This Tuesday morning the Xbox One was announced as the next-generation console from Microsoft during an event with much fanfare. When I say fanfare I mean literally as the announcement was held in a gigantic black tent on the grounds at the Microsoft compound in Redmond. Eager journalists, and by proxy the entire Internet, got a firsthand look at the sharp shiny console after an energetic press conference that touted a bunch of new features. Compared to the Xbox 360 the Xbox One is a huge step forward and has enough power to guide it solidly through the next generation.
Last week's episode of Game Control Live got to the root of some issues I've had with the games industry over the past month. In October of last year Disney purchased Lucasfilm but the fate of Lucasarts, their game development arm, was undecided at the time. A few weeks ago Disney dissolved that unit and fans of their many games were left to wonder about the fate of their favorite titles. In this episode we react to the news that EA has now secured the game rights to Star Wars. We also cover Wii developers who are not developing and beat a dead horse by visiting that touchy subject of violence in video games once again. Top all this off with Raychul returning from her week-long intergalactic hiatus and you've got yourself some darn good Internet TV.
Video games from movies are typically awful pieces of meta content designed to squeeze a few extra dollars out of an unsuspecting audience. But just uttering that sentence is now weird to me as the games development industry has continually proven to be a risky business filled with exploding budgets and sales shortfalls. When it comes to movies I'm not usually this pessimistic but I've sat through enough of these horrible abominations that I'm starting to think someone owes me something entertaining for ponying up $60 every time.
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is a sexist neon monstrosity with sensibilities set firmly in the 1980's and that's fine by me. This first person shooter acts as a standalone expansion to Far Cry 3 and takes place in the alternate "future" of 2007. You play as Sergeant Rex Power Colt a cybernetic soldier working for the US Army. Nuclear war has broken out between the Soviet Union and The United States and Rex has been shipped out to a remote island in the Pacific to investigate the existence of an advanced bio weapon that could be used end the war. Your buddy Spider, another cybernetically modified soldier, has come along to watch your back on what is going to be a deadly mission.
In order to follow the Defiance science fiction series on television or play its video game companion, a persistent multiplayer role-playing title, you have to understand a few things. Probably the most important fact is that by the time you join the story many significant events have already come to pass. The Earth we know now has completely changed. In Defiance's timeline the year 2013 marks the arrival of the Voltans and their many giant Ark ships. The ships acted as multi-species lifeboats for the aliens from the dying Voltanis star system. 5000 years ago their binary star pair started to destabilize, an event that would force the exodus of every sentient race within the solar system.
The third episode of Game Control Live is now available as a download on iTunes and also viewable via Youtube. Game Control Live is a weekly webcast that airs Saturdays at 12pm PST and broadcasts live from a secret underground studio in sunny Hollywood California. On our panel we have a distinguished and knowledgeable cast of video game nerds including Dave Klein, Kaori Takee, Raychul Moore and myself. As hosts we all have different backgrounds in gaming but we have drastically different tastes. Even though we might sometimes disagree we're not afraid to speak our mind so join us as we talk candidly about the games you love to play.
Gears of War has been the fallback epic for Xbox gamers for some time now. Admittedly when you ask someone what game most reminds them of the Microsoft console what do they say? 8 times out of 10 you'll hear "Halo" but for a good number of fans Gears of War is their goto series. There's a simple reason GoW is as popular as it is and that's its ensemble cast of action hero characters. Gears of War: Judgement takes place in the months following the end of the Pendulum Wars and Emergence Day. During the Pendulum Wars COG soldiers were actively engaged in a fight against soldiers of the UIR. The COG came out victorious after nearly 8 decades of battle but humanity was ill-prepared for the rise of the Locusts on Emergence Day.
NetherRealm Studios has been to this dance before, they're well versed in the world of "Kombat" and now they've got a license to misbehave. Injustice: Gods Among Us takes some of our favorite DC superheroes and supervillains, throws them into an alternate reality where Superman's a giant douche and pits them in a fight to the death for the fate of two worlds. "Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!". If that sounds like a lot to put on one's plate remind yourself that this is all just a video game that's in-turn based on an comic book. This isn't just any alternate timeline though, in this story things went so "Bat-shit" crazy that Superman punched Lois Lane into space with his unborn child in her womb...allegedly.
Wednesday morning Ben Kuchera published a thoughtful editorial feature on Penny Arcade Report (PAR) that he put together about the state of ad sales and reporting in the games industry. His article covered a good number of topics but the gist of it was that display ads are not cutting it for most publications, internet or otherwise. Ben boiled it down to this: on average a single visitor to a website accounts for half a penny of ad revenue, therefore it can take millions upon millions of those such viewers to turn a workable profit. When all is said and done the numbers just don't add up. This one contributing factor may be a good indication of why so many publications can't make ends meet even though they have record levels of viewership.