11 June 2013

Maybe There Is Hope After All (Being a Brief E3 Commentary)

It's E3 time again, and I've now watched the streams of the main press events.

I was dreading the event, perhaps a little more than usual now that the next generation is looming on the horizon. The things we've been hearing lately, particularly about Xbox One, have been... disturbing, to say the least.

I have little respect for either Microsoft or EA, both big hulking corporations with little respect for us small consumers. Some EA products I have to reluctantly buy, seeing as how they've published some actually good games. Microsoft I tend to avoid as much as I possibly can. And yes, Sony is, of course, just another big corporation, but one has to play with something. I've been a PlayStation gamer since the days of the original PlayStation, so naturally it was Sony's event that most interested me.

So... I won't go too deep into my personal background here, but suffice to say I've never been the wealthiest guy around, having spent much of my years as a student with little income. Without cheap second hand games I would have missed out on a lot of classic moments of gaming history. But the issue goes much deeper than my personal economics. I believe strongly that if I pay a significant sum of money for something, I'm supposed to own it, and be able to do whatever I please with it, including lending it, giving it away or selling it on.

So when Sony announced PS4 would not have restrictions on used games, it was music to my ears. Nor will there be any always on or 'phone home' requirement, which would have been, obviously, ridiculous and pointless. All-in-all, the impression I got from Sony's presentation was that, DRM-wise, the console doesn't seem significantly worse than it's predecessor.

Of course game distribution is moving heavily online these days, which is something I do not like at all. I much prefer getting my hands on an actual physical item. I very much hope physical games will still be around for a long time to come (otherwise the promises of no used game restrictions would be pretty meaningless).

As I said, I have little respect for Microsoft personally, but I do sincerely hope that Xbox fans will take a stand against the crap the company's trying to shove down their throats. While I may be loath to say anything good about the 'enemy', any commercial field does need a little competition (and it looks like Nintendo can hardly offer any these days). But deliberate trampling of user rights is not something anyone should accept.

For me, though, it's looking strongly like PS4 will be a compulsory investment some day in the future...

Overall, looking at the games presented over all the major press events, I did get the feeling that the emphasis was a little more on the 'core' than casual gaming, which has been dominating the scene way too much in recent years. This is, of course, is great. There may have not been that many games that I was personally particularly interested in, but overall I was left with a surprisingly positive feeling about the future of games. I just hope the big publishers and tech companies don't fuck it up by introducing more oppressive measures...

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