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2014-06-17
Sony has announced on the PlayStation Blog that, beginning tomorrow, Terraria will be free for PS Plus subscribers. Additionally, an "Only On PlayStation" sale and a sports sale will discount a total of 20 games. Terraria, the fantastic 2D sandbox crafting and adventure game by Re-Logic, is available on the PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 3. The versions are cross-buy and cross-save, so one download will get you both versions and you can move your saves between them. The "Only On PlayStation" sale cuts the prices of 11 PlayStation 4, PS3, and Vita games. Steeper discounts are available to PS Plus subscribers. Among others, thatgamecompany's beautiful game, Flower, is on sale on the PS3, PS4, and Vita for only $5 ($3.49 for Plus), and the HD remakes of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus are only $10 ($5 for Plus). The sale runs from tomorrow until June 23. The sports sale slashes the prices of 9 football, golf, baseball, soccer, and hockey games. FIFA World Cup Brazil is $40 ($28 for Plus), the Vita version of MLB 13: The Show is only $9 ($6.29 for Plus), and Madden 25 on the PS3 is only $35 ($25 for Plus). The full list of discounts is below: "Only On PlayStation" Sale: Dead Nation Apocalypse Edition -- PS4 (Was $14.99, now $7.49, PS Plus $3.75) Flower -- PS4 (Was $6.99, now $4.99, PS Plus $3.49) Flower -- PS3 (Was $6.99, now $4.99, PS Plus $3.49) Flower -- PS Vita (Was $6.99, now $4.99, PS Plus $3.49) Ico -- PS3 (Was $19.99, now $9.99, PS Plus $5.00) LittleBigPlanet -- PS3 (Was $29.99, now $14.99, PS Plus $7.50) PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale -- PS3 (Was $19.99, now $9.99, PS Plus $5.00) Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time -- PS3 (Was $14.99, now $9.99, no Plus discount) Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction -- PS3 (Was $14.99, now $9.99, no Plus discount) Shadow of the Colossus -- PS3 (Was $19.99, now $9.99, PS Plus $5.00) Tearaway -- PS Vita (Was $35.99, now $24.99, PS Plus $17.49) Twisted Metal -- PS3 (Was $19.99, now $9.99, PS Plus $5.00) Sports Sale: FIFA 14 -- PS3 (Was $59.99, now $41.99, PS Plus $37.79) FIFA 14 -- PS4 (Was $59.99, now $53.99, PS Plus $48.59) FIFA World Cup Brazil -- PS3 (Was $59.99, now $39.99, PS Plus $27.99) Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational -- Vita (Was $13.49, now $6.49, PS Plus $3.25) Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational -- PS3 (Was $19.99, now $9.99, PS Plus $5.00) Madden NFL 25 -- PS3 (Was $49.99, now $34.99, PS Plus $24.99) Madden NFL 25 -- PS4 (Was $59.99, now $53.99, PS Plus $48.59) NHL 14 -- PS3 (Was $49.99, now $34.99, PS Plus $24.49) Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 -- PS3 (Was $29.99, now $20.99, PS Plus $14.69) Info from Gamespot.com
2014-06-17
Call it Chekhov's platitude. You see a conspicuous title like "Always Sometimes Monsters," and you can bet that in the third act some character is going to fire off that string of words verbatim as part of some truism on the human condition. We're always sometimes monsters, you see. Or something. I can hear echoes of Don Cheadle's faux-wistful speech from Crash: "In LA, nobody touches you. ... I think we miss that touch so much that we crash into each other, just so we can feel something." In A.O. Scott's Times review of the film, he'd wondered about a possible name for the genre Crash typified: stories "where people from radically different backgrounds are brought together by a grim serendipity that forces them, or at least the audience, to acknowledge their essential connectedness." I find myself wishing Scott had settled on a term for the genre, because Vagabond Dog's Always Sometimes Monsters is it, whatever "it" is. Almost everyone speaks in this uncanny way. Always Sometimes Monsters is full of strange people who wax philosophic to those they've just met. People who commit felonies to avoid minor inconveniences, and who constantly vacillate between righteous empathy and callous disregard for their fellow man. One of those people is you, a failed writer and failed lover who has received an unexpected wedding invitation from your ex. The particulars of that relationship are flexible, dictated from player to game by a simple choice of drinks at a party. It's an elegant character select system in disguise, wherein personal qualities like gender, race, and sexual preference are never made to suffer the crass fumbling of sliders and toggles. Always Sometimes Monsters has been lauded for this--and rightly so--but it botches the landing: while the selection of male characters runs the full gamut of body types, the available women range from the impossibly cute to the improbably endowed. The latter cup their breasts between their biceps suggestively, or rest them over a bit of forearm scaffolding. Ah. So it's a video game we're playing then, lest we'd somehow forgotten--an RPG Maker game, to be specific, boxed into the do-it-yourself engine's low resolution frame and sporting only the most rudimentary audiovisuals. But it's enough to shuffle Always Sometimes Monsters along toward its main thrust--an exploration of choice and consequence. As you set about the task of finding a way to the wedding, the narrative dovetails immediately: You're short on your rent. Do you resort to crime to make up the difference, or sleep on a soiled mattress in the adjoining alley? A few menial job prospects have revealed themselves, but do you keep a promise to do chores for your elderly neighbor instead? This sort of choice is, for some, the thing role-playing games "do." Linearity, to such a person, is a term of bitter disparagement. But branching narrative isn't always the sexy design it's so frequently made out to be. Before you can approximate your avatar's mindset, before you can make informed, satisfying decisions about relationships and careers, the fiction's table must be set--salad fork on the outside and all. But Always Sometimes Monsters' in medias res story writes a check that the game's amateurish writing can't cash. We're asked to summon up emotional investment for new characters based on a scant few lines of blunt exposition, a la "Sam is my best friend." Then we're asked to sustain that investment as they're dropped from the narrative altogether for most of the proceedings. The issue is exacerbated by the limitations of the engine powering Always Sometimes Monsters. Without voice, or gesture, or change of expression, characters met can only be evaluated by their portraiture and a bit of anime emotional shorthand--heart icons for love, sweat drops for exasperation. Disappointingly, the personalities found therein rarely deviate much from the often stereotypical appearances. Take your good friend, Darkeff. You know he's your good friend because your character states that he's your good friend. Darkeff is a musician. He's also a recovering heroin addict. When he stumbles upon a bag of the stuff, I gamely look for options to get it out of his hands, but my curiously incurious character doesn't seem to see much cause for concern. Fast-forward a few days, and guess who's in the hospital, dying for want of healthcare funds. Our good friend Darkeff wears the same sunglasses he always wears even in near-death, and his guitar sits in the corner of his room, perhaps because we might not know who he is otherwise. You're short on your rent. Do you resort to crime to make up the difference, or sleep on a soiled mattress in the adjoining alley? Still more issues rise up from the depths to challenge immersion. Always Sometimes Monsters doesn't like to abandon any one narrative thread until it has achieved peak melodrama. So at the behest of another addict, you're inexorably compelled to blackmail the doctor, either by snooping through his files or, as I elected, by smashing up his expensive car. But as luck would have it, another character who'd just earlier promised me a ride out of town was planning, unbeknownst to me, to borrow that very same car. Grim serendipity, indeed. With choice and consequence thusly meted out, the results of each of Always Sometimes Monsters' vignettes are entered into your character's diary. But considering the inherent absurdity of most of the scenarios and the disconnect between player and character, there's no question about who is authoring those journal entries. When a character recites your ignominious history back to you near the game's end and asks you to reflect on each entry--this actually happens--it reads like a case of mistaken identity. There are a great many not-so-subtle references to the larger games industry. Pleasantly, Always Sometimes Monsters doesn't hand down much in the way of judgment. There's no morality stat here, and though most of the cast is given to fortune cookie musings ("Stay true to who you are, whoever you think that is" says one in parting, apropos of nothing), they're mercifully laissez-faire. While this does result in some juvenile apathy, particularly during a mayoral election mid-game, Always Sometimes Monsters' moral reticence is its strongest quality. The subtle but persistent gravitational pull of poverty in the game means a lot of time spent performing excruciating temp work, or hanging out in alleyways and bars, but most of Always Sometimes Monsters' interesting characters occupy those very same haunts. The camera's viewpoint, an otherwise awkward mash-up of overhead and axonometric shots, reveals all the pixelated squalor, all the detritus and homelessness and violence that so often goes ignored by the upper crust. The RPG feels at home here, among the dregs of society, like it did back in the Midgar slums of Final Fantasy VII. The genre's old mainstays--fetching, bartering, and grinding--are much more suited to a blue collar than they are to plate armor.   Info from Gamespot.com
2014-06-16
PlayStation 4 exclusive Let It Die will be a free-to-play survival action game with an asynchronous online component, according to a press release from publisher GungHo Online Entertainment. Let It Die was revealed during Sony's E3 2014 press conference with a bizarre trailer befitting the latest game from the mind of Goichi Suda (Suda 51), but we weren't really told what it was at the time. Details are still sparse, but we now know that the enemies in the game will use other players' data (which accounts for the asynchronous online part), and that you'll be able take their weapons and clothes to customize your character. At this point, we still don't know how Let It Die will monetize. It will be the first game from Suda 51 and developer Grasshopper Manufacture since the studio was acquired by GungHo Online Entertainment (best known for its hugely successful free-to-play mobile game Puzzle & Dragons) and the first PS4 game for both companies. It had a vastly different visual style at the time, but we actually first saw the game at Tokyo Game Show last year, when it was known as Lily Bergamo. Let It Die is set to release in 2015. Sony said that it's committed to making PS4 the best home for free-to-play games during its E3 2014 press conference. Catch up with all the news from that event here. Info from Gamespot.com
2014-06-16
48,900 video game industry professionals and journalists from more than 100 countries attended E3 2014, according to the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), which puts on the annual gaming trade show. That's slightly up from the 48,000 attendees the ESA reported after last year's show, but it's not all good news for the biggest gaming event of the year. E3 2013 hosted 230 exhibitors at the Los Angeles Convention Center, whereas this year's E3 hosted only 200 exhibitors. The ESA said that both years generated nearly $40 million in revenue for the city of Los Angeles. The ESA also said that E3 2014 surpassed its previous social media numbers on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, with over two million related posts on all those channels combined. "The video game industry's explosive growth and technological innovation were front and center at E3 2014," president and CEO of the ESA Michael D. Gallagher said. "Video games are the most innovative and engaging force driving our culture and entertainment experiences the world over." E3 2015 will be held at the Los Angeles Convention Center June 16-18, but In an interview with CNBC, Gallagher indicated E3 may leave the Los Angeles Convention Center in the future. "E3 is a world class show that deserves a world class venue. The Los Angeles Convention Center is no longer a top-tier property," he said. Need to catch up on E3 2014? You can watch replays of the Microsoft, Electronic Arts, Sony, Ubisoft, and Nintendo press conferences right now.     Info from Gamespot.com
2014-06-16
This year's E3 2014 marks the third time that comedian and actress Aisha Tyler has hosted Ubisoft's E3 press conference. Some people still don't believe that she really loves and plays games, but I wouldn't recommend saying that to her in person. "To come and tell me that something that I've lived with and loved since I was a little kid is illegitimate, that I'm lying about it," Tyler told NPR in an interview, "I'll literally tell somebody to their face, 'F**k you'-”and I've done it on this floor." Tyler, who frequently talks about playing games on her podcast, Girl on Guy, says that gamers are a group that has been previously excluded, and that they are now excluding other people. "The hypocrisy of that is extraordinary," Tyler said. "So I do a lot of calling people on that. So no one let you into your club and now you have one and you don't want to let anyone else in and you know that you're just being full of it right now." Tyler also said that overall, criticism of her has decreased over the years.   Info from Gamespot.com
2014-06-16
Regardless of how good you think Watch Dogs looked when it finally came out when compared to its initial unveiling at E3 2012, if you own the game on PC, don't mind tinkering, and have the hardware that can handle it, you can make the game look better thanks to some resourceful modders. For example, if you've seen this video, which compares Watch Dogs to the PC version of Grand Theft Auto IV (released in 2008) you've probably noticed that one thing Watch Dogs lacks is dynamic lighting from cars' headlights. Guru3D forum member TheWorse is working on a mod that adds that visual effect to Watch Dogs, along with a lot of other features. The mod, which you can find on Guru3D, also aims to add an improved bloom effect, higher density of civilians, and more. Watch Dogs broke 24-hour sales records for Ubisoft and went on to sell more than 4 million copies in its first week. Ubisoft expects Watch Dogs to sell 6 million total units, the same lifetime figure of the original Assassin's Creed. At E3 2014, Ubisoft senior vice president of sales and marketing Tony Key told GameSpot that Watch Dogs is now officially a "franchise."   Info from Gamespot.com
2014-06-16
Microsoft's E3 press conference was packed with games, so you might have missed the news that Double Fine's Massive Chalice was announced as a console exclusive for Xbox One. The strategy game was successfully Kickstarted last year, raising a total of $1,229,014, well over the $750,000 funding goal Double Fine was looking for. At the time, backers thought they were funding a PC game, and according to project lead Brad Muir and the Massive Chalice team, the Xbox One news shouldn't worry them at all. "Nothing has changed with our plans to bring Massive Chalice to the PC and to make it available for our backers first," they said in a recent update to backers. "YEAH! During this time we'll be porting the game to the Xbox One. As soon as we're done porting the game, we'll launch it as a console exclusive on Xbox One. We're super stoked to have this additional support in giving Massive Chalice the next-gen console treatment!" Massive Chalice was billed as a tactical strategy game that will be a hybrid of X-COM and Final Fantasy Tactics, coupled with a bloodlines and breeding mechanic. Make sure you didn't miss the rest of Microsoft's announcements from E3 2014 by catching up with all the news from its press conference.   Info from Gamespot.com
2014-06-16
Staying up-to-date with everything that happened at E3 is no easy task. To help you get a handle on everything that was announced, we rounded up the highlights and listed them below. We'll be updating and expanding this list throughout the weekend. Press Conferences Microsoft - Watch | Read Sony - Watch | Read Nintendo - Watch | Read Electronic Arts - Watch | Read Ubisoft - Watch | Read News Microsoft - $399 Xbox One Out Now, Xbox 360 Sales Rise to 84 million Forza Horizon 2 Launching September 30 The Nurburgring is coming to Forza Motorsport 5 for free Happy Wars Coming To Xbox One With Cross-Platform Support on Xbox 360 Evolve Has a New Monster and Exclusive DLC Call of Duty Advanced Warfare Xbox One Trailer Impressions (and DLC will come to Xbox first) Fable Legends Lets You Play As a Villain Assassin’s Creed Unity to Feature Four-Player Co-op Rare's Conker the Squirrel Playable in Project Spark Xbox One-Exclusive Sunset Overdrive Launching October 28, Features 8-Player Co-op Acclaimed Mobile Game Threes Heads to Xbox One Killer Instinct Season 2 Begins This Fall With TJ Combo Halo 5: Guardians Beta Starts In December New Dead Rising 3 DLC Filled with Capcom Love, Available Now Dragon Age: Inquisition Trailer Showcases Environments, Combat New The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Gameplay on Xbox One New Dance Central Game Confirmed for Xbox One Why the Master Chief Collection Puts Other Greatest-Hits Compilations to Shame Microsoft Announces Ori and the Blind Forest Limbo Developer Shows Off Their Next Game, Inside New Phantom Dust Revealed for Xbox One New Crackdown Confirmed For Xbox One Rise Of The Tomb Raider Coming Holiday 2015 Platinum Games Announces XBox One Exclusive Scalebound Sony - Indie Game Entwined Debuts, Is Available Right Now Bloodborne Is Coming to PS4 Straight From the Minds of Dark Souls Little Big Planet 3 is Official, Officially Adorable Dead Island 2 Revealed At Sony Press Conference Debut Game from Journey Art Director's Studio Announced, Called Abzu Magicka 2 Coming to the PlayStation 4 Let It Die From Grasshopper Studios Is Coming Exclusively to the PS4 Remastered Grim Fandango heading to PS4, Vita Grand Theft Auto V Coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC Uncharted 4: A Thief's End coming to PS4 in 2015 Far Cry 4 Reveals Open World Co-op, Elephants and Gyrocopters Standalone DLC for Infamous: Second Son Announced Sony Shows a Spookier Side to The Order: 1886 The Unending, Interstellar Beauty of No Man’s Sky Mortal Kombat X’s Gruesome Display at the Sony Press Conference The Last of Us PS4 Launching July 29 Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain Trailer Impressions Destiny Beta Kicks Off July 17 First On PS3 & PS4 Last Of Us Infected Coming to Diablo III Ultimate Evil Edition Batman: Arkham Knight includes PlayStation-exclusive Content White PS4 Destiny Bundle Arriving September 9 $99 PlayStation TV Coming to America This Fall 95% Of PS4s Connected to the Internet, YouTube App Coming This Year PlayStation Now Open Beta Launches on PS4 July 31 Sony Confirms First Original TV show For PlayStation Ratchet & Clank Game Announced, Movie Showed Off Nintendo - Mario Party 10 Confirmed For Wii U In 2015 Super Smash Bros. Lets You Battle With Your Miis Wii U's GameCube Controller Adapter Launches Alongside Super Smash Bros., Costs $20 Pokemon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire Launching November 21 Role-playing Game X Now Officially Xenoblade Chronicles X Original Bayonetta Included with Bayonetta 2, Coming October Super Smash Bros. 3DS Pushed Back; Wii U Coming This Holiday Nintendo's Take on Skylanders Is Called Amiibo Hyrule Warriors Could be the Dynasty Warriors Game for You How Amiibos Can Revitalize Nintendo's Business The Legend of Zelda is Reborn on Wii U Splatoon Is Nintendo's Surprise Move Into the Shooter Space Nintendo Wii U Star Fox Hands-on and Miyamoto Q&A Electronic Arts - Mirror's Edge 2 News Teased Criterion Reveals Unnamed Extreme Sports Racing Game, Includes Helicopters and More The Sims 4, NHL 15 Release Dates Star Wars: Battlefront -- We'll "See More Spring 2015" Info from Gamespot.com
2014-06-16
Wargaming is getting in on the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil celebrations by adding a Soccer mode to its popular free-to-play game World of Tanks. The Soccer mode will have two teams of three players in special T-62A Sport edition tanks competing on a soccer field arranged in the middle of Central Square on the Himmelsdorf map. Players score points for their team by moving a huge ball into the enemy team's goal, either by moving it directly with their tanks' hulls, or by shooting it. All tanks will get 1,000 free high-explosive rounds and are invincible. The goal (pun intended) isn't to destroy the enemy, but you can interrupt your opponents by ramming into them or shooting them. You can even damage their tracks in order to temporarily immobilize them. The T-62A Sport tank will be credited to all players once the Soccer mode is released. It can't be sold and will be removed automatically once the event ends. You can also earn extra experience and other rewards by playing the mode. Wargaming said it will have full info on the Soccer mode soon.   Info from Gamespot.com
2014-06-16
Games like Day Z and Rust have proven that smaller developers can make a lot of money on games before they're even finished, and now bigger publishers and developers are considering taking the same path. Battlefield 4 developer DICE's general manager Karl Magnus Troedsson recently told Game Informer that the company doesn't have anything to announce yet, but that it's had discussions about the early access model for future games. "It comes not from a business perspective, but more from a perspective of if it would help us have a stable launch of the game," he said. DICE recently launched a new Community Test Environment for Battlefield 4, which enables it to test new improvements and changes with the help of PC players. That method has already yielded a helpful netcode patch for a game that has suffered from a great deal of technical difficulties. Early access to future DICE games before they officially launch could supposedly help mitigate those types of issues. In an interview with Gamasutra, Evolve developer Turtle Rock Studios' Phill Robb said that it would be great to have gamers witness and become a part of the development process. "Even on [Evolve], as we were playing it all these years, the game changed a lot, and there'd be features that'd go in, features that'd come out," he said. "We always kind of lamented the fact that we couldn't take the community along on that ride." He added that he and Turtle Rock co-founder and design director Chris Ashton would "love" to release a Steam Early Access game at some point. Would you pay for early access to the next Battlefield or Turtle Rock game? Let us know in the comments below.     Info from Gamespot.com
2014-06-16
Fez creator Phil Fish has announced that his company, Polytron, has partnered with Canabalt developer Finji to present Panoramical, " digital anthology of musical landscapes with analog controls." Panoramical is being developed by two indies, Fernando Ramallo and David Kanaga, who's best known for composing the soundtracks for Dyad and Proteus. They've been showing Panoramical at events like IndieCade and Fantastic Arcade, allowing players to interact with the game by moving sliders and knobs on a MIDI controller, but those controls will be modified to work on a PC. "œPolytron has spent the last two years getting its affairs in order," Fish said on Polytron's website. "œWrapping up Fez and its six subsequent ports kept us busy for a while. Now that that's done, and that we've had time to recharge, I'm super excited to finally close our first chapter and move on to the next one. I'm calling that new chapter Polytron Partners. And with it, Polytron becomes more than just the umbrella I operate under. We only got to make Fez in the first place because of the help and support of a LOT of cool people. Time to give back a little, you know?" According to Fish, Polytron will help Ramallo and Kanaga with production and promotion, while Finji will provide help with operations, payment logistics, and more. The last time we heard from Fish he said on Twitter that Fez II, which he canceled in July 2013, was back on, but that was on April Fool's Day. Panoramical is set to release on PC and Mac via Steam in early 2015.   Info from Gamespot.com
2014-06-16
Microsoft did a decent job this E3, and have made considerable effort to mop up the mess from that disastrous Xbox One unveiling last year. Their conference was tight and lean, throwing out game after game with only the barest minimum of tedious waffle. I applaud Phil Spencer's direction and leadership since he inherited the captain's seat, and after this week I honestly believe the Xbox One will, at some point, have a bright and rosy future. But, with all that being said, Sony came out ahead at E3 2014. Sony managed to show off more games that I, a 27-year-old male with an addiction to fried potatoes, would like to play. It's that simple. The disparity between the two companies was even more prominent outside of those big-budget press conferences and on the E3 show floor itself--Sony peppered its entire booth area with interesting, unique titles that we might be able to play (or, to be more apt, download) over the next few months. Dial it back a few days to the battle of the press conferences, and the big three were all guilty of tantalising us with games that won't be out until 2015. You won't be playing Uncharted 4, Bloodborne, Halo 5: Guardians, or that utterly sumptuous The Legend of Zelda for Wii U anytime soon, no matter how good they all look. I'd also argue Sony and Microsoft are about even when it comes to their big-budget games for 2014: LittleBigPlanet 3, DriveClub, and The Last of Us Remastered don't necessarily sound like much, but I would argue they're about on par with The Master Chief Collection, Forza Horizon 2, and Sunset Overdrive. Nintendo platforms, meanwhile, are nothing but sporadic (but often outstanding) first-party releases, and Hyrule Warriors is going to have a hard time appealing to audiences outside of Japan. It seems that 2014 is not going to go in the history books as a triumphant year for the big-budget first-party exclusives, even if those are traditionally the types of games that can really drive console sales. So what's left? If there's one thing I think Sony currently understands ahead of its competition, it's that I play games for the whole year. Its E3 booth was packed with dozens and dozens of games, and within half a minute of entering Sony's space I walked past Velocity 2X, Nidhogg, Axiom Verge, Murasaki Baby, Entwined, and Counterspy. All of those games looked absolutely fantastic, and will help supply the platform with a week-in, week-out stream of quality titles for the eight months of the year we're not gorging through exciting holiday titles like Destiny, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, and Far Cry 4.   So while I think some of the middle sections of Sony's E3 2014 press conference were limp and boring--I often like to say that there's always a period in the middle of a Sony E3 press conference where you forget what it feels like to not be watching a Sony E3 press conference--I'd argue the company has the right idea of what it wants the PlayStation 4 and the PlayStation Vita to be. The Vita has transmogrified into a lovable companion device that just so happens to play many of the neat downloadable titles its bigger, more successful brother also does. The PS4, however, just wants to be your go-to console, and right now it appears to have the right mix of technology and popularity to ensure it stays that way. Talking to people around the show, it feels like Sony has been setting itself up for this moment for years. After being forced to eat its fair share of humble pie during the PS3-era, Sony has now spent considerable effort to build up its relationships with publishers and developers, and has employed the right people to make sure that those making games are tempted to release them for a Sony platform. That's why I love Sony to pieces right now. Microsoft, to its credit, is gaining ground, but after this E3 showing, it feels like the team at Redmond still have some ways to go before they've caught up. Info from Gamespot.com
2014-06-16
Last year was not a great E3 for Microsoft. After an Xbox One reveal that offered a terrible first impression with a comically overdone focus on TV, Sony completely stole the company's E3 thunder by offering the PlayStation 4 at a lower price, with easy used game sharing, and with no online requirement. But this has been a year of change for Microsoft, and nowhere was that more obvious than at this year's E3. Microsoft's press conference in particular was focused solely on games. With exclusives like Sunset Overdrive and The Master Chief Collection coming later this year, and newly announced games like Scalebound coming in 2014, Xbox One owners received the reassurances they needed that Microsoft had learned from its mistakes and would continue to listen to its fans. And the Xbox 360 is still going strong with multiplatform games from almost every publisher. In 2015 we'll start to see a larger number of current-gen only games, but 2014 is still about making games that play on consoles new and old. Taking a play from last year's Sony conference, there was even a focus on indies at both Microsoft's booth and the press conference. A montage showcased indie games like Beyond, Mighty No. 9, and Plague, Inc. And Inside, the follow-up to Limbo from developer Playdead, took center stage at one point of the conference. Microsoft is still focused on providing entertainment services to their platform, but they made sure to get all of that out of the way before E3. The system's original television programming, including info on the Halo series from Speilberg, went out in April. Big updates to the system were covered in simple press releases and blog posts every month. And the bombshell--a Kinect-free version of the Xbox One for $100 less--was announced at the beginning of May. If anything, that separation of messaging helped to define the Xbox One in the lead-up even more as a machine with a broad audience. Rather than trying to cram every detail into one presentation, thus alienating people that don't care about one aspect or another, Microsoft kept each portion distinct. If you're interested in the TV aspects of the system, there was a time for that. If price and system specs are important to you, Microsoft singled out those updates individually.But to me, Microsoft didn't come out on top this E3 just because of the improvements it made over the past year. The pacing and content of its press conference were spot on and carried over into the conference itself. There was hardly time to breath in between game trailers and announcements, and Microsoft's messaging to its fans has been humble and eager to please. Sony and Nintendo both had great shows as well, and I look forward to playing some fun games on my Wii U and PS4 in the coming year. But this year Microsoft focused on its fans, and the head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, put it best earlier this week, "gamers" won E3.For more discussion, catch up on GameSpot's full E3 opinion round up right here. Info from Gamespot.com
2014-06-16
E3 2014 is over and done, but who came out on top? With such a strong showing from every company, it's impossible to decide a unanimous winner, so GameSpot's editors have taken sides in the argument and chosen which company they felt came out on top.   Why Nintendo Won E3 Rather than going toe-to-toe with Sony and Microsoft, Nintendo is playing its own game.   Why Sony Won E3 After being forced to eat its fair share of humble pie during the PS3-era, Sony has now spent considerable effort to build up its relationships with publishers and developers.       Why Microsoft Won E3 Bouncing back from a rocky 2013, Microsoft turned things around at E3 with a conference that was, literally, all about the games.   Who was the winner for you? Let us know in the comments below! And to catch up on even more E3 news and videos, check out GameSpot's full E3 2014 coverage run down. Info from Gamespot.com
2014-06-16
When I first heard that Nintendo was forgoing a proper press conference this year in lieu of a video presentation, I was worried. I felt like, without the energy of a crowd, without Reggie Fils-Aime's voice and presence commanding attention in a massive convention hall, there was no way that Nintendo's E3 presentation could compare to the likes of what Sony and Microsoft would be doing. And as it turns out, I do think it's difficult to compare Nintendo's approach to E3 2014 to that of those other companies, and that's exactly why I think Nintendo's presence here at E3 2014 is so vital, and so successful. There's a sameness, a predictability, to the way that Sony and Microsoft do E3. They play it safe. You always know that their conferences are going to be filled with AAA shooters, and if those press conferences were all you had to go on, you might conclude that video games are overwhelmingly pretty serious and grim. And of course, there's nothing wrong with games that are serious and grim. I really like The Last of Us, and have enjoyed playing through plenty of Call of Duty campaigns over the years. But games can and should be so much more, and while colorful games like Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime and Abzu made brief appearances at Microsoft's and Sony's conferences, it's Nintendo that takes the most chances. Their entire presentation felt riskier and livelier than what the other companies did. Rather than having men in suits come out on stage and recite spiels about this game or that corporate vision, Nintendo's comical presentation had some fun with the demands of the company's fans ("Come on, Reggie, give us Mother 3!”), the personas of its characters, and the somewhat gruff image ("You guys thought we wouldn't have a press conference. Not my problem!”) and often-mispronounced name of Nintendo president Reggie Fils-Aime. From its first moments, the presentation left us feeling like we had no idea what might happen next. Even if the whole thing had been a disaster, I would have been glad that Nintendo had taken a chance and not done things the way that things are normally done. But it wasn't a disaster at all. It was a mostly entertaining and humorous presentation that, most importantly of all, was packed with games that look decidedly different from what Sony and Microsoft spent most of their time showcasing. It did flag a bit at times; we didn't really need that detailed breakdown of the different Mii fighting styles in Super Smash Bros., after all. But when the amiibos were revealed, I had to simultaneously applaud and curse Nintendo. My longstanding adoration of many Nintendo characters means that this product line could end up putting a serious dent in my bank account, and it's very smart of Nintendo to capitalize on fans' love of Mario, Samus, and the rest of the gang in this way. The technology isn't new, but it seems like the way that Nintendo is planning on using it is new. How exactly is my beloved Mr. Game & Watch going to be able to factor into different games? I don't know, but I look forward to finding out! Yoshi's Woolly World may or may not be doing anything different in gameplay terms, but the look of it is so charming and inventive that I know I would enjoy just being in its cozy, comfy world. And what the heck did it mean when Tezuka said "There is certainly a key phrase that I have: It's amazing Yoshi! I have absolutely no idea, and that made that moment hilarious. From there, the charm kept coming with the reveal of Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker before Nintendo stirred our souls with the grand reveal of The Legend of Zelda for Wii U. My dream for the series was that it would go back to the open-world roots of the first game, and I almost can't believe that I'm going to get my wish. While Nintendo could have played it safe and kept giving fans more of the formula that has defined the series for a long time, Aonuma and his team, and Nintendo as a whole, are taking a risk. After that, Nintendo's presentation was defined by variety. From the fast and demanding action of Bayonetta 2 to the stylus-driven delights of Kirby and the Rainbow Curse to the sweeping role-playing adventure of Xenoblade Chronicles X to the empowering and easy-to-use creation tools of Mario Maker, Nintendo has all sorts of amazing-looking games coming to the Wii U. Their presentation pushed a far more diverse assortment of games than what Sony and Microsoft pushed, and this is vital in a gaming landscape that sometimes feels flooded with serious, mechanically predictable shooters. Even when Nintendo did bring out a shooter, it was neither serious nor mechanically predictable. I thought I was all shootered out after Monday's press conferences, but Splatoon demonstrated that a fresh coat of paint (ha!) can make a game in that crowded genre look fresh, innovative, and fun. Call me a sap, but I admit I was a bit touched by Reggie's little story about loving Super Mario World, and about how "Nintendo game creators share one belief: there's nothing wrong with having a little fun.” I think the company's entire presentation demonstrated that it's more than willing to have a little fun. Rather than going toe-to-toe with Sony and Microsoft, Nintendo is playing its own game. And we're all better off for it. Info from Gamespot.com


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