Prima Launches Game Guides on Steam

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Prima Launches Game Guides on Steam

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Valve and Prima have teamed up to release a new series of Prima game guides that can be viewed from within videogames on Steam.

You know what Prima game guides are, right? They're those things people used to have to buy when they got stuck on tough spots in videogames, before the internet made all that stuff free. They're still around, believe it or not, and in what I guess is an attempt to move with the times, Prima has teamed with Valve to create a new series of digital guides now available on Steam that are viewable at any time during gameplay through the Steam overlay.

There's not a whole lot more to say about this one so I'm going to cut right to the obvious question: Why? "Real" Prima guides are nice for game fans who want to collect everything they can get their hands on, I suppose, or for folks who just enjoy some game-related reading on the can now and then. But going digital is a bit hard to fathom because if you're on the internet anyway, you're already up to your eyeballs in answers to just about any question you could possibly ask and you don't have to pay a dime for any of it.

I suppose convenience is a factor. Being able to view the guides directly through Steam might be handy, although "alt-tab" never struck me as all that complicated either, and not having to wade through the brackish waters of stupidity that clog Google is definitely a plus. But is this really the sort of thing that appeals to... well, anyone who might actually be interested in an online game guide?

Prima guides for Dragon Age: Origins and Awakening, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, , Splinter Cell Conviction and Just Cause 2 are now available at an introductory price of $9.99, 50 percent off the regular price of $19.99. Interested? Give 'em a look at store.steampowered.com.

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Interesting... I would never pay $20 for something that tells me what's on GameFAQs, but I'm sure there's a market for them.

Talking about slow. They should've made the change 5 years ago.

You don't even need to alt-tab out of your games any more, just use steams in game menu to bring up the internet.

Its a shame to see business crushed by the internet. But its kind of each company's fault for being so slow to change with the times. As my salary continues to get cut in this economy, I will stick with free anything for the time being.

This Is actually quite awesome. Long time coming but, on steam I am sure it will do well!

Well, I dunno about this. I may be crazy, but I actually enjoyed this guides mainly as an easy read before going to bed and such. I loved the back story and really getting into the game. I know, I am a massive nerd, i get it :)

Also, wouldn't it be hard to look something up AND play at the same time, at least be a little more annoying? I am going to have to opt for the book here.

EDIT: Especially if it costs the same as the books.

Nice idea, though personally I'd much prefer having my own copies of the books, as I much prefer physical copies of things, and so I can flick through it anytime and not have it tied to having my computer on and of course while playing a game.

I read (game) manuals all the time... if anything has them these days, some have unhelpful hotkey shortcuts cards or something and nothing else.

It'll probably involve shift tabbing anyway, and Steam has an inbuilt browser for that.

ultimateownage:
You don't even need to alt-tab out of your games any more, just use steams in game menu to bring up the internet.

Oh damn, beaten to it..
Err.. quick, think of something witty!
Prima?.. err... Mo' like... ... ... Sucka! Right guys?

1. Why would I buy somthing that I can get legally for free?

2. Why would I even get a guide? Most of the fun that come from beating games is overcoming the obstacles by yourself.

While this is fine to supplement their printed products it would be a terrible strategy to go all digital. They would be drowned out by the other sources of pure information like gamefaqs and game/developer specific forums. If anything they should make their books even fancier, signed by the developers, come with a T-shirt, and charge twice as much.

Will people seriously buy this? This would have been a nifty idea ten years ago, but now there's simply no point to paying for a digital guide.

Andy Chalk:

I suppose convenience is a factor. Being able to view the guides directly through Steam might be handy, although "alt-tab" never struck me as all that complicated either,

Worst part is, you don't need to alt-tab as is. Shift+Tab gives you the steam overlay, which I'm guessing is where this will be running... Right next to the "web browser" button which pops up google for you to type things like "[game name] wiki", "[game name] FAQs", or the classic "[Game name] walkthrough".

So ultimately, this is just "Would you like to pay 20 bucks to have someone else google that shit for you?". Why no, I would not.

I dont even know why these things are still around. Really they are not worth it. Unless its a final fantasy game and thats merely because its easier to have all the info on hand instead of googling each piece. Aside from that I would pay even for this

I saw these earlier and honestly couldn't fathom why anyone would bother. Here, I'll save any curious people £6.49/$9.99 - www.gamefaqs.com

I accept Paypal as payment

Meh, I'm not too bothered. Prima guides are usually crappy. Piggyback has way better ones. That, and I often buy them for the art. Having them digitally kind of defeats the purpose.

I agree with the author. Thanks to the Internet and GameFAQs in particular, I seriously doubt Prima is going to get anywhere with their guides. It is both cheaper and more convenient for people to just check for the answers they seek on the Internet. So if Prima stubbornly refuses to get on with the times, they will just end up bankrupt.

Having said that, they could potentially make some money by catering to the import gamer demographic. While there are brave souls that have provided translation guides for many (Japanese) games, translation in itself is very difficult and time consuming and translation patches are not that common (especially for newer titles). So if they covered this role, some people might be willing to pay for their services.

Sure, it's a niché market, but it's still better than one that no longer exists.

Id buy it since im lazy and the prima guides are prettier to look at than the whitewall background of most faq and walkthroughs on the internet. Assuming the Prima guide on steam will be more or less the digital copy of the actual paper guide, having it overlay over the game while your in it is pretty damn convenient to say the least.

Alt+tab doesnt work all the time. a lot of games will alt+tab out fine but when u decide to fullscreen the game again, it'll a)freeze up, b)crash, c)have graphical hiccups, d)change your desktop resolution, e)change your ingame resolution. In most case all of the above apply one way or another and i just get all peeved. so even with the free guides online i tend to print them out to have the physical copy of the thing in my hand.

Ill handed to them for having the forward thinking to change with the times. I honestly think this is a great idea. and if its half price all the time, than its an even better idea with the steam overlay being very convenient.

Prima Guides are still around folks so OBVIOUSLY ppl are still buying them and to have it on ez access means they'll get money a quicker way with probably less overhead to deal with than the paper medium.

edit: the hardcore gamers perspective is always so narrowly skewed. Just like to point that that the hardcore demographic are probably the only ones whom actually use the internet for guides and walkthroughs. Where as all of the middle aged men i know who play games still buy the guides either as a gift from the wives to them or as a GUIDE for themselves to use. Plus the Prima Guides often have back story and insights into a game that a internet FAQ just lack. NPC and Environmental details and layouts of various character(s)

dont care. not the worst thing that could happen, but i wont ever buy one. the steam overlay lets you pop right into a web browser to google guides if you really need them.

On the other hand...

if this turns out to be just something that pops up the steam browser and sends u to a website with the prima guide on it rather than say a full blown feature like the friends list. I would cry foul play and not bother with such a thing. and since its a PC thing and ppl who still play PC games are probably the most hardcore of gamers around this idea is pointless XD

somebody will buy them: money in the bank

And these game guides are AWFULLY concise, internet will do you 90% but game guide really do get that 100%. But these will be most useful if they go BEYOND text and pictures and start implementing video and directly interactign with the game.

Perfect use for this I'd see is a crackdown like game where you have to find like 500 orbs hidden all over a city, yet you find 499 orbs and the last orb... it could be in ANY of the 500 possible positions, you have to check each one. A guide to eliminate the ones you already have and narrow down on the final one. That would be something special.

Tom Phoenix:
I agree with the author. Thanks to the Internet and GameFAQs in particular, I seriously doubt Prima is going to get anywhere with their guides. It is both cheaper and more convenient for people to just check for the answers they seek on the Internet. So if Prima stubbornly refuses to get on with the times, they will just end up bankrupt.

Having said that, they could potentially make some money by catering to the import gamer demographic. While there are brave souls that have provided translation guides for many (Japanese) games, translation in itself is very difficult and time consuming and translation patches are not that common (especially for newer titles). So if they covered this role, some people might be willing to pay for their services.

Sure, it's a niché market, but it's still better then one that no longer exists.

Except thats not legal. They'd either have to shell out tons of money for translation rights (to the tune of matching the possible gross revenue an official translation), or simply get sued into oblivion. Problematic, as atlus already sucks up translation rights to anything marketable.

Fan translations exist in a state of legal limbo. To the letter of the law, they're illegal. But they either go unnoticed or occupy a state of legal apathy, as they aren't for the purposes of generating any revenue. A state you leave once money starts being made.

Treblaine:
somebody will buy them: money in the bank

And these game guides are AWFULLY concise, internet will do you 90% but game guide really do get that 100%. But these will be most useful if they go BEYOND text and pictures and start implementing video and directly interactign with the game.

Perfect use for this I'd see is a crackdown like game where you have to find like 500 orbs hidden all over a city, yet you find 499 orbs and the last orb... it could be in ANY of the 500 possible positions, you have to check each one. A guide to eliminate the ones you already have and narrow down on the final one. That would be something special.

Why not just cut out the middleman and give you a button to press to automatically collect that last orb? How about buttons to skip any sequence you're having trouble with? Hell, how about making games that just play themselves so as to completely remove the risk of ever getting stuck/frustrated?

While people are preaching gamefaqs, the fact is brand new games don't have gamefaqs for at least a few days, sometimes over a week.

So for that hot new title that you are plowing through, these could be nice for people who get stuck easily or want to get everything the first time through. As long as the price is in that $10 and under category I can see them being successful. Also if you can stay within the steam interface, that's some convienience right there.

Just my .02

Talk about being expensive and redunant.

There was an article on the Escapist earlier about people who were dedicated and devoted bringing excellent free Guides/Walkthroughs on GamersFAQ for example. I find much more content and information in there than those Prima guides.

I suppose owning a stack of magazine and browsing through the pages would be awesome. For old time's sake, but money is tight. And we have internet!

reg42:
Interesting... I would never pay $20 for something that tells me what's on GameFAQs, but I'm sure there's a market for them.

I actually used to buy guides for most games when I was younger...those were the darker years when the family had dial-up. I was actually offered the player's guide for Burning Crusade when I went pick it up at my local gamestop. The clerk and I both looked at each other in a brief moment of silence after that statement, then burst into laughter. (I'm a rather frequent customer over there so I knew the staff rather well at that point.)

I stand by a philosophy of mine about game design when it comes to guides. If the average player cannot complete your core game without the use of a guide (MMO's and some RPG's excluded from this rule) then you have failed somewhere in the design of your game.

Considering Gamergate's been selling Prima guides for donkey's years, not surprising.

This just in: Gamefaqs has ALWAYS been available on steam!

Hit Shift+Tab in game and bring up the build in FREAKING WEB BROWSER type www.gamefaqs.com for FREE guides typed by people with a lotta free time!

OT: Seriously who's bought a guide since the internet is around, with steam you can in game browse websites, like most do when waiting to spawn in games. At least I do anyway, escapist.com making respawns not boring since 2009.

The only guide I've ever bought for a game was for Majora's Mask, and that's only because I was quite young and that fourth temple is by far the hardest dungeon in any Zelda game.

I just use GameFaqs now. They have everything!

The only game guide I've purchased in years has been the Morrowind Chronicles, which I think was created and published by Bethesda itself. It doesn't really present itself as a guide book (although it's very thorough) and it compliments the game very nicely. If publishers put out more books like that, I'd definitely pick a few up.

AND NOW IT'S STORY TIME!

Back in '92, ol' Uncle Maly was working his way through Ultima Underworld, the finest dungeon exploration game ever to spring forth from the hands of man. One of the big tasks in the game is to track down the Symbols of Virtue (I think they're called), eight of them in all, and the first seven turned up fairly easily - but number eight was a goddamn mystery. (Actually, I think it was number three or four.) I spent hours and hours and hours looking for it, up and down and all over that great stygian abyss, and I just couldn't track it down.

Finally, I gave up. I ordered the hint book. But I didn't go to the website and click PayPal and be done with it, no siree. That's now how things worked back then. Ol' Maly had to get hisself a money order and mail it off to Origin Systems, along with a letter explaining what I wanted and an address to send it to, and then a few weeks later it showed up in the mail: Mysteries of the Abyss, an amazing, 64-page book with level-by-level walkthroughs, history, stories, stats and more, all told through the eyes of the game's characters.

It's a beautiful thing. That's the sort of game guide I'd pay for. Digital guides? Umm, no, thanks.

(Also amusing: The moment the guide showed up, I unwrapped it, flipped to the relevant page to find out where that GOD DAMN FUCKING BLADE was, then closed it up and never looked at it again. Eh, it was still money well spent.)

Just bougth the DAO and DAA guides...

why you ask?

because i felt like it

Prima guides in my opinion will always be a little more in-depth and easier to use. Then again, you do have to pay for them.

Why do people buy these things when you can view gameguides of all sorts and for everything for free on the internet?

For fuck's sake, you can already access the internet in the steam overlay!
Why would you want to pay money to see what you could already see before for free?

armageddon74400:
For fuck's sake, you can already access the internet in the steam overlay!
Why would you want to pay money to see what you could already see before for free?

Because things that are free don't have marketing budgets.

Alt Tab makes my copy of Morrowind crash...for me at least. And the Steam overlay doesn't work with it, either. So, this is just as useless to me. FUCK.

That remind me...I must do the House Redoran quests sometime.

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