Three Courses of Konami Konfusion
As any gamer worth their salt will likely know, this past week has seen the triumphant release of Metal Gear Solid V, which has been warmly received by most everyone to thus far venture an opinion. By all rights Konami should be taking a lap of honour right about now, but instead the Konami brainstrust are busy at work devising new and interesting ways to tarnish their newest [and likely final] accolade in the console gaming arena. PC users were already slightly miffed at the release of Metal Gear Solid V given that they were unable to pre-install the game like their console-peasant brethren, yet one imagines that this quickly turned to incandescent rage when day-1 owners of the physical PC version discovered that they were not actually buying a disc full of game content, but rather a disc full of an 8.7mb Steam installer and fuck all else. A 28gb download might not seem like an overly onerous burden to gamers with a strong internet connection and uncapped data usage, but this is certainly not the case throughout sizable tracts of the first world. Moreover, it completely debases the purchase of people who opted for the physical version owing to the permanence of owning the data in a physical form.
This merely served as the main course to Konami’s banquet of bullshit this week however, as the savants working at Konami thought they could do one better by Grinchishly fucking over their customers on Twitter. Metal Gear Solid V is a fantastic game, and many gamers have decided to express their appreciation of the game in many different ways. Some gamers decided to show this appreciation in the form of creating elaborate fanart, and one such gamer was @all_snake. @all_snake tweeted Hideo Kojima with fanart depicting Metal Gear Solid V, and Kojima thought it was so good that he retweeted it. This brought it to the attention of Konami however, who promptly contacted Twitter to have the image removed on the basis that it infringed upon their intellectual property.
“Media not displayed: This image has been removed in response to a report from the copyright holder.”
Caspius.com readers may remember the site’s previous coverage of a news story wherein it was detailed that Konami employs people who’s job it is to monitor the social media activities of Konami employees. It would seem that Hideo Kojima is still under such surveillance, and that his retweeting of the fanart led to Konami demanding its deletion. The mere existence of fanart is so benign and non-threatening that the sole intention of Konami’s takedown order was probably just to upset Kojima.
Another move which seems aimed at hurting Kojima [with customers caught in the crossfire] is the revelation that Konami decided to cut short Metal Gear Solid V‘s production short before the team could complete the true ending to the game. Of course Metal Gear Solid V still has an ending of sorts, two in fact, with one playing upon the completion of the thirtieth chapter and the other playing upon completion of the forty-sixth chapter – yet the game was supposed to have a fifty-first chapter, featuring the game’s proper ending. This ending depicted what happened to Liquid Snake and Praying Mantis at the end of the game, and was only made available in video form to people who purchased the special edition of the game.
Angry Birds Maker to Shed Forty Percent of its Workforce
Longtime Caspius.com readers will be familiar with us banging on about the folly of traditional developers putting too many of their eggs in the smartphone gaming basket. The market is driven not by brand loyalty, but with flavour of the month hits – making it very antithesis of how console publishers are used to handling the business of selling games. Having a hit game requires that a huge amount of money be spent on marketing, but almost none of that comes with any longterm benefit because of the short attention spans of the market that they are dealing with. It is possible to make fabulous amounts of money with a hit game, but it is very hard to hold onto those gains when that success does not necessarily carry over to the sequel. Hit smartphone games are more dependent on luck than anything else, and the industry is littered with studios who hit it big and over-expanded only to fail to produce further hits.
It would seem that such is the fate of Rovio, the makers of Angry Birds, who hit it big a few years ago, but are now having to cut a large portion of their workforce now that their business has gone wonky.
“Rovio’s growth and eagerness to explore new business opportunities over the past few years has been exceptional. As a result, we did too many things. In our current financial condition we must now put focus on where we are at our best: in creating magnificent gaming experiences, in producing an amazing animation movie and in delighting our fans with great products.”
Rovio’s response to their success with Angry Birds was to try and turn it into a global multimedia brand, yet their business has started to go bad at the precise moment that it was least convenient for it to do so – while they are knee deep in producing their own Angry Birds feature film. Rovio’s profits fell roughly seventy percent during 2014, which has forced them to downsize their operation by just under forty percent – or by roughly two-hundred and sixty people! Rovio joins the unenviable company of Zynga as companies who expanded their operations beyond their capability to sustain themselves. Longtime console publishers look at the success of hit games and decide that they want a piece of it, yet their greed has clouded their judgement and they seemingly fail to recognise that many large studios cannot sustain their operations on such a brutally competitive and wildly indifferent markets. The most recent such studio is Konami who shitcanned Hideo Kojima to go chase this pipedream, so one looks forward to seeing them reaping the desolation they have sewn.
DExP: Square Enix Tries it: Augmenting the Deus Ex Pre-Order Campaign with Bullshit
There is almost never a good reason to pro-actively pre-order a game in advance. There is a certain amount of grasping and cynical greed which must be accepted with pre-order campaigns, simply because every last publisher does it, and opposing everything becomes exhausting. That said, Square Enix may have just opened up a new frontier in the avarice of pre-order culture, by effectively marring the concept of pre-ordering the game with the concept of crowd funding. Essentially there are tiers of rewards [or augments] that pre-orderers can choose between, and when the number of pre-orders for the game increase to certain thresholds it will cause further reward tiers to unlock. This essentially transforms people who pre-order the game into morons who are paying $60 a pop in order to become Deus Ex pre-order shills – or at least that is how it is supposed to work in theory. In practice people are quite upset at Square Enix for acting like proper cunts.
Hilariously, the top tier of the Square Enix pre-order reward pyramid is the claim that they will release the game four days early. If Square Enix have full control over the game’s release to the extent that they can have it release four days earlier, then essentially their not doing this amounts to them holding the game to ransom and releasing it four days late if gamers do not throw enough shekels at them. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided might be a great game, but if one happens across a single person ebegging on Twitter for gamers to join in their pre-order folly, then it is not a game that one will ever purchase new [or possibly at all]. Fuck Square Enix for making this industry even worse.
Anime Spotlight: Ultimate Otaku Teacher
Every perverted Otaku knows deep down that their hobby is secretly imparting them with valuable knowledge and life skills that will come in handy should the right situation ever arise to tap into their true potential. So goes the wish fulfillment that is on offer in the series Ultimate Otaku Teacher, where hardcore Otaku, Jun’ichirō, is cajoled by his bossy younger sister into becoming her local school’s science teacher. No doubt Jun’ichirō’s extensive knowledge of anime will enable him to safely navigate his way around the school’s [no doubt fearsome] student president!
Ultimate Otaku Teacher began its run in Japan on April 4th of this year, and has been licensed by Funimation. Funimation episodes are airing roughly two months after the Japanese ones however, leading one to believe that they are probably being dubbed into English. The Japanese run is finished as of this week, but the Funimation release is only up to episode fourteen – leaving perverted Lusitakus to choose their own poison.