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 411mania » Games » Columns

Four Player Co-op 10.17.12: Zynga, League of Legends, Console Sales, More
Posted by Stephen Randle on 10.17.2012

Adam Larck has joined the game.
Todd Vote has joined the game.
Dan Watson has joined the game.
Sean Garmer has joined the game.

Greetings, and welcome to another edition of Four Player Co-op, where we will never, ever, make a reference to Gangnam style. Except that one. Anyway, our players are locked in, let's get things underway!

Start the gangnam!


QUESTION ONE: Well, after a massive IPO funnelled a whole chunk of change into Zynga's coffers, word came down last week that Zynga stock is worth, effectively, no money at all. Somehow they're still putting out Facebook games, though. Offhand, this seems like Zynga should at least be a contender for "Worst Gaming Company of 2012", but perhaps you can think of another company that managed to do worse than to introduce, devalue, and then completely tank their stock inside of a calendar year? Do you see Zynga even making it to 2013 without becoming the property of an actual successful developer?

Adam Larck
What about 38 Studios, a company that stayed open long enough to release one game, started making an MMO, then the governor scared prospective funders away and forced them to shut down in bankruptcy? At least Zynga is still around and putting games out, even if the heads of the company seem to be leaving each week. I can see them making it to next year, but the company ought to start keeping an eye out for prospective buyers looking to enter the casual market. Otherwise, 2013 may be its final year.

Todd Vote
My, how the company has fallen. I wonder if the fall in Zynga quality has anything to do with people being fed up with having to be asked 3,467 times a day if a Zynga game can send info to all of your friends? I know I get these things a lot, and I hate them. Yes, I know there is a way I can turn off what notifications and things I see, but should I have to do that? Zynga has a long road ahead of it if they want to maintain themselves. The best way, probably is just to sell to EA. At least that way, once they close Zynga down, it will then be the fault of the EVIL CORPORATION. Let's face it, these days it's all about perception.

Dan Watson
Hmmm. Well EA really killed the NBA Live title the last two years. Still, Zynga was a disaster for a while. I'm shocked they were able to sell shares of their company and were made such a big deal of. This gimmick of a company is terrible. They were successful when Facebook was at its prime. Now that Facebook seems to be losing steam, really how many more people could possibly sign up, this company is out of luck. The new gimmick is apps that require Facebook sign ins.

Sean Garmer
Yeah, they will make it if it is by the skin of their teeth because they will keep finding ways to get investors to keep them afloat till at least March or something. This is just a wild guess, but I mean if they´ve made it this far, why not?

Adam gets 1643 points for remembering Studio 38, because God knows nobody else will in a few months or so. Todd gets a smaller bonus for the easy answer of EA buying Zynga, because let's face it, the end result for any company these days is probably "EA buys it", with secondary odds being "Activision buys it".

QUESTION TWO: Apparently popular free-to-play (with microtransactions, natch) game League of Legends ran a press release this week claiming that this title is the "most played video game on the planet". Are you one of the apparently over 70 million registered players playing over one billion (with a "b") hours every month? Have you even heard of this game, Todd?

Adam Larck
I played a bit once, then just let it be. It's a fun title for me when I'm running around against AI, but other players are often on another level. However, don't let the stats fool you. I'm sure that, even though there are 70 million players, not near that number play daily. Instead, you probably have a very dedicated group that plays constantly on there to drive up the numbers. Plus, you also have to factor in all the tournaments that are played around this, along with the kiosks probably set up there to let people to check out the game. Pretty impressive numbers for a F2P title, though.

Todd Vote
Oh, you got me. I haven't heard of a supposedly popular PC game. In other news, the sky is blue.

Dan Watson
I am not one of the however many fake numbered players playing. If I was going to play a MMO, it'd be WoW. I had a minor addiction for a while and had to break away. I have not gone back and am over 646 days clean. Every day is a struggle.

Sean Garmer
I have heard of the game, but I don´t play games on my PC (unless they are ROM´s of games from the NES to GBA era.) I am just a console guy and I´ve also never had an up to date PC or cared to invest my time on the internet playing free to play games and what not.

To be fair, I haven't played League of Legends either, because it doesn't appeal to me, but as a recovering addict myself, I'm going to have to give 2312 points to Dan in support of him continuing to kick the WoW habit. And now that there are pandas, it's a harder struggle than ever before. Please give generously, together we can stop the grind.

QUESTION THREE: I know that we all know the Wii was a juggernaut when it came out of the gate, but with its time winding down and the console been largely ignored for at least a year now, I thought we'd take a look and remind ourselves just how big of a force the Wii was in this soon-to-be-ended console generations. These are the last reported numbers from mid-2012 for console sales. Coming in at roughly 64 million units sold is the PS3, closely behind the total of 67 million units for the 360. The Nintendo Wii? Only a paltry…97 million units. I may have to check my math, but I believe that is equivalent to a "crap-ton". Are you surprised? I mean, we knew it was popular, but with the numbers in front of us, can you honestly say you thought Nintendo was that far ahead of the pack?

Adam Larck
Nintendo knew their market and capitalized on it well. The other systems were marketed towards more core gamers in the beginning before trying to branch out and add entertainment value to get more buyers. Nintendo, though, marketed the system as an everyman's console. The kids could have as much fun as the parents and even grandma and grandpa, all on one system that cost less than the other two. Families and older generations made sure this system thrived. If you go to a retirement community, you're almost guaranteed to see at least one Wii around for seniors to enjoy and keep active with. No surprises here, but can the Wii U recapture that success? I'm leaning towards no currently.

Todd Vote
Damn, that is impressive. I bet Nintendo would be happy to reach the numbers achieved by the 360, or the PS3, let alone the highly impressive numbers the Wii sold. 97 million? Is that seriously right? Holy crap. I did not think they were that far ahead of the rest of the pack. Good on you Nintendo, and this is why you can never ever count out the Big N.

Dan Watson
I am shocked. Between just my 2 brothers and myself we have bought 7 Xbox 360s, 2 Ps3s, and 1 Wii. I think the numbers would be different based on commercial purchases (retirement homes, rehab facilities, etc.) not being counted but they are. Congrats to Wii and the gimmick you were.

Sean Garmer
The only reason I know the number is because I write for another gaming website and I write news articles there every day and I´ve had to write a crap ton about the Wii U recently. The 97 Million Wii´s sold has popped up in quite a few of my articles. That being said, I think anyone that says "I predicted the Wii would sell almost a 100 million consoles" is a crock of s***. I don´t think anyone was predicting for the Wii to do those kinds of numbers when Nintendo first announced it a long time ago. Everyone that was a hardcore gamer was scoffing at its Wii Mote, motion gameplay, and inferior graphics. Years later and both Sony and Microsoft have attempted to copy the Motion gaming thing. So, the Wii has made an impact on gaming. It brought in the casual gaming market and for that Nintendo should be commended alone because that is a hard thing to do. However, we should give the Wii credit, because Nintendo would not be about to release it´s first HD console in the Wii u without the Wii making waves first.

I, like Todd, was shocked, shocked that the gap was so huge, so he'll get 5429 points. I guess the last year or so of bad news about Nintendo and falling revenue numbers made us all forget that yes, they did sell a hojillion Wiis those first few years. I had assumed Sony and Microsoft had closed the gap since then, but I guess I was wrong.

QUESTION FOUR: And because I just can't believe it myself, PETA is at it again, and this time, they're going after Pokemon and the newly released Black and White 2. Yes, PETA has created "Pokemon Black and Blue" as a game on their website, where you can use Pokemon to fight against their evil trainers who, apparently, all just want to confine and abuse them. I must have missed that episode of the cartoon. So, the lesson here, kids, is don't try and stuff completely imaginary fictional animals that don't exist outside of a video game into tiny balls that also don't exist in real life. They are aware that Pokemon aren't real, right? Is PETA even trying to be taken seriously anymore?

Adam Larck
The answer to all of your questions can be summed up in one word: No. I really have to question if they know the line between reality and fantasy anymore. This isn't the weirdest game they've done, though. Remember Super Tofu Boy? At least Team Meat got the idea to parody a parody. I think PETA just wants its five minutes in the spotlight, no matter what the cost or how stupid it may be. The best defense is to just ignore them and they'll eventually go away.

Todd Vote
Well, it is about time that someone thought about the fictional creatures. Far to long, they have went unrepresented. Luckily for other fictional creatures this should open the door for PETA to protect them as well. Now the Orcs from Lord of the Rings will not have to worry about being struck down by arrows from Legolas. Frost Giants are now safe from the wrath of Thor. This is a huge step in the right direction for fictional creatures. Oh yeah, also, screw you PETA. Take some of the money you spend buying fake blood and publicity stunts, and use it to help the fuckin animals you are claiming to be in it for.

Dan Watson
I think they should release pictures of nude celebrities with Pokemon covering their censored parts and allow A.J. Grey to post them here. Seriously, who is funding that organization of crazies? What's next, a strike against Walking Dead for killing an Owl?

Sean Garmer
Are PETA just insane? What will they not go after now? Please PETA just go away already. If it is not real life related then you need to stop bothering people with your stupid claims. You know what´s abusive? Is you bugging us constantly with idiotic claims that "so and so movie, video game, or television show is showing abuse towards animals." Just go become a subsidiary of the World Wildlife Fund or something already.

Adam gets 6734 points for summing everything up in one word and then managed to write an entire paragraph afterwards.

Also, Dan, spoilers, man. Some people might not have gotten to that part of their DVR backlog.

BONUS QUESTION: Well, we've done favourites, best, worst, all sorts of things, but here's one we've never tried. What video game are you the best at? I'm not necessarily saying your favourite game, I'm saying the one game that you just absolutely dominate the competition at, the game if you had to play one game for a gigantic cash prize, plus blackjack and hookers (and on second thought, forget about the blackjack), this is the game you'd want to have to play to decide your fate.

Adam Larck
Tetris. I can really get into a trance when I need to play for long amounts of time for high scores. Not the battle version either, as that throws in too many variables. I mean two people playing Marathon to see who can have the highest score at the end. I may not be the best, but I can hold my own against most.

Todd Vote
Damn.. this may be the best bonus question you have ever asked... ever. Give me a good hack and slash game, and I may just have a shot at the prize. if you want one in particular, we'll go with God of War. I bet you would expect me to list maybe a Mortal Kombat, or a Killer Instinct here, but in actuality, I do enjoy those games immensely, I would never claim to be a master at them.

Dan Watson
This is a tough one. I'd say Madden but that is really a toss-up each game depending on team rank, defense scheme used, etc. I'm going to go with NHL 13. This game is good and I am really good at it. Challenge me while the NHL season is locked out.

Sean Garmer
There are certainly people better at it then me because Rock Band has a lot of people that hum and don´t actually try to sing or people that just have a lot of time to play games more than I do can memorize when to hit overdrive in a song.

However, the only game I have ever made any significant dent in a leaderboard in is for Rock Band 3. I am in the Top 1% in Expert Vocals and I am quite proud of that because I get to put my very good vocal range to good use. I am good at the other instruments, but Vocals is my best you could say. Especially cause I actually try to get better at it, which I guess helps.

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