It’s time to do another News Roundup. This time around, we’ll dwell on the wisdom of evil strategies.
…but it’s probably just a marketing strategy. Publisher 2K Games once famously declared that strategy games were “outdated”, which is why they decided to reboot the X-COM franchise as a shooter; then Firaxis released the very-strategy-game-like XCOM: Enemy Unknown and ended up winning “Game of the Year” awards from Kotaku, GameSpy, and GameTrailers. So now, instead of the 1962 shooter being a shooter ripping off Mass Effect, it’ll probably be a third person shooter ripping off SOCOM. Well, that’s a step in the right direction, I suppose.
EA’s Peter Moore just goes ahead and spins their terrible failures into arrogant triumphs while pretending to give an apology, just like every other public figure since Dick Cheyney
Personally I’m disappointed. I was expecting Moore to simply drive past a group of angry protesting gamers with a banner reading “Haters gonna hate.” Thankfully a number of outlets have excellently rebuffed the Moore’s pathetic advertisement-cum-apology by refocusing the discussion where it actually belongs: on EA’s shitty attitude and terrible service. Ben Kuchera should be making his own headlines by doing what nobody else in the gaming media seems to know how to do, which is to break out of the distorted bubble the industry has been stuck in for over a decade and have rise above the strategic rhetoric of CEOs and corporations.
When Marcus Beer tells Peter Moore to “shut the fuck up” and warns him that he can only do harm by speaking out publicly against critics, I have to disagree about the negative consequences. Sure Adam Orth may have gotten fired for putting on a pair of sunglasses, but the fact is, the gaming industry lacks any sort of equal and opposite authority in these matters, which means he’s pretty safe. Just look at Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard. That fucker openly hates gamers and mocks them. But shareholders — the only people CEOs really care about — respect his rebellious greedy attitude, so he’s happy and secure. We need many more Ben Kucheras before these Cheyney style tactics will really start to backfire and the bubble will burst.
I find Michael Pachter’s theory of the upcoming Microsoft console to be intriguing. Talking to Adam Sessler at GDC, he predicts that that the console will be subsidized by cable and internet service providers, driving the price down to as low as $100. I mentioned the concept of subsidizing console costs back in my admittedly strange “How to Make the PS5” article, with the obvious example being smartphones. Everybody has a smartphone, but very few could afford the full upfront price. The costs of the phone are buried in the contract and/or subsidized, and the same thing could (and perhaps should) happen with the next consoles.
In my Next-Gen Hopes article I said Microsoft should try to unify all their devices and services into one great big cloud service, and this could be the same idea as Pachter’s talk about partnering with other services. Microsoft desperately wants consumers to subscribe to their shit instead of just buying and enjoying it freely, and that’s enough to warrant selling high-powered consoles at a loss. I suspect the next Xbox will be surprisingly cheap, and I suspect it will be thanks to always-online cloud services and strategic partnerships. The question is, will publishers embrace such a strategy even if gamers are resisting? Will gamers swallow their dignity and submit to the affordable cloud box of supreme tyranny? Will the independent developers and the PS4 break through the corporate hegemony and save the day, like we all hope?
I’ve been openly skeptical about the crusade to specially protect and crusade on the behalf of women in the gaming/tech/entertainment/digital world for a long time, because to me it’s not about whether women should be treated equally, but whether they should be treated categorically at all. This is a strategy the feminists have been using for a long time, and I’m tired of it. Women should be judged and defended on an individual basis, be expected to know and accept the social impact of their choices, and take responsibility for themselves like adults, not coddled and victimized. It’s amazing how far feminists will try to go to reconcile their bullshit with the inappropriate, irresponsible behavior of those women who enable, profit from, and constantly feed the supposedly masculine culture of depravity they lament. (The critic in this case seriously tries to argue that women are all innocent of behaving provocatively, because it’s impossible to know what’s considered provocative…) This and everything else is dealt with, so I suggest you read the whole back and forth discussion. I mean, if you care (which I’m not asking you to).
That’s it for this roundup! I guess it’s just another reminder that we’re living in a world of constantly evolving cynical strategies to control our wallets by controlling the discussion. The Patriots might say it’s about “creating context”. If you don’t rise above the tricks they play, you’ll just have to “deal with it”.