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Access Revoked: Sony's EA broadside

Access Revoked: Sony's EA broadside

Fri 01 Aug 2014 5:56am GMT / 1:56am EDT / 10:56pm PDT
Online

Attacking EA Access' value for money was a mistake for Sony; this debate is really about what the future of consoles should look like

Sony Computer Entertainment

Sony Computer Entertainment is a Japanese videogame company specialising in a variety of areas in the...

playstation.com

The battle for console supremacy between Microsoft and Sony is more heated now than it's been for years - unsurprising, given that this is the first time the rival firms have actually launched new hardware head-to-head. It's also, however, turned out to be a remarkably civil affair. Xbox and PlayStation executives are full of praise for one another, with criticism largely being couched as humour rather than smack-talk; a far cry from the more aggressive and arrogant approaches which were often evident in previous console generations.

That makes it all the more surprising that Sony was so willing to bluntly and openly criticise the new subscription scheme being offered by Electronic Arts and, by extension, the decision of Microsoft to permit its launch on Xbox One. Noting that PS4 owners have subscribed to the PS Plus service in large numbers (not least since it's required for online multiplayer, of course), the company said that "we don't think asking our fans to pay an additional $5 a month for this EA-specific program represents good value".

Ouch. In a single line, Sony is effectively saying that EA's offer is a rip-off and that Microsoft isn't looking after the interests of its customers by permitting it to launch on Xbox One. It's probably the single harshest statement of the console generation thus far; perhaps not as much a slap in the face as Sony's infamous "here's how you share a game on PS4" YouTube video, but at least that was presented with a healthy dose of humour. A corporate statement effectively accusing one of the world's biggest publishers and a rival platform holder of offering bad value to consumers is a gauntlet being thrown down, and it's also clearly indicative of a serious concern among Sony's management - otherwise the usual "we don't comment on what our rivals are doing" approach would have sufficed.

"Even among those who aren't interested in EA Access, there's a sense that they'd like to have the option. If it's such bad value, why not let gamers vote with their wallets?"

So what's Sony's problem with EA Access? On the surface, the service looks harmless enough; you pay $5 a month or $30 a year for access to a selection of EA's back-catalogue games, plus discounts (and early access) for new games from the publisher. Sony's claim that this isn't good value for gamers doesn't actually hold water; for many gamers, it won't be of interest (there's nothing in the launch catalogue that floats my boat, for one), but for others it may well represent significant savings on games they're genuinely interested in. It's highly subjective, in other words, and that's fuelled a certain degree of disgruntlement among gamers regarding Sony's motives. Even among those who aren't interested in EA Access, there's a sense that they'd like to have the option. If it's such bad value, why not let gamers vote with their wallets?

In part, that argument stems from a basic disagreement about what a console platform is. Sony views its consoles as a closed, curated platform where it controls the software and services that are made available with the ultimate intention that everything should be pretty simple and straightforward, and come with a basic guarantee of quality. Even its vision for how indie games should work on the PlayStation platform cleaves to that approach; Sony wants PlayStation to be the place where indies (both games and developers) can "graduate" to after proving their abilities on more open platforms. It's the anti-App Store approach, a platform that's gated and curated - albeit with lower gates than ever before, and curators who are more proactive and engaged with the wider world of development than ever before. Applying the same logic to services shows you why Sony, which is actually more open than Microsoft in many ways (witness its willingness to allow cross-play between multiplayer games on different platforms, for example), is not willing to countenance EA's own peculiar little version of PS Plus to exist on the system.

Thinking it through, it's easy to see why. Look at it firstly from a customer experience standpoint. Right now, if you buy a PlayStation console, a PS Plus account is a bit of a no-brainer. It's inexpensive (about the same price as EA's offering, in fact) and gives you a pretty decent helping of software across all three PlayStation platforms each month, with the games continuing to pile up as long as you stay subscribed. You also get (admittedly small) discounts on software, and on PS4, you get access to online multiplayer features. It's a fairly straightforward offering that a majority of customers probably ought to bolt on to their new PS4 or Vita; and a pretty significant proportion of them do just that.

Now consider the same service in a post-EA Access world. "Sign up to PS Plus and get free games every month, including AAA titles from top publishers" becomes the significantly more confused "Sign up to PS Plus and get free games every month, including AAA titles from top publishers, except EA titles, because you'll need to subscribe to this other thing if you want those". It's not a no-brainer any more, and plenty of consumers will probably be turned off by that extra complexity. Moreover, it's unquestionably a slippery slope. If Sony allowed EA to have its own subscription channel on PS4, other publishers would absolutely want to follow suit. Suddenly, the whole PS Plus offering - a key part of Sony's strategy - is just one little channel in the middle of EA Access, something from Activision, an undoubtedly Uplay branded horror from Ubisoft, and god knows who else besides. Individually, each of these channels might not be bad value. Taken as a whole, they're a radical change to the whole concept of the console, and potentially disastrous for the platform's ability to gently nudge more casual consumers onto a subscription service.

Consider, for a moment, the console we're talking about here. It's a cable box, in effect. You buy the console, and then you decide which "channels" you want in your package. Do you want the EA channel? The Activision channel? The Ubisoft channel? What about the PlayStation Plus channel, which has all these weird little indie games and the occasional big exclusive? Tot up the figures; suddenly you're not just buying a PS4, you're also dedicating yourself to a pretty hefty sum each month for a subscription, just like the cable TV model. Moreover, you're not going to get the latest games for that - you'll still be expected to fork out premium sums for those.

" I'm not convinced that Sony has done the wrong thing in turning down EA Access; in the long term, it may well be the right thing to do for consumers and for the platform"

Again, while I personally don't want anything to do with that model, I can completely understand that for some people, it's pretty attractive. Cable TV itself isn't a business model that has a future, but it's going to be around (and making money) for a long time nonetheless; games companies have looked at its revenue models with envy for many years. Indeed, Sony is probably the root cause of this whole thing in the first place - it's the very success of PlayStation Plus that makes publishers long for not just a slice of that pie, but a pie of their very own. The attraction for publishers is clear; the attraction for some consumers is also understandable. I can definitely see why some people are frustrated that Sony isn't going to give them the option, even if I also completely understand Sony's desire to protect PlayStation Plus (which is more than just revenue, it's a vital showcase for the PlayStation platform) and its horror at the idea of effectively becoming a cable box for third-party publishers to sell subscriptions on.

I wish, though, that Sony had laid out its concerns in a more clear and honest fashion. "This is bad value" doesn't cut it when consumers are perfectly capable of doing the maths for themselves and figuring out how much money they might save. "We don't like where this is leading, because the idea of a storefront where consumers have to decide which publishers' games they have to subscribe to and a $50 bill at the end of each month just isn't our vision for PS4" would have been a more honest statement that would probably have resonated with more consumers.

Then again, perhaps the company feels like it needs to tread carefully around statements like that, given the eyebrow-raising price tags which it's still attaching to game rentals on PlayStation Now. The service is still in beta and thus likely to change before launch, but to describe some of its present pricing as "shameless gouging" would be excessively polite, and I sense that this context has lent fuel to the fury of some gamers who have responded to Sony's criticisms of EA on value grounds. I'm not convinced that Sony has done the wrong thing in turning down EA Access; in the long term, it may well be the right thing to do for consumers and for the platform. I definitely also understand, however, the fear that the early success of the PS4 is allowing Sony to backslide to the kind of dismissive arrogance that lost it so many friends in the early days of the PS3. PlayStation Now's pricing missteps make it very hard to stomach Sony spokespeople attacking other companies' value offerings. No matter how many consoles you're selling, throwing stones in glass houses is never a good idea.

36 Comments

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,185 1,272 1.1
EA made a product.
Sony decided for the consumer.
From a consumer's perspective that is not a good thing and Sony does not look good making that decision on behalf of their customers.


On the unrelated not of throwing stones in glass houses. If you find yourself in a glass house this time of the year, then for the love of god do throw stones, else you might dehydrate. Taking the door is also a valid option, doing nothing is what will kill you.

Posted:4 months ago

#1

Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany

846 732 0.9
"we don't think asking our fans to pay an additional $5 a month for this EA-specific program represents good value".

It's not Sony's position to "think" about this; but their costumers. It may be their machines and they can do what they want with it but this sounds more like concerns regarding this subscriptions taking players away from their PS+ program.

Posted:4 months ago

#2

Jakub Mikyska CEO, Grip Digital

209 1,139 5.4
Popular Comment
I think that Sony's approach is logical and right. PS Plus is the subscription service of the PSN, PlayStation Now is going (probably) to be the second. If EA was allowed to have its own little place, that they control, Sony would be no longer in control. EA may put much better content in the XB1 version of the service, giving Microsoft a competitive advantage, with Sony having no control over it. And if EA could do it, Activision, Ubisoft and everybody else would demand their own place as well. And suddenly Sony has no control over their own machine... They made the right call.

I will also offer a completely different point of view - a point of view of a small developer / publisher. In the hypothetical future where every bigger publisher has its own subscription service on consoles, where is the space for the little guys, who now have good opportunities to be seen? Again, indies would have to form their own subscription service, curated by someone, with limited shelf space, where only the best of the best have a chance. Humble Bundle comes to my mind as such example. And if Humble Bundle-like service was the only chance for indies to make any sales (on consoles), that would be the death knell for the indie publishing there.

No, really, this is a Pandora box that Sony decided should stay closed. Thank god.

Posted:4 months ago

#3

Seb Downie Producer, Guerrilla Games

28 27 1.0
Interesting situation developing here.
MS embraces this, Sony doesn't, resulting in diverging paths on how the consumer gets to digest their games.
This move could be significant for years to come for console holders, publishers, devs of all sizes and the consumer.

Posted:4 months ago

#4

Anthony Gowland Lead Designer, Outplay Entertainment

221 798 3.6
Popular Comment
It's not Sony's position to "think" about this
Of course it is, PlayStation is their product. I don't know if you realise, but they've been deciding what you should be able to do, and what content appears, on your PlayStation for quite a while now.

The consumer's decision is simply if they want to buy in to Sony's walled garden, or not.

Posted:4 months ago

#5

Dan Howdle Head of Content, Existent

281 815 2.9
Popular Comment
I disagree with the earliest stasis in this argument: that Sony's comment was a shot at Microsoft. I don't agree with the conjecture, which renders the definition and quality redundant. For me, if a greengrocer says 'I try to offer my customer the best value I can,' it's not a swipe at Tesco.

Sony was talking to its customers, who wanted to know why they weren't taking up EA on its latest service.

Posted:4 months ago

#6

Iain Stanford Experienced Software Engineer, Tinderstone

36 140 3.9
Popular Comment
Are people really thinking this is Sony "looking out for consumers"?

I'm sure its got **nothing** to do with the fact that it rivals their Playstation Now service...and is quite probably far better value ($5 a month to play whatever you want, compared to renting titles for different periods of time between $2 and $20 each).

Nope. They're "just looking out for the customers".

Posted:4 months ago

#7

Sandy Lobban , Noise Me Up

319 231 0.7
This says more to the shareholders about what Sony can be, to me. If you want to be a market place, then the market should set the price. I believe a market place is what they had in mind, but this seems like a market with limitations. Sony have to learn to think outside of the limiting factors of producing and selling a hardware gateway going forward if the shareholders are going to see any sort of return on investments. Otherwise they will repeat the same cycle over and over, and never really breakout of their default position. This is a different world to the PS2 domination days. The fact they the refer to the customers as "their" customers also says quite a lot about how they see their role.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Sandy Lobban on 1st August 2014 2:41pm

Posted:4 months ago

#8

Al Rhodes Web producer/designer

25 15 0.6
Popular Comment
Although I totally agree with Sony on this one (do EA really make enough games to support a subscription model? They could easily have had an EA season pass), I would rather that the debate shifted to the pricing of new AAA games on online stores. They truly are shocking prices for an item that had no physical manufactture or distribution to contend with and no cut to retailers. Gamers know it and are repelled by it.

Posted:4 months ago

#9

Richard Browne EVP Gaming and Interactive, Evergreen Studios

112 127 1.1
I think this is being totally overblown, I suspect Sony didn't feel the backend cut was enough. :)

Posted:4 months ago

#10

Nick Wofford Hobbyist

180 190 1.1
A repost of mine from the original report:

First, EA stated that they have no plans to ever remove games from the Vault, which makes it a marked improvement over GWG/PSPlus, which only ever have a few games at a time.

Second, the 10% discount would be laughable if it only applied to older titles. It doesn't. It applies to the EA catalog, from Day One. So after purchasing 5 EA titles on Day One, you'd break even. Any discounted DLC would save you money. Looking at Mirror's Edge, all of the Bioware titles, all of the Star Wars games they'll make, and throw in an annualized game and it would be easy to see a lot of consumers buying that many titles. The subscription would be worth it for that alone.

Third, you don't need to have Gold to use EA Access. Convenient.

Fourth, the "5 days in advance is bad" argument: what's wrong with people testing the servers early? Would you rather that you tested them after purchasing the game? Logically, this is a way for EA to monetize the awkward time from point A (end of development) to point B (game arrives in all retail stores). This way, they can give players (who pay, of course) the code that's available at an earlier date than Fedex can get discs to the store.

Fifth, the quality of the library. This is a pointless argument, as GWG/PSPlus are very popular and only offer older titles. Hell, Battlefield 4, FIFA, and Madden are more recent than most titles on GWG/PSPlus, with some exceptions.

Sixth, the fragmentation argument. If the 10 largest publishers offered this service, then we would be able to pay at most $50 a month to play a VAST amount of titles from their catalogs. And all for less than buying one $60 retail copy a month.

Seventh, ownership is also clearly not an issue for the same reasons listed in the fifth argument. Hell, people were complaining about how they wanted to trade ownership for quality with GWG, so this issue is irrelevant.


Overall, EA's making a great move here. Most people who are going to buy your game for full price will do so in the first few months. So why not monetize the game after that? Even if it averages out to pennies per game, it's still better than the fat goose egg they're getting from GameStop's used sales. Sony is only rejecting this because it's cheaper than their competing services (both PSPlus and PS Now).

Posted:4 months ago

#11

Nick Wofford Hobbyist

180 190 1.1
@Jakub
Personally, I think having a Humble Bundle Channel (good term for these subscriptions) would be great. If I'm on the hook for the sub price, then I'll play the games that come with it. Every time. The way it is now, I maybe check for good indies every few months, but I rarely find anything that's worth the asking price. Getting a big channel going could be great for discover-ability.

Posted:4 months ago

#12

Senar Koraltan QA Engineer

9 3 0.3
I'm all for having choice but in my opinion EA are very hit and miss with their games. I personally won't be angry for not having the option on the table, I haven't bought an EA game since Mass effect 3...

Posted:4 months ago

#13

David Lee Chief Concepticator, Concepticate

18 12 0.7
Let's see how many customers sign up for the EA service on Xbox--my guess is that this number will be small so the rhetoric may turn out to be overblown. It's an interesting proposition to see how the power struggle plays out between first party and the major publishers, though.

Posted:4 months ago

#14

Barrie Tingle Live Producer, Maxis

400 217 0.5
@Senar

Surely that means EA Access is aimed at you even more? You can try the games out for less than the cost of a game and it doesn't matter if you find a miss, you are bound to stumble on a hit and you won't find yourself out of pocket from buying multiple games you weren't sure if you would like?

Posted:4 months ago

#15

Anastasios Hatzis Community Manager

15 40 2.7
The description of EA Access was very vague. For example, will EA Access have every new Battlefield on day one? I don't think so. But how attractive is the subscription if the multi-player games are available late after launch when the first DLCs roll out?

So I wonder, if the author has more information about EA Access than what has been published so far. I also wonder if the author does understand the very different nature and cost structure of EA Access and PS Now.

If you want to compare EA Access, then compare it to PS+ and you will get a much better understanding of the possible reasons why Sony made this decision, see comments by Jakub Mikyska and Christian Keichel. What happens if other big publishers will do the same?

Posted:4 months ago

#16

Brian Lewis Operations Manager, Aeria Games Europe

141 93 0.7
I do believe that Sony did not forsee the backlash from their comments. However, this creates a possible opportunity for EA (and other publshers). EA could easily not allow any of the 'Vault' tiltes to be available via PS Now. When questioned about this, EA could simply state that they are available via EA Access, and that if your provider does not allow this, they are sorry, and you should petition the provider. Other big providers (Ubisoft, etc) could follow suite, and effectively eliminate all major third party publishers from PS Now. This would not hurt the publishers, as they currently only make money via initial sales, and they could measure how well these services fair vs secondary sales on the XBox.

Posted:4 months ago

#17

Andrew Ihegbu Studying Bsc Commercial Music, University of Westminster

473 187 0.4
Jakub, you make the mistake of assuming that once Sony allow it, they cannot turn around and say "But you must offer the same products in PS Plus or we will take it away from you". This is software as a service, and the service is on Sony's platform. It's 100% their right to take things away if EA turns out to be trying to wall off their garden. The Very fact that they can say no also means they could say "Yes, but you must offer it at X price"

However, PS Now just cannot be the future of games that Sony says it can, for the simple fact that it sends you the game down a network connection in ugly compressed H.264.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Andrew Ihegbu on 1st August 2014 7:21pm

Posted:4 months ago

#18

Brandon Hofer Editor in Chief, Totally Gaming Network

16 11 0.7
This is a huge mistake on Sony's part and they really should have seen the backlash coming. Aren't they supposed to be "for the gamer" and that type of nonsense? One of their mantras was "choice" and, yet, they took away that choice from some people who would have liked to utilize EA Access.

The article also stated that PS Plus is around the same price of EA Access which is not true. PS Plus is $50 a year whereas you can get EA Access for $30 a year.

Posted:4 months ago

#19

Stephan Schwabe Multichannelmanagement, Telefonica

74 34 0.5
I Never liked Sony but as a Customer i rely like ther comment. The vaule of this is quite low all EA did with this is letting pay for demos..

Posted:4 months ago

#20

Paul Jace Merchandiser

955 1,449 1.5
This is what Sony said:
"we don't think asking our fans to pay an additional $5 a month for this EA-specific program represents good value".
This is what Sony meant:
"Paying $5 a month for EA's subscription model of games is a much better value than many of the current beta prices we are running in PS Now where you would pay that same $5 to rent ONE game for a 4 hour period(and then have to spend more if you wanted to rent anything else) so we will continue to spin this to make it sound as if we were doing this for our consumers and not just for our bottom line."
This is going to turn into a PR nightmare for Sony, all based on how they worded things. I still think they should have just given their customers the option but we will find out in the long run how damaging this will become to them.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Jace on 3rd August 2014 10:29pm

Posted:4 months ago

#21

Mike Becker Translation Specialist, Pole To Win Europe

4 9 2.3
EA is opening a Pandora's box here.
If they are successful, the likes of Activision, Ubisoft etc. will sure follow.

Now, paying 50 pounds a month is not bad?
IF you want to buy a game each month, it's not.
But I don't. This year, I've only bought two new games in 8 months, which means I would have paid 400 pounds for two games.
This sounds like a horrible deal to me.

Posted:4 months ago

#22

Neow Shau Jin Studying Bachelor in Computer Science, Universiti Sains Malaysia

52 81 1.6
I'm surprise how many comments here immediately points to PSNow while PS+ is a better comparison

Posted:4 months ago

#23

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,185 1,272 1.1
Every publisher will have to decide what to do with his back catalog games this generation. Wait for Gamestop to resell them the third time for $10? Do a Steam and toss them out at 90% discount in hopes it will generate more full price sales withing the same franchise later in the year? Take the incentive from Sony PSN+ and Microsoft GfG, or better, sell the game to be a print magazine cover disc/download code?

Offering a service and building closer customer relationships using the software as a service approach really is something every publisher might do, because now it can be done. The more services there are, the more pressure on the price, the more value customers will end up with.

Posted:4 months ago

#24

Paul Jace Merchandiser

955 1,449 1.5
The more services there are, the more pressure on the price, the more value customers will end up with.
Whoa now, wait just a minute. This discussion has no place for logical reasoning and basic common sense. Especially not when people are throwing around ridiculous rhetoric like "pandora's box" in regards to another optional service. Now go back and rethink your approach, but this time NO LOGIC ALLOWED.

Posted:4 months ago

#25

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,185 1,272 1.1
This discussion has no place for logical reasoning and basic common sense. [...] Now go back and rethink your approach, but this time NO LOGIC ALLOWED.
Randy Savage voice in my head:

I spend 200 on EA games per year, so if I now spent 50 bucks on EA games from last year, I will have 250 to spend on a WiiU with Mario Kart, but I am only going to play Monster Hunter, which is going to force all of you to spend every penny on Dungeon Keeper mobile, which is going to be so successful that an update will be made turning it into Road Rash 2015. If all of you would stop playing Fruit Ninja by banging your smart-watch on your forehead for a minute, you could clearly see how this was Bethesda's plan all along and it is no longer about the console war, it is about the next World War. Which only the hope stored in Pandora's Box can prevent, so open it now!

Bonus question: who trolled the gods by putting Elpis in the jar? Not Sony!

Posted:4 months ago

#26

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,630 1,509 0.9
Hah. People equating more choice with more value. It doesn't always work like that, so the sarcasm is slightly out of place. :)

Here's something. Go out, look at the price of brand razors and blades at various stores - all pretty much the same price, right? Because availability of product doesn't equal competitive pricing. Publishers - still - will control pricing of these services, so you may have a situation where competing companies will enforce a de-facto lower limit on prices ($5 per month across the board, for example), because they unofficially agree not to devalue their services.

Bear in mind I said "may", though. :)

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 2nd August 2014 8:40pm

Posted:4 months ago

#27

Anthony Gowland Lead Designer, Outplay Entertainment

221 798 3.6
The more services there are, the more pressure on the price, the more value customers will end up with.
Just like what happened with AAA game RRP right, that's why they've been forced down so low.

Games are not a commodity. There is no downward pressure on the price. If you want to play FIFA or Battlefield, your options are limited to EA's channels, and the price of Ubisoft's service is not a factor. Not like deciding if you want to pay Netflix, Amazon, or Apple to watch Hunger Games 2: Hungrier Hippos.

Posted:4 months ago

#28

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,185 1,272 1.1
I did not say pressure on the price leads to lower prices. I said, it will lead to better value. That is quite a different thing. If you look at the history of the $60 game over the last generation, it is hard to overlook how production cost went up, while the retail price stayed the same. So even if the customer did not pay more money, he should have gotten better value. At least, as long as the developer could translate higher production cost into a better game.

@Anthony
I like how when you express desire to play a game, you do not mention a type of game, but a specific franchise. This will certainly be a challenge for everybody trying to build such a service on the publisher level. What if players like the racing game from that other company better? They will not perceive the value in EA's racing game that is tossed into the package. But again, a publisher with a portfolio as broad as EA can put pressure on offerings made at the platform holder level.

Posted:4 months ago

#29

David Serrano Freelancer

300 273 0.9
I don't know where the "we don't think" comment originated, but if it was from Sony execs in Japan it's probably not as straight forward as it seems.

Based on what I've read, words and phrases in Japanese can frequently have far more complex or nuanced meanings than in western languages. So while "we don't think" in English would mean "Sony does not think," in Japanese it could also mean the Japanese people don't think, or the Japanese games industry doesn't think, or the Japanese entertainment industry doesn't think, or Japanese hardware manufacturers don't think, etc...

http://gaijinreflections.blogspot.com/2008/03/land-of-contradictions-and-group.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uchi-soto

So maybe someone should just ask Sony to clarify the comment? Just saying...

Posted:4 months ago

#30

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,185 1,272 1.1
Subjective interpretation of the result aside, the intention still counts and the intention of the publisher when commissioning higher resolution textures is offering better value to the customer.

And because profit is generated revenue minus spent money, it means higher production costs mean a reduced value, unless revenues aren't increasing.
That is publisher perspective, I was talking from the consumer perspective.

Posted:4 months ago

#31

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,185 1,272 1.1
@Christian
Think what you will about $200 million movies, but they use their funds in order to best cater to a crowd which sees a value in watching such movies. If it is a robots riding dinosaurs schlockfest, then there is a market for that. If it is the new Star Wars movie, then there is a market for that. Nobody expects those markets to overlap 100%, or cater to all people visiting movie theaters. Nobody in Hollywood likes spending $5 more million to then have a movie be less appealing, hence have a lower value in the eyes of the consumer. If you look at the Top50 most grossing movies of all time, then there is not a single one among them which was not a big budget production. If you could earn a billion Dollar with $20 million movies, we would see more $20 million movies hit the theaters.


Whether it will be next Call of Duty, Assassin's Creed, or Uncharted, all those games will have a high budget to represent as much value to the consumer as possible. If Nintendo can do that on a lower budget than its competitors, then that is their talent. If Notch does not spend $50 million on next generation real time ray-tracing graphics and finds a way to raise the perceived value of the game another way, then that is his serendipity. But compared to movies, that is an anomaly of the gaming business.

Big budget productions are not started with the goal to be some sort of social service to industry people. They want to be good and impress people so they are happy having spent a lot of money, because they felt the value was there.

Posted:4 months ago

#32

Nick Wofford Hobbyist

180 190 1.1
Competition has never once resulted in raised prices for any product that I can conceive of. The only time where that would happen is in a price-fixing scheme. Arguing that a market is better because you have no choice is just ridiculous. Maybe all of the brand name razors cost the same in the store, but I can assure you that they'd cost 3 times that price if there were only 2 brands to choose from.

For games specifically, games have had their prices reduced. Games have not increased in price much, if at all, over the years. They have certainly not increased proportionally to the rate of inflation (at least in the US). If games had followed inflation, we'd be paying at least $70 (US) for new titles, not $60.

As for Sony's decision, I'll reiterate that it's a mistake. It's being justified purely on the basis of consoles being "walled gardens," but that's all predicated on the assumption that consumers still want their hands held by these devices. I agree that they don't want full PCs, but certain open features are yearned for, and this sort of model could've brought it to the Playstation. Sony's loss.

Posted:4 months ago

#33

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,630 1,509 0.9
Competition has never once resulted in raised prices for any product that I can conceive of.
For one thing, there's a difference between "raised prices" and "uncompetitive pricing" - the one is not necessarily the other. For another, publishers set prices, regardless of outlet or service. Trying to argue that, because there's multiple services, there'll be better value/lower costs for the consumer is a flawed argument. I'm not saying the end-result won't be that at some stage, but the reasoning is flawed. Just like razor manufacturers keep a tight grip on rrp, so too do games publishers - a "Acti Vault" is not going to be priced lower than a "EA Vault". After all, is CoD priced lower than BF?
For games specifically, games have had their prices reduced. Games have not increased in price much, if at all, over the years.
Again, not quite accurate. Games have increased in price, just not as much as they could have/should have. The long-term consumer of games knows they've increased in price. They have not had their price reduced, they just haven't followed inflation.

Edit:

We - all of us - should remember that the crux of this subject is essentially economics. What I wrote above possibly seems pedantic, but in the business and economics sphere there are differences between "raising prices" "reduction of prices" "following inflation", etc. And "competition" comes in many forms, not all of which benefit the consumer (I'm thinking privatisation of utilities and trains in the UK, for example).

*shrugs* Just something to think about. :) I don't think any of us here are Business/Economics graduates, even if some of us took optional modules/classes.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 5th August 2014 11:19am

Posted:4 months ago

#34

Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing

407 247 0.6
Pirates 3 did not cost $300 million. That's the combined budget of 2 and 3 which were shot together

However, Man of Teel and JJTREK 2 did allegedly by reliable sources scrape that number with massive budget overruns.

I think most people missing the big reason why they rejected this, and it has nothing to do with Ps+

Sony has just invested hundreds of millions of dollars, between buying Gaiksi, designing their customer server hardware, writing and deploying the code, and everything else on PSNOW. Which currently costs silly amounts of money to run, and those high rental fees something I have no doubt was originally mandates by people higher up in corporate. EA proposes to offer the same functionality which not only bypasses this network, but works identically to retail product, for what will eventually be dozens and hundreds of games.

Sony doesn't want publishers doing things outside their service, because they need that volume to keep the massive infrastructure afloat. They're going to want to do this with the Ps4 in a fee years as well. There is a gigantic amount of money here just to keep the lights on, with the eventual goal of using this to sell to smaller economies through smart TVs and tablet apps instead of expensive hardware, while keeping the catalog monetized past system shelf lives.

Claiming that EA ACCESS isn't a good value is positively laughable. $2.50 buys you two days at Redbox, with a. Coupon, or a month of Battlefield right one even if Ubi, Activision, and Take 2 do the same thing, it'll still be price competitive with other streaming services. Sony is very frightened right now that the "meh" response will continue, and they also know that whatever subscription price they end up on is going to be a big number. They're going to want to charge $29.99, but they're probably going to have to settle for $19.99.

In the meantime, EA, and anyone who joins them are serving up games for pennies in a fire and forget scenario that rises Microsoft's existing store. Their overhead is nil, and it's basically pure profit that undermines Gamestop. While I expect a lot more old console games on emulation than Xbox one games, and that the indies will eventually have an aggregator that will serve their games.

Posted:4 months ago

#35

Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing

407 247 0.6
The number is wrong, I have close friends who worked on the film. The combined budget was in the neighborhood of $300 million. BO Mojo also lists the budgets of the other toe I mentioned much lower than actual expenditures. Film budgets are typically not published, and usually what shows up is a "best guess". Pirates 2 and 3 saved about $60 million just by shooting back to back. Man of Steel on the other hand blew money by the truckload on that stupid 40 minutes of super punching. Check out how detailed all those 1.5 second long shots are, with debris, furniture, etc. Very pricey, very fast. So if you billed everything tomPirates 3, you mightvhitbthat number.

The original Xbox doesn't have to run in emulation. It ran on an intel Celeron, a DirectX based GPU, and an OS based on Windows 2000. Any issues EA would have would amount to less work than Good Old Games has with DOSBox. I never claimed 360 emulation is practical. A fully loaded top of the line hotrod PC would struggle with it. It still doesn't invalidate my point that they don't want people bypassing PSNOW because of the huge investment and overhead involved. They allow the Flixster, Vudu, CinemaNow and target apps, despite them all being a simple conduit to your UltraViolet collection, in competition with Sony's own video store. How is this different?

Posted:4 months ago

#36

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