2010 July

July 29, 2010

Impressive numbers from a small outlet.

G4 reported today that the research firm Forecasting & Analyzing Digital Entertainment put out their report of how much Xbox Live Arcade has made in the past year ending on June 30th, a staggering $46 million. This is just a small outlet but a very popular download service, and the most organized on any console. I love the Arcade and have spent a pretty penny on some great games from this service. Here’s the breakdown of the top grossing games from last year.

  • Toy Soldiers (Signal Studios) – $4.6 million (1200 MSP)
  • Trials HD (RedLynx) – $4.4 million (800 – 1200 MSP)
  • Castle Crashers (The Behemoth) – $2.9 million (800 – 1200 MSP)
  • Battlefield 1943 (EA DICE) – $2.5 million (800 – 1200 MSP)
  • Perfect Dark (4J Studios) – $2.4 million (800 MSP)
  • Marvel vs. Capcom 2 (Capcom) – $1.8 million (800 – 1200 MSP)
  • Family Game Night (EA Bright Light) – $1.7 million (400 – 800 MSP)
  • Shadow Complex (Chair Entertainment) – $1.2 million (800 – 1200 MSP)
  • Magic: The Gathering (Stainless Games) – $900,000 (800 MSP)
  • Call of Duty Classic (Infinity Ward) – $800,000 (1200 MSP)

I would like to see then do this across the board to see which download service other than Steam is leading the way. Does seeing the numbers mean we are moving towards a digital distribution?

July 29, 2010

3DS will get price point and release date……soon

Today we finally got a date on a price point and release date for Nintendo’s next handheld. VG247 reported that Nintendo talked to Bloomberg Japan and they will be holding an event on September 29th to unveil the price and release date for their 3D handheld. It it known for sure that it will be out by the end of their fiscal year ending next March. My prediction is next Feburary and the at the lovely retail price of $199.99. I really can’t see it going any higher than that, it is empressive tech but I really don’t think they want to out gun the Wii with the price. The original DS launched at $249.99, since this is more of an advancement on that hardware the price should be kept reasonable. It’s the same step the Gameboy took to the Gameboy Color, refinement of the hardware plus a step in a new direction. I am really looking forward to this device. I have a lite and never saw the point to upgrading to the DSI, but this seems liek worth getting on day one. Plus if they do have a remake of Ocarina of Time, I’ll take two please.

July 29, 2010

Halo Reach: First look at new campaign trailer

Halo Reach is finally coming out in roughly two months and today there was finally some light shed on the campaign side of things. The trailer really doesn’t show off much in the was of narrative but the new tech the game is running on is impressive to say the least. I have always held the Halo series in high regard and love all things in the universe. This is one of my most anticipated games this year and can’t wait to sink some serious time into it when it launches on 9/14/10. Hit the link for the video.

http://g4tv.com/videos/47746/Halo-Reach-The-Battle-Begins-Trailer/

July 29, 2010

Jimmy Fallon sets Gaming Record

So as I always do when I am up late, I usually leave the late night talk shows on TV while I am playing Eve Online, World of Warcraft, or recently Starcraft 2. However on this evening Late Night with Jimmy Fallon caught my eye. Every so often Fallon does a bit on his show where he attempts to break or create world records. Usually they are silly and are ideas no one has thought of or attempted before. Well as an official record, Jimmy Fallon has played the most different gaming consoles in 60 seconds. They rolled out a long table with 10 consoles on them. They consisted of Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), Super Ninteno, Sega Genesis, Nintendo 64, Dreamcast, Playstation, Playstation 2,  Xbox, Playstation 3, Wii, and Xbox 360. All consoles were on and loaded with game classics ranging from Legend of Zelda to Crazy Taxi to Tomb Raider to Halo. All Jimmy had to do was basically move a little in each game for the record to count. He was doing great up until the Wii. Apparently he couldn’t get the sensor to pick up the Wii-mote quick enough causing him to spend precious seconds trying to get it to work. He eventually gave up on the Wii and moved to the 360, which was the last console, but the time wasted on the Wii made him run out of time before anything could be done on the 360. So as the record stands Jimmy Fallon has played 9 different consoles in 60 seconds. Gratz to Jimmy, but I am sure in the next few days someone will have a video on youtube beating the record.

July 26, 2010

Banning Punishment = Free Game

 

This past weekend many Steam users were unfortunately banned from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. What was the cause you ask? Nothing more than a Valve screw up. Valve’s anti-cheat software banned random users for no other reason than an error. In response to the banning errors, President of Valve Gabe Newell, came out and said it was a mistake and apologized. As part of the apology Valve restored the banned accounts and  gave out two free copies of Left 4 Dead 2. One for the user and one to give to a friend. They also sent out an apology mail along with the games which you can read here:

Hello,Recently, your Steam account was erroneously banned from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.

This was our mistake, and I apologize for any frustration or angst it may have caused you.

The problem was that Steam would fail a signature check between the disk version of a DLL and a latent memory version. This was caused by a combination of conditions occurring while Steam was updating the disk image of a game. This wasn’t a game-specific mistake. Steam allows us to manage and reverse these erroneous bans (about 12,000 erroneous bans over two weeks).

We have reversed the ban, restoring your access to the game. In addition, we have given you a free copy of Left 4 Dead 2 to give as a gift on Steam, plus a free copy for yourself if you didn’t already own the game.

To share your extra copy of Left 4 Dead 2 with a friend, you can ‘Manage Gifts and Guest Passes’ from the ‘Games’ Menu in Steam, or visit this article on the Steam Support site for detailed instructions: https://support.steampowered.com/kb_article.php?ref=4502-TPJL-2656.

To access your own copy of Left 4 Dead 2, visit your library of games in Steam. If you didn’t already own the game, it will now be listed among your others there, and is available for download immediately.

Regards,
Gabe Newell
President, Valve

July 26, 2010

China’s Autobot

What can you do with 6 tons of scrap from recycled cars? What else build a 38 foot tall transformer! China built the robot in disguise in celebration of “Green Dream Park”, to show that they are a cleaner and greener country. The huge replica is made from 6 tons of recycled car parts and stands by Beijing’s Bird Nest Olympic Stadium, here’s a picture.

Japan built a similar robot but from the Gundam Universe for the 30th anniversary of the anime last year around the same time. The Gundam bot was not from recycled materials and it stood a staggering 59 feet tall and was complete with lighting.

Now the question is why can’t we do something just as cool? I will be more than happy to build a giant Voltron out of soda cans if some one would give me the chance. Anyone with me?

July 25, 2010

Two Fighting Games Combine Powers

Two great fighting games will come together to make Street Fighter X Tekken. The announcement was made at Comic-Con when Tekken producer, Katsuhiro Harada, interrupted the Street Fighter IV panel. The audience was suprised with a teaser trailer of Ryu fighting Kazuya Mishima. After that the audience was also given a chance to play a live demo of the upcoming game. Street Fighter X Tekken will have a similar look and feel to Street Fighter IV with 2D side scrolling fighting and graphics.

Katsuhiro Harada also added that Namco is developing another version called Tekken X Street Fighter that will be more on the style of the Tekken games, with 3D fighting arenas.

Both games have a ways to go before being released as they are still working on Marvel vs. Capcom 3.

All these games will be for both PS3 and Xbox 360

July 23, 2010

PC Gamers Apparently to Good for Console Gamers

Over the years there has been a constant on going battle over the past few years with the rise of consoles and fall of PC about the superiority of the Keyboard and Mouse over the controller and which platform is better for gaming in general.    There has also been questions as to why PC and Console gamers are not allowed to have it out in one all out epic battle over the Internet to decide the superiority of their platform once and for all. 

According to VoodooPC founder and HP CTO Rahul Sood  there was at one point in time their was a project in development that would allow gamers from both PC and Xbox alike to talk and battle over the Internet.  Once Microsoft began to test it they canned it. 

Why?  Because console gamers were no match for PC gamers. 

“There was a project that got killed at Microsoft. This project was designed to allow console gamers and PC gamers to interact and battle over a connected environment,” Sood wrote on his personal blog. “I’ve heard from reliable sources that during the development they brought together the best console gamers to play mediocre PC gamers at the same game… and guess what happened? They pitted console gamers with their ‘console’ controller, against PC gamers with their keyboard and mouse.”

The results shouldn’t suprise you…

“The console players got destroyed every time,” Sood added. “So much so that it would be embarrassing to the XBOX team in general had Microsoft launched this initiative. Is this why the project was killed Who knows, but I’d love to hear from anyone involved — what happened?”

Sood at Voodoo PC continued to go on about how PC’s were the superior gaming platform.  You can read his entire write up here

While these test don’t surpise me I have to admit it puts a small grin on my face.

July 21, 2010

First Reaction: Limbo

Dark, morbid, fantastic. I never really really got Braid. It was a fun platformer, but something made me hesitant on the hype machine behind the game. Maybe it was the art style, maybe I just never connected with the main character. Limbo is my Braid. I get Limbo and what it is setting out to do. I get why this game has been getting rave reviews and what all the pre-release talk was about. The haunting art style and tone, to the fun original platforming. I have not seen a game this inventive or creative in quite some time. AceofNades will have a review posted in a few days, but atleast download the trial and see the magic Limbo offers.

July 20, 2010

What is Wrong With $14.95?

For years I have played various games — everything from simple addictive “Popcap Games” to standard MMO fare. Before trying MMOs, I had always dismissed them as a waste of money, proclaiming that “I shall never play a game requiring a payment subscription.” Fastforward seven years into the future and I own 3 different accounts among two different games. What changed my mind about MMOs and the pay to play business model? Why would I spend most of my free time playing MMOs instead of other games? Let’s start off by asking is $14.95 a lot of money to play a game?  When I got to thinking about it more most people spend $50 or more on just their coffee at Starbucks let alone other things they throw their money at.  In all reality $14.95 is not that much money and if your bank is getting broken by $14.95 a month then you probably shouldn’t be playing an MMO let alone purchasing any other game for that matter.  The total cost per year on your average MMO 14.95 x 12 = $179.40  and most games give you discounts if you purchase bulk amounts of time. 

What do you get for your $14.95?  While not all MMO offer the same features you generally get free updates for the game that address bugs and other issues and in some cases add new content, more mature and dedicated community and a far more immersive game. 

Most games will provide you with a couple of patches after release but after that most support ends for the game.  With MMO’s you tend to get a constant stream of patches that address everything – gameplay balancing, features, bugs, user content, etc.  In addition to patches some MMO even provide you with expansions, while they are not always free, they do add more depth to the game and enhance the user experience.  EVE online provides its members up to two expansions a year that dramatically increase the user experience by adding, new ships, star systems, items and skills. WOW on the other hand provides free updates to its members but it does not provide free expansions, while it does provide its members with expansions it does require them to buy them at about $30.00 a pop. 

The communities within MMO are probably the greatest offering that MMO’s have.  Not only are the communities large and full of dedicated players that are there to help you with almost any questions you might have but the members of which tend to be far more mature than your average gamer that would find say on Xbox Live.  While it is possible to run into a younger and immature player whose life goal is to make your life miserable by yelling profanities in a high pitched voice the people you tend to find in “pay to play” games are older more mature players who actually want to play with other like minded players. 

MMO’s take immersion to an entirely new level by combining the need to have cohesive team work with an more mature community the game actually feels like a real world.  Games such as eve actually have played based economies, corporations and alliances so when something happens in the game world it actually feels like it affects you and the universe that you are playing in.   

I asked myself the question why is everyone afraid to “Pay to Play”?  Let’s start by saying “Pay to Play” is a deceptive term the way most people use it.  You “Pay to Play” almost any game out there.  Your average mainstream X360, PS3, WII or PC game will cost you on average a $50 – $60 admission ticket   It’s most likely not the fact that you have to pay $14.95 per month that scares people more so then the fact that they can’t play the game if they aren’t paying and the fact that they don’t own the game outright.  If you aren’t paying you can’t play it.  People don’t like paying for something that they can’t call theirs.  However it should be noted that now days, unless the game gets shut down, most companies keep your saved data and information even if you are not paying to play the game so that way if you want to come back and play you can pick back up where you started.   Many MMO’s now state that you down own the account and all of its contents.   

Having said all this why did I change my mindset of “Paying to Play”?  There are several reasons why I changed most of my gaming to MMO’s *EVE Online and Battleground Europe specifically*.  The first and foremost reason for me was that I bought at least two titles a month and these were new titles and I would play and beat them never touch them again.  The average game now days is less then 10 hours single player.  If you take $60 / 10 hours you get $6 per hour of playing time.  I might play through the game a second time so it would be $3 per hour of playing time to play through the game.  Whereas with eve I spend an average of 4 hours a night at $14.95 a month which is $14.95 / (4 hours a night  x 30 days a month) = .12 or 12 cents an hour of entertainment.  You can see that in my case the cost per hour of entertainment is far less.  The other reason I’ve switched the way I play games is the community that comes with MMO genre is near impossible to beat.   I still talk to the guys that I played with even after I quit the games years after the fact.   Why?  Because I actually got to know the guys and some gals that I played with.

Are MMO for everyone?  No.  Are MMO the way games should go?  Absolutely not.  But we don’t think people should dismiss a game just because of the monthly price tag as most people pay this and more with XBL fee’s and DLC alone per month.

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