August video games highlights
Recap and thoughts on the industry news for the month
Posted by Peter Ingham (Nechrol) on Sep 2, 2011 - 1:18pm EST (Sep 2, 2011 13:18)
August (particularly the end) is the equivalent of a man starving himself before a large buffet, making sure his stomach is as barren as possible before gorging himself on various foodstuffs. It is at the end of August when the industry starts to pick up speed with its catalogue of releases. So far, the main focal point of the month has been deservedly on Deus Ex in terms of balancing anticipation and payoff from critics and gamers alike.
Aside from the relatively Spartan release list there has been far more goings elsewhere in the industry, here are some highlights.
"What we got here is... failure to communicate."
In a scene reminiscent of the operator of a back street bar during prohibition, copies of Deus Ex were hauled off the shelves and hidden from popular consumption. It seems a classic case of the right hand not knowing what the left is up to, as Square's package contained an Onlive coupon to play the game on the company's online streaming service.
This is a peculiar way of industry cannibalisation due to Gamestop and Onlive both being in the business of selling games on differing media platforms. It's similar to Schrödinger's cat in that you could've purchased the game from Gamestop and obtained a free copy, so your money occupied an unusual quantum state of both having/not having your money and having/not having the game.
The quantum physicists at Gamestop quickly remedied the imbalance in the space-time continuum by simply removing the codes from the games. They presumably then used the vouchers to stuff a makeshift effigy of Onlive's CEO and set it alight.
Square on the other hand was busy locked in its office with its fingers in its ears rocking back and forth in its own bout of quantum imbalance. On the one hand, they had included the coupon in their game package then on the other, they claimed it was not their responsibility; more so, it was Gamestop's to decide what does or does not go in their release package.
It is a strange stance to occupy in this day and age of gaming. With sales outlets dwindling, more people choosing to shop online, digital copies, and streaming games, showing what may be construed as 'plugging' to a certain medium could produce criticism from other outlets.
Though I hold no animosity to any online forms of gaming, I still feel uneasy being told when I can and cannot play my games. It feels like a liberty has been infringed and another cog placed in Skynet's machine which no doubt ends with me sucking on an Ethernet cable for sustenance.
I understand the need to increase sales as all forms of business come down to the bottom line. I just hate seeing companies touting 'exclusive' products to entice me. However, this predicament with Square is not exactly straddling that line it still feels as if there were handshakes of favouritism involved.
In short, can't we all just get along?