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”

November 2012

You are browsing the archive for November 2012.

DayZ Looking A Lot More MMO These Days

November 29, 2012

There's some interesting news about the DayZ conversion to more of a full-MMO model, which is at last report still on track to launch sometime by the end of the year, though there's some room for interpretation on that front. Apparently it's still proceeding apace, and has made some fairly significant changes as a result.

For those not already familiar, DayZ was a kind of mod package originally released as part of ARMA 2 and its later expansion pack Operation Arrowhead. Players join a zombie apocalypse already in progress where they go forth and search for food, water, and better weapons to survive the invasion of the walking dead, as well as other players out for an opportunistic load of free supplies.

But where it was previously a mod, now it's looking more like a full-on MMO, with a new server-client architecture model. It's sufficiently extensive, at last report, to make it almost a completely new game, running on a new version of the old engine.

Naturally, any question that comes up whenever there's a new MMO in the making is: "Can it beat World of Warcraft?" While for the most part the answer has been something along the lines of "No. Seriously, what are you thinking about?

Why The Apple Response To Boyfriend Maker May Spur HTML5 Development

November 28, 2012

Recently, there was an unusual entrant in the Apple App Store known as "Boyfriend Maker". This title focused on the ability to develop several young men, vaguely similar in appearance, and turn them into "boyfriend material". I know, it sounds bizarre, but it only gets weirder when you find out why the "Boyfriend Maker" app was pulled. It turns out that not only were the boyfriends either on some kind of medication or not on sufficient amounts of it, but they also had a disturbing tendency to lapse into sexual dialogue, violent dialogue, racist dialogue and dialogue that was just plain, well, disturbing.

Is It Worth It To Buy A Wii U?

November 27, 2012

With the opening frenzy of Wii U sales now officially out of everyone's collective system, there are likely plenty of fence-sitters out there engaging in a little pre-shopping navel gazing, wondering if it's worth it to go out and buy one of Nintendo's newest hardware efforts. But the smart ones stopped in here first to find out for themselves. So we ask the question: is it worth it to buy a Nintendo Wii U? The answer, meanwhile, is a somewhat helpful "probably".

Primarily, it's a question of value.

Is There Still Room In The Market For New Consoles?

November 26, 2012

For some time now, I've been hearing the various Jeremiahs of the gaming community scream that console gaming is dead and that the smartphones have taken over. But with recent word from Nintendo about the sales on their newest console, it's starting to look like maybe, just maybe, the console market can come back after all, and all it needed was a shot in the arm.

Indeed, there were many who said that no one wants to drop a hundred hours on the next Skyrim when they could play like 30,000 games of Angry Birds in that same space--your actual play time may vary--but then came the word about how many Nintendo Wii U systems were sold, which looked to be every bit as big a seller as the original Nintendo Wii. Word from Nintendo described a sell-out of 400,000 units in the opening weekend--brisk sales by any measure, though down from the original Wii's sales figures of 600,000--despite an overall sluggish economy.

This actually relates back to a projection we made right here not so long ago, that said the slump in the gaming market wasn't caused so much a change in the gaming market away from consoles and to mobile devices, but rather that the choices in the gaming market were simply starting to stagnate. This was a problem that could be fixed comparatively easily, with the release of new consoles, something that was somewhat overdue in recent years.

Getting some new blood in the market would be a great thing indeed, and there are plenty of people looking to 2013's E3 event--and the holiday shopping season that follows--to breathe some new life into the sector and prove that it's not yet game over for the console market.

Three Things I'm Thankful For In Gaming

November 22, 2012

With Thanksgiving in its closing hours, and some of the Black Friday sales already kicking in, I figured it would be a good time to settle in and write a little something I'm thankful for in gaming. There's a lot going on out there at any given time, so narrowing the field down and being able to pick a few things that make gaming special is difficult, but a task I welcome all the same.  So without further ado, three things I'm thankful for in gaming.

1. Bethesda Softworks

This company has given me most of my favorite games.

An Xbox Game With Hourly Rates?

November 21, 2012

I've seen plenty of different pricing models for games. From full retail to DLC pricing to indie fare that costs pennies to free demos, but with the appearance of a new Karaoke game, Microsoft may well have crossed the weird boundary into full-bore crazy.

What's truly noteworthy about this game is that it's a strange combination of Pandora and "Glee: Karaoke Revolution".  Much like a night at a karaoke bar, users will pay by the hour to get lyrics onscreen and music with the vocal tracks removed so that users can provide the singing themselves, but they'll also get access to over 8,000 different songs. The library is part of The Karaoke Channel's library, so it doesn't seem Microsoft will have to go through the studios for their deal.

This shows two critical industry-level points at once.

What Unexpected Device Tops Kids' Gaming Wish List?

November 20, 2012

A recent Nielsen study had a little something unexpected for those looking to shop for gaming hardware this Christmas, as an unusual device currently ranks tops on the list. Just what is this device that kids are clamoring for for Christmas and post-Christmas gaming?

As it turns out, the number one device on the Nielsen survey wasn't a Wii U, or an Xbox, or even a pack of Skylanders figures. It was an iPad. Yes, for the third year in a row--which makes this not quite so unexpected as could be thought--the nod went to the iPad as the tops in gaming devices, beating out the rest of the console lineup by a pretty fair margin.

The Wii U, oddly, managed to place second with a healthy 39 percent of the vote, but not healthy enough to distract from the 48 percent hoping for an iPad.

The interesting part about this survey is that it can be successfully used as fodder to support one of two arguments:

1. The console gaming market is doomed.

What Does The Xbox World Report Mean For Gaming?

November 19, 2012

For those currently unaware, Xbox World magazine--one of the major print sources of Xbox information--is about to go out of print come December 12. But before they fold up, they look to release a whole lot of information about the upcoming Xbox release, the result of tapping every source they have. What they're looking to reveal spells a lot of trouble for pretty much everyone else in the video game industry, and some very good news indeed for the gamers out there.

The reports suggested some very important points about the upcoming device, which still technically does not have a name. Though it may be the Xbox 720, or the Xbox 3, or just the Xbox, it's the features that matter and this one will be stuffed with them.

Is Wasteland 2 Taking The Science Part Of Science Fiction Too Far?

November 15, 2012

Earlier today I read, with great interest, an article out at Ars Technica, in which they described some of the work going into the production of Wasteland 2, and the connection therein with a firm called Thwacke Consulting. What Thwacke Consulting does is they take games and they inject them full of thick steamy actual science, providing biologists and particle physicists and the like to tell all those writers how the things they're writing might actually work in the real world.

Instead of just saying, for example, "I've got fifty foot tall flesh eating bugs in here because of nanotechnology.", writers would get a nice little crash course that would elucidate on the nature of nanotechnology and carnivorous insects, providing something like this instead: "I've got fifty foot tall ambush bugs that grew to such preposterous heights fueled by nanotechnology that better uses the carbon ingested by their meat-focused diet to rebuild their skeletal structures and make them sufficient giant."

Now, don't get me wrong. There's something to be said for realism in any fiction. Horror backed with realism is extra scary because it might happen.

Nintendo 3DS Destroys PlayStation Vita In Japan

November 14, 2012

Well, with a headline like that, I had probably better give you some really, really disturbing numbers, hadn't I? How fortunate that I happen to have just that. A recent examination of the video game market suggests that, in a head to head comparison between the PlayStation Vita and the Nintendo 3DS, the 3DS was the clear winner.

How clear, you wonder?

The Holodeck Needs Less Than You Think To Start

November 13, 2012

In what may be the best chunk of news I could have found today outside of my discovery that burritos are now available for free thanks to a special program to increase burrito awareness, I discovered that not only is an actual genuine holodeck under development, but it's also using current technology and really only needs one thing. What is this one thing and how can I supply it in exchange for a free holodeck, you may be asking. As it turns out, the one thing that's really needed for a holodeck is the next killer app.

First, a bit of background: one of the writers from Star Trek: The Next Generation--Lee Sheldon, who also had a producer role with the show--eventually became an associate professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and he actually got some grant money to create what's being called the Emergent Reality Lab. That's a fancy name for what is essentially a first-generation holodeck, and he and his team are making it with current off-the-shelf parts. What's more, even Sheldon admits that they're not the first ones to be doing something like this.

Ten Minutes Of Introduction To The Elder Scrolls Online

November 12, 2012

Pretty much every year is a good year in gaming. Some years are better than others, of course, but pretty much every year that a gamer can stay upright, stay up nights, and take a run at the latest and greatest is a pretty fair year indeed. But this year was a bit lacking for those of you who, like me, like your gaming with open-ended worlds and lots of exploration. Until now.

Sure, we had some fun with Skyrim getting Dawnguard and the house-building expansion that I can't quite remember the name of offhand, but still, for RPG fans, this year wasn't the best.

In The World of Warcraft, The Panda Is King

November 8, 2012

So to kick this one off, we're going to ask--and then try desperately to answer--just one simple question: What is it about World of Warcraft and pandas? Really? Because despite all reason and good common sense, the launch of World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria is bringing gamers back to WoW like no tomorrow, and Azeroth once again has an eight-figure population.

Yesterday, we tackled Activision's quarterly report numbers, and overall, the numbers were looking pretty nice, in all honesty. Big gains for Skylanders, for Call of Duty, for Diablo 3, right on down the line.

What Drove Activision's Big Gains This Quarter?

November 7, 2012

It's earnings season, and as such, a lot of companies are putting up their numbers for the quarter. Activision was one such company announcing their numbers today, and the news for them was surprisingly good. Sufficiently surprisingly, in fact, to beat Wall Street estimates.

Activision put up revenues of $841 million, which beat analyst estimates by fully $130 million dollars, and profits at $226 million. That represents a big gain over the same quarter last year, where they brought in $754 million that quarter.

Disney, Nintendo Next To Hook Up In Wii U Promotional Barrage

November 6, 2012

A strange bit of news wandered into focus today as, on a certain level, Mario and Mickey now appear to be partners in entertainment, as Disney kicked off a sponsorship initiative geared toward helping Nintendo with the promotion of its upcoming Wii U launch November 18.

The promotion calls for interstitial messages featuring the casts of Disney Channel's "Jessie" and Disney XD's show "Kickin' It", competing against each other in a series of match-ups involving Wii U titles. Naturally, there will also be a giveaway portion dubbed the "How U Will Play Next Sweepstakes" in which users can get not only a chance to play some trivia games but also get a chance to play with Debby Ryan and Leo Howard.

Disney has done this sort of thing before, using Selena Gomez in promotions with the Xbox Kinect. Indeed, Disney and gaming have historically gone together well, between outright franchise title releases like the upcoming Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two and the use of Disney figures in promotional efforts, not to mention Disney's recent LucasArts purchase which provides access to a wide array of classic titles and characters. Considering how close together Disney and most video games' target markets are in terms of demographic it makes quite a bit of sense.

GameStop Exec Clears Nearly Two Million In Embezzlement Scheme

November 5, 2012

It's easy to forget sometimes that GameStop is a major company, with hundreds of franchise locations all across the country that pulls in a substantial amount of money annually. So substantial, in fact, that one executive managed to embezzle nearly $2 million from GameStop, pleading guilty in a Federal Court hearing.

Frank Christopher Olivera was a vice president with the company in corporate communications, which put him in a position to be able to access the company checkbook. And access said checkbook he did, sending a series of checks to a company called Cloud Communications, which submitted invoices on a regular basis for vendor services.

Of course, given that Cloud Communications appeared to do nothing but receive checks from GameStop, and further given that Cloud Communications seemed to be wholly owned, operated, and staffed by Frank Christopher Olivera, it got suspicious after a while.

Olivera reportedly ran the scam from July of 2009 clear through to April 2011, and plead guilty to the charges.

Slumping Vita, DS Beginning Of Mobile Console Gaming's End?

November 1, 2012

Recently, news came out about the sales status on the Nintendo DS, and the news for Big N was not good at all. Now, the news has come out on Sony's portable gaming excursion, and the news there is equally not good. Sufficiently so, in fact, to make me wonder if mobile gaming has just about had it against its biggest competitors.

Sony went into its launch of the PlayStation Vita with high hopes, expecting to sell 16 million for the fiscal year. With the first three months of the PlayStation Vita down, and only 1.8 million sold, it triggered a bit of humble pie to go around Sony, and an altered forecast of selling just 12 million.

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