Patched PS3 Games?


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If Square Enix follows through initial reports and statements of patching and in-game advertisements, gamers might just see a game character using a too-real mobile phone or eating a burger. Yoichi Wada, Square Enix's main man, announced the company's new PS3 games development program. In a meeting with third-party company bosses, Wada discussed advantages of keeping PS3 games console online. He talked about three major benefits including trial chapters, in-game advertisements, and software updates.

Similar to the marketing strategy of PC game developers, Square Enix is looking on producing PS3 games by episodes called trial chapters. This move actually benefits gamers as Wada talked about a system of game distribution where gamers download the game's first chapter and buy later installments. In a way, gamers won't have to worry about shedding big bucks because the games are expected to be priced lower than buying the whole set at once. Some skeptics believe otherwise, saying that the total cost of the installments are actually more expensive than buying the whole set. They attribute this to the fact that each game has to be fitted with the Blu-ray technology which is expensive. I side with Wada on this one. Buying a whole set of a single game is not an advantage if you find in the second level that it's not exciting anymore. With trial chapters, you can choose what episode to buy and play.

A feature of the new system I am wary about is in-game product plugging. Wada explained how advertisements will be included in PS3 games that are not exclusively for online use. If you're thinking that there is no way Square Enix can sneak a commercial product in the new Final Fantasy, think again. Cloud Strife managed to do it with Advent Children. There is no reason why Square Enix and Wada can't. Game purists, myself included, certainly do not want golden arches or a big, red can of soda interfering with our game by filling our minds with thoughts of junk food. We get wasted enough playing games for hours, so don't compound it grease and sugar rush.

I am not decided yet about the software updates. Wada didn't use the term “patch" - figures, because the man rarely speaks English - but explained a system similar to patching. The system is expected to effectively bring new PS3 games faster on shelves or in the E-Distribution Initiative platform by cutting production time. Game developers are expected to reduce debugging time because they can patch games later. Reduced debugging gave us Oblivion which, I must say, is a very unsatisfactory game. I doubt people will be pleased to find out that their $60 games are not debugged enough. Bugs destroy gaming experience. Period.

To Square Enix, I am all for trial chapters but I am thinking twice about software updates and in-game advertisements. To all other gamers, let's just hope that Square Enix doesn't get too occupied patching. I mean, it's enough that Sony is in love with PS3 and Blu-ray. Just give us our PS3 games. Not all people have the patience to wait for months when their Toyotas are stuck in walls and their PS3 games are frozen.


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