Shooter Bros Pass Judgment On EA
Leading into this holiday season there was one game who’s performance One was interested in ahead of all others, and that game is Battlefield V. It seemed like we would have to wait a month or more to see how gamers passed their judgement on the game, and to an extent this is still true, as we will not have hard numbers until VGChartz is able to post numbers for the game, yet early indicators really do not look good for EA.
The reason that one was so interested in the fortunes of Battlefield V is that EA appears to have done their level best to destroy any sales potential that it might have had. They unveiled their WWII shooter with an awful video featuring a cyborg women wearing neon blue facepaint, which immediately upset historical purists, earning the video a record number of downvotes. EA then followed this up by telling consumers to not buy their game:
“These are people who are uneducated—they don’t understand that this is a plausible scenario, and listen: this is a game, and today gaming is gender-diverse, like it hasn’t been before. There are a lot of female people who want to play, and male players who want to play as a badass [woman].
And we don’t take any flak. We stand up for the cause, because I think those people who don’t understand it, well, you have two choices: either accept it or don’t buy the game. I’m fine with either or. It’s just not ok.”
EA then followed up this marketing masterstroke by delaying the game in order to avoid competing against Red Dead Redemption 2 and Black Ops IIII. This may have actually worked if EA decided to give the game a proper delay into the post-Christmas lull, but instead of that they delayed the game by just a month, giving Black Ops IIII a month headstart to build up an audience who are still enjoying the game. One is largely ignorant on the topic of military shooters, but according to people who enjoy such things Black Ops IIII is actually very good, much to EA’s dismay one is sure.
So where does this leave Battlefield V? Heavily discounted it would seem. Less than a week after release (the Tuesday following cyber Monday) the price of Battlefield V was brutally slashed in half to $30 by Target, meanwhile it was slashed to $40 by Walmart, and $42 by Best Buy. Meanwhile the game does not look to be faring much better in Europe, where it was outcharted by FIFA 19, Red Dead Redemption 2, and Black Ops IIII. So Battlefield V was delayed to avoid competing with Red Dead Redemption 2 and Black Ops IIII, and then in its week of release it gets beaten by both Red Dead Redemption 2 and Black Ops IIII! It would seem that gamers heeded EA’s advice to not purchase their game!
The Playstation Classic Is a Disaster!
From one day of judgment to another, the Playstation Classic has been confirmed for a janky piece of shit. Coverage of the Playstation Classic did not get off to the most auspicious of starts, with people noting that many of the system’s defining games were conspicuously absent. This was recently followed up with the revelation that Sony had not even bothered to create their own emulation for the system, but were instead using an open source emulator called PCSX ReARMed. That was miserly of Sony, but it was by no means a death sentence for the Playstation Classic provided that its use was carefully optimised by Sony to flawlessly playback the twenty games they had chosen to represent the PS1. It is here where they ran headlong into a brick wall.
Earlier in the week many people began crying foul over the revelation that nine games out of the Playstation Classic line-up were PAL versions. The significance of this is that the PAL television standard offered an image which was slightly higher resolution than NTSC format, but the trade-off is that its refresh rate was capped at a maximum of 50hz as opposed to the 60hz refresh rate of NTSC television sets. PAL games almost never made use of the extra resolution offered by this format, preferring to fill the top and bottom of the screen with two black bars, and so the games looked visually squished while at the same time running about 16% slower than their American counterparts.
Sony even managed to fuck up Final Fantasy VII here. One never really thinks of Final Fantasy VII as a game that is particularly difficult to run, yet Playstation Classic has difficulty playing it to the extent that battle music slows down and speeds up at random because the game cannot maintain a consistent framerate. So basically we have a really poor selection of games, running on an open source emulator, using hardware that is not sufficiently powerful to run it. This device could not have been more phoned in if Sony had deliberately set out to do so.
Bethesda Is Being Investigated for a Possible Lawsuit
Bethesda may have caught a small break when TDT’s Imitanis refused to give Fallout 76 anything lower than a ‘D’, but they have caught precious few other breaks withing the gaming community of late. Law firm Migliaccio and Rathod LLP is looking into mounting a class action over Bethesda’s reluctance to offer refunds for the digital version of Fallout 76 as well as the bait and switch they pulled with the $200 Power Armor Edition of the game. The issue of offering digital refunds looks a little bit iffy, but the Power Armor Edition bait and switch should be a slam dunk.
Bethesda advertised the Power Armor Edition as featuring a rugged canvas bag. This is the product that Bethesda promoted all the way up to the game’s release, and on many sites this is the package that is still being advertised. The trouble with this is that what customers actually got was a flimsy nylon bag which looks like it probably cost ten cents to make.
When confronted with customer complaints, the Bethesda store’s explanation was that the rugged canvas bags were swapped out for the flimsy nylon bags because the canvas ones were too expensive to make:
We are sorry you aren’t happy with the bag. The bag shown in the media was a prototype and was too expensive to make.
We aren’t planning on doing anything about it.
Bethesda Gear Store Support – North America”
This sounds plausible. A Bethesda employee certainly would not claim such a thing without having some kind of indication from Bethesda that this was the case. Regardless, Bethesda would later backtrack and throw this guy under the bus.
“We understand you are disappointed with the bag that was included with the Power Armor Edition of Fallout 76. We’re also aware of a ridiculous and inaccurate response that some of our fans received via email after contacting the Bethesda Gear Store. The person that sent those emails was a temporary contractor, not an official spokesperson for Bethesda, and they did not have information about this situation when they sent those emails.
We’re sorry. We are in the process of going back through our approval processes both for what items go into a Collector’s Edition as well as how support for our physical store is provided. We will do better in the future.”
Bethesda went on to claim that the canvas bag was substituted for the nylon bag due to a shortage of materials. Like apparently we currently in the grips of a global canvas shortage, and a multi-million dollar company like Bethesda just could not get their hands on enough canvas to make the bags. Because that totally sounds like something that could happen. Like, good like finding some canvas, bro!
“The Bethesda Store’s Support member is a temporary contract employee and not directly employed by Bethesda or Bethesda Game Studios. We apologize to the customer who took the time to reach out. The support response was incorrect and not in accordance with our conduct policy.
Unfortunately, due to unavailability of materials, we had to switch to a nylon carrying case in the Fallout 76: Power Armor Edition. We hope this doesn’t prevent anyone from enjoying what we feel is one of our best collector’s editions.”
To add injury to insult Bethesda actually did produce a bunch of canvas Fallout 76 bags which they sent out to reviewers and ‘influencers’ in December, yet apparently their own paying customers were not afforded similar regard. To compound this, Bethesda have started offering five Fallout 76 microtransaction beta-bux in exchange for customers signing away their right to join in on a class action lawsuit. The class action lawsuit is going to be much more lucrative than five measly beta-bux. Bethesda is clearly guilty of a false advertisement bait and switch, and any lawfirm worth their salt is going to come away with a handsome payout.