(This is another edition of RANT Bites, a weekly opinion piece column on GameFront. Check back every week for more. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not reflect those of GameFront.)
Welcome to Rant Bites, a weekly roundup of things I feel like ranting about, but not enough to justify dragging out into a single column. It’s like an editorial in snack form, the Revels of columns, without the disgusting coffee ones. I have no idea what I am talking about. In any case, things happened this week, and it’s all worth a good drubbing, so let’s check it out!
Denis Dyack claims used games will kill the industry
Denis Dyack is not shy about his opinion on used games, being one of several developers who like to pin all of their failings on the activities of GameStop. According to Dyack, games stay more expensive for longer these days because of used games. His logic is that games now need all their sales in the first three months, and can’t afford to drop the price, due to trade-ins. It’s a convoluted logic, the kind that is often employed by people who have no actual evidence to back up their claims. Never mind the fact that all but the most popular games often get hit with huge price cuts, sometimes in the first week of launch. Many gamers have been trained to wait a while after launch because they know that $60 price tag is just in holding. The only ones that stay expensive are the complete opposite games that Dyack describes — the ones that can guarantee long-term sales, like Call of Duty. What Dyack says isn’t only melodramatic, it’s actually the opposite of the truth.
Furthermore, he goes on to say that used games will “kill” the industry as we know it. Fucking bullshit. It’s exactly what the game industry said about those horrid, nasty, game rentals back in the eighties and nineties. It’s the same type of fearmongering the movie industry employed in its failed battle against VHS.
Industries die when they fail to actively compete against a threat, and instead treat their consumers like thieves while throwing themselves private pity parties. Sound like any industries you know? Yeah, the game industry itself will kill the game industry, if indeed it ever dies, and it’ll have nothing to blame but itself. A snake that eats its own tail has no right to complain that the mice weren’t inviting themselves into its mouth.
Orbis wants to shit on used games?
It’s becoming a popular sentiment that the next generation of consoles will boast built-in features geared toward destroying used games. The “Next Xbox” is rumored to tie videogame purchases to the system, and the same has now been said of the PS3′s successor, allegedly codenamed Orbis. According to the gossip, games bought at retail or downloaded on PSN will be locked to a single account, which will not only cripple used games but effectively kill off rentals and force families to spend extra money rather than share a single item.
If true, it’s an utterly vile, nasty, wholly anti-consumer idea, one that finally achieves the industry dream of total market dominion at the cost of pretty much everything else. I still find it incredibly hard to believe, however, that Sony or Microsoft would be so stupid. While it’s indeed a very lovely dream for them, retail is still heavily relied upon, and I don’t think any of the platform holders are willing to risk upsetting that relationship. I can’t see GameStop — still an incredibly powerful entity — wanting to stock a product that cripples its own business. Right now, GameStop relies in traded games to make its money, since publishers offer them a shitty deal on the sale of brand new products. For Sony or Microsoft to try and take that away seems too extreme, even for them.
That said, I have little doubt in my mind that discussions on these kinds of user restrictions have taken place in executive boardrooms, and I fucking despise the business side of the games industry for that. It’s been proven, time and again, that you succeed in business by treating your customers with respect and valuing their time. Just as music piracy went down thanks to the convenience and inexpensiveness of iTunes, just as game piracy reduced in Russia thanks to Steam, it’s demonstrated that a good service is what breeds customer loyalty. If game consoles continue down the road of making services less fun to use, more restricted, and generally a pain in the fucking arse to enjoy, they will eventually die. No question about it. As consoles this generation resemble shitty computers rather than convenient entertainment devices, I think it would be a terrible idea to compromise even more of the consumer’s freedom for the sake of some short term profit.
Assassin’s Creed III needs a controller on PC?
What did I tell you all? What did I fucking say? STOP CONSIDERING UBISOFT AS A PC PUBLISHER! The company doesn’t have a cunting clue when it comes to PC gaming. Between its shitty DRM, its refusal to put certain games on computers, and a number of crappy port jobs, I don’t know why people are even the least bit shocked that Assassin’s Creed III won’t even bother to have an option for keyboard controls on the PC. If you’re outraged by any of Ubisoft’s failures at this point, you’ve got only yourselves to blame. Not because what Ubisoft does is acceptable, but because it’s been a running joke in PC gaming for ages. That’s what Ubisoft is at this point. Its decision to continue putting PC games out there is a fucking joke, and you’re the punchline if you’re still buying the shit.
Now is a good time to reiterate a simple suggestion — stop buying Ubisoft games on the PC. Consider it a console-exclusive publisher, like Nintendo but with worse games. Who’s mad at Nintendo over the quality of its PC ports? Nobody! Nobody except for maniacs, anyway. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you’ll save yourself a world of heartache if you just treat Ubisoft’s PC endeavors with a cold and callous disregard. Either the company will buck up its ideas and do its job properly, or you’ll forever not have to worry about what sugared turd has been served up for you every month. Either way, you win.
There ain’t no party like an S Club Party.
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