: PSX Extreme Roundtable Discussion (Week 3)

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PSX Extreme Roundtable Discussion (Week 3)

Welcome to the third PSX Extreme roundtable. This roundtable focuses on various topics including price increases for videogames, crappy movie to game conversions, and videogame droughts during the summer season. We have a mystery moderator this time around, seeing as how our former Managing-Editor, Ryan Hartmann, is off doing other things. We hope you enjoy this more laid back roundtable. 

Deepthroat says:
Checking out MSNBC earlier I came across this rather confusing article. Apparently the price of games could be going up here in the near future. What's the deal? Aren't we paying enough to the fat cats already?

Arnold says:
It's some kind of new technology that supposedly makes it harder to duplicate a game, right? Whatever. Sony tried that with a proprietary CD once, and that protection was cracked. All you had to do was take a red thin marker and along the spindle hole make a circle outline. There you go. You can make a duplicate now. This stuff is worthless. Pirates are smarter than the fat cats think. 

Peter says:
Thanks to skyrocketing development costs and piracy, we're really not paying enough for publishers to continue making decent profits. We've paid $60 and over for video games before, and I wouldn't be surprised if we went there again. 

Matt says:
I can perfectly accept a price increase in certain games and other gamer should as well. With increased production and development costs, something has to give. I believe if a gamer sees a certain title priced at $59.99 all over town, he/she will accept it and fork over the extra 10 bucks. However, problems could begin to surface with competitive game stores attempting to keep the price at $49.99 or a reduced $54.99.

Arnold says:
Hey, I paid (ok, my dad did) $85 for Street Fighter 2 Turbo. I will object a price increase.

Peter says:
That likely wouldn't happen as retailer costs would increase as well. In order to keep their margin levels, retailers would have to follow suit, including Wal-Mart. 

Arnold says:
I honestly don't see it happening, but you never know.

Matt says:
Although Wal-Mart will probably sell it for $59.88. *laughs*

Arnold says:
Ah, yes. A penny makes the difference!

Deepthroat says:
Hey, that smilie face is SERIOUS about rolling back the prices, Matt!

Arnold says:
He's got a heck of a whistle.

Peter says:
The thing is that it's already been happening, in small doses. Although SOCOM came with that cheap headset (that everyone's already broken), I saw nobody whining about paying $60... even the folks who didn't have a network adapter. 

Arnold says:
Well, Socom supports a huge network. So essentially, you paid $10 for a headset and $10 for online gameplay. Subtract that, and you have a standard $39.99 Sony game.

Peter says:
Some retailers also admittedly boosted the asking price of Vice City initially, due to supply and demand issues, and people still bought that game in droves. 

Arnold says:
Yeah, well...how often does a game like Vice City come along? Not often at all.

Matt says:
I saw GTA:VC at $54.99 at GameStop and it was still constantly sold out

Arnold says:
So did I. My local GameStop does if often.

Peter says:
All right, but people still spent the extra money... there wasn't a massive riot or anything. 

Arnold says:
You have a point, I guess.

Matt says:
Target or Wal-Mart is the place to go or Best Buy

Arnold says:
All I'm saying is, if a price increase happens, I will not be a happy camper.

Arnold says:
God bless, Best Buy.

Matt says:
If it happens, it happens...I can accept the increase with *certain* games..90% of games don't cost 20 million to make though

Peter says:
We used to pay $60 and up for years during the 16-bit era, and we'll likely do it again. I don't see the industry grinding to a halt over an extra $10 per game. 

Arnold says:
But the medium today is cheaper. This so called technology is just an excuse, no less.

Matt says:
I don't buy the piracy BS...but development cost is understandable

Peter says:
Why aren't game companies entitled to try and recoup some of that development cost? Shareholders want that money. CEOs want that money. It could very well be a reality, and a rightful one, at that. True, I don't want to pay more for my games, but I'm not giving them up over an extra $10 a pop. 

Peter says:
I'm not necessarily arguing in favor of a price increase, but I'm trying to bring the other side of the argument into play here. 

Matt says:
If gamers see 50 games at $49.99 at their local game shop and then a few at $59.99, they're going to assume the higher priced titles are better quality - which will be the truth most likely.

Arnold says:
Recouping development cost? Let's pain a scenario: Publisher releases game at $50. Game flops. Publisher needs money, releases new game $60. Game flops. In order to recoup a loss, all that needs to be done is proper marketing, or develop a decent game.

Matt says:
...Except the problem is games like Enter the Matrix being priced at $59.99...when it probably should be $5.99

Peter says:
One of the strengths of the PS2 is the fact that there are so many games available-- using the "quality over quantity" argument, like Nintendo has, doesn't breed results. 

Deepthroat says:
Yeah but shouldn't we get better games for the extra price tag. Come on now, Peter, look me in the eye and tell me Skorpion King is worth $50. That's a prime example of why gaming companies don't deserve the extra buck- they constantly ruin licenses, both from Hollywood and in their own camp. Don't you think?

Peter says:
Arnold's argument is, basically, a rewrite of Nintendo's argument. 

Matt says:
Here's the jist of the situation: A price increase in my mind is inevitable. Am I for it? No, but that isn't going to stop me or others from purchasing games. Case closed.

Arnold says:
If publishers price their games based on their quality, people will realize that and stop purchasing the 29.99 titles. They will realize what they're paying for is crap.

Arnold says:
I don't think a price increase will happen. That's just me.

Matt says:
A broad price increase maybe not...but certain games here and there is a definite possibility

Arnold says:
Deepthroat brings up a good point, though.

Deepthroat says:
You damn skippy, pal!

Arnold says:
Movie licensed games are getting hack jobs left and right. Of all the ones I've played. The Scorpion King was easily the worst.

Peter says:
I will happily admit that I avoided The Scorpion King... complete with its included skateboard sticker. I didn't know that they had skateboards then. 

Arnold says:
But, at the same time, it looks like publishers and developers are raising the ante with their licensed games. Spider-Man and Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers are example of this. Both were superb games, LOTR being the superior.

Arnold says:
Enter the Matrix had potential, but ultimately failed in execution. The story was its only redeeming feature to me.

Peter says:
Indeed. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers was a great example of how to use a movie license properly. It was one of the better beat-em-ups that I've played recently. Enter the Matrix had so much potential, and the use of the license is actually right on. The problem is that the game just didn't come out as good in reality as it sounded on paper. 

Arnold says:
Too much hyperbole BS surrounded that game. 

Matt says:
What would you say is the largest downfall of movie-to-game transitions? Lack of development time or lack of a decent developer? Usually good development teams steer clear of movie-videogames.

Arnold says:
Largest downfall? This is easy. A publisher wanting to cash in ASAP!

Deepthroat says:
And once again the fat cats disenfranchise the gamer!

Matt says:
Precisely...publishers want to get the product out fast and who cares if it's crap lined in tin-foil...at least it's shiny. Yes, pun intended

Peter says:
Sculptured Software's Super Star Wars (SNES) was an example of how to use a movie license. It wasn't a bad game at all. 

Arnold says:
Too bad Episode One the game was disgustingly bad.

Arnold says:
So what is the solution? Just get a publisher who gives a damn about its gamers and give it time. But that'll never happen. It's a money business

Peter says:
The solution isn't all that apparent. I think that Shiny Entertainment had the right idea in working closely with the Matrix folks directly... and EA is doing the same with their LOTR games... 

Matt says:
Time + quality publisher = Decent movie-to-game transition.
However, what you will see the majority of the time is: Idiot publisher + rushed development = Scorpion King

Matt says:
It's sad, but allows us to better appreciate games like LOTR:TTT

Peter says:
That's only one piece of the puzzle, though. Good movies don't always make good games (*cough* Total Recall for NES *cough*). 

Deepthroat says:
Yeah, well I have a solution -- release these terrible games during the summertime. It's not like they'd have a lot of competition during the 'drought' season anyway. What's up with summertime getting no love from this industry, anyway?

Peter says:
It's a silly trend. Game companies need to spread out their release schedule a bit better. 

Matt says:
Yeah, that's the solution. Release more crap in the summer. That should help the drought of quality games. Come on!

Peter says:
Why make us wait for Soul Calibur II when it's already practically done? August? Why? Look at Konami's release schedule-- you'd swear that 90% of their PS2 commitment arrives in November. 

Arnold says:
It is a bit awkward that the summer, a time where all children are off school, is the time that gets the least releases. I've always found that peculiar. I mean, there are millions and millions of students home from school or college, a huge summer game would be the perfect thing for many people who have a lot of free time on their hands. Doesn't that make sense? Instead, most games are held off up until the holiday season. And it gets to a point where there's just too many games at the holiday season, and many AAA titles are looked over.

Peter says:
That's why it makes sense to adjust development cycles so that a few of those potential blockbusters get some spotlight of their own during the summer months. 

Matt says:
Releasing a blockbuster game in the summer is foolish. The summer is the time families go on vacation and kids spend the majority of their time outdoors. AAA releases are intended for the fall and winter where it is cold out, kids stay inside, and the holidays are just around the corner.

Peter says:
Matt-- the crux of the gaming industry is no longer children. 

Arnold says:
I can understand the release of Madden and NFL 2K4 (I refuse to call it by its new, generic, name) being held off until August. That's generally when NFL pre-season talks begin. But the rest is just a myth to me. Look at Sony. They released Gran Turismo 3 at the beggining of summer. It ended up selling 10 million copies worldwide.

Peter says:
The average age for gamers today is well over 18. 

Deepthroat says:
28, according to a CNN poll

Arnold says:
This is true

Matt says:
Peter: It doesn't matter. Adults still go on vacation far more in the summer and still spend more time outdoors.

Arnold says:
Do vacations last 90 days? No.

Peter says:
And, these days, many people are bringing their game systems with them on vacations (for the ride). 

Arnold says:
Not many people. Not even a percentage of the people. Handheld systems, yes. But not consoles.

Peter says:
The number is rising, though. It's more than it's ever been. 

Matt says:
Hmmm...release our best game in the summer or wait until the fall where if it isn't bought upon release, it certainly will be for Christmas. Toughie...

Arnold says:
Like I said, when too many games get released during the winter, the AAA games can get lost in the frenzy.

Matt says:
Well, publishers would rather risk that then have the title being lost in the summer. Then the holidays come around and little Johnny doesn't want the 6 month old videogame. The formula is so simple it's sickening.

Arnold says:
Look at it this way. The winter time is a time of mid-terms, semester changes, people are working late shifts because of the holiday rush, and etc. The summer is just the opposite. People have far more free time. There are many holidays. Also, part time summer jobs can help teens get that videogame, as well. It's not quite simple. Both seasons are equal, neither is preferred. My point is, summer needs more blockbuster releases. That's it

Matt says:
For me, personally, I play far more videogames in the fall and winter. Not just because that's when they come out, but because I'm doing other things in the summer. Obviously I fit the demographic the publishers are looking for, like it or not. Does that mean I wouldn't like to see a quality game released here or there? No; in fact, I'm happily awaiting NCAA Football 2004

Arnold says:
I wouldn't necessarily say you're a demographic. 

Deepthroat says:
Of course he is

Arnold says:
Well, we all are.

Arnold says:
Just not the way he's thinking it.

Arnold says:
I don't believe publishers think everyone plays their games during the winter time as he proposes he does. People do less during the summer. Far less.

Peter says:
Even us. 

Arnold says:
Yeah.

Deepthroat says:
I still don't get it, though. We see blockbuster movies all the time during the summer and the holiday season. Why should games be different?

Matt says:
Not exclusively in the winter, but more than the summer. I find this to be more true amongst people in my area. During school, everyone was playing videogames; now summer has hit and it is slowly tapering of.

Matt says:
Good point, Deepthroat. Well taken

Arnold says:
Not, really.

Peter says:
You mean to say that people go outside and stuff? I thought that was an urban legend. 

Arnold says:
Movies are a 2 hour event. Games can be ten times that. And then some.

Arnold says:
You go to a movie theater, watch the movie and come back. With a game, you play it, and play it, and play it, until you beat it. Plus movies are only $9 a ticket.

Matt says:
The reason, however, is because it doesn't cost $50 to go to a movie. Videogames will always be eaten up the most during the holidays. And therefore, the summer will always be left out

Deepthroat says:
Not all games are multi hour affairs, Arnold. Fighting games, racing games, all those games you can pick up and play for 15 minutes- what is the difference between those types of games and a movie?

Matt says:
Price.

Arnold says:
I said games *can* be 10 times. I didn't say they all are. 

Arnold says:
This is of course assuming the people who purchase games in the summer actually complete them -- or play them enough to get really good.

Matt says:
Here's my perfect conclusion to why videogame aren't released in early summer: The reason videogames aren't released in early summer is because this is the time the majority of vacations are scheduled. People usually try to center them around the end of June and into the fourth of the July. The reason you will see select AAA games released in July and August is because this when people have settled down somewhat and realized that they DO have a lot of time on their hands.

Arnold says:
I disagree with that very much. But that's just me. A ton of people leave on vacations during the winter season, Matt.

Matt says:
It's simple marketing, that's just me

Arnold says:
I'd say the market is equal during both seasons. Publishers just aren't utilizing it. 

Deepthroat says:
Alright, you guys, let's hit the showers!

And so, we hit the showers. Arnold punched Matthew in the face for arguing with him so long. Matthew retaliated by taking Arnold's tinted glasses and breaking them in half -- leaving Arnold susceptible to attacks. Luckily, Peter jumped in and stopped the brawl before it progressed. We are a happy family, indeed. Join us next week.

6/26/2003 PSX Extreme Staff

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