Arrogance of Game Companies

First, EA made the DRM far more draconian than it needed to be. Three activations and you’re out and one account per CD key (something that EA seems to have misled customers about initially) is really just squezing the buyer too much. These are limitations that even basic users can hit up against pretty quickly so it’s something that every buyer should care about.

“We don’t provide the ‘easy to program for’ console that (developers) want, because ‘easy to program for’ means that anybody will be able to take advantage of pretty much what the hardware can do, so then the question is, what do you do for the rest of the nine-and-a-half years?” explained Hirai.

“So it’s a kind of–I wouldn’t say a double-edged sword–but it’s hard to program for,” Hirai continued, “and a lot of people see the negatives of it, but if you flip that around, it means the hardware has a lot more to offer.”

Yes, you’ll have to buy separate discs. According to Pardo, “It’s a separate product. Look at the next two as expansion packs, but will have the feel of stand alone products.” Meaning yes, we’ll be charging you more money.

“We don’t currently plan to support LAN play with ‘StarCraft II,’ as we are building to be the ideal destination for multiplayer gaming with ‘StarCraft II’ and future Blizzard Entertainment games. While this was a difficult decision for us, we felt that moving away from LAN play and directing players to our upgraded service was the best option to ensure a quality multiplayer experience with ‘StarCraft II’ and safeguard against piracy.”

The four statements above are examples of news that rocked the Video Game Industry in the last 2 years.

The first one is with EA Games placing a very restrictive DRM on Spore causing the game to be one of the most downloaded torrent upon its release. The DRM will prevent you from installing the game for more than 3 times to a machine with different parts. So if you upgrade a major part on your computer and reinstall the game, that would count as your installation number 2. In any case, I heard that EA changed this system with a patch later on but I’m not sure. What I didn’t like is the fact that EA knows that their customers are pissed with their decision to include the DRM and yet still pushed through with the plan.

Next we have the PS3. As Hirai, CEO of SCEA, claimed that the PS3 is hard to develop for on purpose. This fact has caused some developers, more particularly Valve, to ignore the console when they develop games. I think I’ve read somewhere that PS2 also had this type of problem. I personally don’t believe that Hirai meant what he said. Why? Because 2-3 weeks later, Sony made an announcement that they are going to give better support to their developers, they also are cutting the price to their dev kit down to $2,000.

On the first 2 examples, both companies made moves that affects their customers’ satisfaction to their product. On both cases, the companies know that their customers/developers didn’t like how they do things and yet pushed their original plans. They have only rectified their mistake a few weeks or in PS3’s case, a few years after release of their respective products. On EA’s case, I admit that they are just concerned against piracy unfortunately they only hurt their legitimate users as crackers has already bypassed their DRMs. On PS3’s case, I could not understand why they did that. And no, being hard to develop for doesn’t equate to quality games.

Now we move to the 3rd and 4th example both are from the upcoming, much anticipated Starcraft 2. In the past, I have admired Blizzard as a game company as they are the type that only release quality games. They have put quality first before monetary concerns. One good example here is the Starcraft Ghost which was never released. It was said that Blizzard was not pleased with the product and decided not to release it even though a lot of money has been placed for its development. I stated before that Blizzard, in my opinion, is the only game development that is more committed in making great games than they in making money.

And then we had the dreaded merger between Activision and Blizzard.

Now Blizzard announced that they are going to release Starcraft 2 in separate releases, one for each race, that you would have to purchase individually. At first, we thought that this is Activision’s doing, that they want to milk the franchise for all its worth. But we later fooled ourselves that it is for the better as we would have epic campaigns as it necessitated 3 different release.

Six or so months later, another major disappointment of an announcement was made. LAN will not be supported in the upcoming Starcraft release. They have 2 reasons/justification for their move. One is that they want everyone to play on Battle.Net. Two, to prevent piracy.

Let’s tackle the second reason as this one is easier. You cannot stop pirates. They will crack your game to make LAN games possible. If they cannot, they will hack Battle.Net for them to gain access. And if they can’t they’ll go after your legitimate customers by hijacking their accounts.

On the first reason, I want to know why exactly do they want you to play on Battle.Net? Here is their response:

More people on means more even more resources devoted to evolving this online platform to cater to further community building and new ways to enjoy the game online. World of Warcraft is a great example of a game that has evolved beyond anyone’s imagination since their Day 1 and will continue to do so to better the player experience for as long as players support the title. The original StarCraft is an even better example of how 11 years later, players still love and play this title, and we will continue to support and evolve it with patches.

I am very much concerned in the reference to World of Warcraft. I have this bad feeling that, after everyone is hooked on Battle.Net, they’re going to charge you for the service in the future.

Enough about the rant. Let’s now talk about what we can do.

First, we can sign a petition. Hopefully, if we can garner 10 million signatures, Blizzard might decide that they’re making a huge mistake. Click here to sign an online petition.

Second, why not make a one month boycott for World of Warcraft? I know that they are 2 different product, but if we can just show how much we want Starcraft 2 to have LAN support and how serious we are they might change their mind.

Third, boycott the product itself. I know this is a very hard thing to do as I have been waiting for this sequel for over a decade but if we can just delay our purchase for a month so that we can show them that they can’t push us around.

Fourth, since Koreans are the nation that is most excited about SC2, have them unite and direct their ICBMs to Irvine, California.

Seriously though, us consumers need to unite and show this big gaming corporation that they shouldn’t mess with us.


Ubuntu: First 8 Hours

I tried using Ubuntu 8.10 today out of curiosity. I’ve been wanting to for quite a while to try Linux-based OS but has been intimidated by it. My first Linux encounter is Fedora Core back when I was still in Anino Entertainment. One of the Network Card on our Linux Server died because of power fluctuations and I would have to replace it. That was a nightmare as I have to fix it before the day ends and I know nothing about Linux. Thankfully, I have a few officemate who knows Linux and was able to help me during their free time. Nonetheless, the event had me hating Linux.

A year later, people has been talking about Ubuntu and how it was easy to use. So I tried it and I am somewhat happy with the OS. The installation was fast and easy to understand. I tried to watch a movie but it said that it needed different codecs. Thankfully, they have an automated search for things that you might need and for most of the time, it is able to find the appropriate codec or program to run whatever it is you want to open.

The first problem I encountered is the video card. I couldn’t make heads or tails with the Nvidia Driver for Linux-32 found on the manufacturer’s website. But after updating the OS to current, it was able to use the built-in graphics driver. Besides the Graphics Card driver, all the other devices has been automatically installed.

When I played music, I noticed that it could detect my iPod that was plugged to the USB. The built-in player can also manage the music files of your iPod. The only thing that is missing in the music player is an equalizer but besides that, it’s a good player.

One of problem that I simply didn’t like are the softwares that I download. Almost all of them are source codes and you would have to compile them with the Software Sources Applet. Currently, I am still unable to install Mozilla Thunderbird. I was able to install Wine though.

Speaking of Wine, I downloaded it so that I can play Warcraft III. Sadly, it didn’t work (or maybe I’m doing something wrong).

Another thing that I like with Ubuntu is the Dual Desktop. You can have 2 desktop that you can switch to easily (you would need to customize the shortcut key). So you can have your Work Desktop and your Play Desktop. ^_^

To conclude, Ubuntu is a great OS for those who uses their computer for office works and for browsing. But if you’re into gaming, you’re better off with Windows. Yes, you can download a couple of programs to make games run but is it really worth the time?

Review: Norton Internet Security Suite 2009

Intrigued by reviews that Symantec has finally made an Internet Security Suite that is non-system memory hog and non-obtrusive to your daily computer process, I installed the 15-day trial version.
I was amazed at the installation time, 2 minutes! On an Athlon XP 2500+ with 1GB of RAM and running Windows XP. No restart was required. When I visited the task manager though, there are a lot of processes running that I could not identify. I presume they’re with Norton as I’ve got this process after installing it and I was not yet connected to the internet. So I don’t know how much memory it takes to run. But I’ve been playing Defender of the Ancients for 4 hours straight and I didn’t notice any slowing down. As of the moment, the only thing I didn’t like is I could not connect to Yahoo Messenger for some reason. I checked the Instant Messenger Protection setting of Norton and it’s only compatible with Yahoo Messenger 5.0 to 6.1 and the 9.0 Beta Version. I turned off the Instant Messenger Protection and tried connecting again but my YM still cant connect. It might not be because of Norton in any case. I just need a little more time to test Norton. My parents uses my computer and part of the reason why I used the very obtrusive Zonealarm is because I am afraid that they might click some ads while browsing. A 15 day test should be enough for me to see whether it has protected the computer from mistakes my mom and dad might make.

Hva been using Norton 2009 for 5 days now. So far no virus or spyware yet as far as I know has infected my computer. It’s pretty lightweight and barely noticeable. I’m impressed so far