Editorial: Are Payoffs Bad for the Industry and is Microsoft Paying Off EA Sports?

Payoffs have existed in all industries for a very very long time. You can't argue they exist, but do they do any good for the end user?

The most recent gaming related payoff centered around Microsoft and Rockstar, with a $50 million purse headed to the developer for the exclusive rights to publish two episodic packs for Grand Theft Auto IV for the Xbox 360. Many can argue this is good for gamers, but Loot Ninja disagrees.

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Rooted_Dust5771d ago

While I'm sure Rockstar could put the money to good use, developers should never show favor to one side of a multiplatform game. It they are going to favor one console over another they should just make it exclusive and make the best game possible. No one wants to play a substandard version of any game.

tplarkin75771d ago

The HD-DVD group wants support, and there's nothing wrong with spending money to get it. Do you think Sony didn't spend money to get Blockbuster's support? Do you think Blockbuster chose Blu-Ray because it holds more data? No way. There was a financial interest of some kind for Blockbuster.

Lord Anubis5771d ago

blockbuster chose blu-ray because the consumer demands it. it has nothing to do with storage.

Ignorant Fanboy5771d ago

If the consumer demanded anything it would be to carry both.

Do you think customers went in and rented a Blu-ray, and told the cashiers to stop renting out HD-dvd??

That is a retarded comment, right now the consumers dont know what Blu-Ray or HD-DVD is.

boodybandit5771d ago

"thats the dumbest thing Ive heard."
Should never be used on the interent while making any point. I keep having the dumbest thing I have ever heard trumped daily on the net.

DrPirate5771d ago

Payoffs AKA "moneyhats"

This has been going on in the industry since the days a certain action figure making company bought exclusive rights to G.I. Joe and a rival company bought Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Point: This practice is legitimate and as existed for a long, long, long time.

WilliamRLBaker5771d ago

I agree fanboy that was pretty stupid, last i checked most consumers didn't even know the difference between the 2 formats or that their was a new format, I certainly never went in and asked and never saw any one.

we all know it was a pay off by sony *laughs*

XxZxX5771d ago

ignorantfanboy, i think you are the dumb person here.

In order to replicate all blu-ray & HD-DVD stock throughout nationwide store need huge money. By judging from their online store experience, they found out the demands are there for blu-ray movies. So instead of focusing on both Blu-ray & HD-DVD, they can start by focusing on blu-Ray on storewide and continue HD-DVD on online. If HD-DVD online demand increased significantly, i'm sure they will add in HD-DVD to storewide as well.

So Instead of calling out ppl dumb, think it through first. If you can't figure that out. The dumb is you.

Lord Anubis5770d ago

ignorant fanboy, congratulations you made me laugh. Its obvious you did not read the press release so I'll let you on the dark to continue amusing me. :)

poet2155770d ago

I thought it was just me that noticed all of the Xbox360 stuff on the new Madden 08 commercials. It's almost as if that's the only version of the game being promoted. Perhaps MS helped pay for the ads, maybe not. None of us really know. But I do believe something shady went down. Even if 360 was the lead platform, PS3 still should've gotten virtually the exact same game. That was a subliminal message in itself. MICROSOFT WILL NOT REST UNTIL THEY OWN THE GAMING INDUSTRY. Madden, GTAIV, all the exclusivity wars goin' on now......all that stuff is just the tip of the iceberg. Hell I was a big Nintendo supporter growing up. I had a Genesis too, but my clear favorite was Nes & SNES. Playstation was in stores for 3 years until I got my first one. I was very reluctant to convert over, the controller had too many buttons, etc, blah blah. All we can do is accept change for what it is, or fall back & find something else to do. I like 360, but I prefer PS3 by far.

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thereapersson5771d ago

Since they can't get anything through reputation and trust, they have to buy their way through or financially infiltrate everything.

drunkpandas5771d ago

Yes, the HD-DVD camp payed Paramount and Dreamworks Animations. There's no evidence it was Microsoft, but they are a big supporter of the format.

Rooted_Dust5771d ago

I don't know what stake MS has in HD-DVD, but they didn't pay off Paramount. HD-DVD is Toshiba's media format not MS's.

thereapersson5771d ago

Media and news sited across the board seem to have some impression that MS has a hand in this.

Charlie26885771d ago

actually after reading this quote

"Microsoft denied paying anything, but wouldn't rule it out as a tactic in the future"

from this article

I wouldn't be surprised at all if they actually did or will do it

thereapersson5771d ago

I'll take that as proof against the argument, BUT, given MS's past track record, it's pretty easy to think they are more than capable of doing that.

Aeroglyphics5771d ago

Microsoft has stated several time that it wants to move to downloadable content as is distribution means. With Blu-Ray and HD-DVD battling it out, Microsoft can just swoop right in and establish downloadable content as the superior way to get your HD content. For them the best possible situation is for neither format to take root.

WilliamRLBaker5771d ago

and by your statements in this topic we can tell your one of those conspriacy nuts that think microsoft is the root of all evil, and that their products must suck so they brain wash people into using them right?

Yes no one trusts microsoft they create crap products and pay every one off to brain wash them to use the product....yeah...........
In reality microsoft is just a company, and this is capitolism, if you dont like it move to china....oh wait i forgot communism has the same failings.

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EDF 20175771d ago (Edited 5771d ago )

Microsoft did not pay off Paramount or Dreamworks, they don't need to they have their download service as backup. Microsoft's download and the most successful yet, they have no motives to pay anyone off.

Why do PS3 fanboys search and search and think and think of reasons why PS3 games run like crap compared to their 360 counterpart, face it you wasted $600 on an inferior machine which receives inferior games.

Killzone 2 looks average, but all of you are drooling. If you want to see real next-gen go look at Gears of War screens or Mass Effect screens from the campaign, that is what a high production value game should look like. For the money they have invested on Killzone 2 it should look photo real, but it doesn't even come close, much less pass Gears. They won't even break even on that game ever!

Hey douche bag below me: Come back when you have real proof Microsoft paid anyone. Their download service doesn't depend upon either format. If Microsoft did fork out the cash I hope Blu-Ray dies and the PS3 dies with them. HD-DVD for the win this holiday season, there is no denying that now. Quit your crying.

thereapersson5771d ago (Edited 5771d ago )

Just google "Microsoft Pays Paramount" and see what search results you get.

And this gem of an editorial @

Boy... crazy day today, huh? As you may have noticed, the site's been up and down today because of all the traffic, but it should level out again soon. Nothing like a format war to liven things up around here.

"A house divided against itself cannot stand," goes the quote. Abraham Lincoln, of course, was talking about the fledgling United States back in 1858, but his words apply surprisingly well today, when reflecting upon the current state of the high-definition format war.

On that note, we've got tons of follow-up e-mails and phone calls out this afternoon to the all various studios and industry observers associated with said format war. And I'll tell you, based on some of the conversations we've had today (both on and off-the-record) with insiders in both camps and in between, when it comes to this morning's high-def news, there's a LOT more going on behind-the-scenes than meets the eye. You have NO idea. If you think the situation is as cut and dried as the press releases (or Harry's entertaining latest post over at AICN, not to mention the 'talk backs' that follow it) would make it seem, you're kidding yourself. Hollywood's on fire right now - at least the studio home video portion of it. And the retailers... and the manufacturers...

Like it or not, things are going to get VERY interesting in the next few days and in the weeks ahead. You're going to see a lot of reports on all this in the media, like this one at the Wall Street Journal, in which DreamWorks chief Jeffrey Katzenberg basically acknowledges that his company received financial incentives to go HD-DVD exclusive - incentives which included "both cash payments and soft incentives such as marketing promotions" according to the story.

By the way, a quick side comment here. A number of HD-DVD fans have e-mailed us to cry fowl over our issue with Microsoft offering financial incentives to studios to go HD-DVD only, when (they say) Sony must surely be doing the same thing on the Blu-ray Disc side. Here's the difference, and it's why we continue to flag it: Sony pumping money to various studios and parties to promote Blu-ray Disc make logical sense to us. Toshiba doing the same thing to promote HD-DVD, that makes logical sense too. Sony was involved in creating Blu-ray and has a financial stake in it. Likewise, Toshiba created HD-DVD and has a financial stake there. Where does Microsoft's interests lie? Microsoft did not create HD-DVD. Until not so very long ago (prior to these formats coming to market), as they themselves acknowledge, they actually supported both formats. So why are they putting so much money into HD-DVD now? Not only are they putting money into HD-DVD, they're basically the only party that's keeping the format alive. Left to their own financial means, we find it hard to believe that Toshiba would be able to keep pricing its hardware so low - especially given the fact that they've had to adjust their sales projections for the format downward in recent months. And without the "financial incentives" offered by Microsoft, would ANY of the HD-DVD exclusive studios still be HD-DVD exclusive? We doubt it. So what does Microsoft have to gain from all this? That's the question that keeps sticking in our minds. By making these deals with the studios, aren't they getting exclusive access to new high-def transfers that they'll be able to turn around and offer on Xbox Live - transfers that they themselves are encoding in VC-1 for the studios at a discounted rate or even for free? And as we've said many times now, doesn't Microsoft's download service stand to gain if this format war continues long enough to discourage most consumers from adopting high-def discs at all? That's the difference between Sony and Microsoft - Sony is heavily supporting their own format for obvious reasons. Microsoft is heavily supporting someone else's format for their own reasons, some of which are obvious (VC-1, HDi) and some not so much.

Anyway, there are going to be lots of quotes from studio suits about all this high-def news in the next few days and weeks. Some of it will true and some will be bullshit, and much of it will be a combination both. Yeah, I know... a lot of you guys are as sick of reading about this format war as we are of writing about it. But you can bet there will be reaction to (and even fallout from) today's announcements, and lots more testy exchanges in the media between the two camps, and we're right in the thick of it. So watch this space, folks.

In the meantime, we'll be back with Barrie's latest Classic Coming Attractions column in time for your morning coffee. So stay tuned...

Bill Hunt, Editor
The Digital Bits
[email protected]


Not to mention you yourself are a rabid 360 fanboy, so you really have no room to say anything negative about anything PS3 related at all.

taz80805771d ago

these format wars are killing me, i was watching heroes last night and found out season one will be released the second week of september but only on HD DVD, no blu ray love??!?! Now games and movies are going to become select, it is gettign a bit out of hand.

beavis4play5771d ago

they have the proof you seek. paramount was paid 150 million for an 18 month exclusivity deal with HD-DVD.

thereapersson5771d ago (Edited 5771d ago )

Now you are resorting to name calling. Pretty mature there, buddy. Or did my reply turn your fanboy rage meter to full, causing you to get mad at words on a computer screen?

EDIT: And to those nerds who are proponents of DLC, this in particular highlights why MS may have more of an interest in this than people might think.

"So what does Microsoft have to gain from all this? That's the question that keeps sticking in our minds. By making these deals with the studios, aren't they getting exclusive access to new high-def transfers that they'll be able to turn around and offer on Xbox Live - transfers that they themselves are encoding in VC-1 for the studios at a discounted rate or even for free? And as we've said many times now, doesn't Microsoft's download service stand to gain if this format war continues long enough to discourage most consumers from adopting high-def discs at all?"

WilliamRLBaker5771d ago

you talk a big talk, But in reality if it was reversed the first words out of your mouth reaper is GO SONY GO! sony can do no wrong.

Just by the attitude towards microsoft you've shown in this topic, and on n4g in general it is easy to tell that your very anti microsoft.

Well this is capitolism deal with it, When it comes down to it microsoft is just a company and simply does what all other big companies do to survive, and thats WIN, there is no survival for the loser, only for the winner.

Oh and by the way every one that has said that microsofts stake is digital distribution...Last I checked SONY talked about it more then microsoft, and infact said the future of playstation is....DIGITAL distribution...

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InMyOpinion5771d ago

So you don't think Sony pays Konami and Square to keep MGS and FF exclusive on the PS3? How naive are you? It's part of the game.

drunkpandas5771d ago

That's a different beast. Paying to keep games exclusive is one thing. Paying to make part of the game better on your platform is another, which is what the issue is here.

taz80805771d ago

Payign for exclusivity is one thing but limiting content to certain systems is just worng. IMO why bother launching it on other ocnsoles if it will be done so half assed or incomplete?

Just think if FFVII would have been launched ont he xbox but you only got half the game and hten the other half was available to SONY users as a download???

Payola is bad news, and it is very evident right now witht he different movie formats, HD DVD and BluRay. I am positive people are paying visits tot he movie studios with barrels of cash saying "so you see the advantage of our format right?"

In the end the consumer loses, whoeve invests in one or the other will lose somehow.

beavis4play5771d ago

sony has stated repeatedly for years that they don't pay for exclusivity. mgs4 and ff could both go to other systems if the companies that make them want to. i'm only letting you know so you don't continue to make an a$$ out of yourself.

InMyOpinion5771d ago (Edited 5771d ago )

@beavis4play - You are the one asleep if you trust everything (anything) greedy multinational corporations like MS and Sony say. Sony also repeatedly stated that all PS3 games would be in 1080p and kill the competition. 200 fps and blablabla. Look what they gave us. You must've been asleep at the time of those announcements...

@drunk pandas - Good point, did'nt think of it that way. Makes it even uglier. Still, is it only MS fault? Does'nt Rockstar have any responsibility for accepting the bribes? I have'nt heard any one bashing Rockstar about it, only MS who gets the blame.

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CaliGamer5771d ago

Dirty politicians have been using payoff strategies for decades to stay ahead or to gain a lead, why would MS, be any different? Its an effective and arguably underhanded tactic but in the end its business.
MS wants to gain market share this generation, and the most direct way is to pump money into the process. Perhaps other companies do this too, but MS looks to be one of the most overt cases in a long time.
Is it better for the industry? Depends on what your outlook is. I could care less if a game on the PS3 goes to another console, indeed, I prefer for a good gaming experience to be available to all people who share my hobby regardless of the system they own. Some people like bragging rights over "exclusives", so they will say that this sort of activity is just fine.
The gaming industry has proven itself to be very lucrative, and as such this is just the beginning of this sort of thing. Get used to this, I am sure this isn't the last we will see of this type of story.

mistertwoturbo5771d ago

yes and MS has a lot of money to pump pump pump