The Mass Effect: An Industry in Flux

Following the recent news of Mass Effect 2's departure from Microsoft platform exclusivity, Ruser Saldana of Game Kudos writes how the gaming landscape is changing and how developers/publishers have to adapt in order to stay one step ahead in such a competitive industry.

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0mega43036d ago

I played both games on PC and imported my data from ME1 to ME2. The changes that carry over from ME1 to ME2 are gimmicky at best. Some references of events from the first game will be brought up, and you might run into a character or two from the first game, but for the most part the plot and story of Mass Effect 2 are self contained. If you're worried about missing the first game before picking up this awesome game, don't.

someone needs to post a critique of microsoft money management
where is your live money going?

i would like to see an article discussing

them wasting money on securing timed exclusives

shifting there focus away from there core audience and toward the causal cash cow with kinect
and putting all there first party studios on kinect developments

not having enough first party studios

and failing to secure third party studios to make exclusives

and justifying xbox live
charging for multiplayer experience which is usually half of the game you already payed for

Colossal_Red3036d ago

Some great points, BPV.

Having played and thoroughly enjoyed both Mass Effect games, I think its departure to the PlayStation 3 is great simply because EVERYONE now gets to experience this game.

I will most likely pick it up for the PS3 (having borrowed it for the 360) simply to bag me the DLC without having to pay for it on XBL.

coolbeans3036d ago

Around 800 plot hooks from your ME1-ME2 save file (according to Bioware) are "gimmicky" at best? Now I've heard it all. The rest of your statement has no relation to the topic. Just blog that stuff....

Colossal_Red3036d ago

There may have been 800, but most players wouldn't have dug around for them as much as the most vested ME fans. I can only remember a few myself, with Wrex and the news reporter being highlights.

ChronoJoe3036d ago

Not 800 independent, each individual reference counts as a 'plot hook'. So one conversation with a prior character, may include 20 or more plot hooks.

They're not significant, and whilst they do add a little to the experience, they don't fundamentally change it.

coolbeans3036d ago (Edited 3036d ago )

Never said they were indepedent, just stating the words directly from Bioware. Even with what you've stated,does that fundamentally make the plot hooks "gimmick at best" ,as described by Vess? Absolutely not.

lol at disagrees to first statement. ME2's coming to your system, 90% of N4G. Why all the hate? :P

ChronoJoe3036d ago

I wouldn't have used the word gimmick, but they aren't a problem for people who get introduced into 2 without playing one.

The largest problem is how Bioware are going to convey the story of ME1 to ME2 players, I gotta admit I didn't like most of ME1 but the ending and how it all played out was epic. I think if the players of ME2 didn't have the atmosphere from ME1 transfer over, they would lose out a lot on the experience.

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ChronoJoe3036d ago

I mean they waste $600mil on flips like the Kin. You realise a top AAA title like Killzone 2 only costs $45mil to develop?

Microsoft have like $30billion spare capital right now. They could easily pick up there games division and put it on top. I guess they think they are doing that though... with Kinect.

I'm just glad I don't pay for live anymore >< Microsoft don't think about the consumer at all, unless that thought coincides with an easy way to increase cash flow.

BrutallyBlunt3036d ago (Edited 3036d ago )

I just don't get it, I see it all around, all of this anger, resentment, negativity and just downright pessimism towards them. Sure Nintendo gets theirs and so did Sony on the Playstation 3 but this has been going on for far too long with Microsoft. People still view them as hurting the industry and killing innovation and over-charging consumers and all of that.

However since when does this not apply to both Sony and Nintendo? Do we not see Nintendo milking the consumers? Do we see Nintendo creating lots of new IP's with all their earned cash from Wii profits? No. The reason Sony is doing it is because they are trying to sell the most expensive hardware and to do that they need to sell two things, blu-ray and games that show off the hardware. So who exactly is going to invest tens of millions of dollars into games like Gran Turismo 5? It certainly isn't going to be Namco or Electronic Arts and make it exclusive to that platform.

This article is talking about the state of the industry, not just Microsoft's part of it. Yet that's what so many want to focus on because they still see them as the evil empire who must be eliminated.

The business model of taking on IP's like Heavy Rain is not nearly as profitable as going after simultaneous releases such as GTA IV. This is why Microsoft went that route. They needed to create parity with Nintendo and Sony in being competitive after the lackluster debut of the original XBOX. They still have superpower IP's like Halo but I do agree, they need more IP's of their own. However they must be awarded the fact they have become as competitive as they have in such a competitive market. Look at how hard it was for the PSP to struggle in the handheld market against the DS and Gameboy.

It makes sense to offer games like Mass Effect on multiple platforms. It's because we want the industry to survive and move forward. Gone are the days of being loyal and replaced with the focus on games, not the hardware.

gamingisnotacrime3036d ago

"The reason Sony is doing it is because they are trying to sell the most expensive hardware and to do that they need to sell two things, blu-ray and games that show off the hardware."

They have been doing IT since PS1 back in 1993
GT, MGS, FF7, and everyone knows the rest. Most expensive hardware you say, come on at $299 with BluRay and the best games available the PS3 is the must bang for the buck on the electronics division of any Best Buy. Video, photos, music, BluRay, WiFi, AAA gaming, free online.

I find it so dumb trying to make Sony look greedy because they are doing EXACTLY what the fans want. more new IPs, more games pushing our beloved PS3, more gaming greatness.

BrutallyBlunt3036d ago (Edited 3036d ago )

Why are we turning this into yet another us vs. them scenario? The point is they ALL want our money. That's why the Playstation 3 was $600 at launch and why the Wii is still $200. Demand is what sets the prices and because the Playstation 3 didn't come out with gangbuster sales and have the same selling impact as the Wii or the Playstation 2 before it Sony had to cut the price and they cut it quicker than the other two consoles.

So this isn't about picking on Sony or Microsoft, it's about the state of the industry so why put all the attention on Microsoft?

I do agree, the Playstation 3 offers the best value out there, no disagreement from me. However to get that value they had to react to the market and part of that is due largely to how the XBOX 360 has done. This isn't about making Sony look greedy, it's about all of those who want to deflect it so that Microsoft is the one who looks greedy and not want to focus on the whole industry.

Do you think Microsoft cares if we want Live to be free? Not if the demand is there. Do you think Sony cares if we want new PSN games to be included and new PS3 games to have full demo's on PSN Plus? Not if the service is growing in memberships as time goes on.

Why did Microsoft add HDMI to the XBOX 360? It's because that is what the fans wanted. Same with built in wi-fi so don't make Sony out to look like the good guys and Microsoft to be the bad guys here. The XBOX 360 came out first and it just went with the same strategy as the Playstation 2. That is to buy extra things. Seems to have worked out for Sony last generation didn't it? Seems to have helped Microsoft this generation hasn't it? Seems to be working for Nintendo isn't it?

Now to get back to the original topic, we see many developers going the multiplatform route. Some to be more profitable and some like Insomniac to reach more gamers. Isn't that what's more important, the more people to play your games rather than the old ideology of my system is better than your system because it has such and such games? Sorry but i'll leave that sort of debating to the children who have yet kissed a girl and think their system is the world to them. Plus as I said earlier we should want developers and publishers to be profitable so that we can continue enjoying this hobby of ours.

pippoppow3036d ago

Look at MS' history this gen, not even bring up their long history in the PC arena. They deserve all the negativity thrown at them with interest. It's gamers that have let them get away with so much this gen.

Hardware is overpriced and still not reliable. The problems have been lessened after 5 years but disc scratching is still worrisome. The 360s should be about $100 cheaper. Redesigned older tech with no Blu-ray Drive should be cheaper than it is selling for currently.

Paying for XBL is nonsense when free alternatives are available. You may like the service but whether you like it or not you have to pay to play. MS knows online multi=player options on games are the main draw of XBL. They could easily allow Silver members to play online with no extra fee. MS and fans will claim XBL is superior yet lacks dedicated servers and large player counts. Not exactly pushing online gaming forward. If anything they have been stagnant.Also the point was brought up about where is the money going from XBL fees. Apps and timed exclusives?

People say competition is good but not when a competitor is like MS. The 360 being popular this gen has in a way slowed progression this gen for most 3rd party games. Sure devs are to blame primarily but if the PS3 was as dominant as the PS2 or if the 360 would have had a higher capacity drive there would be bigger and better games that push boundaries like PS3 exclusives do. Another thing are practices that are employed by MS may catch on. Like Pubs charging to play online, other online services charging a fee with even though ads are included and a model of take while giving the least in all areas.

Gaming doesn't need MS and would be better off without it. Maybe a company with gamers more in mind will enter and give much more than MS ever did.

gamingisnotacrime3036d ago

i know Sony wants me to spent as much money on their products as possible, shocker!
hey i pay for PSN plus, and so far only 2 months into and the content is there to already surpass the $50 entry price. so the value for the money is what Sony delivers, while MS is all about milking us for loving gaming

ChronoJoe3036d ago

I didn't read all that, because you all typed like a page each.

But the reason for the dislike, is that Sony don't satisfy people as a consumer. You say what microsoft do, makes business sense, like using what they did with GTIV rather than making there a new title, like Sony does.

Because the $50m they sent to rockstar, is more than Killzone 2 cost to make. And in the end, did it pay off? No. It didn't benefit the consumer at all. I'm not sure if it benefited microsoft, and as a consumer I don't care.

Whatever there motivations, Sony do a much better job of pleasing there consumers. Producing the games they want, consistently, with high levels of quality. I'm afraid that Microsoft do not offer the same, and they have not secured the contracts to ensure the viability of there console, to the consumer within the long-term.

altimako023036d ago

for the high price of developing games , its sony. They said at the begining of this console generation that they wanted to make the ps3 difficult to develop for , and with greater difficulty comes greater cost.

BrutallyBlunt3036d ago (Edited 3036d ago )

The hardware is expensive? Compared to what exactly? You think it should be $100 cheaper? That would make the Arcade unit $100, which is less than a DS and less than a Wii. Doesn't make much sense to me. Also why should they lower it by $100? I said it's all about demand and since this new XBOX 360 has been announced sales have gone up.

Paying for XBL is nonsense but as I said why shouldn't they charge if gamers are willing to pay? No wonder Sony has created an alternative service to their network called Plus. All it really is so far is a discount store for old titles. Yet the magic of it is it creates value to the consumer by getting them to buy games they wouldn't normally buy. Also XBL is much more streamlined than what we see on the Wii or even PSN. It's why those who write editorials and reviews for games all tend to like it.

You argument about how the XBOX 360 has slowed down the industry can also be applied to last generation and the Playstation 2 can it not? After all PC's and the XBOX both had built in hard drives that could be utilized and more ram. Yet gamers including myself loved the games on the Playstation 2.

All I really see is ignorance. Do we really think PSN would be as good as it is today with XBL? Competition is good so pointing fingers does nothing. The industry is the way it is due to lack of innovation and adapting to the times. It's better than what has happened to the music industry but it could be a lot better. Piracy, used sales, rentals. This also escalates issues why the industry is in a bit of despair right now. Yet it seems like people such as yourself want a scapegoat as to why it's happening. Did Microsoft force Sony to create a $600 game platform? Did Microsoft force developers to struggle on the Playstation 3 hardware? Did Microsoft force developers to create so much shovelware for the Wii?

There's a lot more to it than Microsoft's input.

@ ChronoJoe

It's hard to say if it paid off or not. One could look at previous GTA sales last generation and conclude that yes it did pay off since the original XBOX got like 1/10 of the sales of that of the Playstation 2 sales. What Microsoft has done is make it so that the GTA IP is not synonymous to the Playstation brand which it was last generation. Now when GTA V comes out consumers will think of which version to get.

In the future Sony is better set. They have more studious and have done a much better job at taking risks and creating new IP's. However I think Microsoft just wanted to be competitive this generation and so far they have succeeded.

el zorro3036d ago


Bravo! I agree with nearly every point you made in your comments. You truly live up to your username. Those other guys are irrational fanobys and can't see the big picture.

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gamingisnotacrime3036d ago

is what you do with the council a the end of ME1.
othe than hat i either dont remember the other references or dont care at all.
It would be nice if the PS3 version has some way duplicating this particular reference

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NYC_Gamer3036d ago (Edited 3036d ago )

this is the gaming industry....3rd party studios have no loyalty to consoles its all about when games jump ship no1 should take it hard...

goxbox3603036d ago

Sold my 360 yesterday... Halo alone just isn't enough and I can't really afford to maintain two platforms.

etownone3036d ago

Lol .... yeah ok.

With Reach a couple weeks away, you sold your Xbox. good one bro!!

goxbox3603036d ago

Halos just one game. It's fantastic, but as are Uncharted 2 and Killzone 2... for example... neither of which I've yet been able to properly experience admittedly, but I've had a go at them and they were stunning.

GT5 of course will be out of this world.

orange-skittle3036d ago (Edited 3036d ago )

You're not a gamer then. Exclusive titles should not be your motivation for owning a console. Some games play better on certain consoles. I find 360 to be better for First Person Shooters and sports titles. I also find 360's online service superior to PSN, so it depends on what you're looking for. I own both and I am quite happy with the capabilities of both. People argue that the PS3 has a broswer and blu-ray, but those are not strong selling points. The browser is garbage and the flash player is out of date. The Blu-Ray player is a an attribute for storage, but not for playback. Let's be honest, you only watch a movie once or twice and that's it, so what's the point on buying a $20 disc?

gamingisnotacrime3036d ago

"The browser is garbage and the flash player is out of date. The Blu-Ray player is a an attribute for storage, but not for playback. Let's be honest, you only watch a movie once or twice and that's it, so what's the point on buying a $20 disc? "

But paying for online gaming is da sht! lol you can ignore those features and still the PS3 destroys the 360's best offerings.
Oh but coming soon to the NXe is gmail and youtube, so they are trying to imitate after all the browser.

coolbeans3036d ago

Those independently-focused apps on Xbox Live have received a better word-of-mouth than what your suggesting. Just hope you know that.

gamingisnotacrime3036d ago (Edited 3036d ago )

as from ign to kotaku word of mouth
so pathetic

goxbox3603036d ago

You're mad.

There's next to no difference in how the controllers perform, and the PSN/XBL services. The con is I can't use cross game chat anymore, the pro is I'm not paying $60 a year to do so.

People purchase movies to collect, not to just watch once then put away. You buy a movie and you have it forever, and you can watch it whenever. Don't try to ignore an entire market, because the market for home entertainment video, blurays and crap like that. Is massive, regardless of weather you think they are worthwhile.

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altimako023036d ago

never owned a 360. fanboy bs

orange-skittle3036d ago

Mass Effect needs a broader audience. If you're not an inhouse developer, then all games should be multiplatform. Playstation only owners can skip and run around like kids about this, but it has nothing to do with console superiority. It's all about the numbers. Mass Effect's current story will wrap up w/ the 3rd installment, but the Mass Effect world will continue and in order to keep the franchise going will have to be install base. The game takes about 60 million to make and recoup that money, you need game sales. It sold well, but it can sell great. I want Bioware to succeed, because they actually listen to the gamers. They heard the complaints and did something about it.