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Found 8 results

  1. Over the years we've seen a number of digital distributors rise on the PC, most notably starting with Steam and then continuing with Impulse (now owned by Gamestop), Desura, Green Man Gaming, and a few others. Now a new independently-owned player is about to step onto the scene: ShinyLoot. The big difference between ShinyLoot and others is that they're focused on minimal DRM and DRM-free indie games. In addition, there's no client to download, and the download manager is DRM-free. ShinyLoot is aiming to launch with at least 250 of its 425+ games on sale during a 6 week long launch event, starting August 26. You can check out the beta right now on www.shinyloot.com. What do you think of ShinyLoot? Do you think you'll eventually use it?
  2. Marcus Estrada

    PS4 Digital Games Can Be Accessed Anywhere

    One of the concepts that seemed positive in the wake of Xbox One's series of missteps was the idea of Family Sharing. If you have ever tried to use your digital collection at a friend's house or elsewhere it is often more of a challenge than it should be. Microsoft has already stated they are likely going to bring it back, but Sony has also shared their intentions for much the same thing. During Devolop, Sony's research and development team leader Neil Brown made the following statement: “You can visit your friends house you can log into your account and play any game from your digital library, which is good. But how useful is that if it takes half a day to download the game you want to play? With Play As You Download you get much quicker access to at least the first section of the game so you can start playing quicker. So this makes a digital library a practical option in the real world.” So not only do they have their own family/friend sharing plan, but they have a way to make it far more useful beyond the concept stages. As Sony previously revealed, they have worked to make sure that games can begin playing shortly even as you download them. Of course, how long that will work in the face of a slow internet connection is not yet known. Would you take advantage of your digital gaming library at a friend's house if the technology works?
  3. It may be incredible to realize, but System Shock 2 came out over a decade ago now. The title arrived on PCs in 1999 to unanimously high scores and became a very monumental title in gaming's history. However, until now, it has ditched any mode of digital distribution meaning many have never played it. Instead, many gamers have played the spiritual successor known as Bioshock. Those peopleshould probably say thanks to Night Dive Studios, as they are the team that finally secured the digital rights of System Shock 2. It took this long in part because the game's rights are held by multiple people at once. GOG had hoped to secure the rights since their site opened, but it is only now that everything has come into place. GOG will be getting the game "exclusively" first tomorrow - just in time for Valentine's Day! It will cost $10 and come with extras such as concept art, a Ken Levine interview, and other goodies typical of GOG releases. The game has also been confirmed for Steam but no date or pricing information has been set yet.
  4. Are you hungry for the cold hard numbers of American consumer spending when it comes to video games? If so, you've got oddly specific tastes, but are also in luck! The NPD Group released the 2012 Games Market Dynamic: US report today which details a lot of interesting buying trends. How much was spent on video games over the past year? A massive $14.8 billion was spent on new, used, digital, physical, and DLC content for games. Notably, the number does not include video game consoles or other hardware that goes along with them. In comparison to 2011, spending is down 9%. What of the divide between physical and digital games? Digital download titles were not a big factor at the start of this generation, but now that we're near the end of it things have definitely changed. Purchases of all physical media-based games reached $8.88 billion. This is a massive 21% decrease from just last year. Digital games and downloadable content rose with $5.92 billion sales equating to a 16% increase. Digital's gains mostly made up the losses by physical counterparts, but not quite enough to stop the overall decline of purchases in 2012. Do you think that digital game sales will continue their rapid growth in 2013?
  5. Steam Greenlight is the hot new thing in the PC gaming world nowadays, and for good reason: the service is there to allow indie developers a real shot at getting their games onto the immensely popular digital platform. Sure, there was always a way for people to try and submit their games to the service, but many were rejected. Popular indie games that were on other platforms weren“t granted a way past Steam“s gates. Now with Greenlight it appears the task may be easier, as now gamers will choose what they want to play. As sweet a deal as that may initially seem, there were people out there who wanted to abuse the service. As Greenlight went live, it was flooded with interesting indie titles that were ranged from finished to "in progress." The game amount increased from dozens to hundreds and soon there were far too many for any one person to check out right away. Unfortunately, that“s when Steam and everyone else noticed a problem. There were serious games on the service, yes, but also a lot of joke and offensive postings. Many of the “games” were simply meme-filled posts which brought nothing to the service. Then there were sensitive topics treated with no respect, as one might expect from a troll. Beyond that, there were also obviously fake uploads such as multiple versions of "Half-Life 3" that kept popping up. As great as the service could be, it was weighed down by all this awful, ridiculous clutter. Valve needed to do something to combat this, and by the second week of Greenlight“s operation, they shared their solution: a one hundred dollar fee. It certainly makes sense as a gatekeeping measure. The biggest reason that so many people were making joke postings was because it was free for them to do so. It was free and it was a platform that thousands of people would be looking at. Those who already posted won“t be charged retroactively either, although anyone submitting now will have to be. The fee itself will only be charged to a developer once when they submit their first game. After that, they will not have to continue to pay money with new games. It seems like a fairly solid method to keep casual trolls at bay. Is this really the best solution possible? According to Valve, they implemented this method because there was a lot of “noise and clutter” being submitted. Not only that but there are people who don“t “fully understand" the purpose of Greenlight. Obviously much of the clutter will be cleaned up, but what of the second point? Just because someone donates $100 to submit their game, are they suddenly aware of Greenlight“s point? You“d assume that they would take the time to read before downing the money, but the fee doesn“t guarantee it. What if a kid makes their first game, uses the credit card attached to their account, and posts it? Unfinished projects as well as things that aren“t really up to snuff for Steam will still be posted for one reason or another. The same holds true for some trolls. Although most aren“t willing to spend money for their pranks it doesn“t seem fair to assume they“ll all be gone now. I still expect to see some clutter coming to the service either to deceive users or rile them up. What price would make them stop? It would have to be higher, but no one wants that. At best everyone would probably like to go back to no fee but that“s not going to happen now. What about reducing the fee down to $50, or even $20? If trolls are so opposed to wasting money to have a good laugh then these lower costs would probably offer the same benefit as the $100 one. The exact price to submit games seems to have been chosen randomly and may be tweaked later. One question to ask Valve is why have they chosen to “punish” everyone to squash out the bad apples? The money does not go back to Valve, but instead goes to Child“s Play charity. Valve doesn“t need or want the payments, so why go with this method? The move doesn“t seem to have been made because they wish to be in line with other digital publishing platforms. Judging from the fact that Steam didn“t make this the rule from day one shows it isn“t entirely thought out. What about the idea of banning accounts who are obviously submitting troll content? Some might say it would be hard to tell the difference between troll and newbie game efforts, but really if you have looked at the listings, it“s easy to see. If banning accounts in some fashion were implemented as the main rule, then it would have much the same effect as a fee. That is, as long as they also would make sure the only accounts that can upload something are in good standing and have a purchase tied to it. The account regulation is currently in effect, at least, and helps ensure that people aren't joining Steam just to spam Greenlight. One point that gets brought up is how other services like Apple“s App Store and Xbox Live Indie Games charges a fee. This is true, but they don“t do it in the same way that Steam is now doing. With the App Store, you are given rules which to abide by. As long as you follow these rules, then your item will eventually be pushed to the store. Are you guaranteed anything by publishing to Greenlight? Of course not, it“s just the chance that you“ll get zillions of “thumbs up” to get it going. The biggest question I have is how worthwhile it even is to spend money just to jump into a popularity contest. If you have no social media management abilities to help get the word out about your game, will people just flock to it? It“s possible, yes, but the most liked games so far are ones that are the most famous. Previously popular titles such as Project Zomboid rack up lots of attention but most are stuck with very low positive ratings. Obviously Greenlight is going to be updated to make games more visible, but so far it still doesn“t help most developers. Some say that Greenlight could be used purely as advertising since most games won“t get through it, but again, at this point the service just isn“t at a point where that would be useful. Getting a game onto Steam has always been a bit of a mysterious process for independent developers. Many great games have been rejected, and not-so-great games attached to big names were pushed right through. With Greenlight, we are now in control of selecting games that are worth our time. It“s a great deal with a few negatives that Valve still needs to work out. While their newly implemented fee will help, it also hardly seems the only method to maintain listings. Perhaps soon we will see a new solution promoted by Valve that will please everyone. What do you think about the $100 fee? Will it serve its purpose amicably? Are there other ways you can think of to solve Greenlight“s current problem?
  6. What is the future of video game sales? If you ask Electronic Arts, it“s a digital-only library. In an interview with Gamesindustry.biz ( Brightman, 2012), EA Labels president Frank Gibeau stated that EA“s “fastest growing segment...is clearly digital and digital services and ultimately Electronic Arts, at some point in the future...we“re going to be a 100% digital company, period.” Hold up, a gaming future where there won“t be any more discs? Is EA absolutely insane? Before we cry foul, EA has assured us that it will not be dropping standard retail services right now. “If customers want to buy a game at retail, they can do that too. We“ll continue to deliver games in whatever media format makes sense,” said Gibeau. That means all of you lovers of physical game copies can breathe a sigh of relief; your next EA purchase will likely come in a plastic case. The fact remains, however, that EA is still pushing towards a digital services-based future. While many gamers may naysay EA“s efforts, I“d say the company“s decision is completely sound. Take a look at the success of Valve“s digital distribution service, Steam. At any one point in time, more than 3,000,000 users are logged into the popular digital game delivery app. At its core, Steam is meant to be a universal platform for easy, fast, and convenient gaming. You can log in to Steam from your laptop, mobile device, or Mac. Valve has also ensured users are treated well with regular sales including the Steam Daily Deal, Midweek Madness, and seasonal clearances such as the Winter Sale. For frugal gamers, what“s not to like? Given Valve“s commitment to making digital distribution the most viable platform for buying games on PC, just how much has the company made? A report from the Forecasting and Analysing Digital Entertainment group estimated a whopping $1 billion in revenues in 2010. Forbes Magazine estimated Valve took a 30-40% cut of third-party game sales revenue, meaning Valve may have made as much as $400 million in 2010. When questioned about first-party release figures, Valve said profits were roughly comparable to its third-party game sales (Chiang, 2011). Think about it. That means Valve made between $600 million and $800 million almost two years ago, in a company that continues to grow by leaps and bounds. Are you seeing the dollar signs in digital distribution? It“s a massive market that hasn“t seen a true competitor to Steam in many, many years. Services like Direct2Drive and Impulse have come along, but Steam still remains the dominant force in digital gaming. Even EA attempted to counter Steam“s success with its own digital service platform, Origin. Though Origin“s success is relatively limited when compared to Steam, it represents a bold move on EA“s part to enter the digital gaming market and, perhaps, the publisher“s first true attempt at making a digital-only future. Now, the most important factor when considering digital distribution is the gaming platform of choice. Where EA“s plan still holds question marks is digital content in relation to game consoles. The disc-based monoliths such as the XBOX 360 and PS3 haven“t been known to cater to digital distribution. User interfaces make sorting through digital game libraries a pain, and most gamers aren“t willing to pay higher prices for the same games they can find cheaper in brick-and-mortar stores. For example, Call of Duty: Black Ops on the XBOX Marketplace is still $49.99 while stores regularly clearance the game as low as $19.99. There“s a disconnect between digital and physical prices, a divide that can“t exist if digital distribution is to thrive. By removing the hard-copy element, EA effectively makes this issue null and void. Only having digital releases means brick-and-mortar stores won“t compete with digital markets by having the lowest prices. EA will also eliminate the need to regulate used game sales, since digital copies can“t be resold once the product key or DRM has been activated. For EA“s digital future to really take hold, I doubt its library will become all-digital until the next generation of consoles. While the PS3 and XBOX offer games on demand, the service is not the simple, convenient form which consumers want. Sorting through lists of digital games is a chore when it“s cheaper just to buy them in-store. Future consoles are under debate as to whether or not they will use disks, and it seems EA has fired its own answer; yes. What does a digital-only library mean for consumers? If EA doesn“t properly reward customers for purchasing their digital content, the consumers will likely stop purchasing EA products. It doesn“t make sense for a consumer to put up with inflated prices or a lack of sales if a company refuses to change its sales policy. For EA, this means the company must adapt. Having sales is one thing, but ensuring the customer experience is smooth and rewarding is paramount to the success of digital distribution. Valve won the PC battle with an easy-to-use, accessible platform that features great rewards for user loyalty. Can EA do the same for consoles with its digital-only future? Sound off: What do you think of EA's decision to go digital? Is it a great idea, a terrible one, or a mixture of the two? Leave your opinion in the comments below!
  7. Marcus Estrada

    GOG.com Front Page

    From the album: Marcus's Album

  8. Marcus Estrada

    Steam Library View

    From the album: Marcus's Album

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