Short-Takes: 5/31/13

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Whenever a Microsoft official tries to explain this, they might as well be saying the vernal equinox must be in synchronicity with Saturn for your Xbox to function. They can’t get the story straight, and only further convolute the narrative each time. Also, I was at a LAN party yesterday, and at the end, a friend casually asked if I could borrow Saint’s Row: The Third. I didn’t mind and tossed him the game so he could play it and give it back when we met again. That action right there is about to get doubly complex. I will have to unauthorize it from my account and my friend will need to authenticate it when he first installs it on his console, rather than just being able to play the game.

Max Gruber:

So it seems like the used game fees are not true. What a sigh of relief that is. But this authentication idea seems like a weird one at that. The game is deauthenticated from the console you played it on in order to authenticate it onto the other platform. That’s really strange. Do we have to authenticate using those 25-digit codes that you find in most pieces of software in order to play the game—and memorize every time you want to play a game at a friend’s house? That’s an awkward and uncanny valley that this initiative seems to be advocating towards. Though the one thing that questions me is how the system will know when a game has been authenticated already. Maybe that’s why Xbox One has to check internet connection every 24 hours—to make sure that people aren’t just buying used games for the Xbox?

Jonathan Tung:

Now that we know that the used game fee was just a simple misunderstanding, we can only assume that Microsoft will be doing its best in order to prepare themselves for E3 in the coming weeks. However, given the negative press from the initial reception to the Xbox One, Mattrick and his mates have a long road ahead if they want to keep up with the ever growing hype surrounding their rivals.

John Fenix:

Nice to have some clarification, and it doesn't seem as different as recovering a gamer tag on another Xbox back in the old days before Cloud Storage. Still, as Jonathan stated, this confusion hasn't done Microsoft much good, and people are going to be looking to be blown away at E3 to feel anything close to confidence.

kotaku.com

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Of course EA cancelled the Online Pass scheme; they are back in the driver’s seat of controlling prices now that the used game market will be locked down and more regulated. Of course, Sony continues to waffle in the face of consumer pressure to not lock down the system, led by members of the NeoGAF community. If, however, Sony does not cave in to publisher pressure with some sort of managed used game pricing model, I think it’s very possible that publishers will react in many different ways, including a reinstatement of Online Pass or favoring the Xbox One even more heavily with exclusives; hence the non-responses by Sony execs to the campaign on Twitter.

Max Gruber:

Oh dear. Seems like publishers are getting all butthurt about the used-game market, and are trying to make as much out of those used games as possible, like what EA did in the past. But the problem with that model is that it’s not going to win a lot of love from your customers, especially when you charge upfront in order to access exclusive content for buying the game used. It’s like you’re being busted by the video game police for doing something wrong. I know that these publishers are out to make money like everyone on Earth is right now, but you can at least respect your customer’s concerns and take these into account, so that more people will buy your products on the day they release to the public.

John Fenix:

If anyone was surprised about this, then it might be time to bring you out of that coma. Publishers are still in turmoil because the vocal minority is the unpleasable crowd, whether they hate the new games or demand their favorite games from the old days, then when the publishers bring back older titles, they complain about no new IPs. Oh dear, I'm becoming one of them.... My point is, companies are going to make money, but don't be deluded that they don't take interest in their customers. Now if you excuse me, I'm going to check myself into rehab.

nerdreactor.com

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Square Enix continues its decline, and this departure could be Mr. Fischer reading the writing on the wall and deciding to abandon ship before the iceberg comes in striking distance. In what could very much be a public internal memo of sorts, senior executive managing director (bureaucracy, much??) Yosuke Matsuda recently criticized the long development process of games, possibly as a way of lighting a fire under his own dev teams to shape up or possibly risk going the same way as THQ; running out of fumes just as you have several titles almost ready to hit the market. Shut up and ship, indeed.

Max Gruber:

This is really scary. We know that Square is not faring well in the market (as I’m writing this, their stock is currently at 12.82 right now, which is around the same level as Nintendo’s stock right now), but to have two CEOs leave in the same year is terrifying, and it’s worse that Mike Fischer left of his own volition. Obviously they’ve clawed back some of those losses over the past few months, but they have a long way to go if they want to get back what they have lost. They just have to release what titles are still in development right now—like, say, Kingdom Hearts 3 and not a spin off, another Chrono Trigger, or Final Fantasy Versus XIII—and hope that you’ll be met with open arms by your most loyal fans.

ps3site.pl

Blizzard Confirms 'Changes' To Titan MMO

Simon Wu:

When trying to create something that is supposed to follow and surpass World of Warcraft, it will take a long time, even for the creators of WoW themselves. Fundamental rethinks of games are not all bad (read: Borderlands), but the note that some technology shifts and adaptations were necessary is concerning. The main problem with a super long-range project such as this one is that it takes such monumental effort and time to start with a set platform and get going with assets and the underlying infrastructure, that when nearing release, the engine is long superseded. It takes serious discipline to lay down the law and commit to making the gameplay and story compelling rather than relying on the graphics. The biggest victim of this approach: Duke Nukem Forever.

Max Gruber:

Having little experience with MMOs, I know that Titan will be Blizzard’s next “WoW” title. But it seems like the restructuring has led the team to restart everything they’ve worked on from scratch. That’s really sad. Maybe it has to do with the “changing environment” of the industry, but sometimes it’s better to “do” than to “don’t”.

Jonathan Tung:

Seeing that this is coming from Blizzard, this should come as no surprise, as the company was known for delaying titles due to the ever-changing market (remember what happened to StarCraft: Ghost?). This could probably be due to a number of reasons, some of which I assume might involve trouble going about within the company itself.

Ubisoft working on new racing IP 'The Crew' – Report

Simon Wu:

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I’m behind this fully because I have actually given a lot of thought and credit to one of our regular commenters, darthskeletor. A while ago he brought up the possibility that Ubisoft is ‘milking’ the Assassin’s Creed franchise because their operations have expanded significantly, and that none of their other IPs are really capable of sustaining them to the same extent. I think that has merit, and am now affording them the time and credit to impress me, and more importantly, find a new revenue stream, whether in the form of Watch_Dogs or this new game. However, racing games are a niche genre. While Assassin’s Creed 3 moved 3 million copies in its first week and 7 million in its first quarter, the latest Need for Speed sold a little more than half a million in it’s first month. Gran Turismo 5 has almost sold 11 million copies... in three years. Forza 4 has sold almost 4 million in 2 years.

Max Gruber:

As much as I like the move by Ubisoft to move into the racing genre, I don’t think this is a good avenue for them, considering that Forza and Gran Turismo are, arguably, the best racing sims out there—and simply trying to peck their way into a new venture is simply not the best approach to competition. I just don’t see them getting the leg up on the racing crowd whatsoever, since trying to break the mold in an otherwise stale genre by being stale oneself doesn’t work in most instances. Unless they have something groundbreaking in mind, I just don’t see this getting off in the same way that Watch_Dogs did back at E3.

gamespot.com