skillian Comments

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  • Valve: Raise price and digi games still sell

  • skillian 18/11/2009

    Here's something else that can happen when a vocal minority get upset about stuff: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emancipatio...


    :P
    Reply 0
  • skillian 18/11/2009

    I like how when someone from Valve talks about raising prices



    The headline is abit unfair really. They're talking about how it's possible to do temporary cuts in prices and then bring the product back up to full price, whereas in traditional retail, once you've cut the price you can never go back again.
    Reply +1
  • skillian 18/11/2009

    Anyway, we seem to have gone full circle somehow



    Yeah, that can happen :P



    I start by bitching about Valve's prices or something, but if I try and put a logical post together with some arguments that might stand up to scrutiny, I realise that actually they do a pretty damn good job in most areas and it would be disingenuous to criticise them too harshly.



    In fact, this post made me think a little clearer and I sent off an email to Gabe Newell to say good job :) Never done that before but this thread made me realise that I still value them very highly.



    Now that's some real fanboy shit .
    Reply +1
  • skillian 18/11/2009

    @kangarootoo



    I agree with a lot of what you say, and I realise it's fruitless to stand here and try and hold back the tide of companies trying to increase profits. That wouldn't even be beneficial, not to game-maker or game-player.



    One of my big problems however is that it's often not simply market forces or supply and demand at work. there are all sorts of tricks being used, particularly by the big publishers, retailers and other with lots to lose that are distorting that.



    Modern Warfare 2, for example refused to let Steam play on an equal footing. They purposefully increased the price on that service to make it look less attractive, and then delayed the Steam release by a few days compared to retail just to make sure that even those for whom price is not a big consideration have a reason to avoid it.



    When Steam first came about we all saw a massive potential for cheaper games for customers and higher profits for developers, but unfortunately publishers and retailers saw it too and started manipulating the game so that Steam won't win. Or at least it'll only win on their terms.



    Does Valve's success now make them evil corps that should "give something back"?



    This bit is the wrong way round from my perspective. It often seems that lots of developers give something back when they start out, and it's only when they achieve mega-success that that old philosophy goes out of the window.



    And without veering towards hero-worship, in my eyes Valve were always one of the few who didn't fall into that trap. Even when they became the best and most successfull PC games developer out there, they still focused on service, customer satisfaction and connection with their fans. They don't always get it spot on, and some gnashing of teeth is expected when talking about games and the internet, but they do a much better job than most others. It is the reason most long-standing gamers talk about Valve in a different tone than when talking about other publishers, and believe me when I say Valve are aware of that and desperate to keep it.



    I know this sounds like just a Valve-fanboy post, but they are special and I don't want to lose them to the homogenous mainstream gaming public traded companies like so many others before them. Valve staying as a private company gives me hope that they still want to be different too, and it's clear when reading interviews with Gabe Newell or reading about them flying over to meet fans in Australia after a flippant email exchange that they genuinely are different. It's more than just the great games they make.



    This is why they get a much rougher ride than other developers would in situations like the L4D2 controversy. Yes it's unfair, but it's only because they are held in such huge regard and given the choice, I don't think Gabe Newell would change that.



    edit: God, epic post. Sorry for anyone actually trying to read these comments that isn't interested in my POV :)
    Reply +5
  • skillian 18/11/2009

    @zoink: Yeah, when I say good I'm talking about relative to other games on the service - at least Valve games are close at retail unlike many other publishers, but they're still pretty bad.



    I bought L4D1 at shop, then just just took the CD and typed it into Steam and threw away the box, disc and manual. It occurred to me what a criminal waste of resources it was, as well as a waste of my time, and illustrates well the hypocracy of DD pricing.



    Before Left 4 Dead it was always cheaper to get Valve games on Steam, but I think that was mainly due to the dollar pricing.
    Reply +2
  • skillian 18/11/2009

    Edited my post because I just find this argument depressing.



    The view that pissing off large numbers of your biggest fans is irrelevant because you have big pre-order numbers just reaffirms my belief that "big gaming" is just not for me anymore.



    I think you know I like your posts kangarootoo, but I remember you saying once that there is no such thing as selling out, and I think there's a fundamental difference between us that will never be resoved by debating.



    Short-term profit over everything else is one of the things that is wrong with the world today IMO. It's just about bearable when we are talking about crisps or petrol prices, but when it infects the arts and entertainment too we get left with the X-Factor and Bobby Kotick being the shining examples of their industries.
    Reply +2
  • skillian 18/11/2009

    I'm not sure if that is really true. That just feels like a bit of rose tinted hero worship to me :)



    It is true. And it's really sad that such an idea is so unthinkable in the horrible corporate monolith that gaming has become that people can barely believe it is true.
    Reply +2
  • skillian 18/11/2009

    I really think people are under-estimating the value of goodwill. Valve would be the first to admit that their success has been in a large part due to the unique relationship they've built with gamers, and that would not exist if their whole business was about maximising prices.



    TF2's free updates would obviously have provided more profit if they sold them, but Valve realise that keeping customers happy brings loyalty, along with an army of gamers who sing their praises and give them incredible word of mouth recommendations that would be worth millions in marketing money.
    Reply +3
  • skillian 18/11/2009

    There was a time when Valve would have decided that even if their Euro pricing was the most profitable, the extra money wasn't worth losing the respect of many thousands of their customers.



    Do they stilll have some of that spirit? Recent decisions make me question it.
    Reply +1
  • skillian 18/11/2009

    To be fair though, Valve's pricing on games is usually pretty good and doesn't attract that much criticism (relatively of course - this is the internet after all).



    It's usually the 3rd party games on Steam that get accused of price-gouging, and I think it's reasonably well-accepted now that Valve/Steam don't have much to do with setting prices there.
    Reply 0
  • skillian 18/11/2009

    @kangarootoo



    When it comes to digital downloads, I don't think anyone knows what that optimum price is yet.



    Valve are probably the closest to knowing, as they've done quite a bit of experimentation with their pricing, but even they are I suspect still making decisions with bricks and mortar stores in mind.



    Lots of other publishers (particularly the big ones) don't really have a clue what would be the optimum price for their games, which is partly why we often have Steam coming out and suggesting prices and promotions to those guys.



    Digital distribution is also very different to traditional retail, and I don't even think there is a single optimum price. Valve have dropped full price games to £5 and brought in more revenue than when the game cost 5 times as much, but I don't think even they would suggest that should be the standard price.
    Reply +2
  • skillian 18/11/2009

    Steam's prices are truly terrible at the top end and often unbeatable at the low end. There are regular unmissable deals,. particularly if you're someone who doesn't always buy big releases on day one.



    Check Steam news in an RSS feed if you don't want to check prices every day, particularly at the weekend. PC gaming being what it is, big sites like EG don't always cover the price drops and time-limited deals.



    edit: @ kangarootoo "If the products are selling, the price is right, that is how it works."



    I don't really think that's true. I'm pretty sure Valve believe that if lots of publishers changed their prices, they could sell a lot more.
    Reply +9
  • BBC's The Big Questions addresses MW2

  • skillian 17/11/2009

    When it comes to kneejerk responses and unqualified statements, this comments thread sounds worse than the BBC studios.



    Rise above it people, or debate intelligently. You do yourself no favours.



    /bows out

    Reply +2
  • Left 4 Dead 2

  • skillian 17/11/2009

    Darren has said a few times he uses a 360 pad for most FPS games, even on PC.



    So I don't think that's it.
    Reply +1
  • skillian 17/11/2009

    £22 for all this new stuff, and no doubt loads of free DLC to come.



    £22? Where from?



    And not to open that whole can of worms again, but aren't you a bit apprehensive about thinking "loads of free DLC to come"? I thought they'd been a bit more careful so far not to promise that this time around.
    Reply +3
  • skillian 17/11/2009

    @minusblindfold



    George Bush doesn't care about dead people.
    Reply +7
  • skillian 17/11/2009

    I still can't believe that despite releasing a package of all the HL2 episodes, Portal and TF2 for the same price it was Left 4 Dead that was the console breakthrough for Valve. Reply +5
  • skillian 17/11/2009

    I just mean Valve wouldn't be happy comparing their sequel to Left 4 Dead with EA's yearly updates for their sports games.



    I'd imagine Valve would say their sequels are much more worthwhile.
    Reply 0
  • skillian 17/11/2009

    It's more of a difference than say FIFA 09 to FiFA 10 and you didn't see many people moan about paying 40 notes for both of those.



    This is a really poor argument. I don't think Valve would appreciate the comparison either.
    Reply 0
  • skillian 17/11/2009

    @GamerG



    You have misread the reason why my butt hurts.
    Reply +1
  • skillian 17/11/2009

    looks like Left 4 dead on the Nintendo 64



    Does it have green fog?
    Reply +3
  • Activision chose to censor Russian MW2

  • skillian 17/11/2009

    And of course their 'counsel' will have advised that as it only wants to avoid any risk.



    That sounds like an objective reason to me.



    Reply +1
  • skillian 17/11/2009

    Was I the only one that did not find the Specter Gunship level moving?



    It was amazingly realistic and that certainly stood out, but I didn't find it moving. Didn't find the airport scene moving either. Maybe I'm just a cold-hearted emotionless cynic.
    Reply +4
  • COD Zombies released on iPhone

  • skillian 17/11/2009

    Well then can I paypal him a donation seeing as he is doing the work?



    I'd do the same (just a small one mind). Is there a thread or anything?



    edit: thread is here: http://www.eurogamer.net/forum_thread_po...
    Reply +1
  • Modern Warfare 2 recalled in Russia?

  • skillian 17/11/2009

    Hah, I played the first with two friends, a Russian and a Pakistani Muslim. Luckily I am a English white guy so the game didn't make us switch us to controlling the bad guys. Reply 0
  • OnLive mobile phone tech demoed

  • skillian 16/11/2009

    This is a project run by a guy who led development on most of Apple's media software, including quicktime; the founder of Mozilla; a former Eidos CEO; an Executive Producer from Activision; and a few more respected and capable people.



    So these highly respected people, having built up a reputation in the IT and software business for the last 20 years, have been quietly plotting to introduce the world to this perfect but unachievable system, scam Warner Bros for their investment capital and then run off with the money to live as outlaws on the Costa Del Sol?



    Seriously, OnLive might not work for you guys because your tin-foil hats will block the signal.
    Reply -1
  • skillian 16/11/2009

    Err... yes, investors like Warner Bros and Autodesk are always making investments that will fail



    Well of course, but I suspect they aren't always investing in schemes that turn out to be scams? My point obviously wasn't that it can't fail, which I presume is why you didn't actually quote me.
    Reply 0
  • skillian 16/11/2009

    Yes, because investors like Warner Bros and Autodesk are always getting scammed in investment cons. And those partnerships with nVidia, EA and Epic have been bribed to add a veneer of respectability before they take the cash and run.



    I guess there will be calls of vapourware even when this product is sitting on the shelves...
    Reply -2
  • UK charts: MW2 rewrites the record books

  • skillian 16/11/2009

    The PC market is not the biggest market, not in a long shot, just look at the worldwide game sales.



    http://kotaku.com/5038833/pc-gaming-a-10...


    $10.7 billion a year? (2007)



    “By pioneering new business models, the PC has quietly remained the single leading platform for games, not only in terms of consumer usage, but revenue generation,” said David Cole, an analyst with DFC Intelligence.
    Reply +6
  • Activision to "monetise" COD online

  • skillian 16/11/2009

    Why would I want to pay more money than I already have done to play a thoroughly mediocre online FPS?



    Presumably you wouldn't, but all those other people that think it is the best game ever made might. They will be quite happy to dump you as a customer if the numbers are right.
    Reply +3
  • skillian 16/11/2009

    @lord: so the only solution is aftermarket microtransactions.



    I don't agree. MW2 has no micro-transactions and has has just taken more money on its launch day than any other entertainment product in history. Sure, not everyone can pull that off, but it clearly shows after-sales payments are by no means necessary to make a huge profits.



    The trouble is huge profits aren't enough. Every game has to make more than the last (every big business is all about growth, all the time), so in that sense I do agree that microtranscactions and subscritpions are inevitable.
    Reply +1
  • skillian 16/11/2009

    Maybe console players can boycott along with us next time.



    Jooooiiinn uuuusss.
    Reply +6
  • Tech Comparison: Modern Warfare 2 PC

  • skillian 16/11/2009

    Actually that does sound like him :P



    But yes, I think you're right and it's fake, so I'm gonna delete that earlier post.
    Reply +1
  • skillian 16/11/2009

    @khaz



    http://twitter.com/GabeNewell/status/576...



    and Half-Life: Reimagined too, whatever that is...



    edit: If it's a real account. Which it might not be. In which case you can gut me.
    Reply 0
  • Microsoft "unapologetic" about Xbox bans

  • skillian 13/11/2009

    They have lost a copy of the game. Because if there is only ever one original disc then two people playing at once is impossible.



    It's 1s and 0s. There isn't a copy for them to lose.



    I think we might be talking with crossed wires here.
    Reply -1
  • skillian 13/11/2009

    The sale that would have occurred if both players wanted to play the game at the same time and therefore had to buy a copy each.



    Yeah you are right - I was going to emphasise my caveat that I'm talking about a specific example where that wasn't going to happen, but it's a bit of a circular argument so I deleted my post before I saw you replied.



    I do of course agree with you though that there are many examples where that situation might lead to a lost sale and a direct loss to the game-makers.
    Reply 0
  • skillian 13/11/2009

    @VMerken



    Don't get me wrong, I am very much against piracy in general and think it is very damaging to the music, video and software industries.



    However I have and still do sometimes pirate various forms of media. Many people might see this as gross hypocracy, but as I've tried to illustrate above, if you think about the situation and are entirely honest with yourself then some piracy is justifiable (to me at least) at a personal level.



    Many people just don't accept that grey area, but for me it's clear that it exists.
    Reply +3
  • skillian 13/11/2009

    if I borrow a game from a friend then that denies him the right to play the game for as long as I have it; we can't for example then play a multiplayer match together. If I pirated a game then we can both use it at once, and there is a loss there. That single instance of the game is now multiple copies.



    This makes no sense I'm afraid, unless you are suggesting that the person I'm borrowing it from would go out and buy a second copy to use. Yes, someone would be deprived of the game, but the developer is not being deprived of any money in either case.



    If I pirated a game then we can both use it at once, and there is a loss there.



    Is there? What is the loss there? (Remember we are talking about a specific example where they wouldn't have bought it if they couldn't borrow it from a friend, pirate it or otherwise play it without paying.)
    Reply +2
  • skillian 13/11/2009

    As for one of the comments above that people who weren't going to buy it anyway don't cost the company any money by pirating... Such a stupid thing to say. Some might not have bought it, but some definitely would.



    Well of course, I thought I addressed that. I was talking about specific examples, not justifying all piracy by cherry-picking the cases where it does little/no harm.
    Reply +1
  • skillian 13/11/2009

    What about pirating a game that you were going to buy? I think that's what most people have a problem with...



    Well I certainly agree there is zero moral justification there. But I'd say most here are arguing against piracy full stop (not that there's anything wrong with that).



    I was more addressing points like "if you can't afford the price tag decided upon by my company for the game I've made, then I don't want you playing my game." Again, that's a perfectly valid point of view, but I'm pointing out the only difference to him between someone pirating his game and someone not buying it in the first place is that is that he gets an extra pair of eyes (and hands) on his work.
    Reply +2
  • skillian 13/11/2009

    Two, borrow it from a friend or relative. You can "pool" a pretty impressive collection that way.



    You know, seeing as we are talking about morals and law here, there is no difference between pirating a game and borrowing it from your friend (apart from the law) of course. In both cases the developers make no money, and the person gets to play without paying for it.



    Lots of talk about this being ridiculously loose morals and unjustifiable, but when you sit down and think about it you realise that pirating a game you weren't going to buy anyway has exactly the same effect as not borrowing it (or even just not buying it in the first place).
    Reply +1
  • skillian 13/11/2009

    I've pirated quite a few games and bought a lot more. I don't feel guilty about it, and I don't feel the need to justify it to any of the slightly sanctimonious people in here.



    My advice is forget the law, forget the preaching and just do what you think is right. Just like smoking marijuana or speeding, it may be illegal, and people may say that by doing so you are funding people-smuggling or risking the lives of innocents, but we all make judgement calls every day. This is just another one you have to make.
    Reply -7
  • skillian 13/11/2009

    The level of righteous indignation is amusing.



    >Click Forum

    >Click TV

    >Read threads

    >Count hypocrites
    Reply -1
  • MS spins third place in October NPD

  • skillian 13/11/2009

    I am sure these PR statements really are not being put out for the benefit of fan boys. It's all about share holders and share prices.



    Indeed. But Eurogamer aren't reporting on them for the shareholders.
    Reply 0
  • skillian 13/11/2009

    @nuanimal - couldn't agree more, in no other entertainment sector do the sales figures really matter to the customers.



    But FooAtari answered the question - the fanboys love this shit don't they. Simple answer, EG will post what gets read and refreshed.



    Reply 0
  • 50 per cent off Crysis and Warhead

  • skillian 13/11/2009

    frankly derisory £9.99



    It's an OK deal, but Crysis is nearly three years old now so it's not exactly amazing. Bought way too much from Steam in the last month anyway...
    Reply -1
  • Activision: MW2 sold 4.7m in one day

  • skillian 12/11/2009

    That record-breaking number means the publisher made approximately $310 or £188m in 24 hours.



    This makes no sense, unless I'm using my calculator wrong. It's suggesting that for every sale, Activision made £40 (or $66).



    As people are presumably buying the games from shops and not from Activision's head office, surely Activision only make a bit more than half that? They must be selling the games to retailers at around £25, not £40, right?



    It's such an obvious error that I can't believe Eurogamer would make it. Surely I must have done the maths wrong or something?
    Reply +11
  • Chart-Track defends MW2 sales count

  • skillian 12/11/2009

    @VeniVidiFlati



    Actually, you are probably right. Sometimes my cynicism gets the better of me :)
    Reply 0
  • skillian 12/11/2009

    Apropriately for what we were talking about a few posts back, Chart-Track just needed to get a number out there so they can be mentioned in lots of news stories, maybe even some national press. Getting the story out is the most important thing - accuracy is much less important.



    Many people are riding the Modern Warfare bandwagon this week, and they're all doing well out of it.
    Reply 0
  • MW2 gets Trophy patch, MP issues linger

  • skillian 12/11/2009

    The EG review was the 360 version - they probably didn't even know about wonky servers on PSN.



    From what I remember Tom saying, the review was done in a day as it was a genuine retail copy (I think that's right?) so not surprising that they left MP for another time.
    Reply 0