The Xbox One v. Playstation 4 -- History Repeats Itself
- Jun 12, 2013 6:50 am GMT
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First as Tragedy, Then as Farce
It's been a long time since my last post! To be honest, I've been feeling a bit of generational fatigue, and although I've still been gaming every now and then, the only three games that I've really, passionately played in the last year have been Madden 13, FIFA 13, and MLB 13: The Show. In short, like a lot of gamers out there, I'm ready for some new consoles and some new franchises!
Having followed the early leaks and then the formal announcements of the PS4 and the Xbox One, and now with E3 upon us and the details more or less all filled out, I'm struck by the wisdom of a Karl Marx quotation: history repeats itself, "the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce." It is remarkable, looking at this over the arc of the last twelve years, how much the competition between Sony and Microsoft has consisted of first one side, then the other, making the same mistake again and again: alienating gamers.
Flash back to E3 2006, which was a long seven years ago. The Xbox 360 had been out on the market for six months, and although it had suffered some growing pains, the fundamental business strategy behind Microsoft's second cut at the console gaming market was paying dividends. The 360 was relatively affordable, it was user-friendly, it had great online, and -- most of all -- it was built for gamers. Its best franchises were yet to appear, but we had rich previews of Gears of War (which would be released that November) and the blockbuster, show-changing announcement of Halo 3 (which would come out in Fall 2007).
In comparison, Sony's E3 2006 press conference has gone down in history as one of the most notorious flops in gaming history. A few highlights: $599. Rrriiidddgggeee Rrraaacceerrr! The predictable backlash: gamers were disappointed and vowed to stay away. Sony brushed aside those comments as a few malcontents and insisted that the overall value proposition of the multimedia powerhouse (It does Blu-ray! It does internet!) would make it a huge success. Sony wasn't going to listen to its core consumer -- it was going to tell him, tell her, tell all of us what we really wanted. (In other words, it was going to pull off a trick that only one company -- Steve Jobs's Apple -- consistently and successfully pulled off in that era.)
This was what I would call the first manifestation of the Big-Tent strategy. By Big-Tent, I mean this is how the meetings went down at Sony.
Kaz Hirai: You know, no matter what, the gamers are going to buy our console. The Playstation 2 sold 100 million. We own them. Let's not focus on selling 100 million, which we're going to do no matter what. (Reality check: As of two weeks ago, PS3 had sold 77 million and counting, and it took a long, painful road to get there.) Let's focus on selling the second 100 million to families that otherwise wouldn't buy a video game console.
Ken Kutaragi: Alright, I'm going to load up this console with tons of extras. It's going to have a Blu Ray. Let's make something that people will aspire to own. I want people to see this and say, 'I will work harder to be able to afford a PS3.' (Reality check: oh wait, he actually said this.)
The Big-Tent strategy takes as a given that the core constituency will be on your side in the end, and that the groups that the business should focus on capturing are the far larger numbers of consumers who reside outside the base. This essentially is how presidential poltiics work in the United States, where the Democrats start with their 35 percent, and the Republicans with their 35 percent, and the two then wage war over the undecided middle. (At least, that's how it once was supposed to work, not trying to get into a political science discussion here.)
Of course, the problem with the gaming market, as Sony found out to its great dismay between 2006 and 2008, is that the core constituency can decamp for the other guy far faster than it had ever anticipated. Tons of gamers switched over to the 360, the Wii, or the PC while waiting for Sony to screw its head on straight and do something -- do anything -- that was gamer-focused, that paid attention and care to the needs and desires of the people who bought those 100 million PS2s. In fact, it really took until '08-'09, with the release of Metal Gear Solid 4, Uncharted 2, and the Playstation 3 Slim at the $299 price point, to finally bring the core constituency back onto Sony's side. And by then, Sony had lost huge amounts of time, huge amounts of cash, and -- worst of all -- huge amounts of its credibility.
The Playstation 180
They're calling it the PS4, but in my mind, with all the recent announcements, the new console should be called the Playstation 180. Sony has completely flipped the script on the new console, and largely replicated Microsoft's strategy from the start of the last generation. Here's what Sony is doing right:
1) No used-game lockdown -- this was a huge issue for gamers, and Sony got it dead right by giving people what they wanted;
2) The $399 price point -- a very affordable price for a new console and exactly where the 360 launched eight years ago, which positions PS4 to be the mainstream console of choice;
3) Show us the games! -- PS4's lineup has not been overwhelming, but it's light years ahead of Rrriiddgggeee Racer! Having an exclusive, flagship franchise (Killzone) releasing a new game on day one is huge.
These weren't hard decisions to make if Sony wanted to win gamers over. In essence, the company has learned its harsh lesson, and has made admirable adjustments.
In contrast, Microsoft has been backpedaling in the wrong direction since Sony shifted course in 2009. It is bizarre and evenly slightly sad to see a venerable company, which had finally struck upon a profitable and sound business strategy, changing. And it is even worse when every single change hurts the consumer. Locking the games so you can't sell them used? A $499 price point? These are disastrous distinctions in a world where the vast majority of franchises, especially console-movers like Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty, and perhaps new IPs like Bungie's Destiny, have gone multi-platform. Why pay an extra $100, and lose the ability to sell a game after completion, for the privilege of playing . . . oh, largely the exact same games one gets on the other guy's console?
This, of course, is the farce half of the march of history. Somehow, somewhere in Redmond, the powers-that-be had a meeting that looked eerily like the Hirai-Kutaragi dialogue I hypothesized above. Of course, they probably added something like, "We're different than them, though. We'll do it better. We'll make it cooler, because we have Kinect and also some flashy stuff like how we can turn the console on just by talking to it." It's this sort of foolishness that ensures that history repeats itself.
Here's to hoping that by 2015-16 Microsoft will have come to its senses, and we'll finally have an Xbox that I can buy.
- Jun 11, 2013 5:28 pm GMT
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Ok first just making a few clarifications because the previous Sony blog as I wrote it at 6am and later news showed up.
Kingdom Hearts III and FFXV are not PS4 exclusives not that anyone cares because I think everyone who wants these will get them for the PS4 but aww isn't that cute, MS is still trying to get Japan to like them.
Sony did backpedal going with the "let publishers do DRM if they want thing." No one likes this and sadly if I was Nintendo, I'd give in and do this as well. We can blame it on EA being the schoolyard bully pushing everyone around and getting their way.
Ok onto Nintendo.
Once again, didn't watch the whole show. Work and all, watched some vids but I don't set super high expectations and kinda knew what they had planned to show.
Super Mario 3D World At first I wasn't overly impressed as it appeared as they were taking 3D Land and tossing in a few new things but most importantly, at least for me as a girl. Peach gets to be playable. Clearly Nintendo watched Ana Sarkesian's "Tropes vs. Women" video and said "we'll show her! We'll make Peach playable and we'll make it like SMB2!" Think of it this way. We know Bowser won't be kidnapping her for a change. Also I'm interested to see how the 4 player co-op works in a 3D setting. Hopefully better than Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One did. Also MARIO IS A KITTY!! EEEEEEE!!! I'm sorry I can't help it I love kitties!! Come on all the internet memes that can come from this. Mario can has cheezeburger!!
New DKC: Honestly I think this one let a lot of us down. The game itself looks great and it's great to see Dixie return (again Nintendo putting more active females in games?) but we all were hoping something else from Retro. Some of us thought a new Starfox or Metroid and even rumors of a new IP. The latter was my hope so I could say "see you sods, Nintendo does make new IPs!" You win this time sods.
Mario Kart 8: It looks good but mostly like an upgade of the 3DS game with gravity physics. I'm more interested to see what they do with the online and Miiverse.
Also we got a fair amount of other games shown off sadly many wouldn't see release until 2014. Bayonetta 2 was shown and she got a haircut which I'm told people are mad about The Wonderful 101 which is a new IP is shaping up well. A new Xenoblade gives RPG fans something to look forward to. A bunch of the 3DS games we heard about before were shown in more detail.
And of course our reveal of the next Smash Bros. releasing for both the WiiU and 3DS with the big reveal of a character we were all begging and pleading for to join up. Yes, that's right. The villager from Animal Crossing. Trolololol And the female Wii Fit Trainer because every good fighter needs a joke character but more importantly Megaman is here and he's the old school 8 bit one we remember fondly with all his awesome powers and Rush and hey it's nice to see him in ANYTHING these days. Especially when you consider he didn't get to be in Marvel vs CAPCOM 3.
Of course many will still throw a fit over Nintendo showing off the same stuff and griping about no new Zelda despite seeing more of the new 3DS game and the Wind Waker HD remake but let's face it Nintendo knows that nothing they could do will make everyone happy.
Still better than the Xbox One.
EA and Ubisoft E3 Press Conference impressions
- Jun 11, 2013 3:13 pm GMT
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I'm doing to do this one a bit differently. Instead of typing each one out as transcripts like I've usually been doing, I'm going to groups games that I see in three different categories. Games I Want, Games I'm Interested in, and Games I'll Pass On. I'll still have overall thoughts for each one. Sorry if the new format caught anyone off guard, but I'm finding myself running out of time.
Games I Want:
- Plants Vs Zombies: Garden Warfare - I absolutely loved Plants Vs Zombies. To get more of it is only a good thing. Unfortunately, I'm only hearing about Xbox One and 360. Exclusive? Anyway, this game's a third-person action game. You can still set up towers, but now you're free to move around and shoot at zombies. The demo looked absolutely fun and exuded charm and humor.
- Need for Speed: Rivals - I love Need for Speed so this is a given. Looks like it'l be a reuion of drivers vs cops again. They showed a nifty demonstration where a multiplayer game blended seemlessly into a single player game. The game itself looks really fun, just what I'd expect from an NFS title. Oh, and apparently there's an NFS movie coming out starring Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul.
- Mirror's Edge 2 - I already saw the trailer before, but I'm enjoying it a second time. And, I'm so relieved that it's going multiplat, because I'd be quite angry if it was Xbox One exclusive.
Games I'm Interested In:
- Titanfall - I saw a bit of this during the MS conference. It looks like a lot of fun, especially when you get in the mechs.
- Star Wars: Battlefront - This game got a quick tease. I never played a Battlefront game, but I think I would like to in the future.
Games I'll Pass On:
- Dragon Age: Inquistion - Surprised to see this game here? Well, I was entirely put off by the direction Bioware took Dragon Age 2 in, so the announcement of this title just doesn't do anything for me. I'm sure it will do great things in its own right, but I doubt I'll be playing it.
- NBA Live 14 - Not really into sports game that much, but I have to say the bounceTek software they're showing off really helps the game look more realistic.
- Madden NFL 25 - DIE ALREADY, JOHN MADDEN!
- FIFA 14 - Never been into soccer. But hey, Drake's a real big fan!
- UFC - Seeing a trend here? At least it's nice to see actual UFC athletes endorsing a game they're starring in... "Fight fans everywhere will get to experience this game." NOT XBONE GAMERS WITHOUT INTERNET! HO HO HO!
- Battlefield 4 - I just don't like modern war games. At leat there was a 64 player demonstration...
So, as you can see, there'ss a lot of games that I'm going to pass on. Several of them are sports games, and that's why EA conferences generally aren't my favorite E3 conferences to watch. PvZ: Garden Warfare was a real delight, but I'm really hoping it's going multiplat. Also, they quickly plugged a Peggle 2 announcement, and I loved Peggle, so I'm looking forward to that. There were also a lot of prerendered trailers and teasers with no gameplay footage shown, such as Dragon Age and Star Wars Battlefront. Ending the show with the Mirror's Edge 2 announcement did manage to leave a good impression with me though, so overall, personal sports game bias aside...
Games I Want:
- Splinter Blacklist - What can I say? I love the series. Sucks that Michael Ironside isn't the voice anymore, but I'm sure I'll love the game nonetheless. The preassembled footage looks pretty interesting, and I can't wait to get my hands on it to try it for myself.
- Rayman Legends - The only question is... what platform do I get it for? They showed off a fun prerendered trailer, and some more gameplay footage. I honestly cannot wait for this game!
- The Crew - From the trailer they showed, it appears to be come kind of open world driving game. One of the developers came out to talk more about the game, saying that you'll be working your way into a criminal organization. The gameplay demo they showed off looked fantastic. Originally, I put this in Interested, but I bumped it up to Want.
- Watch Dogs - Maybe I should make a category for I WANT IT FVCKING NOW! I've been anticipating this one since it was shown at the last E3. I love the unique spin they have on the sandbox genre. The whole futuristic stealing personal info setting is widly intriguing. They showed off a prerendered trailer. I was hoping for stage demonstration.
- Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag - Another must have title. I've been playing the AC games since the first and loved them. The CG trailer looks amazing as usual. And, they showed off another CG trailer as well, soundtracked by some beautiful music. I'm disappointed they didn't show any gameplay footage, though.
Games I'm Interested in:
- South Park: The Stick of Truth - I know I'll probably want to play it, but I wish they showed off some gameplay.
- Trials Fusion and Trials Frontier - I remember playing the first Trials and it was pretty fun. I wouldn't mind checking them out.
- The Division - There was a really intriguing and even scary in a paranoid way trailer about the collapse of the world due to a pandemic. The gameplay footage that follows shows a team of people working together as they scout a post apocalypitc city. There's lots of overlaying interfaces, such as maps. Gunplay features a pop and shoot cover system. The reason why I haven't put thsi in the Want category is because I'm not sure if it's online only, or if there's a single play mode. A story mode would easily bump this up to want.
Games I'll Pass On:
- Rocksmith 2014 - This is what Ubisoft decides to start their conference with? Anyway, I'm not into guitars at all, and this is a very complex version of Guitar Hero. Total pass.
- The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot - It looks like multiplayer dungeon raiding game. It has humor to it, but I just haven't seen enough of the game to say whether or not I'll be intersted in it. They showed off a funny CG trailer.
- Just Dance 2014 - Just not intersted in dancing games. Plus, the song selection sounds like it will be horrible. They had Pitbull during the video, and I can't stand him. Plus, I saw Nikki Minaj's name thrown across the screen, and I can't stand her either.
- Rabbids Infvasion - This is an interactive TV show? I wonder how that works. Good thing someone explained it. So, it's using tech on XBox One to point and shoot things at the TV while it's playing the show. And... now I've bumped this down to Pass.
Overall thoughts: Well, you can see in direction comparison to EA, Ubisoft has a lot more games that I want. I personally feel they had a stronger showing, although I'm disappointed in no gameplay demos for both AC IV and Watch Dogs. I'm very curious about The Division, and I really, really hope it isn't strictly online, because that kills games like that for me. I like to explore at my own pace, and MMOs just ruin that experience. Anyway... I'd have given this conference a higher score except, Aisha Tyler just had to host it again, and featuring a t-shirt with #girlwood across it. That says it all, right there. Rating: B
Nintendo Direct E3 Impressions
- Jun 11, 2013 11:42 am GMT
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Satoru Iwata comes out and shows of a trailer right away. It's for Pokemon X and Y for the 3DS. I really don't care much about it, because I never got into Pokemon. I do, however, acknowledge the massive popularity of the franchise, so I know this will be huge. Looks like they've added some pet handling gameplay similiar to what was done in Nintendogs. It's actually quite adorable. Iwata talks more about the new gameplay elements, including the fairy type, and that it's coming out in October.
Gameplay for the new Super Mario is now being shown. Mario jumps into a new animal suit, runs around bopping enemies, running up walls, etc. The world looks beautiful and a lot of fun. It looks like you'll be able to play with other characters, such as Princess Peach, Luigi and Toad. There's snow levels, water levels, I saw one with a pipe system, they're riding some kind of water creature, I just saw that football koopa from Super Mario World. The more of this game that's being shown, the more I want to play it! It's Super Mario 3D World for the Wii U. Iwata comes out to talk more about it, saying there's online cooperative and competitve play. He also talks about the new animal suit, which is Cat Mario. Man, this just looks like too much fun! It will be available in December.
YAY NEW MARIO KART FOOTAGE! Oh man, this is going to be crazy! I just saw the carts turn into anti-gravity vehicles, and they're riding on vertical surfaces and whatnot. There's motorcycle and hangliders and the courses themselves look fantastic, if a bit too familiar. There's a San Francisco inspired track where they jumped over a trolley. It's Mario Kart 8, and damn I want it now!!!!!! Iwata comes out again to talk a bit more about it. It's coming out Spring of next year... DAMMIT!
Now he shows off some gameplay footage for Mario Party U. Looks to be a lot of variety. They showed a slot car game that was playable on the gamepad with two players. It looks like you'll be able to play with your Miis in this game. Also, it will be delayed, as it was supposed to be out this summoer . Wii Fit U that was supposed to come out soon is now being delayed to add more features. He's also apologizing for more delays. Typical.
He mentions how community members are continuously sumbitting incredible drawings. A new Art Academy will be released for Wii U, which will most likely take advantage of Miiverse. It will be out this summer via eShop. You'll be able to post your artwork directly to Miiverse. It seems cool, and it makes me wish I was an artist, because my drawing ability sucks.
Nwo he talks about third party releases. A montage is shown featuring Assassin's Creed IV, Batman Arkham Origins, a Batman game for the 3DS, Deus Ex: Human Revolution Director's Cut, Disney Infinity, Just Dance 2014 (please stop.. ), Rayman Legends, Scribblenauts Unmasked for both the Wii U and the 3DS, Disney's Planes, Shin Megami Tensai IV for the 3DS, Skylanders SWAP Force for the Wii U and 3DS, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Sonic Lost World (HURRAY!), Watch Dogs. Looks like a lot of support, but the majorit of it seems to come from Ubisoft.
Iwata talks more about eShop games. Another video shows off Ballpoint Universe, Cloudberry Kingdom, Coaster Crazy Deluxe, Ducktales: Remastered (HURRAY!), Dungeons and Dragons: Chronicles of Mystera, Mutant Mudds Deluxe, Oddworld: New 'N' Tasty, Scram Kitty and His Buddy on Rails, Shovel Knight, Spin the Bottle: Bumpies Party, A World of Keflings. Seems a lot of indie games are coming their way to Nintendo systems. Nothing really got me excited, though, except for the Ducktales remake.
Iwata talks some more about A Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD. and honestly, I simply cannot get myself to care about this game. So it looks a bit prettier, big deal. I'd much rather just have a fresh new Zelda, although I know one's in the works. All Nintendo needs to do to get me sold on this remake in include the dungeons they cut out from the original. It comes out in October.
Finally, he shows more of The Wonderful 101. God, this game's taking forever to release. Of course, this isn't the first time we've seen gameplay for this game, but it does remind me of an action-heavy Pikmin. There seems to be a lot of powers you can buy, and big enemies you can fight. This game needs to hurry up and come out. September 15th is a long ways off. He also mentions an upcoming Nintendo Direct will be dedicated to the game.
Next, Iwata makes a new announcement. He shows a video which turns out be a new Donkey Kong Country. It looks fun and beautiful, with new scenery and gameplay, camera angles and the like. I wouldn't mind playing this, as I loved Donkey Kong Returns. Dixie Kong also returns. It's called Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeeze, coming out in November.
Now, Iwata shows another trailer for Bayonetta 2. They got rid of her beautiful long hair, which I don't care for. They show off some gameplay footage, but it was a very short tease. AND IT'S PUSHED BACK TO 2014! You kidding me?! That's disappointing.
Next up is a trailer for the new Monolith game, which is obviously Xenoblade Chronicles 2. It looks very pretty. It comes out sometime next year. It closes with new footage of Super Smash Bros, featuring a lot of new things from all sorts of franchises including Animal Crossing's Villager. Surprise, surprise, it's next year. Hah, Mega Man is now part of the roster, and oh man, his theme music's got me excited! I think I'm going to have to get this game now.
It's hard to judge this one, as it's not a standard Nintendo conference. It feels weird not seeing the likes of Reggie Fil-Aimes on stage, but I'll just have to settle when what I got. As for the Direct, there wasn't much announced that I didn't already expect, but it was really exciting to see new gameplay footage of Super Mario 3D World and Mario Kart 8. I'd love to pick up the new Donkey Kong Country as well. The show faltered, though, during the presentation of all the numerous third party games. It just ran through them so quickly. This is a very important Direct for Nintendo, so more is more. Also, more delays such as Bayonetta 2 slipping to 2014 is very disappointing. As much as I'm excited for the major Nintendo players, I'm also disappointed by any real surprises. So, overall, the direct failed to really impress me.
Sony does the right thing.
- Jun 11, 2013 3:21 am GMT
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First of all why did nearly everyone try to cram their shows into one day? Guys you got all week and some of us have stuff to do and can't sit by the computer all day watching announcements.
You all have no idea how fearful I was of Sony. I mean the early PS4 reveal wasn't the most amazing thing but I think we all feared they would try to block used games or try to pull some horrid crap that Microsoft did.
Clearly Sony learned from it's mistakes in 2006.
$400 console. A bit pricey but not horrible. Cheaper than the Xbone and definitely cheaper than the PS3 originally.
Not trying to be another media device. Given the populairity of streaming through services like Netflix, it's easy to see why Sony has abandoned the whole "introducing a new media format with our game console thing." For the most part from what I can tell, they seem interested in this being a game machine.
Best bit of trolling ever with that video.: http://www.gamespot.com/e3/ps4-supports-used-game-and-features-no-online-check-in-6409677/?tag=Topslot;Slot1
Also it seems like Sony and Square are BFF's again with Final Fantasy XIII VS now being FFXV and yes, after an eternity, Kingdom Hearts III is finally coming and amazingly still exclusive to Sony. I used to have fun trolling KH fans last gen by suggesting KHIII be on the Wii because I'm a terrible person. But now it's a matter of if FF can save itself.
No Knack? Really wanted to see more of that.
PS+ required for online play now. Damn. Seriously Sony, you had to do that didn't you? One of the reasons I switched to the PS3 was that I didn't have to pay to play online. I just don't do enough online multiplayer to justify paying for something I can do for free on my PC and Nintendo consoles. I'll just say this Sony, if we're paying for this and you have another major blackout, we're going to be majorily pissed.
However Sony gives us hope for the future now. A future where we can still share games with our friends, buy used stuff at Gamestop and not worry about cameras watching us 24/7 or systems being a brick without online connections. Seriously, for me at least, there is no reason for me to EVER buy an Xbox one.
Sony E3 2013 Impressions
- Jun 10, 2013 11:44 pm GMT
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The show begins with Jack Tretton. He talks and talks. Rambling off numbers. I forgot how boring Sony conferences start off. Finally, he announces a new Vita bundle with The Walking Dead. He mentions more about PS4 and Vita interconnectivity.
The first game they display is of course the Last of Us. Sony always starts their shows off with games that are already out, or almost out. It looks fantastic, and I will definitely be picking it up this Friday. The next one they show is the Puppeteer, which looks fun and unique. Then, there's another game called Rain, which seems to be a very peaceful game about a ghost, or something of that nature.
Now, there's more footage of David Cage's Beyond: Two Souls. It's actually looking really good, I'm just hoping the gameplay holds up. Next up, is Gran Turismo 3. Er, I mean 4. Er, I meant 5. Crap... I meant 6. I really enjoyed this trailer because of the song they used. I'm sure it will be an amazing game, but I haven't been interested in GT in a long time.
Jack Tretton returns laying praise on Naught Dog for their Last of Us. He rolls out a trailer for Batman: Arkham Origins. I'm really interested to see how well this game comes out, because Rocksteady won't be making it. It does look good, but I have my reservations. Tretton announces exclusive DLC for the PS3 version. September 17th will see a GTA V PS3 bundle with headphones.
Andrew House comes out to talk about how the PS4 is continuously evolving. He's leading up to show the PS4. Finally, the console itself is shown off for the first time and it's... a doorstop. Seriously, it's a freaking parallelogram. Not feeling it at all. It's far from the ugliest console design, but it's just... weird. House talks and talks.
Michael Linton CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment comes out to talk and talk. Ugh... "Movies, TV, music." Well, at least he didn't spend an hour talking up entertainment stuff like some other company... Oh wait, House talks more about media services. I skipped.
Shu Yoshida comes out to talk about how large his team is. He talks about social media. This conference is starting to drag at this point now. He says 20 new titles are coming, 12 of which are new IPs. Well, that beats MS's 8 out of 15. He shows off the first, which is by Santa Monica Studios, only known for God of War. The footage being shown isn't a God of War game, though, so I'm surprised. It's some game that looks like it's set in London. It's called The Order: 1886, and it looks pretty interesting, fighting monsters with futuristic weapons in old England. No gameplay was shown, though. Bummer.
Now, a short clip is shown of Killzone: Shadowfall followed by a clip of Driveclub. Next one is inFAMOUS: Second Son. Looks frigging fantastic! My first must buy on the PS4. Now, Knack is being show, and it looks pretty fun as well. I might make this my second purchase. Yoshida confirms that Killzone, Drive Club and Knack will be available at launch, with Second Son available first quarter of next year.
He now shows some footage from a new game called The Dark Sorcerer. For a cutscene running in real time, it looks extremely amazing. I missed the part where it was a tech demo, so there was a blooper of the actor screwing the line up. I got a laugh out of it.
Adam Boyes comes out to introduce Amir Rao and Greg Kasavin (EX-GAMESPOT GUY!) of Supergiant games. They're showing off their new game Transistor. It looks like it's going to be quite similiar to Bastion in terms of gameplay and perspective, just with an entirely new setting. The trailer also had some incredibly powerful music behind it. I'm looking forward to it.
Boyes again, and he talks up more love for indie publishers, including the ability to self publish. He rattles off a number of small studios. There's Clay Entertainment. They did Shank and Mark of the Ninja. Tribute Games, who did Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. Young Horses, who made a game called Octodad. Switchblade Monkeys, who are making a game called Secret Ponchos. Ragtag Studios, who's making some kind of zombie game that looks like it's using the same style zombies as from Plants vs Zombies. Red Barrels who are making a scary game called Outlast. Outworld Inhabitants! Wow, I haven't heard anything from these guys in years! I was excited to hear that a new Oddworld game is coming, but disappointed to find out it's just a remake. 17-bit games, who did Skulls of the Shogun, who are now making GalaxZ. That's a lot of time spent announcing indie games. And those games are exclusive.
Diablo III will have exclusive trinkets. A video message of Tetsyua Nomura plays to unveil a trailer. Beautiful rendered cutscenes. It can only be the new Final Fantasy XV. The gameplay looks nuts! I definitely want this game. Nomura unveils one more teaser. A new Kingdom Hearts, and I'm not intereted in the series, so I'll be passing.
Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag is now being talked about, but in the interest of time, I'm going to skip it. Same with Watch Dogs. Then, there's some movie talking about the new NBA 2K14. Not into basketball, so I'm skipping this too. The next game up is Elder Scrolls Online, but I have no interest in it, so again, I'm skipping. Now, a new teaser is shown, and it looks like Mad Max, and it is. I'm looking forward that one!
Jack Tretton returns once again. Now, he's going to confirming policies. PS4 supports used games with no restrictions. Good. Paraphrasing, "When a person buys a PS4 title, he has the rights to do what he wants with that game. Trade it, lend it, sell it." Praise be to you Jack Tretton and Argo Fuc k Yourself, Don Mattrick. No online requirement to play. Good. No requirement to check in online at all.
Now he talks up PSN and its new features, including be able to play a game while it's still downloading in the background, cross game voice chat (FINALLY!), friends stuff and more. PS+ will continue foward to PS4. Here's the thing that gets me, though. "Immersive online mulitplayer for PS4." Looks like playing online for free on PS4 is out. Drive Club will be offered as a free game via Instant Game Collection.
World gameplay premier of Desitny now rolls out. It's being done in co-op, and they're approaching a massive wall. Three minutes have passed and not a god damned thing has happened. This looks so underwhelming. I'm skipping it. I'm sure the game will be fantastic, but this demo left a very poor impression with me.
I believe it's House again? he's talking amore about Gaikai. Their cloud service will be available next year. You'll be able to play games via streaming across all Vita, PS3 and PS4. Now he announces the price, THREE NINETY-NINE! And the crowd goes wild! He drives home "True consumer ownership and true consumer trust," as in "TAKE THAT MICROSOFT!"
The show closes with another music montage.
Quite a lot of talking. Caused the show to have some pacing problems. But, there was so SO much shown, so many games listed they couldn't even spend time on most of them. Sony kicked MS in the nuts by confirming no DRM, restrictions or online checks, and delived a knee drop to the sternum with a price point one hundred dollars lower than MS. Yep, I'm preordering one first thing tomorrow! I think I'll preorder a few more games with the money I'll be saving by not buying an Xbox One.
My own thoughts regarding Xbox One
- Jun 10, 2013 2:39 pm GMT
- 0 Comments
CAUTION: This blog may contain "RANTING".
Well, after all the rumours & speculation, much has been confirmed by Microsoft themselves and for the most part, it's mostly bad news.
After watching the Microsoft conference at E3, it might as well just be called the Bro, or Dude-Box. It's pretty clear Microsoft is aiming squarely at the COD crowd, or to put it another way: Morons with too much money, who know nothing about video games outside of COD, FIFA and Need For Speed.
So... What we know so far:
As I said previously, it's being aimed at the "Bro-Dude" market, so expect a constant stream of shooters, racing & sports games. Don't we have enough of these already ? Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy the odd shooter, if it offers something a bit different and I do play the odd sports game, but, so far it just seems the Xbox One isn't being aimed at gamers, like myself, who enjoy RPG's and other genres away from the clutter of shooters, sports games and racers.
Also, given the fact that there's been a lot of articles regarding sexism and equality in the games industry, Microsoft doesn't seem to be doing themselves any favours by aiming at the Bro-Dudes.
For the price, you can buy a half-decent gaming PC with far superior graphics and capabilities. An option I'll certainly be considering.
You can only lend a game to one friend and that's only if they are on Xbox Live and have been on your friends list for more than 30 days. After that you can't lend it to anyone else, which must mean this has an impact on re-selling, or trading games in.
Still no clear explanation from MS as to what happens after that, except: "It's up to the publishers." Well if that's the case MS, why are all these supposed "security" measures being implemented by YOU and YOUR stupid console ?
Online checks every 24 hours on your own console, every 1 hour if you're gaming on a friends, or family members console. If you can't make the online check, then you can't game, simple as that. This doesn't really effect me too much, because my internet is fast & reliable, although my internet has went down for more than 24 hours on a few occasions. So, I feel for people with unreliable connections, or those who aren't online at all, who just wont be able to use the console for GAMES.
Still charging a subscription for the basic privilege of playing games online. This either needs to be dropped, or made optional, like PS+. At least that way you actually get something for your money, like a couple of free games and early access to demos etc.
Renting games is no longer an option. It's not something I really do, but I know a lot of people who like to rent games to try them out before purchasing. To me this move just seems counter-productive and may negatively impact game sales, but Microsoft are either ignorant, or just dont care. Either way, it's not good.
Got to admit, I'm really struggling to find anything positive to say about the Xbox One and as someone who primarily games on the Xbox 360, I find it quite sad. The only announcement that got me genuinely excited was the Halo live-action series and that has nothing to do with the actual console. I'm not an NFL fan, so I couldn't care less about exclusive NFL content. Besides, it's not REAL football anyway !
I don't play COD, so first access to DLC is meaningless for me. Been there done that. Been playing online shooters since the early DOOM days and although they've evolved in terms of graphics, the core game-play is still pretty much the same. It's a tired genre.
So, it looks like I wont be purchasing the Xbox One at launch, if at all. I refuse to support Microsoft any further. The restrictions they are placing on the Xbox One are just a step too far in my opinion. I can understand the need to clamp down on Piracy, but placing restrictions on lending and re-selling/trading games is a deal-breaker for me and still charging for playing online is just pure greed. I also think it's still a bit early for online checks and not allowing un-restricted offline play. In some areas the Internet just isn't reliable enough. In 5 years, maybe, but not right now.
The big killer for me though is the lack of emphasis on actual games. Microsoft seems to be more content on gimmicks and useless apps rather than the games themselves and it shows. I've not been overly impressed by what I have seen so far from a technical stand-point. Sure, the graphics look better, but it's not a huge leap from the current generation. It seems that Microsoft wanted to make some kind of multimedia box rather than a proper GAMING console. Like I said earlier, for the price, you could buy a PC with far superior hardware that can do all that for you, so what's the point of having an Xbox One ? I'd normally say the exclusives, but again they don't look like anything special, certainly not worth buying the console for.
It also appears that Microsoft have spent a fortune to get into bed with EA & Activision rather than investing in new new titles. Again, this just seems to be them aiming at the Bro-Dudes who play COD & Battlefield, by enticing them with first play of any new DLC. Microsoft must be banking heavily on this being enough to push sales of the Xbox One.
On a final note, as a result of Microsoft's seemingly anti-consumer policies and Sony remaining silent on similar issues, I'm being pushed into considering going back to PC gaming. I don't think I'm alone either. I just wonder if we might see a boom in PC gaming as a result of all this mess. I don't think it would be a bad thing at all.
What do you guys & girls think ?
Is Microsoft just catering to "Bro-Dudes" ?
Is their business practices getting shadier with each passing day, or are you quite happy with what they are doing ?
Will the online-checks and restrictions on lending/reselling games have an effect on you ?
Is the government going to secretly spy on you through Kinect ?
Will you ever get over the "Red Wedding" ?
Are you going to buy an Xbox One, PS4 or PC ?
Fell free to comment with your thoughts and if you want to write a lengthy rant, go right ahead.
That's what I've just done....
MS To Pair With Cable Companies: Commercials Look At You
- Jun 9, 2013 10:02 am GMT
- 0 Comments
There's been a lot of talk about surface level policy issues with the Xbox One. DRM, always online, Kinetic, and such have been in people's minds as we approach E3. The more interesting aspect of MS's announcement is MS's long term goal, which includes cable subsidies, contextual advertising, and a (somewhat scary) move to dynamic content delivery.
MS tested the waters for a subsidized console over the last year with the Xbox 360 + Live package, where upon agreeing to Live service at full price for two years cuts a major chunk off of the upfront cost of the buying the console. In the long term, the buyer ends up paying more. People have predicted that this scenario will be completely adopted with the Xbox One and I'm sure it will. There will most likely be a full priced Xbox One with a Live subsidized version as well. It will not stop there though.
MS has announced to investors that they envision selling 1 billion Xbox units during the life of Xbox One. It is quite obvious that they can not do that with their traditional model. Doing a Live subsidy will help, but not to the magnitude they are discussing. Therefore, the only logical way they can get to these massive numbers is by pairing with cable companies.
Cable companies could either offer a "Cable Company" version of the Xbox One for $10-$XX more per month to replace the traditional cable box or they could simply replace all their digital cable boxes with Xbox Ones (The cable company version would include coxial cable input.) It makes perfect sense. The Xbox One requires online, so they cable companies would immediately get an internet subscription out of the cable buyer.
Global TV subscribers are 800 million, with well over 1 billion by 2018. But where does MS make a profit?
Google logs where individuals go on the internet to better tailor ads to the user. Amazon offers recommended products based on what users look at and what they purchase. TV, however, has never had feedback from the viewer. They can tailor commercials depending on what channel they appear (based on the demographics of the viewers of the channel), but they have never been able to track the user as they surf.
Until Kinetic. Ads within MS's ecosystem that react to the user are only the beginning. In a future where the cable company is partnered with MS, they now have a direct feed to the viewers. Not only could they scan your room for products (such as a Pepsi sitting on your table), they will also pick up your eating habits, your state of health (larger people will get more diet commercials?), your age, your accent, your reaction to advertisements, and practically anything about your outward expressions.
Focus testing could take an all new twist. They could show limited viewings of new products and focus test by gauging the viewer's reaction. It gets very creepy when the ads are whittled into specifically targeting your marketing weaknesses using subtle but powerful techniques. Have you been sad for over two weeks? It'll play Zoloft commercials. Do you sneeze a lot while watching? Zyrtec commercials. Talking about a new car to a friend? Nissan commercials.
Of course MS would get a kick back for its feed and users will probably be offered massive rebates to allow the data to be collected, but eventually it will be widespread. That's where MS's money is and it will make far more than peddling games.
Will it happen?
This must be their long term plan. If not, they have entirely missed a golden opportunity to make massive amounts of money and control one of the most lucrative markets in the world, individualized data collection. What do we get out of it? Well, nothing really. We lose privacy. We invite advertisers to sit closer to us as we enjoy our lives. We become inundated with products that promise to "help" us based on our specific vulnerabilities.
It's quite scary, so let's hope that MS isn't this smart.
Eventful Plans For The Next 30 Days
- Jun 9, 2013 6:21 am GMT
- 0 Comments
Well I must admit that I was very happy with the positive response I got for my first Awesome-User-Blogs inclusive blog.I mean,getting almost 135 comments really got me into thinking and wondering what more could I do.And thats what the next 30 days are going to be all about.You'll be witnessing things on Gamespot like never before.So let me give you an insight on how I plan to achieve that.
1.)First of all, Im going to be starting something called a 'Publishing Company Comparison' blog.I've already tried that with EA vs. Ubisoft but I barely received recognition for the blog that time since it was published during my initial stages on Gamespot.So basically,it's going to be a two-part blog and with a definite conclusion unlike other comparison blogs that leave you with something like - 'If you want X then Y is surely better.But if youre looking for A than surely B is better.'You can take it from me that in the two blogs I'll be assessing everything from the past,present to the future even criticizing various decisions.The following are the comparisons that I'm willing to do.Please choose one of the below and post it in the comments section.The one with the highest votes will be undertaken.The poll closes on 14th June.
-EA vs. Activision
-2K vs. Activison
-Activision vs. Ubisoft
-2K vs. EA
-Square Enix vs. 2K
-Sega vs. Konami
2.)I've something very exciting planned for Gamespot.It is a new initiative called GSBC.Sadly,all I can provide you with right now are the initials.I've been putting a lot of work into it so none of you will be dissapointed by it.Secondly,if anyone of you can guess what the full form of GSBC is,your vote in the 'Publishing Company Comparison' poll will equal to five votes of other people.Not only that,you'll be playing a big role on how the GSBC initiative rolls out.But that's only to the person who can guess the full form first.So yes,keep guessing and you might as well crack it.
3.)Last of all,I'd like to tell all of you how excited I am with the E3 approaching.I've something real special planned for E3 too.I'll be giving you all random tasks or blog-posting-jobs related to the E3.Whoever I feel has participated most actively will get something real special.I'll be posting more about this later.But don't expect too much since it is the first giveaway I'll be undertaking.But yes,you can take it from me that the level of interactivity will be brilliant.So yes,do participate in it when I provide the necessary details.
So that's it guys.Hope I've just made the month of June and the first 10 days of July exciting enough for you.I don't know how things turn out,but this is my first try at doing something completely new.Something that's never been done on Gamespot before.Looking forward to interacting with you more in the coming days.Cheers!
The Road to E3 is Paved with Good Intentions...
- Jun 8, 2013 12:22 pm GMT
- 0 Comments
and so is the road to hell.
With all the hype around this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), it's tough not to get excited and starry-eyed and filled with hopes and dreams and desires for the future of gaming. This year is especially important with the release of the "next-gen" PS4 and Xbox One at a time when gamers are voicing their disillusion towards gaming more than ever. A lot is resting on this particular E3, and developers are feeling the pressure to go bigger and bolder.
But what is the cost of these great expectations? As past E3s have shown, we often end up with bloated, overhyped extravaganzas that do little more than enrapture us in a world of gaming for the hour-long show, but then leave us with unmatched expectations when finished products are revealed. The developers mean well, but in the end, they seem to be shooting themselves in the feet.
Personally, I don't want huge conferences that bloat my expectations and leave me high and dry in the end. I don't want to see extraneous dances (unless they somehow get a Jensen's Safety Dance together), gratuitious booth babes at every station or teleprompter-driven pseudo excitement. What I'm looking for in this year's E3 is much more basic and equally more important: I'm desperately looking for something at E3 to restore my hope in console gaming.
THE HISTORY OF E3
The conference we currently call E3 started in 1995 with the unveiling of the PlayStation, showings of the Sega Saturn, Virtual Boy and the Nintendo 64. This expo had grown from what was previously the Consumer Electronics Expo (CES), of which the video game industry was treated like electronic's ugly and uncooth stepbrother. The expo quickly proved popular and took off, growing in size and importance. It became an industry-wide vehicle for showcasing new systems, concepts and games. And, just like any event in the entertainment industry, companies felt the pressure to keep increasing production value of their overall presence with bigger conferences, fancy booths and gimmicks. 2005 marked the first year E3 was broadcast on TV, increasing the event's accessibility and the public's interest; this particular E3 boasted the attendance of 70,000 people.
The conference took a downturn in 2006 with only 60,000 attendees, and the 2007 and 2008 expos were renamed to "E3 Media and Business Summit", where it became an invite-only event. This was an attempt to scale back the bloated nature of E3, but was a shock to many gamers, bloggers and some in the industry, likely since the change was so abrupt. The 2007 conference only reported 10,000 attendees, and dwindled to 5,000 for the 2008 conference.
In 2009, E3 was reverted back to its previous structure, and this revision was relatively well-received by much of the community. The extravaganza continued to grow to the near-hysteric proportions of where it sits today.
So, now we're here again, eagerly awaiting another E3. I remember watching my first E3 conferences in 2011 and fell into the hype only to be met with the lackluster systems and games that just didn't do it for me over this current generation. In full disclosure, since this gen was announced a few years ago, I've been extremely busy with work and have had a lot of personally difficult times which I'm certain have affected my ability to get excited about a lot of things, but I also think this last generation of gaming was a disappointment to me in many other ways.
I was the proud owner of a PS3 in 2009, but I had a hard time finding games I had enough desire to put forth the money and energy to enjoy and look forward to. It didn't help that 15 months into my ownership, my PS3 met with the YLOD and attempts at fixing it at home did not work (and I'm an engineer, so I gave it a good try with the reflow solutions). I didn't have the money to have it officially repaired, so I sold it for pennies on its original price. I also got a 360, but again, the limited number of games that excited me led to me having to dust the console off more than I turned it on.
These issues partly led to me falling more and more into PC gaming. There weren't enough great experiences for me to keep with consoles, and most games I truly wanted had a PC port anyway! The last game I was truly, wholeheartedly excited about was Deus Ex: Human Revolution (PC), which had me counting down the minutes until I could get home to play, and gave me amazing dreams of crawling around in the shadows, dragging the many bodies I'd accumulated into ventilation systems...
I had tried again to get excited by watching the 2012 E3 streams, but was met with my own disillusionment when seeing the uncomfortable portrayal of an excited gamer executive by of Steve Balmer and an awkward Ubisoft conference led by Aisha Tyler (I know a lot of people thought she did great, but I felt her timing was off and it felt very awkward to me). And don't even get me started on Mr. Caffeine...
Even Last of Us garnered a less-than-expected review score here on GS, and this was a much-hyped game of the 2012 show. More recently, watching the Xbox One reveal and Don Mattrick's plastic performance did not bely my fears for the current E3. What I WANT to see are games that capture my attention and make me desperately want to get back into console games again. At this point, I almost don't even feel like the consoles themselves matter: the graphics are already good enough for me, the standard controllers haven't evolved and aren't different enough to matter, and I haven't been impressed by motion control enough yet to feel comfortable enjoying over my mouse and keyboard.
What I'm most worried about with the current E3 is the best of intentions leading to overall disappointment and negative affects for the gaming industry in general. We don't need more studio collapses (or for EA to buy any more struggling studios, which sometimes leads to a wish the studio had collapsed instead of been sent to purgatory). We don't need massive increases in game prices. We don't need to be told how to use our consoles and what we want.
We need hope for the future, we need managed expectations and, more than ever, we need exciting, FUN games!
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