Thursday, August 31, 2017

Patch for the Pitch

The Premier League season kicked off earlier this month, they are already 3 games into the season, yet FIFA 18 and Pro Evolution Soccer 18 haven't been released yet. Given that the NFL season hasn't commenced but we have Madden 18 and we will get NBA2K18 out well before the commencement of the new NBA season its kind of bizarre that the two footie games don't come out in preseason. In this age of patches and updates, waiting for the transfer window to close doesn't make much sense - NBA2K18 doesn't wait until the trade deadline to release their game. Its fun to simulate a match the night before or an hour before kickoff where you get the team sheets - follow your team and play the season. This weird period of having the season start and playing the last years version with last years kits and not having the new players is bizarre in 2017 - if you are going to stop updating FIFA/PES 2017, release the new versions before the season starts! Thank God for ProEvo Option Files. 

Monday, July 31, 2017

The Retro Gaming Craze

NES Classic, SNES Classic, Atari coming back with a console - what is going on? NaS had a re-issue of Illmatic for its anniversary, you see classic movies like Scarface and Goodfellas get re-released every time there is a new format - DVD, Blu-Ray, 4K UHD. You do see games like Super Metroid get released on the virtual console on Nintendo's various platforms or Street Fighter II HD release on PSN or XBL - but these retro console releases are something inherently different - It's like the equivalent of buying a VHS machine with an HDMI connection that has 50 classic movies with no really significant video quality improvements.

Ratchet and Clank getting remastered for the PS4 makes sense. Final Fantasy VII getting a remake for PS4 makes sense. Parappa the Rapper...ok, maybe not that franchise. A live action Beauty and the Beast makes sense. A digitally remastered Nirvana album makes sense. Have we ever seen something like the NES Classic before? And if so, has it ever been such a runaway success?

Its great that new and old gamers are either experiencing or revisiting classic consoles and it is a much more affordable option for a lot of consumers - buying a PS4 and paying $40 for a PSOne classics digital download is going to run you about $400. An NES Classic was only $59.99 - the cost of one PS4/XB1 game.  

Friday, June 30, 2017

Sony's Position on Cross Play

Sony is the market leader in the current generation, so its no surprise that they are the holdout in cross play. It will be much easier for a gamer to trade in their PS4 and upgrade to Xbox One X and play NBA2K in true 4K if that gamer knows that they can still play with their PS4 friends. Hard to imagine Microsoft adopting cross play so quickly IF the situation was reversed - but after the fallout from the original Xbox One announcement THERE is a chance if Sony approached Microsoft to open up compatibility they would, especially early in that PR disaster. 

The fact is Nintendo, Microsoft, and even PC are on board, games like Rocket League are ready and just need to turn on a switch. Sony's pathetic excuse is not going to fly much longer, no matter how great their lead is and how much credit they have by "listening to gamers" compared to Microsoft during their respective console debuts. Sony needs to open up cross play this generation - its what the gamers want. 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Switch Dilemma

I have NO idea how this is going to go - everybody is rooting for Nintendo, but its just so hard for them to continually compete with Sony and Microsoft these days. Yes, the Wii sold like crazy and is one of the best selling consoles of all time, but once the gimmick wore off it didn't get the traction or staying power with its lackluster software support. It had great titles, but in the end you were playing CoD, Madden, and FIFA on your PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360...and that's the thing. 

You could play Madden on the Wii and it was different, it wasn't the authentic experience or the graphically superior version of the game but it might have been the more fun because of the novelty of the Wiimote - but that wore off. The Switch might be graphically inferior, and it no longer has the novelty of motion control (mostly) but the Switch DOES have the novelty of portable local multiplayer. NBA2K doesn't have to be different on the Switch - it can be basically the same controls, but being able to take it on the go and playing with your friends without being bound to a TV could be a game changer. 

The challenge is that NBA2K will be better on your 4K set with HDR on your PS4 Pro or Xbox Scorpio, it will be a better experience even in 1080p on a regular PS4 or XB1 than the Switch. The PS4/XB1 is the more definitive version of your favorite 3rd party franchise, while the Switch is the portable party version. Can you really play Madden on the Joy-Con? Yes, you can buy 2 Pro controllers, but that hurts the portability. 

Maybe the Joy-Con undocked experience is good enough - this is a generation that prefer to play on their iPhone and iPad rather than a 50" TV and the Joy-Con is definitely a better experience for playing FIFA than a touchscreen. And if you take that into account and combine it with the fact that Nintendo can continue to churn out titles like Zelda Breath of the Wild, maybe they can make a play on both demos. 

The WiiU showed that Nintendo can't JUST rely on their franchises - Mario/Mario Kart, Zelda, Metroid, Pokemon, etc. are great but if 3rd party devs abandon ship its almost certainly curtains. 3rd party devs seem enthused with the portability factor and are willing to give the Switch a shot, but the sales numbers on Call of Duty Switch edition and FIFA Switch need to be satisfactory in order for the Switch to survive. 

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Episodic Epidemic

Telltale has done a great job with their brand of games - creating a niche genre that delivers in excellent storytelling. Multiplayer and Mobile have conflated the market and one component of games that has probably dropped off as a result has been the story/plot…so it was good to see Telltale interject their “narrative device” starting with the Walking Dead license. The Chapter delivery mechanism was also unique and interesting - you had cliffhangers and also a new and refreshing pricing model. 

Its the latter that’s the problem - now, developers are quick to adopt the new pricing model to compete with their mobile brethren and will tweak the model so they can maximize how much they can scourge the buyer without blowback. 

Square’s Final Fantasy VII remake will adopt this episodic release model - the original game encompassed 3 discs…how much chapters will this massive game be? How much will Square stretch it out? Chapter 1 might release in 2016, Chapter 64 can release in 2018…Prologue can release in 2020, DLC can release in 2022...

It’s EASY to see developers exploiting this model and milking the consumer as much as possible.  

Saturday, October 31, 2015

On Madden 2016

Yes, I realize this is VERY late but September and October was CRAZY!

Madden still surprises me in a way that they continue to innovate and are not as bad as you think they would be because of complacency (since NFL2K or GameDay hasn't pushed them in YEARS) but at the same time STILL have glaring problems - end zone glitches where the WR scores but goes thru a wall in his celebration.

 Its Madden...its solid - presentation is top-notch from EA Sports, but that's it really; polished, refined, very good but not revolutionary. Its the best NFL football game you can buy...its the ONLY NFL football simulation game in town...unless you are still modding NFL2K.

Monday, August 31, 2015


It's that time of the year again - Madden came out on Tuesday, Metal Gear Solid Phantom Pain comes out tomorrow...ProEvo, FIFA, Mario Maker, NBA2K16, Tony Hawk, and Forza ALL come out in September!

YouTube is coming HARD at Twitch.

New 3DS (non-XL) is confirmed for the US (September too!)

Expect a post on Madden this weekend and a Metal Gear post the following weekend.

Wake me up when September Ends!