Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

In the recently slur of rumours that have been thrown at us by various sources, the term ‘Digital Only’ tends to get thrown around a lot. Basically, it is rumoured that the next generation of gaming consoles may force us to download software, instead of buying it in store. While this is a sure-fire way to decrease costs and manufacture time, but is it really good for the industry to move forward? Read on to find out…

The arguments for converting games consoles to Digital Only are more beneficial for the manufacturers. The fact that they can cut costs almost completely when it comes to the distribution of the software they are publishing makes it rather appealing. It is arguable as to whether or not the content will come at less of a premium to us, however, so we’ll have to wait and see.

Also, the ease of distribution makes life easier for, once again, the manufacturers. Retail stores will no longer be required, meaning that they don’t need to ship hard copies, or bother with having to handle reorders. Basically, they set up the file on a server, make you pay to access it, and away you go.

While this sounds all well and good, there are various implications. The biggest one being the holocaust that would descend on retail game stores. I can’t seem to understand how it would be smart to destroy all the free marketing that is provide by simply having the products in a store. Tell me what sort of kid travels down the virtual isles of XBOX Live, PSN or Steam, asking for anything that catches their eye. It would be stupid to move away from this, as there is less of an audience for games on online store, also letting the biggest selling be the publisher with the biggest marketing budget.

The next argument is purely practical. What appears to be overlooked my so many people is the fact that not all countries have high speed internet infrastructure. Eg. Australia. This means we could be waiting a few hours to download games onto the console. And I’m not a patient person, so…

All in all, I have to say that I’m 110% certain that I’m against converting to online content downloads instead of hard copies. What’s going to fill my games shelf otherwise?

Nowadays, almost every new title released for consoles has the option of a Collector’s Edition. They all offer unique extras- DLC, limited edition case, statues, art book etc. But what is the point of all these things? Would these even be worth it for the casual gamer?

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Collector's Edition

In short, no. Things like art books and statues are really designed for long-time fans of games. I for one am going to buy the Mass Effect 3 art book, because I have played the other two games in the series, and loved them. And I’m a collector of art books. I’m actually going to purchase the Collectors Edition copy for $50 AUD. But for someone who isn’t a huge Mass Effect fan, I wouldn’t recommend it or the Collector’s Edition of the game- it’s not worth it.

On the other hand, there are ‘Special Editions’ sometimes available at launch for the price of a standard edition copy. Mass Effect 3 ‘Omniblade Edition’ is similar- it offers in game unlockables, and inflatable Omniblade and a MetalPak case. Not a whole lot more, but for the price, preordering is certainly worth it. But for just $20 less than the Collector’s Edition, it is debatable as to wether or not you should just cough up the cash for a superior copy.

Basically, if you love the game and you have a place for the included memorabilia in your collection, then go for it, but be prepared for the extra costs. If you are a casual gamer with money to burn, then chances are a ‘Collector’s Edition’ is not for you.

With yet another big title slipping out of reach of the Australian gamer, consumers have more reason than ever to look to the Australian Classification Board for answers. The fact that Syndicate was refused classification is old news, but what is very current news is that we are in fact being cheated by a branch of our own government. With an ‘R’ rating to be implemented for video games, us Aussies though that was the battle done and dusted. But we couldn’t have been more wrong…

Yet another experience that Australian gamers will miss out on...

What seems to be the most upsetting part of all this is that the laws are designed to protect kids from disturbing content. Although as a responsible adult you have the right to own and play Call of Duty, which could also disturb young children (hence the MA15+ rating) you can’t own the latest Mortal Combat game, or Syndicate for that matter. It is simply illogical to stop gamers from accessing content they have been waiting for. It costs the industry money as well as inconveniences and disappoints huge amounts of consumers. Origin, for one had to cancel hundreds of preorders and even give vouchers for 20% off one of their products to say sorry.

But the focus is not on just Syndicate, a smattering of other games were effectively ‘banned’ in Australia due to high levels of violence, or certain content of a sexual nature. While I don’t support these sorts of games being played by 10 year olds, I do believe the general Australian consumer should have the right to view the content they want. It is outrageous that we can be controlled in this manner.

As well as breaching our rights as consumers, this also is helping to promote something else. Internet piracy. If someone wanted a ‘Banned’ game, with only basic knowledge, one can unearth a plethora of downloads and Key Generators to get them to work. By no means do I condone this behaviour whatsoever, although I am using it as an example to show what is possible. As well as this, you could simply ask an online retailer to swap the disc into the case of another title, bypassing a simple Customs check. This is also illegal and not to be recommended.

All in all, I am a huge supporter of the movement to stop banning Australian consumers from viewing content that is freely available in other regions. If you feel the same, please get behind the movement and make a difference!