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Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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February 2013

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Trouble Ahead For Nintendo?

February 28, 2013

A disturbing piece of news emerged around the possible future for Nintendo, and it's bad, bad news indeed for everyone who recently bought a Wii U by the look of things. Specifically, it's news related to just how many developers are currently hard at work on a Nintendo title...or rather, how few.

The Game Developers Conference's 2013 State of the Industry survey ran down the totals of North American game developers, and what their next project was to be. 13.2 percent were currently developing for the Xbox 360. 13 percent, nearly parity, were working for the PlayStation 3.

How Microsoft Could Ditch Used Games And Still Keep Gamers

February 27, 2013

It's something of a line in the metaphorical sand by a lot of reports, but what if there were a way to keep gamers, and keep gamers happy, while still getting rid of the used and rental game markets? That sounds like a tall order, but recent developments may well show the way.

Recently, Microsoft started offering up a sales on some of their older titles for digital download. Much of the old Halo series was on hand--"Halo: Reach", "Halo 3" and "Halo Wars" came in for $9.99, while even "Halo 4" was offered up at $39.99. It got better from there, as the original "Bioshock" got in on the action at $5.99, and "El Shaddai" got in at $2.99.

Then Again, Maybe Not: The Wake Of Sony's Big Event

February 26, 2013

While looking over news feeds today in a bid to determine what was big, I came across what seemed like a fairly common theme: Sony, following its big event in New York just a week ago, seemed to be doing a bit of backtracking as far as just what their new system could do and just when it would be making an appearance. What follows is a summary of what was found, and remarks besides.

First off, there is the issue of release dates. While the event couldn't have made things much clearer thanks to the exhibition of a rather large sign which read "Holiday 2013" for an arrival date, the question that should have followed--but no one really felt a need to ask until recently--was "where?". Fergal Gara, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe's managing director for the U.K., didn't seem confident that the "Holiday 2013" date really applied to Europe, saying in a discussion with Digital Spy that "at least" one region would be getting the system in "Holiday 2013", but he declined to say just which region--or regions--would be getting the system in time for that magical nebulous deadline.

Sony's Master PlayStation 4 Marketing Plan Revealed, Somewhat

February 25, 2013

With the Sony special event now a memory, we're left to pick up the pieces and ask, just what's left? But now we've got some official, on the record word from Sony itself to explain just what the plan is for the next generation, and a way to figure out if Sony can take back the gaming market, or if this is truly Sony's last stand.

Sony Computer Entertainment America president Jack Tretton took to CNBC to talk turkey about its upcoming hardware, and in the process, gave us a look at the marketing plans to make Sony the powerhouse it once was in the PS2 days. Tretton made one key point in its marketing plans: there are more gamers now than there ever were before, and that means a bigger market, and more opportunity to do the job up right.

Tretton's remarks might have seemed like optimism writ large, but Tretton didn't forget a healthy dollop of personal accountability in there. Tretton pointed out that all those gamers would want the new triple-A titles, and said gamers would be able to justify their new purchase of a PlayStation 4 on the strength of those oh-so-cravable titles, as long as they "see the value there", leaving Tretton clearly behind the eight ball to avoid the fate of the Wii U.

Now, some here are left a bit confused.

Used Games In Play On PS4--Now What?

February 21, 2013

The report came down earlier today that one of the biggest concerns on the minds of gamers across the Web and then some out there was to be put to rest: used games would indeed be at least part of the next generation of gaming for some time to come. But what does that mean for the rest of the next generation?

Clearly, Nintendo was going to allow for used games from the very beginning. But Nintendo is having a serious problem on its hands with the Wii U, specifically, a clear dearth of games. Nintendo is clearly working on the problem, but the big hole in the market that is Big N is still present, intentions aside.

Game On For The Next Generation

February 20, 2013

The wait is over, folks. Nintendo is now officially in the next generation gaming fray, and with tonight, Sony's hat is now officially in the ring. Though it will be some time before anyone gets to play it, the next generation is ready, and many of the blinders have fallen away. But what's waiting for us in the future?

Games Don't Need To Grow Up At All

February 19, 2013

When I see the phrase "grow up" in two different articles about gaming in one day, I know something's up. When something's up, that's time to talk about it. So today, I'm going to look at the idea of games and game matter growing up, and why it's a terrible idea to think that way.

First, a bit of background. I caught a bit of a screed over at Venture Beat's gaming section, in which the author, Arnulfo Hermes, insisted that game boxes needed to "grow up", as they were heavily featuring guys, explosions, and attractive women relegated to secondary roles as, essentially, eye candy.

For FPS Gamers, An Old Control Scheme Is Fading

February 18, 2013

This particular development certainly had my attention. It wasn't hard, as I was actually personally involved in it, after a fashion. But as it turns out, new reports are suggesting that an old standard in controls is on its way out when it comes to one particular breed of game.

Basically, Bungie co-founder Jason Jones--as in the guys who came up with smash hit "Halo"--came out and said that for first person shooters, the keyboard / mouse combination was on its way out. What's more, it was essentially "Halo"'s own fault that no one wanted to rock the keyboard / mouse combo any more.

Nintendo's Valentine's Day Special--A Love Letter For Game-Starved Gamers

February 14, 2013

While Valentine's Day isn't commonly thought of as a day for solving big problems outside of the romantic comedy community, it saw one major problem get solved--or at least get closer to solved--for Nintendo gamers who are looking at Big N's lineup and asking, in the words of a popular advertising gimmick from the eighties, where precisely the beef is.

Nintendo took to its Nintendo Direct platform once again to run down a selection of actual games that would be coming--and soon, too--to the Nintendo 3DS. Games like "Mario Golf: World Tour" and "Mario & Luigi: Dream Team" would be landing this summer on the 3DS, and the eagerly-anticipated "Animal Crossing: New Leaf" would hit United States stores on June 9.

The eShop would also get a passel of titles in its own right. A sequel to "Dillon's Rolling Western," "The Last Ranger", would be landing, along with "Mario & Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move" as well as a souped-up version of "Donkey Kong Country Returns."

Game Boy Color titles "Harvest Moon" and "Legend of the River King" would also get their swings in on the Virtual Console.

But, potentially sensing a darker undercurrent in which a whole bunch of Wii U owners are wondering when they're actually going to get something playable for their system, the Nintendo Direct conversation turned to Wii U, and a few new announcements on that front. 

Used Games: Are They That Big A Deal?

February 13, 2013

So I was checking out the news over at Ars Technica's Opposable Thumbs gaming section when the two big posts of the day sat one beside the other. It was almost like a point-counterpoint, but the big point of both--one more so than the other--was the concept of used games. So I ran through the both of them and now bring a bit of commentary into the field about the importance of used games, specifically, is it so very?

First came the word out of GameStop, who, while having something of a vested interest in the existence of used games, still managed to bring out some fairly hard numbers in favor of used games. Basically, GameStop cited some of its own internal research that said as many as 60 percent of gamers would turn down a console that didn't allow for gamers to play other people's games.

Xbox Makes More Moves To Television

February 12, 2013

The Xbox ambitions of making itself a full living room entertainment alternative get one step closer to fruition, but what does that mean for the gamer at large? It may well mean a lot more options in the near future.

Reports coming direct from Microsoft, as presented at the All Things D "Dive Into Media" conference peg the launch of a set of "interactive" television shows for sometime this year. While there weren't a whole lot of details noted, word from Microsoft's president of entertainment and digital media, Nancy Tellem, suggested that there were around 125 people working in Microsoft's own studios, with around 100 content partners in tow and a viewership base--measured in Xbox Live members--of around 46 million.

This particular batch of news actually comes out right around the same general time frame that Intel brought out similar news, in which it was looking to make a run at the living room itself, with a set-top box product and a line of as-yet-undefined television options. But this actually takes the whole process a step up thanks to one critical extra element: interactivity.

What More Will The New Xbox Demand Of Gamers?

February 11, 2013

With E3 approaching a lot more rapidly than anyone would care to admit, plenty of word is coming out about the next generation in gaming console. Perhaps one of the strangest words in the mix, meanwhile, is the increasingly large list of demands coming out in order to play in the Xbox's next sandbox.

We had heard, previously, that Microsoft was going to require an always-on Internet connection to play its games, which was going to put the kibosh on the used game market. This alone got some dander up across much of the blogosphere, but some of the newest rumors to hit make the new Xbox look less like a gaming platform and more like a hostage situation.

The newest demands from Microsoft's upcoming system, according to the latest reports, are that users will now be required to have a Kinect connection on at all times to play games, and that games will now be required to be registered in order to play. This information reportedly comes from a source who was trying to sell a Durango development kit--the code name for the new Xbox--before being shut down by Microsoft.

Now, naturally, everything we hear right now is pretty much just speculation and whispers until it comes straight from the horse's mouth.

PS4 Price--Has It Been Leaked?

February 7, 2013

With the upcoming Sony super-special meeting closing fast on us, it's already got more than a few wondering just what will be coming out. Since pretty much every other Sony super-special meeting has ended in a new product getting unveiled, it's a safe bet that we'll be looking at a big shot of more of the same. But has a crucial detail already slipped out before even the meeting could spoiler?

The crucial detail in question, of course, is the PlayStation 4's price tag. Many likely still remember the blistering that Sony took back when it was wheeling out the PlayStation 3 with virtually no games for a whopping $599 (for the 60 GB version, of course), but new word from Japan's Asahi News came out earlier today that makes it clear just how different things are now.

The Asahi News story ran down some early word about the PS4 which dovetails relatively well into things already heard, like the new controller and the ability to do a bit of file-sharing while playing.

The Future Of Gaming By The Numbers

February 6, 2013

Recent information emerged from the NPD Group, running down just how much Americans spent on video gaming in 2012, and the numbers have some very interesting stories to tell in their own right. But what do these stories have to say about the future of gaming? Based on what we're hearing, quite a bit.

The NPD Group's numbers, which came out earlier today, show just what Americans spent on gaming software. By software, this includes physical media as well as digital downloads, and it also examines rental services as a part of that, as well as DLC and piece downloads along with full games.

Why Microsoft & Sony Should Be Afraid Of Ouya

February 5, 2013

Earlier today, an almost defiant statement emerged from Ouya's CEO, describing not only future launch plans but also running down one very important statement about the near-term future of gaming. In that statement was contained a whole world of possibilities, and represented a potential future that should be watched closely.

The statement, which came in from Ouya's CEO, was simple and yet almost defiant, saying that Ouya didn't "need to beat Xbox or Sony or any console that enters the marketplace." On a certain level, of course, they're exactly right. They don't need to beat them, all Ouya really needs to do at its root is survive them. Ouya, a gaming system powered by Android, is offering up a set of games that are completely different from others out there.

New Job Posting At Bethesda Suggests Sequel

February 4, 2013

Those out there who love their Fallout and Elder Scrolls games know that when one title comes to an end, it's time to start looking to the next. Now, with the newest one complete on its DLC run, it's time to start looking at the next one in earnest. Hints and teasers have begun to slip out, but now there's a little something extra: a job posting.

The skinny, basically, is that a recent job posting got spotted regarding a "future generation console programmer". Sounds reasonable, but the full story, as ever, is a bit more interesting.

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