I have found that I really hate any website that deals in rumors surrounding video games and consumer electronics. Generally the worst offenders are those who deal in Apple rumors. The normal tripe they tend to spew follows a simple pattern. That pattern being it is completely not based in reality and is against all common and economic sense. No one ever stops and asks why. Why would Apple make its own television? Why would they make a smaller iPad? Why do people think that companies should just expand recklessly and into sectors they have no background in? Or that these companies should act like beneficent feudal lords and just hand out money and gifts to every insignificant charity or cause imaginable. It is almost like they are idealizing the old company towns. Nobody seems to remember what happened in Pullman in 1894. Or a more obscure example to the average American, what happened in Iquique, Chile in 1907. Company towns are terrible places. They create an environment perfect for abuse and corruption. But I digress.
What has really being pestering me are the rumors floating about the current and future generation of consoles. Again, no one seems to just stop and think about what they are saying. From what I understand, the companies that make the consoles: Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo, do not make much in the way of a profit on manufacturing and sale of the consoles themselves. All the money is from the selling of games and other software. The most recent flotsam and jetsam is that the new generation is imminent (meaning by next year) and it will include features that will restrict or prevent used games from being used. In both cases if you apply some god damn thought to both they are rooted in the realm of complete fucking fantasy. However I must preface this by saying I know nothing. But I do have some understanding of economics and business and I do actually like to think about things and I try real hard to not immediately jump on board whatever idiotic spew the semiliterate are on.
First, the next generation of consoles is going to happen. Making that prediction is about as risky as me claiming the sun will rise tomorrow. But I highly doubt it is truly as imminent as the talking farm animals who bandy about these rumors believe. Neither Sony nor Microsoft have officially said anything about anything. And when it comes to Microsoft the idea that they are going to release a new console by next is unlikely if you think about it. The current Xbox 360 model, the S, only came out the summer of 2010. That was not that long ago. And I recall hearing that the current goal is to have ten year cycles for each console generation. We’re all little over halfway through then. The idea that they should upgrade because is stupid. Companies don’t operate on that thinking. Just because they can do it, doesn’t mean they are going to or that they should.
Second used games. Compact discs are a durable good if properly maintained. Short of intentionally sabotaging the discs during manufacturing or pouring a massive amount of funding into an ad campaign that encourages people to be negligent with or destroy their discs, there is no way to get around that fact. Now for some reason used games have become the bane of game developers’ existence as of late. It is the pale horse that heralds the doom of the industry, the clarion trumpet of Gabriel, Sword of Damocles drawing ever closer. Never mind that there are plenty of industries that thrive despite the fact that there are huge second hand markets for their goods. I don’t see Ford, Toyota or Volkswagen grousing about used car sales. If second hand markets destroy industries, why haven’t pawnbrokers and flea markets brought about the destruction of industrial mankind? Also the nonissue of used games is really only the concern of the developers of games, the manufacturers of the consoles in all likelihood don’t give a damn about them. It is not like the developers are going to stop making games just because the console maker refuses to kowtow to them. Refusing to develop a game for a particular console, and losing that market, just because it won’t kneel is a good way to cause your company going down in flames. We live in a capitalist society, after you sell the product what the user does with it is no concern to you and really irrelevant to the bottom line. The sale is done, you got the money, nothing else matters.
But it seems people would rather listen to rumor and examine at entrails than use their tiny little minds. So in that spirit, I have a new rumor for you. I heard this from a unknown but good source who may have come to me in a fevered dream in the form of a seven armed blind man with a dragon’s tongue and the antlers of the stag erupting from his sternum. Rockstar and Infinity Ward are joining together to make an open world first person shooter for an exclusive console they are making called the Seraphim. And to ensure proper loyalty to the RockInfStarWard Knights Militant and to prevent used games sales, the Seraphim will require a shunt to be implanted at the base of the user skull to operate. This shunt will allow wireless control, relay tactical data the the Grand Masters of the Order of Poor-Fellow Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon, LED inlays, a remote detonator to ensure loyalty and prevent the divulgence of the Order’s plans and a matte finish.
I should make a game of manufacturing bullshit and seeing how far the infection spreads. Would be entertaining.
Special thanks to these guys for helping fuel my rage. Great podcast guys.