Posts tagged ‘economics’


In which I respond to aspersions cast by an internet necromancer

by wfgodbold

Nearly two years ago, I posted an overly long and verbose piece on why, despite my preference for region-free consoles and gaming, consumers don’t have the right to region-free games. This was mainly in response to Nintendo’s decision to region-lock the 3DS. Early this morning, through what I can only assume was the use of the necromantic arts, someone responded to that post. Because my response to that comment would have been far longer than a comment has any right to be, I chose to respond in a new post. Consider this a sequel to that original post.

In the two years since my original post, Nintendo launched the 3DS (region-locked), and then had to drop the price because it was too expensive and no one was buying it. I still have not bought one (the last Nintendo console I bought was the DS Lite–I haven’t bought a Wii and have no plans to buy a Wii U), though I have bought a PS3 and PS Vita in the meantime (both of which, you will notice, can at the very least play out-of-region physical games).

This, dear reader, is a little thing I like to call The Market.™

Sony has made choices with which I agree, and to support those choices, I am willing to pay for their consoles and games (and I have games for both systems from both the US and Japan).

Nintendo has continued to region-lock their consoles and games. The prices of those consoles and games have not dropped to the point where I would be willing to forego the ability to play games from all regions on one console, so I have not bought them (even though I would dearly love to play Tales of the Abyss with load times that aren’t measured in geologic time, and Project X Zone looks ridiculous enough to be awesome).

Sullivan, in his comment, says,

And Nintendo doesn’t owe you anything? You are a customer. Neither Nintendo nor their shareholders would make ANY money without the customers. They sure as hell owe you. And what you get for your money is that they patronize you and severely restrict your freedom. It is not okay. And telling people not to buy the system because of that is just stupid. It is not a solution. It was not the game developers’ choice to make games region locked.

In response, I would like to point out that Nintendo does not owe me anything.

I bought a DS Lite. Nintendo fulfilled its side of the bargain bye delivering what was promised–a region-free handheld gaming system. Since then, I have not been a Nintendo customer–I haven’t bought anything because I don’t want to pay them to restrict my gaming options. If you buy a 3DS/Wii/Wii U knowing that it’s region-locked, Nintendo still doesn’t owe you–you’re still getting exactly what you paid for.

I don’t owe support to game companies. Game companies don’t owe me good games, bad games, mediocre games, region-free games, or region-locked games. If a game company has a game I want to play, I buy it, and the relationship ends there.

Not buying the system because it’s region-locked is not only the solution, it’s the cheapest solution (it’s certainly cheaper than trying to get a big enough block of Nintendo stock to control the company’s decisions). If you’re not willing to give up the ability to play the games that come out despite the region-locking that Nintendo has foisted upon consumers, then you’ve made an economic decision that region-free gaming is not worth as much to you as it is to someone who chooses not to buy a Nintendo console because of the region-locking.

Nintendo is free to choose to region-lock their consoles and games. Sony is free to choose not to region-lock their consoles and games.

And the consumer is free to vote with his wallet and support whichever philosophy he agrees with, if he even cares. Sadly, I suspect most consumers don’t care about whether or not their consoles are region-locked.


Journalism is dead. Hyperbole killed it.

by wfgodbold

While skimming my RSS reader this morning, I came across this breathless post at Kotaku about how the workers at Foxconn in China are slaves.

I IMed back and forth with my friend Ryan about this, and he was incredulous as well; after all, the idea that someone would rather threaten to kill themselves than threaten to quit is kind of hard to imagine.

And then I read the original story this piece was referring to…

On Jan. 2, the workers asked for a raise. Foxconn told them they could either keep their jobs with no pay increase or quit and get compensation. Most decided to quit with compensation. However, the agreement was supposedly terminated, and the workers never received their payments.

This prompted their suicide threat, and they were finally talked down by the mayor.

So, the real issue isn’t even that these workers were “enslaved,” or that they were unable to quit, or anything else.

The issue is that Foxconn (presumably) breached its contract with the workers.

Here, if your contract with your employer was breached, you would have recourse in the courts.

In the “communist” paradise of China, apparently your only recourse is to threaten to throw yourself off the roof of a building.

Slavery doesn’t enter into it at all.


I don’t think the Krugman understands the disadvantages inherent in living at the bottom of a gravity well

by wfgodbold

As a Keynesian, the Paul Krugman pretty much has to parrot their view that WW2 is what ended the Great Depression.

His recent interview with Fareed Zakaria goes way off the rails, though, when they start speculating that a (fake) alien invasion would be just the ticket for creating jobs and ending the current recession.

Even if war was the answer (and here for the last (nearly) ten years, we’ve been repeatedly told that war is expensive and doesn’t solve anything), we’d be sitting ducks if aliens attacked.

We’re at the bottom of a giant space hole. All aliens would have to do is drag asteroids over (or just mine giant chunks out of the moon) and drop them on us, and we’d be helpless while our cities were turned into craters.

Any aliens that could cross interstellar distances to attack us would surely be capable of that.

So, if we do have an alien invasion, head for the hills! Avoid population centers! congregate in cities! They’re certainly benevolent and would probably teach us the secrets of space travel!

They might even know how to serve man!

If we want to survive the (inevitable) alien invasion, we’ve got to get off this ball of dirt and head elsewhere. Luna, Mars, space stations, whatever; we can’t have all our eggs in one basket waiting for the eventual extinction event to drop out of the sky and take us out.


Could you pass the fava beans and pour me another glass of Chianti?

by wfgodbold

Iowahawk and Bill Whittle bring us a sobering look at the federal budget and exactly how out of control spending is; watch the whole thing (or read Iowahawk’s original post).

We are doomed.


Well, that tears it

by wfgodbold

I’m not getting a 3DS at launch (since there aren’t any games I’d want for it), and probably not any time soon (if ever) once games I’m interested in come out for it; it’s definitely region locked.

It does seem stupid to hamstring your system just so that a feature most parents will probably either a) not know about, or b) not use, can be implemented.  Like I said before, though; import gamers don’t make up a significant enough fraction of the user base to really have any kind of impact on Nintendo’s decisions; we’re stuck with whatever they decide.

Of course, for Japanese in the US (or foreigners in Japan) or Europe, you won’t be able to buy any games unless you also purchase a local system.

The rating system explanation still strikes me as a cop out; I imagine the main reason is actually to prevent reverse importing (since the yen is still strong) and shore up sales in the various regions.

Oh well; it will sell like a house on fire, and everyone will marvel over how amazing the glassless 3D is while I’m crying into my beer and playing games the old-fashioned way: flat.

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