UPDATE: We heard back from EA this evening. They tell us that the message to players was an error, and Rock band is NOT being turned off after May 31.
If you’re not really a fan of electronic games, it might not be clear to you why EA took the top poo in this year’s Worst Company in America Tournament. Maybe Alex’s experience can serve as an illustration. There was no huge amount of money involved, and his problem with EA didn’t affect his day-to-day life. But the utter lack of response from EA to a real and easily solved problem makes even a loyal customer like Alex feel that they don’t matter.
Phil (not the one who works here) brought a game/controller bundle to the register at his local Target store. The cashier asked for his driver’s license to complete the sale, because the game was age-restricted. After a manager intervened, Phil got to buy his game with only a typed-in birthdate, but here’s the thing: the game was rated “Teen,” and Target’s own policies state that they don’t require birthdates for games with that rating. And besides: Phil is in his late thirties.
Anyone who rushed out and bought the new Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 for $59.99 at Best Buy… should rush back in and ask for $8 back. That’s because BestBuy.com dropped the price to $51.99 and Best Buy brick and mortars are supposed to pricematch the online site.
Two months ago, Nathan took advantage of a Newegg promotion for $10 off his pre-order of the collector’s edition of the game Dark Souls, which was released on Tuesday. Ordering ahead and getting a discount: points for planning and for shopping prowess. The day before the game was to be released, Newegg (and other retailers, Nathan later learned) had to cancel their pre-orders because they just didn’t have enough product. This left him without a collector’s edition on release day…unless he could find one in his city, in person. Was such a feat possible? Yes, as it turns out, with some luck and the help of a heroic Gamestop employee.
To get ahead in online games like the popular World of Warcraft, sometimes people will turn to the black market and purchase in-game gold from other gamers using real world dollars. It sounds relatively harmless, except the person you’re buying it from could be a prisoner in a Chinese labor camp under threat of cruel physical punishment.
You’re a savvy consumer used to pulling yourself up by your bootstraps. So if you were a jobless parent, down to your last $1,000, you could make it work, right? Spent is a new free online “game” that tests to see whether you have what it takes. Put out by the Urban Ministries of Durham, it’s less fun than a sobering dose of reality. I played it and in order to make it through the month I couldn’t let my kid go on field trips and I missed his baseball game in order to take a job helping a neighbor move. Also, I got fired for talking to a union organizer. The gas also got shut off and I drove away from an accident instead of paying the ticket. I had no choice, otherwise I would have gone broke and lost the game.
A 2nd-grader managed to rack up a $1,400 bill for her parents over break while playing the “Smurfs Village”, a Farmville-esque iPad game, reports the Washington Post. Like many of these app-based games, the game is free but you can purchase in-app upgrades, with real money, to speed your progress. In this case, you can get a “bucket of snowflakes” for $19 or a “wagon of smurfberries” for $99. Needless to say, her mother became quite blue in the face.
This sign advertising $5 for five minutes of bubble fun is confusing. Not the part where your child is placed inside a giant rubber bubble and then allowed to run around on top of a pool of water. We’re cool with that. But at the top it says, “walk, jog, run, job and have lots of fun on the water… while completely dry!” At the bottom of the sign it says, “YOU MAY GET WET.” Well, which is it?
The bad news: the GameStop where Ambyr went to buy a copy of Call of Duty: Black Ops for her husband only had enough copies of the game to fill pre-orders. The good news: In GameStop’s universe, to “pre-order” means that you leave the store that just refused to sell you a game, order that game online, and then return fifteen minutes later. Bad for logic, good for Ambyr.
Parsons design and technology thesis students came up with a pirate ship board game that has the twin goals of teaching personal finance to kids and not sucking.
Yesterday we noted that Blockbuster was launching a new DVD-by-mail rental service (which Netflix promptly one-upped by announcing a new streaming agreement), and today we’re getting tips from people that the beleaguered brick and mortar movie rental company is throwing games into the offer as well. FastCompany notes that GameFly offers around 7,000 game titles compared to Blockbuster’s library of 3,000 titles. On the other hand, Blockbuster’s rental plans start at $9/mo compared to GameFly’s $16/mo (both for one disc at a time).
If you play games on the website Kongregate–its founders say 10 million players stop by every month–then congratulations, you’re about to become GameStop’s new BFF. There’s no word yet on how this will affect the Kongregate community; the site lets people play online games for free, and GameStop says that the its founders will continue to run things for now. If we start seeing offers to pre-order an upcoming online free game, I guess we’ll know the takeover is complete.
Rounding out our trilogy of beer pong posts this week, here’s an exciting product that commenter Nic715 pointed out: Hasbro’s game Cuponk. Throw the ball into the cup, and lights go off and electronic noises sound. It’s a way to have some family fun and hone your kids’ skills long before they leave for college.
You’ve seen the box cover on MSNBC and CNN, but now you can actually see the pieces and board of the genuine 1970s “BP Offshore Oil Strike” game. BoardGameGeeks has a full image gallery.
Wolfire Games is running a special sale called the Humble Bundle, where you can pay as little as one penny via PayPal, Google Checkout, or Amazon, for five cross-platform indie games that are completely free of DRM or even serial numbers. Despite that, says the company, it looks like over 25% of downloads are coming from “shared links from forums and other places without actually contributing anything.” That’s not counting anything happening over BitTorrent.
So you think you’re pretty smart with your credit know-how? Got a good credit score and line of credit? Well here’s another number to watch, your credit card I.Q. Take this 10 question test and see how you stack up. Even I got a few of these wrong. For instance, “The typical American carries a balance of about $5,500 in credit card debt. If you make no more charges and pay only the minimum payment each month, how long will it take to pay that debt off at 19 percent interest?”