Archive for the 'Devil’s advocate' Category

15
Aug
09

Have you Achieved Anything?

Trophies, Achievements, Gamerscore, call them what you will but should people really care about them? Is games development even being hampered by the inclusion of such features?
I believe it is, achievements (as they will be referred to for the rest of this article) are just an easy way for the developer to make the game seem a bit longer as after you have completed it there is still seemingly more left to do to get “100%”. “It took me weeks to complete that game” you say? No, it took 4 hours to complete, it took you repeating those 4 hours over and over again for a few weeks to get the trophies.

Continue reading ‘Have you Achieved Anything?’

15
May
09

there’s no place for multiplayer any more

Why do we fight the machine? I don’t mean in a Terminator sense, they are not taking over the world or anything [1], but rather in the sense that a huge number of games are single player, you verses the computer, even in multiplayer games this happens. According to the review of UT3 by Tom Francis in PC Gamer UK, Epic have said that more than half the copies of UT2004 sold have never been taken on-line. I myself have played more UT2004 off-line than on, even though I ran a DM server for a few months. Hell even in an MMO like world of Warcraft the majority of people play against the engine, sure they go and kill boar complete quests with other players, but the quests themselves are still fighting the game.

I spent 30+ hours of my life [2] where my only conversations were with the NPCs in Fallout 3, I have uncovered a conspiracy by NPCs in Deus Ex, saved the world from an invasion of NPC Daemons in Doom 1 2 and 3 [3], and am currently exploring an underwater city full of creepy NPCs with the help of genetic modifications in Bioshock. In fact, if I look at the list of 70 Games in my Steam account, at least 33 of them have no multiplayer at all, and only about 10 of them have multiplayer as the main game mode and most of these are HL1 mods. If we only count full games games which were developed with multiplayer in mind it is just four, Team Fortress 2, Unreal Tournament 3, Quake 3 and Left 4 Dead.

Four. Out of Seventy. And I like to think I have quite a wide selection.
Video games are clearly about the single player then. People clearly like to play against the computer (or the challenge set by the developers, depending on the type of game) rather than playing against other people on-line.

So why is this?

Continue reading ‘there’s no place for multiplayer any more’

20
Mar
09

The Second Hand Market is Killing the Games Industry.

Yes, you read right, the second hand market is killing the games industry.
Normally the argument you hear on the internet is the polar opposite of this, people complaining that, through things like DRM and online activation[1], publishers are stopping people from selling on games when they have finished with them. But should people be able to sell their games when they have completed them? I’m not so sure.

One of the analogies that is normally used is that of a car, when you buy a new car you expect to be able to sell it on or trade it in when you get a new one, so why can’t you do the same with games?  Well the main reason is that the car loses value as you use it, the new owner will get the car complete with complementary stone chips, rust spots and a large number of miles on the clock, this car will no longer work as well as it did when it left the dealers forecourt for the first time, and has lost value as a result. Second hand games on the other hand, particularly now digital downloads are common place, do not loose value. The second owner would get exactly the same game as the original did, they can play the game for the same number of hours, they don’t have to preform maintenance on the game to get it to run (the disk is another matter but for the purposes of this post, disk is NOT equal to game) and this second user can get the exact same amount of enjoyment out of the game. In a worst case scenario for the developers this could mean that they would only sell a single copy of the game and everyone in the world could take in turns playing it. Continue reading ‘The Second Hand Market is Killing the Games Industry.’




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