What’s up NAGurites, and thanks for coming back. This weekend is all about Blizzcon 2013, but I’m going to try steal a small portion of your attention to catch you up on everything you may have missed this week in gaming. There was plenty of drama over the big FPS releases, mostly “ResolutionGate”, and someone took a screwdriver to a PS4. Microsoft dodged some awkward questions, The Internet’s Biggest Douchebag made a not-so-heartfelt apology, Sony wants to strap a headset on you, a 15 year old game got an expansion and Nintendo doesn’t want any help. All that, some epic NAG articles and some mighty confusing videos, after the jump.
The big drama this week was over Call of Duty: Ghosts’ native resolution on the Xbox One. It turns out it runs at 1080p on the PS4, but only 720p on the Xbox One. Sony fanbois were quick to pounce on this as proof of their console’s superiority.
At an investor Q & A this week the question was pitched to Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg, who deftly dodged it with this:
“That’s really a better question for the first parties since they’ve taken different approaches to the design of the hardware and have different allocations for processing power that are available to developers.”
So then, what does first party Microsoft have to say about it?
Not a straight answer, that’s for sure. Microsoft Studios VP Phil Spencer advised consumers to “go play the games; we play the games, not the resolution.”
When asked if he was concerned about the Xbox One being less powerful, he responded by saying that “power is a subjective term”, elaborating on Kinect, cloud and other capabilities.
I can’t but feel if the Xbox One really was packing stronger hardware, Microsoft would have no problem claiming it. That being said, does the slight difference in raw power really make that much of a difference? I can’t help but agree with Spencer; it’s really all about the games.
Whenever a new console comes out, there’s always someone with a toolbox ready to dismantle it for a few YouTube hits.
This time Sony has cleverly beat them all to the punch, by doing it themselves, albeit a tad more professionally. PS4 engineering director Yasuhiro Ootori breaks the console down layer by layer, explaining the function of each component.
Unlike the standard YouTube fare, this is actually pretty interesting. You can see it here.
Hey, remember Adam Orth? The Microsoft employee who spent a day as Biggest Douchebag On The Internet after vehemently defending Xbox One’s always-online policy over Twitter, an argument which featured hits such as #dealwithit.
Orth commented on the controversy this week at GDC Next, with the classic semi-apology. While admitting he conducted himself somewhat poorly, he also defended his right to express his opinion and said that he deserved “rational criticism and discussion” which he goes on to say “isn’t what happened”.
Hello Mr Orth, this is The Internet. You’re an idiot. If you work in the video game industry and don’t understand that the internet is not, and never will be, a place for rational discussion, then you might be better suited to be an accountant or something.
The controversy has nothing to do with whether or not his opinion was valid, or his right to express it. It’s got to do with the fact that as an executive for a huge company like Microsoft, you represent that company, and making snarky remarks on publicly consumed social media is idiotic.
Our last bit of console news for the week is that Sony has filed a patent for a head-mounted display of some kind, likely some form of VR headset.
There’s also a patent for an audio system which will allow people using the head-mounted display to detect real world hazards. I hope this works out better than 3D.
Call of Duty: Ghosts has been rather poorly received by critics, with a somewhat mediocre Metacritic score around the 75 range.
But according to analyst Doug Creutz, that’s unlikely to put much of a dent in the sales figures.
“By and large, most titles’ commercial fates are decided well before the first review comes out; otherwise, we would not be able to use pre-launch data from Amazon and predict actual sales with a fair degree of accuracy.”
In fairness, I find it hard to imagine that most of the people picking up Call of Duty Day 1 even bothered to look at Metacritic. People just don’t care; it’s a familiar brand with a familiar product, they know exactly what they’re getting.
What people are a lot more uncertain about is the flailing Wii U, a console headed deeper into obscurity with the release of the “real” next-gen consoles.
A lot of this is due to the lack of third-party interest, forcing Nintendo to develop all the titles themselves – slowly.
But president Satoru Iwata has said that Nintendo tries their best to avoid “following and imitating others”, claiming that “employing the same methodology as the other manufacturers would only lead to the most simplistic competitive approaches, such as price wars or money-giving that would never end.”
It’s a neat way of framing the problem as Nintendo not wanting to jump into bed with third-party developers, rather than developers themselves simply not wanting to go near a console that sells about seven units a month; mostly to people who bought the wrong thing by mistake.
Blizzcon is happening right this very moment, and NAG Online has you covered for the weekend. Personally, I’m not much a WoW player and I care more about Diablo 3 killing the auction house than the expansion itself. What I am intrigued by, however, is Blizzard’s “DotA” game, Heroes of the Storm.
I’m a sucker for a MOBA, but what really intrigues me is whether or not Blizzard can actually break into such a competitive and well-established space; there’s only room for a couple, a lesson the likes of Heroes of Newerth has learned the hard way.
But Blizzard’s Alan Dabiri spoke to exactly that, saying, “Pretty much every game we’ve ever released has been in a space where other people have games of the same type.
“We always take that experience and put a Blizzard flavour on it and I think that people have come to appreciate that.”
It’s a difficult point to argue with. That Blizzard name carries a lot of weight, and many people, myself included, will give the game a fair shot just because of that pedigree.
Speaking of pedigree, let’s talk Age of Empires 2. It may be approaching 15 years old, but that’s not stopping it from getting an expansion on Steam. Yup, if you logon to Steam right now you’ll find The Forgotten, the aptly named add-on which began its life as unofficial mod but was later turned into an official expansion with Microsoft’s support.
It includes five new civilisations, four campaigns, two new game modes, a spectator mode and even Twitch.tv integration. I have to admit, I’m intrigued. The Steam download will set you about around 100 bucks.
I remember seeing a trailer for Rambo: The Video Game quite a while back, and it was hard to know whether or not to take it seriously. This new gameplay trailer does little to ease my confusion.
Capcom’s Dead Rising 3 is one of the Xbox One’s heavy-hitter exclusives, and they’ve been churning out videos all week to generate enough hype to sway any undecided gamers over to Microsoft’s camp. This one has zombies, explosions, and zomplosions. Check it out:
On the other side of the fence, Sony has released a cryptic “viral video” which seems to point to a Street Fighter game coming to PS4. With 8-bit graphics and bad cosplay, you should probably see it for yourself.
Need for Speed might be the Call of Duty of car games, but it still looks pretty as hell on the next-gen tech. Check out this short gameplay vid of a high-speed chase on the Xbox One.
Best of NAG
As I said before, NAG Online has you covered for Blizzcon this weekend, and you can stay up to date and not miss a thing by clicking this link right here; assuming your caffeine-addled brain somehow managed to miss the bold text prefacing every article.
Telltale Games have been quietly reinventing the wheel with their slew of successful episodic adaptations of comics, movies and books. Which leaves you wondering – what will get the Midas touch next? Matthew Fick has that all figured out.
Games being too damned easy is something I’ve complained about in the past, and I’m happy to report I’m not the only one who thinks we’re being spoonfed. Check out Melcolm McDonald’s take on the situation, as we sit in our matching lawn chairs, pointing our shotguns at any damned kids stupid enough to get on our lawn in the first place.
Ha, you thought I wasn’t going to plug myself this week, didn’t you? Foolish child, my ego is not within my control. The totally awesome column I wrote this week was about Batttlefield 4 and Call of Duty: Ghosts, and does a stellar job of helping you choose between the two. It may be the best thing you read this decade, possibly ever, and it’s free. Have your mind blown here.