Rocketing Used Game Sales, Wii Hour usage and Pirate Bay Lives On? – Welcome to the column that after three years would like to issue a serious message to its fanbase and that is PBBBBTTTTT! and also known as Dare to Play the Game.
I hardly played my Xbox 360 at all this week. It was mostly used for Rock Band 2 and to get in some Cellfactor. Nothing changed in those games, no achievements were gained. What did I really do this week?
World of Warcraft. *sigh*. My troll rogue: Lantanador finally made it to Level 70. I did about 5 quests in Northrend and then promptly returned to Shattrath city to gather the level 70 equipment received in the last few levels and get my flyer (bye bye most of my gold). To be honest, I didn’t like Northrend all that much. It’s pretty, sure. I don’t remember my first couple of levels at 60 in the Outlands being so rough, but it could be just me.
So what am I working on now? Cooking dailies (my cooking is at 372 currently), Blacksmithing (296, not near where I would like), and my Ambassador title. For those who don’t know, Ambassador is gained by exalted status with all five of the Horde home cities. I am already exalted with Undercity and Orgimaar. For the others, I am 2500 away for the Darkspear Trolls, 5300 away for Silvermoon and 13900 away for Thunder Bluff. Obviously, Thunder Bluff is the one I dread most. Thunder Bluff reputation isn’t that bad, it’s the fact I have to deal with going to the Tauren starting area (I’ve already done the rest of the starting areas which explains the gap) and playing with the cows….I mean Taurens. *sigh*.
Milla is the choice this week. She has announced of all things that there will be a 4th Resident Evil movie and it will be called Afterlife. Filming will start by the end of the year and the release date has been set for September 17th, 2010. The good news? Well, we’ll get more scenes of Milla kicking butt and looking good. The bad news? I just bought the Blu-Ray boxset of the first three movies not too long ago. Darn sequels. Next thing you know, they’ll make another Underworld or AVP movie too (speaking of Blu-Ray boxsets I’ve bought).
The number of hours that gamers play is at an all time high over the past few months, according to a new study from Nielsen.
The Value Gamer: Play and Purchase Behavior in a Recession also shows that gamers have increased their purchase of used games to “record-breaking totals” since Nielsen began tracking used game sales.
“Overall, the uncertain economy has not hurt gameplay and may have accelerated it as gamers look to get more value out of the games they own,” The Nielsen Company says.
More interesting, I think, is what type of gamers Nielsen seems to think is driving this increase in play.
“Primarily, we believe mainstream gamers are playing more of the broadly appealing games (i.e Wii Fit, Guitar Hero and Rock Band) pushing their hours of gameplay up,” said Michael Flamberg, director of client consulting, Nielsen Games. “The social aspects of these games have engaged them. We don’t believe hardcore gamers are driving up the usage averages we’ve observed. Second, gamers may be looking to stretch their entertainment dollar further through playing games they own more. The importance of value for them is evident in the findings on used game purchase.”
Gamers are also making more use of rental services like Gamefly, according to the survey.
The results seem to show that developers need to continue to concentrate on making ways to extend the life of their games if they want to increase sales and lengthen the time a person holds on to a title. New downloadable content, episodes and, of course, strong multiplayer elements all seem to help that.
I think this post needs the following picture before we continue.
Good, now that we got that out of the way, let’s look at some of the more interesting parts. Of course used games sales are going to rocket, less money, more apt to buy an used game. This is what has most game publishers in an upheaval thinking we need to go to digital downloads or even make it so people can’t sell their old copies to Gamestop or Ebay or anywhere else. The sad thing is? It has nothing to do with the fact used games exist, it has to do with disposal income. The less you have, the more likely you are to spend it wiser. In times of excess, you are more apt to make impulse purchases like of retail games. I can’t tell you the last time I payed $60 for a game. Oh yeah, Fallout 3. That was a long time ago.
The second part makes a lot of sense too, if you buy less games, then you are going to spend more time playing the heck out of the games you got. I’ve gotten a ton of hours more out of games than I used to. Sure there are duds that become decoration in my game case after about an hour but on average I try to give a lot of games a good play through. This is also increased by DLC which lengthens the game even more. Half of the people are playing the DLC for more content, half are playing it because they hate seeing achievements that are locked. Trust me, if it costs $5-$10 for DLC and the chance to have 1250/1250 as opposed to 1000/1250, most of us will spend the money. It’s a sickness.
Piracy, the video game industry’s multi-billion dollar problem, may have met its match.
The solution to the illegal copying of video games perhaps isn’t a law enforcement task force or volley of lawsuits, but the legitimization of the act itself.
Last week news broke that The Pirate Bay, one of the largest websites in the world dedicated to the illegal downloading of video games, was being purchased by a business group in Sweden with plans on turning the site into a purely legal operation.
Global Gaming Factory X doesn’t plan on stopping the downloading of video games, but rather hopes to make enough money to pay the publishers for those downloads.
“We would like to introduce models which entail that content providers and copyright owners get paid for content that is downloaded via the site, ” Hans Pandeya, CEO Global Gaming Factory, said in a prepared statement. “The Pirate Bay is a site that is among the top 100 most visited Internet sites in the world. However, in order to live on, The Pirate Bay requires a new business model, which satisfies the requirements and needs of all parties, content providers, broadband operators, end users, and the judiciary.”
The news comes just months after a nine-day trial against Stockholm-based Pirate Bay found four guilty of making copyright content available. The four were sentenced to a year in prison each and were fined more than $3 million.
While heralded by industry lobbying group the Entertainment Software Association, the ruling and even the possible closure of The Pirate Bay would likely have little lasting impact on piracy. That’s because it doesn’t address the people pirating games, just those making it easier to do so.
Billy Pidgeon, an analyst with Game Changer Research, feels that piracy can only really be dealt with by some meeting of the minds.
“I hate to hear the industry talking about how they have to crush piracy, throwing down the gauntlet,” Pidgeon said. “The last thing the industry wants to do is alienate their customer base.”
People saying that they deserve to take a game for free, Pidgeon adds, is just as absurd.
That’s why Pidgeon was so delighted to hear Electronic Arts’ reaction to news of their game, The Sims 3, being pirated.
Three weeks before the game was released for sale, it showed up on pirate sites.
John Riccitiello, the head of EA, told Kotaku that they were initially very nervous about the leaked title.
But because the game relies so heavily on online play, something EA can control, gamers who grabbed an early, free version of the title didn’t get the full experience, only a taste.
In the end, Riccitiello said, EA decided to think of it as the publisher putting out a really good demo of the game, instead worrying over lost sales.
“Thats great, I love to hear them talk like that,” Pidgeon said of EA’s take on the issue. “Super distribution (like piracy networks) can be turned into an advantage. It’s not necessarily lost sales.”
Using the grassroots networks of pirates could allow publishers to reach a much larger audience, including people in regions they don’t yet reach. It could also create a sort of ad-hoc iTunes for game distribution, helping publishers and developers get games to people who can’t or won’t use the standard distribution channels. In other words, when you can’t beat them, use them.
About time on a couple of levels. Don’t like piraters? Do something about it…and don’t spend your time trying to penalize Joe College Kid who downloads off Bittorrent. Sure it’s wrong. But why waste the manpower and resources when you can just find creative ways to distract him? Kudos to EA for actually taking the high road here and using the Sims 3 piracy situation to their advantage. A lot of those who grabbed the title early will probably go and buy it anyway. If anything, it worked out to be a fantastic promotional tool. No wonder Sims 3 is selling a boatload of copies.
On the flipside, somebody with business savvy bought the Pirate Bay site. It does fall into the whole damaged goods category but there is opportunity there. Pirate Bay is (or was) one of the most visited Internet sites, it gets hits like Rihanna when she doesn’t respect Chris Brown. Ouch…yeah I went there. Anyhow, I’ll assume that Global Gaming Factory will probably use a Steam or Direc2Drive model of doing business. It might make lots of money. Hey remember Napster? Even though it has been bought and sold several times over now, it makes some good money (and owned by Best Buy) and it’s all nice and legal tidy now.
Somewhere in the alcove I think is the Ninja Headquarters, actually it is probably right next to MPAA headquarters. Draw your own conclusions.
Nintendo Wii Usage
Never mind what’s at the bottom of this barrel, here’s a list of 29 Wii games from Nintendo and the amount of hours people play them, per gamer. (The following stats are pulled from the usage data shared by more than two million Wii users through the system’s Nintendo Channel. For more information about how we calculate these total playtimes, check out this week’s earlier Wii stats post)
Average Per-Gamer Playing Time For Nintendo’s First-Party Wii Games
(as of July 1)
(Release Dates in Parentheses)
Super Smash Bros. Brawl (March 2008) — 68 hours, 51 minutes
Animal Crossing: City Folk (November 2008) — 54 hours, 16 minutes
Fire Emblem Radiant Dawn (November 2007) – 46 hours, 40 minutes
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (November 2006) — 46 hours, 9 minutes
Wii Sports (November 2006) — 35 hours, 47 minutes
Mario Kart Wii (April 2008) – 31 hours, 40 minutes
Super Mario Galaxy (November 2007) — 27 hours, 37 minutes
Super Paper Mario (April 2007) — 24 hours, 13 minutes
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (August 2007) 21 hours, 37 minutes
Mario Party 8 (May 2007) — 20 hours, 39 minutes
Pokemon Battle Revolution (June 2007) — 20 hours, 2 minutes
Wii Fit (May 2008) — 18 hours, 18 minutes
Mario Super Sluggers (August 2008) — 17 hours, 39 minutes
Excite Truck – (November 2006) 12 hours, 39 minutes
Battalion Wars 2 (October 2007) — 12 hours, 23 minutes
WarioWare: Smooth Moves (January 2007) — 11 hours, 39 minutes
Excitebots: Trick Racing (April 2009) – 10 hours 56 minutes
Wii Play (February 2007) — 10 hours, 7 minutes
New Play Control! Pikmin (March 2009) – 9 hours, 44 minutes
Endless Ocean (January 2008) — 9 hours, 41 minutes
Wii Music (October 2008) — 9 hours, 17 minutes
Wario Land: Shake It! (September 2008) — 8 hours, 47 minutes
Punch-Out!! (May 2009) – 7 hours, 55 minutes
Big Brain Academy: Wii Degree (June 2007) — 6 hours, 56 minutes
Mario Strikers Charged (July 2007) — 6 hours, 18 minutes
New Play Control! Mario Power Tennis (March 2009) – 6 hours, 14 minutes
Link’s Crossbow Training (November 2007) – 4 hours, 55 minutes
Donkey Kong: Barrel Blast (October 2007) — 4 hours, 41 minutes
New Play Control! Donkey Kong Jungle Beat (May 2009) – No Data Listed
In this nice list of Nintendo properties is some interesting data. Fire Emblem got 46 hours is probably the most surprising of the data. It’s a good game, it even beat out Twilight Princess which is probably a shock to most fanboys. Animal Crossing is no surprise, if you play the game, it sucks you in and then days pass by, even weeks. Smash Bros does seem a bit high but Smash Bros is one of those games that you can pick up again and again and it doesn’t lose its appeal. It’s also a great party game, better than well Mario Party 8.
At the low end of the spectrum, it’s nice to see that Mario soccer game got a lot of play *sarcasm*. Actually Mario shouldn’t really be used to sell Sports titles anymore according to this data. He is after all a fat plumber (and don’t use Luigi either, he’s a skinny plumber with low self-esteem). And this kinda proves my theory about Wii Play, it might be a great selling game (cause of bundles), but nobody plays it for very long. And what happened to Donkey Kong? He’s become a joke, a certified joke. Man, I miss the old Donkey Kong Country games, those you could play for a lot longer than 4 hours and 41 minutes.
One final note, Wii Fit is just like that old exercise bike that sits in the corner collecting dust. You ride it for 2-3 weeks and then you lapse back into your old routines. Then where are ya? Sitting at a McDonalds, up to your face in Big Macs with extra special sauce. You want fries with that?
This is a first person shooter plane game and is set during World War II in the Pacific theater. You’ll be able to play as the US Marines or the Imperial Japanese navy. It will support up to 24 planes on three different maps. There is regenerating health (how that works on a plane, I have no idea) and some really awesome graphics. For those who play early, rack up the kills because once 43 million kills are achieved on PS3 and Xbox 360 combined, a new map called Coral Sea (only for Dogfighting) will open up.
More Bits, but this is a new kind of BIT TRIP. In BIT.TRIP BEAT, you had single axis controls. In CORE, you now have the ability to control two axes. In this retro game, you’ll experience more amazing visuals and rocking out to some vibrating techno beats with an 80’s vibe in this action/rhythm game. There is two player co-op and there looks like more BIT TRIP down the road as well.
Man, I remember Bust a Move on my 3do, that was a fun game. Very addictive puzzler where you try to burst a multi-colored mass of bubbles with your launcher. Every time you make a group of three or more bubbles of the same color, they pop. The single player includes 135 stages and then there is Battle. Here you can play friends or computer bots. Two more content packs are coming that will include 270 more stages. I can easily recommend this if you like puzzlers.
Then sometimes you have to shake your head. Take one-part Mario Kart, one part chariot race and throw in a Hero. You can play as Hercales or many other mythological characters. There are 10 courses set in 5 different landscapes and include a lot of weaponry including tridents, fireballs and lightning rods. Two to Four player split screen action is also included. I hope I’m wrong, but honestly don’t expect a good Mario Kart or even Crash Nitro Kart racer game.
Man, it’s been a while since I played some California Games, but on the NES. Here is the Commodore version which includes surfing, bike racing, skateboarding, roller skating, frisbee and I believe hackey sack as well. It was a simplistic game where you could work for trophies and even pick up a sponsor. It wasn’t bad and at 500 points, it is a lot of bang for your buck.
The Bigs 2
CID The Dummy
The Bigs 2
CID The Dummy
The Bigs 2
The Bigs 2
Bioshock & The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion Bundle
The Bigs 2
Is it January again? Did I miss the memo? Goodness gracious, the only thing coming out this week? The Bigs 2, fashionably late in the middle of the baseball season. (Go Phillies!) This year I’ve actually looked some at the Bigs title (though no way I’m buying it at $60). It has added franchise mode and done by the good people of 2k sports who have not really done me wrong in Football, Hockey or Basketball. I’ve always liked over the top baseball games, the last baseball game I played was MLB Slugfest 2006. All I wanted more from the game was more arcadey options and a franchise mode. Maybe this is it. Outside of that, Bioshock and Oblivion get a rather odd bundle but a really cheap price. Seriously, if you don’t have either of these games, you should run out and get the bundle, it’s an awesome deal. Hopefully next week won’t be this painful.
It’s that time again. For now in World of Warcraft, I’m going back to playing the game casually. I’ll do the cooking daily and work my way to ambassador but I’m not doing a go for broke 80 grind. I’m not even doing an 80 grind, at least not for a while (if ever). I’m honestly happy with 70, it was my original goal. So, I need…a new game. Well, maybe not a new game but a game that’s already in my collection un-opened or un-played or one that I can obtain cheaply.
Here are the possibilities, in the unplayed department, we have Too Human, Oblivion (yes the bundle has me thinking about my unplayed copy), Mass Effect, Infinite Undiscovery, Devil May Cry 4, or Prince of Persia. In the hey let’s play it more department, Fable 2 (for the new DLC content) and picking up Fallout 3 again (I will probably rebuy this when the GOTY version gets released). I’m not sure which way to go but hopefully a couple of comments *wink wink* will guide me in the right direction. Hey, at the very least I’ll have to something to post about besides WoW. Darn those MMO’s. Have fun kiddoes until next week.
Kedrix of Aldrianian
(*The Forgotten One*)