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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:
http://www.gamerevolution.com/news/dark-souls-prepare-to-die-edition-is-a-lazy-port-14479

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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