Ask Me Stuff

Every Wednesday I 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 this afternoon.

I’ll be doing this every Wednesday.

Now, fire away with those questions.


    *jumps up and down a bit.

    Dave! I'll shoot with the same question as per the last few weeks. I was wondering how Kotaku comes up with all the great prizes?? Like who foots the bill for it all? Do the PR peoples contact you guys with games to give away, or do you guys contact them asking for some freebies? Whoever is paying I don't really care, I love it and say bring more on! :)

      Haha, I actually came in here to say something along the same lines. Just got my copy of Silent Hill yesterday and got into it last night, great to have another foray into the Silent Hill world.
      Just wanted to say a big thanks to you and Kotaku for hosting such awesome comps - I really appreciate it!

      I actually answered this last week. It was late though, so you probably missed it.

      "The game publishers give them to us, for free, obviously. Sometimes they call me with something, sometimes I call them if there’s a game I’m especially keen on. They come up with the prize packs and I choose how we give them away.


        Cheers! Sorry, don't know how I missed it, must have been very late as you say! :)

        In that case, can you nag them for some Skate 3 freebies?? PS3 preferably... hehehe, I'm itching for this game but had to buy new school uniforms this week. :(

          Sorry, no Skate 3 giveaway, I'm afraid.

    i do recall this being answered in the last "ask me stuff", but i could be hallucinating.

    my question is, why dont any consoles have a radio function through an internet connection?

    so many times i've been sitting in multiplayer lobbies for call of duty or halo, just wondering how long it will be before i purge all saved music from my hard drive.

    would it be that hard to integrate something like that into a console?

    is it just a matter of licensing issues (although it is free broadcast??)


    any news on bulletstorm? :)

      According to Dude Huge's twitter (@therealcliffyb) there is a gameplay trailer being released this week. Thursday or Friday from memory.

      I'll be over at an EA event in LA next week, so hopefully I'll see Bulletstorm there. Not sure when I'll be able to write about it though.

    I was wondering if you actually work from an office or it most of your work is done from a home workstation?

    The only reason i wonder is because Kotaku AU almost seems to be a one man show.. besides the occasional visible contribution i also see from Elly

      I divide my time between the office and home. In the office I get to chat with my boss, the sales team and our tech guy, all of whom who work across our entire blog network. The other blog editors are there too.

      At home I get to play games.

    I read on your twitter that publishers for E3 are busting your balls for your time. Are you going to be running on adrenaline for the entirety of the show?

    And, what are the early announcements you're anticipating that have you excited? Any juicy little tidbits you can throw to this ravenous pack of gamers?

      I'll be running on water and whatever caffeine I can extract from the swill they call coffee over there.

      No juicy tidbits for you today. However, I'm super keen to get some hands-on time with the Last Guardian...

        write up write up. compare it to shadow of the colossus!

    I am curious on your interactions with U.S kotaku writers. Are you pretty much on your own on this side of the world or is there some collaboration? Do the AU stories that you pen run on the US site like we get theirs? Will we ever hear you on kotaku talk radio?

      We are separate companies, but I'm in regular contact with the other Kotaku guys. Mainly Luke, since he's actually based in Australia and thus in the same time zone.

      Dunno if I'll ever be on Kotaku Talk Radio. However, I do think there's a good chance of a Kotaku AU podcast getting off the ground at some point.

        More local content please. Podcast sounds good. Also interesting about Luke being in AUS. I know it is late on Wednesday for questions but what is the reason for this. Is it to keep the us site running 24/7 or some other reason.

          That's precisely it. Brian's in Japan, too. He and Luke keep the site ticking over while the US guys are asleep.

    Two questions

    Will game developers actually read reviews and listen to fans when making sequels? Or do they just do what they would have already done regardless of what anyone thought?

    How soon before the official release of a game will the actual game be finished? For example Red Dead Redemption, Its coming out in like 10 days, when would that game have been the same product we will have on shelves?

      1. Developers absolutely listen to their fans and they pay plenty of attention to review criticism, too. Thing is, most of the time such feedback reflects the views of the developers themselves. They're just as critical of their own work as the players are; they're just not likely to air those views in public, preferring to restrict them to internal post-mortem reviews.

      2. Usually between 4-8 weeks. At a guess, Red Dead would have been approved by Sony and Microsoft in early April.

    Kind of out of left field here, but I heard whispers about a new Carmageddon game coming out sometime in the future? You heard anything in this area or is it another Duke Nukem Forever?

      I believe there was a Carmageddon game in development some four or five years ago, although SCi never officially announced it. I suspect it was cancelled a long time ago.

      Believe it or not, Square Enix probably now holds the rights to it, having bought Eidos after it merged with SCi. I wonder if they would even know what to do with it?

        Yea, turn based car game maybe. A shame that it is not re-visited, a classic franchise that had some originality, and gory as too. Oh the springs! With the current landscape with ratings in AUS, most likley it would be banned anyway. I just think there is a gap in the market for a game like this one, just think of the Multi options. What do you think the chances of Square doing another version, or even selling the IP to another developer? Do you think it would do well in the current market if was released next week?

          Square are trying to develop games that appeal more to a western audience. That's a huge reason why they bought Eidos. Carmageddon clearly has western appeal.

          I can see it working as an XBLA/PSN game in the same way that Outrun found itself an ideal home as a $12 download. The core gameplay of Carmageddon might seem too shallow these days to justify a full price game.

    You indicated above that when there is an expecially important game you are keen on, then you may contact devs to try to get prize packs. I have been following, and made occasional reference to a new IP called Backbreaker. American football game using the natural motion/endorphin tech.

    In short this game has captured my imagination as it is a sporting game, based on contact, where each and every single tackle is calculated on the fly using its ingame physics engine (also seen in GTAIV). Also has a Forza style logo and field editor.

    Being selfish, I would like you to get a copy of the game and then award it to the user called FatShady. bit more serious, I have been following development and progress of this game since mid 2007, would like there to be an increase awareness of this game and, while I know the market for Gridiron games is not that big here, any chance of getting a few of these games to give away... Even if I don't get one, Still looking for local interest in the sport and the tech behind the game, which i have heard is also being applied to a Hockey game also.

    And I want some local competition!


      Sorry david.. I missed Luke's post a few pages back that came in overnight when i wrote the above. This vid came out a few days ago and i am just really keen on people seeing this. The prize pack would still be cool though!

      Semi related, how come NCAA doesn't get released in Australia... but Madden does?

        @James Mac
        Madden is far more popular and will actually sell in sufficient quantities to justify an Australian release. NCAA won't, even if it is a better game. (Is it better? I wouldn't know. All these ice hockey games look the same to me.)

        I can try!

          lol, I know you aren't a big sports nut Dave and that obviously not fussed over the yearly updates of the same franchises... but I really can't tell if you were being sarcastic or not... or if that (Ice Hockey) was the joke... the only NCAA game is Football... :p

          I had owned a College Football game once, Bill Walsh College Football on the Mega Drive... it was the only one I've ever seen make it over here...

          With NHL 11 looking to include Canadian Hockey Leagues for the first time, Madden might expand in the future also, but can't see them axing a complete game and the money they make from it to combine it with Madden though.

            It's entirely possible I was being facetious.

    A while ago I heard something on kotaku about the Tomb Raider series getting a reboot. Apparently the series was heading in a more eastern mythology direction complete with an open world and zombies. I remember seeing a few leaked screens of the redesigned Lara (that actually looks like a woman not and not a blow up doll) But they soon disappeared. Have you heard anything about that?

      You're not thinking about this - - are you?

      I suspect the next proper Tomb Raider game will take a different direction to Crystal Dynamics trio of Legend, Anniversary and Underworld, as good as those games were. I just hope there's more exploration and less shooting.

        Talking about this..

        That didnt get turned into Guardian of light did it?

          No, I assume Guardian of Light was well into development by that point.

        You thought Underworld was good?, i hated the level design of that game. It should have been a warning sign when the game had a "hint" and a "solve it for me" button.

          Underworld was definitely the weakest of the three, but it was by no means a bad game.

            I would have loved the game had they varied up the puzzles a bit more. Every single one usually revolves around getting a mcguffin to open a door, granted that’s how the series has always been, but it’s just getting tired. It wouldn’t surprise me if they went down a more Uncharted path, cut down sci-fi for more faux-historical elements. Forget the story of Lara’s dead (?) mother and just start looking for artifacts again.

    Just a quick question - The US PSN now updates on Tuesday to coincide with the Xbox Live update. exactly when does the AU PSN store now update?

      It's Wednesday, I believe.

    Have you ever heard any valid justification for the high price of Games on Demand? (either on or off the record)

    I'm wondering whether it is a financial judgement, or pressure from retailers not to salvage their market.

      The Games On Demand carry each title's current RRP. The difference is that retailers tend to discount older titles below their RRP, a practice that we have yet to see on Games On Demand. I would expect at some point we'll see discounts as part of the Xbox Live "deals of the week" we already see on XBLA games and DLC.

    Where are we with the whole Goldeneye update thingy?

    Last I heard it was made and a possibility if Ninty, Microsoft and whoever owns the Bond rights sorted it out.

    Am I wrong on any points?

    Have there been new developments?

    Did sales of Perfect Dark help?

    It's never gonna happen is it?

      I asked a similar question to this two weeks in a row a while ago when Dave was away and Junglist took over, and it never got answered.

      I'll give it another shot. Dave I heard a rumour that 4J studios is working on a port of Jet Force Gemini for XBLA is this true? and considering the success of Perfect Dark, do you think that Rare are going to revive any of their other franchises e.g. Blast Corps, Conker, Killer Instinct etc. for XBLA?

        I haven't anything about a Jet Force Gemini remake. Nor do I have any clue as to what Rare are currently working on, aside from various avatar and Natal related projects. It's a shame neither Viva Pinata nor Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts sold well, since they were all great games. I suspect if we're going to see them revisit their classics, we'll see them on XBLA. If they're going to do another full price game, I imagine it'll either be another Perfect Dark or something totally new.

      You answered your own question there. It's never gonna happen unless Nintendo changes its mind.

        So your saying it's all in Nintendo's hands?

        Does that Mean everyone else is agreed?

          I believe that's the case, yes. Also, Activision owns the Bond license right now and they'd probably have something to say about it, too. I suspect it simply proved far too difficult to accommodate all those competing interests.

    Hi Dave,
    A few quick ones:
    What the hell is this Bluebird thing (I know it's marketing... but for what)?

    How's the Gawker tech guy going with resetting the American comments?

    And I haven't yet recieved the stuff from the community comments prize pack. Was I meant to go to a depot and collect it or something?

    Finally, given Bioware's development history on consoles for Knights of the Old Republic, do you think we'll hear anything about The Old Republic being released on consoles at EA, and by extension... given the massive scale of Dust 514, APB and MAG do you forsee a time when MMO's on consoles will "work"?

      Bluebird is a Viral Drama being run by the ABC...

      Seems like they are experimenting with a new way of storytelling...

      You're telling me theres a chance The Old Republic ISN'T coming to consoles?

      Maaaan, I had been preuming the whole time that it was a given...

      1. SeoN already answered your Bluebird question. Not much more I can add.

      2. We'll change it soon, I swear!

      3. Nope. You're waiting on me to get to the post office. I'll make the trip this week and send out all three winners' prize packs.

      4. I'd be surprised if The Old Republic came to console. FFXI and FFXIV aside, console MMOs are unlikely to resemble PC MMOs that follow the WOW formula. Their interfaces are too cumbersome for a controller, regardless of whether you can plug in a USB keyboard. More action-focused games like MAG and APB seem a more likely prospect.

        Thanks Dave,

        It occoured to me after I posted my comment that console MMO's are unlikely because they would possibly need a different pricing model (something intergrated with MS-Points for Xbox).

        Has there been any word on payment modelling for dust?

          CCP has said Dust 514 won't be subscription-based. Instead it'll be based around micro-transactions, which could mean anything from being able to buy weapons to purchasing outfits or just stuff for your house.

    Why are comments are listed newest to oldest in some posts? It's quite confusing at times to follow the flow of a conversation...

      They're US comments imported straight from the US site. Our commenting system is different, so they appear here in somewhat inelegant fashion.

      As soon as a local comment is made, it defaults to show the Aussie comments.

    Ok, with the recent developments of EA's Project $10 into the EA Sports lineup, perhaps you can help.

    One of the things that bugs me is that this is to make a dent in the pre-owned games market. This is fine. The main argument is that buying new, means the money goes back to the developer/distributor. Does it really?

    My understanding is the following.

    Developer - Generally Hired/Owned by A Distributor, makes a game.

    Distributor - Takes said game, makes many copies, markets the game and distributes the copies to their various offices around the globe based on forecasted sales figures.

    Wholesalers - Local outfits, buy games from Distributors.

    Retailers - Generally in most cases purchase from Wholesalers.

    So overall, a game is made and the Distributor ships 500,000 copies that eventually make it to stores. The game doesn't fair so well and 250,000 are sold at retail. Whilst this is an extreme example, for the other 250,000, is it right to say that the developer have already got the money because the Wholesaler/Retailer have the stock, they already purchased it, regardless of it not being sold to a consumer?

    Is there any returned stock clause within the game industry if a games fails to perform?

    I'm sure the pre-owned industry just hurt them abit, but potentially could it even itself out? Revenue from underpreformed games not sold, account for some of the lost sales from pre-owned games?

    Or is that way off the track?

      Substitute "publisher" for "distributor" and your breakdown is pretty close to the mark.

      To answer your questions, yes, the publisher gets its money in selling units into retail. If your extreme example transpired, a few things might happen: retail may heavily discount said title to unload surplus stock; retail may be refunded by the publisher based on a previously agreed percentage; and crucially, the next time the publisher goes to retail wanting to ship 500,000 units, retail will say "hang on, last time that happened we got shafted, so we're only buying 300,000 units this time".

      In sum, it's a separate issue from preowned games.

        Whoops, brain fart there...

        I mentioned it was an extreme example, but all the stores would track historical sales and should know what they are doing, so the difference between what they order to what they sell wouldn't be so bad.

        See this is why it's a weird situation, I would love to see how many units they believe publishers are missing out on.

        Games historically take about a year before they get a complete price drop and uptil then, it's rare to find a store who DON'T still have new version of a particular game (talk about Myer, David Jones, Dick Smith, Harvey Norman, etc...) So with that in mind, the publishers at that point aren't exactly completely out of pocket.

        Publishers are a business, so of course they want to maximise profits, restricting pre-owned sales will certainly help, I just don't think they are losing as much money they claim to be.

        Lastly, don't think locking a substancial part of most games nowdays from the consumer if they bought it used is the best way to entice sales in the first place.

          US retailer Gamestop (easily the largest games retailer in the world) makes 48% of its profits on used software and hardware sales. New games accounts for a mere 21% of profit. That's a fair bit of money earned through selling something you've already sold.

            I'd still be interested to know how many units the publishers believe they are missing out on, and that's something that probably will never be disclosed.

            Don't doubt for a second that the pre-owned game market for the retailer isn't profitable. It's been mentioned the value of games at trade level isn't all that great and the markup they then put on top is just terrible.

            Seems the older the game the more they can make, give you $5 for the trade and they sell it for $20-25... Flashy 2 for $50 promotions on pre-owned games and it would all add up...

    How come you guys approve comments which are racist and homophobic and when people write to you about them to address it you don't acknowledge the email or take any action?

      I'm not sure which comments you are referring to, nor can I recall receiving an email about them.

      Maybe that happens in Brightfalls but not here.

        Re above, where I posted a response to "Alan W" where he was talking about innappropriate comments on Kotaku and I said:

        "Maybe that happens in Brightfalls but not here." A reference to the upcoming Alan Wake game.

        No-one will ever come back to this post (except poor David and his moderator hat, but made me think of:

        Santa's Little Helper: barks and runs off after them
        Homer: I guess you might say he's barking up the wrong Bush.[laughs]}
        Homer's Brain: {There it is, Homer: the cleverest thing you'll ever say and nobody heard it.}
        Homer: {D'oh!}

          I just read it.
          But will you read this?

          "If a tree falls in the woods..."

    Just came right on out swinging with that one, I don't think I've ever seen a particularly degrading comment on Kotaku. Apart from the odd gamer vs gamer jiving, things here are kept fairly well maintained I feel. Dave is a fairly reliable ( who says you can't stretch the truth a wee lil bit ? ) bloke in my experience.

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