Friday, 20 September 2013

Steam is expanding

It would seem Steam are making a push for the living room, which I'm taking as hints at the 'Steambox', Valves take on a console. Anyways on the Steam website we are told that "The Steam Universe is Expanding in 2014" and it goes on to mention about their 'Big Picture' feature in Steam optimizing controller and TV use.

Along with this we have a count down timer, which is sat at around 70 hours at the moment. It also has 2 more imaged next to the first timer with nothing around them currently. So I am going to take a wild stab in the dark and guess that the guys at Valve have 3 big announcements over the next coming months/year. The first of which we will find out about in just under 3 days.

As I mentioned before this is bound to be news about Valves console and their push for the living room. Hopefully if I am right about this, they will be the ones to push what Microsoft should have done with the Xbox and GFWL and encourage cross platform gaming. I prefer playing on my PC a lot of my friends prefer to play on console. This has generally stopped us playing together as I don't have consoles and they don't have PCs. The different platform should be irrelevant, I would quite happily wait a few extra months for developers to integrate this feature in to their games, if anything this could quite easily extend the life span of games due to there being more players rather than having the fan base of a game split up over at least 3 different platforms. It is the way forward. I get that different platforms have their exclusives as incentive to buy said console. But more and more games are becoming available on multiple platforms, in these cases cross platform gaming would be idle.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to see what Valve and Steam do, considering we haven't heard too much from them as of late.

Female Protagonists in games.

I'm a bit late typing this up as I drafted it out a few days ago and have been busy doing other stuff I can't really remember. Anyway I had seen a couple of articles kicking up a fuss about the new Grand Theft Auto. Believe it or not, it's not the usual this game is corrupting our children which it's violence and all that bull that subject is a story for another day. This complaint, as you might have guessed from the title, is about the lack of a playable female character.

My little rant about this matter, is does it really matter? Surely you play games like Grand Theft Auto to steal cars, cause mayhem, randomly kill people and when you get bored play through the story. I couldn't care less about what gender the playable characters are. So long as I get to play the bad guy (sorry, I mean bad person to be politically correct). Which at the end of the day is exactly what this game is about. It is Rockstars choice what gender they want the protagonists to be, not ours. Should we get offended when they don't do something we want with the game. I'd say no, it is there game, they can make it however they want to. If you don't like it, don't buy it. It's simple enough. 

I get there isn't too many female protagonists out there, the only ones I can think of is Tomb Raiders Lara Croft, Chell from Portal and Kate from Hydrophobia: Prophecy. Most people won't know of Kate as it is a pretty small game that has been over looked by a lot of people. I believe it was meant to be the first game of a few, but never got enough funding to carry on the series, check it out anyway you can pick it up fairly cheap on Steam and probably some other places as well, I generally buy everything on Steam so I wouldn't know. Anyway tangent aside all of these games, never got complained about because the protagonists are female. So why should we complain about when you play as a guy. It does not matter, some games have male players some have female. It is entirely up to the developer to choose what they believe would suit the game better.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Humble Indie Bundle 9

It's once again indie bundle time. Today I will be looking at the Humble Bundles latest one. They seem to be on a roll lately throwing out a bunch of decent bundles over the past few weeks or so. Just in case you have been sleeping under a rock the past however long these indie bundles have been going on, it must be years by now, Humble Bundle (and other bundles like it for that matter) let you buy a select group of games for a very small minimum price, if you are feeling flush feel free to chuck some extra money at them as a lot of the takings from this bundle does go to charity. I'm not sure if it changes from bundle to bundle I've never really noticed to be honest. Anyway charities that are involved are:
The games in this cool little bundle are:
I've heard good things about all of these games, except Eets Munchies which I have never heard of at all. However I will give it a download and see what it's like. Might even put up a little first thoughts post on here if I get round to it. I did many buy this bundle for Brutal Legend as I have found memories of playing it ages ago when I had a Playstation. However I have already put a good few hours into FTL, that game is really quite hard but oh so addictive, I can see it being my favourite out of the bunch. The bundle also comes with soundtracks for Trine, Brutal Legend, FTL and FEZ. All for the low, low cost of $4.59 minimum at the time of writing this, rather than the £50+ you would be paying if you bought all these games separately. I would definitely reckon getting in on this bundle, not only do you help out charities you get a bunch of cool games as well.

Steam is a big boy now.

It would seem that Steam has hit it's 10th birthday today. Which apparently means I missed out on the first 3 years of it's life missing all those big moments like it's first steps, it's first word and the fact that it was a little bit shit when it first came out and everyone hated it.

Back then was a simpler time for gaming, you bought a game put a serial key in during installation and boom you can play your game. But Valve obviously saw the potential of the future of online gaming and took a left turn while everyone else was going right. This is also why I am so lenient with the likes of Origin and the fact everyone rips on it. It's still early days for EA and their digital download system, yes it's not the greatest, but since it started it has improved and will continue to improve of the years, just as Steam did. Other wise it will end up as another GFWL, I don't see that happening though, as EA do seem to actually be working on it.

Hopefully we will see the guys at Valve continue to improve Steam for the next 10 years and we will see some bugs fixed, new features and other improvements I can't think of. I was going to put a corny line in to finish this about the cake and lies but I decided against it. Instead have a picture of portal cake.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

State of PC Digital Download

There has been a couple things I've read related to this matter as of late. The first being Microsoft seemingly giving up on Games for Windows live and shutting down the service on July 1st 2014. While a lot of people will see this as a good thing considering there a quite number of folk who can't stand Microsofts GFWL platform, which I do understand as it isn't exactly the greatest out there. However I am one of the few(many? I haven't looked into figures) that still plays games on said platform, with the likes of Batman, Red Faction Guerilla, GTA 4 to name a few. All of these games I really enjoy and often go back to playing them on a some what regular (okay not that regular but they all get return visits over time), they also require you to sign into Microsofts service to play and save your game. My worry is how many developers will come around to patch out GFWL once it's gone? Will I still be able to play these games in a years time? Who is to say? Hopefully we will hear from them and whether they are going to sort this out.

I while I agree GFWL is a pain in the ass at times, Microsoft shouldn't have just bailed on PC gamers. It did have so much potential done right, under the right management and team it could have easily rivaled Steam, Origin (yes Origin it's a valid platform it just had a crappy launch like Steam did but that's a rant for another day) and other online distributors. They could have started cross platform gaming, pulled in gamers with Xbox exclusives such as Halo and Gears of War. But alas we got cock all, even though they are more than capable of making something decent (ie the Xbox interface). Why could they not have done something similar only on PC. Whether this is them MS scrapping the disaster of windows live and starting over from scratch or just giving up completely, only time will tell.

Next we have some news about Origin. They have recently set up a returns policy you can find here. This is quite a big step in Digital Download systems as usually when you buy something online you are kind of stuck with it. However under EAs new rules you can return game downloads for full refunds with 24 hours of the first time you launch the game, within seven days from when you purchase it, or within the first seven days after the games release if you pre ordered. No other DD platform has implemented such a clause in their ToS. EA definitely gained some kudos with this move. Granted it still has a while to gain the influence that Steam has but it's just a baby in comparison, however if EA keep pulling moves like this out the bag I'm sure they will catch up.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Origin Humble Bundle

I have returned once again to bring you news (I say news damn near every other website will tell u before me lol) of the Humble Origin Bundle.

After reading a few articles and the comments that were bound to come along with a lot of them came with their hatred to Origin (as did PewDiePew bundle they have going at the moment, never watched him dunno anything about him so I staying away from commenting about that.). At the end of the day, yes Origin are blatantly trying to pick up business for their DD service as it business putting the amount they have into Origin they are hardly going to turn round and say to the guys in the office 'Hey you guys just want to fuck off out system, instead of work we can go get drunk and eat pizza instead'. However if they can get away doing that props to them I'd love to get drunk and eat pizza for a living, anyway before I get too distracted I'll get to my point.

The point is EA and the Origin guys have taken it upon themselves to give you this deal in the name of charity. Whether you like EA/Origin at all is irrelevant as it is for a Charity. If you don't like EA you can give all your money to charity, If you don't like Origin, all the games are available on Steam with the exception of Dead Space 3, Battlefield 3 and The Sims 3 starter set. But at the end of the day whether you like it or not EA are in fact doing this for charity. Yes, extra promotion will be a reason in there some where, does that really matter though. You can get 8 pretty awesome games for as little as a fiver can you really argue at that price. And I know there will be "but Origin is terrible and Steam is much better" comments out there.

However if we take a trip down memory lane, everyone hated Valve and Steam when it first came onto the scene way back when. It took them years of trust building and listening to what people what in the service to get where it is today. By all means Steam isn't perfect by any matters there a number of things that could and hopefully will be implemented in the future. I am giving Origin the benefit of the doubt as at least EA are doing better than Microsoft with the joke that is GFWL. Origin is still playing catch up as Valve has many years on them in the digital distribution field. The fact they are giving a lot of their best games away in the name of charity, I am going to give them Kudos for it. Granted I haven't used Origin for a while, not since I went through my Sim City phase I had no problems with it really, well except you can't auto update Sim City and have to open the log in to the game screen (and I'm assuming the rest of the games until you load up the game. That may have been fixed by now but don't quote me on that as I haven't checked.) I give it a year or 2 and see what they have done from here, these clients constantly get updated so I'm looking to see what they do. EA does need to knock down the prices on Origin though as they are more expensive that buying in an actual shop. But my dig at prices of digital download games is a complete story.

Anyway I've feed what ever trolls my come my way; now on to the bundle itself.

As always with the Humble Bundle it is a pay what you want scheme, the average purchase is around $5 at the moment and consists of:

  • Dead Space
  • Burnout Paradise
  • Crysis 2
  • Mirror's Edge
  • Dead Space 3
  • Medal of Honour
  • Battlefield 3
  • The Sims 3 + Starter Pack (which consists of Late Night Expansion Park and High-End Loft Stuff Expansion
Both Battlefield and The Sims require you to pay above the average to unlock. Are you really going to turn down this standard of games for such a low price. You are frankly an idiot if you do to be honest.

Anyways you have just under 12 days left to take advantage of this frankly amazing deal