G2A, Gearbox, and the Problem of Good and Evil

The recent Gearbox-G2A-TotalBiscuit debacle (reported on excellently at Vice’s Waypoint by Patrick Klepek over a series of news articles here, here and here) that was the result of a deal struck to officially distribute Bulletstorm via G2A, was in the offing for the longest time.

It had to happen, because the legitimate online price-race (one that has now cooled, to be frank, after several online retailers have been, or are in the process of, shutting down shop) drives a portion of consumers to find the best available price every time, and every time they are caught unawares by the illegitimate practices of various services such as Cdkeys, Kinguin and the titular G2A, it is principally because of the way we are being sold games, and because of a lack of consumer education.

Therefore, such a burst of activity around this topic has been a good refresher and reminder to gamers that not all is above the board with these cd-key shops. Of course, by now it should be so very clear to all of us that anything that has the word “keys” plastered to it is morally bankrupt in the general view of the retail establishment. But it isn’t, and won’t be, not until the system changes - and that change will probably be to the worse.

The thing is, the framing of Gearbox’s brush with the Bad Guys was largely from the point of view of the scorned developer, as with the help of TotalBiscuit, Gearbox navigated the situation deftly and swiftly, which had the unfortunate side effect of distorting the crux of the issue, and perhaps side-stepping other relevant questions of digital distribution that absolutely led into the intended (or unintended) result of blending questions of legitimacy with illegitimacy, and proper practice with improper practice.


Read More

The Borg

Pandemic Logo N4G

“Optimism need not suffer - only naïveté”

The news today is that Pandemic Studios is being forced to close up shop, with its founders, Josh Resnick, Andrew Goldman and Greg Borrud already let go some days before. This comes mere days after 40% of Mythic staff gets cut1.

With shaking hands, I bust out my very special Devil’s Advocate crystal ball, and take a hesitant look into the future. In five years’ time, I can see it now, gamers will exhibit the exact same feeling of dismay as we did, just there and then, combing over archives of video game history. Putting the ball aside, I come to realize that we should not focus so squarely on the now - it is a global recession we have here on our hands, after all, and the ends should justify the means.


  1. http://twitter.com/Athryn/statuses/5565314202 []

Read More

Cherry-Picking Easy Targets

Dragon LollipopI have been, for some time now, ever-so-slightly weirded out by the overall response to recent trailers for both Dragon Age and Mass Effect II. I hope you guys aren’t getting all high-brow on me now, because with each release of a new trailer, a progressively growing influx of critics seems to creep out of the woodwork, fighting for a better seat in the great ivory tower of condescension.

Beyond the hyperventilative and the hyperbolical, I am nevertheless genuinely surprised at the magnitude of the negative reaction; Even several favourite blogs and bloggers of mine – that I thought were above and beyond this sort of moral mongering – have engaged in the beatdown. Obviously, I’d rather not single any particular example out (sorry Nabs!), but I do hope you’ve seen and read posts discussing the trailers so as not to think I’m stark raving mad!

Finally, because this post is essentially complaining about complaining - or torpedoing, as this activity is called - we’ve dedicated an all-new category, the Devil’s Advocate, to it. I do detest this type of thing out of principle, harping in on someone’s cause in an attempt to prevent any potential success in its very infancy. If you really are that worried about what BioWare or EA are doing, by all means, continue to try to get your voices heard.


Read More