Weekend Short-Takes: 12/21/12

Packaged games expected to further harm EA's bottom line

Simon Wu:

Oh boy. Analysts planning again to downgrade EA’s performance. What I think needs to happen is that the industry has to cut off this rotten hanging appendage that it keeps dragging around behind it, and is slowing it down: the physical packaged side. The next gen will provide a needed boost to the crumbling gaming market, but it should be accompanied with a marked change in the way games are bought. Production of actual physical copies of games need to be reduced significantly, and games need to be on demand on release date. It worked for music, and games need to follow suit quickly.

Alex Miller:

Several months ago, Simon and I had a discussion on a Com-cast about whether or not the next console would have a physical disc drive. Simon made the arguement that by the time the next generation got around we would be to the point where we had outlived the usefulness of actual disc drives on consoles. While I firmly disagreed and gave several, I think rather practical reasons why there will be a disc drive, this news here is rather strong support for at least a parity between the importance of physical and downloadable games. I am a big fan of what Simon proposed above, Release day games on demand should have been a thing a while ago, but now that the consoles have had time to work out the kinks in their respective systems for it, its time to roll it out across the board at least by the time the next Xbox and the PS4 get here.

THQ evaluating Linux

Simon Wu:

Is this actually signaling a larger shift in the direction of PC gaming, or just a large red herring? Certainly, Linux users would be the most vocal about wanting ports of games, but is that simply a small audience with a very large megaphone? Of course Valve deems it important, but that’s more to do with not Windows, more than for Linux. We know now that THQ is absolutely desperate to evaluate every single option that it can, and if there is even a glimmer of hope in that segment, they’ll go for it. What remains to be seen is the cost of porting a game to Linux, which if the cost of porting to Macs is any indication might be slightly prohibitive.

Alex Miller:

Well, I suppose the drowning man will swim towards any light in the hope that it is a boat. While THQ are not done yet, they are not in a great position either as we talked about during the Humble Bundle sail. While that might have gone over better than expected, porting the games over might be rather expensive, and as the top comment on the article correctly points out, the Linux audience are a loud one, but they are not necessarily the ones who will pay the most (or anything.)

Photo Credit: gamedynamo.com

Wii U's slow performance will be improved, promises Nintendo president Iwata‏

Simon Wu:

I actually give Nintendo a pass on this one, surprisingly. Why? I remember the 360 Blades interface. It actually scares me terribly that there are some kids out there who are growing up right now never knowing about that horribly antiquated and slow interface. And look how far we’ve come. That being said, there wasn’t a day one update needed to actually use some important functions on the device.

Alex Miller:

I find it funny that, once again, we compared the WiiU to the Xbox 360. Only seven years behind Nintendo, well done. However, the Blades point is one well raised by Simon, but I think it should be more of a criticism of both Microsoft as well as Nintendo, not a pass for Nintendo. While Microsoft got their system together relatively quickly, it remains to be seen if Nintendo can do the same for the WiiU. It is imperative for the anything beyond the short-term survival of the console that Nintendo do. Given that there is no timeframe announced though all I can say is we will have to wait and see.

Photo Credit: gamethingdaily.com

THQ files for bankruptcy protection, selling studios and games to bidder

Simon Wu:

I think we all saw this coming but weren’t sure what to do about it. What is a company supposed to do when it’s making hit after hit, Saints Row after Red Faction after Darksiders? This is the same problem being faced by my favorite phone manufacturer HTC. The products they make are objectively excellent, but they are continually in financial trouble and there’s seemingly nothing that can pull them out. I think I see a podcast topic in a few weeks about gaming company bankruptcies, though.

Alex Miller:

Remember the drowning man comment? Yea, this is why. If you cannot get people to buy your game then no matter how excellent it is you will struggle. I don’t know if THQ needs to step up its marketing or just focus on a few key titles or what, but something needs to be done quick, that is for sure. I also like the idea of a podcast topic once this settles a bit.

Photo Credit: joystiq.com

swu's picture

Sincere apologies for the lateness of the post; both Alex and I were traveling this weekend, making it impossible to get out on our usual time.

Whiplash's picture

@swu, Ah. That would explain why this and the podcast have taken so long.

 

Anyway, I feel really sad for THQ right now. They made a lot of games that I liked, Saints Row being my favorite from them. It's a shame the economy gave them a reality check, seeing as they're seeking bankruptcy protection. It makes you wonder if this will be the fate of other companies in the near future.

darthskeletor's picture

I can't believe how antiquated those blades look. Just makes you feel like you're back with Windows Vista. Ugh. Even the NXE feels like ancient history now, and that completely changed the design interface.

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