Who would have thought? Consoles nickel-and-dime.

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | August 1, 2012 - 12:30 PM |
Tagged: xbox 360, consolitis, consoles, console

Polytron and Trapdoor, together responsible for the indie title “Fez”, have decided to not release an update to their software due to certification fees. Microsoft released a public statement to assert that they would be willing to work out arrangements if fees solely prevent the patch from being released. Either way it reiterates serious concerns about content dependent upon proprietary platforms and how that conflicts with art.

Long-time readers of my editorials have probably figured out that I have not been a fan of consoles, anti-piracy, and several other issues for at least quite some time. Humorously it is almost universally assumed that a PC gamer who bashes his head against his desk whenever he hears an anti-piracy organization open their mouths must be a perpetual cheapskate worried about losing his free ride.

I mean, clearly there is no reason for someone who has an education in higher-level math with a fairly strong sense in basic statistics to argue with the ESA, BSA, RIAA, or MPAA. I clearly just prefer the PC to rip off game publishers.

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Measure your dependent variables, control your independent variables.

So then, why do I care?

I have been growing increasingly concerned for art over the past several years. The most effective way to help art flourish is to enable as many creators to express themselves as possible and keep those creations indefinitely for archival and study. Proprietary platforms are designed to hide their cost as effectively as possible and become instantly disposable as they cease becoming effective for future content.

Console platforms appear to be the cheapest access to content by having a low upfront cost to the end user. To keep those numbers low they are often sold at under the cost of production with the intent of reclaiming that loss; the research, development and marketing losses; and other operating costs over the lifespan of the console. Profit is also intended at some point as well.

As Polytron and Trapdoor have experienced: one way to recover your costs is to drench your developers and publishers in fees for their loyalty to your platform – of course doing the same to your loyal customers is most of the rest. This cost progressively adds up atop the other expenses that increasingly small developers must face.

The two main developers for the PC, Blizzard and Valve, understand the main value of their platform: markedly long shelf lives for content. Consoles are designed to be disposable along with the content which is dependent on them. DRM likewise adds an expiration on otherwise good content if it becomes unsupported or the servers in charge of validating legitimate customers cease to exist in the name of preventing casual piracy.

For non-differentiable entertainment that is not a tragic loss as there will always be another first person shooter. Content with intrinsic value, on the other hand, cannot simply be exchanged for equivalent media.

For all the debate about whether videogames could be considered art – you would think it would be treated as such.

Source: Ars Technica
August 1, 2012 | 01:17 PM - Posted by Daniel Meier (not verified)

Enjoyed the read, thanks.

August 1, 2012 | 06:54 PM - Posted by Nilbog

"I clearly just prefer the PC to rip off game publishers."
I think I'm going to borrow that line if you don't mind.

I also wish that people would bring up all of the features that consoles don't support, more often. Rather than explaining how they are ripping people off in the long run. (that seems to be the only argument i hear)
It would be nice to see a well written article, with quality screen shots comparing all of the visual advantages that PC has compared to consoles. Specifically the lack of Anti Aliasing .
For example, comparing Xbox and PS to Low, Med, High, Ultra on a PC. Obviously the same games. That would be a fantastic article. Compared to what i see on my monitor in DX11 almost every day, consoles are not quality of any kind. In my opinion, they are also far from "good enough" graphics. Phones are catching up to them at this point, its sad.

I recently came back to PC gaming about a year ago, and i feel like i have been duped by the consoles.
I was unaware of the amazing quality i get for my money. Steam has brought tremendous value to my PC, and i feel like my hard earned money isn't being wasted anymore.
I think everyone seriously gaming on a console, genuinely doesn't know any better. They don't realize they are getting the lesser version of a game. Most console players only think BF3 is the only exception for the consoles, they should be educated.

August 1, 2012 | 08:28 PM - Posted by Arb1 (not verified)

Truthfully console game piracy i think almost as bad as you would see on a pc. Just on a PC the maker can put any DRM in the game, were as a console they are limited to what the console has in it.

As for comparing graphic's and such if its done when console was first out it would be on par with PC but after 1 year PC starts to take over as due to console stuck on same hardware. Where PC has newer and better hardware as time roles on. its really more sad that games are console only and PC gets dumped as an option for it. Any true FPS player would know playing on a console is a joke, using a mouse and keyboard is true way to play cause you don't get AIM assist from the game.

August 2, 2012 | 08:50 PM - Posted by banana (not verified)

long live emulators then :)

August 2, 2012 | 11:29 PM - Posted by Scott Michaud

It's already starting to be illegal to make them.

The PS2 emulators are all incomplete by design -- DRM on console game disks would need to be broken to get them to work outside of the console. That pretty much demands breaking encryption which is a felony -- without an expiry date -- according to the DMCA (unless the librarian of congress grants an exemption)

August 2, 2012 | 11:57 PM - Posted by Tim Verry

I seriously hate the trash that is the DMCA :((. I wouldn't be surprised if Illinois senators were behind the DMCA just like they were behind SOPA... emulators should be getting an exemption just like cell phones got.

August 3, 2012 | 02:36 PM - Posted by Scott Michaud

If you're going to neuter it -- might as well make it legal to break encryption for legal purposes.

August 3, 2012 | 04:31 PM - Posted by Tim Verry

Yeah, like that will ever happen. The most we can hope for is an exemption :/. MAFIAA pays too much money to our politicians for them to be that logical LOL

August 3, 2012 | 08:36 PM - Posted by Scott Michaud

They are given money to campaign. If we get enough people understanding "intellectual property" then they physically couldn't buy the vote at least on that issue.

I was actually framing out an Intellectual Property post -- but was shelving it because it's quite tangential to the site and I'm not actually a lawyer (albeit I do understand these issues quite well).

Maybe soon.

August 8, 2012 | 11:43 PM - Posted by AerieAngel (not verified)

Thumbs up if you read this in the voice of Yahtzee Croshaw from the Zero Punctuation videos.

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