Couch Podtatoes Episode 34: Crowd Funding

CP4

It’s a bit late but late is better than never right? Due to my lack of attention, I wasn’t able to secure Doone’s participation in the show this week until the weekend, so we’re releasing episode 34 a tad late, but Doone made it and we had a great discussion about the current state of crowd funding, touching on recent stories about Massively Overpowered, Daybreak Games, and the Peter Molyneux interview on Rock, Paper, Shotgun. We discuss the ethics of crowd funding and where we see the future of the industry going, gaming journalism as well. Are you ready to enter the digital frontier, once again?

 

Download this Episode Subscribe via RSS Download on iTunes Listen on Stitcher
Couch Podtatoes Epsiode 34: Crowd Funding (runtime: 51:34)

What are we playing? (starts at 2:26)
Discussion: Digital Frontier (starts at 14:24)

Host Contact information:

Izlain
Blog: Me vs. Myself and I
Twitter:@mevsmyselfandi

J3w3l
Blog: Healing The Masses
Twitter: @ausj3w3l

Doone
Blog: XP Chronicles
Twitter: @trredskies

Music Credits:
“Level Up” by Cookie Monsta (from the Riot! EP)
“Cracks” by Flux Pavilion (from the album Plux Favilion)
“Enchanted Rose” by Bury Your Dead (from the album Beauty and the Breakdown)

Couch Podtatoes is a podcast about gaming, though we might stray into other forms of media. Sometimes we use strong language, but we try to keep that to a minimum. All opinions expressed by us or our guests are our own and are in no way to be interpreted as official commentary from any companies we discuss. You can visit our official podcast page at http://couchpodtatoes.libsyn.com/. Be sure to follow us on iTunes, and/or Stitcher Radio.

Questions, comments and feedback are welcomed and encouraged!

#couchpodtatoes #podcast #gamesdiscussion #gaming

Wallflower

Regular readers will probably note that I haven’t been posting as much as usual. Long-time (and I mean years) followers will have noticed a pattern — when real life gets busy, I tend to slack on my blog. It’s been gradual. Last month I was slacking at the beginning of each week but making up for it towards the weekend. This month I started with every other day, and have taken most of this week off. It’s not as if I hadn’t been reading other people’s posts, keeping up with some of the bigger news stories (be it industry or community related), and having my own thoughts and opinions about those topics. I’ve just been apathetic towards writing things down. I wish I could say that it was because I was playing more video games than normal, and spending less time writing about them, but that’s not the truth. The truth is, I’ve spent time away from home, have been busy running errands, doing classes, and in some cases have been utterly lazy.

Like a Wallflower, I’ve had thoughts about these stories, but so many people had already covered them I felt content sitting on the sidelines. This post is me throwing out a few tidbits, and not really going too in-depth because I don’t want to repeat the same shit someone else already said, but I feel like I should say something. Picking up where I left off last week in my “Change is in the Air” post, many of the stories I touched on there have had updates. First off, Daybreak Games, the company formerly known as SOE, was bought by an investment company, and within a week had layoffs of some prominent figures. Heartfelt posts were made by a few, including Syp, Aywren and Keen, while Roger takes a measured look at the company who owns them, and their reasoning for it. I had some back and forth commentary on an earlier post with someone who really wished Smedley would get the ax, and he seems to be safe for now. I personally don’t mind Smed, and I have always been one of SOE’s faithful, and continue to be for now, but mirror Keen’s expression of feeling lost. I had a conversation with my Dad, a long-time Everquest player and fan of the company for the most part, where I expressed believing that the spirit of SOE would live on through this acquisition and that Everquest would never truly die, but he felt like an investment company would run Daybreak into the ground. I see both sides of this argument as equally valid, because there is still hope that current games will live on and future ones will still be developed, but there is the possibility that the company (or certain products) will cease to exist. Part of me believes that even if Daybreak were to go under, former employees would start up a new company, or somehow the Everquest franchise would be kept alive. I hope to see Everquest Next, but there are no guarantees in the gaming industry.

Massively Overpowered has gone live, and their Kickstarter campaign was heavily supported. I think the site is better looking and user friendly. I haven’t read too many articles but it seems to be at bare minimum the news aggregator we all know and love (or not, whatever). While it was briefly offline (from the time Massively was done for and the new site popped up) there was a conversation about whether or not the blogging community could step in to fill the shoes of professional journalists. While I think it could be done, I believe that most people would like to be getting a piece of the pie so to speak, and unless you are willing to conform to certain guidelines, you might not be able to collect. I know I’d love to get paid — and would put a hell of a lot more effort out if I was — for doing the blog/podcast bit, but I’m not sure I’d want to submit to some of those standards. Either way, Roger once again made some good points in this article, and points to some other articles that bring the topic together nicely.

Lastly, and I’m super late for this, Eri wrote a series of posts on “Free to Play Fuckery,” in which she shreds the notion that free to play is good for gaming, and has some counter points brought up by other bloggers. This is the last post in the series (as of this writing), and I trust you can navigate your way further into the discussion if you so wish. I have to say that a couple of years ago, I was really for the free to play conversions and was loving the plethora of free to play gaming options. I love League of Legends to this day, and I feel like their model is fair, and I’ve spent more money with Riot Points than I would have if I could have everything included in a box price. Honestly, if  you were to get most of the content included in a subscription price I’d be saving money. I guess that becomes the point of the argument against F2P. What I loved was being able to try MMOs that I never wanted to pay the box price + sub for, and then seeing the reasons why they weren’t worth sub prices in the first place. However, I do see the flip side of the coin where it’s obvious that our greed for “MOAR STUFF FOAR FREE” has created this monster model. At the end of the day, I believe that the core problem isn’t subscription costs or cash shop woes. The core problem is a lack of innovation and/or putting out shitty games. You can only force feed someone the same shit for so long before they want a different flavor of shit. Eventually they learn that it’s all shit and move onto something else altogether. For now, I’m just rolling with the punches, picking and choosing from the lot.

Change is in the Air

It’s interesting to me, that of all the people in our little community who write prediction posts or talk about things that they would like to see in the coming year, didn’t see any of this coming.

This isn’t secret information. At this point, if you are interested in gaming and have an internet connection, you’ve already heard the news. There are four stories I’m going to talk about today, and I’m only touching upon them because they all surround things that have interested me, currently or otherwise. I’m late to the party, but I figured that I would give my two cents anyway. I went and said that I wasn’t going to, but here’s me doing it anyway.

So Joystiq, the all-inclusive gaming website that also played host to Massively, is owned by AOL. A huge douche-nozzle of a company, prone to buying companies and then shutting them down, as corporations are wont to do. It’s business, and it’s numbers, we all get it. There are a bunch of other bloggers who wrote more thought-provoking posts about this topic than I care to. In the end, I was mostly concerned for Syp and the other writers who were going to be out of work. It was announced that Joystiq and its sister sites would be shut down, and we all wondered where we’d find another reliable source for MMO news and otherwise. Of course, there were naysayers, happy to see the site get shuttered. There was backlash at that post and I’m sure there were others like it with even more backlash. These things happen on the Internet. As much as Keen is entitled to his opinion, you are entitled to disagree. There were recommendations for people to get their news at sites like Polygon, PCGamer, Rock, Paper, Shotgun, etc. You can find those sites on my sidebar as well, I check them all regularly. However, I do believe that our blogging community (and subsequently on Twitter) keeps me better informed than most sites. It can go either way, and I hear the news from one or the other, but I love the unflinching honesty of enthusiast bloggers, something that won’t be replicated on corporate sites.

Thankfully, Massively is going “indie,” by getting the gang together on their own website. I assume this means quality news, but maybe will give us some of that honesty that they weren’t able to before. I love a random “fuck” thrown into a well-written article. It feels more authentic that way. So the new site is called Massively Overpowered, and though it isn’t up just yet, you’ll be able to follow that link sooner than later. You can also follow them over on Twitter. I have updated the link on my sidebar, just a day after having removed the old one.

In related news, I also followed Joystiq for my console news, mainly for Playstation stuff, but there’s more on offer if you happen to enjoy a different console. They have been picked up by Engadget, and have a working name of “Joystiq X Engadget” (or Joystiq X e). This appears to be business as usual for the site, so aside from a further name change, it’s not going anywhere for the time being. Their Twitter account hasn’t changed for now, and I have also updated the link on the sidebar as well.

Next up, the big news from SOE that Sony sold them off to a company called Columbus Nova. This includes a name change, where SOE will now be known as “Daybreak Games.” This was a shocker I don’t think anyone saw coming. Some people will claim that they saw indicators, but I call bullshit. It’s been business as usual for SOE for years now, despite having put out new games (Early Access or otherwise) and keeping up on old titles. Yeah, they have had some free to play conversions, they also shuttered some under-performers, but that’s been the story for every MMO company for the last few years. Honestly, I don’t understand the hate people have for SOE, save for the people who are still holding grudges about Star Wars Galaxies and/or Vanguard. For me, SWG seemed like a shitty game and I don’t think that’s due to SOE’s influence. Vanguard also seemed like trash before it released, and SOE saved it from going into the trash bin, so yeah, who’s the villain there? Everquest 1 and 2 are still two of my favorite MMOs of all time, and that’s after having played most AAA titles from the past decade plus. Their upcoming titles (which are in early access) seem like they’re going to be great games when they’re done, and we all know EQN will be a thing. It might not come when you want it, but it will draw fans of the IP regardless.

SOE has done some things that are ridiculous, stupid, and backwards. But their transparency throughout has always been refreshing and a part of what makes them a great company. Eri said it best on our H1Z1 show, in that SOE is the little hero company that you’re supposed to like, and you hate to see them do stupid shit, but you still love them anyway. Something to that effect. I can’t say that I’ve approved of it all, but I don’t want to see them go under. They make it sound like they’re going to be an indie company now, and will have the ability to make games for other platforms and might be able to get away from things their parent company made them do. However, they are still under the umbrella of a corporation, so we’ll see how it goes. I’m rooting for them.  Their Twitter has been updated, so you can follow them for further updates.

Last story, was another that I didn’t think I’d see happen. For the past decade give or take, The Pirate Bay has been a torrent seekers dream. Anything you needed to get ahold of was available, and being based on servers in a country where it’s harder to prosecute, they kept pirates happy. I plead the 5th on my involvement, but we’ll just say that I was disappointed to learn it was shut down earlier this year. It didn’t take long for it to rise again though, like a phoenix from the ashes. Who knows how long this incarnation will last, but it’s good to see freedom ring clear on the Internet once again.

So, companies, websites, games, pirates. They rise and fall, come and go, but in the end, we find new versions, new fixes, and soldier on. The world we live in might be a big ol’ bitch, but sometimes she’s beautiful. That’s all for today.

#massivelyop #daybreakgames #joystiqxe #thepiratebay