Jimquisition: Welcoming A Digital Future

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Welcoming A Digital Future

The idea of a "digital era" is something that gets major publishers wet between the legs, and whatever dampens their pants should turn ours brown. However, the future might not be as scary as it sounds on paper, and an age of digital distribution might not be quite so publisher-led as the companies in charge think it'll be. It might be the best thing to have happened to gamers and game makers. It might destroy the middle man entirely.

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You just had to mention Dungeon Keeper. *sigh*

WHOOO NEW OPENING pretty sweet jim

Oh I do miss Dungeon Keeper...

Sorry, Jim, but it isn't quite that simple. A fully digital future is a dire one indeed, because I doubt that even in fifty years, the entire world will have access to an internet that allows them to download gigabytes upon gigabytes. Or to hardware that will store that amount. Cloud gaming? Again, requires a good internet and constant internet connection. As it stands, gaming will have to go the way of music where the market is half hard copy and half digital. That is a good future.

I don't understand something. Why developers can develope games on their own to be published digitally but cant develope a game on their own to be distributed physically by a publisher, pay them for that and keep the IP?

RoseArch:
Sorry, Jim, but it isn't quite that simple. A fully digital future is a dire one indeed, because I doubt that even in fifty years, the entire world will have access to an internet that allows them to download gigabytes upon gigabytes. Or to hardware that will store that amount. Cloud gaming? Again, requires a good internet and constant internet connection. As it stands, gaming will have to go the way of music where the market is half hard copy and half digital. That is a good future.

If you don't think that we will have that kind of computer science in 50 years you obviously have no idea how much advancement we have made in the last 50.

as an example this is what we had 50 years ago

you want to know what can out compute that?

We have come a long way, in 50 years we would likely not even recognize what the fuck was going on if we were able to look at it today.

Issue: What about console sources? If the major hardware companies go digital only we will pretty much have prices dictated to you. Frankly, who the fuck wants to pay 55 for Bodycount because the publisher said so and SCEE don't give a fuck about us?

EDIT: Before I'm told to get a PC instead, I simply can't afford to get my PC up to snuff and won't be able to for a good 3 or 4 years. So yeah.

We need this to prevent assholes from making 50 copies of the game, then 3rd party sellers can sell it for double or triple what they payed for.

I'm looking at you, Nintendo, pre-PS2 Square, pre-Disgaea Atlus and Capcom.

Anyone else starting to worry that, if thing go 100% digital, publishers are going to start blaming indie games/gamers for loss of sales rather than game stores? I wouldn't put such a leap in logic past some of them...

esperandote:
I don't understand something. Why developers can develope games on their own to be published digitally but cant develope a game on their own to be distributed physically by a publisher, pay them for that and keep the IP?

Publishers don't care about what you've done, unless it can guarantee them money. The only people who can keep rights to their own games are real big shots. Names like Sid Meier, Richard Garriott, John Romero. Those guys can keep their rights. The publishers want the IPs so they can have you by the balls.

Jim did an episode on this a few weeks ago. http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/jimquisition/5268-Piracy-Episode-One-Copyright

Dungeon Keeper's developer is not the only developer EA has ruined or is ruining at this moment.

J-meMalone:
Anyone else starting to worry that, if thing go 100% digital, publishers are going to start blaming indie games/gamers for loss of sales rather than game stores? I wouldn't put such a leap in logic past some of them...

They'll blame anything that isn't themselves for why their sales numbers drop. See also, the music industry.

The music industry puts out worse and worse music every year, and they still can't say "we put out nothing but shit and wonder why nobody buys our music".

I do love this particular hair, suit and sunglasses combo

This gave me a dark feeling why EA, Sony, and the big boys really want SOPA to pass. Indie games thrive on the viral nature of the internet, just look at all of the Let's Play series out there. Now if that fan based promotional tool was taken away by something like SOPA it could crush the viral exposure that an indie developer needs to get noticed. And then presto the major developer becomes an indie developers only option if they want their game to see the light of day.

But indie developers don't have to stop letting fans make movies of their games if they don't want to. YES they do, just look at the lawsuit between Bethseda and Mojang over the name Scrolls. Bethseda had to defend their IP in court or else it could lose all future claims to in the future, even if the two were not related in the slightest, besides both being games. What that could mean under SOPA is that if an indie developer doesn't order a sight to stop playing LP videos of their game, then that could legally mean that they are abandoning their copyright of the game.

I'm not a legal expert by any means, Jim's video this week highlights the fears and power of the major developer and they are unlikely to give up that power without a fight. It's not just about piracy it's about control of distribution.

Aircross:
Dungeon Keeper's developer is not the only developer EA has ruined or is ruining at this moment.

I'm trying to figure out how many developers they're currently in the process of all but destroying.

Origin - Known for both the Wing Commander and Ultima series
EA Black Box(Formerly Black Box games) - Some Skate and Need for Speed games. This is very recent
Bullfrog - This is where Dungeon Keeper came from. They also unleashed Peter Molyneaux because of this.
Kesmai - Pretty much nothing anyone will remember, because they were owned and basically buried by AOL, then sold to EA, then closed off.
Pandemic - Destroy All Humans, Mercenaries, and a few other titles.

I'm sure with enough digging, we could probably find about 100 or so basically dead IPs for EA, and as many, if not more for Activision.

Anyone else catch Jim playing a vita at the end?

esperandote:
I don't understand something. Why developers can develope games on their own to be published digitally but cant develope a game on their own to be distributed physically by a publisher, pay them for that and keep the IP?

Hiring a CD and box-making factory costs money.
Shipping your product costs money.
Paying the retail stores their cut costs money.

None of this is cheap, and most indies simply don't have the resources to get it done. Which means they need to trade what they have (ownership of their IP) to get the publishing company to risk using these resources without it getting paid back.

But even if the retail companies could pay for all of that, there's still one more reason. Retail stores have limited shelf space. They need to see stock move. If stock doesn't move, that makes it less likely that the retail store will bother purchasing the next offering from that publisher. Developing the relationship with the retail stores so that they'll devote some of that limited shelf space to your products in particular costs money and time.

So when a publisher takes on an unknown developer it's a risk. If the game doesn't sell well it hurts their chances of getting their next product picked up. For a big enough publisher, a single bad seller isn't going to make a lot of difference, but a string of them will. So to compensate for that risk, they ask for something extra.. your IP.. that way if you have a big hit, they know they'll get to sell the next one as well. For that kind of payoff they're willing to take the risk of a little damage to their retail relationships.

vxicepickxv:

Aircross:
Dungeon Keeper's developer is not the only developer EA has ruined or is ruining at this moment.

I'm trying to figure out how many developers they're currently in the process of all but destroying.

Origin - Known for both the Wing Commander and Ultima series
EA Black Box(Formerly Black Box games) - Some Skate and Need for Speed games. This is very recent
Bullfrog - This is where Dungeon Keeper came from. They also unleashed Peter Molyneaux because of this.
Kesmai - Pretty much nothing anyone will remember, because they were owned and basically buried by AOL, then sold to EA, then closed off.
Pandemic - Destroy All Humans, Mercenaries, and a few other titles.

I'm sure with enough digging, we could probably find about 100 or so basically dead IPs for EA, and as many, if not more for Activision.

There's also Westwood. Makers of Command and Conquer. EA bought them, gutted them, kept their IP to profit off with shit like...

And if you want to go the Activision route... well there's this little number.

image

J-meMalone:
Anyone else starting to worry that, if thing go 100% digital, publishers are going to start blaming indie games/gamers for loss of sales rather than game stores? I wouldn't put such a leap in logic past some of them...

Well if they did, why would it be something to worry about? It's not like they'll be able to stop indies.

My Steam library dwarfs my physical collection and cost me significantly less per game.

For me, the digital age is already here and it is good.

Digital distribution will be the biggest con ever. Even now with downloadable games, music and books they are still sold at a high cost. Even without the cost of packaging and sending copies to stores, the costs of a digital album is only a few pounds cheaper than physical copy and with popular albums/games/books will always be sold expensive digitally. Because they will sell.

Yes it will enable new artists or companies to release there own games are music independently straight to the consumer and return most of the profit. But overall it wont change prices for AAA titles.

Hopefully im wrong.

J-meMalone:
Anyone else starting to worry that, if thing go 100% digital, publishers are going to start blaming indie games/gamers for loss of sales rather than game stores? I wouldn't put such a leap in logic past some of them...

How would that be a problem? I imagine even they would have a hard time making it a felony to play or make indie games.

Zhukov:
My Steam library dwarfs my physical collection and cost me significantly less per game.

For me, the digital age is already here and it is good.

Yeah, I've got to say I too have jumped of the physical bandwagon. I love the digital era.

Although I can't find any fault with the logic in this episode it does have the Jimquisition thing of being a tad one sided.

Digital distribution will take over and be better for the little guys as well as screwing the big bullyboy companies but it will also mean the end of the trade in market which. If handled poorly this will in turn seriously damage the market in the short term and potentially kill of the console market; if a developer has the option of putting a game on XBLA and jumping through Microsofts hoops or putting it on Steam (or their own website) and getting a hassle free distribution it doesn't take a genius to see where they are going to release it.

Now, whether the death of the console market and the rise of the PC to the position of the preeminent gaming platform is a bad thing, well that's a completely different discussion.

Irridium:

vxicepickxv:

Aircross:
Dungeon Keeper's developer is not the only developer EA has ruined or is ruining at this moment.

I'm trying to figure out how many developers they're currently in the process of all but destroying.

Origin - Known for both the Wing Commander and Ultima series
EA Black Box(Formerly Black Box games) - Some Skate and Need for Speed games. This is very recent
Bullfrog - This is where Dungeon Keeper came from. They also unleashed Peter Molyneaux because of this.
Kesmai - Pretty much nothing anyone will remember, because they were owned and basically buried by AOL, then sold to EA, then closed off.
Pandemic - Destroy All Humans, Mercenaries, and a few other titles.

I'm sure with enough digging, we could probably find about 100 or so basically dead IPs for EA, and as many, if not more for Activision.

There's also Westwood. Makers of Command and Conquer. EA bought them, gutted them, kept their IP to profit off with shit like...

And if you want to go the Activision route... well there's this little number.

image

You know, I wonder if Jim started a Metal Arms rebirth the other week. If Psychonauts and Beyond Good & Evil can be brought back into the conversation, I hope Metal Arms can be, too.

SonOfVoorhees:
Digital distribution will be the biggest con ever. Even now with downloadable games, music and books they are still sold at a high cost. Even without the cost of packaging and sending copies to stores, the costs of a digital album is only a few pounds cheaper than physical copy and with popular albums/games/books will always be sold expensive digitally. Because they will sell.

Yes it will enable new artists or companies to release there own games are music independently straight to the consumer and return most of the profit. But overall it wont change prices for AAA titles.

Hopefully im wrong.

What you are missing is that more and more music artists won't be tied to a recording label that will dictate the price of an album. Instead we will see more things like the app store where a developer submits directly to Apple and sets terms and prices with it. Or music artists will release music directly from their own website, giving people sliding scale pricing: $x.xx for a standard MP3, $x more for a FLAC or whatever the du jour lossless format is and then a few dollars more to have a CD, or even vinyl, printed and shipped.

The age of the recording label is coming to an end and they will be less and less important as people realize they can create and publish without a middle man driving up costs and sucking up profits.

You do know that their are legitimate reason that pure digital distribution is not viable now, and most likely not for a long time.

Only 30% of Americans have access to broadband (From slow to fast broadband), 40% have 56K-DSL, and the remaining 30% have not internet access at all.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-10454133-94.html

This article is admittedly about 2 years old, but I think the next article about this topic will be out in maybe 3 years.

However the big problem for many people have is that their broadband has caps that prohibit large games being downloaded. For example one of the options for relatively inexpensive broadband in my area is to have a 5GB monthly cap (Still $60.00 a month) for downloads/uploads. Until these issues are dealt with (some I do not see happening for a very long time, it isn't feasible to go to pure digital only any time soon).

SkarKrow:
Issue: What about console sources? If the major hardware companies go digital only we will pretty much have prices dictated to you. Frankly, who the fuck wants to pay 55 for Bodycount because the publisher said so and SCEE don't give a fuck about us?

EDIT: Before I'm told to get a PC instead, I simply can't afford to get my PC up to snuff and won't be able to for a good 3 or 4 years. So yeah.

I see so many people say this "It's too expensive" yet they go pay 40-60 on some console game every month or so. Where as on PC, I scoff at the idea of paying 20 for a game, let alone 40. Seriously, in the long run you save so much, and you will get more out of your games because the communities tend to last longer on PC.

OT: Yea, I've been saying this for years, soon as I discovered steam, digital distribution is the only way forward. Sure people will whine about wanting hard copies to collect, but last time I checked you can still buy hard copy CDs for albums, even though they're also on iTunes.

Anything that increases the speed of obsolescence of big publishers is a good thing. In the internet era there no longer a need for parasitic middle men between creators and fans.

Every executive and I'll go as far as to say shareholder in a big publishing company is nothing but a leech on the creative process.

Indie, self published only for the win.

And thanks for giving Divine Cybermancy more screen time, that game deserves way more attention than it has gotten.

Elate:

OT: Yea, I've been saying this for years, soon as I discovered steam, digital distribution is the only way forward. Sure people will whine about wanting hard copies to collect, but last time I checked you can still buy hard copy CDs for albums, even though they're also on iTunes.

I think the reason people whine about this (legitimate I think) is that even with a hard copy you HAVE to register your game with Steam or Origin or whatever digital distribution outlet their is.

esperandote:
I don't understand something. Why developers can develope games on their own to be published digitally but cant develope a game on their own to be distributed physically by a publisher, pay them for that and keep the IP?

Because the manufacture and distribution of physical media is expensive.

FelixG:

RoseArch:
Sorry, Jim, but it isn't quite that simple. A fully digital future is a dire one indeed, because I doubt that even in fifty years, the entire world will have access to an internet that allows them to download gigabytes upon gigabytes. Or to hardware that will store that amount. Cloud gaming? Again, requires a good internet and constant internet connection. As it stands, gaming will have to go the way of music where the market is half hard copy and half digital. That is a good future.

If you don't think that we will have that kind of computer science in 50 years you obviously have no idea how much advancement we have made in the last 50.

as an example this is what we had 50 years ago

you want to know what can out compute that?

We have come a long way, in 50 years we would likely not even recognize what the fuck was going on if we were able to look at it today.

We are approaching the end of increasing computer power now and will probably max it inside the decade.

An example of a technology dead end you say? in atmosphere manned flight speed.

1903 wright brothers first powered manned flight speed 6.82mph

1967 North American X-15 4,519mph

64 years difference between the two and yet 45 years later NO progress.

Ickabod:
This gave me a dark feeling why EA, Sony, and the big boys really want SOPA to pass. Indie games thrive on the viral nature of the internet, just look at all of the Let's Play series out there. Now if that fan based promotional tool was taken away by something like SOPA it could crush the viral exposure that an indie developer needs to get noticed. And then presto the major developer becomes an indie developers only option if they want their game to see the light of day.

But indie developers don't have to stop letting fans make movies of their games if they don't want to. YES they do, just look at the lawsuit between Bethseda and Mojang over the name Scrolls. Bethseda had to defend their IP in court or else it could lose all future claims to in the future, even if the two were not related in the slightest, besides both being games. What that could mean under SOPA is that if an indie developer doesn't order a sight to stop playing LP videos of their game, then that could legally mean that they are abandoning their copyright of the game.

I'm not a legal expert by any means, Jim's video this week highlights the fears and power of the major developer and they are unlikely to give up that power without a fight. It's not just about piracy it's about control of distribution.

Well yes, this is one of the reasons why SOPA was so broadly welcomed by big publishing companies. The internet provides little studios to promote their games without big marketing budgets. One example are series like "WTF is..." form TotalBiscuit. He provides a free way for indie devs to promote their games and it has a giant impact on sales (one developing studio did a nice picture of the amount of people playing a game before and after such a video). Also, the internet gives people also the possibility to openly say that a game sucks ass. And in many cases they can't do jack.

Yopaz:

Zhukov:
My Steam library dwarfs my physical collection and cost me significantly less per game.

For me, the digital age is already here and it is good.

Yeah, I've got to say I too have jumped of the physical bandwagon. I love the digital era.

Same here, plus digital distribution has been the only way to get some of my favorite games of recent.

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