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”

January 2014

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Microsoft Puts Money Where Its Mouth Is In New Trade-In Offer

January 30, 2014

An exciting new idea has emerged from the halls of Redmond, and this is going to be unusual for a few reasons. For the next month, Microsoft is planning to pay a bounty on old gaming systems, which in turn can be used to pay for a new Xbox One system. There are several caveats to this deal, of course, including some that are surprisingly unique.

The offer, essentially, goes like this: those who bring in an Xbox 360, in either regular or slim flavors, can get up to $100 in store credit at Microsoft retail outlets. But here's where things start to get interesting.

Is Amazon About To Eat Microsoft's Lunch?

January 29, 2014

That's a funny question, make no mistake, and it's got an answer that may not prove to be very funny at all for Microsoft. For us, however, it should be a bit of great news as it should spark competition between Microsoft and Amazon and give rise to several new and useful features for us to enjoy. But the point remains that Amazon may have just pulled off a masterstroke and done the job that Microsoft is still seeking to do...for now.

Earlier today, more specific word emerged about the Amazon console, that was suggested to be in the works since last year, but was delayed at the last minute to this year instead. Powered by Snapdragon processors from Qualcomm and set to take advantage of a wide swath of Amazon's overall offerings, from music to movies to, of course, video games, the little console was set to hit shelves for under $300 and was demonstrated with games from both the Android and the iOS libraries.

Is Nintendo's Past the Secret to Its Future?

January 28, 2014

It's been bantered around quite a bit lately, about just what Nintendo “should do.” It's faced with impressive losses, and losing a lot of ground in the newest round of the console wars, thanks to increasing competition from rivals Microsoft and Sony. But what exactly Nintendo “should do” in terms of gaining that ground back and making up some losses is unclear to most everyone, though everyone has a least a few ideas. Including a few from yours truly, which this piece will go after.

I've heard a lot about Nintendo leasing out its characters, and that's not a bad idea. Mario on the Xbox One wouldn't be such a bad thing, nor any of Nintendo's other amazing IP.

The VRcade: Is There A Future In The Arcade?

January 27, 2014

Let's face it, kids. The arcade is mostly a dead prospect these days. Oh, sure, there are still examples of the concept around; every so often you'll find a place still devoted to keeping the old machines alive, or even a handful of new ones still coming out. I just saw an absolutely spectacular Aliens: Armageddon shooting game where the controller was a reasonably close replica of a M41A pulse rifle.

Product Placement, YouTube, And the Win-Win For Gamers

January 23, 2014

The idea of paying for promotional consideration in online videos these days has become something of a cause celebre, particularly in recent days. No matter what side of the issue one lands on—and there's plenty of room for debate here—there are some critical points that bear considering before really establishing a stance on the idea of paying content creators for consideration in video of any sort.

Essentially, it could be described that some game companies—notably Microsoft and Electronic Arts—were offering a kind of product placement arrangement with YouTube video creators, with the unexpected difference that the creators were asked not to note the relationship that had been established, something that led some to wonder if the companies, or the YouTube creators, could be cited under Federal Trade Commission guidelines that discussed this kind of thing. But with the FTC's Betsy Lordan recently coming out to say that the guidelines were “not legally enforceable,” and following that up with “there are no monetary penalties or penalties of any kind associated with them”, that sort of took a lot of wind out of the sails of the concept that this might somehow be wrong.

However, while the guidelines have zero teeth, Lordan further explained that the guides were written to provide something of an early-warning mechanism related to actual law with actual penalties. The FTC would, essentially, act to notify a company that actually was violating guidelines that could lead to legal problems, which would give the company in question an opportunity to make changes that keep said company out of legal trouble.

That being said, I don't have a problem with paid promotional opportunities.

DayZ's Creator Would Rather You Not Buy DayZ Yet

January 22, 2014

Of all the counter-intuitive statements one might hear in a typical day, “please don't buy my game” from a game developer has to be one of the strangest. But that's exactly what's going on with Dean Hall, creator of DayZ, who's actively telling people not to buy DayZ just yet. The reasons, oddly enough, make perfect sense.

Hall is expressing the belief that players should hold off a bit, let him and his team go through the game and fix some of the game's bugs, of which at last report there were several. But Hall also wants to add more features to the game, a development most anyone can get behind.

The Secret To PC Gaming's Growth? BRICs and Steam.

January 21, 2014

It may sound almost impossibly cryptic, but according to new reports, the secret to PC gaming success is going to be a combination of bricks and steam. That sounds like an odd combination, but the report from the International Data Corporation makes it a lot clearer.

More specifically, the steam in this case is the Steam gaming platform, home to absolutely staggering deals on a regular basis. The bricks, meanwhile, are the so-called BRIC nations, that combination of Brazil, Russia, India and China that represents some of the biggest possibilities in developing markets the world over. Though the BRIC nations' exact impact as market growth drivers is somewhat suspect--it didn't take long for it to start being questioned after it first emerged on the scene--it's easy to see why these nations are getting a lot of attention these days thanks to a combination of impressive natural resources and huge populations.

But the two factors together, according to the International Data Corporation, are likely to help fuel a firestorm of growth in the sector.

What Is It About Rust?

January 20, 2014

I've been hearing quite a bit about the game known as “Rust” lately, and this little game—which recently started making sales—is actually landing on the market in high style. It's been showing up in webcomics, it's been talked about all over, and a whole lot of people are playing this. So what is it that's driving the interest? It's a question worth asking, especially considering how big the user base is.

“Rust” is, essentially, a kind of refined version of “Minecraft” that has much better graphics and some increased emphasis on multiplayer.

Are Steam Sales Doing More Harm Than Good?

January 16, 2014

Just yesterday we noted some big impact for Steam, and noted how it was drawing in a whole lot of gaming fans from all around the world with incredible bargains released on a fairly regular basis. But one point being raised by a game developer is that the amazing Steam sales that come around may be, ultimately, doing more harm to gamers than good.

Jason Rohrer, who developed “The Castle Doctrine,” a massively multiplayer online game focused on burglary, put up a blog post describing a set of unintended consequences that may lead to the ultimate detriment of gamers. Rohrer notes that sales like Steam's, which feature incredible markdowns, do draw attention, but draw the attention away from a launch date, instead convincing gamers to wait until a game is released at a steep discount before buying.
While many gamers are eager to get the newest game right when it comes out, there's always that percentage of gamers who look at the situation, realize that there will be a discount somewhere, and instead choose to hold out until that day has arrived.

Steam Explodes Amid New Generation of Consoles

January 15, 2014

There's been a lot made lately out of the next generation of consoles, and with good reason. Millions of the devices have been sold, and already the future of gaming's next generation is looking bright. But an unexpected development has been spotted, as the PC gaming service Steam saw some absolutely staggering gains in users in the last three months...more than the newest consoles could muster.

Reports suggest that, over the last three months, Steam accounts rose from 65 million to 75 million, representing an additional 10 million new accounts. That's a pretty substantial gain no matter how you look at it, and some of the biggest gains came from sources that may be considered unlikely.

Mobile Gaming Set For Huge Upswing in Investment & Value

January 14, 2014

We all pretty well knew that gaming was a big industry. Just looking at E3, at the Penny Arcade Expo, at the growing presence of gaming in the recently concluded Consumer Electronics Show all cements the idea that gaming is getting much more mainstream than it once was. But the growth of gaming really got a dose of quantification earlier today when Digi-Capital, a game investment bank, noted that mobile gaming could ultimately push the industry into levels of revenue that some may never have expected.

Digi-Capital's report said that, with mobile gaming in place, the whole industry could reach $100 billion by 2017. Further, the mobile and online game sectors of the game industry could ultimately reach a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23.6 percent by 2017 as well, making just the mobile and online gaming market worth around $60 billion.

Shall We Play A Game? Angelina's Got One In Mind

January 13, 2014

It's a strange sort of medium we've struck now in gaming. First came WOPR, who wanted to play a game with stakes of unusual depth. Then came Skynet, who turned the whole planet into a horrible game that featured a whole bunch of dead humans. But turning an AI into a gaming mechanism has produced something much different, as was revealed recently with the unveiling of ANGELINA.

ANGELINA, or A Novel Game-Evolving Labrat I've Named Angelina, was the creation of Michael Cook, a Goldsmiths College researcher and PhD student at Imperial College London, and it is, essentially, an artificial intelligence that can create games.

CES 2014: Gaming Takes A Big Slice of the Show

January 9, 2014

One exciting theme about this year's Consumer Electronics Show is one that we've been picking up bits and pieces of throughout the week, but also came in the form of things that we didn't discuss. Now that the show's coming to an end, it's a good time to start taking a look back at the biggest events of the show and discover, to probably the surprise of many, that gaming took a lot of the show's time. Particularly PC gaming, as several new advancements in the field made it to the show floor.

We talked about Razer's Project Christine, and we talked about the new changes made in the Oculus Rift with its Crystal Cove version. Earlier in the week we got a look at Sony and its PlayStation Now service, and had a lot of discussion on these points and how they were set to change the world of gaming as we knew it.

CES 2014: Razer Unveils Project Christine, Fears of Haunted Cars Quickly Allayed

January 8, 2014

The first thing I think when I hear the name “Christine”--especially one connected with a machine—is the haunted Plymouth Fury of Stephen King fame. And why not? It's probably the first thing a lot of people born after 1980 think of. But Razer wants to take back the name and make it a force for good least, a force for good gaming.

CES 2014: Oculus Rift Crystal Cove Makes An Appearance

January 7, 2014

It was a product that was almost as mysterious as its name. The folks at Oculus—makers of the Rift, and perhaps one of the biggest names in gaming for 2013 as well as in all likelihood 2014 as well—showed off a whole new prototype of the Rift that was going by the name Crystal Cove. What Crystal Cove was offering, however, proved just a bit less mysterious—and a lot more exciting—following a little explanation from Oculus out at the CES 2014 event.

The Crystal Cove version packed in a complete positional tracking system—as evidenced by the IR dots on the front of the device, which use a camera to track the location of said dots and translate that information into events on screen. Though that sounds like quite a bit of new hardware and development, reports from Oculus' founder, Palmer Luckey, said that the extras won't boost the price of the unit very far up.

CES 2014: Nvidia Shows Streaming From PC to TV

January 6, 2014

While quite a bit has been made out of the Steam Machine, a concept that brings Steam gaming to the living room thanks to some particularly pleasant connectivity points and modified control schemes, the idea of streaming from a PC to a television is something that's gotten considerably less airplay of late. Nvidia, however, is poised to make the idea of streaming from a PC to a television simpler, and a lot more powerful besides...sufficiently so as to make it useful in gaming.

Specifically, this development came as a result of the new Nvidia Shield, which it showed off at a pre-event event just ahead of CES 2014. Nvidia's talked about the kind of technology required to do that streaming thing before, but this is a bit different in that Nvidia managed to show off the technology complete with a smoothly-executed demo that had nary a hiccup. In this case, the Shield acts as, essentially, a controller for a game running on a PC.

January 2, 2014

We all know that gaming is big business, at least in the United States. It stands to reason it's likewise big business in Canada and in Europe and even in Japan, with plenty of other places doing big business in gaming from there. China, however, may not be high up on the list of places people would think of when it comes to big markets for gaming. Recent reports suggest that the Chinese gaming market is putting quite a bit in play, with said reports noting that, in 2013, the Chinese market for video games weighed in at fully $13 billion.

The word came from the China Games Industry Annual Conference, and the word brought with it not only big numbers, but also big increases.

2014 In Gaming: A Big Year In The Making

January 1, 2014

Gamers out there are undoubtedly looking forward to 2014, and with good reason. There's a whole new crop of developments out there just waiting to make themselves known, and some that have already been started that should come to fruition this year. There's quite a bit of excitement on tap, and with the first day of the new year now in hand, we're going to take a look at some of the stuff that may make big news this year.

Open World Gaming

There's a LOT of this going around. We're still seeing downloadable content come out for “Dead Rising 3,” but beyond that there's plenty left to come.

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