Four Player Co-op 09.12.12: UbiSoft DRM, Madden 13, Greenlight, More
Posted by Stephen Randle on 09.12.2012
Can we blame EA for making the Madden franchise little more than roster updates when they still do record sales? Has UbiSoft made the right move by abandoning their massively unpopular DRM plan? Has Nintendo botched the Wii-U launch already? The 411 Staff debates these topics and more in the latest 4PC!
Mathew Sforcina has joined the game.
Todd Vote has joined the game.
Dan Watson has joined the game.
Daniel Anderson has joined the game.
Greetings, and welcome to another edition of Four Player Co-op. It's been an interesting week so far, what with football starting again, the NHL on the verge of yet another lockout, and Jerry Lawler suffering a heart attack live on Raw. So, let's talk about video games instead!
Start the game!
QUESTION ONE: So after years of controversy and anger, UbiSoft has announced that they'll be doing away with their "always online" DRM system for PC games, starting immediately, altering the system so that only a one-time online activation will be required. They're still not apologizing for their draconian tactics in dealing with piracy, and they still clearly believe that piracy is rampant and should be dealt with harshly (remember, last week they were claiming 95 percent of the people playing their PC games were pirates). Marge, I'm confused, is this a happy ending or a sad ending?
It's an ending, that's enough.
But actually this is as good an outcome as you're gonna get. As much as us gamers think we deserve an apology for their DRM, we'll never get one because then Ubisoft appears to be backtracking to their investors and the market, which isn't made up of gamers. They have to spin this as an improvement, a step forward, rather than a backtracking. Which it is, don't get me wrong. I've got nothing against DRM as such, as long as it doesn't impact negatively on those who are legit. Ubisoft is one of the worse groups, with DRM that actively screwed over paying customers while the pirates are on easy street. That is bad.
But again, having them backtrack is cool. Just accept the backtrack and move on. Demanding some sort of apology or admission of fault will just piss them off. And given what they do without being pissed off...
Pirates suck. End of story. Can't fault UbiSoft for doing everything they can to protect their property. The always online thing may have been a bit extreme, or draconian, as the Quizmaster put it. Let me ask you this, if you had an Xbox 360 that you had in a central room of your house, anyone who came over could just go right in and play the box at any time, no matter what. Suddenly, you start to notice that some of your favorite games, and even some of your Xbox 360 add-ons keep coming up missing no matter how many times you replace them. Wouldn't you start to implement some sort of system so that you knew who was playing your Xbox at all times?
This is just another failure in the computer gaming world. So once they get rid of this, then they will bring another stupid technique in to validate that you aren't pirating the game. Let me tell you what happens when you buy a game retail nowadays. Last week, I went to Best Buy and purchased Diablo 3. I paid the full amount and got the boxed and sealed version. I made sure the game was sealed properly. I got home and went to validate and found the code was already used. So how would DRM protect me there? There is no way to truly stop pirating so why not stop hurting the gamers that pay. Make all games free to play where you need to purchase areas digitally linked to your account.
Happy for gamers since most gamers hate DRM. Unhappy for Ubisoft because the damage has been done. Between delays for games coming out on PC, saying 95% of people playing their games online are pirates, and the DRM that I have yet to hear a single gamer say they don't mind. Ubisoft has a lot of bad press to make up and I think, until there are changes at the top of the company, most gamers won't be willing to give Ubisoft a chance.
In fact it was obligatory, but Sforcina was the only one of you who actually completed the quote, for 642 points. And I'm very, very disappointed in the rest of you.
QUESTION TWO: Steam Greenlight, a new voting system from Valve that will allow people to determine what games are made available for the popular online downloading service, went live this past week. After it became apparent that some people, as usual, were trying to ruin things for the rest of us by posting fake or inappropriate submissions, Valve has announced a new policing tactic: all submissions must now include a $100 donation to the Child's Play charity. An innovative plan, or an expensive speed bump, especially for the independent developers that Greenlight was created to help spotlight?
... Expensive? Really? If you're making a video game and you can't afford $100, maybe you should be reconsidering your work. Hell, nothing is stopping you going on another website with no fee, sell $100 worth of your game, then use that to submit to Greenlight. Hell, Kickstarter it if you gotta. I think this is a good idea, although maybe make it just a one off might allay some fear. Like, once you submit one game that is viewed as being OK, you don't need to pay again for future games.
And even with this, you'll still get crap. People will be willing to pay $100 if they think their joke is funny enough, like WTC Plane Simulator. Hilarious.
I'm sort of torn on this. On the one hand it is a hell of a way to deal with the trolls, but as you pointed out, on the other hand, it could be costly to some independent developers. At the end of the day, $100 is a lot of money to most, but to an independent developer, it is a small fee to be able to get your name out there. I'm going to go with innovative plan on this one.
Damn you Quizmaster! You make me look like such a bad guy with these questions. This is extremely stupid. We are going to release a voting system so that gamers get what they want but to be considered, the game company has to pay $100 or I'm sorry donate $100. Donate used to mean "volunteer to give" not "forced to give".
I have a hard time seeing how $100 will bankrupt someone making games. I know most indy developers are not rolling in money, but $100 isn't an unreasonable amount of money. The fact the money goes to charity instead of into the pockets of Valve just makes this sound more reasonable.
Dan, the talk like I set these questions up to deliberately expose what a horrible person you are. You are, of course, correct, for 1385 points.
And anyone who thinks donating still means "volunteer to give" has never had to deal with the new generation of Girl Scouts. They don't even sell cookies anymore, they just take your money and laugh.
QUESTION THREE: Here's a big shock, Madden '13 set a new launch record for the franchise with over 1.65 million copies sold the first week. Proving that no matter how much people may bitch about "Madden Syndrome", they'll still turn out in droves to buy the damned game. Thus, I suppose the question is, can you really blame EA for eschewing innovation in favour of putting out the same games every year?
Oh, believe me, I totally understand why they do Roster Update: 2013. Really I do. From a financial standpoint, I totally, completely understand. However, I still think it's lazy as hell, and I will mock them for it, I just totally get it. But hey, they're not as bad as some people, who will remove random features and then put them back in later on and sell them like the second coming, or who think that having 3 Triple H's will make me that much more likely to buy a game...
Nothing changes, until someone causes the change. Hell no I don't blame EA. While it can be stated time and again about their lack of innovation on games such as Madden, the fact remains that until they are given a reason to believe the formula no longer works, they are not wrong at all in their practices. Why would you change something up if it is selling 1.65 million copies in a week. Do you think music acts like Snoop Dogg would sell millions of records, then suddenly just change his name, and his style of music to reggae? Oh wait.. bad example. While it would behoove EA to stay ahead of the curve, and to make innovations before the gamers force their hands, who can blame them for staying the course?
QMASTER, this year is different. Madden isn't the same old game. I've had a lot more fun this year than any previous year. But with Borderlands less than a week away, it will be shelved quickly. It does deserve to break the records this ear though, in my opinion.
Do I blame EA? Not really. It is annoying that a bunch of people that never buy any other game (or only buy other sports games) pick up Madden and then play it only a month and then it sits around gathering dust while people who enjoy games play the same game year after year with only minor changes. But as long as Madden has no competition EA will not spend a ton of money fixing things when they still sell so many copies.
I was really asking this question because for the first time, I'm actually considering buying a Madden game. My only stumbling block is that I suck at football games, and the Giant Bomb Quick Look was not kind to someone who's never played a Madden game before. So, the debate continues.
Wait, Snoop Dogg does reggae now?
QUESTION FOUR: Speaking of launches, we're actually only weeks away from the release of the Wii U, which presumably will be out just in time for Christmas. No, seriously, Nintendo's next console will be on store shelves by the end of the year. Had you forgotten? And with only a couple months to make up ground, has Nintendo already booted the Wii U's release?
I didn't forget, in the sense that I wasn't aware of the release date on any conscious level. But I'm taking the same view of this as I did the last couple of Nintendo consoles, in that I currently see the tech as gimmicky, but I am waiting to see what they do with it, and if it is any good. I mean, I will eventually get it, just for Smash Bros, like I did the Wii, but I'm not pumped for it. As for Nintendo booting the release... Depends on how well it launches. I mean, I was one of those guys who thought the Wii would fail. Look at how THAT worked out... Although I still don't like the online system. Seriously, just steal the XBL system...
Booted the Wii U's release? Booted? I can only assume this is Canadian for mucking it up. Nintendo hasn't really set the world on fire with the Wii U have they? But no, I don't think they have necessarily booted the Wii U's release. They have several launch titles ready to go, including some 3rd party support. They have a price point set, I think, though I haven't heard anything solid just yet. I don't think Nintendo can be blamed for the underwhelming way in which gamers have received the Wii U. if they have booted anything, it has been only that they have failed to get gamers really excited about their product.
Nintendo botched this worse than the Sega CD launch. At least there was intrigue by launching unannounced as opposed to releasing almost no details other than same controllers, a few titles, and a date. Nintendo, please stop making consoles and work with Microsoft/Rare to bring back awesome titles to consoles.
I don't think we should be at panic levels yet. Nintendo still has plenty of time to advertise and hype their new system. My only worry would be a weak launch but that can be overcome as well. Nintendo is riding high right now with name recognition and calling the new system Wii U might get a lot of people who bought the Wii to give the new system a try.
Actually, Canadian for "mucking it up" is "pulling a Todd". And here you thought you'd never be famous. Have 5428 points for adding to the cultural lexicon of a superior nation.
BONUS QUESTION: I'm out of ideas for the week, which has been quite a long one, so this space intentionally left blank for your own submissions.
I don't really have submissions, I go for pinfalls mainly, although I do have a windmill type hold that... Oh, you mean... Right, got you. Well... Uh... I got one of those newfangled Twitter things... OH! I know: Did you know that the WWE and conversely all of professional wrestling doesn't exist? It's all some kid's dream. No really, St. Elsewhere is all a dream, and with crossovers and the like, you can link that show to Boy Meets World, which has a Vader crossover, so WWE, WCW, ECW... All of it is just some kid's dream. And Boxing. And MMA...
I'm sick. I'm going back to bed.
My buddy Todd Vote better be saying the same thing I am.... How about those NFC North leading Vikings? Quite possibly, after Thursday the Vikings could be tied with only Detroit atop the division. By Sunday, after they beat Andrew "No" Luck, they could be the only undefeated team. Who could have predicted that?
Borderlands 2 is coming out soon followed by Torchlight 2. September is turning out to be a good month for new games and I only hope my wallet can keep up the purchases I wish to make. Also with pro football starting up there is something good to watch on TV on Sundays now.
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PLAYER 1 WINS
WHO EVEN SAYS "NEWFANGLED" ANYMORE?
COME BACK NEXT WEEK TO TRY AGAIN