Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My thoughts on the whole 3D phenomenon

Top: 3D glasses from the 1950s, below are the modern 3D glasses
3D has been around for quite some time, in fact 3D was considered the "golden era" in the 1950's and yet very few films have ever been able to pull it off successively.

However, this past year it seems that the movie industry has decided to bring it back... Big time.

I consider 3D a gimmick and I'm not a big fan... This is due to the fact that needing an extra accessory to look at a screen seems stupid, even worse for those whom already wear prescribed glasses.  The other reason is that it's a ploy for movie studios to make more money off you.  Paying to go see a non-3D movie in southern California is already ridiculously overpriced as it is which is why I rarely go to the theaters to begin with.  To see a movie after work hours rangers anywhere from $9 - $12.  If you want to see that movie in 3D you have pay an additional $2 - $4 to cover the cost of the 3D effects used and the glasses.

And while we're talking about 3D glasses, I'd like to bring this to your attention.. Part of that extra cost you're paying to see that movie in 3D goes towards those glasses you need to wear.  Alot of theaters would expect you toss them out after the movies are over.  So what if I choose to keep those glasses I paid for?  Can I go back to the theater and watch the 3D movie at a reduced cost?  I shouldn't be obligated to pay the extra cost of 3D in full if I already have the accessory I paid for.  Of course this strategy would never fly with any theater, which bugs me but I don't blame the theaters, I blame the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).

Having worked for MANN Theaters, I know for a fact that theaters make no money off the movies.  The only profit theaters make is what they sell from the concession stands.  The MPAA determine the cost of the tickets as well as the extra cost to see movies in 3D.  As ridiculous as this may sound, the MPAA feel they're not paid enough for their movies they produce; so by adding 3D, they can expect us to pay (alot) more to see these movies.  If it wasn't the MPAA's intention to sponge more money from you, then why don't theaters tell you to keep your glasses and not place 3D glasses disposable containers everywhere?  They don't because they're required to have you to pay the full extra cost to see that movie in 3D every time.  That's the second reason why I don't like 3D.

I can tell you that the only movie I've gone out of my way to see in 3D was Avatar.  Which they did very well.  However there have been alot of films that have done a shitty job with it.. I can name three off the top of my head:
  • Final Destination 4
  • Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland
  • Clash of the Titans

Adding 3D to a shitty film does not make it better.  And that really bugs me.  It's one thing to pay to go see a shitty movie, it's another when you're forced to pay MORE to see them in 3D.  That's just rubbing salt in the wound.

This is my third and last reason why I don't like 3D:

3D is being shoved down our throats.  The whole focus of 2010's CES was 3D HDTV's.  That's all it was, a huge hype for 3D.

Lets pretend you bought into the hype:  You just bought your brand new 3D HDTV, and you're having people over for the Superbowl party, your HDTV comes with 2 pairs of 3D glasses, but you invited over 10 people.  So these are your options:
  1. You go out and buy 8 extra pairs of 3D glasses
  2. You have your friends to bring or buy their own pair of 3D glasses
  3. You turn off the 3D feature on your HDTV and watch the game w/o 3D
  4. You have your other 8 friends watch the game on another TV because they can't look at a blurry screen

Option 1 sucks for you because you're paying money for something you'll rarely need.  Option 2 would be pretty shitty for your friends if they don't have or forgot their 3D glasses.  Option 3 defeats the point in buying a 3D HDTV.  Option 4 defeats the purpose of having a party when the party is split up.  No matter how you look at it, all these options look pretty shitty.

At this point in time, the negatives certainly outweigh the positives of 3D.  That one time when I went to see Avatar I couldn't help but feel like a dumb ass having to wear 3D glasses to watch a movie.  They look tacky and you look stupid wearing them.  It must feel worse for those whom wear glasses having to stack glasses to get the 3D benefit.  If manufacturers are able to come up with a way to produce 3D effects on their TVs without requiring us having to wear 3D glasses then (for me) that's a huge benefit.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Mythic/EA overcharges subscribers accounts... Some as many as 80+ times


Mythic Entertainment, known for their MMO games: Dark Age of Camelot and Warhammer Online recently had a fiasco that they'll never be able to recover from.  Apparently their billing systems glitched resulting in charging their active (and some inactive) subscribers as many as up to 80+ times resulting in overcharges exceeding $1000+ dollars.. More in overdraft charges if people didn't have enough money in their accounts.

Mythic claims they have addressed the issue with their billing system and that the overcharges should be reversed starting today.

According to some posters on their forums, people whom unsubscribed as long as six months ago were also charged numerous times.  One has to wonder why ANY billing system would still hold customer's credit card information when the company has no reason to bill them after the fact.

Dark Age of Camelot, released October 2001 had as many as 200,000+ subscribers, according to Wikipedia, their subscriber base was down to an estimated 50,000 subscribers as of January 2008.  One can assume that number is much less now two years later...  One thing's for sure, they're going to lose alot more now as some of these subscribers can't pay their bills now.  This billing fiasco Mythic faced very well might be nail in the coffin for that game.

Also keep in mind Mythic is now part of EA... So uh yeah... Word of advice, don't buy any EA game online (via their online store) or subscribe to any future EA MMO anytime soon. I can't help but wonder if EA is using the same billing system.