Curmudgeon Gamer
Curmudgeoning all games equally.
08 September 2006
GameTap dude vs. Xbox Live Arcade
This interview by Joystiq's Christopher Grant with David Reid of GameTap had an interesting exchange at about the 4 minute mark (emphasis added):

Grant: ...of course Microsoft is now really pushing digitally distributed content with Xbox Live Arcade. What do you think of that kind of service? [...] What do you think of their successes so far?

Reid: Well, it's pretty exciting stuff. I mean, again, you see the results of launching Galaga, Pac-man, Frogger, Street Fighter, whatever it is, and you see that that core gamer audience still remains hungry for that content and that digitally distributed vehicle of getting it. And the more and more success you see there the more and more I get excited about the GameTap story. I mean, really, Xbox Live launched Frogger and had a lot of success with that. And then when we launched Frogger, we also launched Contra Hardcorps, three Castlevanias, Time Pilot and Time Pilot 84. I mean, the more and more you get used to the notion of spending 5, 10, 15 bucks to buy one of these digitally distributed games the more you realize that 620 and games and growing, 20 plus multiplayer games and growing, [...] thinking about $9.95 a month, I don't have to buy any new hardware, seven accounts per subscription, all those things feel like a very powerful value proposition. And that's a way for people who may not be up for buying a PS3, buying an Xbox 360, whatever it is, to get that content with the hardware they already own.
There is, of course, another model for selling those old games: sell us the original ROMs. Feel free to provide your own emulator, even charge for it if you want, but I'd much rather have the independence to move that game from place to place. StarROMs provided just such a service, and I think they'd've made a good show of it had they been about five years earlier to the show. As it turns out, StarROMs got their shop running a little before, or during, the time when Turner (GameTap) and Microsoft (XBLA) started negotiating for similar rights through their respective online models. Now StarROMs is history.

Basically, I'd like an iTunes for games. Sure, Apple sells the files and gives away the player, but they make sure that their player is the one you'd rather use. Even if you don't want to, they give you an escape hatch: burn the audio to a CD, rip it, play it where you want. When I'm on the Mac or on Windows, I'm likely to just fire up iTunes, and Apple wins. If I'm on GNU/Linux I'll open up RhythmBox and play the Ogg versions I made, and I thank Apple for giving me that option.

Anyway, with GameTap and XBLA dominating the conversation, I'm not hopeful the promise that StarROMs offered will ever be realized. Ah well.

Labels: ,

--Matt Matthews at 21:35
Comment [ 4 ]

Comments on this post:

Of course, all these systems (and Nintendo's upcoming Virtual Console too) hide the ROM behind some degree of DRM. None of these schemes can work unless they use software running on the machine the user bought and paid for against them.

Late at night, snug in my bed when I dream my most utopian, idealistic thoughts, that is when I fantasize that the thing that will ultimately kill these schemes is the expectation that the gamer exists merely to consume what they produce, instead of edit and play around with it. That people obviously would rather insist on creating than be content to devour.

Some dream, huh.

By Blogger JohnH, at 08 September, 2006 22:30  

Wow, are you ever a douchebag.

99% of people have no desire to hack anything, and realize that buying something only guarantees that you can use it for the purpose that the maker of it sold it to your for.

If I buy a game to play it, how is DRM making it be used against me? I am getting the use I paid for. No further promises were made, and I am not stupid enough to think that buying a game for the purpose of playing it on device x entitles me to play it on device j.

Time-shifting may be a right, but format shifting really shouldn't. If you want a game for the X-BOX, you don't buy the Macintosh version uless you're retarded.

I don't get why all you Stallmanistas think that everything that can be reproduced digitally should just be handed over to you to use at whim. How would you feel if the industry you worked in decided that it's workforce should not be paid? Would you nod your head and smile, content that you've been "Freed"? I really doubt it.

Of course, the very fact that you subscribe to that brand of insipid techno-marxism suggests that you are either 15 years old, or a pathetic 30-year-old basement dweller.

When I buy a sandwich, I don't whine that I can't use it to light my bathroom. When I order a Pay-Per-View event, I don't whine that they should give me a copy on Beta tape as well. Why should anything you buy be automatically made useable in any way you please for free?

Most people do not produce their own entertainment. Most actors don't grow vegetables. Most farmers don't fabricate plastics. And they have the right to live as they please.

If the Free Software movement wasn't such a bunch of elitist jerks, people might listen to them. The sad part is, listening to them is a waste of time, as they clearly have no concept of how the real world works.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 09 September, 2006 13:55  

Wow, what bile. Such unprovoked rage. I never really know if I'm correct in my summations and conjectures until someone is really, spitting, frothing angry that I expressed them.

But no matter. Notice, if you will, that my desires for a utopia in which people actually wanted to make and edit games instead of just play them was represented as a dream. No, I don't think it's the state of the world, although I'd greatly like it to be.

Out of curiosity: why the hate? Do random posts on message boards you disagree with always so boil the bile in your guts?

By Blogger JohnH, at 09 September, 2006 15:42  

I heartily agree with everything the troll^H^H^H^H^H Anonymous poster said. I didn't even have to read the whole post to know I agreed.

Anonymous, you had me at "Wow, are you ever a douchebag."

By Blogger Bob, at 13 September, 2006 00:34  

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