ScattershotsShawn Drotar

Posted on August 1st, 2008 in Gaming, Xbox 360, PC Gaming, Playstation 3, News, Opinion, Wii, PSP by Shawn Drotar

Not-so-deep thoughts for a Friday afternoon:

  • Noted radio talk show host Michael Medved brings the crazy with his screed against Grand Theft Auto IV, clumsily entitled, “War on Middle Class Values, Not on Middle Class”. I have concerns about GTA IV and it’s content at times, too… but then again, I think that Al Pacino’s wildly overrated “Scarface” has probably done more societal damage, and I saw a framed poster for the 25-year old movie on sale at Target, of all places, this very week - it’s not like America just now decided to embrace violent entertainment. Medved attempts - I think; it’s hard to tell - to use the fact that people are purchasing GTA IV and game consoles to prove that they’re either stupid, amoral or perhaps our economy’s recession isn’t as bad as it seems. But since the article also points out how divorces are costing the nation billions of dollars… yeah, I don’t know how that connects to GTA IV either. Like many radio talk show hosts, especially ones with a political bent, you usually just pull the string on their back and see what catchphrase spews out this time. In this case, Medved just threw together a stew of them and plopped a ladleful online.
  • I love this article. Love it. I’ve been skipping scores in reviews since 5WG began - in fact, doing so was a large reason why I wanted to create it - and I tried (and failed) on numerous occasions to get my old site, (where I served for almost six years as Managing Editor) to do the same. Why? For the exact same reasons that Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences president Joseph Olin explains - it’s lazy, and plays into our instant-gratification obsession with gaming. “When I just see a score, whether it’s a Metacritic score or 5 stars or 4 thumbs, that doesn’t tell me anything,” Olin told website Shacknews. “…My pet peeve is that game reviewers are lazy. Not all, but in terms of the reviews, (something like) ‘This game isn’t as good because let’s compare it to that game over there and that game was great.’ Who gives a, you know, bleep?” Olin pointed out that there are “a lot of game critics, but very little critical analysis… a point of view…good coverage as to what the game maker was trying to do, how they were trying to involve you.” He’s absolutely, unquestionably right. A brief respite from the gusts while I’m tacking against the wind here at 5WG.
  • The latest issue of Rolling Stone magazine discusses the signing of rock music acts, past and present, to exclusive contracts. It’s indicative of the ever-rising profile of games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band, and the practice is part of the normal growth of this exploding genre, but exclusives generally end up bad for consumers. Nevertheless, they’re on their way - so the key for gamers is to stress the need for a universal control scheme. Before our basements end up packed with fake guitars and drum kits, consumers would be better served by a choice of controllers for their favorite music games - in which case, they would likely try more competing titles (which means more sales for everybody) since the upfront cost would be noticeably lower. Everyone knows the money’s in software, not hardware, so the developers behind these games, like it or not, will eventually have to decide whether or not they want to support each other’s hardware - and if not, risk missing out on sales. This will be the last barrier to break down before the music-game genre reaches its full potential.
  • EA’s CEO, John Riccitiello, recently pointed out to the San Jose Mercury News that his company was wrong to focus their development on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, noting, “…we typically figured out who the market leader was going to be before the start of the cycle and bet with our development resources on that platform. We made the wrong call there (by betting on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360), which made this transition harder than it would otherwise be.” Except he may be wrong again (or right the first time) in light of the staggering 969 percent (year-over-year) increase in PS3 sales, making Sony’s platform EA’s most profitable by far, according to Kotaku. In Q1 of fiscal year 2009, the PS3 was responsible for a whopping $139 million in sales, far eclipsing the PC ($86 million) Xbox 360 ($81 million) and the PS2 ($79 million). The famously popular Wii? In last place among consoles and tied for fifth place overall with the PSP at $57 million.

2 Responses to 'Scattershots'

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  1. DaveDQ said,

    on August 2nd, 2008 at 8:11 pm

    I think Medved’s comment was trying to imply that a purchase of GTA IV is a moral dilemma similar to that of divorce, in that he feels people have no problem putting their money towards the purchase of such a game, nor do they have much concern that divorce hurts the economy. Evidently the economy’s ok because the middle-class is funding this game and couples are getting divorced (even though the game is expensive and divorce costs the government money).

    Why are we morally correct? I’m sure the man/woman who genuinely wants to make things work in their marriage will appreciate it when his/her spouse voices that the reason they remain in the relationship is because a divorce could hurt the economy. And, the mom that tells her son, “No, Johnny, we’re going to put this $60 towards your college education instead of purchasing this game,” is a hero.

  2. SV Narine said,

    on August 15th, 2008 at 4:15 pm

    Wouldn’t the consle sales have a lot to do with the cost of the console as well? If I sold 20 PS3s at $500 per and 20 WIIs at $250 per, i’d be looking at $10,000 versus $5000. The sales numbers are a bit skewed because of this, are they not? There is no doubt, however, that the PS3 is gaining ground. The Blue Ray win seemed to put the money in the bank for them, so to speak.

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