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Thu, 01 Dec 2005

Games: another year!

It's hard not feel like a mushroom in the games world sometimes -- mostly in the dark and fed on constant BS, it's not surprising that some people don't know which way is up.

Take recent product launches for example: the latest is Xbox 360 and the most recent before that was Sony's PSP. We've been deluged with claims of amazing sales for both. With PSP have you seen one? In a shop? Being played? Not too many, we'll bet. It is pretty early days for both but the main point has to do with tthe quality of the things -- the gaming experience. We're not quite sure why sales information (or more likely, disinformation) is so fascinating to some people and who knows, maybe it really isn't.

Anyway, most people have been pleased with the PSP and its gaming experience but for us it is too big and the stink from the continued corporate arrogance of Sony is too strong for us to wish them anything other than a bloody nose... a severe one. The business with music CDs is totally beyond belief and we believe, further to other commentary on this site, that if it was good enough for teenagers to see prison time for similar exploits in the rootkit line, then that's entirely good enough for some people at Sony. And no, sorry, "we didn't know our idiot outsourced security people were doing such nasty stuff" cuts absolutely no ice at all, particularly when coupled with the other attitudes they've shown.

All this leaves Microsoft looking like the good guys and you can be absolutely and positively sure that this will be reflected in Xbox 360 sales ... even if Sony isn't there yet and it will be ages before any useful comparisons can be made.

One thing is plain -- Surprise! The best of Xbox 360 games are to come. Who would have guessed that? Early adopters have found the gaming experience underwhelming but the platform is good and the games will be there. In theory PlayStation3 should be hotter still but will the games be? And will people want to support the anti-consumer Sony in as big a way as before?

If they read the normal games press, full of puff pieces for games they haven't seen properly yet (because if they don't do the puff, they don't get the games) then, yes, they'll continue as before.

It's also been a year when anti-games crusaders have had their embarrassing moments. .. which is a little sad. There are quite a few issues that need addressing and there seems to be little in the way of intelligent discussion -- over-the-top views followed by kneejerk rejection. Any fool can see that violent games of a certain style are not good for kids. The results are plain in their behaviour and attitudes. Some countries have labels to protect against this and others have the codes and absolutely no followup. This is PR style government where zillions of technical crimes are created on the statute books and very little is done to see that they are followed. It's true to say that crime is a symptom of a problem rather than the problem itself but the situation is distorted in these sort of cases. One thing is for sure, and that is that some games publishers need to take a good luck at themselves and their place in society. Is this a bit like the talk of guns and their users? Yes, it is ... quite a lot. Mstation is anti-censorship generally but we believe if people absolutely must do evil things for whatever reason, greed, whatever, then they should be stomped.

Nintendo has been quietly getting on with the job. It's DS is very successful and it too is working towards a major new console release. It's interesting and almost funny that some of the big chains in different countries have stopped stocking Nintendo because they reckon the brand is not big enough for them. The funny part is that there they sit with empty display cases because they can't actually get the stock they're supposed to have. Heh!

One thing is for sure. There will be some great games in 2006 and there will also be a succession of franchise dross. Caveat Emptor.

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