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You Will Be Missed, Qore May 7, 2013

Posted by Maniac in Editorials, Histories, You Will Be Missed.

I’ve been following gaming news for over ten years and I’ve been involved in the industry for over eight years as a staff writer on various sites.  I understand that not all companies last forever, but there comes a time when you are so caught up in the activities of an organization that when it shuts down, a part of you goes with it.  It’s happened to me more times than I can remember, but here’s a list of companies from my experiences that are no longer with us.  They’ve either been shut down, gone bankrupt, or were taken over so badly that they are no longer the same company I loved.  It is a sad story to see such great potential end abruptly, but like life we have to move on, but we will never forget.

The year was 2008.  With Sony’s Playstation 3 out for two years and its Playstation Network Store looking like a viable distribution service for interesting commercial opportunities, Sony decided to take a page from the Substance.TV book of development and create their own DVD-style monthly magazine for PS3 owners.  This was no new idea, even in the days when the PC CD-ROM was picking up, there were always companies trying to use this method to create an interactive magazine for consumers to purchase.  The problem was, most of these projects, whether they were on CD-ROM or later DVD, ultimately failed.  If you don’t believe me, I’m probably the only person in the world who remembers what Sweet Digizine was.  But Sony had a unique idea, they were going to focus strictly on gamers and sell using a service they already had access to on a device they already owned.  This would save a ton in distribution and manufacturing costs alone, as unlike previous DVD or CD-ROM magazines, Sony’s would be released exclusively through the Playstation Network without any physical media.  The downside was this would only be playable on the Playstation 3.

Qore’s first year of sales came from a standalone yearly subscription.  The price was actually quite reasonable, it was around $25-$30 US for twelve issues.  In comparison, most yearly magazine subscriptions would have a similar price.  I actually remember purchasing that first year’s subscription and thinking it had a great first year.  Each month would have its own previews and reviews of upcoming games that would appear on the PS3, as well as content on upcoming movies on Blu-Ray Disc.  They offered unique HD featurettes you couldn’t watch anywhere else, and every once in a while, I would get e-mailed a download code for a free PSN game I could keep forever, or early demo or beta access.

The only problem was that Sony was not offering physical copies of Qore on disc, and at the time, PS3’s didn’t really offer big enough hard drives that could hold a lot of issues of Qore.  On the low end, a PS3 would have around 40GB of avalible space, and much of it would be taken up by essential programs on top of required game installation data, DLC, and PS Home.  A normal issue of Qore took up about 1.5 GB of space on average.  While Sony allowed users to redownload issues of Qore whenever they wanted to authorized PS3s, once the month was over, unless there was some feature a user really liked in it, there was no reason to keep it installed.  In fact, I remember not being able to afford to renew my subscription for a second year at a discounted price, and just giving up on the service instead of renewing when the renewal price was raised.  This would probably be considered the precursor to my Playstation Plus feelings.

After the second year, Qore moved from being a standalone subscription service to becoming part of the new Playstation Plus initiative, which offered free issues of Qore, discounts for DLC, and free access to games all for a whopping $50 US a year.  I wasn’t interested in becoming a part of a service which would cut off access to my games as soon as I stopped paying for it, and I thought the price for such a service was unreasonably high, so I never became a Playstation Plus member, and I thought for sure that would be the end of my access to Qore.  Issues continued to be released monthly, and they became stamped with yellow free price tags, making it clear to gamers that only Playstation Plus subscribers would have the ability to download them.

However, by the end of it’s run, something unusual happened.  After a week or so of being released for Playstation Plus subscribers, Sony was actually giving away new Qore issues as a free download to anyone, not just Playstation Plus subscribers.  I thought this must’ve been some mistake in the Playstation Network, or just some kind of temporary sale, so I downloaded all the new issues as they became available for free.  There were some great features on new games I was interested in, including Sorcery, and Resistance 3, and even a great travelogue on Canada.  However, my worst fears were confirmed in April 2012, as they announced during the introduction video that this would be the final issue.  I was crushed.

It has been over a year since the final episode of Qore was posted on the Playstation Network.  I don’t really want to go into why I believed the service ultimately was discontinued.  There could have been a myriad of issues which contributed to this factor and being that I am not an insider on this I would not want to speculate.  I just want to say what a shame it was that such a unique service had to be discontinued, and will join other similar failures like Sweet Digizine, and Substance.TV.  In their heyday they offered great exclusive video content with decent production value, occasional free game downloads, and always had previews to games I was interested in learning more about.  Perhaps with the internet being the de-facto distribution network for so much free information, this kind of product just does not work in today’s economy, even if it’s focused on gamers.

You will be missed.


1. You Will Be Missed (Part 4) | GameXcess.net - Gaming News, Videos and Editorials! - May 11, 2013

[…] the article I did earlier in the week about the one year anniversary of the demise of Qore, I thought about some other journalistic pursuits that have also been shut down recently, and then […]

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