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”

April 2013

You are browsing the archive for April 2013.

Place Your Bets...On Android Games

April 30, 2013

When I first read about Skillz, the new online platform that allows users to place wagers on games of skill, I admit that I was a bit taken aback. But the more I read about the idea, the more...well...the more the picture became muddy. Depending on certain stances on certain issues, this is either a great idea or a terrible one, but it's certainly ohe to take a closer look at.

Skillz is a platform that allows users to place small wagers on the outcomes of certain games. The platform is available for games like Bubble Shooter, 3D Cave Runner, Big Sports Fishing 3D Lite, GnarBike Trials, and around eight or so other games, making for a total number of a dozen or so games on Google Play that can work with the Skillz platform.

Can Gaming Make The Jump To Television?

April 29, 2013

An interesting new phenomenon is shaping up as far as gaming goes, and that's with games making a jump to television. But the trend is growing thanks to some recent new reports that make a new game headed for television.

Recently, the SyFy Channel got involved with a similar phenomenon, bringing out the MMO with a television show equivalent in Defiance. Defiance was some terrific stuff, sure; I'm still rather enamored with it myself. But now, a new version has arrived with reports of EVE Online getting its own television series.

Called Eve Universe, it's stemming from a partnership between CCP Games and Baltasar Kormakur's production company, and it takes the stories submitted by EVE Online players and turns them into full-on television episodes.



Nintendo's E3 Plans: Brilliance or a Dropped Ball?

April 25, 2013

Recently, new information has slipped out regarding Nintendo's plans for the upcoming E3 event, and the plans in question aren't what a lot of people were expecting. The plans in question are, in fact, rather innovative, but innovation almost always carries a risk of backfiring. So today, we're going to take a closer look at Nintendo's plans for the upcoming E3 event, and wonder: does Nintendo have a good plan, or is Nintendo about to shoot itself in the foot?

Basically, Nintendo won't be doing one of the giant colossal press conferences this year like it has in years past, and like competitors Microsoft and Sony do most every year. Instead, Nintendo will be hosting two smaller events, one for the gaming media, and one for the retail partners. 

On May 21, The Console Wars Begin In Earnest

April 24, 2013

The big day is in readiness, folks, and with just a few days left to April, we now know when the next Xbox will be making its grand appearance. But before the big day arrives, it's worth taking a quick look at the variety of points that probably should be tackled before we start hearing about the next system.

Naturally, there will be points that want for official confirmation left, right and center. While certainly we will be eager to hear about the final spec loadout, seeing just what the next Xbox will have under the hood, there's quite a bit more.

First off, what is this thing's name?



Ratchet & Clank Go Hollywood--Can It Possibly End Well?

April 23, 2013

A new report has emerged saying that a new video game franchise is about to get a theatrical release, set to release in 2015. The title in question, coming from Blockade Entertainment and Rainmaker Entertainment, is no less than "Ratchet and Clank," one of the biggest franchises in the Sony family. But can it beat the common curse of the video game movie? Moreover, can it be part of a new generation in video game movie: the good generation?

Let's face it, most video game movies have not ended well.

The Oculus Rift May Have Its Tipping Point

April 22, 2013

It's been a while since we last talked about the Oculus Rift--been a lot of great news in gaming between here and there---but a new point may have just hit and giving the Oculus Rift the boost it needs to really be a force in gaming.

Perhaps one of the biggest problems associated with the Oculus Rift is that there weren't a whole lot of games ready to work with the device. There were some, certainly--Hawken, Team Fortress 2, Doom 3 BFG Edition--but that's a comparatively small roster for a platform that may ultimately represent the future of video gaming. But now there's one more that will work with the Oculus Rift, and it's nothing less than Skyrim itself.

Yes, the magnificent sword and sorcery epic, the latest DLC-packed installment of the Elder Scrolls series that not only makes us hungry for the next one but also for the next Fallout, is making its way to the Oculus Rift thanks to Chris Gallizzi, who did the necessary heavy lifting to get the headset to work with the  game.

The bad news here, of course, is that the solution isn't official. That means it's going to take a little doing to make the jump for every system.





A Google Game Center May Be In The Works

April 18, 2013

Interesting new reports have emerged suggesting that Google may have an exciting new development in mind as far as games go, a development that may well put a new star in multiplayer gaming's firmament.

It's no secret that a lot of popular games have been showing up for Android lately. But one thing that seems to have been in somewhat short supply for these titles is a note of organization. To that end, Android Police started looking at the My Glass application--the companion app for Google Glass--and discovered what looked like a feature list. More specifically, a feature list for a service that could be, essentially, the Google equivalent of Apple's Game Center.

Contained in that feature list includes a separate games folder, a specific capability for multiplayer gaming, provisions for achievements, a lobby for players to gather between games, and several other provisions that might make Google Glass home to a particularly exciting breed of game center.



Nintendo Goes Back To The Nostalgia Well

April 17, 2013

Clint Eastwood, in his immortal role as "Dirty Harry" Callahan in "Magnum Force" summed up the array of announcements coming out of Nintendo today: "A man's got to know his limitations." And Nintendo is clearly playing to the crowd with today's massive block of announcements that proves, clearly, the value of nostalgia.

Nostalgia is commonly defined as "a sentimentality for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations," or at least that's how Wikipedia defines it. Today's Nintendo Direct video presentation showed off exactly what was going on, and just how hard Nintendo was planning to rock the nostalgia button for a lot of gamers.

One of the biggest bits of news out of that video presentation was a direct sequel to "The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past", which originally came out on the Super Nintendo and now will be headed to the 3GS, which should make it a lot more graphically charged than the original.

But the retro fun didn't stop there as word emerged about the new Mario Golf, the new Mario Party, the new Donkey Kong game, the new Donkey Kong Country remake, the new Pikmin coming to Wii U, the new Shin Megami Tensei, the new Professor Layton, and if there's a common thread starting to emerge in all these "new" games, don't worry, you're not alone.

Nintendo is hammering on the "retro" bar like a starving white rat hammers on the response lever in a Skinner box, and this all goes back to the above. Yes, Nintendo as a game company has done a lot of interesting things over the years.







Random House Gets Into The Gaming Market

April 16, 2013

Perhaps one of the stranger developments in gaming these days--and it seems like there are plenty of them to go around--came from a rather unlikely source, a book publisher. No, it's not a book about games, it's not even a game about books. What it is is the strange part, and may well be one of the strangest things you've heard lately.

Random House recently opened up signups for "Black Crown", what it's describing as "the first free to play online narrative game" Random House has ever put out. Registration is open, but reports indicate that the game won't go completely live until May. Those who do sign up will be subject to a bizarre questionnaire involving, among other things, 19th century epidemiologists.

A Little Time On The New Earth Of Defiance

April 15, 2013

I finally got a shot at Defiance just recently--it was Spring Break for many of the area high schools, so that played utter hob with game rentals--but I was certainly looking forward to trying what was being described as a major move for not only Xbox players but console players in general.

This actually represents one of the first console-based MMOs, and I was eager to see how well it would work. But my eagerness had to be tempered by sheer reality, as getting Defiance to run was no walk in the park.

My time in Defiance was fraught with delay. First there was the installation cycle, which was supposed to last about 18 minutes but finished up much sooner than that, taking maybe only ten minutes.



Xbox, The Living Room, And The Live Gold Paywall

April 11, 2013

Recently, some new reports emerged talking about the potential new role being filled by the new Xbox, still expected by many to make an appearance at a live event this May. But looking at the new reports leaves just one thought going in the back of my mind: what about that paywall?

There are a lot of terrific services currently found in Xbox Live. Between an array of apps for music, for video, for social connection and several others, there's a lot of very useful material here. It's one of the few places that YouTube can be had outside of a PC. That's very welcome, especially for those who want to use their Xbox 360 for more than just gaming.

Interestingly, that's the exact same stance that Microsoft looks to be taking, especially in terms of allowing users to use their Xbox consoles for a full living room treatment. But trying to use these services--even YouTube--without an Xbox Live Gold membership cuts the user short, and that got me wondering, just how far can Microsoft get with the "take over the living room" plan if that plan involves paywalls like this?

On the one hand, there's every possibility that this could work.





Can Equity Crowdfunding Be A Part Of Gaming?

April 10, 2013

Recently, Gamasutra brought out a report that certainly had my attention on the concept of equity crowdfunding. While we've seen several games come about--or at least get in a position to get made--because of crowdfunding services like Kickstarter, the concept of equity crowdfunding, or buying a share of a game like an impromptu corporation, has been getting a little less attention until recently. That brought Gamasutra back to consider the story of a game that got its funding by crowdfunding, and how a slice of the pie got gamers' attention.

The game in question, Train Fever, stuck to the equity crowdfunding approach over the alternative crowdfunding approach in which users get non-monetary premiums--extra features, early versions of the game, and the like--to make the investment.

Can The IGN League Ever Be The Next NFL?

April 9, 2013

A recent bit of news arrived that, only yesterday, Blizzard purchased the IGN e-sports league, lock, stock and boxtop, in order to better facilitate the growth of a StarCraft II league. While this does bode well for gaming in general, the question to follow all this becomes, can gaming really be the next big competitive sport? The answer, I believe, isn't so much "yes it can" as "what has been stopping it all along?".

Blizzard, publisher of the ultra-popular World of Warcraft series as well as the more recent and slightly less popular StarCraft II, not only bought up the various assets and technology making up the league, but also hiring on just over 20 staff members--formerly of the IGN Pro League--to help keep things in line.

New Xbox Release Date, Pricing Suggested With New Reports

April 8, 2013

The next generation of console wars is about to shape up for good, folks, as a set of new reports came out concerning the new Xbox. The news isn't all good, nor is it all bad. But either way, the final word should be coming along in rapid fashion, and we may well see the next Xbox soon.

Microsoft's entry into the next console war got a little shot of new information today; while just a few days ago, we had heard that the event was set to hit in May, now the reports suggest that the launch event will land May 21. May 21 is actually a good date for the conference, as it's just ahead of E3, which will run from June 11 to June 13 this year, and about a month ahead of the Build conference Microsoft has planned for June 26. The June 26 show is said to be heavy on the content, so having the system shown ahead of that just makes sense.

There's more beyond that, of course; there's pricing and release reports to be had.



The Games Industry Doesn't Need A Nanny

April 4, 2013

Earlier today, remarks emerged from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) suggesting that if the games industry didn't "do something", then Congress would have to step in. This, naturally, has left plenty confused and angry in its wake, but really, the games industry has done an excellent job of policing itself over the years, and Feinstein's remarks betray a certain lack of understanding about the industry.

While at an event in San Francisco, Feinstein discussed the video games industry, alluding to the recent Sandy Hook tragedy by saying, reportedly, "If Sandy Hook doesn't [make game publishers change]...then maybe we have to proceed, but that is in the future." By way of elaboration, Feinstein continued, saying that video games play "a very negative role for young people, and the industry ought to take note of that."

Leaving aside the obvious problems with Feinstein's remarks--like the enormous numbers of young people for whom video games do not play a negative role at all, or even play a positive role instead--there are two immediate points of contention in regard to those remarks.

One is the point at which she says the industry needs to "do something." It's clear that the industry has already "done something" in the form of the Entertainment Software Ratings Board, a completely voluntary industry measure that has actually done more to keep violent video games out of the hands of youth than the MPAA's ratings system has done for its equivalent bailiwick of movies.  The games industry has already done "something" and they have done "something" quite effectively at that. The immediate followup, of course, is what "something" did Feinstein have in mind, and it's a "something" that smacks of censorship.





Xbox 720 Announcement May Come In, Well, May. Maybe.

April 3, 2013

A new report from Colin Sebastian, an analyst with Robert W. Baird, suggests that we may be seeing the last entry in the console wars' next generation in the next few weeks. While the report may not come off as planned, there's still a lot to suggest that it will.

Sebastian's report, which was part of a note to investors focusing on Electronic Arts, suggested that the announcement of the new Xbox would prove to be a "catalyst" for shares of EA, which would likely be one of the major developers for such a system. While Sebastian's report couldn't pin down the date or the venue of such an announcement, it does dovetail into earlier reports that suggest that, instead of waiting for E3 to land, Microsoft's next foray into gaming would be announced at a special media event in late April.

The early word has been somewhat mixed, with some word making for wild anticipation.



Is The Mobile Chip Power Gain Expected?

April 2, 2013

Recently, Nvidia's senior VP of content and technology, Tony Tamasi, had a few choice words about the state of the mobile chip market. On one hand, there's certainly a promising future in store for such chips, but on the other, this gain in power may not be as surprising as some would think, especially on the surface.

Tamasi's remarks, delivered to Bit-tech, described a future in which the next generation of Nvidia mobile chips would be on par with--indeed, at least somewhat better than--the current lineup of console game systems. Yes, the next generation of mobile chips will be on par with the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3, and that's certainly not bad news, especially for mobile gamers.

Console gamers, meanwhile, are likely having a brief worm of doubt emerge in the back of their collective unconscious that grins evilly and says "Yeah, that's great and all, but the PS4 will probably be on shelves by Christmas." That worm's got a point, folks, and what it didn't mention is that the new Xbox is at least reasonably likely to follow suit, which we'll likely spot when E3 comes around in a couple months.

Additionally, that worm of doubt didn't specifically say--though it sure did imply--that the issue here wasn't so much that mobile chips are really gaining in terms of power, so much as it was that the current generation of gaming consoles is really rather old. Most of what's out on the shelves right now is closing in on eight years old, specifically, so for the next generation of mobile chips to be as powerful as what will likely be, by then, nine or ten year old chips isn't really out of line, nor is it saying much.

Still, objectively, it's something to consider.







On Indie Developers In Consoles

April 1, 2013

Following the events of the 2013 Game Developers Conference, and some recent word from Nintendo regarding same, a couple of interesting notions became clear, and so tonight looked like a good night to talk about the concept of indie developers in games.

Now, the idea from Nintendo that caught my attention was that Nintendo had recently shown off its new development platform designed to take advantage of a variety of Web-based tools, like HTML5, Unity and more, in a bid to get more apps to the Nintendo Wii U. That's certainly a good start for Nintendo, who has been suffering from something of a shortage of new games of late.  By bringing in the various new tools, Nintendo can open up the platform for indie development, and potentially even buy time for the major developers to get their products out and rolling.

It's not just Nintendo, though; Sony has been, reportedly, looking to gain ground on the indie front. A recent report on indiegames.com described a slew of new indie games coming to the PlayStation Network, and only a bit before that, a new plan to simplify the approval process, making it easier for games to get to the PlayStation Network.

Indie developers have also been seen well represented on Xbox Live Arcade.