welcome to the CoG network!
Colony of Gamers
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Old 12-02-2010, 09:39 AM   #1
Ravenlock
Thx for the scarf, Sadie!
 
Ravenlock's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 7,709
[Episode 43] It’s Dead, Jim.


If you’re a fan of the retail PC space, I may have some bad news… who am I kidding? Who’s a fan of the retail PC space anymore? That’s why it’s dead. The only question now is whether to mourn or celebrate that turn of events.

Sorry. I’m getting a bit ahead of myself. For this episode of the show, we started with a question prompted in part by this article: will digital distribution cause the demise of store bought, physical PC games in the next five years? If my intro didn’t clue you in, we’re pretty much agreed that it’s a very plausible theory, but there’s plenty to say on that topic beyond just agreeing or disagreeing, and I hope you’ll enjoy our musings therein.

Only three of us were along for the ride this time, so the “games played” section was a little short on content (though not on length; we are a chatty crew), but there’s still been some good gaming going on. If, like James, you’re horribly addicted to Fallout: New Vegas, you’ve probably already visited the New Vegas Nexus for more mods than you’ll know what to do with. If you haven’t, well, now you will. In case you missed it, I’d also appreciate it if you’d check out But That Was Yesterday, a really unique free Flash title I wrote up that people seem to like a lot. It’s a bit odd, but it won’t take you long.

As we approach the end of the year, we also turn our thoughts towards the IMmies, wherein we’ll focus on the best 2010 had to offer. If you’ve got a game you want to make sure we don’t miss, an e-mail would be prudent. There may be a prize involved.

Whether we plan to weep or dance on the grave, death is inevitable and must be confronted. Has the time come for the boxed PC game? Too early to say for sure, but in our opinion… It’s Dead, Jim.

Hosted and Summarized by Eric [Ravenlock]
Participants are James [Vigil80] and Robert [Trebor]
Produced by Eric (God help us.)


Ravenlock is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2010, 11:27 AM   #2
Fatal_Papercut
Colonist
 
Fatal_Papercut's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Salt Lake City, UT, USA
Posts: 51
Episode 43: Attack of the Clones of the Clones

Just a few thoughts regarding Episode 43, “It’s Dead, Jim”:

* The latest PC release from Codemasters, F1 2010, is available exclusively through Steam. You cannot purchase a boxed copy.

* I recently had to replace the HDD that I install my games on. With so many of my games having been purchased through/tied to Steam, reinstallation those games was easy; I simply set Steam to download and install about 6 games at a time before going to sleep, and I would queue up another batch of games to download while I was at work. Conversely, I had to sit down and feed CDs/DVDs into my machine to reinstall my boxed games.

* Approximately one year ago, Steam made a deal with Alienware (Dell) to have the Steam client pre-installed on all Alienware machines. At the time, those machines also came with a code for a free download of Portal.

* I believe that the evolution and proliferation of Digital Distribution will lead to a renaissance in PC gaming. For the longest time, I purchased an average of two games per month, and I had always purchased boxed copies whenever possible, even if that meant that I had to mail order games. Today, I could care less about the physical media, and this is coming from a guy that proudly displays his boxed games on a shelf in his home. I also find that I am purchasing almost twice as many games these days, because the digital distribution model makes the purchase of a game equivalent to the impulse buy of a candy bar in the checkout line of a grocery store. And as a consumer, instead of gambling on a purchase based upon the blurbs on the box in a retail store, I can follow the links right there on the digital store page to see what critics and users are saying about the game before I commit to a purchase. With many games I can even read the .PDF manual to get a feel for what the game mechanics will be like, even if the game doesn’t have a demo available. Steam shows me which of my friends already have the game, so I can ask them for their opinions. And since I’m hard to shop for and I already have a substantial library of games, for this holiday season, I have directed friends and relatives to my Steam “wishlist”, should they need a few hints; my wishlist includes everything from full-priced recent retail releases to older titles or indie games under $10. Likewise, I also “stock up” on several copies of good games when they go on sale, and then I dole them out like digital stocking stuffers.

* According to a spreadsheet that I use to track my games, I own 123 games (not counting any DLC or expansions that require the original game). 67 of those were purchased online; most were via Steam, about 7 from Impulse, 2 from Direct2Drive, and 1 from GOG.

* My semi-safe prediction: Yes, retail boxed copies of PC games will have disappeared by 2015. Bolder prediction: Steam will cut a deal with some retail stores where the retailers will act as a “front-end” for Steam, primarily online, but also in-store. For example, Best Buy’s website will allow you to purchase games for download, but the Best Buy service will be “powered by Steam” (Best Buy already does this for their music store, which is “powered by Napster”). Likewise, with Steam’s new “Steam Wallet” service, you’ll be able to use Best Buy Gift Cards to put money into your Steam Wallet to purchase games. You might also be able to buy a card for a specific game; the card would have a scratch-off strip that reveals the code needed to download a game. Even if you’ve revealed the code, you may still be able to get a refund on a game or exchange it for something else because Best Buy/Steam will be able to confirm whether the code had been redeemed or not.

* I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: the podcast is fantastic! I despise iTunes, but is there any way I can write up a review for the podcast at the iTunes site without having iTunes installed?
__________________
Currently playing: Peggle Nights * Puzzle Quest 2 * Borderlands DLC
Always playing: Battlefield: Bad Company 2 * Team Fortress 2 * Arma 2:OA
Fatal_Papercut is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2010, 12:26 PM   #3
Dukefrukem
Awesomeness
 
Dukefrukem's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Boston
Posts: 9,469
Blog Entries: 3
Send a message via AIM to Dukefrukem Send a message via Yahoo to Dukefrukem
I really really really wish I was a part of this cast because I just finished my term paper on the development of storage and the advancement of US broadband connection speeds and how it is changing the way consumers are buying media (all media, music, movies and games). As of Q2 2010, the average US broadband speed was only 4Mbps. In 5 years, that number will most likely double if not triple. Verizon just announced 150 Mbps connect in Fios and Comcast is following as well.

Everything is going to be streaming/on demand/instant.

I will be part of the "steam is becoming a monster" cast. Please don't forget about me.

I like the date of 2015 where all boxed copies will be going bye bye.
__________________
PSN: Dukefrukem XBL: Dukefrukem Steam: Dukefrukem Battlenet: Dukefrukem#1729 Raptr: Dukefrukem


Currently Playing
...

Quote:
Originally Posted by J Arcane View Post
So now we're positing that the deliberate stagnation of technology is a good thing? Hardware makers should just stop making new shit why, exactly? Because you're too cheap to buy a new card every few years?
Dukefrukem is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2010, 12:49 PM   #4
Ravenlock
Thx for the scarf, Sadie!
 
Ravenlock's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 7,709
Fatal Papercut - thanks so much for your kind words and your feedback! It's great to have you with us. Hopefully we'll get a chance to respond in depth to some / all of what you wrote both in this thread and the last, but regardless rest assured it's being read and appreciated.

I don't know right now of any way to rate the show outside of iTunes, but maybe Clayton knows something I don't.

Duke - You're still on the email distribution list, yeah? I mean, we're trying to plan that stuff out now.
__________________
Steam ID: Ravenlock -- XBL / GFWL Gamertag: Ravenlock80 -- Twitter: Ravenlock
3DS Friend Code: 4725-8046-8330
Listen to me rant on the Immortal Machines PC Gaming Podcast!
I also run Erratic Gamer, and sometimes write about games there.
Ravenlock is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2010, 12:52 PM   #5
Voodoo
Confidently Eccentric
 
Voodoo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 1995
Location: Daytona Beach, FL
Posts: 5,431
Blog Entries: 1
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fatal_Papercut View Post
* I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: the podcast is fantastic! I despise iTunes, but is there any way I can write up a review for the podcast at the iTunes site without having iTunes installed?
Tell ALL your PC Gaming friends about us, especially on other forums.

Duke - Sent you a PM
Voodoo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2010, 05:01 AM   #6
CES
Colonist
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Scotland
Posts: 2,704
Just a quick point about retail games. While Steam has monster sales about half a dozen times every year, when they are not on sale boxed retail games often undercut Steam by around 50%. It's a curious system that I don't quite understand, the cost overhead has to be cheaper on Steam than sending out trucks all over a country.
CES is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2010, 09:57 AM   #7
Fatal_Papercut
Colonist
 
Fatal_Papercut's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Salt Lake City, UT, USA
Posts: 51
Retail cheaper than Steam

Quote:
Originally Posted by CES View Post
Just a quick point about retail games. While Steam has monster sales about half a dozen times every year, when they are not on sale boxed retail games often undercut Steam by around 50%. It's a curious system that I don't quite understand, the cost overhead has to be cheaper on Steam than sending out trucks all over a country.
I see this on occasion at Best Buy, which is the only local outlet where I have purchased boxed games. In almost every case, Best Buy has marked down games that have been in inventory for a while, and in many cases, those mark-downs have been better than what Steam offered. The example I remember best was Arma 2; Steam carried it at $49.99 for quite some time, but after being on the shelf at Best Buy for only 2 months, Best Buy dropped the price to $39.99. There was also a weekend--about 3 weeks after release--where the PC version of Modern Warfare 2 was on sale for $39.99; I'm assuming this was due to overstock, because the location I go to (there are 4 Best Buys within a 10-mile radius of my home) put out about 200 copies on the shelves. Seems to me that they severely over-estimated what the demand would be, at least for the PC version; either that, or maybe they made a clerical error and only meant to order 20 copies.
__________________
Currently playing: Peggle Nights * Puzzle Quest 2 * Borderlands DLC
Always playing: Battlefield: Bad Company 2 * Team Fortress 2 * Arma 2:OA
Fatal_Papercut is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2010, 11:16 AM   #8
CES
Colonist
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Scotland
Posts: 2,704
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fatal_Papercut View Post
I see this on occasion at Best Buy, which is the only local outlet where I have purchased boxed games. In almost every case, Best Buy has marked down games that have been in inventory for a while, and in many cases, those mark-downs have been better than what Steam offered. The example I remember best was Arma 2; Steam carried it at $49.99 for quite some time, but after being on the shelf at Best Buy for only 2 months, Best Buy dropped the price to $39.99. There was also a weekend--about 3 weeks after release--where the PC version of Modern Warfare 2 was on sale for $39.99; I'm assuming this was due to overstock, because the location I go to (there are 4 Best Buys within a 10-mile radius of my home) put out about 200 copies on the shelves. Seems to me that they severely over-estimated what the demand would be, at least for the PC version; either that, or maybe they made a clerical error and only meant to order 20 copies.
Valve have made comments in the past there's some unspecific reason why they don't tend to do price-cuts outside of a sale (something about pissing off someone which is dubious at best given the clout that Steam offers them).
CES is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2010, 11:23 AM   #9
Banacek
Crybaby
 
Banacek's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 4,300
Blog Entries: 7
You better believe I've been using mods with Fallout: NV. It's the only way I've been able to finish certain quests.
Banacek is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2010, 12:25 PM   #10
Ravenlock
Thx for the scarf, Sadie!
 
Ravenlock's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 7,709
Quote:
Originally Posted by CES View Post
Valve have made comments in the past there's some unspecific reason why they don't tend to do price-cuts outside of a sale (something about pissing off someone which is dubious at best given the clout that Steam offers them).
I don't know that I'd call it dubious at this point. I'm pretty sure I've heard people say that the only way that some publishers have agreed to have their games on Steam in the past was through agreements specifying the limited circumstances under which the game would go on sale. Just like the UK retailers we discuss in the episode, the publishers didn't want digital copies out there at a cheaper price preventing people from buying their boxed game.

As Steam has continued to succeed that balance has probably shifted, but I don't know that it's disappeared. We're probably not to a point yet, for example, where Activision would risk Walmart refusing to stock their games by constantly offering them for $10 or $15 cheaper on Steam, even though that would assuredly result in a big spike of Steam purchases for them.
__________________
Steam ID: Ravenlock -- XBL / GFWL Gamertag: Ravenlock80 -- Twitter: Ravenlock
3DS Friend Code: 4725-8046-8330
Listen to me rant on the Immortal Machines PC Gaming Podcast!
I also run Erratic Gamer, and sometimes write about games there.
Ravenlock is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2010, 03:52 PM   #11
CES
Colonist
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Scotland
Posts: 2,704
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ravenlock View Post
I don't know that I'd call it dubious at this point. I'm pretty sure I've heard people say that the only way that some publishers have agreed to have their games on Steam in the past was through agreements specifying the limited circumstances under which the game would go on sale. Just like the UK retailers we discuss in the episode, the publishers didn't want digital copies out there at a cheaper price preventing people from buying their boxed game.
It's especially jarring in the UK though given that the two biggest games retailers (Game and Gamestation, same parent company though, but that's not well known) frequently undercut everyone else forcing all the other retailers to try to match it. Steam as we've both said seems to actively try to avoid competition like that even though I personally think that for the PC market, they would do extremely well. Ultimately, the publisher's price is "recommended", not "you will make it this price or else".
CES is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-10-2010, 08:04 AM   #12
Ravenlock
Thx for the scarf, Sadie!
 
Ravenlock's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 7,709
[IndieCast] Guardians of Graxia & Shatter

They can’t all be winners. Boy, that’s a pretty auspicious start to the post, huh? Really makes you want to dig in there. Well, don’t walk away just yet – we have two games for this installment of the IndieCast, and at least one of them is a winner. The other…

I had high hopes for Guardians of Graxia, really I did. Petroglyph received a lot of good press for their XBLA effort (and then board game), Panzer General: Allied Assault. Most everyone who played it reported it to be a friendly but deep game of strategy, enjoyable both in single- and multi-player, with some great design aesthetics and impressive production values for the price point. Getting a fantasy-themed spin on the same basic concepts sounded pretty great to me, so when they announced Graxia I was on the hype train right away.

In execution, though, I found it to be a really mixed bag. The lack of any multiplayer is utterly baffling, and the gameplay systems at work here, while obviously containing a good amount of depth, are poorly explained and seemingly not handled terribly well by the AI. There’s also a surprising lack of content for a single-player game, and they’re already charging for expansion DLC. On the other hand, it is a unique, nice-looking game, and I think it has a lot of potential. The underlying game seems like a good one.

There’s more to say about that, and you’ll hear it in the show. Our second game is a much easier recommendation: Sidhe Interactive’s Shatter. This one isn’t a new release, but it might have slipped under your radar when it came out earlier this year, and if it did we’d like to help you rectify that. You might not think that the Breakout genre is one clamoring for someone to come along and revitalize it – I certainly didn’t – but you’d be wrong. A push / pull physics system, boss battles, new power-ups and miles of polish make Shatter a real breath of fresh air where I didn’t expect it.

So let’s talk about all that stuff. Your IndieCast awaits.


Ravenlock is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-14-2010, 02:35 PM   #13
Doogie2K
Nailed It!
 
Doogie2K's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Calgary, AB
Posts: 3,781
[Episode 43] It’s Dead, Jim.

One small correction to Robert's summary of Shatter: there is a couch co-op mode (as a friend and I discovered after trying and failing to set up an online game), so you can play two to a keyboard, or one on keyboard and one on a controller, or what have you.

I've played for just one hour, but as a member of that "new audience" (I grew up in the 90s, and our only arcade was in a sketchy bowling alley), I'm definitely a fan of these arcade reboots. They look really cool, since they're not beholden to the brown reality of modern-style games, and the simple gameplay and score attack setup makes it a great pick-up-for-15-minutes sort of idea for when you don't have time to get neck-deep in a campaign. And it doesn't cost me any quarters.
__________________
XBL: Doogie2K II | Steam: Doogie2K | Twitter: @Doogie2K | Backloggery: Doogie2K
Quote:
Originally Posted by ADDGirl View Post
Would it be a party without the bionic penis?!
Quote:
Originally Posted by AyeEmBored View Post
Now time to see if the "Dress as Santa and come down your chimney" line works.
Doogie2K is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:31 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
// Google Analytics - Must remain as a separate script // External Source Executed