In app game purchase! Grrrrrr!

I went to goggle play looking for a new, interesting game and saw a list of half off games. I’m okay with paying a little bit to own a game and play it whenever I feel like it.

But no, this wasn’t 50% off to own a game. This  was 50% off in app purchases. Because in app purchases make more money.

You might think I’m pissed off at devs for doing this, and you’d be slightly right. It is annoying as F to get interested in a game and really enjoy it only to get half way through and run out of  “energy” or have long ass wait periods for certain things to load. Even worse; power-ups that cost $1 each.

But no, it annoys me far more that people will actually spend $20 or more on Candy Crush on in app purchases, making this a viable option for devs in the first place.

Candy Crush had over 300 levels. If they split the game up into 50 levels a piece and charged $2.99 for each game package, with chances to win power ups, then I would totally buy it. But I’m not their demographic. The people they want to play their game will spend hundreds or even thousands just to solve one more puzzle.

It seems like more and more games are turning to in app purchases.  Thankfully Google now warns you before you download a game. I rejected 20 different games because of the in app purchase tag.

Sadly they don’t tell you what kind of in app purchase is available. If it was a purchase for an expansion, or for new skins I’d be okay with that. It’s pay to win games that really bug me. Or pay to have an enjoyable experience.

Just put a price tag on your game as a whole instead of doing in app purchases!

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Who deserves the money?

A few days ago, Jim C Hines released his yearly statement on pay from traditional publishers. In response, Michael J Sullivan made this statement:

I really applaud Jim’s commitment with sharing income information. Back when I was unpublished I remember getting incredibly depressed after seeing his posts and the survey done by Tobias Buckell[1] about income and science fiction/fantasy writing.

I think it is important for people to understand just what the economic realities of this business are…

Nowadays I have a bit of a different perspective…I’m angry. Angry that someone like Jim could sell not one, not two, but three novels in a single year and still make, why I consider to be an incredibly small amount of money for the amount of work required to do so.

I’m angry he has to fit his writing around a day job. I’m angry that after 18 years and nine novels with one of the major imprints he’s made $33,598.19 last year and $60,800.

That’s just a part of what he had to say, and I admit, I agree with him. The major reason I don’t plan to go back to traditional publishing is the fact tat the royalties suck. A lot of the time you get an advancement, and never actually earn out for one reason or another, so you never get another dime. Plus you can’t go to Amazon, or B&N and see how many books you sold. You have no control over price, or sales. And if you want your rights back… well that’s not happening either.

But, I think placing all his anger on the publishing company is out of place.

How long have we had self publishing available? 70% royalties from Amazon, and we get to see everything. We have complete transparency, and ability to adjust everything the way we like. Not only that, but it’s been proven that you can make money that way. That you can gain fans, and become a best seller. That it is possible to do well, and that a hybrid model (publishing books in both traditional and self publishing) is the most effective way of getting your name out there, and getting paid.

And Mr. Hines doesn’t bother with self publishing.

To expect traditional publishing to change very quickly, after it’s been growing in momentum for the last few hundred years, is unreasonable. It’s like a train barreling down the tracks at high speed. It has a lot of weight behind it, and it is going to take a lot of force to stop it.

We, indie publishers, have added a lot of force to at least get them to change direction a little bit. They are bringing down some prices. They are starting to offer better deals to some of their writers, like letting them keep ebook rights. But it’s going to take a while to figure out the balance between traditional publishing and self publishing.

Ultimately, the power is in the hands of the authors. We can choose to go traditional, or we can choose to self publish. We have to weigh the cost and benefits for ourselves. Being angry at the traditional publishers for their lousy deals is like being mad at a train that won’t stop on a dime. They have only as much reason to change as we give them.

I’d also like to say we will probably be discussing this on The Self Publishing Round Table this Thursday at , so if you are looking for an interesting discussion of this, and other relevant topics, you should check that out this week.

Tales from the Used Car Lot

image

Let me just preface this with… I knew better. I did it anyway. In a way, I deserved it. But it is still irritating as F%*!

A couple of days ago my boyfriend and I started out on our day off. We were going to Tandy for some leather, and on the way out of the driveway we stopped at the mailbox. I wish I hadn’t.

In the mail was a large flyer for a used car dealership saying “Come in and claim your prise!” I scratched off the box, and of course it said “$750”. Not the $5 gift certificate to Walmart that most people got.

I read the entire terms of the contest, and the only thing I could find that said it might not be $750 was a little part that said “we will check your code against the billboard in the office, and if it matches you’ve won.”

$750 was a lot of money. It’s an entire paycheck for me. It would have bought all the presents I’d been dreaming of getting my kids, and a the tablet I’ve been so desperately desiring. I could already imagine it. And all I had to do was go check some code, and maybe… unlikely, but maybe… I won it.

So we went to a used car lot.

Now, let me just say that I avoid used car dealerships like the plague most of the time. The last time I stepped on a lot it was only because my car died, and it would have been thousands to fix it, so I decided to get a newer model, one that would last a while. And I didn’t do too bad. My car was only $5000, and it’s been three years since I got it. Most of the issues wrong with it are just regular wear and tear that you’d expect when a car hits 130K miles.

So when the dealer sat us down, and gave us his pitch to buy a car I was only half listening. My car was “okay”, but I wouldn’t have minded a newer, model if they had one in my price range.

He got my info, took it to the banker, brought it back with good news… I could qualify for a loan if I found a car I liked.

Here is where things started to turn south. I was, at this point, ready to get the $5 gift certificate and leave. But, of course, they want to sell me a car if they can. So he asked what my price range was. I told him $150 a month, fully expecting he would say “that’s not possible” and send me on my way.

He comes back with a set of keys, ready for a test drive. I asked him “How much” and he said “the banker handles that, he’ll tell you when we get back.” Red flag one.

The car drove pretty nice. I really liked it, but I knew as I was driving it that I could never afford something that nice. Too bad, I’ve always wanted something that nice.

We get back to the dealership and the guy asks for my keys so they can check it for a trade in, and walks off. Red flag #2!

The manager comes out and tells me the car is $20,000, only $400 a month. Red flag #3, and I’m done. After scraping my jaw up off the floor I say “That’s WAY more then I said I was willing to pay. I think we’re wasting each others time, I’ll just take my keys and go.”

“No, no, no,” he said, running his hands through his oily hair, and smiling so big I could see every tooth, “just tell me what you think you can do, and we’ll work on getting closer.” Asks me how much I would be willing to spend per month, again, and I tell him at the very most… $200. Not a penny more.

He comes back 20 min later with another offer. With my trade in, he’ll give me the newer car for something like $18000, and only $280 a month.

Are you kidding me? Seriously?

My boyfriend shows him the Kelly Blue book of $12,000 and we both tell him he wouldn’t be able to get a dime more then that with or without the trade in.

He goes through the numbers again, with and without trade ins. With extra down payments. Etc. Etc. He tries to convince me to try one more time, and I put my foot down and tell him I don’t care about trade ins or anything, if the price of the car isn’t less then $8k then it isn’t happening. Can I please have my keys back I’d like to go.

Then the car dealership financer comes out. She explains “what a great deal this is”, and how lucky I am to get this 5% interest rate. No one ever gets this interest rate. and “YOU QUALIFY, it’s already been approved. The bank said you can afford it.”

I very politely tell her she is a fucking idiot. No, not with those words, but that was my sentiment.

I did tell her that I didn’t care what the bank said I could afford. I knew my finances. I was the one paying my rent, utilities, and for three kids, not the bank. I would be the one getting expensive full coverage insurance because I had a financed vehicle, not the bank. And I CAN’T AFFORD IT! And I didn’t know why they were showing me that car in the first place since I told them at the beginning I couldn’t afford more then $150 a month. Now, can I have the keys to my car. (For those keeping track, that’s the third time I asked for keys.)

She tried to explain that getting a loan for $150 isn’t possible. That’s not how banks work. I called her on it and said she was straight up lying. I know it’s possible, I did it before.

She finally…. FINALLY…. gave up. Almost.

They brought me my keys, but tried to show me another car that was more in my price range.

The car was ugly, beat up, the paint scuffed and oxidized. My cute little red ford focus looked beautiful compared to that car.

“No dice,” I told him. “Your sales crew is slimy, and underhanded. They flat out lied, and tried talking me into something I couldn’t afford. I wouldn’t buy a car from them if they were the last dealership on earth. I’m going to Craigslist from now on.”

Bait and switch. Any car dealership that does bait and switch isn’t worth a second thought.

Tales from the Used Car Lot

image

Let me just preface this with… I knew better. I did it anyway. In a way, I deserved it. But it is still irritating as F%*!

A couple of days ago my boyfriend and I started out on our day off. We were going to Tandy for some leather, and on the way out of the driveway we stopped at the mailbox. I wish I hadn’t.

In the mail was a large flyer for a used car dealership saying “Come in and claim your prise!” I scratched off the box, and of course it said “$750”. Not the $5 gift certificate to Walmart that most people got.

I read the entire terms of the contest, and the only thing I could find that said it might not be $750 was a little part that said “we will check your code against the billboard in the office, and if it matches you’ve won.”

$750 was a lot of money. It’s an entire paycheck for me. It would have bought all the presents I’d been dreaming of getting my kids, and a the tablet I’ve been so desperately desiring. I could already imagine it. And all I had to do was go check some code, and maybe… unlikely, but maybe… I won it.

So we went to a used car lot.

Now, let me just say that I avoid used car dealerships like the plague most of the time. The last time I stepped on a lot it was only because my car died, and it would have been thousands to fix it, so I decided to get a newer model, one that would last a while. And I didn’t do too bad. My car was only $5000, and it’s been three years since I got it. Most of the issues wrong with it are just regular wear and tear that you’d expect when a car hits 130K miles.

So when the dealer sat us down, and gave us his pitch to buy a car I was only half listening. My car was “okay”, but I wouldn’t have minded a newer, model if they had one in my price range.

He got my info, took it to the banker, brought it back with good news… I could qualify for a loan if I found a car I liked.

Here is where things started to turn south. I was, at this point, ready to get the $5 gift certificate and leave. But, of course, they want to sell me a car if they can. So he asked what my price range was. I told him $150 a month, fully expecting he would say “that’s not possible” and send me on my way.

He comes back with a set of keys, ready for a test drive. I asked him “How much” and he said “the banker handles that, he’ll tell you when we get back.” Red flag one.

The car drove pretty nice. I really liked it, but I knew as I was driving it that I could never afford something that nice. Too bad, I’ve always wanted something that nice.

We get back to the dealership and the guy asks for my keys so they can check it for a trade in, and walks off. Red flag #2!

The manager comes out and tells me the car is $20,000, only $400 a month. Red flag #3, and I’m done. After scraping my jaw up off the floor I say “That’s WAY more then I said I was willing to pay. I think we’re wasting each others time, I’ll just take my keys and go.”

“No, no, no,” he said, running his hands through his oily hair, and smiling so big I could see every tooth, “just tell me what you think you can do, and we’ll work on getting closer.” Asks me how much I would be willing to spend per month, again, and I tell him at the very most… $200. Not a penny more.

He comes back 20 min later with another offer. With my trade in, he’ll give me the newer car for something like $18000, and only $280 a month.

Are you kidding me? Seriously?

My boyfriend shows him the Kelly Blue book of $12,000 and we both tell him he wouldn’t be able to get a dime more then that with or without the trade in.

He goes through the numbers again, with and without trade ins. With extra down payments. Etc. Etc. He tries to convince me to try one more time, and I put my foot down and tell him I don’t care about trade ins or anything, if the price of the car isn’t less then $8k then it isn’t happening. Can I please have my keys back I’d like to go.

Then the car dealership financer comes out. She explains “what a great deal this is”, and how lucky I am to get this 5% interest rate. No one ever gets this interest rate. and “YOU QUALIFY, it’s already been approved. The bank said you can afford it.”

I very politely tell her she is a fucking idiot. No, not with those words, but that was my sentiment.

I did tell her that I didn’t care what the bank said I could afford. I knew my finances. I was the one paying my rent, utilities, and for three kids, not the bank. I would be the one getting expensive full coverage insurance because I had a financed vehicle, not the bank. And I CAN’T AFFORD IT! And I didn’t know why they were showing me that car in the first place since I told them at the beginning I couldn’t afford more then $150 a month. Now, can I have the keys to my car. (For those keeping track, that’s the third time I asked for keys.)

She tried to explain that getting a loan for $150 isn’t possible. That’s not how banks work. I called her on it and said she was straight up lying. I know it’s possible, I did it before.

She finally…. FINALLY…. gave up. Almost.

They brought me my keys, but tried to show me another car that was more in my price range.

The car was ugly, beat up, the paint scuffed and oxidized. My cute little red ford focus looked beautiful compared to that car.

“No dice,” I told him. “Your sales crew is slimy, and underhanded. They flat out lied, and tried talking me into something I couldn’t afford. I wouldn’t buy a car from them if they were the last dealership on earth. I’m going to Craigslist from now on.”

Bait and switch. Any car dealership that does bait and switch isn’t worth a second thought.

It’s been a while

I haven’t written a post in a while because I’m tired of being a negative Nancy. My life isn’t that bad, so I really shouldn’t be.

Here’s the thing… I was hoping that in March I would be able to start the paperwork on buying a new home. Not renting, and wasting thousands of dollars on something I can’t change. Not dealing with ugly beige carpets that get new black spots ever time someone walks in with shoes on. (Seriously, why do they put beige carpets in DINING ROOMS?!?!?! It makes not sense.)

No, I thought I’d have my own home that I could paint, rip out carpets, ruin, or improve… but it would be mine.

I have a house loan. I can do this… if I can get a down payment. Which I can’t. My car breaks, or a kid gets sick, or my tooth gets a crack and… good buy down payment that I’ve been saving for a year. Or two. Or three.

And I don’t really want to leave the school district we are in because they’ve been so great to us. But the housing costs are rising here, and I won’t be able to afford even rent soon.

So, there you go. I’m feeling kind of negative as my savings gets eaten up, and I have nothing much to show for it.

Yay.

And, I am trying to look at the bright side. My kids are happy, healthy, and doing well in school. We have a roof over our heads. I have a steady job. We are all doing well.

But I’d really like a house… or at the very least I’d like to see upward movement in my house fund instead of the sudden downward movement every time I think I’ve gotten there.

Grumble.

Why I Won’t Buy the XB1

No one disagrees that the future is going digital. Nor do they disagree with Microsoft’s rights to do so this soon. It does seem a bit pre-mature to a lot of people who are without internet, or have sporadic, or bad internet. The same people who love their console games because they do not have to get online for downloads, updates, multi-player and the like.

I do, however, disagree with the fact that the game you buy as a physical disk isn’t actually yours and you can not do anything with it except install it onto your personal XB1. You can’t give it to a friend to play. You can’t really sell it to a used game store. I can already see used game stores are going to refuse to take them because they can only be re-registered to a new console once. How does Gamestop know if someone else already registered it? They don’t. So they can’t do it.

On top of the money you pay to Gamestop to get the game, you also have to pay the publisher/Microsoft again, for a used game. This is like Ikea charging you for buying a bookshelf, then charging someone who buys that bookshelf at a garage sale. It’s ridiculous.

Then there is the kinect. Always on, always watching, always listening. With NSA recording, watching, and storing anything they damn well feel like, and Microsoft being one of the companies that are supporting the NSA in doing this, then it just doesn’t sound safe to me. I wouldn’t want it in my living room watching me. It’s just creepy. What if I want to play Skyrim while I am skyclad? No, not happening. 

Yes, digital is the future, and honestly, I buy most of my games on Steam because the prices reflect the fact that you can not resell them. They have great sales, and they allow you to download it to any computer you want, as many times as you want and play offline if you like. Want to play with a friend? Buy them another copy, it’s probably less then $20.

Microsoft will be selling you brand new games with a physical disk that you can not resell without a lot of trouble, for $60. 

Maybe other gamers can afford that… Maybe they don’t mind invasion of privacy, or limitations put on your personal property. That’s up to gamers. I, personally, will not be getting an XB1.