‘Consoles are Like Condoms’
No, that is not to be taken as encouragement, put your pants back on and put down the console. Allods Online producer Vincent Douvier gave us that gem of a quote in a recent interview regarding PC versus console gaming. So how exactly is your 360 like a cock-balloon? “99.9% of the time you are safe. You know all the specifications of the machine,” unlike PCs which can vary from user to user. He also gives his view on PC gaming piracy, though this is not a new topic. Honing in on Ubisoft’s notoriously silly DRM, he notes that while publishers put in their DRM for the purpose of preventing themselves from losing money, “hackers do it for prestige and that’s priceless, they will always win in the end.” So while consoles have certain received an endorsement by this producer, another gaming official has a much less optimistic opinion of them. SquareEnix CEO Yoichi Wada feels that consoles are reaching the upper limits of their capabilities, and points to E3 to back his claim. Kinect, Move, 3D…these are all mere peripheral upgrades to existing systems, not further developments in the console’s technology itself. He does feel optimistic though about the future of network development,but this is probably because of his own intentions. He coyly hints that Squeenix is developing a Steam-like digital distribution system, but refuses to give any further details. What a cock-tease, and we got a condom out for nothing.
Cockblocking of the Highest Order
While we are on the topic of DRM, Konami has found the ultimate form of DRM, leaving many wondering if they will expand this tactic in the future. Japanese nerds were aghast this week upon discovering the secret rights management hidden within the insanely popular Love Plus game: you can play your illegally downloaded copy of the game, but the girls will not date your pirating ass. In legitimately purchased copies, the girls react as they normally would and will date you, but no matter what pirates do in the game, the girls will not call and will not accept requests to be your girlfriend. This DRM has not yet been cracked, but it raises a very interesting question: what would you do if your game punished you for downloading it illegally? Would it make you go out and buy it? Of course, the lonely and probably bitter otaku that play the game have already drawn a connection to real life: if you try to be cheap with a girl, they have no interest in your broke ass.
Glimpse of Squeenix’s Future?
If you have not heard of the Tales series of video games, you might be forgiven, many titles were not released outside of Japan and the ones that have do not hold any huge fan base internationally. But if things continue going at their current pace, you might not hear about the Tales games anymore. Namco-Bandai’s Tales Studio published their annual financial reports, and the results are nothing short of disastrous. With an annual loss of approximately one million dollars and a total deficit of twenty-one million, many question where the studio can go from here to save themselves from collapse. To those familiar with the Tales titles, it is clear why they have been suffering: like SquareEnix and its endless Final Fantasy remakes or Nippon-Ichi and its rehashings of Disgaea, the Tales series is slowly becoming the same story over and over, which could be responsible for its decrease in sales. What is to become of the studio is yet unknown.
Stop Hoarding Things, Japan!
To be fair, this one is our own fault, stupid Westerners and our inability to appreciate anything foreign. Anyone who is even a casual fan of Japanese anime and film has heard or watched something done by Studio Ghibli. My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, and the most recent international release Ponyo are all creations of the iconic studio. So when screencaps of their new video game came out, fans everywhere rejoiced. Ni no Kuni (The Another World) begins with tragedy, like many other Ghibli pieces, where thirteen-year-old Oliver (not our resident dumbass) loses his mother. However, with the help of a fairy doll given to him by the deceased parent, he is able to go into an alternate reality, where alternate versions of people he knows exist, including his mother. This fairy also gives him a spell book which the battle element surrounds. No no Kuni is set to release on the DS in December, with a PS3 release in 2011…but these are both Japanese-only releases, with no hint at all as to an international release. Just as with the Tales games, it is going to be interesting to see how well the game does in Japan and if it will spawn an international release, or if it will fail miserably in its homeland and never see the light of day.