It seems that Steam is coming up with new and bizarre ways of getting their consumers to buy products from their service, be it a game or a game maker, Steam always manages to attract their target audience. The latest method of getting consumers to buy a product or two is Steam Trading Cards. Some of you as a kid has collected tradings cards of some kind. You know, the ones that you get at your local store (i.e. baseball cards or even Magic: The Gathering cards), and when you open them up at home, you either get a VERY valuable (some people overlook the value of some cards, but more on that later) or a worthless card. And the next day at school, you trade cards amongst friends. You get the picture.
Some of you as a kid has collected tradings cards of some kind. You know, the ones that you get at your local store (i.e. baseball cards or even Magic: The Gathering cards), and when you open them up at home, you either get a VERY valuable (some people overlook the value of some cards, but more on that later) or a worthless card. And the next day at school, you trade cards amongst friends. You get the picture.
Today this blog is going to cover Steam Trading Cards. Are they a clever marketing tactic, or another attempt of making a quick buck? The answer is actually both.
From a marketing perspective, offering a game that includes cards is one way of getting a consumer to buy their product (i.e. Left 4 Dead 2). Once the player starts playing the game, they'll start getting cards to add to their inventory. The cards themselves are random, and you'll run into duplicates, which in turn, can be sold at the market for a small price. Every once in an infrequent while, you'll get a booster pack, which adds three more cards into the inventory. Not too long ago, Steam included the ability to convert cards into gems, which can be used to buy booster packs. Unlike the "sell to market for several cents" method, which is temporary, this process is permanent, and some cards are worth even less. And the booster packs themselves aren't cheap, either. When you put everything together, this is a do-able tactic.
Once you've collected the set, you can then convert the cards into a badge. You'll also get a background, chat icon and a coupon for a game off Steam. Once again, another good marketing tactic.
The "cash cow" viewpoint is there are some games out there that aren't very good, and the developers only offer this to make a quick dollar. I have actually fallen prey to this tactic before, and I have regretted buying that particular game. So what I did was play the game, get the cards, and either sell them or turn them into gems, delete the game, and never play again.
One thing I should add is that there are some games out there that actually would benefit from including cards. The first portal game is a good example of this as the game is both fun and popular. Why it was left behind in the "steam cards" category will never be revealed.
This review is something different. Instead of doing a DVD or any other review, I'm going to do something I also never thought I'd be doing: an app.
What makes this different from my other reviews? I'm heading into the world of apps all thanks to my Android tablet. I'm usually unfamiliar with apps due to the fact that I've only had my tablet for about three months.
For the record, THIS IS NOT A VIDEO GAME! THIS APP IS NOT MEANT TO BE USED IN PUBLIC! IF YOU PLAN ON USING THIS APP IN PUBLIC, DO SO AT YOUR OWN RISK! IT'S NOT MY PROBLEM THAT S.W.A.T. GETS A CALL REGARDING A SHOOTING! USE THIS APP AT HOME!
With that said, let's get down to the review. iGun Pro is developed by Crimson Moon and released on iPod and Android devices in July of 2012.
Graphics-When it comes to graphics, there isn't much to talk about. It's just a firearm of your choosing on a black background (good choice in my opinion). The guns themselves look like their real life counterpart (there are a few odd looking guns in this app) and you can modify the skins to the pattern (if someone can find out if this is illegal (recoloring your firearm) let me know) of your choosing. There are over 20 patterns for each gun (the classic weapons only have a few) and each one also look like their real life camouflage patterns.Whe
Sound-Each gun does have their own distinct sound, but you'll be hearing this across several firearms, and whether each gun actually sounds like their app counterpart is debatable (in my opinion, not very likely).
"Gameplay"-I put this in quotes because (in case you didn't see it the first time) this is NOT a video game. It is an interactive encyclopedia of firearms. Besides, all you really do is tap (or hold down) the screen and watch the gun of your choosing fire off a round (or the entire magazine). Just hit the reload button to get a fresh magazine (or insert shells) into the chamber, lock the round into the chamber, and fire away. Keep in mind that the first time you use a firearm, there's one extra round in the chamber, and when you reload, the total shots goes to magazine default (i.e if the gun you chose has a seven round magazine firearm, there's actually eight total as one is already in the chamber). There are options to tinker around with, including the option of infinite ammo, horizontal and rotation recoil, shell speed and so on. You can also change the rate of fire (not all guns have this option) from single shot to burst to full auto. Some shotguns have either single shot to pump action (applies to specific shotguns). The real icing on the cake is being able to look up where each gun was made, and a more detailed history section (thanks to Wikipedia).
Content-When you first download the app, you get about 20 guns to interact with, and if you want more, you'll have to buy coins and purchase the gun of your choice with coins. To me, I find that extremely pointless. Why not just use the Google dollars (or iTunes dollars) and buy the guns that way? Ironically, each gun isn't that expensive so I guess it balances out. I also find it senseless for people to download specific apps in order to get coins (you'll also get 10 coins each time (once a day) you use iGun Pro). Each Saturday also brings out a new firearm to purchase (unless you bought the All Guns unlocked deal, which I did and I get each gun for free). As of now, there are over 250 guns and more on the way.
Overall-If you're the gun enthusiast or someone who wants to know more about firearms, then I'd recommend this app. If you're the Call of Duty or Battlefield gamer, I wouldn't recommend this app because playing either of these games does NOT make you a gun expert. I have actually used real firearms before and I have always had an interest in them (not to mention I've actually taken a firearms safety course). On a scale of 1 to 5, I give this a 4 out of 5. The only thing that remains is to squash a few present bugs and this app is good to go.
Ken Kriho is a videographer, producer and director. He has a YouTube and Twitch channel (links at homepage). Ken is also a graduate with a degree in Art from UWEC.