Free To Play, E3, and Overdraft Fees

The NBC national evening news tonight reported on overdraft fees. Supposedly fees in the U.S. for withdrawing too much from your bank account now amount to 32 billion in revenue each year for banks, and make up 60% of total bank fee revenue.

The manager of the U.S. government’s consumer financial protection bureau, Richard Cordray, says: “We’re concerned that the complexity of overdraft practices means that consumers may not be able to anticipate and avoid unnecessary charges.” ~ source NBC news.

Oh really?

Dear Richard, if you’re worried about that, then maybe you should have a look at the conspicuously booming Free-To-Play gaming industry and the complexity of the pricing and currency schemes.

Yes, that was a little dramatic. Apologies, but it stands.

For example, I got an email from Perfect World today that literally says: “As a token of our appreciation, this email comes with a one-time use Bonus ZEN code that you can use to earn free ZEN on your next purchase. YOUR WELCOME BONUS CODE: XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX. Apply this code during checkout, and you’ll get 15% bonus ZEN, completely for free.”

If I have to buy something to use this, then it’s not fracking “completely” free, is it? (I think I can’t say how I really feel without breaking the terms of my WordPress free hosting agreement.)

E3 2013

In other news, E3 is underway, which means I’ll be doing more than the usual weekly post this week, obviously.

First off, Sony announced that the Elder Scrolls MMO is coming to PS4. Pete Hines clarified via tweets that the game is actually delayed now until next spring to release on consoles, possibly before PCs. Brilliant move to get people to buy the consoles to play, except everyone hates this move.

A lot of surprise and negativity was registered in Massively comments. This should have been no surprise. Instead, I’ll be surprised if we don’t hear similar announcements in the coming months from other MMOs that launched recently with simplified skill bars, i.e. Secret World, Guild Wars 2, and Neverwinter.

A short video on the Escapist gives the highlights of E3 today.

The PS4 is currently scheduled to be $100 less than the XBone. Used games will be less problem on the PS4, supposedly. You will also not need an always online connection like the XBOX, but all is not roses. To play with your friends online, you will now need a Playstation PLUS subscription.

This looks like another perk for owning a PC, really.

Aside from the internet connection, which is equal, F2P MMO and other multiplayer games on PC are free. If you figure $50/year to play online with a PS3, that can add up to a significant discount for skipping consoles, plus you have the freedom to control your own experience with mods, etc.

Future Of The MMO?

The kitty isn’t interested in a next-gen console. I’m interested in the future of the MMO genre. Single player games for the PC are about to explode into a new era of graphical quality, thanks to the similar power of gaming PCs with the consoles, but MMOs are another story.

For example, we are getting a better picture of TESO as a soloable console game with only six skills on your skill bar. A couple of those might be block and dodge. I don’t know.

As of right now, my fate cards are shifting towards supporting Rift again, and I would encourage other PC MMO fans to consider the same, at least until game makers can create a separate and better experience for PC users. That would go against the big-money interests, of course. Sony and Microsoft need to sell consoles.

Yesterday I noticed Trion made the Rift mage Polymorph spell a zero-point skill in the Domination tree, which makes any mage build a potential crowd controller. The kitty likes this.


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