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Aspyr Launches GameAgent Digital Download Store


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#21 macpete

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 12:17 AM

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Can I switch to a new machine and still have my games?
Yes, but only if you have purchased the Extended Download Service (EDS).
(...)
To purchase EDS for download products in a completed order, you must look up your order and complete an additional purchase.
You are also allowed to activate your game up to 3 times with a single serial number.
These restrictions sounds stifling and exorbitant to mee ... I've hoped they learned from iTunes/App-store or PSN business model :(

I have to quote Kaoro and Eric5h5 ...

Quote

In all honesty though, I hope consumers resist giving their money to any crazy DRM scheme like the one above. I find it ridiculous that you can only reinstall 3 times or for 2 years if you pay even more. If that was the case for all my games, I'd have been screwed for a while now. I was pretty excited about Aspyr's store too, but I can't buy something unless I have the full guarantee that it is MINE and that I can install it whenever I want, wherever I want, however I want.

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If this is Aspyr's way of making people think that maybe disc checks aren't so bad after all



Anyway ...

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#22 teflon

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 12:39 AM

oh dear..

well that couldve gone better. this looks like a very poor effort all around
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#23 charmin

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 01:37 AM

I ignored this thread at first because I misread it as a dredged up thread from forever ago.

Glad I changed my mind though - this thread is awesome. Where else can you find such vehemence and bile spewing?

(Tempted to finish the post with a string of block capital swear words :D)

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#24 Janichsan

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 02:15 AM

What's up with Aspyr anyway? Now that's CoD 4 is out, there is not a single Mac game in the pipeline – and that only three months before Christmas. They even stopped porting the Sims 2 expansions, what could always have been taken for granted.* The most prominently placed coming up title on their site is "Hello Kitty™ Daily" for the Nintendo DS. What the hell...?

(* I know that some people will think that this is not a bad thing, but still.)

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#25 Jan

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 02:27 AM

Aspyr is done. At least as a publisher of Mac games.

A few years ago, they were untouchable giants. Now they're slowly becoming the next MacPlay.
Even their once great quality of ports is going down hill.

Could anyone explain why a ciderized game like Jade Empire runs perfectly well
on my iMac with everything maxed out and a native port like Neverwinter Nights 2
won't even run on some Nvidia chips, has horrible frame rates and constantly crashes?

I know this is a bitter rant, but at the moment I'm very disappointed with Aspyr
and really sad that we seem to have lost another great company. :(
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#26 mattw

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 02:36 AM

View PostEric5h5, on September 25th 2008, 04:41 AM, said:

If this is Aspyr's way of making people think that maybe disc checks aren't so bad after all, I guess it's working....  I like to play older games sometimes, but if I bought games using GameAgent, and I go to play them a few years from now when I have a new Mac, I would be totally screwed.  Even if you pay the extortion fee, it's only for a couple of years...somehow I don't think I'm interested.

--Eric

I was thinking the same. I find it annoying to have the CD or DVD in the drive and so far the best compromise is a patch to remove the CD check a year or so after release. When I BUY a game I sure as heck expect to be able to play it on whatever hardware I own for as many years as I like. It is bad enough when companies abandon support for a product as soon as it is out because it did sell as well as they hoped only for it to have bugs or break with the next Mac OS X update. I still play games over a decade old. It seems like the games industry is trying to become like the music industry and would rather try to sell you the same content over and over again rather than innovate and produce new content. I buy all my games and have even bought some that I hardly played to support gaming on the Mac but hearing about DRM like this make me think I would be better off looking for a cracked version and give up trying to make Mac gaming more relevant.
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#27 Eric5h5

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 03:49 AM

View Postmattw, on September 25th 2008, 04:36 AM, said:

I buy all my games and have even bought some that I hardly played to support gaming on the Mac but hearing about DRM like this make me think I would be better off looking for a cracked version and give up trying to make Mac gaming more relevant.

Well, let's not be too hasty...Aspyr is just one company, even if they've been responsible for quite a few games I've bought in the past.  Feral, for example, is being pretty awesome these days--go support them; I do.

--Eric

#28 dojoboy

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 04:05 AM

View PostEric5h5, on September 25th 2008, 05:49 AM, said:

Well, let's not be too hasty...Aspyr is just one company, even if they've been responsible for quite a few games I've bought in the past.  Feral, for example, is being pretty awesome these days--go support them; I do.

--Eric

I agree.  

If the ability to de-authorize machines is included, I really don't have a problem as long as the security isn't calling home w/ my banking data.  What rubs me, uncomfortably so, is the d/l "insurance."  

And, as for their Mac games selection, they probably opened the doors a little too soon.  I know, any time now, they'll have SMAC/x ready for digital d/l!  ;)
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#29 Kaoro

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 06:11 AM

View PostBifBologna, on September 24th 2008, 10:05 PM, said:

Maybe I'm wrong, but shouldn't a digital download with such restrictive DRM cost less than the physical version? I can't see the incentive to pay more just to be handcuffed... well, not in this case anyway.
Haha! I think you're right though. I would think it should be at least $5 cheaper since they don't have to pay for manufacturing or distribution.

I would have thought with the time it's taken Aspyr to get this store out, that they would have looked at how other companies did things, recognized the glaring flaws, and do something different. I assumed too much ;).
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#30 Vader

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 07:15 AM

Aspyr has turned into a total waste. Very dissapointing. Feral Interactive has turned into my new favorite mac games company with Macsoft a close second!

#31 Janichsan

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 07:29 AM

View PostVader, on September 25th 2008, 03:15 PM, said:

Aspyr has turned into a total waste. Very dissapointing. Feral Interactive has turned into my new favorite mac games company with Macsoft a close second!
Funny how the tides have turned: a year ago barely anyone here would have given anything about Feral while constantly nagging over the question why the heck CMR and Fable aren't out yet. And now they have become the Saviours of Mac Gaming™.

I, for one, would like to welcome our new British Mac Gaming Overlords.

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#32 Vallen

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 07:30 AM

This looks to be a PR mess....what is it with COD and Aspyr anyhow...it seems they always have missteps around this franchise...Promised UB update for COD 1....never came-never will because the game is too old!?!?! With COD 2 we lost shadows and never got them back and have horrible performance on Nvidia 8600 chips which means that the last two years of Macbook pros can't play this game-no word of a fix, I guess it is too old also?!?!?!?  Now COD 4, delayed a few months and now being released in a manner that is leaving a bad taste in everyones mouth.  Who knows if this game will even run right on my Radeon 3870.  The area that concerns me most about Aspyr is what happened with their support?  Things have never been the same since the intel switch.  I agree with the comments about Feral, they are doing a great job with updates for older games....wish others would follow this example.

#33 gbafan

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 08:49 AM

View PostVallen, on September 25th 2008, 06:30 AM, said:

I agree with the comments about Feral, they are doing a great job with updates for older games....wish others would follow this example.
MacSoft seems to have stepped up their efforts on UB patches and the like.  Feral has been by far the leader in the Mac gaming category this year.  Aspyr... well, as I said before, RIP.
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#34 teflon

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 09:11 AM

View PostVallen, on September 25th 2008, 02:30 PM, said:

This looks to be a PR mess....what is it with COD and Aspyr anyhow...it seems they always have missteps around this franchise...Promised UB update for COD 1....never came-never will because the game is too old!?!?!
I dont think they ever promised anything. All they  ever said was that they were looking into it.
Eventually we got the final response which is that the engine is too different from the Q3 engine (as in 90% different) to make a UB a quick and easy exercise. If it had been reasonable, then wed have got a UB, as we did with other Q3 titles like Jedi Knight 2. The same issue befell ST:EF 2.

Quote

With COD 2 we lost shadows and never got them back and have horrible performance on Nvidia 8600 chips which means that the last two years of Macbook pros can't play this game-no word of a fix, I guess it is too old also?!?!?!?
this one is less excusable. However I think the issue is more down to changes in the drivers that Apple made which breaks the game.
I dont really see why we havent had a patch for this, but I doubt we'll ever see one.

as for CoD4's release. Yeah, it got delayed, and yes it then missed its release date because of a manufacturing issue which is beyond Aspyr's control really. These things sometimes happen (though youll rarely notice it on any platform or game that has larger volumes of sales, as they have more batches done, so the hit isnt as bad).
I also find GameAgent to be a poorly implemented venture which shouldn't have been attempted.
Equally, the lack of a demo knarks me somewhat.

But that doesnt mean that the game is going to perform badly. With mac ports, the main reason to delay a game is because of performance. This becomes a bigger issue when you're porting really quite hefty games like NWN2 and CoD4. For what its worth, ETQWs performance wasnt really complained about by those that bought it, because it was delayed to improve that. So I dont expect CoD4 to suffer from poor performance either.

I feel that the biggest problem is really the PR. The last 4 Aspyr releases have been delayed. However, if they had announced later than they did, perhaps a month before release once the final bugs are being ironed out. Or even just more transparency with whats going on. So give a good reason for the delay. "Working with Apple to improve performance" would be ideal or something.

Feral is great :)
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#35 Brad Oliver

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 09:36 AM

View PostJan, on September 25th 2008, 01:27 AM, said:

Could anyone explain why a ciderized game like Jade Empire runs perfectly well
on my iMac with everything maxed out and a native port like Neverwinter Nights 2
won't even run on some Nvidia chips, has horrible frame rates and constantly crashes?

From a technical standpoint, sure. ;)

Jade Empire uses a fairly old OpenGL-based engine (essentially KotOR's) whereas NWN2 uses a rewritten DX9-based engine that is (for better or worse) a lot more "advanced." As an example, NWN2 uses raw depth texture formats on the PC (DF16/DF24/INTZ etc which don't exist on the Mac) to read back from the depth buffer in order to cast shadows. Our solution for that in the Mac port, unfortunately, is slower out of necessity. As well, PBOs are almost completely busted on the Nvidia 8x00 cards so they are disabled in favor of a slower path, and that causes a further performance hit in NWN2. I think 10.5.5 may address the latter which would allow us to turn them back on, but I haven't had time to check yet. There was also an issue on the 7300 where the driver was excessively invalidating fragment program state, causing it to run like a dog. I believe NV has also fixed that in 10.5.5 so that fix may be in there now for free.
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#36 Jan

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 10:01 AM

View PostBrad Oliver, on September 25th 2008, 05:36 PM, said:

From a technical standpoint, sure. ;)

Jade Empire uses a fairly old OpenGL-based engine (essentially KotOR's) whereas NWN2 uses a rewritten DX9-based engine that is (for better or worse) a lot more "advanced." As an example, NWN2 uses raw depth texture formats on the PC (DF16/DF24/INTZ etc which don't exist on the Mac) to read back from the depth buffer in order to cast shadows. Our solution for that in the Mac port, unfortunately, is slower out of necessity. As well, PBOs are almost completely busted on the Nvidia 8x00 cards so they are disabled in favor of a slower path, and that causes a further performance hit in NWN2. I think 10.5.5 may address the latter which would allow us to turn them back on, but I haven't had time to check yet. There was also an issue on the 7300 where the driver was excessively invalidating fragment program state, causing it to run like a dog. I believe NV has also fixed that in 10.5.5 so that fix may be in there now for free.

Thank you very much for the detailed explanation.
I didn't understand a single word, but it sounds comprehensibly. :lol:

Anyway, I'm still hoping I'll be able to enjoy NWN2 sometime in the foreseeable future,
even though I run a Mac with a NV graphics card.
I mean, the game cost roughly 80$ in Germany, which is a pretty hefty price tag.

BTW: Brad, we all know you are not responsible for the anti-consumer, crappy DRM-scheme
of GameAgent and the lack of any real content or the release of Kitty's Formidable Cooking Simulator
AAA-blockbuster for the Nintendo DS. You remain our hero.
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#37 mattw

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 10:20 AM

View PostEric5h5, on September 25th 2008, 10:49 AM, said:

Well, let's not be too hasty...Aspyr is just one company, even if they've been responsible for quite a few games I've bought in the past.  Feral, for example, is being pretty awesome these days--go support them; I do.

--Eric

Sorry my frustration really came out there! I am still buying all my games and yes I also think Feral are the top Mac publisher at the moment. In fact most of my purchases in the last year or so have been from Feral. They actual take the time to add Mac friendly features to their titles and didn't go Intel only with everything straight away.

I'm just frustrated as the Aspyr of old really seemed to be behind the Mac and went out the way to get the triple A titles for us ( The Tomb Raiders, Deus Ex, Battlefield 1942, Call of Duty 1 & 2, Elite Force, Lego Star Wars, Doom 3 etc. Unfortunately they then went though a period where they released lots of titles and some didn't sell too well. I purchased many of these and many had bugs that were never fixed or no longer work on later version of Mac OS X (007 Nightfire, Indiana Jones & the Emperors Tomb etc).

Sure the big sellers still got patches and thanks to Brad Oliver we got universal version of some of the Quake 3 engined games - which I am truly grateful for. These days it seems only the odd Mac title is released as Aspyr are doing more and more titles for other platforms. Unfortunately the Mac titles are now usually put back again and again and then we have the announcement of more DRM.

I still plan on buying COD4 (a physical copy) and ETQW went I go Intel. The worry is that if COD4 doesn't sell well because it is Intel only or has bugs or just because a lots of folks have played it in Boot Camp will we end up with more restrict DRM as this is put down to piracy?
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#38 bobbob

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 10:36 AM

View Postteflon, on September 25th 2008, 08:11 AM, said:

I also find GameAgent to be a poorly implemented venture which shouldn't have been attempted.
Of course it should be implemented, and well. It's been done well by others for years. Aspyr's got their games on Steam to prove it. They just dropped the ball on their own share holders by screwing the pooch.

#39 Brad Oliver

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 10:59 AM

View Postmattw, on September 25th 2008, 09:20 AM, said:

I purchased many of these and many had bugs that were never fixed or no longer work on later version of Mac OS X (007 Nightfire, Indiana Jones & the Emperors Tomb etc).

As a point of trivia, those 2 ports were done for us by TransGaming using a precursor to their Cider engine.
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#40 Tacohead

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 11:03 AM

View PostBrad Oliver, on September 25th 2008, 08:36 AM, said:

From a technical standpoint, sure. ;)

Jade Empire uses a fairly old OpenGL-based engine (essentially KotOR's) whereas NWN2 uses a rewritten DX9-based engine that is (for better or worse) a lot more "advanced." As an example, NWN2 uses raw depth texture formats on the PC (DF16/DF24/INTZ etc which don't exist on the Mac) to read back from the depth buffer in order to cast shadows. Our solution for that in the Mac port, unfortunately, is slower out of necessity. As well, PBOs are almost completely busted on the Nvidia 8x00 cards so they are disabled in favor of a slower path, and that causes a further performance hit in NWN2. I think 10.5.5 may address the latter which would allow us to turn them back on, but I haven't had time to check yet. There was also an issue on the 7300 where the driver was excessively invalidating fragment program state, causing it to run like a dog. I believe NV has also fixed that in 10.5.5 so that fix may be in there now for free.

Are you saying this means NWN2 will now run on 24" iMacs with the NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT and 10.5.5? I'll probably wait until I get another Mac anyways but if it's now compatible I might consider it (yes I know it would be slow as molasses).

Thanks for all your efforts btw.  KotOR Mac became may favorite Mac RPG ever when the UB patch came out. Ran smooth as silk after that.  :D  

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