Sunday, September 29, 2013

Midnight Releases; Is It Worth It?

*I wrote this the week of GTA V's release for a gaming site Portable Platypus but since it wasn't about a portable game it got denied.  Tried to submit it to another gaming site, got denied again.  So I kept it for myself and posted it here because I know it's a dope piece*

You must have a pretty clear schedule to dedicate an entire evening (or days) to wait in line to play a video game, where you are in a world doing what you could be doing in 12 hours at noon.  Legal things of course, not racketeering and driving recklessly not following any street laws.  And that's exactly what these dedicated fans did Tuesday morning because GTA V sold $800 million in 24 hours and later a billion copies in just 3 days beating Call of Duty Black Ops, which sold a billion in 15 days.

Staying up late, in the cold, to play a game with over 30 to 50 hours of gameplay.  Which doesn't even include the main story but side missions and the various distractions that take you away from the story.  Playing a tennis match, racing against other players, going to the strip club, it's almost like they want you not to finish the game but isn't that part of the plan?  When you discuss the game with your friends, I'm sure most will say they played a few missions then took part in some of the activities or tried to cause enough trouble where the SWAT teams are called in and you're avoid snipers above.
 For one thing, not everyone finishes a GTA game.  In a 2009 report based on Gamerscore achievements showing the percentage of gamers completing campaign of games out at the time.  Games like Halo and Call of Duty sit on top with 70-75% completion rates.  Meanwhile GTA IV is near the bottom with 27%, will that number rise with GTA V or go down with the amount of distractions there is in a GTA game?  With a low completion campaign percentage, I'm not sure why people would line up to instantly to play a game that most won't end up finishing.

It's not like a sports game or a first person shooter, where you're ranking up your players stats to be far superior to your online opponents, GTA is mostly story.  I know when I got my copy of NHL14, the first thing I dove into was the Create-A-Pro mode because in lamest terms, you're butt when you first start.  Everyone is bad and the only way to get better is by playing a lot of hockey.  That's why you need to get NHL 14 or any other sports game where playing, ranking up stats and winning games adds to having a better player than others online.  The highest selling sports game of all time is FIFA 13 and that only sold 4.5 million within it's first week, that's what GTA V sold in about 15 minutes.

But are gamers lining up for the game for it's story?  The gameplay?  Or do they just want to shoot casualities, take flying lessons, be in a police chases and smoke marijuana in their large mansions?  Yes, you can do that last one in this game.  With so many things to do in this massive game, it's bigger than San Andreas, GTA IV and Red Dead Redemption other Rockstar Games out together, maybe it's just the experience of doing it all.  Being the first one to be a part of this contingency of this open world and the many things it has to offer.   

 GTA has been instrumental in today's video games in various ways from with the open free roaming gameplay used and the controversy that comes with it.  Parent groups and political figures like Jack Thompson have a thing for stepping on the toes of gaming community by stating how violent and offensive the game is.  Yet, all that does is create the buzz, raises the exposure and the lines are formed infront of the GameStops, Best Buys and other retailers.  Controversy sells, enough to make a billion in under a week.

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