Is it the summer heat, or have gamers just started getting fed up with some of the more obnoxious facets of the gaming industry? Either way, we've got several stories of discontent from the gaming trenches this week. I've titled the column "Geek Riots" in a positive way, being a proud gamer geek myself.
Operation: Rainfall Wants Wii RPGs
Disappointed Wii owners have noticed that the console's upcoming games list is rather empty, at least in North America. It certainly hasn't escaped the notice of RPG fans that several high profile role-playing games are being translated from Japanese and sent to Europe, but not to North America. Hoping to remedy this fact, a group calling itself "Operation Rainfall" has organized a campaign hoping to convince Nintendo of America to release Xenoblade Chronicles, The Last Story, and Pandora's Tower. Xenoblade and The Last Story have already been announced for Europe, thus will be translated into English, but the region-locked Wii doesn't easily allow for game importation.
Operation Rainfall includes both social media pleas to Nintendo and will involve a physical letter-writing campaign this month. Thousands of gamers even pre-ordered Xenoblade (by its outdated title, Monado) via Amazon.com, briefly catapulting the outdated pre-order entry to number one on Amazon's charts. Nintendo has already taken notice of the effort, writing the following response on its Facebook page:
"Thank you for your enthusiasm. We promised an update, so here it is. We never say "never," but we can confirm that there are no plans to bring these three games to the Americas at this time. Thanks so much for your passion, and for being such great fans!"
Naturally, Operation Rainfall wasn't satisfied with this response, and will be continuing its efforts to convince Nintendo of America that ignoring core gamers who own Wiis isn't the best way to convince them to pick up the Wii U. After all, fans reason, if core gamers abandon the Wii U, who is going to introduce the device to the Bowling Grannies demographic?
EVE Players Say No to Macrotransactions
EVE Online has always been a different kind of MMORPG. It gives players a fair bit more control over the game's economy and world than most other online games do, and EVE players have responded to this freedom by building a complex (if not always welcoming) society in and around the game. The game's newest expansion added a new dimension to this society, giving controllable avatars to players who had previously only been able to fly spaceships. Along with these spaceship-strolling characters, however, came a store featuring vanity items that could be purchased for real-life cash.
This is par for the course in MMORPGs these days, but two things made this move untenable for the players. First, once translated from the various forms of fake currency in the game, it became obvious that the vanity items were vastly overpriced, many costing $50-$70 in actual real-life dollars. This resulted in a major disruption in the game's currencies, affecting players who had previously been able to trade currencies with others in order to essentially pay for their subscription with in-game money. Secondly, an internal document from EVE's developers surfaced, making public a discussion they'd been having about monetizing items such as spaceships and weaponry that would confer a real in-game advantage to players who shoveled out cash.
The in-game store and leaked document caused a huge protest amongst the EVE playerbase, happening both on its forums and in the game. Not being an EVE player myself, I can't quite make heads nor tails of the screencaps featuring hundreds of tiny spaceships shooting at... something. I'll take the word of people in the know that these screens are capturing a full on in-game riot by the players. More importantly, the word is that the vanity item store has been less than successful, selling very few items. Will this cause EVE's developers to back off on "micro"transactions, or will it push them into charging for in-game advantages in an attempt to convince players to pay up? There is little question as to how EVE's players feel about the matter.
Capcom Says No to Deleting Saves
Capcom's newest 3DS title, Resident Evil Mercenaries 3D, raised eyebrows this week when it was discovered that the game's cartridge only allows for a single save file, which is not deletable. Gamers immediately assumed that this was a measure meant to reduce the game's appeal in the used market, although Capcom quickly insisted that was not their intention. The company failed to explain why the decision to make the save data undeletable was made, or if it was perhaps an accident to release the game that way.
Purposeful measure or not, Mercenaries 3D kicked off the latest fireworks in the debate over used games, and how much players are willing to put up with as game publishers attempt to lose as little money as possible to the pawn shop-style sales strategy used by major game retailers like Gamestop. EB Games Australia even briefly considered pulling the game from its shelves, although Capcom managed to convince the company to sell it. Capcom has even insisted that the undeletable save won't affect the game's used value, but gamers remain quite skeptical on that front. Is this a blip on the radar, or a sign of things to come from Capcom? It just might depend on whether the sales of Mercenaries 3D appear affected by the save game issue.
Fans pushing back in a big way against region-locking, microtransactions, and draconian measures to fight the used games market all in one week? It's pretty crazy, but it's sure to lead to an interesting summer for us all. In the meantime, happy Canada Day and July 4th weekend to my readers in North America. Have a good one, and feel free to get your riot on, gamer-geek style.
By Becky Cunningham
CCC Contributing Writer
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*