Ben's Week In Review: March 10
Believe it or not, it's daylight savings time again. Yes, it's ridiculously early but just so ya know, you lose an hour tonight.
PS4 availability will be key at launch
I don't think enough attention was given to that manufacturing rumor, which stated that mass production of the PlayStation 4 will begin in August, and there could be 16 million units available for this holiday season. Thing is, if you're going to entice people to buy a product, it really has to be on store shelves, beckoning and taunting. If that product is nowhere, you have to be super gung-ho to try to track it down; if you're even the slightest bit lukewarm, you're not going to bother. If Sony is going to tickle buying bones, that PS4 needs to be easily found right out of the gate. No waiting lists and no stabbings to get systems.
Sure, the PS3 didn't have the best software launch lineup and it was ridiculously expensive, but I firmly believe it would've had a better start if normal everyday consumers actually had the option to buy one. But initial shipments weren't in the millions; they were in the thousands, and that's just absurd. 16 million PS4s available for the holiday season? No chance they'll sell them all; that number just means that it should be ready to go for anyone who wants one. It should be staring consumers in the face at GameStop, Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, and any retail store that plans to stock it. It's entirely critical as far as I'm concerned.
We may be stuck with microtransactions moving forward
EA continues to claim that this business practice has proved popular and even lucrative. Hence, we can't really complain about it if so many people are taking part. It's a model that's guaranteed to be around in some way throughout the next generation, so we should probably just accept it. For me, though, I consider it a dangerous sliding scale-
Right now, I don't care about them because for the most part, from what I've seen, they wouldn't really enhance my enjoyment of the product I purchased. I just don't care enough. So I get Pachter's point. However, the sliding scale is a matter of quality and necessity; what if I need to purchase extra stuff after buying the game in order for it to feel complete? In this way, it's very similar to the downloadable content argument, isn't it? In fact, minus the monetary issue, it's the exact same thing.
And so far, I haven't finished a game, got DLC a little later and said to myself, "Damn, I should've had this at the start," or "this should've been in the game in the first place, because it didn't feel complete without this." I've never said that. I've never played a game and felt the developers actually held back anything significant for the sake of DLC. The bottom line is that if DLC didn't exist, absolutely nobody would be calling any of those games "incomplete" or whining and complaining. Because they all seem fine. We just know there's extra content out there so we feel we have the right to complain that it's not all included. That being said, if microtransactions or DLC start to feel mandatory, I'm going to be upset.
Personal gaming update
I've finally completed Assassin's Creed III and I'm not sure why people are so annoyed at the ending. It seemed okay to me. It's a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation, but that fits the story arc as far as I'm concerned. So I've moved on to playing Halo 4...
I'll play a few more hours before I pass judgment but let me say this for now- I feel like I've done this before. I'm running around in a sci-fi environment battling the Covenant. Same enemies, same weapons, same vehicles, even basically the same AI. It looks great and plays great. But haven't I done this before? Like many, many times before? Didn't I see most all of this in the original Halo over 11 years ago? You know, I realize that everyone hated The Flood but at least it was something different. I'm sick of the damn Covenant.
I'm hoping this changes at some point. I'm hoping the new weapons, new enemies, and new vehicles are maybe in the latter half of the game or something. If not, I'm not even sure I'll be able to finish it. I've played and completed every single Halo entry thus far but for the first time, I've really started to feel bored when playing one of these titles. Anyway, my girlfriend and I are still going through Portal 2 co-op, which is really fun. :) I also really like Tomb Raider.
3/9/2013 Ben Dutka