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Video Game Industry Thread: January's over, go to the new thread

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  • UnbreakableVowUnbreakableVow Klonoa of the Wind WAHOO!Registered User regular
    Chorazin wrote:
    Redbox has been getting newer and better games, and for $2 a night its hard to pass up getting super short FPS games if you're not a real MP buff. Easy to see why retail Blockbuster stores have a hard time competing.

    This was the case for a while, but even now Redbox is lagging

    That or it's just the slow season

    The last new game my Redbox received for nearly two months was Assassin's Creed Revelations when that hit (November 15), I check every week and this week is the first time in two months a new game was available, and it's a shitty one (WWE '12)

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  • cloudeaglecloudeagle Zhu-Li, do the thing! Registered User regular
    No, it's the movie studios. They're making Redbox delay their new releases for a month after they hit DVD.

    In fact, WB just announced they're making Redbox, Blockbuster and everyone else delay renting their stuff for two months.

    ...remember when I said the studios are acting like the music industry did a decade ago? Yeah.

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  • Idx86Idx86 A man chooses A slave obeysRegistered User regular
    The funny thing is that the studios believe it will make people want to buy movies more if they are not availble to rent. Guess what? I'll wait two more fucking months!

    2 bucks a night for games is decent. I remember renting a PS2 game at Blockbuster for something like $8 or so 5 years ago. Remember when SNES games were $2.50 - $3.00 to rent?

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  • UnbreakableVowUnbreakableVow Klonoa of the Wind WAHOO!Registered User regular
    Idx86 wrote:
    Remember when SNES games were $2.50 - $3.00 to rent?

    No

    Even SNES prices were absurd at BB back in the day

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  • CantidoCantido Registered User regular
    Blockbuster is owned by Dish Network now BTW.
    Idx86 wrote:
    The funny thing is that the studios believe it will make people want to buy movies more if they are not availble to rent. Guess what? I'll wait two more fucking months!

    2 bucks a night for games is decent. I remember renting a PS2 game at Blockbuster for something like $8 or so 5 years ago. Remember when SNES games were $2.50 - $3.00 to rent?

    Or you'll rent something from a publisher who doesn't have their head up their ass.

    That's what they are now. Everything is a daily rental. The new games and movies are three bucks, everything else is 2 or 1 dollar(s).

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  • LockedOnTargetLockedOnTarget Registered User regular
    It really fucking sucks that there's no good way to rent games anymore in Canada.

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  • Ninja Snarl PNinja Snarl P My helmet is my burden. Ninja Snarl: Gone, but not forgotten.Registered User regular
    edited January 2012
    DodgeBlan wrote:
    I really don't understand the strategy of the major production companies regarding internet distribution. Do they think they are going to be able to save their current business model, or do they recognize change is inevitable and just want to preserve it for as long as possible? Are they just trying to delay it in the hope that a SOPA-like bill will get passed and give them a stronger bargaining position?

    Considering how long we've had the internet now and you basically have an exact predictor of the future in the music industry, I find it hard to believe they are as clueless as they seem.

    It's important to remember that the people making the policies about distribution are not the people who actually understand why the old ways suck. The decision-makers are people who are sitting at their desk wondering why X idea isn't working any more when it used to make so much money. Then when they ask somebody why it doesn't work and get an explanation, they try to prop up the old model instead of asking "what new thing can we do that might be better?" even if the explanation was "people don't want to do things that way any more because there are better options".

    It is not an industry which is built on innovative new ideas. This is Hollywood, where chances are pretty good that any "new" movie you'll see is a rehash of something they've already done two or three times. Change is bad, things that are old and known are good.

    Ninja Snarl P on
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  • AllforceAllforce Registered User regular
    Idx86 wrote:
    The funny thing is that the studios believe it will make people want to buy movies more if they are not availble to rent. Guess what? I'll wait two more fucking months!

    Exactly, and at this point I won't even bother renting it, I'll just buy any movie I have a passing interest in second-hand for 5-10 bucks, since the market for blu-rays got absolutely saturated way before the studios hoped it would. People aren't buying a $24.99 blu-ray new release anymore, so the studios now cram releases full of crap noone wants (DVD copy, digital, ULTRAVIOLET copy) and call it value trying to entice you. Meanwhile that same movie is half the price a month later second-hand.

    It's sort of the same issue with the games industry, I literally have no interest in day-one purchases anymore when the market has shown those prices won't ever be sustained. Why pay 59.99 + tax on a game on Nov 8th when on Nov 15th it'll be 40 bucks on sale?

    The only exception to both of these instances is Disney and Nintendo. High quality releases that never drop in price and hardly anyone trades them in to the second-hand shops so they keep their value for a long time.

  • DodgeBlanDodgeBlan Registered User regular
    DodgeBlan wrote:
    I really don't understand the strategy of the major production companies regarding internet distribution. Do they think they are going to be able to save their current business model, or do they recognize change is inevitable and just want to preserve it for as long as possible? Are they just trying to delay it in the hope that a SOPA-like bill will get passed and give them a stronger bargaining position?

    Considering how long we've had the internet now and you basically have an exact predictor of the future in the music industry, I find it hard to believe they are as clueless as they seem.

    It's important to remember that the people making the policies about distribution are not the people who actually understand why the old ways suck. The decision-makers are people who are sitting at their desk wondering why X idea isn't working any more when it used to make so much money. Then when they ask somebody why it doesn't work and get an explanation, they try to prop up the old model instead of asking "what new thing can we do that might be better?" even if the explanation was "people don't want to do things that way any more because there are better options".

    It is not an industry which is built on innovative new ideas. This is Hollywood, where chances are pretty good that any "new" movie you'll see is a rehash of something they've already done two or three times. Change is bad, things that are old and known are good.

    Yeah but at the same time I wonder what they want. Even Rupert Murdoch must by now realize that sooner or later all music, games, film and tv will be distributed online.

    OooOOOoOoOOOooOOOoOOOoOoOOoOOoOOOOOOOOoooOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooo
  • cloudeaglecloudeagle Zhu-Li, do the thing! Registered User regular
    DodgeBlan wrote:
    DodgeBlan wrote:
    I really don't understand the strategy of the major production companies regarding internet distribution. Do they think they are going to be able to save their current business model, or do they recognize change is inevitable and just want to preserve it for as long as possible? Are they just trying to delay it in the hope that a SOPA-like bill will get passed and give them a stronger bargaining position?

    Considering how long we've had the internet now and you basically have an exact predictor of the future in the music industry, I find it hard to believe they are as clueless as they seem.

    It's important to remember that the people making the policies about distribution are not the people who actually understand why the old ways suck. The decision-makers are people who are sitting at their desk wondering why X idea isn't working any more when it used to make so much money. Then when they ask somebody why it doesn't work and get an explanation, they try to prop up the old model instead of asking "what new thing can we do that might be better?" even if the explanation was "people don't want to do things that way any more because there are better options".

    It is not an industry which is built on innovative new ideas. This is Hollywood, where chances are pretty good that any "new" movie you'll see is a rehash of something they've already done two or three times. Change is bad, things that are old and known are good.

    Yeah but at the same time I wonder what they want. Even Rupert Murdoch must by now realize that sooner or later all music, games, film and tv will be distributed online.

    "OH MY GOD WE MUST PROTECT THE REVENUES OF THE OLD WAYS!! DO WHAT YOU CAN TO ELIMINATE THE SOURCE OF THE DROP! NO, I DON'T CARE THAT IT MAKES THINGS MORE INCONVENIENT FOR OUR CUSTOMERS!!"

    Something like that.

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  • DragkoniasDragkonias Registered User regular
    Speaking of Blockbuster doing horribly. Interesting tidbit I heard on the radio going home. But apparently Netflix makes up almost 1/3 of nighttime internet traffic in the US.

    I'm guessing the number is so big because of the constant streaming, but that's still pretty big.

  • Local H JayLocal H Jay Registered User regular
    Idx86 wrote:
    Remember when SNES games were $2.50 - $3.00 to rent?

    No

    Even SNES prices were absurd at BB back in the day
    eh at blockbuster yeah, but not mom and pop stores. i have a local store nearby that does $4 movie and game rentals. nowadays there are even games at libraries (!?)

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  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited January 2012
    DodgeBlan wrote:
    I really don't understand the strategy of the major production companies regarding internet distribution. Do they think they are going to be able to save their current business model, or do they recognize change is inevitable and just want to preserve it for as long as possible? Are they just trying to delay it in the hope that a SOPA-like bill will get passed and give them a stronger bargaining position?

    Considering how long we've had the internet now and you basically have an exact predictor of the future in the music industry, I find it hard to believe they are as clueless as they seem.

    They are making insane money right now. They also hold all the cards right now. They have no reason to change and they know it.

    The thing is stuff like the TV business works nothing like the music industry. The same effects do not apply. As long as their affiliate fees are rolling in, their business model is secure.

    Here's a good article on it:
    There are three key reasons why Hollywood is under less duress than Silicon Valley wants to believe. For starters, the leaders are wide-awake. Ever since Boxee offered Hulu (and were told to stop), the executive ranks at the major cable companies have been alert and engaged. Second, Hollywood has a solid track record of enforcement. They understand the stakes are high, and they are willing to invest in lobbying, regulation, litigation, and enforcement. They are also unafraid to throw around their weight (witness Viacom vs. Google). The final and most significant reason is that this is a massive, massive business, and it is critically important to understand where the money flows (most people don’t). You can spend plenty of time talking about other issues, but when it comes to understanding the key factor at play in nearly every major business decision in television, you will find affiliate fees – all $32 billion of them.
    http://abovethecrowd.com/2010/04/28/affiliate-fees-make-the-world-go-round/

    These people are not stupid. They just know where their money comes from and that's all they care about. They have no interest in delivering a better service unless it makes them more money. Right now, it doesn't. Don't assume they are stupid because you aren't understanding how their business model works.


    The movie industry faces slightly different problems, but they still aren't in near the shape the music industry is in. Movies are harder to pirate (size, convenience of viewing, etc) and they too have alternate business models to support themselves with.

    The music industry is alot more of a special case then you think. They were by design going to be the first and worst fucked by the internet because of their business model.



    Movies are, however, feeling the pinch somewhat. And their main tactic has been to move towards being more conservative.

    Which is really an issue here because the "inevitability" of digital distribution is more of a "I've got a bomb strapped to my chest" hostage situation when it comes to TV and movies, where no one really wins when the bluffs are called.

    shryke on
  • DragkoniasDragkonias Registered User regular
    Yeah. I think my bad experiences as a kid was what put me off of game rentals.

    Had saved up 30 bucks to rent like 4 games. Only 1 worked right, 2 were scratched to all hell and the third skipped.

    I know it is probably a lot better these days but man did that sting when I was 14 and broke.

  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited January 2012
    I'm so pissed that Blockbuster US had to go and drag Blockbuster Canada down along with it, leaving me with no place to rent games anymore.

    Shit, there's no place to rent MOVIES anymore.

    Canada got fucked in this deal. Blockbuster Canada was fucking making money.

    shryke on
  • HenroidHenroid Nobody Nowhere fastRegistered User regular
    cloudeagle wrote:
    So Blockbuster, once a place where one could reliably borrow video games, is pretty well fucked.
    Dish Network's curious Blockbuster project appears to be sputtering a bit, now that the company has confirmed that it will shutter more stores than originally anticipated. Speaking to Reuters at CES today, Dish Network CEO Joe Clayton confirmed that his company plans to close all Blockbuster shops that aren't turning a profit, and that some of the remaining stores will be converted into Dish customer service outlets. Back in July, the company announced plans to keep about 1,500 stores open, along with about 90 percent of Blockbuster employees, but those aspirations have since been derailed. "We are committed to keeping the profitable stores open that are generating positive cash flow, but there are ones that aren't going to make it," Clayton explained. "We will close unprofitable stores. We will close additional stores." The exec did not specify how many stores would be closed, nor did he offer any sort of timeline, but spokesman Marc Lumpkin said that the decisions would be made on a "case by case" basis.

    http://www.engadget.com/2012/01/13/dish-network-to-close-more-blockbusters-than-originally-anticipa/

    The fact that there are Blockbuster stores still around is mind boggling. I haven't seen one in years.

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  • SynthesisSynthesis Honda Today! Registered User regular
    cloudeagle wrote:
    DodgeBlan wrote:
    DodgeBlan wrote:
    I really don't understand the strategy of the major production companies regarding internet distribution. Do they think they are going to be able to save their current business model, or do they recognize change is inevitable and just want to preserve it for as long as possible? Are they just trying to delay it in the hope that a SOPA-like bill will get passed and give them a stronger bargaining position?

    Considering how long we've had the internet now and you basically have an exact predictor of the future in the music industry, I find it hard to believe they are as clueless as they seem.

    It's important to remember that the people making the policies about distribution are not the people who actually understand why the old ways suck. The decision-makers are people who are sitting at their desk wondering why X idea isn't working any more when it used to make so much money. Then when they ask somebody why it doesn't work and get an explanation, they try to prop up the old model instead of asking "what new thing can we do that might be better?" even if the explanation was "people don't want to do things that way any more because there are better options".

    It is not an industry which is built on innovative new ideas. This is Hollywood, where chances are pretty good that any "new" movie you'll see is a rehash of something they've already done two or three times. Change is bad, things that are old and known are good.

    Yeah but at the same time I wonder what they want. Even Rupert Murdoch must by now realize that sooner or later all music, games, film and tv will be distributed online.

    "OH MY GOD WE MUST PROTECT THE REVENUES OF THE OLD WAYS!! DO WHAT YOU CAN TO ELIMINATE THE SOURCE OF THE DROP! NO, I DON'T CARE THAT IT MAKES THINGS MORE INCONVENIENT FOR OUR CUSTOMERS!!"

    Something like that.

    Plus, they have until their entire customer base in North America actually gets reliable, non-capped, affordable highspeed internet to make the adjustment.

    In other words, never.

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  • DragkoniasDragkonias Registered User regular
    Yeah. That's honestly why I want online distribution to take off in the US.

    In the hopes that we might get a non-shit standardized online infrastructure.

  • chocoboliciouschocobolicious Registered User regular
    edited January 2012
    Instead all we get is things like Comcast putting in data caps, then having to have your on demand movies count towards that data cap to avoid unfair practice lawsuits. So in the end you get screwed royally as streamining 1080p movies is actually pretty damn data inefficient.

    Man I hate bandwidth caps.

    chocobolicious on
  • vagrant_windsvagrant_winds is pumped-up. Registered User regular
    shryke wrote:
    I'm so pissed that Blockbuster US had to go and drag Blockbuster Canada down along with it, leaving me with no place to rent games anymore.

    Shit, there's no place to rent MOVIES anymore.

    Canada got fucked in this deal. Blockbuster Canada was fucking making money.

    So parts of Europe are now getting Netflix and Canada still doesn't have it?

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  • The WolfmanThe Wolfman Registered User regular
    shryke wrote:
    I'm so pissed that Blockbuster US had to go and drag Blockbuster Canada down along with it, leaving me with no place to rent games anymore.

    Shit, there's no place to rent MOVIES anymore.

    Canada got fucked in this deal. Blockbuster Canada was fucking making money.

    So parts of Europe are now getting Netflix and Canada still doesn't have it?

    Canada has Netflix. I've never used it personally, but the general review I hear on the grapevine is that the selection sucks ass.

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  • BartholamueBartholamue Registered User regular
    Netflix in Canada does suck ass. They don't have a lot of the stuff I want, like That 70's Show in HD.

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  • vagrant_windsvagrant_winds is pumped-up. Registered User regular
    edited January 2012
    Try using a DNS trick on your Router to make Netflix think you're in the USA?

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  • SheepSheep Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    The funny thing about Blockbuster is that we practically didn't have one.

    Our video rental options in town were Handy Mart 1, 2, and 3. The owner rigged up some POS system to handle rentals, put games on the shelf next to chips and soda, and I walked down to the convenience store to rent my games.

    Good selections too, but they favored the SNES even before the SNES was the overall "winner". I remember Mortal Kombat coming in and ALWAYS being rented out.

    Eventually we got a "legit" chain rental. Some company I can't remember opened a huge store in an outlet inside Wal Mart. Awesome selection. They had Earthbound but were pretty expensive. Another was Movie Gallery. They went on to piss off half of the town by opening a porno section.

    The Wal Mart one closed due to tons of theft. I remember them removing the box for Earthbound, for example, and was devastated. Mario RPG as well.

    Then in 2002 or so we got a Blockbuster.

    Also I knew the Sega Saturn was doomed when no rental places carried any of their games. This was about a year after launch. The only place I could rent SS games was the Block Buster down the road from my grandparents who lived in Jackson, MS.

    I rented Independence Day all the time.

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  • AllforceAllforce Registered User regular
    I remember in 1988 spending the night at a friends house and his dad rented us the Japanese version of Super Mario 3 for the NES from the local video store, it came with this bizarre attachment cart with a ribbon on it so it'd fit in the US NES. Totally awesome when we were 10, I think we played it until 2 in the morning non-stop.

    No videostores would do that nowadays. We had one off campus when I was in college 12 years ago that would rent imports but it was required that they would have to mod your PS1 (which they would for a fee, it was completely advertised in the store, PLAYSTATION MODCHIPS INSTALLED HERE!). I can't believe that store was around as long as it was...

  • BeltaineBeltaine The End of TimeRegistered User regular
    I remember a rental store when I was a kid had a NES title on the shelf in a homemade cardboard box with "Japanese Super Mario 4" written on the front in Sharpie.

    After initial kid freakout I turned the box over and on the box was scrawled "$100 deposit required for rental".

    Nobody I knew ever convinced his parents to plop down the $100 deposit so I never knew what it really was, but I heard through the grapevine that it was the Japanese version of Dr Mario.

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  • cloudeaglecloudeagle Zhu-Li, do the thing! Registered User regular
    There's a regional chain around here called Vintage Stock that's long made their trade on selling used CDs, videos, toys and games. About a year ago they hit on the idea that they could rent out their used games while they wait to sell them... and I mean any of their games, from the modern system all the way back to Atari 2600 stuff.

    Unfortunately the selection can vary and their prices are a little steep. But it's a damn nifty idea.

    At any rate, Sony's on a cutting spree.
    Sony is to make sweeping changes across two of its development sites in the UK, Develop understands.

    The PlayStation firm has proposed the closure of Leamington Spa outfit Bigbig, which recently finished work on Little Deviants for Vita.

    Meanwhile, Sony’s Cambridge division is to be restructured. The studio is to partner with Netherlands outfit Guerilla Games, likely in a downsized capacity, to build Killzone games for PlayStation Vita.

    Update: Sony has confirmed both actions to Develop. The extent of the job losses remains unclear, with finer details still to be ironed out.

    It is believed the move will not affect other UK studios Media Molecule, Evolution, Sony Liverpool and London.
    Article continues below

    Sony said BigBig “has been an important part of SCE Worldwide Studios” since it joined the group in 2007.

    “However, it was felt that by focusing on other Studios that are currently working on exciting new projects, we would be in a stronger position to offer the best possible content for our consumers,” the company told Develop.

    “We have reviewed and assessed all current projects and plans for the short and medium term and have decided to make some changes to European studios. As a result of this, there will be a realignment of resource within the studio to ensure that the studio is in the best position to achieve this.”

    The closure of BigBig leaves Sony with 15 first-party studios - still the largest group of development outfits in the games industry.

    http://www.develop-online.net/news/39460/Sony-closes-and-restructures-UK-studios

    I'm still a little baffled at how aggressively Sony pursues Killzone.

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  • chocoboliciouschocobolicious Registered User regular
    Killzone is a spectacular IP. Probably one of the only FPS I've felt had an actually interesting story. Particularly in Sony's camp. It's also always been a pretty good tech show as far as the effects the PS3 does well, and its multiplayer holds up pretty well on the PSN.

  • CantidoCantido Registered User regular
    Killzone is a spectacular IP. Probably one of the only FPS I've felt had an actually interesting story. Particularly in Sony's camp. It's also always been a pretty good tech show as far as the effects the PS3 does well, and its multiplayer holds up pretty well on the PSN.

    A company that gets goddamn Spess Nazis right deserves praise.

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  • Skull2185Skull2185 is an A-hole. but not 100% a dick.Registered User regular
    Cantido wrote:
    Killzone is a spectacular IP. Probably one of the only FPS I've felt had an actually interesting story. Particularly in Sony's camp. It's also always been a pretty good tech show as far as the effects the PS3 does well, and its multiplayer holds up pretty well on the PSN.

    A company that gets goddamn Spess Nazis right deserves praise.

    I'm torn on Killzone.

    Its very pretty and has awesome multiplayer ideas that I wish CoD would steal. But, I was trying to play through Killzone 2 recently and (probably because I never played the first one) I found that the story didn't interest me at all. Controls feel a bit archaic too. We're still clicking the thumbsticks to bring up weapon sights?

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  • cloudeaglecloudeagle Zhu-Li, do the thing! Registered User regular
    You know Cave, right? Those guys who make bullet hell shooters? Well, guess what they're making now instead of shooters?
    Cave, a developer known mostly for its brutally-difficult shoot-em-ups, is refocusing on the social game market and putting some of its current projects on hold.

    Believe it or not, bastardly-hard 2D shooters are somewhat of a niche genre these days. Despite Cave's legendary status amongst shmup fans, things haven't been going too well for the Deathsmiles developer.

    The company expected to make ¥10 million operating profit between June 1st and November 31st of last year, but sales of ¥1.3 billion rather than the expected ¥1.4billion mean the company is now expecting to face a ¥31 million operating loss.

    It doesn't help that Cave's games are generally restricted to Arcades, PCs and, of all consoles, the Xbox 360.

    Cave's solution to its money problem? Jump ship. The company just announced that it will be putting some of its more niche projects, read: shooters, on hold in order to fund social games. This won't be Cave's first foray into non-shooter territory; they developed Shin Megami Tensei: Imagine, an MMO based in the Megami Tensei universe, for Atlus back in 2007.

    http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/115224-Bullet-Hell-Developer-Goes-Social?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=news

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  • chocoboliciouschocobolicious Registered User regular
    Cave always confused me. They make such good games and make such good money off these games, yet they never seem to develop for profitable platforms. The PSP, DS, Wii, PS3? Nah, lets go with the 360 in japan. Great going.

    Why you make no sense, Cave? Why?

  • vagrant_windsvagrant_winds is pumped-up. Registered User regular
    edited January 2012
    Why does the article not mention iOS. Cave's shooter enchanced ports are some of the best games on the service.

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  • CantidoCantido Registered User regular
    Cave always confused me. They make such good games and make such good money off these games, yet they never seem to develop for profitable platforms. The PSP, DS, Wii, PS3? Nah, lets go with the 360 in japan. Great going.

    Why you make no sense, Cave? Why?

    I'd say that at the time, XBLA looked like a sweet gig and perfect place for Cave to dump all their games in, but then Microsoft got all Microsoft-y on them, and so we got that raw imported Deathsmiles on Games on Demand. I'm not one to argue with a good thing (I love Deathsmiles) but it must have hurt them.

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  • chocoboliciouschocobolicious Registered User regular
    Cantido wrote:
    Cave always confused me. They make such good games and make such good money off these games, yet they never seem to develop for profitable platforms. The PSP, DS, Wii, PS3? Nah, lets go with the 360 in japan. Great going.

    Why you make no sense, Cave? Why?

    I'd say that at the time, XBLA looked like a sweet gig and perfect place for Cave to dump all their games in, but then Microsoft got all Microsoft-y on them, and so we got that raw imported Deathsmiles on Games on Demand. I'm not one to argue with a good thing (I love Deathsmiles) but it must have hurt them.

    I managed to stumble over the special edition Deathsmiles at gamestop. With the faceplate and whatnot. I snapped it up right quick as its the only time Id seen it and I haven't seen it since. Fun game, too. Balls hard, so definitely fun.

  • AllforceAllforce Registered User regular
    Skull2185 wrote:

    I'm torn on Killzone.

    Its very pretty and has awesome multiplayer ideas that I wish CoD would steal. But, I was trying to play through Killzone 2 recently and (probably because I never played the first one) I found that the story didn't interest me at all. Controls feel a bit archaic too. We're still clicking the thumbsticks to bring up weapon sights?

    Come on man you're smarter than that, check the options screen and make the controls right.

  • cloudeaglecloudeagle Zhu-Li, do the thing! Registered User regular
    Here's a fun interview with the CEO of Zynga:
    WSJ: Were you happy with how Zynga's IPO turned out?

    Mr. Pincus: Our goals were we want to raise a billion dollars. Through going public, we wanted to add some more great long-term investors to the company. All of that was successful.

    WSJ: But Zynga's stock price sank below the IPO price on the first day of trading. Who or what do you blame for that?

    Mr. Pincus: I don't blame anybody because from our standpoint, we think it was successful. It was many times larger than the other tech IPOs that had just happened recently. We think we're now well positioned to move forward in the future.


    WSJ: Zynga's stock price is still below $10. Did the company go public at the wrong time?

    Mr. Pincus: We've never tried to time the markets, so we weren't trying to time the markets. We were trying to go public at the right point in our company growth, and we thought that was the right point.

    WSJ: Zynga has attracted criticism for how the company's focus on meritocracy creates an ultra-competitive environment that puts tremendous pressure on employees. What is the company's culture?

    Mr. Pincus: The average Silicon Valley [attrition rate] is 14%, and we've run a little over 3% attrition. I think that's a good sign of employees liking the company and the culture.

    The culture inside Zynga is not ultra competitive but Zynga is very competitive, and we're in a very competitive industry. We have teams that push themselves very hard, but it's driven by themselves.

    We have a culture of leveling up [through promotions]. More than 60% of our work force has leveled up every year for the last three years. More than 15% of our work force has leveled up every quarter for the last 12 quarters. I think that our employees feel a great sense of career opportunity and mobility.

    WSJ: What was the purpose of the "MIA list?" (The Wall Street Journal reported Mr. Pincus had a "Missing in Action" list for employees who were underperforming and held large amounts of equity.)

    Mr. Pincus: What you're referring to is around two years ago, I had a list that I kept on my whiteboard of big leaders and individual contributors in the company who weren't on big missions as a reminder to me to help find them big missions.

    WSJ: Why did you decide to renegotiate the stock compensation of some early employees?

    Mr. Pincus: Any company, especially in Silicon Valley, that is growing quickly can outgrow the capabilities of senior leaders, and that happens all of the time. We did, especially growing as fast as we have.

    In four isolated incidents, we outgrew senior leaders and we wanted to find them another position at the company versus just parting ways. They had the option to leave and have a package, as happened with some other leaders, but we in addition to that offered them other positions at the company that came with different forward compensation.

    WSJ: Do you think those were the right decisions?

    Mr. Pincus: It's a tough call. I'd say that in two of those four cases, those people are at the company and they're wonderful executives and contributors who have found other opportunities to lead, and so I'm really happy.

    I realize that that wasn't a model that had been done in Silicon Valley, and we're always as a company trying to invent new models, and not all of them are worth keeping and repeating. That's never been a policy at our company, and probably I'd say in retrospect, given how much that blew up, and questioned traditions in the Valley, I think probably wasn't a good idea.

    WSJ: How is Zynga now aiming to capitalize on changes in the videogame industry?

    Mr. Pincus: We're in the early stages of a secular shift in all of gaming from a lot of upfront [cost] barriers to play, and we're moving quickly to a world where these barriers are coming down. And we're seeing that there's huge latent interest in people to play.

    WSJ: How do you see free-to-play social games evolving in terms of your potential for revenue growth?

    Mr. Pincus: Free to play [games were] here before 2007 and they were ad supported. The display ad model [in which ads pop up while on a website] was not a good revenue model for games. We're at the beginning of a new advertising model for the Internet, which is about engagement [through virtual goods or product placement in games], not clicks.

    WSJ: The Department of Justice recently came out with a new position on online gambling. Does that open opportunities for Zynga?

    Mr. Pincus: We're watching it with interest. Virtual reality is about the connection between the virtual and the real, and there's just such a close and perfect connection between the virtual and the real when you're gambling, because these chips have real world value.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204409004577158744071030040.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

    Translation: the Zynga $10 IPO was a success because it made Pincus personally a buttload of money.

    I'm all for upward mobility, but is it common to have that many employees advancing that quickly? Yeesh.

    3DS: 0344-9335-6762
  • Ninja Snarl PNinja Snarl P My helmet is my burden. Ninja Snarl: Gone, but not forgotten.Registered User regular
    Getting pretty tired of all these companies refocusing their efforts on social gaming. That's a lot of heartbreak in the making for no other reason than people not being able to see past the end of their nose.

    Not that I think social gaming is inevitably doomed, I just don't think it's the sort of market where you can reliably find success. People are fickle creatures; betting on what will be the newest runaway success in social gaming is a total crapshoot. Running a few side-projects would give them just as much chance of a big success and they could still make decent actual games in the meantime.

    PAJoe_zpsc20d21e8.jpg
  • AaronKIAaronKI Registered User regular
    I live in an anomaly zone (Central IL) when it comes to video rental stores. There's a privately owned chain in the Midwest called Family Video that still seems to be going strong. No locations I know of have closed down and I even saw a sign that said they needed managers for newly built stores. I don't remember exactly how much their new game and video rentals cost, but they're not nearly as expensive as the blockbuster prices listed. Their signboards almost always say something like "[New Movie Release], [Price]. Redbox doesn't have it!"

    soempty.jpg
  • cloudeaglecloudeagle Zhu-Li, do the thing! Registered User regular
    Hell, Family Video just built a new location in my neighborhood in the last year. Shocked the hell out of me.

    3DS: 0344-9335-6762
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