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Real Name jfernald   
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Nickname jfernald
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Signed On Jul 26, 2001, 17:58
Total Comments 4 (Suspect)
User ID 10445
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News Comments > Quote of the Day
31. Re: Quote of the  Day May 18, 2011, 17:44 jfernald
Creston wrote on May 18, 2011, 16:29:
That's actually a very good point, but it's one the publishers and devs have nobody to blame for but themselves. If games nowadays couldn't be finished in the time it takes for me to take a nice, solid dump, perhaps this equation to zero-day piracy wouldn't be such an issue.


The developers and publishers are at least partially responsible for this trend. The other half of the responsability is on the consumers end.

Lets take a look at a simple consumer demand "I want my game to run in 1080p", ok so art now needs to create all game assets in a resolution that looks good at 1080p, model and texture sizes increase exponentially what once used to take a few hundred megs on disc now takes up gigs. The higher resolution also means that it takes longer to create these assets which extends the art asset development time. Engineering needs to spend a fair amount of time figuring out how to compress the data to fit on a single disc (as using multiple discs eats into profits) as well as stream the data into limited RAM on todays consoles.

It also has an effect on how fun it is gameplay wise. If a building gets created and you find out that it sinks into the ground too much in one area and now you can't take cover on it suddenly it's a game bug.

In short the request to use 1080p has increased the size of data on disc, as well as caused the development of the product to extend out far beyond what was initially planned.

So you have a choice at this point, cut content, extend the development for however long it takes to add the 40hrs of gameplay, reuse art assets (often playing the same level backwards or similar), and cut into your profits by having to gold master another few DVD's for all this extra content.

And although I did exaggerate slightly in my example, this is the main reason games don't last very long these days.

In some ways consumers got exactly what they asked for when they wanted "Cutting Edge Graphics","Great Story" and "Great Gameplay" they just didn't realize it would come at the cost of re-playability and the length of the game itself.

And considering the game industry isn't completely bankrupt yet, the majority seem to be happy with what they got.
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News Comments > Quote of the Day
26. Re: Quote of the  Day May 18, 2011, 15:25 jfernald
As far back as I can remember there have always been "Used Game Sales" and "Video Game Rentals". During the hayday of the NES mom and pop shops were buying and reselling games, even PC titles at the time were on shelves available for re-resale.

The difference between then and now is both scale and the evolution of the buisness. Mom and pop shops in the 80's and 90's didn't offer their used games on compuserve and ship the products across state lines. I would be suprised if all the mom and pop used game stores + game rental services accounted for even 1% of the industry's game sales in those days.

Today we have Gamestop, a company who has built their buisness model around used game sales. They make so much profit doing this that they can now afford not to stock their shelves with "New Games" and instead request customers pre-order if they want the game on release day. If not give it 36 hours (the average length of a modern game) and you can buy it newly "used". And if it's not available at your local store you can be darn sure you'll be able to buy it online through gamestop and have it shipped across state lines to your door or the closest gamstop store.

And lets be frank it's the newly "used" game sales that are stabbing at the heart of the games industry. Companies like microsoft, sony and others spend millions of dollars marketing their product, buying air time on television, and getting the word out that "This games out, it's awsome and you really want to buy it". And for it to be available "used" just a few days after it's release hurts the developers.

Developers don't make any profits on "used game sales", and gamestop spends very little advertising their used game titles, a few store banners for trade in incentives but other than that the the buying and reselling of used games is pure profit with little risk. The margins on used game trade-ins is also larger than on new titles. Gamestop typically buys the product for around ~$10 to ~$15 less than the MSRP, and if you take a look at the price scheme they have for buying back newly released titles you'll notice that their profit margin is nearly double that (They buy new titles back at $35 and resell for $55.99).

Now this is to some extent the Game Industrys fault. The average game length is ~35 hours due to content size, and development costs associated with a title (100-200 people average on a project). If a modern game lasted as long as some of the older titles, or if they had nearly as much replayability as older titles then it would take weeks before that game ended up on Gamestops shelves rather than days. But no, the industry has by and large resorted to linear gameplay to allow for "story telling" and decided that ~35 hrs is enough.

They focus on "Piracy" as being the reason their game sales are slumping and consistantly add copyright protection schemes to their products which cause legitimate consumers no end of grief.

They never really take into account that the consumers over the years have become more refined in their tastes, or that their product does not offer enough value to the consumer for them to purchase it new or not pirate it to begin with.

The industry really needs to take a step back, and look at what the hell is going on rather than simply looking at their shrinking profit margins and reacting on impluse.

Institute customer loyalty programs, where each new title that ships comes with a prepaid envelope to return old games made by that publisher for "Points" which can be spent for both games and content or "fan gear" or even special pre-order bonus's for the next title.

EA's project $5.00 was a decent approach to making a few bucks off of even the used game sales. Give people a code that they use first time through and if they buy a game used well they'll have to pony up another $5.00 for what you got for "Free" new (profit margins on new game sales are aproximately $5-$10 depending on the media format, and the target device.)

For years the RIAA has added an added tariff to blank casette and CD sales to make up for "Piracy" perhaps the industry should look into options on how to do something similar for games. (I'm not a huge fan of the RIAA but a tariff on CD sales is a lot less obtrusive than hauling your ass to court and asking you to pay $20k for the $5.00 worth of songs that got pirated)

In short figure out how to give a new product "Added Value" so that it looks less attractive to buy used or to pirate without screwing consumers over in the process.

Most companies think going "Digital" is going to increase their revenue streams so they don't want to take the above aproaches, but they are still ham strung by the fact that they can't offer added value via digital content because they have to price match their retail outlets (Why would I buy this for $59.99 in walmart when I can get it on steam right now for $35.99?). Let me tell you walmart wouldn't be very happy about that.

So the industry can complain all it wants about used game sales or priacy. The problem is that the Industry, Retail Outlets, Buisness Models and Consumers have all changed and the old way of doing things simply doesn't work anymore. Right now the industry is holding onto an old broken buisness model as tightly as the RIAA was when Napster was at it's prime.

I hate to quote Steve Jobbs but it's time for the industry to "Think Different" otherwise they will soon be spending all their time searching under rocks for all the penny's they discarded over the years.
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News Comments > On Star Wars: The Old Republic's "Stylized Realism"
19. Re: On Star Wars: The Old Republic's Jan 4, 2009, 08:47 jfernald
I know the "Cartoon" look isn't working well for a lot of the Star Wars fan base. But lets get serious here, it's difficult enough to find characters which look real in games that don't run into the uncanney valley problems let alone an MMO.

Everquest 2 tried for the ultra realistic look, but it somehow all seemed wrong visually. Now if you take a look at EQ2's competition WoW they focused on creating stylized characters which at first I felt were cartoony as well. However after seeing the enviornments & doing the quests I noticed I was paying less attention to the cartoony look of the characters as to what they were doing in the world.

Even if the old republics art direction were to change to something more realistic they have the added problem of jedi/sith doing things which are just impossible in reality as well. Jumping half way across a screen to attack a monster, using force shock, ect.

I'd rather say "That was cool" when the cartoony character uses a jedi skill than say "Something didn't look right..." every time my realistic character uses a jedi skill.
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News Comments > Max Payne Patch Details
4. Re: When it's done.... Jul 26, 2001, 13:59 jfernald
Making a "bug free" game is extremly difficult on a platform which is as open as a PC. Users install things from AIM, to ICQ, to driver tweaks, they overclock their video cards and processors. Real life is not a "Safe room". Most of the testing of these games is done on machines where these types of things don't exist. You can catch alot of bugs that way, however you can never compensate for the end users. Sure it's annoying to purchase a game and not be able to play it. However remedy has been very quick to come up with a solution to the problem. Most game developers would make us wait months before releasing a bug fix. However Remedy who was alerted to this problem earlier today, has already come up with a fix and plan to release it by the end of the day. We should stop blaming developers for things completely out of their hands and be glad they were able to diagnose and correct the problem as fast as they have.

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