TBoD podcast – 66 – Skill Tree Huggers

‘sup baggers, we’re back apologies for the delay but we do have a rather special show for you today.

We are joined by three brilliant guests this week David Weeks aka @DestinyAuthor, SpiemanW from @The8bitbeards and last but by no means least @JustinBryce from the Drunken Halo podcast.

This week we’re talking Destiny and all Destiny.

Sit back relax and have a listen to our impressions from the beta.

Skill Tree Huggers

- eremenko

TBoD Podcast – 63 – Towerfall Intervention

Hey all,

Apologies for the delay this week, I am useless.

This week we cover;

A few listener questions and,

the punishment of death,

games win prizes,

and our ‘we called the dog….’ section covers the gorgeous ‘Long Dark’

Crinbot was once again absent so no song …. sorry.

Right click and hit ‘save link as’ to download

eremenko

The TBoD Podcast – Episode 62 – Statistically Masterful

Howdy,

We’re short a member again this week, Crinbot’s absence means we have no song either so apologies for that. We do have the usual content for your listening pleasure so without further ado the stuff we cover;

Continued support for X360,

Kingdom under fire and the new ‘Blueside’ engine,

PS now service update,

Console to PC parity,

Live GTAV in first person,

Oculus controller?

We called the dog ….. Anna!?!

…. and finally the WOW player who hit 90 as neither horde nor alliance.

as always thanks for listening and com-like-a-scribe.

Statistically Masterful

 – eremenko

The TBoD podcast – E3 special

Hello Ladies and Gentlemen,

We have a special E3 cast in store today brought to you by two out of three of our regular hosts. The topics up for discussion this week are’

E3!

Hope you enjoy the show, let us know your thoughts on the top showings and give us a run down of who you would award what in the following categories;

top 3 from each show

Best graphics

Most surprising

Best trailer

Best gameplay

Best show

Most exciting

Most disappointing

Upset not to see

Best in show

E3 special < right click and hit save as to download

The TBoD Podcast – 57 – Wanted, on Xbox Live

Whaddup?

We’re back again to talk the latest gaming news.

This week: starting out with the XBone Zone, we look at the unbundling of Kinect, as well as the Netflix and Hulu Gold requirement being lifted, and Games with Gold – officially no longer shit! Moving on, we talk new Halo news.

Our Indie game this week is beautiful looking The Forest, go check it out.

Right-click here and select ‘Save As’ to download

As ever, get in touch on Twitter, Facebook, or leave a comment below.

The TBoD Podcast – 56 – A Ball for Each Bongo

Well met adventurers!,

We have a veritable feast in store for you this week.

In this show we cover: an addition for Naughty Dog following their recent departures; could Titanfall be coming to PS4?; Steven Spielberg’s Halo series may not be as exclusive as we once thought; we get a bit weighty with our thoughts on sexism in gaming and society, thanks to this article; the obligatory Destiny circle-jerk continues, and further; plus, an exciting reveal from Sony on the real purpose of the DS4’s lightbar.

Our indie game this week is Stoked!, currently on Kickstarter. Head over and give it a look.

As ever, leave us your thoughts either below, or on Twitter/Facebook.

Right-click here and choose ‘Save as’ to download

 

The TBoD Podcast – 55 – Gaming at Tiffany’s

Howdy Gamers,

In this very special episode we  traverse space and time and discuss the latest Destiny gameplay footage, the Star Wars cast announcement and Mass Effect new and old.

We also talk about an indie game called Chip from game developer not far from us, it’s a cool puzzler its on Steam/iOS/Android now!

Right click and save as to download

The TBoD Podcast – 54 – Unleash the Dragon

Howdy chaps and chapesses,

Here we are again. Another week older, but probably not any wiser; you be the judge.

This week we talk:

XBONE price drops

Virtuix Omni secures funding

Playstation Plus free games for May

New Watch Dogs gameplay video

Civilization: Beyond Earth – wowzers…

Four player narrative coop announced for AC: Unity

Minecraft real-world application awesomeness

More departures from Naughty Dog

Our Indie game this week was Franchise Hockey Manager (chosen by Crinbot, obviously)

As ever, get in touch on Facebook, Twitter, or comment below.

Right-click here and choose ‘save as’ to download

The TBoD Podcast – 53 – Marty be Gone

Sup’ bitches,

We’re back again for another week of epic gaming lolz. This week:

Marty gets kicked

Virtual insanity/reality returns with more news from Occulus. More here. And yet more here.

Continued nonsense from Call of Doody.

Nice words from a Titanfall dev.

And the PS4 gets a long-overdue update.

Click here and choose ‘save as’ to download

The TBoD Podcast – 52 – Nintendo Don’t cry

Hello boys and girls,

Welcome to another edition of the TBoD podcast, the topics up for discussion from our likely lads this week are;

Xbox updates,

The TBoD Podcast – 51 – TBoD Bingo

Howdy chaps and chapesses,

TBoD return the normal schedule this week with more news from the gamesphere from the past 7 days or so.

We firstly bash Xbox for erroneous reasons; the Game with Gold this month is indeed Hitman: Absolution. Apologies to Microsoft…

We touch on our thoughts around the more broad points from Gagnon30’s recent post.

Phil Spencer promoted;

Disney buys Maker Studios; and

Amazon Fire TV, among others

The indie game this week is the truly excellent Gang Beasts

As ever, get your lugs (English for ‘ears’) around our dulcet tones, and give us your thoughts on Twitter, Facebook, or the comments section below.

Right-click here and click ‘Save As’

The TBoD Podcast – 50 – Virtual Insanity

Hey folks,

The crew reunite after a split to take in the sights and “experiences” of Amsterdam to talk through the latest news in gaming.

This week, we couldn’t really talk about anything other than the Facebook/Oculus union.

Have a listen, and give us your thoughts on Twitter, Facebook, or the comments section below.

Right click and hit “save link as…” to download

The TBoD Podcast – Episode 49 – Want you back for good

Hello Tea Pots,

Welcome to another freshly poured cup of the Teabag or Die podcast. This week the boys discuss;

Microsoft admits to failings in the PR department,

Sony takes the piss,

Big achievements,

Titanfall,

Titanfall,

Watchdogs,

e-sports corruption,

steam controller,

TLoU movie (again),

and this weeks “we called the dog…” title is ‘This is my War

right click and hit save as to download

have a deeks, let us know what you think and keep in touch in all the usual ways.

 

- eremenko

The TBoD Podcast – 45 – Redacted

Yo,

Welcome to another edition of the TBoD podcast.

Hot off the press, onto our lips, and into your ears this week::

The greatest battle evaaaarrrr, and the aftermath.

DayZ updates.

Nintendo boss halves salary.

Elder Scrolls Online will not require PS+.

EA ruin some more stuff.

Octodad gets even more hilariously ridiculous?

Wolf Among Us episode 2 teaser released.

Our indie game is The Vanishing of Ethan Carter; a beautiful-looking Horror Fiction.

Right-click here then Save As to download

Enjoy and leave a comment if you like.

The TBoD Podcast – 44 – The Teabag or Die Saga

Howdy partners

The whole crew is back this week to go through the latest gaming news, along with our views and opinions.

This week, we discuss:

Sony announcement – what could it be?

The solution to gamer rage?

Bound by Flame

Medieval fantasy epic, Kingdom Come Deliverance

Banished release date confirmed

Assassin’s Creed future settings

Lord of the Rings: Shadow of Mordor announced, not without controversy

Lastly, we discuss some copyright issues around last week’s indie game, the Banner Saga

Right Click and Save As to download

Enjoy and leave a comment if you like.

The TBoD Podcast – Journey Special Adventurecast

We go on an expedition with Justin from Drunken Halo to discuss one of the top rated games of 2012, PS3 exclusive Journey!

Come join us as we trek through our thoughts on the game!

Right Click and Save As to download episode

The TBoD Podcast – Episode 41 – New Year HD Resolutions

Happy Ne Year Teabaggers!

We ring in 2014 with a new podcast for your delectation.

We talk about all kinds, from games for the Occulus Rift and Sony’s counterpart and similar technologies that track eye movement inbound this year. We also talk about the free games coming  to your Xbox’s and PlayStation’s in January

We also discuss the latest audacious project from the Skyrim modding community and our indie game of the week is a Survival RTS called Banished which has us all worked up.

Enjoy and best wishes for the New Year!

Right Click and Save As to download.

The PlayStation 4 – Part 1 – Hardware and UI

ps4 meme

With our pre-orders placed back in July and after months of commentating and speculating on our podcast, finally the 29th of November arrived. A date we have hotly anticipated as the moment we got our grubby little mits on Sony’s fourth iteration of their PlayStation console. Having lived with it for a week now I thought it would be fitting to get some words down about the console in general and the gaming experiences I’ve had so far. This first part focuses on the console itself, my first impressions on the games available at launch will be coming next week.

Aesthetics.

As one would expect, the media has spent a good deal of time comparing the PS4 to the XBox One on every level, its outward appearance being no exception. PS4 consoleVisually it seems to combine a retro feel with a contemporary slant quite literally. The surfaces are sleek and clean, for a while at least, the reflective quarter seems to boggle physics by drawing every particle of dust in your living room toward it like a black hole, if you are a clean freak be prepared to run a rag over it regularly. The LED strip that indicates the console’s on status (or if you are really unlucky its error status) makes it all a little sci-fi, this and other little details I really approve of as it really highlights the thought a due care that has gone into every bit of this console and it’s controller.

The DualShock 4.

If you have listened to our podcast you may be aware my initial encounter with the DS4 was a little underwhelming, as was my time with the Xbox One controller. Looking back at Eurogamer I think my experience with it was marred somewhat by the games I played on it. Now that I have a DS4 of my own I can safely say it is a worthy peer to the 360 controller, the ergonomics of the controller’s provide a surprisingly comfortable grip (something Sony in my opinion has never been good with). The thumbstick orientation is great too, no more unnaturalPS4 DualShock 4 Controller stretching or finger bumping, keeping on the thumbsticks the resistance they provide is quite something making movements more accurate than anything to come before. The triggers too have had some major thought put in, they offer more travel and feel more analogue than digital, if this is the case it could be interesting to see how future games may implement them, for example in a shooter using them to fire semi auto with a half press rather than changing firing modes on the D-Pad.

For me the face buttons offer a similar experience to that of it predecessor, which is no bad thing and the D-Pad actually edges that of the DS3, something I didn’t think was possible. My one gripe would be the options and share buttons are a bit of a reach and certainly I haven’t managed to hit them without looking at the pad, I guess practice will overcome that but with a controller like this that makes everything else feel so natural and well placed this is a niggle keeping it from a perfect score.

The touchpad I have used relatively little so can’t comment on, other than to say that it feels sparsely implemented so far and as it stands may turn out to be more of a gimmick than essential feature. However I could be proven wrong here as I was by the controller in general which stands side by side with my beloved 360 as a tour de force in pad design.

The User Interface

A ghost of the PS3 XMB is still evident in the new UI which, unlike the XMB, is a mostly utilitarian affair. Still flowing sideways the dash is split into two primary rows, PS4 UIthe upper is where all the functional stuff is like your notifications, settings, party, friends and PS store reside. The row below is where the fun happens, all your games are tiled out in horizontally and admittedly this could get a little messy as your library expands but your 5 most recent are place right up front which, unless you are a gaming butterfly, should minimise that ‘Sony scroll’ as much as possible.

Navigation is much breezier than the PS3, eternal lists are far less evident (bar the aforementioned gaming bar and the settings menu which is a touch long-winded)  where you mostly just select, click and in you go. The whole thing is, as you might expect given the beefy internals, extremely snappy and pretty satisfying to move through, offering little to no wait time loading up menus. Design wise, Sony have chosen the very trendy super flat tile look so common in the tech world today, you just have to look at their competitors Microsoft’s console and indeed any mobile OS nowadays to see this aesthetic dominate. I have to say I like it as it gives the dash a crisp appearance.

With social media now infiltrating every part of our modern lives Sony has dished up a more integrated experience in the PS4, right from the outset you can choose to connect with social behemoth Facebook and, if you choose to do so, will pull your profile pic from the site to replace your PSN avatar. The integration runs deeper than that too as the share button (more on this later) will post gameplay videos and images directly to Facebook and indeed Twitter meaning you friends/followers get to share in/be annoyed by your finest gaming moments.

Even the What’s New section mimics Facebook by taking the familiar look of the Timeline and filling it with what you and your friends have been up to on their Whats New ScreenPlayStations, its great for seeing what people have been playing and checking your friends recent trophies or being satisfied when it posts your Resogun high-score. For a Social Media lover such as myself this is possibly one of my favourite features. I will mention it is not all rosy, some features you may have grown accustomed to on your PS3 are distinctly absent. The ability to play MP3’s, set up media servers or watch 3D blu-rays are all lacking from the PS4 at launch. Sony says they are coming down the pipe which if you are an optimist could be viewed as Sony wanting to get the newer features right, or if you are a cynic a ploy to push their Music and Video Unlimited services. Whichever side you take, if you are one of the few who actually gets the media server to work reliably then it looks like the PS3 will have to remain plugged in for now.

Speaking of the proprietary “Unlimited” media subscriptions the PS4 comes with 30 day trials of each, for kicks I thought I would try to see whether it was actually unlimited. Both myself and my girlfriend tested the Music App by searching some really obscure artists we thought it couldn’t possibly have, to our surprise it found us some music by each artist. However we did hit a limit in a sense, in one instance it find an artist but not the particular song we were looking for. We will take that as a partial win, though I think it proves we are more mainstream than we thought.

One honourable mention and my favourite function on the PS4 is the share button, this feature is what boosts this machine from a just console with upgraded horsepower to something truly next-gen. Provided you have set up your twitchPS4 Share Button previously then streaming gameplay takes literally 30 seconds to initiate, it can be done on a whim and takes literally no effort. Experiencing a particularly lovely vista in-game? a couple of taps and you have shared the view with your Twitter followers. Just mowed down a ton of enemies or performed a counter-stab in Battlefield 4? Hit the share button and have that moment immortalized and posted to Facebook. Simple. Brilliant.

So far I have been very impressed by the PS4 and can’t wait to see what else Sony has up it’s sleeve, once I can view 3D Blu-ray then myself (and the 23 other people who adopted 3D and use it) will be very happy.

Have you recently picked up a PS4 or next-gen console?  Think I have missed something? Share your thoughts in the comments.Thanks.

To read Part of our PS4 Review on free games Click Here

Xbox One or PlayStation 4 – Console Conundrum

The next-gen is almost upon us and as a gamer the upcoming console goodness has been increasingly occupying my mind, so much so that even during trivial matters such as work, my cogs are constantly whirring at an ever-increasing rate to fathom out which console to go for. I have both the XBox One and the PlayStation 4 pre-ordered and the time has come to choose a side, and I need help. But before I throw this to the arena for you to give your opinions I thought a background on my increasingly tumultuous thought process may be in order.

It all started way back in February when the Haus of Shuh revealed their plans for the next iteration in Sony’s prestigious gaming history and I, like many of you, was impressed by what they flaunted on stage. The opening vista of Killzone: Shadowfall, the support of indies and pretty epic hardware that console gamers have been drooling over. I recently bought a PS3 and have to say I do think it’s a pretty great platform (bar the controller, more on that later) however for my sins I am an Xbox player by and large, choosing to do pretty much all my gaming on Microsoft’s current console, with much of that time passed having played Halo, I love Halo. For me in general though the XBox 360 is just better, it’s more social, has a better controller, an easier GUI etc etc. So with Sony being first out of the gate with their reveal I was eager to see if Microsoft could come out with the goods.

My wait would end three months later, with bated breath I sat patiently watching the countdown tick away, then rather impatiently waited through Major Nelson’s pre show babble and finally it began. I would see what I would be playing on for the next seven years. It’s on! Look at all those awesome….sports…..and T…V….shows…yaay. To say the least I was a little confused by the whole reveal, and the following statements both conflicting and unpalatable, always online, can’t share games etc all of it left me a little glum. Microsoft butchered my expectations and as the month went on and as the bungles continued they literally gutted those expectations in front of me and cooked up the sweet meats and served them as a TV dinner, so along with the rest of the internet I pulled the napkin out of my collar pushed back in my chair and walked out of the Xbox diner.

So off I went along with the rest of the internet over to the food truck Sony had parked up just outside and realised the food from here looked a lot better. Games by the baker’s dozen, full on support and open publishing for indie developers, all told the social aspects of the platform had been greatly improved and the hardware on paper even trumped that of the Xbox One. The one niggle I had was with the PlayStation controller, in fairness to the DualShock 3 it isn’t the worst controller in the world but in my opinion it’s not far off, it is small and flimsy and those thumbsticks might aswell not be attached the amount of good they do. Conversely the 360 controller is a tour de force in-game input and frankly made me happy to hold it. However reading reports about the DualShock 4 being worlds apart from its pigmy predecessor and claims it was even better than Microsoft’s current gen offering I thought “Screw it, this is my next-gen console” and the pre-order went in.

Happy in my choice I was more than ok to watch the news unfold for both consoles, particularly in Camp Redmond which each week seemed to be in the press for one thing or another, good or bad. It seemed to be one gaf after another for a time with their mixed up messaging and overly corporate double speak. A day came (about a week later) when Microsoft finally heard the raging mob on Twitter and reversed their always online policy, however I was still scorned from what I perceived as their initial attempt to shaft me. Of course that wasn’t the only U-turn, they changed their policies on pre-owned games, lending games to friends, including a headset and then being able to turn off the “always on” Kinect. Essentially what Microsoft did was bring everything in line with Sony’s stance in the most crucial areas.

Regardless of what you think the reasoning behind these changes were, whether it to please gamers or to maximise profits, which lets face both companies are trying to do on both counts, to me it seemed that all my objections were gone and the XBox One became a product I would quite like to have for the first time. But was it worth choosing over the PS4? Well just to be sure another pre-order went down, you know, just in case, then cancel it later when I was sure.

Then came Eurogamer 2013, the day I could hold a PS4 controller and finally be sure I had chosen the right platform for the next few years. So after queueing to get into the Sony area I finally held the controller and to my chagrin it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. Now admittedly my first experience was marred by the fact that Blacklight Retribution was an early build and I was unable to invert the Y axis but I did spend about 40 minutes actual game time with the controller so got a decent idea what I would be playing on for the next few years. Now don’t get me wrong the DualShock 4 is by far and a way worlds better than the DS3, the thumbsticks are solid and a lot more response and in fact the whole build in fact feels a bit more premium, however, having heard it was more ergonomic I would have to disagree to some extent, sure it is shaped to fit in my hands more comfortably compared to the last iteration, but to me it still suffered from causing my grip to be a touch too narrow which for me if I were to game for a few hours on end could become a problem. I think this is down to Sony’s insistence in keeping to their “iconic” controller shape. Sorry Sony but that retro controller shape is not applicable these days so move on for the sake of my hands.

The Xbox One controller however was bloody lovely, mainly because its pretty much the same as the 360. Also Titanfall, a console exclusive (maybe), was next level awesome. Also Xbox is an ecosystem I am invested in with a gamerscore and large friends list that would be have to be basically left behind. But on the other hand the Xbone’s features, whilst cool, I wont really use that much, like the Kinect, or wont be available for some time after launch, like video sharing to YouTube. It is a good product in my eyes but feels rushed and unfinished in some areas. Also I don’t think I am the target audience for the One, sure I love Halo, I mean it cemented my love for video games as a grown up, but I don’t play Fifa/Madden or Call of Duty or watch much TV and that’s where Microsoft have their gaze fixed. They have cast their net wide but it seems the catch of the day isn’t me.

So that puts me back at square one. Do I go with the PS4 – a product which has the raw power and variety of gaming experiences but to me is a little lacking in having a truly great controller, whose launch exclusives don’t grab me and lets face don’t have the proven chops for a seamless online matchmaking experience, or do I go for the Xbox One, home of Halo, a brand I am invested with solid input and online infrastructure but which seems to a degree to exclude me from its demographic from the outset.

If you made it through this read then thank you and if you have an opinion on what I should choose answers on a postcard please, or in the comments below. Any advise will be taken kindly. Thanks again.

-The Quim Ninja

The TBod Podcast – 27 – Not Big in Japan

What is up listeners/readers/humans

We have another reasonably well versed episode for you this week where we chat about:-

Adverts brought out by both Sony and Microsoft for their respective consoles.

The leaked Xbox One beta dashboard video (which has since been pulled)

The new raft of PS Vita products, Vita TV and  the new slimmer Vita, which are making their way to Japan, as well as the Japanese launch date of the PS4 on their home turf.

Eremenko’s love for samurai’s 

Some GTA goodness, especially how bloody expensive that game was to make!

And also a very weird and hilarious video featuring a modded Left 4 Dead 2!

All this whilst watching Match of the Day!

Leave us some feedback in the comments, cheers!

Right Click and Save As to download latest podcast

The TBoD Podcast – 26 – Right in the Googles.

Bonjour Baggers.

Welcome to a super bumper jumper edition of The TBoD Podcast. We go loooonnngg!

In this episode loads of stuff, here is some of it: -

All this and a heap more. Please leave us some words in the comments, preferably in a coherent sentence, thanks.

Right Click and Save As to Download Episode 26

TBoD Podcast – 24 – Super Master Chief Brothers

Greetings consumers of interactive media, here are bringing you Episode 24 of The TBoD Podcast and it’s a doozie.

Before diving into the show proper we show our disapproval toward Connor White, Co-Founder of the AGL and his blatant cheating in the Halo Global Championship.

We then talk about the numerous announcements from Xbox camp since our last show, including the Project Spark beta and Steve Ballmer’s retirement.

We cover Sony’s explanation for their several verbal salvos at Microsoft and the cross-platform party chat they plan on implementing.

We also preach on Batman, Beyond Two Souls and Dice and Destiny.

Please leave us a comment and let us know what you think, we will be sure to give you a shout out next show.

Right Click and Save Link As to download Episode

TBoD Castpocalypse – The Last of Us.

In this incredibly special episode Eremenko, Spacca Attacker and The Quim Ninja sit down to talk about The Last of Us and just how damn good this game is, no bullshit just admiration of the game and the powerful moments created within it.

[WARNING: - Spoilers and awesomeness throughout!]

Clicker on your Right button and ‘Save Link as’ to survive the infection.

The-last-of-us

TBoD Podcast – 18 – Big Willy Style

It’s hot as balls out and Quim got the fever – the hay fever – but that doesn’t stop the TBoD Capo’s in their quest to cast.

In this Ep (between Quim’s sniffles) the lads share their views on the following news stories and points of interest: -

Microsoft’s plan (or lack thereof) to release the Xbox One in Japan.

Darth err Don Mattrick’s plan to get Microsoft to buy Zynga years ago.

Those launch day next-gen consoles all gone on Amazon.

They then get a little excited about GTA 5 gameplay shown in the latest trailer!

All of this plus the usual quick fire stats, dogs named Indie (minus the soundbyte) and how eremenko is going to blow a load on the Steam Sale

RIght Click->Save Link As to DL the Ep

Please leave us some comments people. Thanks.

Artists impression of blue Exoplanet discover by Hubble telescope

Artists impression of blue Exoplanet discover by Hubble telescope

TBoD Podcast – Episode 10 – The Metaphorical Dog Sh*t Bin.

To celebrate the podcast making it to double figures we have a few special guests and seasoned gamers on to discuss the going’s on in gaming.

Amongst other topics we talk about the dark lords EA and their new found control over the creation of Star Wars games

Sony’s moves in making the indie developer feel at home in the PlayStation mobile arena and how we think Microsoft need to pull their finger out.

The comments of one Mark Rein, VP of Epic Games, who believes the next-gen consoles will take full advantage of the Free 2 Play Model and our thoughts on what that could mean as a gamer.

We also talk about games that we would have enjoyed if it weren’t for being hampered by bugs – as well as a bunch of other stuff.

Thanks to Crinbot, Cutmasta C and Spacca Attacker for lending their voices for this one.

Leave a comment if you have an experience to share or question for us. Thanks.

DOWNLOAD EPISODE by Right Clicking Here and Selecting ‘Save Link As’. Easy.

The Next Generation Xbox: How Microsoft Could Nail It

DealWithIt

The next generation of consoles is coming in 2013. Technically, the next generation is here, but it’s embarrassing and Nintendo doesn’t want to talk about it. Sony announced the PlayStation 4 along with most of the details necessary for the gaming community to start salivating as well as a release date of “holiday season 2013.” And now the final (major) player sent out an announcement for the next generation Xbox reveal.

Microsoft’s next generation Xbox, codenamed “Durango” and rumored to be “Xbox 720” is the last console to be announced, but it is arguably getting the most attention. Yes, everyone is talking about the new girl next door and all her specs, but the rumors regarding the 720 (what I’ve decided to call it) have not let up. Some of the speculation became so hot as to boil over into an upper Microsoft manager being fired. It is quite enjoyable to see the beginnings of the latest battle in the console war take shape.

Microsoft is in a great position to strategically outmaneuver Sony and it will be interesting to see how they handle each of the strategic categories I will cover.

  • Always on – this would be strategic suicide. No one wants this. I used to be neutral on this point, but I have turned to the negative. Microsoft should not require gamers to always be connected to the internet to play games. Routers and modems break, the internet goes out, and the wires get dug up and chewed on by the dog. Don’t do it.
  • On that point, second-hand games. Should Microsoft kill off second-hand games? Sony and Microsoft are playing the corporate version of Chicken. No one wants to be the first to say their company is shutting down the used game market, but someone has to do it. However, the first console to admit to doing this will catch the most flack while the other can quietly slip into the club. I am a firm believer that the second-hand/used game market should be shut down. I touched on this idea before in an article I co-authored; money should go to the developers, not Gamestop et al. [I can be a grammar nerd] And I say this with sly humor with a touch of sarcastic reality: Deal With It.DealWithIt meme Developers should be clamoring for this as they need any revenue they can get and gamers should welcome it so developers have additional resources to produce more content. This would also provide a more recurring revenue stream for developers since they can reduce the games’ prices the further it is from release and still bring in sales.On a rabbit trail, Gamestop should be working their strategic asses off to develop a deal with developers to create a semi-second-hand market for next generation games. If they want to keep this as any part of their revenue stream, it would be wise to sign some overarching deal of sorts where they would pay developers their rightful royalty to any of the games Gamestop sells second-hand. I think Gamestop is in trouble for many more reasons, but at least they have other business lines.
  • Backwards compatibility – Sony established that the PS4 will not be backwards compatible; will Microsoft do the same? There are many sides to this question. Hardware wise, a whole new system will make it difficult to be backwards compatible, especially if Microsoft does it right and puts out some quality hardware. It is a difficult thing to do – we all witnessed the backward compatibility fiasco that was Xbox 360. On the other hand, gamers want backwards compatibility. Who wants to buy a new system with very few games available when the current consoles have thousands? The 720 will have a huge leg up on the PS4 if Microsoft makes the 720 backwards compatible.
  • Make the 720 something that can easily be coded on. There is a shift occurring in gaming – the coming of the casual gamer. This trend is mated with the coming of the independent developers. Just look at Journey winning Game of the Year at GDCA. Many of these indie games are on the PS3 platform exclusively even though the Xbox was meant to be a haven for these types of games. Microsoft should bend over backwards to gain the trust and, most importantly, games of indie developers. This is the future of gaming.
  • Make Kinect awesome. Make it magical. Make it something people would buy not because of the gimmick factor but because it is something we cannot game without. Create a contest for developers for the best implementation of Kinect and see what happens; two categories: indie and bigbox. Also, include it with every Xbox starting at release.
  • Do not call it the 720. I know, I, along with most of the game industry media, am already guilty of doing this, but I am tired of all this spinning and ending up exactly where we were. It is representative of a hamster wheel – working very hard with absolutely no progress. This is not the type of marketing Microsoft should desire in their product’s name. Take a cue from Apple’s marketing and call it: the new Xbox.
  • While we are talking of cues from Apple, here is another one: Announce the 720 – err…new Xbox – on May 21st and launch it on June 21st. This would send Sony reeling and it would be difficult to catch up from the momentum Xbox would build. Isn’t the holiday season a better release date? Perhaps, but a certain three month time period is about to begin where kids and college students have much more free time. I would not doubt parents would be willing to keep them entertained, quiet, and (hopefully) out of trouble. This brings me to my next point:
  • Have a formidable lineup of launch titles. Microsoft absolutely must get this right with a quick launch after announcement.
  • Here is my quick list of things Microsoft needs to at least match Sony on:
    • Improve the controller, but not too much (“don’t fix what ain’t broke”)
    • Integrate Kinect with the controller
    • Hardware specs
    • Share button
    • Instant on capability
    • Playing games/DLC while they are still completing their download
    • HD capable optical drive, most likely Blue-ray – Microsoft lost this battle, own it
    • 4K video capability. Microsoft should learn their lesson from my previous point

Microsoft could do some amazing things with the next generation Xbox, but will they? With their track record, it is difficult to predict what will actually happen. I look forward to the 21st to find out.

Let me know your thoughts on the next generation of consoles. Also, I love point and counterpointing in the comments. You can also find me on the social networks below.

Cheers,

The Wach

Twitter: @the_wach

Email: the.wach@ymail.com

PS: I do not own a PS3, but did own a PS2. I migrated to Xbox for two reasons: Halo and the PS controllers hurt my hands after 20 minutes of gameplay. The PS4’s controllers look like they may be more ergonomically pleasing for me.

PlayStation 4 Incoming.

PS4

Just under a month ago, the head honcho of Sony`s big muscly console arm said that they were waiting for the boys at Redmond to make the first move in the next gen console bout, prior to that 2015 was the date being banded about. I’ll admit I was suckered by this porky pie, so it came as a bit of surprise that they were taking the first leap into the pit of next gen, however given the fact that the massive delay between the release of the 360 and the PS3 cost them dearly in sales, then it makes sense that Sony would try and get in there early. Even the staunchest PS fanboy would admit the arms race has been tough for Sony the past 8 years, with them only matching Xbox sales at the end of last year, so in my opinion the big guns are required if they are to reclaim the might of their dynasty from the Age of PS2. In their own words this event is ‘a moment of truth’.

So post announcement is the PlayStation 4 a big gun? Well in short yes, the conference on Wednesday showed the new PS4 to be a really massive fuck off howitzer. The conference itself for the most part was as dry as a nuns chuff in a tub of silica, sparking numerous *yawn emoticons between myself and my hombre eremenko, especially at the beginning when the lead system architect for the PS4 demonstrated a title he had been working on called Knack, I believe eremenko’s words as written verbatim were “This is a joke right?”. Needless to say it looked shit. It turns out that the plan for the conference was to save all the good shit until the end, but more on that later.

The Hardware itself was billed as some super exciting world conquering set up, which I guess as far as consoles go is true, but PC gamers may have a bit to say about that. 8GB of RAM is huge in a console, and its based on x86 architecture which should make it easier for devs to conjure up good games for the PS4 off the bat, a lesson learned from the PS3 which was notorious for being difficult to build games for. The equivalent of a Radeon 7870 is apparently what will be found on board to make the shiny’s shiny, this is a really good card in PC land, although with new architecture for GPU’s coming this year then as usual the console graphics get outdated before it even hits the shelves. If you want a more detailed look at the specs then extremetech.com have a great rundown here.

As for the design, well the controller is basically a dualshock that has been tested extensively in a wind tunnel and the console, well the console is nowhere to be found. Only Sony could announce a new console and not show us what it looks like. Again makes me think they really wanted to beat Microsoft to the punch this time round. Oh speaking of Microsoft the PlayStation Kinect err I mean Eye was also unveiled….meh.

ps4 controller

With the mobile/internet era in full swing Sony could hardly ignore this in their plans, the incorporation of video sharing and even web-casting right on the console, along with spectator mode, which lets you watch your friends play games are certainly good concepts, as long as the video share is not on PSN only and allows uploads to YouTube, as this could really get more gamers/aspiring video ‘lets-players’ to invest. The whole idea of helping friends complete a level by taking control of their game if they are sucking, or rather my friends taking my game when I’m sucking seems a little much, I’m hoping that it asks you permission to do so, but even then where is the fun in not beating it yourself. Still points for effort for at least encouraging a more social experience I guess.

 ALERT: – This next couple of sentences signifies an up yours to all you loyal Sony fans, enjoy. 

Wait, Whats that Sony? No native support of PS3 games right out of the box? Wow, Fail. They say its coming ‘eventually’… A bit like the PS store’s release in Europe… which only happened this year…

Anyway with that out way the lets get onto the games/tech demo’s (of the latter there was a lot, again making me think this event might not have been the longest in its planning). What was shown looked amazing, literally every game bar Knack was so bloody pretty, Killzone Shadow Fall which will launch with the PS4 looked unreal, I love my shooters on the futuristic and frantic side and this game had a sack full of both.

Drivers Club was well drivey blah blah I don’t give a shit, sorry racers are not my thing.

For those who love all things indie, the guy who made Braid, is exclusively releasing his new game The Witness on PS4. It look like a maze game using the same graphics engine as Knack *cough*

Suckerpunch’s PS4 entry, InFamous Second Son looked amazing too, if you want to know what its about, think big brother state and vigilantes with super powers and if you wanna smash shit up, snap necks and it stick to the man (Oo err) this could be the one you want to shell out for.

Personally the bit I found the most exciting, more so than Bungie’s appearance showing even more of nothing with their open world shooter Destiny, was Quantic Dream’s tech demo of an old dude’s face, I think that literally had me sold on what this console can achieve so early on, brilliant stuff. Makes me want a PS4 or an old man, whichever is cheaper. If you like amazing computer graphics or old mans faces check the video out now.

There is plenty more I haven’t mentioned but if you want all the details then I am sure IGN or Eurogamer will oblige, I’ll end the article how I began by saying that Sony see this ‘a moment of truth’, will it indeed ring true with gamers or fall on deaf ears. Either way, the ball’s in your court Microsoft.

-The Quim Ninja

Thanks for reading, what are your feelings toward Sony’s PlayStation 4 announcement? Totally hyped or a bit underwhelmed? Let us know in the comments and please like and/or subscribe for more fucking awesome words in rows.

Game Scone

Apologies for the awful pun

gamescom 2012 playstation cologne

With Dosser covering PAX and our upcoming visit to the EuroGamer expo just around the corner I decide to belatedly blabber about the Gamescom footage I took time out to watch. Starting with the Sony conference.

I want to point out I love my PS3 there are some amazing titles including some of the most beautifully rendered well manufactured games but this years conference wasn’t about them it was all about Innovation!

Seriously how many times/ways did the boys at Sony want to tell us how their new IP‘s are going to be compelling and vivid? Quite the list of titles on display this year chaps but are we really supposed to believe that this is all so new? Ninty started the motion control fad with the release of the Wii in 2006 yes the PS3 has better graphics, yes some of the titles look really impressive but Sony are selling Move like it’s a new idea.

Continue reading