Tag: games

12
Jan

Advertising, the Future of Gaming and Pro Evo

Before I start, I want to make clear that my knowledge of the gaming industry is pretty poor, but I think the assumptions I’ve used in this post are fairly sensible. If not, please let me know!

I want to talk very briefly about Pro Evolution Soccer, a game which I and many others have bought and enjoy playing. I’m sure this game cost a lot of money to develop – most games do. Traditionally, of course, this cost has been recouped by selling high volumes of games at a price which is around the standard for that console. So, for example, I generally expect to pay between £35-40 for a game for the PlayStation 3. This model has been around for a long time, and I’m assuming it works, since the game industry has managed to continue to thrive.

Pro Evolution Soccer appears to be bucking this trend. I don’t know whether or not it is the first, but the game has a hell of a lot of advertising in it. The boards on the side of the pitch change with adverts (for example, we have seen ones relating to upcoming games which are to be shown on ESPN), and on the pause menu there is often a small advert in the top right of the screen (I can understand advertising on the boards, but on the menu?). I can’t be sure, but I think the sponsors on the team shirts change as well (this is an assumption based on seeing a foreign team with a British non-multinational logo on their strip). There may well be other, more subtle advertising that I’m missing.

Don’t get me wrong, this is fine. We’ve learnt to ignore advertising online, we can learn to ignore it on the PlayStation as well. What does annoy me, however, is that this is obviously a second revenue stream for the developers/production house. I’ve already paid £40 for the privilege of playing the game, and as I have said, traditionally this should be enough to keep the game going through to the next version. Had the game been set at a much lower price point, and it was obvious that the advertising was there to ensure the survival of the company, then I wouldn’t mind so much, but since it was priced at the regular level, it seems that the advertising revenue is just a nice added bonus. To me, it seems a bit odd to charge full price for a product, and then make more money by selling advertising space in that product – though it could obviously be a very lucrative model.

Is this the future of gaming? Will we see more and more advertising within games? If we do, are the prices of games going to come down to reflect the reduced need for income from direct sales? Only time will tell.

20
Feb

Cat or Cactus?!

I’ve just launched this new mini-site, which is a Flash game I’ve been developing for a while. It’s a simple premise: you’re given a picture and you decide whether it is a Cat or a Cactus. Simples! And yes, it’s meant to look and sound as silly as it looks and sounds.

http://catorcactus.imaginaryroots.co.uk

01
Feb

Tomb Raider: Underworld

After about a month of gameplay, I’ve completed Tomb Raider: Underworld. This is quite a milestone for me, since it’s the first (real) game I’ve completed in quite a long time, and I believe is the first in the Tomb Raider series I’ve completed since the very first one – although I haven’t played them since the 3rd one I think. The game was, in a word, brilliant. It was damned annoying at times, I personally found the controls to be somewhat unintuitive and non-deterministic in how they actually controlled Lara, but that may have just been the Wii version. The puzzles were often pretty good, too. But the thing that really stood out for me was the level design. Every level had some piece of absolutely stunning scenery, and that really made the game for me.

Also, the gymnastic bits you can do when swinging on a pole was fantastic.

Next up: Quantum of Solace.

27
Aug

Bug bug buggy

Those of you that know me will know I very rarely play games. I bought a PS2 last year and hardly used it. I do, however, have a strange obsession with the Tony Hawks series. I was massively obsessed with the original when it first came out, but never got any of the others until I got the PS2 last year.

The other day I bought Tony Hawks Proving Ground. As with the others, it’s much like all the previous games with different skaters, moves and a few extra features. And, of course, a different story line. I must say the game itself seems great. The gameplay is very different, but once you’re used to it it’s really quite nice. I do, however, object to the fact that nothing seems to work. If you’re doing a challenge where you have to complete a certain set of goals, the system will sometimes go haywire, and believe you’ve completed ones you haven’t, and won’t believe you’ve completed ones you have done. That’s an annoying bug, since it can hinder your progress, or allow you to progress when you’re not actually good enough.

As well as this, the menus are really juttery and often don’t respond to touch and cut scenes can skip by randomly. There are a few design issues too, such as in the list of locations, ones you haven’t yet unlocked are the same colour as the one you’re currently in, which is obviously misleading.

These things mean I get frustrated with the game much too easily. My love for the series means I keep going back to it, but I often end up turning off the PlayStation in a fit of anger and sulking on the sofa. Disappointing, Page 44 Studios, disappointing.