In case you missed all the fireworks yesterday, the gaming world shifted again with Microsoft reversing their DRM and online policies. The story developed throughout the day after Patrick Klepek from Giantbomb ran a story about the changes coming to the Xbox One which later Microsoft confirmed.
The rundown is this:
- There is no longer an online requirement.
- You will only have to be connected during the initial setup of the system.
- No more 24 hour “check-ins”.
- Downloaded games will still work whether you are online or not.
- You XB1 disc based games will work in the same manner as your Xbox 360 ones did
- You will be able to trade and loan your discs as you see fit.
- All region locks are gone.
In my opinion this is a huge flip-flop on the part of Microsoft, I expected this somewhere down the line, but not this soon. Along with the public outcry, there had to be some unfavorable preorder numbers or the Jimmy Fallon effect that made this come about so quickly. Either way it’s a win for gamers of all stripes because now we get to focus on the important part, the games.
The ball again is in Sony’s court and I have to wonder if this muffles some of the feel good rhetoric promoted at E3. What if anything will they do to possibly sweeten the pot now that the feature set playing field is even more level.
With all that being said there are still many questions gamers should be asking.
Will gamers now feel “safe” to buy their XB1? There will surely be a PR bump from this mea culpa, but will those new adopters forget the other bits and pieces that they previously weren’t happy about like the always connected Kinect? A friend of mine brought up a great and possibly troubling point in reference to MS’s all seeing eye. He pondered “since the XB1 needs the Kinect to function what happens if it craps out? Does that make your XB1 pretty much useless? How will MS deal with warranties on the peripheral, will they be tied together in some way?”
Also, since they are dropping the proposed plans of reselling your digital titles, how will that impact their digital marketplace? What if anything does that do to the pricing scheme in that realm?
Consumer still have some months before these systems launch, being diligent and asking the companies directly about your concerns will be key in the seemingly ever moving landscape we find ourselves in as next-gen gamers. My suggestion to you is to think with your head, not your heart, and especially with your wallet.
Xbox enthusiasts were treated to some gorgeous sights and sounds on Monday night. Since the reveal of the Xbox One (XO) three weeks ago the clamoring for games have been loud and boisterous. Microsoft showed gamers a bunch of titles that are coming up for their next-gen system and here are the ones I found most compelling.
- A gorgeous, vibrant art style.
- Multiple user-created weapons or at least user inspired designs might be implemented.
- Seems to take place huge spaces with cool ways to traverse.
- Looks like gleeful destruction, tone of the game looks very light.
- Alan Wake style episodic format connected to a TV/online show.
- Real next –gen graphic leap.
- Looks like it will be really interesting with time manipulation story-telling.
- Can’t wait to see what gameplay will look like, if action oriented or more story based.
- Amazing sandbox for kids.
- Kinect and Smartglass capable.
- Looks like a great gateway for children to learn game creation.
- Wants to go head to head with Sony’s LittleBigPlanet
- I hope it’s not Xbox Exclusive although a great get on the indie front.
- Love the art and music from the Sword and Sworcery folks.
- Great logo and graphic design by Cory Schmitz (Sound Shapers)
- Already have a pedigree of putting out amazing games with immerse quirky stories
- MS killer app.
- Looked amazing, quick, responsive, everything you expect from a COD game (Respawn).
- Mechs looked really dope and super fun to control.
- Traversal looked really good and clean.
- Hopefully Mech/Human combat will be balanced.
This should be a pretty strong launch lineup when the Xbox One comes out later this year. I can’t wait to see what other treats they have up their sleeve.
What games perked your interest, are you buying a Xbox One at launch? Let us know what games you’d like to see on this list in the comments below!!
After hearing numerous reports from insiders on the Microsoft side of the ocean about a new Xbox being announced this year, many folks started to raise questions about whether Sony would ramp up the idea of a PS4 coming out in the near future. I think folks need to slow down just a tad and here are my top five reasons why it’s too early for the PS4.
5. SEN: Although the SEN has gone through a re-naming I don’t think it’s come anywhere close to reaching its full potential. There are still uniformity issues that make small things both unnecessarily complex and don’t promote community. With small things like a universal invite system, I understand that a lot of liberty is given to the developers in how they want to implement this but Sony should give guidelines that streamline things for the user. There are other things that I believe they should do, for example put a mic in every box. These are things that grow the community, give devs a reason to add the feature to games and keep everyone on a level playing field. Get these things right before moving on a new system.
4. Install Base: The PS3 has basically matched its competitor in terms of number of boxes in homes after being severely behind for the first couple of years. Unless Sony is going to drop the PS4 before Microsoft debuts their machine I think they need to stay put. With its focus on Kinect and more social media apps, Microsoft has shown that it is less interested in catering to its hardcore fanbase. Right now Microsoft’s first-party support is as visible as Samuel Jackson’s hairline: nowhere to be found. Sony would have the upper hand and could wait to spend that money on research and development so that when the PS4 drops it can have killer hardware packed in.
3. The Vita: I think that there were some lost opportunities to get some things right with the PSP. Sony can totally revolutionize cross-platform play and content if they focus on the interconnectivity these systems have. “Remote Play” was more gimmick than asset on the PSP. I think if they focus on some of these things now, they could have an amazing bullet point on the next PS4 box.
2. Life Cycle: Everyone right now who is clamoring for a new system needs to have a seat. Most of the time they ask for this it’s because of graphic fidelity. I really want these folks to calm down. Why, you ask? Here is your reason: EVERY system gets better graphically with age, most of the best graphical showcase games on PS2 came towards the end of its life cycle. GOW2, MGS3 and Grand Turismo are just some of the beautiful games we got toward the end of the cycle. Even after playing Uncharted 3 this year, I know that games can look better.
1. “There are no original ideas”: People have become complacent with the FPS deluge that we’ve been accustomed to but there are still awesome games coming out in this generation. Twisted Metal, Journey, Bioshock Infinite and Starhawk are on the horizon. Yes, they could have been pushed back until a new system comes out but then what would you have to play? I am as excited to see new hardware as the next person but I also want new ideas and you are going have less of a chance to produce those titles on a new system that needs to sell.
I understand that many folks are excited by new technology but sometimes the want exceeds the actual need. We still have great gaming moments coming this generation and I welcome all the goodness coming our way.
Christmas is less than a week away, people have stuck their gaming gifts under the tree, and we are still playing through the glut of games that came out during 2011. The only logical question to ask is “So, what are you going to play next?” The crazy amount of awesome games we all got to experience this year was pretty mind-blowing. There was so much to choose from and play that there are still things that I haven’t had the chance to tinker with, but we as gamers are always looking for the next best new thing. So I thought now is a great time to look at what the industry has in store for us for 2012 by giving you our “What, do you think money grows on trees? Ok here is my money most anticipated 2012 games list”.
First up is a game that intrigued lots of people back when it was announced in 2010 and really got a lot of buzz going after its trailer at the 2011 VGA’s. This game is Bioshock Infinite, set in the dystopian floating city of Columbia where raging factions are fighting for control. The protagonist Booker Dewitt and his newly found sidekick Elizabeth are stuck in the middle and need each other to survive. The game has a number of good things going for it, beautiful graphics, engaging fast-paced gameplay and lots of new interesting systems going on at the same time. The best thing it has is Ken Levine, he has been making thought provoking games since System Shock and with him again behind the helm of the Bioshock universe, it can mean nothing but good things for Infinite.
Next up is Ghost Recon:Future Soldier. Now I’m sure someone just looked at their screen and gave this article the side-eye. I can understand why, they had a pre-alpha showing and a Kinect demo that left a lot to be desired; BUT I can say with the latest couple of videos Ubisoft has shown they might have a really awesome tactical team-based, third-person shooter on their hands. The game seems to have all the cover-to-cover, flank your opponent gameplay plus all the tech you would want from a game based in the not-too-distant future. There was an awesome article on Popular Mechanics about some of the tech in the game. Check it out here.
A game that I think will be on people’s radars is pretty awesome because it’s both a re-imagining and a reboot of a popular decade long franchise. Tomb Raider with a totally new and updated lifelike graphic style, new gameplay elements like broken bones affecting movement and using scavenger survival tactics will hopefully take the game in a totally new direction. The one glaring issue for most after watching the trailer was all the QTE’s. Trust me, although I love Heavy Rain I hope this game is not super QTE heavy.
Grand Theft Auto V is hopefully coming out this year as well. Little is known about it besides the fact that you are goin’ back to Cali. It looks like they have made big strides using bits and pieces of the GTA IV and L.A. Noire engines. For open world gamers this might be all you need in 2012.
Last but not least is my most anticipated/wanted game. It’s something that for me and many others seemed to have come out of nowhere and has captured my imagination; this game is called Journey. From ThatGameCompany creators of Flow and Flower, this game is just honestly one of the most beautiful games I’ve ever seen. I usually don’t heap praise like that upon games unless it deserves it and this totally does. The amazing use of scale, desolateness, subtle nuanced music and minimalist gameplay elements combine to make what I hope is a huge success for those developers. I hope it’s a success because it would prove that games that don’t require you to be a guns-blazing meathead can prosper in today’s gaming market. The game drops you into a world with no direction but shows you a huge beacon in the far off distance. It uses human intuition as a gameplay mechanic to a certain extent–you see things and you go and explore them. By exploring you gain fabric to extend your scarf, the longer you’ve been playing, the longer your scarf will grow and obtaining fabric also lets you open up new areas to explore.
The scarf mechanic really becomes interesting in terms of how multiplayer works. The trick is that you can’t pick who you play with; you will always play with strangers and that is the best part. You will have to use “body language” and audible chirps to coordinate how to progress during the game. Also you can’t start a game with someone, there are no lobbies so if you come across another person you can decide to follow or go it alone. This provides the player the chance to have a totally different experience every time you play. After playing the beta earlier in the year and seeing the gorgeous vistas, this has to be at the top of my list for next year.
There are also some honorable mentions that I won’t go into detail about now but will later when more information is released. Some of them are The Last of Us, The PSVITA games Sound Scapes and The Escape Plan. These are just a taste of the games that will be or should be released this year and should provide massive amounts of gaming goodness for all of us. If there are any games that you think I might have missed or want us to cover for your list, please drop us a line or shout it out in the comments below.