Thursday, August 4, 2016

My Gaming System of Choice

            I have not been posting nearly enough this year and I want to steer back from that.  To that end I have found a 30-day blog challenge and will be writing out entries, hopefully I can get all thirty days without any breaks, and if I manage to do that (since August has 31 days) I will think of an additional entry to write about.  I have done a 30-day challenge before, it for movies, but that was a while back, feel free to read those too if you like.

            Today is day 4 and the topic is “My Gaming System of Choice”.
            I currently have a Nintendo Wii, Playstation 3, and Xbox 360 hooked into my TV; I also use my phone for quick little things like Bejeweled; and I have a Nintendo DS which I have had since 2007.  All of these things together make up about 5% of my gaming activities.  I am very much a PC oriented game player at this point in my life because of one particular goliath of gaming.

            Behold, oh glorious garbage peddling monster.  Soul sucking abomination of the online world.  Shiller of shit I do not need and may never touch again.  Breath deep and feel your lungs burned by the Steam.
            The number of games old and new is ocean deep on this service.  It has allowed me to play dozens of games for dollars that in previous generations of renting shit at Blockbuster would have cost bricks of gold.  Which is fine by me.  I spend less on games every year and yet I still have access to everything I want to play (that my computer can handle, it was top of the line 7 years ago, not so much now).  I have 7 games waiting for me to play them and dozens more that I got in value packs waiting to be downloaded.
            Really at this point I am more starting to just hate the concept of how consoles function.  Individual units with variable power and certain walled off fiefdoms of games that they won’t let the others play with.  Forcing consumers to buy more of these units to gain access to each of the fiefdoms.  WHY IS THIS ALLOWED?
When movie studios began to buy uptheater chains they were hit with antitrust legislation but game companies continue to horde these things.  Imagine a world in which a particular movie wouldn’t play on certain brands of movie player, only on the players of the company who owned the movie as an IP.  Imagine if TV operated that way, only Universal brand TV’s can play NBC and related networks.  People would be pissed (and so would advertising firms) as no one would want to have three screens in their living rooms to watch the three big networks, to say nothing of all the independent content that would have never been produced because of the prohibitive barriers to entering the market.
And esoteric shit like this needs no more prohibitions to entry.  It is hard enough as is.
In eras past they wouldn’t bother producing a video game unless you can guarantee 2 million units sold, otherwise it wouldn’t be worth the shelf space it takes up (this is also true of the music industry and CD’s, independent artists in the music world floundered for so long, and why they are booming now because of PC music, allowing people to sell the music they want without having to put disks on shelves).  Steam removes that.  Sure there is a tidal wave of sewage, but there is also a lot of good content that would have NEVER existed with this means to distribute it.  Could you imagine selling “Papers Please”, “Invisible Inc”, “This War of Mine”, or even something with some horror elements that are unmarketable like “Sunless Sea” or “Darkest Dungeon”?  No, because no one would think they would sell.
Steam, and the PC culture in general has created what is called in marketing “The long tail effect”, that the more esoteric something becomes the thinner the audience for it becomes, so sales drop off to a flat line, or a “Long Tail”.  Things in the long tail would not be catered to because the distribution of hard media is too expensive for something that won’t sell, look back at something like “Psychonauts” and how that game’s strangeness left it sitting on shelves, but now it is considered a classic because it was able to find its part of the long tail, sell to those who wanted it, and then sell to others who grew curious of it, a curiosity spurred by the ease of access and low price.

This blog will better explain the concept.
What is more, Steam and services like it are competing with both each other and piracy, consoles don’t have that difficulty, the cost of buying a console means you are invested, and they have complete control over their market place, no Steam sales for you, this is how much XBLA wants to charge for this game, if you want it that is how much you will have to pay.
I like PC’s because they are so pro consumer, because they are so full of Choice.  (Hey, look at that, I tied this back to my talk about my favorite game genre.  Aren’t I cute?)

If you like or hate this please take the time to comment, +1, share on Twitter, Tumblr, or Facebook, and otherwise distribute my opinion to the world.  I would appreciate it.

No comments:

Post a Comment