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”

July 2013

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Nintendo Recovers To Net Profit, But For How Long?

July 31, 2013

Some great news landed for Nintendo recently, but at the same time, the news was underscored by a bit of a hit for the company, and one that may have some considering Nintendo's long-term viability as it relates to being in on the console wars. Nintendo brought out its quarterly numbers and showed a net profit, but some downright dismal sales on the Wii U.

The good news is as mentioned, a net profit for the quarter, and Nintendo further left untouched recent guidance from the company that suggest a 100 billion yen operating profit for the current fiscal year. But bad news quickly followed as not only did Nintendo reveal an operating loss of 4.92 billion yen—right around $50 million, as exchange rates go—but that was on net sales of 81.5 billion yen, around $830 million, rounded off. Potentially even worse was what made up those numbers, particularly sales of just 160,000 Wii U consoles in the quarter.

Who Needs A Game Publisher, Anyway?

July 30, 2013

Recently, while at the Casual Connect game conference, Kixeye's chief executive Will Harbin took the stage to talk about game publishing, which made sense given that he was a game publisher. Though what Harbin had to say about game publishing was something of a surprise, and remember here that Will Harbin is a game publisher. What Harbin had to say was that younger developers needed to forget about publishers and instead publish games on their own in the various app stores.

“Why have an overlord like me? What's the point?” said Harbin, who throughout the course of the conversation painted a massive target on his chest and demanded to be shown to the nearest guillotine.

The Only Thing To Fear In Gaming Is Fear Itself

July 29, 2013

There is a growing concern these days over exclusionary behavior in the gaming market. Given the state of the last several years, it's really not surprising that such factioning behavior would take place, but in some ways, it's actually hurting the industry. In others, however, it's actually something of a help.

While the names of the factions have changed over the years, the essential message remains the same. When the conflict was casual versus hardcore, the hardcore players were concerned that valuable resources would be diverted from the hardcore market to produce games for the casual players.

MMOs Set To Make A Huge Mark In Consoles

July 25, 2013

Recently, we took a look at the concept of open world gaming, and showed that there was quite a bit in the field poised to make its way toward the market. At the time, we noted that this was an exciting development, and indeed, referred to the open world concept as being quite a bit like the massively multiplayer online experience. Well, as it turns out, MMOs are set to make the jump to consoles too, and in almost distressingly large numbers.

There are several titles set to make the jump to consoles, including “DC Universe Online,” “Warhammer 40K: Eternal Crusade,” “War Thunder,” “The Elder Scrolls Online,” “Destiny,” “World of Tanks,” “Planetside 2,” “Final Fantasy XIV,” “The Division,” “The Crew,” “Diablo 3,” “Dragon Quest X,” “Everquest Next,” “Phantasy Star Online 2, “ “Free Realms,” “Warframe,” and, eventually, “Titan.”

Now, that's a lot of names, and serves as a great jumping off point. See, this lot is looking to make its way to mainly next-generation consoles over the next two years or so, and joins at least one major console MMO in “Defiance.” A large number of these—the bulk of them, in fact—is set to hit the PlayStation 4 first, though more than a few will get Xbox One support, and a few will show up on both of the two major new systems.

Xbox One Shakes Up Next-Gen Again With Self-Publishing Reports

July 24, 2013

In a way, you've really got to hand it to Microsoft. It's not every day you see a company so willing to take what it said previously, turn it on its ear, and say something totally different later because it's clear the customers want it or don't want it or the like. Another of Microsoft's standards appears to have fallen, meanwhile, and it's likely to be good news for the indie crowd.

The Xbox One, according to reports, will now allow the self-publishing model that's not only a huge part of Steam, but also recently announced for the PlayStation 4. What's more, the reports go on to indicate that the overall certification process for games to reach Microsoft's online stores is to be further streamlined, and—though this particular report is somewhat unconfirmed at last report—Xbox One systems will be able to work as developer kit units.

Basically, this means that indie developers will be able to act as their own publishers, where before, developers needed a partner to get in on the full range of Microsoft capability.

Oculus Rift and IndieCade Plotting Game Jam

July 23, 2013

One of the greatest principles in gaming is that the hardware is important, but it's not so important that it can succeed in isolation without games. Oculus and IndieCade are looking to get together and start a game jam to help take care of that one particular issue with Oculus' own hardware.

IndieCade had made quite a splash at E3 with its booth showing off a variety of independent games, and Oculus had made a likewise splash with the Oculus Rift peripheral, perhaps one of the best efforts in the field of virtual reality for the last several years. But as impressive as the Oculus Rift is, perhaps the biggest issue facing it is the lack of games that will work with it. This is where IndieCade comes in, working with Oculus to get a whole lot of developers together to create a string of games all geared toward virtual reality.

But this game jam isn't just a shot to get a lot of developers together in one place to crank out some code, oh no...this particular game jam comes with prizes.

On The Importance Of Controls

July 22, 2013

Normally, when we talk about video games, certain elements spring to mind right away. The graphics, for example, usually come right near the top right alongside the plot. From there, there's the sound design and other such aesthetic matters to come into play, as well as that elusive "fun factor". Well, there's one issue that doesn't often come up, though it should, as I found out this weekend while playing a round of "Dark" for the Xbox 360.

"Dark," for those who are unfamiliar, is essentially a vampire simulator that gives players access to a set of otherworldly powers like teleportation and the like while at the same time demanding that the player slug down a little blood every so often taken as direct from the vein as is possible.

Ubisoft's World Looks A Lot More Open

July 18, 2013

We've talked here before at length about the concept of open-world gaming and the delightful possibilities it offers. We've seen open-world gaming like the recently-released “State of Decay” tear up the sales charts. But for one game company, the future is looking a lot more open, as open-world gaming prepares to take on a whole new primacy.

Ubisoft is the company in question here, and though it's already shown an impressive commitment to open-world gaming—having released nine such titles in the last seven years—continuing this tradition is clearly job one for the company. Yves Guillemot, Ubisoft's chief executive, offered up some commentary on this front on an investor call, saying that “efficient collaboration between studios working simultaneously on the same massive maps” had a major hand in Ubisoft's release schedule.

Zynga, SessionM Out To Give Gaming A Real-World Payoff

July 17, 2013

Anyone who's been to a casino lately knows that games can pay off. Indeed, whether straight luck or skill is involved, playing a game can come with a big payday. But many have likely looked at the piles of video game treasure sitting around and bemoaned the fact that it's nowhere near as easy to make money in real-time. A new partnership between Zynga and SessionM, meanwhile, is out to change that and bring real-world awards to video games.

We all know Zynga, the beleaguered social gaming publisher.

A Free Oculus Rift? More Possible Than You Might Think

July 16, 2013

One of the great policies of economics comes in the form of an acronym. It's called “TANSTAAFL,” and it traces all the way back to the 1930s, though its first appearance is lost to history. Popularized by Robert Heinlein's novel “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress,” it stands for “There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch,” and implies that getting something for nothing just doesn't happen.

There may not be such a thing as a free lunch, but if Oculus VR CEO Brendan Iribe has his way, there may one day be free Oculus Rift hardware.

Microsoft Laments Style In Xbox One Presentation

July 15, 2013

Easily one of the most reviled things to come out of E3 in a long time, Microsoft's last presentation of Xbox One earned it a lot of negative press, a lot of backpedaling, and a lot of confusion. But recently, Xbox One's chief product officer sat down with IGN and pulled a bit of a post-mortem on what went wrong. As it turns out, there's lesson here for everybody.

One of the biggest points that Marc Whitten, chief product officer on the Xbox One, wanted to underscore was that Microsoft needed to "just talk more, get people understanding what our system is." This is a very good point, but it only goes so far. See, much of what I remember hearing about--and indeed, writing about--in the time up to the E3 showdown was in terms of what was being taken away.

Check Out The League Of Legends Finals' New Venue

July 11, 2013

Just yesterday, we got a look at how Major League Gaming was looking to step up its game by bringing in new video, offering up more opportunities for advertisers to get in on a major demographic and also give the field of professional gaming a little more credibility. But it's not just Major League Gaming that has put a boost in its credibility.

A new report indicates that Riot Games is also looking to step up its game by booking the Staples Center in Los Angeles--typically home of the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team, as well as the Los Angeles Clippers, the Los Angeles Kings, and the Los Angeles Sparks, among others--for the finals of the League of Legends 2013 World Championships. Said championships are set to run October 4, with qualifying events starting with North America's during the Penny Arcade Expo--otherwise known as PAX--Prime event in Seattle, Washington. European events will occur not too far away during the Gamescom event in Cologne, Germany.

The Staples Center has room for 19,000 fans, and given that last year's finals at the Galen Center of the University of Southern California completely sold out--and the Galen Center holds 10,000 fans--it may not be overreaching to step up to a larger venue.

Major League Gaming, ESPN Style

July 10, 2013

We've been talking at length about the various developments in the market space for Major League Gaming, and what kind of impact it could have on gaming as a whole. But Major League Gaming is about to make a move that should make most take it much more seriously, having commissioned some new online content, content that will be presented in the grandest ESPN style.

Major League Gaming's new plans revolve around a fixture in Major League Gaming action, broadcaster Chris Puckett. Major League Gaming promoted Puckett to the rank of vice president of programming, and saddled him with the job of producing between six and ten hours of new video content every week. The new shows in question are said to be in much the same style of ESPN's releases, but will focus on the standard content that would be expected of a Major League Gaming presentation, offering insights on game strategy and the competition itself, as well as highlights from previous games and analysis of upcoming matches as well as previous ones.

It's not as though Major League Gaming hasn't already had plenty of content available--indeed, it features regular broadcasts online accessible at any time of the day or night, and that's going a long way toward getting interest--but the league knows it needs to step up its game, so to speak, in order to get full access to the largest possible market.

Grand Theft Auto V Trailer Crashes Into View

July 9, 2013

It was odd to see E3 come and go without a new trailer of "Grand Theft Auto V", but clearly, something major was in the works. The kind of something major that took a while to come to fruition, and now, we've got that particular something live and in front of our very eyes. The "Grand Theft Auto V" official gameplay video has now been released, and for many, the culmination of a long wait is over. But what does this mean for our future as far as gaming goes?

Within the first half minute, an incredible amount of potential is put up before us, with several vehicles on hand--helicopters and what looks like a Lear jet come into play--as well as play modes, including a downright exciting bit involving scuba gear and a sunken freighter.

Nintendo's Future Now All About The Games

July 8, 2013

No matter what you may have to say about Nintendo--and there's certainly plenty that could be said in any direction--but it must be said that Nintendo is rapidly getting a handle on what it's going to need to survive. And thanks to two clear points--that can really be distilled down into one--Nintendo's ultimate direction for survival is now clearer than it's ever been.

A recent shareholders' meeting was the venue from which Satoru Iwata, Nintendo's president, made it perfectly clear that Nintendo's survival, at least as far as the Wii U was concerned, came from two key points that were actually just one key point in the end: games. More specifically, Iwata underscored the importance of not only getting the first party games in play, but also developing the third party gaming pool as well.

Thankfully, Nintendo has made some moves in this direction already.

A Gamers' Salute To Independence Day

July 4, 2013

It's the Fourth of July, and with the coming of such a holiday comes a lot of different things. Some have family gatherings. Others attend parades, or host barbecues or the like. But one thing that should factor in to any Fourth of July celebration is the consideration of the principles which made America great: freedom, and individual responsibility.

Trolls Playing Trolls: Microsoft May Have Plans For Online Gaming

July 3, 2013

The idea of playing on Xbox Live is an exciting prospect for some, and a terrifying process for others. But it may well be shaping up with the arrival of the next generation of gaming consoles thanks to an improved overall setting that may just make your game a whole lot nicer overall.

With the coming of the Xbox One is also set to be a new kind of reputation-based gaming system, which is geared toward keeping players playing...and yet at the same time tossing the trolls into their own little collective, so that the intermingling between players is kept on a comparable level.

Naturally, some might have some concerns about this; after all, one person's trash talk is another person's nightmarish level of trolling, and the thought of some disgruntled gamer filing "troll" charges is the stuff of nightmares for some gamers. But this will be worked around by the simple expedient of the aggregate, that is, comments will be taken over a long period of time, thus ensuring that only when a lot of people cry "troll" against someone in particular, then that person might find himself--or herself--wearing the troll face.

Big New Numbers For Major League Gaming

July 2, 2013

An exciting development recently landed in the annals of Major League Gaming: the Spring Championship event recently concluded, and not only was it a big event for prize money, it was also a big event for drawing attendance. The Spring Championship reportedly pulled in over 21,000 competitors and fans alike, which for Major League Gaming, is a record.

While the 21,000 numbers may not sound the greatest, it's worth considering that this is actually completely separate from the numbers of viewers watching from home, as the online viewership numbers are on a steady rise thanks to livestreaming website Twitch. Indeed, news from Google suggests that the video game community on YouTube is actually growing faster than YouTube itself is. The report from YouTube's communications manager, Matt McLernon, says that more than half of the top list of viewed videos on YouTube represents some kind of gaming, between playthroughs, playthroughs with clever commentary, trailers, launch videos and the like, there's a lot going on in the field of gaming entertainment.

But Major League Gaming isn't just stopping there, oh no; new events are planned for just ahead of Thanksgiving, running November 22 through November 24 at the Columbus Convention Center.

What If Console Games Could Be Retooled By Users?

July 1, 2013

It's no secret by now that I'm a big fan of Bethesda's open-world experiences. The Elder Scrolls and the recent Fallout titles are the standards by which I consider most of my gaming experiences, and so, I'm always excited about news on this front. One of my friends, who's also fond of Skyrim, pointed me toward a little something that really got me thinking about the console industry in general, and if, maybe, it was time for console games to get in on the fun.

Specifically, the item in question was what's known as a mod--a PC-only experience that allows users to reshape a game to their own ends--known as "Helgen Reborn." "Helgen Reborn" assumes that, finally, someone in Skyrim got sick of having this big burnt out nightmare of a town just, you know, floating around and reminding everybody that Alduin's back and has a taste for scorched everything. Or maybe they just got tired of seeing bandits use a whole town as a hideout, I don't know.

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