“Are you not Entertained!” Maximus Decimus Meridus.
A few things I’ve been reading/watching converged on a topic, that I have touched on a few times. The price we pay for our entertainment. So lets dive in…
Other than gaming I enjoy going to the cinema, the local ‘plex which is very old and being replaced costs £10 to go and see a new release. That is not the final cost because then you need snacks, to be honest I rarely buy food from the cinema themselves. For me the price you pay for soda could buy you 3L from a supermarket. I think it’s the feeling of having your pants yanked down, bent over and screwed, that I don’t like. Though I understand for some people sneaking in with a 300 ml bottle and a bag of sweets might be tantamount to theft. Two hour’s (aprox) entertainment costs £10 or £5 an hour which is really good, especially if you see one of those film that are just so much more epic on the big screen for example Gladiator, Braveheart or Saving Private Ryan those big blockbusters that gain something from the ability to deliver the combination of large screen and a deep bass rumble. Another film that also slides into this category is Titanic, I agreed to go along with a long-term girl-friend. I thought for the most part it was ok there where some highlights. But when the captain ordered full reverse and it jumps to the engine room and the bass as the engine slowed and then reversed made some of my internal organs wobble… Glorious!
I fully expect when the new plex opens the price will be hiked up on both the ticket and the soda, but what can you do. I will pay the price to see the big films, but will be more hesitant to see marginal films. For example Ant Man was not on my radar but im so glad I went to see it, I thought it was better than some of the bigger films released with a bigger marketing push.
Looking at modern games with an eye of value for money let’s take Ghost Recon latest iteration, at the moment you can pick it up for £45. To get an equal value of entertainment you play the game for 9hrs so that equates to 4 prime cinema tickets and a Wednesday night bog off deal. I played the beta of Ghost with a few friends and I can see it easily surpassing 9hr game play. We will ignore Ubisoft’s modus opperndi of releasing buggy as hell games. 9hrs isnt a great deal of time to play a modern game really, for example Kerbal Space Program playing it via Steam ive logged over 250hrs but I spent a long time playing off-line as well and KSP cost me about £10 way back when it was in beta. Skyrim or any elder scrolls game the amount of entertainment the amount I’ve paid vs my play time makes it one of the best value entertainment packages i’ve ever bought. If I assume I’m a standard gamer then the entertainment delivered by a game is in a good ratio. The gaming entertainment industry is in a good position been more lucrative than ‘movie’ entertainment. Gamers have got used to a good deal and that’s what we expect, the back lash from an under performing product can be immense ‘Hello Games’ anyone!
When I was a kid, before the internet was even conceived and games came on tapes labeled C15, C60 and C90 and each tape could hold multiple pirated games. There was no such thing as a free to play game. You either bought the game or pirated it… I was not even at secondary school when I started been a gamer. The only option was to acquire a
free game pirate a game! I have no doubt that many school kids are in that same predicament of wanting games but not been able to afford them. Though modern kids have the benefits of a whole host of free to play games. For example my present favourites World of Tanks, World of Warships and Star Trek Online. With free to play games the money needs to be made, from the people willing to pay. Looking at games from different cultures and comparing their payment models is very interesting. Many Korean MMO style games honestly look pay-to-win, not only from payment to reduce the grind and Korean MMO’s are known for there Grind making western MMO’s mere pup’s in comparison. But the ability to pay for end Level gear via hard cash not hard grind! Where as western MMO strive not to be Pay-to-Win and avoid getting that label as much as possible, For example when Wargaming.net the people behind World of Tanks made the premium ammo available to be purchased via in-game currency not just real world cash. So a western MMO will sell none essential services, garage slots or starship slots or one of my personal weakness is camouflage for tanks which does give a slight bonus to camoflage but they can be bought for silver as well with a recurring cost or buy with RL money and get them permanently.
AT-2 Dressed for bear.
The other way MMO’s make money is to sell a premium version of something desirable, for example in WoT Console the Cromwell Knight. Very similar to the tech tree Cromwell it has slightly worse accuracy and comes with a garish paint scheme. I LOVE the Knight but I hate the colour scheme.
Yes I am British and that is the Union Flag, but as an Englishman I do feel it is slightly crass. Buying the Knight allowed me to train all the commanders in the British Line with a handful of skills and allowed me to rake in a good war chest of silver. I’m sat on about 20 million silver and every single tank that I am working though gets 3 equipment modules filled with Bino’s, camo net and tool kit. Not something everyone can afford to do. I have got my money’s worth out of the purchase of the Knight, I’ve played a total of 7675 games and 1159 games have been played in the Knight. I also have a 58.5% win ratio in that tank which really means I can carry a game in this tank. The average Win ratio is about 48% because of some matches been draws, the Knight also skews my average tier played to just over VI. So buying this premium tank allows me to enjoy the game but it is not an I win button it is no better than any other tank and has some obvious weakness’ that any player can exploit.
Activison appears to want to nickel and dime anyone who wants to play the modern warefare, not only did you have to buy infinite warfare but are also charging more for the original DLC than when it was first released. Though Infinite Warfare wasn’t as big a success as they hoped any other publisher would have been more than happy with the sales figures achieved by that game. The other interesting thing is that Modern Warefare will also be getting micro transactions which is the way the market is heading looking at GTA V and the amount of coin the micro-transactions make for rockstar you can imagine everyone wanting a piece of that kind of pie. As I like my tanks, I’ve been keeping an eye on armoured warfare, I have many hours put into playing and I was interested in the direction the game was moving as a post WWII tank game. unfortunately the Publisher was not so happy and wanted a WoT clone set post WWII and just use it to gain a slive of the pie with no iteration or development. Which is a shame, I was hoping for something to get my teeth into. I had not spent any money, because it was still in development. I have backed games in development before some have worked out well Elite:Dangerous by Frontier, Kerbal Space Program. Others are work in progress like Astroneer but others have fallen. Firefall which was purchased last year by a Chinese company has seemed to have been making decisions directly to annoy their player base and alienate them. It went from a game where it took a minute to get a raid squad together to remove all the raids in the game…. I backed Firefall in early Beta and have played hundreds of hours and have got my money’s worth out of the game. But to watch a once vibrant community to die due to mis-managment is mind boggling! Choosing what and when to back a game is a tricky decision.
Many people see it as a badge of honour to play a free to play game without spending any money but then there are people who buy everything the possibly can. I am somewhere in between. For example over the weekend I bought a skin pack from frontier for a Ship that I don’t own at the moment but will do in a few weeks. Why did I buy it now, it was on sale, £3 instead of £5 it’s actually a paint pack I already own on the Xbox. So in a few weeks time when I acquire my Python it can be painted red when it’s a mining ship (bonus points if you know why!) and a british racing green when it’s rigged for combat. So in total that brings my Elite:Dangerous total up on the PC and Xbox to just shy of £160 that price does not include anything I’ve upgraded to make the playing of E:D more enjoyable just what I’ve bought from Frontier.
So gaming as a form of entertainment has an initial cost the system be it Console or PC but if you choose wisely and your tastes and play style match, gaming can be a very cheap/cost-effective form of entertainment. For example Star Trek Online at present costs me about 6p per hour, which is far cheaper than my other passion’s which is hiking, climbing, kayaking or canoeing. Especially as one piece of equipment for one sport can’t be used for another, other than for example thermals. I do strongly believe that children should have their gaming limited and if possible encouraged to engage in other forms of entertainment. Getting out and exploring either the countryside or their urban neighbourhood, socializing and meeting face to face to gain and improve social skills. As with everything in life a balance must be found between new horizons in a digital world and acquiring basic understanding of society and social etiquette. Been a computer geek and a sports geek are not mutually exclusive, stood at 2500m and watching the sun rise over 4000m peaks defines me as much as lounging on the sofa headset on complaining at RNG as I drive my Centurion 7/1 across the fields of Poland!
See you on the other side…