Thursday, December 29, 2011

monetizing, go screw

I've come to hate the word "monetize" when it comes to services, because more than half the time it's a euphemism for "ripping customers off".

Text messaging, for example: there's a technical reason that all the messages are 160 characters. The data channel used for SMS is the same one that reports reception strength, and some info on incoming calls. They get the stream "for free" and in fact were coerced into implementing it by the GSM. (1)
The fact that they charge $.10 a pop (or extort a monthly fee from your family, as in my case) is pretty grotesque.

The really abhorrent faux "monetization" to me is Sony's "Sony Plus" horseshit for the PS3. Basically, it gives you a bunch of free stuff and some utility. The free stuff I get - that's totally understandable that I'd pay a monthly/yearly fee and in exchange get access to a lot of games I normally wouldn't. It gets better if you've got a PSP too, so it encourages brand loyalty for different devices. These are totally cool things and I understand. They're also not for me.

The "utility" thing is for me, and it's a simple one - update my fucking games and system when I'm sleeping. I don't want to be in the PS3 Plus because I don't have time to play a PS3 game but twice a month. Every time I do, I have to factor in ten minutes of downtime (at least) where it attempts to download an update(manually) and then tells me I have to log in to the PS3 Network, which I can't do until I (manually) start another download, go run an errand or something while my PS3 downloads and installs that update, then restarts. But doesn't automatically install the game's update - I've got to be sitting at my PS3 to manually trigger that right after.

It's so onerous of a computing chore (and so common one) that a framework could apply to every single game ever made and make it better for the user. And in fact, it is a solved problem. It's offered as part of their Playstation Plus membership!

So now I can pay $6 a session to eliminate that 10-15 minutes up front spent updating.

Or, I can just not play my PS3, which is what usually happens. Because I'm not paying it, and the startup cost to even play it is a deterrent.
So now I don't buy PS3 games.

I mostly buy them on Steam.

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