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 a dialogue scene from Sega's upcoming action/RPG Alpha Protocol. I've decided that all future Ask Me Stuff pics will, in fact, show in-game conversations-slash-interrogations.

Now, fire away with those questions.


    A while ago i asked you about how profitable/smart it would be to open my ow ngaming retail store - to which you basically gave me a cetain "you're brain in made of jelly, son" - but in a nice way of course.. Also mentioned i might do better doing something along the lines of PR.

    Basically though i want to be my own boss, so another idea, what about starting as a distributor/manufacturor or indie games? I mean the indie market is only growing at the moment, so surely something like this would have to have some sort of merit?

      You mean a business involving selling indie games as physical goods? Short answer: no. Indie games are all about digital distribution, regardless of the platform they're on.

    Hi David,
    Is is just me or does it seem that pretty much every game made now days, is CO-OP this and CO-OP that. I understand multiplayer online is popular and there have always been multiplayer games in the arcades and consoles. But a lot of games just cant be properly enjoyed now days as a one player experience. Resident Evil 5 i'm looking at you. I bought it at launch day, played it for about 2 days got totally annoyed with having that stupid woman getting in my way all the time and haven't touched it since. Most of the original and best games of yesteryear are one player games. Your thoughts?

      Good question. I might speak to some developers about this.

      My initial thought is that obviously online gaming has become far more accessible, so we're seeing a rise in both competitive and cooperative online play. Perhaps there's also something in the fact that to play a co-op game you need two copies... which potentially equals extra sales for the publisher.

        Thanks for your reply, I'd be interested to see what they say too!
        Call me old school but I don't need anyone's help when i'm saving the world, building a empire or looking in the next castle for a princess!

        I'll tell you, if the next GTA is Co-Op, I'm going to hi-jack someone's car and drive down bourke street mall with a blind fold on.

    A semi-celebrity lifestyle, playing game beta's, writing about games and getting paid for it, all awesome, so my question naturally is.....

    Boxers or breifs?

      Who wears clothes when playing games?

        I like to don a slanket...

        You dirty goose!!! *leaves trembling violently*

    Will the Fallout 3 DLC ever make it to steam.

      Very much doubt it. To be honest, I'm not really feeling the problem here. Sure, it'd be nice if it was on Steam, what with it being far more user-friendly than GFW Live. But we're not talking platform exclusivity here, as with PS3 owners having to wait until September. We're talking two services on the same platform. You just need to login to one of them to get your Fallout fix. Just do it.

    David, what are you thoughts on the current trend of including actual in-game content as pre-order/special edition bonuses?

    Trivial things like a extra character or weapon skins generally don't bother me, but when there are extra unique weapons (Army of Two) or actual gameplay (Batman: AA's challenge map, XO: Wolverine's Weapon X Arena) I find it annoying that I'm not geting the full game experience just because I didn't shell out an extra $50 for a dinky plastic figure I didn't want, or rushed out and bought the game before I knew if I even wanted to play it.

    On a related note, did the version of Batman: AA you've been playing include the "Crime Alley" challenge map that comes with the special edition? Is it actually a significant inclusion in the game?

      I'm not a fan of bonus content being offered exclusively with preorders, limited editions and the like because it impacts on your choice as a consumer. For me, retailers should compete on price, not on bonus content.

      Typically though, it's rare that this type of content is a) meaningful and b) genuinely exclusive, as it's usually made available for everyone at a later date.

    Hey David just wondering when we might find out about the Monster Hunter comp? (chomping at the bit)

    Why does show The Beatles Rock Band if we're not getting that game?

      Who said we're not getting The Beatles Rock Band? Last time I spoke with EA they told me the announced worldwide release of September 9 applied to Australia.

    As someone who is intimately familiar with the industry and is exposed to new tech/titles on a regular basis, do you find it hard to remain excited about videogames on a personal level? Has constant inundation with industry gossip and journalistic hype affected your enjoyment of games as a hobby?

      I think I answered something similar last week. Anyway, the answer is "mostly no". A great game is still a great game and I get the same buzz from playing Far Cry 2 (my game of '08) as I did playing Thief (my game of '98) or Ultima V (my game of '88).

      (Was Ultima V released in '88?)

    Being in Australia online gaming can often be frustrating as lag is inevitable when playing with people from around the world. Light is not going to get any faster so there is always going to be a delay over great distance. My question is though are there companies out there looking to address this issue with netcode? Is it even possible to program for this issue?

      You can't program to add more Australian players. We're always going to have the issue of a smaller player base when compared to the US or Europe. This hurts niche titles the most. When a game has only sold 5000 copies, how many of those players are going to be online simultaneously at any given moment?

      On the other hand, the ability to filter for local matches is something that can enormously benefit the more popular titles. More games need to do it, and do it properly.

    Do you have any idea why games cost so much in Aus?

      Sure do.

    Last week (possibly the week before) there was the article in regards to the games industry stagnating in regards to genres.

    I've been mulling over this idea for about the past week and I'm struggling to think of other genres that would both be entertaining (note: not necessarily fun, i.e. drama) and playable. Heavy Rain is an interesting inclusion but where else do we go?

    Fantasy, Sci-Fi, War/Violence, they're all things that we enjoy because they're not actually possibly in the real world.

    Onto my question: In your opinion what direction do you feel the game industry needs to take to keep things fresh? Do we simply go to genres that haven't been overused as much or do we simply need to stop worrying and focus more on story instead of the genre?

    There is a great divide within the gaming community and without with regards to games being considered art. It may be that gaming will always suffer from the cultural cringe of its youth and be considered mass-entertainment for kids. However, great art has the ability of holding a mirror up to society. We are beginning to see this more in gaming.

    Often things packaged for mass consumption are not considered worthy of the title of being art. Do you believe there is a place in the world where games will one day considered to be taken on seriously as a means to reflect society back at itself? If so, what changes have to happen in the industry in order for games to break the barrier of just being entertainment?

    How are websites that offer free downloads of Nintendo DS roms able to operate without prosecution? Also, at Dandenong market I counted 12 stalls that were selling all types of Nintendo DS/DSI flash kits - and all of them have games pre-installed on the card. One stall was selling an R4 with 2GB micro SD card pre-loaded with 88 games for $30. Why doesn't Nintendo crack down on this. At Carrabean market it is the same deal and the market is probably only 500 meters from Nintendo head office. Don't they care?

    David my question is a little political, what do you think of the government's new plan to place a filter on australian internet? Do you really think something like that can go through?

    David, Any news on whether/when Australia will get Xbox Live Indie Games?

      I've got a post lined up about this. Stay tuned.

    David, i've been eagerly reading about the release of numerous LucasArts Classic games on Steam and XBOX Live ( The LucasArts press release mentions "other online distribution channels" and I've read around the place that iPhone could be another option. Is there any hope at all that they'll be released on the PSN store? Even if it's on the US store that'll give me hope (still waiting on MGS1 in the PAL store Grrrr!)

      If the old games sell well on Steam, I can see them coming to iPhone as well. Indeed, I've heard from a few sources that this is pretty much going to happen.

      And if the new Monkey Island and the HD remake sell well on Wiiware and XBLA, then they'll surely come to other platforms, including PSN.

      It's awesome to be an adventure game fan right now.

    Will we ever see Rock Band 2? If so, any idea when?

      I'd say when Rock Band 3 comes out in US but then I'd just be trolling...oh I did it anyway.

      I asked this very question of EA and MTV Games a few weeks back. That they have been unable to answer me as yet would strongly suggest the answer is no.

      My guess is we'll see The Beatles game in September and we'll miss out on Rock Band 2.

    Hi David,

    I really miss playing my PS3 as I do not play it anymore. All I really use it for is playing CD's and BlueRay. When is something exciting going to hit our shelves again? You can only play MGS4 a couple of times through before going nuts.

    I find that the really exciting games are hitting PC's at the moment (I'm loving this BTW!!), and nothing is really grabbing my attention by the nuts and squeezing.



      Didn't like inFamous? (Fair enough, neither did I.)

      If you're just talking exclusives then Ghostbusters is worth at least a rental, if you're a fan. Also check out Trine on PSN, it's really very good.

      From memory, the only major exclusive PS3 titles coming this year are Uncharted 2, Ratchet & Clank and Sony's Eyepet title.

      Oh, and there's always Valkyria Chronicles!

    Hi David

    Is there a chance we'll hear any news or details from Valve on both Episode 3 and Portal 2 sometime this year? (hopefully soon)

      I guess there's always a chance, but I wouldn't put my money on it.

    Hey David,

    "Holy Invasion of Privacy Badman...", is being released tomorrow in US on the PSN. Any chance us Aussies will get some PSN love?

    Hi David,
    I'm a uni student living in TAS, studying an degree unrelated to gaming, but I've had (what I think is) a great idea for a new game on iPhone. I explained the idea to a skeptical mate who afterwards is also on board with the concept. We both love gaming but have zero technical knowledge in terms of actually making games and have no mates cluey (or keen) enough to do it either.

    In your opinion, is it possible for a game (such as the one in my head) to be made by an existing games studio, or should I bite the bullet and try to do a course myself. I have never wanted to do game coding etc (doesn't interest me at all) but I'm dead keen for my game to be made. Your thoughts and guidance on the matter would be most appreciated mate,


      You really have to do it yourself. Ideas are never in short supply, but the talent to make them into great games often is. Every game development studio in the world has more great concepts than they'll ever be able to turn into actual games. Indeed, publishers and developers won't even acknowledge unsolicited game designs for legal reasons.

      Get your current degree done, but devote your spare time to learning how to code. Do a bit of research into what sort of language or environment would be best for your idea and go from there.

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