GWJ Conference Call Episode 263

Conference Call

Batman: Arkham City, Dark Souls, Orcs Must Die, Sticky Game Mechanics, Your Emails, Twitters and more!

This week Cory, Julian, Allen and Shawn talk sticky game mechanics and hit a whole bunch of your Twitters and Emails.

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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Batman: Arkham City
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Show credits

Music credits: 

Intro/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

Main Theme - Batman: Arkham City - http://community.batmanarkhamcity.com/ - 35:33

Comments

Big B, although it's really only a tiny proportion who would expect to get it, and thinking about most internet usage you're only as fast as the slowest link in the chain. Still, the future is always closer than you think.

garion333 wrote:
walkera wrote:
Also, 4 hours for 250MB? Holy crap PSN sucks.

Maybe it's because I'm not trying to grab these things on day one, but even 2GB downloads don't take 4 hours for me. I think I typically sustain somewhere between 50 and 100 MB per minute.

1) The PS3 wireless is slow as crap. Never use it. When I switched to wired my speeds skyrocketed compared to what I was getting before. Could be the issue here.

My biggest gripe with the network performance is that when it is downloading and installing a the same time, the box grinds to an absolute halt, and I can easily believe the pathetic numbers people post in that situation. Since I also have my PS3 on a wired connection, there's a simple fix - unplug the network until the install finishes, and then plug it back in to resume the download.

2) 50mb a minute? You sure about that? What in the hell kind of internet do you have cause I want.

Frontier (formerly Verizon) FIOS. So, if you're not grabbing things at peak times, it's possible to go a lot faster than others have reported.

muttonchop wrote:
doubtingthomas396 wrote:

It's bad enough that disc based games often have the same patch problem. But at least if I don't like a patch I can uninstall and reinstall to an older release.

Unless the game has any sort of auto-update functionality, then you'll still need to unplug your router every time you play - better hope it doesn't have any Ubisoft-style DRM that requires an internet connection, or you're doubly screwed. Look, if you can't trust a developer to not mess around with your game, then don't buy their games. Don't blame the infrastructure when the content creator is acting in bad faith.

Can I blame the infrastructure if it incentivizes acting in bad faith?

Never mind. I had a whole post written out that I decided not to post. It's pretty clear that I'm a minority of one on this issue, and to my knowledge nobody has ever convinced anyone of anything on the internet. So to hell with it. You win.

And when some foreseeable problem with the DDO model rears its head after they've pulled the optical drives out of everything, I'll remind myself that I was right, and take that cold bit of comfort to the Michaels to buy some crochet hooks so I'll have something else to do with my free time.

walkera wrote:

My biggest gripe with the network performance is that when it is downloading and installing a the same time, the box grinds to an absolute halt, and I can easily believe the pathetic numbers people post in that situation. Since I also have my PS3 on a wired connection, there's a simple fix - unplug the network until the install finishes, and then plug it back in to resume the download.

Or you could just, um, pause the download till the install finishes?

Chairman_Mao wrote:
walkera wrote:

My biggest gripe with the network performance is that when it is downloading and installing a the same time, the box grinds to an absolute halt, and I can easily believe the pathetic numbers people post in that situation. Since I also have my PS3 on a wired connection, there's a simple fix - unplug the network until the install finishes, and then plug it back in to resume the download.

Or you could just, um, pause the download till the install finishes?

From what I remember, the only option available once the download starts installing is to cancel the install. I don't think you can get back to the download manager at that point.

Lukewarm reaction to SC2 you say? I'm going to watch SC2 in a hockey arena in a couple of weeks. Sup?

Hockey arenas are the longhouses of the modern Swedish world.

nossid wrote:

Lukewarm reaction to SC2 you say? I'm going to watch SC2 in a hockey arena in a couple of weeks. Sup?

Yeah, the comments on SC2 seem to come mostly from a place of (understandable really) ignorance. You guys just aren't paying attention if you think the SC2 community is small and the reception has been lukewarm. Lukewarm among the gaming press maybe. Thankfully, that's completely irrelevant and had no effect whatsoever on the success of the game.

Pictures of the crowd from the latest GSL final:

IMAGE(http://img811.imageshack.us/img811/2368/blizzcon15of33.jpg)

IMAGE(http://img190.imageshack.us/img190/9725/blizzcon18of33.jpg)

That's not even in Korea. It's in California.

Best part: It's not even just that room. That's just the stage. They also packed thousands of people into yet another separate room watching on more giant screens.

Also, there's multiple articles in playes like the New York Times and on Forbes talking about Starcraft actually taking over sports bars because in some places it actually brings in more patrons than baseball or football.

Yeah, the comments on SC2 seem to come mostly from a place of (understandable really) ignorance. You guys just aren't paying attention if you think the SC2 community is small and the reception has been lukewarm. Lukewarm among the gaming press maybe. Thankfully, that's completely irrelevant and had no effect whatsoever on the success of the game.

Don't lump me in with Banks, I thought he was nuts.

Certis wrote:

Don't lump me in with Banks, I thought he was nuts.

Fair enough

I have a hard time worrying too hard about what some evil corporation might do to my games when Bittorrent functions as the world's best backup system. Worst case scenario, everything I could ever want is right there, and if I've already paid for it, I don't even need to feel guilty.

Diablo 3 w/ WOW yearly subscriber - I took this as a strategic move by Activision/Blizzard. If they get people locked in to $12.95/month (or whatever the yearly rate is), will they as likely spend another $12.95 for ST:TOR? Plus, it'll help keep the Blizzard reporting numbers up during the ST:TOR launch by saying "We still have XX millions of PAYING monthly subscriptions."

evaNERV wrote:

Diablo 3 w/ WOW yearly subscriber - I took this as a strategic move by Activision/Blizzard. If they get people locked in to $12.95/month (or whatever the yearly rate is), will they as likely spend another $12.95 for ST:TOR? Plus, it'll help keep the Blizzard reporting numbers up during the ST:TOR launch by saying "We still have XX millions of PAYING monthly subscriptions."

And they're going to be paying over the duration of when the next expansion is released, for which they include the beta in the yearly deal but not the proper release.

Scratched wrote:

And they're going to be paying over the duration of when the next expansion is released, for which they include the beta in the yearly deal but not the proper release.

It is a smart business move by ActiBlizzard. My friend also commented that it's guaranteed income over the next year also.

Interesting comments on the Steam thing. A few clarifications.

1: I don't think any of us actually suggested we wanted a Steam only world.

2: I trust companies in direct proportion to how awesome they are, and how much I think they look after my interests. Valve and Apple come to mind as companies with closed, draconian business practices that I will follow off a cliff.

3: There are quite a few people in the world for whom DD means being able to play games on whim, or wait 3 days for Amazon, because there ain't no reasonable other choice. It's not just about pants, it's about not living next to a mall or driving.

rabbit wrote:

Valve and Apple come to mind as companies with closed, draconian business practices that I will follow off a cliff.

Dear From Software,

Congratulations on Dark Souls. Critics, hipsters and masochists everywhere agree: It's the best f*cking game ever made.

I have about as much interest in it as I have in sticking my penis in the coffee grinder while sitting on my balls listening to Rihana, but I'm still really happy for you guys. No, really.

One thing though: Could we possibly get Certis back?

rabbit wrote:

1: I don't think any of us actually suggested we wanted a Steam only world.

Demiurge basically says this outright every time DDO comes up.

rabbit wrote:

3: There are quite a few people in the world for whom DD means being able to play games on whim, or wait 3 days for Amazon, because there ain't no reasonable other choice. It's not just about pants, it's about not living next to a mall or driving.

And that's great. If that's your situation, by all means buy all your games digitally.

All I'm saying is I don't want to be locked into a model where I can't buy a disc from a store. It's frequently said on the podcast that this is the way the industry is going, and it's frequently intimated that this can't happen fast enough for certain podcasters.

My last comment, regarding the podcast: Certis is disappointed in his purchase of Rage. Demiurge wants to play it. Because Certis bought it on Steam, he's stuck with it and out whatever money he paid for it, and Demiurge has to buy a fresh copy. With a disc, it could have been a gift, or Certis could have sold it to Demiurge for a pittance, or any other number of options. As it stands, Certis basically wasted his money and is stuck with this game he can't play without giving up in disgust.

Maybe this doesn't happen often enough to bug you guys, but it happens a lot for me. I'll do my research, get a game and ultimately be disappointed with it. So I mosey over to Gamestop and sell it back to them.

I recently did this with Deus Ex; Human Revolution. Basically, that plus a couple other disappointing trade-ins netted me Kirby's Return to Dreamland and $5 that I spent on a plush Yoshi for my daughter. I love that model. I'm not stuck with a game I'll never play again, and I don't feel like such an idiot for falling for the hype of a game that ultimately doesn't deliver for me. The used market enables me to play more games than I otherwise would, because I have two kids and a mortgage and can't buy every $60 game that catches my eye.

I'd love to hear Gaald's thoughts on this, since he's another gamer who doesn't have more money than time.

Hey DT - let me introduce you to my friend. He can solve all your DD problems.

Mr.Green wrote:

One thing though: Could we possibly get Certis back?

No Dark Souls this week.

SallyNasty wrote:

Hey DT - let me introduce you to my friend. He can solve all your DD problems.

Not necessarily (and Thomas has a PS3 and Wii, so he's already in console land). Direct download is the primary means by which XBLA titles are distributed, and there have been a few high-profile games released this year only through Games On Demand (Crysis, Resident Evil 4 HD, Resident Evil: Code Veronica HD). Microsoft has also switched from packing-in physical discs with their games to including download codes instead; you might have noticed that the holiday bundle you linked to has one of its two games as a download code.

I would love to trade or even give away my copy of Bastion, having not been smart enough to play the demo before I bought the full game, but I can't, even in console land, because it's a digital purchase tied forever to my gamertag. If that were a $60 game instead of a $15 one, I'd be really frustrated. Heck, even the jump from $15 to $20 makes me hesitant to buy Crysis or DeathSmiles 2 or Resident Evil 4 HD because if I don't enjoy them, I'm just stuck with them for all time.

I don't mind having direct download as an option, but I'm with Thomas that I don't want it as my primary means of distribution. The only real advantage I can see to it, aside from convenience, is that digital titles, no matter how niche, never go out of print. The next time Aksys Games did a limited print run of some bizarre Japanese title, a digital copy would at least mean that you weren't looking at paying $90 for the game down the line if you wanted a copy.

The thing that keeps me coming back to stuff like Steam, besides convenience, is the price. If I'm patient and wait for sales, I can get current-gen PC games for less than what a rental would cost me anyway (and MUCH less than $60 minus whatever Gamestop would give me for it if I didn't like it), so I'm not super bothered by losing the option to trade in.

Which is fine in the short term, but if things do go download-only across the industry, that means that everyone else is going to have to get on board with Steam's model of deep deep cuts at sale time or they're going to find me a lot less willing to risk buying a game sight-unseen. It's not that I mind paying fifty or sixty bucks for a game, but I DO mind doing so without the chance to try it first, or get rid of it if it turns out not to be to my liking.

There are other ways to ameliorate the risk factor, of course: more substantial demos would help, as do the sort of free weekend promotions Steam often does. Some feature like a digital Redbox where I could rent the game for a day for a couple bucks would be nice.

hbi2k wrote:

There are other ways to ameliorate the risk factor, of course: more substantial demos would help, as do the sort of free weekend promotions Steam often does. Some feature like a digital Redbox where I could rent the game for a day for a couple bucks would be nice.

It's called onlive, and shockingly, it actually works. Unfortunately, the business model and selection are totally screwed up right now.

Call me old-fashioned, but I still prefer to run the games on my own hardware. It might change as Onlive-style streaming matures, but for now, they just plain look better that way.

rabbit:

I'd revise your #2 to:

"I trust companies in direct proportion to how much money they're making off of my demographic." Once you shear off from a company's main market, their concern for your interests drops off rather precipitously. I'd rather you didn't have to learn that the hard way.

LarryC wrote:

rabbit:

I'd revise your #2 to:

"I trust companies in direct proportion to how much money they're making off of my demographic." Once you shear off from a company's main market, their concern for your interests drops off rather precipitously. I'd rather you didn't have to learn that the hard way.

Dude. I'm middle aged with 2 kids. I've been plenty burned.

I know. How could you trust Apple so much? Or did I miss some sort of ironic meter? Again?