Yesterday evening, I had the indistinct pleasure of viewing G4's GPhoria gaming awards. GPhoria is odd in that it doesn't take place at the end of a year; rather, it highlighted, in this case, the best games from the second half of 2007 and first half of 2008. Even so, I was fairly surprised when Halo 3 took home GOTSHO07AFHO08 honors. I mean, Halo? Seriously?
But GPhoria is voted for by the fans, which got me to thinking about how different audiences have different expectations, and about how those expectations can shift with time.
See, in my experience, Halo is typically met with derision and utterances of "Moar liek Fail-O" when mentioned in the presence of PC gamers. It is, after all, just a dumbed-down, slow-moving console shooter, right? The first domino in a long, weaving line that wrecked the FPS genre as we know it. Well, except for maybe Half-Life 2. Oh, and TF2. And Call of Duty 4. Also Bioshock. Portal, too. Hey, maybe Halo didn't bring the genre crashing down after all! Actually, I'd say the expanded audience led developers to try new things.
These days, though, gamers are fretting about a new scourge: casual gaming. Where am I going with this? Simple. I believe casual gaming is nothing to worry about. As with the FPS genre, an expanded audience, lured in from casual titles, will inspire great devs to try new things, as well as provide them with more cash to back their games.
So, what's your opinion on so-called "casual" gaming? Whether it be the Wii, Diner Dash, or fan-fave Peggle, how do you think these games and the audiences they attract will affect gaming? Good? Bad? Both? Neither?
At the very least, today's Roundup is dedicated to the hardcore gamer. Past the break, you'll find stories about BioWare's handheld ambitions, John Carmack's stance on PC gaming, and Star Trek Online's upcoming reveal. And more, of course.
When asked why id is now putting so much of its development prowess behind consoles, Carmack replied:
"Well, it's hard to second guess exactly what the reasons are. You can say piracy. You can say user migration. But the ground truth is just that the sales numbers on the PC are not what they used to be and are not what they are on the consoles. Certainly, piracy is a contributor to that. I also think a lot of the people that bought PC games have bought consoles and are happy with them. We still think the PC is a market worth supporting, but we're not making decision around the PC. It's probably more of the junior partner in the cross-platform strategy, although obviously, our day-to-day development is predominately on the PC."
However, Carmack didn't seem interested in crafting a console exclusive, so he isn't flying a new flag just yet.
Still though, this paints a dreary picture for PC gaming -- at first glance, anyway. Remember, this is the man who said his team's two biggest games aren't going to be released digitally.
The Dark Knight was a smashing success, but when Electronic Arts most needed the caped crusader, he was -- as Batmen are wont to be -- nowhere to be found. Via the Assoicated Press, super-analyst Michael Pachter likely made EA feel some super-regret.
“Based on the record-breaking success of the movie, Wedbush Morgan video game industry analyst Michael Pachter believes a Dark Knight game released at the same time as the blockbuster film last month could have sold 4 million units and banked $100 million — with $70 million going to the game’s publisher and $30 million going to Warner Bros,” read the article.
Well, props to EA for sticking to their newfound guns. Good luck, Pandemic. You now have $70 million worth of pressure riding on your shoulders. So no pres--oh, right.
"We have a lot of big plans for Mass Effect. Having a DS version would be an awesome way to keep interest alive and keep it going in addition to [Mass Effect 2]," said Miles Holmes, lead designer on Sonic Chronicles.
BioWare also wouldn't mind zapping Jade Empire and Dragon Age with the shrink ray, should they find the time.
For those of you who don't own a DS or PSP, would a full-fledged (non-Sonic) BioWare RPG persuade you to invest in one?
This isn't all that surprising. But now, if Microsoft and Sony's respective motion controllers end up paling in comparison to the Wii-mote, they won't have an excuse.
At the official Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas, no less. It'll be in-game footage, too. With any luck, it'll actually be exciting, unlike a certain popular sci-fi show.
Speaking of exciting, what ever happened to that Firefly MMO?
At E3, GayGamer took members of the gaming press aside, put cameras in their faces, and asked them very, er, revealing questions. I was one of those people. This video will also teach you what manscaping is, sans the mental scarring that one might incur from Googling it.
Last but not least, a special word from Max PC Editor in Chief Will Smith.
"I don't have enough to write an entire blog about it, but I just want to say that Braid is the greatest platformer I've played since Super Mario 3, and everyone who has an Xbox should download the demo. I couldn't hit X to buy the whole thing fast enough after I did that.
You can quote me if you want :)"
I'm definitely going to give Braid a download. Are you?