Video Game Tuesday: Streaming Consoles

Hey all for this week’s Video Game Tuesday I’m going to cover some thoughts on some of the rumors and comments I’ve heard recently. It’s all about Streaming Consoles!

Streaming Consoles: I’ve heard multiple comments and rumors saying that the next generation or the one after will be all about streaming like PS Now. Here’s why I find that concept to be utterly laughable.

Why?: Well okay there are many reasons including but not limited to the reason most people buy a console now a days, other than exclusives like Zelda games, is because it’s a one time buy that will last for years and will consistently play games with little to no maintenance on the user’s behalf. You don’t have to worry about malware mucking up your console to the point of being unusable. You don’t have to search for constant upgrades for the console, like you might with a PC either.

In addition they serve as excellent media centers for homes even when you don’t want to use the console for gaming. I rarely play a game on my PlayStation 3 anymore, but I use it all the time to watch Netflix or other things.

But that’s not a good enough reason!: You are absolutely right, however here’s the biggest and best reason I have that streaming consoles are a long, long way off. Infrastructure. Yes you read that right, Infrastructure is the main reason you won’t be seeing a streaming console any time soon by my estimates. Sure some people with delusions might think that it’s a great concept, but they forget a really simple fact. Most people have rather shitty Internet connections. Playing a game on multiplayer with a poor connection is an exercise in frustration and then you want to stream games exclusively? You want people to play a game with decent quality? You’re going to need to have them getting much better connections to the Internet than they are most likely getting. Unless you live on the coast in the US and are in a big city like Seattle or Los Angeles, you most likely don’t have that great of an internet connection.

Sure it might be okay for Netflix or the like, but that’s because the data being transferred is almost 99% one directional. If it was two directional, like it would have to be to be playing a game, most American’s would have a truly terrible gaming experience. That fact isn’t going to change anytime soon. It’s a simple fact of life that right now ISPs like Comcast or Time Warner don’t want to upgrade their systems to handle better speeds. It’s a huge expenditure that they don’t want to take on and they will fight tooth and nail to avoid giving every American citizen decent Internet. Hell even I don’t get that amazing of Internet, I get maybe 35 mb/s download speed and 10 mb/s a second upload at best where I live. There’s no way in hell that streaming a game is going to be doable with speeds like that.

This isn’t even taking into account countries like China, or European countries. I’m not fully up and up on their ISP situations, but business is business and their Comcast equivalents are going to be just as unwilling to upgrade their systems as their American counterparts. So no I see this concept being utterly stupid and ridiculous and not even profitable for Sony or Microsoft.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday!

Advertisements

Video Game Tuesday: Is Cayde-6 Really Dead for Good?

This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m back with my answer to a question I’ve been asked by a few friends. It’s all about Is Cayde-6 Really Dead for Good?

Huh?: So in the upcoming Forsaken “Expansion” for Destiny 2 beloved character Cayde-6 is going to be killed, supposedly permanently. Many people, including his own voice actor Nathan Fillion, don’t buy that.

So what about you?: I don’t buy it for a second. There are multiple reasons, from gameplay to lore.

Gameplay: If they really kill Cayde for good, that will cause problems with people playing in the Tower. For those who haven’t done the expansion, Cayde will be showing up to do his usual giving out of activities and the like. But what happens when you have people who have done the expansion and haven’t done it in the same fireteam load into the Tower? If they really mean to kill him off they’ll remove him from the tower, which would require a completely separate instance of the Tower which would cause issues with players in fireteams. Otherwise the impact of Cayde’s loss will be meaningless if we can just waltz up to him and grab a treasure map from him like usual every week after he supposedly dies.

Storytelling: Cayde is a wiseass, and that’s a good thing because honestly Destiny needs someone to lighten stuff up. Cayde has always been the one to do that, and if you kill off that character you lose a huge part to the story. Things will get incredibly dark, and even some darker series like Game of Thrones need some lighter moments and characters interspersed to balance the story out.

Lore: First off, it’s supposed to be really freaking hard to kill a Guardian, which Cayde is. Even more is the fact that he’s an Exo, which means every time he dies he loses a few memories and gains a new number. Cayde’s died 5 times before, but Banshee the gunsmith has died 43 times. Finally, Time Travel has always been a thing in Destiny lore. It’s central to the plot, as both the Exo Stranger AND the Vex travel through time. We even get Cayde out of Vex time warp shenanigans in Destiny 2, and that isn’t even touching upon the whole Osiris expansion, which heavily touches upon the time travel aspect of the Vex in great detail. If Cayde were to die for good, we could just hijack a vex machine to prevent it. Boom done deal, Cayde doesn’t die. It wouldn’t be the first time we messed with the timeline in Destiny to our advantage, that’s the whole point of us going into the Vault of Glass back in Vanilla Destiny in the first place. So I’m not buying into the whole Cayde is really dead for good thing Bungie is spouting. Because from gameplay, storytelling, and lore standpoints, it’s total bullshit. Now Bungie could really kill off Cayde, but it’d be a huge mistake on their part. We’ll see how they decide to play their cards, but I would expect Cayde to be sticking around.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday.

Video Game Tuesday: ArenaNet Debacle

This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m back with a topic that gets me riled up. It’s all about the recent ArenaNet Debacle!

ArenaNet Debacle?: So for those unaware a couple writers for the Guild Wars 2 Developer ArenaNet made some angry, and absolutely justifiable, comments via their Twitter accounts. The nastier parts of the gaming community, including remnants of the sham #GamerGate movement among many other more bigoted parts of the community, called for their immediate firing from the company. And they were fired. It’s an absolute PR disaster and sets a terrible precedent that if people get angry and vocal enough they can call for specific developers to be fired. It’s bullshit of the worst kind and absolutely unacceptable behavior from the gaming community.

What should have happened?: Well ArenaNet should have updated their Social Media guidelines. Developers shouldn’t have to take crap thrown at them from ignorant asses that no nothing about making games. Defending themselves is perfectly acceptable, and following ArenaNet’s firing of the writers many other companies have updated their own Social Media guidelines. They also should have defended their developers rather than throwing them to the wolves like they did. Frankly I think what they did is completely unacceptable and stupid on their part.

The fact that people from such nasty parts of the gaming community, including the bullshit #GamerGate movement, got people fired is beyond stupid. What happens when all the good developers get fired? You get games like Candy Crush or even nothing at all.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday.

Video Game Tuesday: The Importance of Timing

This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m going to talk about why doing certain things pisses off players and how to avoid them. It’s all about The Importance of Timing!

Timing? Yes, Timing. It’s pivotal in making the most money and keeping your player base happy. It’s also why people hate Bungie so much in regards to Destiny and it’s sequels content, or rather lack thereof.

Keeping to a schedule: If you commit to a schedule, and especially if you do so publically and on record, you have to keep to it to the best of your ability. Bungie for example promised frequent content updates for Destiny and it’s various sequels, but it’s frequently and often quite lacking. In particular is the dearth of meaningful content being released regularly, which is always a death sentence for an MMO. It’s why Wrath of the Lich King was the last great World of Warcraft expansion before the disaster that was Cataclysm. The content drought was incredibly long in between Wrath of the Lich King’s final patches and Cataclysm, and that was unacceptable in terms of business. The fact that Cataclysm was highly despised as well did not help matters and led to a significant decrease in subscription numbers for the game. And by regular releases, I mean in periods of no longer than two to three months, which is the acceptable amount of time most games have content updates. Final Fantasy XIV has a major patch about every 3 months, and in between those patches are smaller content patches that add additional content. Compared to a game like Destiny 2 whose first content update post launch happened 3 months and was universally despised and you can see why timing is everything in business.

So what about other games? Well other games, in particular games like Fate/Grand Order’s NA client which is two years behind the original JP client, the community has a general sense of what the hell is going on and what is coming out when. That all went to shit when Aniplex decided to move the Paid Gacha pull, where you paid ~$30 to get a guaranteed SSR servant, two months earlier and left out on two highly sought after servants in that banner, Mordred and Jack the Ripper. It’s a move that would have been acceptable if that was an NA exclusive event, but it was a replacement for the typical New Year’s Paid Gacha that occurs yearly for the JP client. So it pissed off a ton of people, including myself. Not only would it have made a ton of business sense to have both those Paid Gacha occur, in addition to the delayed Anniversary Gacha that just happened a couple weeks ago, but it alienated and upset many people.

In addition Fate/Grand Order’s localization team seems to think that announcing content updates at Anime Conventions is a smart move. That’d be acceptable if they lined up to the expected schedule that the community projected, but they didn’t. They let the NA Client fall 4 weeks behind schedule just to announce an event at an Anime convention that at most .01% of the player base went to. It was just another insult in a long line. Such things could’ve been avoided if they remembered how important Timing is.

So that’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday. I’ll close out with a quote from Wit from the Stormlight Archives that puts it best. “What is it we value? Innovation. Originality. Novelty. But most importantly…timeliness. I fear you may be too late, my confused, unfortunate, friend.” 

Video Game Tuesday: What’s Going On With F/GO?

This week for Video Game Tuesday I’ve got an open question to the people at both Aniplex of America and Delightworks. I’m asking What’s Going On With F/GO?

Huh?: So for my readers here’s a brief explanation. In the past few months, the Fate/Grand Order community in North America has been growing more and more upset with the handling of the game by Aniplex of America. In particular Albert Kao, the Localization director for the NA Client has been getting a ton of flak, not least of which occurred very recently when he handled the Anime Expo panel incredibly poorly and unprofessionally.

If you want some proof just go to the Grand Order subreddit and look at all the posts complaining about Albert and his absolutely unacceptable behavior at that panel. In addition many fans are upset at being treated like crap compared to other servers, like China, not to mention the blatant favoritism shown towards the JP players. The latest insult in a series going back to Thanksgiving is the fact that the playerbase was screwed out of 20 Saint Quartz, the in game currency that you can pay real money for, for the recent Anniversary. The issue with this is that the anniversary was pushed back from the actual anniversary date of June 28th to be announced at the Anime Expo panel. Another inflammatory move that makes no sense to many players of the game, including myself. There are possible reasons, but those reasons all come down to a series of events that could have been easily avoided if they didn’t do a certain thing. And that was announcing things at Anime conventions. But that’s a topic for next week.

So here’s my question to Aniplex of America, what the hell are you doing? Many people understand how poorly Japanese companies can treat foreign markets, the whole Gaijin bigotry plays a huge role in this. But this has gone on many times and frankly it’s insulting to not only the playerbase, who you ought to be keeping very happy, but also the people who you invited to your panels who were subject to a man who looked like he had just shown up after panhandling for a day in the seedier neighborhoods of Los Angeles heading the panel. Do I expect an answer to my question? Nope, because at the end of the day I’m just a small time gaming journalist who can be very acerbic at times.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday.

Video Game Tuesday: Alignment

This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m here with a quick explanation on a subject I’ve been asked about recently. It’s Alignment!

Alignment?: This tends to be specifically for Characters, but it can be for organizations or religions or even companies in a game. There have been 9 archetypes that these fall under, and it’s determined by how they act and perceive the world as a whole. The above picture has two axes that you can place just about anyone or anything and determine their Alignment.

Starting from Top Left they are Lawful Good, Neutral Good, Chaotic Good, Lawful Neutral, True Neutral, Chaotic Neutral, Lawful Evil, Neutral Evil, Chaotic Evil.

Give me an Example!: Superman would be a Lawful Good character, where as Batman would be Chaotic Good. Both are people who believe in doing things to better the world, but the ways they go about it are completely different. Superman follows the law, as far it can go for him at least, while Batman doesn’t really care as long as he can solve the problem while sticking to his beliefs.

This system of character alignment has been around forever, but was really codified in Dungeons and Dragons. This system has lasted ever since and is used in all sorts of games today. One recent example that you might be playing is Fate/Grand Order on a mobile device. That game actually has an alignment for every character and sometimes during the weekly “Master Missions” you’ll be tasked with defeating certain aligned characters.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday. What sort of alignment would you say your favorite game character is? Leave your answer with the character name in the comments below!

Video Game Tuesday: Product Placement in Games

This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m covering a topic that often annoys me. It’s Product Placement in Games!

Product Placement?: So real world brands, like Coca Cola or Subway. Sometimes in games you’ll find parodies of real world businesses, like Up and Atom for In and Out Burgers in Grand Theft Auto V. But other times you’ll find actual brands in the games you play. Sometimes this is amusing, like in Final Fantasy XV where not only was there a helmet for Noctis to wear proudly proclaiming Cup Noodles odd placement in the game, but there was an entire side Quest where you hunted an incredibly difficult monster in order to find a good topping for it. It was beyond bizarre, but it didn’t feel immersion breaking. Almost, but not quite. Considering that American Express, and Coleman were also prominently featured in the game that is quite a feat. Other games that have done it well are games like Skate, which features tons of different brands.

But not always?: Right, sometimes it’s just plain annoying. Like the Subway products in Uncharted 3. That was just immersion breaking, and just out of place.

The odd: Some of them are just plain weird though, like EverQuest II having an in game spot where you could order a pizza and get it delivered from Pizza Hut.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday. Are there any games which feature Product Placement that you feel I should’ve mentioned? Leave your answers in the comments below!