Tuesday, 21 October 2014

The Evil Within The Disc

Image from www.ign.com
Who needs discs when you have a perfectly good dial-up connection?

Look-to-Eurogamer-because-I-don't-have-any-ideas news today, as the news website has analysed The Evil Within on PS4, but without its Day One patch, revealing a clunky mess mixed with a blurry aspect ratio.

Still better than the Xbox One version, wheyyyy!

Still, despite the terrible, out of proportion resolution, the game still runs at an unsteady 30-20fps rate that ruins some of the game's best and most tense moments. Not only that, but texture-pop-in is widely visible and rampant throughout the game, and gaps between cutscenes and gameplay completley ruin the pacing. The overall message here is that The Evil Within is a frustrating, almost unplayable mess without its Day One patch, leading to a pretty obvious question: why do we need day one patches just to make games work? With MMOs and online-focused games, I can understand, as servers need to be readied (See: DriveClub), but why do we need Day One patches when Blu-Ray discs can store 60GB of games? According to its Steam page, The Evil Within is a 31GB download, so why can't this be added on? It's simply cutting out the non-connected audience and losing money.

Then again, in this connected age, why shouldn't patches be released? They're the best way to fix running issues in games after release, after all. Despite the Xbox One not being online-only, it seems that developers and publishers are simply trying to push games in an online direction. With online games like League of Legends and DOTA 2 doing so well with their online-only gameplay, why wouldn't publishers and developers transition their games to become more online, and therefore more accessible?

There are examples of Day One patches done right though. For instance, the upcoming Halo: The Master Chief Collection: the 20GB Day One patch adds the online modes, so people who can't connect to the internet don't have their single-player experience affected, and the online mode is there for the people that want it and can actually use it. Why didn't they put it on a second disc? Because they didn't need to, it keeps costs down and means that everyone can pick and choose how they want to experience the game.

What do you guys think? Are Day One patches the future? Tell us in the comments!

Sunday, 19 October 2014

SWTOR Lowdown: Patches and Season 3 Rewards!

img from: http://i142.photobucket.com/albums/r91/phyreblade74/Funny/why-is-swtor-better-than-wow-aliens.jpg

Just some information revealing the new patch coming on Tuesday and the season 3 Tier 1 reward that has been anounsed this week. Enjoy!

Patch 2.10.2 will arrive on Tuesday the 21st of October and will include slot machine decorations (Yay!), 16 player ops to the group finder (FINALLY) and a UI indicator for the 12 XP boost. 

Patch 2.10.2
Hey everyone!  

On October 21st, all game servers and SWTOR.com will be unavailable as we perform scheduled maintenance. Details are as follows:  

Date: Tuesday October 21st, 2014  
Duration: 4 hours  
Time: 3AM PDT (10AM GMT) – 7AM PDT (2PM GMT)

We will be releasing more information about the ascetics and rating required for these rewards soon! 
Until then, we hope you continue to enjoy Season 3!

Game Update 2.10.2 will be applied during this maintenance, and includes the return of 16-Player Operations to the Group Finder, a UI indicator for the subscriber 12x XP boost, and bug fixes. As with all pre-maintenance information, this is subject to change and shouldn’t be considered final until the servers come back up!
Thank you for your patience as we maintain service for Star Wars™: The Old Republic™.
Slot Machine Decors will be available in the Binary Star Realty reputation for 1C
(The 1c Slot Machines will put in game with 2.10.2, and will be removed with 3.0) 

Season 3 rewards 

Well all I can say is I'm glad this seasons rewards are looking better than the last -if you remember the hat controversy. >>  http://gadgetsandkhajiits.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/swtor-lowdown-season-2-disappointment.html
This is the season for furious action! We hope everyone has been enjoying Season 3 thus far and ready for more intense action as we get closer to the wire. Giradda and Baron Deathmark have once again graciously opened up their personal collection of antiques and prized possessions to honor the glorious entertainment you are obliged to offer!
Our goal is to get the rewards out to you, the PvPer wanting to best every opponent in the Arena of Death, sooner so you can hunker down and get to a’ slaughtering! Excitement begets excitement and we hope this gets your PvP juices furiously flowing.
Without further ado here is one of the Tier 1 rewards (an oft requested mount from our Reward Suggestion thread in the PvP Forums):
Above is just a taste of the rewards we are offering in Season 3. In addition to these rewards Giradda will be offering (but yet can’t show off) a new armor set, decoration trophies, a new weapon set, a unique color crystal and a Top 96 character reward! 

Thursday, 16 October 2014

I/O You All My Money

Image from googleblog.blogspot.com

Surprisingly quiet news today, as Google posted on their blog (I mean, what talentless idiots use Blogspot, right?) yesterday detailing and announcing their new lineup of devices and the new operating system, Android Lollipop. Said operating system seems similar to Windows 10, as it aims to link all of Google's devices together, from your watch to your car. The headline feature not outlined at Google I/O earlier this year is "Material Design", which means that every device running Android Lollipop will always look familiar to each other. It's a nice touch, but the new power saving feature is cool, as it can extend battery life of any device by up to 90 minutes. There's also the ability to view notifications from the lock screen (A la iOS) and now you can unlock your phone by pairing it with another Android device that you own.

Onto the new hardware. These new devices are the flagship for Lollipop's fleet, with Motorola delivering the long-rumoured Nexus 6 phone, and HTC developing the new Nexus 9 tablet. The phone is aesthetically pleasing, with a curved aluminium edge, and packs a quad-core 2.7GHz Snapdragon processor. It also includes a new Turbo Charger: a new charger that can provide 6 six hours of use with only a 15 minute charge time. Its 6-inch screen means that it's well into phablet territory, and it's even bigger than the iPhone 6 6 Plus.

If the phones are getting bigger, the tablets must too, and HTC's new Nexus 9 is 2-inches bigger than the successful Nexus 7 tablets, but is still only 7.95mm thick. The small size hides the fact that this not that bad of a tablet: 2GB of RAM and a 64-bit Nvidia 2.3GHz processor mean that it's about on par with most high end phone of the last year. It also has an 8MP rear camera, usually a luxury for a tablet of this size, and with most Google tablets always friendly to the wallet, this could be a great value tablet.

Last of all is probably the most innovative of the bunch: the Nexus Player. Created by ASUS, this is Google's first whack at their own Android microconsole, and it's a stylish one. The sleek disc will look good under any TV, and has a black remote to go with it, complete with microphone so you can use your voice to scour the user-friendly Android TV interface. It may seem weak in terms of power, with only 1GB of RAM and a 1.8GHz CPU, but games on mobiles aren't usually demanding, and I'm sure there'll be slurries of games developed for the Nexus Player.

What do you guys think about this new lineup? Do these products seem better than Apple's lineup? Tell us in the comments below!

Monday, 13 October 2014

The Evolution of Servers

Image from gamersyde.com
1970s: Online Gaming is invented.
2014: Online Gaming still doesn't work.

Slow news day-worthy news today, as DriveClub's servers still aren't able to cope with the amount of players who've bought the game. It's currently 5th in the UK charts (And that's boxed game sales only) and, while there are no official stats, there's no doubt that, thanks to its delay and endless hype, that it sold well on launch day. Thanks to that lack of servers, the game's Playstation Plus Edition, a watered-down version of the game available for free, has not been available, 5 days after it was supposed to have been released. At least we poor PS4 subscribers have Spelunky. 

And soon we will all have stress-based heart attacks.

The question is: How will Evolution and Sony recover from this? Paul Rustchynksy of Evolution Studios claimed on Twitter that they "ran a beta test" and that the "issues were unexpected". Sure, they ran a beta test, but it was a closed beta test. A closed beta makes sense: get hardcore fans of the game to play it and see how it compares to other games. Those hardcore fans know what they expect and what they want, and they'll definitely be vocal about their needs.

But look at a game like Destiny. The game broke sales records, sold through millions of copies and has gathered a huge following without any technical hiccups. How? Because they opened up their beta to give their servers a stress test. Making the beta closed at first meant that people missed out, and would be hungrier for the game. Opening it later then attracted more people and was a win-win for both Bungie and the fans. Online games that had bad launches, like SimCity and GTA Online never ran beta tests, and therefore never had the chance to see just how many people wanted to play, and how many servers they would need.

Did any of you buy DriveClub, and have you had problems? If so, what would you like in terms of compensation? Tell us in the comments below!

Friday, 10 October 2014

Indie Parryty

Image from levelsave.com
 "We want to annoy as many devoted fans as possible, because..... *flatulent noise*" Phil Spencer, Never

Xbox news for Xbox One owners of the Xbox One today, as Phil Spencer, in a podcast with YouTubers The Inner Circle, has said that he will stand by his indie parity policy to make Xbox owners feel "first class". This policy prevents indie companies developing on the Xbox One from concentrating development on other consoles, meaning that, if an indie game is developed for Xbox One, it will be on Xbox One first. If the game has been developed for different platforms previously, then the Xbox One edition has to have some differences to other editions, so you can kinda see why his policy is controversial...

Spencer claims that it's not designed to hurt indie companies, but to help them develop for the Xbox One "when they just can't afford the time to get both [platforms] done.". Indie parity basically lends indie developers a hand, but asks for something back in return which, as an ideology, isn't a bad idea. However, making indie games better on Xbox One (Or just not on any other console) is controversial among consumers, as anyone who's bought a game on PS4 to then find out that an exclusive mode is only on the Xbox One edition will feel cheated by the developers.

Still, why can't Microsoft do this? It's all in the name of business! When the PS4 has so many indie games and so much success, why shouldn't Xbox have exclusive features or games? Why is Rise of the Tomb Raider being a timed exclusive for Xbox One an underhand tactic by Microsoft, when Nintendo and Playstation have their exclusives? Sure, it all depends on the situation, the history of the game and its fanbase, but exclusivity and exclusive items were never a problem before, so why now? It's just how Capitalism works.

What do you guys think? Are Microsoft right to have indie parity? Tell us in the comments below!

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Official Nintendo Obituary

Image from www.officialnintendomagazine.co.uk
You may kill our magazine, but you can't take away our Reggie!

Sad news today, as it's been announced that the Official Nintendo Magazine in the UK has ceased publishing, they announced on their website. Tis the end of Nintendo's decades of official magazines in the UK, so how will loyal UK fans be able to keep up with the latest in Nintendo news usually weeks after it's been announced? On said announcement, Nintendo said that they "will continue to speak directly with fans via Nintendo Direct, social media and online channels and public events.", basically saying that Nintendo is keeping up with the times and, unlike Xbox and Playstation, will be moving all of their content online to the internet, making it much more accessible for fans who don't want to pay £5 a month when they can view daily news on a certain amazing blog with a delusional child at the helm.

The first question raised by this is: Are Nintendo the most modern of the Big 3? Moving all of their content and news to the internet is a move Xbox and Playstation haven't made yet, with official magazines for those companies still running, plus Nintendo never attend E3 in person, instead playing Nintendo Directs for their conference, requiring less effort, memorizing and predominantly less bloopers. Nintendo have always been a quirky and innovative company, from the double screens and touchpad of the DS to the motion remote of the Wii, but they're also proving to be modern and future-thinking too. It's why they've always been one of the biggest developers and hardware manufacturers ever since they started.

The second question is: Are gaming magazines dying? Magazines aren't known to be a stalwart type of media, and with gaming being a more predominantly online media, both for games and for games journalism, I think we'll seldom see gaming magazines after 20 years or so. However, the magazine publishers and editors are pushing this change, rather than the audience and consumers, as digital magazines on phones and tablets usually have extra content in them compared to their papery brethren, and the companies advertise them as such, even encouraging people to subscribe to them and even offering a certain number for free.

What do you guys think? Does this mark the beginning of the end of gaming magazines? Or is this just another magazine ending? Tell us in the comments below!