Category Archives: iOS

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The Game Pricing Debacle

Author’s Note: This article was written three months ago when the PS4 was first announced. However, with the current situation with the Xbox One, the points in this article are even more relevant.

The next generation of gaming consoles is nearly here, and people are preparing to pay big bucks on new hardware. However, what is more concerning than the price of the hardware itself is the new standard price of retail games. Nintendo has finally raised their game prices to $60 (along with $300+ for the console itself), but how much will Sony and Microsoft raise their game prices (if there’s going to be a price hike at all). A few weeks ago, Sony gave us some comforting news that PlayStation 4 games will have a wide variety of game prices, from $0.99 to $60. It seems like Sony doesn’t plan to raise game prices for PS4 games, however, EA has other plans. During their next-generation press conference this week, EA announced they expect game prices rising to $70 on the PS4 and the next Xbox. If that’s not bad enough, EA also announced that they’ll be implementing their controversial micro-transaction system in every game they release in the future

Mark Cerny shrug

This image will never get old

Gaming has always been criticized for being an expensive hobby and practices like those above aren’t helping matters much. Many find it ludicrous to pay hundreds of dollars for a game console and then have to pay $50 or more for each new game. Some were able to get around this via game rentals and borrowing games from friends but the expensive stigma remains. Despite this, things are looking bright for gaming in the digital space, with smartphone and social gaming bringing new people to experience and appreciate gaming as well as digital stores such as Steam and premium services such as PlayStation Plus providing “hardcore” games at cheap and reasonable prices.

But for the traditional gaming industry, things don’t look so bright. Game sales at retailers have been decreasing year after year, with some game developers failing because their games haven’t sold as much as they needed to break even, much less make a profit. Due to the poor economy, people are spending less on games, and if game publishers are expecting customers to pay $60 for a game and even more on downloadable content on top of that, it’s no surprise that people are switching to cheaper alternatives with mobile gaming, or at the very least, sticking to game franchises that they are familiar with. In order for such a market to keep its relevancy, the industry needs to change in the following ways:

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Review – Real Racing 3 (iOS, Android)

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Oh how I wanted to love this game. I really, really wanted to love this game. I love racing games. I thoroughly enjoyed Real Racing 2. When Real Racing 3 was announced last year, I practically wet myself in excitement (okay not really). And you know what? Real Racing 3 is a fantastic game.

Or, it would’ve been. But EA decided it would be a good idea to develop this game with the “freemium” model in mind. When I saw its release a few days ago on the App Store and Google Play, my heart skipped a beat. Then I saw it was free and my heart skipped another beat. Oh no, I thought.

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EA: The Biggest Loser

EA has been getting a lot of complaints from gamers recently. From Origin to the infamous Mass Effect 3 ending, gamers are not happy over EA’s current games and business practices. Although the constant complaints of milking franchises and lousy customer services are nothing new, gamers have been favoring EA after scorning the actions of Activision and the controversial remarks from company CEO Robert Kotick. However, because they’ve been removing their titles from digital distribution sites, such as Steam, and forcing customers to use their file-scanning malware service, cutting content from their games in order to sell them as DLC, and having the same problems of milking franchises and horrible customer service, gamers are beginning to get fed up with EA’s practices. Even with the negative publicity, EA continues to do well with its games and franchises and is still being praised by many gamers and critics, so should they not worry about the growing hatred against them?

Apparently not, as business website The Consumerist had their 7th annual “Worst Company in America” competition, where thousands of readers have voted EA as the United State’s most ethically corrupt corporation in comparison to companies such as Bank of America, Comcast, AT&T, and other gaming companies such as Gamestop and Sony. This title has been reserved for some of the most shady, corrupt, and morally discerning corporations around, such as banks and oil companies, but news reports by Kotaku and forum threads like the one on NeoGAF have encouraged gamers to vote for EA as one of the worst companies of 2012. Previous winners of this online poll have ignored their title and continued with their agendas, but EA, on the other hand, have commented on their award, saying:

“We’re sure that British Petroleum, AIG, Philip Morris, and Halliburton are all relieved they weren’t nominated this year. We’re going to continue making award-winning games and services played by more than 300 million people worldwide.”

Many gamers and gaming journalists have denounced the successful campaign of giving EA this title. Some are complaining that Bank of America deserved the title because of their previous scandals and hidden charges while others are criticizing participating voters as “butthurt” over the recent controversies. Even with this title and the current buzz surrounding it, does it really matter?

The short answer: no.

EA is one of the biggest gaming corporations on the planet with many million-seller franchises such as Madden, FIFA, and Battlefield. The vocal gaming community makes only a small fraction of their sales even if they finally decide to boycott their games (which they won’t seeing their past history of boycotts). The millions of consumers who do not follow gaming or the Consumerist will continue to buy EA’s games without any concerns.

With this in mind, why would EA care about some random website’s online poll and why do people bother in trying to defend them?

Some of them will argue that other corporations deserved to win more than EA, such as runner-up company Bank of America. Their history of raising interests rates at random and being a cause of the 2008 economic crisis by giving mortgages to people who aren’t economically stable enough to handle them are big factors in being one of the worst corporations in the United States, but again, why does this competition matter?

The Consumerist’s competition was nothing more than a [un]popularity contest decided by everyone who goes to the site. It was a way to gain more hits for the site, and, with the current controversy with EA, they have succeeded. If online polls have this much of a meaning, does this mean that Launchpad McQuack is the greatest gaming sidekick of all time, even with most of the votes coming from 4chan and Reddit viewers trying to troll everyone?

The majority of the people who voted for EA probably realize the horrendous things that the other companies have done in the past and realize that they’re more fitting for the title. Their main goal with this poll hijack was to troll EA and their fanbase as well as (for those who think this poll actually mattered) to show people of the shady business practices EA does with their games. The people who think this competition is going to make any sort of difference are delusional, and the people who find EA’s new title from some website as a serious detriment need to calm down.

EA and their fanbase have been trolled by the gaming community and fell for it by acknowledging it. Even if it was just a simple comment trying to defend themselves, making a big deal over something as trivial as an online poll is ridiculous, and the gaming press and fanboys are not making anything better by defending (or in internet terms, “white knighting”) them. Other corporations that have won the title have ignored it and continued to be successful with their businesses, but EA failed to realize their stance in the game industry and now everyone is making a big deal over nothing.

In conclusion: you got trolled. Move on.

Grand Theft Auto III Now Available on the App Store and Android Market

To mark the 10th anniversary of the highly controversial and trailblazing Grand Theft Auto III, Rockstar Games has created a port of the game for iOS and Android users, which is available now. This remastered title, featuring reworked controls to adapt to multitouch displays, is a 462MB download from the iTunes App Store and is priced at $4.99, a fair price for one of the defining games of the previous console generation.

So, if you’re interested in seeing the roots of the Grand Theft Auto franchise as we know it today, head on over to the iTunes App Store or Android Market and pick yourself up a copy.

Review – Minecraft: Pocket Edition (iOS/Android)

At a Glance: As tempting as it may be to carry a little bit of Minecraft in your pocket, you’re better off avoiding this.

As a huge fan of the wildly popular PC title, Minecraft, I really wanted this to be good. When I paid my $7 for a mere 2.9MB download of Minecraft: Pocket Edition on the iTunes App Store, I was hoping the game I would be getting would be well worth my money. The PC version certainly has been, after all. But as soon as I started playing, I knew I’d made a huge mistake.

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