Yesterday, I briefly heaped praise on the "new" Electronic Arts for its recent push towards creativity and employee practices that are actually legal. However, I know that many people chuck verbal darts at EA's target simply because they don't like big, "soulless" corporations. After all, each of us is the punchy underdog in our own lives, so rooting for the little guy only seems natural -- especially when the Man seems to be breathing down his neck.
But, as I'm sure you've all noticed, we're kind of running out of little guys to root for. "Consolidation" is one of those mean words we're not supposed to like, but in an industry that's expanding rapidly -- one where development costs regularly zip past $10 million -- consolidation is natural.
So, are you ready for our little hobby to become more like the big, bad movie industry, or are you of the opinion that we don't need "E" and "A" to spell BioWare?
This edition of the Roundup is gaming's "The Empire Strikes Back." Large independent devs are dropping like flies, and stalwart supporters are turning to the dark side. No Ewoks, though, so the Roundup isn't jumping the shark just yet. Jumping past the break, however, is highly encouraged.
As gamers, we love our hobby; and as people, we love company. QuakeCon, of course, made that fact ridiculously obvious. Sure, the convention's glitz and glamour were nice, but gamers trekked out into Dallas' sweltering heat for one real purpose: to hang-out with other like-minded people.
But I saw plenty of that over the frag-tacular weekend. So now I'm curious: how do you guys deal with non-gamers? I imagine you interact with them on a regular basis, but do you surround yourself with them? Would you describe yourself as a normal, average-Joe who just happens to enjoy playing games, but generally falls in with most any crowd? Or do you proudly sport an "I Pwn Noobs" T-Shirt and expect your buddies to do the same? Sound off in the comments section.
Today's Roundup takes a look at how the industry's pulse-pounding pursuit of the elusive non-gamer is changing our beloved hobby. From the fall of the current five-year console cycle to Steve Jobs' apparent failure to "get" gaming, the industry is in for a wild ride. The twist? The ride has already begun. You'd best click "Read More" to continue.
I hate it when people, speaking of a game review, say, "Well, they wouldn't have scored it so high if it weren't for the graphics." Like it or not, humans interpret the world around them predominately through sight, so graphics are an integral part of any gaming experience -- just as special effects, lighting, and set pieces are to film.
That does not, however, mean I'll contemptuously scoff at any game without eye-popping bump maps or heroes lacking meticulously detailed stubble, however. In fact, with the advent of gaming's current generation, I have to wonder: is game development so focused on pleasuring our eyes that it's neglecting our gray matter?
What ever happened to promises of emergent worlds and truly life-like A.I.? Sure, games like Rainbow Six: Vegas draw us into their worlds like never before, but the moment we see an A.I. partner attempt to take cover on the wrong side of a bullet-ridden pillar, the illusion is blown into bloody chunks. For once, I'd like to see a dev team throw themselves headlong into crafting a believable world -- even if that means serving up graphical sloppy seconds. Agree? Disagree? I'd love to hear what you think.
Today's Roundup features one title that gives me some hope for a more balanced, less graphics-intensive future, yet by virtue of its existence, in a way, proves my earlier point. Speaking of hope, Nintendo fans might have reason to strip out of their mourning garb, although it's kind of a long shot. And we also have Aerosmith! See it all after the break.
What are you playing right now? FPS? RTS? Peggle? Who developed it? Do you even care?
I imagine you do; as a presumably-hardcore gamer, you've likely cultivated a few brand alliances here and there. But what happens when we change the question up a little? Do you think your favorite developer cares about you?
No, I don't mean on an individual, person-to-person basis. What I'm asking is: do you think those oh-so-dreamy devs slave over games for their fans, or for themselves? Yes, yes, gaming is a business, and there's certainly money involved. But at the end of the day, do you think the aforementioned designers look at themselves in the mirror and nod in satisfaction because they created a game for you, or because they calmed the cries of their wild inner artist? Sound off in the comments section. Let's start a discussion that doesn't involve sarcasm and commas (though both are certainly allowed)!
Anyway, today's Roundup shines the spotlight on developers of both breeds, though some trumpet their allegiance louder than others. If you'd like to find out who's who, what's what, and which of them might soon end up in the pit of Microsoft's belly, read on.
Why are you a PC gamer? Why did you choose to support a less convenient, less unified machine even in the face of Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo's pickup-and-play offerings? Do you like the customizability the PC affords? The constantly evolving technology -- to gaze down from a heap of cast-aside PC parts and proclaim the superiority of your uber-machine? Or is the community? Do you relish being a member of a tightly-knit underdog pack, a group that's not afraid to bellow "We'll prove you wrong" to the gaming community at large?
How would you react if everyone suddenly acknowledged PC gaming's strength? If people turned around and realized that PC gaming isn't dying, would you still be so gung-ho about it?
Well, today, we have -- among other things -- one more outlet prostrating itself before the PC. How long before the unwashed masses follow suit?
Additionally, we have a treat for Trekkies, EA's Riccitiello admitting to another one of his company's screw-ups, and the longest hypothetical game title evar. Please insert disc titled "Read more" to continue.
Better late than never, right? That seems to be what roughly half of you think about GFW Live finally ditching its subscription fee. The remaining half, then, think Microsoft wizened up too late in the game, and that Steam has already taken home the gold. Personally, I have to say that dropping the fee was a smart move, but it's what Microsoft does next that'll really count. Will they add features that differentiate GFW Live from other services, or was today's announcement just lip service to keep the unwashed masses from becoming belligerent?
Luckily, today's Roundup will provide you with instant gratification where Microsoft couldn't. Whether you're looking for humbled admittances from Nintendo, excellent new titles on Gametap, or proof that the PS3 is actually front-runner in the console wars, the Roundup has you covered.
Pro: E3 was tons of fun. Con: It served little-to-no purpose. Sure, the California-based trade show presented journalists with a relaxed pace and a civil atmosphere, but the only thing it served up for lay-gamers was a heaping plate of disappointment. No big announcements, no mind-blowing demos, and only one or two cases of easy fodder for the Internet's flames. We can only hope the show will see a drastic revamp soon, because it's quickly circling the drain.
But let's not dwell on the recent past; today has provided us with plenty of interesting stories, including Peter Molyneux's MMO aspirations, another new Sonic game, and, er, Michael Pachter's damning comments towards E3. Ok, so maybe the past deserves one more quick peek into the rearview mirror.
It's the last Roundup before E3, and I must say that gaming news didn't really slow down as much as I'd expected this week. This, of course, calls E3's relevance into question, and whether or not the show will blow our minds or simply flaunt how awesome Starcraft II will be for the umpteen-jillionth time. I'm hoping developers are keeping a few secrets pressed tightly to their chests in anticipation of next week, but those same hopes aren't too high.
As for today's batch of news, we have a bevy of Acti-Blizzard details -- including which developers are taking a few blows as a result of their new daddy -- some sad news for Warhammer Online fans, and some even sadder news for-- oh wait, it's Hellgate.
Each day, some big-wig exec says PC gaming is writhing on the ground, scrambling towards the light. Generally, I just scoff and log back in to the 10 million person chatroom that is World of Warcraft. But what about when someone who I actually respect utters the dreaded D-word? Well, I scoff at them in article form, and what better platform to use than the Roundup? Hit the ever-present "read more" link to read all about the aforementioned exec, as well as topics ranging from Gametap to Led Zeppelin, and a few things in-between.
Today's Gaming Round-Up has more gob-smackin' trash talk than a night on Xbox Live -- and only half as many "Your mom" jokes per volume. Whether it's Bethesda flipping chairs in Diablo III's direction, a Pultizer Prize-winner saying GTA ain't so great, or Treyarch, well, apologizing, you'll have plenty to argue about after clicking past the break.