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This Week In Gaming

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Hello again NAG.. people (sorry, long week) and thanks again for coming back for This Week In Gaming. This week we had some rather interesting (and somewhat scandalous) news regarding YouTube content providers, a household name in hacking scores a cushy job, and Microsoft addresses concerns regarding the resolution capabilities of the Xbox One. Then on the gaming side we have a new game that seems trying hard to pretends it’s something other than what it is, a cult classic makes a comeback on the Wii U, Google Play makes some big changes to the way they distribute games and Alien Isolation‘s designer reveals something quite interesting about the game. Then of course there’s a whole crop of videos and highlights from the week you may have missed. Hit the jump!

Console News

Resolutiongate was a major issue for a while, but now people have basically accepted that the PS4 will net you a higher resolution on your games than an Xbox One.

Last week, however, Xbox’s UK marketing guy Harvey Eagle said in an interview last week that he “defies [consumers] to really see the difference”.

According to Eagle, it’s merely a “perception challenge”. That being said, it’s still something he believes needs to change and promises that Microsoft is working on it.

“It’s important, certainly. It’s something the media has certainly picked up on. If that leads to the perception that one machine is more powerful than another, then it’s important, and we’re trying to allow developers to bring games to Xbox One at the highest resolution and frame rate as possible.”

Personally I’m too phased about the 1080p vs 720p issue, but I would wonder if that extra bit of power doesn’t mean developers will be able to squeeze more out of the PS4 five years down the line.

Hey, remember GeoHot? Known as George Hotz in the muggle world, GeoHot became a household name when he hacked the PS3 root key and published it online for everyone.

Proving once and for all that crime really does pay, Hotz is leaving the cracking game for a job at internet juggernaut Google.

He’ll be working on Project Zero, an initiative aiming to protect consumers from having their privacy violated through software exploits.

Hotz and his colleagues will be attempting to uncover vulnerabilities in software, and then report those weaknesses to the developers.

Sounds incredibly benevolent, and I can’t help but wonder what Google has to gain from it. Or is this just their version of charity? Seems unlikely.

So what's it about then? Here's a hint.

So what’s it about then? Here’s a hint.

Gamasutra has been looking into a lot of YouTube stuff lately, likely due to the continued rumblings about gaming content producers owing a percentage of their earnings to the developers of whatever game it is they’re playing.

John Ardussi, president of Game Mechanics (Homefront, Defiance), was featured on the site recently claiming that gaming videos do not encourage sales in any meaningful way.

According to Ardussi, for every 150,000 views of one of their games, that will lead to 300 page visits to the developer’s website. Of those 300 page visits, only four to ten actual purchases will be made. Not so impressive.

Put into an even less impressive percentage, it means that 0.2 percent of people who watch YouTube content of a game will decide to purchase that game.

Of course this isn’t exactly a peer-reviewed study with solid methodology (and it is for one studio only), but it should at least stimulate some interesting speculation on what kind of influence YouTube really has.

Which may mean that all these publishers are wasting their money paying off popular YouTube stars. Wait, what?

Yup, in a survey conducted by Gamasutra, it was revealed that nearly a dozen popular gaming content providers have taken money from publishers to cover their games.

One YouTuber had this to say: “It is expected from our work to be free. Copyright holders don’t want us to monetise, no one likes ads, no one likes paid content but we invest our free time into covering the games we love, want to share: basically give free PR for the game itself. If a YouTuber asks for money for delivering great content, it’s not wrong – it’s a compensation.”

What a load of entitled crap. Sorry, but these people aren’t sacrificing their precious free time to make the world a better place – they’re doing it for fame, money and all the other personal gains that motivate people.

I don’t think PewDiePie is quite on the breadline yet with his $4 million a year. People watch their favourite gaming content YouTubers for their honesty and objectivity; accepting money from publishers harms the credibility of the entire field of video game journalism and coverage.

"That Mario Kart video just made me more than you earn in a month. Pound it, bro."

“That Mario Kart video just made me more than you earn in a month. Pound it, bro.”

Sources: CVG, CVG, Gamasutra, Gamasutra

Gaming News

An indie studio called Motiga has formed in Seattle, made up of former Starcraft and Guild Wars devs.

Their debut title is Gigantic, a PC title scheduled for a 2015 release which is billed as a “team-based action multiplayer game”.

Two teams of five will battle it out, attempting to kill the other team’s “Guardian” while protecting their own. The Guardian is a “magical behemoth too powerful for a single mortal to defeat”.

Players will be able to level up as the game goes on, acquiring new abilities and skills. It’ll also be entirely free-to-play, as opposed to Dungeon-Keeper-free-to-play.

Wait, doesn’t this sound like DotA? Or LoL? Or any other of a million new “MOBA” games? Yeah, it’s totally a MOBA. You’re not fooling me, Motiga. Check it out:

Gaming budgets today are getting insanely out of control – one only needs to point to Destiny’s half a billion dollar budget as proof of that. Big publishers like Ubisoft have so much cash to blow, they get to hire full-time employees with titles like “chief parkour officer”.

Yup, my favourite studio has taken on an expert in running up walls and stuff for their Assassin’s Creed franchise, all in the name of “authenticity and accuracy”. I was a parkour expert myself, for about five minutes before I realised being an unfit, bulky nerd wasn’t really conducive to doing a barrel roll down a flight of stairs.

Speaking of accuracy and authenticity, remember the Dungeon Keeper debacle last week where the EU advertising body ruled that the game could not ethically be advertised as free?

Well, now the European Commission is recommending that the mobile app distributors (primarily Google and Apple) should be careful about which games they advertise as “free”.

They also gave other recommendations regarding advertising to children and how in-app purchases should be handled. Google will thus be removing the “free” designation from the Google Play store for games which you can spend money on, as well as requiring user authentication for every purchase – which should stop toddlers from happily billing $1000 worth of Candy Crush on Daddy’s credit card.

Apple was less committal, saying they would “address the concerns”, but not much more.

"Free-if-you-have-three-weeks-of-free-time-per-level"

“Free-if-you-have-three-weeks-of-free-time-per-level”

Upcoming title Alien Isolation is looking really good, and in an interesting interview this week lead designer Garry Napper revealed that you can actually play through the entire game without killing a single person.

“It’s something that was, not so much a challenge, but something I felt was what the character would do. We’re talking about a member of the Ripley family – they’re not like characters in games that gun down civilians because they’re in the way to get to the switch.”

According to Napper, you can get through the game in about 15 hours. However, super stealthy players can actually do it much faster than that – if you’re careful enough, you won’t draw the Alien’s attention.

The game will release on pretty much everything that’s not handheld or made by Nintendo on October 7th this year.

Sources: CVG, IGN, TechRadar, Gamespot

Videos

Since everyone’s talking about the Destiny beta at the moment, let’s kick things off with that. This new video from Bungie and Sony combined gameplay footage with details of what you’ll be getting in the game; narrated by Bungie’s community managers and lead designer.

Ubisoft, true to form, has published a full 24-minute video of Rainbox Six Siege gameplay – two full five-on-five hostage rescue matches. They’ve never been the publisher to keep things much of a surprise, so if you want a good look at the game, check this out.

Telltale Games continues to put out their episodic titles ever so slowly, and this week have announced Episode 4 of The Walking Dead Season 2. It’ll be launching next week Tuesday, but here’s a trailer to keep you occupied till then.

Fatal Frame was a cult hit on Nintendo, and the publisher/developer is now making a sequel (with Tecmo Koei) for the rejuvenated Wii U. You’ll take control of a girl who can see dead people, who tell her to climb a mountain somewhere. So basically, it’s The Sixth Sense meets Lord of the Rings.

Best of NAG

When a game bears the title of Orc Attack: Flatulent Rebellion, you almost know it’s either going to be hilarious fun or disappointingly mediocre (or maybe terrible). Which one is it? Find out by checking out Delano’s review here.

Next up we have Mr Wesley Fick at it again with the no-sleeping, this time with a new feature – a Laptop Buyer’s Guide, with the first instalment covering the low-midrange stuff between R2000 and R9000. It’s as thorough and well put together as you’d expect, so if you’re interesting in a bit of notebook/tablet shopping go have a look.

Then of course we have my column for the week which I’ll shamelessly promote here, this time I discuss five features that I think every game should have. Agree, disagree? Think I’m a moron? Tell me about it in the comments.

Lastly we have benevolent dictator Dane Remendes giving cake to his subjects once again, this time in the form of an eclectic bundle of movies. Just head over here and comment for a chance to win.

  • Sierra53

    NAG /people/ ? I feel like a plebeian :/

    • Delano

      At least Chris always thinks of us common folk :D

      • http://www.nag.co.za Chris Kemp

        Without the commoners, I wouldn’t have a dedicated butt-wiper

        • Alex Rowley

          What a shitty job that must be..

  • Alex Rowley

    I do agree with the YouTube thing (About it being bullshit). Now more than ever it is used to get opinions for games and knowing that your favorite channel is getting paid by the pubs just makes you not want to watch it.

    I think one of the biggest appeals for YouTube opinions on games is because of how unofficial it is so you seem to get a more “average Joe” opinion and getting deals with the pubs for those games just ruins that. One of my favorite YouTube personalities is Angry Joe as his opinions are frequently fair well explained and most importantly you can tell he is just into games like the rest of us.

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