Hello everyone and welcome to this week’s edition of Fact or Fiction. As always, I am Daniel Anderson, and I hope everyone has had a good week. We have a lot to talk about this week as we had some interesting news items. Anyway this week we have 411’s Jeremy Thomas going against Stephen Randle. Let’s see what they have to say, shall we?
1.) If the newly announced $50 price drop does not let Microsoft sell more Xbox Ones then PS4’s, they will lose this console generation.
Jeremy Thomas – Fiction: People are trying to call the current-gen console war over too quickly. This is a marathon, not a sprint, and while PS4 has the advantage there’s no evidence that will remain the same. Honestly I consider the “win” and “loss” of any particular generation to be ridiculous anyway. It’s part of the continued polarization of society, which infects pop culture and turns fun things ugly. Marvel vs. DC. Xbox vs. Playstation. WWE vs. TNA. The media loves a war between two sides and has ever since the days of Beatles vs. Rolling Stones, and I kinda get sick of it sometimes. Why can’t we just enjoy what we enjoy and let other people enjoy what they enjoy? That I own an Xbox One, for example, doesn’t diminish your enjoyment of your PS4 unless you allow it to. And I don’t understand why you would allow it to. If Playstation sells more consoles, if DC movies outgross Marvel movies and if TNA becomes competitive with WWE, that won’t change my being a fan of the other side. Maybe I’ll be more appreciative and become a fan of both sides.
Anyway, sorry, rant. Microsoft isn’t doing a Hail Mary here, in my opinion. They’re simply trying something out as a PR move. The important part is that both consoles are selling well and neither Microsoft or Sony are going to be going out of business or getting out of the console market any time soon.
Stephen Randle – Fact: If you can’t beat your competitor when your console is more expensive, then the same price, then less expensive, then I suppose it stands to reason that you can’t beat them at all. Granted, the price drop is only until January 3rd, but it also coincides with the release of a couple of much-hyped console exclusives in Sunset Overdrive and the Halo Master Chief Collection, while Sony has no exclusives of note for the holiday season. With all that going for them, if Microsoft doesn’t sell significantly more units than Sony in that time, I think we could all feel safe in saying that Sony has won this round decisively.
Score: 0 for 1 - Unless Sony also drops the price of the PS4, Microsoft needs to sell more Xbox Ones than PS4’s through the holiday season. If they do not, we might see a spin off of the Xbox division of Microsoft, or some other type of over-reaction.
2.) Telltale’s Game of Thrones game (at least the first episode) will still come out in 2014.
Jeremy Thomas – Fact: By all accounts it will, and Telltale confirmed that a couple of days ago so I have no reason not to believe them. They’ve generally been able to meet their comitted release windows and I may be wrong, but I don’t remember a lot of pushed back dates for the Walking Dead or Wolf Among Us episodes. Until I hear otherwise, I have every reason to believe that we’ll be able to explore Westeros before the year is out.
Stephen Randle – Fact: Both Wolf Among Us and Walking Dead Season 2 have wrapped up, so they have to be using that free time to get something out the door. This is remarkably similar to Wolf Among Us, actually, where the first episode got out before the end of the year, and then we had to wait an extended period of time for the second one. Personally, I might have waited until closer to Game of Thrones’ fifth TV season, but I can see the desire to grab a bunch of sales (and hopefully season passes) during the holiday season, and I wouldn’t be shocked if we had to wait until March for the next chapter.
Score: 1 for 2 - I made up the question before the confirmation, but it is still interesting to see if it will come out or not. I know they say it will, but it is getting closer and closer to 2015.
3.) Share Play will end up being more of a curiosity than a heavily used feature.
Jeremy Thomas – Fact: Much like most of the neat little tricks, I just don’t see Share Play catching on among most players. Every console has one or two of these, and it’s not a bad thing; they are steps to cater to particular types of gamers who might have a use for it and good for them for doing so. I don’t think it is something that I would ever use if I had a PS4, but for those that do want it I bet it will be fairly regularly used by them. Sony seems to have it working fairly flawlessly which will go a long way to its longevity, but I suspect it will remain a niche feature.
Stephen Randle – Fact: I pretty much assumed this would be the case. It’s a fun little feature, and maybe some people want to be able to use their consoles to demo games for other people, or play couch multiplayer over the Internet for an hour, but realistically, I can’t see many situations where I’d use it on a regular basis. Maybe it’s just because I don’t have any friends, I don’t know.
Score: 2 for 3 - This is something that I see being really big at first, but then the novelty wears off and it gets old. I do not think that this will be heavily used two years from now.
4.) You were surprised to hear that League of Legends beat out WoW in generating revenue for 2014.
Stephen Randle – Fiction: I don’t think you understand how many people are playing League (or DOTA) and exactly how many opportunities for essentially free money there are via a mountain of microtransactions. WoW may have a huge subscriber base paying around twenty dollars a month, but a free-to-play game full of payable heroes, skins, cosmetic items, boosts, tournament tickets, compendiums…the list just goes on and on. Remember how DOTA funded a $10 million prize pool for The International 4 based almost entirely on user purchases (and actually, it was funded by giving $2.50 of the $10 compendium cost to the prize pool, the rest went straight to Valve)? Well, League actually has an even larger user base. I am entirely not shocked to find out that they are, as they say, rolling in it.
Jeremy Thomas – Fiction: The reason I’m not surprised by this is simple and two-fold. First, League of Legends is the hot “new” (by which I mean newer, of course) online multiplayer game and World of Warcraft is the venerable giant. This happens all the time across entertainment mediums; something comes up and gains a lot of traction, generating a lot of money before it evens out. Note that I’m not predicting a MOBA crash or anything, just that it will smooth out a little bit. Second, WoW has been quiet as it preps for the Warlords of Draenor expansion. Once that comes out next I suspect we’ll be on a very different playing field for the end of the year and through 2015. But hey, both of them are doing fine so good for them.
Score: 3 for 4 - I was surprised seeing the numbers, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. Still, as Jeremy said, both are doing really well, so good for them.
5.) The dismissal of the Battlefield 4 lawsuit was a good thing for gamers overall.
Stephen Randle – Fiction: It’s not actually a total dismissal, but EA is mostly out of hot water. I’m not sure how this helps gamers at all, actually. EA was sued because stockholders claimed that they knowingly released a bad game to depress the stock price (on another note, similar charges are allegedly being brought against WWE for their lower-than-expected Network subscriber numbers, so I guess it’s a trend), and a judge disagreed. Gamers get nothing out of this, because Battlefield 4 is still a bad, broken game that many people paid money for, and even though EA has spent a lot of time trying to fix it, it still isn’t very good. I guess EA might learn something from the experience, but then, this is the same company that released SimCity the year prior.
Jeremy Thomas – Fact: God, yes. This lawsuit was ridiculously dumb. Sure, it was couched in business terms and involved questions of securities fraud, but to most people who didn’t follow closely enough, the point was that EA was getting sued because Battlefield 4’s launch sucked. The lawsuit was stupid no matter which side you looked at; you can’t sue someone for a bad game and you can’t consider EA basically saying “This game is gonna be awesome” and other such PR nonsense as a reason to buy lots of stock. If you’re buying shares in a company based on their PR team’s statements, then you should expect to loss your shirt.
That being said, I think this was a good thing for gamers because if EA had lost this suit, the reaction would have been catastrophic across gaming companies. Imagine being afraid to properly promote your games or to even make games, as you risk some group of morons banding together to sue you because you had the balls to market your games with something more than “Well, it’s not the greatest game ever–we’re not saying it is, we don’t want to get sued–but we sure like it!” I’m not a capitalism purist, but I strongly believe that when you make bad games, the market will take note of that and while Battlefield Hardline and Battlefield 5 will be successful, they may well suffer some sales drops as a result of the poor BF 4 launch. We don’t need lawsuits to force these issues.
Score: 3 for 5 - I hope we start seeing fewer lawsuits about game advertising, but the trend seems to be that the number is going up. Hopefully, the more these lawsuits are thrown out, the fewer there will be in the future.
6.) The Quantum Break 16 minute gameplay video did not change your opinion on the game.
Stephen Randle – Fiction: Well, since my opinion of the game was “I don’t have an XBOne, so I’m never going to play this anyway”, so the question is largely irrelevant to me. But from a more neutral perspective, I don’t think this video changes anything that I already knew about the game, which is…not actually that much, because the cards are being kept very close to the vest as to what the hell this game actually is and what’s going on. I suspect we’ll have to wait until the actual game is released to make better judgements.
Jeremy Thomas – Fact: I’m interested in Quantum Break, and after watching that video I’m still interested in Quantum Break so it certainly did not change my opinion. I’m actually fairly excited for this one, I thought the initial live-action videos looked very cool and just about everything that has been released since has reinforced that. I’m not expecting this to be a potential Game of the Year but all for accounts and purposes, it looks like it will be a good time.
Score: 3 for 6 - I am really looking forward to this game too, and the gameplay footage is keeping my interest up. I feel like this is going to be this generation’s Alan Wake, a new IP that is much better than anyone thought it would be, and sells really well.
Bonus Question: I got nothing at the moment. Please talk about whatever you choose.
Stephen Randle – But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun. Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon, Who is already sick and pale with grief, That thou her maid art far more fair than she: Be not her maid, since she is envious; Her vestal livery is but sick and green And none but fools do wear it; cast it off. It is my lady, O, it is my love! O, that she knew she were! She speaks yet she says nothing: what of that? Her eye discourses; I will answer it. I am too bold, ’tis not to me she speaks: Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven, Having some business, do entreat her eyes To twinkle in their spheres till they return. What if her eyes were there, they in her head? The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars, As daylight doth a lamp; her eyes in heaven Would through the airy region stream so bright That birds would sing and think it were not night. See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand! O, that I were a glove upon that hand, That I might touch that cheek!
Jeremy Thomas – I interpret this phrase as “self-promote” so that’s what I’m-a do. You guys probably know my usual stuff; the Movies 8 Ball, the Sons of Anarchy reviews, the movie reviews and such. This is one I’m particularly proud of though: the music column wherein I argue that despite whatever Gene Simmons may think, rock music isn’t dead. Check it out, and I hope you enjoy the read!
That wraps up this week’s edition of Fact or Fiction. Stephen and Jeremy went 3 for 6 agreeing as much as they disagreed. As always, I want to invite you to listen to our podcast below and hear the opinions of some 411 writers on recent video game news which you can check out here.