Friday 12 July 2013

Random Roundup

Posts about pricing are swirling around the place, f’rexample at Gamasutra; I don’t think much has happened over the last three or four years, since the first big wave of subscription MMOGs turning free to play, to change my general position; “free to play” covers such a wide range of methods and models that it’s pretty meaningless to discuss in generalities. Rob Fahey on has a fine and balanced take on the whole business.

Also swirling about the place are sharks, in a tornado. Sharknado (tagline: “Enough Said”) has been trending on Twitter, and there’s a great article about the wave (MEGA-SQUID-WAVE!) of Asylum/Syfy B movies, with some interesting snippets perhaps somewhat relevant to price/content discussions, B movies in previous eras being packaged with A movies, quality not being a priority (Drive-in-movie-theater owners of the post-war era snapped up the cheap fare to pacify captive viewers stuck in their cars. “As long as people were heading to the snack bar,” Davis says, “exhibitors didn’t care.”), with the current generation performing a similar role to pad out subscription service catalogues.

Speaking of padded catalogues, the Great Steam Summer Sale is upon us, together with recently added trading cards. They seem to have snuck under the radar somewhat, I haven’t seen too many pieces about them. It’s quite an odd idea, meta-achievements and badges effectively in a shop; possibly evil, possibly genius, probably both. Trading cards do take me back to the 1980s, small boys, in the playground, isn’t it? Wasn’t it? Return of the Jedi, the 1986 World Cup, Garbage Pail Kids, got, got, got, NEED! I’ll give you the Belgian goalkeeper and a shiny badge for R2D2… I’ve assembled a couple of collections from buying and selling cards in the Community Market, Valve must be absolutely raking it in from the fees there. I also stumbled across a bunch of Team Fortress 2 items in my inventory from assorted other pre-orders and similar, which gave a bit of an insight into the crazy world of the Team Fortress 2 market; never mind Bitcoins as a digital currency, Valve are probably plotting a Steam based global economy centred around virtual trading cards and hats…

In other forms of alternative funding Kickstarter projects continue to proliferate, I recently backed Satellite Reign, a sort of spiritual Syndicate successor, and slightly more unusually, jerky; Martin’s Jerked Meat had a stall at Chalke Valley, and their wasabi jerky was most excellent, so I jumped in after seeing Warren Ellis tweet a link to their Kickstarter for new equipment.

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