Monday, November 17, 2014

Midnight Local Release Times

So because I'm not the type to pre-order games, there's a practice I've been unaware of in the gaming world:  Local Midnight release times.  That means if you live on the east coast your game is unlocked and playable a few hours before the west coast.  That means if you life in New Zealand your game is unlocked like 18 hours before the US.  The game I've just pre-ordered, for anyone curious, is Far Cry 4.

Let's not pretend like release dates for any corporate media have ever been consistently reasonable, and album releases still get the shortest end of the stick with months apart from country to country and even different track listings between them.  Rock Paper Shotgun loves to say that there are no oceans on the internet, and there should be release date delays.  And look, a globally consistent release date is far more fair than a Tuesday release in one country and a Friday release in another.  But it still rubs me wrong.

I'm in US Central time.  In a few hours people I know on the east coast will be playing Far Cry 4, and I'll be waiting an hour.  In the grand scheme of things it's not a big deal, and I'm not angry just a little flummoxed by it.  It just seems weird to me.  I don't fully get it.

What are they trying to achieve here?  Is it supposed to be more fair that people somewhere are getting it 18 hours in advance?  Is it a tactic to save their activation servers from getting hammered (if so that's actually a good strategy)?  Is it because executives in corporations have brain disorders where they jump to the most convoluted of a series of options?  (I only ask that one because I've had conversations with higher-ups at many corporations and their requirements for a good idea versus a bad idea are incredibly foreign to me.  I'm serious, when talking to executives at different times from different companies each time I got the strange sense they were from other planets.  Like they all took logic courses from the same terrible teacher.  Honestly I think it's due to the corporate structure bringing it's own challenges and rituals and they tune their mind to that system rather than the actual nuts and bolts of what their business actually does.  That's the only explanation I can think of.  And really, sometimes the difference between something like a good logo and a bad logo is intangible, indescribable, so perhaps they forgo their personal taste for a choice they can properly defend, even if it isn't the best option.  I don't know.  What a strange rant.)

Anyway, it's better than properly staggered releases, and perhaps it does help keep their network from collapsing.  It's not the worst idea I've ever heard of, but I'd rather a global release date and time set by GMT, not local time, so everybody has the same opportunity.

Though now that I think about it, if you're going to do global time, why not 8pm?  Midnight, when most people are in bed or about to go to bed?  Why not announce the 18th as the release date but unlock it at 8pm on the 17th?  (and the week before you can make that distinction, let people know when they can actually play it)

I don't know, I've only just been made aware of this type of release, perhaps I need to think about it some more.

Til then,


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