In a battle between DS owners of the Autobot and Decepticon versions of the official Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen game, the good guys have the edge.
The new Transformers game, like its DS predecessor, has an online web-site-based metagame that pits its owners against each other. And, as of today, the Autobot side is winning.
A check of the official website for the so-called Battle for Earth, shows Autobots earning more than 26 million pieces of Energon compared to almost 22 million by Decepticon players, four days into a battle among all the game's web-connected owners.
Like a Pokemon or Nintendogs DS game, the Transformers DS movie games come in multiple versions. Non-rich people purchasing the DS version of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen must make a choice:
Buy the Decepticon or Autobot version.
Whichever version a player has determines their faction when they connect their DS online and join to fight in the metagame battle. Players don't compete in standard competitive multiplayer matches. Instead, connecting the game online unlocks new daily challenges. The challenges are single-player snippets of action set in the 3D enviornments of the DS game. Performance in those challenges is uploaded back to the official site and points are added to a faction's tally. The battlegrounds are spread across six regions of a global map and the war continues until one faction controls the six regions. Currently, Decepticons only have a strong edge in the game's Australia region.
This morning, I bought the Decepticons version of the DS game. I connected online and decided to help the war effort in Europe. My single-player mission involved trying to defend a region for about two minutes. I was terrible at it, possibly owing to how low-powered my starter-Decepticon is. I was able to hold off for about 15 seconds, earning 450 experience points (for rank) and several hundred bits of Energon. I'm the 784th-most valuable contributor to the Decepticon effort. Our top fighter has contributed 1,218,150 pieces of Energon.
The metagame concept used in these Transformers games assumes a close to even balance between those who will buy the Autobot version of the Activision-published game and the Decepticon version. It's a safe guess, apparently. An Activision rep I interviewed about this metagame for the first Transformers DS game in 2007 told me that Hasbro has determined that Transformers fans are split 50/50 between the two factions (So nobody's for the Quintessons? Thank goodness.)
Maybe the creators of hip-hop games should divide their games into East Coast and West Coast flavors. Or Gran Turismo could be sold in Democrat and Republican editions.
Whatever the case, the Decepticons could use some help.