Focus groups are full of fail

Seriously, I wonder why these even exist, because every time we hear about a decision more or less influenced by a focus group, we all do a collective facepalm, well frankly this most recent news deserves more than one so...

Because thanks to a focus group, they are cutting the evil option from Epic Mickey. You know, the whole point of this game was suppossed to be a massive revamp of the mouse, so he would be more like the old days where he had a goddamned personality. It's not like he was going after guys with a chainsaw, but apparently "murder by paintbrush" is too much for a goddamn biker. Who the fuck invited a biker to a focus group about a Mickey Mouse game? You remember the Goldeneye Wii trailer? Those at least were focus groups of GAMERS. Now granted, this shouldn't change much of the actual gameplay, but to talk about how you want to change the perception of what Mickey is and then bow to what someone's perception is based on when they were a kid is absolutely idiotic. Massive fail Warren Spector. Massive. Goddamn. Fail.

Speaking of massive fails, I think Microsoft is setting themselves up for a big one with Kinect, and not just because it's a piece of absolute crap. I mean it'd be one thing to expect it to appeal to the more casual crowd (which admittedly, it might hold some appeal to people who don't actually play video games, but it's hard to imagine someone like that shelling out for this when they can just get a Wii), but they are actually expecting their hardcore fan base to go out and buy it as well. You know, the same fan base that mocked the far more sensible waggle of the Wii. Not to mention on more than one occasion MS has claimed that this is not a product for their current user base, since it is mostly more hardcore gamers.

Now on top of that, while the Wii and Move can support anywhere from 2-8 gamers depending on the game, How many can Kinect support? 2. That's right, TWO. What the hell kind of party game only supports two people? Hell the minimum expectation for most multi-player games these days is 4. Now granted, not all do that, but the fact that the possibility isn't even there is ludicrous. This might honestly be the biggest flop since the Virtual Boy when all is said and done.

Moving on, with the PSN's weekly update today, they launch the Playstation Plus service. Yes, it comes with a myriad of free goodies that you get to keep as long as you have the service, with new ones every month, but nothing strikes me a must have. I mean I already own LittleBigPlanet, and I have no interest in the freebies that are currently offered. That may change, but I don't think anybody like the idea that if you stop paying, all the freebies go away. I still think they will have to add something integral to the service that gamers think they cant live without in order to really get a decent buy rate out of this.

In some hopefully awesome news, Hulu is coming to PS3 & 360. Granted, it's not the free online streaming you can get on your PC, but it's their "plus" subscription service that's $10 bucks a month. Which may sound like a rip-off when you already get tons of content for free from Hulu on your computer, but this is more of an on-demand type service where you get access to things like full current seasons as well as access to old TV shows. I almost exclusively use my netflix to watch TV shows, so this sounds like a great idea to me, and a much better option than cable.

Finally yes, I did pick up Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4 today and while I agree with most of the reviews that it might indeed be the best lego game yet, it still may be too familiar to anyone who has or has had several lego titles, but far any huge lego/potter fan it's probably worth picking up.

Ok, that's all for today, I should be back Thursday with a review of The Last Airbender as well as other stuff, until then, your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: Rango


KK said...

I was hoping you'd throw up the Rango trailer, but what did you think about it??

Focus groups are actually great for the participants, because you get paid to spout off your own opinions for 1-3 hours. However, the guidelines they set up that only allow people in certain "groups" to participate are fairly easy to side-step. The recruiters for the groups usually have to meet a quota, and are often not opposed to "nudging" potential participants into answering screening questions so that they meet the desired specifications. Said biker may have claimed to be a hard-core gamer? "Oh, you play pinball every night at the local biker bar? Heck, why not. You're in." ;)

Eric Chrisman said...

I honestly don't know, CG films that aren't Pixar have a very low success rate, I'd like to believe Johnny Depp wouldn't bother if it was horrible, not like he needs the money. And yes, I'm fully aware how focus groups work, it's their continued existence I question, because decisions by committee always turn out bad.