Saturday, September 3, 2011

PR Slap-Fights Are Silly.

Even if it wasn't Exclusive, Microsoft doesn't even want PJ Shooter 2.

So, there was a little thing a little while ago from Microsoft's Chris Lewis, head of Europe's Gaming Division (I guess.  There's only so much I can pull from "European XBox Chris Lewis".  Come on, Eurogamer.) where he was defending a few key points of Microsoft's Content Submission and Release Policy.  You may or may not be familiar with it, but it basically, as it states in the name, determines what can and cannot be published on XBox Live by enforcing a few guidelines that have been performed so plentifully and effortlessly that you pretty much don't notice them.  Ever think about how a lot of DD games get put on XBL before PSN?  That's (in most cases) a good part of the reason.  There's other things like "Exclusivity for Continued Promotion" deals and the like, but a lot of these publishers want their games on both systems and going on Live is generally the way to secure that.

That's because the Content Submission and Release Policy specifically disallows games that A) appear on other platforms first and B) have more content on other platforms.  If you don't believe me..

"Titles for Xbox 360 must ship at least simultaneously with other video game platform, and must have at least feature and content parity on-disc with the other video game platform versions in all regions where the title is available. If these conditions are not met, Microsoft reserves the right to not allow the content to be released on Xbox 360."
Well, alright, it doesn't say "It won't be on" it says they have the "right" to deny it, but legalese nonsense aside, you know what it means.  This is, of course, a pretty....well, strict policy and an unwelcoming one as well.  It's a lot more stringent than PSN's which, I believe, states the only restriction on titles that have been on previous consoles is that they -should- have some Playstation-exclusive content.  That's why Castle Crashers got new modes, why Castlevania:  Harmony of Despair is going to have....something, I forget what (I think DLC characters from the XBL version?  And Couch Co-op.) and so on and so on.  Of course, I don't think everyone follows this.  (I don't remember what was Exlusive in Braid.  Was there anything?)

It's this sort of policy that allows PSN to seem, well, more welcoming since that's literally what it does.  It welcomes all comers, regardless of where they come from, so long as you bring them something new for their party.  It's the reason why Valve eventually started taking a shine to what Gabe Newell once called "an expensive paperweight".  And it's the reason why there's a lot of Indie Devs out there really wanting to develop for PS3, PSP and the Vita.  So, when faced with the knowledge that someone high-up at Microsoft basically said "If we don't get it first, we don't want it" (as Chris Lewis went on to say, "I'd be surprised if we saw that as something we'd encourage," regarding titles that launch elsewhere before knocking at XBLA's door), you would think that's like a slow-pitch for Sony's PR guy, right?  Right?


Rob Dyer, Senior Vice President of Public Relations took that beautiful opportunity and figuratively smashed someone's cat with it.  "Publishers are getting the living crap kicked out of them by Microsoft," he says.  That...that is not how you open with this man.  He then goes on to say,

"I think what Chris and the other representatives at Microsoft are doing is protecting an inferior technology," Dyer said. "I think they want to dumb it down and keep it as pedestrian as possible so that if you want to do anything for Blu-ray or you have extra content above 9 gigs or you want to do anything of that nature, you'd better sure as heck remember that Microsoft can't handle that."

I'm not even sure where he's going with this.  Now, you all know me, you know I tend to swing towards the Sony-side of things, and while I even went on to say I like Sony's Policy better, this was dumb to say.  Mostly because it doesn't make sense.  Not only are most PSN-exclusive games fairly small as well (well under 9 Gigs), but Rob, you specifically have games titles as "Minis" on your service.  Actual games that must be under 100 MB, which then go on to get ESRB rated which drives their price up $1-3 bucks a pop.  This is a thing on the PSN.  Do not bring size constraints to argue something like this!  It's that simple!  Play up the things I said earlier!  Trumpet off the successes of this open-ness!  Do anythin but what you did.

Honestly, PR people are generally not the sharpest pencils in the box, but this....this was something else.

This post brought to you by Italics.

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