Clash Royale, Pay-to-Win Mechanics and Your Wallet

clash-royale-bannerI’m not sure a day goes by that I don’t see justified complaints about Clash Royale over on Reddit. The game doesn’t attempt to match make on skill but is often determined by who has the better cards. Emotes should be mutable. The tournament system has died without Supercell propping it up.

There’s a perfectly good reason why Supercell isn’t addressing any of this: Money. Addressing these issues would likely take money out of Supercell’s pocket not just through the costs of making the changes but the loss of revenue from making them.

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The WWE Draft Shows the Root Problems Won’t Be Fixed Overnight

wwe-draft-2016-bannerLast Tuesday’s inaugural edition of SmackDown Live featured the second WWE brand extension draft. Unlike 2002, which had the WWF stars and writers that carried it through the Attitude Era and a multitude of WCW and ECW alumni, the current incarnation of WWE is headed up by a select few wrestlers who are allowed to be stars and writers that have led WWE to viewership declining to record lows.

As part of the TV deal that WWE has with the USA Network / NBC Universal, the USA Network requested that changes be made to SmackDown to shore up its ratings. The call was made to go live on Tuesday nights (when WWE tapes the show) and break up the WWE roster into two separate crews in order to give people a reason to watch SmackDown in addition to Raw.

The problem is that the draft didn’t really do anything to make SmackDown important and worthy of appointment viewing.

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E3 2016: Has The Industry Killed E3?

e3-2016-logo-headerI don’t know about you but it seems like this year’s edition of E3 was generally underwhelming. It felt like we knew what was coming from the triple-A publishers before most of it ever appeared on stage at a press briefing. Sure, the videos were new content but the actual titles announced and demonstrated on-stage were almost all public knowledge before they were supposed to be public knowledge. The industry has been shifting to a continuous hype train for upcoming games and it’s made E3 needless as a result.

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So You Say You Want a #DivasRevolution?

wwe-summerslam-2015-divas-tag-matchRegular readers know that I’m an occasional wrestling watcher. For the most part, I watch NXT and Lucha Underground. One thing that both shows get right that the WWE hasn’t figured out on Raw or SmackDown is how to make the female talent matter. On both NXT and Lucha Underground, women are an important part of the show with their own interesting characters and stories rather than filler to get through five-plus hours of television each week.

The WWE have tried to fix that with their #DivasRevolution™ on Raw and SmackDown. After only a month and a half, it seems to have run out of steam. The crowd at Raw on Monday night turned on the Divas™ match that was part of 20+ minutes of talking and match segments. The wrestlers blamed the fans for not being behind the WWE’s #DivasRevolution but the problem is that the revolution has been doomed to failure, intentionally or unintentionally, from the start.

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Is Ubisoft Overcharging Canadian Steam Users?

ubisoft-cad-price-headerDuring Steam’s Monster Summer Sale, I noticed something during the Tom Clancy franchise sale. The price of the upcoming Rainbow Six: Siege is $80 CAD. The US dollar price is $60. If you were to pay for the game in USD and have your credit card company convert it to CAD, a Canadian customer would spend $73. That’s an inexplicable loss of $7 as a sort of living in Canada tax (when no sales tax is charged by Steam in Canada) from a company whose biggest development studio is in Canada and receives subsidies from various levels of Canadian government.

It’s not just the Canadians who are losing out for not living in America. According to the Steam All Region Price Checker extension, British customers are being charged the equivalent of $80 USD and others in the EU will be paying the equivalent of $68 USD.

So why are certain countries paying more than other and who is at fault for the price discrepancies?

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Heroes of the Storm: Early Access by Any Other Name

blizzard-heroes-of-the-storm-logoHave you heard of H1Z1? It’s the latest MMO from the artists formerly known as Sony Online Entertianment (now called Daybreak Games). While SOE’s MMOs are all free-to-play, H1Z1 has launched as an Early Access title on Steam for $20. That price gets you immediate access to the game along with a few other perks. By all accounts, it’s quite obvious that it’s in the alpha stages of development.

The problem most people are having is that it’s a triple-A company that have gone the early access route. SOE has a few popular MMOs on offer already and with their financial backing from Sony and now Columbus Nova, it’s not like they should need the funding from Early Access sales to complete and polish the game.

But H1Z1 is the popular example of Early Access gone wrong. They aren’t the only example out there right now. Imagine my surprise a couple of weeks ago when I launched Battle.net and saw Heroes of the Storm waiting for me to click. The problem was that it wasn’t there to download. HOTS got a spot on my Battle.net launcher so I could spend $40 on the Founder’s Pack which includes immediate access to the game along with a few other perks.

So how is SOE and H1Z1 getting blasted for releasing an alpha of their game as early access while Blizzard is getting a pass for Heroes of the Storm?

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The Bad, The Ugly and The Worst: A Look at Evolve’s DLC and Pre-Order Plans

evolve-bannerI don’t know how many times that people have to be told not to pre-order games for it to sink in but I’m not sure that it will matter. For all the convincing pitches that game companies themselves make with games that are broken on launch or otherwise in need of a lot of work to be considered of triple-A quality, publishers are coming up with ever more convincing pitches to get you to pre-order games or upgrade to more expensive editions of the game and it all comes down to money.

It used to be that pre-order perks were limited to things like skins or weapons or other little bonuses that didn’t really make that big of an impact on the overall game. Those traditional pre-order bonuses should not be confused with the setup that Turtle Rock Studios and 2K Games have come up with their latest hoped triple-A money printer Evolve.

In order to move pre-order copies of Evolve and to sell the various deluxe editions of Evolve, Turtle Rock and 2K have come up with one of the most complicated and ridiculous DLC schemes in recent memory. People have actually come up with charts in order to keep track of what is included with which version via pre-order, purchase, season pass and a la carte. Evolve might be one of the better games this year but its DLC will make it one of the most controversial at the same time.

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