23 January 2009

On the downturn...


There's a few rumblings that FEAR 2 has securom DRM - though whether it's just the disc-check (which i'm fine with) or the online authentication form of the software (which i'm not okay with) we'll have to wait and see because, let's face it, Warner Bros. and Monolith aren't going to tell us until it hits retail shelves.... Potentially one less reason for me to buy it.

Maybe this recession is affecting my optimism for gaming but i'm not feeling particularly excited about any releases already announced for this year.

Dawn of War 2 just isn't my cup of tea. I don't like squad management games with hero units and it's one of the reasons why i disliked Warcraft 3 why i don't like Company of Heros. It's too much of a departure from the original Dawn of War (though i didn't like the game after the second expansion) and what i liked about that game. I feel like they should have left the name and kept the franchise. Warhammer 40K: Squad Commander..... oh, wait.... they already did that.

Fear 2 - i need to try the demo for this game but i'm just tired of generic FPSes. I liked FEAR and i'm sure i'll get around to playing this one but not at release i've not seen anything that makes me excited for it.

DNF - it may come around sometime this year but who knows? I used to be excited for this game. Hell! I'm still excited for the game that was based around the 2001 trailer but the new screenshots haven't been that exciting - too dark and gritty. Duke was never about being dark and gritty he was about over-the-top fun and ridiculousness. We'll see but my interest is diminished.

Anything else?

Empire Total War? The only setting i liked was Rome the games are all pretty much of a muchness when you get down to it and IMO it's the setting that matters most in this genre that Creative Assembly have manged to corner for themselves.

Bah.... these are depressing times.

18 January 2009

Finally, someone else sees some sense...

I've always liked Stardock's view on copy protection and customer support. I don't agree with everything that's coming through their new initiative that's trying to push towards copyright standards within the industry but at least they've always had a positive attitude towards piracy.

Now another company - again, one whose stance and methods i don't necessarily always agree with - has a spokesperson actually speaking with sense! Jason Holtman spoke recently at the Game Business Law Summit. He mentioned some interesting things about online versus retail sales but i was more interested in this little nugget at the end of the reporting article at gamedaily:

The final sacred cow that Holtman took a stab at was the issue of piracy. "There's a big business feeling that there's piracy," he says. But the truth is: "Pirates are underserved customers."

"When you think about it that way, you think, 'Oh my gosh, I can do some interesting things and make some interesting money off of it.'"

"We take all of our games day-and-date to Russia," Holtman says of Valve. "The reason people pirated things in Russia," he explains, "is because Russians are reading magazines and watching television -- they say 'Man, I want to play that game so bad,' but the publishers respond 'you can play that game in six months...maybe.' "

"We found that our piracy rates dropped off significantly," Holtman says, explaining that Valve makes sure their games are on the shelves in Moscow and St. Petersberg, in Russian, when they release it to North America and Western Europe.

There are, concludes Holtman, "tons of undiscovered customers," because publishers look very narrowly at the Western market.

This is basically something that i've said for a long time and something that people in the EU, Russia, Asia and Australia know to be true. In an age were you can get up to date information at the touch of a button it is truly frustrating to see that you won't get a product until 6 months to a year - or maybe never - after everyone else, or even just the primary market.

Publishers and developers are too focused on releasing as soon as possible to one audience and of course this will mean that piracy will increase. The PC has always been easiest to pirate on because it's an open platform but as consoles become more pervasive and more people are exposed to the discrepancies in releases and release dates in each territory console game piracy will become more of an issue - especially because each console is region-locked (i know PS3 isn't technically region locked but a few of its games are) so people can't or won't import a whole console which means that they then have to import every game purchase they want.

It's saddening to see that apparently so few people within the games industry realise that the industry hurts itself the most by being narrow-minded in these aspects and that they think piracy can be decreased and sales can be increased through hurting consumer rights and their relationship with the consumer.

16 January 2009

Back soon...

Hey, all you zero readers!

I've been a bit out of things for a while now, partially due to trying to finish writing up and also because i've had other things on my mind such as having to pay a fairly large tax bill.... well, it turns out that i read the form incorrectly. I awoke to find a large amount of money in my bank account the other day which turned out to be from the tax office.... So i'm temporarily slightly better off than i was before and this means that i'll be able to buy and talk about new and not so new games in the coming months.

For the time being though i'll be pretty quiet until i get back home and have my usual set up surrounding me.

Chat soon.