GWJ Conference Call Episode 70

Conference Call

Rez HD, Call Of Duty Future, WoW Relapse, Wii 3rd Party, Steamworks, EA Gets a Bad Rap, Interfaces, Your Emails and more!

We have a topic buffet this week so everyone brought something to the table. The end result? Sleepiness and gas, mostly. Stay tuned for a date and time for the upcoming LIVE Conference Call with your opportunity to call in and join the show! More details in the next show.

To contact us, email [email protected]! Send us your thoughts on the show, pressing issues you want to talk about or whatever else is on your mind. You can even send a 30 second audio question or comment (MP3 format please) if you're so inclined.

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Show credits

Music credits: 

Intro/Outro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree
Audioworks

"Podunk Stomp" - Ian Dorsch - 0:20:50
"Los Pistoleros" - Ian Dorsh - 1:05:20

Comments

Stay tuned for a date and time for the upcoming LIVE Conference Call with your opportunity to call in and join the show! More details in the next show.

Are you guys copying Team Fremont Live now?

Certis wrote:

We have a topic buffet this week so everyone brought something to the table. The end result? Sleepiness and gas, mostly. Stay tuned for a date and time for the upcoming LIVE Conference Call with your opportunity to call in and join the show! More details in the next show.

That's exciting.

And damnit Elysium, you've about convinced me to buy CoD4 for the PC.

Mmmm, that's good copy on the Rage Pills(tm).

edit: Damn I get fired up when I hear Los Pistoleros!

I'm waiting for an interview with Jeff Green to even up the scores between him and Ken.

Hmmm. Cheapassgamer did the live thing and they seem to have scaled it back a little due to implementation problems. I'll wait and see how the live show goes - noting that i'll just have to wait for the download to see what happened anyway.

Am I the only one who mentally inserted a OH GOD I'M SO LONELY after Corey's "You should play Uno, with me!"? :p

EDIT: Also, Dark Messiah was so much better than any game with an orc on the cover has a right to be. Rabbit is full of crazy talk.

bnpederson wrote:
Stay tuned for a date and time for the upcoming LIVE Conference Call with your opportunity to call in and join the show! More details in the next show.

Are you guys copying Team Fremont Live now? :P

Definitely. And Cheapass Gamer, and Evilavatar Radio, and the thousands of other podcasts that have done it.

It'll be a one time thing for now, we've been bouncing the idea around since the middle of last year but different tests haven't panned out. Team Fremont did a great job with ustream, so we'll probably try that one.

Alien Love Gardener wrote:

EDIT: Also, Dark Messiah was so much better than any game with an orc on the cover has a right to be. Rabbit is full of crazy talk.

Kicking people into spikes is good fun. Blue screens, flickering text, walking through the occasional wall, lockups on backstabs - those, not so much. I'm sure if I downloaded the game NOW and applied all the patches it would a lot more fun. At release, Oi!

Whew, I am so glad you guys managed to fit WoW in there. That game really doesn't get enough coverage.

rabbit wrote:
Alien Love Gardener wrote:

EDIT: Also, Dark Messiah was so much better than any game with an orc on the cover has a right to be. Rabbit is full of crazy talk.

Kicking people into spikes is good fun. Blue screens, flickering text, walking through the occasional wall, lockups on backstabs - those, not so much. I'm sure if I downloaded the game NOW and applied all the patches it would a lot more fun. At release, Oi!

I luckily did not play it at release and got it after the most recent patch, it's definitely a lot of fun now. The 360 version, at least from the demo I played, not so much.

Back into WoW eh? I've teetered on the edge of reinstalling it a few times. Must be that time of year.

When I as playing WoW with some German friends we had one evening when we did tons and tons of quests. It got to be really late and we were all saying how tired we were so we went to an inn. We said our good nights and all logged off. After a second or two I thought... mmmmm, I think I'll log back in now they've all gone and just do that other quest. I logged back in and as my character reappeared in the world my friends character appeared next to me. We looked at each other for a moment then he said, "I guess were addicted hu?"

rabbit wrote:
Alien Love Gardener wrote:

EDIT: Also, Dark Messiah was so much better than any game with an orc on the cover has a right to be. Rabbit is full of crazy talk.

Kicking people into spikes is good fun. Blue screens, flickering text, walking through the occasional wall, lockups on backstabs - those, not so much. I'm sure if I downloaded the game NOW and applied all the patches it would a lot more fun. At release, Oi!

I was fortunate enough to play the demo and realize it was not at all what I want out of a game with Might and Magic in the title (Kinda like Kings Quest IX)

Higgledy wrote:

When I as playing WoW with some German friends we had one evening when we did tons and tons of quests. It got to be really late and we were all saying how tired we were so we went to an inn......

This sounds like the beginning of an episode of World of Whorecraft to me (do they come in episodes?).

A River Raid mention! I've got found memories of playing this as a kid. My dad and I put in crazy hours playing this together (along with Vanguard and Space Invaders).

Way to get back into WoW. Now I'm so tempted I'll actually do it, after finals. (WoW + School = Fail)

Digital distribution is much more important than people give credit for. Why? Because its sell through without sell in. A lot of publishers quote millions of sales when in reality is that it is sell in and not sell through. Sell in only means they got retailers to buy into the hype of the product. Sell through means that a consumer actually bought a copy from the retailer. Lots of games have very high ratios of sell in to sell through, which just means that the publisher was able to get a lot of shelf space for a title and not indicative of a popular or smash hit game.

Which leads to the other point, that digital distribution's limits on shelf space is only related to money and has no human factor.

The most impressive use of the track IR technology was the car driving. I watched the guy lean into turns and the added immersion was so awesome!

Dr_Awkward wrote:

Mmmm, that's good copy on the Rage Pills(tm).

Yeah, I want to see a TF2-style or WWII "propoganda" style poster for them.

I think a big reason the Wii game attach numbers are bigger than we all expected is due to the huge demand for the console. The retailers saw the demand and created a bunch of $500 to $800 bundles with a handful of cheap worthless games thrown in to up the price.

If the Wii was available in large quantities without these forced-game bundles, I think the numbers would be more in line with everyone's expectations.

I think a big reason the Wii game attach numbers are bigger than we all expected is due to the huge demand for the console. The retailers saw the demand and created a bunch of $500 to $800 bundles with a handful of cheap worthless games thrown in to up the price.

That's a good point. Some of the most prevalent Wii sellers have used bundles from time to time. I doubt it's overwhelming, but it's gotta be a factor.

yeah I think it is. And lets not forget pricing. The most expensive Wii games are still 10 bucks cheaper than 360 games, and there are a LOT of 20-30 titles out for the Wii, even before discounts and bundles. Zack and Wiki, Cooking Mama, RE4, Cars - these may not be sexy, but they're easy to buy off the shelf at WalMart and they're in the bestsellers lists at a lot of online retailers, and not one is over 30 bucks.

Purple_Haze wrote:

I'm waiting for an interview with Jeff Green to even up the scores between him and Ken.

I sent an email to GFW Letters asking when he plans to be back on. Also correcting their URL to Dwarf Fortress.

Another thing about digital distrobution that is so great is that it gets more money in the hands of the developing companies and less money into the hands of the middleman. I remember when there was the big hullabaloo about Valve selling HL2 directly on Steam because they were going to make like $30 profit on every game sold instead of like $7 profit.

[quote=Mordiceius]

Certis wrote:

And damnit Elysium, you've about convinced me to buy CoD4 for the PC.

It looks better on the PC too

And you can lean!

Rabbit, if you still haven't played the fifth level of Rez, you must. The first four levels are great, but the fifth level is what the game is all about. As much as you love the game now, the final level will take your appreciation of the game to a whole new level.

Tying together the "region variation on Steam" and the "Activition are The New Evil" topics, I have to mention some interesting current pricing on Steam for my region (Australia). Steam is usually an awesome deal for us, since US$50 retail games usually sell for AU$90-100 here, which with the current exchange rates is around the US$85-90 mark. That makes something like The Orange Box on Steam for $50 almost a half-price game for me. Activision wasn't too happy with Steam undercutting its retail titles, though, so now COD4 on Steam in Australia costs US$89.50.

I understand why Valve has to give developers and publishers the ability to separate regions, but with publishers like Activision using those systems for the wrong reasons, I think it'll be a while before we see universal digital distribution, with everyone worldwide getting access to the same bytes at the same price.

I was kind of excited about the trackerIR thing but man it doesn't support any of the games I'm playing. I want something with a good free look for MMO's and TF2.

Things about EA that make people think they're evil:

1. They make make the majority of their money by releasing the same sports game with minor tweaks over and over. And also using their size to lock-up licenses for certain leagues and then letting the quality of the products slide because they know you can't get an official one anywhere else.
2. They are famous for dropping support for a product after its sales have peaked, even if its still horribly broken in many ways (see the Battlefield series or almost any PC Need for Speed game.)
3. Most of the same sports games from example 1 get their online play cut off when the next iteration comes out for no reason other than to make people buy the next game.
4. The horrendous ways in which they've Borgified(tm) incredible developers, stripping them of their soul and creativity (I will admit that under Riccotello's watch, this may be changing.)
5. They are forerunners in such invasive technologies as dynamic in-game advertising, essentially making you pay for a product, then pay again by having ads slapped on every surface while passing none of the savings onto you (see this year's Need for Speed for prime examples.)
6. Many believe they have been at the forefront of the current "work yourself to death so the game can meet an unrealistic release date" culture in the gaming industry. I don't know if a subscribe to this but they certainly don't set a good counter example.

Things about EA that make them less evil:

1. They do tend to support the PC more than other publishers with exclusive games. Many of their PC ports also don't seem as hackified as those from say Ubisoft.
2. Many of the developers they have acquired were on the brink of failure and drowning in mismanagement (see Origin) and one could argue that acquiring them did more good than bad.
3. They do have a good reputation among the gaming press. Ubisoft used to be one of my highly respected publishers but after hearing what they did to Ziff-Davis, they dropped several rungs.

Things about EA they don't deserve credit for:

1. Rock Band
2. Crysis
3. Orange Box

I've harped on this before but it's worth harping about again. EA published these games in the sense that they pressed the discs and put the boxes on the shelves but that's it. They didn't fund them, they had nothing to do with any creative decisions in the products and the products would have been made the same way whether EA was involved or not. Make no mistake, MTV Games, Crytek, Valve et al. chose EA to release these games, EA didn't choose to publish them. EA has enormous retailer clout and that certainly helped these games succeed to the levels they have but to give EA any credit as to the quality of them does a disservice to the developers and unfairly gives EA credit they don't deserve.

EA isn't nearly as evil a company as they used to be and while they still do a lot of stupid things (as most publishers do), I think they will greatly improve under Riccotello's leadership and some of that has already been seen such as their response to Faux News' Mass Effect coverage. I think it's unfair though to say that the only reason gamers hate them is because we hate winners. EA's done a lot to cultivate the reputation they have.

I've harped on this before but it's worth harping about again. EA published these games in the sense that they pressed the discs and put the boxes on the shelves but that's it.

Yes, but that's what a full scope publisher does. I like that EA is making the effort to attach their names to these products, and furthermore I'd suspect that the backing of EA and MTV both has moved the DLC front forward for Rock Band. I like that EA as a company is diversified into both a first party and third party publishing market.

Make no mistake, MTV Games, Crytek, Valve et al. chose EA to release these games, EA didn't choose to publish them.

I suspect it's far more complex than that. After all publication is a contract, and it says something about the contracts and terms being offered by EA when these companies agree to publishing deals with the company. I doubt it's just a coin-flip.

I think it's unfair though to say that the only reason gamers hate them is because we hate winners. EA's done a lot to cultivate the reputation they have.

I agree. Let's not forget the whole labor lawsuits. In truth the reason EA is notably better is because we have bad-EA to compare them with. But, at the same time, the biggest targets are always on #1, so EA _does_ get looked at with a more critical eye than Activision or Ubisoft which are really the ones pulling sleaze ball maneuvers under the radar these days.

Elysium wrote:

Yes, but that's what a full scope publisher does. I like that EA is making the effort to attach their names to these products, and furthermore I'd suspect that the backing of EA and MTV both has moved the DLC front forward for Rock Band. I like that EA as a company is diversified into both a first party and third party publishing market.

My point is that many people give EA credit for titles like Rock Band and Crysis as if they were deeply involved in the creative angles or that these games wouldn't exist were it not for them or worse, that they're "EA Games." This simply isn't true. The way most games are made these days is the publisher either makes it in house or lends a buttload of money to the developer, owns the IP and has final say over creative decisions. That wasn't the case with these games. They were funded and created by the developers themselves, they just used EA to ensure they obtain maximum exposure and retailer presence. Is EA contribution to that important? Yes. Could these games have also come out under Ubisoft, THQ or 2K Games and been just as successful? Absolutely. EA is not why these titles are great and I don't think it's fair to act as if they are the reason they're so good. Not saying that's your point of view specifically, just it's what I've heard many say.

Elysium wrote:

I suspect it's far more complex than that. After all publication is a contract, and it says something about the contracts and terms being offered by EA when these companies agree to publishing deals with the company. I doubt it's just a coin-flip.

Again, fair point. And of course, EA can probably offer a more generous cut to MTV Games and Crytek than almost anyone else could. Plus EA's retailer clout ensures those games get maximum public exposure which without question contributed to their success (plus in Crytek's case, getting access to EA Link.) I'm not saying EA had nothing to do with their success, they just weren't nearly the main reason.

Elysium wrote:

I agree. Let's not forget the whole labor lawsuits. In truth the reason EA is notably better is because we have bad-EA to compare them with. But, at the same time, the biggest targets are always on #1, so EA _does_ get looked at with a more critical eye than Activision or Ubisoft which are really the ones pulling sleaze ball maneuvers under the radar these days.

I suppose but I think that's starting to change. Like I said, Ubisoft used to be one of my favourite publishers but they've taken a lot of well deserved stick lately for how they are treating the press. And while Activision's put out some very good games lately (I'm playing Call of Duty 4 while listening to the podcast), I've heard more than a few other podcasts also talk about how they're becoming over-reliant on franchises and licensed shovelware. The one advantage for consumers I saw coming out of the AcTard affair is that now there's more than one massive kid on the block (though in truth, there always was) and people are starting to fling their poo towards more than one entity. I think everyone needs to be held to a high standard by gamers and its good to see that happening.