Archive for November, 2008
As a consumer deciding what to buy, It’s your job to get the most value while spending the least amount of money. You are not the president, you are not chairman of the federal reserve, so no one cares about your big picture economic philosophy, you just need to decide what to buy.
That’s why I rent most games that I play. I get to enjoy everything, even though the developer who put in the hard work to create the game doesn’t see a single dime.
There are a few good reasons to actually buy a game new:
- New Releases: You like getting games close to release. If a new game costs $60, and a used game costs $55, there’s not much point to buying used unless you have trade-in credit.
- Longevity: You plan to play the game for a long time and don’t want to rent.
- Guilt: You are a nice guy or a fan and want to support your favorite developers or simply feel guilty about enjoying a great game without letting the developer earn a single dime: I fall into this category a lot. I bought Uncharted after people on this site guilted me into it. Great game, but I could have gotten the same enjoyment by renting and saved myself $60.
- Gifts:Buying someone used goods as a gift is generally considered very cheap, so people would rather buy new.
Beyond that, I can’t understand why people buy so many new games.
To me, the issue is simple. The used/rental markets have a perfectly legal way to provide reduced cost access to copyrighted IP. Used/rental markets are basically a legal and controlled whitehat form of piracy. This is great for consumers in the short term but it siphons off a lot of money from publishers and developers. As a result, I would expect that publishers strongly push towards network distribution with stronger DRM so that they can keep a larger share of consumer revenue.
What absolutely baffles me is how many people really think that used/rental game markets benefit the developers. Sure, I can see how some of the money consumers get from used games can be used to buy new games, but overall, it’s obvious that the publishers would pull in far more money from new sales if they didn’t have to compete with used and rentals.
To pick one post on the subject:
Here’s a grown-up approach: focus on adjusting the benefits of the relationship between the parties. Grow the relationship with Blockbuster and Gamestop and everyone else
The developers or publishers who legally own the IP, currently have no leverage or bargaining power whatsoever in the used and rental markets, so naturally, they get nothing. The used and rental market providers have full control over their own revenue streams and have no motivation to forfeit any of that. What kind of healthy positive relationship is there to grow between the two? That sounds like a bunch superficial business-speak blather around nothing.
From here we find out this information about clubs. (I rearranged it a bit).
Club feature is added.
A club is an organization for users that share the same objectives. Clubhouse is a private place for members of a club to gather around. Even users that are not added to your Friends List can request to join or get invited.
- You have to purchase a club before using it. But during Closed Beta test you can use it for free.
- Each user account can only create one club.
- The maximum number of members for each club is 32, including the creator.
- The maximum number of clubs each user can join is 5, including the one created by that user.
- Users that are not members of the club will not be able to enter the associated clubhouse.
- You can add furniture to the clubhouse.
- Bulletin Board is available in the clubhouse. Only the leader (owner of the clubhouse) or subleaders (assigned by the leader) can post messages on the board.
- Maximum number of messages to be posted at the same time is 4.
Note: if you have joined 5 clubs already, then you cannot create your own club.
※ To learn more about how to create a club, please refer to Menu Pad > “Help” > “Clubs”.
※ You have to set up your PlayStation®Network wallet before purchasing a club.
※ Club is a service that requires regular payment. During Closed Beta test users can enjoy this service free of charge.
※ Note: all the clubs and clubhouses will be deleted at the end of Closed Beta test.
I like the idea of a club. I’d like to create one for PS3Blog.net readers. But I have a two worries:
- Just 32 users? So there’s me, Tosh, Darrin, Gary, and Trev. Add a couple friends of mine, and that leaves just about 22 slots for my readers. That’s not enough! Tosh and I thought that maybe “32″ means “32 people in the clubhouse space at the same time”, with more members allowed. But the wording I’ve seen contradicts that.
- I really don’t like the line that reads “Club is a service that requires regular payment.” I hate having to continuously pay for something. That’s one of the reasons I like PSN – it’s free! I can stomach paying a one-time fee for a club, but I’m not so sure I’m willing to continue paying month after month.
What do you all think?
Tosh covered this in the side bar, but the topic is worthy of more coverage. Sony will begin mandating trophy support for all new PS3 games in 2009.
Many gamers are happy, since they like trophies and this will mean that more games will feature them. But this also means that some developers that don’t want to add trophies to their game will just not put their game on the PS3.
I don’t like this kind of thing at all. This crosses the line from basic technology, stability, and obscenity issues to actual creative content. This would be like the movie theater chains mandating that all new comedies use laugh tracks or all new action movies must have at least two car chases.
It’s normal for bosses, investors, and big clients to make these kind of demands, but Sony (and Microsoft/Nintendo) is essentially a middle-man between independent studios and the public. If I were a passionate independent developer, and some clueless beaurocrat middle man started to tell me how to design my product and what feature list it needed, I would tell them to kiss off! What’s next: all games must feature bald space marines and singing purple dinosaurs?
OK, I’m probably overreacting a hair. Trophy logic can’t be that complicated to program in to a game and it’s not that invasive on the game experience. However, I still think that this is the wrong way to go. If a development studio is able to fund and create their own products, they should have maximum creative control over the end user experience and shouldn’t be mandated into supporting the platform’s latest brand-identity marketing gimmicks.
Lastly, let features live and die on their own merit. If a feature is appreciated by users and the development resources are justified, developers will generally support the feature on their own terms without coercion. We are seeing this willing developer adoption of trophy support. Why take the choice out of the hands of the developers and force those that feel otherwise into compliance?
I’m sure my coblogger Henning would love to enforce split-screen support on all games, but isn’t this kind of decision best left in the hands of the developer?