Gaming Confessions

Microsoft’s Dilemma

by Tristan Belgrave. 0 Comments

Microsoft’s E3 press conference was less than stellar in comparison to Sony’s press conference. With the PS4 coming in $100 cheaper, boasting better hardware specs and not having any DRM for its software, Microsoft tried its best to stick to their guns. The issue of always being online, mandatory installations and massive used game restrictions made the XBOX One more of a console for the developers/publishers as opposed to the gamer. I personally feel that’s a cheap shot to the consumer because they would always have to by the game new & not everyone has $60 to burn on a game they may or may not like. To add insult to injury, when Don Mattrick, the spokesperson for the XBOX E3 conferences, was asked about consumers who want a XBOX One but no internet connection, Mattrick blatantly stated that those consumers should go for the XBOX 360. Major Fail.

Sony most definitely had Microsoft shaken because they had more to offer at an even lesser price with no DRM restrictions. With Amazon PS4 pre-order sales going through the roof, Microsoft was indeed put in a tight spot. Recently, Microsoft listened to the concerns of its fan base and as a result, nullified all of the XBOX One DRM restrictions. Although this move makes the XBOX One of a contender for the living room this holiday, the damage is already done. If Microsoft would have cared about their consumers, the DRM restrictions wouldn’t have been implemented in the first place. All of the restrictions Microsoft had placed would have had all of that money gone to them. Sony isn’t doing anything like this for their system. Hence, their mantra for the PS4 is that the system is here purely for the games. It may have its apps (Netflix, Pandora, etc.) but their focus is putting gamers first and isn’t designed to be the only focus for one’s living room.

With everything being said, Microsoft can’t avoid this PR nightmare despite their DRM reversal. To make matters even more convoluted, Don Mattrick, the XBOX spokesperson, left his company to join Zynga (makers of Farmville, Cityville, etc.). Without a leader and a vision, how can you move forward? As Microsoft finds a new voice for the XBOX, Sony is just sitting pretty with their PS4 pre-orders selling out like hot cakes.

E3 2013: Sony Strikes Back!

by Tristan Belgrave. 0 Comments

Seven years ago, Sony announced the PlayStation 3. It must have been one of the company’s low points with Kazuo Hirai (then CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment) yelling “RIIIIIIDGE RACER!” and saying “Attack the weak point!” during the conference.

In addition, the initial PS3 price point of $599 didn’t help Sony sell their new console to the masses. Regardless, the PS3, despite launching a year behind the XBOX 360, sold over 40 million units worldwide and eventually achieved success. Fast forward to the present and Sony has finally unveiled the PlayStation 4.

To put it bluntly, Microsoft will be a having a very hard time trying to keep up with its counterpart. With the PS4 being $100 cheaper than the XBOX One, containing no DRM measures and no forced online requirement to make the console work, the PS4 has won over many gamers; myself included. Just watch the press conference for yourself!

Available: Holiday 2013.

Price: $399

Next Generation Arcade Sticks!

by Tristan Belgrave. 0 Comments

Madcatz has evolved from being a third-party company that made mediocre gaming controllers and peripherals, to a leading powerhouse in supplying the gaming community with high quality arcade sticks, controllers, headsets and accessories. Just unveiled at E3 was their new Tournament Edition 2 arcade stick. It somewhat resembles its predecessor in terms stick and button layout. However, the entire device is entirely different. The TE2 has more for a square shape to it, illuminates, has a detachable USB cable and even has the ability to have its artwork changed with ease. I am a big fan of MadCatz’s sticks and I look forward to hearing and seeing more about their products in the near future!

Article: Engadget’s First Look at the new MadCatz Arcade Fightstick for XBOX One

Retro Goodness Found @ E3 2013?

by Tristan Belgrave. 0 Comments

As I was filtering through the E3 news blowout, I came across the Hyperkin Retron 5. This system bears many similarities to other retro consoles that have been released in the past (see the Retro Duo, Retron 3, etc). However, this one blows everything else out of the water. The system plays NES, Famicom, SNES, Genesis, Game Boy, Game Boy Advance & Game Boy Color. To make this console even sweeter, it support 720p HD resolution via an HDMI cable, the ability to use your NES, SNES or Genesis controllers and has the internal ability to change the screen filter of your game as well as having save states. SICK!

Let’s hope the compatibility issues are worked out as much as possible; as previous consoles of this ilk were plagued by video and audio issues. Expect it sometime this summer!

 

Release Date: Summer 2013

Price: Less than $100. Final pricing is TBD.

E3 2013: Microsoft Edition

by Tristan Belgrave. 0 Comments

E3 is here!

Microsoft recently finished their E3 2013 Press Conference and I will say…they surely left a mark on the gaming community. They had some good reveals and even the price and information on their next generation console, the XBOX One. Lately, they have been on the warpath of DRM (Digital Rights Management) and how they intend to limit the power of gaming ownership and the console always needing to be connected online for it to work. Personally, I have a big problem with this. When I buy something, it is mine to do whatever I want with it. Unfortunately, Microsoft doesn’t see it that way. According to Eurogamer writer Tom Bramwell, here is the deal with the XBOX One:

You do not own the games you buy. You license them. Discs are only used to install and then license games and do not imply ownership. People can play games installed on your console whether you're logged in or not. 10 people can be authorized to play these games on a different Xbox One via the cloud, but not at the same time, similar to iTunes authorized devices. Publishers decide whether you can trade in your games and may charge for this. Publishers decide whether you can give a game you own to someone for free, and this only works if they have been on your friends list for 30 days. Your account allows you to play the games you license on any console. Your Xbox One must connect to the internet every 24 hours to keep playing games. When playing on another Xbox One with your account, this is reduced to one hour. Live TV, Blu-ray and DVD movies are exempt from these internet requirements. Loaning and renting games will not be possible at launch, but Microsoft is "exploring the possibilities". Microsoft may change these policies or discontinue them at any point.

Of course, all of this wasn’t mentioned at the conference as all of the information came through multiple interviews with the XBOX staff via various new outlets. Personally, this system isn’t for me but I’m sure it’s for someone out there…maybe. Anyways, here is the Microsoft E3 2013 Press Conference!

 

Cutline Summary for More Information:

Release Date: November 2013

Price: $499.99

E3 2013

by Tristan Belgrave. 0 Comments

The Electronic Entertainment Expo, also known as E3, is just around the corner. This year, we should hear more about the soon to be released XBOX One and PlayStation 4. Personally, I feel that the PlayStation 4 will have an edge over the XBOX One but that's just my opinion. Expect some surprises, hot gaming news and updates. Check out my blog next week for E3 updates!

EA’s New Stand with Online Passes

by Tristan Belgrave. 0 Comments

In gaming, Online Passes are starting to become the norm. Unfortunately, they aren't the type of norm most gamers would accept. Online Passes are a mechanism that locks away certain game features (mainly online play) from the 2nd hand consumer. If a game is bought used, then the consumer would need to buy an online pass to utilize online features for the game. Electronic Arts has been notorious of locking away content that you've already paid for. Although this doesn't hurt the 1st time buyer, the principle alone is enough to distract the audience from certain publishers. 

 

Recently, EA has undergone a shake up in management. John Ricotello, the former EA CEO, stepped down sometime back. Now, John Reseburg, the new CEO of Electronic Arts, has made an announcement to fully axe all Online Passes effectively immediately.

 

This is a very bold move by EA as they have defended and justified their use of Online Passes. With them now getting rid of them completely, it seems to me that they could be gradually moving in the right direction.

 

IGN - Electronic Arts to cease Online Passes - http://www.ign.com/articles/2013/05/15/ea-getting-rid-of-online-passes

Next XBOX rumored to debut soon?

by Tristan Belgrave. 0 Comments

Sony has shown the world the future with their upcoming next-generation console, the PlayStation 4.

Many critics and gamers have wondered what's going on with Microsoft's silence. To that response, the computer giant responded saying that people will pay attention to the one who makes the most impact on the customer base, not the one who makes the most noise.

According to Eurogamer, the next XBOX will have 2 SKU's (Stock-Keeping Units). One will be for $500 and the other will be $300 that comes with a subscription. Honestly, the subscription may sound good for now...until you realize you've possibly paid more money in the long run than the more expensive unit. Currently, the XBOX 360 can be bought for as low as $99 with a 2 year subscription. The subscription fee is $14.99/month. Let's do the math!

$14.99 x 24 (2 years) = $359.76. Add the $99 and you get $458.76. Not including taxes? Roughly $500. 

Given how Microsoft has now shot themselves in the foot by basically pseudo-confirming their new console will be "always online" to play any sort of content, I'm not liking what I hear so far. 

If everything turns out to be true, then I will not get myself the next iteration of the XBOX.

The Vita Struggles.

by Tristan Belgrave. 0 Comments

When I first gazed upon the Vita, I knew I had to have one. The clicky D-pad, the OLED touch screen, built-in WiFi, the ability to play PSX games and gorgeous graphics immediately sold me on the system. Although, I didn't buy one due to Sony's practices of releasing proprietary peripherals for their systems instead of using cheaper, more practical and widely used/available alternatives. 

Fast forward about a year and I finally caved in and bought a Vita. Although its specs are very impressive, I couldn't help but feel shafted by the overall picture.

The Vita is priced at $250 excluding taxes. Many people expected the price to be around that price point so that's not much of a problem. However, the Nintendo 3DS XL is priced at $200. The 3DS XL has a massive library of decent games and it also has the 3DS Shop (a store to purchase games from Nintendo's previous systems) with it. Nintendo has always dominated the handheld market while Sony sees its sales struggle with their products. It's been like this for years.

Sony just recently gave the Vita a price cut in Japan but the U.S. won't be receiving one; with them citing the exchange rate as the reason. The Vita isn't selling as much as it should in the U.S. and cutting the price will get more people to buy one. The price, along with its weak software lineup and the need to buy a proprietary memory card that can only be used for the Vita will turn people away from the system.

I do have PS+ and that benefit is truly shown on the Vita. I can get free games and transfer game saves/content so I will can be up to speed in my gaming sessions. I personally have about 5 or so games for the Vita but I only play one game. The other games I have, although free, aren't as compelling to me. I surely didn't spend money just for one game. At this point, I'm compelled to sell my system.

Yet, there are going to be some hot titles that will be coming out in the near future which makes me want to hold on to my Vita. Soul Sacrifice and Dragon's Crown for example.

I seem to have a little bit of buyer's remorse but I hope it shakes off in time. If you're in the market for the Vita, I'd wait a few months. Perhaps, the price may actually drop and there will be more decent games for it.