Saturday, January 7, 2012
More Details on the Amy Price Discrepancy
So I touched on it slightly the other day during the Birthday Post, but I didn't extrapolate a bunch because there just wasn't a lot of information. Since then, an official explanation has come out of the developer and it's....it's a thing. For every bit of sense it makes, it also makes -negative- sense, which is something I'll just have to explain when I really get into it. Suffice to say, it's understandable and they're even going about ways of letting 'us' decide, provided we have a facebook, which means they're letting 'other people' decide. But before I get into the explanation, why don't I go into the game that is Amy for a moment, since I haven't really taken much notice of it before these last few days.
Amy seems to be a rather nice-looking Survival Horror game that's set just barely in the future as the world is slowly crumbling in on itself because of global warming. If that's not bad enough, apparently a comet has also impacted near Silver City, where the game takes place, that has brought about a new virus to compound issues. One of the survivors of all this, Lana, has been infected by the virus as she tries to find safety and finds that, after running across a mysterious little mute girl named Amy that she can actually control or reverse the spread of the infection to a certain limit which actually offers a lot of strategic advantages in avoiding the other infected who've devolved into little better than monsters. The goal of the game seems to be surviving long enough to get Lana and Amy into safety, since Amy seems to be the key in stopping the infection the comet brought.
The game's big selling point seems to be its attention to its own graphics; they worked really hard to make the game look as nice as it does, after all, and the biggest area of effort, the faces of the characters, is the one they've put at the forefront. Amy, being mute, can only communicate through her facial expressions and her body language, so the philosophy seems to be that they needed to make a system that facilitated that well enough. The gameplay itself seems to be the other top priority (which is good) but everyone says that, so who knows whether it'll work or not. A lot of games try the open-ended style of "Fight, Run or Hide", very few games actually achieve it, as more often than not, some encounters end up leaving you wondering just how you could be expected to hide from this one or run from that one leaving you with just a clumsy combat system that was made clumsy for the express purpose of making you think to run or hide. I don't really expect that from Amy of course, but given the genre it comes from, it's quite possible.
Now, getting back to the issue at hand, Lexis Numerique is very obviously a European Company which seems to be the issue this all stems from in a sense. As we all know, things just generally cost more in non-American countries if you just take the prices and do a straight conversion between the two. $10 and €10 are not the same in overall currency, so generally, a little fudging has to be done that more or less ends with our pals in PAL-land taking the financial hit. This is further complicated when you take 800 Microsoft Points, which is actually ten dollars and more or less translated into that much, and see that the above variation of ten is the price for both, because it seems to draw a line of concept that states 800=$10=€10 and it simply does not. So this is where Lexis Numerique's pricing structure comes into play.
The game, quite simply, is €10. Using PAL-Land math, €10 translates roughly into $12.73 which is precisely the reason why the American price showed up at $12.99/800 points. Because that, essentially, is the exact same price until you come to the fact that 800 MS Points in America is $10 which is only about €7.82. However, due to the nebulous factor of Points not being a direct indication of money, you can't exactly change the amount of points something's going to be just because you want to. Microsoft has these price brackets of points and you, as a developer, have to attach one of them to it. It's all very very confusing when you try to think about it, but the basic flow here is thus: Amy is €10 which is $12.73 when straight-converted, not $10 which is €7.82 when straight-converted, however 800 Points isn't € or $, thus can't be switched. Or, if you're not interested in that, you could just take the gist of this: This is stupid.
Lexis Numerique is, dare I say it, not a collection of dumb people who dumb people because they are dumb. You cannot tell me that they all took a look at the 800 Points/$12.99 pricing structure and went, "Yeah, no that won't ruffle any feathers or raise any suspicion.", and now they're doing damage control by letting 'fans' feel like they've done something in telling them to make the game $10 on PSN (which is going to happen and shouldn't have even come to this) and trying to shift as much blame onto Sony as possible by bringing up the fact that if the price is changed, the game will have to be delayed on PSN. Of course it has to be delayed for the change to take place - the change that Lexis Numerique should have seen and made before they green-lit it. It's all just a very unfortunate situation, since all it's going to do is drag a whole bunch of bad press onto the game, but hopefully it'll get reviewed well enough to off-set that.