Monthly Archives: May 2013

Do used games matter?

In wake of the Xbox One reveal, Microsoft has received a firestorm of negative publicity on the internet, most of it surrounding how the new console plans to circumvent problem of pre-owned games. At almost any store that sells video games, customers can trade in their games and get a bit of money back. Retailers then sell these pre-owned games at a slightly lower cost than buying the game new. This has created a problem for developers and publishers. Normally, when a new game is purchased the retailer receives a portion of the profit, the rest of it going to the developer and the publisher. For used games, all the money goes straight to the retailer. In other words, if you buy a game used, the people who lost sleep making that game get none of the money for it. Profit-minded companies such as EA have been trying to circumvent the sales of used games for years, Microsoft has now revealed their plans to either prevent, or profit from used games.

Microsoft has been made contradicting statements on the issue; the most consistent reports indicate that Xbox One games will require a mandatory certification process that locks a disc to a specific Xbox account. Microsoft has clarified that players can play their games on a friend’s console as long as they sign in to their profile. Supposedly Microsoft will give retailers the ability/technology to “de-certify” a game, essentially unlocking it from a specific account allowing the game to be resold. This “unlocking” process however, will apparently cost retailers around $50 per game; this would drive the price of used games absurdly high. Let me be clear that this has not been confirmed nor denied by Microsoft, who has been vague on the rumor. I suspect they will clarify this issue in a few weeks at E3. If there is any truth to this rumor, it looks as though used games will on their way out as Microsoft’s “solution” would make used games too expensive to be practical.

With the strict measures of the Xbox One, used games may not be around for much longer.

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What I thought of the Xbox One

When Nintendo revealed the Wii U I was both skeptical yet intrigued. The idea of putting a screen in a controller seemed unwieldy but I think even the harshest critics have to admit that as a peripheral it has lots of potential. When Sony announced the PS4 earlier this year I was mostly unimpressed. It seems like a powerful system, but as far as new features go, Sony played things relatively safe. After seeing the Xbox One, Microsoft’s new “gaming” console, I am shaking my head in disapproval. The system is being branded as an entertainment console capable of playing games, television, sports “all in one.” As I predicted last week, the console will require constant integration with the Kinect in order to function, it will play Blu-Rays and it lacks backwards compatibility with Xbox 360 games. Perhaps out of the three new consoles of this next generation, the Xbox One has had the worst reception among gamers. Unfortunately, this isn’t going to matter. The Xbox One could sell very well, despite what us “core gamers” think of it.

Despite what you may think of the Kinect (Microsoft’s hands-free motion camera), it has sold incredibly well. As of last February, the 360 has reached 76 million in sales while the Kinect has sold 24 million units. That means that one-third of the Xbox audience owns a Kinect. The Xbox 360 sold well initially because of its software; it had the best games available. But as the competition, mainly the PS3, gained momentum Microsoft decided to shift their focus to non-gamers. As a business strategy, this was a brilliant move by Microsoft. The shift in the target audience has made Microsoft a lot of money. Unfortunately this move also alienated their longtime fans, who are much more old-school and passionate about games than the average joe that Microsoft began to market to. A new console would allow Microsoft to reach out to both gamers and non-gamers. Unfortunately the Xbox One didn’t do this, and that is where it failed to impress me.

Behold! The next generation of betamax…I mean video gaming technology.

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What to expect from the Next Xbox

This upcoming Tuesday (the 21st if you’re counting), Microsoft will reveal their next Xbox console to the world, bringing the video games industry even closer to the eighth generation of video game consoles. This month, there has been lots of speculation and predictions of the capabilities of this new Xbox. There are rumors of the console requiring a constant internet connection and then subsequent rumors that deny this claim. There have speculations on the look of both the console itself and the controller, and just about everyone has a different name for this new console. I feel the need to throw my hat into the ring. So here it is. This is what you can expect from the next Xbox.

Rumoured names for the consoles include; Xbox 720, Durango, Infinity and simply Xbox.

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Ratchet and Clank at the Movies

Late last month, Insomniac Games announced they are making a movie for the Ratchet and Clank Franchise.  According to James Stevenson, Community Lead at Insomniac Games, it will be an animated film set for release in 2015 and T.J. Fixman, who has written all the Ratchet and Clank games, will be writing the script for the film. Blockade Entertainment and Rainmaker Entertainment are making the film with Insomniac Games having a “hands-on” role on the production. In addition to this news, an announcement trailer was revealed. If by some chance you haven’t seen it yet, you can take a look below:

This is one of the most important video game movies to come around in a long time. It has a legitimate chance of being a good movie, something that hasn’t happened in the video-game film genre. Of the many great combinations that exist in the world, video games and movies are not one of them. Certain games have better translated into films than others but no video-game movie has ever been anything better than mediocre. It’s true that the Tomb Raider and Hitman franchises didn’t suffer as much as Doom or anything Uwe Boll has directed but that isn’t really saying much and once again, Tomb Raider and Hitman are more notable for “not-sucking’ than actually being good. The stigma surrounding video-game movies has gotten so bad that when a new one is announced every step is taken to “reassure’ the fanbase that their beloved franchise isn’t about to be butchered. If there is any intention of Ratchet and Clank being a good film then there are many obstacles to overcome. Luckily, the movie has a lot of good things going for it. Read the rest of this entry

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