The problem with the end of a Console Cycle

Hi there Folks!

I haven’t posted here in a while, as I took a little time off to go get married, and honeymoon, like a boss! Anyhow, today’s topic is going to be “The Problem with the end of a Console Cycle”.

It’s not a problem in the traditional sense, if you get my drift. But what I mean is, with the launch of the new generation of consoles on the horizon, games are now coming out for the current gen, that are probably the best that this generation has seen so far.

To give you an example, coming out in the next couple of weeks is a game from the makers of Heavy Rain, called Beyond: Two Souls. Exclusively for the PS3, the demo for this game is available right now on the PSN. There are 2 levels for you to try out in the 3.8gb download, and having experienced it, all I can say is WOW.

Graphically, this game looks awesome, and would make you wonder how good next gen games are going to end up looking. The game stars Ellen Page and Willem Defoe, and plays more or less the same as Heavy Rain did – Quick Time Event laden to say the least.

South Park: The Stick of Truth

South Park: The Stick of Truth

Another huge game on the horizon, that has no immediate plan for launch on next gen consoles is South Park: The Stick of Truth. Expected around 12th December, this is sure to be a huge game, and will no doubt earn high scores in reviews across the internet.

And of course, the launch of Grand Theft Auto V  must be mentioned when it comes to current generation games. With one of the highest ever scores recorded on Metacritic, this game is delighting gamers worldwide currently, and will continue to do so for the long foreseeable future. Even more so given that Rockstar have just today released patches for both the PS3 and Xbox 360 that will sort out the problems with the GTA Online mode.

So, what current gen games are you looking forward to, and are definitely going to invest in before trading up to the next gen?

Until next time, take care.

Xbox One Launch Titles Confirmed

At the Gamescom today, Microsoft unveiled their launch lineup, which includes more than 20 games. This is an amazingly strong lineup, including some exclusive titles.
Xbox One launch titles include:

  • Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag (Ubisoft, Ubisoft)
  • Battlefield 4 (DICE, Electronic Arts)
  • Call of Duty: Ghosts (Infinity Ward, Activision)
  • Crimson Dragon (Grounding/Land Ho!, Microsoft Studios)
  • Dead Rising 3 (Capcom Vancouver, Microsoft)
  • FIFA 14 (EA Sports, Electronic Arts) (Bundled)
  • Fighter Within (AMA Ltd., Ubisoft)
  • Forza Motorsport 5 (Turn 10 Studios, Microsoft Studios)
  • Just Dance 2014 (Ubisoft Paris, Ubisoft)
  • Killer Instinct (Double Helix, Microsoft Studios)
  • LEGO Marvel Super Heroes (TT Games, Warner Bros. Interactive)
  • Lococycle (Twisted Pixel, Microsoft Studios)
  • Madden NFL 25 (EA Sports, Electronic Arts)
  • NBA 2K14 (Visual Concepts, 2K Sports)
  • NBA LIVE 14 (EA Sports, Electronic Arts)
  • Need for Speed: Rivals (Ghost Games, Electronic Arts)
  • Peggle 2 (Popcap, Electronic Arts)
  • Powerstar Golf (Zoe Mode, Microsoft Studios)
  • Ryse: Son of Rome (Crytek, Microsoft Studios)
  • Skylanders: Swap Force (Vicarious Visions, Activision)
  • Watch Dogs (Ubisoft Montreal, Ubisoft)
  • Zoo Tycoon (Frontier Developments Ltd., Microsoft Studios)
  • Zumba Fitness: World Party (Zoë Mode, Majesco)

Microsoft Offering Exclusive Third Party Title With Xbox One

Computer & Video Games (CVG) today announced that according to their sources, Microsoft will be bundling a major Third Party exclusive game with their Xbox One console, when it hits shelves in November.

Microsoft Xbox One

Xbox One Exclusive

This is potentially a boost for Microsoft, depending on what this unannounced game is. For example, if MS found a way to lure Naughty Dog away from Sony, and announced the next Gen Uncharted game was a Xbox one exclusive, this would be massive.

However, if it’s simply a case of announcing a game that was already a Xbox exclusive, like Halo, then it’s business as usual. Microsoft now has to find some way of justifying bundling the Kinect 2 in with the new console, given that it is actually no longer required to be plugged into the console, in order for the console to work. So, there is a £80 (€100) difference between the consoles, with the PS4 at €399 and the XbOne at €499, all based on the inclusion of Kinect. Sony have a similar camera for their system, but chose not to force it upon their customers like MS have.

MS know this price difference is going to hurt them in the markets, so including a game (especially a huge one) should help sweeten the deal a little.

Keep your eyes here folks, for all the up to date news on the next gen consoles.

Microsoft – Xbox One Delayed to 2014 in 8 Countries – How Will The Fanboys React Now?

Okay, it’s getting embarrassing now Microsoft. FIrst there were the DRM issues. Then the always on Internet requirements. All of which the company had to back down over, prompting some internet commentators to christen the new console the Xbox 180 (geddit???)

Xbox180

Then there was the issue with Kinect 2 – you need this plugged into your console to actually use the console. They backed down over this as well. But when they gave with one hand, they took with the other, and took away all the cool things, like disc installs and family sharing.

November 2013 were the shouts we heard, triumphantly from MS. Out ahead of the PS4, who promise “Holiday 2013” as their release. And now, look what’s happened. I’d hate to live in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Sweden or Switzerland in November (something against cold countries MS?) come November. MS reckon the other markets, UK, US & Japan are on course for November still.

All I know is, it’s really getting embarrassing now. Just 1 more reason to stick with Sony, and the PS4.

Transitioning From Blogging to E-Books, & How To Make Money From It

I’ve been thinking lately of making the transition from writing blogs to moving onto something more substantial – more along the lines of an E-Book.

How to make a living from writing

Now,  I have “dilley dallied” in ebook writing before – I have even had a book published, albeit a 33 page self help guide, that to date, has not set the world alight.

However, I feel now is the time to do something more serious – more challenging. Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing has made it really really simple for anybody with access to a Word Processor to become a published author. They give you royalty payments then based on your sales, up to 70% (but in a lot of cases, it’s only 35%).

I feel it’s best to go in with a plan first though. It’s all well and good throwing a few words down on paper, and publishing them, but If nobody wants to read your speil, then the entire exercise has been pointless, and will likely be fruitless.

So first things first – finding a niche. It’s my opinion that, you are better to be a big fish in a small pond, than a small fish in the vastness of the ocean. So, for that reason, I feel you are better finding a niche where there may be a lot of searches for that specific topic, but not a lot of content available.

Once this is done, it is worth doing some demographic research. This will give you an idea of who your target audience will be based on your topic, and if it is possible for them to even purchase your book, once published. There is no point trying to publish a book aimed at people that are not likely to buy it, due to low income streams. All your hard work will have gone to waste, as even though your book might look class, the target audience cannot afford to buy it. So, then you might end up selling for a lot less than you originally intended, which means low royalty payments.

It would also pay of to have a basic understanding of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques, as you will need these when using keywords on Amazon (more on this later)

More and more of this work is being done by Ghostwriters. I myself hired a great Ghostwriter on Odesk, and he wrote half of the books content for me, for the grand total of $22.22. That was over 4000 words of content. Not too bad huh! I even had a guy from India design my ebook cover, for $10.00 – and what a cover it was! A good cover will make your book stand out from the rest of the pack, so it should be punchy, but relevant. Have a look at the top 4 or 5 books on Amazon in your topic area – what do they all have in common? The subject is likely to be there in BIG LETTERS, with a tagline, and the authors name (if you’ve chosen a pen name), displayed prominently.

Now, when you have your book completed, and are ready to update it onto Amazon, you will be given the opportunity to insert 7 keywords, to help people find your book. Now, when they say keywords, this can be keyphrases, not just one word. This is where SEO techniques will come in handy. Google has a keyword research tool, called Adwords, that will help you to find good keyword phrases for use on Amazon. Ensure that your keywords are high search, low competition keywords – this is “key” to success in appearing in Amazon searches (if you will excuse the pun).

Once your book is on Amazon, you will need to get it ranking high, in order to increase it’s visability to potential customers. There are a number of ways to do this. First of all, get some friends with Amazon accounts to review the book for you. If they buy a copy, all the better. This will make your book more visible, and move it up the ranks.

When your book is live, it is worthwhile also enrolling your book for the Amazon Elite lending programme. Now, i know your thinking – “Lend my book, and make no money from it, no way!”. It doesn’t work exactly like that. Amazon set a side a “kitty fund” each month for Authors enrolled in this programme. Each time your book gets loaned, you get a little slice. And your book moves up the rankings further. It’s a win win situation really. If it all seems a bit daunting at first, write up your book in bite size chunks. It’s not a race to the finish. Just do up each page like a blog post – you’ve no problem doing a 400 or 500 word blog? Well, there’s 2 pages of your book done already! There’s over 800 words in this post alone (TL;DR 😉 )

So, how does all of this tie into my gamesappntech blog? Well, you will see once I have my ebook completed. in the meanwhile, why not pay a visit to the gamesappntech site, to get a taste of where this is all headed?

The Nostalgia Factor – The Golden Age of Gaming

When you think of the Golden Age of gaming, what immediately pops into mind? Is it the Consoles of the distant past like the Amiga & Commodore? Perhaps, (like me), you straight away cast your mind’s eye back to the Sega Mega Drive (Genesis) and the SNES, or maybe it’s the N64 / Sony Playstation era that comes to mind for you?

Well, for me, it crosses 2 different generations of consoles. My first real console was the Sega Mega Drive. I had the Mega Drive 2 version of this console, and I can still remember, in detail what that console looked like, and remember how it felt to push the buttons down on it, and insert the game cartridges.

ges

Cartridges – remember those? They were nearly indestructible. Wet – no problem. Cartridge not working – take it out and blow on it! It would magically work. Every time. And how satisfying was it to hear that clunk, when you would insert the cartridge into your console?

Now for me, Sonic the Hedgehog was where it was at in those early gaming days. Up, Down, Left, Right, A, Start is still burned into my cortex to this day – I can’t say the same about any other cheat codes. I loved the Sonic games, every one of them, right up to Sonic & Knuckles. In my opinion, the music in these games was some of the very best – 16 bit music rocks! It could really get across the urgency of a situation. This nostalgia for this kind of music has been raised in me once again by a fine artist, going by the name of Smooth McGroove. This guy is a genius, breaking down all the individual parts of a 16 bit game track, and singing the acapela. It’s a sight to behold – check this guy out on Youtube, and see why his videos have been viewed over 9 million times. His version of Sonic 2’s Chemical Plant Zone is my personal favourite.

Then, Sony came on the scene with their Playstation. This changed everything. Going from the 3 button controller to the 8 button beast the the Playstation pad boasted was a bit daunting, and at first seemed like going from flying remote control airplanes, to real life jets! But soon, over time, nearly all of my friends had a Playstation. Our local video store would rent out Playstation Consoles also, and they were nearly always booked out.

I have very fond memories of being in my friend Davy’s house, about 8 of us, all gathered around a 12-inch portable tv, playing Resident Evil (Wes – Ker!!!). We, being the hardcore gamers that we were, never bought memory cards, so we used to have to try to pass a game in one sitting. We would be at it for hours – and often times lose on the last boss, and would have to go back to the start all over again. Now, that was gaming!

Of course, the new consoles are fantastic, the PS4 is going to be an absolute beast when it comes out, but there will always be that nostalgia factor – and it is for this reason that I still give Sega my hard-earned bucks for their Mega Drive Collection games that they seem to release on every single console going.

So, what are you favourite gaming moments? What was the golden age of gaming according to you? Feel free to comment below.

Grand Theft Auto 5 – Gameplay Video Released!

As you have no doubt seen by now, Rockstar released a video to the world, displaying a little game play for GTA 5. In this GTA 5 trailer, there are many things to get you excited for this upcoming release!

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I mean… wow! For those of you who have yet to see it, head on over to youtube right now, to see what you are missing out on! Now, the video was just released under 24 hours ago, and there are nearly 7 million viewers already. That is some indication as to the level of interest this game has generated.

Rockstar seem to be implementing new gameplay mechanics into the game, with heists using all 3 main characters – this is exampled very well in the video.

The graphics of this game are outrageous also. Wait until you see the mountains!

Another thing that was teased in the video was GTA online, and it shows an example of this, with cars, planes etc all bombing around the map, each controlled by an individual online – the potential for this is infinite.

The Grand Theft Auto 5 release date has been set at 17th September 2013.

Anyways, enough from me, the video says it all – get over to youtube now!

PS4 or Xbox One – why I’m sticking with Sony, and why you should too.

So, Microsoft have changed their stance on the used games (drm) and always on internet requirement, which is great. It will definitely put them in a stronger position in the up coming next gen wars.

PS4

Sony’s PS4

But, I’m sticking with Sony, and here’s why:

Microsoft have effectively slapped the face of gamers. Their main customer’s for the Xbox. And in more ways than one. I can’t see someone who is looking for a straight up multimedia device opting to buy a Xbox one anyways, not at the price Xbox are looking for.

How are they slapping faces I hear you ask? Its all about the attitude that MS have displayed since the Xbox One was announced. They did nothing to help their cause when they came out and said, you wanna play your xbla games, lend your games to friends, while offline – we got a product for that, its called the Xbox 360. So effectively saying, if you dont like where we are headed, you can stay stuck in the past.

Now, I think MS owe a lot to their customers,  especially after the red ring debacle of the last generation (I myself bought 3 Xbox 360s). But what do they do? After announcing “we have listened to your feedback”, they acted like spoilt children, and said, “we will let you share your games and stay offline, as you currently do, but we are gonna take these cool features away from you.  We had a direction, into the future, which we will no longer allow you to experience”. Features like the family sharing option, which allowed you to play your game anywhere without the physical disc, on a family member’s console.

Another thing that burns my ass about MS is, they’ve gone from being innovative,  to band wagon jumpers. So, they took Sony’s Playstation Plus model on board, deciding to offer Assassin’s Creed 3 and Halo 3 as the free games, similar to what Sony does with it’s Instant Game Collection. The problem with this is, Sony will be offering Drive Club, a brand new game, for free with the PS plus subscription,  which will aslo work across the ps3 and Vita. Microsoft are offering games that already feature in bargain bins acroas the country. Sony will offer a new PS4 game then every month. So for the price of just one game, you will get 12 over the course of your subscription.

Another thing that annoys me is, the fact you need to have a Gold account to do everything online with an Xbox. This is not going to change with the One. So, even if you want to watch Youtube, you need a Gold account. Sony are going to make a PS Plus sub a mandatory requirement,  but only for online gaming. You can still watch Netflix etc for free, as always.

The focus on Kinect 2 is another deal breaker for me. MS are giving you a Kinect in the box with your new console, but you are not given the choice to buy a console sans Kinect – why I hear you ask – because the new console won’t work without it. The new console could easily be sold as cheap, if not cheaper than the ps4, if this was left out,  and not made a requirement.

Finally, another thing putting me off the XbOne, as its being called in some circles, is that its damn ugly. They will be lucky that Sony don’t sue them for copying the Betamax blueprint.

Xbox180

Microsoft’s About Turn

Now – the Sony argument. Why is the ps4 miles ahead of the XbOne, at least in my opinion?

Well, first and foremost,  this is a games machine primarily. Sony didn’t position it as anything other than a games machine. But, it can do a lot of what the new Xbox can, Netflix, Youtube etc – without you ever signing up to a PS Plus subscription. If you want to play multiplayer online, you pay your sub. Sony have vowed to take this subscription money and use it to improve the online experience mocing forward. MS have been charging subs the last how many years, and what are they offering thats different?  2 bargain bin games.

I like that Sony are not ramming their new PS Eye peripheral down consumers throats too… its not in the box, its not required to actually use the console, and if you want it, you can get one for about the price of a game, which by my reckoning, is about half the price of the Kinect 2. And as far as I can see, the two cameras are basically the same, spec wise.

Sony are now going to charge for online multiplayer gaming. But this is no big deal.  Mainly because they have guaranteed a new ps4 game each and every month. And the sub covers the ps3, ps4 and Vita. Which delights me as I first got a 12 month sub in January 2013, for 34.99. So, I will get Drive Club, and potentially 2 other ps4 games on my existing subscription.

The instant game collection is awesome, I cannot sing it’s praises high enough. I literally have only bought 1 game since I subscribed. The free games monthly are amazing. For instance, Battlefield 3 is free next month.

Finally, Sony have made it a requirement on the game developers that Remote Play is used on all future ps4 games, which will allow you to play your ps4 game directly on your Vita. This move could be one of the biggest selling points for the Vita going forward, it will be a true second screen experience, and totally  like MS’s Smartglass app. Imagine, someone wants to watch tv – no problem,  you continue your game on your Vita!

For me, the choice is easy. The decision has been made. Its ps4 all the way. What are your thoughts on the matter? Comment below…

Until next time, take care.