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Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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May 2017

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The Addictive Nature of Games in Two News Items

May 23, 2017

Normally I don't talk about topics like this, but the juxtaposition of two news items when I went looking for game news just jumped right out at me.

Finding game news isn't always easy, particularly when you've got E3 coming up in another three weeks. So sometimes it takes a bit of looking, and what you find can be downright strange.

The first bit was a piece two days ago from ABC News and Go.com, detailing how a Michigan gamer who skipped school to play video games went through a treatment program. The young man in question built his own gaming computer at a young age, announcing to his parents that he was dropping out at 14. He ended up in a treatment program that put him in the wilderness for several weeks.

The second bit, which was almost shockingly contradictory, detailed an Alaskan gamer who landed a scholarship for his gaming, joining a collegiate e-sports team.





Time on Talos 1: Playing Prey

May 22, 2017

I admit, I haven't had a lot of luck with Bethesda titles that don't involve the words "Game Studios" somewhere in the title. However, I did have a much better time with Prey, which still had some issues but generated plenty of fun.

Prey follows the Wu family--more specifically brothers Alex and Morgan--who have been hard at work running a corporation on an old Soviet Union space ship that's been fixed up six ways from Sunday. Naturally, something has gone profoundly wrong on board the station, Talos 1, and now Morgan's going to be in the middle of a far-reaching conspiracy that includes his own brother, artificial intelligence, and potentially even himself as he's stalked by an alien race whose primary distinguishing features include shapeshifting powers, psionic powers, energy manipulation and a complete lack of empathy for any living being.

No, seriously; this was actually a plot point. The beings in question, the Typhon, are stated to have no "mirror neurons", which prevents empathy.

I took a much more active interest in Prey when I heard that it was extremely similar in nature to the Bioshock series, a point that got my interest as I'm fond of that series.





Keyboard Support Coming to Xbox One

May 16, 2017

One of the greatest disparities between console and PC gaming has been the input method. While the console gamer has a single-purpose gamepad controller that handles most all the functions of a typical game, PC gamers have an entire keyboard's worth of commands to work with. Xbox One gamers may have similar capability afoot, though mouse support is said to still be some time off.

Reports note that keyboard support will be available not only through UWP cross-platform development, but also through the Xbox Live Creators Program, which is still in its preview stages.

Already developers are showing interest, according to Andrew Parsons, Microsoft's senior program manager for game developers. While there are some functions--like chat--that would be particularly noteworthy here, there's one point that demands attention: converting games on Windows to games on Xbox One, a development that some publishers are apparently eager to start up.

This is a development that's been eagerly awaited for some time; Xbox One players are likely wondering why there isn't more of an intermingling between Xbox One and PC operations.





EA Changes its Mind on Nintendo Switch Support

May 15, 2017

There's some good news for Nintendo recently emerged as the company announced that its level of support for the Nintendo Switch system was going up. Originally pegged as "cautious," it's now gone clear to "bullish", and that likely means more Nintendo Switch titles coming out in short order.

The Switch has been doing quite well so far, though the initial launch has been marred somewhat by the potential that this would end up like the Wii U. The Wii U had a fairly sound launch as well--though not as good as the Switch--and its launch quickly fell apart when it became clear that there was to be virtually no third-party gaming connected with this system.

That's not likely to be a problem with the Switch, as EA noted with a recent earnings call. Apparently, the strong launch got EA's attention, suggesting that it's a market that can't be readily ignored. EA's CEO Andrew Wilson noted that company felt "really good about it," and was looking forward to bringing "...a whole new player base into the ecosystem."

In fact, some are seeing a "virtuous cycle" in the making here, a reasonable response to given conditions.





Activision Blizzard Gets Huge Forecast Bump Thanks to Overwatch

May 9, 2017

Just when you think a company has a lock on its future, owning the biggest massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) experience in the market, along comes a whole new shock just to make sure you're paying attention. Activision Blizzard found just such a fate waiting, and its stock price and revenue forecasts have reflected this.

Most of the gains are thanks to one game: Overwatch. Proving to be the new World of Warcraft, this online shooter is starting to fuel esports hopes and a whole lot of Let's Play videos. Seriously; hit YouTube and look for "Toxic Overwatch Players." There are tons of these and some of them are hilarious.

Redemption Games No Longer "Rigged," Says Group

May 8, 2017

Just the other day, I was walking through my local shopping mall and lamenting the state of the universe that would not only take bookstores out of the equation, but also used game stores and even, God help me, the arcade. Where were the days when a geek could find something fun to do at that great panoply of indoor stores? Nowadays, geeks are lucky to enjoy a mobile phone kiosk, or just maybe an oddly-anachronistic music store that sells DVDs.

Then I turned a corner and saw a bizarre sign in an unexpected location advertising the presence of the "Party Time Arcade," if I remember it right. Upon the discovery it was just a bunch of claw games, any enthusiasm I might have had boiled off in a haze likely visible from the Auntie Anne's Pretzel.

Nintendo Set to Carry On Proud Tradition of Ducking E3

May 2, 2017

Nintendo's carrying on a now-long-standing tradition, as for the fourth year running, it will not have a presence at E3. Rather, reports note, it will do as it's long done and broadcast a Nintendo Direct to run at the same time during the big show.

There's no official confirmation on this one, but most are expecting Nintendo to eschew the big show for a video presentation instead. Though reports suggest Nintendo won't be out of the running completely, as some games set to appear on Nintendo systems will be on hand for users to try out.

The question, of course, is will other companies follow suit. Given that we've seen Bethesda step up to the mike in a much bigger fashion over the last few years, and given that we've seen Microsoft and Sony stay strong throughout--Microsoft actually changed its show date this year to be just ahead of Bethesda's, and given how close Microsoft and Bethesda have been of late this might make some sense.

Of course, some are wondering if, perhaps, gaming companies wouldn't be better off if the whole show went to video instead.





PS4 Shipments on the March, Pushing on PS3 Levels

May 1, 2017

The PlayStation 4 has delivered a lot of value for Sony over the years, giving it a significant wedge in the console wars and letting it recover from the losses of the PS3 generation in a big way. With a kind-of new console generation coming up, it's worth seeing what's been going on in the field. The news has been good so far for Sony, but what's to come?

The news is profoundly good; the PS3 over its lifetime sold 80 million units, and right now the PS4 is just past the 60 million mark. Plus, Sony expects to send out another 18 million over the next year, putting it almost neck-and-neck with the previous generation.

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