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 2015

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Doing Good With Gaming: Plague Inc. Players Raise Big Money For Ebola Fight

January 29, 2015

While Ebola has fallen out of the news of late, the fight against the disease still carries on in West Africa, where reports suggest it's carrying on in earnest. And for those gamers that play Plague, Inc., an odd dichotomy has emerged: while players are actively trying to develop a virus that will kill off the planet, players are also raising money to stop the push of a virus that's actively trying to kill off the planet.

The campaign started back in November, as Plague, Inc.'s creator Ndemic Creations started a campaign geared toward raising funds for the various organizations in the midst of the Ebola fight. It's only been a couple months, but new word has emerged about its overall success. Not only have over 800,000 players appeared since the campaign's beginning, but the campaign has also raised around $76,000 for fighting the disease.

This isn't the first time, of course, that something like this has happened.

Xbox One Shipments Reveal Mixed News

January 28, 2015

While we know that Microsoft took the valuable Christmas shopping season when it came to console gaming, beating rival Sony for the second month running, some new reports have emerged about the second quarter of Microsoft's 2015 fiscal year. The news is mixed, which isn't a surprise, but the components of the mixture, meanwhile, may prove a shocker to some.

Reports note that Microsoft revealed that a hefty 6.6 million consoles had been shipped to retailers, and this is with both Xbox One and Xbox 360 consoles in mind. Good numbers, sure, but this is actually down from the 7.4 million shipped in the same period the previous year. That's also significantly up on Sony's reported 4.1 million, but Microsoft is said to be counting sales to retailers while Sony is counting sales to individuals.

Does Elite: Dangerous' Open World Take Open Worlds Too Far?

January 27, 2015

Open world games are often a lot of fun, with half the joy of such experiences being the ability to wander about the world at will, finding strange new things and having strange new experiences. But “Elite: Dangerous” might well have taken a good thing a bit too far, as new reports have emerged saying just how big the game's world actually is.

“Elite: Dangerous” takes place not so much in a world, or even in a solar system, but rather in a galaxy. More specifically, it's a faithful one-to-one recreation of the entire Milky Way galaxy, which represents fully—get this—400 billion star systems. That is, of course, a whole lot of star systems to visit and trade in and fight over, and a lot of time will be spent in their mapping.

2015: Rise of the PC Gamer?

January 26, 2015

While there are plenty of reasons for console gamers out there to be absolutely enrapt with 2015—it's the year in which plenty of big games are on their way, and likely, when E3 and the various PAX events fire up in earnest, we'll get a look at plenty more—there are some indications that suggest it won't be the consoles that have the best year at all, but rather, the PC. The recent Microsoft event talking up Windows 10 offered up some interesting, and some unusual concepts, and we may well be looking at something of a paradigm shift in 2015.

The concept of the “PC Master Race” was born as part of a review of 2008's title “The Witcher”, in which its writer, Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw, was originally intending to mock the “elitist attitude” seen by some PC gamers, particularly when same compare themselves to console gamers. Readers, meanwhile, appeared to take it literally and use it as a badge of honor. However, with the recent moves by Microsoft, it may well be that that's a badge that's about to get a lot less ironic and a lot more realistic.

Microsoft, in its PC capacity, has not meant great things for gamers.

Did Microsoft Just Leapfrog Oculus Rift With Hololens?

January 22, 2015

The virtual reality market could be one of the biggest gaming has seen since the console wars got fired up in earnest, and there were no shortage of competitors going after a slice of said market. With Sony and its Project Morpheus and Facebook's Oculus Rift both looking to control major chunks of the market, and a slew of competitors eager for a piece, one of the common questions was “Where is Microsoft?”. Now, we may have an answer with the Hololens, and it may prove to be a leap beyond its competitors already.

The Hololens is a complete holographic headset, due to emerge in the market around the same time that Windows 10 comes out, according to reports from a Windows conference. This is being pushed as beyond a virtual reality headset, going for what Microsoft described as “...holograms mixed in your world” before introducing the whole concept as “Windows Holographic.”

The product of years of engineering, it began with the creation of the Hologram Processing Unit, and from there, the development of an accompanying software kit that allows for hologram creation, as well as the ability to 3D print the resulting holograms on a 3D printer.

Some are calling this just a new spin on augmented reality, while others are wondering if, perhaps, Microsoft may well be farther down the road to a complete holography system years ahead of its competitors, tossing aside one market in favor of control of the next market later on.

Strafe May Be Kickstarter's Most Awesome Game Marketing Yet

January 21, 2015

few minutes on Kickstarter will show users a huge litany of games seeking the necessary cash to get developed. But it may well be Strafe, a new game that's surprisingly familiar, that may well have established the new gold standard when it comes to game marketing. A great trailer, a great pitch, and a great attitude all combine to make something that's a whole lot better than the sum of its parts.

Strafe, a game geared toward PC and Mac—complete with Oculus Rift support—came on the scene just recently, and has most of a Kickstarter run to go. Given that it's already raised nearly 10 percent of its goal with fully 446 total backers, Strafe may well achieve its ultimate goal.

Blizzard Demonstrates Customer Service Edge With 10-Year Premium

January 20, 2015

It's hard to believe that World of Warcraft has only recently cleared the 10 year mark of existence with little in the way of upgrades graphically. A whole generation of consoles has come and gone in that time, and for some, so have a lot of hours playing the same game on a PC. Potentially, even the same game on a succession of different PCs. But the tenth anniversary of World of Warcraft didn't just come and go with moderate fanfare, oh no; Blizzard had a special treat in mind for those who stuck with the company over the long haul in the form of a special Orc statue.

Those eligible for the premium in question will be those who set up an account somewhere between November 23, 2004 and February 11, 2005, and then subsequently remained with the game for the intervening period. The statue itself, meanwhile—an Orc in mid-battle—is said to be a small-scale version of the one found on Blizzard's campus.

Some reports suggest that a continuously-active account may not be a requirement, but may instead be a help.

Microsoft Takes December in NPD Group Rankings

January 19, 2015

The recent results of an NPD Group study about console and software sales for perhaps the biggest shopping month of the year--December--had been eagerly anticipated for some time. Not only were they to be possibly validation of some significant moves in the marketplace, but they would likewise possibly set up the next stages of the console wars as we knew them. The news, meanwhile, was about what some expected...but what would be its long term impact?

The news that was expected, of course, was that Microsoft would take the top slot in December's rankings in terms of best hardware sales in the gaming market, and indeed, it did.  While the console-specific sales numbers weren't available, the total was at $1.31 billion in December 2014.

Is "The Order: 1886" About to Make "Cabin in the Woods'" Biggest Mistake?

January 15, 2015

That's a headline that takes some explanation, doesn't it? After all, a lot of people really enjoyed Joss Whedon's big excursion into horror film, and with good reason. Frankly, I was one of them. But here's the thing: there was one big mistake that movie made, and based on some new reports, “The Order: 1886” is about to make the exact same mistake.

First off, just what “The Order: 1886” is planning to do.

Horror Gaming Gets a Spark From Friday the 13th

January 14, 2015

It's been sequeled to within an inch of its life and rebooted once already, with a second hit reportedly set to come by the end of this year. It's a cultural phenomenon, one of the big-three of eighties slasher fare, and one of the most iconic horror figures of all time. And now, according to reports, it's about to get the kind of game treatment that most of us can only dream about in an upcoming title that's multi-versus-solo player. It's "Friday the 13th," and man, could this be a winner.

The reports suggest that the title will be something in the vein of the upcoming "Evolve," in which multiple players will square off against one central beastie, in this case, Jason Voorhees, legendary slasher figure that's both nigh-invulnerable and generally eager to butcher anything that gets in his path.

Virtual Reality Gaming? Try Actual Reality With The Real Time Pac-Man Maze

January 13, 2015

We've heard a lot about virtual reality in recent days, but with the coming of the Super Bowl is a whole new concept in gaming: actual virtual reality. And it's a concept being expressed by one of the simplest games of all: Pac-Man.

The idea is comparatively simple: out in the Fashion District of Los Angeles, a complete Pac-Man maze built in human scale was established specifically for an upcoming Super Bowl advertisement to promote Bud Light. The advertisement known only as "Coin" will start with a man who discovers a message in a beer bottle encouraging him to go outside. When he does, he finds a giant coin that can be used in a huge game of Pac-Man.

It by itself doesn't mean so much; after all, it's not like anyone can head out and take a walk in said maze.

CES 2015: But What About Oculus Rift?

January 12, 2015

While it was certainly interesting to see Razer come out with a new attack on the virtual reality (VR) market, it really, in the end, only served to raise questions about the state of the industry as a whole. The growing number of firms looking to get involved was unusual enough, but where was Oculus VR, the firm that kicked the whole thing off, really? The answer? It was at the recently-concluded Consumer Electronics Show, and in a very big way.

The reports suggested that not only did Oculus have a serious new booth at the CES event—backed up by, in all likelihood, the recent $2 billion acquisition of the firm by Facebook—but it also had a new demo known as “Crescent Bay.” Available reports suggest that this has really stepped up its game in the space since the last release, and that's going to give the company a lot of edge.

But there's still one point that isn't just affecting Oculus, but most every other VR system in the pipeline: release dates.

CES 2015: Kolibree Steps Into a New Gaming Platform--the Toothbrush

January 8, 2015

These days, it's starting to seem like you can play games on just about anything. Your computer, of course, and dedicated game systems have always been a part of the equation. But soon after came gaming on televisions, on mobile devices—tablets and phones alike—and beyond. Now, we have what may well be the strangest example of gaming yet, specifically, the toothbrush.

CES 2015: Razer OSVR Takes a Run at Virtual Reality Market

January 7, 2015

While gaming innovations to come out of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) event haven't always been a big hit with gamers, there's usually one significant exception: pretty much anything Razer shows. Razer is well known for its PC peripherals and other devices, and it's made some very exciting strides in recent years. This year proves to be no exception as Razer kicks off its turn at the big show with a powerful new tool for gamers: the Razer Open Source Virtual Reality (OSVR) system.

The Razer OSVR is being described as the “Android of virtual reality,” so described for its attempt to unify the field of virtual reality (VR) and help get users a little better idea of what the concept can do. A combined effort between Razer and Sensics, a company that deals in VR, the system is specifically designed to try and get some standards into the field.

CES 2015: Android Gaming Gets a Boost From the Obox

January 6, 2015

While it's safe to say that the Ouya had about as much impact in the gaming market as, say, dropping a knitting needle into a snowbank the size of South Korea, there was also no doubt that the market wasn't going to take the lack of impact lying down. But with the Ouya not doing so well, there are others looking to get in and bring Android gaming not only to the living room, but also to the portable market with a pair of new developments, both titled the Obox.

The Obox comes available in two different flavors, a handheld version and a full-on home console version. Both made by Chinese tech firm with the unlikely name of Snail, both offer up a very different but oddly similar experience. The portable version, known by its more complete name the Obox W3D, is powered by a similar architecture as the Shield Tablet, particularly a 32 bit NVIDIA Tegra K1 chip.

What to Look Forward to in 2015's Gaming Year

January 5, 2015

So then...the new year is a grand total of five days old, you've been back to work for at least a day, and you're likely starting to think about what the year in gaming will look like with the arrival of 2015. There's actually shaping up to be quite a bit to look forward to this year, and so with 2015 now at hand, let's take a look at what we can look forward to.

The Console Wars Carrying On in Earnest

This may be one of the first times in a long time that the console wars felt like an actual war. The last parts of 2014 showed us that Microsoft is not taking its second-place status lying down, and if that carries on into 2015, we could be in for some real excitement. More price cuts, maybe?

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