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pjf (2464)

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I run Perl Training Australia [].

I help with Melbourne Perl Mongers.

I spend an awful lot of time talking about Perl, and have had my picture in the Australian newspapers with a camel. That's rather scary.

Journal of pjf (2464)

Wednesday June 16, 2004
06:17 AM

Incredible downloads

[ #19294 ]

I'm fond of games. Not so fond that they stop me from running a successful business, or mainting my personal hygiene, but fond enough that Jarich will occasionally complain that I spend too much time playing [game of choice] and not enough time with paying attention to her.

I'm fond of MMORPGs. They're pretty, dynamic, and engrossing. However, they also take a lot of time. I view this as a feature, but time isn't something that I have a great deal of. The last MMORPG I played was EVE, which had some good ideas, but which I eventually found was lacking in content.

I noticed recently that Star Wars Galaxies (SWG) has a 14-day free trial. I like free trials, they give me a chance of playing the game for a bit, and if it's decent the producers will get a subscription from me for a while. This is exactly what happened with EVE.

There's been a lot of hype around SWG, not all of it good, but a free trial is tempting enough to have me investigate further. Sure, it will probably require the downloading of some pretty large files, but isn't that the whole point of broadband?

I thought that I had mis-read when I noticed that the SWG 'trial download' was 2 Gb. What's more, it doesn't appear to be available in more reasonable sized chunks, it can only be downloaded as a monolithic 2Gb file. I don't know about elsewhere, but in Australia 2Gb is still enough to make one check how much bandwidth can be used before extra charges kick in.

The most surprising and unpalatable part of the whole deal is that should the trial recipient wish to continue with the game beyond the trial period, they still need to go out and purchase a retail copy, even though you have all the content installed. Australia's games market involves some incredible markups from local retails, so where buying SWG from Sony would cost $30 USD, it would cost roughly $50 - $60 USD over here.

Other games that I've seen using the same model usually charge a trial player an extra fee to accomodate the loss-of-revenue in foregoing a retail sale. This extra fee is more than a monthly subscription, but less than the cost of a retail box. To me that seems like a much more sensible choice -- there's no need for the potential customer to futz around trying to find a retail copy of the game, they can be hooked while their addiction is still fresh.

I have a friend who's currently posted to a remote location who's quite a Star Wars afficionado, and who I was intending to demonstrate (for better or worse) SWG to while he visited Melbourne. However I no longer think that will be the case. A 2Gb download, plus an overpriced local (or time-consuming international) purchase is quite a bit more time and money than I care to throw into what will only be an enjoyable distraction.

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