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”

April 2015

You are browsing the archive for April 2015.

That Was Quick: Paid Mods on Steam Now Dead

April 28, 2015

The idea of paid mods on Steam was one that left a lot of division in its wake. While most everyone liked the thought of modders being able to take some payment for their hard work, the scheme as envisioned just didn't work out so well. Indeed, it worked out so poorly that Valve announced that paid mods on Steam were now a thing of the past, and those who already bought in will get refunds.

Valve pled a kind of ignorance in explaining why the move was shut down after just a few days, saying that "'s clear we didn't understand exactly what we were doing." Indeed, Valve noted that it had offered several features in recent years designed to let creators get a piece of the action, but as Valve elaborated "It's obvious now that this case is different."

Valve's stated motives here appeared to be for the best, as Valve noted that it wanted more mods available in the community, and wanted such a thing to "...happen organically for any mod maker who wanted to take a shot at it." Bethesda, meanwhile, said something similar, suggesting the move was launched with "...the best intentions...", it was clear that the community wasn't happy with the move.

Indeed, the move was problematic on several fronts. Some were outright displeased with the idea of having to pay for something that was free, which is a pretty standard reaction from a certain part of the population.

Mods for Sale: Good News or Bad?

April 27, 2015

A recent move by Steam has launched a firestorm of discussion on both sides of the aisle, and gotten some to wonder, what value is there in derivative works? For Steam, the value is fairly substantial, and is set to allow mod makers to offer up their modifications for pay.  But this may well spark a firestorm of ramifications, some of which some may not have seen coming.

Right now, the idea is limited to Skyrim, as Valve and Bethesda have gotten together to authorize the concept. Essentially, the idea is to allow those who make modifications to Skyrim--which can vary from new skins for characters to new weapons to whole new levels and storylines--to offer up the fruits of their labor for cash.

Phil Spencer's Plans for E3: First Party Exclusives

April 23, 2015

It's not surprising that people are already fueling up for E3. With the big event a little under two months out, and some tidbits already getting out like the fact that Bethesda's going to have its own presser at the event, it's clear that this could be one of the biggest such events in a long time. But something slipped out that suggests a little something about Microsoft's plans for the big event, and you'll want to get a bib for this one. Might be some drooling afoot.

The plan, as revealed from a tweet from Xbox head Phil Spencer, is that Xbox One will be focusing on first party games for E3, and looks to have a platform exclusive title to announce as well.

Why I'm Liking Console MMOs

April 22, 2015

So for the second weekend in a row, I lost more than a little time to Neverwinter, the new massively multiplayer experience to hit the Xbox One. I've also been losing a couple hours on the weekdays to it as well, a somewhat disturbing notion. And while I'm not exactly a newcomer to the field, having played more than a little WoW way back when, I admit that I was concerned about the new flock, but as I discovered the differences, it became clear that the new school of MMO is shaping up a lot differently than ever.

World of Warcraft may be where a lot of people started out in MMO, but things are different these days. While playing Neverwinter, it didn't take me long to notice that there was a lot more of a story than I ever remember seeing from WoW. Maybe things have changed since then, or maybe it was just a different time, but with Neverwinter, I don't have that feeling of "this is like a job I don't get paid for", even though in many ways it's a lot of go here / kill that / come back / repeat.

Nintendo Making a Comeback? NPD Report Suggest It May Be So.

April 20, 2015

It's a little bit of a mixed bag in the gaming market for March, according to a new report from the NPD Group, and while there's a little disheartening news here, there's also quite a bit of reason to be cheery.

The overall hardware market saw a bit of a drop in March, with video game hardware sales down by nine percent. However, the sales for the current-generation hardware items is well beyond last-generation sales, and that's a good sign that the current generation of console gaming is carrying on apace.

Indeed, reports suggest that, in the 17th month of sales for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, the combined totals are better than 50 percent higher than the combined totals for the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360. Sony, meanwhile, held the lead in hardware sales, thanks to titles like "Bloodborne" and "Battlefield Hardline," pretty much showing that Microsoft's console was going to be second-place this console generation. Wins during the holiday shopping season were almost certainly buoyed by deep discounting, and this may have an impact on future release schedules.

That's quite an achievement, but factoring in Nintendo's numbers really ratchets things up.

Nintendo, in fact, brought in a 60 percent increase in sales on a year-over-year comparison.

Study: Gaming Likely to be Major Part of Education

April 15, 2015

With summer vacation now just under two months out in some places, there are likely plenty of young scholars out there considering the sheer pile of games that await them and the massive block of free time about to be unleashed. But a new report from the University of Indiana suggests that gaming isn't just a summer activity, and it might well ultimately prove to be a major part of education as well.

The report suggests that modern students--at least large numbers of same--spend about as much time playing video games as they do in class, by the time the after-school time, weekend time, and vacation times are factored in. That's a lot of gaming by most any standard, but the U.S. Department of Education sees that as less an indictment of modern scholarship and more an opportunity to introduce new kinds of gaming into the process.

Eight of Ten Households Have a Gaming Device

April 14, 2015

Once upon a time--we'll call it about the 1990s or so--in a place not so far away that we'll call the United States, video gaming was largely the province of social outcasts. To be a gamer back then was an invitation to mockery, and as such developed something of a brotherhood. That's not being sexist, either; gaming back then was largely the province of the male persuasion, despite how much many of us would have preferred it otherwise. But times have changed, as times so often do, and new reports from the Entertainment Software Association show just how much.

The brick to the face that is the headline is perhaps the centerpiece of the ESA's report, titled "2015 Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry".

A Five Nights at Freddy's Movie? More Likely Than You Think.

April 13, 2015

From the moment that first psychopathic animatronic jumped in front of our computer screens, frantically waggling its limbs and, off screen, dragging us to our death via forced compression, many wondered if "Five Nights at Freddy's" would ever get the big screen treatment. Given the fact that the series has only been around for just under a year, it wouldn't have been a shock to wonder quite a bit longer than we did. But the new reports suggest that we'll be getting a big-screen adaptation, and maybe pretty soon.

The reports suggest that Warner Brothers has the rights to the film version of Scott Cawthon's massive hit game series, and will be set to production by a laundry list of impressive names ranging from Vertigo's Roy Lee to Seth Grahame-Smith and David Katzenberg.

Reports suggest that the overall story will be quite similar to the game, except obviously with a few extra narrative additions to help bridge the gap. Grahame-Smith expects the game to translate well, expecting a final product that is "...insane, terrifying and weirdly adorable."

Given that Warner recently had a hand in "Annabelle"--the prequel to "The Conjuring"--that heavily featured the antics of a possessed doll, it's not out of line to say that Warner could pretty readily handle a movie featuring four--or possibly five, depending on how they handle Golden Freddy--killer animatronics.

Amazon May Make a New Powerhouse in Gaming With New Buy

April 9, 2015

Amazon is no stranger to reinvesting profits back into the business, and this process of reinvestment has led to some very interesting developments. While shareholders, by some reports, aren't exactly happy about these developments, there are some who believe that Amazon may well prove dominant in a lot of fields, making its unusual moves well worth it. One of the newest investments may well give Amazon unexpected dominance in gaming.

The investment in question called for Amazon to license the CryEngine 3 game-building toolset in a deal valued between $50 and $70 million. That's an amount, according to reports, sufficiently large to turn around Crytek's financial fortunes, which had been previously found to not be doing well at all.

Xbox's Early Days Included The Idea of a Free Xbox

April 7, 2015

A free Xbox. It sounds like the kind of thing that email scam letters are based on, doesn't it? But according to the word of a new report that just emerged, it was the kind of thing Microsoft actually considered. The earliest days of Xbox were a strange time indeed, and the reports spell out what was going on.

The reports in question come from Seamus Blackley, who co-wrote the proposal that got Xbox started in the first place and brought Microsoft into focus as one of the biggest names in gaming today. According to Blackley--who did an interview with"everybody and their brother" who even saw the project at Microsoft responded much the same way, insisting that the console should be given away at no charge.

Bungie Joins Move to Ban "Toxic" Players

April 6, 2015

The multiplayer gaming experience has been one that's remained fairly constant over the years, though the form it's taken has changed. From arcades with two controller sets to home gaming consoles to online gameplay, people do enjoy playing with other people. But that experience isn't always a happy one, and it's one that has been addressed at various levels for some time now. Most recently, Bungie has made a move to ban the "toxic" player with a new move in matchmaking in "Destiny."

Essentially, Bungie's move removes some of the most toxic players from matchmaking systems, freeing up more of the system for those with better reputations or even no reputation at all.

A Revelation on Open World Gaming

April 2, 2015

So far, I've played four open world games on the Xbox One, and with the conclusion of the fourth, a point has been driven home with all the force of an axehead on a plate of Jell-o. That point in particular is that games are really stepping up their game, so to speak, and we may well be approaching a point where the game is getting a bit too big.

I've talked about this before, but usually from the perspective of looking at the games. But now, having played a few through, it's clear that games are getting a whole lot bigger. This has me at once excited and unnerved, because I've already seen what these games can do, and I'm kind of scared that these could get bigger.

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