Gamestop reviewing Sales Policy, Capcom swears RE5 Versus code is not on Disc, and Third Party Wii Development Not Justified? – Welcome to the column that swears that the content for this week is 100% new (except for the 20 year old one-liners) and unopened (well until you click the link anyway) known as Dare to Play the Game.
Remember when I was supposed to start that Leisure Suit Larry game? Heck, I was going to have a review for you folks. So did I open some other game? Nooooo. What did I play: you guessed it, a lot of poker (World Series of Poker 2008) and a lot of Rockband 2. I started at my copy of Leisure Suit Larry quite endlessly most nights while watching tv and contemplating switching on my Xbox instead. This week, I make a vow…I will play LSL and I will sit down and at least start my review.
Instead of playing games, I’ve been buying them. I guess some of the games I’ve been looking at for a while have hit those bargain price points. As mentioned, I had purchased Dark Messiah last week. Well I upped the ante some. I purchased Too Human from Buy.com for a mere $12. I purchased Rogue Galaxy (PS2) and Flatout: Extreme Carnage (360) for $10 a piece from Wally World. I even put down the points to purchase the first episode of Penny Arcade from Xbox Live since it was discounted down to 800 points. But yet they will also sit until I at least try out Mr. Larry. At some point, I would really like to get back to Fallout 3 and try out the true evil side of Fable II. At some point *sigh*.
Maybe you can explain this phenomenon to me. Why is it you can get a hot girl as pictured above, put a WiiMote in her hand and suddenly she becomes: Ultimate Wii Girl. Of all the girls in the world, this one can put a Wii in her hand and become the ultimate. She is striking, but come on; couldn’t we have a contest at least of all the hot girls with a Wiimote in their hands and then decide on a winner? And for coming up with the idea, I think I should be made a judge of this fine event. Book it!
id CEO Todd Hollenshead remains unconvinced that there’s a good reason for “independent, Wii-centric” development. He’s willing to hear someone out, he just hasn’t heard a good argument for it yet.
Hollenshead, in an interview with GameSpot, was asked if the Wii’s meteoric sales and success inevitably meant a shift in resources toward third-party development more suited for that platform. Putting it gently, Hollenshead said no.
If you look at the data, the Wii is Nintendo and then everybody else. And then among everybody else, it’s licensed properties – and then stuff that people lose money on. So, for a really original, game-centric IP, if you’re a third-party developer, I would say, “Show me what makes such a compelling case for the Wii.
That’s not to say he ridicules Nintendo or the platform. Actually, he brings up a point I think we’d all do well to keep in mind: “Sometimes people lose sight of the fact that almost every company doesn’t try to be all things to all people. Nintendo isn’t trying to be all things to all people either.
Of course, this will be the year The Conduit finally releases, published by Sega. But Madworld (also Sega) despite a generous run-up of hype and reasonably good reviews, hasn’t made the kind of splash on Wii analagous to a typical multiplatform drop on the 360 and PS3. That underlines another point Hollenshead made:
Even if we make an awesome game, there’s still a question as to whether we’re going to justify our investment. And also, I mean, if you look at the market, the type of games we traditionally make, those games are selling record numbers on non-Wii platforms.
Would Madworld have done so on PS3 and/or 360?
Think about it, Hollenshead is right here. Sure the Wii puts out some fantastic sales, but there are not any compelling 3rd party reasons for that. The reasons are Mario, Zelda, Wii Fit, Wii Play, Smash Bros, Metroid, or whatever other Nintendo character is in their closet. It’s not No More Heroes or Madworld. Are those great games? Sure. It’s about the only third party games I would buy if I did have a Wii. But have they made any great stride in sales? Unfortunately not. The Wii only sells Nintendo software in mass quantities. Everything else is considered either a)niche or b)shovelware. A logical question here. If you had a third-party game and you wanted to purchase it for your Wii or 360; which would you choose? Most likely 360 for the better graphics and sound. All the fancy motion in the world doesn’t compensate for what we believe to be better performance.
Look, out there in space is a Wii third party game that will break sales records and become a true blockbuster. Luke…I think seriously you are out of your mind. I mean next thing you know, you’ll be telling me that Darth Vader is your father.
Resident Evil 5
Capcom exec Christian Svensson got called out by his customers to explain the puny size of the RE5 DLC, which some took to mean it simply unlocked code already on the disc. He responded.
In reply to “RE5 DLC 1.8MB EXPLAIN THIS TO US SVEN or whoever can,” Svensson says:
Keys are 100K or less. It is not a key. We have said in the past, it uses assets from the disc (like levels, models, audio, etc.) but the code is new and does not exist on the disc.
IGN had definitively said on Tuesday that the download was a key. “You are downloading a key that unlocks content already on the RE5 retail disc. The same disc you paid $60 for a month ago.” We and other blogs politely asked Capcom WTF, but didn’t get any official comment.
But then the Cut Scene’s Ben Fritz, arguing a point of view I’ve found myself gravitating toward in these DLC dustups (“a rather ridiculous attitude of entitlement that gamers need to lose”) found Capcom’s reply in a now-locked thread. I will say that, parsed out, IGN and Capcom can still be correct. Capcom has said the download makes use of code already on the disc. Again, IGN said “You are downloading a key that unlocks content already on the RE5 retail disc.” The difference is what, exactly, is on top of the 100K Svensson says is taken up by a key.
I so love dragging this into the ground. A couple of weeks ago I reported on this ridiculous excuse for downloadable content and I will continue to fight for the gamer in this circumstance. 1.8mb? Really? That’s all the dlc is and then you have *poof*, versus mode? I’m calling BS. I’m not saying all of the code is on the disc, it’s clearly not. But if only 1.8mb is not on the disc; that isn’t enough mb to wipe my tuccus for a day, nevermind actually consider paying for. The versus information is on the disc, it just wasn’t finished. The 1.8mb represents at best a bunch of hot fixes and some menu enabling. Nothing more. In fact, I really think Capcom should reconsider their approach to this “DLC” and offer it for free. Is your company suffering so much that you feel the need to hoodwink the public and squeeze those extra dollars out of them?
The correct approach should have been to include a download code to new owners of the game and provide this as a reward. Those who purchased it second hand or used should be treated to pay for the code since they probably saved $5 or more. It makes perfect sense. Of course, then Capcom would have had to fess up. Instead, they just sit on their behinds and will claim the opposite. Pathetic. I thought better of you Capcom.
So, basically what I’m told here is that the only thing the 1.8mb really contains is the 1p,2p,3p, etc that is shown over the people’s heads. Brilliant! Sign me up.
GameStop today confirmed that they are reviewing their lending and sales policy to see if it may
be a violation of trade practices, GameStop officials told Kotaku today.
“We are looking at a series of things,” said said Chris Olivera, vice president of corporate communications for GameStop. “We want to understand the assertions that were made by the FTC and we also want to see what is actually happening in the stores that led to what you wrote about.”
According to a number of GameStop employees and managers across the country,all of which spoke to us on the condition of anonymity, new copies of games rented out to employees are often mixed in with the unplayed display copies. And both are sold at “new” prices.
Olivera declined to outline GameStop’s employee check-out policy to Kotaku today, but said that the company is looking into whether the practice of selling games that had been checked-out by employees as new is “something isolated or is something that is a practice within certain locations.” He added that the FTC has not been in contact with GameStop.
“We are looking at policy and practice,” he said.
According our research on the subject and interpretation of the FTC rules as it applies to GameStop, we think that the retail’s behavior would violate the FTC Act (15 U.S.C §§ 41-58). If so, the FTC could issue an injunction and/or fine Gamestop.
The FTC Act Test for false advertising states that there must be a representation, omission or practice that is likely to mislead the consumer. Second, the FTC examines the practice from the standpoint of a reasonable consumer. Finally, the representation, omission, or practice must be a “material” one (whether the act or practice is likely to affect the consumer’s conduct or decision with regard to a product or service).
In GameStop’s situation, it sounds like the employees have mislead the customer by representing that the game is new and omitted the fact the game has been used. A reasonable customer would not pay full price for a used game; the representation or omission would affect the customer’s decision; and therefore, the representation or omission is material and would constitute false advertising.
Olivera said he would comment on the conclusion of the corporate review as soon as it wraps up.
One of the perks, Gamestop/EB employees get is to take home new games and try them out. In fact, it’s actually encouraged to some extent. However, in the midst of this perk, they are then taking those same discs and packing them back as new games. The discs most of the time still looks brand new. The unfavorable term most gamers go by for this process is “gutting”. I had this happen with Leisure Suit Larry for 360. The case was on the shelf, but the disc was being kept behind the counter. The disc was fine, I didn’t even see a scratch on it. So it didn’t bother me. Another thing to consider is that some Gamestops and EBs actually do this to all of their copies in order to cut down on floaters.
In reality, I can see both sides to the argument. I mean, you work in a gamestore, you should be allowed to take some of the games home and try them out. It’s the nature of the business. It’s a nice perk and you can also accurately help people with questions of “How is this game” or “Would you recommend this title?”. It makes good business sense. Then there is the other side of the coin. The gamer side where the game clearly looks opened and the person shouldn’t be subjected to the same price.
So, it sounds like we need a solution. A way for Gamestop to not lose as much money and for the consumer to enjoy a new copy. Here you go, feel free to use this. Just remember who came up with it. $2 dollars off. Any game that is checked out by an employee is sold $2 less and designated as employee or whatever cute phrase they want to use in their system. In return, the store should also have completely new stock for those gamers who want new no matter what. But also, Gamestop can push this stock and if the gamer mentions it is “gutted” and $2 off. Most gamers when faced with a bargain will go the way of the bargain. The only way to abuse this system is if Gamestop tries to use their used stock and make it look like gutted stock. But they already have that opportunity currently anyway. Everybody wins, Gamestop still sells their “gutted” stock, those wanting new get new and those looking for a bargain near release week get their bargain (even if it is a small one).
Everybody remembers Outrun, right? Great arcade game, pretty decent port, wonderful racing, getting mad when you missed the checkpoint by one second and throwing your controller at the window and crying like a little bitch? Okay, the last one was just me. Well, Sega decided to revamp the game, bring it to 2009 on terms of quality and release it for Xbox Live Arcade. There are 15 courses, 10 different cars and support for up to 6 people online multiplayer. The graphics look superb and we really might have a winner on our hands as long as the control holds up. Count me in for at least the demo this weekend.
In this WiiWare game, players take turns jabbing a sword into a barrel. Whoever gets the most swords in the barrel before the pirate gets poked is the winner. What?! Is this for freaking real? You actually expect people to pay for this junk. /faceplam. Oh wait, there is more…you can also drop Mii’s into the barrel for a real laugh! Okay, how about I drop the creator of this game into a barrel with some dynamite. Then I’ll light it and I’ll have a ton of freaking fun. I feel sorry for anybody who even thinks to buy this.
Interestingly enough, this game was first on Super NES and Sega CD before being ported over to Sega Genesis. And somehow the Sega Genesis version makes it to VC? Odd. In this Pitfall game, you play as Pitfall Harry Jr and you are trying to find your kidnapped father. Jungles, Mountains, and Ancient Ruins must be traveled to reach your goal. Thirteen different levels are here as well as the original Pitfall (2600 version which is available through a secret door somewhere in the game). Not a bad pickup, just an odd choice of which port to release.
Guitar Hero: Metallica
Air Conflicts: Aces of World War II
Samurai Showdown Anthology
Escape the Museum
Zoo Vet: Endangered Animals
Black Sigil: Blade of the Exiled
The Dark Spire
Imagine: Makeup Artist
A whole lotta crap. I guess after a few strong weeks, we were not bound to get very much this time. Honestly, the PS2 and PSP releases are extremely minimal and the Wii /DS releases are okay at best. It’s one of those weeks where you probably much better off finding a local sale and picking up a couple of old releases that you put off from Christmas or the early part of this year. Hey, a lot of those titles are $30 and under now. I even heard that Amazon is carrying Xbox Live Arcade games online. Simply pay online and they will send you a code to download the game over Live. You don’t even have to spend the money for points. Find one of those this week and don’t worry about anything new. There are a lot of gems in there for sure.
So, I actually did play a different game this week in addition to a steady dose of poker and Rock Band. I tried out the demo to Puzzle Quest: Galactrix. I played the demo for roughly 2 hours straight and I must say if it was 1200 points right now, it would be mine. I’m not going to pull any punches. If you can get past the space atmosphere and the 1600 points price tag, it is worth picking up. The fights are what you come to expect but the little features like hacking leapgates or crafting new weapons or mining for ore (and profit) are cool and remind me a lot of the original Puzzle Quest. I was able to pick it up instantly and might even try it out again soon.
Of course, then the question remains, if you like the game so much; why are you making such a fuss of 400 points? Some might not understand it, but it is a line in the sand. Somewhere, about a year ago Xbox Live decided to change their pricing policy to Arcade games. Somewhere, about a year ago I didn’t change along with them. I didn’t buy Penny Arcade at 1600, instead I waited and finally got my sale at 800 points. Did I miss anything? Probably not. I will do the same with Puzzle Quest: Galactrix. I don’t have to accept price points and I never will. The last three games I purchased full price (not including budget affairs like Sonic UGC or LSL: BOB) were Fable II, Lego Batman and Fallout 3. They were worth the full price. This is downloadable content, big difference in my view. I’m probably a dinosaur but I will always stick for what I know is right. Pick your cause this week kiddoes and be sure to stand your ground. I’m out.
Kedrix of Aldrianian
(*The Forgotten One*)