Welcome to our weekly series, Cheers and Jeers, where we rundown some of the good and bad moments of the past week. With the amount of news stories that release every single week, we here at Game Rant like to reflect on some of the big headlines, and award kudos and demerits where warranted.
While by no means an all-encompassing list, these were some of the stories that stood out recently, which upon greater reflection, deserved another look. But don’t read too closely into our targets. We focus on actions not factions and one week’s hero may be next week’s villain. We are equal opportunity offenders.
Microsoft Pulls Out All the Stops to Market the Kinect
The big battle of this holiday season is the motion control debuts of Sony’s PlayStation Move and Microsoft’s Kinect. While the PlayStation Move has reportedly sold 1.5 units in Europe and another 1 million between North and South America, one has to wonder if the device would have sold even more if Sony had given the product a stronger push. Microsoft, on the other hand, certainly understands marketing, and this past week has been a Kinect whirlwind as Microsoft has promised that the Kinect will be its biggest platform launch ever. From making an appearance on Oprah, CNN, and now the New York Times, Kinect has been everywhere lately. Not to mention previous appearances on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and at Macy’s. The Kinect is further set to make an appearance on the Ellen show and will be showing up on the food and beverage packaging of Kellogg’s, Pepsi, and Burger King. Microsoft is showing that it really believes in the future of the Kinect. Now it only needs to work as well as it’s being marketed.
Valve has long had a reputation of taking a fan-friendly approach with its community, but the company has taken this to new heights with its new Mann-Conomy concept. Five talented and lucky Steam members created content for this new peer-to-peer marketplace, and each received a royalty payment between $39,000 and $47,000. Keep in mind that these payments were for two weeks of sales! Kudos to Valve for setting up a system that rewards those creative modders who have long given PC games added life without compensation. Hopefully, Valve expands this program to its other properties and other PC developers follow Valve’s lead.
As we’ve discussed in our review, Fallout: New Vegas was not ready for release this past Tuesday. The game was buggier than the Florida Everglades in July and should have undergone more playtesting before its release. We would be more forgiving if the bugs had been limited to graphical glitches, but unfortunately that was only the beginning. The game featured a broken Autosave/Quicksave system, characters getting stuck in rocks, random crashes and freezes, scripting errors, severe framerate drops, and an NPC conversation bug on the PC version that would bring the action to a grinding halt. Obsidian Entertainment and Bethesda Softworks have since released patches for the PC and Xbox 360 versions that have resolved some, but not all, of these bugs. A similar patch has gone live in Europe for the PS3, but gamers in the United States are still waiting. Alpha Protocol was poorly received by reviewers partly due to several technical issues and Obsidian really did not need this unnecessary bad press. The real shame is that Fallout: New Vegas, when it works, is a very entertaining RPG. Let’s hope Obsidian and Bethesda quickly resolve the errors, so that gamers can wander the wasteland worrying about Caesar’s Legion and not the freezing screen of doom.
Earlier last week, rumors appeared online that an individual had stolen a retail copy of the upcoming blockbuster Call of Duty: Black Ops from a pressing plant in Alabama. Later in the week, the rumor was confirmed by Dean Takahashi of Venturebeat. Even worse was that the code had made its way into some gamers’ hands. While we can understand why Call of Duty fans would like to get their hands on this highly-anticipated shooter as soon as possible, piracy is never an acceptable practice. Some will argue that piracy doesn’t hurt a developer or publisher’s bottom line, games are too expensive, and many of the individuals who participate in such activities would not buy the game in the first place. Whether these are true assumptions or not, in this case, gamers were willing to shell out big bucks for an early copy of Black Ops and Activision is clearly going to lose some sales if the stolen copy leaks worldwide. As gamers, we should want to support those studios who create products that we enjoy, so that they can continue to do so. Bottom line: you wouldn’t go into a GameStop and steal a game (we hope), so don’t do it from your home.
Agree with the above ? Have a personal Cheer or Jeer for this past week? Let us know in the comments below!