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Posts tagged videogames

Introducing Steam Gauge: Ars reveals Steam’s most popular games 

Kyle Orland just dropped a bomb revealing two month look at Steam sales and games played. It’s incredible. Go read the whole thing. Here’s just a sample.

As you can see, just because a game is registered to a lot of Steam accounts doesn’t mean it’s popular. Half-Life 2: Lost Coast, for instance, is the third-most popular game on the service by ownership, registered to about 12.8 million Steam accounts by our count. But the tech demo, which shows off some deleted content from Half-Life 2, has only been actively loaded up by about 2.1 million of those owners, placing it behind 35 other Steam games by that metric.

Stand by for plot points: 'Titanfall' doesn't need a story 

To hear Microsoft user researcher Deborah Hendersen tell it, players genuinely do love game stories. We just can’t remember them, have trouble describing them, and usually never find out how they end. Hendersen spoke at GDC about user-testing game narratives: finding out whether early scripts are clear to and resonate with players. The answers, to anyone who hopes players pore over their stories, were probably disappointing. In an attempt to figure out what was important to players, Henderson interviewed hundreds of study participants about their favorite games. The participants took fewer words to describe the stories of games they liked than they did those of their favorite movies. Many could barely describe the plots at all, forgetting major beats and long middle sections. One participant, asked to talk about his favorite Call of Duty character, instead described the sort of person he liked to kill in multiplayer.
Well done, Adi.

20yearsof1994:

February 23rd 1994 - Super Street Fighter II Turbo

The fifth, and last, arcade installment of Street Fighter II was released in 1994. This version introduced several new play mechanics to the game system from the previous Street Fighter II installments, including the addition of powered-up Special Moves called Super Combos.

Street Fighter II has become the game that Capcom releases on every platform and they usually release a modified version of this specific Street Fighter II. In 2008 it was renamed Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix for the HD release on the Xbox 360 and PS3.

GameStop, Tomb Raider, and how retail and online competition remains unfair 

Ben Kuchera throws some light on GameStop and the tension between the online retailers and actual physical retail stores:

The tension between digital game sales and retail is only going to get worse, and it’s likely to blame for some of the odd behavior you can see in the market. GameStop released Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition days before the announced street date, and many eager gamers rushed to their PlayStation 4s or Xbox Ones to try to buy the game online, only to find that the original street date of January 28th was being honored online.

Remember when Blockbuster would get movies before they were available on Netflix? It was a short window before Netflix had total domination and when the streaming service was in its infancy. Blockbuster signed contracts with the big studios to have movies 28 days before Netflix. It was a way for physical stores to have an edge over the online rental places. The studios agreed because blockbuster had been a cash cow for a long time, and they didn’t want to upset a player as dominating as Blockbuster.

This is what’s happening with video games. The good news is that we’ve seen this play out once before, and it doesn’t end well for brick and mortar stores.

The crazy part is that developers are essentially forced into playing ball with GameStop, who are actively trying to screw them. GameStop sells used games at a huge markup and lock people into their used ecosystem. It’s a toxic relationship and you’ll bet that devs will cut GameStop out of the equation as quickly as possible. 

At least Blockbuster wasn’t relying on studios for movies to rent, while also actively screwing them.

Nintendo Had An Investor Meeting Tonight

I feel obligated to say something about the Nintendo investor meeting that ended a short time ago since I did write quite a bit about Nintendo earlier today.

If you didn’t see the news it’s this: Satoru Iwata, CEO of Nintendo, outlined a strategy for the company. They’re looking to the health market for new business. They’re not putting games on mobile devices but they do have a mobile strategy. They want to make more Wii U games that show off the GamePad Controller.

This was a meeting for investors so none of this is a surprise.

- Of course Iwata was going throw his weight behind the Wii U, their current console, and promise games that would take advantage of the one thing that distinguishes it. Because even if they were abandoning the hardware, it’s not going to happen over night, and they need to keep selling a console in the interim.

- Of course they’re not going to put their 40 dollar games on phones, where 99 cents is considered pricy. Nintendo doesn’t know how to make a freemium game, and I hope they never learn. But people are yelling their heads off that “all they need to do is release Mario Kart on the iPhone” so phones and tablets needed to be addressed. Companion apps that drive people to Nintendo hardware doesn’t sound appealing to me, but ok. 

- Of course they’re looking at new markets. Investors love hearing about new markets. I am intrigued by what they’re looking at in the health space. The Wii Balance Board was interesting, I guess. And the 3DS does count my steps when I bring it with me. I’m curious to see how this new thing fits in with the rest of their current hardware. Maybe it doesn’t.

Overall, not a lot was said. This sounds like they’re staying the course. Which is good, it’s what I think they should do. Hopefully they spend the money they have to stay the course better than they have been the past two years.

-Creighton

PlayStation 4 Reviews

It’s PlayStation 4 review day! I’ve done a little bit of the dirty work, reading reviews of the PS4. I read three to completion and pieces of two more. Here are the two I’d recommend reading right now:

  • PolygonJustin McElroy’s review is not only beautiful, but the most informed review I’ve read. There’s a also a very concise video that rounds out the whole thing. You should definitely read this review.

While Sony in 2006 was focused on driving adoption of the Blu-ray standard, envisioning another home media boom that never quite materialized, Sony in 2013 has no such distractions. The PS4 isn’t built to sell 3D TVs, or Blu-ray discs or any other corporate mandate. It’s a gaming console, a clear message that Sony has been quick to repeat.

  • Kotaku. Stephen Totilo’s review is very good. It’s the kind of thing he really likes diving into.

The PS4 is just starting, and as it is, it is hard to experience the PS4 without thinking about the machine that came before it. The PlayStation 3 made an incredible journey, from rotundResistance and Lair-playing machine to the console of The Last of UsPuppeteer and The Unfinished Swan. The console got skinnier. It got better. And it wound up playing some of my favorite games ever.

Both Kotaku and Polygon will be updating their reviews as time goes on. As the libraries change, as software is updated you’ll see the scores increase… well hopefully they’ll increase and not decrease. It’s a very interesting method to reviews, but one that I support 100%.

Bleep Bloop - Your Best Game

I’m a few weeks late posting this, partially because I’ve been busy, partially because it was hard for me to find the right words. The video above is the final episode of Bleep Bloop. 

This series means a lot to me, both as a nerd and professionally. Yes I worked on about 80 episodes of the show so I’m close to it. But even from the very start I thought of Bleep Bloop as important. Yes, the directive from Jeff was always “funny first” (after all the show aired on a comedy site), but I always felt like we were doing the community a kind of service. Even though were poking fun and prodding the industry and calling out bad games, we were also informing and speaking to a certain part of video game culture, and hopefully we expanded their horizons with our comedy video. You can see it in 8-bit Rock Band, Artsy Fartsy Games, Night Vision Goggles, Dante’s Infreno, Wii vs Kinect vs MoveiPad Games, and Uwe Boll.

As someone who follows tech and games journalism pretty closely there was really nothing else like it when I started working on the show at Episode 12 in January 2009.

Professionally, Bleep Bloop is what propelled me into a full time job at CollegeHumor. I early in my days freelancing for CollegeHumor I was brought in to shoot and edit this show. Shortly thereafter they hired me full time and I can thank CollegeHumor for seeing a producer in me and allowing me the opportunity to produce some of their highest profile content. Presently I’m a commercial / music video producer, but you can draw a straight line from freelance shooting and editing a few episodes of Bleep Bloop to where I am right now. 

So please watch the final episode of a series I have a lot of love for. Oh, and you can spot me in the last one at 10:40 choosing my favorite game of all time Zombies Ate My Neighbors.

Read the article. Watch the video. The team at Polygon hit this one out of the park. I’m completely blown away.

polygondotcom:

Our investigation of surveillance tech in Chicago shows a truth uncomfortably close to Watch Dogs’ fiction.

On Nov. 15, 2009 Michael Scott’s family reported him missing. The next day, a Monday, Chicago Police found him floating in the river not far from the city center. He died of a gunshot wound to the head delivered at extremely close range. Police forensics, in cooperation with the Cook County medical examiner, later ruled that his death was a suicide.

The incident initially drew local, and later national, media attention. Scott wasn’t just anyone. He was the President of the Chicago Board of Education, the third-largest public school district in the nation.

He was also under investigation for suspicious real estate deals related to the city’s unsuccessful 2016 Summer Olympics bid. His lifeless body laid to rest many inconvenient questions that had begun to circulate at City Hall, while simultaneously raising others.

(Read the rest)

jeffrubinjeffrubin:

New Bloop!

collegehumor:

Bleep Bloop: Dog Football

People playing dogs playing football.

There’s nothing in the rule book that says a dog can’t play football (videogames).

During their press conference, Sony said that they “support used games,” and “that they won’t require an online check in.” Polygon is reporting a little bit of a backpedal:

“Well, I mean, we create the platform, we’ve certainly stated that our first-party games are not going to be doing that, but we welcome publishers and their business models to our platform,”

Tretton received a standing ovation at yesterday’s Sony E3 press conference after announcing that gamers would be able to share their games as they wished without worrying about licenses or 24-hour checks — policies adopted by the Xbox One that have proven fairly unpopular for Microsoft’s platform. Today’s comments seem to walk that announcement back somewhat, giving third-party publishers leverage to use their own copy protections on the platform; though the PS4 still won’t have platform-wide restrictions like the aforementioned daily online checks.

Sony responded to the Polygon article by adding:

“Similar to PS3, we will not dictate the online used game strategy (the ability to play used games online) of its publishing partners,” a Sony representative told Polygon. “As announced last night, PS4 will not have any gating restrictions for used disc-based games. When a gamer buys a PS4 disc they have right to use that copy of the game, so they can trade-in the game at retail, sell it to another person, lend it to a friend, or keep it forever.”

It sounds like they’re being very choosy with their wording. They’re saying they “do not dictate online used game strategy of it’s publishers.” So if Activision want’s to build in a check in every 24 hours it sounds like they are at liberty to do so. Kind of a bummer. Regardless of the policy, Sony got the applause, and the initial press saying no DRM. It’s a win for Sony, maybe not so much for gamers. 

[via Polygon]

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