411 Games Fact or Fiction 11.01.12: iPad Mini, Ace Attorney 5, Zynga, and More
Hello everyone and welcome to this week’s edition of Fact or Fiction. As always, I am Daniel Anderson and I hope everyone has had a good week. I just got settled in my new apartment and at my new job and was looking forward to getting back to doing this column. So what happens? A hurricane is headed my way and I am getting told I could lose power for several days. Joy. Anyway, this week we have 411’s Stephen Randle going up against Vince Osorio. Let’s see what they have to say, before the power goes out, shall we?
1.) With all the layoffs and game cancellations, we are seeing the start of the death of Zynga.
Vince Osorio – Fact: I’m not going to proclaim that Zynga’s time is up in this industry, but it’s obvious that their lucrative business model isn’t paying off as handsomely as it had at previous times. Zynga will be around for a while, I can say that. In what form? I don’t exactly know, but I do know that something’s gotta give at some point. The “Ville” model has obviously grown stagnant, repelling potential customers, and if Zynga doesn’t keep up, they’ll go the way of the dodo (or in video game terms, the way of Acclaim).
Stephen Randle – Fact: If Zynga even manages to limp into the New Year, I can’t imagine it will survive to see the end of 2013, unless it’s as a subsidiary of a larger company that snaps it up for whatever licenses they have left. Gee, Facebook games have a limited shelf life. Who knew?
Score: 1 for 1 - Does anyone still think that appealing solely to casual gamers is a way to build a long term successful company anymore? All of Zynga’s games, looking back, seem to just have been fads that people got into just because one of their friends got into it. Now the audience has moved on and Zynga can’t replicate their previous success. I will be shocked if Zynga still exists at the end of 2013.
2.) You are surprised about the dismissal of most of the class action lawsuit against Sony for the Playstation Network hack.
Stephen Randle – Fiction: don’t know much of the legal stuff going on, but I’d wager that since Sony gave out free games and PS Plus subscriptions and some other stuff as compensation, there’s not much chance that any lawsuit would receive much else in damages. Plus, apparently the lawsuits were dismissed because the people suing were using the free PSN, as opposed to Playstation Plus, where they could that they were paying for a service that they weren’t receiving, and thus were ineligible in the terms of the original suit. The option to re-file under different terms is still there, but I’d imagine most of the fire has gone out of people since the initial suit was filed.
Score: 2 for 2 - I’m not surprised. This seemed like pretty obvious money grab when first filed, and it deserved a rapid dismissal.
3.) You are interested in the iPad Mini.
Vince Osorio – Fiction: I just don’t really enjoy using 7″ tablets all that much. They’re in a weird middle ground where it’s too big to be truly mobile but too small to give you the real estate advantage of having an actual 10″ tablet, which leads to wonky text wrapping & other compromises made to fit the screen. The iPad Mini specs are pretty solid (comparable to an iPad 2) but the $329 price tag is off-putting. I’m sure it’ll sell like gangbusters- there’s an audience for it & Apple products sell regardless, but why would I get an underwhelming 7″ tablet for $329 when I can get the real deal for $170 more, or way more promising & customizable 7″ tablets like the Kindle Fire HD, Nexus 7 & the Nook HD for $120 less?
Stephen Randle – Fiction: I have a laptop and an iPhone. Why would I want some mutant thing that’s somewhere between the two? And don’t say, “As an e-reader”. Screw Kindle, I love books. Actual, physical books. I have shelves of books. I have so many books they qualify as a significant portion of my asset portfolio.
Score: 3 for 3 - I haven’t spoken to anyone that can come up with a reason for wanting an expensive but smaller iPad. Doesn’t mean it won’t sell like crazy because it has Apple’s name (well logo) on it though. Also Randle, try packing, loading, and unloading all your books yourself and tell me there is no need for an e-reader. I buy some physical books even with having an e-reader, but only ones to complete a set (like buying hardback versions of Dresden Files – Nov. 27th can’t get here fast enough), but also buy e-versions of the books for convenience.
4.) Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse is going to be a decent game.
Stephen Randle – Fact: It’s pretty much looking like a formula platformer with a popular license, so I’d imagine it’ll be decent, if unspectacular. Actually, the original Family Guy game had some unique ideas and the Multiverse episode is one of the few Family Guy episodes from the last several years that hasn’t made me want to rip out my eyeballs and go on a killing spree to attempt to ensure that some people might be spared having to watch them. What was I talking about? Oh, yeah, I’m sure it’ll be fine
Vince Osorio – Fiction: I had this running joke back when I was running the Bytes & Flops feature on the site about Activision taking one slightly-promising game on their release schedule & dumping it on retail shelves with little to no promotion just weeks out from the release of the next Call of Duty game. Remember X-Men: Destiny? How about Singularity? or Blood Stone: James Bond 007? Activision obviously has no confidence in Back to the Multiverse, sending it out to die a week after Black Ops 2 dominates the sales charts. Activision smelled a stinker in both X-Men & Blood Stone, that has to be the case here. Best case scenario: The game is a largely playable (though boring & generic) platformer that has moments of humor, like The Simpsons Game. I’m not willing to be on that happening, however.
Score: 3 for 4 - I can’t argue or add to anything Randle said in regards to Family Guy. Either the TV show or the game.
5.) You like the idea of Ace Attorney 5 using full voiceover.
Vince Osorio – Fact: Yes, hell yes, I will gladly take a fully voice-acted Ace Attorney game. The writing in that series is already stellar, I can only imagine the over-the-top voices they’ll find for Phoenix, Miles & the rest of the crew.
Score: 4 for 5 - It would be very difficult to screw up a full voice over Ace Attorney game. Not impossible, but you would have to try to screw it up.
6.) You have hope that the Assassin’s Creed movie with Michael Fassbender will be a decent movie.
Stephen Randle – Fact: I fail to see how it could be anything else. Uwe Boll isn’t directing, right? I love the Assassin’s Creed games, but I’m so far behind in my backlog that I’ll never get through them all, and this way I’ll hopefully get to watch the story, which is half the reason I like the franchise in the first place. Assuming they don’t, you know, fuck it up like so many video game movies before this one.
Vince Osorio – Fiction: I’m definitely more interested in the Assassin’s Creed movie with Fassbender attached, but I’m still way too skeptical. It’ll take much more than Fassbender’s involvement to make this a successful video game to film adaptation. If one great actor directly corresponded to a film’s quality, then Prince of Persia starring Academy-Award Winner Sir Ben Kingsley should’ve been a smash hit. Let’s revisit this topic when a worthy director, screenwriter & producer is attached to the product.
Score: 4 for 6 - I think the key word is decent. As long as Uwe Boll stays away from this there is a good chance it will be decent. Not great necessarily, but at least decent.
Bonus Question: Out of the games yet to be released this year, which will have the best sales?
Stephen Randle – I suppose that the game packaged with the Wii U doesn’t count? Because that one’s probably going to move a few copies. Well then, although I won’t be one of those salivating dogs lined up to get it, I’d imagine Black Ops 2 will pretty much be the highest-selling title for the rest of the year.
Vince Osorio – Black Ops 2 and it won’t be a close race. As crazy as this sounds, I think Assassin’s Creed 3 has the potential to outsell Halo 4, not just though combined platform sales, but also just on the 360 platform. If it happens, remember who said it first.
That wraps up this week’s edition of Fact or Fiction. Vince and Stephen went 4 for 6 agreeing more then disagreeing. I hope everyone enjoys the busy release schedule in the next few weeks, and until next week, happy gaming.