5 Points of Gaming: Micro-transactions, EA, and more

Hello and welcome back to the 5 points of gaming for the week. Unfortunately, there were no major debates over ethics in journalism or crowd funding scandals, at least not to the level of last week’s scandal. No, this week, I had to actually find and talk about 5 different points instead of lumping them together and ignoring any other event in the week. That being said, the recurring theme of this weeks points might as well be ‘They’re still doing that?!’ So let’s dive right in, shall we?

1: Glorious, Glorious Micro-transactions: 

Anyone remember when you bought a 60 dollar game and then didn’t have to spend any more money as it was a complete product. I sure do! The disease first emerged this week(ish) when Assassin’s Creed number eight bajillion was announced to have micro-transactions. Not one to be beat at complete ineptitude and greed, Square Enix then announced that the next sequel, prequel Tomb Raider origin story thing would also have micro-transactions. What wonderful news, why this must mean that both games will be free to play with optional purchases! What’s that? They’re still 60 bucks for the base game….

Yea, there is no limit to the greed of publishers at this point, although not all of it is fueled by a lust for more money. Part of the problem is definitely the bloated budgets of many AAA games, budgets that lead to commercial successes, such as the 2012 Tomb Raider prequel thing, which didn’t meet Square Enix’s insanely bloated sales projections. That being said, there is no excuse for any publisher to charge micro-transactions in a full retail price game on day one. None.

Part of the reason that so few sites have really covered this, beyond announcing that it was announced, is because of the time game. Jim Sterling, of Jimquistion fame, did an excellent video on the topic, explaining how publishers simply wait out and allow their shoddy practices to become the norm. And that’s the gist of it really. It’s the same reason no one has complained about a map DLC in Call of Duty in ages and it’s the same reason both Ubisoft and Square Enix will get away with this again. Because the vast majority of people will grumble, a few will write about their outrage, but eventually people will still buy the game and the media will move onto hotter topics. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, one that sickens me.

2: EA and the Ballad of the Mediocre Shooter: 

Just going to disclaim it, but I haven’t played the Battlefront beta, nor do I plan to, so my opinion is certainly not gospel truth. That said, I have seen quite a few videos and write-ups on it, and the overwhelming consensus seems to be similar to Battlefield; meh. For every positive the game seems to have, such as the visuals, their seem to be a negative, such as the vehicles game-play. Also, to make matters worse, they added a progression system, because grinding to be on an equal playing field is my idea of a good time.

I really think this is the most frustrating part of EA, as their always so close to having a good shooter, excluding Medal of Honor, and yet they always screw it up. They are essentially Sisyphus, pushing the boulder up an impossible hill, getting so close to achieving a fun shooter, only for the boulder to roll all the way back down to the bottom, weighted down by the negatives EA seems to carry with it like lice.

3: Voice Actors Approve Strike:

Wow, really? The 3rd point? Well, it would be higher up if they actually went through with it. This is more like the authorization process for launching nukes, you know when the president scans his hand and opens the glass case. When they push the button and go through with it, they can have top billing. Seriously though, can you imagine narrative games without voice actors? Games such as ‘The Walking Dead’ by Telltale and ‘The Witcher 3’ are made by voice actors. You subtract that talent and a lot of games lose a lot merit. I sincerely hope a compromise is reached, cause I don’t really know how many voice actors can fill in for people like Nolan North.

4: Deus Ex: Mankind’s Hypocrisy:

Recently the Deus Ex dev, or at least one of them, commented that a console port on PC is ‘disrespectful’. Well that’s great Eidos Montreal, I’m glad to hear you wouldn’t do such a thing like that! Tell me what’s it like being on that high horse, cause I’m about to knock you off it. Anyone remember ‘Deus Ex: The Fall’, a mobile Deus Ex game that was a terrible mobile port on Steam? I sure do! Perhaps before you start mocking people who do a bad job porting from console, you should make sure you haven’t ported anything from a far inferior platform first, hmmm.

5a: One Defeat:

Phil Spencer, in a recent interview said “I don’t know” when asked if the Xbone could beat the PS4. Wow. I mean that’s pretty sad. Remember when the Xbox One would revolutionize the living room and all that jazz? Now, they almost seem to be begging for people to buy the thing. It’s as if they’re saying ‘Please, Sony is beating us so bad right now, we even got rid of the Kinect, oh please, LOVE US AGAIN!’ Either way, that’s about as pathetic as it can get, openly and publicly admitting defeat. Props to Spencer for being honest, but there’s a time and place and this was more sad than inspiring.

5b: Company that fucked up the most this week:

Man was this back and forth. I debated a good 30 seconds on this one. My first instinct was our runner-up, Square Enix, for the comments about ports and for micro-transactions. After careful consideration though, it wouldn’t be right to not include everyone’s favorite company, the company that didn’t even make the 5 points this week, but still did something laughably stupid. It’s Konami, ok. I can’t keep that up forever. Y’know what they did this time? They registered a trademark for the Big Boss pachinko machine. I’ll let that sink in. Instead of developing a real MGS, it’s likely the next installment will just be we a weird Japanese pinball game thing. It’s safe to assume that Konami is run by crack addicts and/or people with sever mental trauma, I don’t think that’s even a  controversial theory anymore, as nothing they’ve done seems to resemble the actions of a company run by sane, sound people. Nonetheless, congratulations Konami, you crazy, crazy fucks.

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