It’s Sunday, folks! And that can only mean one thing: another endlessly fascinating edition of What I’ve Been Reading. After the jump, I’ve got links to another collection of articles, editorials, and thinkpieces.
- Diablo III just can’t catch a break, can it? Now, it’s imposing draconian restrictions on new players who purchased digital copies of the game. These restrictions are supposed to last a maximum of 72 hours, but Jim Sterling is still pissed off, as you can tell from this satirical piece at Destructoid. I can’t help but agree. When I buy a game, it should just fucking work. I don’t mind having to make a few tweaks to graphical or control settings, but I should never have to deal with bullshit on the publisher’s end. Meanwhile, in light of the Diablo III DRM controversy, Yannick LeJacq of The Atlantic believes that gamers need a bill of rights. I wouldn’t go that far, but I do believe that video game publishers need to be more cognizant of consumer rights issues. If they don’t make it easier for consumers to access their products, they’re going to lose out on sales from frustrated gamers.
- Online retailer Kogan is imposing a tax on shoppers who are still using Internet Explorer 7, citing the cost of making webpages work properly in obsolete browser versions. One might consider alternative solutions, such as having a redirect script that alerts shoppers to use a more recent browser or prohibiting purchases from people using old browsers, but the former solution might not change shoppers’ behaviour, and the latter may result in lost sales. A tax is a good way to get people’s attention.
- In the world of TV business, ABC recently premiered a reality series called The Glass House, which CBS contends is just rip-off of their own series, Big Brother. CBS shot back with this hilarious fake press release. I normally have nothing but condescension for CBS, but this is pretty damn funny.
- Earlier in the week, I wrote a piece about how misleading video game marketing can lead to controversy, as exemplified by the outcry over a producer’s interview about the upcoming Tomb Raider reboot. Johnny Minkley of GamesIndustry and Allistair Pinsof of Destructoid share similar sentiments. Minkley worries about the extent to which violence is being used to market games, while Pinsof believes that if E3 trailers and demos aren’t going to be reflective of the games they’re promoting, then E3 is no longer useful. Both of them make excellent points. As I wrote in my own piece, misleading video game marketing not only hurts customers by creating controversy over games they might want to play, but it also hurts publishers because of sales lost due to that controversy.
- Also on the subject of E3, Katie Williams of Kotaku Australia writes about her experiences of being treated condescendingly as a female journalist at the expo, with demonstrators assuming that she was too unskilled to make it through game demos. Somehow, people can accept that women can develop games – look at all the love gamers of both genders give Kim Swift, Kiki Wolfkill,1 or Jade Raymond – but they can’t accept that women can write about games. What kind of fucked-up world do we live in? In the same vein, Holly Green of Destructoid has a satirical woman’s guide to surviving E3.
- Big budget games should take inspiration for their multiplayer components from….Facebook games? Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw of The Escapist certainly thinks so. He’s intrigued by the possibility of asynchronous multiplayer, like in Words with Friends, which allows multiple players to play against each other or affect each other’s games without having to play at the same time. I rarely agree with Croshaw, but he presents some intriguing ideas in this piece that developers should be considering. Already, we’re seeing asynchronous multiplayer creep into the big-budget space, with the pawn system of Dragon’s Dogma and the interconnected metropolises of the upcoming SimCity reboot. I’ll be keeping my eye out for more experiences such as these.
- If you’re like me, then you’re not a fan of the current 3D fad. The technology is overpriced, and it looks cheap and gimmicky, like a digital pop-up book. (Plus, I wear glasses, so the 3D goggles are a headache.) Mike D’Angelo of the A.V. Club feels similarly, but he also feels it’s his duty to see a movie in 3D if that was the format in which the filmmakers intended the film to be seen. I’m not a cinephile by any means, but my sentiments match his. I know it’s irrational, but I can’t help it. I hope that 3D technology advances sufficiently in the coming years so that it no longer feels like a shitty amusement park ride, and I won’t feel any resentment about having 3D “forced” upon me.
- Some people take video games way too seriously. Owen Good of Kotaku reports that a Minecraft player called a SWAT team to 16-year-old Jacob Neumann’s house after Neumann kicked the player from a group. That’s completely fucked-up, and I hope that the piece of shit who did this faces charges.
Chauvinist demonstrators? Draconian DRM? Fake SWAT team calls? Sometimes I just want to give up on video games. Make me feel better about my electronic pastimes in the comments.