games / Columns

Around the Gaming World News Report 07.06.12

July 6, 2012 | Posted by Chris Ferrell

Hey everyone, welcome to the latest installment of Around The Gaming World. If this is your first time checking in I try to cover some of the major stories for each console in addition to news, which in my opinion, is the news of the week.

First, let’s start with the comments from last week.

Dude, Episode 2 of the Walking Dead is probably one of the most powerful DL only games I have ever played.

Posted By: Todd Vote (Guest) on June 29, 2012 at 10:43 AM

I’ve heard it’s really good for Chapter 2. Once I finish playing my review copy of Lego Batman 2 I’m moving on to The Walking Dead.

Microsoft is due? Maybe. But, that does not mean it is going to happen. The market does not care about your feelings and desires. What will happen will happen. Companies come and go. If Microsoft cannot release a superior product (which goes against their track record), the market will not care, I will not care, and life will go on. I also like your view on the price of the Surface. Is that just wishful thinking from a person that prays for the success of Microsoft?

Posted By: Lifelong Console Gamerr (Guest) on July 03, 2012 at 01:51 AM

I’m not a Microsoft apologist. To be fair I do love my Xbox and I have a Windows PC because I don’t want to pay the mark up for Apple. That being said I fully realize the market doesn’t care about my desires. But looking at the trends around Microsoft it takes a while for a success but when it happens, it generally is a money maker for them. For example, Windows Vista was crap then Windows 7 came along to good reviews and is generally well liked. The original Xbox was not nearly as popular as the Xbox 360 is now. They gave the product time to develop and it flourished. Microsoft needs a win for both Windows 8 and Surface so they will give it time to develop. I don’t see this as a pet project for Microsoft.

As for the Surface prices those are numbers I’ve seen thrown around in a few articles and on some tech podcasts I listen to. When they say it will be priced competitively to me that means similar costs to Apple and Android tablet makers. Tablet prices, especially Android, are starting to drop too so who knows how that will affect Microsoft.

As for praying for the success of Microsoft I wouldn’t say that’s true. I want them to do well so there is continuing competition in the tablet and OS markets. Competition breeds innovation which only helps the consumer.

One last thing before moving on to the news. The legal team representing Ric Flair’s red pen is once again in contact with me.

Mr. Ferrell,

Ric Flair’s Red Pen is sorry to see the stance that you have taken with your first legal notice. After 2 weeks of thought, he would like to give you one more oppurtunity to apologize for your false allegations. If not we will be requesting from the courts a picture that you have in your possesion that proves without a shadow of a doubt, that Ric Flair’s Red Pen didn’t come from a Rent-A-Center. Mr. Ferrell we implore you to do the right thing or face this matter going to the court systems. On one last note Ric Flair’s Red Pen would also like in addition to your public apology, that you also stop writing the rough drafts for your online column with Ric Flair’s Blue Pen.

Chris Jericho’s WCW Legal Team

I stand behind all of the allegations I have made I will readily present my evidence if requested. As for my use of the blue pen that is patently untrue. All drafts of ATGW are completed on Google Docs.

And now, it’s on to the news…

Microsoft Secures Xbox 8 – Wait — we weren’t done pondering the Xbox 720. So what, if anything, is “Xbox 8”?

The real, no-fun, answer is “maybe nothing.” But it’s been enough to kick up a round of speculation among tech and gaming enthusiasts after Microsoft fought, and won, against a cybersquatter who had grabbed the Web address for that name.

The National Arbitration Forum, which handles international business disputes, ruled in Microsoft’s favor in a complaint against a Chinese national who had filed for a whole host of addresses representing both current and imagined products.

Via: CNN

Microsoft has registered the domain for Xbox 8. The question is, is this a move to prevent someone else from taking the domain and spamming it up or do they have a true intention of calling the next Xbox the Xbox 8. Many have thought that the next Xbox would be the Xbox 720 based off the fact that 360×2 is 720. If Microsoft chose not to use that name then the Xbox 8 would be close in effect ’rounding up’ to reach Xbox 8. Either that or Microsoft could be trying to name the Xbox after the latest OS that will be released soon, that being Windows 8.

Do I think the Xbox 8 will debut next year? No, I think Xbox 8 is too confusing a name for the next-gen console. To go from Xbox, Xbox 360, to Xbox 8 isn’t a natural evolution of naming. But Microsoft is terrible when it comes to naming. Don’t believe me, the phone OS is called Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 8. There are also a bazillion names for Windows 8 such as RT, Pro, etc.

Lego Meets Halo – There’s not too much to say about this piece of awesomeness. All you can really do is stare and just take in how great this is.

A fan of the Halo franchise for Xbox has gone and made an exact replica of the sniper rifle used in the game. It comes complete with the scope and even a mount for the gun.

Via: Game Tyrant

As a fan of both Legos and Halo how could I not share this? I can’t even imagine how difficult it would be to ‘blueprint’ out this design before actually constructing it. That being said the Lego sniper rifle is damn impressive. I think it would be really cool to see all the Halo weapons made out of Legos. Especially the plasma sword. That would be hella cool to see.

Sony FCC filing reveals new PlayStation 3 Model – An FCC filing has revealed a new PlayStation 3 4000 series SKU, the CECH-4001x, which Eurogamer believes is a new “Super Slim” model. The site speculates that the new model will be announced at Gamescom in Germany next month. The current generation PS3 Slim is the 3000 series, which features a less power-hungry Cell processor and is also lighter than the original slim model, the 2000 series.

The FCC filing relates to the console’s internal radios, and reveals Bluetooth 2.0+EDR and 802.11b/g antennae — as found in the current model. A pair of debugging stations are also present in the filing, DECH-4001x and DECH-S4001x, suggesting that Sony is putting at least some new hardware through its paces — debugging stations are traditionally used when there’s been a change to the chips inside. This could indeed be an all-new slimmer model, but is just as likely to be an internal hardware change as Sony continues to cut the console’s cost.

Via: The Verge

Even with all the rumors swirling about a presumed PS4 it looks like Sony is moving forward with plans to release a even smaller PS3. The 4000 series will reportedly be ‘super slim’ and require less power for all of the onboard processors. My guess is that this revision will also help to save Sony money on each console sold. As the technology has progress it has become cheaper to buy each part. With this iteration of the PS3 my guess is that the manufacturing cost will also drop.

Some people might not think this is a smart move to release a new version of the PS3 a year out from what is believed to be the launch of the PS4. Honestly, this is how Sony works with consoles though. They continued to sell the PS2 for quite a while during the run of the PS3. I see no reason to think that Sony won’t follow that plan when the PS4 drops.

Sony Buys Gaikai For $380 Million – Sony’s recent acquisition of Gaikai, a provider of cloud-based gaming, for $380 million brings up at least one very important question: Will Microsoft purchase OnLive?

That’s one rumor that the news from Sony might strengthen. After all, if the next PlayStation uses the cloud to ramp up the capabilities of its next-gen console, Microsoft will need to compete somehow, and OnLive seems like a natural choice.

Games delivered through the cloud, with most of the heavy-lifting done server-side, can make subpar gaming machines run games much more efficiently, though this concept still has a ways to go. Since the games are delivered online, issues with latency can create snags of their own, cancelling out, to some degree at least, any gains made in processing power.

Via: Forbes

This is very interesting to me. I wasn’t familiar with Gaikai and had always assumed that OnLive would be the first cloud gaming service to get gobbled up by one of the major console vendors. This could end up being a very interesting move for Sony too. With this purchase I would not be shocked to see Gaikai apps developed for both the PS3 and the Vita. Perhaps even the PS4 will allow gamers to access the Gaikai library. Since the bulk of the processing is done in the cloud and not on the console/device the Gaikai games would not stress the GPUs of the Sony systems. In fact it would not surprise me to see some games play equally as well on the PS3 as on the Vita. Of course this all assumes that Gaikai comes to those devices.

The main drawback with cloud based gaming is that it will require an internet connection for each device. This won’t be a problematic for the PS3 since the console is connected either wirelessly or wired to a cable modem. However, Vita’s using cell connections might run into network issues streaming game content. Bear in mind this is all a prediction on my part, Sony has not confirmed any cloud gaming apps coming to their devices.

It’s also very interesting to note this might be start of the cloud gaming war. How long will it be before Microsoft acquires OnLive to match Sony’s move in acquiring Gaikai? Leaked Microsoft memos from 2010 have already shown the company was looking into purchasing OnLive.

3DS Momentum ‘Not Good’ – Nintendo President Satoru Iwata has admitted that the sales momentum of the company’s 3DS handheld is slowing in both America and Europe. During a shareholders meeting, Iwata explained that sales of the 3DS in Japan have been “constant” and may even be exceeding company forecasts. “On the other hand,” he said, “sales momentum in the US and Europe is not so good. Considering that the US and European markets are larger than the Japanese market in terms of the size of the population, sales in the US and Europe are supposed to be larger.” The news comes not long after Nintendo posted its first annual loss, but Iwata believes that the release of the 3DS XL and games like New Super Mario Bros. 2 could help revitalize the handheld’s momentum on both continents.

Via: The Verge

It’s generally not good when a company President refers to the momentum of a product as ‘not good.’ The 3DS was hobbled in North America from the start as its price was considered quite high. For comparison sake you could almost buy an Xbox 360 or PS3 for the price of a launch day 3DS. But, Nintendo was smart and slashed the prices. Even though the 3DS sold for a loss the company was getting sales and people were more interested in their latest handheld.

With this statement regarding the 3DS I imagine that can’t help with the upcoming launch of the 3DS XL. The larger screens are certainly an improvement but I don’t see screen size as the reason for the rough sales on the 3DS. The fact of the matter is the portable gaming market is more crowded than it has been in years. The addition of smartphone gaming has made is so many people feel they don’t need a dedicated portable gaming device. If the 3DS XL isn’t a massive hit I would hope that Nintendo considers releasing older games on smartphone platforms. That way Nintendo can continue to be a force in the portable gaming market. Also, who wouldn’t want to play the Legend of Zelda on their smartphone?

$99 Android-based game console Ouya on the way – A $99 Android-based video game console that’s free-to-play and “built to be hacked” is currently in development.

Ouya will have a “high-concept developer ecosystem that’s as free as can be,” according to The Verge. The startup behind Ouya claims every customer who buys a retail box will get a software development kit, giving everyone the ability to publish games on the platform. The aim is to disrupt the console business by giving a path for indie game developers to reach gamers more easily and directly.

The console will reportedly connect to your TV. Its sleek look is the work of designer Yves Behar, chief creative officer of wearable technology company Jawbone and designer of the One Laptop per Child XO laptop. Ex-IGN executive Julie Uhrman, former Vice President of Game Publishing at Microsoft Ed Fries, and Lab126′s Muffi Ghadiali are also allegedly working on the project.

Via: Venture Beat

So now it seems like everyone wants to get into the game system market. Android is an interesting OS to use for this venture. It’s smart because many games are already being developed to run on Android tablets and smartphones. If these games can be made to also run on the Ouya then there is a readymade game supply out there already.

I could see this being a path for many indie developers to get their games out. In fact the Ouya makers are encouraging development as each console comes with an SDK. That being said, I have a hard time seeing this succeed. People are pretty committed to their current consoles and getting them to switch now will be hard. If gamers are disappointed by the next-gen offering of Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo there might be some success on this console, but I have hard time seeing them all fail.

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Thanks for checking in for your weekly dose of gaming news. It should be interesting to see how some stories, such as the next version of the Xbox and PS3, progress over the next week. As always, please make use of the comments to let me know what you are thinking. Feedback is always welcomed.

I just wanted to let everyone know that I will be reviewing Lego Batman 2: DC Superheroes. Once the review is done I’ll let you all know.

If you find yourselves bored on Xbox Live, send me a message. I’m always looking to put together a good team on the Mass Effect 3 multiplayer to tackle some gold challenges. Without a good team you just get your ass kicked.

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