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Richard Kain

Member Since 02 Aug 2007
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 05:38 PM

#11667837 CAGcast #361: MMNO

Posted by Richard Kain on 04 April 2014 - 09:19 PM

Nerd-voice call-out in the show feedback, right off the bat! I'm tempted to shoot for it again, but perhaps it would be best not to kick that particular hornets' nest. Insufferable pretension definitely seems to get the crew's attention.


Thank's for the mention fellas, whiny nerd-voice and all!

#11662528 Amazon Fire TV and Game Controller available right now $99/$39

Posted by Richard Kain on 02 April 2014 - 08:57 PM

While the PS4 and Xbox One are probably safe with the more core gaming audience to support them, this could spell the demise of the Wii U as any casual gamers left will probably just buy this.


You are correct about the PS4 and XBox One being fundamentally different experiences. But the Wii U isn't really in contention with a device like this either. This is more to do with Nintendo's somewhat bizarre design decisions with the Wii U. The Wii U has been suffering because it is fundamentally not casual enough to appeal to the same audience that jumped on board the Wii. The Fire TV does have the potential to cater to that same big audience who gobbled up the Wii. But the Wii U already lost that audience, they've failed to gain them back.


The OUYA is the much more obvious loser in this scenario. The little console that could proved there was interest in such a device. But Amazon stands a much better chance of actually realizing that potential. Amazon's existing secure marketplace is going to make them much more appealing to small developers. The Fire TV is going to be able to snatch all the development support that was going to the OUYA. Porting between the two will be relatively simple, but the Fire TV comes out ahead in such a scenario.


I have to wonder what Apple's response will be, if there even is one. This Amazon box looks like it is going to curb-stomp the current iteration of the Apple TV.

#11662336 GameStop’s New Business is Rare Physical Games

Posted by Richard Kain on 02 April 2014 - 07:30 PM

Not necessarily disagreeing with you, but why then don't the publishers do anything about it? If Gamestop had a contractual agreement with Nintendo to sell the Xenoblade reprint for $50, and then they turned around and sold it for $90 anyway, why wouldn't Nintendo sue, or issue a press release condemning the practice, or something?


Nintendo has no legal recourse in this case. Once they have removed the shiny plastic wrapping, GameStop can claim that the games in question are no longer new. Moreover, GameStop collaborated with Nintendo to bring Xenoblade to the US in the first place. They are the ONLY retailer that ever sold new copies. Nintendo isn't going to bother them in the slightest over that game in particular. Nintendo wasn't terribly interested in US copies of Xenoblade to begin with. They aren't going to raise a fuss if GameStop plays around with the game they were responsible for releasing here in the first place.


As to the rest of the titles, the titles in question are too old for the publishers to bother. They are still getting paid for the reprints, so they don't mind that. If GameStop is taking advantage of the consumers it isn't really their problem. Gouging gullible consumers on used game pricing doesn't damage the brand of the games themselves. And GameStop has been keeping this kind of practice on the sly. While it is known to anyone curious, they don't advertise the particulars openly. What they are doing is entirely legal, if a bit underhanded. But then GameStop has always turned a profit by taking advantage of the consumer's lack of knowledge.

#11662294 GameStop’s New Business is Rare Physical Games

Posted by Richard Kain on 02 April 2014 - 07:11 PM

In general the game-buying public expects new copies of in-print games to be sold at MSRP or lower. Certainly not higher. However it's accepted that used copies of out-of-print games will be sold for whatever price the market will bear, even if that could be higher than the original MSRP.


Actually, it has less to do with the market than it does with the publisher.


For extremely old and out-of-print games, a sealed copy is worth far MORE in the second hand market than a used title. Often several times more. The general public is willing to pony up for older titles that are still in mint condition. That's not where the problem lies.


The problem is with the publisher, and the MSRP. Retailers have legally binding agreements with publishers. They aren't allowed to goose the price above MSRP. This is to avoid having individual retailers manipulating the market through price fixing. But GameStop can get around this limitation by opening the copies of the game, and selling them as used. There are no restrictions on what they sell their used games for, they can settle on whatever price they want.


It's not the negative reaction from customers they're afraid of, it's the legal repercussions. They are using this strategy as a loophole that allows them to prey on and manipulate the second-hand market for further profit. This wouldn't seem so slimy if their extra stock was being sold at a reasonable price.

#11655249 The RetroN 5 pre-order thread, Delayed YET AGAIN...releases in "30-40 days"

Posted by Richard Kain on 31 March 2014 - 01:56 AM

If you tried emulating off the Wii onto an HDTV, the picture would be awful.


This is true. If you want to go with official Nintendo-supported emulation, you're best bet is to purchase your retro games on the Wii U. Nintendo's emulators for the Virtual Console are quite good, and will upscale your games properly through HDMI on the Wii U. Going through a regular Wii you aren't going to get better than 480p. Even considering the quality of the emulators you still aren't going to be getting the best scaling.


For dealing with modern fixed-resolution displays, you need to be feeding in the proper resolution. Letting the screen handle the scaling is never the right way to go. This is part of the appeal of the RetroN5.


That said, an early poster pointed out that he would rather not re-purchase a bunch of cartridges. This is a valid point. For users who just want to play old games, something more along the lines of the OUYA or a PC might be the way to go. I don't think the RetroN5 is going to be for those who aren't already interested in collecting classic games. If all you want is to play the games, there are plenty of cheaper and even legal options. Classic game collecting is pricey.


The RetroN5 is an easy sell for me, because I've been collecting those games for years. In my case it adds utility and convenience to a hobby that I'm already invested in.

#11640188 The RetroN 5 pre-order thread, Delayed YET AGAIN...releases in "30-40 days"

Posted by Richard Kain on 25 March 2014 - 07:43 PM

It has a box!


They look pretty good. Nothing too off-the-wall, but it gets the job done, and looks respectably clean. The angled corner is a bit strange, but also eye-catching.

#11631258 Xbox One on the way. What are are your thoughts and which games are you look...

Posted by Richard Kain on 21 March 2014 - 11:15 PM

I know all of you early adopters are probably enjoying Titanfall at the moment. But could I trouble some of you to try out the Project Spark beta and tell me what you think? I'm far more interested in Project Spark, and the beta is now open to all.

#11624351 The CAG Backlog Support Group.

Posted by Richard Kain on 19 March 2014 - 08:33 PM

After a week or two of effort, I've used an on-line database to catalog the vast majority of my video game collection.


Richard Kain's Video Game Collection


I would estimate that I have played through less than 7% of the games in this collection. That's the approximate size of my backlog.


On the plus side, I've been making decent progress in Zelda: Twilight Princess. I'll probably finish playing through it in the next week or so.

#11617623 The RetroN 5 pre-order thread, Delayed YET AGAIN...releases in "30-40 days"

Posted by Richard Kain on 17 March 2014 - 06:54 PM

people actually buy these?


The retro collector scene for classic consoles is alive and well. With the continued expansion of video games as a culturally acceptable hobby, this trend will continue to grow. I fully expect there to be more and more interest in acquiring classic video games in the coming years. A device like the Retron5 caters to this growing market by providing a more convenient means of playing and testing classic cartridges.


It's certainly not for everyone. Game enthusiasts who were raised in the age of Gamestop and are used to treating games as disposable will likely not have any interest in such a device. But I'm confident that the current size of the second-hand game collecting market can sustain a device such as the Retron5. It helps that it is looking to be the gold standard of clone consoles at the moment. It's price point and production costs strike a decent balance between affordability and utility. Unless they bone this thing royally on production defects, I don't see any real problems for them selling the Retron5.

#11617617 Xbox One on the way. What are are your thoughts and which games are you look...

Posted by Richard Kain on 17 March 2014 - 06:50 PM

GDC is tomorrow. Hopefully we get some new info about Quantum Break at least by the end of the week.


I really wanted to attend this year, but I had a family wedding that I had to prioritize. If all goes well, I should be able to take a week off and attend in 2015. I got to go in 2010, and had a pretty good time, but I didn't want to go again until I could afford the full pass. The lower-cost expo pass just doesn't allow for attending enough panels. The show floor is pretty neat, but I would really like to attend more of the panels and speeches.


GDC usually doesn't generate that much news for game players. But for amateur developers such as myself there are all sorts of exciting announcements to be gleaned. This is actually one of the more exciting news weeks of the year for me. I'm currently working with Unity, so I can't wait to hear what new developments they are bringing to the table. 

#11617593 The RetroN 5 pre-order thread, Delayed YET AGAIN...releases in "30-40 days"

Posted by Richard Kain on 17 March 2014 - 06:43 PM

I think its a bit premature to declare this console "delayed indefinitely" or possibly canceled.


Yes, Hyperkin already went on record saying that they would not announce a release date until all further testing and development for the system was complete. Technically, it already is "delayed indefinitely." But that's not the same as canceled. This should be especially obvious since their Facebook page is littered with pictures of the current prototype, and active testing examples being run on that prototype. They've even already shipped out beta units.


While the delay is galling, especially after the excitement and build up surrounding this product, Hyperkin has actually been very transparent as far as the development of this console is concerned. This is why I usually never pre-order things. And I didn't pre-order this console! Of course, this will likely mean that I will have to wait even longer to get one. :( But that's just how the cookie crumbles.


I'm still going to pick one up as soon as it's available. Hopefully the Play-N-Trade near me will get a few units.

#11561149 Xbox One on the way. What are are your thoughts and which games are you look...

Posted by Richard Kain on 26 February 2014 - 08:14 PM

But I'm not convinced the gap will end up that wide, at least not in the US.


The gap will be that wide in Japan. But anyone who didn't see that coming was kidding themselves. The XBox brand has always been a non-starter in Japan. The Xbox One will just be continuing that legacy.


As you point out, the similarities in architecture only increases the size of the gap that would be necessary. Right now the PS4 is benefiting from this, thanks to it's lower price. When all other factors are equal, the system with the lowest price has an obvious edge.


One of Microsoft's biggest mistakes with the XBox One is that they didn't manage to replicate the 360's Live integration at launch. Many devoted XBox Live users were ready and willing to just get a new console with more power and the same Live experience. Instead they got a system where Microsoft was forced to dial back a lot of the advances that they had made with Live over the course of the 360's run. The Live crowd liked what they had, and Microsoft took some of that away with the XBox One. Simple parity with the 360's Live integration would have convinced a lot more of the 360 crowd to upgrade early. A sizable chunk of that audience will likely wait for a year or two before buying an XBox One. And during that time Sony will have an opportunity to woo them away.


Sony's on-line services may have been less robust with the PS3. But Sony did a better job of making PSN platform-independent. They cut their teeth on this approach with the PSP and Vita, and carried over the concept to the PS4. It's been paying off for them. The experience of transitioning from one to the other has been much smoother. The PS4 feels like a step up in every way.

#11560958 Xbox One on the way. What are are your thoughts and which games are you look...

Posted by Richard Kain on 26 February 2014 - 07:03 PM

While I generally come down on the side of the PS4, I do have to chime in on the current sales disparity.


While the PS4 is currently selling "better," it is not selling better by a very large margin. It's stolen a bit of the XBox One's momentum, but both systems sold considerably better than anyone expected. Right now is not the time for Microsoft to panic.


The primary reason for panic over a considerable disparity in install base is developer support. It's the situation that happened with the first two playstation systems. Sony was able to run away with the install base for their systems that they were able to insure development by default. That is the kind of situation that Microsoft and Nintendo need to avoid. If developers abandon their platforms in favor of Sony's hardware, the XBox One will whither and die. Nintendo can limp along with their first-party development for a while, but even they won't be raking in the cash like they used to.


The issue is how much of a disparity is necessary. And I would say that the disparity that Sony would need for an advantage like this is far larger than what currently exists. The PS2 tripled the sales of both it's competitors combined. That's a hefty disparity, and one that the development community wouldn't be able to ignore. The current situation between the XBox One and the PS4 doesn't look like that at all. It isn't even trending in that direction. The PS4 has a respectable lead, but by no means is it overwhelming. And anyone with an appreciation for the history of the industry could have easily predicted this current scenario.


Now is not the time for Microsoft to panic. If Titanfall falls flat, that would be the time to panic. But early reports of the game strongly indicate that Titanfall is going to be quite good. It should help give the XBox One hardware sales a second wind going into the summer, as well as give the 360 a popular title in it's waning years. Titanfall will also likely be a long-tail title, and should still be selling fairly strong throughout the rest of 2014, and into 2015 as well.


The PS4 is benefiting from a late Japanese launch and decent enthusiasm in Europe. And the price disparity is hampering the XBox One now that the holiday spending season is over. That's what's happening here.

#11497163 Wii U General Discussion Thread

Posted by Richard Kain on 03 February 2014 - 05:52 PM

You honestly think their entire problem is one of marketing?


Of course not. There are several issues plaguing the system other than just the marketing. It's the wrong system at the wrong time.


What frustrates me is that a lot of people seem to think that the Wii U is a sub-par video game system specifically because it isn't selling like hotcakes. I felt similar frustration with the GameCube. Just because a system isn't wildly popular and selling like crazy does not make it a bad video game system. It just means that it isn't selling very well. And a lot of the time performance in the market is dictated far more by marketing than it is by design.


The Wii had strong marketing, and it was a product that was very easy to market and sell. It also arrived on the market with near perfect timing. The Wii U is a much more complicated product, making it much harder to explain or market, and is weighed down somewhat by the legacy of its predecessor. (instead of being bolstered by it) Where the Wii had relatively little competition to contend with, the Wii U is drowning in competition.


The Wii U is a fine video game console. It is stable, performs well, and is getting an increasingly larger library of solid titles. It's not for everyone, no product is. But it is a mistake to dismiss it out of hand just because it is struggling to sell units. While I don't think you are dismissing it in this fashion, I do think that many game enthusiasts are jumping to that conclusion.

#11490359 Wii U General Discussion Thread

Posted by Richard Kain on 31 January 2014 - 11:56 PM

I listed a lot of developers, many of which are indies, that they could target.  At some point they're going to have to take a risk.  Just getting into video games in the first place was a huge risk for them and it worked out.  They're going to have to continue to evolve.


Very true. Some manner of change is necessary. I just don't think what you're proposing is the correct direction. Everything you've been saying makes it seem like you want them to become more like Sony and Microsoft. And that simply wouldn't turn out well for Nintendo.


Nintendo is no stranger to change in the area of game design. It's within the scope of corporate structure and it's relation to the changing cultural landscape that they are the most moribund. That's where change really needs to occur. It's anyone's guess what shape its going to eventually take.


As to actual games, Nintendo is just fine. Two of the most critically praised games of last year, and often chosen as "Game-of-the-year" contenders and recipients, came from NIntendo. Both their major platforms are getting regular high-quality titles. That has never been an issue. Nintendo makes good systems, and good games to play on those systems. They are just falling behind when it comes to convincing people to buy those systems and games. The general consumer has never been known for having either sense or taste.