Weekend Short-Takes: 7/11/14

GameStop’s next step for preorder exclusives: Getting into a big game’s development process

 

Simon Wu:

Apologies for the comparatively brief comments; I am in China and will be for the next several weeks, so my participation will be sporadic. Anyways, long time podcast listeners will no doubt know my position on this already. I have an intense dislike of content I can't access, such as the PS4 exclusive DLC for some of the Assassin's Creed titles. This meddling by Gamestop could be the start of a very dangerous trend. We're already seeing this in small ways, as Walmart, GameStop, and others already get different DLC. While these are generally small and cosmetic, an integral part of the game only accessible by buying the "GameStop Edition" is unacceptable.

Alex Miller:

The troubling thing about this is not that it is new, but rather that it is an expansion of something that we have begrudgingly allowed to exist for several years now. Assassin's Creed has had exclusive content only accessible to gamers on the PlayStation 3 and 4 for several iterations, while Xbox owners have been treated to early access to maps in Call of Duty games for years now. It is a frustrating state of affairs, but it will become intolerable if individual retailers join the exclusive content game in a meaningful way. If Walmart and Best Buy each have different versions of the game than the one at GameStop, all that results is frustrated gamers who resent all the companies involved.

Hopefully people vote with their wallets, but the problem is, if this spreads there may be no other options than to eschew consoles entirely, something many people aren't necessarily willing to do. And while many PC gamers may see this as a victory in the rather childish PC vs. console war, developers can just as easily diversify their distribution systems and give exclusive content to services like Origin and Uplay, more so then they already have and may be emboldened to do so if it becomes the norm in the console game. No one wants this, and hopefully we won't have to suffer through it.

Max Gruber:

The idea that a game retailer can get exclusive content for a specific game is a scary prospect, but when they can just barge in and state that certain content should be released as an incentive for pre-ordering at their stores is an even scarier proposition, especially given GameStop's history of giving out pre-order bonuses like it were candy to a child. I find it ludicrous that they have that kind of power now, where they can just say "Yeah, that piece of content right there? That's now a pre-order item." In addition, we could very well see a massive change in the way that game content is delivered, where the very important pieces of content (i.e. Javik) is only available if you pre-order at GameStop. We walk a very slippery and dangerous path right now.

vg247

PS4 fails to impact Japanese console market

 

Simon Wu:

Trouble in paradise? This is completely unexpected, for me at least. I thought the PS4 would have a hot start out of the gates on home turf for Sony. Instead, it's Nintendo who's currently getting the last laugh. Why might this be? First of all, there are still really no world beating games out for the PS4 at the moment, especially not ones that cater to a Japanese audience specifically. Secondly, the handheld market is huge for a culture that increasingly lives in very densely packed cities, and is always on the move. There isn't room for a giant console in a several hundred square foot apartment, which is why the humble Vita of all things is outselling its big brother. 

Alex Miller:

This underscores just how vital it was for Sony to improve their sales numbers in the US. Just like the barbarians running into roman territory to escape the Huns, Sony needed to expanded into other markets to make up for the growing behemoth of handheld and mobile gaming in Japan. However, Sony is confident in their system, saying it's "doing okay in Japan" and that the success of the PS3, combined with a reticence to change by the major Japanese studios, has lead to less support than they might have expected. This hasn't harmed its record sales in other markets, so it's interesting to see it affect the console so much in Japan. Hopefully, for Sony's sake, this is only temporary, and not the beginning of the end of traditional consoles in a new age of gaming in Japan.

Max Gruber:

You know something is going horribly wrong with the PlayStation when it's under-performing in its home turf. Given the recent success of the PS4 in the States and in the UK, you'd think that it would sell equally well in the Land of the Rising Sun—but it's anything but. Then again, Japan has shifted to being more centered on mobile gaming than console gaming, which is why the Vita is outselling the PS4 by a longshot. It definitely raises a big concern that gaming as a whole is moving away from the big, clunky boxes in our houses and is instead moving towards the smartphones in our pockets, given how most, if not all, of today's innovations started in Japan.

Gears of War Creator Goes Back to His Roots for Project BlueStreak, a New F2P Arena Shooter

 

Simon Wu:

Say it ain't so. Cliffy B coming out of self-imposed developer retirement to grace us with an F2P arena shooter? It is interesting to note that his former company, Epic, is working on an updated Unreal Tournament, perhaps the project he was itching to get his hands on all along, but never got the chance to. But instead of doing a remake and getting chained to expectations from fans of certain maps or weapons, he can completely start from scratch with his own vision. Let's hope, though, we can have slightly less muscle and brown grit this time.

Alex Miller:

I gotta say, I'm excited. As someone whose first experience of multiplayer in video games (other than Super Smash Bros) was PC arena shooters. This news, combined with the news that Epic is remaking Unreal Tournament and that Halo 5 will return to the Arena style multiplayer the series is known for, is welcoming given the years of class based, load out filled shooters, a la Call of Duty. While I've certainly enjoyed those games, it will certainly be nice to see one of the best in the business revitalize a genre that is near and dear to my heart.

dualshockers

Watch Dogs pushes Ubisoft sales up 374%

 

Simon Wu:

Those are incredible sales numbers pushing Ubisoft's overall outlook up substantially. But one simply has to wonder: how much of that was pent up expectation from the years of hype, that were then left very disappointed, as yours truly was (with the exception of SPIDER TANK). In that sense, it may be a temporary bump that will not see nearly the same reception for a potential sequel, with a crowd of once bitten, twice shy gamers. The PS4 skew is also unsurprising, as Ubisoft have always tended towards Sony as a closer partner, but the digital sales as an ever bigger driver is interesting to note, especially since I was one of the evidently many that elected to make this title a digital, not physical, purchase.

Alex Miller:

I must say I am surprised by these numbers, but I am not confused by them. As Simon says, the hype surrounding this game was huge following a hugely impressive E3 2012 and that alone may account for some of its success. Some other portion may be attributed to the dearth of AAA titles coming out around it, which if true means their decision to push it out of the holiday bread and butter selling period paid off. However, between the lower than expected reviews and the controversy stirred up over the new Assassin's Creed and Far Cry 4, you have to wonder if this financial upturn for Ubisoft will last.

Max Gruber:

This financial report from Ubisoft came just after Watch Dogs' mixed reception from both critics and fans, and it's not impressing me. Yes, I do have to admit that these numbers are very impressive, but as Simon points out, it was mostly due to the amount of hype they built up following the launch. I'm more than dubious about the future of Watch Dogs as a franchise. The amount of backlash from everywhere I've looked seems to indicate that, unless they do a massive overhaul on the sequel, they're less likely to go out of their way to get Watch Dogs 2.

destructoid

OmegaZero's picture

lolololo Spider Tank. Also, Gamestop really needs to bring "power to the players," as they claim, and not fuckin' rip us off with ridiculous prices and bullshit exclusives.

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