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Thread: RPGCast - Episode 216: "No Class Kickstart"

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    Man vs. Slime, the fourth type of conflict Administrator sabin1001's Avatar
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    RPGCast - Episode 216: "No Class Kickstart"

    RPGCast - Episode 216: "No Class Kickstart"

    Mists are born, locks are grimmed, and blades are unchained on this week's RPG Cast. We also review the latest reports and break down the tuition to get into the new Class of Heroes.

    You can find the links to all our stories on delicious: http://delicious.com/rpgamer/216

    RPGCast streams live, sometimes on Friday at 10 PM Eastern / 7 PM Pacific, usually on Saturday at Noon Eastern / 9 AM Pacific.

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  2. #2
    A Serious Man Drav's Avatar
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    I think it might be time to make Wizardry an honorary JRPG. Japan has owned the license for 10 years, and it resembles modern JRPGs far more than it does modern WRPGs. Do people also consider games like Nocturne and Strange Journey to be WRPGs? Serious, non-rhetorical question.

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    Releaser of Heavy Metal LegendaryZoltan's Avatar
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    I have the EXACT same opinion of Brutal Legend as you guys. The demo made it look some much cooler than the game as a whole actually was. I REALLY wanted to love it because I love Jack Black and I, too, am a heavy metal musician. Aside from that, I have a MAJOR bone to pick with that game. I was trying to platinum that game, as I try to do every game. After you beat the game and save, the next time you load the file it will do one of those classic endless loading screen glitches on you. The internet said that you can bypass the glitch by getting the progress percentage of your game past a certain number before you power it down. So, I played through the entire game AGAIN and got it up to 99% before beating the final boss and saving. Guess what happened the next time I loaded the game. GLITCHED! The official statement from Double Fine was basically, "we're not gonna fix it." I hope so badly that it's because they CAN'T figure out how to fix it and not that they just won't. I gave the game away to someone after that. I wasn't about to keep a game like that in my house.

  4. #4
    I didn't learn anything! MasterChief's Avatar
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    The issue with Victor Ireland coming to fans with his hands out isn't the game, or the way the kickstarter is written, or anything else... It's that it's Victor Ireland. This is a man who burned bridges with every publisher he ever worked with, who tried to pin the blame on Sony when Working Designs fell, who prevented XSEED from being able to use the original Lunar voice actors for Silver Star Harmony, who railed against Jennifer Stigile and XSEED over the changes in their translation (including the songs), who argues like a petulant child on forums when someone dares say that XSEED did an OK job... And now that bastard has the nerve to ask people for donations?

    **** off, Vic. You had your chance, and you blew it.

    As for the Orbis rumors, it's not going to force people to register online. For one, there are too many people who don't have reliable broadband, or broadband at all. Most people in high-traffic urban areas think that everyone is in the same situation, but the reality is that our broadband penetration is worse than Romania, and it continues to slip between monopolistic ISPs and the realities of America's geography.

    Secondly, there's the issue of trust and ease of use. The only reason people buy consoles is because they're easy to use. You plug them in and they go. You start putting more and more parts into it, and the people who still give a crap about games and people who ARE privileged enough to have super internet are going to look at the PC. If they're both as complicated, why not go to the platform with better performance and easier piracy? As for trust, let's not forget that Sony had a month-long network outage last year. People were angry when they couldn't play Bionic Commando Rearmed 2 or Final Fight Double Impact for an entire month. You think they're going to stand by and just be OK when they can't use their system at all?

    Lastly, we have history. If this was going to be Sony's MO, why wouldn't they do it with the Vita, which only came last year? The PSP Go was Sony's market experiment with digital only, and the Vita would have been a fine test bed for mandatory online connections.

    So yeah, Kotaku's just being Kotaku, again.

    And yeah, Chris, the only people who need a new console are graphics *****s and the media. Most gamers are fine.
    Last edited by MasterChief; 04-01-2012 at 07:55 PM.

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    Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff jcservant's Avatar
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    I know we don't know for a fact that the PS4 will not allowed used games...but its obviously within the realm of the possible if we're so eager to talk about it.

    I agree a lot with Manny. Sometimes I think we are long lost brothers. I just finished Bioshock 2 as well!! I pretty much agree with teh assessment. I am glad I played through it (though I haven't done that den thing.... I don't feel like struggling with Windows Marketplace to get it. It's evil!) And, like him, I tend to wait for games to buy them at a lower price. What can I say? The game industry has trianed me well

    Anyway, I don't have a console to deal with all this copy-protection, account binding stuff. If they force everything to an online pass or account, and manage to eliminate the used game market, prices for people like me who wait will be much higher. Don't believe me? Check out the prices for PSN only games. They go down very, very slowly.

    Conversely, Steam constantly has significant sales on the latest games. Also, I just trust Steam a lot more (don't ask me why). One reason is that I'm not tied to their hardware like I am a PS. Another reason I just prefer Windows games to PS is that they will work on my laptops for years to come, because Windows stays BC for the most part (I play games 10-14 years old in Win 7...anything Win 98 and before is pushing it...though DOS works fine with DosBox). And, today, it's SUPER easy to hook my gaming laptop up to my TV via HDMI, play using an xbox controller, and enjoy better graphics and such.

    As far as Chris' concern about missing JRPGs... Well, my observation has been that there haven't been as many of those coming out on the consoles lately (especially compared to the past). In fact, I would say I've bought more JRPGs for my PSP in the last year than I have for my PS3. I'm sure if I don't get a PS4 I may miss out on one here and there (just like I missed out on a few XBox exclusives), but it's not worth owning a console over. (And some of those, like The Last Remnant, even came to the PC later on.)

    I've always had both (Computer and console), so I can have the best of both worlds...but that was only a draw for me as long as the console was so easy to set up and play and it offered me unique experiences. If these rumors pan out to be true, I can scratch the first one off the list. I am also of the opinion that, on the consoles, homogenization of genres (and middle sized developers/publishers being absorbed / disappearing) will drastically reduce the second draw for me.

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    I'm in the same position as Chris on the Disgaea 3 Vita release, but I've pretty much decided to hold off on playing through the rest of the PS3 version (I've only gone through about 1/3 of the story) and just getting the Vita version. Disgaea just feels better to me on the portable systems for some reason. It sounds like the bulk of the extra content is the Raspberyl story mode which I assume is similar to Etna mode from the first Disgaea PSP version: an alternate take on the story from a secondary character's perspective. Well worth it if you enjoy Disgaea's storytelling.

    But wait until you actually know you're going to play it. No reason to have 2 versions of a game you may never get around to playing.

  7. #7
    I didn't learn anything! MasterChief's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcservant View Post
    Anyway, I don't have a console to deal with all this copy-protection, account binding stuff. If they force everything to an online pass or account, and manage to eliminate the used game market, prices for people like me who wait will be much higher. Don't believe me? Check out the prices for PSN only games. They go down very, very slowly.

    Conversely, Steam constantly has significant sales on the latest games. Also, I just trust Steam a lot more (don't ask me why). One reason is that I'm not tied to their hardware like I am a PS. Another reason I just prefer Windows games to PS is that they will work on my laptops for years to come, because Windows stays BC for the most part (I play games 10-14 years old in Win 7...anything Win 98 and before is pushing it...though DOS works fine with DosBox). And, today, it's SUPER easy to hook my gaming laptop up to my TV via HDMI, play using an xbox controller, and enjoy better graphics and such.
    Honestly, I actually trust Steam less than Sony, if you can believe it (though I trust neither enough to pay more than $10-$15 for something that can be taken on a whim from me). The problem with Steam is that they've become a monopoly, or are fast on that path. Eventually, the absolute power they enjoy WILL get to Valve's heads. It's happened to every company that has a monopoly for a product of service. This is, of course, assuming publishers don't get tired of their games constantly being devalued by being offered for $5 on Steam (Something EA seems to have had enough of already), splitting the market into publisher-specific portals, which is its own disaster waiting to happen.

    In the end, though, it's so bleedingly obvious that these systems aren't going to require constant connections on boot. That would alienate anyone not in a high-density urban area and/or willing to pay upwards of $60/month for internet. The PC market has already made that transition into niche, there's no way Sony and MS are going to shoot the golden goose.

    "What the f--- is a Shakespeare?"
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    Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff jcservant's Avatar
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    Well, first, I would point out that Steam allows users to play their games w/o the connection. You can install the games from the service, pick offline mode, and it won't ask to login again. I've played games for months on my laptop with that. And, I wouldn't say they're a monopoly. Stardock's Impulse was bought out by EBGames, juggernaut EA has their Origin serivce and Windows has Windows LIVE. Granted, none of them come close to Steam's size, but to say they are on the fast path to being a monopoly is an exaggeration at best (It's like saying WoW is an MMO-opoly! LOL). I don't know about the other implications you mention about the portals and such...but as a consumer, I just know I get good games and good prices (If I wait)

  9. #9
    これはメタです RPGamer Staff Quin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MasterChief View Post
    This is, of course, assuming publishers don't get tired of their games constantly being devalued by being offered for $5 on Steam
    The Steam mini-sales cause such large sales spikes that most publishers don't care.

    befriend (v.): to use mecha-class beam weaponry to inflict grievous bodily harm on a target in the process of proving the validity of your belief system.

  10. #10
    Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff jcservant's Avatar
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    Does anyone know...is it Steam/Valve that dictates when something goes on sale? Or is it a joint decision between them and the publisher?

    In the end, though, it's so bleedingly obvious that these systems aren't going to require constant connections on boot.
    Yeah...but what about just requiring them to "Validate" the game...tying it to the console which effectively gets rid of used game sales? That's something that is distinct possibility IMHO.

    Now, I know that's pretty much what happens with PC games nowadays...so while I don't super like it, I'm used to it. (And, one of the reasons I'm a huge supporter of GoG! I can actually see them growing into more of a competitor with steam. They are now selling indy and small studio games as well as older titles). As a consumer who has used both Sony's and Valve's electronic distribution systems for years (PSN store vs Steam), I can tell you, I hate how stuff almost always costs more on PSN. Furthermore, Sony drops prices very slowly, and their 'sales' are very pale in comparison to what I get on Steam.

    I don't mind buying PC games new (never used anymore because of Steam/Origin/etc) because the prices. you say Steam is a monopoly, but it isn't. EA's Origin runs aggressive sales because of Steam's sales. And because huge companies like MS, EA, etc always trying to position close to Valve's service, Valve HAS to be continue to work hard.

    But, when if I own a PS3, and the model changes to one similar on the computer, I'm screwed...because, when it comes to electronic games, I'm only buying games via PSN. One marketplace. THere's a reason they don't drop those prices too often. Now, we can, for now, still buy games from stores. And the 'used' game market on Ebay, EBGames, etc, does help put pressure on keeping prices down. Get rid of that, and I assure you, console games will go down a lot more slowly...since demand for new copies will obviously go up (Granted, publishers can always raise 'supply,' but they won't do so to the point of causing the ideal price point to drop.)

    I'm all for companies doing whatever they need to in order to be profitable. I'm all about capitalism. But, I'm also a gamer and a consumer...and as such...I don't like what I see as the next 'logical, profitable' step that these guys will probably need to take in order to make share makers happy.

  11. #11
    For me the big upside to the used market is that it grants an extended--almost indefinite, even--window in which I can acquire a game. Sure, I might need to pay out the butt *cough*Radiant Silvergun*cough* but the option is there. Killing that market and locking gamers into a new market only system means that there will come a time when older games are simply unavailable.

    This is especially true for games that only see limited release. Remember how fast Radiant Historia flew off the shelves? What if that had been the only chance to buy it, with no possibility of getting it after the fact?

  12. #12
    I didn't learn anything! MasterChief's Avatar
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    Well, first off, I have my doubts as to whether bind on equip via PSN would even work. You're not going to force more casual gamers to connect their consoles, and there are still lots of places where that's not possible, unless they want to put a dialup adapter on the thing.

    Also, killing the used games market, while sounding wonderful to EA and that one miserable hack Dennis Dyack, would in effect kill the specialty game market, and in effect, anyone but the biggest companies for any game past a gigabyte or two. People hate GameStop for making money on used games, but remember that new games' margins are pathetic compared to other items. So you now lose GameStop and a whole slew of independant specialty stores because they can no longer function, and if you think Wal-Mart's going to consistently stock NIS or Atlus games, I'd love a share of the stuff you're smoking. That is, of course, assuming GameStop and the like don't simply tell MS and/or Sony to screw themselves and effectively hand the next generation over to Nintendo. Honestly, the only way this is going to work is if Sony mandates a $10-$20 price scale, and publishers won't stand for that either. There's no magic wand here, short of convincing people not to wait until games are dirt-cheap to buy them on Steam.

    And yeah, I also love GoG to bits, but their anti-DRM policy basically locks them out of major titles until they are effectively out of the market's collective mind. Even the music industry took ages to cave on ditching DRM before finally realizing that it was the only way to make their product more appealing than free.

    There's just too many issues in place for any responsible company to go down the "let's make a massive piece of hardware for a niche" path that the PC industry already has locked down anyway.

    "What the f--- is a Shakespeare?"
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    is not declawed RPGamer Staff Ocelot's Avatar
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    Yeah, Steam doesn't make unilateral sale decisions, the sales are done with the permission/co-operation of the publisher. And indeed, Steam sales have repeatedly proven to be great money-makers for game publishers. It's not like brand new AAA titles go up on Steam for $5, the big sales happen later in a game's life when the publisher is seeing low sales volume for the title. They in effect greatly lengthen the game's sales tail, giving the game attention and sales revenue it would not otherwise have received. (in fact, the sales bump goes on after the actual sale, garnering extra full-price sales.)

    I also seriously doubt that either the NextBox or the PS4 will actually block used game sales. I think the big publishers are currently engaged in an elaborate game of chicken with GameStop, seeing if they can get the company to back off a bit on its aggressive promotion of used game sales while at the same time knowing that currently the console market is highly dependent on GameStop in North America. They may be experimenting with anti used game technology, word of which has gotten out via leakers, but that doesn't mean it'll make it into the final product. To do so in the current environment would be a sales disaster. Sony can't afford to take that risk, and I doubt Microsoft wants to, especially since Microsoft isn't exactly flush with first-party game offerings these days.

    Also also, JCS is an accountant and a smart man, and I think he's on the spot with his comments here.

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    Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff jcservant's Avatar
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    MC - I would point out that we already have an anti - used game market effectively in place for the PC...and it doesn't require a huge broadband connection at all. As you probably know... you can buy a PC game on disc in the store, install it from the disk, and then validate the code that the game came with to your Steamworks account. The bandwidth used is very minimal. I don't know of anyone on dial up anymore. I do have plenty of relatives outside of metro areas. They all use cell phone hotspots or satellite internet hook ups. I'm willing to bet that the percentage of people still on dial up is so minimal at this point and that, while a consideration, isn't really high up on the list of 'cons' for Sony/MS. Trust me when I say that they 'lose' more money in used game sales (at least in their perceptoin) then they would by shunning the small percentage of console players who still don't have decent internet connection.

    With that being said, ticking off Gamestop is sure to be their largest "con column" consideration. Along those lines, I have a few thoughts on your comments.

    I don't believe GS would completely collapse. They make about 20% off of every new game sale (give or take depending on the promotion). Now, that's a lot less than the 50% (or more) profit margin on used game sales. However, if used games went away, they could keep a number of stores open on new game sales, consoles, peripherals, etc alone. In the Salt Lake area, we have about 6-8 Gamespots. Chances are, at least half of them would close, and we'd have to drive a little frurther to get our new game.

    To put it in perspective, I do accounting for a local coffee shop that does around $30k or so gross receipts. The profit margin on the coffee/food/etc is higher than new games (about 35%), so they net around $12k/mo to pay for the mortgage, utilities, etc, but they stay open. I'm willing to bet a pair of dirty socks that each Gamespot here does three times as much new game sales (And therefore nets twice almost twice as much). So, yeah, I'm sure that a number of Gamestops with new game sales only would stay open (especially given the markup on their accessories. Youza) and net considerably more than what keeps that similarly sized coffee shop open. (They just wouldn't be netting billions in profit for their shareholders anymore).

    I'm not totally discreding your notion that they MS/Sony will reject the idea of blocking used games...I'm simply pointing out that it is very much in the realm of possibility. While I agree it isn't super likely, I think if you study the facts a little more closely, it might scare ya, just a little, to realize how close the possibility may really be. The PC Market has pretty much phased out used game sales altogether. You don't see those publishers worried about the fact that their losing out on sales due to reduced (or non existant) shelf space at Gamestop or lost sales from people with crummy internet connections. And when the PC industry has done something that's proven to work, has the console market ever been that far behind?

    PS...I love you too, Becky!
    Last edited by jcservant; 04-04-2012 at 08:19 AM.

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    New Member Member Xanaxe's Avatar
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    I think it would be far more likely to see something along the lines of a mandatory online pass for every game on the system than a complete block of used games. When I first heard the rumors about the new systems and used games, I wondered if perhaps they were considering something along those lines, just lost in translation or not enough information yet.

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    Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff jcservant's Avatar
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    Perhaps. Everything is speculation at this point. I'd love to see numbers showing how successful the online pass has been in deterring used game sales and/or bringing incremental revenue to those companies which have employed it for their games.

    Since I pretty much only play single player, offline games, regardless of whether they do a Steam like account DRM deal to completely eliminate used game sales...or a compromise like a $10 pass... it sounds like more hassle than I would be willing to put up with. Then again, I get cranky just putting in my credit card number with the Wiimote every time I needed money for my Nintendo account. Grrrrr.

  17. #17
    is not declawed RPGamer Staff Ocelot's Avatar
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    I don't think online passes have been around long enough to get good data on them yet. I also suspect that it would be very difficult to measure used sale deterrance (incremental revenue, though, sure).

    Twitter: BeckyCFreelance

  18. #18
    Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff jcservant's Avatar
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    Indeed.

    Speaking of Steam seemingly having a monopoly.....

    I've had Impulse for a very long time. I used to like Stardock games (I still love their older ones), so I have it on my PC. A while back, as an answer to Steam's weekend sales, they started 24 hour promotions. Unfortunately their sale prices and timing were very weak, IMHO, compared to Steam. It was only once or twice / year that I felt compelled to buy something on Impulse over Steam.

    Gamespot now runs it...and I have to admit, they're not going to let Steam get lazy. They're much more aggressive about becoming a digital distribution presence. Today I saw a 2 month old game for $20 off on there, which I don't recall seeing on Steam Sale before. They got 500 copies of Anno 2070 going on 66% off sale on Friday. If Gamestop can leverage strong discounts in short bursts before Steam gets those deals, they're going to definitely capture a larger piece of the pie than Stardock ever did and give Valve a run for their moola.

  19. #19
    I didn't learn anything! MasterChief's Avatar
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    JC, I think there's a huge problem with using the PC market to determine what will work with all of gaming. First off, I think we can all agree that the PC gaming market is decidedly more niche than console. The PC is considered by most outside of the enthusiast crowd to be a work device. With the rise of set-top boxes, multi-function consoles and iOS/android devices, I expect this to become more and more of a mainstream viewpoint. Secondly, the PC is the easiest platform to secure one's purchase on. Buy a game only to have the DRM lock you out? A quick trip to a torrent site will fix that problem. As much as I detest the terms, console gaming is just more mainstream and accessible to most people, and there's clearly more money to be made on consoles, so making it less accessible with more asinine requirements will do more harm than good. Again, I still hold that if it was something that could easily be done without alienating significant numbers of customers, Hollywood firms would have done it ages ago and squeezed out Redbox and Netflix, to say nothing of Blockbuster during its prime.

    But hey, if console game companies want to push me away like gaming on PC has done, I've got enough games in my backlog to last until I die. *Laughs*

    Quote Originally Posted by Ocelot View Post
    I don't think online passes have been around long enough to get good data on them yet. I also suspect that it would be very difficult to measure used sale deterrance (incremental revenue, though, sure).
    The problem with online passes is that, in order for them to work for anything without an online multiplayer component, you have to do something truly despicable, like cutting core parts of a game out, and at that point you're no longer offering incentives, you're releasing incomplete products. And considering some months ago, EA said that they only made $15 million off all their online pass games, it suggests there's not much deterrant effect (At least if all the used EA games on shelves is any indication). The fact they didn't ship one for Syndicate also has me wondering how effective the practice is.

    "What the f--- is a Shakespeare?"
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  20. #20
    News Director/Reviewer RPGamer Staff Severin Mira's Avatar
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    AFAIK that's $15 million in sales from just the Online Passes themselves rather than $15 million from the games that contain Online Passes (considering the list of games with online passes, only making $15m would seem insanely low).
    "My doctor says that I have a malformed public-duty gland and a natural deficiency in moral fibre and that I am therefore excused from saving universes."
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