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”

August 2014

You are browsing the archive for August 2014.

Gamefly's Game Over: Online Games Distributor No More

August 29, 2014

It's always kind of sad to hear about a firm getting out of a business. Sad for those who actually used said business' services or bought said business' goods, but also sad in general, because that means the market is down a competitor, and that can mean terrible things for an overall business environment. Such a thing has happened just recently as GameFly departed the online games distribution business, selling the property and related issues to AtGames Holding Ltd, according to reports from the company.

It's not all bad news, of course; those who are enjoying GameFly's digital distribution can continue to use the service until the transition is complete. Better, users will be able to continue playing purchased games by simply transferring account information to AtGames, who at last report was looking to “build upon an extensive product line-up” by carrying on with new releases.

Still, the loss of a competitor in the field is a sad one, and opens the field up for Steam to continue to assert dominance as far as digital distribution goes.

Kinect's Grand Return Comes With A Game

August 28, 2014

Now here's a smart idea from Microsoft, one that would have been even better had it not waited so long to put it into action. After de-bundling the Kinect from the Xbox One to help the device put on some steam in the sales department, Microsoft assured users—and developers—that the Kinect wasn't dead, but rather just being temporarily divorced. Now, the Kinect is making its triumphant return, and it's bringing a game along for the ride.

The separate Kinect will come in for $150, but it won't be coming alone. Gamers that buy in on the separate Kinect will get a free game: “Dance Central Spotlight.” There's no word as yet to just sell the Kinect on its own, without the game, but certainly having that game thrown in is a good inducement to get people interested.

Pop-Post Offers New Look At Gender in Video Games

August 26, 2014

Gender in video games is a hot topic these days. Between Anita Sarkeesian and the various reactions to her work to a panoply of other such discussions going on, the world of video gaming is rapidly changing. While formerly largely the domain of males who either didn't much care for or weren't too gifted at socialization, now, video gaming is becoming a lot more inclusive. That's changing a few things, and challenging a few long-held beliefs.

New Sony Firmware Update May Mean Big Things

August 25, 2014

The ongoing battle for console supremacy likely won't stop any time soon, but a new report suggests that Sony may have a trick up its sleeve that's likely to secure Sony's win in this go-round of the great console wars. It's not a new peripheral, it's not a new game. It's a piece of the firmware that could shake up multiplayer gaming as it's commonly known.

The firmware update in question seems to be related to Share Play, a gaming system that was promised back at the original PS4 introduction at E3. With Share Play, users get the opportunity to play games over PlayStation Network with friends, but without the need to actually own the game in question first.

Sony Has No Clue Why The PS4 Sold So Well

August 21, 2014

There's an old saying that, while failure is an excellent teacher, success has few lessons. While this isn't exactly the case—success often has lessons to teach for those who want to repeat it—sometimes the lessons of success are just a lot harder to find, and that's unexpectedly being learned by Sony's Shuhei Yoshida, who's feeling a “bit nervous” about Sony's recent success, and what kind of lessons this success has to teach.

Yoshida, in an interview with Eurogamer, found himself concerned that he couldn't quite get a handle on why the PlayStation 4 was selling as well as it was. PS4's results, Yoshida noted, had “...defied the conventional thinking.” As he elaborated, “Lots of people thought the dedicated game hardware might not be needed going forward, but still lots of people are very excited.” Indeed, somewhere around 10 million people are very excited, with the console having sold 10 million units. Indeed, this generation seems to be trending stronger than the previous, and that's proving unexpected for Sony. Worse, that's proving worrisome; Sony is concerned that it may ultimately exhaust its core customers.

Thankfully, the market research suggests that that may not be a problem; Sony appears to be getting customers who didn't own a PS3, including some that didn't own a Wii or an Xbox 360 either.

Sunset in Azeroth Redux: A Price Hike For U.K. Players

August 20, 2014

When I first heard about this particular news item, I genuinely gulped. Really, I swallowed hard. This was a strategy that smacked of desperation at its worst. Though I soon got the idea that this might not have been so bad after all, it still wasn't the kind of move that inspired confidence.

The Holodeck: Is It Next?

August 19, 2014

While we've all been staring, enrapt, at the Oculus Rift for some time now and thinking that, indeed, this has to be the future of gaming that we're staring at right here. It has to be! It's virtual reality! But even with virtual reality, there was one other field that we literally never dared to dream about, and that's holography.

So, Who Won Gamescom?

August 18, 2014

It's the question that launched a thousand discussions, and given how E3 went, and how the console wars in general have been faring so far, it was a question that largely had to be asked. Who “won” Gamescom? Who came out of the German event with the best public perception? Who's most likely to see positive benefit from this event?

Gamescom 2014: Sony, The Revived

August 14, 2014

Back in 2012—even in a hefty chunk of 2013—Sony was the also-ran of the gaming community. The releases never came quite as fast or as often, and Sony often wound up on the bad end of the conversation. But then E3 2013 hit, and Microsoft set it all briefly on fire. Sure, Microsoft turned around, and quickly, but by the the damage was done and Sony looked to emerge top dog of the early part of the console wars.

Gamescom 2014: Microsoft Shows Its Hand

August 13, 2014

It's easy to forget about Gamescom; after all, it's not E3, it has nothing to do with Penny Arcade, and CES is still almost five months out. But Cologne, Germany's big gaming event packs in the excitement in its own right, and it's bringing the major names out to play. But what came along with the big show? Well, Microsoft had some exciting offerings to put up, and for those expecting more in gaming out of one of the biggest names in console gaming, there's plenty of reason for excitement.

First, Microsoft brought along Remedy Entertainment, the guys who handled “Alan Wake,” one of my personal favorite horror-action titles of recent memory.

Facebook's "Oculus Experiences" Pushing Bounds Of Oculus Rift

August 12, 2014

Recently, a new development cropped up that really bears discussing. Facebook, reportedly, put out some feelers recently, talking to a variety of studios and individual directors about creating what some were referring to as “Oculus Experiences,” a new breed of video entertainment that was specifically designed to be shown on the Oculus Rift. While this isn't exactly new, it does represent the start of a much more ambitious look at something that was originally set to be mostly just a video game peripheral.

Discussions around the concept took several different forms. Some considered the idea of smaller, compartmentalized experiences that would serve as promotional material for a complete film, like maybe a stunt driving sequence to accompany “Drive Angry” or one of the “Fast and the Furious” movies.

Can Virtual Reality Make An Effective Anesthetic?

August 11, 2014

We've considered plenty of possibilities of late when it comes to virtual reality systems, particularly the Oculus Rift. We've readily seen the gaming applications, which have long been in place since the earliest days of “Dactyl Nightmare.” We've considered the idea of virtual tourism, and the ability to experience any city, any attraction on Earth from an easy chair. But a new concept suggests that virtual reality might serve a whole new purpose: as a kind of partial anesthetic.

The idea recently came into play as part of an experiment at the Perpetuo Socorro hospital in Gran Canaria in Spain. While there, a woman named Josefa Ramirez went in for a knee operation, a prospect that would have anyone unnerved.

Who's The Most Loyal In Gaming?

August 7, 2014

The gaming environment has changed, wildly, from even just five years ago. Mobile devices were only just beginning, really, and the field was mainly split between console and PC gaming. But now, with the rise of the indie gaming market and the casual gaming market as represented by mobile devices, the field has changed, and is changing. What's more, the demographics of gaming is also changing, and a whole new development is fundamentally reshaping gaming.

Perhaps one of the biggest such changes is the increase of women involved in gaming.

Sunset in Azeroth: Will "Warlords of Draenor" Improve World of Warcraft's Fortunes?

August 6, 2014

I've mentioned it before, but I was once a “World of Warcraft” player not so long ago. More on that later for those not already familiar with the tale, but having been in and left the game, I understand something about why players might leave the game themselves. And one thing is becoming increasingly clear: players are leaving the game in fairly substantial numbers.

The reports are unpleasant to say the least: 2010 was the high-water mark for “World of Warcraft,” with 12 million players in total involved in the game. Now, that number is down to just over half that count, with reports putting the inhabitants of Azeroth down to just 6.8 million.

Microsoft's Uphill Battle For The Chinese Gaming Market

August 5, 2014

On September 23, a little slice of history will land in mainland China as the Xbox One goes on sale in the country, the first such dedicated gaming machine to be sold in the country since the country established a ban on gaming consoles that went back fully 14 years, according to reports. But even with a first-mover advantage and Microsoft's incredible name recognition and market capitalization, success is not assured. So what's standing between Microsoft and gaming sector dominance in one of the planet's biggest markets? Let's take a look.

On the surface, this should be a slam dunk.

New Xbox One Bundles Incoming; Another Price Drop To Follow?

August 4, 2014

Some exciting news is afoot for those who haven't pulled the trigger as yet on landing a new Xbox One. Specifically, those interested in Xbox One and certain titles will be able to land a complete box set of the systems in question. But given the time of year, and the time of the releases, is this actually posing a larger possibility to come: a full Xbox One price cut?

The news by itself is pretty good for what it is in isolation. Fairly soon, there will be an Xbox One system offered for users along with a copy of “Madden NFL 15.” Though there won't be a Kinect included, the whole system together will cost $399, or essentially, the same cost of a standard Kinect-free system, meaning that users will be able to buy a Kinectless Xbox One and get a free copy of “Madden NFL 15.” Later, a white Xbox One—the first such system of its class—will be released with a copy of “Sunset Overdrive,” and though there's no pricing yet on this one, it wouldn't be much of a surprise if, once again, it was $399.

While this is good news on all sides, it's enough to make someone start wondering. This is maybe the third time such a price adjustment has emerged in the last several months, but while that by itself wouldn't mean much of anything, there's another point that might contribute.

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