pirates. How many will just download Assassin’s Creed from bit torrent, because the game isn’t officially released yet vs. those who will buy it only because they didn’t hear about piracy or torrents on the game’s official forum?

There will always be piracy. It’s partly an economic indicator of high demand. It’s also an indicator that the Robbin’ Hood hasn’t hung up his bow. Whether you had no intention of buying it in the first place or you couldn’t afford it, or it’s just another trophy for your collection, a pirate will provide it for you. The industry can minimize the risks of this by increasing availability of their content. My “making available theory” states that If I can buy a game from the publisher and play it faster than I could get it from bit torrent, I probably will.

Hate mail and mail from Jack Thompson should be directed to my secretary

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