Category Archives: Long Read

Columns and long-form posts

Clash Royale, Pay-to-Win Mechanics and Your Wallet

clash-royale-bannerI’m not sure a day goes by that I don’t see justified complaints about Clash Royale over on Reddit. The game doesn’t attempt to match make on skill but is often determined by who has the better cards. Emotes should be mutable. The tournament system has died without Supercell propping it up.

There’s a perfectly good reason why Supercell isn’t addressing any of this: Money. Addressing these issues would likely take money out of Supercell’s pocket not just through the costs of making the changes but the loss of revenue from making them.

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Mass Effect 3 Extended Cut: An End, Once And For All?

mass-effect-3-extended-cut-headerThe immediate aftermath of the release of Mass Effect 3 was an absolute PR disaster for BioWare and EA. The original ending to Mass Effect 3 caused a massive sh*tstorm of unprecedented proportions among gamers. Many gamers put hundreds of hours into one Commander Shepard and some had thousands of hours and well over $200 invested in the series overall and were given an inconclusive ending that left gamers confused rather than feeling anything else. In order to save face, BioWare spent the next three months scrambling together an alternate ending, called Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut, to fix the problems people had with the final twenty minutes of ME3.

Today, I examine the new scenes that BioWare has added to Mass Effect 3 in the Extended Cut to determine if they have solved the problems most had with the original ending. Read the rest of this entry

E3 2016: Has The Industry Killed E3?

e3-2016-logo-headerI don’t know about you but it seems like this year’s edition of E3 was generally underwhelming. It felt like we knew what was coming from the triple-A publishers before most of it ever appeared on stage at a press briefing. Sure, the videos were new content but the actual titles announced and demonstrated on-stage were almost all public knowledge before they were supposed to be public knowledge. The industry has been shifting to a continuous hype train for upcoming games and it’s made E3 needless as a result.

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et geekera’s Most Anticipated Games of 2016

Since we did our look back at 2015 earlier this week, it only makes sense to look forward this week. It’s only logical to follow-up on our list of our favourite games of 2015 with a look at the games that we’re most excited about in 2016 with the Most Anticipated Games of 2016.

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et geekera’s Fifteen Favourite Games of 2015

How about one last blog post before we close down for the Christmas break? At this time of year (okay, often sooner for everyone else), everyone does their year-end lists. As is tradition for etg, we close the year with our favourite games of the year. I think this year will be the last time we do the 15 for 15 thing because it was very hard getting to 15 games. Next year will probably be a top ten or something.

For now, here is our list of our fifteen favourite games of 2015. They may not be the best games of 2015 but they are the ones that I loved the most.

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PSX is the Perfect Example of a Games Industry Showcase

playstation-experience-2014It was around this time two years ago that I suggested that the games industry needed a second showcase event apart from E3 every June. Following another edition of The Game Awards that was more interested in the new trailers and game reveals than it was in celebrating the best in gaming during the unspecified nomination period. I was planning on leaving this alone because I don’t see The Game Awards ever being an awards show but rather being a product of hype.

Last month, I changed my mind. While it wasn’t the first time they did this, I realized that Sony might have inadvertently stumbled upon exactly what I was looking for with their second PlayStation Experience convention and industry show.

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Kotaku, The Blacklist and What’s Left of Games Journalism

fallout-4-please-stand-byIt’s not an uncommon occurrence for a gaming news outlet to be blacklisted by a publisher. You can hear Jim Sterling talk about blacklisted regularly on The Jimquisition. Destructoid was blacklisted by Konami. At one time or another, EGM was reportedly blacklisted by numerous companies including Sony, Midway and Ubisoft. Jeff Gerstmann infamously lost his job at GameSpot over a poor review of Kane & Lynch that resulted in Eidos Interactive threatening to pull ads from the site.

The latest publication to take their blacklisting public is Kotaku. Editor-in-chief Stephen Totilo took to the site to reveal that the company had been cut off by the PR branches of both Ubisoft and Bethesda. While some in games media are standing up for Kotaku, those content consumers that Kotaku are supposed to be producing content for aren’t on their side. When you’re as divisive as Kotaku, there isn’t much sympathy for the devil.

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Is Ubisoft Overcharging Canadian Steam Users?

ubisoft-cad-price-headerDuring Steam’s Monster Summer Sale, I noticed something during the Tom Clancy franchise sale. The price of the upcoming Rainbow Six: Siege is $80 CAD. The US dollar price is $60. If you were to pay for the game in USD and have your credit card company convert it to CAD, a Canadian customer would spend $73. That’s an inexplicable loss of $7 as a sort of living in Canada tax (when no sales tax is charged by Steam in Canada) from a company whose biggest development studio is in Canada and receives subsidies from various levels of Canadian government.

It’s not just the Canadians who are losing out for not living in America. According to the Steam All Region Price Checker extension, British customers are being charged the equivalent of $80 USD and others in the EU will be paying the equivalent of $68 USD.

So why are certain countries paying more than other and who is at fault for the price discrepancies?

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The Bad, The Ugly and The Worst: A Look at Evolve’s DLC and Pre-Order Plans

evolve-bannerI don’t know how many times that people have to be told not to pre-order games for it to sink in but I’m not sure that it will matter. For all the convincing pitches that game companies themselves make with games that are broken on launch or otherwise in need of a lot of work to be considered of triple-A quality, publishers are coming up with ever more convincing pitches to get you to pre-order games or upgrade to more expensive editions of the game and it all comes down to money.

It used to be that pre-order perks were limited to things like skins or weapons or other little bonuses that didn’t really make that big of an impact on the overall game. Those traditional pre-order bonuses should not be confused with the setup that Turtle Rock Studios and 2K Games have come up with their latest hoped triple-A money printer Evolve.

In order to move pre-order copies of Evolve and to sell the various deluxe editions of Evolve, Turtle Rock and 2K have come up with one of the most complicated and ridiculous DLC schemes in recent memory. People have actually come up with charts in order to keep track of what is included with which version via pre-order, purchase, season pass and a la carte. Evolve might be one of the better games this year but its DLC will make it one of the most controversial at the same time.

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Heroes of the Storm: Early Access by Any Other Name

blizzard-heroes-of-the-storm-logoHave you heard of H1Z1? It’s the latest MMO from the artists formerly known as Sony Online Entertianment (now called Daybreak Games). While SOE’s MMOs are all free-to-play, H1Z1 has launched as an Early Access title on Steam for $20. That price gets you immediate access to the game along with a few other perks. By all accounts, it’s quite obvious that it’s in the alpha stages of development.

The problem most people are having is that it’s a triple-A company that have gone the early access route. SOE has a few popular MMOs on offer already and with their financial backing from Sony and now Columbus Nova, it’s not like they should need the funding from Early Access sales to complete and polish the game.

But H1Z1 is the popular example of Early Access gone wrong. They aren’t the only example out there right now. Imagine my surprise a couple of weeks ago when I launched Battle.net and saw Heroes of the Storm waiting for me to click. The problem was that it wasn’t there to download. HOTS got a spot on my Battle.net launcher so I could spend $40 on the Founder’s Pack which includes immediate access to the game along with a few other perks.

So how is SOE and H1Z1 getting blasted for releasing an alpha of their game as early access while Blizzard is getting a pass for Heroes of the Storm?

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