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Tycho / on Wed, Jun 1 2011 at 12:00 am

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Gamestop is prepared to honor your prehistoric Duke Nukem receipts, printed (as was common at that time) upon strips of chewed papyrus.  Assuming these documents have not disintegrated entirely or been shredded along with other incriminating evidence, there may still be substantial dangers involved in their recovery.

Whenever a news item arose suggesting that someone had traded in their Playstation 3 for an Xbox, it was often met with incredulity.  Certainly, it seems like an overreaction.  You and I probably don’t know many people for whom this response is likely, but let’s not make the classic error, where we assume that every person, everywhere is anything at all like ourselves.

There are those for whom an Xbox is merely a medium through which they experience Halo; it is, in every respect, a Halo Machine, the way a Toaster is a Hot Bread Machine.  If you owned a toaster, and this device suddenly refused to make bread hot, you would throw it in the fucking garbage.  You don’t want Schrodinger’s Toaster.  You would get a machine that you could put bread in and know it was getting hot.  And Halo is small potatoes compared to Call of Duty.

So when Activision suggests that they will be offering a monthly subscription service, and this subscription service is largely made up of social features that don’t seem entirely worth the “price of admission,” even though we don’t have any idea what the “price of admission” is or even what the full offering represents.  It’s not merely a that you have to pay for, as has been suggested; for one thing, there are many people for whom the Live fees themselves are a nominal Halo fee.  The main reason, though, is this, tucked away somewhere in the middle of every article on the topic:

...Elite subscribers receive all forthcoming downloadable content and add-ons to Call of Duty games included with their subscription. Non-subscribers can still purchase them a la carte.

That’s the “why.”  By themselves, the social features (some of which are available even to the “silver” equivalent of Elite) don’t constitute the core offering:  they’re “value adds” for a content subscription that digs in deep hooks over the course of a year, and delivers the player directly into the maw of the next product.

I’m more curious about what it means for the rest of the model: does the “timed exclusive” on map packs survive this kind of transition?  Or does being a member of Elite supercede your platform affiliation, placing the emphasis on Call of Duty itself as the primary tribal designation?  Those packs are fifteen bucks a piece, now; is there a monthly price that makes the math an easy call?  At three packs annually, it starts to become clear, but where it truly gels is when Elite members get packs a week early.  That’s when you see the mark of Cain upon its cruel brow, and you witness the power its charred yoke wields over men.

It is my duty to inform you that the seventh Penny Arcade compilation, entitled “Be Good, Little Puppy,” is now available for pre-order at Amazon (and probably lots of other places).  It covers the entirety of 2006, which means that these books are rapidly approaching our current timeline; in only a few short years, you will be able to purchase a compilation of strips we have not yet written.  So will we, actually.  It’s going to save us ever so much time.

(CW)TB out.

girls that can glow in the dark

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