Self piracy

Video Games Comments Off
Sep 162011

Why allow others to pirate your game, when you can pirate it yourself and pick up sales in the process? tinyBuild Games has found success in uploading its new game, No Time To Explain, to the Pirate’s Bay. [...] The game has a unique feature that the full-fledged normal version does not: all of its characters wear pirate hats in-game, along with an ever-present pirate theme. [...] “You can’t really stop piracy, all you can do is make it work for you and/or provide something that people actually want to pay for. For us this is humor, we like making [... read the rest ...]

It’s way too early to declare that AAA gaming is dead or even dying, but as Bill Harris points out, there’s an unappealing aroma emanating from that corner of the market: Would I rather buy one $59 game or 20 mobile games? With almost no exceptions, I’d rather have a mobile games. They fit into my 10-minute lifestyle really well, and I can start them up in 5 seconds. I was slow to jump on this train, but Chris Kohler was right: this is absolutely the elephant in the room for Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft. Sorry, the market just isn’t [... read the rest ...]

There are a lot of reasons to avoid shopping at GameStop, or their affiliate EB Games:  they rip off gamers with their used game pricing, they stock very few copies of PC games, they push terrible warranties onto unsuspecting / less savvy consumers, and they pre-open all of their new games just to name a few.  But now they’ve managed to sink to a whole new low:   OnLive and Square Enix announced yesterday that as an extra incentive for gamers who couldn’t quite bring themselves to pull the trigger on the new Deus Ex release, all boxed copies of [... read the rest ...]

3DS price drop and the race to the bottom

Having recently ponied up the full price for a brand new 3DS, it would be easy to rant and rave when, less than a month later, Nintendo moved to slash the price by nearly a third, from $250 down to $170. Of course, I knew going in that I was buying high and that the price would be slashed eventually, but who could have predicted that the move would come so soon? Slow sales of their latest handheld are the stated reason for the unprecedented and aggressive price action by the normally-stoic gaming giant – less than a million units [... read the rest ...]

Further to last week’s worrying article about the fate of mid-sized games, Bill Harris explains why major publishers are aiming for All Blockbusters All The Time. First,  the single-player campaigns of most games aren’t even games anymore–they’re movies. Wonder why the single-player campaign of your favorite FPS only lasts six hours? It’s because it’s incredibly difficult to make a six-hour movie, let alone something longer. Really, it’s probably more accurate to say that instead of movies, games are like the old mine cart amusement park ride. You get on the cart, it goes forward on rails, and surprising things pop out [... read the rest ...]

Rampant Games is concerned about the hyper-polarization of the gaming industry: On the one end, you’ve got the mainstream games, which continue to grow unsustainably bigger with higher production values, and adapt by basically become more and more generic to appeal to “everybody.” Their ravenous budgets demand more and more customer dollars. [...] On the flip side, you’ve got the “race to the bottom” with indie games, chasing the extremely low price point which, perversely, requires a similar attitude: You have to sell an awful lot of games in order to be profitable if it’s only $1.99 or so. And [... read the rest ...]

A good delay

Gamers usually gnash their teeth and wail at the moon when a popular game is delayed, however I couldn’t be happier with the news that Bioware is pushing Mass Effect 3 into the first quarter of 2012: Mass Effect 3 will be released in the first three months of 2012. The development team is laser focused on making sure Mass Effect 3 is the biggest, boldest and best game in the series, ensuring that it exceeds everyone’s expectations.” – Casey Hudson, Executive Producer Mass Effect series Bioware has been shoveling games out the door at an alarming rate, and the [... read the rest ...]

Privacy, schmivacy

It’s no secret that I believe that Apple is a crappy company that does not deserve it’s user base, however they’ve truly outdone themselves this time, as detailed on Ars Technica:  How Apple tracks your location without consent, and why is matters. Two security researchers have discovered a simple way to map out where you’ve been almost anywhere in the world—without any hacking involved. The information comes from a location cache file found within your iPhone’s backups on your Mac or PC, bringing out serious privacy concerns and opening the door for a jealous spouse, thief, or even a crafty [... read the rest ...]

Here’s some food for thought: “I can’t think of anything more exploitative than gating all of your content behind having to pay someone $60. That’s a really harsh business model if you think about it objectively. What we do is enable everyone to play the game, and figure out if they like it. If they don’t like it they can walk away and they don’t lose anything.” Granted, the guy who said it – Ben Cousins – is the head of Easy Studios, a free to play developer, and so extremely biased…. but it makes for a great sound bite [... read the rest ...]

In the magical fairy tale land that video games (and, for that matter, music) industry execs live in, every instance of a pirated title is equivalent to one lost sale.  They trot out this canard like clockwork every time that they need to justify a new and even more draconian form of DRM to hobble legitimate buyers while never actually impacting pirates in the slightest. But wait, could it be that there is a positive benefit to piracy.  Could software thieves actually contribute to sales: Indie developer Daniel Amitay credits piracy with a doubling of sales (thanks to The Escapist). [... read the rest ...]

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