Ask Me Stuff

Every couple of weeks I like to ask you to Ask Me Stuff. If you have a burning question about the games industry, leave it in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer it today.

Today's Ask Me Stuff pic is courtesy of the wonderful PC adventure game, The Last Express. Insert your own wistful sigh here.

Now, fire away with those questions.


Comments

    Do you enjoy the fact that your job involves you going onto forums and chatting about random crap?

    Or... does it lose it's shine given that you *have* to do it? :)

    Games-related question - reckon we'll see much of that OnLive system at E3, and what are your thoughts on how viable it is, even with all the big-name publishers onboard?

      OnLive have already said that they won't be at E3. They're consumer-facing, and E3 is retailer-focused, or something.

        clawster is correct. OnLive won't be at E3.

    Hi David, when, if ever, are Microsoft Aus going to do something about the extremely poor services offered by Live here? It is shocking. I know there are hurdles with ratings board & licenses, but every other country is miles ahead.

      I asked them about the Zune Marketplace just yesterday. They repeated the standard line that they're working on it. Just like they've been working on Video Marketplace for over two years.

      Still, at least almost all of the services we're missing out on here are premium ones.

    With E3 coming next week many game designers will be revealing lots of info about their games. However, do you feel that there is such a requirement for game developers to show off their games that they end up revealing too much of the experience? I remember when I finally got my hands on Metroid Prime Corruption I felt the game was already so familiar, as i had seen much of the first half of the game in previews.

      It's always a danger, not just due to E3, but particularly the demands of online media that sees trailers, gameplay walkthroughs, developer diaries and all manner of video footage drip-fed in the months leading up to launch.

      Personally, I can't think of a game I've had spoiled for me by seeing it at E3, often because I'll have forgotten the details by the time the game actually comes out.

      But I also try not to watch too many videos if it's a game I'm personally excited about.

        I agree with the not-watching-too-many-videos thing; I've been like that with Heavy Rain, given that the story and how the different characters' plots intertwine sounds like it's what the game's all about.

    The games industry, like film and theater, is often considered a non-essential industry compared to engineering, the sciences, etc. As an individual invested in the games industry, do you ever experience moments in your life where you question the importance of your actions and achievements as compared to those of people working in vital industries like health care, emergency services and so forth? If so, how do you personally justify your profession as a meaningful human endeavour?

    I ask only because this is definitely something that bugs me on a daily basis.

      Isn't the games industry essential in providing those "health care, emergency services" workers with a release from the stress of their job?

      I'd also contend that a medium so capable of overcoming boredom is pretty essential to most people.

    hi david
    lets just say if there is a price cut of $100 of the ps3 would they cut the full amount in australian dollars or just 100.

      If Sony Computer Entertainment America or Japan were to cut the price of the PS3, Sony Australia wouldn't be forced to do the same. Each territory decides its own pricing based on local market conditions.

      E.g. Against the Xbox 360, the PS3 is performing better in Australia than in the US. Sony America might decide it needs a price cut to boost sales, while Sony Australia might be happy with its current sales.

      Personally, I don't think we'll see a PS3 price cut anywhere until September.

    First off (after the obligatory Hi David), I second the question from justin about AUS live experience.

    Now for the questions:
    Q1. Do you see it as an inevitability that all consoles will incorporate Blu-Ray (next gen onwards).

    Q2. With the proposed Aussie upgrade of internet access (optical fibre network), how do you see the console and home entertainment market changing. Specifically, do you see this as the death of the console (and perhaps piracy?) by streaming ALL software and would this also lead to an increased likelihood of a netflix equivelant coming down here?

      1. Blu-ray won't be in Nintendo's next console. And I'd say it's highly unlikely to be in Microsoft's. There's a bigger question here regarding the length of this current console cycle and how that may impact what storage the next-gen opts for and how prominent digital delivery will be.

      2. Let's say the technology issues around streaming HD games can be solved. Even then, I can't see it replacing the ability to download games and store them locally. Anyone who values the mod scene and editing tools should restrain their enthusiasm for streaming gameplay services. And although something like Netflix has a healthy catalogue, what happens when the streaming provider decides it wants to shut down the server for your favourite old game? Consider me very sceptical.

        as for streaming games and so on, see gametap.com

        AKA the elephant graveyard of games, and where abandonware goes to die.

        it does require a US account to work, but that's not hard to obtain.

    Hi David, I've tried emailing Gabe @ valve about this one, but haven't received a response (didn't really expect one).

    The latest TF2 update changes the way people get their new weapons, and it's now based on time spent in game. In order to farm the items, players are logging into "idle" servers, and leaving their game running 24 hours a day. My question is about the environmental impact of this design choice.

    Let say the average TF2 player was playing for 3 hours a day (some play more, some less), and their computer has a 500w power supply that draws at around 75% while running TF2. That is 7.875kWh/Week. All of a sudden a significant portion of these players are now leaving their computers on doing this for 24 hours a day, raising the power consumption up to 63kWh/Week.
    They are also talking about bringing in a trading system, which is why everyone is getting duplicate items (anyone need 5 sandviches?). When creating any type of trading system, the items being traded are the currency, in this case the unlockable weapons. If the only way to accumulate this currency is to leave your account connected to a server, this will once again raise the power consumption even more. Such a jump in power consumption obviously means more carbon emissions are created to produce that power.

    So after that rant, my question is this. Do you think that companies like Valve should be factoring things like real world environmental impact into their designs?

    I love Valve, and all their games, but I really think their solution with the latest update is their biggest stuff up ever, and it effects flow over into the real world.

    Do you know if there's any news on the Team Fortress 2 updates for the 360? Last info I can find is that there was going to be an update relesed late last year with class upgrades, but still no dice.... Can you shed any light on the situation?

    When on xbox live to you offer game invites freely or do you hold back because you don't want to piss people off by interrupting their game. By the way this issue I would love to see fixed in players gamecards where they could identify games that they would like to be invited to and are keen to play.

      Hopefully we'll see more of this kind of social networking integration revealed at E3 next week...

    David, why do men have nipples?

    With the content of games evolving just as fast as the technology powering them, do you feel that interactive software has transcended the term "Game/video game"?

    A lot of software is becoming more artistic, cinematic and even more controversial (like the recent Iraq shooter that got canned and a possible guantanamo "game") that I feel calling our hobby/past time a "Game" is too demeaning.

    While I feel that more light hearted and children's titles deserve to be called games I just feel the more serious and compelling titles don't fit under the same name...

    Which leads into the whole R rating debate...

    I'd just like to hear your thoughts.

    -Tyr

      The term game carries with it the idea of some form of rules by which the play is governed. Even the most artistic or cinematic - to use your words - gaming experiences still abide by these conventions. Shadow of the Colossus may well be wonderfully artistic, but it's still built upon rule systems you can learn, thus becoming more proficient with your play.

      The "game" that doesn't contain rules of play is still exceptionally rare. Tale of Tales' The Graveyard and The Path would be two such examples. And you're right, perhaps it's best not to call them games at all.

    What hope is there for baby journos such as I in this industry? Is there a requirement for videogame industry experience just to get your foot in the door?

      Clearly not. The majority of game journalism is rubbish. Industry experience would probably help, but since most game journalists seem to want to end up as developers, isn't that a backward step?

      Ignore Kanfi's nonsense.

      The best advice I can give someone who wants to write about games is to... write about games. You do it because you love writing, right? So, start your own blog, find your own voice and practise your writing. Engage with the games blogging community and involve yourself in the discussions. From there you can start pitching articles to outlets, some of which may even pay.

    Do you know what happend to the "Chamber Appartment" that was supposed to be free in PlayStation Home. It appears that it was never avaliable in Australia?

    @ DeeJay

    To add to David's response, I would argue that "The Arts' is just as vital industry as any other.

    Throughout history it has certainly been as celebrated as such.

    Also without such an outlet the pursuit of technological, medical and scientific advances tend to seem a little hollow.

    Howdy dave, quick question if i recall Brutal Legend is out 13 of October in USA and 16 of October in EU, does this mean we will be getting it on the 16th as well?

      EA has yet to date Brutal Legend here, but I'd expect it on the 15th or 22nd.

    David/Other KotakuAUites I need your help.

    I have a PS3 connected to a Widescreen LCD and a fairly serviceable PC (8800GTS video card) connected to a 4:3 LCD Monitor.

    So my question is if I should get the following games as PS3 or PC:

    Far Cry 2
    Fallout 3
    COD4 Modern warfare

    I can see pluses and minuses for both arguments so I haven't made my mind up.

    I have more history in the FPS on PC and therefore mouse controls are more comfy for me but I'm guessing I would adjust on PS3 eventually.

    What are the recommendations (other than hooking up my PC to the TV)?

      I'm not a PC Gamer at all. Only with RTS and i hardly play them. So i am unfamiliar with FPS on a PC and personally find it just weird.

      However, taking in mind of a PC Gamer who is used to a mouse. I'm probably totally against others opinions but maybe this would help.

      Far Cry 2 and Fallout 3 on PC. They are obviously games that you explore and they suit PC's probably more than a console. You can sit their and explore close up for long periods.

      Then Call of Duty 4 (why don't you have this already!!!!) on your PS3. Definitely one of, if not, the best campaigns i've ever played on a FPS. Has great length, when i first played it i thought this HAS to be the last mission. But i believe most people play it for multiplayer. Which is where you would get the most time logged for playing it.

        Thanks Jay, I think you have appropriately swung me towards PC for Far Cry 2 and Fallout (with the added benefit that I can mod Fallout more and more down the track).

        As for COD4 I was boycotting it due to the fact Activision initially listed it for a cheap price on Steam and then upped it to match the retail price in Aus after a couple of weeks (even if David thinks that is a an OK thing to do I thought it was greedy).

      Obviously just a personal opinion, but the console controls on the Xbox 360 just didn't feel right to me for Far Cry 2.

      Control wise I thought Fallout 3 and CoD4 played fine on 360 though.

    Hi Dave,

    Out of Nintendo, Sony & Microsoft - who's presentation are you most looking forward to?

    & what expectation do you expect from each. What things do you want to see done to their consoles for upgrades?

      I'll be doing this on Monday...

    Do you think we'll ever see a re-releases of Ico's ICO, or Shadow of the Colossus?

      You and I might pay $100 for an HD version of ICO - and I'd pay even more for Shadow - but I'm not sure there are enough of us out there. At least we have "TrICO" to look forward to...

    We know that your all time favorite game was/is Deus Ex but what is the one game that was the worst you ever played/reviewed?
    What made you physically ill or gave you nightmares?
    For me it was Battlefield 2 which should have been called Brainfried 2.

    Also. Beside Dues Ex what was you all time favorite that you still play till this day?
    Mine is Dungeon Keeper 2.

    ROM

      Worst? I try to forget them. Need for Speed: Undercover was the last genuinely terrible game I reviewed.

      Best? Deus Ex would rank highly. But it's things like Rez or Super Metroid or Symphony of the Night or Super Mario Kart that I still play to this day.

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