Cliffy B. Calls Out the Naysayers
As Lusipurr.com’s Ethan Stone pointed out earlier in the week, the Kickstarter donating portion of the internet was aghast to find that Facebook had bought their trendy new toy out from beneath them – to paraphrase Mike Mika: hundreds of game developers awoke to the fact that they were now developing Facebook games. Donators were fuming on account of the fact that they were led to believe that they were donating to an indy VR champion of the people, when in actual fact they now hold a minute sliver of a stake in a product that is now corporate as all fuck.
Following the announcement Oculus Rift staff took to Reddit in order to assuage fears, yet they may as well have not bothered as the nonsense they were peddling strained credulity something fierce. According to Oculus staff Facebook is a benign investor who will just sit back and not interfere with the development of the project, and they would be very stupid indeed if they actually believed that tripe. As Ethan Stone pointed out in his article, the Oculus Rift is an extremely niche piece of hardware, so Facebook do not stand to profit from selling hardware and licensing software. The Oculus Rift may be made compatible with several potential Facebook services [IMAX movies, virtual tourism], yet if the device is set to be a niche peripheral among PC gamers, then Facebook had better believe that only a super niche group of Facebook users will buy into this expensive and obtrusive technology. Facebook as a company makes its money by collecting user data and selling it to other companies, and if they request that spyware be built into Oculus Rift then the development team will have no choice but to acquiesce – many gamers and developers understand this which is why so many people feel defrauded by their Kickstarter experience.
Cliffy B., never a man to let the chance to be an obnoxious shit pass him by, has also seen fit to throw his hat into the ring by chiding upset donators in the most patronising way possible:
“The Internet Outrage Machine loves to pile on something like this. Heck, some of the memes I retweeted because they were pretty funny. While amusing, these memes and animated gifs reek of shortsightedness. People are very rear window in their thinking online “Oh now we’re going to get Farmville VR.” Maybe Zuck sees what everyone else has seen – the future – and wants to make sure it’s more than just great games and saw that it would add value to his business?”
Yes, one can already picture the masses of Facebook users donning their VR headsets in order to do quick spot of social networking – Android compatibility confirmed! Cliffy B. then goes on to explain to naysayers that they do not understand how business works, as if they did understand how business works then it would be utterly inconceivable that they could be upset about the events that transpired:
“The final bit of outrage that I’m calling out is the fact that Oculus was Kickstartered and that some of those folks who donated are outraged. Apparently some folks don’t understand that donating to a Kickstarter gets you whatever reward you’re told when you donate, you don’t get equity, you don’t get to participate in the fruits of a sale of a company like that.
Oculus crowdsourced traction from enthusiasts and then found the proper partner that can fund them and assist with bringing the platform of VR to the next level. Crowdfunding can only take you so far, especially when you’re doing something this ambitious. “I donated money to add value to a company that was eventually sold!” Well, that’s kind of how business works, folks, hate to be the bearer of bad news.
By purchasing WhatsApp and Instagram Facebook has kept its head above water, and by purchasing Oculus they’ve shot back into hyper relevance. Worried Facebook is going to ruin Oculus? Check out Whatsapp and Instagram…turns out they’re working just fine since their acquisition.”
Cliffy B. knows all about business, as, after buying himself a large stake in Oculus Rift, he now stands to make out like a bandit in the company’s two billion dollar sale to Facebook. Cliffy is happy and gamers should be happy like Cliffy – and if gamers are unable to be happy like Cliffy, then they should be happy for him! What Cliffy B. does not seem to understand is that it is unlikely that many [if any] of the Oculus Rift donators thought that they were actually buying equity in the company, rather they thought they were buying a very specific product, and that product has now changed. Many of the people who paid three hundred dollars for a development kit are no longer making their game for the indy community that they thought they were, as it will now [in all likelihood] be sold through Facebook’s own storefront, have to accomodate Facebook integration, and ultimately be used to collect metadata from gamers. Developers and gamers alike likely thought that they were buying into a platform-agnostic piece of hardware, but even hardware requires firmware, and Facebook can implement any system feature that they care to add.
Not content with merely making an arse of himself, Cliffy B then felt subsequently compelled to fire a parting shot at Markus ‘Notch’ Persson who had been working of a completely free Oculus version of Minecraft until the Facebook buyout took place. Apparently Notch’s decision to not develop a free game for Facebook marks him as a petulant child:
“p.s. Notch, your cancelling Minecraft makes you look like a pouty kid who is taking his ball and going home. It’s a bratty and petty move and it saddens me greatly.”
One cannot help but wonder why this man was born with the ability to communicate?
Ultimately, some good may end up coming out of this shitstorm after the smoke has cleared. Kickstarter projects have resulted in failure and disappointment previously, but Kickstarter has never shit the bed to this magnitude before. A significant portion of nine and a half thousand backers have been left feeling defrauded, and more than one journalist this week has mentioned that they will not be contributing to any Kickstarters going forward. And it is not just gamers who are revolting in the wake of this news – as Facebook stock tanked considerably following the announcement on account of the fact that investors, much like us, can recognise that this technology is not a mass market proposition, and will not make back the two billion dollar investment.
Final Fantasy News
The road to a Final Fantasy: Type-0 western localisation has been a long and winding one, with Square Enix repeatedly hinting that one was on the cards, before once again going silent on the matter. A couple of months ago Lusipurr.com reported that a group of fan translators, sick of waiting for Square Enix to print money with a western release, had taken it upon themselves to translate the game, and were in fact on the verge of releasing it. As it turns out that prediction proved a touch over-optimistic, because while the main storyline has now been fully beta-tested to the satisfaction of the team, they still want to go through and polish NPC dialog. Thus, the translation team has this week settled upon a final release date of the eighth of August. This is not to say that the patch will not be released earlier if the team is in the position to do so, but rather that they have now made the commitment that it will release no later than the agreed upon date.
“There are many opinions within the team itself, about the completion date, some say we can have it in the next two month, some say three months are not enough. My personal opinion is that the game is playable in English as it is right now, being enjoyable as is. It is true that many NPC’s sound off context, and that’s why the majority of the team decided to postpone the release to have a perfect patch.
Note that this all could change at any moment depending on how the team feels about the state of the patch, meaning that the release date could indeed be pushed sooner at any time. In any case, fans now know the latest date they can play the game in English. We agree that it’s better to have a late date that we can push sooner, than having a near date that could be delayed. So be sure we’ll update as soon as we have more news!”
In other Final Fantasy news, Final Fantasy XV composer, Yoko Shimomura, has expressed some frustration with not being able to openly talk about her compositions for the game. One thing that she can reveal however, is that we can expect to hear a number of piano-based tracks on the OST, which is something that this writer is looking forward to with great anticipation. Meanwhile, this week has seen Yusuke Naora added to Final Fantasy XV‘s roster of developers as an art director. Naora’s addition to the project may simply be due to the fact that he is not working on anything else at present, or it may hint at the game’s previously stated art director, Takeshi Nozue, not being up to the task of serving as a visual director on a project of this magnitude. Nozue has previously served as director for Square Enix’s various CG FMV cutscenes, but has never had to direct the visual composition of an entire game before. Meanwhile, Naora is an old hand at art direction, having served as art director on Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VIII, Final Fantasy X, and most recently on Final Fantasy: Type-0. In another shock move for the week, it has been revealed that Yoshinori Kitasi is no longer attached to Final Fantasy XV as producer. It is possible that this is some sort of punitive demotion for the poor sales of Lightning Returns, but seeing as this is Square Enix we are talking about, it is probably far more likely that he and Motomu Toriyama have begun work on Final Fantasy XVI: Lightning’s Revenge.
Get ready to be depressed. Despite only being on the iOS app store for nine days in February before being pulled by its creator, Flappy Bird is still the best performing app on on the store throughout the month of February, and what is more Gears Studios [the publisher of Flappy Bird] was the top performing iOS publisher for the month despite their only having the one game up on the store. In short, only the very worst that gaming has to offer will do for the casual gaming masses.
It has been estimated that once Flappy Bird was pulled from the app store, a Flappy Bird clone was being uploaded every twenty-four minutes for a time. That should serve as an indication of just how much effort is required to make one of these… games. And the worst part is that the cloning seems to have paid off, with four Flappy Bird clones joining Flappy Bird in the top ten of best performing apps for the month – the most popular of which was Splashy Fish, which took second place on the list.
Sure, this kind of news is depressing and distasteful, but it is not without its silver lining. There was a time not long ago when people were talking about the cesspool of the mobile gaming market taking over dedicated hardware gaming, rendering it nonviable. That may well still be a very real risk for the gaming market in Japan, but just recently it is looking less likely to do the same to the west – in fact it is looking increasingly as though serious games have no place on smartphone platforms. This was not always the case, as for a while developers were intent on trying to replicate the full console experience [albeit with terrible controls] on smart devices, but that seems to no longer be the case. The iOS market now seems to favour games which were developed on a shoe-string and provide the simplest of distractions, and long may it remain so, for then there will always exist dedicated spaces for serious gaming, such as it is.