The Top 5 Worst Business Decisions This Generation
Gaming’s Biggest Flubs
by Nicholas Laborde
©2012 Nicholas Laborde
Unfortunately, we’ve seen just as many downs.
I now present to you the top five worst business decisions of this generation. Note that I’m specifically discussing the time span between 2005 and 2012.
Quick, call the internet!
PS3 and 360 Launches
I’m actually stating that the way in which Microsoft and Sony went about them was absolutely inexcusable.
Sony chose to release the PS3 at the price of your firstborn child. Better yet, you HAD to buy the most expensive model. Not only was Sony a year behind Microsoft, but their system was tremendously costly, had very little first-party support, and had an inferior online service.
Microsoft may have been first, but their eagerness to set the precedent cost the company well over $1 billion USD in repair programs for the infamous Red Ring of Death.
Nintendo thankfully enjoyed success with the Wii, and I’m hoping that all of their bases are covered with the Wii U hardware, otherwise I’ll relapse to 2005 and suffer a minor mental breakdown.
I originally wanted to name this item “Battlefield 3 Not Being Available on Steam,” but that’s only a subcategory of a greater issue.
Origin sucks. Plain and simple.
It eats processing power, mines your PC for data, and is required to play Battlefield 3.
Some argue that Steam is a monopoly. Sure, it may hold the largest market share on PC digital downloads, but other lesser services do exist. Steam’s success shows why Valve is a successful company.
They listen to feedback and implement features. They push the envelope and give us things to play with that nobody has really tried to do (see: Big Picture).
I’ve never heard anyone say anything positive about the service, and quite frankly, it’s the reason I only put around thirty or so hours in to Battlefield 3. If it were on Steam, I’d play it daily.
The simple fact that I can’t voice chat with a friend while in-game is utterly inexcusable. At that, it only took two years to have the finicky XMB usable in-game.
The year is 2012, and I still can barely even play music in my games.
The interface also hasn’t aged well. If the PSN Store would have been improved more than marginally, I would be more inclined to say nice things about it.
PlayStation Plus was the start on a path to compete with Xbox Live on a fair level, and I do admit that the content bonuses such as betas and free games do allow the service to stand up on its own.
However, you can only give so much free stuff. Microsoft won the online battle this generation because PSN is a lackluster service that needs improvement. It’s the main reason that I play all of my multiplatform titles on Xbox 360.
If no major improvements come to the service for the PlayStation 4, I won’t be heavily invested, and I’m not alone.
I remember the first piece of downloadable content that I purchased. It was the first map pack for Call of Duty 2. Granted, it was a well-made game released at a time when people were aching for next-gen variety, but it was probably one of the most gratifying purchases I’ve ever made.
With full-blown expansions like Battlefield: Bad Company 2: Vietnam and the ongoing releases of the Battlefield Premium services, DLC has the potential to be good.
It also can screw you over. Take pre-order bonuses, for example. Sure, they exist in full force today because there’s a certain magic in being able to predict your sales numbers.
However, you cause stress on your consumer by offering content at multiple retailers. It’s as simple as offering cosmetic items like in Halo 4, or as far-fetched as offering an exclusive additional piece of single-player content as in Deus Ex: Human Revolution.
More than once have I found myself at odds in regards to my pre-orders. Should I stick to the ease of Amazon Release Date Delivery and their promotional credits, or should I fight traffic and go to GameStop because Amazon’s Halo 4 skin isn’t that great?
Don’t even get me started on horse armor in Oblivion.
It needs improvement. We need a greater emphasis on allowing consumers to feel as if their purchase was made because they wanted to increase their playtime, not because they wanted to drain their wallet.
Things like Season Passes are a step forward, but with a big leap in price comes the ever-popular issue of faith in the developer.
My childhood was dominated by the Pokemon games, all the way back to Red and Blue. My GameBoys traveled across the country with me, and my original DS was used similarly.
I think the PSP was the first sign of a declining dedicated handheld market. The PSP promised PS2-tier visuals on a handheld, which should have been revolutionary; it wasn’t.
It sold moderately well, but wasn’t a DS killer or the next big thing. I used it more as a media device than a gaming device.
The 3DS serves to justify my statement even more. Nintendo sat back and expected it to be successful, which as you may recall, did not initially occur. The Big N had to cut the price back and dock salaries of its highest staff in order to make the damn thing sell.
The Vita, as with the PSP, was marketed as a literal handheld console, having the power to produce games that look like 2006 or 2007 era console titles. Unfortunately, the Vita launched with a weak lineup and continues to decline in sales.
It has Uncharted, Resistance and LittleBigPlanet, so what’s the deal?
The biggest unforeseen variable during the time that this generation has taken place is the advent of the smartphone. When the Xbox 360 launched, the mass market was using a Razr.
We couldn’t take our consoles with us on the go for many, many years, and innovations like the GameBoy changed that. As technology evolved and the smartphone entered the picture, dedicated handhelds have slowly become pointless.
Why carry your bulky Vita with you when you can get games of the same production quality on your iPhone, and for cheaper?
Sony and Nintendo need to realize that it’s not their fault; it’s a changing market. They can either continue flogging a dead horse or abandon it, the latter of which would be the better choice for Sony.
Brace for impact
Undoubtedly, our opinions will differ.
Let us know in the comments below if you agree or disagree with the list.
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