GameStop and digital PC game distributor Steam have always given each other the stink eye. The retailer even tried to swipe some of Steam’s customers by buying one of Valve’s rivals, Impulse, but has apparently realized that it’s easier to join Valve rather than fight against it.
As far as introductions go, Diablo III had a rougher time than we did in our atomic wedgie-filled first day of high school. Blizzard’s PC lootfest came out Tuesday, cursed with overloaded servers and a bug that ended the games of some players lucky enough to actually play the game.
Let’s get one thing out of the way — Just because we subscribe to HBO doesn’t mean we’re made of money. Sure, you can subscribe to the premium channel in the normal way, but we just call up our cable company, threaten to move to DirecTV because it offered us free HBO on a flyer, and accept a 6-month trial of the show in exchange for staying with our current provider.
Subscription-based MMOs have it rough — They’ve got to prove themselves worthy of your money month in or month out, or you’ll stop paying and playing, as will your friends. A game can go from a promising up-and-comer to a flat-lining invalid in a matter of weeks.
The best and worst aspect of email and instant messaging is that they make it easy to blow people off and give you at least a glimmer of hope that your recipient hasn’t seen your unreturned messages. Now Facebook wants to zap all the uncertainty away, updating the Facebook Messenger app so message-senders will be able to tell that recipients have seen messages.
Sometimes Sony’s $50-a-year PlayStation Plus program is worthwhile, but most of the time it leaves subscribers thinking “Now why am I giving you guys $50 a year again?” Sony is aware enough that there’s a problem to send out marketing surveys asking gamers how they feel about different offerings and pricing.
GameFly really wishes it could get subscribers to cough up a monthly fee to play things like Angry Birds Space and Ziggurat, but its mad scientists have yet to find a way to stick a game disc or cartridge into your iPhone.
So the Netflix of Gaming is trying the next best thing — giving out free and cheap games via its iOS app.
Zynga, the company responsible for cluttering your Facebook updates with nonsense having to do with FarmVille, CityVille, CastleVille and pretty much every other time-wasting thing that ends with “Ville,” is no longer bragging about raking in tons of money. Now it’s cringing as reports trickle in that the developer got shanked for an $85 million loss last quarter.
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