The HotSpot - Kingdoms of Amalur, Darkness II - 2/8/12

The HotSpot crew tackles combat mechanics as they relate to Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning and The Darkness II.

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It's not often The HotSpot crew get to use the phrase "ripped from groin to gullet," but The Darkness II gives us the perfect excuse. Mostly because that's a thing that actually happens in this game. With The Darkness II and Kingdom of Amalur: Reckoning as this week's backdrop, Carolyn Petit, Kevin VanOrd, Tom Mc Shea, Marko Djordjevic, and Tom Magrino rip into combat mechanics, from groin to gullet, one might say.

The HotSpot - Kingdoms of Amalur, Darkness II - 2/8/12 by gamespot

Audio above, video below.

EXPERIMENT TIME!!! Comment, question, correction, or clarification? Email us at hotspot@gamespot.com, and I'll make you famous…kind of like these folks!

Ash writes:

I listened into your show last week and I noticed that many members of the hotspot are indeed against the industry. However most of you fail to understand the reason why the anti-used game movements are not good for the industry. Let me tell you why i do not support the anti-used games methods:

1) online passes for games such as amaleur are ridiculous due to the fact that not only do they deny a large number of offline gamers (yes a lot of them still exist) to quest content even if they buy the game new, but in addition this online pass ruins reckoning's play-ability later on when the game is much older. The problem is that when microsoft decides to cut it's xbox live service to the 360, games like reckoning will be missing a chunk of new content if something were to happen to a user's xbox 360 data (i.e. if my xbox broke and I decided to purchase another one). While on the other hand if I were to pirate the game, I would get all the content forever without having to worry about this possible scenario (how does this make sense?)

2) What if a game like Reckoning doesn't do well in terms of sales? There will still be a lot of people who will still want to check the game out when the game drops in price, but by that point the publisher has already cut it's support for the game and will no longer publish enough copies. Therefore used games are the only way to get a taste of this game. This is actually good for the gaming market because a possible sequel will now be much awaited if the first game was good (but not marketed very well). A good example of this is Mirror's Edge. Mirrors edge did not sell very well, however used game sales have made this game a cult classic and a sequel is very wanted within the game's community. An online pass in this situation will decrease used game sales and such a phenomena would not have happened.

3) Trading in games is one of my primary ways of paying for new games. I don't buy used games very often, but it is a simple fact that as a university student I don't have enough money to pay for every new game, and therefore I must make the sacrifice of trading in some games which were not favourites. If gamestop is taken out of the equation here, i would maybe be able to afford 3-6 games per year rather than the 10+ games which i do purchase. I'm not sure about you guys, but in my opinion that seems like a positive for the game industry (I'm looking at you Tom!)

I hope I've been able to convince you that the used game market is not so evil, and it actually does have positive effects on the industry.

Adam writes:

First off piracy is wrong, it is by definition stealing.

Secondly, I am so sick of game companies whining about used game sales. Video games are a product not service, there is no argument to support it being a service. Any business that offers a product has used sales. I don’t see a myriad of businesses complaining about ebay, craigslist, classified ads, etc. Used product sales have been a fact of business since the beginning of organized economies.

On the other side of the coin video game companies have every right to do online passes, exclusive dlc to new purchases, etc. The consumer only has the right to vote with their dollar.

In summary video game companies are not exempt from undeniable facts of economy. Video game companies thinking they are is a sense of entitlement.

Even though I disagree with what some of you said about the topic, Hotspot is still the best video game podcast!

Imoyikust writes:

I'm currently 29, but in the college and pre-college years I bought almost exclusively used games, because I could actually afford them. This allowed me to play a lot of really great games without resorting to spending hundreds of dollars (literally) online to find a pristine new copy that wouldn't have seen the funds go towards the people who made the game anyway. As an example, this is how I played Ico, Shadows of the Colossus, Final Fantasy Tactics, Chrono Cross, and so many more. Also, used games serve a purpose in the modern day because there are a lot of slightly older games that you can't find new anymore. That's why I bought the first Uncharted used, instead of new (I found new online, but it was grossly overpriced).

However, with little exception all the games I buy currently are new. PC games are purchased through Steam, and games for my PS3 and various handhelds are either from GameStop or amazon. Despite what McShea says, I still use GameStop for console games (and the occasional PC game) primarily because of the in-game pre-order bonuses that might be available (Mass Effect 3 collector's edition, for example). A big reason why I still want boxed copies of some of my games is the sad truth that my hard drive space can be used up, and if I don't feel like buying a brand new, larger sized PS3, I'm then out of luck if I want to download anything else ever again. Boxed copies remove a large part of that problem. This is a non-issue on PC, however, for obvious reasons.

Liquid_Bullet writes:

There are two things I feel on these topics:

1) It is beginning to bug me one specific argument people use for piracy and buying used games: That games are so expensive, in order to play more than one a season they have to pirate or buy used. I'm in the same boat, college student, college expenses. HOWEVER that does NOT mean I have a "right" to these entertainment pieces. If you can't afford them, you do not have a right to them. Entertainment and software is the only product where there seems to be some kind of "gray area" as far as piracy goes, and I'm getting sick of hearing this argument. It doesn't justify it. (Note: not saying that piracy is always bad, and that it hurts the industry, just saying that argument IN PARTICULAR holds no water.) You are not justified in getting something for free just because it is expensive or out of your price range.

2) Used games/online passes/ etc: Let's look at this car analogy: Buy a jeep, use it for a few years, and sell it. Someone else buys it. Do they expect it to be the same condition as a new version? Hell no. Gamers do, however.

You should have every right to resale your old games, and every right to purchased used games at a discount. You have no right to expect it to be in the same condition as a new product. Think about it for a second: "I want the same item in the same condition, but for 5-10 bucks cheaper, and my money won't go to the people who created the product. And then I want to be able to use it online on the servers the company is paying to keep running." is a bit of a ludicrous statement.

What I'm getting at is gamers (and others as well) have a sense of entitlement that is just astronomical, and it's quickly getting out of hand.

Nate writes:

I found your discussion on used games interesting and as a buyer of used games I thought I'd chime in. I'm a teacher, I have a wife who works part time, and we have two kids. I buy used games a lot to save money and I feel spending 60 bucks a month on a new game wouldn't be fair to my family and the financial responsibilities I have so often buy used games, on Amazon, half.com, etc. I've pretty much stopped buying used at gamestop because as you noted they really aren't that great of a deal. I generally allow myself about 20 bucks a month on a game (or maybe a few cheap steam games). So to me if I want to buy a new one - I did pay full price for Skyrim and for Dark Souls this past fall- I am really careful about saving up for that and not buying much else in the surrounding months. I do often buy new games when they get really cheap, but used games end up saving me a lot of money and allow me to actually be a gamer instead of someone who plays A video game from time to time. I also sell games I didn't really enjoy on Amazon or Craigslist so that I'm able to purchase MORE games. Personally, I think it's great that people buy new and those sales are what keep the industry going, but that's rarely me. I like to buy new when possible, but when it comes to a 20 dollar or more price difference (yep, that happens when I find really good deals) I'll often buy used instead.

Feel free to only read the above, or even parts of it because I know this is a long email. But here's some thoughts on piracy.

I have pirated games a few times in the past couple years and I do feel guilty about it. Right now I'm trying to convince myself that I don't need to go to a torrent site and get KOA: Reckoning. So far so good. I'm not going to buy the game right now, but I certainly shouldn't pirate it. Pirating games for me is often like downloading a demo, though. I rarely finish a pirated game, just try it out. I acutally did this with skyrim, and the pirated version convinced me that DAMN this game is good, I need to support it and buy it new. So I did. That doesn't excuse what I did, but at least SOME good came out of it. An opposite example was Rage. I thought about buying this, but after playing the pirated game and finding it ran like crap on my PC, I decided I better not, even when it went on sale on steam for 15 bucks. That example saved me some money and a kinda busted experience (although I hear it's been patched I still think my PC is not up to snuff). So, I guess you could say I'm a pirate that's coming around. After listening to you guys and others in the game media talk about this issue, I'm realizing I better not do this. While I'm morally okay with buying used games even if it isn't ideal, I do know that piracy is wrong and me being a broke teacher with kids and a mortgage is no excuse :)

Cameron writes:
I spent 22 months as a Peace Corps volunteer in Kyrgyzstan (and at the time may have been your only listener in that country). In Kyrgyzstan, piracy is rampant and many games are illegally downloaded, but I do not believe this comes at the expense of any sales. The average annual income in Kyrgyzstan is $1,000 - $2,000. Most people can't even afford a computer, and the only way that most kids in Kyrgyzstan get to play video games is by going to an internet cafe where they sell gaming time on old PCs by the hour. These internet cafes in turn are only able to charge about 50 cents per hour for the games, so there is no way that they would be able to stay in business paying full price for every copy of every game that they offered. There is only one store in the entire country that sells legal copies of games, and their prices are well beyond the reach of 99.9% of the population. While in America it may be true that piracy replaces some legitimate game purchases, in Kyrgyzstan this isn't true at all. Kyrgyzstan is not an isolated example either. The same situation probably exists across most of the developing countries in the world.

So when gaming industry groups quote how many millions of copies of a game were illegally downloaded, from a global perspective I think only a small percentage of these would have been replaced by actual sales.

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