Posted by: seanmalstrom | April 21, 2018

Bill Nye was wrong choice to sell Labo

Bill Nye isn’t universally loved, and he isn’t a scientist. Why not use real scientists? They’re cheaper.

This video is cringe worthy. “I like to push from below.”

This goes to show that Nintendo still has Wii U viruses in it. Switch successor could easily do worse than the Wii U. (“That cannot be imagined!” says the reader.) I didn’t think Nintendo could do worse than the Gamecube either.

But really? Bill Nye? And he does such a terrible job. Decades from now, people will still be showing this video and laughing at it and how dumb Labo is. There is no replayability with this because there is no game here.

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Did you know what BoW “Wow!” was successful? Because it is the first of the Ambient Genre. Hahahahaha. These writers are so stupid. No wonder gamers don’t listen to them.

BoW “Wow!” is nothing about ambience but about logical extensions of the game world extending themselves.

There are birds nearby, therefore birdsong.

A fire is nearby, therefore crackling.

Sun rises, sun falls.

Footsteps when you move.

This is what the role playing game is about: you playing a role within that vast world. Many people think role playing means stats and character classes and bad soap opera. It’s not.

Minecraft also has this ‘ambience’. So too does Ultima Underworld. *gasp* Notch loves Ultima Underworld. Connection? Maybe, maybe not. Any investigation into what made BoW “Wow” will lead you to earlier Zelda games, to Minecraft, and then further back to older role playing games.

We don’t need more fucking genres.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | April 16, 2018

Email: PS5 rumors LOL

So by now I’m sure you heard all the PS5 rumors.

I agree with Rich in that if Sony released a PS5 earlier than 2020, they’d be Sega all over again.
What’s funny is it’s clear Sony and MS have no idea what to do going forward and just hoping their loyal hardcore fans are swayed by more 4K or better VR (lol).
You’d think Sony and MS would see what Nintendo is doing and think about portability but Sony failed at that and MS doesn’t want to try.
The best part is supposedly the PS5 being all digital because apparently they didn’t see how horribly the PSP Go failed. If the PS5 is all digital then why bother with a console?

I’m suspecting PS5 will not be a hardware console but a cloud platform accessible through various types of hardware such as a console (Microsoft is doing this already). Thus, Sony can make a Switch clone and still compete directly with Nintendo.

Or PS5 will be the usual status quo affair, and Sony will make a PS4 Portable that will compete directly with the Nintendo Switch. Sony will definitely respond to the Switch. This is Generation 9 after all.

Gap between PS1 and PS2 was six years. Gap between PS2 and PS3 was six years. Gap between PS3 and PS4 was seven years. PS4 launched five years ago. PS5 launching in 2019 is not unrealistic if you take in account Sony’s history. 2019 or 2020 launch looks likely based off of PlayStation history.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | April 15, 2018

Email: NAGALT

While I’m on board with your assertion that the game industry’s job is to sell bad games, it’s unfair to say that every industry developer’s games are bad. Our anger should be rightfully channeled towards the AAA mega-publishers who gobble up these smaller companies and then turn them into assembly lines.

Take Respawn Entertainment, for example. Both Titanfall games are fantastic. They are modern re-imaginings of the UT 2004 glory days, and the second game fixed the first one’s biggest problem by adding a single-player campaign that ranks among the best ever made. Sadly, their relationship with EA has screwed them from day one and has likely doomed the franchise. EA cut a deal at the 11th hour, and behind Respawn’s back, for XBONE exclusivity. At the time, gamers were legitimately asking what Microsoft would be doing differently it if was TRYING to destroy the XBOX brand. This guaranteed a smaller-than-expected audience for a new IP needing to reach as many potential fans as possible. This problem was exacerbated by Microsoft hyping the game like it was the second coming of Halo, thus ensuring the contempt of the large and growing cohort of Sony fanboys.

EA then inexplicably decided to release the second game sandwiched in a week between their OTHER AAA holiday shooter (which outperformed it on the back of a massive hype wave) and their biggest competitor’s AAA holiday shooter, thus dooming the game to low sales and fueling the perception that the IP has no value! Respawn has rewarded EA for destroying their value by becoming their wholly-owned subsidiary, so we can expect the next game (if it comes) to be full of loot boxes and other anti-consumer, pro-shareholder crap. Maybe we’ll get lucky and Vince Zampella will jump ship with most of the Respawn staff to form his own company for a third time.

Bungie is kind of in the same boat, but unlike Respawn it’s harder to blame Activision because Bungie’s wounds seem mostly self-inflicted, judging by the available reporting. It isn’t Activision’s fault that Bungie agreed to a contract that they can’t perform. I loved them before Microsoft turned them into the Halo Factory, but over-promising and under-delivering has been a problem for Bungie as least as far back as Halo 2. Their biggest issue these days seems to be that Activision isn’t willing to cut them nearly as much slack as Microsoft did.

But sometimes these companies are no longer ‘great’. Is Bungie still the same Bungie? Things change.

I don’t think I’ve ever bought an EA game since 1990.

God, I’m tired.

Dear Master Malstrom,

Thanks for responding to my earlier email. I’d really like to ask you some follow-up questions.

You said:

“The reason why the Animal Crossing ‘NES’ games existed was because Nintendo thought their IPs weren’t valued anymore. Yet, you and many others spent great lengths to get to those games. So Nintendo decided to sell them via Virtual Console. And now, Nintendo has re-packaged them as mini-consoles. Soon, Nintendo will re-package them as online multiplayer for their online system debut.

“You want the games. Nintendo knows this. But Nintendo is going to leverage these old games to their financial map. They are not going to SELL you the games. That would be silly. Why do that when they can make you subscribe to their online service to get them?”

Nintendo put the NES games on Animal Crossing because they didn’t realize that their NES games had value? If this was true, they had to be truly clueless. It should have been obvious to anyone that people love those old games. As far as being protective of their IPs, would it really have been so risky to just release the games on a separate disc? What was the worst that could have happened?

And I don’t get this ‘leveraging the NES games as part of the online subscription service’ that I keep hearing about. Most people including myself will subscribe to the online service whether or the old games are part of it or not. The online service is only going to cost $22 a year or such, right? So wouldn’t it be much more profitable to either to sell the games seperately on Virtual Console or to sell them for $60 on a cartridge? I don’t see how Nintendo makes more money by adding the games to their subscription service. Please enlighten me on this if you can.

I may have the Animal Crossing (Gamecube) backwards. Perhaps it is because Nintendo wanted to launch Animal Crossing to the West that they inserted the NES games as bait. You buy Animal Crossing to get to the NES games only to fall in love with the new franchise of Animal Crossing.

Why did Nintendo bundle Mario with the hardware? So you would buy the hardware in order to get to the game. I think this is what Nintendo plans with the classic games especially in their ‘updated’ forms such as online multiplayer.

What doesn’t make sense to me is that NES games do not have great multiplayer. No one wants to wait their turn for games like SMB 1. The best multiplayer NES games I can recall were games like Dr. Mario which already have online versions or brawler games like TMNT Arcade Game (which already saw a release on Xbox). Online multiplayer for Contra, Bubble Bobble, and Double Dragon 2? No, there has to be more.

What about the SNES? You have Super Mario Kart, Street Fighter 2 (which already has online with the anniversary edition out in a few months or the Ultra version already out), Smash TV, Contra 3, Rock and Roll Racing, Zombies Ate My Neighbors, etc. But online multiplayer wouldn’t work out too well with this.

No. I think Nintendo has something else planned. If I were Nintendo, I would.

Now, as an aside, people wonder how I am a Malstrom. I am like a PID controller. I look at the Present games, the Past games, and the Future games (which we know where market trends are going) in order to see the Actual Future. It is why the analysts were so off with the Wii is because they did not look at consoles before the PlayStation. It is why they were so off with the Switch Zelda BoW because they don’t understand Zelda since they do not understand NES Zelda. The past illuminates the future. You’ve got to look at it all. This is why I keep using Doc Brown’s deLorean to go backward and forward through time.

Remember BS Zelda? Yes, Nintendo did have their online service of the satellite network for the SNES. Nintendo was willing to REMAKE these classic games with multiplayer or other online elements even adding new stages and shit. This was 16-bit era and only in Japan.

Remember Mario Maker? Yes, Nintendo was able to breath new life into 2d Mario (since we know Nintendo is creatively bankrupt at 2d Mario) by allowing editor to make and share new stages.

And third, we have the NES Classic Minis. Why is Nintendo putting those out aside for money?

Fourth, we have the terrible NES Remix where Nintendo has already been shown to be altering and editing the original games!

Fifth, Nintendo has added on new stages and shit to classic games when they were re-released on GBA.

My suspicion is that the NES Classic Minis will be the only way to get the original classics UNALTERED. Boom!

Nintendo does NOT have the First Party for online multiplayer gaming. Splatoon 2 and Mario Kart are already out. They have Smash Brothers, of course. But they need more. And Mario sports games won’t cover it. What could Nintendo do to sweeten the pot at least for launch?

I believe Nintendo will offer Classic Games ‘enhanced’. Expect:

-Online multiplayer

-New stages

-Animal Crossing type enhancements to classic games, e.g.: NES Zelda different depending on what time of day you play. Monsters are different. Etc.

-Remixed NES games with build in tutorials (already done in NES Remix).

-Graphical enhancements?

Why would Nintendo do this? It is because it is CHEAP and EASY and FAST to do. Nintendo has done it before. Nintendo also likes to milk IP before altering it (hence the Classic Minis). And Nintendo wants to push their online service. You need software for that, and Nintendo needs more than just Smash.

Nintendo won’t put the classics on a cartridge for you when they can get more mileage of bundling them with a new platform. In this case, it will be the online platform.

Dear Master Malstrom,

This has been on my mind a lot lately. One thing I would absolutely love is to be able to buy NES, SNES, Gameboy, and even Virtual Boy games on cartridge. If Nintendo were to release 30 of these games on a single cartridge, they could charge $60 and I would eagerly buy each edition. Nintendo could easily rake in tens of millions on their old libraries, and yet I have a strong feeling that they aren’t going to do it. I remember when I was playing Gamecube and really wanted to play the old NES games. The only way to do this was to buy Animal Crossing! So I had to endure hours of dreadfully boring Animal Crossing gameplay that I absolutely hated in order to slowly unlock the various NES games hidden on the disc. At the time I couldn’t for the life of me understand why Nintendo was forcing me to jump through hoops to access these games. Why not just sell the games on a separate disc?

And then there’s the gimped virtual console port of Donkey Kong that’s missing a level. One of the most iconic video games of all time and Nintendo won’t offer us the full version. I recently learned that Donkey Kong 64 has the full game available as an unlockable, and so I’ve been spending a few hours so far playing what is a really lame and boring N64 game just to try and unlock the original Donkey Kong. Again, why is Nintendo forcing me to do this? Why does Nintendo continue to leave money on the table time and time again?

Now I think I know why. I think Nintendo despises these old games, and so they are reluctant to release them either because they think they won’t sell or because they think they will sell but don’t want to be reminded of the reasons why so many of their new games suck.

Nintendo is extremely protective of their IP values. The reason why the Animal Crossing ‘NES’ games existed was because Nintendo thought their IPs weren’t valued anymore. Yet, you and many others spent great lengths to get to those games. So Nintendo decided to sell them via Virtual Console. And now, Nintendo has re-packaged them as mini-consoles. Soon, Nintendo will re-package them as online multiplayer for their online system debut.

You want the games. Nintendo knows this. But Nintendo is going to leverage these old games to their financial map. They are not going to SELL you the games. That would be silly. Why do that when they can make you subscribe to their online service to get them? Or to buy small pieces of hardware to get it? Or to sell the gamecube version of Animal Crossing (first Animal Crossing released in the West?). When the 3DS failed to launch, Nintendo gave away ‘Virtual Console games’ to first adopters as apology for lowering the price soon after.

The only thing, and I mean the only thing, that prevents Nintendo from totally keeping classic games hostage as forever selling them as overpriced/overleveraged godiva chocolates is piracy. Roms are very easy to pirate, and it is very easy to emulate. I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that if it weren’t for piracy, Nintendo would be selling classic NES games for $100 a pop. They already tried something similar with the GBA Classic Line Up (which was mostly to bump up GBA sales as Iwata revealed).

You say: “Nintendo is leaving money on the table with their attitude towards classic games.” Are you sure of that? From where I’m sitting, Nintendo is doing everything they can to leverage the classic games to further push their corporate strategy. The latest example will be putting online multiplayer in these classic games to sell you the Nintendo online service. Watch and see.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | April 8, 2018

Email: Homebrew and Piracy

You picking up a 3DS had me wondering what your stance on homebrew and piracy was. The 3DS is a hotbed for hacking, with really solid emulators for up to 16-bit consoles and ways to inject new ROMs into virtual console, utilities to install games without going through the eShop from either a file or a cracked version of the eShop that doesn’t check if you own a game before downloading, utilities to get around region-locking, cheat engines, all that sort of stuff. My 3DS has custom firmware on it and sometimes I find that I’m playing the emulators more than actual 3DS games (and if I’m playing a 3DS game it’s probably a port of something haha). It’s a shame because the form factor is what it is which makes playing certain action games painful, but hopefully once the Switch reaches it’s end of life it’ll see homebrew. It’s an all-purpose console so i’d like for all the games to be on it! Time will tell if Gamecube is emulatable on that thing, but if it is the Switch would be a fascinating console in that if you consider all the good Wii U games ported over to the Switch, it would hypothetically be capable of playing games from every generation except 7th generation consoles. I’m kind of rambling, but I guess I’m just curious: you’ve talked about piracy and their (lack of) impact on game sales, but do you have any strong feelings on the ethics of it? Have you ever hacked a console or used a flash cart?

Let’s talk more about piracy in general. It is a shallow argument to say that piracy = bad. There are more contexts.

Much piracy came from Russians. Why are the Russians hacking? Are these Russians evil? No. They simply want to play the game. Game companies wouldn’t release the game to Russia or have it on a huge delay. When game companies included Russia in their world wide release, they discovered the piracy rate from Russia almost virtually disappeared!

What if someone wants to try out a game but there is no way to rent it and there is no demo. Well, they pirate it to see if it is worth buying. In many cases, piracy can lead to increased sales. Many, many years ago, I pirated the original Unreal Tournament because I thought I hated first person shooters, but I loved the demo. But would I love the full game? Ehh….. But the shitty warez version I got was very entertaining, so I went ahead and bought the full game. Epic Megagames was so happy that everyone was buying their game that they gave out free DLC like new maps and stuff. It was wonderful.

What if a game isn’t available to be bought anymore? It is more common now since digital versions go away and cannot be bought. So is it wrong to pirate it? There used to be many abandonware sites putting up games that were ‘abandoned’. Was it wrong to download them? However, this form of ‘piracy’ revealed market interest in good old games which led to the creation of the website/company GOG. GOG would never exist if abandonware wasn’t a thing because there would be no idea that the market existed.

What about hacks? Pac-Man is a great game, but it can be made better. One hack of Pac-Man is called Ms. Pac-Man. It was so good, it became its own game. The same holds true for Warcraft 3’s ‘tower defense’ maps or Defense of the Ancients.

If games were available in all regions, and all games were awesome, piracy would never be needed. However, since games become unavailable to be bought, and so many shitty games hide underneath slick marketing and corrupt bought-out reviewers, piracy is necessary part of the market landscape.

What causes bad games to fail in the market?

“Reviews…”

Not if they are bought and paid for.

“Word of mouth…”

Not if the conversations are heavily censored and controlled such as on gaming message forums or social media.

“Playing a friend’s version…”

Not if a separate account must be bought to play multiplayer or if it is illegal to share your account.

“Stacks of used copies filling up shelves…”

Not if the game has no physical version…

What is the difference between game developers and the Game Industry ™? Game developers make games (often with the intention of making good games). The Game Industry ™ is an entity that has one purpose: making bad games sell. Everything the Game Industry ™ wants and desires can be summed up as ‘selling bad games’.

What are the Game Industry ™ actions? Ridiculous budgets. Why? To sell bad games. Huge graphic pushes for the sake of graphic pushes? To sell bad games. Huge advertising and marketing blitzes? To sell bad games.

There are two philosophies of gaming. One is of the gamer. It is “make games that sell.” The other is of industry. It is “make sales of games”. The former demands quality and craftsmanship. The latter demands Hollywood-esque marketing, budgeting, and various formulas.

If I want to see the Next Great Game, I will never look at the Game Industry ™. The best games always come from outside the Game Industry ™. Minecraft did not come from the Game Industry. Even games like Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty were small indie PC games when they started. Wii Sports did not come from the Game Industry ™. Super Mario Brothers and Zelda did not come from the Game Industry ™. The Game Industry ™ is a mentality. Metroid: Other M is an example of a Game Industry ™ type game.

What does piracy have to do about this? Gamers do not pirate good games (unless they cannot purchase them). However, gamers intentionally pirate bad games. This is how the gamer discovers the game is bad and knows not to purchase it. Piracy doesn’t destroy the market so much as it protects it. Despite all the piracy of other entertainment today, you still see music and movies selling. However, it is much harder to sell bad shit.

Games going digital will rampantly create more piracy. Gamers will pirate games before they buy them. Without a physical version to sell back, gamers will seek that line of defense from ‘fraud’ of bad games.

If games wish to sell, they need to be quality games. They also need quality packaging. They need to be physical copies. There is a tangible element here. Since no one will want to believe this paragraph, let me just ask this: what sold more? Nintendo’s Virtual Console or the Classic Mini consoles? Which created excitement in the marketplace? They are the same exact games. Yet, people go crazy for the classic minis.

I see piracy as not an attack on the market but as an antibody. Don’t like piracy? Stop putting out shit. Gamers have shown themselves to be more than willing to buy great games… even multiple times.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | April 7, 2018

Email: 3DS Recommendations

Congrats on the 3DS. It’s one of my favorite systems, and since I work in a major metro area, I actually got a lot out of the StreetPass stuff when it was popular.

Anyways, here are a couple of titles I’d recommend:
-Both Dragon Quests. VII lasts 100+ hours and it’s also pretty good, and VIII is one of the better entries in the series even without the full orchestral score.
-Fire Emblem: Awakening. Despite being the tipping point for “weird Japanese crap” taking over, the strategy part of Fire Emblem is quite fun, and it’s possible to break the game in half if you plan your character pairings and offspring appropriately. The story is also a lot better than Fates (think Fantasy Terminator), where the inclusion of offspring makes no sense.
-Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon. The original Luigi’s Mansion was forgettable, but Next Level Games is as good as Retro Studios at making better Nintendo games than Nintendo itself does (I blame Sakamoto for Metroid Prime: Federation Force) and I enjoyed this one. Think of it as a kiddie version of Resident Evil.
-All three (soon to be four) Mario & Luigi games. They’re each about ten hours longer than they should be, but are consistently enjoyable.
-Steel Diver. This game was rightfully savaged for costing $40 at launch, but I got it for 10 out of a bargain bin and had a surprisingly good time with it. You control your sub using sliders and buttons on the touch screen, which seems counter-intuitive. However, MechWarrior 2 is one of my favorite games of all time, and the complicated controls, different sub types (light, medium, heavy), and frequent sub combat reminds me of a tiny, underwater version of that game. If you can find it cheap, give it a try. I think there might even be a F2P version on the 3DS eShop.

And here are a couple to definitely avoid:
-Bravely Default. I REALLY wanted to love this game. In the first ten hours, it totally sucks you in with its classic Final Fantasy plot, beautiful production values, and charming “FF Tactics in 3D” character models. It also has great quality-of-life features that should be in every RPG, like sliders for random encounter difficulty, frequency, and payouts, as well as the ability to automate character commands and control the battle speed on-the-fly. All that said, it totally squanders that initial goodwill by becoming the laziest, most insulting game that I have ever played. Remember the “surprise” ending in Ghosts ‘n Goblins, where you have to beat the entire game again to finish it for real? Imagine if you had to do that 5+ times, and it was an RPG. Square Enix either had a great 10-hour game that was mandated to be stretched to 50 hours, or they ran out of money and didn’t want to put out something so short. Either way, it’s a massive disappointment and I didn’t even bother with the sequel because of how pissed off I was at this one.
-Kid Icarus: Uprising. This game would be great if it didn’t literally hurt to play. It’s funny and is full of the usual tons of unlockables and stuff to do that Sakurai puts in all of his games. The control scheme totally sinks it though. They were clearly going for something similar to Sin & Punishment on the Wii, where you can control your character and reticle independently, but it just doesn’t work at all on a portable. Yeah, I know the game came with the stand, but so did the Virtual Boy. Holding your system with one hand while pressing on it with another is as good for your wrist as the Virtual Boy stand is for your neck.
-Pilotwings Resort. Also known as “Wii Sports Resort 2: Fly Mii Away.” Everyone loved that game so much that they shoehorned Pilotwings stuff into it and sold it to you again! The 3D sucked until I got the New 3DS with head-tracking, the scoring system is ridiculously picky in ways that the SNES game never was, and there are no helicopter missions. More annoying than fun.

God, I hate that ‘Sin and Punishment’ type game. You still see those Sin and Punishment 2 copies for the Wii in retail? I blame NOA and, especially Reggie, for bringing in this crap. Seriously, why is it that these guys in the Game Industry don’t have the feel for games and have to come to sites like this to figure it out? Sin and Punishment 2? Really?

Nintendo doesn’t realize how stupid they’ve been… only until after a boondoggle like the Wii U or Virtual Boy hits.

What about 2d Mario? “Fuck that shit!” Miyamoto says. NSMB games come out and sell gazillions. Does that wake up Nintendo? No. They don’t like being wrong and are extremely bitter about realizing how stupid they are (which they project their stupidity onto the customers by declaring WE are stupid for not buying their 3d Marios and keep dumbing them down for us).

What about Open World Zelda? “Fuck that shit!” Aonuma says. “Here are trains and Wind Waker sequels and Wind Waker remasters! Bahahaha! I am genius!!!!” Breath of the Wild comes out, finally confronting complaints I’ve made here about Zelda since… a decade?… and BoW “Wow!” sells a gazillion, sells hardware, and wins every game award ever. I’m sure Aonuma is probably thinking, “They don’t really like that shit. I know what they like. They want more Majora’s Mask and games like Marvelous!”

We should make a new golden rule for entertainment producers: If the customers are ‘stupid’ for not buying your product, it is YOU who is PROJECTING YOUR OWN STUPIDITY onto the customers.

Anyway, I will probably not buy any of the 3DS games you have listed above. My next few 3DS games will be ones no one has mentioned…. They’re already getting more and more crazy expensive, so I can’t mention them yet. And they are all third party games.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | April 7, 2018

Email: Digital distribution and shelf space

You got me thinking with the recent Steam blog posts. Bad games have always existed, and they have been taking space up on the shelves nest to the good games. But in the past the market took care of them: bad games sold poorly, so noch much stock was ordered, and what remained was put on a clearance sale and they were gone, making space for newer games, or re-releases of older good games. In a way it was a kind of survival of the fittest, bad games would take up space for a little while, while good games would have a longer shelf life. The Atari crash happened because the shelf population got “unhealthy”, bad games were clogging up the market and there was barely anything good to buy.

Digital distrubution however has virtually unlimited shelf space. Once a game is up on a service like Steam or GOG it will remain there as long as someone holds the rights to it, even if the company merely exists on paper. Bad games never go away, they linger on forever. Steam is a particularly bad offender because their curation process is pretty much non-existant. There is the phenomenon of “asset flipping”: a developer buys a bunch of Unity Asset Store assets (sounds, graphics, even complete gameplay scripts), glues them together somehow and releases as a result a game that barely works and has no identity. This sort of shit keeps clogging up the shelves and taking attention from actually good games. People keep buying these games because on sale they are a cheap source of trading cards whatever other shenanigans Valve has added to Steam.

Now don’t take this as negativity on my part. To the contrary, I would be happy for Steam to die, it is one of the worst things to happen to PC gaming, but I am still afraid that the successor to Steam might be even worse. Just look at the other DRM methods which by all means should be classified as malware and be illegal.

Look at a retro game store to see shelves full of ‘sports games’ no one wants to buy. Bad games still never die.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | April 7, 2018

Email: Physical is not good enough

Hello Malstrom,

I applaud your choice not to buy anything digitally from Nintendo. I once spent 20€ on Wii Shop points before I realized that my ownership of those games was non-existant. However, even if a game gets a physical release these days you have to do thorough research. Take for example The Witcher III: game is released entirely DRM-free on disc, it comes on several DVDs and includes everything, no extra download require to play. Sounds great, doesn’t it? True to their ideals CD Projekt has shown that they treat their customers with dignity. They even released a bunch of free DLC.

At least that is the official party line. What you will never hear anyone mention is that in order to download patches you have to register your copy on GOG. And of course you want patches for a PC game. Also, the free DLC I mentioned above? Only through GOG as well. The expansions? You can buy them boxed, but you only get a GOG code in the box. CD Projekt is using their game to force their digital service the same way Valve used Half Life 2 to force Steam.

This makes the physical release completely pointless. As far as I am concerned, the physical release of The Witcher 3 does not exists. I have used The Witcher 3 just as an example, but this is a very common practice: patches and expansions are only available digitally, so you have to artificially devalue your copy, at which point the disc becomes just an expensive coaster for your drink. Finding out about support for physical releases is near impossible because no one talks about them, any YouTuber you look up only gets their games digitally. It’s really frustrating, when you want to buy physically you are a 3rd-rate customer.

What is making companies to this? Are they really that afraid of the second-hand market? I know I am not willing to gamble more than 10€ on a game that I might not like. With a physical release I am more willing to pay a higher price because I know I can recoup some of the loss should I not like the game. The money will eventually go to buying another game anyway.

Is this email bait? You take the downloaded versions of GOG Witcher 3, patches too, and put them on a disc. BAM! Physical copy. It’s not that hard, guys. You can put everything on GOG onto flash drives.

Physical does not mean retail. Physical means physical. Many, many PC games were released in the 90s that had patches to download via the Internet that were never in any box. Are they physical? Sure. You download the patch, and you can put the patch to disk.

It used to be that you were legally allowed to make a BACKUP copy to your game in case the main disk failed.

Physical = Games as product

Digital = Games as service

We don’t want games to become a ‘service’. For some games, this makes sense such as MMORPGs like WoW. Online multiplayer, to a point, can make sense as a ‘service’. Games as services means you buy a cinderella wagon that turns into a pumpkin when then game company ceases to support the game.

 

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