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APB To Use In-Game Audio Advertisements 97

Rock, Paper, Shotgun reports that upcoming action MMOG APB: All Points Bulletin will use in-game audio advertisements as part of its business model. The number of ads you hear will be limited: "you'll only hear an ad when you go into a new zone, and that's only once every three hours." Nevertheless, some gamers are upset that these ads will be included on top of APB's already unusual payment plans. The game is set for release next Tuesday. Producer Jesse Knapp says of Realtime Worlds' goals for APB, "We looked at other online action games, and we saw things we felt could be better. Only 12 to 32 players in a match, bad connection due to peer-to-peer, dead cities, way too much time in lobbies, things like that. So what we set out to do was to make a game that has that online player vs. player action game experience in a large city with other players around, no lobbies, dynamic matchmaking, dedicated servers, great experience, and that's been one of the driving factors of APB from the very beginning." CVG recently previewed the game.
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APB To Use In-Game Audio Advertisements

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  • Pardon? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Vitani ( 1219376 ) on Friday June 25, 2010 @08:36AM (#32689012) Homepage
    "APB's already unusual payment plans"

    Don't you mean "APB's *awesome* payment plans"? Being able to "pay as you go" means this might be the first MMO I ever play as I've always opposed paying a monthly fee for a game I may or may not play depending on my free time in any given month.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Unusual in the sense of "not common".

      Not common != crappy payment plans.

      You defense was unnecessary.

    • Re:Pardon? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Dachannien ( 617929 ) on Friday June 25, 2010 @08:48AM (#32689098)

      Have you heard of Guild Wars?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Or now Global Agenda... they just ditched their sub model due to player comments.

        Not for everyone, but it's a non-fee based MMO.

        Personally, as someone who played during the "keys to the city" event, I think APB is going to fail miserably. It's so glitchy that I wouldn't even pay for it - I even paid for Age of Conan after being in Beta because it wasn't THIS glitchy.

        Their payment system really stinks, and to add in advertisements is just adding insult to injury. Good luck surviving your first year APB, doub

        • by PIBM ( 588930 )

          Have you though it could be your computer ? We were 5 playing together here, spent out whole 10 hours and encountered no problems at all. We are planning a pre-release lan party for this weekend too =)

          • i7 920, 6GB DDR3, HD 5750 on Windows 7.... yep, my computer.

            • by PIBM ( 588930 )

              None of us are using ATIs, that could be a start. We had from Q9550 to I7-960, 2GB ram to 24GB ram, geforce from 9600 GT running in 2560x1600 (which was quite slow with default settings, btw) up to GTX 275 (which was quite fast even on 2560x1600, so was the 250 1GB).

      • Have you heard of Guild Wars?

        Guild Wars rocks. A few weeks ago I fired it up for the first time in over three years and all my characters were still there with all their stuff and "birthday" presents for every year they existed!

        If Guild Wars 2 follows the same model (which I believe it will) I'll pick it up too.

        • Guild wars is not the only game to do what you stated. Vanguard and EQ are just two examples. They keep characters even if you aren't paying the monthly fee.

          • Yes, but Guild Wars has a one time fee and when you buy the software and no monthly fee, so to keep the characters and give the 'upgrades/birthday gifts' during those 3 years of inactivity is pretty impressive since doesn't make any more money from this since they were already paid.
    • An MMORPG I played implemented this pay-as-you-go sort of system about five years ago. It doesn't really work well because MMORPGs are time consuming by nature. If you pay $50 for a game, then only get the pay-as-you-go subscription plan, you're not getting your money's worth. It ends up costing more to use the pay-as-you-go if you get anywhere close to addicted to the game.
    • Re:Pardon? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by FileNotFound ( 85933 ) on Friday June 25, 2010 @09:11AM (#32689354) Homepage Journal

      You guys are all missing the elephant in the room.

      Here is the BIG difference between APB gametime purchasing system and say WOW.

      APB has a currency called RTW points.
      You can buy RTW points for $.
      You can buy gametime with RTW points.
      You can buy and SELL items in game for RTW points.

      Do you understand what this means?

      You can play the game without EVER spending another dollar after purchasing the box.

      If anyone of you ever played EVE online, this is a familiar concept.

      In EVE you could buy time codes for $$ and sell them for EVE in game currency. I had 4 accounts in EVE and did not pay for any of them with actual money.

      Being able to buy gametime by playing a game is a fantastic concept.

    • I am definatley going to play this game, on top of all that has been mentioned, you can also earn game time in the game itself. I don't have the full details, I tink I remember hearing you can pay for it with in game currency.
    • by sorak ( 246725 )

      "APB's already unusual payment plans"

      Don't you mean "APB's *awesome* payment plans"? Being able to "pay as you go" means this might be the first MMO I ever play as I've always opposed paying a monthly fee for a game I may or may not play depending on my free time in any given month.

      I agree. You can either pay for it like you would a traditional MMORPG, or you can get some pay-as-you-go scheme. If you don't like the second option, use the first.

  • by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Friday June 25, 2010 @08:38AM (#32689030) Homepage

    To begin with, it'll be one add every 3 hours. Once we get used to that, it'll be one an hour, one every ten minutes, then before we know it, there'll be so many ads bombarding us in-game that we might as well go outside into the real world and start shooting actual cops in the face.

    Is that what you want, APB? Because that's what's going to happen!

    • And would you be surprised if APB will start showing them more often, once their server gives the game a signal?
    • Is that any different from the ads that are shown constantly in EA sporting games (they'll claim it's a way to provide stadium atmosphere)? I'd say the frog is already pretty well boiled by now.

      To quote Philip J Fry: Only on TV and radio. And in magazines and movies and at ball games and on buses and milk cartons and T-shirts and written in the sky. But not in dreams. No, sir-ee!

    • by sorak ( 246725 )

      To begin with, it'll be one add every 3 hours. Once we get used to that, it'll be one an hour, one every ten minutes, then before we know it, there'll be so many ads bombarding us in-game that we might as well go outside into the real world and start shooting actual cops in the face.

      Is that what you want, APB? Because that's what's going to happen!

      APB is going to lead to people shooting cops in the face? Jack Thompson, is that you?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Will they be like GTA radio advertisements?

      "Do you want to see my underwear,
      I don't have any hair down there,
      I got a Little Lacy Surprise,
      oh Daddy please close your eyes!"

    • You think they are going to bombard us with so much ads we will go insane and civilization collapses.

      I think you are an optimist.

    • That's a pretty big barrel of grease you're trying to pour on that inclined plane. You need any help with that? No? Ok, you seem to be doing a good enough job yourself.

  • Oh goodie (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tridus ( 79566 ) on Friday June 25, 2010 @08:39AM (#32689036) Homepage

    So I get to pay full game price for the game, then get to pay for hours (or a normal subscription) to play it... AND I get annoying ads on top of that?

    Gee, these guys sure know how to get me excited about playing a game!

    • But, but, APB is soooo awesome that full price is actually $300. You're getting a bargain because of the ads! It's a steal my friend. Just look at this custom Elbonian workmanship. No one does software like this these days.
    • I, for one, will never play a game that includes advertising.

    • What makes you think that it's full price?

    • Re:Oh goodie (Score:4, Insightful)

      by apoc.famine ( 621563 ) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .enimaf.copa.> on Friday June 25, 2010 @12:01PM (#32691690) Journal
      I'm starting to feel like an old, ornery codger, but you know, fuck this shit. I used to blow tons of money on games. In the last 5-7 years or so, it's become less and less and less. In the last year, I've purchased 8 games, which cost me a total of about $100. Most of these were either indie or older titles. None had a subscription. None had in-game advertising. None cost more than $30.

      They adequately fill the time I have to waste on them, and they don't rip me off, nor piss me off.

      I guess I'm old enough now that I don't need to buy any games. I don't need to have the latest shiny thing. In looking at all the fools who will pay way more for the game than it's worth, pay way more per month to play than is reasonable, and despite all that, sit through in-game ads, I feel like an idiot. I should be trying to sell them some useless garbage, rather than doing what I'm doing for a job now. There seems to be an endless supply of stupid people with too much money.
      • In looking at all the fools who will pay way more for the game than it's worth, pay way more per month to play than is reasonable, and despite all that, sit through in-game ads, I feel like an idiot. I should be trying to sell them some useless garbage, rather than doing what I'm doing for a job now. There seems to be an endless supply of stupid people with too much money.

        You seem to be under the impression that the value of a product is an objective fact. You can malign a person's taste, but if they get enough subjective enjoyment out of something to offset the cost and it fits within their entertainment budget, it would be stupid *not* to buy it.

        Sure, in many cases, you can wait and get it cheaper, but it's also not unheard of for entertainment value to be linked to timeliness. For example, if all of my friends are playing a game now, I'll get more enjoyment for playing

  • by agrif ( 960591 ) on Friday June 25, 2010 @08:43AM (#32689078) Homepage

    As far as I'm concerned, ads have no place in something you're already paying for. This applies to television, radio, newspapers, phone applications, and websites. Advertisements have been creeping in to paid services more and more recently. I'm fine with ads in free things; I accept that's part of why they are free. But it pains me when I buy something that forces me to see any ads.

    Now, the question is, how many of these things could be supported without any ads?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by gravos ( 912628 )
      Well, if you are charged $10 for a service with ads that costs a business $20 to provide with some reasonable expectation of profit, that means the other $10 that you didn't have to pay is coming from ad revenue.

      If you want to argue that they should have charged consumers $20 for the product and gotten rid of the ads, then that's fine, but business owners aren't stupid: they do what works. Such a plan would almost certainly mean they will sell less of the product/service, reach a smaller audience (fewer
      • In-game ads can enhance the game if they are done correctly.

        What would a racing track be without billboards, for example?

    • Yeah! Ads in pay games is like... ads in HBO. A big no thanks pal, Jesse.
    • Indeed. The day the BBC shows an advertisement is the day they stop getting my TV license fee.

      As far as this game goes; Meh. Never heard of it before now. Can't be that big of a deal.
    • If you want to pay for something completely add free, I think you'll be disappointed with the bill you receive for it. We lament advertising and targeted advertising especially, but it offsets the cost of publishing magazines, newspapers, and websites, the prices of tickets to events, and the cost of carrying cable channels. Video games have been the exception in media and entertainment. Instead of dismissing the idea, consider a good implementation of in-game advertising that could allocate more resourc
      • by Hatta ( 162192 )

        Instead of dismissing the idea, consider a good implementation of in-game advertising that could allocate more resources to developers to make games cheaper and better.

        Video games are already ridiculously cheap in terms of entertainment time per dollar. They don't need to be any cheaper. And I'm not sure that "more resources" will make games any better. What makes a game great is the core idea, the gameplay. More resources might buy you some more enemy models, or voice actors, but that doesn't make the

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Video games are already ridiculously cheap in terms of entertainment time per dollar. They don't need to be any cheaper.

          I'm not sure about this. Compared to what? With movies? Yes. With music? Probably. With throwing rocks at birds? I Don't think so! With sex? Depends.

    • by Stick32 ( 975497 )

      You know 5 years ago I would have agreed with you... The problem is that the price we're paying for games is essentially the same that we were paying 10 years ago. The same price when you could develop a blockbuster title with 20 people. Nowadays triple-A titles require staffs at least 4-5 times larger than that. Production costs are exploding while the products finished price remains fairly fixed

      Now I know, yes, more people are playing games today than there were 10 years ago, but it's not enough to off

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 25, 2010 @08:50AM (#32689130)

    I bet $50 that there will be a crack that removes the advertisements in less than 2 weeks after the game's release.

    People are already reverse engineering the game while it's still in beta:

    # All Game Client to/from Login Server opcodes (GC2LS/LS2GC).
    # All Game Client to/from World Server opcodes (GC2WS/WS2GC).
    # How to connect to another server than retail.
    # What encryption/auth schemes we’re dealing with (RC4, SRP 6a).
    # The game uses some sort of serialization framework for packets.
    # The backend runs a UT3-like server model.
    # There is a separate (HTTP-based) Music Server that the game connects to.

  • Already used to ads (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jlebrech ( 810586 )

    I've already heard ads in GTA4 but they were for fictional products.

    Why not just have a radio that tunes into the current area that you can switch off after a minute of play, or just continue listening to all the ads.

  • These magical pills can make your main weapon bigger than your shotgun.
  • W T F (Score:5, Informative)

    by rotide ( 1015173 ) on Friday June 25, 2010 @08:56AM (#32689190)

    1. Buy the game for the MSRP of $50
    2. Play 50 hours for "free."
    3. Buy additional game time using one of two options:
    a) $6.99 for 20 hours
    b) $9.99 for unlimited hours during the next 30 days (or you can also buy 60 or 90 day subscriptions)

    So, first, you're out $50 for the game itself. Then you're out basically $9.99 a month for the subscription. On top of that they want to send you advertisements?

    Seriously, WTF? Pick either the advertising supported model or subscription model, don't double dip at the customers expense.

    • Well, if enough people agree with you, and refuse to play because of the advertising, then the game will fail and people will get fired for their incompetence, hopefully setting an example for new games to come to avoid it.

      If, on the other hand, players of this game by and large not only don't mind the ads, but in fact find it amusing that real world products are in their game, then this model will succeed brilliantly, and future games will begin to follow suit.

      I personally find the second option more l
      • NO they will somehow find a way to blame piracy.

      • Re:W T F (Score:4, Insightful)

        by swordgeek ( 112599 ) on Friday June 25, 2010 @10:25AM (#32690448) Journal

        Unfortunately, this is true. You can't say "don't double-dip" to a company. If it's profitable, they'll double-dip, triple-dip, and then sell you an expansion pack every six months. This isn't gaming though, this is life. Companies will do whatever they can get away with to bump up their profits.

        I disagree with the statement that 'gamers have a high tolerance for this sort of thing', though. People in general have a fairly short "outrage window." Kick them in the groin, they complain bitterly and swear they won't do business with you. Then you can apologise and kick them in the shins, and they'll be grateful (or at least tolerant) because you're not kicking them in the groin anymore. Of course a year later you can start kicking them in the head, and when they complain bitterly, go back to "only" kicking them in the groin.

      • Suppose they are a bunch of sheep that don't like ads, but would rather have a game with ads than no game at all.

        It doesn't depend on whether or not the customer likes the ads, it depends on whether or not the ad sales bring the company more money than they lose due to customer frustration with the ads.

    • What if advertising makes the price cheaper? Is that still double dipping at the customers expense?

      • by 0123456 ( 636235 )

        What if advertising makes the price cheaper?

        You don't really believe that advertising will lead to reduced prices rather than increased profits, do you?

        You presumably also believe the government when they say 'by imposing a tax on widgets we'll be able to cut income tax' and then two years later income tax is back where it was and you also have the widget tax on top.

        That said, in a modern-era game I don't have much of an objection to ads since we're bombarded with them in the real world so not having ads in the game world would seem unreal.

        • You don't really believe that advertising will lead to reduced prices rather than increased profits, do you?

          I believe that inflation is making things cost more money, and a company, in general, strives to keep optimal profits. That means that an increase in price, or the introduction of advertising, given the same conditions, would earn the company less money. It also means that, since such a thing is occurring, it indicates a change of conditions, and a revenue hike is inevitable. So yeah, if advertising w

      • Are you fucking kidding me? Cheaper? This is a $50 game with a $10/month subscription fee. That's ridiculous already. If they can't make a profit off that, they shouldn't be in business.

        This is triple-dipping, at the best.

        Doom3 sold 3.5 million copies. If this sells a million copies, and a single month of subscription to go with it, that's a gross of $60 million. One website said the parent company got an investment of $50 million recently. Even if all that went to the game, that's a $10 million profit,
  • This info won't prevent me from playing the game. However, I would have appreciating knowing this before pre-ordering. Not that, in my case this would have changed anything, but to someone else this may have some importance. On that one, RTW, you are disappointing.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tridus ( 79566 )

      Moral of the story: pre-orders are for suckers.

      The game will be easy to buy at release, or even better, two weeks after release. By then, all these little details marketing would rather you not know when buying will be public, along with the bugs and problem lists.

      There is no good reason to shell out money for a game months in advance with no idea what you're really going to get on release day. If you do and stuff like this happens, you get what you deserve.

  • Oh, there'll be cake and this time it'll be from Betty Crocker.
  • Having played the beta, my short review of APB is: drive here, shoot stuff, repeat. Oops! Seems like I broke the embargo on reviews which was initially set at 10 freakin' days after release []! To their credit (I guess), they rolled that back to merely release day [].

    A more nuanced look at the game shows they have in fact done some things quite nicely. The "All Points Bulletin" mechanic works very nicely. You'll be doing a mission when up pops up a notification that a comparable group from the opposing faction has been sent to stop you. It changes the dynamic of the mission and gives you a jolt of adrenaline as you listen out for the roar of the car engine signifying your would-be assassins drawing close. However, these adversarial matchups aren't without their problems. Say 50% of the time they work and you get a comparable strength team sent against you, resulting in a pitched battle that culminates in either narrow victory or defeat. Perfect! Well, the other 50% of the time you get a team that is woefully underpowered, say one wee neophyte against our group of four. Or massively overpowered, so you "call for backup", which works maybe 10% of the time. Perhaps the opposition are a full map away and have no way of intercepting you in time. Or they are already at the objective and virtually impossible to budge. The latter gets irritating as there are a few excellent camping spots should you get a VIP 'escort' mission. Oh, and I lied about the proportions. Things go right about 25% of the time rather than 50%.

    Despite these problems, the gameplay is fun if you have a good group that you are in touch with through some kind of voice comms. The problem is that there is very little variety. Perhaps I've been spoiled by Saints Row 2 in this regard, but there seem to be about 3 basic types of mission which leads to the game getting boring quickly - pitched battles or not.

    There is also a HUGE amount of customisation, if you're into that sort of thing. I won't say more about this as I'm not buying a game to play dress up...

    ...Which brings me to my next point: pricing. Pinning down the pricing details wasn't easy, although I did eventually find it on Kotaku or similar. I'll quote from RPS again:

    You can purchase a retail version of APB either in-store or via digital download at standard retail price (SRP $49.99/£34.99/€49.99). The game includes 50 hours of action game play out of the box plus unlimited time in APB’s social districts customising, socialising and trading on the marketplace.

    Once your game time is up, you have flexibility to top up your action game time from as little as $6.99 (£5.59, €6.29) for an additional 20 hours, while more frequent players can switch to a 30-day unlimited package for only $9.99 (£7.99, €8.99) with discounts available for 90 and 180 days.

    The retail package also contains a bonus 100 RTW points towards your next purchases.

    An additional benefit to this evolutionary model is the ability for you to convert your own customisations and rewards to tradable products to give to friends or clan-mates or to place on the Marketplace to earn more RTW points (convertible to game time) or in-game cash. Check back later for more details

    The problem is, you are paying full retail price plus a decent fraction of 10 of your local denomination (£/$/€) monthly, for what? Progression seems limited - you can gain prestige with local NPC types to do more missions, but your character doesn't seem to get much stronger as with more traditional MMOs. It's not even like EVE where you can claim a small section of the virtual world for your particular gang. Frankly, I'm not sure it is worth paying for a glorified matchmaking service, but that is a judgment call each individual gamer needs to m

    • Interesting review, thanks. I hoped for a more "open game", maybe more like a GTA-themed EVE, with a player-driven environment; when I head about the "isolated missions instances" I was somewhat disappointed.

  • Killing Floor is REALLY bad about this. I'll be waiting to play with other people in a game lobby, BAM Red Orchestra advertisement, or an advertisement for the latest Freddy Krueger movie.


    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by L4t3r4lu5 ( 1216702 )
      I made the argument of wasted bandwidth on the ZIP+4 story, which I think was posted yesterday.

      I've just realised something. The amount of bandwidth that image takes up is more than likely comparable to the increased quantity of fuel consumed by having to carry around that "Bought from Hugenboffs Honda, Surrey" sticker on your rear windscreen. If you don't have those in the US, then the cost of carrying the surround on your vanity plate.

      Tell me, will you go to the Ford dealership and demand that they stop
      • by Khyber ( 864651 )

        No, I go to Ford and demand they remove those stickers because I don't want their crap on my paid-for property. Stickers, much like DRM (at least to me,) only serves as a depreciation factor to me, and I value the value of my purchased goods, including potential resale value.

        And even then, it's my property once I've paid for it. Damn your license, if it's for SALE, you've made your money off of me, you don't get to make more off of MY RESOURCES unless you pay me for the usage of such.

        Of course, if you don't

      • I requested that my dealership not put their stickers on my car. I also removed the (redundant) manufacturer name and model from the trunk next to their logo (which I'll leave because that's enough for me.)

  • My biggest problem is paying $50-60 for the software for a game that is supported by monthly payments.

    If we're going to be paying you so much a month to play the game, let us download the software for free.

  • ... the great taste of Charleston Chew! Nixon's favorite candy bar. Remember when you're playing APB use Shankman's Rubbing Compound - "When something needs rubbing, think Shankman!"

    At least there are no ads in my dreams.

  • by pandrijeczko ( 588093 ) on Friday June 25, 2010 @10:18AM (#32690352)

    I don't know why these types of stories actually get posted on Slashdot because the comments on here are in no way going to be a reflection of what happens in the real world.

    If you read Slashdot then the chances are you're part geek & part interested in technology, maybe even techically savvy. That probably makes you above average intelligence (and that's not just trying to pander to everyone on Slashdot BTW) which therefore means that you're probably less susceptible to marketing "tricks of the trade" and advertising.

    However, I suspect *most* of the people (including young kids or teenagers) who play games don't read Slashdot - and are probably not too bothered about adverts in games, especially if it's their parents who have forked out the money to pay for them.

    Personally, I hope that marketing and advertising people will be the first against the wall when the revolution comes, but I do give them some credit in being able to justify their own salaries by generating product sales through their methods of advertising - which are ultimately aimed at the lowest common denominator of games players.

    So whatever the view on Slashdot about in-game advertising (and I myself have a black & white view that stuff should be free with adverts or paid for without adverts), it is not going to be an indicator of what will really happen in terms of games sales.

    • You're so misguided it's not even funny.

      Do you REALLY honestly think that it's still "kids" who play games that daddy and mommy bought for them?

      This isn't Wii we are talking about here.

      You're talking about a PC game. Most people who play it ARE technically savy. Hell when was the last time you could play a game without some technical expertise to get it working?

      • Games companies judge the success or failure of a game by how many copies it has sold within the first two weeks of release.

        Knowledgeable gamers (and I include myself in that description) are never going to rush to buy a game on the first day, they're going to read reviews first and make an informed decision to purchase at a later stage.

        I accept that those buying games within the first two weeks of release are probably not just kids, neither for one moment do I believe it's just kids who play games (I'm 48

        • Well you got me beat on the 30 years of gaming.
          But while I'm only now getting close to 30 years of being alive - I've had APB preordered.

          In fact, preordering games that have had demos, open betas etc has been the norm for me.

          I've played a lot of games, more than enough to know what I look for in a game and to be able to tell if I will like it or not based on demos, honest previews or betas.

          I have stopped trusting game reviews a long time ago.

    • Actually the above average income earning adult is exactly the kind of people that advertisers most want to reach and of these average income earning adults that play games online, a large slice are the "part geek & interested in technology". In fact, said "part geek & interested in technology" gamers are the juiciest target for online in-game advertising since teenagers have comparitivelly little money while non-techological savvy people do not play online games.

      For the "part geek & interested

  • Is the game good enough to pay $50 up-front, $10/month, and suffer through ads? If they invest the extra revenue in their development, support, and network, you're getting what you pay for. If they're squeezing loyal customers for extra profit and offering nothing in return, it's a price hike. If it's too much to pay, find something else to do with your time and money. People always gripe about price increases, but if they're willing to pay more the product was under-priced.
  • I sure could use a donut.

  • by YourExperiment ( 1081089 ) on Friday June 25, 2010 @11:38AM (#32691394)
    Was "APB: All Points Bulletin" named by "DRGN: The Department of Redundant Game Naming"?
  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan ( 730745 ) on Friday June 25, 2010 @12:47PM (#32692438)

    Dont buy into APB. Let it flop, so that we can stop this trend in gaming.

The rich get rich, and the poor get poorer. The haves get more, the have-nots die.