Jimquisition: Previewed, Preordered, Prescrewed

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The only game I preordered in the recent years was Orcs Must Die 2. I'll be damned if I ever preorder an AAA title. Seriously.

I almost never pre-order games. I see no point in taking a risk like that on something I can't return.

Damn right Jim! The only reason this video didn't inspire me to cancel a bunch of preorders is because I already saw TotalBiscuit's video and that's when I canceled all my preorders.

Except for GTA V because it's fucking Rockstar. They didn't fuck us over with GTA IV, they didn't fuck us over with Red Dead Redemption, and they didn't fuck us over with LA Noire (okay, this one had a season pass, but it was reasonably priced and we knew what the content was when we paid for it, it wasn't this new season pass shit where they only tell you how many packs you get and not a damn thing about said packs. season passes didn't even last long as a decent thing before other publishers ruined them, did they?).

Some of those games I had preordered I don't expect much out of anyway. Why did I preorder The Last of Us? Why did I preorder Killzone Mercenaries? Why did I preorder Gears of War Judgement? I'm expecting them all to be shit and preordered them anyway in the hopes that they won't be shit?! WHY?! I am ashamed that some random guy on YouTube had to point out to me how fucking stupid it is.

...Oh and I think I kept Pikmin 3 as well because it's fucking Nintendo. Say what you like about teh marioz, but Nintendo has never buttfucked me with online passes, DRM, unfair DLC, and flat-out lying to customers like Gearbox did recently and EA did with BF3's release (you PS3 owners enjoying your free copies of BF1943? No? EA didn't fulfill that promise and didn't tell anyone they weren't going to until after everyone bought the game and wanted to know where their bonus was?). The worst thing Nintendo's ever really done is delay games an awful lot and overcharge for the 3DS, resulting in a price drop with a really really REALLY crap "sorry, here's some shit NES and GBA games" apology to try and make up for the fact that early adopters wasted $80 and had nothing to play between launch and the price drop, but the latter is a reason not to preorder new hardware anymore, not new games.

I don't remember anyone complaining about Dragon Age: Origins extremely misleading trailer... Why wasn't that there instead of clips of DNF?

Korten12:

SkarKrow:

Saviordd1:
Mass Effect 3 is what got me out of preordering games, this just confirms it for more people.

I honestly hope people take this to heart and don't preorder games based on previews or brand recogn....

image

So much for that idea.

I'm not pre-ordering BioShock Infinite > > I made that mistake with BioShock 2 and was grossly disappointed, even though it isn't bad at all.

I liked Bioshock 2, but Bioshock 1 and Infinite are made by Irrational Games. Bioshock 2 was made by various studios, not including Irrational games.

I'm still gonna wait until a couple months after launch when the price drops a bit more into my affordable range, and see how the reception is for it. It looks great but things have looked great before.

Stopped Pre-Ordering a long time ago. I personally don't see the point. It's not like you will be getting it years before anyone else. And the "Exclusive" content usually comes out as a DLC after a month or so.

The one thing I will say about season passes, is that you can wait until all the content is released then buy it at the season pass price if you still want it. Because they don't seem to disappear from the market place, it's what I'm doing for Borderlands 2.

We usually get games a few days later in my country, so I can cancel a pre-order if it turns out to be soooo universally bad it's not funny. But with Aliens: CM there was a silence on reviews until after release, so I couldn't do that. That said, I am still okay with what I paid for the collectors edition, I really wanted the statue and I got a really great deal on the game anyway (Managed to get it for less then a standard copy cost) but still, I have been more wary in recent times due to practices like this.

As a long standing rule of thumb, I wait until the game is $30 and under before I buy it. Hell I waited until Dark Souls only cost me $12 before I played it.

But....

Because I have loved all the Ninja Gaiden games since the NES, I decided to pre-order Ninja Gaiden III. What a piece of crap.

Lesson learned, again. =(

Is this stuff even legal? Take Colonial Marines for example. The demo showcased literally showed something different from what was delivered. Gearbox was selling this lie through pre-orders. That sounds like fraud to me. It's like selling someone a red car but delivering a black car to them.

The only developers that I absolutely trust are Ice-Pick Lodge and ACE Team. Neither of them take pre-orders. They have enough faith in their own games to sell them when they exist. A developer who takes pre-orders is saying that they don't trust their games to succeed purely on their own merits.

Fuck it, Jim nails it again. Ive been guilty of some preorders in the past that were underwhelming, Resident Evil 6 springs to mind, ive had some good ones too but nowadays i'm gonna hold back until its out before i order.

Unless its a Tales game ofc...

Minjen:
No SpaceBalls joke?!.. With that image?!!..

Don't worry, Angry Joe nailed that joke!


(2:07 for the clip, although it is a great review)

OT: I only preorder games I know I will love, last game I pre-ordered was Persona 4 Golden, but I knew I would love it because I already played Persona 4, the game before that was Soul Caliber V, boy was that a mistake.

I may pre-order in the future, from developers who haven't disappointed me, such as Rockstar, Bethesda and possibly Atlus (although they don't do shit in Europe)

So am I the only one who has never been burnt hard about a game he was hyped for? Seriously the closest I've ever had was god of war 3.

This is a small thing that really has nothing to do with the points being made, and I agree with everything Jim said, but I'm going to nitpick... when you said "I don't pay for my meal before I eat it," well... you do a lot of the time. Take out, ordering food like pizza, and other fast food are all about paying for it before you actually consume it. Only in restaurants do you pay after. Has nothing to do or has no effect on the message, but yeah, I wanted to be an ass about it.

Jimothy Sterling:
I don't pay for a meal before I've eaten it.

Really?

You've never been to a fast food restaurant?
You've never been to a bistro, cafeteria or smorgasbord that has up-front payment?
You've never been to a fine dining restaurant with a large group from work (or wherever), where you order from a pre-set menu and pay up-front?
You've never been to a wedding?
You've never been to a supermarket to buy ingredients to cook your own meal?

There are countless situations where you pay for food up-front. That doesn't excuse the completely stupid practice of pre-ordering games, but it's a completely nonsensical statement.

Also, does this position also apply to the Kickstarter funding of games, Jim? That's a kind of pre-order with even less certainty, where you may not even receive any product.

RaikuFA:
Sorry, I'm gonna still preorder stuff.

Though most of the stuff I preorder is niche games that if I don't get now, I'll have to buy from a scalper for double in a week.

Plus, the games I've preordered are from Japan, theres already videos of the final product but in moonspeak.

I'm in the same boat. 90% of what I pre-order is out of NIS, Atlus, XSeed, Aksys and Namco. Every single one of those games has been out in Japan for at least 3 months before it makes landfall on US shores. I know every single detail about the game months before I actually pay for it. Hell, I could watch a youtube playthrough of half of them if I wanted. The text wouldn't make a lick of sense, but I'd see how it plays and have some feedback from the player.

I also think Japanese developers are a lot more honest and open with their product. Even non-niche stuff like Metal Gear Rising, which I also pre-ordered, has gotten tons of video and coverage of what is obviously actual gameplay from all over the game.

That isn't to say all of them show at least some semblance of integrity. Square Enix has been incredibly duplicitous this generation with the fake gameplay footage of FF13 before it launched and the over-priced, shitty DLC for 13-2. Then again, Square Enix is basically Japan's EA/Activision. Konami's been kinda iffy to, but not nearly as bad as some.

Legion:

GonzoGamer:

Legion:
I completely agree with this one, but the sad thing is that there will be so many who don't. Who for some bizarre reason think you can't "really be a fan" unless you take everything they say/promise as Gospel. Or if you do point out that they are doing anything wrong you will be told that you are "Just trying to be cynical/edgy."

I am not sure why gaming seems to be exempt from so many basic consumer rights and advertising laws to be honest. Or why people seem to think that it's okay to be like that.

"Cynical/edgy?" Well at least they're not calling me "entitled" anymore whatever that ended up meaning.

Maybe that's old school, but back when I started on here, they were the current negative buzz words. I think that was partially due to MaxTheReaper being a self proclaimed sociopath though...

Now it's all about the entitlement and whining, which was actually more relevant to what I said I guess. People think you are acting entitled if you expect a game to be released without any major bugs in them. Or if you expect characters that would have once been unlocked by beating the game on the disc rather than a DLC you have to pay for.

Exactly. I realized that many gamers had no idea what "entitled" meant when I was complaining about New Vegas constantly crashing my ps3. If I pay $60 for a game, I AM actually "entitled" to a complete game that works... or in the case of Aliens, the game that was advertised.

MopBox:
I usually keep my buying habits about twelve months behind the release curve for this very reason. If you buy a game that's already a year old they're practically throwing the dlc content at you for free.

Wish I knew what games you were playing. There's a few 2009-2010 PS3 games I got recently and the DLC is still full price. Lords of Shadow being the most grevious example - game cost me $17 new, the DLC packs are $9.99 each and last all of an hour each. Buying 2hrs of DLC would cost me more than the 8hr game.

Jimothy Sterling:
Previewed, Preordered, Prescrewed

Preorder culture expects gamers to trust developers more than ever, but how does that work when they inspire so little faith?

Watch Video

It has always amazed me that this industry, in particular, has been the one to get away with pre-orders, given that it's one of the few industries that provides nearly no way to get a refund if you're dissatisfied. If I 'pre-order' a car (down payment on a special order), and the car arrives and is crap, I can hand the keys back before I leave the parking lot -- and if I bring it home and then it begins to suck, lemon laws can protect me.

But games? Buy it, hate it, and they'll hit you with "caveat emptor" bullshit. YOU should have done YOUR research, and then YOU would have known the game wasn't what YOU wanted. No refund. No partial credit. Nothing. And then, on top of this, they are constantly shilling to get your money before the product even exists yet, when there is no flippin' way you could possibly even do the aforementioned research?

Really, all we can do is stop preordering. Of course, that will also hurt brick-and-mortar stores who use preorders to determine how many copies of a game they should order, but middlemen are (by definition) going to get caught in the middle. I'd love to see a movement in which people preorder a game in massive numbers and then withdraw those preorders at the last minute for a refund, but I know it would just hurt my local Gamestop employee more than it would any publisher.

I'm not just upset that this happens because people waste money on bad products. I'm upset that we've even allowed this practice at all, let alone for so long. If I walk up to you today, and I say, "Hey, I have a box that contains the greatest things of all time... and it's only $60, but you have to pay me and let me walk away with your money before you're allowed to open it, at which point you can't have a refund," what would your response be?

Even if I was your best friend, you'd take it as a joke and tell me to cram it. The premise itself is entirely suspicious in appearance. It is full of disclaimers and maneuvering to give the publisher all of the security, and the buyer all of the remorse.

GAunderrated:

Milanezi:

Mr Cwtchy:
I see Jim's point, but that still isn't going to stop me from pre-ordering Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs if the opportunity arises.

Sorry if that makes me a 'moron', guys. I'll just go sit in the corner with the dunce hat.

Not at all I guess: Amnesia proved itself with the first game.

That was actually one of the points I believe Jim was trying to make is that just because the developer made one or so good games doesn't mean that they wont still screw you over with another game so don't give them your money until you can see a final product.

Borderlands 1,2, and hell even gearbox were a refreshing bunch and as for Aliens CM, everything beforehand looked so good and gearbox had a great track record so no one had ANY reason to doubt them...until they got the final product. That is the point. Stop giving companies money before they give you a product.

I'm honestly just tired of seeing all these scams like Aliens:CM, TheWarZ, and now season passes because people are just unable to even wait for the release date anymore to see if a game is good before throwing money at it.

Keep feeding the machine in the wrong way and you will soon not like how all they care about is promises and not content.

Edit: Yes I know the common counter argument is "well i've seen enough info to know I will like it" and with that I will say that information isn't enough anymore with all these scripted events and exaggerations. Wait for the final product, everyone wins. You get your great game, the developer gets money they earned, and shit like aliens:CM are less likely to happen again

Ok, but what about those times when you want a game, no matter what a review might say, you just gotta have it. Then it makes no difference if you re-order it or not, you picked the game anyway...

NameIsRobertPaulson:
Previous pre-orders: Disgaea 4, Final Fantasy XIII, Final Fantasy: Dissidia Duodecim, Dynasty Warriors 7, Dynasty Warriors Gundam 3, Sengoku Basara, Tactics Ogre: PSP.

Current pre-orders: Metal Gear Rising, Dynasty Warriors 7: Empires

Get the idea yet?

Many of these games wouldn't be stocked on the shelves if I had not pre-ordered a copy. The biggest exception (FFXIII) was the worst of the bunch, and my least favorite game this generation so...

With games like that, excluding FF13, we also have the benefit of the game already being released for some period of time in another country before we get it here. We can learn basically everything about the game so a bait-and-switch can't really happen.

Of course the only game on your list that had world-wide release and thus no time to really research the finish product.. was FF13. I can only imagine how bad FF13 sales would have been if it had been released in the US/EU/Etc., a few months after being released in Japan.

yellowhead:
Looks like these things aren't gonna change anytime soon.

And why should it, when people will not only scream "shut up and take my money!" but also justify a bad game. They then cannot understand why games like A:CM get through the filters when it followed the same sort of formula the games they defend do.

Jim asks us to be more discerning at a point where gamers are becoming less discerning, and as long as this happens, the gaming industry will continue to prey on it.

I have trouble even calling this predatory behaviour because we as gamers actively reward the system. Hell, it's alredy a trend to defend what Jim describes as pre-orders of pre-orders.

Milanezi:

Ok, but what about those times when you want a game, no matter what a review might say, you just gotta have it. Then it makes no difference if you re-order it or not, you picked the game anyway...

That's fine, I guess, but you're still part of the problem.

Yeah, I'm going to keep pre-ordering stuff.

Zachary Amaranth:

Milanezi:

Ok, but what about those times when you want a game, no matter what a review might say, you just gotta have it. Then it makes no difference if you re-order it or not, you picked the game anyway...

That's fine, I guess, but you're still part of the problem.

The "problem"? Exactly when did being a gamer turn into something that was so bloody cut throat? Why is everything a war now? How come I can't go out and do simple things without being a "problem?"

Dastardly:

Jimothy Sterling:
Previewed, Preordered, Prescrewed

Preorder culture expects gamers to trust developers more than ever, but how does that work when they inspire so little faith?

Watch Video

It has always amazed me that this industry, in particular, has been the one to get away with pre-orders, given that it's one of the few industries that provides nearly no way to get a refund if you're dissatisfied. If I 'pre-order' a car (down payment on a special order), and the car arrives and is crap, I can hand the keys back before I leave the parking lot -- and if I bring it home and then it begins to suck, lemon laws can protect me.

But games? Buy it, hate it, and they'll hit you with "caveat emptor" bullshit. YOU should have done YOUR research, and then YOU would have known the game wasn't what YOU wanted. No refund. No partial credit. Nothing. And then, on top of this, they are constantly shilling to get your money before the product even exists yet, when there is no flippin' way you could possibly even do the aforementioned research?

Really, all we can do is stop preordering. Of course, that will also hurt brick-and-mortar stores who use preorders to determine how many copies of a game they should order, but middlemen are (by definition) going to get caught in the middle. I'd love to see a movement in which people preorder a game in massive numbers and then withdraw those preorders at the last minute for a refund, but I know it would just hurt my local Gamestop employee more than it would any publisher.

I'm not just upset that this happens because people waste money on bad products. I'm upset that we've even allowed this practice at all, let alone for so long. If I walk up to you today, and I say, "Hey, I have a box that contains the greatest things of all time... and it's only $60, but you have to pay me and let me walk away with your money before you're allowed to open it, at which point you can't have a refund," what would your response be?

Even if I was your best friend, you'd take it as a joke and tell me to cram it. The premise itself is entirely suspicious in appearance. It is full of disclaimers and maneuvering to give the publisher all of the security, and the buyer all of the remorse.

The gaming industry is really built around guilting and duping people in to parting with their money. This is helped by gamers being incredibly complacent and narrow minded. We buy a broken game or feel exploited? No one goes to a consumer advocacy group, we yell on forums and make other pointless gestures that accomplish nothing. Then, on the rare occasions that people do use the appropriate channels like filing legal complaints, those people are branded as entitled whiners whiners and are quickly bashed and flamed.

You would think that with all the websites we have covering games, there'd be some unity and a desire to protect us from the people trying to screw us, but no. Most game sites are comfortably in the pockets of the publishers. Most of our prominent personalities are schilling and sugar coating reviews because they don't want to lose their free games and swag.

The game industry screws you, the vast majority of the people who cover it help lube you up, and the consumer just bends over and takes it more often not.

Zachary Amaranth:

Milanezi:

Ok, but what about those times when you want a game, no matter what a review might say, you just gotta have it. Then it makes no difference if you re-order it or not, you picked the game anyway...

That's fine, I guess, but you're still part of the problem.

Ehh.. I strongly disagree with that sentiment. Reviews are subjective (and often corrupted) things. I've bought many a game that despite having abysmal review scores, I knew a lot about the game and knew it was something I wanted and would enjoy. More often than not, I was right.

There is a difference between pre-ordering on blind faith (and lies) and buying something that is generally considered "bad" because it suits your interests.

The "problem" would be people buying a "bad" game but then trying to convince themselves and everyone else that it isn't bad because they had fun playing it. As I've said dozens of times before, bad and fun are not mutually exclusive, but fun does not automatically mean good.

vxicepickxv:
when I get a Bethesda product, I know it's going to be buggy.

True but so do they and it's become a good natured routine of bug hunting with the players and rollingout the patches and even leaving the more amusing bugs in the game.

Beth have always been open and prompt with communicating with their players.

Gearbox could learn a lot from them, that said I suspect they are too busy preparing fro a spanking from SEGA to worry about paying customers.

captcha: topsy turvy... Like when companies dictate to customers.

I've been taking this exact stance against pre-orders since December, when I decided Halo 4 couldn't be redeemed for 343's failures as the torch barer for the Halo franchise.

Sure, dev's make mistakes with games all the time, but Halo 4 as a whole was a travesty and I've never been burned by poor purchasing decisions so badly in my life. I pre-ordered it off of the fact that I loved each and every Halo game prior, and their amazing marketing and special bonuses enticed me further - though they didn't even apply to the UK anyway (though they didn't make it all that clear until after the game was out). My experience with Halo 4 leave me feeling like it was a fucking disaster of a game, let alone a Halo game.

Good to see this view spreading like wildfire. Lets see how many people actually do reserve themselves from making pre-orders. The only good it does is give you shitty tat, anyway.

erttheking:
How come I can't go out and do simple things without being a "problem?"

Because things in life are rarely simple or involve just you. I'm amazed I have to explain this rather simple concept to people.

A better question is "why can't you do simple things like take responsibility for positivly reinforcing a bad system?"

Hey, if you really "need" that game, that's fine. There's no sense, however, in people getting so upset when the real world applications of a financial system are called for what they are.

Sylveria:

Ehh.. I strongly disagree with that sentiment. Reviews are subjective (and often corrupted) things. I've bought many a game that despite having abysmal review scores, I knew a lot about the game and knew it was something I wanted and would enjoy. More often than not, I was right.

There is a difference between pre-ordering on blind faith (and lies) and buying something that is generally considered "bad" because it suits your interests.

The "problem" would be people buying a "bad" game but then trying to convince themselves and everyone else that it isn't bad because they had fun playing it. As I've said dozens of times before, bad and fun are not mutually exclusive, but fun does not automatically mean good.

You strongly disagree with "that" statement, but it appears "that" statement you disagree with has nothing to do with "that" post you quoted, since "that" is not what I said(going off your response).

Headdrivehardscrew:

dangoball:
Very good episode, that's why we like you Jim! And also because you are our lord and savior, of course.

Oh and that opening sequence where baseball bat and CM:A met, can someone turn it into a gif? Pretty please? :D

I am terribly sorry to burst your bubble,

but there was not baseball bat.

Look again.

Closer. See it jiggle and wiggle with bloodlust and joy.

Pause.

See? That ain't no baseball bat.

Ye gods! You speak the truth! Now it needs to become a gif even more! :D

Zachary Amaranth:

erttheking:
How come I can't go out and do simple things without being a "problem?"

Because things in life are rarely simple or involve just you. I'm amazed I have to explain this rather simple concept to people.

A better question is "why can't you do simple things like take responsibility for positivly reinforcing a bad system?"

Hey, if you really "need" that game, that's fine. There's no sense, however, in people getting so upset when the real world applications of a financial system are called for what they are.

I'll be blunt, this attitude is really starting to make me feel very...tired. Everything about being a gamer is so freaking hostile nowadays. You can't even go out and buy a game without people jumping on your back with how you're "destroying the gaming industry". Call me naive, but I remember a happier, more innocent time, where gaming was about having fun, and not waging a damn war

I pre-ordered five games this year, and out of all of them I only ended up regretting one. I'm not going to apologize for it, because you haven't sold me on it being a "bad system" yet. If I decided that I was going to pre-order a game or buy it on launch day, what would the difference be? Apart from the store possibly running out?

Yeah...I'm sorry but what are the long term ramifications of pre-ordering again? This whole thing feels like making a mountain out of a molehill.

This is pretty much why I've moved almost exclusive to "indie" games to tickle my gamer senses.

The "Triple A" titles usually suck and are full of buggy empty promises.

I did pre-order GTA5, but thats Rockstar, a Dev that has my trust to not make TOTAL shit (sure, GTA4 had some issues, but it wasn't total shit).

I understand Jim's position, and to an extent I agree with it. Publishers/Developers really should be doing more to earn my money instead of demanding it up front, and it's pretty pathetic when they lie, cheat, and literally STEAL from us. With Colonial Marines, Gearbox has literally taken the money and run. A perfectly good studio has forever shamed themselves and lost all of my respect, which caused me to quickly trade in my copy of Borderlands 2 and be quite thankful I never bought an of the DLC.

However, Duke Nukem Forever was a disaster of a game like I'd never seen before, so I had kind of figured most people would hold off on picking up A:CM until some user reviews came in. But... they didn't. They all queued up and bought it. Now I can understand why; Gearbox crafted some perfectly believable lies around the game's release and are, I can imagine, probably pretty proud of themselves for it. I mean, this game was highly anticipated. But at the end of the day, gamers across the world are the one's that put their money into this company's hands. The one's I feel the most sympathy for are PC gamers, who generally have to pay the entire amount of a game in order to pre-order it through digital distribution services, an amount which is typically non-refundable.

I know that most of the cool gamers out there on the interwebs are loathe to walk into a GameStop, but honestly, I like pre-ordering there because I can always cancel the pre-order and get a refund if user reviews don't sync up with what I'm looking for in a game. It's a shame that we should have to wait and not get a game on day one, because many of us want that, but the way publishers are headed, it's probably how I'm going to handle it from now on.

Online passes, shitty demos, seasons passes, DLC... When did it stop being about working for the customer and start being about making the customer work for you?

erttheking:

Zachary Amaranth:

Milanezi:

Ok, but what about those times when you want a game, no matter what a review might say, you just gotta have it. Then it makes no difference if you re-order it or not, you picked the game anyway...

That's fine, I guess, but you're still part of the problem.

The "problem"? Exactly when did being a gamer turn into something that was so bloody cut throat? Why is everything a war now? How come I can't go out and do simple things without being a "problem?"

Zachary Amaranth:

Sylveria:

Ehh.. I strongly disagree with that sentiment. Reviews are subjective (and often corrupted) things. I've bought many a game that despite having abysmal review scores, I knew a lot about the game and knew it was something I wanted and would enjoy. More often than not, I was right.

There is a difference between pre-ordering on blind faith (and lies) and buying something that is generally considered "bad" because it suits your interests.

The "problem" would be people buying a "bad" game but then trying to convince themselves and everyone else that it isn't bad because they had fun playing it. As I've said dozens of times before, bad and fun are not mutually exclusive, but fun does not automatically mean good.

You strongly disagree with "that" statement, but it appears "that" statement you disagree with has nothing to do with "that" post you quoted, since "that" is not what I said(going off your response).

No I'm pretty on point.. you think anyone who buys a game regardless of review or whatever because it's something they know they want is "part of the problem." I disagree and I gave several points as to why I disagree with that kind of buying being a "problem" and rather how that kind of buying can result in other, different "problems."

Try to keep up and try to be less condescending.

Headdrivehardscrew:

I don't think it's good to live on promises and well communicated hot air lies.

We've just found other things to throw money at. Things that don't lie to us, things that make us happy. Like guns, dogs, cattle, motorbikes, cars and ass-old consoles.

Right now, I pretty much despise Randy Pitchford. I think I know how the game is played, but going for smoke and mirrors and hiring bottom-feeding studios to create a "Gearbox" game is pretty low - if I misunderstood it and that statement is not valid, please let me rephrase it thusly: hiring some studio to create a "Gearbox" game is risky and stupid, methinks. Selling the resulting crap is quite offensive, no matter what goodies, figurines or DLC codes you pack in. It's all for nothing, as the actual game really, really is terribly bad.

Great post and a good place to platform off of as far as this discussion goes.

Two years back I got off the gaming and went back into complex RC and UAV, I am seeing this as somewhat of a local trend at-least in my area. At one time the local hobby store (paper pencil, card, models, RC, slot) was a ghost town... now it is doing a bustling business. Same with our local Kendo club and for the first time in years the model airstrip is getting a face lift.

As with anything I suppose the idea was that gaming (in general and as an industry) was recession proof, and by degrees if the reasoning held (nature dictates a suitable replacement which didn't really exist), that no matter what was being produced and sold on, it would "sell". Topographically there was such a base and so little content to fill the void, more or less anything "could" be sold. Simple a matter of discovering the price.

As far as the marketing tricks go they are academically taught and are generally considered to be "opportunistic and gorilla". Uses quite a bit of psychology including guilt, responsibility shifting, and co-opting concession with the consumer. Additionally due to the nature of "money talks" it has been debatable as to the quality of the reporting of the major reviewers and outlets of information. Many of the huge media conglomerates own major portions of the publishers as well as have vested interest in the magazines and online e-zines.

Looking at this world as a game, or a system, it is a great way to "stack or rig" the contest; the score kept in money.

image

The legal nature of software (it simple has to run). As well as some rulings on the nature of the free speech laid the ground work for the adventurous entrepreneur.

This goes with the pre-orders as well. Originally (having real working experience on product side) the idea was to calculate the number of physical copies that a brick and mortar would have on hand for resale. Due to the slippery slope of product cost typically degrading all the time, "holding" too many copies of a title was a financial risk. If your a major distributor, how many copies of Madden NFL do you physically need to order to maximize your 72 hour window? What about the shipping? What about delivery?

That is to say that a Gamestop or BestBuy physically purchases many thousands or hundreds of thousands of these units, by contract. It is not consignment. Steam (to my limited knowledge does both consignment for a transaction fee and is "hooked" into x numbers of product keys at release.)

Used offsets this by calculating the churn rate of the physical product. Allowing for a much smoother transition and "somewhat" artificial scarcity to be introduced. Now of course, piracy and emulators do mess up those calculations considerably.

It's not a charity. It's a business. As systems have moved into a digital distribution age the dynamics of this simple and transparent policy has been abused. Though not without some cause for that abuse.

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Considering the number of studios that have folded or changed hands in the past few years, there has been a gulf of artist and creative people at the associates of arts or science level coupled with a rather stark decline in the number of design engineers moving into the field as well as professional designers (level design) BS.MS.Ph.D.. And if it is not a decline of entry of personnel into the field it simply didn't keep pace, stay put, or move into other industries.

Iv'e known of several design artist abandon video games and go into toy design. Many programmers and engineers go into financial institutions or physical good manufacturing. There are tons of reasons for this.

Rising hardware cost and an ever increasing cost to keep up with technology has created a fiscal chasm of very high casino risk.

We are in the age of the last man standing and high volatility with venture capitol drying up everywhere due to rather stagnant and receding economies. So much so in the case of one studio ongoing legal ramifications for failure to deliver. (Kickstarters and crowed funding side-skirting this in very clever ways).

This leaves a couple options are on the table, recycle known brands that have high visibility at the lowest possible cost (reboots and sequels), try to create a new brand, clone an already existing entity; or figure out a way to raise the cost of the unit by crippling it and selling it piece-mill.

Possibly sell out the company or license held I.P. to generate some quick cash. There is the F2P model that is being explored in an attempt to bring in a new base and lower the commitment gate of the consumer, and the social models which have some advantages and disadvantages... Sim City comes to mind with it's always online component which doubles as DRM and conversely the only A.I. (opponent/ally) the game will realistically have. Not sure how that is going to pan out.

As far as the fabled video game crash?

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I think we are in it, right now... but it is a huge market and may break up into pockets rather than totally sink. I am of the mind to say it is here to stay by degrees and most likely will "recycle" itself, accepting smaller markets rather than risk the huge amounts of capitol. As I heard once, 5 100 lb gorilla instead of 1 500 lb gorilla. I still think there will be some of the bigger titans that drop tried and true franchise sequels. The key here will be recycling assets (art, music, code base) as much as possible to keep the cost down.

A:CM is interesting in that it was farmed out under the auspices of being developed by a highly talented team. The assets could be wholesale shoplifted from the film, art, concept material, audio effects, alien designs. There are tons of resources that already exist in the form of wire frames and textures. Yet with all that material why is it so terrible?

What you said, about guns, reminds me of an interview with Barrett when he discussed the M98B weapon system built around the .338 LM. He said they took the round and designed a weapon system from the ground up for that round, rather than what the competitors have attempted to do which was modify an already existing system to support the round.

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To that end when I look at A:CM I see assets that where in place, and somewhere, as an afterthought, a game shoe-horned into that sea of "assets". There was little to no thought as to how "this" game should be. What strategies and tactics would a player find interesting or create to solve the crisis of the drama presented. Hardly the case.

A game was developed, sure... but a game was not designed around central mechanics. Nothing supports the round chambered into the system. Thing is, did it matter? Did anyone care? Maybe the consumer, but who cares about him or her?

The sad thing is there are moments of brilliance in the work. Take the whole thing apart and rebuild it from the ground up there is probably an excellent game to be had.

It's here where I find my own conundrum. Is it just lazy? Is it a lack of talent from a "game" design standpoint? Is it all art and homage? I see all bait and no hook. I deeply question just how much game is in here.

I suspect over the next couple weeks there will be some damage control, and some shifting of the blame... be it onto reserves or the strength of the I.P. could of never met a "fans" expectations. Ultimately, for me, it is simply a distinct lack of ability, accountability, and perhaps frustratingly no reason what-so-ever for there to have ever been any.

Off the shelf engines, concept work all but handed to teams, no legal ramifications outside of not meeting a delivery date, and a real lack of "artisan-ship or craftsmanship" in the central design.

It is embarrassingly bad.

McDonald's grade software with billions and billions served sold at a very high price point. It worked. Will likely continue to work.

Though with the notion of the "reserve" being at fault, that is simply not true. That money sits in "escrow" by most western countries law. All it does is gain interest, which the holding company keeps; not a farthing goes to a studio or publisher for development.

No transaction has taken place, other than to build interest for the distributor, Steam, BB, Amazon, EA Holdings... what have you. It is factually inaccurate and disingenuous to say otherwise without some evidence or copies of contracts which state that at "x" reserves, the budget is increased to "y". Which would be VERY unorthodox, even for shit-ware like A:CM.

So let's see the list of stuff that has been used in the blame game:

Piracy, Reserves, It's Art, Creative License, "Fans", Entitlements, Used, Digital Distribution (so many more I know I am missing).

I am really "excited" to see what is said next to paper up the cracks! =D

The blame here, lies squarely on the feet of the developer and the serious lack of investment into the work presented. Tantamount to fraud, with no legal ramifications due to the nature of the software industry.

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A craftsman or engineer would be severely reprimanded if not dismissed or brought liable for this sort of product...

Being it is a game game, fuck em; thanks for the new Ferrari. Hell even toy manufacturers are held to standards.

Reserves? "Jazz Hands!"

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