Tag Archives: Amazon

Prime Day and Amazon-a-versary

Today is Prime Day at Amazon, a day in which there are special deals for Amazon Prime members.

Prime Day 2017

The main deals are on Amazon products like the Kindle or the Echo.  Not exactly as interesting to me as the Steam Summer Sale, but I’ll go take a look all the same.

Today also happens to be an anniversary for me with Amazon.  Twenty years ago today, July 11, 1997, I placed my first order at Amazon.com.  You can go see all of your order history on your account page, which can be both fascinating and disturbing.

My order was for a book, because at the time Amazon was pretty much an online bookstore.  But they were expanding into music CDs as well.  The whole thing wasn’t profitable yet, but it was the dotcom era and people were interested in grabbing market share first and making money later.

That second bit was the catch of course, and the downfall of companies like Netscape.

I went to Amazon.com twenty years ago because they had selection beyond even the largest local bookstore.

Today the profitable enterprise that is Amazon it is my first stop for all sorts of things.  I recently bought a replacement filter for our refrigerator from them.  It has become to people today what the Sears catalog must have been for those in rural settings back towards the end of the 19th century, and then some.  They own Twitch and the Internet Movie Database and Goodreads and Alexa and Audible, each of which touches my online life.

Amazon is hardly perfect, but they do seem to be here to stay.

Amazon’s New World

Amazon’s new game studio announced three games that they are working on at TwitchCon yesterday.  (Amazon owns Twitch, so there is that connection… and you can now get some Twitch bennies for being an Amazon Prime customer.)

Of the three, the one garnering interest in this corner of the internet is New World, because they used our three favorite letters, M, M, and O.  Or, at least they said “Massively Multiplayer,” but the “online” part is more that implied at this point.

New World is the one for us though.  I think.  I hope.  I guess.

Just how new and how worldly?

Just how new and how worldly?

It was hard not to roll my eyes a bit, mostly because the acronym “MMO” has been so stretched and otherwise abused by now that I don’t trust my gut when people use it.  Everything that can get a dozen players online at once seems to feel entitled to that tag these days.

Yes, yes, cynicism is my thing here, but after the last decade of MMOs I think anybody trying to use the designation has to earn our trust.  I am a product of my environment.

Where I am headed...

Old man yells at cloud base gaming… and AWS…

We have a description of sorts, right there on the store page over at Amazon.

New World is a massively multiplayer, open-ended sandbox game that allows you to carve your own destiny with other players in a living, hostile, cursed land. How you play, what you do, and whom you work with or against is up to you. Live on your own amidst the supernatural terrors or join with others to build thriving civilizations. In this evolving world that transforms with the changing of the seasons, weather, and time of day, the only limit is your own ambition.

And for those who don’t like their information in paragraph format, there are bullet points as well.

  • New World is a massively multiplayer, open-ended sandbox game that allows you to carve your own destiny with other players in a living, hostile, cursed land.
  • How you play, what you do, and whom you work with or against is up to you.
  • Live on your own amidst the supernatural terrors or join with others to build thriving civilizations.
  • In this evolving world that transforms with the changing of the seasons, weather, and time of day, the only limit is your own ambition.
  • A release date for New World has not been set.

Of course, tossing in the word “sandbox” got an audible sigh from me as well, as it is also a favored term of late and seems to mean something like, “We’re not going to completely copy World of Warcraft.”

At least we know it will be released on Windows.

Minimum System Requirements:

  • Processor:   TBD
  • RAM:   TBD
  • Hard Disk:   TBD
  • Video Card:   TBD
  • Supported OS:   Windows

However pricing, business model, and whatever have yet to be announced.

I like the price so far... unless that means F2P cash shop hell

I like the price so far… unless that means F2P cash shop hell

And given how long it can take to get a real MMO together… if it is a “real” MMO, by which I mean a worldly, persistent, shared experience, multiplayer RPG… I suspect it will be some time before we get enough details to begin projecting even our most optimistic fantasies on it.

But it has been announced, so I figured I had best take note.  And, of course, because it is already listed over at Amazon, it has reviews.

Only 4 stars for a non-existent game

Only 4 stars for a non-existent game

The other two titles that were announced:

  • Breakaway – Breakaway is a 4 vs. 4 mythological sport brawler built for fast action, teamwork, and live-streaming.
  • Crucible – Crucible is a battle to the last survivor on a hostile alien world. Players choose and customize heroes, making alliances and betraying allies on their path to victory. An additional player heightens the drama by triggering events, live-streaming the battles, and interacting with viewers

So that sounds like a streaming optimized MOBA and something that might be Overwatch meets The Hunger Games maybe?  I don’t know.  Not MMORPGs.

New World is the title that fits here, though I have to say that all three of the titles chosen seem likely to have problems standing out from other uses of those words.

As I noted above, others in our little internet tribe are talking about it as well.  They might even be less cynical than I.

Pre-Ordering WoW Legion at a Discount

Amazon announced a while back that Prime members would get some sort of discount for game pre-orders.  I saw it… Keen posted about it even… but it sort of flitted past to be forgotten.

We have Amazon Prime.  While we get some benefit out of it on free shipping… which was the initial hook back in the day… we mostly keep it for the Amazon video.  It is sort of a backup to Netflix streaming and about the same price per year.  Just last night we watched Amy on Amazon, and I watched all of The Man in the High Castle series a little while back.

This past weekend my daughter and I took the coin jar, which we use to pay for video games, down to the Coin Star machine and dumped all our coins in exchange for an Amazon gift code.  You get full value for a gift code, as opposed to taking cash, from which they skim some off the top.

We ended up with a little over $120 on the gift code to match up against what we had on our list of games.

On the top of the list was LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which is headed for release around June and which is actually going to be supported on the PlayStation 3, something I noted with some surprise a while back.  (Granted, the PS3 doesn’t get any of the bonus content that the PS4 gets, but whatever.  I don’t own a PS4.)

Look at all the platforms on which it will be released...

Look at all the platforms on which it will be released…

The other item on our list was a copy of the World of Warcraft Legion expansion for each of us.

Single word expansion title? Really stretching so far!

Coming at some point this summer…

However, each title was listed at $50 on Amazon, so we were a bit shy on funds.  But I figured we would have plenty of time to collect more coins before the WoW Legion ship date loomed.

So I just put in a pre-order for LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  But when I went to check out Amazon popped up with their Prime discount and took $10 off the price, 20% off being the pre-order benefit.

The discount appears

The discount appears

20% off would put all three titles within our grasp.  So I ordered two copies of WoW Legion next, which added up to $100, but then there was the 20% discount, dropping the price to $80.  Yes, I was a little over when the sales tax was added in, but I had some gift card money left over from the holidays which covered that.  The idea is to get out the door without putting anything on a credit card.

So that worked out pretty well.  We were going to buy all of that at full price anyway, so getting $30 back… especially when I didn’t even remember the Prime discount… pretty much off-set nearly a third of our yearly Amazon prime subscription.  And we still get to stream movies and TV shows.

Of course, I wonder who the discount hits.  In the case of LEGO Star Wars, the traditional retail channel was likely going to be the main source of revenue.  But for the WoW Legion expansion, getting 20% off a pre-order means that I will not be ordering it directly from Blizzard, which means that they don’t get to collect all the profit, having to share it with Amazon and having a bite taken out via cost of goods sold, since they will be shipping us two boxes with discs.

Of course, I don’t get my game code and level 100 boost RIGHT NOW.  There is that.  But I am not so interested in playing WoW right now either.  Come the expansion launch though I should be ready.

Amazon.com Proves I Do Not Play Video Games

Or that I don’t play new games.  Or good games.

Or at least that I do not buy any new games.

Another list.  Still not done with that theme, not by a long shot.

This time around, The Amazon Games team at Amazon.com has created their Best of 2012 Video Games list.

I am going to copy it here, with the platforms they indicate, just because.

  1. Journey (PS3)
  2. Borderlands 2 (Xbox, PS3, PC)
  3. XCOM: Enemy Unknown (Xbox, PS3, PC)
  4. Dishonored (Xbox, PS3, PC)
  5. Mass Effect 3 (Xbox, PS3, PC)
  6. The Walking Dead (Xbox, PS3, PC)
  7. Halo 4 (Xbox)
  8. Darksiders II (Xbox, PS3, PC)
  9. Hotline Miami (PC)
  10. The Last Story (Wii)
  11. Need for Speed: Most Wanted (Xbox, PS3, PS Vita, PC)
  12. Gravity Rush (PS Vita)
  13. Diablo III (PC)
  14. GuildWars 2 (PC)
  15. Sleeping Dogs (Xbox, PS3, PC)
  16. Zero Escape: Virtues Last Reward (PS Vita, 3DS)
  17. Assassin’s Creed III (Xbox, PS3, PC)
  18. Max Payne 3 (Xbox, PS3, PC)
  19. Lumines: Electronic Symphony (PS Vita)
  20. Call of Duty: Black Ops II (Xbox, PS3, PC)

So, looking up at that list, my first thought is that there are a pile of sequels and remakes up there.

Of course, remakes, reboots, and sequels are the staple of most entertainment industries.  We moan about video games slipping into that mode these days, and movies having been there for a while, but frankly it is the way of things.  Go look up how many movie adaptations there have been of The Wizard of Oz.  Video games just haven’t been around long enough for us to get used to remakes, but even Shakespeare was ripping off plots and retelling old stories 400 some odd years ago, so we had all better get used to it I suppose.  Your grand kids will be playing Wasteland 8 or some such I bet.

After that, I have to admit that I have only played two of the games on the list (Guild Wars 2 and Diablo III), and I only bought one of them (Diablo III), and since I got that one through subscribing to World of Warcraft for a year (annoying pain point unnecessarily referenced just because I hold a grudge), you could make the case that I did not even buy that.

And then, finally, I start to wonder if these are really the best games of 2012.  I probably watch too much Zero Punctuation (for example, Halo 4 review) and play too few such games to be able to make my own determination.

Oh, and it sucks to be the Wii about now, with one game on the list.  But even Nintendo says they have moved on from the Wii, having no more titles in the queue for it.  Screw you, little white box of joy, we’re on to bigger and better things!

So, the usual wrap up.  The list, legitimate ranking or crass attempt to get sales out of the titles with the highest margins?

Amazon Ends My SWTOR Delivery Worries

I may not be in the beta, but it seems I can at least stop worrying if EA is going to allow a grace period between the head start and when you’ll need to have the code from your retail box.

Hello from Amazon.com,

We are writing to you today because you purchased a pre-order copy of ‘Star Wars: The Old Republic.’

We are now able to offer Release-Date Delivery for this video game.  This special delivery option is available to you free of charge and has been automatically applied to your order.  Your copy of ‘Star Wars: The Old Republic’ will arrive on 20-Dec-11.

Thank you for shopping at Amazon.com.

Sincerely,

Customer Service Department
Amazon.com

In my experience, when Amazon.com says a date, it gets there by that date.

Addendum: Amazon even has a Release Date Delivery FAQ.

And Now To Fret About a SWTOR Grace Period…

Yes, we have a release date for Star Wars: The Old Republic.  So now retailers handling pre-orders have to get themselves lined up for that date as well.

And so an email from Amazon.com about my order was not unexpected.

Hello,

We have received new release date information related to the order you placed on July 21 2011. The item(s) listed below will actually ship sooner than we originally expected based on the new release date:

“Star Wars: The Old Republic”
Previous estimated arrival date: January 04 2012
New estimated arrival date: December 23 2011

If you want to check on the progress of your order, take a look at this page in Your Account:

So Amazon says I should have the box on December 23.  However, the game goes live on December 20.

Release date... in case you forgot already

And while I have my early access code, nothing on the SWTOR Pre-Order FAQ page says anything about that code being able to bridge the gap between launch date and when I actually get the box.

All I can find is this little mention on the FAQ, which may or may not cover my situation:

Please note: Your copy of the Game may not be reserved for collection after the launch date; check with your preferred retailer for details.

In the past some games, like Lord of the Rings Online, allowed a period of post launch access based on the pre-order code.  Other games have been… less accommodating.  That quote sounds like EA might be trending towards the latter, which doesn’t seem much like the Christmas spirit.  It will be nearly Christmas after all, one of the busier seasons for package shipments, so I would guess that there might be a few boxes showing up late.  It would be nice if nobody had to worry about that.

I suppose there is still well over two months to go before we are in any danger of being allowed into early access.  Plenty of time to work this out.

You Know That Is Tomorrow, Right?

So, in addition to the big important question, I have Amazon.com messing with me again.  The state of my order today, September 15th.

Shouldn’t that be on the way already?

But no, cancellation is still listed as an available action.  So it is still somewhere in a warehouse, presumably.

We shall see how good Amazon is I suppose.

And not to bag on Luke even further, but “Mark Hamill, et al?”  Alec Guinness had already won an Oscar and had been knighted while Hamill was still in grade school.  By Grabthar’s hammer, by the suns of Warvan, this shall not stand!