GWJ Conference Call Episode 238

Conference Call

Child of Eden Preview, Section 8: Prejudice, Portal 2 Coop, PSN Outage: What's It All Mean?, Special Guest Justin McElroy, Your Emails and more!

This week Justin McElroy joins Shawn, Elysium and Allen to talk about the PSN nonsense, Child of Eden and much, much more!

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. You can also submit a question or comment call in to our voicemail line at (612) 284-4563!

Sponsor

CastMedium
Game Thing Daily
Good Old Games

Joystiq
My Brother, My Brother and Me
Section 8: Prejudice
Portal 2
Child of Eden
Amazon App Store Controversy

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Show credits

Music credits: 

Intro/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

Child of Eden - Mood trailer - http://child-of-eden.us.ubi.com/ - 0:20:58

Half-Life 2: Episode 2 - Vortal Combat - http://www.valvesoftware.com/games/e... - 0:41:51

Comments

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Sorry my mic blew. It gets better halfway through. I was recording from my internal mic, because half of my head is a cantaloupe. It's an actual medical condition.

This is why we don't have any comments! Your milkshake was supposed to bring all the boys to the yard, McElroy. I blame PSN.

I think you severely underestimate the number of people that are incapable of downloading full content to their console. I'm curious what the next generation will bring, but I'm banking that physical media with still be the focus of the upcoming new systems.

It is always a party when Justin visits.

Funny descriptions of XMB-related angst. I spend a lot of time there due to an unwavering dedication to Sony's MLB: The Show franchise (and the adorable post-game highlight reels the game spits back out into the XMB). If there's one saving grace to that environment in opposition to the 360's, it's that I feel less marketed to... even if that's only because Sony isn't capable of doing so effectively.

I am happy to hear that Justin liked Child of Eden. I am really pumped for that game and want it to be good.

I took your advice on Spiderman: Web of Shadows, and you haven't let me down since.
I loved that game.

Delicious.

Ooooh, the emails next week should be interesting.

Its kind of weird, I started listening to you guys a couple weeks ago and have really enjoyed all the PC gaming love that goes. Its a bit of a surprise to me that Justin wound up on as I have been listening to Joystiq for years. I tend to comment a lot on everything I listen to so please don't take this as any sort of attack. But with that said onto the discourse!

Listening to people who prefer the 360 talk about PS3 or PSN is exactly like listening to Republicans talk about Democrats (or vice versa). Personally, I can't stand the 360 interface. I dislike how the backgrounds are implemented, I dislike having to see my avatar every time I get online, I dislike the color scheme, and I dislike that I can't simply set my profile to permanently hide. I never can find anything I want in the store without doing a text search. That is just off the top of my head. And there are a ton of exclusives for the PS3 that are good. Maybe they don't fit your tastes and that's fine, but they are still there and they still sell. My personal library has more PS3 exclusives than 360 exclusives. And believe me, I buy a TON of games. PS3 has more big name exclusives coming out this year than 360. While I do prefer the PS3 over the 360, I typically buy whichever port is done better. Most Unreal Engine games for instance wind up looking better on the 360. But really if I'm out for graphics I'll buy for my PC. Point being, its all about personal preference. You're right for you that the XMB is bad but most certainly not for me.

The simple fact is yes, 360 is the popular kid at the moment. That is the system all my friends play. Most of my friends don't even own a PS3. I have no issues with 3rd place. The PSN outage really has only affected me to the degree that for a few days I thought I couldn't use it for Netflix. As a software service PSN is severely lacking primarily because of the lack of social features. At the same time its annoying that every time I turn on my 360 I get multiple messages to play a game when all I really want to do is play a single player game and experience the story. Point being, its appealing to me that I don't have to select hide on the PSN every time I log on.

As for PSN Plus I purchased a year. If this helps Sony make whatever strides they need to stay in business and make deals to bring me more awesome games like Infamous or Uncharted, I'm good with it. Basically you get about 1 full free game a month so long as you're a part of the service and a whole bunch of Mini games, which are really basic artsy games. And of course there's free avatars and premium backgrounds and stuff. The premium background label just means the background moves in some way. My current one is a fireplace. If I add up all the free stuff I've downloaded it then I've already made my money back. The truth of the matter is I would never have paid for any of this. But then again I would never pay for 360 avatar items like everyone I know does.

The main deflation of the argument that software service is more important than hardware would be the Wii. Yes the 360 is outselling it month to month now. Jerermy Parish at 1Up writes a really good article on Nintendo's new console that I feel address this whole subject.
http://www.1up.com/news/high-powered...

As a PS3 owner will I stick with the console in the future? I'll stick with it until there's something better for me, which I am hoping will be Nintendo's new console. The variable for me is whether Nintendo's console will be able to play multi-platform games as well as the competition. Worse comes to worse, I'll just buy a bunch of point cards for whatever DLC I want for PS3 games.

Anyway, I enjoyed listening like I have the last couple times. Hope I haven't caused any offense.

The main deflation of the argument that software service is more important than hardware would be the Wii. Yes the 360 is outselling it month to month now. Jerermy Parish at 1Up writes a really good article on Nintendo's new console that I feel address this whole subject.

I was actually meaning to get to this in the podcast but I forgot. Wii sports is a game that won this generation. The Wii was just an accessory to Wii sports. The reason the Wii has had kinda crappy non-Nintendo game sales is because they're one of the few actually putting together exciting software for the Wiimote. What is the Move getting Sony compared to the Wii? It's not hardware that's selling so many copies here.

And in some sense the games have always been the thing. But I think at this point, Microsoft has proven that internet services and other types of software can also sell a console. And they've also proven that absolutely sh*tty hardware won't offset that. I doubt anybody wants to replicate the RROD fiasco, but the point is Microsoft execs aren't really losing sleep over it at this point.

I think the Wii is also an instructive example when it comes to third party success with the Wii remote. The fact is, very few outside Nintendo really understand how to make using a Wiimote fun. Nintendo took their usual "third parties? yeah I guess you can play in our sandbox" attitude and it really cost them in terms of third party sales. The Wii really is the "Wii Sports Box" for most people (and therefore publishers, too).

Why is this? Because Nintendo wasn't educating developers about how this thing could be used. They weren't getting college kids and small developers excited about using their platform in new and interesting ways. It's telling most of the successful WiiWare basically use the Wiimote as a mouse.

The Wii hardware isn't even that impressive, honestly. I can't see saying that the Wii is proof of the continuing importance of hardware in video games. The Wiimote enabled you to play sports in your living room, similar to how Kinect lets you dance and the iPhone lets you flick birds everywhere. Those are the things that matter. Whether or not the WiiHD will have PS3/360 graphics or not doesn't matter, the things that the new console lets you do that the Wii did not will determine it's success.

musim wrote:

Listening to people who prefer the 360 talk about PS3 or PSN is exactly like listening to Republicans talk about Democrats (or vice versa). Personally, I can't stand the 360 interface. I dislike how the backgrounds are implemented, I dislike having to see my avatar every time I get online, I dislike the color scheme, and I dislike that I can't simply set my profile to permanently hide. I never can find anything I want in the store without doing a text search.

I agree with musim on this. It gets a bit grating as a fan of the PS3 interface to hear people bash it so much and in such a one-sided way.

Personally, when I power up the Xbox360, I really can't even find what I'm looking for. I want to play a downloaded game on my system, where do I go? I want to download a game, where do I go? It's different based on if it's an indie game or a disc game, etc. Xbox360's interface is a confused mismash of random stuff.

On the ps3 if I want to watch a video? Go to the video column. If I want to play a game? Go to the game column. I want to buy anything? I go to the PSN column. I know where everything is. I suppose it's a matter of what you're used to though.

As for the rest of the content in the podcast, they have said that in addition to 30 days of PSN+ and Qriocity, they're giving at least one free game. PSN+ itself gives you 4 free games every couple of weeks.

I'm an Xbox Silver subscriber, so the only thing that this has done is pulled my PSN down to the same level as my Xbox. I couldn't play online games on the Xbox, and I briefly can't play online games on the PSN. But as a primarily RPG and other single-player gamer, I hardly even play things online anyway! The true impact of this on me is as follows:

1. I couldn't activate my Portal 2 on Steam. *shrug* I still got to play it on the PS3.
2. I couldn't purchase and download Final Fantasy 4 Complete, Fancy Pants Adventure, Threads of Fate, and Neutopia. I wasn't planning on playing them soon anyway because I'm already piled up with games.
3. I couldn't sync my trophies this week. Boohoo.

All of the games I wanted to play during this time still worked. I was still able to watch Netflix. I still used it to watch bluray movies. I had plenty of games on my PS3, PSP, and DS already to play. The ultimate result was saving a little bit of money for a few more weeks and the over caution and minor inconvenience of reordering one of my credit cards (and that turned out to be unnecessary.) The rest of the information? You can find it from a Whois search on a domain name! It's funny that people are required by law to expose this information for certain reasons on the wider internet, yet it's such a big deal when that data is lost through other means.

And what is it with then turning around and bashing all of the other Sony products. To me, the PSP Go is a perfect example of why companies SHOULDN'T listen to their critics. You're never going to satisfy your critics, no matter how much you bow to them. For years all the critics could complain about for the PSP was how much the UMD sucked, how it was doomed, and how Sony should abandon it. Immediately after the PSP Go was released, the critics started complaining that Sony abandoned the UMD, that you couldn't play old games on it, and how it was doomed because of that.

It just seems like many people are taking this oppourtunity to bash something they desperately wanted to bash to begin with.

I'm an Xbox Silver subscriber

The silver experience definitely kinda blows. They definitely want you to pay for it bad enough to make the Silver experience kinda suck.

And what is it with then turning around and bashing all of the other Sony products. To me, the PSP Go is a perfect example of why companies SHOULDN'T listen to their critics.

We were talking smack about the PSP Go because it sucked. You even admit it sucked. Please don't try to strain this into some XBox 360 fanboy "night of the long knives" where we all use this as an excuse to assassinate Sony. We all own PS3s. Personally I was using my PS3 as my media center before this whole PSN mess started, it's got alot of great features and some great games. But this whole episode is endemic of Sony's problems as a company. That's why we couldn't really help bagging on some of Sony's other failures, they all share the same root causes. Namely, that Sony can't seem to deliver large projects without serious flaws anymore (at least in their console/handheld arena).

I realize criticizing one console or another inevitably triggers the console war gag-reflex. I understand that to anyone who spends any time on gaming websites, it quickly seems like every console conversation is instantaneously biased before it even starts. But sometimes a spade is just a spade. I don't like the XMB interface, I think it's bad UI design in many ways and just kinda ugly. I think Sony's handling of the PSN fiasco is deplorable, and completely predictable given their past behavior. I think the PSP Go sucked. I just call them like I see them.

"Oh, sad." Not worth dignifying with a response, or did I mishear him? I chuckled anyway.

PyromanFO wrote:

Lots of good points, but especially "We all own PS3s."

That is the one that nails it for me. I have been a Sony fanboy since the ps1, have owned all their systems, and I feel like I have been burned on both the PSP and PS3. I wanted to give Sony my allegiance, but Microsoft just takes better care of me. I like the way my friend list populates, I like achievements, and I like the xbox experience. Sony just doesn't match that experience for me, and while their console exclusives are good games, there aren't enough of them to match what Microsoft can give me.

I'm gonna speculate that those of you who took offense to the idea of people looking for Half-Life connections in Portal 2 didn't get the achievement for finding the Borealis.

Switchbreak wrote:

I'm gonna speculate that those of you who took offense to the idea of people looking for Half-Life connections in Portal 2 didn't get the achievement for finding the Borealis.

First thing I thought, as well.

You guys are pretty harsh on Darkspore. I think it's a decent rogue-like. Not sure why you are expecting more than repetitive killing and loot whoring from a game in this genre (that is exactly what you do in Diablo, TQ etc). It's not Torch Lite, there are 25 unique heroes compared to Torchlight's 3. There's also a dedicated server and MP. The heroes feel a bit like League of Legends champions which is a good thing.

Awesome show. Man, I waited for that Entourage joke for 3 days! Way to set it up, Certis =)

Know what I hate?

Spoiler:

Your favorite gaming platform.

Switchbreak wrote:

I'm gonna speculate that those of you who took offense to the idea of people looking for Half-Life connections in Portal 2 didn't get the achievement for finding the Borealis.

I got it, and definitely appreciate it—Cave Johnson even mentions Black Mesa by name. But on the whole the angry man on the podcast is right. Nerds do seem to be allergic to nuance.

Valve's Jay Pinkerton says:

Tonally they’re very different [Half-Life and Portal]. I think it works better. A wink-nudge link. Rather than tearing down the wall and seeing how these two universes collide. I’m not sure if the results would be… would it be the great taste of peanut butter and chocolate, or would it be the taste of peanut butter and chowder? I don’t know.
wordsmythe wrote:

Know what I hate?

Spoiler:

Your favorite gaming platform.

No! Not the Wii Fit!

Wow man. Look I understand that we all have our preferences when it comes to consoles. Two things do bother me though. The first thing is when people use their ownership of the other console as proving their non-fanboyism. I personally have both a 360 and a ps3. I prefer my ps3, play the vast majority of multiplatform games on it and all my online games on it(sound familiar). Now I use my 360 for the good exclusives that it has, not because I want to but because I have to. The interface sucks, I can't find anything easily, the controller sucks the sticks are weird yadayada, you know all the complains xbox fanboys have about the ps3 but in reverse.The second thing and this is the one that really makes people look like fanboys, is when people give out false information that just shows how clueless they are. One of the hosts stated that he hated not being able to receive game invites on their ps3 while playing a different game which is just a lie. Those kind of statements say that a) they're lying on purpose join the bash bandwagon or b) they play their ps3's as much as I play my 360 which is to say rarely.
Anyways I do like the show overall and I liked the discussion about how all digital does have it's drawbacks. Keep up the good work and if you're gonna bash the ps3 please check the facts because some people might believe you play your ps3's on a consistent basis and take your word on it before making a purchasing decision.

All the talk of Half Life/Portal crossover did actually make me yearn for a day in which Gordon and Chell meet one another, in a field maybe or on some sandy beach, and stand face to face for the first time. He'll stare blankly at her, she'll stare blankly at him. It'll be magical.

This whole subject was just so uncouth for you guys. Too me it could have been an interesting topic (like it seemed the direction it was going to go from the start) about how the PSN outage will affect game and hardware development from this point forward. The discussion could have been directed towards the security of fully integrated online services and their viability as a content delivery mechanism going forward. Or how more and more people are starting to re-examine the responsibility of companies to provide online protection for their customers and the extent to which this should be culpable by law or just what are the laws governing internet protection just to name a few.
Instead it felt like you guys took twenty minutes to lay out all the faults of Sony and the recent directions of the Playstation brand. You guys not only beat the dead horse but you then took turns taking pictures with it to put on your Christmas cards and then cut the head into little pieces to have as keepsakes of your handiwork. I lurk on the GJW boards because I feel like you do a wonderful job of weeding out and getting rid of all the annoying baiting and trolling comments rampant in gaming forums. Only to have listened to you perform what seemed like a dramatic reading of some of the worst I have been privy to have read.
I’m not saying your points weren’t valid. Most were opinion and I enjoy that you share them, it is what I come to GJW to hear and read. My main complaint is that most didn’t seem germane to the topic or that they were an opinion that didn’t want to prove a point other than to say platform x is better than plat form y.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
There is no doubt that Sony handled this terribly but all companies do. Microsoft shipped a console that was defective and then denied for two years that it was a problem until ponying up a billion dollar mea culpa. Amazon in 2001 was hacked, didn’t realize it for four months, then denied that any personal information was stolen, and then for months after the information that the hack occurred was leaked denied that they had any knowledge that they knew the hack occurred even though several complaints of faulty purchases were filed with them.
I only bring these up to say that I still own and use a 360 and almost exclusively purchase items from amazon as I’m sure a lot of you do too. And also to ask the question of why do a lot of GJWer’s seem reluctant to give Sony a second chance? Elysium says at the end of his piece about the PSN hack that he is no longer a Sony consumer and many agree with his sentiments. I’m just curious as to why you’ve reacted so swiftly to Sony’s failures and yet continue to use companies that have failed (in both customer satisfaction but also in building customer loyalty)?
As deliciously ironic as it would be to say that I’m never visiting this site again or listening to the podcast I’m not going to pull that flair for the overdramatic. I’ve just, for the first time since visiting this site, felt the compulsion to share my opinion on a discussion and hopefully haven’t stepped on any toes. And I really don't mean to be over-critical especially with my first post it just confounds me the hard-line stance that people seem to be taking with Sony at the moment. Also, sorry for the length I tend to be vociferous, or at least its written equivalent.

It's hard to step on toes, and even then it takes a while before you've kicked up enough sand to deserve being buried in your own divot. IIRC, cross game invites still don't work on the PS3 as well as they do on the 360. Certainly cross-game voice chat is still a sticking point for many 360 players--dropping into an existing chat party on that system is a triviality.

If you're having problems finding videos/music/games in your 360, scroll up to the My Xbox row and you'll find your games and local (and locally networked) media there. For the rest, there's Xbox 101.

Holy shiza - I just read through this thread. On an episode as funny as this one the comment thread turned into a console-war pissing contest?!!!

Portal 2 Co-op indescretion
Krazytaco is not your bitch
The depth of Darkspore
Just about every story from Justin
Entourage...

They killed this episode. Celebrate!!

musim wrote:

Listening to people who prefer the 360 talk about PS3 or PSN is exactly like listening to Republicans talk about Democrats (or vice versa). Personally, I can't stand the 360 interface. I dislike how the backgrounds are implemented, I dislike having to see my avatar every time I get online, I dislike the color scheme, and I dislike that I can't simply set my profile to permanently hide. I never can find anything I want in the store without doing a text search.

+1 to all of this. I'll never understand the XMB hate. The 360 interface is such a chore for me to navigate in comparison.

Pyroman[FO]:

I'd broadly agree that it's not Nintendo's hardware, but Nintendo's software that won them this generation, but I disagree that it's Nintendo's fault for not sharing the lemonade. Nintendo's been uncharacteristically open this generation, even going to the point of working with third parties to help them realize the new WM+ controls (like, Nintendo!!! They NEVER work with third parties, right?)

The reason the basic Wii hardware had no takers in the first two years was because no other company wanted to invest software into such an insane piece of work. It was only after Nintendo proved the concept that other companies started making games, and that was already 6 to 12 months after release.

Also, nothing wrong with using the Wiimote as a pointer. That's still a marked advance over using a stick for a mouse. It's not quite as straightforward as you might imagine, though. The disastrous SimCity for Wii demonstrated that plenty.

garion333 wrote:

Ooooh, the emails next week should be interesting.

As is the thread!

JustinMcElroy wrote:

"It seemed a little larger when I was using my hands..."

Best quote from the PodCast so far (but I'm only 16:20 into it).

Bullion Cube wrote:

Holy shiza - I just read through this thread. On an episode as funny as this one the comment thread turned into a console-war pissing contest?!!!

Portal 2 Co-op indescretion
Krazytaco is not your bitch
The depth of Darkspore
Just about every story from Justin
Entourage...

They killed this episode. Celebrate!!

Looking forward to the rest.

you know all the complains xbox fanboys have about the ps3 but in reverse

Why do you assume people who have those complaints are Xbox fanboys? Are you a PS3 fanboy for not preferring the Xbox experience? My point is that people who complain about things aren't necessarily fanboys looking to tear something down. Sometimes they just don't like things.

because some people might believe you play your ps3's on a consistent basis and take your word on it before making a purchasing decision.

Why do you care if they purchase a PS3 or not? Why are you invested in the "platform" of a multinational corporation with a budget measured in the billions? Consoles do not get hurt feelings. They're a thing you buy to have fun with. If you bought one and are having fun, kudos, you figured it out.

I'm with you on discussing why you do or don't like the PS3, but I stop short of caring whether or not you (or anybody else) buys one.

Nintendo's been uncharacteristically open this generation, even going to the point of working with third parties to help them realize the new WM+ controls (like, Nintendo!!! They NEVER work with third parties, right?)

It could be that Nintendo has really, really been trying and nobody has figured it out yet. I just see really great support coming from Microsoft with their development tools. But MS has Visual Studio in house, and Nintendo doesn't. Could be MS just has an inherent advantage there and they're both really trying to make it work.

"Long time listener, first time poster."

I can see how online has become an integral part of gaming. Millions of people still play Call of Duty (two different versions have been at the top of the Xbox Live activity list for as long as I can remember since MW2 was released), and they're not replaying the single-player campaign over and over. The most epic single-player or otherwise offline experience just doesn't have anywhere close to that kind of staying power.

The strange thing is, even though I love having a full friends list of people, and I feel something lacking when my own internet connection goes down -- I spend a lot of time playing single-player. Maybe it comes from growing up with consoles for which "online" was a futuristic dream. I spent hours upon hours playing the Atari, ColecoVision, Commodore 64, Sega Master System, and Sega Genesis, by myself. (I didn't have many gaming friends, and there was a big enough age difference between my brother and me to make that really any fun.)

If Xbox Live were to go down for two weeks, would I miss it? Absolutely. But, at the same time, I'd probably just go on gaming like I always did. *shrug*

One last thing: Any time someone mentions a media-less, download-only console as the inevitable future, I want to tear my hair out. I'm an avid gamer, it's my hobby and a part of who I am; but if the next generation console is one where I can't trade discs with friends, or I have to purchase unique copies of every game for every console and/or account in my own home (for me and each one of my kids), that's when I'll have to stop. Sure, both Microsoft and Sony have tried to make things easier in a few ways (e.g. allowing multiple but limited installations, allowing anyone to play on one given console), digital downloads will never be as convenient or as "free" as a physical disc. Case in point: I have never had to use the "license transfer tool" for any of my purchased, disc-based games, no matter how many broken Xboxes I've gone through.

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