This morning Nintendo announced a partnership with Japanese company DeNA to produce games using Nintendo properties on mobile platforms. As the owner of mobile platform Mobage, DeNA is one of the most powerful names in mobile gaming, but the sort of games it’s known for won’t make traditional console gamers happy.
Archive for the ‘video games’ Category
Valve recently put up an early list of Steam Machines coming this November from various gaming computer makers. Paul Tassi of Forbes is here predicting doom and gloom in an article comparing the chances for Valve’s success against traditional gaming consoles:
So if Steam Machines aren’t for console players, will existing PC gamers bite? I really don’t see a reason for them to do so. PC gamers like their mouse and keyboard, their ability to sit close to their monitor, and the probably multi-thousand-dollar rig they already have. The avid PC gamers I’ve seen look at Steam Machines as “good for people who want to check out PC gaming,” but almost none of them seem to be considering it for themselves. And why would they? It’s just a pre-built gaming rig that hooks up to their TV and runs Steam Big Picture, something all the do-it-yourself-ers out there could have made themselves for years now if they really wanted to. With the release of the new store, many veterans of the scene are looking over some of the machines and laughing about the price, knowing they could get the exact same level of performance for much, much cheaper if they did it on their own. Other than the ability to express their endless love and devotion for Valve’s Gabe Newell, patron saint of PC gaming, I don’t know what PC gamers get out of Steam Machines.
This is but one of the many arguments Paul Tassi has that they won’t find their market.
It’s a bit early to predict the death of Steam Machines, eight months before they ship. Among Paul Tassi’s other arguments is this one:
Why? Before I flood your screen with a deluge of reasons, first and foremost what the new store page shows is a huge range of prices, ranging from slightly above asking price for the PS4 and One ($460 for iBuyPower’s box) to typically absurd gaming PC levels (as high as $5,000 for top-of-the-line units from Falcon Northwest and Origin). Across the fifteen(!) different machines on the page, only two are around the $500 mark, while the rest probably average between $700-$900, if I’m being generous.
There is definitely a large selection and I can see how it might steer some people away and back to their consoles. It makes sense to have a small selection of products that people can choose from. A good machine, a better machine, a best machine.
That is the one valid criticism in Paul Tassi’s article. The others are ridiculous. PC gamers aren’t going to buy these? If some weren’t already buying pre-built gaming machines these companies wouldn’t be in business to now sell Steam Machines.
There are other, more valid, criticisms that Paul Tassi misses.
These machines run Steam OS, and although you could replace that and install Windows at your own expense there will be a more limited selection of games available for the default Linux-based operating system.
Though he does point out that they’re more expensive than consoles, the reason why is extremely important. Consoles are subsidized and initially sold at a loss to be later offset by software sales with a cut going back to the manufacturer. Valve isn’t selling these directly and can’t do that. Subsidies are the one way that Valve could really improve the initial turnout on Steam Machines but then they would have to produce their own and be competing with these third parties.
The advantage to Valve in the current Steam Machine situation is that they lose almost nothing if Steam Machines fail to find users.
The one thing Valve loses if Steam Machines fail is their edge against Microsoft. Steam Machines (and SteamOS) exist as a wedge against the possibility of a strong Windows App Store in future versions of Windows where customers won’t or can’t choose Valve’s Steam marketplace.
The computer manufactures have something to lose too. With Steam Machines they don’t have to deal with Microsoft and pay for copies of Windows. As far as we know, Valve charges them nothing to include SteamOS.
This is the reason why Steam Machines aren’t really here to challenge consoles. They’re here to take on Windows.
Evan Narcisse writing about the sequel to the Tony Hawk Pro Skater-esque 2D platforming skate-em-up OlliOlli:
OlliOlli2: Welcome to Olliwood will drive perfectionists crazy, because they’ll want to master everything about the each of the game’s intricately tricky levels before moving on to the next one. That way lies madness. And ridiculous amounts of fun.
Out this week for PS4 and Vita, the follow-up for Roll7’s sharply-realized skating sidescroller improves just about everything that the first OlliOlli did. The visual approach is smoother and slicker, looking more like a playable micro-sized cartoon than a retro-pixel homage. It’s faster, too, with sections that require quicker, more nimble fingers to ollie over and grind through. Another improvement comes in the form of a dedicated quick-restart button for when you bail and want to get right back on your board. You’re going to be using that a lot because OlliOli2 is harder than its predecessor.
OlliOlli 2 is one of the free games this month for Playstation Plus subscribers. New in this Olli are manuals and their implementation is more natural and easier to pull off than in Tony Hawk, so I’ve been loving the addition. Unfortunately, OlliOlli2 is locked up in some kind of exclusivity agreement with Sony for now. Though the original Olli is 75% off the regular price of $13 on Steam for the next 16 hours.
Downloadable prequel to the New Order, $20, ships May 5th. Get psyched.
No-longer affiliated with MTV, Harmonix’s Rock Band 4 ships later this year. Mad Catz is making the instruments and old DLC will be compatible. Most likely just from one console generation to another as opposed to cross manufacturer. They’re working on instrument backwards compatibility. No Wii version. That Penny Arcade guitar is possibly the most hideous peripheral I’ve ever seen.
Rocksmith still seems more interesting to me, though it isn’t a party game at all.
Also shipping this November for $50 is Steam Link, a dedicated streaming box for your TV that’ll have USB ports so you can plug in any controller, not just the Steam Controller.
There was a product page on Steam for this which had some renders of the Link but it appears to be pulled. Google has a cached version.
Not much to look at.
Ben Kuchera got a chance to try Valve’s Steam VR headset system using the just announced Vive hardware from HTC as well as an updated version of the controller for Steam Machines.
On the VR System:
The hardware is clearly a work in progress, and the fit and finish needs to be improved substantially before launch. The two controllers, one held in each hand, feature buttons on the grips; they feature triggers too, and a touchpad on the front that also works as a button. It’s an intense amount of hardware. We were told that to run the demos we were playing, you’d need a high-end video card and a very competitive gaming PC. Nothing about this sounds like a mass media product.
So that’s the bad news. The good news is that the hardware is incredibly fucking cool.
Read the rest of his article, his experience there sounds fantastic. Mark “Gaming Jesus” MacDonald also described the Steam VR experience Valve was demonstrating last year on this week’s Giant Bombcast.
On the controller:
The Steam controller is a big part of what makes a Steam Machine a Steam Machine; we were told that running SteamOS and being packaged with the controller were two of the main things that need to be included to use that branding. The controller itself has gone through a number of revisions, but we were able to use what Valve is calling the final version during GDC.
The old Steam Controller given out at dev days was obviously a stepping stone to get somewhere else, I haven’t used it in months, and I can’t wait to try this new one. It’s particularly interesting how this newer iteration has the exact same X/Y/A/B button layout down to the color as the Xbox One controller. It’ll be $50 when it’s released this November. No price on theVive yet.
Kojima’s Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain will be delayed until the 15th of September for PC via Steam, which is where I’m getting it. PS3, 360, PS4, Xbox One will get it a few weeks earlier on the 1st of September.
Unreal Engine 4 is now available to everyone for free, and all future updates will be free!
You can download the engine and use it for everything from game development, education, architecture, and visualization to VR, film and animation. When you ship a game or application, you pay a 5% royalty on gross revenue after the first $3,000 per product, per quarter. It’s a simple arrangement in which we succeed only when you succeed.
That sound you hear in the distance is the founders of Crytek and Unity crying.