Tag Archives: Sony

#378 I Spy a growing problem with GameSpy shutting down.

Another news story broke earlier this week with EA officially pulling server support for dozens and dozens of their titles by June 30th 2014, following the announcement that the online matchmaking service, GameSpy, will be closing down at the end of May on top of Nintendo will be moving forward in their plans to phase out Wii and Nintendo DS’s Nintendo Wi-Fi connection by May 20th.

A handy chart of all the Pokemon related content and services going away in the next few days

A handy chart of all the Pokemon related content and services going away in the next few days

 

This is not a new issue and with the next-gen consoles becoming this-gen, one of  gaming company’s current elephants in the meeting room is the question, ‘how long can or should these companies supply support to these old online games after creating a gaming generation with an emphasis on online play?”

On the business side, these video game companies -despite what some people think- do have limited amount of money and they cannot expect to run these servers in-house forever, especially when some of these games are pushing ten years old. but I do believe these companies have some sort of duty to continue providing service to the paying consumers who bought a game with such a heavy focus on online play.

We now have games that sell themselves on the focus on online multiplayer. I do not remember anyone buying Call of Duty, Halo, Battlefield, or TitanFall for the single player story they were bought because they were used a portal to a new world of online play. This trend is partly because of the advancement of internet speed and access but also because of the console company’s choice to focus more on the online play which is not a bad thing, but it does come with the responsibility to care for the product after the game is no longer topping the charts? This is not just  a problem for EA and Activision but for all AAA gaming companies with at least some bit of online support whether it be; online multiplayer,  any exclusive DLC content or digital patches will have to face with the upcoming shift from Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 to the new Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

More importantly, what will happen in the gaming community when people who bought a game for the excuse to play online can longer have that ability to connect to the servers, like in the eventual phasing out of the Xbox Live and PlayStation network. What will the reaction when the from all the Halo 4 fans, and the Call of Duty Ghost players when no longer log on to their servers because the network that both games use for online play have gone offline? Not to mention the reaction from the players who will no longer have access to and retrieve or redownload all the indie, digital only games and DLC packs that they have already bought through XBL and PSN

Call me a history fanatic for my love of preservation the past and my concern with this the now obsolete games, but this issue will only be brought up again with more and more gaming services going offline and no longer playable. I wish I had an easy solution to fix this problem, the first go to answer would be to have every gaming company go the way of Valve and let the community have the ability to host servers of their favorite map. The problem is then to execute a major content patch for all consoles that changes exactly how these consoles connects to the internet and which 3rd party servers it connects to, a thought that Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony will not seriously entertain for long.

 


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#355 The Sin of Exclusive Content in Multiplatform Games

Watch_Dogs, in preparation for launch, released a video of the exclusive content PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 players will receive with their cop of the game. The video in question can be found HERE and it advertises 60 minutes of non-cosmetic content and gameplay. This is one of greatest sins on the console side of the videogame industry. We are out of the mid to late 90’s console war, there is no need to make content exclusive to one console or another.

I swear I don't have a personal vendetta against this game, it is just brings up a lot of problems I have with the videogame world.

After reading by last post about Watch_Dogs (Be MOP #348) one could claim that I am bias about this game. But I swear I don’t have a personal vendetta against this game, it is just brings up a lot of problems I have with the videogame world.

 

 

I discovered this problem with Rocksteady’s Batman: Arkham Asylum PS3 only Joker DLC, it was continued with the launch of Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed IV and peaked with Watch_Dogs. All of these games have content exclusive DLC only for the PlayStation version of those multiplatform games. I was going to write a top ten blog post about the worst videogame sins and this one was going to take the cake  and rightly so because it is holding content back for the highest bidder.

Because I bought this on Steam I will never be able to play as the Joker.

Because I bought this on Steam I will never be able to play as the Joker.

 

I know that back in the day (read as Generation 5 and 6) the specs on the different types of consoles were so different and varied that it made sense to have the few multiplatform games was going be different and varied but when the hardware between the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 is so similar that there is no reason to hold back content for one console or another.

I am not delusional, I know the importance exclusive gaming franchise like Mario, God of War, and Halo are to a console allure but holding back content on a game that comes out for all systems, from WiiU to the PC, is unacceptable.

Another great example of this is the recent Metal Gear V game and  how the game advertised an exclusive Raiden and Deja Vu campaign of  for both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 respectively.

I could see what they were going with paying homage to the classic PlayStation game but it still doesn't excuse it from happening

I could see what they were going with paying homage to the classic PlayStation game but it still doesn’t excuse it from happening

 

These tactics are done for the sake of marketing, it is holding segments of videogame content hostage from the paying consumer. As a big Batman fan, if I wanted the full Batman Arkham Asylum gaming experience I would be forced to buy a PlayStation 3, neglecting my frankly better PC gaming laptop, to play as the clown prince of crime himself. I feel bad for the hardcore Metal Gear fans because if they wanted the entire MGSV experience I would have to buy two current generation consoles and two separate versions of the same game.

Again, what kills me is that this is all and only done for the sake of marketing and favoritism.  After spending a weekend I could think of no good reason to continue this practice, it is done for the sake of greed and greed alone without a second thought for the consumers who did not luck out on getting the one gaming system with all the exclusive DLC. That is why it is one of my most hated sin in the videogame industry.

 


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#348 Should Bullshots be Illegal?

Some news from the anticipated game Watch_dogs recently hit the web, with the game’s release date, the delayed release of the Wii U version and the game came under criticism for having the in-game engine and environments looking nothing like the previous gaming build that was shown off on stage at E3 two years ago.

Just to preface this post I have no interest or investment in this game. for the longest time I thought that this was a PS4 exclusive from the Watch_Dogs PS4 promotional bundles.

Just to preface this post I have no interest or investment in this game. for the longest time I thought that this was a PS4 exclusive from the Watch_Dogs PS4 promotional bundles.

 

Apparently this technique is called Bullshot. Bullshot, according to Urban Dictionary is a screenshot fabricated by a company to misrepresent the graphics of a game.  While this is not the first time I have seen this happen this is the first time I heard that word being used.

Far Cry 3, Uncharted, Steel Battalion Heavy Armor and most noticeable the flopped Rambo game are all perfect examples of gaming companies modifying their game’s image when releasing first looks screenshots of their games.

And while everyone in the gaming industry uses the Bullshot technique during the first previews and at the various trade shows, the question is should it be considered illegal for false advertising?

On one hand the game companies uses this method to build hype for the game and show the ideal end image of a product that is not completed yet. And I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt that some of these graphical touches might have been dropped for the sake of finishing the product, and dealing with the graphical crunch from the limitations of the consoles. At the time Watch_Dogs developers did not have access (or the ability to publicly show off) the PlayStation 4 or the Xbox One at 2012’s E3 so they had to resort to using a PC device to run their product.

A comparison shot of the prereleased and finished Forza 5. Source

A comparison shot of the prereleased and finished Forza 5. Source

 

But on the other consumer friendly hand…it could be argued that this is the gaming companies lying and misleading the paying consumers by manipulating the advertised image of a game to look better than the finished product,

A common phrase I use when talking about these issues but this is an issue that videogames have brought up and needs to be set a precedent for rest of the entertainment world, no other media does uses this technique (and if they do they do not do it as obviously and frequently). A few weeks ago Marvel released their first look at their the Guardians of the Galaxy and you can bet your bottom dollar that those clips or the CGI quality of those clips will be used in the movie despite the overall quality of the rest of the movie, same goes with comic books and T.V series.

With that in mind I want to bring this question to you, What do you think about the gaming industry using Bullshot option when showing off their games at trade shows or press releases? Has the bullshot process gone too far that we, the consumers, should lobby for legal action to stop companies from continuing to do this?

And where is should the line of Bullshotting be drawn? Should it include cutscenes? the prerendered videos of the gameplay at the trade shows or should it just be defined as the advertised ‘in game engine’ live game-play that gaming companies show on stage?

Leave a comment down below on what you think, I would love to hear what other people’s opinions about this process.

 


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Be MOP focuses on the world of videogames with my own reflections about the current news and developments that happens throughout the gaming industry. Updates Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays

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#345 The questions raised with pulling online support of last generation

The latest buzz around the internet was the announcement that Nintendo will be pulling their online play support for the Wii and DS and this bit of news was just followed by Sony’s decision to stop supplying Gran Turismo 5 dlc after the end of April.

With the start of the newest gaming generation, players and the console companies need to start talking about what we are going to do with all of the ownership of digital content from the last generation and with Microsoft’s and Sony’s eventual dropping the support of the Xbox 360 and PS3.

On one hand companies should be able to pull support from their older systems, it’s one part because of the cost to continue supplying the support over the years and because it is obsolete.

It's reason why we don't have Pikmin 1,2 & 3 on the n64.

It’s reason why we don’t have Pikmin 1,2 & 3 on the n64.

 

But on the other, and arguably more important hand, this gaming generation is completely different from previous generations with the introduction  and heavy emphases of DLC and games bought and delivered digitally by way of the Wii’s Virtual console, the Xbox Live Market, and the PlayStation Store. and what will  happen to all the digital games and content that we bought and downloaded in the next few years?

Do we have the right to demand these companies to keep a cost prohibited system open for use to buy and redownload these old games if we bought a new PS3/Xbox360/Wii at a gamestop or thrift shop to replace our broken down devices?

Looking back on the console companies made the major mistake of advertising as actually buying these digital games instead of leasing these titles, that is if they want to continue their constant DRM policy. I imagine they should have advertised as the Netflix of gaming, with account tied streaming television shows and only borrowing the movies disk for a limited  rather than being the DRM-free music store like iTunes and Amazon.

I know iTunes's movies and TVs are still in DRM lock down but you own those drm free music albums you bought though the site.

I know iTunes’s movies and TVs are still in DRM lock down but you do own any drm free music albums you bought through the site. 

 

I have a feeling that video games, being the one industry to have a relatively quick and sudden turnaround in devices  will have to be the first to answer the question about owning digital content for the rest of the world.

But I want to know what’s your opinion on the matter of games bought on the previous generation and the eventual ending of support? If you don’t like that idea what solution do you propose that is reasonable to both the paying consumer and the company that are trying to make a profit at the end of the day?

I am asking you these question not to get your opinions but because I am at a lost for answers myself. 

 


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#305 iBuy’s bid for the living room

It seems like November 2013 is going to be remembered as the month of new consoles. Sony launched the PlayStation 4 in the US on the 14th, Microsoft’s Xbox One was last Thursday and the rest of the world gets their PS4s this Thursday.but as well this week we had the announcement of the first commercial third-party version of the Steam Machine to hit the market.

This Steam Machine prototype is produced by iBuyPower with the following specs; a multicore AMD CPU,  AMD Radeon R9 270 graphics card, 500gb hard drive with both bluetooth and Wifi abilities and the product is priced at $499.

If someone wants a creative writing task, write a Romeo and Juliet/star-crossed lovers story of this Steam Machine breaking away from the PC family to be with the console group

If someone wants a creative writingprompy, write a Romeo and Juliet/star-crossed lovers story of this Steam Machine breaking away from the PC family to be with the console group

 

This news story is amazing in two ways, while I am not technically savvy enough to know the computer parts interact with each other, I am assured that iBuyPower’s  prototype is better than the two consoles and can run major game titles at the elusive 1080p resolution at 60 frames per second at the price of this competition but for me what gets me excited of this product is what the Steam Machine includes. This Steam Machine comes with a Steam Controller and the copy of the free Steam Operating System, this means that this particular Steam Machine could drop another $60 or so if iBuy just wanted to sell their machine without Valve’s patented SteamController.

Once the hype died down I found it funny that after moving to the living the only bit of hardware they will be making is the controller

Once the hype died down I found it funny that after the announcement of moving to the living the only bit of hardware Valve will be making is the controller

 

 

Depending on how well received this product is after launch in 2014 it could open the floodgates for other computer parts companies. My personal prediction is that by the end of 2014 companies like Nvidia, AMD, and ASUS will announce their plans for releasing their own Steam Boxes with their own hardware. Without having to spend additional resources buying the rights to operating system product keys for mass production private organizations get their foot in the door by making their own companies out of their garages and producing custom Steam Machine orders for anyone on the internet.

I said it once and I will say it again, I will pay good money (specs pending) for an honest to goodness purple GABECUBE.

designed like this even down to the four USB ports in the front for multiplayer

Designed like this even down to the four USB ports in the front for multiplayer


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#304 The Presidential Console Cycle

Boom! It has been a full weekend since Microsoft’s Xbox One went live and both consoles came out of the base swinging with the announcement that the PS4 and XBox One sold a million products within their first 24 hours (I do wonder what is the percent of PS360 players that bought new consoles on day and did the percent increase since last generation).

I was going to do a prediction on who will win but all the research I have done everyone else said the same thing. Unless the XBox One  releases a Deux Machina patch that doubles the resolution of all of their games Sony has secured the upper hand in marketing and multi-platforms titles.

This is the first time I have been following the lead up and launch of new consoles and looking back on the entire saga reminds me a lot of the United States Presidential election cycle. If you follow me on this blog, on Twitter, or in real life it is not hard to notice that I love talking about politics and I have almost no problem connecting everything to politics in one way or another.

 Hey its a way to validate my four years in college to earn my BA in Political Science.

That’s right I’m kicking off this Monday with another political/gaming blog post. But hey it’s a way to validate the four years it took me to earn my degree in Political Science.

Each side, Microsoft and Sony, starts months or years in advance getting to work behind the scenes crafting the concept of their newest candidate that is supposed to appeal to everyone. With the lead up to the official announcement there are some juicy leaks and rumors while everyone and their dog starts throwing around their speculations of the new products and the current base starts getting hyped again for some new blood and innovation and what it means for the future after it is all said and done.

This goes on for a few months, and even if all of our guesses are right we still have to wait until the official ceremony with the press and viewers a like are invited to tune in as the announcement of the new candidate is made.

If you pay attention the PS4/XB1 reveal were almost the same as the democrats and republican nomination ceremony. Picture from The New York Times

If you pay attention the PS4/XB1 reveal were almost the same as the Democrats and Republican nomination ceremony.
Picture from The New York Times

Then in the final stretch to the big day, that will decide who will win, the two sides pulls out the big guns; the major press releases about each one’s policies, the marketing money, and the ad space on the important TV channels and websites all for the one purpose of showing off the product in the best light and swaying the vital few who are on the fence this time around while doing everything in the company’s power to get the third-party companies to support them post launch. All the while the fanboys on both sides tear each other apart on the internet forums with logical fallacies.

Birthers. XBONE. PS4 has no games. seeing Russia from my house. 47%

Birthers. XBONE. PS4 has no games. Seeing Russia from my house. 47% ect.

The main difference between an US political election and the next generation console war is that both parties in the console war gets to have their product win. After the launch both Microsoft and Sony then enter a friendly Cold War while the rest of us comes to terms with the unfilled promises from the campaign.

yeah tell me that they did it for the gamer not for the companies

Tell me with a straight face that they didn’t tweet this for the free PR from the press and not for the other company

P.S Lest I forget in this comparison the Nintendo Wii U is like the winner of the local elections, the only place where real innovation and change happens without the threat of big money and market testers watering it down. And the PC is like the Illuminati as in it is as old as dirt, longest lasting party, and does everything the main two consoles can do but better all the while pulling all the strings in the industry.

Everyone laughed at the Nintendo's past two consoles but who's laughing now? Not the people who now have to hook up their Kinects and out this Fridays buying vistas for their PS4 dual screen mechanics

Everyone laughed at the Nintendo’s past two consoles but who’s laughing now? Not the people who now have to hook up their Kinects to their TVs and going out this Fridays to buy Vitas for their PS4 dual screen gameplay mechanics


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Be MOP focuses on the world of videogames with my own reflections about the current news and developments that happens throughout the gaming industry. Updates Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays

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