Thursday, November 16, 2006

PS3 and Wii Launch

This is a big week for gamers.

Let's start this over. I'm a big gamer. This is a big week for ME.

You may or may not have guessed, but videogames are an important part of my life. From the first time I played Pacman in the airport when I was 7 or 8 years old, to the first time I played an Atari 2600, video games have been a big motivator for me, a source of inspiration and my primary choice of entertainment.

When the Nintendo Entertainment System came out I nearly lost my mind over the quality of the graphics. So much so, that I saved my paper route and golf course caddy money to buy one myself. It was just that important to me to be able to have it and I was around 13 or 14 years old.

I eventually did the same with the Turbografx 16, holding the machine under my jacket while it rained as I walked all the way to the mall and back to get my prize. Held my Super Nintendo aloft in victory on launch day, reveling in it's mode 7 greatness.

Then I got into the game industry.

I was there when the ps1 dev kits arrived at Leland Interactive Media, and we witnessed the then famous dinosaur demo, and its advanced new fangled thing called "texturing" on 3d polygons.

I was there for the Jaguar launch, there for the Saturn launch, there for 32x, the N64 ( have a funny story about that for another time) and many others. In fact. Name a system, I probably did some work on it as a QA Analyst or in some other capacity.

Needless to say. I've seen alot of game console launches, and usually they are a pretty exciting and fun affair, because gamers get to experience new game systems, and nothing is cooler than that for gamers like me.

But all of that has gone out the window since the 360 launch.

I have to word some of what I write here, because well quite truthfully I work for a game company that is connected to the company that is launching of the new systems this week. I don't want to come off as some angry employee or any other such nonsense. I am just a gamer that is sad that he will find it nigh impossible to be part of what should basically be a time of celebration for gamers.

Any true gamer should be excited right now about the new game system launches, but if they are any bit like me, they are either bummed out about the availability of the systems launching, or resigned to a fate of making themselves miserable trying to find one.

I reaaaallly want a PS3. No, I do not get any kind of preferential treatment for working as SOE, so just like the rest of you, I am faced with mean people in lines all night, clamoring to crawl over each other to get that last game system in the store, and for what? Just to watch the person in line in front of you buy 3 so they can resell them?

It sucks the wind out of my sails to watch the greed of certain individuals outweigh what should be the pure and untainted joy of experiencing something new and fun. Too many people heard about ebayers making a killing on 360s last year, so everyone is trying to get into the act. They've had a whole year of looking forward to it, and by God they are going to take advantage of the suckers!

I know, I know... Capitalism blah blah blah. Nonetheless it still taints it for me. I want to be out there and be excited, and get to the store and pick up a new game system. But the idea of looking into the cold dead eyes of the non gaming ebay sharks out there gives me the shivers. That's great and all that they want to make a buck, but $600.00 retail is quite enough for my game system, thank you very much.

The sad thing is, I probably won't get one. I want one, I just don't know where to find one without getting into a fist fight or argument with all of the people out there that are literally waiting in line to screw people like you and me. Please believe me that they do not care, and can only see $$.

There is this guy that I have known in the industry for about 4 years or so, I even tried to help the dude get a job here. Just a few days ago he was bragging to me at the gym that he was getting 3 PS3s right after I told him I was trying to track one down to buy. He just looked at me blankly telling me how he was going ebay them, not even blinking. I knows I'm trying to buy one, and he is putting all 3 up on ebay. What a pal. I won't be helping him again.

After the madness over the next day or so, it all starts again with the Wii. Here I think I may actually have more of a chance due to distribution #s. It just sounds more feasible, but I could end up in the same situation.

The whole thing is disheartening for someone who loves this industry so much. The hype machine, the greed, the news stories, the lines of people who aren't even gamers. It just kills the magic when it's more about the wheel of capitalism than some kids experiencing the wonder of new video game magic.

1 comment:

Nick McLaren said...

Let's not forget the highway-robbery that the various software stores are getting away with by only offering $600 (Wii)-1000+ (PS3) "bundles" for pre-order and such. The greed doesn't stop with the consumer unfortunately, and equally as unfortunate, you will ALWAYS see such a thing any time that demand vastly outweighs supply. (For example, "Tickle Me Elmo" a few years back at x-mas? XBox360 launch? etc.)

Yeah it sucks, but really what can we do?