Some random thoughts
9 years ago Posted in: Business, Computers, Gaming, Opinions 0

Marcus Espenlaub-
I just wanted to write up a quick rant about how I feel about certain things going on in the gaming world, and some of the companies that produce them.

Whenever, I play a game my ultimate goal is to play the best games with the best people. It is my mission in gaming to find this end result. I have gifted out copies of Torchlight 2 to them good Hakus folks. It’s of MUCH greater value for me to support companies such as Runic. The company behind the wonderful Torchlight series. I appreciate companies that release games at reasonable prices, instead of getting $60 punch in the balls only to see DLC already in the barrel. Does anyone actually believe that these companies ‘release’ unfinished games and then sell you DLC after the fact. It is naive to believe that huge corporations with multi-million dollar budgets can’t get their shit together on day one? Hundreds of programmers, testers, account managers, production people, graphic people make up a gaming company. Do you believe that they devote years on a project, only to have an ‘unfinished’ product to sell. If you do then, ‘I’ve have an island to sell ya’. These companies are trying to generate additional profit from something that often doesn’t warrant it. Therefore I am going to yell from mountain tops that companies like Blizzard, EA, Ubisoft, and the like, have lost their way.

I bought a copy of Battlefield 3 for $10. That’s fine. They can have my $10 for their game that probably cost $20 per copy to make. All the while, I will continue to support companies like Runic, which can sell me their full priced $20 game FIVE OR SIX TIMES OVER. It’s not only about where you put them hard earned dollars, its WHEN you put them down too. Plus the fact that when I gift copies of Torchlight 2 out I get wonderful people/gamers that will play with me when there isn’t anything else going on. To me this carries an even higher value than anything else. I’ve got plenty of people that I can play games with at any time. This isn’t the problem. The hard part is getting the right people to play the right games at the right time.

There are many ways to support smaller companies while still earning a buck off of people’s ignorance though. Take for example my comments and conversations with the good Mr. Hand in steam voice chat. I explained my hate for Verizon, but my love of Verizon stock. Lets say hypothetically I bought a round lot (100) shares for $26 or a cost of about $2600. At the time of the conversation 2 years ago Verizon was under-priced. Right now Verizon shares are around $45. So the current value of the shares would be around $4500. That’s a healthy gain for company that I refused service from, because I don’t agree with their tiered data plans. I also made the assumption that people are still going to get new phones and overall subscriber base isn’t going to change much. Add to that the fact that they pay a sweet little dividend of a 4.5%, and you have got yourself a winner.

Bringing it back to gaming. Lets say that I think EA is the worst kind of company for gaming. 80% of their revenue comes from the console market while PC only represents a meager 20%. EA is still going to be a evil company to their customers. This isn’t something that is going to change either. But you can’t deny their profits and their fiscal results. The stock is cheap now compared to the rest of the market the company sits at around $12.74 a share when it should easily be at near 20. The fundamentals of the company are sound. They have a strong asset base and plenty of cash to eat other companies should they want to. Please See: EA try’s to buy Valve. Now as a gamer I can hurt them by either not playing their games, or by not paying full price for them. I am now and shall always be a gamer. I can’t ignore their games solely because I don’t like their business practices. Some of games yield spectacular results when you consider the amount of money backing these things.

Every public company is answerable to only the shareholders. And I suppose that you could vote with your shares that management should be changed, or change their business practices. While 100 votes of a company this size is nothing, it does carry a higher weight than buying, or not buying a game for a platform that represents a small fraction of their revenue. It is of course better to not even own said company, but I also don’t feel like working forever, so there is that too. Either way, BUY EA stock, and not EA games. It is the only way to profit both as a gamer and your wallet. Just a little food for thought.

Let’s discuss Blizzard/Activision. I have a profound dislike for Blizzard, because I don’t appreciate a company trying to take money from me long after initial release dates. Why is Starcraft 2, a couple year old game, well over $100 (with expansion)? It’s because they are greedy and stupid. I hate the company for gaming, and I just think the stock is average at best. Now I would gladly buy EA stock, but refuse to touch Blizzard. I think the company is riding on the success of the 10+ year old game Warcraft, and feel like that ship is about to set sail. I acknowledge the money still comes in from WoW but don’t see the same continuing on for another 3 years. They don’t have enough in their pipeline that shows any forward thought. What have they gotten recently out of Blizzard? Mists of Pandoria? Try again guys. They made, and will make money off their real money auction house in Diablo 3. I understand the huge potential of capitalizing on these micro transactions, but this is going to be short lived when people realize that they are playing a game for the only purpose to spend 70% of their time in the action house. And only 30% of their time playing the actual game. Compare to say Torchlight, where none of it feels like a grind and there is no great advantage to being a greedy in game. I understand peoples personal preference to try to make money from buying and selling items in the auction house. Don’t worry nobody ever forgets to tell you how they are making 2k a month easily, but I am not convinced. I’d still rather make money the old fashion way. Work for the money, and then putting the money back to work for you. It’s easier to maintain, and less stressful to me. So screw you Blizzard I’m taking my ball and going home.

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