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Op Ed

GIGAOM - Valveís Portal 2 Early Release Promotion- Innovative or Crass. Thanks nin.
Those efforts, though, highlight why the Portal 2 promotion has limited appeal. The fans are open to getting content in different ways if they see value in it. Thatís a key part of Kickstarterís proposition: that projects need to offer supporters some kind of reward for their pledge. With the Portal 2 promotion, it takes up to $40 to do your part to get the title released early ó (you can also buy games individually) which is a fair amount to spend on games ó so you can have the privilege of spending more money on the game you really want. And thereís no tipping point like in Kickstarter to ensure an investment will pay off in the desired action. People just have to buy up and hope that others join in too. It may be a nice gesture to support indie game developers, but for people who are really just interested in Portal 2, it can be a little too much selling. Finally, the pay off is pretty minimal. It would be nice to get a game early, but with the April 19 release date fast approaching and the threshold for release a ways off, itís not that much of a benefit to get the game a few days early. A week or more, and that might be cool.

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12. Re: Op Ed Apr 18, 2011, 12:29 Parallax Abstraction
Creston wrote on Apr 18, 2011, 12:20:
Because it sets a stupid precedent. People spent 38 bucks on games to try to get Portal 2 early, and in the end they're going to get it 6 HOURS earlier? Hey, if people are happy spending their money on that, that's their problem.

But I don't want publishers to start seeing this as yet another way of squeezing more money out of their customer base, with it eventually turning into a "If you buy our unlock game, you get it on date xx, and if you don't, you get it five weeks later." EA's likely already thinking of making people play a flash game filled to its ass with micro-transactions just so they can get ME3 on time.

To me the whole thing just seemed utterly fucking retarded, and very out of line with what I've come to expect from Valve.


See, I get where you're coming from there but I don't think this sets the precedent you are fearing. Firstly, the key distinction here is that by participating in this promotion (or not for that matter), you get Portal 2 earlier. Not a lot earlier (and I agree giving a longer window would have made more sense) but still earlier. Even if you only got the early release if you participated, not participating meant you still got it on the promised release date, not later. No one is getting anything delayed, there is only benefit to be gained. Secondly, if people complete the goals, everyone gets the game early. This is the most important point in my argument really. You can choose to do absolutely nothing and still receive the benefits given to those who do. Thirdly, while I don't think there's any way a publisher will push back a game release weeks for those who don't buy into pre-release stuff (can you say massive way to drive people to piracy?), so what? I've long since stopped caring whether I have something on release day anymore. Many people these days happily wait months for titles because they know they'll go on sale. And if a publisher pulls this, that's definitely what I'll do, if I play the game at all. It's not like there's a shortage of choice. I know, that's just my preference and I don't represent everyone.

I personally think people are reading way too much into the potential implications of this. Publishers are scared to death of piracy and if someone tries something as you describe, it will be the one and only time they do because that game will have unprecedented piracy rates on both consoles and PC. I just find it baffling that people constantly complain (rightly so) how big publishers treat gamers (particularly PC gamers) like crap and how there's no innovation in how games are marketed and delivered. But when Valve (a company that treats PC players with more respect than any other) offers a 100% optional promotion that only provides benefit for everyone, people get worked up into a froth. I'm not saying everyone has to like the promotion but with the way all the big publishers treat us, this is really where we direct the majority of our rage now? I just don't understand it.

This comment was edited on Apr 18, 2011, 12:37.
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