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”

Wearable Tech Expo 2014 Kicking off in NYC

My team is at the Jacob Javits Center setting up for Wearable Tech Expo 2014 which will take place Wednesday and Thursday...

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When Does WebRTC Need a Media Server? Reason #7

Tsahi Levent-Levi’s white paper, “Seven Reasons for WebRTC Server-Side Processing,” details a variety of WebRTC-related scenarios that necessitate a media server....

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How signaling spikes affect networks: 3 real-world examples

By: Josee Loudiadis, Director of Network Intelligence, Alcatel-Lucent

Data and signaling growth are usually good news for network operators, since growth often translates into higher revenues. But when growth is averaged over a month or quarter, the daily highs and lows of network activity are smoothed out. And signaling spikes remain hidden within the averages. These spikes can overwhelm available signaling capacity, which impairs the customer experience, as well as the operator’s reputation.

What happens when a spike occurs? Typically, a CPU Overload alarm appears on various mobile nodes. And the Network Operations Center (NOC) immediately starts praying that the burst is short-lived and doesn’t go over maximum peak-rate capacity. Because when that happens, all consumers are denied service access. Then, the process of identifying the source of the problem begins. This can be arduous, because it often involves applications completely out of NOC control. And the issue can’t be resolved easily without solid network analytics that enables engagement with application and device developers.

That’s the reason signaling information is a crucial part of the Alcatel-Lucent Mobile Apps Rankings report and why LTE World 2014 devotes an entire pre-conference day to the topic. It’s also why this blog offers a closer look at how some real-world disruptive signaling spikes got started — and were finally resolved.

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The Expanding Channel Programs

Not only do I see more cloud service providers looking to the channel for sales, I see other channel programs expanding....

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When Does WebRTC Need a Media Server? Reason #6

In a recent blog about the current state of WebRTC, I mentioned that readers should check out an excellent white paper...

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The Six Degrees of Mobile Data Plan Innovation: It's Not All About Data- Mobile Voice and Messaging Share Plans Offer Plenty of Appeal

Alcatel-Lucent’s Rich Crowe continues the Six Degrees of Mobile Data Plan Innovation blog series by examining the degree to which consumers are interested in share plans that include unlimited voice and messaging but don’t include data.

The last Six Degrees blog explored consumer attitudes toward two different mobile share plan options: sharing data only and sharing voice, messaging and data. This blog will explore attitudes toward a 3rd option: sharing unlimited voice and messaging — but not data — across multiple devices or subscribers.

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200G Optical Networks: What you need to know

By: Earl Kennedy, IP Transport Product Marketing, Alcatel-Lucent

Optical network operators have already made the move to 100G. But skyrocketing bandwidth demand means many are already pondering what’s next. With a 200G optical solution hitting the market, you probably have questions about when to move to 200G optical – and what you need to know when you make that move.

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Do Game Rentals Mean Game Sales?

July 24, 2014

While the days of the video store seem to be somewhat in decline, and the idea of the rented game was going out with such edifices—for a while there, it was almost impossible to rent a game for the Xbox One, before massive outcry from the user base turned that around—there's a new report out that suggests that it may be a good idea to leave the game rental side of things alone, particularly in terms of Redbox.

While streaming and downloading are increasingly the way to go to get new games for many users, there are still plenty who turn to physical discs and the distribution methods for same. Redbox's director of video games, Ryan Calnan, pointed out that there's as much as a 50 percent conversion rate for gamers who rent games through Redbox subsequently going out and buying said game later on. Calnan's figures suggest that there's a minimum of a 20 percent conversion rate, but either way, that's a pretty good figure. Reports suggest that time of year is a major factor in whether it trends toward the bottom end or the top end of the scale, and represents a big opportunity for game makers.

Reports suggest that two games that tried specific Redbox promotions—Saints Row 4 and Thief—actually saw incremental purchases from those who normally wouldn't classify themselves as gamers.



The Long Dark: Whither Survival Gaming?

July 23, 2014

Ever feel like the game “How to Survive” was horribly misnamed? Ever play hardcore mode on “Fallout: New Vegas” and wish every game was like that? There may be some hope as yet with a new kind of game that seems to be cropping up of late, at least on PC, and it's being exemplified in a new game known as “The Long Dark.” But “The Long Dark” has got me to thinking, what's going on in the field of survival gaming, anyway?

There have been some efforts on this front. On a certain level, “How to Survive” took a run at it, and the Xbox Live Arcade indie title “Survivalist” gave it a shot as well.

Microsoft's Quarterly Numbers Prove Xbox One's Worth

July 22, 2014

Last quarter, Microsoft shipped 1.1 million Xbox units. That's a pretty stark number to start things out with, but there's quite a bit more to that number than meets the eye. In fact, starting to run down that number along with the rest of the numbers from the fourth quarter of Microsoft's fiscal year 2014 shows some key points that suggest the Xbox division is looking fairly sharp.

That 1.1 million units actually represents both Xbox One and Xbox 360 units, and actually represents a 10 percent increase in total sales for the devices. Not particularly exciting, of course, but here's the interesting part; the Xbox One is priced quite a bit higher than a 2013-era Xbox 360 was, so that's a boost in revenue for Microsoft; fully 14 percent extra revenue, in fact, taking the total for the quarter to $104 million.

It's Game On For Android Wear Smartwatches With Swip3

July 21, 2014

While Android Wear hasn't exactly been around for long, it's already starting to turn some heads in the wearable tech department, and with good reason. After all, it's a whole new idea in terms of getting the Android platform out of just smartphones and tablets and directly onto users' wrists. Not surprisingly, this was the kind of development that the gaming market couldn't help but get in on, and Swip3 represents the first game, at last report, specifically designed with the Android Wear in mind.

Swip3 takes advantage of the limitations inherent in a smartwatch—small display and comparatively tight control spaces—to bring out a game where users simply flick blocks around a field, much in the same way that “2048” did. Though this time, instead of a four by four grid crammed with numbers, it's a five by five grid full of colors.

Xbox Shuts Down Microsoft Entertainment Studios

July 17, 2014

Today was an absolutely grim day for large portions of Microsoft. The company dropped somewhere better than 10 percent, by some reports, of its global work force, planning to drop 18,000 jobs out of a total work force around 130,000 and shattering the old record of 5,800 firings by a factor of better than three to one. While this firing has a massive human cost, there is some silver lining this ominous dark cloud.

The good news is that not everyone fired will be immediately fired. One, this takes place over the course of a year, not immediately.

Volition Gets A Tax Dollar Boost From Champaign

July 16, 2014

Not so long ago, we had a look at how tax dollars were impacting gaming as we knew it with a Tax Day look at how Georgia was offering up some incentives to provide tax breaks for various gaming companies in the field. We even had Tripwire Interactive Vice President Alan Wilson drop in to lend a little extra perspective on the move as well, which was terrific. But now, it seems that the move is going on outside of Georgia as well, as the city of Champaign discovered it wanted Saints Row IV developer Volition to stick around, and was willing to put its money where its mouth was, so to speak.

Ever since the success of Saints Row IV, the company was looking to make some expansion efforts. Word emerged that the company was eager to do some remodeling, expand its operations, and make some new hires, including 100 new developers.

How Gaming Can Put Sizzle Back in Restaurant Eating

July 15, 2014

It's kind of a strange idea, but it's an idea whose time may have come as well. While some restaurants may have been on the downward slide lately, others are discovering a whole new life by bringing gaming into the picture, particularly in terms of an organization known as Buzztime, who's taking restaurant eating to a whole new level with gaming and interactive menus.

Buzztime offers a sort of two-pronged approach these days, offering tablets that contain not only a restaurant's menu but also a set of games built into the tablet to play while waiting for food to arrive. Now, the Buzztime system—including the recently-released Beond platform—is currently available for play in not only all 1,000 Buffalo Wild Wings locations, but also at a grand total of 3,000 total locations with a combined play count of 52 million games per year. Some places have seen staggering increases in business following the introduction of Buzztime material; one in particular, JR's Pub in South Carolina, saw a 30 percent jump in Tuesday night business.

Now, a bit of background; I have always loved gaming in restaurants, for about as far back as I can remember.



Fallout 4: Canny or Catastrophe?

July 14, 2014

Being as I write about video games fairly often—I like to describe myself as a professional geek because it sounds awesome and it's not too far off from the truth—I routinely come in contact with news about gaming platforms, gaming peripherals, and games in general. But today, I wanted to ask one question about one game in particular, and wonder, about Fallout 4...is Bethesda being canny, or poising for a catastrophe?

I am not alone in my eager anticipation for the latest round of Fallout. Ever since the last slice of DLC emerged for Fallout: New Vegas—a development that was relegated to the ash heap of history back in September 2011—a new trip to the world of Fallout was eagerly anticipated. Of course, first, there was our inevitable layover in Tamriel, and that was always a pleasant enough stop if not quite as jolly as our time in Post-Apocalyptia, as our boy Three Dog put it.

Microsoft Reconfirms Commitment To Xbox Line Amid Insecurity

July 10, 2014

It seems like every so often, new word emerges suggesting that Microsoft's commitment to the Xbox line isn't as strong as it could be. Some even go so far as to suggest that Microsoft wants out of the game business and is ready to take steps accordingly. But a new memo released suggests that Microsoft is sticking with Xbox, and that any reports to the contrary are safe to ignore.

The memo, released from Microsoft's newly-minted CEO Satya Nadella, thanked employees for their various contributions, and also laid out the company's future plans. On page four of the six page memo, Nadella mentioned Xbox, saying:

“I also want to share some additional thoughts on Xbox and its importance to Microsoft.



Samsung's Gear VR: A Missed Opportunity?

July 9, 2014

There was some very exciting news earlier today that struck me as a good idea to touch on further, specifically, the announcement of Samsung's plans to bring out its Gear VR system at the upcoming IFA 2014 event. Developed with help from Oculus VR, the device has some very exciting potential, but it may well prove a missed opportunity for Samsung as well.

The device isn't set to be a standalone device, but rather will be intended to connect to Samsung mobile devices via a USB 3.0 connection. From there, the device will use the smartphone's associated hardware—the gyroscope, the accelerometer, the processors and so on—to generate that virtual reality effect and follow the user's head motions. The device also comes with a “see-through” button that allows the user to, at the press of a button, connect to the phone's camera and essentially see through the device by looking out of the camera.

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