An Open Letter To Sony CEO Howard Stringer

from the i'm-surprised-he-didn't-just-tell-us-to-go-play-outside dept

Howard -

While we all can appreciate the difficulties you've been through in the last month, what with your online cash cow being tipped by thousands of overbright fratboys, the simple fact is your responses have been, well, completely terrible.

First off, nothing heals fresh wounds like dismissive handwaving. When you have millions of customers and hundreds of developers locked out of their online connection for over a month, the use of the word "hiccup" isn't exactly going to smooth things over. A term like that is usually deployed to indicate minor speedbumps, like 12 hours of downtime for "unscheduled maintenance" or informing the end users that their Diner's Club cards are no longer being honored.

Following it up with defensive comments about your response time (faster that others!) and claiming the attack was unprecedented (no one has ever been hacked like this before!) isn't really endearing you to the Home crowd. (Yes, that pun was intentional. And terrible.) This sort of irritated tone lacks the contriteness that those of us who have supported Sony for far too long would like to see. I suppose we're supposed to feel grateful for your swift turnaround time, but if you're just going to measure your company versus the lower end of the spectrum, then you're wasting everyone's time. 

I see Sony is offering users/hackees some consolation prizes to help smooth over the month-long lockout + wholesale compromise of their personal information. I'm sure I speak for others when I view these items and wholeheartedly applaud them as being "better than nothing." While a few new games would be nice, I'm not sure I've got the time or the hard drive space to fill with games I never intended to purchase.

(Let me explain: I bought my PS3 back in the good old days when 40GB was considered to be "plenty." After all, it was just a "game machine" and still relied on disc-based delivery for content. I agreed with these unspoken sentiments right up until I purchased Dragon Age: Awakening: All of Everything Ever Bonus Game of the Year Edition. I'd heard nothing but good things about the game and shoved it in the disc-hole anticipating some excellent awakened dragon killing. I spent the next 2+ hours watching all of everything ever download and install, not including some sort of "update" that needed to be applied before I could even get to the exciting downloading/installing screens.)

Long story short, I have nowhere to put these new games that I don't really want nor the desire to uninstall anything currently on the drive. Especially Dragon Age: Awakening: AoEEBGotYE, not only would I hate to have to reinstall it, but I have my doubts as to whether I would even be able to re-download my bonus online content, leaving me with a $30 game that I paid $50 for. So there's that.

And as to the free month of Playstation Plus service... is that going to be 30 days continuous or will it just count down incrementally every time you manage to keep your network running for more than a few hours in a row? Clarification is needed because these are two very different things. All that other whatever-it-is, you can keep.

100+ items for my Home? This would be shit-hot news if I was still some sort of materially obsessed tween, but I could scarcely be bothered to dick around with my avatar for more than 15 minutes (shortly after signup?) and I haven't been back since. (In my mind's eye, I see him pacing the space between the immaculately empty living room to the outer edge of the balcony several hundred times, trying to talk himself into jumping.)

The long and short of all this is this (and trust me, it gets longer from this point): These shiny objects and temporary gifts aren't going to do much to win back the trust, and more importantly, the $$$ of your swiftly dwindling fanbase. Much like many of your pissed off customers, I go back a long way with the Playstation.

I started out with the PSone way back in the day when Driver was the killer app that made the sale. (Way, way back, actually. There was no "one" on the console at that point.) You had other exclusives as well, like the Final Fantasy series, of which VIII was used by my wife (at that point, just my girlfriend) to reach out and awaken my inner dork (along with Legend of Dragoon), and many, many other games followed. (Jade Cocoon, Monster Rancher, various Legends of various Things, Driver 2: The Walker... [but not Final Fantasy VII, much to Dark Helmet's dismay, and although he has encouraged me to give it a try, every nostalgic screenshot cuts me right across the eyes with its dangerously jagged polygons.])

I stayed with Sony for the PS2 (and its attendant killer app, GTA III), ignoring the mockery of X-Box fanboys, who derided our low-fi "memory cards" and made rude gestures with their enormous hands. I made the most of our ("our" -- remember how close we used to be?) exclusive titles and repurchased the console no less than five times. (Mainly thanks to the first few generations' alignment issues, which meant that shortly after the warranty expired the console would develop disc reading problems, grinding and blundering away like Grandpa with a malt liquour buzz and his glasses missing. Also, small children may have been involved.)

I even stayed true to the lineage and purchased a PS3 once the arrival of GTA IV made resistance impossible. (I was able to resist the PSP, however. Something about those newly-fashioned UMDs reminded me of the blink-and-you'll-miss-it heyday of the Minidisc.) I sucked it up and took the hit at the cash register despite the fact that Sony's competitors had much friendlier price points. I swallowed hard as other consoles signed exclusive title after exclusive title. I defended its honor using the only weapon I had: the Blu-Ray player. And I laughed vindictively as the HD DVD fell by the wayside. I sat at home and admired my ungainly Blu-Ray player while waiting for worthwhile titles to come out and slowly got used to the fact that if something was PS3-only, it meant that no one else really wanted it.

I'm just one of millions, Howard. You had us all for so long, but between the wholesale harvesting of our data and the forced removal of functionality, I'd be bracing myself for some very low sales numbers when the next generation of consoles roll out. The shiny stuff and free digital trinkets are ok, but a little bit of humility would go a long way.

Sincerely,

Tim Cushing


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    Killer_Tofu (profile), May 23rd, 2011 @ 10:15am

    Well Said

    While I do not own a PS3 (I do own a PS2) I think this letter should be well listened to. It is quite well written and still has your humor to it DH. Very well said.

    Although, hating Sony for so long since they have messed so much up already, this whole fiasco is just icing on the cake at this point for me. The PS2 is the last piece of Sony gear I may ever own.

    After this letter I only find myself thinking of all the sweet PS and PS2 games I played and still have most of. I do intend to actually go through FF7 again at some point. It just may be years out still.

     

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      Dark Helmet (profile), May 23rd, 2011 @ 10:22am

      Re: Well Said

      " It is quite well written and still has your humor to it DH."

      Thank you. It actually only took me five minutes to write this entire article, but I think it's possibly one of the best I've ever done. I accept full credit for any and all accolades related to this article that I myself wrote....

       

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      Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), May 23rd, 2011 @ 11:28am

      Re: Well Said

      Either DH references himself in the third person, schizophrenically, or Tim Cushing is Capitalist Lion Tamer. I could see the confusion, Mike started letting them both make guest posts about the same time...and they're both Tims.

       

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    Dark Helmet (profile), May 23rd, 2011 @ 10:18am

    Attention:

    Those who simultaneously champion Final Fantasy 8 (the subtitle for which I believe was: Super Happy Time Traveling Nonsense Bullshit Yay Bonzo!) while deriding Final Fantasy 7 for its graphics have the gaming credibility of Glen Beck in a socio-political debate.

    On the other hand, everything else you wrote was spot on.

    Being a Tim demands perfection, sir, and it's high time you lived up to it....

     

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      Chronno S. Trigger (profile), May 23rd, 2011 @ 11:15am

      Re: Attention:

      Those who make all encompassing remarks about 8 while putting 7 on a pedestal aren't much better (I liked 7 but 8 was my first FF).

       

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        Dark Helmet (profile), May 23rd, 2011 @ 11:21am

        Re: Re: Attention:

        Those who in any way disagree with Lord Helmet about Final Fantasy games will be left behind in the rapture which my calculations state will take place two days ago....

         

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          HothMonster, May 23rd, 2011 @ 11:29am

          Re: Re: Re: Attention:

          I agree as long as your order is this

          3 American
          2 American
          7
          Tactics
          8
          the rest are meh IMO

           

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            Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2011 @ 11:46am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Attention:

            Best to Worst

            VI
            IV
            Tactics
            VII
            X
            IX
            I
            V
            VIII
            III
            II
            XII
            XI
            Mystic Quest

            This excludes things like Legend (which I can't even remember at this point - mostly playing on the Gameboy when I was a kid on long car rides) and Crystal something-something that I never played. There's also the IV sequel I haven't played.

             

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              racerabbit (profile), May 23rd, 2011 @ 11:55am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Attention:

              You placed FF IX after FFX? You, sir, are philistine!

               

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                Donnicton, May 23rd, 2011 @ 12:03pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Attention:

                He also neglected to mention XIII. Which was quite possibly the best rail shooter I've ever played.

                 

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              Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2011 @ 12:32pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Attention:

              See, I disagree with you and everyone above you. There was a pure simplicity to FF I that only a boy of 9 could appreciate and love the way I did. I have beat that game with every imaginable party arrangement, and even beat it with only one character (killed the others before starting my quest).

              The very first Final Fantasy was pure perfection. I loved, played, and beat all of the rest up to 10. I played half of 10 and stopped. I do not want to have anything to do with the ones that come after.

               

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            Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2011 @ 12:19pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Attention:

            +1

             

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          Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), May 23rd, 2011 @ 11:57am

          Re: Re: Re: Attention:

          will be left behind in the rapture

          You got left behind, too, eh?

           

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            Dark Helmet (profile), May 23rd, 2011 @ 12:55pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Attention:

            "You got left behind, too, eh"

            Was there ever a doubt?

            And for those listing the FFs in their proper best to worst order, the Helmetian take is thus:

            7
            Tactics
            6
            Tactics Advanced
            4
            3
            10
            1
            2

            And 13 is left off of this list as undeserving of a mention....

             

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              Killer_Tofu (profile), May 23rd, 2011 @ 1:10pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Attention:

              And 13 is left off of this list as undeserving of a mention...

              But you did. Right there. Looking down the list it is mentioned last. =P

               

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        Jay (profile), May 23rd, 2011 @ 11:31am

        Re: Re: Attention:

        Six was the best one ever.

         

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          Joe Publius (profile), May 23rd, 2011 @ 11:42am

          Re: Re: Re: Attention:

          Final Fantasy 6 did blow my mind, but it was no Chrono Trigger, that fine masterpiece that neatly presaged the future Square/Enix merger.

          FF peaked at 16 bits. Ever since, the franchise has focused on the visually stunning, but somewhat banal, whingings of androgynous protagonists between combats involving weird monsters and your weirder allies.

          I mean really FF13? Two robo-chicks who turn into a motorcycle? I may be getting too old for this.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2011 @ 11:47am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Attention:

            "Two robo-chicks who turn into a motorcycle? I may be getting too old for this."

            I second your statement but I just figured I wasn't Japanese enough. Thankfully I am Scandinavian enough for the Witcher.

            And can I please get a male lead protagonist over the age of 15?

             

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          HothMonster, May 23rd, 2011 @ 11:45am

          Re: Re: Re: Attention:

          Im assuming you mean 3 American, the second one for SNES. If so you are correct sir.

          I have heard V is the shit but I only tried it for a little bit and the class/job system turned me off, but I guess I should try it. However every time I think about trying it i play 2(4) or 3(6) again, or chrono trigger I just beat that again, that game is awesome.

           

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          Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), May 23rd, 2011 @ 11:51am

          Re: Re: Re: Attention:

          You are correct, sir! Plus, it is the last one I played...and I got all the Gau mimics...so many hours on the Veldt.

           

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          Chronno S. Trigger (profile), May 23rd, 2011 @ 1:02pm

          Re: Re: Re: Attention:

          Six was damn good, but I agree with Joe Publius, Chrono Trigger smokes them all (followed closely by Secret of Mana).

           

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            Killer_Tofu (profile), May 23rd, 2011 @ 1:14pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Attention:

            Chrono Trigger was definitely the best of those I have played so far. I have beaten that more than any other video game I have played. Aside from maybe Super Mario Bros 2, because you can beat it in 10 minutes and its just weird.

             

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              Joe Publius (profile), May 23rd, 2011 @ 1:21pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Attention:

              Chrono Trigger = Catchiest Soundtrack/Background Music ever for a game.

              The Chrono Trigger theme still pops in my head from time to time.

               

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                Dark Helmet (profile), May 23rd, 2011 @ 1:38pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Attention:

                "Chrono Trigger = Catchiest Soundtrack/Background Music ever for a game."

                Okay, I hate to keep harping on this, and I LOVE Chronno Trigger....But FF7's soundtrack was so above and beyond anything else that it's ridiculous. In fact, it's the soundtrack in my mind that puts it over the top in competition with FF6.

                Plus, raising Chocobos was just flatout addicting....

                 

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                  Killer_Tofu (profile), May 23rd, 2011 @ 5:17pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Attention:

                  I like how they redid some of the songs for Advent Children. I like the mood and feel of them a bit more. Not sure why. They are both truly great though.

                   

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                    Dark Helmet (profile), May 24th, 2011 @ 6:21am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Attention:

                    If you liked that, definitely go download OCRemix's Voices of the Lifestream.

                     

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                      Killer_Tofu (profile), May 24th, 2011 @ 11:58am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Attention:

                      Also on my list of stuff to do at some point (as if I don't have enough unsorted music I have to listen to already), download OCRemix's entire collection and find out what I like. On your recommendation though I will search out this one song now.

                       

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                  Chargone (profile), May 24th, 2011 @ 6:41am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Attention:

                  ... personally i liked X's music...

                  i'll admit to not having played all the earliest ones, but still, my list runs something like
                  X
                  VIII (first one i ever played)
                  XII (this may change if i ever manage to finish the thing without getting distracted.)
                  VII (this would probably rate higher if i played it before 8, and finished it before playing 10, but... i kept getting stuck and now ... spikey jaggidy polygons of doom just make putting up with it Hard.)
                  X-2 because... well... ok, i'll admit, i would like this a lot less if it didn't constantly feel like a hybrid of 8 and 10 to me. the eye candy didn't hurt. getting Stuck (ie, repeated play throughs and i could NOT get past this point) where you fight Aeons in the farplane (spoiler? whoops?) kinda killed my interest though.

                  XI is, as an MMO, undeserving of ranking and i have yet to play XIII (picked it up cheap second hand the other day, it's sitting on my shelf until i get through some other 'sequals that are not even the same genre as the game they're supposedly sequals to' type games.

                  music wise... 7 could be great... if... ok, honestly, my memory of it was it mostly being nice tunes failed by, you know, being early ps1 software. the Hymn of the Fayth (X) and Eyes On Me (VIII) are both awesome, however.

                  ... also, i have noticed you can start insanely long discussions (and often flame wars) almost Anywhere by compairing VII to VIII in any way what so ever.

                  (as for 9, it felt like they took everything that Prevented 7 from being as good as it might have been (mostly technological limitations) then did it on Purpose. it may well have been good, but i could never get past that enough to justify buying it... or even renting it again.)

                   

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            Jay (profile), May 23rd, 2011 @ 8:05pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Attention:

            "Chrono Trigger smokes them all (followed closely by Secret of Mana)."

            The only problem with Chrono Trigger...

            It automatically fills me with RAAAGE, when I think of the sequel...

            Link

            I don't care what anyone says, it doesn't matter if Square shut it down (when it's now back up but that's another story), Square is now DEAD to me because of this game.

            No World Ends with You...
            No more Final Fantasy (X should have stopped at 10. Just sayin')

            And no re-ports on other consoles. I either buy used (no money to Square) or I just find another game.

             

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      Meek Barbarian (profile), May 23rd, 2011 @ 11:46am

      Re: Attention:

      "Being a Tim demands perfection, sir, and it's high time you lived up to it...."

      Well, I thought that article by Tim "The Dark Capitalist Lion Taming Helmet" was just great.

      I think, sir, maybe you just have Tim-envy. =)

       

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      Transbot9, May 23rd, 2011 @ 4:16pm

      Re: Attention:

      Such as may be, but I was still disappointed when I defeated Sepheroth in my first attempt. And I was half-arsing it and hadn't gotten everything. It was especially disappointed when FF7 fans kept telling me how hard it is.

      Oh, well, at least I finished it - for some reason I never get past 98% of the way through it.

       

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        Transbot9, May 23rd, 2011 @ 4:32pm

        Re: Re: Attention:

        Huh..typoed. It's Final Fantasy 8 I never can seem to finished...

         

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          Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), May 23rd, 2011 @ 4:53pm

          Re: Re: Re: Attention:

          I spent an entire lifetime dicking around Monster Island ("it's really a peninsula"), escaping random battles on the off chance that Odin would show up and slice everything in half. It's a great way to kill an afternoon and pick up rarities.

           

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          Chargone (profile), May 24th, 2011 @ 6:46am

          Re: Re: Re: Attention:

          see, i finished 8 (the final form of the final boss fight is Funny. it can't kill you unless you draw what is supposedly the most powerful spell in the game from it's second draw point target... but if you do it oneshots your party before you can use the thing (which, of course, does no more than a properly set up ultima, and is nothing compaired to Squall's Lionheart limit break.)

          seven... got near the end of the third disk (the Plot went missing somewhere near the start of that disk, at the latest :P) couldn't beat Sepheroth, decided i'd start over and see if i could beat him that way, got distracted, and didn't get back to it until many games with much better graphics had ruined my ability to look past the pointy hair of death...
          (barret's reference to cloud's 'spikey arse' near the beginning is very fitting :P)

           

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            Dark Helmet (profile), May 24th, 2011 @ 10:54am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Attention:

            "the Plot went missing somewhere near the start of that disk, at the latest :P"

            I can assure you it did not. I'm the kind of geek that's actually read the ultimanias as well as some really good fan-written analysis (Squall Of Seed's is the best, ironically), and I could probably answer any plot question about FF7 that could be asked.

            For which I'm very, very sad :)

             

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      Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), May 23rd, 2011 @ 4:51pm

      Re: Attention:

      Those who simultaneously champion Final Fantasy 8 (the subtitle for which I believe was: Super Happy Time Traveling Nonsense Bullshit Yay Bonzo!) while deriding Final Fantasy 7 for its graphics have the gaming credibility of Glen Beck in a socio-political debate.

      Look, you're only hating on FF VII because the people looked like actual people, rather than some sort of sword-wielding triangle. And if time traveling nonsense bullshit is wrong, I don't want to be right.

      And let's just throw another log on this flamewar: I found FF X-2 to be rather enjoyable. It was much like VII (fly around with no sense of purpose) only with more chicks and some weirdly-dressed Germanic flyboys whose zeppelin thing was constantly rocking with an 8-bar loop sampled from a 70's porn flick soundtrack.

      Plus, there were the costumes. Dress up like a Tonberry? Fuck yeah. It was like meta-cosplay-happy-funtime-bullshit!

       

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      Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), May 24th, 2011 @ 3:01am

      Re: Attention:

      Also this, DH:

      http://www.kotaku.com.au/2011/05/a-planet-without-square-enix/

      "On the day Final Fantasy XII was released, Square-Enix held a launch event at the Tsutaya store at Hachiko Crossing in Shibuya, Tokyo. Fans were told that the first customer in line would be permitted to shake hands with Square-Enix Final Boss Yoichi "Imperial Hot" Wada. One dandruffy young man took that challenge, waiting all night in the pleasant weather. He shook hands with Wada, had his picture taken, listened to Wada’s perfunctory thanks for his years of customer loyalty and fan servitude, and then, when offered a chance to weep in thanks, accepted the microphone and spoke in a quick super-whisper: "Please remake Final Fantasy VII for the PlayStation 3 thank you goodbye". He gave the microphone back and walked off. (I was there.)

      In case you’re looking to me for an explanation of what happened, here it is: a man had a brand new video game in his hands, still shrink-wrapped and in a double-taped plastic bag, and he already didn’t care about it anymore. He was already thinking about something else — about The Next Big Thing, which was more or less The Thing That Hooked Him All Those Years Ago, Only Shinier. This is the type of human being corporations like Square-Enix are manufacturing."

       

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    Travis Miller (profile), May 23rd, 2011 @ 10:20am

    PS+

    I've seen way too much discussion recently of whether or not Playstation Plus is worth it, usually brought on by the mention of this free month now being offered.

    Every time I see mention of free games (on PS+, not the "Welcome back" ones) no one ever mentions that you lose them if you don't pay to keep PS+. This makes the free month pretty much useless to most. It's still better that nothing, but not by as much as some are acting.

    And I'm saying this as a current PS+ subscriber.

     

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      Jay (profile), May 23rd, 2011 @ 11:35am

      Re: PS+

      There's actually 4 games such as Wipeout Fusion that are available to be downloaded.

       

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        Travis Miller (profile), May 24th, 2011 @ 2:16am

        Re: Re: PS+

        Apparently it wasn't clear, but I was specifically NOT talking about those games (of which there are actually 5). That's what I was getting at with "free games (on PS+, not the "Welcome back" ones)".

         

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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2011 @ 11:24am

    I really don't know why people are complaining so much. Yeah, it's a bitch, but you brought it down on yourselves. Like people who use Facebook are just asking to have their personal information sold to unscrupulous advertisers and such.

    It's the price to pay for playing in a closed platform. You should've paid attention to the fine print.

     

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      Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), May 23rd, 2011 @ 11:37am

      Re:

      It's the price to pay for playing in a closed platform.

      ???

      Playing anything will get your information out there. Just applying for a credit card opens the floodgates on your information to third party advertisers. Too bad corporations aren't serious about protecting their customers information and their buddies in government don't care either...and, for the most part, the customers don't care either.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2011 @ 11:38am

      Re:

      Although I agree that you should know the risk you are taking whenever you give any company your info I would also expect a company of Sony's caliber to at least have their security be up to date with industry best practice.

      Some of these attacks wouldn't have worked on most personal websites and none of them should have had this much affect on Sony. No really, who the fuck stores passwords in plaintext? Thats just about the stupidest thing I ever heard. Sony failed to follow pretty standard guidelines for protecting their network and protecting their customers.

      Unless that fine print said we have one layer of decent protection and the rest is ludicrously out-of-date I would say the greater liability falls on Sony than the trusting consumer. But to slightly agree again, if you don't want it known don't share it with the interwebs.

       

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    GeneralEmergency (profile), May 23rd, 2011 @ 11:29am

    Mind-Boggling

    After the 2005 Root-Kit fiasco, why, Dear God, why would -ANYONE- be stupid enough to do business with Sony?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sony_BMG_copy_protection_rootkit_scandal

     

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      DannyB (profile), May 23rd, 2011 @ 11:43am

      After the George Hotz lawsuit

      After following on Groklaw, Sony's despicable behavior in the George Hotz lawsuit, it is my sincere hope that Sony does the honorable thing.

      Fall on your sword.

       

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      DannyB (profile), May 23rd, 2011 @ 11:46am

      Re: Mind-Boggling

      Oh, about that rootkit fiasco.

      From the Wikipedia article you linked to:

      > Sony BMG's Global Digital Business President,
      > told reporter Neda Ulaby,
      > "Most people, I think, don't even know what
      > a rootkit is, so why should they care about it?"


      The local butcher said:
      Most people, I think, don't even know what salmonella is, so why should they care about it?

       

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      Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), May 23rd, 2011 @ 4:55pm

      Re: Mind-Boggling

      After the 2005 Root-Kit fiasco, why, Dear God, why would -ANYONE- be stupid enough to do business with Sony?

      In my defense, I didn't "do business" with them. I gave them my money and they took it.

       

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    A Dan (profile), May 23rd, 2011 @ 11:31am

    Oddity

    You said "(faster that others!)" when, I suspect, you meant "than".

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2011 @ 11:32am

    Playstation Plus

    So basically they are going to give us a month of what we had before they created Playstation Plus.

     

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    Joe Publius (profile), May 23rd, 2011 @ 11:37am

    *Drives up in Xbox converted into eco-friendly electric go-kart*

    Ha, Ha PS3 suckers! Read a book!

    *Drives off, laughing maniacally*

     

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    Kevin (profile), May 23rd, 2011 @ 11:39am

    Next Generation Consoles

    "I'm just one of millions, Howard. You had us all for so long, but between the wholesale harvesting of our data and the forced removal of functionality, I'd be bracing myself for some very low sales numbers when the next generation of consoles roll out. The shiny stuff and free digital trinkets are ok, but a little bit of humility would go a long way. "


    -Well said, but I think we need to add something. The Computer vs. Console war has been going on for a long time now, with both sides winning battles here and there. One of the main points has been that with a console it is so much easier to play on your TV than a smaller computer monitor. Well... The monitor and the TV are now basically the same thing. Depending on what you are going for you can buy a PC that does everything that a console does, and is still a usable computer as well.

    Even Netflix on your console is obsolete with the new internet apps found on TVs by Vizio, Samsung, and LG.

    While I expect that we will see at least one more generation of console made, I would expect it to be the last as well. It is only a matter of time before they are simply the same thing and all you need is the game and the right attachment for your computer.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2011 @ 12:04pm

      Re: Next Generation Consoles

      If consoles go away they will just turn into a $200 peripheral for your PC. "Buy the new Xbox1080 gaming drive today to play all the new Xbox exclusive titles."

      I both don't think consoles are going anywhere and can not see how they can keep being made. There is a ton of money in the closed system's that are consoles and there really isn't room for any more middlemen in the PC market, steam has that on lock. On the flip side technology advances too quickly these days for consoles to have a long enough life span to be profitable. Consoles in the past could wait 5-7 years between updating and still remain current, but the hardware in this current round of consoles is already bottlenecking game development and has been arguably for a year so. With the way technology advances unless they release $600+ systems for the next round I don't see them staying competitive against PCs for more than 2+1/2 years.

       

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        yyr, May 23rd, 2011 @ 12:44pm

        Re: Re: Next Generation Consoles

        "Consoles in the past could wait 5-7 years between updating and still remain current, but the hardware in this current round of consoles is already bottlenecking game development and has been arguably for a year so."

        Don't know if you're aware, but the Xbox 360 was released in 2005... so it's already around 6 years old (and was in your 5-7 year "window" a year ago). You're right when you say "5-7 years" and you're right when you say the bottlenecking has started, but it's all on schedule.

        The console manufacturers are trying to squeeze every last bit out of the current hardware, however, because they're aware of the economic situation and know that most consumers aren't ready to spend $300+ on new hardware right now.

         

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          HothMonster, May 23rd, 2011 @ 12:56pm

          Re: Re: Re: Next Generation Consoles

          "Don't know if you're aware, but the Xbox 360 was released in 2005... so it's already around 6 years old (and was in your 5-7 year "window" a year ago). You're right when you say "5-7 years" and you're right when you say the bottlenecking has started, but it's all on schedule. "

          My point was at the end of the SNES' lifespan multi-platform games were not being limited by the system. It took 5 years for there to be enough growth in technology to demand a new console, now you could feasibly replace consoles with good reason every 2 years. The bottlenecking has begun long before the death of the system and new AAA titles are limited by the hardware in 360s and PS3s. Previously when the tech started to bottleneck the dev kits were already out for the new system.

          Also 5 years (I think that was the previous max lifespan for consoles but I'm not 100% certain) was enough time for them to make up the cash on R&D/production/ect for the older systems, the reason they want to push the lifespan longer (until Nintendo announced their new system would be out soon Microsoft and Sony were calling for 10 years) is increased time to recoup the loses the made selling those systems in the first place (both the 360 and PS3 originally sold for a loss).

          Really the only way to prevent this from happening (in my outsider opinion) is to make the console either too expensive to sell well or take an even bigger loss per unit then they did last time.

          Like I said originally I don't see consoles going anywhere because their is too much profit in being a gatekeeper but unfortunately this will lead to games not taking advantage of new tech and PC versions of multiplatform games being stunted.

           

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            Kevin (profile), May 23rd, 2011 @ 1:12pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Next Generation Consoles

            I do not see them staying with the hardware. I see a closed emulator perhaps on a standard x86 or ARM platform computer, but not the dedicated hardware that we have now. With the rate that technology is expanding these days, a console is too stationary. At least with a computer I can upgrade the processor/RAM/graphics card too eek out more performance, or to play that new FPS that was released. I just think that that is the way the evolution of gaming is headed.

             

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              CrushU, May 23rd, 2011 @ 3:13pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Next Generation Consoles

              "At least with a computer I can upgrade the processor/RAM/graphics card too eek out more performance, or to play that new FPS that was released."

              This, actually, is a reason people like to develop for consoles. With consoles, you know the exact hardware they are using, or at the very least, are guaranteed a specific toolset that will work across all those consoles. (There is, for example, one PS3 devkit. If you look at PCs, you have to choose between DirectX or OpenGL, then look at the differences in ATI and nVidia cards, then realize that some graphics cards support different shader versions, and thus don't always support the same toolsets...)

              This is a developer pressure. MS has been amazingly good at attracting developers. (XNA framework, Xbox Live Arcade) while Sony has acknowledged the existence. (Many third-party games) Nintendo only recently acknowledged this as a good thing with the Wii. (Prior, third-party games were rare.)

              This has nothing to do with consumers, though you could argue that the expanded choice offered by the 360 is a contributing factor to purchases. Regardless, I think this is a major reason for consoles to continue to exist.

               

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                Kevin (profile), May 23rd, 2011 @ 4:17pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Next Generation Consoles

                I see your argument, but I would argue the same way to say why the dedicated console is on its way out, and we are more inclined to see Windows - Gamer Edition. Even now when you are just buying the hardware itself for a computer they have basic desktops, performance desktops, office desktops, and then my favorite gamer desktops. HP/Dell have dedicated areas now they have created to attract gamers from building their own systems to buying there pre-done, overclocked, Crossfire 2GB DDR5 etc etc etc computers.

                 

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                  Transbot9, May 23rd, 2011 @ 4:31pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Next Generation Consoles

                  With the grand exodus of developers from PC to the xbox and 360 followed by Microsoft no longer bothering with their Games for Windows initiative?

                  Doubt it.

                   

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                Transbot9, May 23rd, 2011 @ 4:28pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Next Generation Consoles

                Change has been more incremental. The 360 alone has gone through quite a few models over the years, although the hardware was hidden. Besides, Microsoft finally got a model that works reliably - why rock the boat now?

                I do find it odd that folks are claiming that Game Systems will become peripherals to PCs, when the Microsoft 3rd party developers came from the PC game market. In fact, the base code for a PC and the 360 are the same - the software is complied differently and is set up to with different drivers and controls. Still, though - Fallout 3 looks soooo much better on my PC than on an HD TV.

                Nintendo has been making gains on 3rd party developers since the Gamecube (after they realised they effed up on the N64), but until the DS and the Wii took off, developers were shy of designing for a system that wasn't in as many homes. I heard developers hate trying to program for the motion sensors.

                Still, though, should be interesting what Nintendo is going to announce here in the next month or so...

                 

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      Rikuo (profile), May 23rd, 2011 @ 12:36pm

      Re: Next Generation Consoles

      Too true. In my bedroom, right next to my bed, I have my top of the line computer hooked up to a 23 inch PC monitor and a 40 inch LCD TV. I can play all manner of games on it, even emulate up to the last generation of consoles (PS2, Xbox and Gamecube, although I haven't tried Xbox yet). Just last week, I emulated Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3, playing it on my 40 inch screen, while in bed, using an Xbox 360 controller and keeping an eye on my various torrents on the other screen...ah bliss. Did I mention I used a 5.1 channel audio headset? So, at the click of a mouse, I could turn on Skype, chat to my mates, while playing.
      In fact, I don't even need a console any more. I got rid of my PS3 thanks to the OtherOS fiasco, and my Xbox 360 has been gathering dust. I either download 1080p video files or if I have to, use the computer's Blu-ray drive. I'm being economical: I use the least amount of devices to get the maximum entertainment quality.

       

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    Zach Mollett (profile), May 23rd, 2011 @ 11:42am

    Bravo

    You summed up my feelings exactly. While I never have time to game on the consoles anymore, I still consider myself a fanboy of all things Sony. Heck I've got one of those mini-disc players, a PSP, an XBR4 television, countless pairs of headphones, used to have a Hi-Fi system, still have a CD/Clock Radio thing. Now that I've seen the eye of the storm, I'm not so sure that I'll be their bannerman much longer.

     

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    E. Zachary Knight (profile), May 23rd, 2011 @ 11:44am

    I had a PS3 once

    My wife got it for me for Christmas. She found one of the rare backward compatible models and couldn't resist getting it. I bought 3 games for it and borrowed 2 others from my brother. 1 of the games I borrowed and 1 of the games I bought would not play at all on this PS3. They both played fine on my Brother's PS3. So I exchanged it for the same model. Same problems as before. Sony was no help on the one they published and Sega was no help on the other. So I decided to chug along and play the 3 games that actually worked.

    That was until the disk drive gave out. Since I was still within the return policy (90 days) of the store my wife bought it from, I decided to return it rather than pay out $150 to have Sony screw me over even more. I had been debating on whether to buy a new one, most likely one that was not backward compatible (much to my displeasure) but this problem with their PSN being hacked combined with many other follies (removing otherOS, and Leap year bugs) I have decided to not bother. I will be selling off the 3 games I bought (So long Valkaria Chronicles. I wish I could have beat you.)

    I will never buy another Sony product again.

     

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    Steven (profile), May 23rd, 2011 @ 11:49am

    This reads like an abuse victim just starting to come to terms with has really been going on for so many years.

     

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    racerabbit (profile), May 23rd, 2011 @ 11:51am

    First they removed the backward compatibility, and I said nothing because I already had my 60Gb PS3.
    Then they came for Other OS, and still I said nothing because I didn't use Other OS.
    Then they hemorrhaged my personal data, and finally I got pissed off!

     

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    Spaceman Spiff (profile), May 23rd, 2011 @ 11:53am

    Sony's lost vision

    Once upon a time, Sony was truly a visionary company. Their products were, like Apple's today, far ahead of the competition, and in many cases simply had no competition. Unfortunately, their hubris made them think that this would continue ad-infinitum. Along came the CD root kit fiasco, disabling the "other OS" capabilities of the PS3 that many had come to rely upon, recently the suit of George Hotz (GeoHot) for restoring the "other OS" capabilities that people had paid for already, and now the lack of system and network security that has exposed millions of people to potential identity theft and financial ruin.

    Given all this, in my opinion, Sony deserves to go down the drain and fail as a corporate entity. If I had Sony stock, I'd be dumping it right now... Sorry Sony, but you've lost your way, and nothing short of dumping your entire senior and middle management staff and starting over with new people who respect your customers and your customers' rights may be the only way to save yourself from total disaster.

    For whatever it's worth, I used to purchase Sony products whenever I could, simply because they were superior. No more. I'll purchase anything BUT Sony. I used to have a Sony TV - no more. I have Sony audio recording and playback equipment, both tape and mini-disc. My next purchases in that area will be anything but Sony. We had a Sony Vaio laptop computer, and just donated it to our granddaughter. When she outgrows that, we'll get her something other than Sony. The list goes on, but as these items age and are replaced, Sony will NOT be on the possible provider list.

    As Pete Seeger used to sing, "So long, it's been good to know you."...

     

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    emdc (profile), May 23rd, 2011 @ 11:57am

    Call me shallow, but I think this misery couldn't have happened to a more deserving company.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2011 @ 12:05pm

    Sony is finally getting some of it's just deserts. I long ago had it with this company. Was at one time I thought well of Sony. I've had a couple of decades to redefine that image, none of it has improved with time. Sony thankfully isn't wine.

    I long ago quit buying Sony products so I missed the rootkit and I missed this little fiasco. I simply don't own anything with the name of Sony on it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2011 @ 12:25pm

    swiftly dwindling fanbase

    I doubt this has much of an effect for Sony's products at all. People are pretty quick to forgive shit like this when you wave free crap at their faces. They are giving you two free games (you can get Little Big Planet and inFamous).

    I'd like to see what you are basing this swiftly dwindling fanbase on too...other than a couple angry forum posters who swear they will never do business with sony again. Right...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2011 @ 12:56pm

    "and made rude gestures with their enormous hands." Haha now that's funny!

    After the root kits, and other evil crap Sony did I never went past the Playstation. The Xbox was more appealing than the PS2 and Sony kept up doing things to it's customers I never bought another Sony product again. Even with 3 360s dying to the RROD I still would not ever own a PS3. But I doubt most PS3 owners will abandon ship over this.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2011 @ 1:05pm

    SONY: shoving it in your disc-hole since 2005!

    (when we pooped in your computers with our DRM on music CDs, 'member that? good times...)

     

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    sniperdoc (profile), May 23rd, 2011 @ 1:05pm

    Hope SONY tanks...

    Personally I can't but hope that the Mighty Cashcow that is Sony goes under and tanks. They killed so many different products, among one of which was HD-DVD. BlueRay is way overplayed and too expensive. HD-DVD would have been the way to go.

    I hope they go the way of Beta-Max... oh ya... that was another Sony product. Sony sucks.

     

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    StrongStyle81, May 23rd, 2011 @ 1:28pm

    The whole industry is damaged

    Having bought both the Xbox last generation (my brother had a ps2 and I just played his) and Xbox 360 this generation, I was sincerely considering going with Sony next generation. Not happening now. I probably won't be buying a next generation console at all now.

    What's amazing to me is there are those that just refuse to see any wrong on Sony's part regardless of what they do. Are the hackers to blame? Absolutely. But this brought out into open what a joke Sony's security was. Between the root kits, removing functionality from their devices and weak ass security why would anyone want to buy a sony product ever again. Yet I read comments on Kotaku from people who sound as if they were brainwashed by some sort of Sony cult. GameCritics.com calls them and their like the Industry Defense Force.

    No matter how much they are abused, robbed, deceived or scammed they refuse to be critical of Sony or any other major game company. I could write pages about some of the utter insanity that I have read from the online gamer community. Especially when it comes to used games and the game industry's new war on them. Developers don't even mention piracy anymore, its people buying used games that is destroying the game industry.

    I'm done with the video game industry as a whole and I've played games my entire life. Shit, when I was a kid the NES was practicably a religion among my friends. But I'm sick and tired of constantly feeling like I'm being ripped off. This whole mess with Sony just doesn't hurt Sony, it damages the entire industry as a whole.

    During the late 80s and early 90s the comic book industry saw a huge spike in popularity. But the publishers started to get greedy, they raised prices, focused on lame gimmicks and tried to nickel and dime the hell out of their customers. Not to mention because they were more focused on hologram covers the stories really started to suck. Then the comic industry crashed and has never and may never recover from it. The video game industry is doing the exact same thing. Sony's careless greed is but one of many examples. The game industry reached massive heights in the ps2 era. But the industry seems hellbent on crashing itself straight into the grave now.

     

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      Rikuo (profile), May 23rd, 2011 @ 1:41pm

      Re: The whole industry is damaged

      Too true. I grew up in a poor family, yet I somehow managed to either pay for console games using my pocket money or get relatives to pay for them (same thing really I guess...). Anyway, what was happening was, there was this new trend of entertainment. These electronic boxes, once hooked up to your TV, could allow you to play any game imaginable.
      I didn't mind paying for games. The video game companies were on our side. They poured forth their talent time and energy into making games, we played them and in return, gave them money. It was symbiotic. No-one got ripped off. In fact, growing up, the only hint of piracy I ever saw were a few pirated VHS tapes. That was it.

      Nowadays, the industry has grown bloated and arrogant. The electronic boxes that were once sold to us are now rented. They have become obsolete, as their predecessors did, yet there is still no sign of a new generation. They have so many nifty features: imagine taking a NES fanboy from his time and showing him what today's consoles can do. And then tell him the cost: closed systems, removed features, lawsuits against the very people who bought your product.

       

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    CrushU, May 23rd, 2011 @ 3:33pm

    Another Statement from Sony

    http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=11656

    Link to a blog that has the video of the public statement from Sony. ... I rather like this video, as it seems heartfelt and honest, rare when dealing with a corporation.

    Not a top exec, but a high-level one, at least. According to rumor, this video was actually shot in his office, not on a set somewhere.

     

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    Tom Teshima, May 23rd, 2011 @ 7:05pm

    I still haven't heard a thing from sony. I thought they had supposedly emailed everyone about the loss of personal info and CC numbers, but I haven't heard nada from sony.

     

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      Rikuo (profile), May 24th, 2011 @ 12:53am

      Re:

      This can mean one of two scenarios
      1) The email address you gave Sony isn't the one you're using and monitoring now.
      2) You're still using the same email address but your email provider has added Sony emails to a junk blacklist.

      I hadn't touched a single Sony product in a year and a half and I still got a message from them in my hotmail.

       

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    ScreamingFanboy, May 24th, 2011 @ 12:55pm

    Oldsters: "NOTHING NEW CAN EVER POSSIBLY BE GOOD! ALL GAMES MUST GO BACK TO 2 DIMENSIONS! I CAN'T POSSIBLY ENJOY ANYTHING IN 3 DIMENSIONS! FORGET MODERN TECHNOLOGY! FORGET THAT GRAPHICS AND STORY ARE HANDLED BY COMPLETELY SEPARATE TEAMS! WE MUST GO BACK TO THE STONE PIXEL AGE AND NEVER MOVE FORWARD AGAIN! WAAAAHHHH!"

    Gripers: "I WILL ONLY LIKE A GAME IF IT FITS MY SPECIFIC QUALIFICATIONS! I WILL NOT LIKE IT IF IT'S THIS WAY. OR IF THIS THING IS DONE DIFFERENTLY! OR IF THE STORY GOES IN THIS PARTICULAR DIRECTION! OR IF SPECIFIC DETAIL #247,856,959,868 IS NOT EXACTLY AS I THINK IT SHOULD BE! I DO NOT KNOW HOW TO REFRAIN FROM PLACING RESTRICTIONS ON ENJOYMENT! I HATE ANYTHING DIFFERENT! I WILL ALWAYS CHOOSE ANNOYANCE OVER AMUSEMENT BECAUSE I DON'T KNOW HOW TO DO OTHERWISE! RUN FOR THE HILLS!"

    Exaggerations aside, I think my point is made. Seriously, does anyone know how to just enjoy a game anymore without microanalyzing every last bit of it?

     

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      Chargone (profile), May 25th, 2011 @ 5:36am

      Re:

      honestly, that's usually how i play 'em.

      doesn't stop me thinking most FPS games are over hyped rubbish.

      of course, i'm also one of those who basically doesn't game online. the progressive stripping of LAN and splitscreen play in favour of online multiplayer which is unreliable, involves people i want nothing to do with, uses up my data cap (costs money, ya know...)... the list of downsides is huge. anyway, this annoys me greatly.

      but i'm not going to try to claim a game is bad because of this one thing if i can still have Fun with it.
      (i found spy vs. spy to be Horribly unfun, however, though many others apparantly didn't.)

       

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    crystal via, Jan 2nd, 2012 @ 10:18am

    playstation 3 are no good

    I bought my son a playstation 3 serveral years ago and he could only use it for a month it will not read disk and most of my freinds tell me theirs is doing the same thing. this cost over $300.00 and most people do not that money to waste,my older son fixes electronics computer and consoles he said the systum is no good. What is the problemwith this console my playstation 2 it still works great.I got a big lemonand so has many others. it will cost more to fix then what it is worth

     

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