The Sims FreePlay: Play-Free

Going back a few months, Tim brought home an iPad, and showed me The Sims FreePlay.  After previous experiences with “social” games, I wasn’t expecting all that much.. even so, I was disappointed.

Neighbourhood Screen

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SimCity Social

During E3, I saw mention of a new, reinvented Sim City.. with city specialisation, intelligent Sims who will react to the city you’ve planned and built, and the option to work with friends and interact with their cities or create large projects together.  It’s due in 2013.. but I already know I want this game!

In the meantime, EA have released SimCity Social on Facebook.

SimCity Social places you in charge of your own city, which evolves as you interact with it.. placing buildings and roads and interacting with them either as a good or bad Mayor.  If friends are playing, you can visit their cities and interact with them too, building up a friendly relationship or rivalry.

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In the News – 1st March

The release date for Irrational Games’ BioShock Infinite has been revealed: October 16th in the US, and on October 19th internationally, for PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.  The game will also support the PlayStation Move motion controller, with more details to follow later.. though Eurogamer spotted a “special” BioShock Infinite peripheral on Sony’s website back in November.

Mojang have released Minecraft 1.2 today, adding a slew of new features including new blocks and items, a new jungle biome and a map height limit of 256.  On the creature front, ocelots become cats when tamed, and tamed wolves can now have puppies! (more…)

Are we being exploited by DLC?

Spurred on by the debate around the Mass Effect 3 DLC, I started writing some thoughts down.. but it quickly turned into a definite TL;DR with DLC, online passes, pre-order bonuses, retailer exclusives and the fight against used games.. as well as the all-too-common cry that customers are being exploited.

So.. I’ve split it all up, with this part mainly being about DLC, in-game purchases and other bonuses, and another part to come about the fight against used games.  I’ve mentioned a few games or companies in my examples here.. either because they were the first or best example to come to mind, or because I know that product better.  I’m sure I’ve missed some great examples, and although I’ve checked my facts, I may have something wrong or out of date in here.. so feel free to let me know in the comments 🙂

The first Mass Effect 3 DLC pack appeared briefly on the Xbox Live Marketplace last week, and stirred up quite a debate about exploitation.

One complaint against DLC is that it provides an incentive for developers to withhold part of the game to charge more for it later.. or even on the same day, in the case of Day 1 or unlocks of content from the game disk itself.  You can’t return DLC if you don’t enjoy it, nor can you sell it on as it’s usually tied to your game account.  Other complaints are about price (Modern Warfare 2’s ‘Stimulus Package’: £10 for 5 maps, two of which were re-releases), or the worth of the DLC (Oblivion’s Horse Armour), and then there’s the idea that it’s only being produced to milk consumers for every last penny. (more…)