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.


    with the glut of games coming out over the next 6 months for example: Brink, Rage, Fallout: New Vages, Reach etc, Do you think that a lot more new IPs will fail to impress sales wise making potential sequels harder to come by later on?

      What's your motivation to put down the games and finally start writing all the articles??? You know...besides the fact humans need money to eat:P

      It's never been tougher for a new IP to find success. Games cost so much money to make that publishers prefer the safer option of a sequel.

      New IP also tends to fare better at the start of a console cycle when we're all excited about what this new hardware can do - see Gears of War, Uncharted this generation.

      They don't tend to find success during the holiday period either. Occasionally there's a surprise hit - e.g. Borderlands - but Oct/Nov is usually reserved for the safe bet sequels. Don't be surprised if some of those new IPs set for release this year slip into next year.

        follow up question, do you think that digital distribution (PSN, XBLA, Wii-Store) are helping new IP's by providing a entry level option without the financial burden of a full retail game.

        or do you think it is hurting these new IP's by squandering their potential in a $20 game in a sea of $20 games. that have a narritive potential that could carry a full retail game. (shadow complex comes to mind, a 2D platformer with an IP that could carry it as a full retail 3rd person platformer like uncharted).

    Just wanted to know about any special editions of Peace Walker in Australia.

      I'm hoping to have some news on that front soon.

    Morning Mr. Goose!
    E3 soon!
    With that in mind, what are you really hoping to see announced that hasn't been announced yet? What rumors are you hoping to be true?

    Also, i still haven't recieved my Comm Service award :( should i be worried? Or should i shut up and stop worrying? I just want my little facehugger Dave to be ok... I have a little bow tie for him and all...

      Speaking of which, I'm not sure if I have to send you an email with my address and stuff, or if you still have it from old competition entries. I think you need a secretary (are they called secretarys still?) to take care of all the prizes. It must take you half a day every week to pack/label and post everything out! I'd nominate myself for the role, and all you'd have to do is pack/label and post everything to me fir.... hmmm I've not thought this out fully have I :)

        If I recall correctly,

        Kotaku usually don't have the prizes. Dave just passes on your details to the people giving the prizes out and they're supposed to send it to you.

        Which is probably why I haven't received anything yet.

          Actually the Com Service stuff is from Dave's personal Box of shiz from what i recall. Most other comps do come from the distributors which is why i never really ask about those ones as i know they can take a while... I understand if the Goose hasn't sent them yet as i know he's stupidly busy this time of year, i just wanted to make sure cause i'd hate for it to be lost in limbo somewhere :S

            Don’t worry, the wait is worth it. When you get that box it’s like Wily Wonka opening the doors to that room where everything is edible. Only, replace candy with games. When I got mine I swear a rainbow and woodland creatures popped out as soon as I opened the box. And all I could hear was sweet sweet music.

      And what happened to this week's community service award? I like ogling the shinies...

    Am I missing something here?
    Did you announce the winner of Friday's Blur comp?

      Results for Blur here:

      "* Blur – The winners of last Friday’s final Blur draw are Andrew R and his “Periscope Mole” and Caligari and his/her “Dimension Gate”, both clever yet practical ideas I can see adding a cool element of unpredictability to any arcade racing game. Well done, guys!"

      You sure did, buddy! :)

      Wow, we sure are helpful bunch here at Kotaku! haha

    As a result about yesterday's game pricing on MW2, I do have a question. So RRP of full titled console games here are around $119.95 (which I know hardly anyone will pay as there will always be specials on).

    Over in the US the 'expected' price to pay for a full title game is US$60. So how does this work out when the AUD$ is so strong against the US$ currency. Is it the fact that Australia has very little buying power in video games than the States?

    Or is it because this has become the 'expected' price point of games? For as long as I remember, games have always been around the $100 mark. Even cartridges back in the day.

      Okay, let's run through it.

      1) The Aussie dollar is high against the US at the moment, but isn't always, so there will always be a buffer built in, otherwise as soon as the aussie dollar dropped, they'd have to raise the price etc. When the Aussie dollar was 60c USD$60 = AUD$100, plus GST = AUD$110

      2) The math. USD $60 = AUD$73 today. We also pay GST, so that brings it to AUD$80, games also have to be separately submitted to ratings boards here, have to have the rating on the box art etc. and there is an added cost of doing business here.

      3) Australian minimum wage is way higher than the US and the market here is way smaller.

      4) Almost no game sells here for $120, you can nearly always get it for around $80 which is a direct conversion of the US price at today's exchange rate. Often Big W and others have new releases at $68.

      Games now cost millions upon millions to produce, yet in the 80s they were around $80 for an Atari 400 game, and the games are about $80 now, which makes them w-a-y-y cheaper than they used to be, despite development costs going through the roof.

      I do think the RRP on games here should be around the $80-$90 mark, but it doesn't seem to matter much, most of them sell in that range anyway.

      Peter's summary is quite good. I'd add that the $US60 price doesn't include their sales tax - which varies from state to state - whereas our prices must include GST. So that levels things up even further.

      But the single most important factor here is: Australian games publishers don't buy their stock from the US! They buy stock from Europe because we are considered another PAL territory. (Look at that game you bought the other day. See those classification markings on the disc? They're all European.) As a result, the US price is utterly irrelevant to the videogames business in this country.

        I think everything but the disc is made locally right? I know just about all PAL PS3 discs are pressed in Austria.

        Thanks for the info Peter and David.

        Another thing I noticed when picking up PS3 games the other day, that the cases are now becoming thinner as well, which will no doubt save some money somewhere when shipping in bulk much like the PS3 console.

          I haven't noticed that, to you mean in width of the spine? Or in general the plastic seems thinner?

          Do you have an example? as I'd like to check it out...

            I only noticed it on a couple them when I was picking them up to check out the back cover. It was in JB Hifi and I am going to take a stab at Modnation Racers or UFC??? Don't quote me on it though.

            As soon as I picked up the case I did notice it was thinner straight away, so it would no doubt be a thinner spine. Hopefully it wasn't JB re-casing them?

              id say its a sony or whateva initiiative much like the green cases that were apparently going into production a few months back(although if i bought a game in one of those id return it the disc could already be scratched or will be scratched)

    What are your expectations for Australia in the upcoming world cup? Whats the kotaku tip for who will take home the silverware?

      Well, I think Aus can get through the group stage, but unless we come out of the group in first spot, we'll be playing England (who will most likely be top in their group).

      So unless Aus wins the group, or England doesn't win theirs, it'll likely be all over after the first knockout match...

        I was thinking we had a good chance prior to the friendly against New Zealand. But when I went there, that match was in shambles. They play like that, they're screwed. I doubt we'll come out as first in our group, Germany are guns. And people seems to write off Serbia and Ghana, they will be a genuine challenge. But my guess is they'll get to the Round of 16, and that is all.

      We can get through a very tight group. A point against Germany is very possible, leaving us requiring a win over either Serbia or Ghana - again, very possible.

      I wouldn't be too concerned by drawing England in the round of 16. In fact, I think they'd be more worried about drawing us!

      My tip for the tournament? The Netherlands.

        I totally agree that if we pulled England they would be messing their pants about it. They would have so much to lose and us so much to win.

        Having a little Dutch in me I would not mind at all to see the Netherlands get up.

    Is the birth of multi-player the result of good artifical intelligence in NPC being too difficult?

    Programmer 1 - "Creating enemies that behave like real people is too hard."
    Programmer 2 - "I know! Let's have real people play other real people!"

      I reckon it is part of it, it has always been more fun to play against humans, right back to 'Combat' on the Atari 2600 and space-war and pong.

      But also it is the speed of the machines and faster networking becoming available. I remember playing Tribes on dialup, it was tricky at best, but with fat broadband and services like LIVE, online multiplayer could finally be realised properly.

      However I am (endlessly) cranky about the seeming trend to disable LAN-play on new titles and force people onto LIVE to even play against each other in their own loungerooms (I'm looking at you Forza3).

      No, it's just more fun to play certain competitive games against other people. The stakes are higher when bragging rights are on the line.

      It's also a different experience. Playing against AI is meant to be empowering for the player. The key there with AI design is not to make it too smart, but rather just dumb enough. I don't think we're at a point we're the requirements for AI routines outstrip our ability to program them.

      If you're talking about AI that can convincingly mimic human behaviour (such as speech and communication), then that's a whole other problem.

    Are you a Mac or a PC? Or do you like to go both ways?

    On a more serious note, do you think there is any validity to the rumours of a 'slim' Xbox 360? And, how much life do you think is left in the current console generation? I'd like to think it will be a while now, considering Microsoft and Sony have Natal and Move to keep things interesting. But, I wouldn't be surprised if a successor to the Wii is announced (not released) next year sometime.


      I guarantee we'll see a re-designed, slimmer and cheaper Xbox 360 this year. It won't be announced at E3, however; it's more likely to arrive around Sept/Oct.

      In terms of this console generation, let's look to ths US market. Traditionally, the price point where a console hits its sales peak is $US199. Today, only one console is at that price - the Xbox 360 Arcade. That suggests to me that we still haven't hit the peak of this generation.

      Natal, Move, the uptake of HD and 3D, and the increased viability of digital distribution will combine to prolong this generation longer than normal. I wouldn't expect a new generation of console hardware until at least 2012. Nintendo will go first (because I think they'll peak earliest), and it will be HD, but I'm not sure it'll just be a "Wii HD".

        Could also see a lengthening due to the fact that graphics arent jumping as fast as they once were and its now more on making the world more realistic like proper physics and that which means the PC isnt starting to put the consoles to shame graphics wise yet

        The Wii is also currently carrying an RRP of US$199, actually. Just wanted to point that out.

          You're right. I forgot it had a price drop. Still, the PS2 only really took off once it hit $US199. We've only recently hit that price point this generation and, even then, the 360 Elite and PS3 are nowhere near that price point.

    Unintentionally replied to mr Tristan Hennessey up there... mybad


    What’s your motivation to put down the games and finally start writing all the articles??? You know…besides the fact humans need money to eat:P

    Do you think we'll see any 'Final Fantasy Versus XIII' at E3 this year?

      No. At least, it's not on the list of Square Enix titles I'm booked in to see. I'd expect it to be at TGS instead.

    Considering your going to E3

    1. Who will 'win' move or natal at e3

    2. What are you looking forward to most, one or two games

    3. What do you think about Rockstars pull out overnight and what do you think they had planned to announce? Agent again? V?

      1. Win? I think Natal will "win" in terms of mainstream media coverage, mainly because it has a greater novelty factor due to the complete lack of a controller. The Move is running a real risk of seeming like an HD rehash of the Wii. Natal might not be any more compelling to a Kotaku-reading core gamer, but it seems likely to secure broader interest.

      2. Deus Ex 3 will be fascinating. I'm hoping The Last Guardian will be playable. And will we see anything on Irrational's next project?

      3. Rockstar has always maintained its distance from E3, whether it's ultra-exclusive behind-closed-doors demos or simply not turning up. I'm not surprised they've opted for the latter again this year. They - like Blizzard - probably feel they're better served holding their own event at a later date.

    Do you reckon either RockBand or Guitar Hero will use the FightNight/Facebreaker type tech and allow us to put ourselves truly into the game? (avatars don't really count, even if hilarious).

    Hi Dave,

    Today I'm chasing rumors.

    1. What's the latest on the Mechwarrior reboot that was announced last year by Smith and Tinker and Piranah Games.


    2. Are there any plans to make a new Ace Combat game for home consoles?

    Since I don’t want to wait for another Wednesday, I’ll ask two questions.

    1. In your opinion, what should Sony be focusing more on, in terms of future potential? 3D gaming or the move?

    2. Since E3 is right around the corner here is an E3 question. I’ve noticed a lot of the trailers shown at E3 2005 with the debut of the PS3 were either cancelled or have just drifted into oblivion. Was it Sony that went to the developers and asked them to make something to show? Or was it the developers who made something because they knew the PS3 was going to be previewed?

    Hi David, Just wondering if you had heard anymore about the premium PSN, would it be possible they have a similar naming system to Trophies, so Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum levels of PSN?, also any of online game saves? Thanks.

      I hear its 9.99 USD a month and called PSN Plus

      will have first 1 hr game demos (but you dload the entire game before you get access, 25gb)

      allows cross game chat as well

      and includes some psn goodies to subscribers such as free psn minis and games every so often


        That sounds promising if the price was lower, hence the rumor I heard about different levels of PSN access, some with full game demos included, one level was even supposed to have a 3 year warranty included.

      This will absolutely be announced at Sony's E3 press conference on Tuesday, June 15.

      I've heard many of the same rumours you (and Choc) have about what it will entail. I don't believe the "1st hour game demos" or the "cross-game chat" rumours - the demo thing is obviously absurd to implement while a premium on cross-game chat would be a terrible idea.

      Other types of exclusive content seem plausible, whether it's the odd free game or early access to betas and demos or whatever.

      The whole point of it, presumably, is that Sony realised they couldn't afford to keep making a loss on PSN.

        I would have agreed it was absurd until they expected us to download 8 GIGABYTES for a film rental


    Do you actually think that 3D technology ( in the form thats being delivered to us) is a worthwhile move or just another gimmick to sell tv's and extra tech

    To me it seems like something anyone playing competitivly would turn off

    that and the fact that sitting on the wrong angle your eyes glare and all that could through it off and make it look like crap

      Plus those annoying glasses. They seem to use polarised light to some extent, as rotating your head (such as to lean it on your shoulder) causes the 3D effect to deteriorate.

      At the moment, 3D technology seems rather gimicky, and is ridiculously overpriced.

        There are many different standards for 3D, but the most popular ones for TVs at the moment seems to be shutter glasses. These are synched to the refresh rate of your TV and black out each eye one after the other. Your TV then flips between showing a left and right image and voila, you have 3D. You can tilt your head and everything. Whether it looks good or not is another question.

        Movies (at least the RealD system) use polarised light, but it is polarised for spin (anti-clockwise or clockwise) so that you can still watch it with your head tilted.

        There are some non-glasses 3D screens around that use a barrier technology to prevent you left eye from seeing the right image, but it means there are certain 'hotspots' that have 3D and everywhere else doesn't.

        Having used a few of the systems, I don't see this becoming a mainstream draw for television watchers. The glasses are so damned dorky and annoying if you do anything else whilst watching TV (like read a magazine or make dinner). For games it can look really good, but it also shows up the limitations of the hardware. You have to draw each scene twice, which doubles the load on your GPU (this is over-simplifying it somewhat, but is more or less accurate). You therefore have to make visual compromises to keep your framerate up...

        I could go on and on, but this is basically a long winded way of me saying that, for me at least, it feels like a gimmick.

          haha basically the same things i was going along the lines of

          IMO they just sold us all our HD 60" plasmas and they need something anything to sell more TV's and atm 3D is the only option they have

          and im not meant to watch 3d tv drunk what the hell that takes a large chunk of TV time out :P

    How boozed do you get at E3? Is there any sort of after party atmosphere with hot models after the main presentations? No?

    When will 'Photo Dojo' for the DSi be available in Australia?

    Just a quick question. Why haven't they announced a new game pack for Game Room this week?

    I distinctly remember Micro$oft saying they were going to release games EVERY WEEK. Has Microsoft announced a reason why there's no games this week.

    Hey just wondering is there anyway to see the full 360 themes b4 you bye theme?

      There's no way to do this via Xbox Live. Plenty of forums carry threads where people have posted the themes they've bought. The one on GAF is probably the best -

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