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”

June 2014

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E-Sports Gets A New Attraction With "Just Dance"

June 30, 2014

The Electronic Sports World Cup has added a new event to its roster as the Ubisoft title “Just Dance” joins the ranks as the first ever casual game for the series. This is a move that may seem strange on the surface, but actually does a lot of good in the long run for the concept of professional gaming and e-sports.

Mechanically, the concept is fairly simple. A set of qualifying rounds will be established for “Just Dance” competitors running from June 24—so it's already started, really—to September 21. Out of all of these competitors, just 20 players will be selected for a final match to take place at Paris Games Week, where the best in the world will be determined.

Family Sharing on Xbox One? It's Not Dead Yet.

June 26, 2014

Back in the days of the 2013 E3, when Sony landed the biggest hit against Microsoft that had been seen before—arguably, if nothing else—by having two guys pass around a disc box, Microsoft had some plans for the Xbox One. The problem, of course, was that many didn't much care for Microsoft's plans as stated, because those plans required a lot to be given up in exchange for bringing those plans to light. Now, new word has emerged to suggest that the plans may not be quite so dead after all...but with some critical modification.

Specifically, up for a bit of new life is the Family Sharing plan, by which gamers can allow family and friends, to a certain number, to digitally “borrow” purchased games for play on separate devices. It was an interesting enough idea, but it came at a very high price: the always-on digital rights management scheme that would have made such a venture possible also had a hand in destroying the used and rental video game markets. But the question remained; how could such a feature be brought into the current era but without the intrusive DRM?

Google I/O 2014: How Android TV Drives A New Breed Of Console Gaming

June 25, 2014

It could easily be forgiven for many to think that mobile gaming is mobile gaming, and console gaming is console gaming, and never the twain shall meet. But that's a line that's become increasingly blurry over the last couple of years, starting with things like the Ouya console. Now, the 900 pound gorilla has entered the fray, and Google—at its I/O developers' conference--showed off how the living room was about to get a big new shot of mobile gaming with Android TV.

Android TV, which got its big announcement at the I/O show, is less a product like the Amazon Fire TV box and more a platform, able to accommodate a variety of vendors who want to build the technology directly into other products. That includes televisions, of course, but can also be seen to extend to Blu-ray players or even an outright set-top box like those offered by Razer, a company already well-known for its connection to gaming.

June 24, 2014

The move to keep cheaters out of games is one that's been widely discussed for some time now, but what happens when the anti-cheating mechanisms get a little too ambitious? Is Blackstone's Formulation right? Where do we draw the line on cheats in games and how far is too far? It's a thorny set of questions, make no mistake, but these are questions that need to be asked nonetheless as EA's Punkbuster mechanism reportedly got a little out of control recently and ended up delivering cheating bans to the last people who should have got same: non-cheaters.

Players in “Battlefield 3” recently found themselves on the bad end of Punkbuster bans, and that's made for some bad blood between EA—and its third-party developer Even Balance—and the gaming community, particularly those who took the bans without cause.

Why Does The Midwest Love PS4?

June 23, 2014

A new and somewhat unusual map recently came into view, as the Movoto Real Estate Blog took a look at breakdowns of Facebook likes in various states and discovered that certain states in the United States had some rather clear preferences in terms of next-generation video game systems. While these were aggregated trends based on some rather limited scale measures, the trends were clear enough to make note of and from there speculate upon.

The map makes it oddly clear: the coasts are largely Xbox One territory, but the farther one gets from the coast in either direction, the more likely it is that the trend will swing to PlayStation 4. Naturally, there are exceptions, but for the most part the pattern holds true. Indeed, if the next-gen console wars were a presidential election, we'd be greeting President Microsoft tomorrow.

A New Nintendo Game System--A Mixed Blessing?

June 19, 2014

About a month ago, word started emerging about a whole new breed of system for Nintendo. It was a strange idea, but the word continued to circulate that Nintendo was indeed planning a whole new next-gen title just as the participants of the current next generation had only just started. It was an idea that was staggering in its scope and in its potential implications. Though not much has been heard out of it lately, I still thought it'd be a good time to settle in and hash over the idea.

Boogio and Shoes: A New Way To Take Control

June 18, 2014

The controller could easily be one of the most important parts about a video game system. Without an easy-to-use and smoothly functioning controller, games just don't play nearly as well. But Reflex Labs may have created something new and entirely game-changing, so to speak, in the new Boogio wearable sensor system.

The Boogio shoe takes insole pressure sensors, which can in turn pack in fully 60,000 layers of pressure sensitivity measure, and backs same up with a 3D accelerometer. This combination of pressure sensitivity and spatial recognition essentially allows the user to see things like gravitational force, pressure, balance and acceleration.

A New Twitch Record...Thanks to E3

June 17, 2014

It's been an absolutely amazing Electronics Entertainment Expo this year, sufficiently so that people are actually still talking about it almost a week after the fact. While there were huge quantities of great games shown off, and new technology besides that should have gamers plenty excited in the near term, there was actually some news that took this long to finally reach daylight. Twitch is responsible for this particular slice of news, having managed to achieve a new viewership record, thanks to not a piece of e-sports, but rather, to E3 itself.

It was already pretty well known that people would be using the Web to keep up with what was going on at E3. Between the various game trailers and the keynote addresses and the like, it was clear that E3 was going to represent a big chunk of gaming action, and give users plenty of reason to watch the proceedings, especially given that most of the population was easily more than 100 miles away from the action when it finally fired up in earnest.

Why Nintendo's Not Out of the Console War Yet

June 16, 2014

It's the first weekday after E3, and we're all still just a little glassy-eyed. And why not? A host of new developments came out, huge packs of new games were shown off, and all around, there was joy for gamers of all stripes, and at the end of the day, that's big news, and very happy news besides. But filtering out of the post-E3 joyquake was a pair of items that, taken together, posed some very good news for those who still believe that Nintendo's got a shot at sticking around past this generation.

One of the two was a news item from Nintendo's Reggie Fils-Aime, who noted that Wii U sales actually quadrupled when compared to a week prior after one key point: the release of “Mario Kart 8.” Granted, Wii U sales were never exactly spectacular, so this might seem like a “none today; tomorrow, FOUR TIMES AS MANY!!” situation, but given that “Mario Kart 8” actually sold over one million titles on its release weekend alone, this is news that is no doubt welcome not only to Nintendo proper, but also to Nintendo's fans as well.

The second news item comes from Little Orbit founder and CEO Matt Scott, who had some words with Polygon about just what was going on in the Nintendo space.



E3 2014: So Who Won E3 This Year?

June 12, 2014

It's a question that becomes pretty inevitable these days when talking about E3. We saw very clearly last year how possible it is to “win” E3, to walk away from the Electronics Entertainment Expo with the biggest swelling of consumer sentiment. Opinions run high on this topic, and you can generally find that, where someone says one thing, another says something wholly different. But who do I say won E3?

E3 2014: So What About Nintendo?

June 11, 2014

Over the last two days, we've had a look at Microsoft's press conference, and we've done likewise for Sony, and the end result seems to be a bit on the inconclusive side. But despite some of the commentary out in the market, this is still a three-horse race, at least it is for now, so it's worth taking a moment to take a look at what Nintendo had to offer at its big digital E3 event. Perhaps surprisingly, it had plenty to show.

It became clear, for the most part, that Nintendo is pulling out all the stops to get its most familiar IP in absolutely everything. Mario and crew will be showing up in a variety of places, and this, frankly, was to be expected.

E3 2014: Sony Brings The Gaming Heat In Its Press Conference

June 10, 2014

We saw yesterday that Microsoft did an absolute knockout job with its E3 presser, and it was a job that Microsoft sorely needed. With last year's huge defeat ringing in its ears, Microsoft made it clear, it was a gaming device here for the gamers, and all those extras were pretty much that: extras. Microsoft focused on the games and pulled out a sound win, but this win was likely only enough to put it on par with Sony. While Sony would get no easy slam-dunks on Microsoft this year—no pithy videos about how to share games with friends—it was still riding high, and all it had to do was maintain its course and trajectory to stay ahead of Microsoft.

E3 2013: Microsoft's Press Event Hits The Game Button

June 9, 2014

And so it arrives! It's the time of year that gamers look forward to almost as much as they look forward to Christmas in many cases; it's the Electronic Entertainment Expo, when the biggest names talk about the biggest games and just what's going to come out when, what it will look like, and what some of the stuff that's just barely in the works is going to be in the coming year. This was a big day for Microsoft in particular, an event that some suggested might well have proven to be make-or-break for the company, and from the looks of things, “make” might well be the best descriptor here.

Naturally, Microsoft had plenty to show off in terms of games. Perhaps one of the biggest was “Scalebound,” a game that looked like a weird combination of fantasy and sci-fi action featuring dragons, even bigger dragons, and Beats headphones.

Trouble for Microsoft? "Dead Rising 3" Jumps Ship

June 5, 2014

A bad sign for Microsoft, though not a particularly big sign of trouble, emerged today as word that “Dead Rising 3” would no longer be an Xbox One exclusive made the rounds. While the news isn't as bad for Microsoft as it might have been, the fact that Microsoft is essentially losing one of its biggest exclusive titles is news few likely saw coming.

The good news here is just what platform it is Microsoft is losing exclusivity of “Dead Rising 3” to. The zombie-squashing mayhem will reportedly be making its way to the PC, which will likely have some breathing a sigh of relief. After all, the PC is largely a Microsoft platform anyway, what with the sheer numbers of Windows PCs out there.

By This Winter, You'll Watch A Lot More Television on Xbox One

June 4, 2014

Anyone remember the winter we just had? Yeah, I know, of course you remember it, it only stopped like three weeks ago. It was a long, cold affair jammed full of snow, hazardous road conditions, and a lot of days spent indoors communing with the wonders of game systems and online video. But this winter—which hopefully won't be anywhere near as bad as last one thanks to the El Nino currently out in the Pacific Ocean—will offer us a lot more opportunity to stay inside and watch television, thanks to some serious new augmentation coming to the Xbox One.

Those who have picked up an Xbox One are set to get hands on fully 45 apps previously unavailable for the system, ranging from entertainment apps like HBO Go and Major League Gaming to connectivity apps like Twitter and even Vine. Twitter, moreover, will be built directly into not only the console interface, but also into the OneGuide TV listings.

Going to E3 This Year? More Going Virtually Than Ever

June 3, 2014

E3 arrives next week, and with it the hope of gamers everywhere swells to staggering proportions, wondering what amazing treats will debut at the big show, what games will be coming out, and what we'll be seeing and playing in time for Christmas...or beyond. With over 70,000 people expected to hit the big show, you might think that no one else will be making it, especially since the show's been largely closed to the public for years. That's simply not the case, however, as more and more fans are hitting the big show...virtually.

Google, backed up by its YouTube video division, took a look at the numbers involved in virtual trips to E3, and discovered that the numbers in question were actually pretty impressive. In terms of YouTube videos, activity around “E3” actually surges just ahead of the show, likely owing to users looking for leaked game trailers and early streams of product that will be showing up.

The International Prize Pool Gains Ground, E-Sports Sees Suspensions

June 2, 2014

The recent events in e-sports are providing plenty of reasons to sit up and take notice. Not only has the prize pool for The International—the big world championship match for “Dota 2”--hit all new records from the last time we talked about records in this field, but there have been new developments in the “League of Legends” field as well, details less savory overall.

First, the good news. The prize pool for The International has cleared a whopping $8 million, and current projections suggest that, at the rate this is all going down right now, it's on track to clear $10 million by the time the game goes on July 18 – 21 at the KeyArena in Seattle, Washington. That would actually beat the prizes awarded in the 2013 round of The International by a factor of nearly four to one, with the 2013 round bringing in about $2.8 million total.