As of late, I’ve repeatedly posted links about the current generation of consoles and their woes. (Of which every generation seems to have plenty.) So it’s funny that just now a friend would point me at this older (from December 2013) video doing a first look at SteamOS.
As someone who’s been using Linux for nearly 15 years, I think I know what’s going on here. And it’s not very flattering for Valve.
Yikes! I open up the file, very late, to discover that I only have two links for last week. Well, three actually. Which may just turn into four. Funny how the best ideas come to you in retrospect. Anyway…
The general gaming news consist of Shamus Young over at Escapist Magazine pointing out how Steam blows the current generation of consoles out of the water in terms of popularity, and surpasses every single console of the previous generation, too. All of a sudden, the console wars seem pretty pointless and pathetic, don’t they? Indeed, the most interesting happenings these days are in the PC world, where for example the Unreal Engine is being open sourced. Presumably under increased pressure from Unity? Your guess is as good as mine, and probably better.
March just ended, and with it another week in which gaming news were few, but big. And the biggest, of course is that the Oculus Rift virtual reality system was sold to Facebook. Which, as you might expect, angered the fans who had kickstarted the project initially. And the surprising thing here is that a lot of people didn’t understand why…
Look. When you sell me something, or give me something… when you invite me to edit Wikipedia or contribute to an open source project… Heck, even a simple comment box on a blog post creates an implicit promise. Which people will expect you to keep. It doesn’t matter that the price was fair for what they got. What matters is they don’t feel cheated. Even if no money changed hands, trust is a currency. This is doubly true for Kickstarter, where people sell promises outright. Which they sometimes break simply by failing to do what they promised. But to succeed and then sell out, after you asked people for money specifically so you won’t have to sell out? That’s the entire point of kickstarting! How did you expect people to react?!
Funny how ideas percolate around the net sometimes. Just last week, I was writing about the aging of the gaming community, and how dumb the big manufacturers are for still targeting consoles and games at the younger segment exclusively. And here we have Jeff Vogel advising indie developers to take advantage of this gap in coverage. As if to validate his opinion, it turns out that Papers, Please — a game he recommends in his article — took the grand prize at this year’s IGF awards.
Ten editions into my little newsletter, and I have enough links for a change. Sadly, I also have limited time to write about them. And there’s a lot to comment about…
Last week was all about industry woes it seems. First, TechCrunch claims the new generation of consoles is in trouble. The causes they identify, however, strike me as missing the point somewhat. Sure, the skyrocketing cost of game development cutting down on the number of AAA titles on the market, as well as plateauing hardware performance, make new consoles ever less appealing. The point about the raise of mobile devices, which are rapidly catching up in that department as well, is interesting too. But consider who is supposed to buy all these new consoles and games.
Okay, now this was a slow week, but still the few links I have are worth it.
First, we have news of a man who decided to find the end of the world…
in Minecraft. I’m not going to give you spoilers; suffice to say, it turned into an epic multi-year journey which spawned a 300+ episode (and growing) YouTube series. It kind of puts things in perspective with regard to Minecraft proper and procedural generation in general, not to mention the questions it raises about virtual worlds and the nature of computer games — questions people are thankfully asking more and more these days. With a little luck, maybe this not-so-newfangled art form is going somewhere after all. I was beginning to despair.
So, I’m late again and with few links to show for it, but anyway.
In a welcome twist, the makers of Candy Crush have withdrawn their trademark application, presumably following all the outrage. Let nobody tell you that online activism is frivolous. Too bad that, as Techdirt points out, the saga isn’t really over. But it’s a victory.
Game Devs turning games into movies is bad enough. But it would be so much more tolerable if they weren’t so bloody awful at making movies.
I thought last week was going to be a dry spell, but then I had a whole bunch of interesting gaming news coming up on Friday, so it’s all good.
First a couple of musical news. On the one hand, we have Kotaku announcing an upcoming musical shooter from the creators of Rock Band. It sounds weird… but yay for innovation in big-budget gaming! And on a completely unrelated note (pun not intended), here’s how much fun one can have with a musical toy that was placed apropos of nothing in a random adventure game:
Do you still believe there’s a “right” way to play a game?
All right, no apologies here, I simply forgot to take care of the newsletter yesterday with everything else I had on my mind. Most of the news this time aren’t even strictly about gaming, and there aren’t many of them in the first place, so…
Anyway, the two big scandals from last week are continuing. First, we have Peter Molyneux, who made the original Dungeon Keeper, chime in about the recent EA debacle, and his words aren’t too kind. Then we have one more opinion about the drama surrounding Flappy Bird, which like the one I quoted on Friday isn’t so much about what happened as how insensitive people can be on the Internet. And that’s a real problem we’re nowhere near solving.