Once upon a time there was a game company named Valve Corporation, a team full of talents that in 1998 made a splash with a little thing named Half-Life and that, during the following years, confirmed over and over again to be one of the most important studios of all times for the FPS genre until they brought out the absolute masterpiece, the video game that everyone should play at least once in a lifetime known as Half-Life 2. Nowadays, twenty years after being founded, Valve is essentially the most distant thing from a team of talents making timeless classics: the corporation makes money, a lot, nay too much money with Steam digital delivery and Dota 2 microtransactions, and when they announce something new it usually is another dull crap like the Artifact card game. Players are starting to get tired, but Valve will obviously continue to make too much money with digital delivery and microtransactions until the death of the Internet. And then no one will be able to play on PC anymore, except for those of us having in their archives pirated copies of Half-Life 2 and Portal. Happy digital delivery anyone!
Evolution of PC gaming hardware never stops, dedicated GPUs are reaching new performance records every few months and VRAM chip standards are running fast to try and keep the pace with all this endless improvements. And yet there is a significant amount of players still spending their time on an MS-DOS racing game released 27 years ago, or that goes purchasing a title like Bayonetta when it gets finally released on PC 8 years after the original version. Why, someone will ask? For Bayonetta the fact that the game runs wonderfully well even on old hardware surely helps, while for the rest reaching xkcd can be helpful in finding a possible answer to the riddle.
Emulation allowed us to preserve a substantial part of the mainstream gaming past, but beyond software replication of known components there still is a gulf full of strange devices shrouded by mysterious fogs. Devices like the proprietary magnetic disk drive for Nintendo 64, for instance, or the prototype of a CD-based SNES console co-developed by Nintendo with Sony. The mists of an unclear past still cloak the copy protection of Sega Saturn CDs, while sometimes they let samples of historically remarkable gaming code or unfinished games emerge.
What’s up with your head, you people wasting money on extra contents or DLC for Electronic Arts’ mutilated games funding a dishonest money machine that should burn out rather than thrive? And what are the motivations driving you, who turned a tiny obsessive-compulsive crap like Candy Crush in a business Activision is willing to spend 6 BILLION dollars for? Or you recording your embarrassing and boring Let’s Plays, what kind of profit you get from annoying YouTube visitors to death with your ridiculous voice that would sound bothersome away from the mic too? Really: you are all sick. Go get cured.
I could continue to speak ill of the never too much abused downloadable contents (DLC) and video games digital delivery with my own words, but this time I will leave to Sony management official statements the task to chill the continuous, boring, stupid and annoying hype about an exclusively downloadable gaming future and other crap of this kind: 1) “I want it on the disc, that way when they buy it, they get it” – Rob Dyer, SCEA vice-president while commenting on the state of the DLC market; 2) The gloomy and failing UMD-free PSPGo “was introduced in a mature lifecycle to learn more about what the consumer wanted and we’ve definitely learnt a lot. Is that measured by success in sales? I don’t think it is” – words of Andrew House, SCEE president.
Welcome to a new installment in the Videogames Highlights series. It is, considering the long period of time passed since the August one, a “remedial” post covering no less than the last four months of year 2009. These were intense months, from a video gaming standpoint, still the following contents collection is personal and variously assorted as usual. And seeing that there is so much to talk about I cut short with the intro and just report, after Stardock‘s CEO opinion of the last time, the statements from UK accountable people for the three main gaming consoles (Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo) regarding the misleading theory according to which digital downloads should replace optical disks during the upcoming years.