Sunday, 25 September 2011

Why cloud gaming is the future, but not with OnLive

If you attended the recent -not as shit as last years, but still minging- Eurogamer Expo, you might have been one of the many people who got their hands on the, not massively talked about, OnLive "MicroConsole" (retailing at  £69.99) for free. If you don't know what OnLive is, it's the next big step in cloud gaming. So instead of buying physical games, or downloading them, you stream the games directly to your television. All the microconsole does is connect to your router and your TV and you play via the bluetooth, wireless, 360 rip off controller. You can also access the OnLive service via your PC, Mac, laptop and soon your tablet, with free apps and using a 360 controller (just don't use windows 8 drivers to use them)  to play the games on their servers. You can either rent titles for 3-5 days for £2-4 per title. "purchase" full titles for £39.99 or play any multiplayer only games for £6.99 a month. And if you were one of the many body odor ridden masses at the Eurogamer expo, then you got your microconsole and pad for nothing. Fantastic!

OnLive is amazing because this person told me it was

It is fair to say, cloud gaming is the future. In a ever evolving industry like video games, we're always going forwards. Well, the technology is at least. I, for one, welcome it. On the plus side, it would mean an end to the endless fucking console zealotry that clogs up the majority of games forums. Universal launches would become the standard, at the very least with English language versions. Larger game libraries would open up as you wouldn't have to worry about hard drive space and it would hopefully put an end to all the rip off DLC crap, console owners have been putting up with. I do like the idea of cloud gaming, for the most part. Hell look how well Steam is doing. However, I don't think cloud gaming is gonna be the norm for some years yet, and I don't think OnLive are the people to do it. Not with their business model and current broadband set up in the UK.

Be how can it not be awesome? It was free

If you've played OnLive, and you don't have a super fast broadband connection (even though some reporters say a 2 MB connection is adequate), then the majority of your OnLive experience will be suffering quite a bot of lag and/or waiting hours for the servers to ease up, so you can actually play a game. Now it may seem unfair to criticise OnLive so early on. After all Xbox Live wasn't exactly amazing at the beginning. But at least it worked and even if you couldn't play online, you just play your game offline. However, that the servers ground to a standstill when it would've been, at most, a over a thousand world wide. Then some serious work needs to be done. Because all OnLive has is their online service, and it that's not working then all you have is a glossy plastic box and a knock off 360 controller and fuck all else. Also, it should be noted that no matter your broadband speed, the screen resolution isn't that great. Side by side with the console or PC version of whatever game you're playing and it's noticeable. Another issue is the pricing. The whole rental idea is actually a good one. And is totally workable, and is a better way to get a proper feel of a game than a demo. But paying full retail for a game you own but never actually posses? That is the single player only, and you can't play if the servers are packed. Also, what happens if OnLive goes tits up this time next year? All those games your paid for, gone for good. Think I'm being over cautious? Read the terms and conditions of your OnLive agreement, then tell me if you trust them 100%. I've also read of some players complaining that the multiplayer games are missing some of the options from their console/PC counterparts. And even if you still fancy getting a microconsole and having a go. Then good luck with your local branch of GAME as mine had no display nor did any of the staff know anything about OnLive. OnLive have made a brave step in progressing cloud gaming, with the current broadband set up we have in the UK and the stupid pricing set on full games means we're some way from it becoming the standard. Just stick with your consoles and Steam for now. And don't forget, Eurogamer secretly hate you and jizz themselves into fits of laughter every time you buy a below average title they hype to holy heaven.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

PS Vita is region free, cool! ...oh wait

If you're as excited as a paedophile on the first day of school holidays at the prospect of getting your hands on Sony's new handheld: the Vita, and you've thought about trying to get it early (out in Japan 17th of December) then good news, as  Sony has confirmed that the handheld will be region free. So no matter where you got your Vita from, it'll play games from any country. Whether that's also the case with DLC remains to be seen (I wouldn't bank on it) but it seems Sony is being so kind to you people who like to get games early or source obscure Japanese hentai and mahjong games.
Just one little problem. Unless there's a half decent independent games shop near where you live, then you'll have to buy your import Vita and games online. The  best know place for buying items from Japan is, of course, I've used it before, their shipping costs aren't stupid and they have a great selection of stuff to buy (like N64 controllers, fighting sticks etc). So one click on the Vita section to pre-order this great new, region free, handheld and you see this:
this is racist!

That's right, you can't buy one from Japan's most reputable online retailer. Could that be because a few years ago, Sony threatened legal action to anyone who imported Japanese Sony products into Europe?  So because of that Play-asia blocks you from ordering any Sony console (or related game) if you live in the EU for fear of getting in the shit like import and console-modification site: Lik-Sang did, when they lost a legal battle against Sony and had to shut down.
So I guess what Sony really meant was:
  "The Vita is region free, for everyone except those cunts in Europe. That'll teach them for speaking so many different languages!"
Very lazy bloggers/writers often play the victim and bleat about how "Publisher X hates the UK" (and the rest of Europe by extension), which is bullshit. It's just that the European branch of certain publishers are either underfunded or run by incompetents. That said, when a big name like Sony does something like this, it's not hard to see why people think it's based on a personal disdain for our riot ridden, sceptred isle.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Gaming media needs to be more mainstream say IGN

IGN's president: Roy Bahat, told MCV how video games media wasn't living up to it's: "extraordinary potential" which is an awfully loose term.  I mean, I have extraordinary potential to be a fireman, because I own a hosepipe. Doesn't mean I can though. What Bahat means is: "We've done alright with our crappy videos, but we're sure we can do better. We just don't know how"
But Bahat does have a point. video games is a huge business now, the demo graphics of gamers is more wide spread than ever. Young and old, male and female. They're all playing a video game of some description. Yet, if you look at any gaming website, magazine or television show, it's only aimed at the stereotypical 15-25 year old male market. Or young children, at a push. If you're not playing games 24/7, in a gaming clan or  terminal male virgin, then there's very little appeal. Case in point, IGN themselves, you'll most likely be familiar with their "IGN stradegize" videos on xbox LIVE, in which the moderately attractive Jessica Chobot, presents gaming tips with further decreasing enthusiasm. You can't blame her, she probably thought her presenting career would take off by now, and she must be sick of people thinking she writes and produces those stradegize videos, thus calling her a "stupid bitch" for not going into minute detail on a  particular achievement. Her only upshot being the ego boost from lonely gamers treating her as if she was a supermodel.
"Oh, you big gay loser, with no girlfriend" you might think "you're being unfair and sexist"
You might be right. As an embittered failure, who resents everyone else in gaming media,  I'm just being unrealistic in thinking gaming media gives women a shortcut, purely to attract hairy palmed losers who will wank over any remotely approachable female, who will gladly let her male co-workers act like borderline rapists, in order to progress their media career. So the millisecond a better gig turns up, they're off to flounder on established TV shows and try and fuck  a major music star

Ok, that could just be the exception, I mean there could be tonnes of professional females working in gaming media, that never shamelessly exploit their feminine appeal to attract the horny male viewer. It's talent and ability that counts in this business, right?

And it's not like they and their producers/editors are just exploiting the obviously targeted male fan base, even though they have very little to no gaming experience and couldn't actually give two fucks of a dead donkey about gaming...
Ah, for fucks sake!

Next time any "beautiful" female in games media gets criticised, look at the comments defending her: It's always homophobic bullshit about how "gorgeous" and "awesome" she is. Male journalists/presenters don't get that sort of following, so it's not hard to see why such cynical casting is employed. It gets the gamers in (in part) but it's what pushed away the mainstream, and since the Wii and Kinect became big business, that's the audience everyone wants to chase now. So if you're a fan of the attention whore brand of games journalist, I would suggest getting your wanks in while you can. Because if IGN (and gaming media on the whole) wants to be accepted as a proper branch of entertainment then that means doing what some of us in gaming did: grow up. Whether that means IGN would then  start making videos that actually deliver real information about a game (instead of just commenting on what they see in a trailer) is yet to be seen.