Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
| The video game industry has gone from a mole hill to a mountain in no time flat, Chris DiMarco is your Sherpa as you endeavor to scale Mount “Everquest”

Apple Pay Vs. Google Wallet

Replacing credit cards can likely only be done if the new system is dead-easy to use and it moreover has to be...

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Signaling Offers Great Differentiation for Mobile Value-Added Service Offerings

We’ve all heard that some Value Added Services (VAS) revenue such as Short Message Service (SMS) are starting to decline in...

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Birdstep Improves Wireless User Experience, Reduces Churn

A smartphone user can get tripped up easily when in motion as today’s smartphones look for WiFi networks to connect to and...

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Sonos BOOST, For Music in Tough to Reach Places

I’ve been using Sonos as an in-home streaming solution for many years and since it relies on WiFi it provides infinite levels...

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IOT tests do NOT tell the whole story

Service providers typically have infrastructure from multiple vendors installed in their networks.  Mostly this is by design since they don’t want...

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Notes from Connections 2014 Part Deux

More notes from BSFT Connections 2014 in the desert by friends of my at the show. These notes are from ANPI's...

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Notes from Connections 2014

Broadsoft Connections kicked off with the usual festivities yesterday including a pool party and a summer fashion show. This morning it...

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The Value of Nostalgia May Give 3D Realms a New Lease on Life

October 23, 2014

When Duke Nukem made his...triumphant?...return to gaming, it was a conversation starter the Net over. This bizarre hyperviolent misogynist who made his biggest hits back in the early days of gaming had a tough time stepping into the future, and as such, that made for a somewhat disappointing release when he finally showed up again. But the company behind Duke's bizarre, trigger-happy adventures is putting those adventures to work with a new release that may spark some future development.

More specifically, 3D Realms—a former subsidiary of Apogee Software, one of the biggest names in early PC classic gaming like “Wolfenstein 3D”--is planning to release a full back-catalog collection containing names so old that only some gamers will even remember them, let alone actually have played them. However, some games might be much more recognizable, as said titles actually kicked off some major developments in the field.

NPD Report: Consoles Good, Games Not So Much

October 20, 2014

So just ahead of the weekend last week, the NPD Group report came out and spelled out gaming by the numbers. Perhaps the biggest point in the article was the unexpected reversal of Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter's bombshell prediction from last week, but amid all the excitement, one thing became clear: the sales of consoles has been pretty brisk, but the game sales have been a mite flat.

Indeed, Pachter's prediction went cock-eyed following the discovery that, indeed, PlayStation 4 sales aced out Xbox One sales, though it was a somewhat closer race than usual. Indeed, both consoles benefited—albeit in different ways—from the arrival of “Destiny”, a game that would go on to drive cries of “loot cave!” that were subsequently and rapidly extinguished. But as a whole, console sales were up and well on the rise, and that's actually contributing to a down market for software.

Right now, there are current-gen games and last-gen games.

The Reports of the World of Warcraft's Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

October 16, 2014

Exciting news from Azeroth today, folks...apparently, the recent massive losses of subscribers were not in fact the beginning of the end for the venerable old MMORPG, but rather a temporary lull. Indeed, there have been a rise of subscribers in recent days, and the numbers are being pinned on an upcoming expansion.

The numbers tell the story rather conclusively; back at the end of June, World of Warcraft was down to around 6.8 million subscribers. Not bad, but definitely a ways off the historic highs. But at the end of September, that number had jumped to fully 7.4 million, picking up better than a half million subscribers.

Xbox One May Have Tipped The Scales On PlayStation 4 Last Month

October 15, 2014

While the last several months have been a nigh-endless litany of how the PlayStation 4 is soundly handing it to the Xbox One in virtually every point that's measurable, one unexpected development came to light recently as an analyst estimate suggested it was the other way around. Trying to pin down the why of it, meanwhile, proved to be quite an exciting proposition.

The word came from Wedbush Morgan Securities, whose own Michael Pachter estimated sales of 325,000 new Xbox One models, as compared to 250,000 PlayStation 4 sales. This represents one of a bare handful of times in which Microsoft has outsold Sony since the devices launched nearly a year ago back in November, and Pachter believes he has a handle on exactly why the reversal took place: the power of freebies.

Pachter elaborated, saying “From September 7 through (September) 13, Microsoft offered a free game with the purchase of a new Xbox One at participating retailers.” While Pachter's numbers are still just an estimate, and will be so until The NPD Group brings out its sales data for the month of September this Thursday, the early word suggests that at least the conclusion—in which Sony loses to Microsoft for just the second time since the devices launched—should hold true.

Moreover, this was the same week that “Destiny” made its launch, and it also matched up closely to the release of the $400 combo pack which featured an Xbox One and the release of “Madden NFL 15”. So this actually combines to offer a great many reasons why gamers would want to pick up an Xbox One in that particular time frame, also demonstrating the intense power of value.

Value, the Barenaked Ladies song said, it's all about value.

What Role Does the Arcade Have in Modern Gaming?

October 14, 2014

It's actually kind of strange to think about, but the arrival of “Star Wars: Battle Pod”--which we talked about last week—kind of got me to thinking. Back in my younger days, I was an arcade enthusiast from a long way back. Of course, back in those days, arcades were a lot more popular then; even the local county fair had a tent lined front to back and ringed all around with arcade cabinets. A bit of nostalgia got me looking again in earnest, and what I found got me to thinking.

Is It Time to Revive a Few Good Classics?

October 13, 2014

Not long ago, I spotted plans from Sierra to put a bit of a new spin on an old classic. Specifically, there were plans afoot to revive the Gabriel Knight series by making a 20th anniversary special remake of Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Father. Beyond that, however, there was also a new Gabriel Knight story set to arrive in PDF form, free for the downloading, and that got me wondering. What about some of the other games out there that haven't been heard from of late?

New Reports Emerge On The Oculus Rift's Commercial Release Date

October 9, 2014

It's a question that's been fresh in plenty of users' minds pretty much since they even heard about an Oculus Rift in the first place: when exactly is this thing coming out? A new report presents something like bad news for those who feel the waiting too sharply already, yet at the same time, a note of good news as well. Specifically, it's going to be a while before the Oculus Rift hits commercially, but there's a good reason for the extra wait.

Basically, the Oculus Rift's makers out at Oculus VR / Facebook are specifically working to make the device better-suited to the long haul, likely knowing that once wearers get the thing on it's going to take an act of Congress, God, or sheer hunger to get the thing back off again. Reports from Bloomberg suggest that the company is “really close” to a release, but that it's still going to be a few months as the product is ultimately refined and made as comfortable as possible.

It's not just a matter of comfort, though; the company is reportedly eager to make sure the product is also easy to use, right out of the box.

Are the Arcades Dead? Bandai Namco's "Star Wars: Battle Pod" Says No.

October 8, 2014

It would have been a safe bet, even just a couple weeks ago, to say that the arcade that we know it is dead, consigned to the ash heap of history by a combination of powerful consoles, improved PCs and increasingly accessible high-speed Internet. But there seem to be some elements of arcade gaming out there, and they're showing up in increasingly strange places. One development that proves the arcade isn't quite so dead as expected was a new release from Bandai Namco, specifically, a new Star Wars-themed arcade machine called “Star Wars: Battle Pod.”

“Star Wars: Battle Pod” got an official unveiling just ahead of the New York Comic-Con, which really wasn't a surprise given that most attendees of the New York Comic-Con are likely gamers on at least some level as well. But “Star Wars: Battle Pod” is a little something different and a lot something exciting.

Is ArcheAge's Call to Restrict Chat the Right Move?

October 7, 2014

Recently I spotted a new development out at Trion that left me thinking. The comparatively new RPG the studio released, "ArcheAge," made the call to restrict chat functions to higher-level characters only. While the decision only affects characters under level 15, the idea has both some rational purpose behind it and some deeply concerning effects in play as well.

When "ArcheAge" players reach level 15, under the new system, they'll have access to faction chat functions, trade, shout systems, need party, and complete nation chat mechanisms. The recent changes that brought the shift in chat functions also brought healer weapons for quest rewards, improvements to warehouse size, and a tougher Kraken fight.

No Marketing? No Problem. "State of Decay" Clears Two Million Games Sold

October 6, 2014

It's almost staggeringly counter-intuitive, the idea that a game—or anything else for that matter—could sell, and sell extremely well, without the benefit of formal marketing methods behind it. Whether extensive social media work or expensive advertising work or anything like that, most products all but require marketing to sell even passably well. The idea of “if you build it, they will come” hasn't really worked since Kevin Costner gave it a shot, but in a way, it's working out—and pretty well—for “State of Decay”, the game that's sold over two million copies so far despite nothing significant in the way of formal marketing efforts.

So what did it? What drove “State of Decay” to staggering heights of sales despite precious little ad spend or anything like that?

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