All About USDevilDog
One military man examining the the world of video gaming, love, and life.
The following is my response to this article:
Dear Game Devs & Publishers,
Please separate yourselves from this backwards notion that used game sales equate to lost sales. No other thriving industry in the world -- automotive, books, movies, news / magazines, clothing and textiles, sports equipment, furniture, etc. -- would make such a claim. Yet, I have bought second-hand products from each of these industries before without some greedy business rep insinuating that I am thief.
Now if you are attempting to sell us an imaginary imperative to justify shoving another DRM down the consumers' throats, you are actually more of the problem than people who buy games. Not every game released is worth the full $60 price tag, especially ones packed with DRM or online passes; the moment you lose that perspective, you've lost touch with gamers. You are just burying your own grave with that attitude.
I just realized that I have not blogged for 4 years due to my military obligations. So without further ado...
It's no secret that geek culture -- board games, comic books, anime, fantasy and science fiction, and video games -- is rapidly becoming more and more mainstream. While its growing popularity is a wonderful thing as it changes the mainstream, conversely, the mainstream unfortunately also changes geek culture.
Back when I was a teen, I used to play Quake 3 and Halo (via GameSpy software) online. It was a different time then as gamers appear more cordial with occasional friendly rants and insults. Talking about video games in high school was a selection process: you just knew which friend you could talk to about your virtual hobby. Popular and self-conscious friends would brush you off as a "nerd" the moment you engage in a serious conversation about video games that did not relate to Madden Sports or any machismo-inducing subject. Those who shared in my video game obsession, however, tended to be the most generous, tolerant, and well-adjusted individuals I have ever met; they didn't care about mainstream or the stigma of being a part of their niche counter culture.
Fast-forward to today, hop onto any Call of Duty session and 1 out of 4 times there will be some little kid spouting racist or homophobic slurs, attempting to rack up a high score on the tool board. Even in mod-free video game forums, the concentration of douche-baggery is staggering. Keyboard warriors have sprouted everywhere. Could it be that the new generation of gamers have become more and more ignorant? Or is this the result of the geek culture gates being swung wide open for the masses? Whatever it is, the bigoted insults from new gamers seem to be a product of mainstream projection and self-conscious attitude. These attitudes go against the very nature of what geek culture has always been about: acceptance and connection through geek hobbies.
It has been one year since my last blog entry. And, since then, we have seen the launch of the PlayStation 3 and the Nintendo Wii. While both systems are technically (and mechanically in Wii's case) impressive, the Sony launch was pretty much botched due to the lack of shipped units, substandard launch titles, and a hefty price point. According to Bloomberg, Sony only managed to launch with 180,000 units in North America rather than the already low estimate of 400,000. In addition, according to Gamestop and BestBuy, Wii was the system of choice over the Holiday season, selling out per shipment.
The news gets worse for Sony. Sega has recently announced that the once thought-to-be exclusive PlayStation 3 title "Virtua Fighter 5" will be released for the Xbox 360 this summer. Add this to the loss column of exclusive titles alongside "Assassin's Creed," a killer app in the last two E3's, the next "Grand Theft Auto," "Dragonquest 8," and "Resident Evil 5." According to G4TV, one Ubisoft honcho has gone on record to saying that Sony should just scrap the PlayStation 3 and relaunch a new and less expensive system.
Because of these events, my outlook on the PlayStation 3 looks rather grim. I cannot say I am willing to scour the earth to get my hands on one of these consoles anymore -- at least not at the moment.
With that said, the industry -- especially the consumers -- cannot afford to have the PlayStation brand fold. Although I own an Xbox 360 and religiously spit shine it like a prized-possession, I believe that if Microsoft controls 50% of the console consumer market, it may bring about unhealthy gaming practices (see Microsoft's business history). And, these practices, such as false microtransactions (where you pay to unlock what was already programmed into the game, e.g. The Godfather) will become the norm. Sure, Microsoft did not produce The Godfather, but their business strategy seems to promote and harbor these shady practices.
With strong competition between Sony and Microsoft, games will reduce in price, lame microtransactions will be less frequent, and online pricing would be more consumer-friendly. Competition is a form of checks-and-balances: it reduces the ability of any given company to rip off the common people. Thus, it is imperative that Sony scratches and claws its way back to life. They must lock in Metal Gear as an exclusive, offer their own money if they have too, and rev up on the first-party titles such as the beautiful Heavenly Sword and some original IPs. For the sake of the industry, the PlayStation 3 must live.
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