Thursday, 30 August 2012

New media, DRM and the gamers point of view.

New Media. That's the new buzz phrase that describes on-demand entertainment and news. It's the type of phrase that organisations like Hulu and SModCo would use push themselves as being more relevant and in touch with customers needs than 'Old Media' organisations like broadcast television or print news outlets. While I do, pretty much agree with everything these organisations raise as reasons they are better I also have a question, is New Media thing that deserves to be defined?

The internet has become the primary tool for most people's entertainment and communication needs and as a side effect people began to think that the so called 'Old Media' can not provide solutions at a pace that is acceptable. Oddly this has resulted in the organisations that are internet friendly calling themselves 'New Media' outlets and congratulating themselves on their progressive methods.

This is the part that makes me a little mad. These organisations didn't create the audience they moved to the internet to follow the audience and catch up with the needs of a mobile phone obsessed low attention span laden mass zombie culture. The thing is, this culture is wonderful and for all its flaws we (the zombies of technology) are more connected and aware of the world than any generation before us. We can sniff out propaganda at a hundred paces and don't tolerate entertainment that we don't enjoy, we have the power to choose our TV shows and movies when we want and how we want. Thanks to organisations like Netflix we can watch pretty much whatever we want when we want.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Different games same experience

I made it into the Planetside 2 beta, and while it has promise, it still seems to need a lot of work. However what really struck me is just how uninterested I am. I have half a dozen multi-player shooters installed on my PC, and more on my consoles, and I am struggling to get the motivation to play any of them. I love shooters, but all multi-player shooters seem to be a case of spawn, run about, maybe shoot someone and then die, repeat ad infinitum. People think the multi-player is a more interesting than single player, because the people you are playing against make it interesting. However the other people are just going through the same cycle you are, with varying levels of success.

However I believe that I am no longer interested in this cycle. I mean sure I will probably still play an online shooter every now and then, but it will probably only be when chatting to people. I think the days of me playing Battlefield for hours on end have passed. Hell I think the reason I always like the battlefield games is because they gave me something more to do than just shooting, like healing or repairing vehicles. It is not enough for me anymore. 

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Kinectting to the motion future, kinda

A while ago I wrote my thoughts on the PlayStation Move, Sony's attempt at making motion control work. I concluded that while it works well with somethings, it is a largely unnecessary addition that they try and shoe horn into as many games as they can. So, I brought a Kinect (pre-owned cheap, no way would pay full price), and I can’t say that my feeling to the Kinect differ radically from the Move.

So the good stuff? It is integrated quite nicely into the Xbox dashboard, and you just leave it on all the time, and can be pretty easy to use. Certainly compared tp the PS3, II think it is safe to say that no one would use a Move to navigate the PlayStation dashboard. It has hand controls and voice controls. The voice controls actually work surprisingly well, being quite intuitive and responsive, and I have actually used then a couple of time instead of the pad. The hand gestures are not as useful as you pretty much have to stand in front of the TV to be recognised, OK if you are playing a game but less useful if looking for a movie on LoveFilm. I should point out that neither me or my wife have a strong accent of any kind.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Use a Machine to further release the Valve

Valve are an odd company, there is no other way to put it. Yesterday they announced that they were going to add an entirely new game mode to their free to play shooter, Team Fortress 2. A new game mode that seems to change the way people play together significantly. There are many many sites covering this update, however essentially it is a co-operative defence mode against AI enemies. This got me pretty excited and it is a clever change for TF2, but it is the way, or more accurately the timing of the announcement that struck me.

The put out a cool new video (also cleverly made in the source film maker) on the 14th, and it will be released today, the 15th. No no no, this is not how you do it. If other companies are to go by, you talk to the press months in advance, put out teaser trailers and release screen shots. You do not, under any circumstance, just release stuff. Though maybe if you are Valve you can. If you go to pretty much any gaming website, and they will have a feature on it. That's a lot of attention in one big burst. Hell my other half is reinstalling TF2 to play it.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

LotRO - Returning once more.

LotRO has at some point replaced Guild Wars as my 'go to' game when other MMO's let me down (and they always do) by going Free 2 Play in a bad way or just going down hill. Recently The Old Republic let me down in a few ways and now I have strolled back to the familiarity of Middle earth.

One of the things that strikes me about LotRO in its current state is that it has for the most part improved since it has become a Free to Play game. Back when it was a full priced subscription only MMO it had a hardened player base and constant content updates but now it has lots of random oddities available through its store as well as a more even population as you traverse its area's.

there was a point where the game was becoming barren during the levelling process but now there are people wherever I go in the world.

In my opinion Turbine has done an excellent job of catering to new players with a more friendly levelling curve (catch up with your buddies) and a store that for the most part just offers convenience items and cosmetics.

Damn you I am capable of remembering stuff

I am watching, or at least trying to watch, The Hunger Games, when it did something that really annoyed me. It flashbacked to something that happened all of 20 minutes ago. Yes that’s right, it showed footage that I had already seen in the same film. Hunger Games is far from the only film to do this, hell some very respected films have flashbacks to earlier scenes in them. They have always annoyed me. It is essentially the film saying, here look let remind you of what happened earlier, because you probably forgot. Essentially it it the film, and I suppose in turn Hollywood, calling you an idiot.

Then it occurred to me that i have never seen a flashback in a game. I have just checked and The Hunger Games runs for a little over 2 hours. I put 100 plus hours into Skyrim and not once did I have a little scene pop it, to remind me that I need to deal with the dragon issue. Even more linear games don’t do it, in fact the closest I can think is Alan Wake, which has a “previously on Alan Wake” recap at the beginning of each chapter, and even that is more to fit a theme.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Art, Industry and a game with a yeti!

 It should be obvious to any regular reader to this blog that I have recently felt jaded towards the current trends in gaming. I have been angered by constant carrot waving and penny pinching DLC, pre-order offers, viral marketing, real money auction houses and always connected DRM.

As direct a response to this silliness I have abstained from gaming for a few weeks. Sure, I have had a little dabble with Modern warfare or Bad company 2 socially but instead of those marathon gaming sessions that affirm my geek life I have read books and comic's ( shameless plug), I have even watched a movie or six (finally getting my use out of that Netflix subscription) 

After my little break from gaming I found myself yesterday morning a little more fired up to play, I jumped into an old classic 'LotRO' (Lord of the Rings Online) and had a nice time with a level 18 character I had all but forgotten about. A few hours later I was back into the swing of things and enjoying the game a great deal. I got to a moment when I realised that I needed to resubscribe to it to maximise enjoyment. Oddly this didn't infuriate me as paying for MMO's is a well established habit of mine. 

Saturday, 4 August 2012

I will be free to feel the force

It happened, we all suspected it would, The Old Republic has announced it is going free to play, and I am, like about half a million other people, partly responsible. You see I am one of the droves of people that stopped playing, and I guess more importantly, to EA bioware at least, paying in the last six months. It is no secret that the game has been hemorrhaging players ever since it launched.

I am sure Hex will not be happy about this change, however he, like me, is one of those half a million responsible players.  Yes they still have several hundred thousand players, and there are undoubtedly pay monthly games that are happy with a few hundred thousand subscribers, Rift and Eve spring to mind. So the question I have to ask myself. Am I happy/interested in the SWTOR now it is going free to play. Humm I certainly will reinstall it and I will probably play it with the same level of enthusiasm that I did when I cancelled my subscription. That is a nice way of saying that it will stay on my hard drive, and I will barely think about playing it.