Video Games / Editorials

It’s Just a Joke: The Kimmel Calamity & Ignorance Of The Enraged

It’s Just a Joke: The Kimmel Calamity & Ignorance Of The Enraged

The video game world has been kicking up a fuss this week, and it’s not all about the latest releases. While Until Dawn proves to be this year’s sleeper hit and Metal Gear Solid 5 explodes into the hearts and minds of the masses, a simple joke has created a whirl wind of sweaty, social media, fury. Jimmy Kimmel dared to make a joke about video game stream viewers during his comedy TV show. How fucking dare he! HOW BLOODY WELL DARE HE, MAKE A JOKE?!! A COMDEIC TV HOST?! MAKING JOKES?!! The skit/bit/sketch took the mickey out of people watching people play games, that’s it. The concept that people found this offensive, or disrespectful, is bizarre. The only offensive thing about the joke is the sheer lack of originality it oozed. It’s a joke that’s been said thousands of times, by thousands of people, most of which play video games. Twitter does what Twitter does best, gives ‘offended’ people a platform. Furious 1337 Gam3rs spammed Kimmel with insults, death threats and curious attempts to justify their love of watching streamers. The collective video game culture’s time in the media spotlight was, again, taken up to be beaten once more. Not satisfied with the fallout from last year’s mish-mash of ethics, misguided justice and plugging of paetrons, people seemed more than willing to offer up the culture’s image as a sacrificial lamb in order to get their anger across. You can be proud of your hobby and interests, it’s a empowering feeling, but it’s not a reason to attack people who may disagree with you. The fact is, Jimmy Kimmel makes a living out of making people laugh, and the concept of watching other people play games is a easy target. Video games are a easy target, so are famous people and Trashy Tv shows. All the easy targets are covered by easy to consume entertainment like Jimmy Kimmel Live, simply because it’s a easy joke and a cheap laugh. I love video games, I love (parts) of the culture, and I also enjoy people not understanding them. Not everything is an attack, not everything is mean spirited, get over your hobby. It’s worrying that people are so happy to proudly vocalise their disdain towards a harmless joke, but stay quiet on business practices sucking the industry dry. Instead of Tweeting a TV host, threatening them with various forms of death, Tweet Square Enix asking them what the fuck is up with that Augmented Dues Ex Pre-order. Tweet Bungie and ask why they shipped half a game, hidden behind numerous pricey expansions. Tweet the legions of websites and Youtubers taking perks for positive coverage of games and services. Don’t use your voice to address non-issues that have no impact on your hobby, use it to try and bring in change. Jimmy Kimmel’s joke may be old and redundant, but it highlights the fact most modern game consumers care too much about pride, rather than a better industry....

Buy Metal Gear Solid 5 For Kojima – Supporting a Vision

Buy Metal Gear Solid 5 For Kojima – Supporting a Vision

Konami have done the seemingly impossible, they’ve become more disliked than EA games. While hatred towards EA is often misguided, and clumsy, Konami have seemingly went on a campaign to elevate themselves to a higher level. As company, Konami have long been a slobbering mess, stumbling around, popping out games ranging from fair to utterly broken. Their treatment of the ‘core’ franchises has not exactly helped things either. Releasing broken HD remasterings of both Silent Hill and Zone of Enders, and simply refusing to fix either release, left a bitter taste in the mouth of the collective consumer mouth. Of course, it’s hard to talk about Konami without mentioning Hideo Kojima, the former golden boy turned wandering exile. In truth, Kojima has played his part in some of  Konami’s mistakes, a fact often ignored by many because ‘it’s Kojima’, but the breakdown between the two has been spectacular. The Metal Gear series is not just another video game franchise, it’s relevance and importance to the industry is undeniable, it’s fan base fiercely loyal. While most franchises are celebrated as video games, Metal Gear has always been there, side by side, with Kojima as a video game cultural event. The man himself has became just as much of a focal point as his creations. His bizarre, often pretentious, works have carved out a unique space for him in the hearts and minds of many. Much like Shigeru Miyamoto, or god forbid Cliff Bleszinski, Kojima has taken up the mantle of  industry icon. This position comes with a huge amount of power, both business wise and socially. The break down between Konami and Kojima wasn’t simply a business matter, or even a creative matter, it grew into it’s own story. Fans sat back and saw almost daily updates on the decaying relationship of two iconic names. Backlash started to bubble up, blog posts and tweets started to spit venom, the knives we’re out for Konami. The final straw seemingly came in the form of Konami removing Kojima’s name from their records, denying his efforts, including the effort put into Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain. Fans of Kojima, and not-so-fans like myself, began to take notice. This was no longer just a disagreement between employee and employer, this was something much more. Konami had been nurturing a bad reputation for sometime now, KojimaGate (least I tried) was merely the flame that set off the explosion. With a huge cloud of animosity engulfing Konami from nearly every corner of the industry, and the sense of injustice towards Kojima, the resulting consequences have produced a few interesting dilemmas. Konami have one of, if not, the biggest release of 2015 on their hands. Metal Gear Solid 5, Kojima’s last effort in the franchise, is hard to ignore, but is buying the game supporting a shitty company like Konami a good thing? It’s easy to rush to the conclusion that we should boycott Metal Gear 5, hit Konami in the pocket. While they may be raking it in through various arcade machines, their biggest game flopping would surely be a dagger to side. The most furious of people may support a boycott, after all, boycotting has been a popular concept in video games for sometime, even if it often fails to materialise, but there’s a problem with this form of protest in a creative industry.   Kojima does not just make video games, he crafts his visions and inspirations, resulting in a video game. . His general attitude towards the art form , and creative media as a whole, is admirable. His tweets, much like his work, often reflect various influences and nods towards what inspires and interests him. Even after all the bullshit between him and Konami, I find it hard to believe that he would support a boycott, even more so if it was at the expense of his work. Much like a artiest wants to express themselves to others, Kojima would surely want as many people as possible to see his masterpiece. Buying Metal Gear Solid 5 isn’t you supporting a shitty company like Konami, it’s witnessing the final strokes on a creation spanning well over a decade....

Jump, Run, Kill, Die, Repeat – Black Ops 3 Beta Impressions

Jump, Run, Kill, Die, Repeat – Black Ops 3 Beta Impressions

The more things change, the more they stay the same, these are the words that echoed within each hour spent playing the Black Ops 3 Multiplayer Beta. The Call of Duty franchise has became something entirely different from what it started out as. The scrappy underdog, willing to go toe-to-toe with the established Medal of Honor franchise in a attempt to rejuvenate the World War 2 shooter. The little game that could, is now the big game that does what it wants. Call of Duty is now placed in a position in which it can create two franchises within it’s own brand. The Black Ops side of the brand has been celebrated for deviating from the ways of it’s sister, with creativity and adventure being favored over gritty modern warfare. The Black Ops games have progressed their story in a natural manner, to the point where Black Ops 3 is a futuristic pseudoscience romp, complete with exo-skeletons and robots. This new setting has of course allowed Tryarch more creative freedom in the multiplayer.   The Black Ops 3 Multiplayer Beta was open to all PSN Plus members this weekend, a brief glimpse into the next step in the progression of Call of Duty  Black Ops. From the moment the Beta loads up, it’s clear to see that there’s already been a big change to the core game. The addition of Specializations gives a structure to the game, a much welcomed addition as opposed to mix-and-match system that has featured in padded forms for the last few years. Each specialization has it’s own special (as you’d guess) weapon and equipment, both of which can turn the tide of any given the game. The holy trinity of play styles is catered for with weapons ranging from a bow and arrow, to a multi-grenade launcher. The motivation that comes with handling these special weapons is what gives Black ops 3 a genuinely satisfying edge. There’s a certain tinge of glee when using the immensely powerful power and arrow to pull off multiple direct arrow kills. Specializations open up a layer of depth, even within the Beta. Experimenting with each spec, and building a class around it, presents so many play styles and unique builds that give each match has it’s own unique flair.It’s expect that, like most games of it’s nature, a few builds will become the norm, but kudos should be paid towards the systems attempts to freshen things up. The weapons, attachments and perk system mostly remains the same. The unlocking system does a decent job of supplying the player with various new items at a fair pace, even if some of them feel rather trivial compared to others. This issue of a lot of ‘fluff’ (items, or score streaks that don’t feel very useful) has always been present in Call of Duty titles, and Black Ops 3 seems to be no different. At times, some weapons feel like they’re there just to make up the numbers, this thought is reinforced by the sheer lack of people using them. It is of course a Beta, and this is the exact issue that can be solved by Beta, but only if the player base bothers to make their thoughts heard. Movement is by far the best thing Black Ops 3 has going for it. Wall running and parkour movement systems are becoming more and more common place, even more so in first person shooters. With the likes of Mirrors Edge, Brink, Titanfall and Advanced Warfare all having a crack, Black Ops3 has it’s own accumulation of all past efforts. Movement if fast, tight and fluid. It all flows and syncs with the general action, feeling like a natural system rather than a gimmick. Regardless of the game, stringing together a number of slick movements and jumps always produces a giddy sense of ‘yeah, that was bad ass’. Black Ops 3 finds a middle ground between fast and fluid movement, while maintaining a sense of control. It’s rare you’ll find yourself scaling a wall by mistake, or grabbing onto a ledge, resulting in a cheap death. The only element holding back Black Ops 3′s free-flowing movement is it’s map design. The basic rules of Call of Duty map design are still very much present. Cover is always 5 seconds within reach, multiple exits and entries fill each section of the map and multiple levels can be reached to gain a height advantage. Surprisingly, there’s a number of ‘hidden’ paths neatly sowed into each map, catering for the more crafty players. The real issue with maps is they can feel too contained, stifling  the  free-flowing movement. Some maps feature areas that look like they can, and should, be accessible but are anything put. These areas put a slight downer on the experience, as well as coming off as refusing player’s creativity in their navigation of the map. On the whole, Black Ops 3 multiplayer Beta was a enjoyable romp that suggest the mulitplayer is making steady progress, even if it’s restrained by it’s established ways. There’s so much going on at any given time, so many grenades, bullets and scorestreaks just popping off all over. It’s hard to look passed how hyper active the multiplayer is. The way in which players can spawn, kill and die within the space of 30 seconds can become a little overwhelming, much like a child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Call of Duty is known for this pace, it’s known for it’s general accessibility and instant gratification through quick kills and almost instant respawns (in the relevant game modes), but this is starting to hold the experience back.  It’s hard to soak things in when everything is exploding around you, or killing you every four seconds on loop. The Beta does enough to maintain interest in the final product, mostly thanks to curiosity rather than being straight up impressive . The market is undoubtedly there, and the new additions could  go far in changing Call of Duty’s image of ‘same shit, different year’ but at it’s core, it’s still the twitchy, hyper active multiplayer shooter it has been since Modern Warfare 2. The future’s bright but it’s also high on sugar and booming sound affects....

Early Access On Consoles: Understand The Risks, Enjoy The Rewards

Early Access On Consoles: Understand The Risks, Enjoy The Rewards

PC gaming is often celebrated for numerous reasons. Often at the forefront of video game advancement, PC gaming has often shaped the path most console trends take. For the most part, the trends from the PC side has helped improved the industry as a whole, but the most recent trend is steep in controversy. Early Access is seemingly becoming common place for both indie games and big budget releases. A curious mix of Beta testing and demo, Early Access has many sides to it, not all of them positive. For the money the customer invests into the game, what they receive in return isn’t exactly known. The level of risk involved with purchasing a Early Access title is great, you’re essentially buying a work in progress, that could drastically change at any point. The positive side to Early Access comes in two forms. Purchasing a Early Access title is directly supporting the game, allowing for it to improve and grow. Responsible developers will engage with their Early Access customers and use feedback and input to enhance the game in question. The customer is, of course, getting their hands on the game sooner rather than later. The PC platform allows Early Access games to receive updates generally quickly, without much hassle in terms of red tape. Consoles are now following in the path of the PC by introducing Early Access, which feels like a bad idea. The market, culture and general attitude of PC circles is radically different to that of the console. There’s more of a acceptance for change, more ability to be more open minded in terms of new services and concepts. Console markets are known for being set in their ways, especially when it comes to how they purchase their games. It feels like a problem waiting to happen when Early Access hits consoles. The staggered manner in which consoles titles are updated presents the biggest potential issue. Early Access games live or die on how often they are updated, if the updates come slow and staggered, it’s hard to see the service ever becoming viable, at least on consoles. Questions over how much said games would cost is another curious issue. There’s also the practical problems to do with the limited hardrive sizes more consoles shipped with. Looking for positives is not hard, as Early Access still supplies plenty of benefits. As previously mentioned, having the ability to back a game and play it straight away, even if it’s in a early state, is still a appealing concept. Microsoft are planning to put their own games on Early Access, hopefully resulting in less technical train wrecks (Master Chief Collection style) from appearing in final version releases. The key to making Early Access on consoles relies on various things, the first being penitence. The console market needs to understand what Early Access is, they need to understand the games will be buggy and incomplete. The platform is there, the market is there, for Early Access to be successful on consoles, as long as the risks are understood.  ...

It’s Make Or Break For World Of Warcraft

It’s Make Or Break For World Of Warcraft

With the next World of Warcraft expansion set to be announced at Gamescom 2015, Blizzard finds themselves at a cross roads. World of Warcraft isn’t just a game, it’s a culture, in the same way most popular MMOs transcend the realms of being ‘just a game’. Throughout it’s history, World of Warcraft has reached a number of key points that defined it’s future. After years of success, resulting in higher subscriber numbers, World of Warcraft began to slowly decline. Every MMORPG goes through a decline, it’s just the nature of the market, and World of Warcraft is no different. While the game still boasted millions of active subscribers, the player base began to grow a little jaded, patch by patch. Cataclysm marked the first major turning point for World of Warcraft, both in terms of player feedback and the in-game world itself. The whole experience, from level 1 to level 80, was a whole new world. The general levelling, at least for the lower tiers, was generally welcomed, the end game was a slightly different story. Blizzard had generally pulled off a core story to each expansion, climaxing with a final showdown with the respective antagonist. Going toe to toe with Illidan, blade for blade with Arthas, iconic characters interacting with your character, undeniable satisfying. Cataclysm featured a number of familiar characters, but the antagonists were mostly sourced from lore found in books and in-game text. Deathwing simply did not have the same pull, or appeal, as Arthas or Illidan. The overall plot of Cataclysm left a lot to be desired, ending in a rather abrupt manner. The final fight with Deathwing still remains as one of the least favoured encounters in WoW endgame history. After months of hunting down the world destroying force, the showdown felt hugely underwhelming. A number of factors played their part in the mixed reaction to Cataclysm, with the so-so new zones and simplified talent system taking much of the flak. Mists of Panderia represents the general shift in both player attitudes towards World of Warcraft and the decline of subscription numbers. The expansion was met with a cynical reaction from the day it was announced, mostly down to the addition of Pandaren. In truth, the expansion felt a little awkward in the grand scheme of World of Warcraft lore. The environment, themes and story never felt truly organic when placed next to content found in past expansion. Mists of Panderia was the first expansion that left a widespread sour taste in the mouths of many of it’s players. While the levelling process was fairly smooth, the 5-man dungeons and end game was a shallow mix of repetition and lack of creativity. The ease in which characters geared up, mainly due to Looking For Raid and The Timeless Isle, was also a major factor towards the disdain aimed at Mists. While the end game content did improve, in-experienced players began to flood raids, often leading to a frustrating experience. To make matters worse, Blizzard offered a level 90 character boost to players who pre-ordered Warlord of Draenor, resulting in the final run of Mists of Panderia being a wild west of clueless players reducing Looking For Raid to a utter joke. With subscriber counts declining, Warlord of Draenor was released.   Much like Mists of Panderia, Warlords of Draenor suffered from a lack of endgame content. The new direction Blizzard took with a more story driven levelling process was a utter success. Seeing your character work side by side with familiar names, rising up to become a commander of your respective faction, it was genuinely enjoyable. By the time all was said and done, all the player was left with was daily quests and ‘The Garrison’. From what started off as a interesting concept soon turned out to be a nothing more than a Facebook like management game. Garrisons were a collection of fetch quests, that came with their own perks. The concept was good, the execution left a lot to be desired. Repeating the same processes daily, picking up resources,starting build orders, it was all very limited. Warlord of Draenor boiled down to sitting in your Garrison queuing up groups, while overseeing the daily running of Garrisons. This was not the World of Warcraft people fell in love with. The biggest issue came with events outside of the game. With a increase in subscription fees, as well as a increase in the RRP for the actual expansion, Warlords of Draenor has the shortest shelf life, while requiring the biggest financial investment. With only two major patches, Worlds of Draenor is already coming to a close, much to the player bases dismay. There’s been a growing distrust between World of Warcraft’s player base and Blizzard, even more so since the company merged with Activision. This distrust, and discontent, towards Blizzard and their latest effort has led to a number of players quitting the game. Recent figures reflect the player’s feelings with the subscriber base going from 10 million, to 7.1 million in three months. This drop in subscribers is a major drop for World of Warcraft, and will undoubtedly alarm Blizzard/Activision. The life blood of any MMORPG is the player base, and World of Warcraft’s players are not happy. This is where the latest expansion, Legion, comes into play. This new expansion is the single biggest event since the launch of World of Warcraft. While the game may boast numbers every other MMO could only dream of, the decline is worrying. Legion needs to repair the relationship between the players and Blizzard, it needs to be complete. There’s no room for faulting endgame, no tolerance for another short lived expansion, Blizzard need to produce. After over 10 years of dominating the market, the cracks are starting to show. Free-to-play games continue to grow in popularity, the rise of the MOBA has also managed to lure players away from Warcraft. Final Fantasy: A Realm Reborn is starting to emerge as a viable contender to the MMORPG throne. Quite simply, World of Warcraft: Legion is make or break for the pop culture phenomena.    ...

Zombi U: Can The Cult Classic Truly Be Reborn?

Zombi U: Can The Cult Classic Truly Be Reborn?

For all the stick the Nintendo Wii U has suffered, at least when it comes to a lack of adult games, Zombi U always remained a firm favourite. The misunderstood Ubisoft effort was a genuine step forward for survival horror. Touch screen gimmicks were transformed into viable gameplay elements that provided some truly intense moments. The slow and sluggish nature of the gameplay, the way in which a single zombie posed a genuine threat, Zombi U was fantastic. Unfortunately, Zombi U was met with a number of struggles. The Wii U’s initial launch was a troubled on. Slow sales aside, the Wii U inherited the Wii’s image of being a ‘family console’, resulting in a number of people simply not caring about the console. Nintendo’s name choice, and the Wii’s legacy, meant Zombi U found itself in a awkward position. Unsurprisingly the game’s sales figures failed to meet expectations. Zombi U was met with mixed critical reviews, but garnered a cult following. Genuine fans of survival horror, and not the modern ‘BOO, BANG BANG – repeat’ horror of modern games, appreciated Zombi U. Miiverse hosted a interactive player base, with players trading tips and secrets, resulting the game feeling more alive than ever. The way in which Zombi U works, most notably it’s rogue like elements, allowed for players to craft their own stories, their own experiences. Player X often had a much different experience than Player Y when they both respectfully entered the streets of London. The social elements of Zombi U have remained one of it’s most underrated features. Finding notes left by other players, Demon/Dark Souls style, lent the game a sense of life. Uncovering a secret stash of goodies, thanks to a note, always presented a bizarre sense of satisfaction and gratitude. Zombi U utilized friend lists in glorious double edged manner. Finding a note left by your friend, informing you of a crossbow stored in the next room enforced the bonds between the two players. Creeping into said room, looking for said crossbow, took a whole new twist when presented with the Zombified remains of your former friend. It’s a novel concept, but it enhanced the game tenfold. Following a paper trail of notes left by a friend, aiding you in your quest for survival, only to be met by their shambling corpse, it had impact. Ubisoft are many things, but in the case of Zombi U, they’re overlooked. With the news of Zombi U, now renamed Zombi (odd choice given the film franchise sharing the name), coming to PS4 and Xbox One, Ubisoft may get the credit they are owed. This jump from Wii U to Xbox One and PS4 does bring up a few worries however. The most obvious worry is how the game will look. Zombi U was fantastic, but a looker it was not. Muddy visuals, some basic textures, repeating assets, it’s visuals were adequate at best. People expect their Xbox One & PS4 games to look top notch, something Zombi could struggle to achieve. The main worry with the transition is that the game’s character could be lost in the process. The Wii U pad enchained Zombi U greatly, a vital part of the experience. While the PS4 does offer a touch pad that could partly recreate some of Zombi U’s joy, the Xbox one has nothing. Kinect and tablets are the only methods the Xbox One has to offer, and neither of those feel all that appealing. Zombi U is still, and always was, relevant purely down to it’s character and soul. It’s hard to shake off the concerns over it’s jump to the current generation. The cynical side suggests that Zombi will be a cheap cash in on a hot sub-genre in which anything with zombies turns a profit. It all remains to be seen, but at the end of the day, Zombi U will always be remembered as the game that deserved so much more.    ...

24 Hours With The Street Fighter V Beta

24 Hours With The Street Fighter V Beta

I sat on my rickety old office chair, peering at the screen. Why isn’t it downloading as fast as it should be?! Bloody BT, this bloody connection is awful, look at it!!! slowly downloading. Time passes, the Beta is downloaded, the installation commences…I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE!!! The excitement is getting too much, far too much. I fill the time with Youtube videos of Street Fighter 5 trailers, gameplay and re-runs of this years Evo. The installation finishes, Street Fighter V Beta triumphantly descends onto my PS4 dashboard. The icon blazes with glory, Ryu stares into my soul, I launch the Beta…it’s finally happening, I’m about to play Street Fighter V.   ‘Can not connect to log in sever’ greets me, surely this is just a launch hiccup, I’ll give it ten minutes. Time ticks by, I launch the Beta once more, the same error message appears…obviously the first port of call is the swear a little, then check Twitter. I’m not the only one having this issue, is that good or bad?, either way I continue to scroll through the hash tags. It’s fair to say there’s a certain amount of outrage aimed at Capcom over the Beta issues. This confuses me, it’s a Beta, not a demo, issues are to be expected. The Beta still refuses to connect, Capcom don’t appear to be all that active on their official channels. A hour or so passes, Capcom finally tweet, accepting there’s a issue with the Beta and it’s something they’re looking into. The news is greeted with warmth, with the rumblings of frustration.   Hours pass, nothing has been said, the Beta still refuses to disconnect, Twitter is starting to heat up. Progress!!! the title screen loads up, and my god is it beautiful. The crisp white background, the slick new font, the use of sharp colours, it’s alluring. ‘Can not connect to sever’ makes a return, cackling at the short lived hope that had previously influenced my face. It’s cracking into the early morning now, 01:00 AM and all I’ve experienced is the new logo. Cup of coffee in hand, and no work tomorrow, I grind on. There’s still a fading hope that the Beta will go live. That hope is soon killed, once again, the EU is discarded. Capcom announce that the Beta will, at least for the time being, for North American users only. From that point on, Capcom only seemed to mention North American, brushing off other territories. This news effectively ends my Street Fighter V Beta experience. What did I learn the whole affair? Street Fighter 5 has a really really nice logo, and Capcom’s social media team don’t seem to think Europe exists....

Rocket League Is Not The Game We Asked For, But It Is What We Needed

Rocket League Is Not The Game We Asked For, But It Is What We Needed

Rocket League is nothing short than utter brilliance. It’s simply, it’s efficient and god damn is it fun. For the most part, we tend to look at Nintendo for ‘pure’ video game experiences, but Rocket League has propelled itself into that very same space. The Auto-football video game is a gentle reminder that simplicity will always have a place in the industry, even when every other games are overproduced and bloated. Breaking Rocket League down in order to see why it works is a curiously enjoyable process. Marveling at how basic the game is, yet how deep the game can be, it’s all part of the enjoyment. While a average person can sit down and understand the core game within a few moments, there’s a extra level of ‘flair’ underneath the basic concept of ramming a ball into a huge goal. Mastering the art of perfectly timed jumps, the craft of a well timed defensive power slide, the thrill of scoring a fancy goal. Rocket League is exactly the game the 2015 market has needed. The cult following around the game has already taken hold of social media and Twitch. The core concepts lend themselves perfectly to reliving the old days of ‘fun’ multiplayer, rather than competitive. The cynical side of me can’t help but think that Rocket League would receive more acclaim if was developed by Nintendo. Rocket League deserves to be a huge success, both commercially and critically. It strikes me as a game that has the potential to become ‘that’ game a group of friends/players return to for a quick blast of pure video game thrills, much in the way people return to Timespillters 2, Mario Kart or NBA Jam. Rocket League is simply a joy worth experiencing, giving even the most jaded of video game players something to smirk about. Psyonix, who are also credited for the fantastic Nosgoth, have struck gold with their mash up of driving and football, and here’s to hoping they supported it with a decent stream of DLC and events.   P.S, welcome back Split-Screen local multiplayer our old friend.   *Rocket League Ranked stream each night at 7:pm GMT over on our Twitch    ...

Why Does The Video Games Industry Hate It’s Consumers?

Why Does The Video Games Industry Hate It’s Consumers?

The video game industry, at least in it’s modern state, seems to hate it’s consumer…and we just accept it. It’s utterly bizarre that a industry which shows such disdain for it’s customers is still reaping the rewards. It’s hard to suppress the cynical side when you sit and look at the industry on the whole, be it those hopefuls on Steam Greenlight, to those big names pumping out ‘Triple A’ games. The recent release of Arkham Knight, one of this years biggest games, was yet more fuel to the fire. Warner Brothers, and Rock Steady, willingly shipped a broken product into the public retail space. While the console version has faired well technically, the 12 man team made PC port has been a utter train wreck. Spare me your system bias, for this is a matter that concerns the state of the industry as a whole, and not just your little corner of it. The PC version of Arkham Knight is a prime example of the mistreatment of the consumer. The product barely works, it under-performs in all most every aspect. Capped at 30 frames per second, stutters and spurts on high end systems, includes hidden DRM, all capped off by Warner Brothers pulling the game from sale. This is a huge spit in the face for not just PC users, but video game consumers. The game’s altered footage was used to sell Nvida hardware, footage that lied to the consumer. Look around at modern video games, so many of them are full of business practices you wouldn’t expect, or accept, else where. Buy a game at £40, open the case, see a advertisement for downloadable content, play the game, discover half the content is missing, this is the modern way. Titles like Destiny are a perfect showcase for how the industry is becoming increasingly toxic towards it’s audiences. Bungie/Activsion shipping half a game, and releasing the rest through £20 packs. Less than a year later and a new expansion is announced with a hefty tag of £40. The Destiny scam doesn’t stop there, new players wishing to enter the game can purchase the core game and all the DLC for £70, while veteran players (who supported the game from release) will have spent £140 collectively via buying each DLC. This would not be acceptable anywhere else. The craziest thing about all of this is the fact Destiny somehow manages to maintain positive press coverage. Fresh off the back of  it’s ‘Game of the Year’ BAFTA, Destiny continues to a presence on major sites, while the business practices are largely ignored. Does anyone even care about the players? The consumers? In all fairness, should we really expect the press to care about anyone but themselves? This is the same press that killed off gamers only last year, and enjoyed profiting from two ugly sides going toe to toe in a war of social media and pateron. Even video game culture is no longer safe from profiteering leeches. The regular release of broken games from big names, Ubisoft/Konami for example, is worrying, in fact it’s terrifying. The lack remorse shown towards the market and it’s consumers is alarming. Broken games are released with DLC plans and seasons passes at the ready, in some cases games are straight up abandoned in order to flog DLC (Warner Brothers/ Arkham Origins). Main stream video games are no longer a experience, but a exercise in how to give customers as little as possible, while selling them as much as possible. Buy a core game, get sold everything else after, the DLC way. The argument of ‘you don’t have to buy the content’ was a fair point back in 2006, but that was when DLC was a fresh new concept, and not a stick used to beat consumers. The truth is, DLC has become abusive, intrusive and dangerous. Instead of things getting better, they’re only getting worse. Micro-transactions started life as a valid option in most free-to-play titles. Play a game for free, get the core experience, if you like what you see, pay a little bit of money. This was, and for the most part, still is the beauty of free-to-play. The issue is, micro-transactions are no longer just a free-to-play thing, they’re now making a home in numerous retail games. Content once unlocked by, you know, playing the game is now hidden behind a pay wall. Want a different skin/costume for your character? There’s a microtransaction for that, want your weapon to look a little nicer? There’s a microtransactiuon for that. It’s disgusting that this is becoming common place in major games, and now we hardly look twice when a game contains them. It’s just another exercise of reducing content while maximizing profits.   These microtransactions aren’t just part of some games, they’ve spawned their own culture. EA’s Fifa games have become defined by it’s Ultimate Team mode. What initially started as a enjoyable, and fresh, concept of collecting players from around the world to form a dream team, has no became a question of whoever spends the most money (much like real football). Players are gained by buying packs with coins, which are earned by playing the game or selling players. These coins are slow to grind by playing matches, thus EA offer the option to buy packs with real money. Transferring real money into Fifa points, which are used to buy the packs, has created a truly grim culture of hyper-consumerism. Buying packs with masses amount of coins has now become a event within the Fifa culture. Player blow hundreds, I dare say in some cases thousands, on Fifa points in order to get the best players. This trend of ‘unpacking’ player packs has became a hot event for Youtuber and twitch. The problem is, this creates a severe gulf between the player base in Ultimate Team. EA happily influx their game with special player cards with buffed stats, which are only available at certain times, this of course is a huge incentive for those Fifa point happy players to go buy more packs. EA are actively killing their games community by promoting huge investment in Fifa points, and they don’t care. Sure, you may not care about Fifa, but the issue of pay-to-win is seeping into other games. Battlefield and it’s ‘packs’ offer advantages and short cuts to those willing to pay, and has done for the past three entries. Their greed, is detracting from games, the experience and the product. Why should a customer be at a disadvantage just because they aren’t willing pay as much as someone else? Why are they punished for not spending more money? Kickstarter is also becoming a weapon, at least when it’s handed by certain industry ‘icons’. Peter Molynuex’s infamous Godus project, which was built upon lies and broken promises. Tim Schafer’s Broken Age, which received $3 million in funding (far above the requested amount) only for Scahfer to turn around and ask for even more money. Both Molynuex and Scahfer used their standing in the industry to mislead their fans and supporters. Molynuex left Godus before it’s complementation, and Broken Age turned out to repeat various assets throughout each episode, proving that not even ‘heroes’ of the industry care all that much about the their consumer. Even Nintendo has shown a sly grin of it’s pointy teeth to it’s customers. Amiibo fever produced huge amounts of money for Nintendo, mostly thanks to their artificially created supply and demand nature. Nintendo happily produced small amounts of certain Amiibo in order to create a false sense of ‘rarity’. It’s sad when a company like Nintendo stoops so low in order to ensure their new product is a success. The Amiibo stock has be addressed, and they seem to be making amends, but we shouldn’t forget what they did. It’s not all doom and gloom of course. There’s still a number of developers and publishers trying their hardest to please their customers. The Witcher 3′s stream of patches and free DLC is a great example of this. Cd Projekt Red are the shinning light in how to do big budget games right. Their approach to fan feedback, their views on DLC and their general business practice is admirable. When the industry was in amidst of intrusive DRM methods. They are one of a slowly growing number. Can the industry truly afford to mistreat the consumer? Who will truly speak up for me, you, and everyone else involved with the interest, and the culture. We can’t rely on the press, who cheer when being littered with gifts E3 2010 style, or Youtubers who take a paychecks for plugging a game, or a ‘donation’. The consumer dedicates the market, not the producer. If supply and demand is truly the way forward, let’s demand better treatment, demand complete, and functional, games. Demand a better industry, supply discussion, just don’t supply abusive companies you money.     @linko64...

E3 2015′s Biggest Moments – From Vikings To Remakes

E3 2015′s Biggest Moments – From Vikings To Remakes

With E3 2015 over and done with, it feels fitting to look back at event event and pick out the stand out games and moments. E3 2015 will most likely be remembered for two announcements, both of which felt like the ultimate fan service, but never the less added to E3′s history and legacy as the biggest event in the video game calender.       Nintendo Reminds Everyone That Games Are Fun The World Nintendo Championship was a utter mess, but a wonderful mess. The presenters never seemed in control, players repeatedly entered the Wii U home screen and the pacing was all over, but it all gave the event a sense of genuine charm. It’s gleeful expression of Nintendo indulgence was brilliant, even if some of the plays made by the contestants was sloppy. The big star of the show was Super Mario Maker. Watching players franticly bomb through various levels exposed the potential for Nintendo’s latest experiment. The challenge, the genius, the trolling, Super Mario Maker landed looked fantastic. To top the event off, modern industry icon Reggie Fils-Aime took to the stage to do what he does best, play games badly and crack jokes.   Bethesda Sets The Tone For their first ever E3 showcase, Bethesda knocked it out of the park. The first gameplay of Doom was slick, brutal and enticing. Classic first person shooter action is exactly what the industry needs right now, and along with Snapmap, Doom could be a game changer in a market that likes to create and share. Bethesda showcased a number of Fallout 4′s features, but the crafting and settlement system was easily the most exciting. Fallout 4′s sheer scope is insane, with the potential game time seemingly becoming infinite. The reveal trailer may of set the hype train rolling, but the E3 showing gave people more reasons to truly buy into the product, as well as the Fallout universe. Bethesda’s well paced showcase did a fantastic job of revealing new games, even if they were leaked, while keeping people well aware of previously known games.   Microsoft get Over The E3 Hump: Known for their inconsistent E3 showcases, Microsoft finally hit their stride this year. With a number of reveals, and premiers of gameplay, Microsoft managed to set up a promising future for their Xbox One system, but still struggled to make the big black box look like an essential purchase. The showcase had a pretty solid spine of games on display, with few curiosities on the way. Halo 5: Guardians oddly looked like a sequel to Star Wars: Republic Commando, which instantly made it more appealing than past Master chief vehicles. The rest of games and trailers shown weren’t bad, but they weren’t earth shattering. The oddest reveal was Day Z coming to Xbox One…mainly given the creator long since jumped shipped before the game was complete. The real triumph was Microsoft managed to finally put together a E3 showcase that flowed well, and got people talking for the right reasons, early access aside.   Ubisoft Are Apparently Forgiven For Their Sins, Thanks To Vikings Recent times have not been kind to Ubisoft, or to be more honest, Ubisoft have not been kind to their consumers. Even after launching broken games at full price into the wild, Ubisoft seemed to get away with it given the reaction to their E3 showcase. Tom Clancy may no longer be with us any more, but his name lives on via various new games. The real reason Ubisoft stood out, apart from Usher light’s performance, was down to For Honour and Ghost Recon: Wild Lands. For Honour is the first ‘big’ game from Ubisoft in some time that doesn’t involve terrorism, assassinations or Tom Clancey. In what looks like a mix between MOBA/Dynasty Warriors and Deadliest Warrior, For Honour pits Knights, Samurai and Vikings against each other in team based combat. The concept is mouth watering, even if very little of the game was shown. Ghost Recon: Wild Lands was the surprise reveal of the showcase. Ghosts versus Mexican drug cartels, complete with numerous tactical options, vehicles and all the co-op action you could want. Ubisoft did well to banish memories of their recent shoddy products, but one question kept popping up throughout the showcase, will any of these games actually fully work?     Martin Sahlin Makes E.A Human After years of E3 showcases fronted by corporate suits, TV/Internet personalties and media trained big time developers, Martin Sahlin came to the stage shaking like a leaf. Talking about his game, Unravel, he stuttered, he shook, he sweated, he won over the masses. In what felt like a rare genuine moment of passion (not in that way), Sahlin talked about the origins and creative process of Unravel. The game it’s self looks amazing, with some truly breath taking animation, but it’s time at E3 will always be remembered for the little guy hitting the big stage, and seeming utterly human. Easily one of the nicest moments of E3 2015…then EA followed it up with a man dressed as a Zombie.       The Battlefront Hype Train Truly Rolls Out EA knew exactly what they were doing, after covering all their sports games, they woke everyone up with a gameplay video of Star Wars: Battlefront. Sure it wasn’t live play, and the sheer amount of choreography was insane, but it was hard not to be blown away. Everything about the footage screamed Star Wars. Social media went crazy, Battlefront’s hype train officially pulled out of the station. If there’s one element that stands out throughout the footage, it’s the sound effects. Everything, and I mean everything, sounded perfect, this is what truly gave the footage that Star Wars feel, that and the closing shot of Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker facing off.   Sony Steal The Spotlight…With A New IP At this point, everyone knows ‘how good’ Sony’s showcase was at E3 2015. The Last Guardian popped up again, Final Fantasy 7 is being remade, people celebrated, cried, filmed their reactions, cried again. Shenmue 3 is coming, subject to a Kickstarter that was never going to fail (it’s presence of Kickstarter being a whole different topic of discussion). Two of the biggest fan service reveals in the history of E3, which is what Sony ‘s showcase became known for…which is slightly unfortunate. Sony may of revealed the next big thing in the shape of Horizon Zero Dawn, but the attention has mostly fallen to the three previously named games. A completely new IP from Killzone developer Guerrilla, who recently took a intake of ex members of the team behind The Witcher franchise , Horizon Zero Dawn looks stunning. While the trailer didn’t give too much away, the footage shown was mind blowing, and not just because it featured robotic dinosaurs. The sheer pedigree behind the game should be enough to get anyone excited.   Fan Service Gone Wild Regardless of where you stand, Final Fantasy 7 Remake is a big deal. The last five years have seen calls for this game to be reality, and Sony revealed that’s happening. It shouldn’t of came as a huge surprise, the Final Fantasy brand is hardly in a great place at the moment, nor is Square Enix, and Final Fantasy 7 is easy money (hence the amount of re-releases they’ve thrown out there). The news was greeted with cheers, tears, and reaction videos, a deadly combination. E3 2015 will most likely be remembered for the announcement of Final Fantasy 7 Remake.     Kayne West & Cup Head: Kayne West played Cup Head, proving he has a more varied taste in video games than most people covering video games....

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