The Reluctant Death of a "M$ Shill" - A Defense of the Old Xbox One Policies

I'm burning my hat and briefcase! The door to door defense campaign is at an end. Where's my money, Microsoft?

With today's news of Microsoft dropping their originally proposed digital purchase policies from the Xbox One, I thought it fitting to sum up my feelings in a blog post on why I think this might not be the best direction for console gaming.

He's not a bad kid. He's just misunderstood.

Personally, I stand by my defense of a lot of Microsoft's policies. While it was certainly marred by horrific PR messaging on an unprecedented scale, I think that the all digital future that Microsoft was pushing for the Xbox One had a lot of potential benefits both for users and the industry.

There certainly would've been backlash from some regardless of the way MS delivered the news, but the inconsistent and muddled messaging added a lot of fuel to the fire. Personally, I think if people calmed down and were a bit more rational about things, most of them would see this as just the reality of the modern video game landscape and a necessary step, if maybe a premature one, in the path that games have already been headed down for the past few years. I also think that those policies really would've only negatively impacted a small portion of those that were screaming. However calmer heads and rationale never really had a chance in the face of today's internet hivemind culture and what I personally view as an increasingly overwrought sense of gamer entitlement that is running amok.

I'll admit that I think MS should have provided a bit more flexibility. There are several proposed methods out there that I think could have kept digital purchases secured while making things easier for people with limited or no internet connectivity available. However, this half step that Sony, and now Microsoft as well, are making toward digital doesn't seem like enough to me. Sure, I'll appreciate the convenience of making day one digital purchases when the clock strikes midnight, but the firm foothold that the Xbox One and PS4 will continue to have in the physical media and retail space is going to continue to be an anchor.

I know his attitude can be a little abrasive at times, but the dude made Jazz MOTHERFUCKIN' Jackrabbit. Clearly he knows a thing or two about video games.

There's a reason that guys like David Jaffe, Cliff Bleszinski, and Mikey Neumann were out there supporting these efforts. They've seen the numbers and are highly aware of the harsh realities of modern game development. A lot of publishers and developers are really struggling out there right now. If we want video games to be a healthy industry, something has to be done.

Purely digital storefronts ala Steam, unencumbered by discs, shelf space, and traditional retailer pressure, are able to provide more flexible pricing models and remove sources of potential lost revenue such as used game purchases and rentals. However, by sticking with the status quo, developers and publishers of games on the PS4 and Xbox One are going to have to stick with the same practices that gamers have been complaining about for the past several years. The "keep the disc in the tray" mentality. Things like tacked on multiplayer, microtransactions, preorder bonuses, online passes, and unfriendly DLC practices are all here to stay.

Over the course of this generation, I'm sure that digital purchases will continually gain ground in the marketplace, and at some point probably supplant the vast majority of disc purchases. Whether you like it or not, games are going to continue to become increasingly social, connected, and more representative of services rather than property. At a certain point, a once per day authorization might even seem trivial because more and more games will be relying on persistant worlds and other "cloud" features as core parts of their experience.

It remains to be seen if games like The Division can deliver on the promise of the oft-misunderstood "cloud", but I'm really hoping that they can.

My fear is just that in the near term this reliance on the "tried and true" has the potential to be a real burden and could do more harm than good. Winning over the hearts and minds of users and selling hardware preorders might not matter all that much if developers are hamstrung by the same old song and dance they have to do to keep their doors open for business. For the time being though, I'm willing to concede to the popular opinion while hoping that digital distribution gains momentum and can come to prominence in a slightly less forced manner when more people are ready for it.

</rant>

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Edited by McGhee

@chaser324: Just as I said in that other thread in reply to what Cliffy B said on twitter, you are crazy if you think tacked on multiplayer, microtransactions, preorder bonuses, and shitty DLC were going to go away with that old DRM policy.

Posted by mellotronrules

a valuable personal insight- nice work.

for what it's worth- i'm going to buy a ps4. not because i was appalled by microsoft's policies (hell- i'm a grown ass man who has steady internet access, doesn't travel with consoles, and doesn't share games...in practice these draconian measures wouldn't have affected me)...but rather because i skipped the ps2 and 3, and now want to dig into that eventual back catalog. and i miss the japanese games that don't seem to get the same traction on microsoft's platforms.

here's a question- who (besides gamestop and potentially consumers) really benefits from physical games- do big publishers like them? because what's to prevent them from just forgoing physical releases entirely if they want to? if the segment of the populace that NEEDS physical media is as small as is purported, why not just cut them loose and go 100% digital?

Posted by Hailinel

And all I'd have to do is give up my right to own any content I buy, and watch it all evaporate the moment Microsoft turned off the servers. Beneficial? Pfft.

Posted by EXTomar

@mcghee said:

@chaser324: Just as I said in that other thread in reply to what Cliffy B said on twitter, you are crazy if you think tacked on multiplayer, microtransactions, preorder bonuses, and shitty DLC were going to go away with that old DRM policy.

This. I'm never sure why people assumed that "the old system" was going to bring about cheaper games, freebies or whatever.

Edited by devilzrule27

@chaser324:

There's a reason that guys like David Jaffe, Cliff Bleszinski, and Mikey Neumann were out there supporting these efforts. They've seen the numbers and are highly aware of the harsh realities of modern game development. A lot of publishers and developers are really struggling out there right now. If we want video games to be a healthy industry, something has to be done.

Perhaps instead of trying to hurt the consumers who consume your products the industry should be more reflective and take a good long look at itself. You don't need a 1000 people to make a game, it's absurd. They need to rethink they way they make games instead of trying to squeeze every last penny out of the people who support the industry and their livelihoods.

Posted by devilzrule27

a valuable personal insight- nice work.

for what it's worth- i'm going to buy a ps4. not because i was appalled by microsoft's policies (hell- i'm a grown ass man who has steady internet access, doesn't travel with consoles, and doesn't share games...in practice these draconian measures wouldn't have affected me)...but rather because i skipped the ps2 and 3, and now want to dig into that eventual back catalog. and i miss the japanese games that don't seem to get the same traction on microsoft's platforms.

here's a question- who (besides gamestop and potentially consumers) really benefits from physical games- do big publishers like them? because what's to prevent them from just forgoing physical releases entirely if they want to? if the segment of the populace that NEEDS physical media is as small as is purported, why not just cut them loose and go 100% digital?

Because the segment of the population world wide and even in the US that need physical media isn't as small as it's purported. Most of the folks who claim that it is are media types who live in area's like San Francisco and how of how the rest of the country works when it comes to tech.

Posted by mellotronrules

@mellotronrules said:

a valuable personal insight- nice work.

for what it's worth- i'm going to buy a ps4. not because i was appalled by microsoft's policies (hell- i'm a grown ass man who has steady internet access, doesn't travel with consoles, and doesn't share games...in practice these draconian measures wouldn't have affected me)...but rather because i skipped the ps2 and 3, and now want to dig into that eventual back catalog. and i miss the japanese games that don't seem to get the same traction on microsoft's platforms.

here's a question- who (besides gamestop and potentially consumers) really benefits from physical games- do big publishers like them? because what's to prevent them from just forgoing physical releases entirely if they want to? if the segment of the populace that NEEDS physical media is as small as is purported, why not just cut them loose and go 100% digital?

Because the segment of the population world wide and even in the US that need physical media isn't as small as it's purported. Most of the folks who claim that it is are media types who live in area's like San Francisco and how of how the rest of the country works when it comes to tech.

maybe. i guess we'll see with these new consoles- when the first major single-player release comes out, it'll be interesting to see what kind of numbers go for digital over physical. i'd say the same of CoD or Battlefield (since those are the big sellers), but since they're largely multiplayer experiences, that would skew the data (internet is presumed).

Edited by EXTomar

In terms of throughput disks are still more efficient in terms of money vs bps. For larger games a company can ship a million disks for a million people all over the world faster and cheaper than a million people trying to download it all in the same window of time.

I've said in the past that Microsoft would have been better off going with the disk-less system they hinted at months ago but that had drawbacks in slower delivery but they would have avoided so much heartburn.

Edited by MariachiMacabre

What a shill!

J/K. Good read, though I disagree with most of Microsofts old policies.

Posted by Demoskinos

Yeah sorry, don't agree. And I don't think its entitlement when I'm paying $60 for a game I don't think its too much to ask to be able to use that content as I see fit as long as I'm not breaking any copyright laws. This includes playing offline or lending a game to a friend to try out. And guys like Blezinski have little to no consumer side perspective anymore on these things. So I really can't take him seriously. Microsoft's approach of force feeding you their vision of the future isn't the way to go about wha they want to accomplish.

I also flat out don't trust microsoft. I'm not foolish enough to think that Sony is some altruistic entity either but they seem way more focused on actually listening to consumers. Like it or not the majority have spoken and its not just "entitled gamers" its the larger picture. I've flat out had multiple friend and co-workers who are gamers but not as plugged in as I am to the scene tell me that Microsoft's DRM policies turned them off to wanting to buy it.

Sorry if I'm selfish but Im more worried about MY rights as a consumer than any developer. You can easily win my heart and mind and more importantly my dollar if you earn it. But thats just it you have to earn it and there is a reason I have exactly 5 days left on my Xbox LIVE Gold account and I have no plans on renewing. I haven't turned my 360 on in months and I don't plan to. I'll keep my 360 but I'm done investing money into their ecosystem.

Posted by granderojo

@chaser324:

There's a reason that guys like David Jaffe, Cliff Bleszinski, and Mikey Neumann were out there supporting these efforts. They've seen the numbers and are highly aware of the harsh realities of modern game development. A lot of publishers and developers are really struggling out there right now. If we want video games to be a healthy industry, something has to be done.

Perhaps instead of trying to hurt the consumers who consume your products the industry should be more reflective and take a good long look at itself. You don't need a 1000 people to make a game, it's absurd. They need to rethink they way they make games instead of trying to squeeze every last penny out of the people who support the industry and their livelihoods.

You do realize there's a reason why NBA 2k is 15$ on PC a month after release and 55$ on consoles right.

What incentive does a publisher has to come in and offer an awesome sale when that consumer has the right to them sell their game back to Gamestop? You're talking about squeezing every penny out of the consumer but the model they were offering was that which exists on the PC through Steam. The cheaper model.

Posted by Nephrahim

I appreciate your point of view but I really wouldn't link my arguments to Cliffy B for credibility.... that guy just sounds like a tool.

Edited by Jeust

@extomar said:

@mcghee said:

@chaser324: Just as I said in that other thread in reply to what Cliffy B said on twitter, you are crazy if you think tacked on multiplayer, microtransactions, preorder bonuses, and shitty DLC were going to go away with that old DRM policy.

This. I'm never sure why people assumed that "the old system" was going to bring about cheaper games, freebies or whatever.

Either some people are too gulible, or I'm too jaded, but I don't think "freebies" or "sales" should be used in the same sentence as the word "Microsoft". I never seen them put anything on sale, or give anything they could sell.

Posted by rebgav

A lot of publishers and developers are really struggling out there right now. If we want video games to be a healthy industry, something has to be done.

Here's my idea; Stop spending tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions of dollars making and marketing bloated, tired "cinematic experiences" which apparently people don't want to play or buy and which can't make a profit even when they do manage to sell millions of units. I don't see why it should be up to the consumer to prop-up the grotesque excesses of the industry instead of putting the onus publishers and developers to make fun, appealing, innovative games on responsible budgets.

Posted by mellotronrules

@extomar said:

For larger games a company can ship a million disks for a million people all over the world faster and cheaper than a million people trying to download it all in the same window of time.

really? that sounds ludicrous to me...just in terms of logistics- pressing/manufacturing discs + packaging, shipping, all the employees involved in one end of the chain to the other. i mean, i know hosting and serving huge amounts of data akin to a major game release is tremendously resource intensive...but it's gotta be cheaper than physical once the infrastructure's in place. or maybe i'm utterly wrong (it has happened from time to time).

Posted by Demoskinos

@jeust said:

@extomar said:

@mcghee said:

@chaser324: Just as I said in that other thread in reply to what Cliffy B said on twitter, you are crazy if you think tacked on multiplayer, microtransactions, preorder bonuses, and shitty DLC were going to go away with that old DRM policy.

This. I'm never sure why people assumed that "the old system" was going to bring about cheaper games, freebies or whatever.

Either some people are too gulible, or I'm too jaded, but I don't think "freebies" or "sales" should be used in the same sentence as the word "Microsoft". I never seen them put anything on sale, or give anything they could sell.

Also like Brad said on the Bombcast there are 3 year old games they are still selling for $50 that you can get for like $15 for a physical copy. I really really don't trust Microsoft with an all digital future.

Edited by devilzrule27

@granderojo said:

@devilzrule27 said:

@chaser324:

There's a reason that guys like David Jaffe, Cliff Bleszinski, and Mikey Neumann were out there supporting these efforts. They've seen the numbers and are highly aware of the harsh realities of modern game development. A lot of publishers and developers are really struggling out there right now. If we want video games to be a healthy industry, something has to be done.

Perhaps instead of trying to hurt the consumers who consume your products the industry should be more reflective and take a good long look at itself. You don't need a 1000 people to make a game, it's absurd. They need to rethink they way they make games instead of trying to squeeze every last penny out of the people who support the industry and their livelihoods.

You do realize there's a reason why NBA 2k is 15$ on PC a month after release and 55$ on consoles right.

What incentive does a publisher has to come in and offer an awesome sale when that consumer has the right to them sell their game back to Gamestop? You're talking about squeezing every penny out of the consumer but the model they were offering was that which exists on the PC through Steam. The cheaper model.

You can find great sale prices on Amazon all the time. For example NBA 2k13 is $30 bucks on Steam and $25 bucks at amazon for the PC version and $40 bucks for the console version which represents the usual arbitrary $10 price difference between PC and console games.

And Microsoft has ZERO track record of offering decent sale prices with their current slate of digital offerings. Same goes for Sony. The theoretical promise of it isn't enough to justify disc based DRM.

Posted by devilzrule27

@devilzrule27 said:

@mellotronrules said:

a valuable personal insight- nice work.

for what it's worth- i'm going to buy a ps4. not because i was appalled by microsoft's policies (hell- i'm a grown ass man who has steady internet access, doesn't travel with consoles, and doesn't share games...in practice these draconian measures wouldn't have affected me)...but rather because i skipped the ps2 and 3, and now want to dig into that eventual back catalog. and i miss the japanese games that don't seem to get the same traction on microsoft's platforms.

here's a question- who (besides gamestop and potentially consumers) really benefits from physical games- do big publishers like them? because what's to prevent them from just forgoing physical releases entirely if they want to? if the segment of the populace that NEEDS physical media is as small as is purported, why not just cut them loose and go 100% digital?

Because the segment of the population world wide and even in the US that need physical media isn't as small as it's purported. Most of the folks who claim that it is are media types who live in area's like San Francisco and how of how the rest of the country works when it comes to tech.

maybe. i guess we'll see with these new consoles- when the first major single-player release comes out, it'll be interesting to see what kind of numbers go for digital over physical. i'd say the same of CoD or Battlefield (since those are the big sellers), but since they're largely multiplayer experiences, that would skew the data (internet is presumed).

We'll never know because digital sales numbers are never released. Also I'm pretty sure BF3 and CoD have been day 1 digital on the PS3 but it didn't appear to put a major dent in their retail sales figures.

Edited by OGinOR

@rebgav: If I wanted games that weren't cinematic, there are far cheaper and more accessible platforms to play them on (Android/iOS). I buy a console to play big, sweeping, cinematic experiences like Skyrim and Fallout and Borderlands and BioShock. The fact that I get fun, quick experiences like Braid or Monaco is a nice bonus, but not why I'm spending $400-500 on a machine.

Edited by TheSouthernDandy

Yup I agree. I also was kinda in to what MS had planned for this console even despite their monumentally terrible handling of the PR side. Part of me is disappointed they changed but a bigger part of me thinks its good they did at least for right now. Maybe down the road they can bring back some of the better ideas once the boxes are in houses.

Posted by Subjugation

@hailinel said:

And all I'd have to do is give up my right to own any content I buy, and watch it all evaporate the moment Microsoft turned off the servers. Beneficial? Pfft.

I hope you've never bought anything on Steam.

Posted by Hailinel

@mellotronrules said:
@devilzrule27 said:

@mellotronrules said:

a valuable personal insight- nice work.

for what it's worth- i'm going to buy a ps4. not because i was appalled by microsoft's policies (hell- i'm a grown ass man who has steady internet access, doesn't travel with consoles, and doesn't share games...in practice these draconian measures wouldn't have affected me)...but rather because i skipped the ps2 and 3, and now want to dig into that eventual back catalog. and i miss the japanese games that don't seem to get the same traction on microsoft's platforms.

here's a question- who (besides gamestop and potentially consumers) really benefits from physical games- do big publishers like them? because what's to prevent them from just forgoing physical releases entirely if they want to? if the segment of the populace that NEEDS physical media is as small as is purported, why not just cut them loose and go 100% digital?

Because the segment of the population world wide and even in the US that need physical media isn't as small as it's purported. Most of the folks who claim that it is are media types who live in area's like San Francisco and how of how the rest of the country works when it comes to tech.

maybe. i guess we'll see with these new consoles- when the first major single-player release comes out, it'll be interesting to see what kind of numbers go for digital over physical. i'd say the same of CoD or Battlefield (since those are the big sellers), but since they're largely multiplayer experiences, that would skew the data (internet is presumed).

We'll never know because digital sales numbers are never released. Also I'm pretty sure BF3 and CoD have been day 1 digital on the PS3 but it didn't appear to put a major dent in their retail sales figures.

The only game released both digitally and physically that I can recall in recent memory having digital sales numbers released was for the first-month sales of Fire Emblem: Awakening. About a third of the game's total North American sales up to that point were digital, but physical copies of Fire Emblem were notoriously difficult to come by in that first week of release.

Edited by mellotronrules

@devilzrule27 said:

@mellotronrules said:

maybe. i guess we'll see with these new consoles- when the first major single-player release comes out, it'll be interesting to see what kind of numbers go for digital over physical. i'd say the same of CoD or Battlefield (since those are the big sellers), but since they're largely multiplayer experiences, that would skew the data (internet is presumed).

We'll never know because digital sales numbers are never released. Also I'm pretty sure BF3 and CoD have been day 1 digital on the PS3 but it didn't appear to put a major dent in their retail sales figures.

STEAM never really releases sales figures because they're not publicly traded...they're not obligated to do so. my guess is when activision or EA disclose their earnings, we'll get a sense. and i'm not sure if the PS3's day one digital figures are really representative of anything, seeing as that service has enjoyed the public perception of being BALLZ this whole generation (until recently, that is).

Edited by McGhee

@jeust said:

@extomar said:

@mcghee said:

@chaser324: Just as I said in that other thread in reply to what Cliffy B said on twitter, you are crazy if you think tacked on multiplayer, microtransactions, preorder bonuses, and shitty DLC were going to go away with that old DRM policy.

This. I'm never sure why people assumed that "the old system" was going to bring about cheaper games, freebies or whatever.

Either some people are too gulible, or I'm too jaded, but I don't think "freebies" or "sales" should be used in the same sentence as the word "Microsoft". I never seen them put anything on sale, or give anything they could sell.

Also like Brad said on the Bombcast there are 3 year old games they are still selling for $50 that you can get for like $15 for a physical copy. I really really don't trust Microsoft with an all digital future.

This relates to what I ran into when I bought a Kindle. I didn't realize until after I bought one that old ass books that you can buy for a few bucks in paper back will still cost you ten to download. When you consider the costs of printing a book, shipping it, and storing it somewhere versus virtually zero cost for that download, that price is completely ridiculous.

Posted by Hailinel

@hailinel said:

And all I'd have to do is give up my right to own any content I buy, and watch it all evaporate the moment Microsoft turned off the servers. Beneficial? Pfft.

I hope you've never bought anything on Steam.

I have a Steam account, and I've barely ever touched it because I haven't seriously played games on a PC in over ten years. My library consists of one game; Poker Night at the Inventory.

Edited by devilzrule27

@hailinel said:

@devilzrule27 said:

@mellotronrules said:
@devilzrule27 said:

@mellotronrules said:

a valuable personal insight- nice work.

for what it's worth- i'm going to buy a ps4. not because i was appalled by microsoft's policies (hell- i'm a grown ass man who has steady internet access, doesn't travel with consoles, and doesn't share games...in practice these draconian measures wouldn't have affected me)...but rather because i skipped the ps2 and 3, and now want to dig into that eventual back catalog. and i miss the japanese games that don't seem to get the same traction on microsoft's platforms.

here's a question- who (besides gamestop and potentially consumers) really benefits from physical games- do big publishers like them? because what's to prevent them from just forgoing physical releases entirely if they want to? if the segment of the populace that NEEDS physical media is as small as is purported, why not just cut them loose and go 100% digital?

Because the segment of the population world wide and even in the US that need physical media isn't as small as it's purported. Most of the folks who claim that it is are media types who live in area's like San Francisco and how of how the rest of the country works when it comes to tech.

maybe. i guess we'll see with these new consoles- when the first major single-player release comes out, it'll be interesting to see what kind of numbers go for digital over physical. i'd say the same of CoD or Battlefield (since those are the big sellers), but since they're largely multiplayer experiences, that would skew the data (internet is presumed).

We'll never know because digital sales numbers are never released. Also I'm pretty sure BF3 and CoD have been day 1 digital on the PS3 but it didn't appear to put a major dent in their retail sales figures.

The only game released both digitally and physically that I can recall in recent memory having digital sales numbers released was for the first-month sales of Fire Emblem: Awakening. About a third of the game's total North American sales up to that point were digital, but physical copies of Fire Emblem were notoriously difficult to come by in that first week of release.

Not to mention when it comes to a handheld console I think people tend to gravitate to digital games simple because it's more convenient and it makes more sense. No one wants to carry around 10 game cards when they're out and about. Except me of course, physical vita games for life!

Posted by devilzrule27

@hailinel said:

And all I'd have to do is give up my right to own any content I buy, and watch it all evaporate the moment Microsoft turned off the servers. Beneficial? Pfft.

I hope you've never bought anything on Steam.

Except Valve has talked about their plan to wipe the DRM if their service were to shut down.

Edited by DarthOrange

I agree with Dr. K-Pop:

@mcghee said:

@chaser324: Just as I said in that other thread in reply to what Cliffy B said on twitter, you are crazy if you think tacked on multiplayer, microtransactions, preorder bonuses, and shitty DLC were going to go away with that old DRM policy.

Edited by Chaser324

@devilzrule27:

With respect to expanding budgets, I personally think that they're just doing what's necessary to deliver the sort of experience that can get the attention of the biggest possible market. I don't think it's reasonable to say that it's as simple as just deciding to stop doing that. Freight trains are pretty damn difficult to turn around.

Also, as I said in the OP, I think accommodating those people that lack proper internet access is one of the areas that Microsoft needed to improve and probably could have done some things pretty easily, but I there are ways of doing that while still primarily pushing digital and protecting the integrity of that system.

@hailinel: I think the idea of consumer rights as it relates to video games and other software isn't that simple. The nature of "digital goods" makes it difficult to define ownership, and it's something that companies have been struggling with for decades. As it relates to video games though, I think it's increasingly a philosophical difference. Games are to a large degree increasingly becoming more service than property.

I won't deny that it's a complex issue, and I certainly can respect your perspective, which seems to be shared by most people. However, over the course of this generation of hardware, I think perception might begin to shift a little. We'll have to wait and see.

@mcghee @extomar: I suspect you're probably right that a lot of those probably would've stuck around, but now it's not even a question. We'll definitely continue to see those sorts of efforts to prevent used sales and expand potential revenue, and I won't be surprised to see them applied in far bigger and broader ways. Unlike big budget TV and films or musical acts, the avenues for making money on a game are far more limited, especially in the face of healthy used and rental markets that make a significant dent in that potential revenue. That's why some of these practices that gamers don't like were put in place, and since they've been shown to work pretty well in some cases, that's why they are here to stay.

Moderator Online
Edited by Milkman

I get that a lot of companies are struggling and people are losing their jobs and that really is awful. But here's the harsh reality. As a consumer, that's not my problem. I may personally feel bad when a studio closes down or there are big layoffs at company X but I don't have any obligation to these people. There are major issues in the video game industry. Major issues that will need to change soon if this industry is going to survive. But pointing the finger at consumers and saying "okay, YOU change" isn't going to work. Figure it the fuck out on your own, video games. I'm not going to do your job for you.

Posted by rebgav

@oginor said:

@rebgav: If I wanted games that weren't cinematic, there are far cheaper and more accessible platforms to play them on (Android/iOS). I buy a console to play big, sweeping, cinematic experiences like Skyrim and Fallout and Borderlands and BioShock. The fact that I get fun, quick experiences like Braid or Monaco is a nice bonus, but not why I'm spending $400-500 on a machine.

So? If publishers can't make a Tomb Raider or a Dead Space work out for them after selling three or four million units then those games (or the attitudes which lead to them being made in the first place) will and should go away.

Posted by granderojo

You can find great sale prices on Amazon all the time. For example NBA 2k13 is $30 bucks on Steam and $25 bucks at amazon for the PC version and $40 bucks for the console version which represents the usual arbitrary $10 price difference between PC and console games.

And Microsoft has ZERO track record of offering decent sale prices with their current slate of digital offerings. Same goes for Sony. The theoretical promise of it isn't enough to justify disc based DRM.

That difference in price isn't arbitrary. It's a well calculated decision that exists because of how the platform operates.

Edited by devilzrule27

@devilzrule27:

With respect to expanding budgets, I personally think that they're just doing what's necessary to deliver the sort of experience that can get the attention of the biggest possible market. I don't think it's reasonable to say that it's as simple as just deciding to stop doing that. Freight trains are pretty damn difficult to turn around.

Also, as I said in the OP, I think accommodating those people that lack proper internet access is one of the areas that Microsoft needed to improve and probably could have done some things pretty easily, but I there are ways of doing that while still primarily pushing digital and protecting the integrity of that system.

@hailinel: I think the idea of consumer rights as it relates to video games and other software isn't that simple. The nature of "digital goods" makes it difficult to define ownership, and it's something that companies have been struggling with for decades. As it relates to video games though, I think it's increasingly a philosophical difference. Games are to a large degree increasingly becoming more service than property.

I won't deny that it's a complex issue, and I certainly can respect your perspective, which seems to be shared by most people. However, over the course of this generation of hardware, I think perception might begin to shift a little. We'll have to wait and see.

@mcghee @extomar: I suspect you're probably right that a lot of those practices probably would've stuck around, but now it's not even a question. We'll definitely continue to see those sorts of efforts, and I won't be surprised to see them applied in far bigger and broader ways. Unlike big budget TV and films or musical acts, the avenues for making money on a game are far more limited, especially in the face of healthy used and rental markets that make a significant dent in that potential revenue. That's why some of these somewhat dirty practices that gamers don't like were put in place, and they've been shown to work pretty well in some cases, so that's why they are here to stay.

But again that's not the consumers problem. Shifting the burden to them is just poor business. They need to develop new ways to make their blockbuster games with smaller budgets and smaller teams. Closing down the used game market gives them a temporary reprieve. These companies don't know how to control themselves, teams will keep getting bigger and budgets will keep growing without them making changes to the process. They have two options, anger a portion of their customers(just because someone buys one used game doesn't mean all the games they buy are used) or trim the freaking fat. To me at least one makes more sense then the other.

Posted by Hailinel

@chaser324: I really don't need to wait to see. I remember when PSN went down for a month and, oh wait, now I have these games installed on my PS3 that I can't play because the publishers inserted DRM that makes them unplayable if I'm not connected to PSN.

Fantastic!

Now imagine that happening to the entirety of an Xbox One game collection compiled over five to seven years. Only when the servers are shut off, they never turn back on.

DOUBLE Fantastic! Super Combo!

Edited by EXTomar

@mellotronrules said:

@extomar said:

For larger games a company can ship a million disks for a million people all over the world faster and cheaper than a million people trying to download it all in the same window of time.

really? that sounds ludicrous to me...just in terms of logistics- pressing/manufacturing discs + packaging, shipping, all the employees involved in one end of the chain to the other. i mean, i know hosting and serving huge amounts of data akin to a major game release is tremendously resource intensive...but it's gotta be cheaper than physical once the infrastructure's in place. or maybe i'm utterly wrong (it has happened from time to time).

The thing that fights and kills "instant digital delivery" is "capacity paradox" where the faster/bigger/better something is the content just fills it instead of leveraging the feature. It hurts disks too but not at the same magnitude. Someone creating a 8GB game can fit it on a Blu-ray disk as well as a 11GB game at the same "cost" but downloading 8GB game takes several hours and 11GB takes even more with very different "costs". ISPs charge at bandwidth rates so surges in traffic like this can be very costly and certainly not free/baseline service.

Streaming installers and tech like Gaikai/Onlive are alternatives that are designed to work within consumer home bandwidth but no one has pushed them up to scale yet either.

Finally keep in mind this isn't true for all situations. For instance the situation is completely reversed in the case of a game that is only 500MB.

Posted by BigJeffrey

@extomar said:

@mellotronrules said:

@extomar said:

For larger games a company can ship a million disks for a million people all over the world faster and cheaper than a million people trying to download it all in the same window of time.

really? that sounds ludicrous to me...just in terms of logistics- pressing/manufacturing discs + packaging, shipping, all the employees involved in one end of the chain to the other. i mean, i know hosting and serving huge amounts of data akin to a major game release is tremendously resource intensive...but it's gotta be cheaper than physical once the infrastructure's in place. or maybe i'm utterly wrong (it has happened from time to time).

The thing that fights and kills "instant digital delivery" is "capacity paradox" where the faster/bigger/better something is the content just fills it instead of leveraging the feature. It hurts disks too but not at the same magnitude. Someone creating a 8GB game can fit it on a Blu-ray disk as well as a 11GB game but downloading 8GB game takes several hours and 11GB takes even more. ISPs charge at bandwidth rates so surges in traffic like this can be very costly and certainly not free/baseline service.

Streaming installers and tech like Gaikai/Onlive are alternatives that are designed to work within consumer home bandwidth but no one has pushed them up to scale yet either.

Finally keep in mind this isn't true for all situations. For instance the situation is completely reversed in the case of a game that is only 500MB.

Have you used Onlive, pretty fucking terrible, low latency.

I've got good internet and stuff.

Posted by mrfluke

@devilzrule27: But again that's not the consumers problem. Shifting the burden to them is just poor business. They need to develop new ways to make their blockbuster games with smaller budgets and smaller teams. Closing down the used game market gives them a temporary reprieve. These companies don't know how to control themselves, teams will keep getting bigger and budgets will keep growing without them making changes to the process. They have two options, anger a portion of their customers(just because someone buys one used game doesn't mean all the games they buy are used) or trim the freaking fat. To me at least one makes more sense then the othe

oh boy how do u even argue with a mod? :P, ill just copy paste what this guy said above as i agree with him

Online
Posted by devilzrule27

@devilzrule27 said:

You can find great sale prices on Amazon all the time. For example NBA 2k13 is $30 bucks on Steam and $25 bucks at amazon for the PC version and $40 bucks for the console version which represents the usual arbitrary $10 price difference between PC and console games.

And Microsoft has ZERO track record of offering decent sale prices with their current slate of digital offerings. Same goes for Sony. The theoretical promise of it isn't enough to justify disc based DRM.

That difference in price isn't arbitrary. It's a well calculated decision that exists because of how the platform operates.

The 10 bucks is arbitrary. People rarely choose the PC version over a console version because of the $10 difference and games that have a strong presence on PC sell for $60. Sales on PC a fewer then on console so publishers think by charging $10 less it will increase the number of purchases. I have my doubts as to how effective that practice really is. Sure you could say the $10 is because of the publishing fee on consoles but a chunk of sales money goes to valve on Steam and the price of games didn't magically jump up $10.

Posted by OGinOR

@rebgav: I believe the argument that has been put forward is that if we reduced/eliminated used game sales, we could still get our cinematic experiences and companies could turn a profit. Games don't have 'theatrical releases" or "live tours" like movies or music...games have the end-user experience available to everyone at the same time on any given platform for a one-time fee. In terms of media, only books really see similar distribution/sales channels and the production costs of a book are, quite obviously, significantly less than 99% of games. If the used game market stays intact in its current state, or worse, grows, we're going to see that cost reflected in the cost of new games.

I feel like the "consumerists" think they won something today by maintaining the status quo, when in fact, as the OP stated, we may just end up paying more and seeing fewer and fewer immersive, quality gaming experiences produced because of it.

Posted by w1n5t0n

@devilzrule27 said:

@chaser324:

There's a reason that guys like David Jaffe, Cliff Bleszinski, and Mikey Neumann were out there supporting these efforts. They've seen the numbers and are highly aware of the harsh realities of modern game development. A lot of publishers and developers are really struggling out there right now. If we want video games to be a healthy industry, something has to be done.

Perhaps instead of trying to hurt the consumers who consume your products the industry should be more reflective and take a good long look at itself. You don't need a 1000 people to make a game, it's absurd. They need to rethink they way they make games instead of trying to squeeze every last penny out of the people who support the industry and their livelihoods.

You do realize there's a reason why NBA 2k is 15$ on PC a month after release and 55$ on consoles right.

What incentive does a publisher has to come in and offer an awesome sale when that consumer has the right to them sell their game back to Gamestop? You're talking about squeezing every penny out of the consumer but the model they were offering was that which exists on the PC through Steam. The cheaper model.

There's also a reason Bioshock Infinite is 40$ on Console and 60$ on Steam. There is plenty of compition in the retail space that drives console game prices down, If you wait a couple of months.

Posted by rebgav

@granderojo said:

@devilzrule27 said:

You can find great sale prices on Amazon all the time. For example NBA 2k13 is $30 bucks on Steam and $25 bucks at amazon for the PC version and $40 bucks for the console version which represents the usual arbitrary $10 price difference between PC and console games.

And Microsoft has ZERO track record of offering decent sale prices with their current slate of digital offerings. Same goes for Sony. The theoretical promise of it isn't enough to justify disc based DRM.

That difference in price isn't arbitrary. It's a well calculated decision that exists because of how the platform operates.

The 10 bucks is arbitrary. People rarely choose the PC version over a console version because of the $10 difference and games that have a strong presence on PC sell for $60. Sales on PC a fewer then on console so publishers think by charging $10 less it will increase the number of purchases. I have my doubts as to how effective that practice really is. Sure you could say the $10 is because of the publishing fee on consoles but a chunk of sales money goes to valve on Steam and the price of games didn't magically jump up $10.

Steam takes a big cut but that's the only loss that the publisher is taking on that sale. 70% of $50 is more than 15% of $60, so it behoves a publisher to shift as many copies of the PC version as possible.

Edited by shinjin977

Great pr moves for microsoft the biggest bullshit still lingers tho. Get rid of that shit kinext requirement and we can talk.

Edited by Chibithor

@granderojo said:

@devilzrule27 said:

@chaser324:

There's a reason that guys like David Jaffe, Cliff Bleszinski, and Mikey Neumann were out there supporting these efforts. They've seen the numbers and are highly aware of the harsh realities of modern game development. A lot of publishers and developers are really struggling out there right now. If we want video games to be a healthy industry, something has to be done.

Perhaps instead of trying to hurt the consumers who consume your products the industry should be more reflective and take a good long look at itself. You don't need a 1000 people to make a game, it's absurd. They need to rethink they way they make games instead of trying to squeeze every last penny out of the people who support the industry and their livelihoods.

You do realize there's a reason why NBA 2k is 15$ on PC a month after release and 55$ on consoles right.

What incentive does a publisher has to come in and offer an awesome sale when that consumer has the right to them sell their game back to Gamestop? You're talking about squeezing every penny out of the consumer but the model they were offering was that which exists on the PC through Steam. The cheaper model.

So why not offer sales on PSN and XBLA, Steam-like models that already exist?

Posted by OGinOR
Edited by Chaser324

@milkman said:

I get that a lot of companies are struggling and people are losing their jobs and that really is awful. But here's the harsh reality. As a consumer, that's not my problem. I may personally feel bad when a studio closes down or there are big layoffs at company X but I don't have any obligation to these people. There are major issues in the video game industry. Major issues that will need to change soon if this industry is going to survive. But pointing the finger at consumers and saying "okay, YOU change" isn't going to work. Figure it the fuck out on your own, video games. I'm not going to do your job for you.

I agree with you that budgets and staffs should be reduced, but it's a hell of a paradox to solve when those big budget games seem to have the broadest appeal and largest potential upside. Smarter people than you and I have failed and are continuing to fail to figure it out, and it's going to be interesting to see how things continue to shake out.

However, I will say that such a violent reaction to potential changes in the way things work definitely doesn't make it easier on publishers and developers.

@hailinel said:

@chaser324: I really don't need to wait to see. I remember when PSN went down for a month and, oh wait, now I have these games installed on my PS3 that I can't play because the publishers inserted DRM that makes them unplayable if I'm not connected to PSN.

Fantastic!

Now imagine that happening to the entirety of an Xbox One game collection compiled over five to seven years. Only when the servers are shut off, they never turn back on.

DOUBLE Fantastic! Super Combo!

The shutting down of these servers is something that I don't think we really understand the full repercussions of at this point, and I think we're a pretty long way off from seeing anything on the scale that you're describing. I anticipate that a permanent shutdown of download and authentication servers would probably be accompanied by OS level updates that dispatch with authentication requirements, but it's hard to say. It's definitely possible that you could be right.

And Microsoft has ZERO track record of offering decent sale prices with their current slate of digital offerings. Same goes for Sony. The theoretical promise of it isn't enough to justify disc based DRM.

Personally, I think it's a bit unfair to judge the potential of an all digital MS/Sony storefront based on the PS3 and 360. Those platforms both had fairly limited game availability, rarely had day one releases, and most importantly, as I stated in the OP, were still extremely overshadowed by disc releases. A reliance on physical disc releases and retailers makes it difficult to grant any flexibility to digital pricing. Brick and mortar retailers with limited shelf space don't take kindly to being undercut by digital prices.

Moderator Online
Posted by RoyaleWifCheese

@oginor said:

@rebgav: I believe the argument that has been put forward is that if we reduced/eliminated used game sales, we could still get our cinematic experiences and companies could turn a profit. Games don't have 'theatrical releases" or "live tours" like movies or music...games have the end-user experience available to everyone at the same time on any given platform for a one-time fee. In terms of media, only books really see similar distribution/sales channels and the production costs of a book are, quite obviously, significantly less than 99% of games. If the used game market stays intact in its current state, or worse, grows, we're going to see that cost reflected in the cost of new games.

I feel like the "consumerists" think they won something today by maintaining the status quo, when in fact, as the OP stated, we may just end up paying more and seeing fewer and fewer immersive, quality gaming experiences produced because of it.

Not to mention the money the "right" to sell back a used game costs the consumer. I hardly see the benefit of being allowed to sell something to GameStop for way less than what it's worth, only to have them mark up the price when they put it back on the shelf.

Edited by mrfluke

@oginor said:

@rebgav: I believe the argument that has been put forward is that if we reduced/eliminated used game sales, we could still get our cinematic experiences and companies could turn a profit. Games don't have 'theatrical releases" or "live tours" like movies or music...games have the end-user experience available to everyone at the same time on any given platform for a one-time fee. In terms of media, only books really see similar distribution/sales channels and the production costs of a book are, quite obviously, significantly less than 99% of games. If the used game market stays intact in its current state, or worse, grows, we're going to see that cost reflected in the cost of new games.

I feel like the "consumerists" think they won something today by maintaining the status quo, when in fact, as the OP stated, we may just end up paying more and seeing fewer and fewer immersive, quality gaming experiences produced because of it.

Not to mention the money the "right" to sell back a used game costs the consumer. I hardly see the benefit of being allowed to sell something to GameStop for way less than what it's worth, only to have them mark up the price when they put it back on the shelf.

when you're young or have a tight gaming budget, the currency you get with used games matters

(not to mention gamestop is not the only place thats big on trade ins, amazon also does them and a lot other places.) (its not just 5 bucks you get back)

and rentals matter just as much, im sorry there are people on this site that cant see that.and im sorry as consumers, there's only so far you can sympathize with a developer.

Online
Edited by shinjin977

@chaser324:

I disagree considering the biggest games in the world are LoL and small iphone games like angry bird. The gaming industry is obsess with Hollywood action main while LoL with a quarter, if not less, budget is making them look like children selling lemonade. I am not saying Moba are the future I am saying strong graphic direction and solid game-play mechanics are game sellers not graphical fidelity.

Posted by rebgav

@oginor said:

@rebgav: I believe the argument that has been put forward is that if we reduced/eliminated used game sales, we could still get our cinematic experiences and companies could turn a profit.

Which is a dumb argument. The people who cannot afford the new game at $60 still can't afford it if you remove the option of buying used. If some percentage of the people buying new copies are funding that purchase by trading games for credit then removing that option means that they can't afford to buy new either. Reducing the size of the potential audience by pricing them out of the market isn't going to increase sales, is it? If triple-A games have broad mainstream appeal, why are publishers so concerned about corralling the existing audience rather than getting their product in the hands of new customers? If a big-budget game can't compete for attention or sales with cheap mobile apps, why do publishers keep dumping money into these tentpole titles and then complaining about their sales being disappointing? And why wouldn't a customer, priced out of the console market, just go play free or cheap games on mobile or PC platforms rather than dropping $60 on some "AAA" game that they can't even read a review of or see video of until the day of release? What part of "if we push people out of console gaming we can make more money" makes any sense whatsoever?

Posted by devilzrule27

@devilzrule27 said:

And Microsoft has ZERO track record of offering decent sale prices with their current slate of digital offerings. Same goes for Sony. The theoretical promise of it isn't enough to justify disc based DRM.

Personally, I think it's a bit unfair to judge the potential of an all digital MS/Sony storefront based on the PS3 and 360. Those platforms both had fairly limited game availability, rarely had day one releases, and most importantly, as I stated in the OP, were still extremely overshadowed by disc releases. A reliance on physical disc releases and retailers makes it difficult to grant any flexibility to digital pricing. Brick and mortar retailers with limited shelf space don't take kindly to being undercut by digital prices.

While it's fair not to judge it is asking a lot of the consumer to trust that a company will "do the right thing" in terms of sales and pricing whilst they strip you of your rights on the alternative distribution method.

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