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”

October 2014

You are browsing the archive for October 2014.

Is the Secret to Mobile Gaming Ad Success a Matter of Reward?

October 30, 2014

Sometimes in marketing, something comes along that's so inherently simple that it makes you slap your head and wonder why in the world no one thought of the development in question before that very second. It's too simple to have been so easily missed by so many for so long, and yet, that's just what happened. That something in question was the idea that, if advertisers really want to drive engagement with their advertising, said advertisers should give the user a reason to click. And a "rescue" advertisement, as some are calling it, may be just the thing for mobile gamers.

The concept is almost terrifying in its simplicity; take a gamer who's experiencing a reversal and offer said gamer a bit of a boost in exchange for viewing a mobile ad.

More Money, More Problems? Crowdfunding E-Sports Prizes May Not Work Well

October 29, 2014

On the surface, it seems like such a no-brainer, doesn't it? The idea that bigger prizes mean better e-sports events is just so perfectly rational. After all, who doesn't want a cut of a $10 million slice of prize purse? Who doesn't want to fantasize they could even have a shot of competing for a slice of that action?

Nimble VR's Nimble Sense Technology Adds Control to VR

October 28, 2014

Just yesterday, we got a look at a breed of virtual reality (VR) that you could touch—well, after a fashion, anyway—with the hopefully upcoming Dexmo device from Chinese firm Dexta Robotics. But that was scarcely the only one in the market who was set to offer some better control options for VR, and now Nimble VR is looking to enter the fray with its Nimble Sense system.

Much like Dexta Robotics, Nimble VR is looking to Kickstarter to draw in the funding necessary to get the system off the ground, and the campaign is well on its way, having raised over $10,000 so far. Backers are funding what amounts to a depth-sensing camera. Said camera has a range of between 10 and 70 centimeters—around 3.93 to 27.56 inches for those who favor the imperial—and a capture rate of 45hz with an exposure time of 4 x 1ms.

Virtual Reality You Can Feel?

October 27, 2014

It was perhaps one of the biggest drawbacks of virtual reality. While even back in the days of “Dactyl Nightmare”, we could see things coming at us or see us firing upon them, our capacity to feel was limited. Granted, the pistol grip controller in our physical hands helped, but this was a dodge more than anything. However, Dexta Robotics out of China may have the answer in the form of a new kind of exoskeleton known as the Dexmo that may do the job better than anything so far.

The Dexmo comes in two versions: the classic, a breed designed as a controller that can capture hand motion effectively, as well as the F2, a version that also offers a breed of haptic feedback, essentially what virtual reality (VR) has been missing for some time now.

The Value of Nostalgia May Give 3D Realms a New Lease on Life

October 23, 2014

When Duke Nukem made his...triumphant?...return to gaming, it was a conversation starter the Net over. This bizarre hyperviolent misogynist who made his biggest hits back in the early days of gaming had a tough time stepping into the future, and as such, that made for a somewhat disappointing release when he finally showed up again. But the company behind Duke's bizarre, trigger-happy adventures is putting those adventures to work with a new release that may spark some future development.

More specifically, 3D Realms—a former subsidiary of Apogee Software, one of the biggest names in early PC classic gaming like “Wolfenstein 3D”--is planning to release a full back-catalog collection containing names so old that only some gamers will even remember them, let alone actually have played them. However, some games might be much more recognizable, as said titles actually kicked off some major developments in the field.

NPD Report: Consoles Good, Games Not So Much

October 20, 2014

So just ahead of the weekend last week, the NPD Group report came out and spelled out gaming by the numbers. Perhaps the biggest point in the article was the unexpected reversal of Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter's bombshell prediction from last week, but amid all the excitement, one thing became clear: the sales of consoles has been pretty brisk, but the game sales have been a mite flat.

Indeed, Pachter's prediction went cock-eyed following the discovery that, indeed, PlayStation 4 sales aced out Xbox One sales, though it was a somewhat closer race than usual. Indeed, both consoles benefited—albeit in different ways—from the arrival of “Destiny”, a game that would go on to drive cries of “loot cave!” that were subsequently and rapidly extinguished. But as a whole, console sales were up and well on the rise, and that's actually contributing to a down market for software.

Right now, there are current-gen games and last-gen games.

The Reports of the World of Warcraft's Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

October 16, 2014

Exciting news from Azeroth today, folks...apparently, the recent massive losses of subscribers were not in fact the beginning of the end for the venerable old MMORPG, but rather a temporary lull. Indeed, there have been a rise of subscribers in recent days, and the numbers are being pinned on an upcoming expansion.

The numbers tell the story rather conclusively; back at the end of June, World of Warcraft was down to around 6.8 million subscribers. Not bad, but definitely a ways off the historic highs. But at the end of September, that number had jumped to fully 7.4 million, picking up better than a half million subscribers.

Xbox One May Have Tipped The Scales On PlayStation 4 Last Month

October 15, 2014

While the last several months have been a nigh-endless litany of how the PlayStation 4 is soundly handing it to the Xbox One in virtually every point that's measurable, one unexpected development came to light recently as an analyst estimate suggested it was the other way around. Trying to pin down the why of it, meanwhile, proved to be quite an exciting proposition.

The word came from Wedbush Morgan Securities, whose own Michael Pachter estimated sales of 325,000 new Xbox One models, as compared to 250,000 PlayStation 4 sales. This represents one of a bare handful of times in which Microsoft has outsold Sony since the devices launched nearly a year ago back in November, and Pachter believes he has a handle on exactly why the reversal took place: the power of freebies.

Pachter elaborated, saying “From September 7 through (September) 13, Microsoft offered a free game with the purchase of a new Xbox One at participating retailers.” While Pachter's numbers are still just an estimate, and will be so until The NPD Group brings out its sales data for the month of September this Thursday, the early word suggests that at least the conclusion—in which Sony loses to Microsoft for just the second time since the devices launched—should hold true.

Moreover, this was the same week that “Destiny” made its launch, and it also matched up closely to the release of the $400 combo pack which featured an Xbox One and the release of “Madden NFL 15”. So this actually combines to offer a great many reasons why gamers would want to pick up an Xbox One in that particular time frame, also demonstrating the intense power of value.

Value, the Barenaked Ladies song said, it's all about value.

What Role Does the Arcade Have in Modern Gaming?

October 14, 2014

It's actually kind of strange to think about, but the arrival of “Star Wars: Battle Pod”--which we talked about last week—kind of got me to thinking. Back in my younger days, I was an arcade enthusiast from a long way back. Of course, back in those days, arcades were a lot more popular then; even the local county fair had a tent lined front to back and ringed all around with arcade cabinets. A bit of nostalgia got me looking again in earnest, and what I found got me to thinking.

Is It Time to Revive a Few Good Classics?

October 13, 2014

Not long ago, I spotted plans from Sierra to put a bit of a new spin on an old classic. Specifically, there were plans afoot to revive the Gabriel Knight series by making a 20th anniversary special remake of Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Father. Beyond that, however, there was also a new Gabriel Knight story set to arrive in PDF form, free for the downloading, and that got me wondering. What about some of the other games out there that haven't been heard from of late?

New Reports Emerge On The Oculus Rift's Commercial Release Date

October 9, 2014

It's a question that's been fresh in plenty of users' minds pretty much since they even heard about an Oculus Rift in the first place: when exactly is this thing coming out? A new report presents something like bad news for those who feel the waiting too sharply already, yet at the same time, a note of good news as well. Specifically, it's going to be a while before the Oculus Rift hits commercially, but there's a good reason for the extra wait.

Basically, the Oculus Rift's makers out at Oculus VR / Facebook are specifically working to make the device better-suited to the long haul, likely knowing that once wearers get the thing on it's going to take an act of Congress, God, or sheer hunger to get the thing back off again. Reports from Bloomberg suggest that the company is “really close” to a release, but that it's still going to be a few months as the product is ultimately refined and made as comfortable as possible.

It's not just a matter of comfort, though; the company is reportedly eager to make sure the product is also easy to use, right out of the box.

Are the Arcades Dead? Bandai Namco's "Star Wars: Battle Pod" Says No.

October 8, 2014

It would have been a safe bet, even just a couple weeks ago, to say that the arcade that we know it is dead, consigned to the ash heap of history by a combination of powerful consoles, improved PCs and increasingly accessible high-speed Internet. But there seem to be some elements of arcade gaming out there, and they're showing up in increasingly strange places. One development that proves the arcade isn't quite so dead as expected was a new release from Bandai Namco, specifically, a new Star Wars-themed arcade machine called “Star Wars: Battle Pod.”

“Star Wars: Battle Pod” got an official unveiling just ahead of the New York Comic-Con, which really wasn't a surprise given that most attendees of the New York Comic-Con are likely gamers on at least some level as well. But “Star Wars: Battle Pod” is a little something different and a lot something exciting.

Is ArcheAge's Call to Restrict Chat the Right Move?

October 7, 2014

Recently I spotted a new development out at Trion that left me thinking. The comparatively new RPG the studio released, "ArcheAge," made the call to restrict chat functions to higher-level characters only. While the decision only affects characters under level 15, the idea has both some rational purpose behind it and some deeply concerning effects in play as well.

When "ArcheAge" players reach level 15, under the new system, they'll have access to faction chat functions, trade, shout systems, need party, and complete nation chat mechanisms. The recent changes that brought the shift in chat functions also brought healer weapons for quest rewards, improvements to warehouse size, and a tougher Kraken fight.

No Marketing? No Problem. "State of Decay" Clears Two Million Games Sold

October 6, 2014

It's almost staggeringly counter-intuitive, the idea that a game—or anything else for that matter—could sell, and sell extremely well, without the benefit of formal marketing methods behind it. Whether extensive social media work or expensive advertising work or anything like that, most products all but require marketing to sell even passably well. The idea of “if you build it, they will come” hasn't really worked since Kevin Costner gave it a shot, but in a way, it's working out—and pretty well—for “State of Decay”, the game that's sold over two million copies so far despite nothing significant in the way of formal marketing efforts.

So what did it? What drove “State of Decay” to staggering heights of sales despite precious little ad spend or anything like that?

Gamers Making Money With Games: The New Business Model?

October 2, 2014

Have you ever played a role-playing game, like “Skyrim” for example, and wished it were that easy to make money in real time? If you've ever wished that you could fight a couple dozen goblins with a sword and make enough for groceries for the week, well, you're not alone. But Roblox's CEO, David Baszucki, thinks that maybe it should be this easy to make money, and is working to get that kind of business model into play.

Roblox is one game you may not have heard of, but plenty of players have. It's been running a little under 10 years now, since 2006, and it's not so much a game as it is a platform for making games.

How GameLock is Shaking Up the Used Game Market

October 1, 2014

Used games are a wonderful thing; they give budget-minded gamers a chance to enjoy the good stuff at a substantially reduced cost, though sometimes it can take a bit of patience to get hands on just that right title as it might take a few months for a used title to hit the shelves. For the longest time, the used game market—particularly in the brick-and-mortar sense—was simple enough; sell a game to a store (often at a laughably low price) and said store would then slap a fresh price tag on said game that represented a major markdown off full brand-new retail. But GameLock, a new startup, is looking to change the way that that business is run, and it's posing a change that should disturb bigger names like GameStop and beyond.

The big thing to remember about GameLock, however, is that it's not for everyone. It is, however, for those who go through a lot of used games.

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