Friday, July 30, 2010

faded pictures on the wall (it's like they're talkin to me)

Ah, Sarah Jane...and that ridiculous, yet beautifully charming haircut...Dr. Who girls are something special, aren't they?

The news was both good and dire from Echo Bazaar:
Congratulations! You've reached the end of Book 2, Part 1!

Content is currently capped at level 83. But we'll be adding more very soon. See blog.failbettergames.com for details. Or you could try one of the Shadowy, Dangerous and Watchful tracks instead. The Bazaar applauds your progress! We have given you a very small present for reaching this point.

You now have 7 x Ragged Clothing.
Well, they weren't kidding about small...but wau. And I would happily jaunt over to the Shadowy, Dangerous or Watchful tracks instead, seeing as how I'm capped on Persuasive, save...my Watchful is 82 and my Shadowy is 81. Aheh.

MMORPG put out a list of why gamers should embrace free-to-play games over more traditional subscription-based versions. The list itself is fairly standard, but the first comment from SnarlingWolf caught my attention:
Two of your items in the list are the same and they basically say that it will be cheaper. Most people that currently have no issue paying a sub will likely pay MORE a month with f2p because they can. There will be more people who try the game, never spend a cent but also don't stick around. There will be more people who play it every now and then when they're bored, don't make much progress but don't spend any more. There will be far more people spending over $15 a month. So I find those two points to be dead wrong. Games like DDO have shown they make more money with F2P, which in turn shows that the average money brought in when factored by number of players is higher. This in turn means that more people pay a lot less and more people pay a lot more but the average in the middle pays more then it used to. So not cheaper.
Those are very good points, and true, overall. I know in my case, I can't afford that much, so carry no active subscriptions to any games, and even those games I do play, I try to work to earn currency (in Runes, they offer surveys in exchange for diamonds, though when finances allow, I will buy $5 or $10 diamond cards when I'm out and about; and in Second Life, though it's hardly MMO territory, I have bought Lindens for the game) rather than simply pay a set monthly fee. How'ver, I am largely in the minority here--most people, even in, or perhaps especially in, so-called "free-to-play" games, end up paying on average at least $15 to $25 per month--if not more.

At that point, are those games really "free" to play?

"Convergence is real, it is happening…but it will never make everything possible in a single device in my lifetime."

Which, honestly, is both good and bad--I still yearn for the culture that exists in Robert Heinlein's novel, Friday, wherein the screen in every room is computer, television, live music broadcast, research station, programming center, games center, and interplanetary/international telephone service...but he's right, it's not going to happen in my lifetime, nor in the lifetime of the children I don't have.

And is it really something we need, right now, anyway? I mean, I can make my computer play music, and my netbook play music, and my .mp3 player play music; I can play games on two out of three of those; I can read on all three; but it's what's suited to the task at hand. My .mp3 player is easiest to carry, my desktop can't be as easily carted around. What do I want my devices to do?

I promise you, I will never want a single handheld device that can get me up in the morning, start my coffee going, warm up the car I don't own to take me to the job I don't work at, tell jokes to me on the way home from work, and hand me my mail as I leave the garage. (And if you're the kind of person who really wants that? We aren't on the same page. Unless you're currently inventing that kind of device, and if you are, hey, toss me a line, I'm open to suggestions.)

What I want is pretty much in line with the article--I want my tech to do a few things, but not every thing; I want to be able to take what I want with me, be that programming, music, books or games. But I'm not looking for the One True Gadget.

It doesn't exist.

Is SL group chat still broken? Yes, but they promise it will be fun, fast and easy....soon. You just wait.

Any day now.

Yep.

"The ship of Linden state is listing pretty heavily to starboard."

I'd actually agree with nearly all the points made in this article, especially this one:

"First off, Linden Lab doesn’t appear to know what its core business is. Hint: it’s server hosting."

I'd pair with that the nigh-perpetual complaint that the Lindens do not spend any, or hardly any, time on the servers they're hosting. They have no idea how people actually play the game they've developed.

This is a hard-core blindness issue that doesn't seem to be going away regardless of how many Linden changeovers/layoffs/outright firings they have.

Which brings us to the next inescapable point: the utter and complete lack of any vestige of customer service or, dare I say it, customer support. This is verging on criminal, at this point, and we've long since passed the verging on stupid. As Mr. Jennings puts it:

"Second, after the server hosting is there and done, the second neglected feature that is killing Second Life – customer service. Or rather, the lack thereof. I’m sure it will surprise few MMO watchers that much of Linden Lab’s recent bloodletting was in customer service."

I doubt this comes as a surprise to anyone. I doubt it will further surprise anyone that now, post-bloodletting, there's virtually zero way for the end user--the customer actually paying the Lindens money--to get anything even resembling abysmal customer service.

For all the sarcasm of that essay's end, and for all the perpetual emphasis on overweight men wanting to be hot fashionistas...The market Linden Labs has found for their product seems to want, in large doses, to be:
  • attractive, young, "fun"
  • sexually capable, with an emphasis on sexual poses
  • almost exclusively devoted to high heels or cleavage-enhancing tops/gowns/minis
  • interested in programmable collars, viewers and toys to enhance said sexual experience
  • wanting really great, highly detailed prim hair
What, in any of this, said Let's move all the icky adult stuph to Zindra so we don't have to think about it, cripple search so no one can find anything, introduce a viewer no one wants to work with, and neglect to fix group chat, group notices, and grid stability? Because I don't see that on the list.

A bit more on the Ikaru Aichi ban...Still no clue on when, if, or ever Miss Aichi will be unbanned; considering she just launched a new sim, the timing is especially morbid. But Aura Falta's throwing a 50% off sale at Tacky Star, and has introduced a new skin specifically for the sale. I still don't know precisely how it works on paying tier when your account has been banned, thus erasing that access to your Lindens...but hey, if you spend it in the stores dotting the Bad Blood sim, they'll at least have money to move if it comes to that.

Are we finally in the era that contains the death of the phone call? Maybe. Or maybe we're just evolving, using better systems to inform us when people can talk, and when they don't want to, and working from there. This is not the worst place to be.

Finally, if you're in one of the countries directly affected by ACTA legislation--or even if you're not--you should consider learning about ACTA and how best to fight it. Because if legislators have their way, it's coming. And it does not have our best interests in mind.

And one last mention of oddity: "I know more than one superstitious critic who will not say anything bad about Gallo in print. And no, I’m not kidding." Wau. I had no idea.

2 comments:

Rhianon Jameson said...

The death of the phone call? Is he kidding? I seem to commute with and around people who are on the phone constantly. One woman - a regular rider on the same train car - will sit down, wait for the phone to ring (it usually takes no more than five minutes), and will speak softly into the receiver for the rest of the train ride, on the order of a half hour. Every day. At least I can't hear what she's saying. When I do hear conversations, they're invariably so banal that I want to ask why they're wasting the bandwidth.

Now, it's true that the number of people walking the sidewalks, crossing the streets, heck, even jaywalking while looking down at their phones has dramatically increased. These are the people who are so important that they need to text and walk, and it's my job to get out of their way. I keep hoping that they'll be removed from the gene pool before they can do any damage, but I guess God looks after babies, fools, and texters.

Still, the death of the phone call? I wish...

Emilly Orr said...

I posted that link because it's something of a fond dream of mine, too. :)

I do think that that's more what he intended--that texting on phones, searching the net on phones, and playing games on phones has dramatically increased--and I agree with him, it has. And according to scattershot reports, if you follow groups of school-age children around--elementary to high school, say--you'll find they're doing less talking on their phones (those that have them) and far more...everything else.

The problem? As you noted, the adults. Who seem to view having the nifty amazing iSpentaLot phones as a free pass to bump into people, talk loudly in theatres, and generally annoy everyone else.