Recent posts by petesahooligan on Kongregate

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Theoretic Wonders: Man and Machine

That’s an interesting way of looking at it, Implosion. I hadn’t thought about it that way until now.

Still, that’s a “this generation” problem. I think there are tools that could be developed to improve international NGO coordination and resource-sharing. However, I’m not entirely sure that NGOs are the best vehicle for disseminating technology in late-developing areas. Advancements flow into areas where there is need or desire and means. There’s a clear barrier made by the absence of benefit to introducing technologies to underdeveloped areas.

However, when we begin talking about decades (or even centuries) instead of years, we see that “early adopter” first-world countries do eventually produce benefit to the least developed areas. Compare the quality of life to someone in Congo today versus 100 years ago. What we gain through advancements in genetics, communications (e.g., internet, cell phones), does ultimately fill the vacuum in third-world countries.

Who knows. Maybe the next bold viable space program will come out of Tunisia.

EDIT: Just drop it already, Cromagin. We get it!

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Theoretic Wonders: Man and Machine

Try to keep it on topic, if you please.

@cromag, you say that the world is overpopulated. That’s a problem. Technology can help! We invented condoms to help prevent the spread of disease AND unwanted pregnancies. That is a good technology that addresses your problem.

What are some other ways that technology can address a problem you detect in the world?

@crystalmask, welcome to Serious Discussion.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Theoretic Wonders: Man and Machine

You’re not holding a leash, Cromag. I think you’re imagining it. You’ve made your objections to this topic clear. No need to get all self-righteous about it. It’s JUST a conversation.

Consumers have always gone bonkers over the latest products, crystalmask. That has nothing to do with technology. Beanie Babies were once the hot commodity. Star Wars anything. Cabbage Patch dolls. Tickle Me Elmo. Furbies. Pokemon. Rubik’s Cube. Nintendo 64. All of these product crazes resulted in general consumer mayhem. The technology is encapsulated in the product, but the product is not the technology.

DNA testing is quickly replacing amniocentesis as the preferred method for identifying prenatal birth defects. Amniocentesis is invasive and presents a small risk to the fetus. DNA testing, on the other hand, is completely harmless to the fetus. Here’s a case where advances in technology provides indisputable advantages over what it is intended to replace.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / United States - Brian Williams and Bill O'Reilly

That’s right. There are memory flaws of omission, where we leave things out. And there are memory flaws of commission, where inaccurate events are added. It happens all the time and if you need proof, try to recall precisely what you did two days ago.

Memory has transience in that it tends to erode over time. The further back in time we recall, the less accurate those memories tend to be.

Memory is subject to absent-mindedness in that we can disrupt the “entry” of an event into our memory banks when we are distracted, (and also the retrieval of a memory). Committing an event to memory often requires a conscious and deliberate effort, particularly if it’s not “story-worthy.”

Recalling memories can sometimes suffer from blocking in that there is a mental impediment to that particular item or event. You experience this when you try to recall a familiar person’s name or the name of a band that performs a song you like.

Memories are subject to suggestibility in that they can be remodeled based on later influences. This is what happens when interrogators stress a witness and try to coerce a confession or an eyewitness account even if it’s known to be false.

Before memories are stored they are filtered by our individual bias. This means that you will remember an event based on your perception of that event.

Memories can have an invasive persistence that may ultimately distort the significance of it. This is common in sufferers of PTSD.

Memories can be subject to misattribution in that the other actors, sequences, props, and environmental characteristics can be borrowed from other memories and supplant the factual ones.

These are known as the “Seven Sins of Memory,” for what it’s worth.

All that to say, maybe we shouldn’t judge these news folks too much on their “personal” accounts provided that their news-making reports aren’t relying on such flawed methods. (Much ado about nothing.)

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Theoretic Wonders: Man and Machine

Here’s an interesting parallel…

Mars One is currently organizing a series of one-way trips to Mars. We are sending them in groups of four every two years. These pioneers won’t be coming back to Earth. They’ll live the rest of their lives on Mars. That’s happening now. The crews have already been selected from a vast pool of applicants and training has begun. Cargo missions will launch in 2022 and the first crew will leave Earth in 2024.

That’s 9 years from now.

I don’t have a problem replacing a body part with an improved equivalent, provided that the easy concerns are met (it’s reliable, it fully functions as the piece it’s meant to replace, etc.). Of course, social acceptance is an issue… I’m not going to opt to replace my eyeballs with telescoping tubes that work independently like an iguana.

It’s like the first generation of hybrid cars that looked like space vehicles. They were too futuristic for the consumer. People want “normal-looking” cars, typically.

I might opt for a genetic modification that prevents my skin from burning if I am a person genetically prone to skin cancer. Why not? It’s not like that is a “power” that I can use to enslave my fellow humans with. It only allows me the opportunity to laugh off offers of sunblock.

Like forever, we are constantly living in the future while perceiving the past. There’s no escaping that… but the more we can see where we’re heading, the better we can plot our course.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Theoretic Wonders: Man and Machine

Everyone gets it. It’s just not exactly what’s being talked about. The ethical questions regarding IF we should explore augmentation is a vast and complex topic. It’s clear where you stand on that spectrum of positions (@cromagin).

Another ethical aspect is HOW we make ethical decisions regarding technology. Certainly the person that gets rid of their smart phone because it causes them stress is an outlier to popular opinion. The acceptance of technology, and the ethical implications of that technology, follow a tried-and-true pattern. The process by which technology becomes embraced by the general public has been generally agreed upon since the 1960s.

First there are the innovators. These are the people that understand the new technology as such… perhaps they’re the inventors, or in the inventor’s cadre, or are researchers, or somehow invested in theoretical studies (writing, arts, etc.).

Then come the early adopters. They see the applied value of the technology and use it in practical terms. Early adopters are often the “power elite” that people are sometimes afraid of.

Next, the early majority embrace the technology. The early majority is the first true “stress test” of a technology.

Finally, along come the late majority. They wait to see that something “sticks” before buying in.

Lastly are the laggards. These are usually self-proclaimed skeptics or Luddites. They have a distrust of technology and sometimes vocal in their objection.

I believe this adoption model will be in place for a long time. We are a social species and rely heavily on the opinions and behavior of our peers.

• I want my forehead to become phosphorous on demand so that I can illuminate dark areas.
• I want glands on my tongue to emit plaque-cleaning microorganisms 20 minutes after I eat.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Theoretic Wonders: Man and Machine

There’s interesting ethical facets to those links, Karma. At least the first two.

In both cases the individual wasn’t looking to gain an advantage over others but rather to rectify a perceived deficit. The deficit was not caused by technology but rather by cultural norms. In other words, the remedy to inequity caused by cultural norms was found in technology.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Theoretic Wonders: Man and Machine

Yeah, I think the fears surrounding privilege and access to powerful technologies is in our lap today. My neighbor has a gun, therefore I need a gun to restore the balance of power. The human game of balancing technological power is as old as the advent of fire.

Here are some concepts to play with:

• A “sign language” glove that converts to text. Eventually this glove can be replaced with small electrodes, and those may eventually become subdermal. So long primitive keyboards!

• Ears engineered to be more sensitive to directional sources, or capable of “shutting out” loud, harmful noises. Attend any concert and stand right next to the amps if you like. Won’t matter. Have a friend that speaks too quietly? Doesn’t matter.

• Enlarging the sound-making range of the larynx so that I can mimic any sound, human or inhuman. Eventually I might even be able to “sing” a whole band’s song.

• Olfactory enhancements that could accurately identify specific particulates. (Our sense of smell is one of our strongest senses… enhanced smell could provide a huge benefit to some.)

• Motor control functions that could tap into scripts and enable an individual to perform delicate or sophisticated manual tasks, like playing a musical instrument or solving a Rubik’s Cube.

• An alarm clock that stimulates the hypothalamus when it’s time to wake up, and neutralizes it when it’s time to fall asleep.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Theoretic Wonders: Man and Machine

Couldn’t the inverse argument be made?

If the view that technological enhancements would provide unfair advantages and opportunities to abuse that power or hold dominion over other “lesser” humans, shouldn’t the inverse argument be made in favor of technological enhancements?

Those born with exceptionally short legs should have them lengthened so they become normal. Those born with long legs should have them shortened.

To address racial inequality, all people are born with tan skin.

To afford no genetic or hereditary advantage, all people are provided exactly the same exposure to learning opportunities and their surroundings are aggregated into homogenous and uniform environments.

Technology can be used to ADDRESS the fears you describe. If power corrupts humans, how can technology help us “fix” that? If human nature is inherently corrupt and inclined to abuse, what can technology do to help us with that? If it can be fixed using technology, shouldn’t it?

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Theoretic Wonders: Man and Machine

I’m interested in this idea that the introduction of ability-enhancing technology would somehow diminish our “natural” abilities.

Spectacles (reading glasses) have been used for hundreds of years and it hasn’t led to a degradation in our natural eyesight. However, it has offered sight-impaired people with a untold opportunities to carry on as “fully functioning” humans.

So, clearly there’s some parity that should be defined:

Technology that restores human ability to “normal.”
This includes prosthetic limbs, wheelchairs, reading glasses, and so on.

Technology that enhances human ability beyond “normal.”
This includes micro- and telescopes, heavy machinery, just about anything with a motor.

There are arguments for and against both of these categories, and looking back at the popular fears surrounding “horseless carriages” mirrors a lot of the same kinds of arguments we see today surrounding contemporary technological advances.

It’s fair to ask, “has the automobile done more harm than good?” Well, sure. But also, of course not. It’s complex… it’s been worse for the environment and has transformed our communities in profound ways. And naturally the automobile won’t be with us forever… and in the grand scheme of things it’s only been with us a short time. (It looks like it will actually be leaving us sooner than most people expected.) Something BETTER will replace it.

Our norms regarding tech-organic integration is also changing. Part of our prediction on what may become normal should be informed by an awareness that our sense of acceptance to new things also changes.

In Childhood’s End (by Arthur C Clark), aliens hover over the planet’s largest cities for 50 years (or so) until all living generations on earth have accepted the UFOs as normal. That’s when they introduce the next level of exposure. This “slow cook” is what’s happening to us right now. We’re being slowly introduced to new technologies that each have incredible potential in what it means to be human.

I would like skin that doesn’t burn in the sun.

 
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Topic: Kongregate / The new site layout...

One of the reasons I often visit Kongregate is to look at the NEW games, (not the HOT NEW games). I like to see what people are working on and provide feedback when there’s potential. Now I don’t even see that section.

Why make it so difficult to find NEW submitted games?

 
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Topic: Off-topic / An OT Orgy

Pulitzer!

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Theoretic Wonders: Man and Machine

Immediately “translate” what is heard into your most comfortable language in real-time.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Theoretic Wonders: Man and Machine

Those are some pretty broad strokes, cromagin, and not really the intention of the original post. The definition of “human” and why that definition needs to be protected “as it is” essentially argues that “what we are today is what we should remain forever.”

And that’s simply not true. We will need to adapt and change and improve. We will improve in ways that relies less on maintaining the status quo. Protecting humanity for the sake of protecting humanity is like keeping marriage between a man and a woman, and declaring that eugenics will lead to slavery reminds me of those that have said gay marriage will lead to people marrying animals.

What this criticism really says, however, is that there’s power in augmentation that is threatening. The conversation of WHY it may be wrong to have a person that can fly like a bird is probably best left to another thread.

- BACK IN GEAR -

I like the idea of having a method for stimulating my sensations, my perceptions, in a way that makes me feel like I’m stoned, or on heroin, or on crack, or whatever, for as long as I want then be able to simply switch it off and go to work and return to my normal life. This could be managed by special programs that stimulated certain parts of my brain while dampening others. Maybe this “trip” could be programmed to only last 30 minutes or so.

That kind of technology could have huge benefits in curing addiction and managing depression. If a person desired to be kinder, or wealthier, or more generous, they could be assisted by special “loaded” biorhythms.

With machines offering total recall, formal education would undergo a revolutionary change… or maybe even be demolished. The internet has already had a huge impact in how people learn. Imagine if it didn’t require so much hardware to access. (That’s all we’re really talking about… today’s tech without the hardware.)

I just got a friend of mine a Fitbit Surge. She’s into fitness stuff and so I thought she’d like it. The device tracks your heartrate, speed, distance, pace, elevation, and so on, from your wrist. It’s also touch-screen and syncs with your phone so you can take calls, listen to music, receive texts, right through the device.

It’s even passe to compare it to a Dick Tracy phone.

 
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Topic: The Arts / George's Art

You said “don’t judge.” So… you only want compliments or what?

Nice tan color. I like the values.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Theoretic Wonders: Man and Machine

Is it normal human ability to fly from New York to Los Angeles?
Is it normal human ability to see distant stars like we do with telescopes? Or microorganisms like we do with microscopes?
Is it normal human ability to use a forklift to carry huge loads? Or tweezers to pull a splinter?

How about we separate eugenics from inequality and slavery as the latter two things are clearly undesirable developments while eugenics may have some benefit for curing hereditary diseases.

Inequality and slavery are not the result of technology. It was not technology that produced those things. Technology will continue to be used in a way that reflects our character as a species. If we are prone to inequality and slavery, then technology will be used in that way. If we can address issues of inequality and slavery as separate issues, and in a way that they deserve, technology will not be central to the topic.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Theoretic Wonders: Man and Machine

I’m with Stanwise on this. I believe the integration of man and machine began with the walking stick and there’s no backing out of the pact. We’ve been using machines to explore ideas, to fly, to visit cosmic spaces, to communicate. Those are inhuman abilities… but possible with machines. This forum enables us to talk to each other, though we’ve never been physically introduced, using technology that was once…

…expensive and impractical.

I believe that the attempt to “own” hackable technologies, or to use that technology to gain information about us by people that would exploit that knowledge for their own gain has been with us for a long time, and that we are becoming increasingly comfortable with their presence.

Case in point: In 1992 a low-resolution videotape was published that showed a black man being beaten by a group of police officers. That single video, and the resultant acquittal of the cops involved, became the catalyst for nationwide riots. Technology was used as a powerful change-agent.

Fast forward 23 years: Video showing various abuses of power and civil injustices are routine, and we (the people) are largely inured from outrage. We’ve come to expect it.

Does this mean that the world is worse off and we’ve become more cynical, or does it mean that we now are exposed to more factual information and it simply no longer surprises us?

At the very least it means that we have come to accept crowd-sourced content as a source of aggregated information. We are already “in” a shared space that relies on technology. That technology is public, private, socialized, capitalized, and global.

If you want to talk about corporate influence on information and perception, let’s go back to a day where people gained ALL of their news from a corporation… a newspaper.

I’m certain that our skepticism and distrust of technology that gathers and shares our personal information is well-founded, but in the last 20 years I’ve clearly seen much less discomfort with “spying” technology that tracks our movements (be they online or in the flesh). A few more generations and I believe these will seem as fearful as our grandfathers’ fears over the satanic influence of rock-and-roll. Fears about privacy will seem quaint and old-fashioned someday.

 
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Topic: Game Design / [Feedback] Tile Shmup

The movement physics on the ship means that it coasts a little bit as you move left and right. I think it does this just a little bit too much. A tiny bit gives it a nice feeling of momentum but if feels kind of glassy in your setup.

I’d like to see the shapes be more intuitive for the number of hits remaining. Perhaps all boxes with more than 1 HP are “degraded” to the next level down as they take damage so that the player can easily see where the easy routes may be.

There needs to be pockets so that the player can take tiny breaks and allow their ship to recharge for a second.

It’s hard to know when the ship can take another hit. With the current level design that doesn’t matter, but it may later.

If there were more of a pattern in the blocks it would offer the player some strategic choices. Currently the game rewards not moving at all and just bombing the path ahead repeatedly. It would be nice if the bombs were used more judiciously as in traditional scrolling shooters. I can see how you might want to see the player bomb out lateral or diagonal paths but since there’s no pattern to the blocks (yet), this just introduces unnecessary risk for no reward.

It seems like the game could simply be a little bit slower overall.

A nice analogy might be to play on the “gravity” of the blocks, like Bryce mentioned. A more literal representation of some kind of substance would help the game. Coming up through layers of earth would be cool and allow for lots of different kinds of materials to be encountered.

It took me a moment to figure out how the bombs were used and that I should use them often. This isn’t covered in the instructions.

There seems to be no goal. That can be okay but I’d encourage you to think about a way for the player to know that their performance is improving.

Power-ups seem like a natural fit for this game, and a coin or monetary system—as typical as that is—would bring some flair to the gameplay.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Theoretic Wonders: Man and Machine

That’s pretty interesting, Stanwise. It made me think some on the ways that other animals receive and share information.

Our eyes don’t see. It’s our brains that see based on data that our eyes collect. So, it’s possible to see without your eyes if your brain can receive that information using other methods. For decades optical technology has been superior to our natural eyesight. We end up using the information collected by optical devices like telescopes and microscopes to bring the data into our gamut of perception. We enlarge tiny things until we can see them, be they distant distant stars or tiny particles. Our brains then expand what we see into a larger context of meaning.

You might describe it as an hourglass. At one end you have a lot of data. That data is squeezed through a very narrow aperture—the capacity of our human senses—then the information expands again when it is applied to our existing knowledge of the visual subject.

BUT….

What if we didn’t need our eyes? What if we could rely on technical seeing devices that could deliver the visual information straight into the areas of our brain that will process it? It would be seeing in every sense of the word, but enhanced by the capacity of the optical device. It would be Sight v2.0.

Imagine, you could look at the leaf of a tree across a parking lot and zoom in to see the mites feasting on its surface. You could read the heat signatures of the worms in its bark. You could see the range of movement in its leaves and, using other modules, know exactly how windy it was. Perhaps you might even have the option of instantly “learning” all about that tree species, how old it is, who was permitted to plant it (and when), how much it cost, what nursery it came from, whether it’s healthy or not, and so on.

 
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Topic: The Arts / Pete's art dump

Basquiat, NY artist.

Robert Smith, lead singer of The Cure.

A friend of mine, Eric.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / United States laws "Utah Shame" Edition

(Is that an argument for simply not using the threat of incarceration as a crime deterrent altogether, Crow?)

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Theoretic Wonders: Man and Machine

When you look at the timeline of technological breakthrough you can see that significant milestones are cumulatively compressing. Wearable computers are today, and as they become smaller and less obtrusive (Google Glass) so too grows public skepticism and hope about the integration of human and machine.

Where is this taking us?

I would specifically enjoy Vika’s viewpoint on this as she has experience in current technology that interfaces with humans. Everyone with a thoughtful opinion is welcome to share their ideas, of course.

The skeptics generally have humanistic fears imagining a dystopian, Borg-like future where individual identity is viewed as irrelevant. Perhaps we need to hold off on that interface while we first “free the ’net” of overt or subvert corporate puppet-masters. Valid fears!

The proponents tend to imagine just the opposite. They see technology allowing us to become better humans. Those things we love about ourselves, well… we can become more like that. We can be smarter, stronger, more resilient, less concerned with this mortal coil…everywhere, all the time. What’s not to love?

Some of us set our sights on the near future… the things around the corner. Others cast their imaginations farther out. If this is what 2,000 years of intellectual and technological advancement looks like, what will things be like in the year 4000? Would we recognize ourselves?

So, I ask you this:
Where do you think this is taking us?

•••

I have a short response. I would like to have goggles that projected an informational overlay on the things in my view. The goggles, in other words, would understand my environment as well as I. I could query the environment, or have at least a heads-up display on important information while doing mundane physical tasks. I could use this information to diagnose and even fix engine problems, given the proper tools (that I would print on my 3D printer).

Information could be supplied in a stream-of-consciousness way or in very narrow, literal way… perhaps depending on my preferences and needs throughout the day.

"My bookshelf is kind of falling apart. Where was it made? Oh, in China. Of course. The same town as the birthplace of Genghis Khan? Interesting, but when did I buy… oh, I bought it at IKEA on Dec 3rd 2007. I was with Ned and his wife Elaine. They were married in 1994. Their anniversary is coming up in two weeks. Last year you got them some chocolates. Would you like to order a new bookshelf?

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Pay2Win: Great business model or immoral exploitation of the easily addicted and children?

@cromagin: I have no clue what your comment means or how it’s relevant to the topic.

There are only so many ways to monetize game productions.

The traditional sales path has the consumer buy the game outright as a one-time purchase. It didn’t take long for publishers to realize the value of creating expansion packs and sequels to draw more money from an existing fan base.

Microtransactions were not feasible with the earliest PC games. Piracy was (and probably still is) rampant. There would be very little to stop an original buyer from posting the digital property online or sharing it with his or her friends. Older gamers will recall anti-piracy techniques that required the owner to look up keys in the printed manual (hard-copy book) to ensure that they owned the complete product. The publishers eventually implemented online registration after broadband internet access was widely available. This introduced a mechanism where publishers could track the player ID to an owner ID.

Microtransactions have some interesting benefits to the consumer. It enables them to buy specifically what they want so that their gaming experience can be tailored to their tastes. Most gamers—and particularly those that aren’t likely to buy small digital properties—are simply annoyed by the intrusive and/or “essential” nature of the in-game up-sells.

In Candy Crush, for example, the player encounters increasingly difficult puzzle levels. There’s no way to skip levels and eventually the player will reach a tipping point where the difficulty (and frustration) of being stuck outweighs the thrill of beating a level. This is when they quit or they “buy” their way out of it. The promise is the sense of accomplishment and advancement. King (CC publisher) pay very close attention to that tipping point and they mete out their offers according to specific tests that will maximize the conversion from a “quitter” to a “customer.”

When virtual properties are rented (expiry) rather than permanent, the value proposition is even more strained. If the rental is in real-time, for example, it will have the benefit to the producer of encouraging more gameplay (to maximize the benefit of the power-up). However, for the player it is a dubious proposition. What if they can’t play much during the period in which that property is active? This consumer would probably opt for a permanent purchase. For the publisher, a permanent purchase has less value as it will never be sold to that player again.

Libraries and Amazon are facing a similar dilemma. They both have lending libraries for your electronic reader (e.g., Kindle). When you check a book out (library) or rent it (Amazon), you’re given a few weeks to read it before it is no longer available on your device. The proposition here offers good utility because once you’ve read the book there’s no need to own it. Gaming items generally add value for as long as they are actively in your possession. (The exception might be “usables” that expire after a certain number of uses, like potions.)

A “repair” analogy seems to work well for players, according to gamasutra. The repair analogy extends the rental period of a particular virtual item. Items you don’t use won’t require repairs, while those you use often will require repairs more often. Repairs can be monetized so that the player/consumer is paying for the item(s) that are most important to them.

There are other interesting factors. Exclusive items that can only be bought with cash are becoming less popular as they reveal that the player has achieved their status through a willingness to spend, and implies that they lack the sincerity or skill to achieve the same without it. Players that pay are often derided by those that don’t, as if the non-paying player is somehow more egalitarian than the paying one.

Items for purchase now commonly have two routes to ownership; earned or bought. This protects the buyer from ridicule as it hides them amid those that earned the same item.

We have yet to see diminishing in-game prices based on the player’s previous transactions. I would like to see this. For example, if a player buys a sword for $5 then later sees a better sword that they’d rather have, instead of paying $5 again for the second sword (rendering their first purchase obsolete), if the second sword is $4 that player will realize that not only the first sword providing nominal value by bringing a 20% discount, but that the $4 sword will provide a 40% discount on future swords. Perhaps once a purchase cap is met (like your deductible for health insurance), all subsequent in-game purchase items are free. You’ve paid for the game in its entirety.

What frequently creates habitual gamers are the social impacts of the game space. Microtransactions can allow players/friends of disparate power- or skill-levels to compete or collaborate. This is an aspect that is not often exploited by developers.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Pay2Win: Great business model or immoral exploitation of the easily addicted and children?

I worked for Wizards of the Coast when Pokemon broke in the United States. (Wizards was the US developer and producer.) Our previous best-selling product was Magic: The Gathering. Both are trading card games though Pokemon came quite a few years later, but it was backed by cartoons and other merchandise. Magic, by comparison, sold largely on the merits of gameplay and its tournament structures.

Both games are developed and marketed to appeal to a variety of consumer types. This typology has been carefully designed and improved over the years.

One consumer archetype is the “collector.” Magic was more subtle while Pokemon pulled out all the stops. Hoarder behavior is encouraged through the presentation of implied or overt collecting challenges. A person might chase cards that make their specific deck more powerful, or they might be seeking to own every card in a set.

The sets are divided in various ways to appeal to each different type of consumer. There are players that like to play competitively and utterly dominate (and humiliate) their opponent. This is Timmy. Johnny, by comparison, enjoys creative deck-building and innovative card combinations. Spike is a powergamer that doesn’t care about creativity or the quality of his wins just as long as he wins consistently. All of these player types collect cards for different reasons.

Some cards are common (11 per pack), some are uncommon (3 per pack), and some are rare (1 per pack). A player’s deck allows four copies of any one card, so if your competition deck requires a particular rare card you’ll need to buy at least four boosters and be incredibly lucky. Then there are special “foil” cards that are printed on shiny metallic stock, so that adds yet another layer of collectible. It’s like baseball cards of yesteryear on steroids.

As each booster is about $4, this amounts to a microtransaction.

There’s a principle difference between analog microtransactions and “chase” marketing scenarios and their counterparts in the digital realm. In electronic games the plateaus of difficulty are carefully crafted to encourage a small amount of assistance. You don’t want so much that you feel like you’re “buying” the level… you still want to beat it fair-and-square, you just need a little bit of help.

These purchasing decisions are meant to feel trivial and perfunctory. Buying a standalone game full retail ($60) requires a lot of rationalization. Buying one $6 in-game item every week for a few months should feel utterly affordable and reasonable.

C’mon kids, first hit is free!

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Pay2Win: Great business model or immoral exploitation of the easily addicted and children?

Devil’s Advocate: Pay-to-win simply reflects the reality of everyday competition by reinforcing the notion that the more money you put into something, the better you’ll do.

Don, I don’t think the $50 is your total outlay. I don’t know how many times I’ve bought a whole new computer so that I could play the latest games… or new video cards… or got off my dial-up and into DSL or cable… or a larger monitor… or more RAM (back when RAM was important)… all so that I could be more competitive in Quake, Team Fortress, etc.

Remember LPBs? Low Ping Bastards were paying to win.

There’s another big-picture item that has less to do with P2W games being immoral and more to do with gaming addiction that we incubate in our kids at a younger age than ever before.

Most of you guys are probably young enough to be raised with full access to console games (but not mobile games). Young kids these days will have access to games from the moment they can hold a device anywhere they happen to be.