Hey! Look! Listen! #59 – I Miss My Desk

Aaaand I’m back.

Man, I really should stop pulling this frequent disappearance act. But (sadly) Riddlethos doesn’t pay the bills. And it was my birthday week, and the only present I received was the gift of laziness, which I gave to myself.

As for the title of this post, it’s in reference to my super-awesome desk that I received as a birthday present some years back. Right now, though, it’s collecting dust in a storage unit. Why? Because I don’t have an apartment, as you all know. Sitting on the bed with my legs wrapped around my laptop is not the most ideal position for typing. But I suppose it beats sitting in a dirty Murfreesboroan alleyway.

(Actually, I don’t think we have many dirty alleyways in Murfreesboro. If any.)

That aside, let’s see what trifles have managed to catch my fancy in the world of videogames.

THQ Feels Cheated When You Buy Their Games Used

Aw. Poor THQ.

A growing trend amongst videogame publishers of today is an outspoken disdain for the sales of used games, and for the penniless sots who purchase them. It started with EA and their “Project Ten Dollar” initiative, which charged used game buyers an extra ten bucks to access DLC and online play. THQ quickly followed suit, revealing last May that UFC Undisputed 2010 will come with a one-time use code for DLC and online play. Those who buy it used will have to buy a fresh code. Seeing that a lot of people purchased games used, there’s been more than a few disgruntled fans. I mean come on, everyone picks up a used game here and there – some of us honestly could use the five or ten bucks it saves us, y’know?

Well, THQ’s Corey Ledesma has come forward and revealed to CVG precisely how the company feels towards said purchasers of used games. Long and short, they really don’t give a flying fuck:

I don’t think we really care whether used game buyers are upset because new game buyers get everything. If used game buyers are upset they don’t get the online feature set I don’t really have much sympathy for them.

That’s a little blunt, but we hope it doesn’t disappoint people. We hope people understand that when the game’s bought used we get cheated. I don’t think anyone wants that, so in order for us to make strong, high-quality WWE games we need loyal fans that are interested in purchasing the game. We want to award those fans with additional content.

Cheated? Really? THQ thinks that Average Joe Gamer buys a used copy of UFC with the intent of “cheating” them? From where I stand, it looks like the guy just wants to save a few bucks.

I understand that THQ, along with every other publisher in the world, doesn’t see a penny from used game sales. I understand that they may find this frustrating. But to attack used game consumers in such a way, and go so far as to call them cheats (essentially) is way over the line. Sure, they may not be the one lining THQ’s pockets, but gamers who buy used are the ones doing the most spending, playing, living, and dying in this industry. Don’t piss us off.

Especially you, THQ. What the fuck have you released in the last… well, ever that gives you anything close to the right to talk down to consumers?

To conclude, words from Kotaku commenter Grahamillion:

Ironic because I feel cheated when I buy a THQ game.


Some British Politician Wants Medal of Honor Banned, EA Doesn’t Care

Given the sensitive subject matter present in EA’s upcoming Medal of Honor reboot, I’m surprised we haven’t heard more shit like this. I mean sure, games like Modern Warfare have broken the ice when it comes to games representing current military conflicts. But Modern Warfare took the concept and sensationalized it; you weren’t literally running around in the midst of Afghanistan shooting at Taliban members.

However, that’s exactly what you’ll be doing in Medal of Honor, which is pretty ballsy. I mean, sure, I’d say that the world at large is pretty over the fact that we’re still shooting at sand (our current administration has done a pretty good job of not talking about it, if nothing else) but still. To the people over there, at least, it’s still a sensitive thing.

Anyway. That being the case, you’d think that, say, an American politician might have a beef with the game. We’ve got plenty of reactionary, headline-grabbing asshats over here, after all.

But no. The first political figure to make a stink is the fucking British defense secretary. Yeah. British Defense Secretary Liam Fox doesn’t like the fact that, in the game’s multiplayer mode (which allows you to play as the Taliban) one of the maps is set in the Helmland province, where U.K. forces are stationed.

I am disgusted and angry. It’s hard to believe any citizen of our country would wish to buy such a thoroughly un-British game. I would urge retailers to show their support for our armed forces and ban this tasteless product.

Funny thing, though: There aren’t any British troops to be killed in Medal of Honor. So, Liam’s argument is totally, entirely, and completely baseless. Sounds like a good time for a retraction, right? Wrong. In the face of these facts, Liam stood by his call to ban the game:

The point remains that part of this game allows you to play the part of the Taliban attacking ISAF troops in the area of central Helmand where British troops are operating.

Christ.

A final hilarious irony is that the British government has swiftly and decisively distanced themselves from Fox’s insane comments. In a statement released to GamesIndustry, the The Department for Culture, Media and Sport had this to say:

Dr Fox was expressing a personal view and we understand why some people might find the subject matter of the game offensive.

There is a ratings system in place which exists to categorise games appropriately, in this case the game in question is rated 18 so should only be sold to, and played by, adults.

There is a clear choice for consumers which they can exercise when making decisions about purchasing videogames.

Right so, right so. Way to save face, U.K.

EA Games president Frank Gibeu also released a statement in retort to Mr. Fox’s assertions, which I was happy to see.  ”At EA we passionately believe games are an artform, and I don’t know why films and books set in Afghanistan don’t get flack, yet [games] do,” Gibeu told Develop.

“Whether it’s Red Badge Of Courage or The Hurt Locker, the media of its time can be a platform for the people who wish to tell their stories. Games are becoming that platform.”

Or at least they’re trying to be. Given the subject matter, Medal of Honor should be scrutinized. But it should be scrutinized by those who play it, and by those who are interested in critiquing its artistic merit, and how well it handles its subject matter. Pointless controversies like this one tend to distract people from this, and to me, that’s an incredible injustice. (Kotaku)

Catherine Looks Like Some Fucked-Up Shit

Seriously, it does. If you haven’t heard, Catherine is an action-adventure game being developed by the minds behind Persona 3 and 4. The story focuses around a man named Vincent (first seen in the PSP port of Persona 3) and a seductive, myserious woman named Catherine. (D’oh!) It also happens to be the first HD title developed in-house by Atlus. (We won’t speak of Operation Darkness, which, while published by Atlus, was developed by Japanese studio Success.) It also happens to be… really weird-looking. This trailer’s a few days old, so you may have seen it. If not, please to enjoy below. It’s worth watching for weirdness alone.

Color me intrigued. I can’t deny that I’m a little disappointed they didn’t announce Persona 5 instead, but Catherine looks like it could be a unique, atmospheric experience. Looks like Atlus is manning up and putting actual sex scenes in their games, which is long overdue.  That, and I’m hoping they’re using the game as a test-run for a Persona 5 engine. Makes sense, right? The game hits Japan in Winter 2010.

QUICKIE: Toshiba to Roll Out Glass-less 3DTVs by Year’s End

This interests me. I’m not going to try to paraphrase the article here, head to Gizmodo for the full story. (Lots of big words and phrases like Integral Imaging System, Motion Parallax, and low-temperature poly-silicon.) Point being, it looks like we may be seeing glass-less 3DTV technology a lot sooner than we might have hoped.

And that’s it. Sorry it’s so late. Today has been… really dumb, to put it lightly. There’s still no new banner, and I apologize for that. I have tomorrow off, so I’ll deal with that shit then. At this point, I really have no idea what it will be. Suggestions, perhaps? A Murfreesboro Week (as suggested by SiliconNoob) is actually pretty tempting, but it might require a little more preparation than I’m able to handle at this point. Still, if the people call for it, I could find a way…?

But seriously. Suggestions. Make them. And comment on the news stories too, or I’ll cry. This is the longest HLL I’ve written in a while.

Love you all,

~Riddles

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14 Responses to “Hey! Look! Listen! #59 – I Miss My Desk”

  1. SiliconNooB says:

    *Additional content?! It’s fucking multiplayer. I can’t get over the fact that game publishers think that they’re the one unique snowflake of an industry that can’t afford to share the market with second hand retail.

    I’m also highly sceptical of any claim that they don’t get any benefit from used game sales, IMO used game sales have a trickle up effect. I buy 95% of my games new which I subsidise by selling unwanted games, if any publisher moves to make my purchases less valuable then I won’t buy new games from them. Simple as that. I have no interest in multiplayer. I won’t be buying anything from THQ (but the this is no great loss). This is just them being butthurt at selling fuck all copies of that generic looking ultimate fighting game crap.

    *Catherine looks amazing, I wish Atlas had furnished us with a few more gameplay details.

  2. SiliconNooB says:

    *Perhaps you should have ‘Reminiscences of Oliver’s Table week’?

  3. Ethos says:

    @SN:

    -You’ve been having the best ideas for Theme Weeks this week than ever before. I’d write an ode to Oliver’s table!

    -Not only that Re: THQ, but buying used games can MAKE you a loyal customer. I also buy the vast majority of my titles new, but once in a while I’ll buy something used if it’s a series I’ve never tried before, or if it’s a whim purchase. Take Ratchet and Clank Future: A Crack in Time for example. Insomniac has never made a cent off of me for that series, but buying that game has made me a fan of the series (albiet a little late) and if any more single player focused titles come out, I’m way more likely to buy it new than I was before I bought the used title. If I was hearing good things about UFC (which I’m not), maybe I’d pick it up used and maybe become a lifelong fan. Yeah, they get shafted for a single purchase, but they’re not looking at the long run in terms of good business sense.

    And Catherine looks half really interesting and half way too into itself.

    @Riddles – Loved your rant about Medal of Honour. That’s why I keep you around!

  4. SiliconNooB says:

    LOL, that idiot Scotsman’s MoH outburst also piqued my interest this week, the English should have placed them into bondage, not Ministries. I love that his Tory peers pretty much rubbished what he was saying.

  5. DarthGibblet says:

    - Wow, the amount of entitlement in this industry sometimes is staggering (on both side. We all know gamers can be just as guilty). I don’t particularly have a problem with any of EA or THQ’s respective used gaming initiatives, but to imply that re-selling a game or buying it used is somehow “cheating” the system is just asinine. To be fair, I can completely understand the guy’s rant to some degree. Why should they be upset if people who purchase used games are upset? They don’t see any direct profits from them, and those are obviously the only type of profits that exist (/sarcasm). I’m sure game companies would love nothing more than to completely eliminate the used game market, just like gamers would love nothing more than to get all their games for free forever. To steal a line from Weekend Confirmed, it’s nice to want things. I’m usually pretty sympathetic to companies in cases like this, but this guy just comes across sounding ignorant. Buying a game used is no more “cheating” a game company than buying a used car is cheating Ford (to go for an obvious analogy). (And just for reference, the only used game I’ve bought or sold in recent memory is Xenosaga 3 from Lusi).

    - If Persona 5 uses Catherine’s graphics engine, I will be a happy weeaboo. Can’t wait for more details about Catherine!

  6. SiliconNooB says:

    All used games were new once. Think about it.

  7. 7thCircle says:

    I”m on THQ’s side. When you buy a used game, you know the developer gets $0. You know the publisher gets $0. Yet you are enjoying what they spent millions to create. From their standpoint, it’s no different from pirating, only you’re saying “I can afford $50 for a used game that came out last week, but $60? Wow. That’s way too much.” Pirating makes more sense to me, since you’re not bitching over $10 and then going out for dinner and a movie. Even if you disagree, you should at least be able to understand their point, and I think the free DLC thing is a good solution that rewards people for buying new games without crippling the game for those who want or need to buy it used.

    In a more pragmatic sense, I understand that very poor people will pirate games. My brother is thousands of dollars in credit card debt, owes our mother thousands of dollars, and just changed jobs because he was about to get laid off for the second time this year. He pirates games. I don’t preach at him for it, and I understand his situation, but when he offers to burn me a copy of a game I want, I decline. I understand that there are people out there who are better off than that, but really need to save the $10 and I’m okay with buying used games in that instance. Hell, I bought way more used games than new games in college when I was poor and needed every $10 I could save. For me, the problem comes when people spend lots of money on entertainment and toys, then feel entitled to pirating or buying used copies because they claim they cost too much.

    And let’s face it, other industries have had to deal with this, and we end up with Apple products that don’t let you copy ripped mp3s on them, and (for us old people) copy protected VHS tapes. It’s nothing new. I think the free DLC is a great compromise, and it’s much less annoying than the VHS or Apple solutions. It doesn’t anger me that the used game industry is so big and helps shutter developers’ doors. Mocking THQ’s situation and its level-headed response comes across and dim-witted and selfish, though. Their statement doesn’t read whiny to me at all.

  8. SiliconNooB says:

    What utter nonsense, I should have the right to sell my legally purchased property and not have have it’s value artificially lessened by a THQ gimping solution. They can do what they like, but I shan’t purchase a new product from them so long as they have their collective heads lodged so firmly in their backsides.

  9. Ethos says:

    Glenn, your point ignores my point. I’m not talking about people who wait a week to save $5, I’m talking about people who see a game on the shelf half price that they never would have bought otherwise, and that game makes that person a faithful fan of the series. THQ’s comment lumps everybody together and comes across as ignorant. I’m all for supporting all developers, no matter their success (feeling morally fine with shafting successful companies just because they’re successful doesn’t fly with me), but we’re not in a culture that is simple as that quote makes it seem. It is simply ignorant of our culture to assume that people who buy used games are shafting the company.

    People who buy a game used in that exact instance may be cheating them, but that is such a narrow perspective.

    Although I agree about people who wait a week to get $5 or $10 off, and only do that. But don’t clump us all together. Used game purchases have made me a loyal fan of many franchises that I would not have been otherwise.

  10. SiliconNooB says:

    I agree with none of it, there wouldn’t be such a used game epidemic if new games didn’t sell so damn well!

  11. DarthGibblet says:

    @7th: It’s a slippery slope to say that some people are “ok” buying games used while other aren’t just because of their financial situation. Personally, I’d never buy a game used just to save a measly $10 (or $5), but if somebody else wants to, that’s their call.

    I agree with you about the Project $10 stuff, though. As long as companies aren’t pulling a bait-and-switch type thing, it’s their right to withhold whatever they want from used games, then go laugh at people who buy it used if they want to. My issue with the quote was with the wording, specifically with the “cheated” term. There’s nothing dishonest about purchasing games used or selling them back to Gamestop or whatever. Like SN said above, I believe you’ve got the right to do whatever you want with your legally purchased property. Yes, it sucks that the developers and publishers don’t see a dime of that money, but that certainly doesn’t make it “cheating.”

    @SN: If used games truly are the problem that developers and publishers claim they are (which they might be, I’m certainly no expert on the economics of the situation), I imagine we’ll eventually start to see a decline in the number of games produced. Only time will tell.

  12. SiliconNooB says:

    Yes, let them produce fewer games, since nobody ever buys them!

  13. DarthGibblet says:

    Then I might actually be able to catch up on some of my backlog :D

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