Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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December 2012

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The Best Of Gaming In 2012

December 31, 2012

Looking back on 2012--and given that there's only about three hours left in 2012 in the first place, it's certainly worth a look back--there are certain things that stand out from my year in gaming, not to mention for the industry as a whole. So permit me to get a bit maudlin and set up a little rose-colored look back at the year that was in gaming.

1. Three pieces of Skyrim DLC. There were a lot of things that could be said for Skyrim, and about Skyrim, but it was absolutely impossible to knock the sheer amount of downloadable content this game was packing in.

HTML5 Not Likely To Change Much Now In Gaming, But Just Wait.

December 27, 2012

It's not hard to see possibilities just dripping off of HTML5, especially as it regards to video games. But though this is a huge game-changer--and not just for video games--it's going to take some time before this is truly ready for prime time.

While there are some looking askance at that idea right now--and why not? Isn't HTML5 already making some major inroads vis-a-vis gaming?--the truth of the matter is that HTML5 has a long way to go in terms of operations before it will be the dream platform that everyone's been waiting for.

Sure, there have been some pretty substantial successes already. AOL did a lot with HTML5 getting back up and running.

Is Grand Theft Auto 5 Taking Cues From Saints Row: The Third?

December 26, 2012

A provocative question, make no mistake, but one we're going to take a look at all the same. Several new still photos have emerged, and it's making me wonder if, maybe, Rockstar's looking to take some cues from their competitor.

The new stills in question show that Grand Theft Auto V is looking, potentially, to ramp up its vehicle selection process. Early stills point to the available use of a commercial jet, a fighter jet, an airship, and a miniature submarine. While it's not yet known if those vehicles will make it to the final version of Grand Theft Auto V, or if they will be accessible to players when they do get there, it's still a very clear possibility, and it makes a very interesting comparison: is Grand Theft Auto V making a run at Saints Row: The Third?

The Top Three Elements To Make A Gamer's Christmas A Top Scorer

December 25, 2012

So like a lot of you out there, I spent time with my family today. A nice big meal involving a lot of family favorites and a lot of time together; my grandmother cooks goose every year, and if you've never had goose before I suggest you try it at least once. It tastes--and looks--oddly like roast beef, though there is commonly not a lot of meat on the bird. It's not at all like turkey, where there's tons of meat, but it has an unusual taste to it that is strangely like beef.

How Will The Newtown Shooting Impact Game Investment?

December 24, 2012

An interesting wrinkle that I hadn't thought to explore came up today, and it was one that I thought I'd throw my hat in on as well, just ahead of the Christmas holiday. What effect with the elementary school shooting in Newtown have on the investment people place in games? Is this truly the end of the triple-A gaming circuit, with games already having a tough enough time reaching profitability?

The answer to the second question, thankfully, is almost certainly no. Let's consider, after all, Columbine.

A Cautionary Tale: The War Z Launch

December 20, 2012

There hasn't been much in the way of news lately vis-a-vis The War Z--in fact, as far as I can tell, we haven't talked about this one since August--but its recent launch, or rather its sort-of launch, is making many take notice but for the wrong reasons.

Here's the salient: recently, The War Z actually went live on Steam, Valve's game buying platform that has plenty of good press to its credit. But the key point is that it didn't stay there long as it rapidly became apparent that this game was not all it was cracked up to be, and not in a metaphorical fashion, either, but rather in a "what was promised isn't here" way.

It took just 48 hours for The War Z to go from launch to forcible eviction by Valve itself, a rare move in its own right. First on the list of problems, a lack of notice that the game was an alpha build, though Hammerpoint Interactive, the company behind the game, had said as much elsewhere. That alone might be problematic for some, but it got worse; the Steam page said there were private servers available for up to 100 players simultaneously, and in both cases, this was reportedly untrue.

Violent Video Games Don't Breed Violence

December 19, 2012

While the Sandy Hook killings are a tragedy deplored universally, old familiar scapegoats have emerged in the wake of this disaster as people try, desperately, to find rationality in the irrational. While gun rights are the first target in a bid to prevent such a tragedy from happening again, video game violence isn't too far behind, following the news that shooter Adam Lanza was at least something of a gamer.

Lanza's taste in gaming favored toward the fairly popular, including South Korean mainstay "Starcraft" and wide-spread favorite the "Call of Duty" series. His fondness for video games has some wondering if maybe the games didn't have something to do with his seeming desensitization, sufficient to run amok through a school full of small children.

Yet at the same time, many express the belief that it was Lanza's mental illness--reportedly involving antipsychotic drugs--that had much more impact than any game he played in his off hours.

This may well be the greatest point in favor of the "violent video games don't breed violence" argument: there is simply minimal correlation. Consider if you will sales of "Call of Duty: Black Ops 2".

Who's The Last Game Company On The NASDAQ 100?

December 18, 2012

An unusual development recently cropped up as the NASDAQ did its annual reshuffling of the deck, removing several names to bring in several other new names to its NASDAQ 100 listing. One major name was tossed out of the deck, and so, only one game company stands in the NASDAQ 100. But what does that mean for gaming as a whole?

The company tossed out of the NASDAQ 100 was none other than Electronic Arts, and to answer the question posed in the headline, the last game company standing in the NASDAQ 100 is none other than Activision Blizzard. To be fair, of course, there are other companies in the NASDAQ 100 that have at least something to do with games; Microsoft, Apple, Google and Nvidia are all in play in the listings and, to one degree or another, all are at least game companies in passing.

Has Google Already Predicted The Winner Of The Next Generation Console War?

December 17, 2012

Just recently, we were wondering what happened to all the rumors in the next generation console war. Well, one didn't slip out today, but there's a report in Venture Beat suggesting that Google may already know who the big winner will be in the next console war.

Essentially, according to Google Trends, people are searching for the so-called Microsoft Xbox 720 over the equally so-called Sony PlayStation 4. While admittedly, they're using some names that are basically just inventions of the industry--no one knows, at least, not outside of Sony and Microsoft, just what the names of the next generation devices will be--they've caught on sufficiently that there are already plenty of searches going on in those two terms.

The comparison between the two is of particular note, with 34 percent of American searches going to the Sony PlayStation 4, and 66 percent--nearly double Sony's--going to the Microsoft Xbox 720.

Next Gen Gaming: Where Are The Leaks?

December 13, 2012

Not surprisingly, anticipation around the next generation of consoles is getting downright thick. With the Wii U now in play, the next generation has been officially kicked off, so wondering what Sony and Microsoft have in mind is on a lot of people's minds. But the amount of information around this particular release hasn't been anywhere near as thick, and that's got plenty--me among them--wondering just where the information actually is.

For those who follow Apple releases, chances are you've seen plenty of news come out about that well ahead of release, with everyone from the supply chain to random unnamed insiders chiming in with information about screen sizes and storage and potential release dates. But there's not much of that to be had these days, and the absence is easy to notice.

Naturally, that's not universally the case.

On The Monetization Of Games

December 12, 2012

So last night we were taking a look at the idea of triple-A gaming, and how it wasn't exactly doomed so much as it was in desperate need of an overhaul, and there was one point in there that I wanted to come back to especially tonight. Specifically, about the issue of monetizing games and keeping profitable. There are several good possibilities here, that I figure companies would do well to consider.

1. The horror movie model

I'm not suggesting more horror gaming; well, maybe I am, but not specifically to make money.

Why Triple-A Gaming Isn't Doomed

December 11, 2012

Recently, Josh Bycer over at Gamasutra put up a blog post asking if AAA gaming, here referring to major studio releases costing top dollar to produce, was "DOA", or dead. While Bycer's stance ultimately became one I agreed with--a resounding "maybe"--I figured it would be worth taking a look at myself, and all it's going to take is just one example to really drive the point home.

For those who believe that AAA gaming might be on the decline, they've got good reason to be concerned. The rise of casual gaming, the rise of the mobile game, is adding up to a lot of concern for those involved in the field of big-name console gaming. After all, why shell out several million dollars to make a big monster title when, for the same amount of cash, you can make 10 or 20 or more Angry Birds games and even do better in the market?

Is Far Cry 3 A Sign Of Change In Gaming?

December 10, 2012

So I finally managed to settle in with a copy of Far Cry 3 over the weekend, and not surprisingly, that gave me a lot to think about. In fact, I began to wonder if one main point of the gaming world was about to fall over for good with Far Cry 3's release.

So what was that point I wondered about? Well, it occurred to me that, for some time now, games from Bethesda Software have been a very big deal. The Fallout series, the Elder Scrolls series...these have been big games pretty much every time there was a release.

What Should Be Done About Bad Sports In Video Games?

December 6, 2012

Thinking back on childhood, it's not hard to remember the days when "Nuh-uh / Yeah-huh" was considered respectable discourse, and where the ability to invent a counter to a potential enemy attack was enough to render it moot (I have a dog with a built-in force field / I have a dinosaur that eats force field dogs). Fast forward to the present day, where there's online gameplay for all that makes you feel like a ten year old again, assuming you aren't actually squaring off against a ten year old. Bad sportsmanship is somewhat on the rise in gaming, and that's left some wondering if Something shouldn't be, in fact, Done.

Perhaps one of the greatest examples of bad sportsmanship in video games comes from League of Legends. But naturally, I couldn't take that reputation seriously, so instead, I went to the video and hit up YouTube. Indeed, I saw strings of video involving what I can only guess are grown men shrieking like little girls who stepped on something because somebody ulted when they ult and committed other acts that, based on the reaction they got on the video, rank right up there with public kitten molestation in terms of sheer untrammeled evil.

Admittedly, poor sports don't make any game fun.

Book A Trip To Solstheim This Christmas With Skyrim!

December 5, 2012

So yesterday was a huge day in gaming, as I finally got a chance to get some face time with a brand spanking new chunk of downloadable content. But would it prove to be worth the wait? There was only one way to find out.

Skyrim got its newest piece of DLC just yesterday, and I managed to take a bit of a run-through. While I had high hopes for this one, I knew it was possible to be disappointed.

Hitman: Absolution Marketing Takes Things A Bit Too Far

December 4, 2012

Recently, a new gaming marketing campaign came on line...and went off line in about an hour. What on earth could have been so preposterous, so potentially damaging to a company's reputation, indeed, so damaging to the reputations of gamers everywhere? Settle in, because this is a story that's likely to amaze.

The folks behind Hitman: Absolution, the newest story of Agent 47 and his regular murder sprees for hire, came out with a new marketing ploy to get folks interested in the release. Now, bear in mind that they were already treading somewhat on thin ice for the "half-naked nuns" concept from the trailer, so you'd think they might have toned down the outrageousness for the newest promotion.

They did not.

What they established was a website called "Hire Hitman", in which users were encouraged to "take out a contract" against various Facebook friends.

When Quirky Just Ain't Enough

December 3, 2012

It's no surprise to find that, in many cases, a lot of gamers are sick to death of the big pile of more of the same that so often lands on their store shelves. But what happens when quirky just isn't enough to carry the day? A recent report detailed just what happens, and the news isn't good for anyone.

A report from Gamasutra details the imminent closure of the Glitch MMO, which by reports of those who played it pretty much had the market cornered on quirky. Calling this game "unoriginal" represented standards that were absolutely impossible to meet; after all, what kind of game will allow you to massage a butterfly, with butterfly lotion, in order to obtain butterfly milk, or get wheat by squeezing a chicken?

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