The Topic Bucket

1 07 2011

I’m going to regret this when I run out of ideas for my Monday post, but there’s a few smaller things I’d like to talk about that I’m going to throw at you all at once. I know you can cope; after all, (/sarcasm) this blog attracts only the finest gaming minds (/sarcasm), so I am certain that everything will be easy to read for you. Also because it will be simple and perhaps even a little bit banal.

It is gold and shiny. Therefore, this will be a good post.

Why did I admit to that? Anyway, off we go.

Free-to-Play

This one is a big topic at present, now Team Fortress 2 and even World of Warcraft have had a nibble at it, but I’ve only delved into a full-on F2P game once – when I reviewed The Lord of the Rings Online after its change to the F2P model back in November – so I’m not exactly speaking from masses of experience here. Here’s my experience anyway: I understand that some people like to purchase items, both cosmetic and useful ones, with their cash, but I’ve no idea why. In Team Fortress 2 I never wanted to purchase any guns, crafting items, or hats (especially no hats), and in LOTRO I couldn’t care less about anything that was on offer. Oddly enough, I just want to play whatever game it is that I’m playing and (if I might invoke one of the cardinal laws of the internet) I can’t be the only one who does that.

My only issue with F2P is when major content is locked away behind a toll (though discerning what counts as ‘major’ is another point), but that’s not what I’m interested in right now. Out of curiosity I’d love to know just how many players choose to buy things from a games’ online store; whether there is a broad swathe of players making small purchases, or a smaller core of fans making up the majority of the buyers while most players keep their hands in their pockets. It’s not very often that I want the business facts and figures, since most of the time I prefer commenting on a games’ aesthetics in my chosen snobbish tone, preferably while wearing my favourite monocle, but in this case I’d like to have a dig into the maths behind the whole thing, to find out whether players are spendthrifts or Scrooges.

Steam Sales

When it comes to the absurd discounts that Valve make available on Steam, they’ve only broken my resistance a few times. Out of 23 games on my profile, I’ve only purchased four of them directly, the others having been bought at retail – give me a box and manual any day over your digital gubbins – or made available for review. Of these four, one cost a solitary pound (Psychonauts), the two Max Payne games set be back £2.24 and Mount and Blade: Warband purged a whopping five pounds from my wallet.

Now the chaps at Steam have started another bonkers sale, shredding price tags on just about everything in an attempt to flood their customers’ eyes with so much gaming goodness that pixels start seeping from their nostrils. I’m off to my internet-proof bunker for the next ten days, but I’ll be back to provide counselling once it’s over.

PES vs. FIFA

I like football games. In fact, I like them so much that I’ve burned more time on Pro Evolution Soccer in the last, ooh, seven years than I have on any other series of anything in the anyverse. We’re talking hundreds of hours here. I had to stop myself bringing PES 2010 to university for fear that it would devour my final year, but in the summer hols prior to that I played far more hours of the 2010 World Cup game than every member of England team put together spent in the actual tournament (insert depressing English sporty joke here).

Pro Evo 2 on the PS1. Those were the days.

A few years back I was, without doubt, a PES fanboy. No longer, but that lingering loyalty remains, so when I saw this little comment, from a FIFA producer saying that he’d be pleased to ‘fix’ PES, the old prejudices starting bubbling up. What would he know? FIFA is the shallow one, the one for the people who wanted their precious kits, stadiums and real player names, not the true football fans!

Then I remembered that PES has been a bit naff for some time and could do with a good fixing. Ah well. At least the entertaining sparring between the two franchises seems to still be going on; it’s like the one between Battlefield and Call of Duty, but with a good deal more pedigree and a more gentlemanly manner. Pistols at dawn, rather than assault rifles.

Batman: Arkham City Gameplay

Spoiler sense tingling! Must not watch! But it looks so very, very good…

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