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

If you believe the rumours, MS didn't just cut corners on the 360 quality, they butchered the quality with a chainsaw. They prioritised getting first to market over what their design people were telling them, and paid a hefty cost for it. However I'll agree that gamers do have short memories with such things, and no doubt will queue up for days before release only too glad to part with money again when the next round happens.

I don't understand cube, are you saying it's Sony's fault they got hacked? I think they did the right thing by shutting down PSN, investigating the situation, alerting banks, and most likely will pay for credit card reimbursements...

I don't really see a difference between wrong press and bad press. Toyota didn't get their message out there that they were not of fault, they failed to control and protect their corporate brand. It is bad press regardless. I think both companies failed to manage its message to the public.

demonicmurry wrote:

I don't understand cube, are you saying it's Sony's fault they got hacked?

Analogy time.

If my bank were to leave the door to the safe deposit room open and the boxes and front door unlocked, then yes I would hold them at least partly to blame when thieves went in and raided the contents of the safe deposit boxes.

It's called negligence.

Were they, upon finding the front door ajar one morning, to fail to immediately notify their customers of the possibility of exposure of the contents of the safe deposit boxes, I'd blame them for that negligent failure as well.

For the record, this is not a fanboy comment. I have a PS1, PS2, and PSP. I like them, and have a lot of games for each system, including some purchased through PSN. Which makes me a potential victim of these thieves, and Sony's negligence.

I find it highly irritating to have to cancel my primary debit card, put fraud watches on my identity at all the credit reporting agencies (which, for safety's sake, I'll be renewing every 90 days for the next three years), and change my card-on-file with a number of online merchants, and watch a lot of online accounts for suspicious activity because of my security question being exposed.

I'm fortunate in that my password on PSN was LastPass generated, and therefore immune to rainbow tables, social engineering, and brute forcing, or I'd have to worry about what other financially impactful online accounts the bad guys might have access to.

So don't tell me Sony's got no responsibility here. http://www.vgcats.com/comics/images/...

Hans

hidannik, I'm not too familiar with the actual security system on PSN or lack of firewall with the entire infrastructure. I am not saying I'm not inconvenienced by this as I have been watching my bank account like a hawk.

The only kind of identity theft I've experienced is actually through Steam, and I'm sure people on WoW have experience similar instances. And I actually think my information was just as much at risk on those services as this recent PSN intrusion. I don't trust iTunes or Microsoft with security, either. Again, this is all perception.

demonicmurry wrote:

hidannik, I'm not too familiar with the actual security system on PSN or lack of firewall with the entire infrastructure.

Here's what you should know: http://consumerist.com/2011/05/secur...

The article glosses over some of the technical details but gets the essentials right.

Edit: Here's more: http://www.gamespot.com/news/6312333...

Hans

Man, I'm doing a media blackout on anything Portal 2 related until I finish it (the first one was ruined for me, and I went ages without news due to a holiday, so I thought's I'd do it properly) and having to skip chunks of Conference Call is killing me.

Also, Shawn Certis:

Spoiler:

The launch site of the Borealis is hidden in P2. That's a pretty solid link to HL2.

El-Taco-the-Rogue wrote:

Man, I'm doing a media blackout on anything Portal 2 related until I finish it (the first one was ruined for me, and I went ages without news due to a holiday, so I thought's I'd do it properly) and having to skip chunks of Conference Call is killing me.

Also, Shawn Certis:

Spoiler:

The launch site of the Borealis is hidden in P2. That's a pretty solid link to HL2.

Spoiler:

Cave Johnson also rants about hating the Black Mesa folks.

Portal 2 and the Half-Life universes are one and the same. I could care less if they are related any more than they have been. It could be fun to have Gordon use a portal gun at some point.

doubtingthomas396 wrote:

And the rotten thing is there is absolutely no incentive for either company to do better. Microsoft's RROD debacle didn't cost them any market share....

That's debatable; we could go back and forth all day about whether the advantage Microsoft gained by hitting the market first balanced out the consumer ill-will they incurred by releasing such a faulty piece of hardware and have no objective way of proving one way or the other whether it helped or hurt them.

However, MS estimated in 2007 that the extended warranty they put in place to cover the RROD (and, later, the E74 error) would cost them around 1.15 billion dollars. That's hardly chump change even by ginormous multinational corporation standards and should serve as incentive enough to make sure it doesn't happen again.

I've listened to every GWJ show all the way through for years. Some segments or opinions have annoyed me, but it's never been to the point of frustration.

I turned this show off about 10m into the horrible Sony-bashfest. Pyroman started by making a great point that I thought would shape the debate in an interesting manner ("Sony is a hardware company, and MS is a software company"), but then the entire crew just let out their inner MS fanboy and the entire thing started sounding like 13 year olds measuring the size of their junk.

Ugh - poor, poor job.

Is it possible that folks aren't necessarily "MS fanboys," but might instead just be feeling upset and hurt after the PSN hack?

wordsmythe wrote:

Is it possible that folks aren't necessarily "MS fanboys," but might instead just be feeling upset and hurt after the PSN hack?

+100. I don't understand why any console criticism always has to turn into a fanboy war. People are allowed to posit opinions without hidden agendas, right?

It's hard to resist creating opposites. If you don't like something, you must be slavishly loyal to something else. Put it another way, preferring vanilla ice cream doesn't automatically mean you have to hate chocolate.

Not liking PSN in it's current form and using it to setup jokes doesn't automatically mean there's some kind of fanboy conspiracy afoot. I understand that it sucks listening to people using something you like as a punching bag, so tuning out is a good way to go. I do it all the time, mostly when Elysium is talking.

SallyNasty wrote:
wordsmythe wrote:

Is it possible that folks aren't necessarily "MS fanboys," but might instead just be feeling upset and hurt after the PSN hack?

+100. I don't understand why any console criticism always has to turn into a fanboy war. People are allowed to posit opinions without hidden agendas, right?

No! This is the INTERNET!!! MOAR OUTRAGE!!!!

Honestly, I don't see an MS fanboy dropping $500 on a Sony console with the purpose of hating it. I see knocks against the constant debacle that is this generation from Sony more as disappointed fans speaking.

Certis wrote:

It's hard to resist creating opposites. If you don't like something, you must be slavishly loyal to something else. Put it another way, preferring vanilla ice cream doesn't automatically mean you have to hate chocolate.

Not liking PSN in it's current form and using it to setup jokes doesn't automatically mean there's some kind of fanboy conspiracy afoot. I understand that it sucks listening to people using something you like as a punching bag, so tuning out is a good way to go. I do it all the time, mostly when Elysium is talking.

Certis has to make it all better with a perfectly reasonable, well thought-out response. Way to be a classy and stand-up guy, Certis.

PyromanFO wrote:
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.

I think the PSP Go sucked. I just call them like I see them.

There are Pros and Cons to the PSP Go, and Sony made mistakes regarding the PSP Go, but that doesn't mean that it "sucks" 100%.

And Xbox Silver doesn't suck either. It's perfect for my needs. I don't need online play, I don't need Netflix (because I can watch netflix on all 3 of my other systems without paying a premium.) So for just the ability to track achievements and purchase xbox games? Just perfect for my needs.

As for the PSP Go, you have to divide it into two separate eras. PSP Go at launch, and PSP Go now (or rather, prior to the PSP3000 price cut.)

At launch, there were the following problems:

1. Hardly any games available, and those that were had to be repurchased. There was no way to transfer your existing library over.
2. It was expensive. A $80 premium over the normal console.
3. The screen was smaller.
4. None of the accessories worked.
5. The battery life sucked.

The offsetting factors didn't manage to compensate for it at launch.

1. You could use a PS3 Controller for playing the games, making the Component output actually worthwhile.
2. Built in storage that was larger than you could reasonably afford on the PSP 3000.
3. Improved portability. It's roughly the same size as my Droid 2 phone, and when I don't expect to play games, it is the system I throw in my pocket "Just In Case."

Now?

1 has disappeared. Nearly every game you would want to play is now available on PSN. I've been purchasing all new games off PSN anyway because they also work on my PSP3000. Only a handful of old Bandai Namco, Bethesda, and Square Enix games are missing as far as my library goes. The other plus is that I watched the PSN sales, so many of the PSN downloads I bought were on sale at $10 or 50% off, etc.
2 disappeared last thanksgiving as the price was $20 cheaper than the PSP3000. Even after that sale went away, $30 is a more reasonable price premium than $80. Though, now it's $70 again because the 3000 dropped, so this one is back for everyone else, but for me I caught it on sale at $150.
3 isn't an issue for me for most of my usage. Incidental gaming + playing PSP games on my TV.
4. I've managed to get all the accessories I need on sale.

That leaves #5 as the primary problem. The battery life is about 2.5 hours. This is actually longer than my Droid 2 phone's life when playing intensive games, and for incidental gameplay it seems sufficient. If I'm going on a plane or a long trip, I take my PSP3000 with 2 extended batteries instead, giving me around 16 hours of play time.

I haven't used the PSN extensively enough to have an informed opinion on it; I went the 360 route for entirely different reasons and while I would like to have both, financially that hasn't been an option yet. The consensus seems to be that PSN isn't as good as XBL, but exactly how large the gap is is something that varies depending on who you ask. So I wasn't particularly bothered by the PSN-bashing because I don't really have a horse in that race.

I'm not sure I can quite get behind all the hyperbolic statements about how signing on to Xbox Live is like being fellated by the Eccentrica Gallumbits, the triple-breasted whore of Eroticon Six, though. The interface is cluttered with ads, which is doubly insulting considering that I have to pay for the non-gimped version. It's obnoxious to find anything in the store; when I want to buy something, I log on to their web site and queue up the download from there. You know there's something wrong with your interface when I regularly boot up an entirely separate device to access key features. There's no option to hide icons that I don't use / care about / want to see, or even rearrange icons so the ones that are most useful show up first. My friends list is presented as an undifferentiated biomass with no way to rearrange, label, tag, group, or otherwise sort them. I had to install a third-party application to get music streaming (from my Microsoft Windows PC) to work properly, and I've never successfully been able to stream video. The network connection will sometimes inexplicably refuse to work until I unplug and then plug in the wireless adapter. Feature-wise, it's still playing catch-up with stuff Steam has been doing for free on the PC for years.

If I had to choose a word to characterize Xbox Live, it would be "adequate." It mostly does what I want it to, most of the time. It's not some flawless triumph of software design, though, and it's weird to hear a bunch of gushing about it as though it were.

You know what I can say for sure it's streets ahead of, though? Nintendo's online. Let's all stop this fussin' and fightin' and come together and bash on that for a while. (-:

hbi2k wrote:
doubtingthomas396 wrote:

And the rotten thing is there is absolutely no incentive for either company to do better. Microsoft's RROD debacle didn't cost them any market share....

That's debatable; we could go back and forth all day about whether the advantage Microsoft gained by hitting the market first balanced out the consumer ill-will they incurred by releasing such a faulty piece of hardware and have no objective way of proving one way or the other whether it helped or hurt them.

However, MS estimated in 2007 that the extended warranty they put in place to cover the RROD (and, later, the E74 error) would cost them around 1.15 billion dollars. That's hardly chump change even by ginormous multinational corporation standards and should serve as incentive enough to make sure it doesn't happen again.

And yet they're still number 2 in NPD every month. And let's face it, they weren't going to beat the Wii even if their hardware was as solid as an NES (mine still works).

This generation has proven that gamers will eat a whole lot of crap sandwiches provided they occasionally get dessert. We accepted that we can have a Wii and play the same three games on it for five years because nothing interesting gets released (hyperbole alert!). We accepted that we have to pay a monthly fee for an online experience that doesn't feel like we're being mugged (to paraphrase the podcasters). We adopted the system with the worst quality and reliability as the de facto "gamer's system," grumbling to each other as we waited for cardboard coffins to ship defective hardware back to the manufacturer, but still playing the majority of our games on that system. We accepted that AAA console games can now be released buggy and unfinished and we accepted having to download patches to fix them. And I'm sure that when the dust settles over this Sony debacle, most of Sony's followers will continue to buy and play games on the PS3 (I will, though I'm not giving them my credit card information anymore, so I'm as guilty as anyone).

What do you think that tells the game industry as a whole? We don't care about quality or reliability, we barely care about cost. Security concerns are not going to change the market appreciably; Sony will still be this generation's loser and that's not going to change unless it's scientifically proven that playing Call of Duty on XBLA changes either your ethnicity or your sexual orientation.

This console generation has had the worst cost-benefit ratio of any previous generation. And when I pointed that out a few pages back, using mainly criticisms that I've read in these very forums, all of a sudden people swarm to defend this generation as a whole because they're happy with their purchases. Which is kind of the whole point: we get buggy crap with good graphics, and we're happy.

That's all well and good now that Microsoft has finally gotten the the RROD under control (my understanding is that future hardware failures won't even RROD, but will instead have a red dot of death). But I fear for the next console generation, and I'm glad that it's at least a couple of years away. Because the lessons-learned meetings won't be pretty for us down here with controllers in our hands.

doubtingthomas396:

I only have a problem with assertion that this generation has the worst cost-benefit ratio. I've never spent so little money on a generation and got so much in return. Heck, I spend NOTHING on oodles and oodles of iPod gaming and I get, well, pretty decent beaters.

If we account for inflation, value for money has never been higher in gaming in terms of variety of content, amount of content, and polish of content.

LarryC wrote:

doubtingthomas396:

I only have a problem with assertion that this generation has the worst cost-benefit ratio. I've never spent so little money on a generation and got so much in return. Heck, I spend NOTHING on oodles and oodles of iPod gaming and I get, well, pretty decent beaters.

If we account for inflation, value for money has never been higher in gaming in terms of variety of content, amount of content, and polish of content.

This is a great point. As a late adopter to the xbox, I can pick up LOADS of excellent older games for under $10 bucks.

SallyNasty:

I want to clarify that the next statement I make isn't indicative of how masterful glorious PC gamers are.

Late adopters to consoles (that includes me and the PS3) can get a lot of great games for nearly nothing. PC gamers today can get a lot of great games for literally nothing. In fact, there are so many free games today that if you want to play them all, you'd have to limit your time in each game to about 10 minutes each and play for 8 hours a day every day. Rob lives on free PC gaming.

LarryC wrote:

SallyNasty:

I want to clarify that the next statement I make isn't indicative of how masterful glorious PC gamers are.

Late adopters to consoles (that includes me and the PS3) can get a lot of great games for nearly nothing. PC gamers today can get a lot of great games for literally nothing. In fact, there are so many free games today that if you want to play them all, you'd have to limit your time in each game to about 10 minutes each and play for 8 hours a day every day. Rob lives on free PC gaming.

Totally agree on that point.

RE: LarryC and SallyNasty,

1) The iPod doesn't count as part of the console generation I'm talking about. I never mentioned portables, or any other means of gaming other than putting a disc in a box that was physically connected to a television.

2) The PC doesn't count as part of a "console generation," which is why I was careful to use the words "console generation."

3) When I said "cost benefit ratio" I wasn't talking about the price of the systems, I was talking about the ratio of the problems with the hardware/software of this generation to the improvements we've seen since the last generation. EG: Super cool hot new graphics and HD support don't outweigh having to send your console back to the manufacturer every year or two (or buying a new one, if that's what you ended up doing) or (if you went with the PS3) getting your credit card information compromised. Of if it does, not by the same amount that the improved graphics and network support did from the PS1 generation to the PS2 generation.

4) Late adopters of every generation get good value for their money, unless they're too late and wind up buying a year or so before the next generation launch. That's not the point I'm trying to make here.

But whatever. I'm done having this conversation. I've said what I wanted to say as clearly as I knew how to say it, and it's clear I'm not changing anyone's mind or even finding anyone who agrees with me. Believe what you want. The internet is big enough for both of us.

Do we need to hug this one out so we can part on friendly terms?

SallyNasty wrote:

Do we need to hug this one out so we can part on friendly terms?

Doubtingthomas does not hug.

How about if we offered to let you poke your fingers into some of our orifices? That seemed to work for your namesake.

Irongut wrote:

Some of the recent revelations are that Sony was outed months ago for using outdated, unpatched server software and for having no firewall in place to protect the servers where they housing 'our' data. Let me repeat, no firewall. Is that not some kind of security basic, one that any internet user 101 is aware of, let alone a global corporation that is handling customer's private information.

Do you have any news sources for that?

According to Bitmob, the Sony PSN servers were useing the latest patched version of Apache web-server software. Bitmob also points out that the security expert that testified to Congress about PSN being unpatched determined that by reading news reports.

Yeah I got tired of it very early. The GWJ crew are very hard up for Justin. Everything he said they laughed. Dude wasn't even funny. It was ridiculous.

Bill Bonney wrote:

Dude wasn't even funny.

Subjective analysis presented as fact!

It's cool if you don't share his sense of humor. It's on the edge of the jokes I usually go for, too. Some folks seem to really enjoy him, though, and I don't have reason to deny them that pleasure.

LarryC wrote:

How about if we offered to let you poke your fingers into some of our orifices? That seemed to work for your namesake.

Thomas Hobbes was actually Mex?

doubtingthomas396 wrote:
LarryC wrote:

How about if we offered to let you poke your fingers into some of our orifices? That seemed to work for your namesake.

Thomas Hobbes was actually Mex?

I'm sure Mex has gotten with a Leviathan or two in his time..