5 Points of Gaming: Oculus Rift and the Death of Maxis

Hello and welcome back to the 5 Points of Gaming! Wow, this was a boring, boring week in gaming for all intents and purposes. This is the kind of week where news writers have to investigate mediocre leads and artificially inflate word counts tor try and compensate for the lack of noteworthy things happening, ya know, like I’m doing right now. The biggest thing to be talked about this week was Occulus Rift, yea, that’s still a project that may or not be relevant. Beyond that, not even Konami did anything that particularly stood out, an achievement for them of sorts. I fully expect that to change next week, but until then, congratulations to Konami! And now onto the 5 points for the week!

1: Oculus Rift is gonna be expensive, relatively speaking:

Yes that’s right the lauded future of gaming has fallen off the hype tracks already! This one might have beaten ‘Watchdogs’ for the quickest turn from hype to meh, at least for me. The newest troubling news from their camp; the thing is going to cost at least 300 bucks. Yes that’s right, for the price of an actual console or PC, you can buy a VR headpiece that may or not make you nauseous and still needs aforementioned PC or Console. Let’s just be straight here, this thing will bomb. I don’t care how great the VR tech is, you cannot charge 300 dollars plus and expect to launch successfully. This isn’t a proven product from a proven market that needs to trim its budget, this is a peripheral for a market that has never existed that is at least 100 dollars way too expensive.

I don’t even say any of that with perverse pleasure, this is going to put VR next to 3-D as a gimmick that ends up being a waste of money. If Oculus is the first out of the gate with this, unless one of the other companies developing VR knocks it out of the park, I feel like VR will have the problem 3-D movies had, a cool gimmick that most people won’t buy into, and a lot of developers will misuse or poorly implement. Simply put, the wave of the future is looking like its not even going to make it to the shore.

2: Maxis the latest victim of EA:

I got a joke for everyone. A small, creative successful Indie developer and EA walk into bar. The one lacking artistic vision, human decency, or respect for their fan base leaves, with the skeleton of the other awkwardly attached to its grotesque form. Yes, that’s right EA is at it again, this time in the process of swallowing Maxis, the guys who screwed up SimCity. Of course, it all started with the closure of the Emeryville offices of Maxis back in March, a harbinger of sorts, really. Now, EA has announced Lucy Bradshaw, the head of Maxis is leaving. Now, this is just speculation, but why would a 23 year year old veteran of the gaming industry leave her company? Perhaps it’s because EA is slowly swallowing Maxis into the abyss known as EA, a place where developer studios go to have the creative force sucked out of them. Or perhaps she just wants to be nowhere near EA, and who can blame her?

No, the terrible part of this news is yet to come. Ya wanna know who takes over as head of Maxis. No, you really don’t actually, cause it’s EA’s Mobile Division. Yes, that’s right, from the same creative force that brought you ‘Dungeon Keeper: Mobile’, a game that got such glowing reviews as “A cynically motivated skeleton of a non-game, a scam that will take your cash and offer nothing in return” or “Instead of feeling like the keeper of a dungeon, it made me feel like I was being kept in one”. Yes, Maxis will no doubt be put under the whip at EA Mobile, turning out ‘Battlefront Mobile”, a game that I can’t prove exists, but I imagine it’s not long before they try it!

3: Don’t call it a comeback:

Seemingly out of nowhere, after not supporting the fairly well received ‘Tribes: Ascend”, Hi-Rez Studios has announced a new patch for the game and has moved developers back onto working on the game. Their explanation? That they didn’t feel good about abandoning it, and now that Smite was super, super successful, they might as well fix it. Sorry, what? So, they finally make a successful multi-player game, and their response is to try and fix one they abandoned? I mean, I didn’t even think Smite was a huge success in the first place, and I liked Tribes a lot, but if i was Hi-Rez, all my energy would be devoted to making Smite a bastion of MOBA e-sports, not splitting off from an already small team and suddenly fixing a game that died a while ago. Then gain, what do I know, perhaps ‘Tribes: Ascend’ will be the next CS:GO, but I doubt it.

4: Definitely don’t call it a comeback:

The absolute train wreck of a PC port, ‘Arkham Knight” might finally be on PC. After months of delay, and killing any hype or interest most PC consumers had in it, the worst of the trilogy is finally coming to PC sometime in the next coming weeks, according to a recent announcement. Yes, I’m sure the one diehard fan who didn’t buy the broken bug-fest of a brawler is waiting with bated breath, counting the days until he, or she, can play the marvel of mediocrity that is Arkham Knght. For everyone else, no, this really doesn’t matter, I think it’s just worth a reminder of how long it’s taken for them to fix this game that was released quite a while back.

5A: Steam Update:

You may recall last week that my account had been hijacked by the commies on the other side of the globe, the Chinese, and the the noble men and women of Steam Support had done absolutely nothing to restore my account. Well, I’m happy to report, as of this writing, they continue to do absolutely nothing! Yes, that’s right, Steam Support alone is about as bad as everything and anything EA does. Seriously, I think Time Warner Cable has solved problems faster than Steam has, so far. The best part of it, though, is that all I want to do is to buy games off of Steam, and that’s basically the one function my account is shut off from. You’d think they’d want to take my money as often as possible, but it seems not, so instead of getting to play ‘Bloodbowl 2’, I get to write about how much I want to play ‘Bloodbowl 2’. Oh joy.

5B: Company that Fucked up the most this week:

Yea, it’s EA. Listen, no one did anything this week, and I can’t keep yelling at Valve. I like Maxis, I also liked all the other companies EA has stitched into it’s amalgamation of a company. That being said, I will mourn Maxis, just as I will mourn Dice after the inevitable mediocrity of ‘Battlefront’ and its single player-less product. You can’t say EA is not consistent in being dreadful, they’re a lot like Donald Trump in that respect, they remain the same, even if the same is something that most of the sane world despises.