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Cliff Bleszinski: Vote With Your Dollars 369

Posted by Soulskill
from the oh-i-will dept.
silentbrad writes "Cliff Bleszinski, formerly of Epic Games, posted a blog entry titled 'Nickels, dimes, and quarters' yesterday, advocating that gamers dissatisfied with the current trend toward DLC and microtransactions should vote with their wallets. Quoting: 'The video game industry is just that. An industry. Which means that it exists in a capitalistic world. You know, a free market. A place where you're welcome to spend your money on whatever you please or to refrain from spending that money. ... Adjusted for inflation, your average video game is actually cheaper than it ever has been. Never mind the ratio of the hours of joy you get from a game per dollar compared to film. To produce a high quality game it takes tens of millions of dollars, and when you add in marketing that can get up to 100+ million. ... I've seen a lot of comments online about microtransactions. They're a dirty word lately, it seems. Gamers are upset that publishers/developers are "nickel and diming them." They're raging at "big and evil corporations who are clueless and trying to steal their money." I'm going to come right out and say it. I'm tired of EA being seen as "the bad guy." I think it's bulls*** that EA has the 'scumbag EA' memes on Reddit and that Good Guy Valve can Do No Wrong. ... If you don't like EA, don't buy their games. If you don't like their microtransactions, don't spend money on them. It's that simple. ... The market as I have previously stated is in such a sense of turmoil that the old business model is either evolving, growing, or dying. No one really knows. "Free to play" aka "Free to spend 4 grand on it" is here to stay, like it or not. ... People like to act like we should go back to "the good ol' days" before microtransactions but they forget that arcades were the original change munchers. Those games were designed to make you lose so that you had to keep spending money on them. Ask any of the old Midway vets about their design techniques. The second to last boss in Mortal Kombat 2 was harder than the last boss, because when you see the last boss that's sometimes enough for a gamer. ... If you don't like the games, or the sales techniques, don't spend your money on them. You vote with your dollars.'"
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Cliff Bleszinski: Vote With Your Dollars

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  • Doesn't work (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GameboyRMH (1153867) <gameboyrmh@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Friday March 01, 2013 @03:32PM (#43048189) Journal

    I've been boycotting all the games with DRM and DLC for over a decade and it hasn't done shit.

    Also it's really too bad that there was nothing between the DLC Hell of the early 2010s and the Change-Muncher Hell of the 1980s...

  • by Vicarius (1093097) on Friday March 01, 2013 @03:32PM (#43048191)

    If you don't like their microtransactions, don't spend money on them. It's that simple.

    Sometimes I don't mind microtransactions, but they have power to ruin otherwise perfectly good game, and that's my major problem with them.

  • So? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aardvarkjoe (156801) on Friday March 01, 2013 @03:40PM (#43048255)

    Gamers have just as much right to whine about a company's pricing policy as the industry insiders have a right to whine about their customers' dislike of their policy. So the industry's getting sick of the complaining? Presumably, they're worried that if there's too much publicity of the issue, customers actually will start voting with their dollars.

    He's right, it's a business. A business that ignores its customers doesn't usually last too long.

  • Once again... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by erroneus (253617) on Friday March 01, 2013 @03:41PM (#43048275) Homepage

    ... gaming addicts (you should know if you are one or not) are the least mentally and/or emotionally disciplined people. So talk all you like about "vote with your dollars... quarters... dimes... nickels... pennies..." and they may even agree with you (providing they paid attention long enough and actually understood any of what you said) but the moment something they want appears, it won't matter.

    But this is essentially true of ALL humans. Any time people want something enough, they will mentally and emotionally justify it in the most ridiculous ways denying and defying all reason, morality or logic to their deaths. We all have that flaw to varying degrees. (Except for me... I'm perfect... j/k)

    Marketers know how to exploit this human weakness. And without proper law restricting what marketers can do, we will not see an end to it. And it's not like suck measures are without precedent. Look to tobacco, drugs and alcohol advertisements. For that matter, when was the last time you saw an ad on TV for firearms? Wonder why that is?

    On the other hand, ever watch some of those late-night, off-branded TV networks? The ridiculous ads and pitches there? Most of them are disgustingly targetted at the stupid, the old or both. "Hey! I've got sonic hearing!!" I'm not saying there is a hell, but if there was one, the people who peddle that stuff certainly need to relocate there. But back to my point.

    Gamers -- especially gamer addicts -- will not stand up for what they believe in over getting that next achievement unlocked.

  • Re:Doesn't work (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mashiki (184564) <mashiki@gmail. c o m> on Friday March 01, 2013 @03:45PM (#43048325) Homepage

    I've been boycotting all the games with DRM and DLC for over a decade and it hasn't done shit.

    Odd, seemed to work just fine with Ubisoft. [rockpapershotgun.com] Since they were really the first big target of PC gamers and their "always on" DRM solution, I'd say it does work.

  • Re:Doesn't work (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Xian97 (714198) on Friday March 01, 2013 @03:45PM (#43048333)
    Boycotts don't usually work and even if they did, they will just blame slow sales on some other cause - piracy is always an easy target.
  • by Sir_Sri (199544) on Friday March 01, 2013 @03:45PM (#43048341)

    DLC and so on exist because they make money.

    If someone comes along and makes *more* money with a different business model people will flock to that.

    It's not just 'don't buy it' it's 'buy something else in the same industry that is a better value'. If you want to sell me a DLC for 20 bucks (think Dragonborn expansion to Skyrim) that's a good value. It's basically an expansion pack without the box. But then you have to actually say how many copies you sold, so that everyone else knows this is a good idea.

    If you make some horse armour for 5 dollars and sell a 1000 copies of it, the market has already spoken. If you make an expansion pack for 20 bucks and sell 5 million of them, the market has spoken too. But without some sales figures (and those two numbers were entirely made up), there's no easy way to know what does and what doesn't work.

    If you look at Saints Row the Third on PC, on Steam. There are 3 options for the game (ignoring the strategy guide). The base game (40 dollars), the game with all DLC (50 dollars) or the all the DLC individually for 82. I'm going to go out on a limb and say they aren't selling a lot of the 'all the dlc' individually. All that DLC for 10 bucks that's not a bad deal. All that DLC for 80 is terrible. But well, I'm pretty sure it's only really rich or stupid people buying for 80 dollars what they can get for 50.

  • by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Friday March 01, 2013 @03:47PM (#43048365) Homepage Journal
    DLC that is extra content tacked onto the game is nice, it's basically a form of support you wouldn't get in the old days.

    DLC that is made by cutting features before the game is released and then selling them separately is what people hate. A good example of this is the recent XCOM game. There is Day-0 DLC that opens up the option to change the visual appearance of your soldiers, including armor colors, that was obviously chopped out of the game at the last minute just to make the DLC pack. That's just bullshit straight up. A 6 week delay on it would have just added insult to injury.

    The second DLC offering consisted of map packs and a scenario, and is much more what I would consider legitimate DLC. It wasn't very good, but it doesn't make me angry like the day 0 DLC did.
  • by Baloroth (2370816) on Friday March 01, 2013 @03:47PM (#43048367)

    I don't buy EA's games already. There are two problems. They continue to make crappy games, and the industry tends to follow the big leaders examples. It isn't like EA is making bucketloads of money with that strategy, they lost, what, a few hundred million last year? Something like that. Obviously, people are already not buying their games. But they aren't listening. Instead, they make Real Racing 3 and charge $80 for a single ingame car, and they've stated explicitly that they intend to focus even more on F2P, microtransactions, mobile games, and DLC to increase their revenue. Why? Because they've seen how much that strategy can make, without realizing they probably never will because their games are crap (and their prices are as well). Then we have other people who look at them going down that path, think "thats a good idea", and overall we end up with lots more shit games, and whats more, games that could be good. You see, F2P can work, but not in every case, and not when run by incompetent money-grabbing arseholes.

    Which brings me to my second point. The publishers own lots of promising IP. For example, EA owns Bioware. Bioware was an amazing studio. They made one of my favorite games ever, KOTOR, and Baldur's gate, and similar. Now, though, they've ended up being destroyed and ripped apart by EA's focus on making money in the short term (which, as mentioned above, doesn't even work), and instead of producing gems like they have, they produce crap like SWTOR (sure, some people might like it, but it's nothing at heart but a cheap WoW rip-off), or the "ending" to Mass Effect 3. So we end up with games that should have been good, and even in some cases are if you move past the micro-transaction crap (like the aforementioned Real Racing 3 aparently is), but are simply stupid thanks to the publishers greed.

    So in short, people already are voting with their wallets. The big studios just aren't listening, because they're run by a bunch of marketers and buzzword-obsessed executives, not by the people who actually care about the games themselves (except, of course, for the privately own Valve, which is why so many people praise them). Plus, of course, you can't get everyone to stop spending money, especially because a lot of gamers genuinely do like playing AAA titles, and if we stopped playing every game with DLC we simply wouldn't be playing AAA titles anymore. We'd just prefer not to be asked to insert our credit card every 5 minutes.

  • But cliffy... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 01, 2013 @03:48PM (#43048375)

    I already vote with my dollars. Also, someone doing the "Well, we're stuck with it and you're just feeling entitled. Suddenly getting upset about this microtransaciton movement is just a phase. Remember arcades? Remember expansion packs?"

    I didn't know Cliffy B trolled on /v/.
    Let's break it down:

    In a free to play game, I have no issue with microtransactions. I didn't pay for the game, so if I want a level 72 fuzzy strap-on I should have to pay for someone's development time. Like Mechwarrior Online or anything Zynga related. You don't have to pay to play, but you get perks if you throw money their way.

    In a game where I spent a little and the primary focus is multiplayer, paying for advantages isn't so bad so long as everyone has the same chance of droprate. Like Valve's Team Fortress 2. You can buy a hat, or buy a nutblaster for scout. Or if you're patient and lucky, wait for the random wheel to drop that nutblaster you wanted.

    Then there's full priced games. And this is what pisses people off. I paid to play a complete game. EA frequently has things completed and ships it with the game. It's not an expansion, it's already completed code and artwork. Contrast with WB's Mortal Kombat 9. Some of the stuff was on-disc fluff like Scorpion's outfit. Other stuff wasn't completed when the game went gold, like Rain.

    EA (since Cliffy used them as the example) had a game like Dragon Age where after you come to camp a guy begs you to save his grandma. And you can save his grandma for a nominal fee of $10. On day zero of the game being released.

    See, the problem isn't that we're paying for extras. We're being dicked for parts of a complete game that isn't even cosmetic. You can try to bring up arcades and expansion packs, but the truth is I owned consoles so I wouldn't be nickle and dimed at the arcades (for better or worse). And PC games. I'm old enough to remember a time when they shipped a game and it was as bug free as possible. Remember bug testing? Remember when that was a thing and the testers weren't so horribly underpaid and then fired? Remember when games weren't shipped as alpha tests with microtransactions setup that you could only HOPE the devs would fix some day? Remember when patches were to fix this bizarro world of doing 38 things that might make it so you could get out of the map instead of "clicking on cancel and then yes deletes system32"? Remember when quality MATTERED? Remember when an expansion meant that the game was so popular that they went and made MORE game for you?

    And since when should I boo-hoo about living in Seattle or Frisco? You can live out in Federal Way or down in Vancouver (BC or WA) you know. We live in a society where internet is relatively cheap and prominent (and tax deductible). Why aren't you guys living in a cheaper place and coding from home? Your HQ doesn't need to be more than an office space really. Look at the guys who are making Universe Sandbox 3. That is both visually stunning AND coded by people from around the globe.

    So, how about you quit crying about not affording the next lamborgini and start making games (you know, the supposed reason the industry exists) instead of tiny slot machines with a cover charge in the casino?

    P.S. Captcha: unmoved

  • Explanation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 0xdeadbeef (28836) on Friday March 01, 2013 @03:53PM (#43048417) Homepage Journal

    When someone tells you to stop complaining about a product, but to simply not buy the thing you're complaining about, what he really means is:

    Shut up! I can't make you buy my crap, but your complaining is getting other people not to buy it also! Now I won't make the money I'm entitled to!

  • Re:Doesn't work (Score:2, Insightful)

    by CrashPoint (564165) on Friday March 01, 2013 @03:56PM (#43048443)

    Also it's really too bad that there was nothing between the DLC Hell of the early 2010s and the Change-Muncher Hell of the 1980s...

    Do you mean the Boxed Expansion Hell of the 90's and early 00's? Because that was the popular machine to rage against at the time, complete with all the same hyperbole and unfounded accusations.

  • by Zerth (26112) on Friday March 01, 2013 @04:01PM (#43048499)

    I'd love to vote with my dollars, but EA keeps interpreting my "no" votes as piracy

    Games where I can't possible spend more than the equivalent of two full games on items that materially affect gameplay and are permantent(ships, weapons, etc) or where the stuff is purely cosmetic, I don't mind.

    What gets annoying are games where the microtransactions hide that you will end up spending hundreds of dollars on temporary boosts, disabling annoying features, and buying "action points" or "resources" that are clearly designed to limit how long you can play per session.

  • Re:Doesn't work (Score:5, Insightful)

    by durrr (1316311) on Friday March 01, 2013 @04:03PM (#43048515)

    The problem with DLC can be traced back to one statement
    "Adjusted for inflation, your average video game is actually cheaper than it ever has been."
    And adjusted for inflation, oh wait, we don't adjust low wage incomes for inflation. Which means that if you aren't Cliff Belzebub, a lawyer, poltician, or rich in some other way, your wages have become cheaper at the same rate as games, and then DLC was added, and the whole game experience became twice as expensive.

  • Re:Doesn't work (Score:4, Insightful)

    by GameboyRMH (1153867) <gameboyrmh@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Friday March 01, 2013 @04:10PM (#43048579) Journal

    Hell yeah, I'll take Boxed Expansion Hell in exchange for DRM Hell and DLC Hell in a second.

  • Re:Doesn't work (Score:4, Insightful)

    by c0d3g33k (102699) on Friday March 01, 2013 @04:13PM (#43048599)

    I'll second that.

    As a rule, I don't buy games with DRM, and I stopped that before DLC became popular, so never even had to face that choice. Sometimes games with DRM on WIndows will have Linux versions that aren't DRM encumbered - they are few and far between but I will buy those. I stopped buying Cliff'y B's games a long time ago because Epic stopped being Linux friendly. Nothing changed.

    Currently, I spend my money on DRM-free games at gog.com, Humble Bundles, the occasional Android app and on DRM-free PC games like The Witcher. I've got more games than I have time to play and I find them more enjoyable than the current A-list games I've tried at a friend's house. I'm happy with my gaming choices and don't seem to be missing anything.

    I conclude I must not be part of the target demographic of the mainstream gaming industry - I don't really miss them and they don't seem to miss me.

  • by RoverDaddy (869116) on Friday March 01, 2013 @04:18PM (#43048643) Homepage
    My problem with microtransactions is that the economics of the model seems to drive them to be geared toward the 'whales', as in people gullible enough to sink hundreds to thousands of dollars playing a trivial mobile game. Say there's a free-to-play game I download and find I like. I might want to reward the developer by paying 5 or 10 dollars for it (a kind of price that seems reasonable for a mobile game). But if I look through the microtransaction store, I invariably find that 5 to 10 dollars buys exactly -squat- worth of benefit in the game. It looks so greedy and makes me feel like I'd be a total rube to even give them a dollar. But there is no 'reasonable' option in the store because it's aiming for people who will actually pay $20 or more for a meaningless virtual trinket. Sorry that's just not going to be me.
  • by David_Hart (1184661) on Friday March 01, 2013 @04:19PM (#43048653)

    Gamers get upset when features of a game are deliberately removed or the game is shortened just to create a DLC. DLCs were originally created as a way of extending the life of the game by adding new scenarios, quests, etc. on top of the main storyline.

    I finished the Dawnguard DLC and I'm just finishing the Dragonborn DLC for Skyrim. Skyrim took me four months to complete between holidays, work, life, etc. (Granted, you could play the main quest in a day or two, but I dragged it out while I did all of the side quests). The Dragonborn DLC added another couple of weeks of game play for me extending the life of the game, which is the way a DLC is supposed to work.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 01, 2013 @04:26PM (#43048727)

    I don't get it. It sounded like he's saying: Vote with your dollars, but keep your mouth shut about it.

    What he was really saying was, "Other people do DLC too, but it's bullshit that everyone picks on us."

    I've got news for him. They're the punching bag because they've earned it. The one thing a wealthy person wants beyond cash is esteem. He wants to be a business rockstar that everyone loves, and it ain't gunna happen.

    You can make a lot of money and still have people like you. Lots of businesses and individuals do it all the time. It's not just "image control" as he suggests, it's not being a douchebag, 100% of the time, for years on end.

    You can't be an asshole and just insist that people like you anyway or keep their mouths shut. That's what bosses enjoy in the workplace, but that's not how it works between businesses and customers. Oh, and he can go fuck himself.

  • Re:Doesn't work (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Intropy (2009018) on Friday March 01, 2013 @04:29PM (#43048753)

    The people making the micropayments are voting too. They're just voting the opposite way from you.

  • Re:So? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nametaken (610866) on Friday March 01, 2013 @04:38PM (#43048829)

    I get a little aggravated with the, "games cost $100 million dollars to make and you pay too little" bullshit too.

    We see good games made and sold that turn massive profit on small budgets, all the time. Yes, it's hard work. No, you can't do that every three months.

    So they spend $90million of the budget on marketing... and then bitch that they're only getting $60 per title plus $50 annual subscriptions plus DLC revenues.

    Make good shit. Make fewer games, with fewer people. If it's good you won't have to spend 90% of your budget on advertising. If you want to go the, "pump out another shitty madden title" route with 10 titles, all year long, then don't be surprised that you have to spend $90 million on advertising. And don't then bitch that you're not getting enough money. And don't try to remedy that with bullshit like always-on DRM and microtransactions.

  • Re:Doesn't work (Score:4, Insightful)

    by lgw (121541) on Friday March 01, 2013 @04:40PM (#43048863) Journal

    Expansions and sequels are cool. Buying in-game items less so, especially if the game is sold for one price, but you can only complete it by buying some additional price worth of dollar-store items.

    tl;dr: pay-to-play good, pay-to-win bad

  • Re:Doesn't work (Score:5, Insightful)

    by h4rr4r (612664) on Friday March 01, 2013 @04:52PM (#43048977)

    Sounds better than the current malarky of putting the data on the disk and charging me an unlock code for material that should have been in the damn game to begin with. Even worse is doing this shit with one time codes to prevent reselling games. This means one day I will lose that content even if I am the original owner. Personally they should have to label this stuff on the game in such a way that I can avoid it.

    It looks like one option I will likely take is to not buy a PS4 or 720.

  • Re:Exactly (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CastrTroy (595695) on Friday March 01, 2013 @04:56PM (#43049015) Homepage
    Nobody complained that the SNES wasn't backward compatible with the NES, or that the N64 wasn't backwards compaitble with the SNES, or that the Gamecube wasn't backwards compatible with the the N64. I think the first backwards compatible games console was the PS2. Now it's something that's a deal breaker? You can still play the old games on the old system, and the new games on the new system. It's not like your PS3 stops working because you buy a PS4. Sure it would be a nice feature for the PS4 to be backwards compatible, but I don't see how it's really a deal-breaker. People complain that consoles are getting too expensive, yet they expect that the newest console will contain a whole other console internally with the new console, without thinking about how this effects the price of the system. It's especially difficult when they completely switch system architectures like they did with the PS4.
  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Friday March 01, 2013 @04:58PM (#43049037)

    The point is EA are scumbags. I guess speaking truth to power now really is a revolutionary act.

    Just this week they release an android racing game that if you want to fix your car you either wait X hours or pay some fee. That is how a scumbag acts. They are charging for something that is part of the damn core game. Sure they give the game away for free, but they make it impossible to play that way. Just sell it for a fixed price like an honest person, not some hidden ever rising cost to play.

    Since when are valve games built on the practice of charging to play instead of sold like an honest person? I bought one copy of Portal 2, since it was the PS3 one I also got the PC game via steam. I don't have to wait X hours to make the blue portal or pay a $1 to do it now. I don't have to pay $1 to replace GladOs's potato.

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Friday March 01, 2013 @05:00PM (#43049065)

    If you just stop buying something from a company, and say nothing, well then they really don't know why. They may make an incorrect inference as to what your problem was. For example let's say a game comes out with a new DRM that you hate, and also features a new kind of user input that you like. You don't buy it because of the DRM, but you don't speak up. Same with everyone else, they all like the new input, but hate the DRM, but are silent. The game company looks at the abysmal sales and says "Man that new input idea bombed hard, nobody wants that, let's not to that again."

    When you don't like a product you very well should make it known why and not buy it.

    However I will say he does have some merit in that gamers, PC gamers in particular, seem to be overly whiny and very tribal. What I mean by that is if you are a "good guy" like Valve, you can do no wrong and if you are a "bad guy" like EA you can do no right.

    A great example is the unavailability of some EA games on Steam. The reason is that Valve changed their TOS for new games such that if you have DLC, that DLC must be sold through Steam, not your own site. This didn't used to be how it worked, used to be you could sell a game on Steam (and other services) and sell DLC on your own site. EA wasn't ok with that, they wanted the DLC sales. As such there was an impasse and the EA games that have DLC can't be gotten on Steam, though they can be gotten form other DD services like Impulse, Gamefly, Greenman Gaming, and so on.

    Now there's not really a bad guy here, both companies have polices they aren't willing to change, and the policies are understandable, though in both cases you can argue against them. Fair enough. However gamers nearly universally decried EA as being greedy assholes that wouldn't let the noble Valve sell their games.

    For that matter they got mad at EA for the same shit Valve does: Tying their games to their DD platform. New EA games wish to use Origin, and will make you log in to it. This is true even if you buy them from another DD service. Ok well this is precisely what Valve does with Steamworks. If you buy any Valve title from HL2 on, you have to install and use Steam. Doesn't matter where you get it, retail, other DD service, you are using Steam period. Same deal with 3rd party titles that use Steamworks (like Skyrim).

    However when Valve does it, it is A-OK but when EA does it they are OMGWTFEVIL!!!!111.

    So I do understand his point. Gamers need to bitch less, and stop being so tribal. Evaluate stuff on its merits, buy or don't, and don't cry all the time. Also, stick to your guns. An informative happening was when Modern Warfare 2 came out. PC gamers were pissed because it had been gimped on the PC. There was a "Boycott MW2" Steam group. Day one of the release? Most of the people in the group were playing MW2. They were willing to whine, but not to put their money where their mouths were.

  • Valve != good guys (Score:5, Insightful)

    by argStyopa (232550) on Friday March 01, 2013 @05:07PM (#43049125) Journal

    Personally I just see in EA a sort of banal, brainless corporate "squeeze it until it bleeds dry" greed.

    Steam (ie Valve's greatest product) is a giant sucking parasite perched on the carotid of modern gaming. It is the worst thing to happen to gaming, ever, and consumers are too stupid to see it.

    Steam offered a brave new world of content delivery, and it was great. Except for the worm in the apple: the fact that they are NOT just a delivery organ, they are a license-management organ. No resale. No gifting of products (once they've been played). No transfers of licenses in any circumstance.*

    Further, the system is stupid: if I'm logged in to Steam because I want to edit a Civ5 scenario (a game I legally own) on one computer, and want to play a quick game of Magicka (another game I legally own) with friends on my laptop, I can't, because Steam doesn't allow simultaneous logins FOR ANY REASON. So essentially, my game library is now locked behind a vault wall, with an asshole running the show who will only "let" me play one title at a time. BRILLIANT!

    *Truth in advertising, I'll explain my particular beef with them, and let you decide: I have 2 sons, who until recently were minors. To manage their exposure to the world of multiplayer games, whenever they got games that were Steam-required, we attached them to MY steam-account. Now they're 16, and there's no need for me to manage their access anymore, but Steam offers no provision for me to one-time-transfer) licenses (we don't give a crap about achievements, etc) to their own Steam accounts. So now when one son wants to play 'his' copy of TF2, the other one can't play Xcom.

    I even tried to actually talk to someone in Steam, I've offered to do ANYTHING to prove that I'm their father, this is a one-time deal, anything; the response I got was a flat refusal to give me a contact name, and the assertion that "we're a flat organization, we don't have managers". Right, so Gabe Newell's right there, answering tech support calls I bet?

    I disliked Steam, but every time I see a title on the shelves that says "Steam Required" I hate them that little bit more.

  • Re:Doesn't work (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JMJimmy (2036122) on Friday March 01, 2013 @05:09PM (#43049165)

    +1

    The thing that bothers me is that all the arguments that are made, do make sense from a business perspective but in reality people just want to know a few simple things:

    1) How much is this going to cost me at the end of the day? I may outlay $60 when I buy the game but then get an incomplete experience because 1/3rd (exaggerating) of the game has been held back for DLC. Call of Duty games now cost up to $180 for all the content. I'd rather everything be included up front with that price tag so I can decide if I want to blow my money or not.

    2) How long are the servers going to be online if the game has multiplayer - give me a date at the beginning, I don't care what it is but let me know

    3) If it is microtransactions am I realistically going to be able to complete the game without outlaying shit tonnes of cash? No one really has an issue with optional content - pay to be able to progress is what really pisses people off.

  • Re:Doesn't work (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Somebody Is Using My (985418) on Friday March 01, 2013 @05:18PM (#43049239) Homepage

    Ubisoft is schizophrenic when it comes to DRM; they zoom wildly from one extreme to the next.

    Case in point: Ubisoft originally was a major user of Starforce copy protection (e.g., Splinter Cell 2, Prince of Persia Sands of Time, and many others) and defended its use even as the software increasingly came under fire for compatibility and security issues.

    Then suddenly, it dropped Starforce altogether and announced it would be releasing its wares without copy protection (Prince of Persia (2008), Assassin's Creed).

    Followed by even more restrictive DRM using SecuROM on Assassin's Creed II (and other), requiring always-online DRM and an insistence that this would never be changed because that was the only way to deal with piracy on the PC platform.

    Later followed up by a loosening of their grip with one-time online-activation scheme, and later its UPlay store and its associated DRM.

    It's therefore hard to say that consumer backlash has ever had any affect on its decisions whether or not to use DRM; whenever it chose to use the copy-protection software, it stood by its decision long until after the uproar had dissipated to a glowering fury by consumers too tired to keep up the argument. It has always been fiery in defense of its choice of copy protection software, rebutting all arguments presented by its critics. Since Ubisoft does not seem to care what gamers say about its choices about DRM so its decisions to stop using it (or switch to another type of copy protection) likely have more to do with internal politics. Thus, using it not the best example to use about how consumer choice can affect the industry.

  • Re:Doesn't work (Score:4, Insightful)

    by lgw (121541) on Friday March 01, 2013 @05:19PM (#43049253) Journal

    Then explain me buying all these indie games?

    If lots of people who are not you bought them, it wouldn't be an "indie" studio, would it?

    Game play is more important that graphics, has alway been.

    Not to most people, sadly. The only reason a game "has to cost $100 million" to make is for the art assets. EA doesn't spend a nickle more than is has to on a game, and they do good market research: those expensive graphics sell games.

    Casual games can do fine with less, but there have only been a handful of casual games that sold well, and the one's I've seen had very creative and engaging graphics, like Plants vs Zombies. I can offer no explanation for Farmville.

  • Re:Doesn't work (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AnonyMouseCowWard (2542464) on Friday March 01, 2013 @05:29PM (#43049359)
    Y'know it's not _quite_ the same, depending on what type of DLC we're talking about?

    Back then, you could buy a game, play it, finish it, and enjoy it, and nothing mentioned any expansion packs. If you got an expansion, it was usually adding a new storyline, brand new levels, whatever, but a "new" game using the same game engine and same game universe.

    Example:
    Diablo 1: Finished the game, enjoyed it? Good. Oh wow, an expansion. Want to play as a monk, explore two new levels? Get the expansion. Don't want to? That's okay, no one will force you
    Dragon Age Origins: Hey look, an area on my map. *goes to area* Hey look, an NPC with a quest! *talks to NPC* Uh. What do you mean, I have to pay to download a DLC to play the quest you just offered?... I don't want to. Why do you have an area, why do you exist in my freaking game?

    And _that_ is the difference. Expansions don't prompt me, within my original game, to spend more money. It's entirely voluntary. DLCs just tease you.
  • Re:Doesn't work (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lonewolf666 (259450) on Friday March 01, 2013 @05:56PM (#43049605)

    Currently, I spend my money on DRM-free games at gog.com, Humble Bundles, the occasional Android app and on DRM-free PC games like The Witcher. I've got more games than I have time to play and I find them more enjoyable than the current A-list games I've tried at a friend's house.

    Sounds believable to me. GOG releases tend to be 10 year old games, but that is not as bad as it might sound.
    Game design has not really improved in the last 10 years. Graphics have, but even there "10 years old" starts to move into the realm of being adequate.

  • Re:Exactly (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 01, 2013 @06:33PM (#43049979)

    First party games can be ported. If they were properly designed that should not be hard.

    Moving to another arcitecure is not hard? Do you have any coding experience?

    The disk can be used for purchase verification.

    What does this have to do with your point? You're just throwing arguments up as a smokescreen now.

  • Re:Doesn't work (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@ g m a i l.com> on Friday March 01, 2013 @07:05PM (#43050343) Journal

    Actually YOU ARE WRONG it HAS done something, it has just taken time. Proof? EA is for sale, Activision is being restructured....hmmm....those are the two biggest dickwad game companies, are they not?

    Meanwhile more and more games are coming to GOG and Steam, SecuROM and StarFuck are all but dead, I'd say we have plenty of proof that voting with your dollars WORKS, its just not gonna magically happen overnight which is why you have to keep reminding our ADHD populace that like any change voting with your dollars takes time. When you are talking about a billion dollar company it takes time to turn the ship, you can bleed them for a couple of years before the bank accounts start to empty. Look at MSFT, I figure it'll take another 2 years of Windows "LOL I Iz A Cellphone" bombing before the board fires Ballmer and splits mobile off from desktops but it WILL happen if people refuse to buy their shitty product.

    So he is right, voting with your dollars WORKS, it just isn't magic, it takes time to really hurt a super sized corp. I've refused to buy any "phone home" games or games infected with crap like StarFuck, now I have a Steam library full of great games at affordable prices, and I didn't compromise my beliefs AT ALL. I don't have a problem with DLC as long as its not "pay to win" like the silly hats in TF2, the vehicles in Saints Row 3, or if they offer full expansion packs like Gearbox did with Borderlands? I got NO PROBLEM paying $10 for an expansion that keeps the game going past the end of the story. It took me around 14 hours to do all the stuff in General Knoxx, which at $10 is damned cheap for the amount of fun I had, so no problem.

    But voting with your dollars is simple and easy...don't buy shit. That's it, don't buy shit, if it treats you bad, treats you like a chump, its shit so don't buy shit. Is that SO hard?

  • Re:Exactly (Score:4, Insightful)

    by krakelohm (830589) on Friday March 01, 2013 @08:38PM (#43051063)
    Not that I am trying to give anyone more credit then they deserve but there has to be a balance between features and price. I think Sony learned that the way last time around with the PS3.

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