Archive for category Trends

Now for Something Completely Different: The SimCity Fiasco

For the past 4 days, the gaming community has been ablaze with conflict, and pretty much all of it has been focused on one game, and one issue. SimCity’s always-online DRM.

Here’s a quick recap of how the situation has progressed on this issue. EA launches SimCity. SimCity servers are completely overloaded, and no one can play the game. Think Error 37 all over again. SimCity servers continue to be bombarded with millions of people wanting to play. EA announces they are to remove “non-critical features” for the game temporarily to lighten server load, and do so shortly after. Amazon stops sales of game. People start asking for refunds, EA gives none. Some EA forum mods threaten to ban those who ask for refunds. EA backpedals on the previous statement, but they still don’t give any refunds. Rumor has it EA hires hundreds of Chinese workers to post positive things about the game and the DRM, reports remain unconfirmed. EA asks third parties to stop marketing game until issues are resolved. People are still mad. The servers still don’t work. Tropico 4 goes on sale.

Millions, all screaming in pain.

Millions, all screaming in pain.

It’s safe to say that the SimCity launch has been the worst launch of any game ever. The only launch to come close to this nonsense has been World of Warcraft, or Diablo 3. But EA’s behavior and response to the launch have been, to put it nice, unsatisfactory.

Instead of delivering a GOTW this week, I feel that the situation has gotten way too out of control and it’s time we talked about it while it still remains relevant. I’ll recap the arguments for and against the game and the DRM, and give my thoughts at the end. Here are the most common problems:

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What the PS4 Means for PC Gaming

The PS4 was announced last week, as many of you may already know. There was a brief look into the ” ‘supercharged’ PC architecture” , a couple games shown from established PS-exclusive franchises, nothing too exciting. But as a PC gamer, I wondered how this would affect the landscape that I play games on. Simply put, nothing bad should come out of the PS4 for us, only good.

SUPAHCHARGED

SUPAHCHARGED

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On “Stupid” Fun

According to David Cage, the guy behind Heavy Rain, games need to grow up, be more mature. They need to have meaning. In his viewpoint, every game must be serious and act like his own game, Heavy Rain.

Sigh. Mr. Cage, hate to break it to you, but your game wasn’t even all that good, and not all games need to have some sort of socio-political undertones. In fact, many games do better without taking themselves seriously. I would even go so far as to say that most games do better without some bulls%#t meaning injected into them. Games can be, and often times are meant to be, stupid fun.

Le boo hoo, Ethan Mars.

Le boo hoo, Ethan Mars.

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Where to Draw the Line

I viewed a post a while ago on Reddit about a father (mother?) who did a video game themed party for their 9-year-old child. The games featured were Minecraft, Portal, and The Binding of Isaac. Wait, The Binding of Isaac? Well, apparently, yeah. And while a heated discussion of the choice of the parents to allow their child to play BoI, I wondered, where does one draw the line?

binding of isaac splash screen

 

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Destigmatizing Violence? Yeah Right.

Ever since Sandy Hook, video games have been in the limelight along with guns as the center of political attention. Again. Even though I find it infuriating that old men in suits are brainwashing the general public into thinking that video games cause violence or are a threat to our children, I was particularly interested in a certain governor. This governor would be Mr. Dannel P. Malloy of Connecticut. He said, and I quote, “If we spent as much time and energy on destigmatizing mental health treatment as we do in the proliferation of these video games that destigmatize violence, we as a society would make great gains.” So, there is a conscious effort from video games to distance themselves from the issue of violence.

Yeah right.

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So, What’s the Big Deal With Eye-Tracking?

Maybe it’s just because I’m a gamer, and tend to gravitate towards things involved with gaming, but I saw a lot of news from CES about new means of interaction. There was Valve and Gabe Newell talking about bio-metrics and gaze tracking, there were demos of the latter, hand tracking, and a whole slew of interaction methods and devices that didn’t require a keyboard and mouse. From a gaming perspective, it seemed like everyone was dissatisfied with what we’re using now?

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