Saturday, October 17, 2009

Quick thoughts: Uncharted 2 and Delta's lame in-flight game service

A couple of quick thoughts in between travel for work (doing some consulting on social games) and pleasure (Anacortes with friends, Chicago for a wedding).

Uncharted 2. This blurb appeared in a Facebook comment I wrote (a couple of friends were discussing the game -- one thought it "set the bar" the other thought "meh"). It's not really all that well considered and thought out, but is more of an initial reaction after playing a couple of hours:
So, I loved (loved loved) the first one. And I loved (loved loved) the intro to the second one -- a super treat for fans of the previous game and IP.

I've had a couple of lulls in the action through chapters 4 and 5 (getting stuck, being confused) but I'm super into it and can't wait to play more.

As far as cut-scenes go, they set the bar in v1.0. Then games like GTA IV met the bar. I think that they met the bar in this game, too. I actually WATCH all of the cut-scenes and enjoy them (PS -- I never watch cut-scenes in any other games).

Story quality-wise, so far it seems like a virtual copy of the v1.0 story. So, unless they shake it up soon my judgment is "serviceable but not great". Technically it's awesome (voice acting, mocap, direction) but the story itself is only serviceable.
In other news, while flying back to Seattle I had the "privilege" of not experiencing Delta airline's in-flight gaming options.

That is to say that I completely ignored it in disgust after being asked to pay $5 for the right to sample their game wares.

Now, $5 for 4.5 hours of entertainment is an entirely reasonable price. Heck, I'd pay more than that for a 90 minute in-flight movie. But charging for games before letting me try them out? It just doesn't make any sense.

Many of the games seemed to be versions of freely available titles already on the web. I had worries about the input device (touch screen) and have had mixed reviews trying out games on other in-flight consoles (I talked about Virgin airline's options in another post). Not having a try-before-you buy option is a non-starter for me.

But, the bigger question to me is: Why charge at all? The model that I have to believe would work better for all involved (Delta, game publishers, and the passenger) is to offer free-to-play content. Publishers would pay for access to the captive audience. Their motivation would be to provide fun addictive games to passengers to drive awareness and customer loyalty. Delta would get money from the publishers for distributing their content. Passengers would get high quality games that would endear them to both publishers and the airline.

And me -- well, I'd have a reason to request regular coach-class seating. The touch screen is too far away from my seat to reach it comfortably while sitting in an exit row.

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