Finishing the Week: Issue 93

Welcome to the latest installment of Finishing the Week. It’s time for the DNF crew — along with a few random special guests — to get together and toss back a few brewskis while cracking wise at the latest and greatest news the video game industry has to offer. Click the links, enjoy the banter, and feel free to talk back in the comments section below.

M. Rambler: So I don’t know if you guys heard this or not, but Microsoft is insane.

Brad: Hey guys, here’s a question – a lot of people have been saying that with the Xbox One, Microsoft is going after the non-gamer market. But if you aren’t a gamer, why would you buy it? To get slightly easier access to the stuff you already have? What I’m saying is that if I already had a cable subscription, Netflix, HBO, the internet, and a bunch of Blu-Rays, and wasn’t interested in games, I’m not sure why I would spend hundreds of dollars on a game console, just so I can switch between them with a hand motion–

Donald: So, I was….jer….. uh, I mean, doing something… and all my Halo files were suddenly I erased. WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED?!

Brad: We’ll call that a cautionary tale. My point is that just because you make a game console and then don’t talk about games at all doesn’t mean that it’s inherently appealing to non-gamers. It could just be another 3DO. I mean, I get why MS would want to tap into that large non-gamer and casual gamer market, but I just don’t see the Xbox One offering them anything they’d want.

B. Indifferent: I think it’s what happens when you disconnect the people who actually play and enjoy games from the people who make the production decisions. It’s easier to move a hardcore gamer to a casual platform — offer a slimmed down version of a popular game and tell people they can “enjoy it on the go” — than it is to go the other way. Even if they offered mobile versions of their best games, it would be an uphill battle to convince mobile gamers that they wanted to install a home entertainment system.

Donald: Microsoft is putting a lot of faith in their core audience here. Faith that they seem to be eroding quickly with all these crazy announcements they keep making about always on and used games. I’m very interested to see how Sony weighs in on the used games thing. If they don’t go in the same direction Microsoft is this is going to be one short console war. Microsoft may win the living room, but they lose the games in the process. But, they don’t seem to be interested in that sector all that much.

Microsoft: Did you forget the news from last week? We’re one billion dollars and 15 exclusive launch window titles interested in the gaming sector.

Nintendo: Wow, that’s incredible! And your launch window is only 12 months?!? How the heck do you think you can pull that off???

Sony: Awwww… aren’t you two just precious?

GlowPuff: I just got back Friday morning from the Microsoft Ultimate Experience contest I won.  I live-Tweeted the whole trip if you’re interested.  I’m going to stay far away from this particular discussion.  I had to sign an NDA before I entered the campus building.

6-8-1 ET

Excavators Hope to Document Proof of Extra-Terrestrials in New Mexico Trash Heap

Summary: A company called Fuel Industries prepares to unearth an eldritch horror buried in the New Mexico desert. They plan on filming their quest to uncover one of gaming’s greatest myths – The Atari Dump. Legend says it’s full of old E.T. game cartridges… and lord knows what else.

Source: NPR

M. Rambler: So this is going to be one of those phony “found footage” horror films then? Sounds terrifying.

Donald: I imagine that Stephen Spielberg is not happy about this. Imagine all those copies of E.T. surfacing once again. This could be a worse event for the E.T. brand than when he painted walkie talkies over the G-Men guns.. Also, E.T. is a garbage movie.

GlowPuff: It wasn’t garbage when I was 7, though!

Brad: How awesome would it be if the people doing the excavating kept accidently falling into the landfill and then had to slowly climb out over and over?

GlowPuff: Eerily reminds me of the sinkholes we get here.  Every few months you here about a sinkhole incident. Never seen an E.T. floating out of one though.

B. Indifferent: I wouldn’t be surprised if the Hershey company was a silent partner, backing this to boost sales of their Reese’s Pieces candy. The real payoff is going to come when they make a video game out of what it was like to do the excavating. I’m seeing something like “Game Dev Tycoon” meets “S.T.A.L.K.E.R.

Glowpuff: Nice! I hope they find something interesting. I didn’t see any mention of WHEN this will happen, though. Also, I took an “Atari Dump” earlier with the release of my newest game, a clone of Atari’s Space Invaders.  I call it 8bit Invaders.  [Windows Phone Marketplace link].

M. Rambler: Did anyone else find Glowpuff’s Atari Dump joke a little corny?

Glowpuff: I certainly did. But there was no corn in it. HAW HAW!

6-8-2 DOA

How Much Would You Pay to Play This Free Demo?

Summary: Team Ninja’s upcoming release, Dead Or Alive 5 Ultimate: Core Fighers, is free with small a catch – you only have access to four fighters, and the story mode and any other characters will cost you.

Source: Gematsu

M. Rambler: I know this game is free and all, but what a ripoff… it only comes with four fighters when the title clearly states there are five.

B. Indifferent: Fans of single-player offline gameplay have a chance to put their money where their complaint-hole is? With the superior storytelling and intricate plot developments that fighting games are famous for, this will end well.

Brad: I… actually kind of like this. I know, I know, it sounds like a scheme to nickel and dime you into paying a lot more for a game than you had originally planned. But really, this sort of a la carte pricing method means you could be playing DOA5 at a big discount if you’re willing to forgo some of the crap characters and game modes. Now if they could just add a “gameplay that has evolved since 1998” DLC, we’d be all set.

Glowpuff: Haven’t you heard? Nickel and diming is the new way of making money in games.  Chapter 1 is free. Chapter 2 and onward will cost you. Each.

Donald: Hold up! This has to be fake news. It claims that Dead or Alive has a story. Maybe I am slow, but what nuanced tale did Dead or Alive: Xtreme Beach Volleyball tell? Maybe… I should go play it.

Glowpuff: Xtreme Beach Volleyball? You can play it while I WATCH. If you catch my meaning.

M. Rambler: Be careful. If this were Xbox One, your vigorous gesturing might accidentally delete all of Donald’s save files.

6-8-3 38 Studios

IKEA Bill Helps Explain Financial Troubles for 38 Studios

Summary: Attorney for bankrupt game company 38 Studios reports income of $700,000 from an online game service, and another $400,000 from the sale of office furniture. But there is still a ways to go before the $75 million in bonds is recovered.

Source: Providence Journal

Brad: Not to worry, Curt just needs to keep wearing socks and start walking around on broken glass, and he’ll be able to pay Rhode Island back in no time.

Donald: It’s fun to drag this dead horse out from time to time and flog it. I don’t know why we can’t just let 38 Studios slip into quiet non existence? OH YEAH! Because politicians are involved and it’s probably time for election.

B. Indifferent: Nearly half a million on office furniture? I sold mine and all I got was this empty bottle of malt liquor.

Glowpuff: Which Rambler immediately snagged away from you. Why does he want an empty bottle?

M. Rambler: My office furniture is empty bottles of malt liquor. Why have separate budgets for liquor and furniture when you can just buy twice as much booze? Oh, and I needed Bitterly’s empty bottle for my side project… the portable rest room.

Glowpuff: Oh, that’s why!

6-8-4 Project X

The First Rule of Limited-Use Demos Is: DO NOT TALK ABOUT LIMITED-USE DEMOS

Summary: For undisclosed reasons that Nintendo is keeping close to the vest, the demo for Nintendo’s Project X Zone can only be used 5 times.

Source: Game Informer

M. Rambler: So, what’s the second rule of limited-use demos?

Glowpuff: Never question WHY they are limited use.

Nintendo: We would tell you, but honestly, we have no idea. We just learned what the first rule was thanks to you guys. We don’t discuss our internal business practices… even internally. Speaking of that, have any of you heard when we’ll be releasing the Wii U? We were hoping you could give us the scoop.

B. Indifferent: It’s adorable how furious people get when future XBoxen may not play pre-owned games, and then they completely overlook things like this. Or the way that Nintendo prevents you from transferring downloaded Wii games between consoles.

Nintendo: We can neither confirm, nor deny that statement.

M. Rambler: Oh, people totally would have complained, but they’ve been busy writing angry blog posts about what Nintendo did to Let’s Play.

Nintendo: Seriously, we’re in the dark here guys, what are you talking about?

Brad: Is it possible that Game Informer just didn’t contact the right person at Nintendo, and “We don’t discuss our internal business processes” is code for “I have no idea what the hell you’re talking about and can’t be bothered to find out who you should be transferred to?”

Nintendo: No, that’s not codespeak. The only thing I do know is that we are allowed to autonomously choose which of those two phrases to reply with when anyone asks us a direct question.

Donald: Stop the presses and calm down Nintendo, I am going to explain why this demo is limited. Kids. Most of the “games” installed on my Wii are demos. My kids are happy as can be just playing the demos over and over. I am sure once Nintendo figured out how to use the internet they noticed that everyone was doing this. So, limited use demos.

Nintendo: …. what he said.

6-8-5 Zynga

Tough Times Down at the Farm(Ville)

Summary: 18% of Zynga’s employees are now ex-employees.

Source: Slate

B. Indifferent: I love beating on FarmVille and free-to-play crap apps, but I don’t love getting fired. Hopefully the staff that was affected by this will recover quickly.

M. Rambler: They covered this in Clerks — yes, the contractors on the Death Star who were only there to install toilets got killed in Return of the Jedi, but they knew what they was getting into when they accepted the job in the first place.

Brad: You know, I’ve spent the last 10 years or so working at various not-for-profit agencies for good causes, and I’ve always thought I’d have to go work someplace evil later on to kind of balance it out. Now that Zynga is off the table, I guess I’ll have to start sending resumes to chemical weapons manufacturers.

Glowpuff: Or Google. Aren’t they evil now, despite saying they aren’t?

Donald: I hear that the state of Rhode Island is looking for people to eternally punish Curt Schilling and 38 Studios. So, you could go work there? As for Zynga. I feel like we have been watching it die as only Jim Carrey’s The Mask could portray.

6-8-6 WOT

Get Tanked for Free

Summary: Wargaming, developer of the “free-to-play” title, World of Tanks, is dropping it’s “pay-to-win” strategy in favor of their new “free-to-win” model. So instead of buying better weapons to help you succeed in battle, they hope you’re willing to buy pretty new outfits for your tank to wear.

Source: Gamasutra

Donald: What’s next? “free-to-install”? I need to try this game, a world made completely of tanks sounds awesome!

Booming Voice Over Guy: In a world of tanks… one tank will rise… to tank on a journey… to tank back control of the world… of tanks…

M. Rambler: Sounds lovely. So, does anyone else think this new “free-to-win” fashion show model of business is going to tank?

B. Indifferent: Coming soon: integrated advertising for World of Tanks. If you can’t figure out what they’re selling, then you’re the product.

Glowpuff: I will tell you straight up. If it’s free, you ARE always the product.

Brad: Here’s an idea – a gun in the game that fires advertisements, and if you get hit with it, then your tank becomes a drivable billboard for boner pills or whatever. But you can always pay a couple bucks to have it removed.

6-8-7 Snaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaake

There’s a New Snake in the Grass

Summary: David Hayter, the longtime voice of Metal Gear’s Solid Snake has been replaced by… Kiefer Sutherland.

Source: IGN

Glowpuff: I was watching this tripl— uh, adult action movie, and the voiceover in the beginning used that same phrase: “There’s a new snake in the grass”.

B. Indifferent: Well, now we know what happens when they shoot down someone’s idea to turn a TV show into a video game.

M. Rambler: I thought they released a video game version of 24.

B. Indifferent: Oh, they did. I was talking about Metal Gear.

Brad: I’m waiting for some kind of “we have the same DNA as you except ours is evil” backstory for the bad guys, so they can justify saving money by using Kiefer’s voice for all the characters.

Donald: When I was playing Call of Duty: World at War Kiefer Sutherland kept yelling at me. It was very intimidating. But since I haven’t played a Metal Gear games since AC!D I think it’s safe to file this under “Don’t Care”.

Glowpuff: Jay Cutler agrees about the “Don’t Care” part. In fact, he just barked it out on Twitter.

Jay Cutler: DON’T CARE.

Glowpuff: See?

6-8-8 Not Dead

Tekken a Break

Summary: Tekken creator, Katsuhiro Harada, took a week off from work to drink tequila and play video games… and the internet assumed the worst.

Source: CVG

B. Indifferent: You take ONE WEEK OFF after 20 years of work, and suddenly everyone thinks your lifeless body is lying in a ditch somewhere.

Glowpuff: Maybe it was. Depends where he got the tequila!

M. Rambler: That’s why I make sure I only put in a week’s worth of work about once every 20 years — because I don’t want you guys to worry.

Donald: I think Rambler is missing. I don’t think he is drunk and he doesn’t have a Steam account. So, I guess let’s split his stuff up.

Glowpuff: He could be passed out somewhere after inhaling too many vapors from empty malt liquor bottles.

Brad: “I was at home drinking tequila and getting some work done” is now my go-to excuse for pretty much everything ever.

6-8-10 Wii U dead

Wii U Basically Dead?

Summary: News broke out of the GameStop camp about Nintendo possibly recalling the 8 gig Wii U Basic… the UK states otherwise.

Source: Kotaku

Brad: Ha ha ha, Nintendo. Is there anything you will comment on? At least it’s just business related stuff. Could you imagine how frustrating it would be if they owned, say, one of your favorite sports teams, and would never answer questions about why the team sucked so bad… oh wait.

Donald: Nintendo still owns the Seattle Mariners? I thought that they purchased that team just so they could make the Ken Griffey Jr. SNES game. After he left the team why did they hang on to it? Related: Why are they hanging onto the Wii U? Is this all Ken Griffey Jr.’s fault?

Nintendo: We don’t discuss our internal business processes.

Ken Griffey Jr.: I have no idea what the hell you’re talking about and can’t be bothered to find out who you should be transferred to.

6-8-11 inapp

Mobile Gamers Are Legion

Summary: The NPD group confirms mobile gamers rule the marketplace.

Source: IGN

Brad: Can’t say I’m surprised that the largest group of gamers – or just about anything, really – is the group that isn’t actually paying for them. Still, it’ll be fun to watch publishers try and fail hilariously at trying to make money off this demographic. “Well our research shows that people love to play these casual, social games where you do the same repetitive task over and over.” No, you idiot – your research shows that people like free games.

Researchers: Mr.Lawrence, our research shows that your research is better than ours. We are launching a new set of research into researching why our research didn’t have the same results as your research.

Nintendo: After that can you dig into when we will be releasing the Wii U?

Donald: I recently stepped into the world of iPhone. I was overjoyed to see all the free games it offered. Then I played them and realized that free-to-play-buy-our-coins games are just terrible. That is why I purchased Poker Night at the Inventory 2. I paid money for it. So I guess I am out of this research group.

Glowpuff: You don’t like buying in-game currency with real currency? Guess I won’t be going in that direction with my own games then.

6-8-12 prision

New Zealand Prisons Must Be Pretty Awesome

Summary: New Zealand man on home arrest gets tired of playing his Xbox, demands to be taken to real jail.

Source: The New Zealand Herald

Brad: Was he playing a bunch of JRPGs? If so, his choice seems less crazy.

Donald: I am betting that Microsoft is not going to jump onto this story for a new PR campaign. “Prison, better than Xbox”.

Brad: During his house arrest, the guy just watched Caged Heat and Chained Fury over and over. He’s going to be really disappointed when he gets to actual prison.

Donald: He only had a month so serve. What bad things could happen in that time. Oh look, Shawshank Redemption is on TV. OH, OH NO…NO NO…OH… I guess that could happen!

M. Rambler: And speaking of things that could happen….

Donald: Rambler and I have to go catch a flight to LA. Feel free to check back here for all your E3 news.

M. Rambler: This is going to be 100 times better than dropping your bar of soap in prison… we promise!

Glowpuff: Have fun guys!

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About Donald Conrad

Donald Conrad is an avid father and a dedicated gamer -- or maybe that's the other way around. He loves his games, and he loves his family, and he's pretty sure he loves sleep, even if he doesn't remember what it was like. Follow his life confusion on Twitter @ConManEd