Thursday, June 20, 2013

Random Shots: Why I Bought A PlayStation 4

  • Yesterday was a crazy day. The announcement that Microsoft has capitulated on their DRM plans made next generation a two console race again. So when I got home from work last night, I went to my computer, gathered up all of my gift cards, and put down my preorder.
  • For the PlayStation 4.
  • This is an unusual situation for me. I've never been a Sony fanboy. I've never bought a PlayStation as a primary console. Late in their generations, I did get used PS1 and PS2's to play a few console exclusives (DQ7 and Fear Effect stand out). But even in the face of the PS2's overwhelming popularity, I was a Dreamcast/Xbox guy. No more.
  • I'm going with the Playstation 4 for a couple of reasons. I like that Sony is courting indie developers. I loved XBLA this generation. If everyone is switching to the new platform, I want to go with them. I can't just let Transistor come out and not get to play. And the price is just better. I don't want a Kinect. I don't want Microsoft's fancy TV watching options. I want a game machine. And it sounds like that's what Sony is delivering. That's it. The decision was that close for me.
  • There has to be competition in the market. Each time Sony or Microsoft became the clear winner, they became arrogant and their product went to hell. I'm jumping ship now because Sony is the underdog this time, and I'm excited about how hungry they are to take on their opponent's Goliath.

© 2013 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

News Filter: Microsoft Strips DRM and Always Online Requirements from Xbox One

  • In what would be a stunning reversal, it seems that WhatHiFi and Giant Bomb are reporting that Microsoft will remove the always online requirement for their upcoming Xbox One console, as well as DRM restrictions on their disk-based games.

  • If this is true, the war for the next generation just heated up again. Microsoft has built up so much bad press over the last week that they need something this dramatic to get back in the fight.

  • And now, as I type, word comes down from Microsoft.
  • Last week at E3, the excitement, creativity and future of our industry was on display for a global audience.

    For us, the future comes in the form of Xbox One, a system designed to be the best place to play games this year and for many years to come. As is our heritage with Xbox, we designed a system that could take full advantage of advances in technology in order to deliver a breakthrough in game play and entertainment. We imagined a new set of benefits such as easier roaming, family sharing, and new ways to try and buy games. We believe in the benefits of a connected, digital future.

    Since unveiling our plans for Xbox One, my team and I have heard directly from many of you, read your comments and listened to your feedback. I would like to take the opportunity today to thank you for your assistance in helping us to reshape the future of Xbox One.

    You told us how much you loved the flexibility you have today with games delivered on disc. The ability to lend, share, and resell these games at your discretion is of incredible importance to you. Also important to you is the freedom to play offline, for any length of time, anywhere in the world.

    So, today I am announcing the following changes to Xbox One and how you can play, share, lend, and resell your games exactly as you do today on Xbox 360. Here is what that means:

    An internet connection will not be required to play offline Xbox One games – After a one-time system set-up with a new Xbox One, you can play any disc based game without ever connecting online again. There is no 24 hour connection requirement and you can take your Xbox One anywhere you want and play your games, just like on Xbox 360.

    Trade-in, lend, resell, gift, and rent disc based games just like you do today – There will be no limitations to using and sharing games, it will work just as it does today on Xbox 360.

    In addition to buying a disc from a retailer, you can also download games from Xbox Live on day of release. If you choose to download your games, you will be able to play them offline just like you do today. Xbox One games will be playable on any Xbox One console — there will be no regional restrictions.

    These changes will impact some of the scenarios we previously announced for Xbox One. The sharing of games will work as it does today, you will simply share the disc. Downloaded titles cannot be shared or resold. Also, similar to today, playing disc based games will require that the disc be in the tray.

    We appreciate your passion, support and willingness to challenge the assumptions of digital licensing and connectivity. While we believe that the majority of people will play games online and access the cloud for both games and entertainment, we will give consumers the choice of both physical and digital content. We have listened and we have heard loud and clear from your feedback that you want the best of both worlds.

    Thank you again for your candid feedback. Our team remains committed to listening, taking feedback and delivering a great product for you later this year.

  • This is probably not enough to change my decision to buy a PS4, but it's no longer so cut and dried.

© 2013 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Top Five: Nintendo 2013 E3 Announcements

  • Nintendo decided to go their own way this year. Rather than subject themselves to the circus that is the E3 press conference, they've released a new Nintendo Direct video. But that's not going to stop us from rating their announcements.

  • The Legend Of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds - Not even a part of the show, but worthy of mention anyway. How can you not love a classic Zelda game? Oh, and I already own a 3DS? Sounds good to me!

  • Bayonetta 2 - It's old news, but you have to give Nintendo credit for getting behind Bayonetta. I only played the first game a little bit, but it has a style you just don't normally get on their platforms.

  • Super Mario 3D World - I'm stretching at this point, but a new 3D Mario game is a good thing, right? And playable Princess Peach? Anyone with me?

  • Xenoblade Chronicles sequel - Oh, here's a good one. If Santa were to gift me a WiiU, this is exacly the kind of game I would seek out.

  • Um.... Etrian Odyssey: Millennium Girl? - Again, not part of Nintendo Direct, but still good news. I'm really enjoying Etrian Odyssey IV, but I need to buckle down if I'm going to finish before this comes out.

  • I'm giving Nintendo four points for their announcements. That looks like more than Microsoft's three, but it really breaks down to two for the Wii U and two for the 3DS. I'm glad Nintendo is getting some third party support, but their systems still look anemic.

© 2013 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.

Top Five: PS4 2013 E3 Announcements

  • I'm running late because of Giant Bomb's equipment theft, but here are the five announcements that caught my attention at Sony's press conference Monday.

  • The Order: 1886 - It isn't much, but the trailer caught my attention. I hope there is more to see on the show floor.

  • The Dark Sorcerer - I've never played a Quantic Dream game, but I do know they make some pretty cool tech demos. I know this will come to nothing, and David Cage will poop out some overwrought story next time. But from time to time we can enjoy something strange like this.

  • Transistor and the Indie Community - If you asked me when I knew I would be buying a PS4, it would be when Greg Kasavin walked on stage and announced that Transistor would lead on Sony's console. Seeing the other indie games announced just cemented my resolve. Even if Sony had gone in lock step with Microsoft's high price and draconian limitations, this was enough to win me over. Thankfully, mercifully, there was more.

  • Own Your Own Games - Having Jack Tretton take such deliberate shots at Microsoft was a thing to behold. He took their platform apart point by point. When it was done, there was no doubt the PS4 was the Gamer's console. I was skeptical, but I have been won over.

  • $400! - Then to cap it all off, the price. Four hundred dollars is still a lot of money, but it's just expensive. Not the Xbox One's crazy expensive. When I heard this, I turned to my wife and said, "I guess we're getting a PlayStation 4."

  • There is no other way to say it: Sony has won this console generation before it even started. I have to give them five points for their audacity. We will see how Nintendo stacks up next. What do you think? Have you made up your mind about next gen consoles?

© 2013 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Top Five: The Best of the Rest 2013 E3 Press Conferences

  • Just because you don't have a console to sell doesn't mean that you can't have a press conference. Here are the top five moments from the rest of the pack.

  • Battlefield 4's 64 Player On-Stage Demo - I don't care how staged that was, I am one hundred percent behind that massive kind of spectacle. Whether or not the game is worth it, I have no idea.

  • Peter Moore Calls Out Kotaku - Just hilarious.

  • Watch_Dogs - It wasn't even a big focus of the press conference, and it's still the most exciting thing that Ubisoft showed. It's so good that I let them have their underscore. And it's now an unusually timely game as well. This is probably the AAA game I'm looking forward to most this generation.

  • Mirror's Edge - Never played the first game. I guess was scared off because of all of the flak it took. But just look at that trailer! I'd like to see what a new iteration plays like.

  • Finally, a release date for The Stick Of Truth - Holiday 2013. My wish list is getting longer.

  • Evidently, I'm a jaded old man now that I'm forty. Maybe Sony will be a little more interesting? Maybe a surprise on the show floor? I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

© 2013 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.

Top Five: Xbox 2013 E3 Announcements

  • The press conference is over, and it turns out that Microsoft wasn't lying about the number of games they would show. Here are the top five announcements that caught my attention.

  • World Of Tanks - I'm sure WoT is a fine game. I haven't played it before, but I see the appeal. What catches my attention is what this reveals means for free-to-play on the console. It sounds like Microsoft really is getting behind that pay model and Wargaming is the right company to lead the charge.

  • Project Spark - Out of every game announced, this one is the most intriguing. Not that I expect them to actually deliver. I mean, it has "Project" in the title, so there is no way this thing is ready to go. But I do love big pie-in-the-sky announcements like this. And if they do deliver? Oh man, it could be sweet. The fact that it's also coming to PC means that it's not an XB1 seller, though.

  • Twitch Integration - We've been expecting this, but it's good to hear that Microsoft made it official. Console streaming is the next big frontier. I'm excited to try it no matter which system ends up in my living room.

  • Below - Oh hell yeah. The one gamey game that caught my attention through the whole thing. Can't wait to see what the Capy team has up its collective sleeve.

  • The Price - Five hundred effing dollars. I've been saving up money for half a year so that I wouldn't have to go to my wife, hat in hand, and beg her for permission to buy a console. All because I knew the price was going to be crazy and I was right. If Sony beats this price at all, I might buy my first Sony console at launch.

  • All in all, I give Microsoft three points for their press conference. Let's see how Sony stacks up. So, what did you think? What has you excited or skeptical?

© 2013 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

News Filter: For 4 June 2013

  • Sometimes there is just too much news to talk about. Sometimes I don't have a full blog post worth of thoughts about the news. Today is one of those days. So here are the most interesting news items I've read today.

  • Zynga reportedly closes Draw Something developer OMGPOP - I didn't catch this when the big layoffs hit yesterday. They actually closed OMGPOP? I really don't want to gloat because a lot (a lot!!!) of people lost their jobs. But there is an astounding about of schadenfreude to be had.

  • Wargaming axes pay-to-win model in favor of free-to-win - This may be the coolest story of the day. It sounds like Wargaming is finally coming to the same conclusion that we bloggers arrived at months (years?) ago: pay-to-win is a poisonous funding model.

  • Double Fine's Massive Chalice hits Kickstarter target - I haven't back Massive Chalice yet, but it's only a matter of time. Brad Muir is such a character that letting him develop a game (a tactical turn-based strategy game at that!) out in the open sounds like a great time. Based on my experience with the Double Fine Adventure and Amnesia Fortnight, watching their development will be well worth the price of admission.

  • Harmonix makes players musical magicians in Fantasia: Music Evolved - I don't own a Kinect. I'm not sure I'm ever going to buy a Kinect. But if I do, it will be because of developers like Harmonix. I can see how some might be cynical about the trailer, but I'm looking forward to E3

  • Lots of news today. What has you excited?

© 2013 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.