On the future of some gamers
Posted on Wednesday, May 22 2013 @ 16:47:26 Eastern
Before Microsoft and Sony do something regarding their future in the video game business, I wanted to write, and I've wanted it for a long time now, but other things kept getting in my way, and fearing that tomorrow might be too late, today will have to do.
Months ago, when I heard Dark Souls was being ported to the PC, I instantly assumed I would be buying it even though I already owned it on PS3, to see how the experience would be enhanced by the power of my PC. I expected many things from that game, but it ended up being a poor port, with little optimization and advantages over its console counterpart. In more than one way, it was a disadvantage to buy the PC version. In my case, it was impossible to do so.
Turns out it used Games for Windows Live (GfWL)! To any citizen of a first-world country, it means you need to bear with something less useful than Steam when you want to play the game. However, to anyone not living in one of the 41* countries where GfWL is available, it means you cannot buy the game, let alone play it.
More recently, there was a sale going on in the PlayStation Store celebrating Final Fantasy's 25th anniversary, and I thought, “Great! I can finally use these PlayStation cards I bought on my trip to NY and buy me some digital games!”. So filled with joy I turned on my PS3, logged in, found the Redeem Codes option and began typing the codes on my cards, pressed Start, and then... “Error”.
“?” I said, and typed a code again, rechecking everything, but the same thing happened. It was only after spending some time on Google and its search result that I found the answer to my problem: My account has a Canadian address, and these cards are from USA, so I cannot use them. I ended up creating a new account with an address from USA in order to be able to activate them.
Now, if you have made it this far into the article you may have some questions like: 1) What is this article about? 2) Don't you live in Peru? 3) Why did you register as a Canadian in your PS account?
The answer to the last two questions is simple: When I bought my PS3, the PlayStation Network and Store were only available in countries which were not mine**, so I used an address a friend from Canada gave me to be able to use their services. I never realized I needed Canadian cards if I ever wanted to buy something from the Store; nobody told me that. So I hope nothing gets billed or shipped to any of those addresses, as it will leave more than one person confused.
This relates to the next-gen consoles in the same way it relates to current digital distribution platforms. What really matters to some people, though I don't know how many, but I'm guessing quite a few, is not whether the next-gen has better visuals, or more apps, or a Share button on the controllers. What I really want is a more globalized software with which the name of the country I'm indoesn't matter.
I can stand having no backwards compatibility for technical reasons, but I cannot swallow having to deal with more of this stuff just because some people think it makes some sense, because it doesn't. We are talking about digital products, logistics, and transport fees not coming into the picture anymore. Why can YouTube host millions of videos from all over the globe in their servers for free and you cannot digitally sell me something I want to buy just because I don't live in your neighborhood?
Imagine going into a store in Miami to buy a prepaid phone card to make a call to Seattle and being told that to get it you have to travel at least 3078 miles by car to Walla Walla and buy it there, and that it can only be used while you are in Washington. Or not being able to use your cloud service on your iPhone not because there's lack of signal or you are in a place you aren't supposed to be, but because you say you are in this place.
I believe there is an opportunity to embrace a neglected market and make it massively consume a product with a small amount of investment, and the one who does it first (in a decent way), whether it is Microsoft, Sony, or (who knows) EA's Origin, will see at least one customer spending money in their brand and their games will start to be slightly less pirated than they used to. This might also define where my gaming future lies, which is quite steamy at the moment.
**Last checked in Wikipedia. They added my country to that list since then.
The opinions expressed here does not necessarily reflect the views of Game Revolution, but we believe it's worthy of being featured on our site. This article has been lightly edited for grammar and image inclusion (the author supplied the links to the images). It has been submitted for our monthly Vox Pop competition. You can find more Vox Pop articles here. ~Ed. Nick
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On boot licking Game Revolution's site
Posted on Monday, August 27 2012 @ 10:53:12 Eastern
This member blog post was promoted to the GameRevolution homepage.
Just when the gaming world had been stale for the last couple of months, Game Revolution comes rocketing through the horizon like a... rocket-fueled flying squirrel to daze us with a new interface. At least that's what I like to believe.
Unfortunately, there are things that are bothersome. First, there's still the inability to edit your comment once it has been posted, and the spam filter which erases the reply option when it tells you that your message is too short, which leads you to posting a comment in the wrong place. Having the ability to edit your comment shortly after posting a la Facebook would have been a welcomed addition.
Then there's the beaten-to-death but functional problem with the background. I don't care or want a dark background because it's aesthetic or cool; my reason can be explained using Maddox's words: “...it's easier on the eyes than staring at a white screen... your monitor is not a piece of paper, no matter how hard you try to make it one. Staring at a white background while you read is like staring at a light bulb... Would you stare at a light bulb for hours at a time?”
Don't get me wrong, I understand the constraints or care you GR might have had for my issues, but I say: Bring the old site back!
There's much to love here. The interface is clean and simple enough. Every button and article space is bigger but has more details and picture size, and together with the four big article images below the header it adds to the appeal of the site, even if the comment counter is not all that precise sometimes. The Vox Populi article is better placed as an always-visible 4th item in the ALL list, and the filter options are well thought-out.
Also, let's not forget the Ribbon. Is it as unnecessary as the one in some MS software? In a word, no. This one is excellent. It does you a favor in putting the newest and most relevant stuff on the spot, which is a way of leading you to the things you might be interested in without even asking, and also the Home button, a nice touch. In contrast to the other ribbon, the headers are not arbitrary.
And what I like the most about that ribbon is Community. It gives people a hub to GR member's words either in the forum, the member reviews section (so unnoticed before), and the Vox Populi article. It exposes the user-created content in a way you are more likely to explore.
Overall, I like this overhaul—it makes the site more lively, a nicer place to be and spend time in, and when the AAA-game overload comes it will help to keep up with all that it brings in a tidier way. I enjoy coming to the site more than before. Thank you, Game Revolution.
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On broken promises and petitions
Posted on Monday, August 20 2012 @ 19:28:21 Eastern
I have become very selective when I buy games.
Back in the day when I was in school, I would play whatever I saw as a good game. I almost didn't read reviews and if my buddy said Battletoads for SNES was a good game then we played it. Even when I couldn't beat a level for the hundreth time I wouldn't blame the game. I played Superman 64 and I liked it because I could fly, and that's all I did for I never managed to beat the first level.
But now it's different. Time is the most important thing to me and if I choose to spend it playing games, I expect them to make me feel good. Not only that, but I also don't have to dislike the publisher of a game to buy it.
That is why I don't see myself buying something from Activision, EA or Capcom in the near future, or buying a new game from Bethesda. I don't trust the former will give me a game worth its price and I think the latter will deliver an excellent one after fixing it with post-launch stuff. I believe that publishers should release games that are pretty complete or polished on Day 1.
That is why when I heard about Dark Souls: PC Edition, I decided I would buy it on day one. I even signed the petition. I liked the game when I played it in my PS3, I liked that I got the Collector's Edition for no extra charge, and if Skyrim went from something good on consoles to something great on the PC, I expected the same to happen to Dark Souls. I was excited and ready to drop US$40 on it.
But I am not going to buy it this month, and maybe not next month, perhaps I will never buy it even though I signed the petition that brought it to PC. Even though this version has extra content and some interesting features. And there are two good reasons for that.
The first one is that I cannot buy it. Literally, as long as I live in my “region”, I cannot. Steam graciously sends me a message saying it is “unavailable in your region” when I access its page. I understand there must be a reason to why they would do this, maybe they decided I was not worthy when I put the game in my wishlist. I don't think I should blame Steam though. I have a nice collection of Steam and Valve games which I enjoy and payed in full, so I don't think I'm a bad customer. So there must be another reason.
The publisher? Makes sense, Steam allows developers and publishers to change prices and restrict game availability depending on the user's location. Why Namco-Bandai would do that and not see how it would affect sales baffles me. I understand I am just one person and my region may not be responsible for most of a game's sales and maybe it is for most of the pirated downloads, but still. I think that is not the real problem, and this is when my second reason kicks in.
Jonathan Leack was the one who made me aware of it (Thanks!), here:
I think NAMCO (not From Software) didn't care enough for the PC version of this fantastic game. They saw they had a market for it, added some content, glued the thing so that it would boot from a computer and announced a release date. You can tell it was not a thoroughly thought effort. The evidence was eventually going to be discovered, Eurogamer just did us the favor of doing it for us.
That is why they chose Games for Windows Live to “handle all the online elements of the game, such as the bloodstains, messages and PvP battles...” and achievements. (according to Eurogamer)
They could have done something to remedy this like having a Steam-only version of this edition, but seeing that they didn't, that leaves us gamers with GFWL to deal with if we want to play this game, or should I say if You want to play it and are fortunate enough to live in one of the 35 countries its service supports?
What I'm trying to say is that not everyone does what he says he will do, and even unwillingly your bona fide actions can have negative consequences. Those negative consequences may end up breaking ties with a friend, a family member, or a customer temporarily, or if you want to be dramatic, forever.
I still trust in Namco-Bandai and especially From Software, but I bid farewell to you Dark Souls, for Namco has failed, and so we must not meet again until I decide to grab a PS3 controller. In the meantime I will be playing Counter-Strike:GO. Bye.
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Posted on Wednesday, August 15 2012 @ 23:19:00 Eastern
*This girl looks a bit too young.*
*Good, she hasn't disconnected yet.*
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On winning a contest
Posted on Friday, June 22 2012 @ 00:38:08 Eastern
We all love contests. They give us a chance to try to win something for free by doing anything we would probably have done anyway, and they just require us to send some information by mail or make a phone call. But th... read more...
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