Pulse Cannon

Hey again. I swear these things get here so fast I feel I just submitted last weeks column two minutes ago. Anyway, it seems my last column or two have stirred up some discussion, both in Senor Baxley’s Mid-Week Mid-Boss and in my dusty old emailbox.

So, I guess I should start off by addressing the message I found in my inbox.

Being both an employee of Blockbuster and an avid gamer, I found your column to be slightly odd. To be honest, I find the entire gaming industry odd. What is the problem with game rentals? The industry seems to have a grudge against all rental chains, and now I see some gamers buy into that. I just have one question to ask:

Why?

I don’t see a difference between a game rental and a movie rental. They both serve a function – to expose someone to something they wouldn’t have
otherwise seen/played. The general majority of people aren’t going to go out and buy a game just because it looks cool unless its an already established franchise (GTA, Halo, etc.) or linked with a popular pop-culture tie-in (anything Star Wars). Most don’t even do that with a movie. Most people want to know what they’re getting is quality. I don’t see anything wrong with that. The same goes for the music industry. Consumers want quality products. We offer them the opportunity to find quality products.

If anything, I find the game rental to be a very good thing. It helps the
consumer, and theoretically it should force developers to create better games. The logic here being that when someone rents a terrible game, they won’t buy it because they’ve been exposed to its quality (or rather, lack thereof).

The other thing I think you overlook is game prices. Am I complaining
they’re too high? No. They’re fine given the time, effort, and money that goes into them. But when you consider that majority of the gaming population is between 10 and 30, that leaves around half your target demographic without a regular income. Without a regular income, they can’t really be spending $50 on a regular basis for games they might like.”

I’d include your name but you didn’t give me one. Anyway, I clearly have to re-read my columns before posting them, because I realise I said something I didn’t mean. I have no problem at all with game rentals. In fact I think they can be a very good thing. No, actually I was condemning the game industry for the shorter games, which can be beaten in a rental. Of course it’s a good thing to rent a game and find out it’s a stinker rather than buying it and discovering you’ve wasted $50. I do think that the rental services that mail you games and let you finish them are probably a bad thing though. It’s one thing to rent a game and then have to finish it on a deadline, it’s quite another to basically loan it out for as long as you want it for a minor fee. As for the grudge the industry has, well I’m not shocked by that at all. I mean, every time a game is rented and not bought, thats one less sale. I think we’re actually lucky when it comes to how much games cost these days. From the looks of things it’s not going to last either, with the prices about to go up.

So now we move on to Baxley’s comments. Lee points out one of my meandering thoughts when he references the following line in my previous column: “But a lot of good can come from simply buying more games you would normally just finish in a rental.” At least thats the line I think he caught. What I should have said was rent the game if you like. But buy it if you play it through and finish it (and actually enjoyed it). I was simply trying to encourage more people to actually buy new games, instead of used.

Now onto the other thing that stuck in Baxleys craw. My comments on piracy. He’s right when he says that the Dreamcast was the easiest console to run a pirated game on, as you didn’t need to mod your system. I had forgotten about the Dreamcast, and I agree with him when he say’s that it was the lack of great games that killed the Dreamcast, not piracy. But I do stand by my comments about the Xbox was the easiest game to pirate with once you had the system modded. Dreamcast required you to know all kinds of programs on your computer, how to burn isos etc, while Xbox simply had you stick a disk in and hit copy. So I guess it depends on where you start thinking things are easy. Of course, now even that has changed, as mod chips are out and “soft-mods” are in.

So that’s it for this week. See you again in 2 minutes. Hope you enjoy your week.