Telegraphed Gazette: Column. 6 June 2013
Yes I did not make the expected time of arrival for the weekend’s gazette. The truth is my time has been eaten up by the game Elder Scrolls Five Skyrim: and it is continuing to compete with the blog for my spare time – which is where most of the writing gets done. Therefore I will make this column edition a discussion on the actual game itself which is quite enjoyable, and finally give my two cents on the new Xbox One. Bear in mind that this week’s gazette column will not source any articles, just so you are all aware. I apologize for the delay: hopefully the content stored up in the archives was sufficient enough to keep you – somewhat – busy until I publish the next item. Anyways onto today’s topics!
Skyrim: you know even a year or so after release the game still has a healthy modding scene on PC which is only a bit of how active the community is surrounding this title. Now the game play itself has improved from the previous game – Elder Scrolls 4 Oblivion – in areas such as spell casting, melee combat, and the flexibility of levelling just the skills you use. 60 hours or so into the game, I can safely say that the game itself is satisfying in relation to combat. Graphics-wise, the game looks good – with thought given into how much time has passed since its release. Obviously Halo 4 will “best” the title in the graphics department – with it being a recent release and all – however Skyrim still impresses the player with beautiful vistas all throughout the province.
Now onto the main issue that still – in a way – plagues the game, bugs. Most of the bugs in the game – for example floating mammoths – have been fixed through subsequent patches. Yet there are one or two missed items that are still buggy, example being a quest near Markarth where after going into a mine and handing in the quest, the game closes after five minutes. This problem can be fixed by simply ignoring the quest and not entering the mine; however that little issue with the game is disappointing as Bethesda – while somewhat in a hurry at times to release the game – should have gone through the game – despite its vastness – and “tried” to find faults within the game. Though tedious work is tedious, therefore I can understand their reasoning behind not going through the game day after day looking for issues.
Overall the game is quite enjoyable, and even if the player wishes not to get the DLC, there are tons of mods out there for the user to download and play with. Some of them are meant for mature audiences, others more childish, but in the end the mods are there to keep the game going and to extend its life cycle. Thus the final statement is this: go out and get the game if you are into single player, role playing fantasy games that have a high degree of freedom of mobility and game play etched into the system. There is no pressure to actually do a quest, and you are free to wander, rob, kill everyone on sight, or just sit there naked in the sun – if that is the sort of business you are into.
Now, the Xbox One; it took a lot of heat from consumers over Microsoft’s decision to render used games virtually unplayable without paying more money to Microsoft. While the idea of lending games to friends is something worth preserving, it is important to note that used game sales see the retail store take all of the profit while leaving the actual developer and publishers – the source of their financial stability – receiving next to nothing in regards to profits. The problem that exists is while the publisher and developer deserve a cut of the sales, punishing console users for lending games to friends who in turn have to pay a fee to unlock the software and install the game onto their hard drive, is not the way to go about this sort of business. Microsoft is releasing – what basically seems to be – a living room PC that is locked hardware and software-wise. Now the reason why PC gaming can receive deep discounts is because the middle man – the retailer – virtually cut out of the equation: at least in regards to digital distribution. However, the console market is a different beast entirely, and it would be like trying to train an elephant to hunt like a lion.
Now before a user screams: “Oh! Microsoft you evil corporation, how dare you charge us for lending games to friends!” bear in mind however that Sony is doing something similar with their system in that they too are attempting to stamp out the used games market. The problem with this is the used games in stores almost always get pushed into the customer’s hands – according to what John Bain said of the Cynical Brit channel. A retailer will see all of the profits from the used game sales, while they only see a portion of the profit if the consumer buys new: to this end the retailer will actively push used games to be sold before new copies so that they can receive all of the profits at the end of the month. One has to guess that this is sort of a no win situation for anyone involved as the console user gets shafted with extra fees should they borrow a game from a friend, the retailer will lose a chunk of their business, and the company making the device will soon realise that their system is not selling as well due to the fact that the user cannot lend games to friends who can then try it out before purchasing the title – sometimes even a limited collectors version which is triple the value of the actual game. They are essentially throwing away free advertising just so they can get their share of the profits: a move that can prove detrimental to their overall business projections.
Ultimately – like the province of Quebec in relation to sovereignty and language – this debate over DRM and the used games market will continue for quite some time until someone can devise a solution that will satisfy both the consumer and the company.
Right, that concludes this edition of the Telegraphed Gazette Column. Regarding the next edition, expect the usual one post every two weeks routine, but I might not be following that routine down to the very letter. I will try to reach the deadline, or near the deadline, however in the end this blog is done as a labour of love, and my spare time is mine to make use of as I see fit. Again as I said in months past, I will not release articles I do not feel confident the public will enjoy: there is a degree of professionalism that needs to exist on my blog, and I will uphold that – in relation to the quality of the work. However I would like to thank you readers for being loyal and patient; you guys are the best, and I look forward to publishing more works for you to read and enjoy. I hope this – sort of – switch in routine will not dampen the spirits, and that you will continue to check back every so often for the latest articles posted on this blog of mine.
Thank you all for reading, and I will see you next time.