HD Viewing: A Plea and/or Debate For It To Be Free

I was originally going to post this over here in this thread, but as I wrote this, I realized that it needed its own air to breath in. If a mod feels it needs to be locked, I completely understand. However, I get the feeling from the thread I've referenced that it needs a place for serious debate and discussion...if the community's voice really does mean what we are told it means. I believe that our voice does matter, and in turn, here's a tl;dr blog going into some details.

For many of the websites that are out there, HD content is free. It's not something that comes with a paid subscription. Giant Bomb has been a trend-setter since day one. They were the first to mainstream the idea of Quick Looks for games rather than just some developer previews and hands-on things like we had in the past. They have one of the most successful gaming podcasts in the WORLD. They were (as far as I know of) the first dedicated gaming site to also be a wiki site, and that content is created BY THE COMMUNITY! These guys allowed the community to have a voice in this industry! Fuck, they play games from start to finish for 100 episodes because WHY THE FUCK NOT?

However, they are restricting HD video viewing availability to premium members in a time and day where HD content is the NORMAL STANDARD? That just seems a little...odd. Anybody could go to Gametrailers and watch stuff in HD without a membership. It's a step backwards, and does anyone honestly want Giant Bomb to take a step backwards? I sure as fuck don't. I want these guys to continue being the ones that the rest of this industry looks at and says "fuck, we gotta step our game up".

I understand that a comparison to a big entity like Gametrailers is not exactly fair. Giant Bomb is a much smaller operation. However, it's the first site that came to mind because it's the one I watch HAWP on. Still, should the size be an issue when you are a website dedicated to the idea of quality?

Downloading HD content? Sure, I could understand a membership. Premium-only content? Absolutely, I'm alright with that. However, locking the ability to WATCH in HD behind a pay wall at this point seems outdated and unnecessary. These guys have come up with all kinds of excellent premium content that I think losing exclusivity to watching HD content is worth it in order for people to enjoy the free content in the best possible quality that they can. Mind you, I don't know what kind of demands that would have on the overall infrastructure they have as well as how it would affect those of us who are trying to watch stuff. Bandwidth isn't free, and I can only imagine what the stress must be like when you have thousands upon millions viewing your content. Hell, I work at a place where we have a dedicated fiber line. I know how hard that can buckle from 20 Xbox consoles playing online, 20 computers playing online, and just a couple of people watching YouTube or some other video service.

However, it feels like there is an equal place to meet up on this without sacrificing the one thing that really matters the most about this site: quality.

The way I look at it is like this: if I were a new person coming in and decided to watch a video on the site in HD, then I was told "that's for subscribers only", would I want to continue coming to the site itself? Is that a good experience for me as a customer and a visitor? Most likely, it's not. I can go over to YouTube and watch a game trailer or hands-on demo from a ton of other people. I can go to the aforementioned Gametrailers and watch stuff in HD. So why go to Giant Bomb? This is where I can understand the point in the argument: Giant Bomb produces some good original content that can't be found anywhere else, and like anyone that produces original content, you want a paycheck at the end of the day. However, when we're told "we're going to outsource stuff to YouTube as well in order to get extra revenue stream", well...why am I going to click on your video if it's not HD? Because it's Giant Bomb content? What is Giant Bomb? I visit the website and they get a couple of clicks. I see a thread in the forums where both non-subscribers and subscribers alike are saying "HD videos should be free to anyone to watch". I say "oh, they're YouTube is only in 360p? Bump that, I'm Audi 5000".

So, Whiskey Media staff, if you are reading or listening, I am a paid member. I remember something you all said a while back and have stated multiple times since: you work for us - the free ones that see the ads and the paid ones who don't. We put money in your pockets to buy outlandish amounts of Skylanders shit for our amusement, and we greatly appreciate everything this site does. In turn, I know that I myself would like to implore you as a paid member...as someone you work for...to allow everyone to VIEW the video content you produce in the standard of today: HD. If there is something that we can all do, if there is something that can be rearranged...hell, if I have to pay another $10 on my membership for it to happen, then so be it. It feels like the dialogue needs to be there.

We are a community where many of us subscribed just to keep the Bombcast from being split into two pieces so that EVERYONE can enjoy it. Remember that? Here I am, a user, saying I'd pay an extra $10 a year to allow EVERYONE that visits this site to see your shenanigans, in-depth looks at games, and general commentary on the industry in glorious HD. That's still the cost of ONE video game, and I can easily cut ONE game out of my library each year for a community I care about, even if I don't know the vast majority of them.

There will probably be many members that don't agree with this, but at least this side of the argument...I hope and feel...has been presented in a formidable and decently thought-out fashion for you to consider.

*EDIT* Thank you all very much for the intellectual and thoughtful way we have approached this topic. It's nice to see this community can still get down to the nitty gritty when needed.

I wanted to slightly amend something that was brought to my attention. I was unaware that intern content on the YouTube channel was available all the way up to 720p. That is a link to a 20+ minute video of Fear Gauntlet available in high definition. This is content hosted on TheRealGiantBomb, which in turn has left me scratching my head. Why would intern content available in HD but not the regular stuff for the site? We have to ask ourselves that question. I do not mean this to belittle the intern's work, as I love the stuff they've done. I just never checked the HD button on that before because I thought it was locked to the same standard definition as everything else on the channel.

Also, I'm not writing this...and I hope no one else is either...as a "call-out" to Whiskey Media. I hope the staff and everyone else realizes that. A lot of it is curiosity and the users trying to work it out in their own heads what the deal is. As you can see through the comments (and I suggest that everyone reads every single one of them, there's been some great discussion about it so far), this is a community that is just wanting some answers to questions that they have, as well as offering their two cents on whether having HD viewing exclusivity is something they are getting a membership for. It's kind of like a town hall meeting. The vast majority of comments I've seen suggest that HD viewing exclusivity is not a dealbreaker on their memberships. Stuff like TNT, the mobile site, Random PC Game, Load Our Last Save, and Whiskey Jar Time (or whatever Jeff decides to call it with each new iteration) is the reason we pay for our memberships.

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Edited by jakob187

I was originally going to post this over here in this thread, but as I wrote this, I realized that it needed its own air to breath in. If a mod feels it needs to be locked, I completely understand. However, I get the feeling from the thread I've referenced that it needs a place for serious debate and discussion...if the community's voice really does mean what we are told it means. I believe that our voice does matter, and in turn, here's a tl;dr blog going into some details.

For many of the websites that are out there, HD content is free. It's not something that comes with a paid subscription. Giant Bomb has been a trend-setter since day one. They were the first to mainstream the idea of Quick Looks for games rather than just some developer previews and hands-on things like we had in the past. They have one of the most successful gaming podcasts in the WORLD. They were (as far as I know of) the first dedicated gaming site to also be a wiki site, and that content is created BY THE COMMUNITY! These guys allowed the community to have a voice in this industry! Fuck, they play games from start to finish for 100 episodes because WHY THE FUCK NOT?

However, they are restricting HD video viewing availability to premium members in a time and day where HD content is the NORMAL STANDARD? That just seems a little...odd. Anybody could go to Gametrailers and watch stuff in HD without a membership. It's a step backwards, and does anyone honestly want Giant Bomb to take a step backwards? I sure as fuck don't. I want these guys to continue being the ones that the rest of this industry looks at and says "fuck, we gotta step our game up".

I understand that a comparison to a big entity like Gametrailers is not exactly fair. Giant Bomb is a much smaller operation. However, it's the first site that came to mind because it's the one I watch HAWP on. Still, should the size be an issue when you are a website dedicated to the idea of quality?

Downloading HD content? Sure, I could understand a membership. Premium-only content? Absolutely, I'm alright with that. However, locking the ability to WATCH in HD behind a pay wall at this point seems outdated and unnecessary. These guys have come up with all kinds of excellent premium content that I think losing exclusivity to watching HD content is worth it in order for people to enjoy the free content in the best possible quality that they can. Mind you, I don't know what kind of demands that would have on the overall infrastructure they have as well as how it would affect those of us who are trying to watch stuff. Bandwidth isn't free, and I can only imagine what the stress must be like when you have thousands upon millions viewing your content. Hell, I work at a place where we have a dedicated fiber line. I know how hard that can buckle from 20 Xbox consoles playing online, 20 computers playing online, and just a couple of people watching YouTube or some other video service.

However, it feels like there is an equal place to meet up on this without sacrificing the one thing that really matters the most about this site: quality.

The way I look at it is like this: if I were a new person coming in and decided to watch a video on the site in HD, then I was told "that's for subscribers only", would I want to continue coming to the site itself? Is that a good experience for me as a customer and a visitor? Most likely, it's not. I can go over to YouTube and watch a game trailer or hands-on demo from a ton of other people. I can go to the aforementioned Gametrailers and watch stuff in HD. So why go to Giant Bomb? This is where I can understand the point in the argument: Giant Bomb produces some good original content that can't be found anywhere else, and like anyone that produces original content, you want a paycheck at the end of the day. However, when we're told "we're going to outsource stuff to YouTube as well in order to get extra revenue stream", well...why am I going to click on your video if it's not HD? Because it's Giant Bomb content? What is Giant Bomb? I visit the website and they get a couple of clicks. I see a thread in the forums where both non-subscribers and subscribers alike are saying "HD videos should be free to anyone to watch". I say "oh, they're YouTube is only in 360p? Bump that, I'm Audi 5000".

So, Whiskey Media staff, if you are reading or listening, I am a paid member. I remember something you all said a while back and have stated multiple times since: you work for us - the free ones that see the ads and the paid ones who don't. We put money in your pockets to buy outlandish amounts of Skylanders shit for our amusement, and we greatly appreciate everything this site does. In turn, I know that I myself would like to implore you as a paid member...as someone you work for...to allow everyone to VIEW the video content you produce in the standard of today: HD. If there is something that we can all do, if there is something that can be rearranged...hell, if I have to pay another $10 on my membership for it to happen, then so be it. It feels like the dialogue needs to be there.

We are a community where many of us subscribed just to keep the Bombcast from being split into two pieces so that EVERYONE can enjoy it. Remember that? Here I am, a user, saying I'd pay an extra $10 a year to allow EVERYONE that visits this site to see your shenanigans, in-depth looks at games, and general commentary on the industry in glorious HD. That's still the cost of ONE video game, and I can easily cut ONE game out of my library each year for a community I care about, even if I don't know the vast majority of them.

There will probably be many members that don't agree with this, but at least this side of the argument...I hope and feel...has been presented in a formidable and decently thought-out fashion for you to consider.

*EDIT* Thank you all very much for the intellectual and thoughtful way we have approached this topic. It's nice to see this community can still get down to the nitty gritty when needed.

I wanted to slightly amend something that was brought to my attention. I was unaware that intern content on the YouTube channel was available all the way up to 720p. That is a link to a 20+ minute video of Fear Gauntlet available in high definition. This is content hosted on TheRealGiantBomb, which in turn has left me scratching my head. Why would intern content available in HD but not the regular stuff for the site? We have to ask ourselves that question. I do not mean this to belittle the intern's work, as I love the stuff they've done. I just never checked the HD button on that before because I thought it was locked to the same standard definition as everything else on the channel.

Also, I'm not writing this...and I hope no one else is either...as a "call-out" to Whiskey Media. I hope the staff and everyone else realizes that. A lot of it is curiosity and the users trying to work it out in their own heads what the deal is. As you can see through the comments (and I suggest that everyone reads every single one of them, there's been some great discussion about it so far), this is a community that is just wanting some answers to questions that they have, as well as offering their two cents on whether having HD viewing exclusivity is something they are getting a membership for. It's kind of like a town hall meeting. The vast majority of comments I've seen suggest that HD viewing exclusivity is not a dealbreaker on their memberships. Stuff like TNT, the mobile site, Random PC Game, Load Our Last Save, and Whiskey Jar Time (or whatever Jeff decides to call it with each new iteration) is the reason we pay for our memberships.

Posted by MooseyMcMan

I dunno. I don't really like that they're switching over to YouTube stuff, and that it's 360p, but I don't really feel the need for 720P video. I do have low standards though (and never watch anything full screen).

Moderator
Posted by Hockeymask27

The current quality is fine even at full screen. I guess i'm easy to please.

Posted by jakob187

I don't typically watch their content in HD or even High settings, but that's because I don't want to cause more stress on the line at work than necessary. Nonetheless, it doesn't change how I feel about this.

Edited by Slaker117

I think it would be nice if the Youtube videos were at least 480p. Though it doesn't really matter to me, I can understand why people would be put off by 360p. I personally wouldn't mind if everyone got 720p for free.

Posted by OllyOxenFree
Posted by laserbolts
@jakob187 I agree with you 100%.
Posted by jakob187

@OllyOxenFree: If I wanted the opinion of a troll with nothing actually worthwhile to say other than "insert random image that I think is funny but is actually just a way of showing that I'm a dick with little else to do but act like a dick"...

...I'd go to 4chan.

Posted by theodacourt

If people value HD over the quality of the content, then they're probably not going to become subscribers anyway. Anyone who avoids this site because of that, isn't going to subscribe if it was the other way around. My point here is there would be no more incoming subscribers from such a change. The bandwidth of all the free users would be immense and would cost quite a lot to support.

When the costs outweigh the profit then it's not a smart move in any business. While I agree it would be nice and perhaps standard for Whiskey to offer free HD viewing, I don't think it's financially viable, and if it means sacrificing something else to make it work then I'd be even stronger in my opposition. I don't think enough people would be willing to up their subscription fee for such a thing either, they'd rather it went to producing more content, not just make some pixel figures go up.

If you want everyone to enjoy the giant bomb content, then you should offer up some money to a gifted subscription. If I wasn't a member, I'd rather have a subscription with everything in SD than free stuff in HD.

My points. The content is more important than the image quality. I don't think it's financially viable, or a smart business move.

Posted by OllyOxenFree

@jakob187 said:

@OllyOxenFree: If I wanted the opinion of a troll with nothing actually worthwhile to say other than "insert random image that I think is funny but is actually just a way of showing that I'm a dick with little else to do but act like a dick"...

...I'd go to 4chan.

Oh Christ lol. Never seen this side of jakob! My post was not meant to "troll", dude. I somewhat agree with your points but in the end, Whiskey Media will do what they have to do that makes sense in the current situation.

Posted by Th3_James

They should just have youtube vids in 720p for free. I am a payed sub, but I think the cost argument is invalid if everything is going to youtube anyways.

Posted by jakob187

@theodacourt: I agree that the content is more important than pixel count, and as I pointed out, I don't know any of the exact metrics of finances for stuff such as this. Therefore, what I'm talking about could be the cost of running a third-world nation for all I know.

At the same time, I don't necessarily see where being HD-friendly to non-subscribers necessarily comes into a debate of "less original content" when Whiskey has specifically stated that they are outsourcing videos to YouTube in order to take advantage of stuff like Google AdSense and other viable options of revenue stream as well as the Meebo bar for the same type of thing. If anything, that now seems a little counter-productive in some ways. They are trying to get some more ad dollars, and hell, maybe that is money that will go into making it to where HD content is available to everyone whether they subscribe or not. However, as many have already stated all around, there are many that don't even watch their stuff in HD, and even bigger than that, how many of the people that DO watch HD content are downloading it to their computer before doing so? In turn, what kind of number increase would there even potentially be in the viewing of HD if they offered it to everyone? Moreover, if that stuff is available on YouTube, that wouldn't be running through their own setup...and if they are offering it directly on their website now (which they are), then would that be eating into what they are doing?

That's the thing: this debate coming up now is directly related to the outsourcing of material to YouTube. I gotta be honest: I haven't used the WM player much since they announced the outsourcing to YouTube. It's not that the WM player isn't amazing: it is. However, I know that YouTube's performance is generally a smoother experience for me, so I use that option whenever I'm going to be watching a longer-than-15-minute video. Let's face it: a lot of the content on this site is over 15 minutes.

Therefore, if they are outsourcing to YouTube in order to get views, hits, traffic to the site, and ad revenue, then wouldn't that mean that they are essentially opening themselves up for more people to come in and watch content anyways? By that idea, they would need to keep the connection smooth as well, and in turn, they would need to add whatever is necessary to make stuff run smooth anyways. At that point, a business makes a decision: do you add more now and offer even more quality with the original content as well as HD for everyone, or do you continue to restrict it only for it to become something that you might get knocked for not featuring when so many others do?

Edited by benpicko

I know I say this in every thread and may be coming off as a troll, but seriously, if you're going to start uploading to YouTube you should at least be uploading at 720p. In fact, the first few videos that they uploaded there WERE in 720p, but everyone said to take them off.

Posted by Doctorchimp

When this holiday season stops raping me with school, work and then when I can try to play games I know I won't be giving them a year subscription for HD, it's everything else that makes me want to pay them. Half the time I watch them I'm not on my serious work/gaming PC anyway. I'm on a shitty laptop from my roommate that can't even handle HD without stuttering or I'm on my phone at school waiting around.

But that being said, yo 480p? Please...

Edited by jakob187

@OllyOxenFree said:

@jakob187 said:

@OllyOxenFree: If I wanted the opinion of a troll with nothing actually worthwhile to say other than "insert random image that I think is funny but is actually just a way of showing that I'm a dick with little else to do but act like a dick"...

...I'd go to 4chan.

Oh Christ lol. Never seen this side of jakob! My post was not meant to "troll", dude. I somewhat agree with your points but in the end, Whiskey Media will do what they have to do that makes sense in the current situation.

See? That wasn't so hard to post. = D

@Th3_James said:

They should just have youtube vids in 720p for free. I am a payed sub, but I think the cost argument is invalid if everything is going to youtube anyways.

Well, with the current system of "HD is only available to members", it would not necessarily work out without having to change the rules of HD content...which is why this issue itself is even being brought up now.

However, just from my perspective, the problem then becomes "why have a custom player on Whiskey Media at that point since they could just outsource everything to YouTube and take that stress off their back on the bandwidth end, then build some way to search for the videos through the site"? There's a point where it needs to be about YOU having the content on YOUR site. The YouTube thing was explained pretty well by Dave: it's a way for the name to get out to even more people as well as offer up some extra revenue. If you look at that as simply "this is just a way for them to get a sample of what Whiskey offers", then I can somewhat understand the idea of only offering it up at 360p. Hell, uploading to two different places (both their site and YouTube) already has to be a little bit of an extra pain in the ass as is.

Nonetheless, there would be plenty of free people that would never use the great WM player if it were offered up on YouTube in a higher resolution for free but not on the WM player. In turn, that can screw with their own internal metrics on how many views something gets, how long they've watched, what their favorite kind of content is, etc. Only allowing HD content for non-subscribers via YouTube, I assume, can hurt them in the long run as far as getting that kind of information is concerned.

Edited by theodacourt

@jakob187: Your first paragraph is about how not that many people watch HD videos, which kind of makes this whole point and discussion less important. So it's not that big of a deal.

Your second paragraph refers to the move to youtube, and I can't really argue this point. I'm not sure if Youtube charges business partners for using such huge files and giving them permission to have thousands of videos, most of which are well over the 10 minute mark. I wouldn't be surprised if they did but I could be wrong. If I am then ignore this bit.

If they're getting people to the site through their videos on youtube, then again I would hope it would be the content that brings them here, and that that is what they stay for. If I saw Vinny and Ryan playing Total Wipeout 2 on youtube, I wouldn't then think "Oh, I wonder if I can get this video of two sweaty dudes in HD by visiting their website."

I can see the stance of 'if it doesn't cost anything then why not?' I agree with that statement in its most basic form, but even if it doesn't cost money, it costs time. Removing money or time from anyone in the whiskey offices would mean a drop in content. I'd rather keep the flow of content than see an arbitrary standard being met, especially if that standard isn't actually used by that many people, and therefore isn't really a standard.

Posted by Th3_James

@jakob187

You do make some good points.

Posted by jakob187

@theodacourt: I can only assume that HD video isn't used by that many people. I base that statement solely on the people I see who watch YouTube up here at my workplace. Then again, many of those people are also people either multi-tasking a game of WoW or LoL or something...or they are ONLY here to get on the internet and watch videos, and they rapid fire through those things. There are plenty of guys that do watch stuff in HD up here, but we typically have to tell them to stop watching it in HD just to keep the stress off our line. In that respect and scenario, I can see where the problem of "HD available to everyone" can be an issue, absolutely. I'd actually be interested on a curiosity level what the percentage is of people that watch HD content on the site.

As for the YouTube stuff, I can't say that I know how that stuff works when it's going past the 10 minute mark. I've never had to deal with that. To be honest, I didn't even necessarily think of the additional costs that may be required for content over 10 minutes. That's an excellent point to be brought into the debate, and I thank you for bringing it up.

I also strongly agree that it's the content that should draw people in, and then the natural carrot-on-a-stick at this point is "watch these guys talk some mad shit and make you laugh while they play pretty looking games in HD". However, as someone pointed out in a comment on the thread I referenced in my OP, they want to know how pretty Battlefield 3 looks while hearing these guys talk about the specifics of what is going on. A Quick Look in HD, if anything, can be a very worthwhile way of doing what Jeff has always said he cares about: offering an opinion to people who want to spend $60 on a video game. That's an investment. If we look at it that way, then $60 for a membership to watch that content is also an investment, sure.

No matter where we turn on this, it's a double-sided edge, and it's something that seems like it needs ironing out...hence, I created this blog.

Posted by Simplexity

Might aswell I guess, not like HD videos being members only is a dealbreaker. Most people probably subscribe to watch the premium videos.

Edited by NathHaw

I think that at least the videos that are available in HD elsewhere should be HD here. I don't think that necessarily has to include in-house sort of vids like mailbag or whatever; trailers and such should prob be HD though.

Posted by BraveToaster

One thing that I've noticed when it comes to threads about membership features that needs to stop is the belittlement of free users. Don't get me wrong, not all premium members talk down to others, but there is always someone who calls free users cheap bastards and the like. No one in this thread is doing this, I'm just saying.
 
Back on subject, I have no problem with watching videos in 360p. I don't think Whiskey Media is evil for limiting HD videos to paid members. I'm glad that WM hasn't gone the route of IGN; posting a collage of ads everywhere is extremely tacky. They're constantly thinking of new ways to make premium memberships worth purchasing. 

Posted by Poki3

Totally agree.

At the time I thought that HD being premium only was strange, but little to no adds and the argument of bandwidth costs made me say "OK, I see your point."

Now, bandwidth costs are not an issue, since it's not their bandwidth anyway and there are more adds then there used to be. It's time for a change.

Posted by Krummey

Isn't WM in the "Finally figuring out how to make money" stage of internet development? Don't we believe that some pretty capable dudes are running this site? If HD content weren't a subscription seller, wouldn't it be free (eventually at least)?

Posted by BrockNRolla

Before I subscribed, I always thought the high quality was plenty good for watching videos. When I finally decided that I should really be supporting a site that provides my main source of internet entertainment, I found that HD was even better. But bigger files = more data storage = more costs. If someone loves the site and wants to watch in HD, kick a few bucks to Giant Bomb. If some loves the site but doesn't want to pay for anything, they should consider why. If it is that they can't afford it, well, then good for them for making a smart decision, but they'll live perfectly well with the normal high quality videos. Giant Bomb needs a source of revenue and they've kept practically everything open to all users. Locking a few things away for those willing to subscribe is a nice bonus. We're investing in the community and the site, and I appreciate that they offer us some benefits as a result.

Posted by theodacourt

@jakob187: I guess the point about seeing a game in HD as a way of informing you is a valid one. They could have occasional HD videos perhaps for special games as opposed to doing everything and using up all their man-hours. That said, if you want to know how a game looks, chances are it looks pretty good. I can't imagine anyone is interested in how good Lego Harry Potter looks in HD, so companies will be making it known that they think their game looks good. In that case you will probably find promotional video which is solely focused on showing how it looks by showing shadows and stuff. Just stock kind of E3 trailers, or gameplay videos etc. These options would be better than a QL probably, but you could watch both anyway right?

GB has gotten rid of the gameplay video tab on their video page because clearly their focus isn't on this and they haven't uploaded much for ages anyway, so it would appear aren't interested in bringing people in with these videos. They're available everywhere after all, e.g. Gametrailers.

I do watch video's in HD if it's a small video or of a game that's supposed to look good, but I see it as a perk rather than important. I can imagine myself watching a QL and then finding a graphics comparison video elsewhere to get a sense of the visuals. Even games like rage don't look as good on QL as they do in the game. I was still amazed by 60 fps and 1080p in that game, as QL's are only 720p and 24? fps.

Everything that we're talking about are probably fringe cases though in the end, and the point is 'will people not return to the site if they are told HD is subscribers only' if the answer was yes then it would add to the benefit of free duders getting HD and probably make it a worthwhile move, however, I don't believe it will and therefore I don't think the move is worth the cost in time/money. I think if we don't agree on this singular point, then our debates will be circular and unending!

Edited by amomjc

@jakob187:

You know, even though I may not fully support what the OP is trying to convey, it is about time someone comes across professionally and level headed on this topic. Too many threads of whiny little "new-user" trolls just gets peoples blood boiling (including mine) and that is in no way to start a positive debate.

Just because I support those that have contributed to this site (yes, money is a powerful thing) I will stand by the OP and ask Giantbomb to allow our "free" members to enjoy content in 720p like the rest of us. I care about this community and if something that I don't even have control over is what may be what breaks or keeps certain things alive, then I will support it fully.

However, aside from my ability to support this, I still believe 720p content should be available only to subscribed users because this is not a large conglomerate like IGN or Gametrailers, but a small community manned by intelligent individuals who are not sponsored by large companies that give them huge loads of cash. If Whiskey Media themselves can come out and personally tell us that 720p is probable or that it is not cost-effective, I think it would turn a lot of people on both sides.

Posted by Skytylz

I'll throw in another member vote for free hd videos. The youtube player is nicer to use when I want to skip ahead in a video.

Posted by jakob187

@Axxol: I'm not a fan of the belittlement of free users either. At one point, we were all free users, ya know? I appreciate that comment.

@Poki3: We don't know that bandwidth costs aren't an issue. However, it seems that the argument of not having HD content on YouTube can be valid. Also, I think it would be a rarity to find anyone who thinks Whiskey Media is evil. lol These guys were generous enough to share this site with us for a long time with no advertising and no premium stuff, and even when they introduced that stuff, they listened to the community when we said "don't split the Bombcast" and other things of the sort. Hell, they give us a platform to speak our minds, and those opinions have mattered time and time again.

@Krummey: They may be. I don't know. I don't work there. Anything that can be said from anyone other than a staff member would be merely the outside-looking-in, and even then, it may be on something we don't understand. The latter part of that sentence is important: "it may be on something we don't understand". Dave had talked about "transparency", and I would never expect any company or business to be 100% transparent with its customer base. At the same time, if (hypothetically, based on no facts that I can provide) HD video viewing made up 10% or even 20% of the viewing of video content on the site, it would seem logical in many ways that HD be made available to everyone. Now, you would obviously see an increase in the number of people viewing HD content if it were made available to everyone, but by how much?

We all know the Whiskey Media guys have a solid understanding of the shit they do and how it works. We see the sites they've built (not just Giant Bomb itself, but the whole network in general), and we appreciate the work they've done. At the same time, there are members in this very blog that are saying "HD viewing for everyone is not a dealbreaker" and that HD viewing is something exclusive to them that they wouldn't necessarily miss. I would hope that any company, in seeing that kind of reaction, would say "well, we need to look at that and have more discussion about this", which I'm more than positive they DO have. Again, these guys aren't dumbasses.

As for "wouldn't it be free (eventually at least)", I would personally think the answer is "obviously (eventually at least)". HD content can't be locked behind a paywall forever as forward progression in technology continues. A lot of the reason that I have brought this stuff up is because it seems weird that (what I consider) the leading website in video game content, knowledge, and experience...dare I even say cutting edge in some of the crazy hair-brained shit they've made work and now helped popularize amongst other gaming websites... Well, it feels like something like HD viewing for everyone is something that's held inside an odd time capsule.

With all that, I'm calling it a night. I have to close up the store and then play a little Arkham City before I head home (I just got to the point to meet Mr. Freeze, and I want to actually make some progress in it). Whether this blog/thread becomes a massive beast or a failure, I thank everyone for at least offering some intellectual discussion amongst users. It's one of the reasons I love being a member of this community. Until tomorrow...

Posted by Krummey

@jakob187: I'm just saying that I believe the folks running this site seem to have a good idea as to what they are doing. And yes, of course, at some point everything everywhere will be in HD. But if it isn't yet on this site, I choose to believe that if they could, they would.

As for me, HD isn't an incentive to subscribe, but the mobile site is HUGE. I'm on the road all day for work, and being able to check GB during breaks is key.

Edited by TurboMan

I'm sorry, but if you can't deal with watching a standard definition video, then you need to take a good long hard look at yourself in the mirror and question whether or not you was the most worthy sperm to make it to your mother's egg.

Posted by Liber

I totally agree with OP.

HD video should be available to everyone, WM really screwed the pooch on this one. Every other gaming site lets you watch HD video even without any sort of registration.

The worst part about this is WM not even letting you watch fucking TRAILERS for games in HD, and forces you to go to YouTube or GT to watch it properly.

I understand that WM wants to save money on bandwidth but if you are uploading everything to YouTube, why not upload in 720p ? its YouTube's bandwidth anyways.

Posted by PillClinton

I'm a premium member and I approve this message.

Posted by DarthOrange

I'm not complaining for something i get and enjoy for the low, low price of seeing a few ads now and then.

Posted by N7

It doesn't bother me. I don't watch it in HD. My computer can't handle HD.
 
Anyway. HD isn't the main reason for subscribing. It's just one of the perks of subscribing. Start picking and choosing and taking away all of the "lesser used" features of being a subscriber, and suddenly the package isn't so appealing anymore.
 
It wouldn't be viable. It's also not like it takes anything away. You can still watch the same extremely high quality videos that do not look nearly as bad as some might say.

Posted by dudeglove

Oh so this is GB's retarding happy slapping forum topic of the week. There was me thinking folk would be discussing funky Halloween costumes and getting wired on candy. Wishful thinking on my part.

Posted by Zero_

Completely Agree. They should completely switch the video player to YouTube for both Premium and Non-Premium members, allow HD viewing through YouTube and that way, they drastically increase their brand awareness on YouTube and more coming to the site.

Posted by The_Laughing_Man
@Slaker117 said:
I think it would be nice if the Youtube videos were at least 480p. Though it doesn't really matter to me, I can understand why people would be put off by 360p. I personally wouldn't mind if everyone got 720p for free.
This. If they would make them 480p i would be happier. That Train quicklook made it very apperent how crappy the videos can look. 
Posted by ShiftyMagician

When I see hundreds (if not thousands) of individual gamers that are not part of companies making higher quality video footage than a company with a budget, I find it funny that this site still hosts game trailers in which is only available here in a low resolution. They have a Youtube channel - they should just upload all their free videos in all of their resolutions free, because their 'competition' is now a bunch of hobbyists as well as the other gaming sites.

They can use their own custom player to host their premium content and keep it locked as premium members should get rewarded for keeping the site alive, or they can make their player a premium service in itself, moving free videos over to the Youtube player but with all the resolutions like what is being asked by a good portion of the community. However it's only a matter of time before they realise how foolish their current management of the video content really is. At least make game trailers or any content they didn't make be available to all in all resolutions available for free. Don't try to bundle it with the rest as something people have to pay to access. That specific case is the real joke here for me at the moment.

Posted by wefwefasdf

@amomjc: You're more obnoxious than any "new-user trolls" you mention in your post.Your air of superiority is far worse and makes me wish I could hide my gold medal so I didn't have to be associated with paying members like you.

As Axxol said,

@Axxol said:

One thing that I've noticed when it comes to threads about membership features that needs to stop is the belittlement of free users. Don't get me wrong, not all premium members talk down to others, but there is always someone who calls free users cheap bastards and the like. No one in this thread is doing this, I'm just saying.
Posted by coakroach

Giving HD videos to everybody is more expensive than only giving it to some people, especially when those videos can be over an hour long.

Some guy probably crunched serious numbers and said 'nope' at the end of it, and thats the way its gonna stay until they have extra revenue to make up for the extra cost.

Edited by Still_I_Cry

It is nice seeing the Lords appealing to the Aristocracy of WM on the behalf of the plebes/peasants.

:D

Posted by Afroman269

YouTube HD videos for the general public could be great. The HD quality in the whiskey video player is better than YouTube's so subs still get better stuff.

@Axxol Cheap bastard.

Posted by NekuSakuraba

@jakob187: Giant bomb doesn't have as many ads as other game sites and HD cameras and everything to do with it costs them a lot of money. Maybe for financial reasons they are making it a subscriber only feature until the big games start advertising here? Just a guess though.

Posted by Dagbiker

Bandwith costs money. All that hd video is expencive

Posted by RedRoach

Like many others have said, I subscribe for the awesome video content, not for HD. Now that Youtube is paying for the bandwidth, there's no reason not to let everyone have HD.

Posted by Dagbiker

Expensive

Posted by Bocam

@Dagbiker:Youtube is paying for the bandwidth

Posted by Venatio

Agreed, especially now that they're using Youtube they should make 720p available for everyone, just feels outdated to have to pay for that

Edited by Hockeymask27

@Zero_ said:

Completely Agree. They should completely switch the video player to YouTube for both Premium and Non-Premium members, allow HD viewing through YouTube and that way, they drastically increase their brand awareness on YouTube and more coming to the site.

you know I never thought of it that way. I might be fine with 360p's because I love the site but a newbie might be this site must think the site is dumb and its to cheap to afford hd.

Posted by wh1terav3n

I agree with you. It totally rubbed me the wrong way when i was a free member, and for them to restrict their youtube stuff to 360p for no good reason other than to keep HD as a member only thing? It wasn't the main reason I subscribed, but it was an annoyance that I subscribed to get rid of, and that should NOT be how you get subscribers.

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