Column : 'Price War' among Casual Game Portals.

I found 1 thread in developer's forum, which is crying over 6.99$ price at Big Fish Games. Well, it's not so new, and 'Price War' was somewhat complex for several years.

I'd write summary among those Casual Portals 'Price War'. But I haven't see every portals at then, and can't remember exactly when & how. This is just summary of what I experienced & remembered. If I missed some important things, please let me know by replying.


- Long ago (2-3 years ago.)

BFG had subscription like these.
19.99$ : Nothing you need. Just purchase, with expensive price.
9.99$ : 6 months subscription needed. Will be paid for 1 coupon monthly automatically.
6.99$ : 12 months subscription needed. Will be paid for 1 coupon monthly automatically.

At then, other portals had similar subscription based system. But almost of them were 9.99$ / 14.99$ each, not so low as 6.99$.

Real Arcade might have monthly subscription, 1 game free + additional games are discounted. That might be 9.99$ + additional 14.99$? Can't remember exactly, anyway somewhat like that.

Wildgames had 'coin' system. You could purchase coin(monthly based or just purchase), which can be used to Purchase or Rental. (Pay-per-play style.)


- 1 year ago.

Amazon got Reflexive, and they started selling games 9.99$(newer) / 6.99$(older). No subscprion needed, just lower price. That's very important change for Casual Portals 'Price War', because Amazon is so hugh & important company, and Reflexive NEVER discounted price from 19.99$ until then.

Right after Amazon - Reflexive unity, other portals started discount price to 9.99$ (or lower), as Spintop games did.

BFG has changed 6.99$ only, no subscription limit needed / but you will be automatically joined for that subscription.


- Now.

Amazon - Reflexive has several different prices, 6.99 7.99 10.99. And for 6.99, it's not limited to older ones, even some newer ones. And Amazon - Reflexive site has somewhat different lists, even if Amazon download games are updated by Reflexive.

Even Sandlot games started selling some new releases as 6.99.

BFG is still same, 6.99$.
Plus, 2.99$ daily sale for 1 chosen games each day, through Toolbar(IE/Firefox).
And they started selling some 'Collectible Edition' w/ extra contents, maybe 19.99$ or more. (Later they release plain release for same game.)

Plus, Playfirst & Big Fish Games are united.


- Summary


-> BFG is NOT the only 1, who caused price war.
-> The most important change was, Amazon got Reflexive.


P.S. :  Even if I didn't write about Steam, they offered 9.99$ casual games (started from Popcap), and that could effect lower price somewhat for Core game portal.

P.S. 2 : In fact, such changes among Casual Games are more complex. Not only for PC game price war, but also for Nintendo DS / XBLA porting(29.99$ or 19.99$), even for Facebook game. And not sure you know, even Big Fish Games started 'Online Game' Free-2-play style subscription. I just wrote about 'PC Downloadable Casual Game' price war here.
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Column : raptr.com could be last.fm of VIdeo Game?

I have used raptr.com service around 1 month, and might write something about that. Here is my raptr page, and you could check it out.

First of all, what is raptr? I might explain it as 'Last.fm of Video Game'. I really like last.fm scrobble, so really liked raptr idea when I found it.

If you play some XBOX360 game, raptr counts time & get achievements status. Same for PC game / Playstation 3 / World of Warcraft / even Facebook game. Seems to be good for its basic idea. Just the problem is, it's not working properly.

I used it for PC & XBOX360 game, and issues gaming news to Facebook & Twitter.


1. PC

I installed raptr client, and every PC game must be played through that. Slightly different from last.fm, because I play music at iTunes -> scrobbled through last.fm client.

But it has few (or many) problems like this.

- Can't detect all PC games. Steam games (which are installed ) are fine, but can't detect non-Steam games very well. I hope to register not-detected games by myself, but it doesn't have any menu to add. Even if raptr db has that game, can't detect, as [Blackwell Convergence].

- Can't detect playing Facebook games. As I see, other players checked [Mafia Wars]. But even if I did Facebook Connect, my Mafia Wars is not recorded. Same for Flash Games, maybe only available through raptr client.

- For Steam achievement, not connected automatically. I reported to forum twice, and it works after that. (So... Manual connection needed.)


2. XBOX360

In fact, I like ratpr more for XBOX360, rather than PC. Every games are detected automatically, even for some Demos / Trials. However it has some detects.

- For XBOX360 acehivement, not connected automatically & reported to forum. Same as PC problem which I wrote above.

Except for forum report, it's working well & I like it. Anyway it doesn't support Playstation 3 Trophy, because Sony doesn't allow.


3. Facebook / Twitter

The best part is for raptr is, it posts to Facebook & Twitter for game playing & achievements. If somebody wants to let friends know about gaming situation, raptr is very good.

raptr supports Facebook Connect, so connection to Facebook is easy. And for twitter, just write Nickname / Password & it works, And it supports several options, as post everyhing or just post daily summary.

Just the problem is, if you play a lot of game everyday, it could be almost Spamming. Daily Summary might be better for that.


Personally, I like raptr idea very much. However it might need much more improvement. Must detect PC games more properly, better auto-sync needed. However, it's still fun to try.
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We all liked [Bejeweled], and really addicted to [Puzzle Quest : Challenge of the Warlords].
So Popcap & Square Enix thought about something? Not sure.
However they collaborated, and made new Puzzle RPG game [Gyromancer]!
This is based on [Bejeweled Twist], so could be improved battle system.

It's available XBLA for XBOX360 & Steam for PC.
Popcap didn't release any press release yet, however Square Enix made homepage.

Just the problem is, minimum spec. is high for PC casual game. I can't play with my Netbook, so I must install it with my Desktop at home.

Steam has Demo for this game. So if you want, you'd try it. (Of couse you want!)
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I found 1 interesting website (or blog), which is kinda anti-steam. It's named as 'Steamunpowered'. They are dissing steam, but they are mainly dedicated to 'Price difference in Europe'. So kinda fansite w/ criticism.

As you know, steam costs US$ in USA & Korea, but EUR in Europe. And the problem is, EUR is more expensive than US$. And when steam started EUR price, it was 1 US$ = 1 EUR & it was really big problem.

Things has changed, but still expensive sometimes. This site is about that, and more, alternatives. It features D2D / gog / etc,  If steam is too expensive for some games, you could pick them from another download stores.

Anyway it's fun to check, and also posts about 'Weekend Deals', sale sale sale. So check it out. :)
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You might know [Audiosurf], and already purchased it long time ago. Visit that link, check official homepage, and you could find 'Web Surf' is available.

[Audiosurf] was great game, but we can't see the playlist / scores / ... etc. from the Web. We could see some chart in-game, but information was very limited. But from now on, we could see them from Web. (And even in Game, which browse that homepage.)

This is good news for every Audiosurfer, but not sure why it's done at now, around 1.5 year has passed after release. However seems to be fun. :)

P.S. : 4.99$ for weekly sale. If you've not got it yet, run to grab.
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