Friday, 31 May 2013

The Pros & Cons Of Writing For Gamesbeat

As you beans know, I'm a pretty vocal guy. I respect everyone's opinions and their own views and always want to hear what people have to say, but I don't shy away from sharing my own thoughts either. 

Some of the articles I've written have been of a fairly controversial nature. Whether I'm angrily ranting and swearing at companies and corporations like EA or documenting my experience with poor customer service like I did with Microsoft (see the article I'm referencing here), I like to make my voice heard.

I'm not going to be angrily ranting or swearing here though - I have no need to. Gamesbeat is a great website that really helps amateur gaming journos as well as providing some really great articles. They've helped me a TON too. I've been a 'communtity' writer on there for a good while and had a few articles promoted by the editors of the site as well as a lot of 'success', if you want,  in terms of the views and feedback my articles have received. 

While I'd like to say writing for them is all plain sailing though, it isn't, unfortunately. There are some blatantly obvious pros and cons of being a part of the GB community and I intend to list them all here and answer the final question of: should you really write for them? So, let's get to it.

PRO - More Recognition

One of the key pros of being a community writer on Gamesbeat is the fact you're opening yourself up to more people. If you don't have a blog or personal website and mainly just freelance then you are going to get a lot more recognition for your work by writing for GB. 

Obviously GB is an already successful website, so while if you write a cracking article for your own blog or site or a lesser known gaming website then it may receive less views. However by putting it on such a popular and stable platform like GB, you'll be getting a lot more traffic on your article. If you continue to write good stuff on there too you will do a good job of integrating yourself into the community and thus become a recognised and well respected member. 

I would like to point out though that unlike Gamesbeat's predecessor Bitmob, it isn't AS community focused, so the community benefits mentioned above aren't as big as they used to be.


CON: Less Traffic To Your Own Site

If you have your own blog, like me, where all of your content originates from, you're going to want that to be getting a main portion of the views that your articles attract, right? Right. However even if you put a link to your site at the end of your Gamesbeat articles, it's unlikely that people will follow through and click it. Not a big deal though, right? Wrong. 

If you take the articles you write on your blog/website and put them on Gamesbeat TOO, then it becomes a battle for which site is going to get the more views on your articles, right? Right. This is counterproductive for your own site however because OBVIOUSLY the more popular Gamesbeat is going to attract more viewers and so people are going to go to GB to see your articles instead of to your blog.

Example: You write an article on the Xbox One. You publish it on your blog. Your blog appears on Google. There is only one website to view your article on now: your blog. So if people want to see it or if it gets shared around and even goes viral, people will be viewing it on YOUR site.

But what if you published it on Gamesbeat too? Then there are TWO places to view your article. And which site is going to rank higher in Google's search results and attract more views? Not your one. 

You see now? As much as you may get more views and recognition by putting your articles on Gamesbeat, it's counterproductive when it comes to luring people to your own site.

PRO: Great Writing Experience 

If you're an aspiring gaming journo then Gamesbeat is a great way of getting experience. Write a lot of articles for it and you'll gain a lot more confidence and actual writing ability. And if you end up writing a hit article then that is going to help A LOT. 

There's not much else to say here except writing for GB will give you a lot of experience in the gaming jounro area and will definitely help you to land maybe some more amateurish work.

CON: No Money Benefits (Ouch)

For me one of the killer things about Gamesbeat is the fact there are no money benefits. You write a hit article? Not only may that decrease the traffic to your own blog/site but the only people ultimately benefiting from those many views you brought in are Gamesbeat themselves.

Am I being harsh? No, that's just the way it is.

Even when you write for those mini websites and gain $3 per article, you're still getting paid and recognised for your hard work. In a way GB kind of sucks up your content, burps, then asks for more. 

Ouch.

PRO: Great Writer Protection 

If you blog you know that your work is going to be copied. That's just how it is. Damn I wish it wasn't, but it is. 

However if you publish your gaming articles to Gamesbeat then you're guaranteed first-degree protection from them. Someone copies your work? Don't sweat it Gamesbeat will deal with the bastards. It may be in their own best interests to work their asses off to ensure your stuff isn't copied as duplicated content hurts THEIR rankings in Google but it's always nice to have things done for you right? 

CON: WTF Is With Their Editing? 

When I write an article and put it on Gamesbeat I want the only mistakes in it to be my own. That way when people point out a grammatical issue I can hold my hands up and say 'I missed it. I'm sorry'. Everyone makes spelling and grammar issues. Even big sites like IGN. Hell, I see problems with their articles ALL THE TIME.

But what isn't right is when the GB editors themselves decide to fuck you. If they promote one of your articles then that is great for the popularity of that piece of work, but often bad for the actual writing of it.

Obviously you can't blame them for ironing out the creases and generally making the article sound better when they promote it, right? But why in God's name do grammatical and spelling mistakes that you never included yourself randomly appear?

Their editing is not impressive one bit and I've been disappointed by their choice of editing techniques on a few occasions. Below is a great example of how their editors make zero sense.

I originally wrote: 'Currently practically no one likes or is siding with the Xbox One', so
 why did they change it and for the worst too? Makes no sense. And obviously the mistake
 looks like your own when it's not
.


They also tend to remove some pictures that you include yet don't remove the captions. For instance I put captions below my pictures (like I did above) however sometimes they randomly just decide to remove the picture from the article but leave IN the caption, so there is a random caption in the middle of the article that makes as much sense as their editor's logic. 

They also tend to add in some extra, completely unnecessary, punctuation. Like random commas. Why? I don't know. 

Generally I don't trust them. 

Should you write for them?

I don't write that much for them anymore. I'll put some of my gaming articles on there occasionally but I just don't feel like the benefits are really as big as they could or should be. I'd rather keep my most popular articles on my blog and sure gain LESS views, but still more than if I'd put it on GB too.

If you're just starting out or if you DON'T have your own site or blog then sure, go ahead and join the Gamesbeat community. But for me, and I think a lot of people who have their own site to promote, they aren't a great option. Plus their editors are pretty mental.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

In A Whirlwind Of Defiant Words

It's not hard to see why some people lose out.

It's not hard to see why some people win.

If you're not interested in my more serious articles like my 'A Question Of' series, then this article isn't for you. But I like rambling and writing social comments as much as I love gaming so this is how it's got to be.

I like to class myself as an observer. Wherever I go I like to observe what I see before me and think - not speak. To ponder what it is other people are doing and what they too are thinking. I can be a pretty self absorbed person and sometimes I will remind myself that the other people before me have their own feelings and thoughts too, and it surprises me a little bit. Are they secretly judging me? What do they think on this matter or that matter?

The murder of drummer Rigby left a really sour taste in my mouth. It's so sad when anyone dies. But when it's in such a brutal manner it's often hard to understand the mind behind the person who committed the act.


It's odd because I had a recurring nightmare shortly before his murder that was of a very similar nature.

In this nightmare I was standing in a park that is near where I live with a friend. It was dark and maybe about 11PM. All of a sudden people started gathering near one of the exits/entrances and crowding round and then suddenly people started falling. Dying. There was a man standing there killing them all, right in front of me and my friend. He was killing them with a machete. It was terrifying. So me and my friend, we ran. We exited this park and we ran through the town of Rayleigh. However we got separated, or rather my friend just disappeared. And I was alone. And I realised all of these machete wielding madmen were strolling through Rayleigh, ready to kill.

After I woke up it made me think of how easy and unpreventable crimes and murders involving things like machetes are. If someone wanted to walk up and stab me or you, they could. Easy. And that's basically what happened to drummer Rigby.

A couple of songs I continually played over the course of the weeks before Rigby's death and after it were All Hope Is Gone and Psyhosocial by Slipknot.

All Hope Is Gone is a simple song about the faults of society while Psychosocial is a song about the Iraq war.

"The state of the nation, violationA broken promise is as good as a lieThe hell is humongous, the devil's among usAnd we will burn because we won't unite
We won't witness anymore freedomWhat does anybody do we need 'em?I would rather fight than let another dieWe're the problem but we're also the solution"

It's not hard to understand those lyrics. They truly are brilliant. So much is said within those 8 lines about the world, no matter where you live or are from.

"A broken promise is as good as a lie" is a statement clearly directed at the politics of the world, while the line "We will burn because we won't unite" clearly indicates that the failure of the human race to group together how we should and work and fight as one to survive is not only our current downfall, but will likely be our final downfall too. 

"We're the problem but we're also the solution" is arguably the most obvious piece of lyric genius here. The human race is the problem itself yet we're the only solution to our own problem. Issues don't resolve themselves.

There are many reasons why drummer Rigby shouldn't have died. What effect did the man who murdered him think he would have other than proving how disgusting the human race is even more? What did he think he would do other than make himself look like the monster he is? You can fight for what you believe, but even in fights there are rules. Limits.


In World War II there was the Christmas Truce. A completely unofficial truce that saw friendly and 
enemy troops make short peace between each-other and even hangout and play football.


When I think of that truce it really does touch me and it makes me think of how even in the most violent and dangerous situations, humans are still humans. We're not born or made to kill. We're just people. 

And yet in this 'modern age' there is no peace from this relentless onslaught of violence. There is no calling a halt to it and agreeing that enough if enough. The line between war and fighting and mindless killing and murder was crossed a long time ago, however for it to cross over into such ordinary life is scary - terrifying even. There seems to be no respect or mercy anymore. 

If people wish to battle politics, go ahead. If people wish to battle each-other in war, be my guest. But surely there must be a mutual respect, a silently agreed understanding that what one party fights for may not be what the other party does but is still of obvious importance? 

I could say many things to the people behind Rigby's murder. I could say "Leave!" "Show respect!" "Don't like our beliefs, go then!". But that would be saying what everyone else already says and thinks.
I don't want to because it's such an obvious argument to make. Instead I want to ask this: what do you hope to do with your mindless violence and killing? What do you plan to achieve? Because there is no way you can break a country or destroy the world like this. Anger never lead to anything good. And neither did violence fuelled by anger. All that will lead to is a dead end. A very, very dead end. 

Rant - SportsDirect SUCKS

A couple of weeks ago I had to buy a new football from SportsDirect. I was reminded of why they suck so fucking much.

Why do they suck so much?

Well how about their stupid website is fucking slow as hell. In the time it takes to load a fucking page you could have probably made a dozen fucking sandwiches.

Honestly, this isn't 2003 guys. Why does a page take up to 20 seconds to load?

If you do actually spend enough time surfing their website and do find a product to buy, good luck fucking buying it.

Add to basket. Add to basket. Add to basket. No, add to the basket please. Why aren't you adding? Add. To. Basket. ADD TO FUCKING BASKET YOU FUCKING MOTHERFUCKER.
Thank you.
Oh.... wait.... no... ADD TO THE GODDAMN FUCKING BASKET PIECE OF SHIT.

That's ^ generally how you add somthing to your basket on SportsDirect. It seems their unbelievably shit website NEVER ADDS ANYTHING TO YOUR FUCKING BASKET.

Once it is added what do you do? Well you checkout of course!

OK, now here is where shit gets real. Oh, you thought it was bad before? SURPRISE MOTHERFUCKER!

So you wanna pay, right? Here are your options: Sign in and pay. Pay through Amazon. Or pay through Paypal.

Let's assume that you wanna do what every other human bean wants to do and just sign in. So, you enter your details. You click sign in and - hang on.... What the fuck?

Why in fucks name have I just signed in yet I've been taken to the fucking Paypal page?

OK maybe that's just how this works.

So you sign in to Paypal. OK. Not a big deal. But then you have to choose the card and address. Now because Paypal itself is so fucking dumb there are two names. Mine and someone else's who the Paypal account belongs too. Don't ask why it's like this, it just is.

So you select your card. OK. Then, if you're me, you select your Paypal name. Then you click 'proceed to checkout.'

Hang, what is THIS? What the fuck is this? Why the fuck has the name of the person the item is being delivered to been changed back to the default one and NOT mine like I selected? You know I could go back and change it back, but not only would SportsDirects fucky website go "OH NO YOU DON'T" and crash, it would also be a stupid, pointless effort at correcting a mistake because the same mistake will be made again and again and never ever corrected no matter how much you do try and correct it because it's so fucking shitty.

So the item is now being addressed to someone else. Great.

So you click pay.

And you click it again.

And again.

And - wait... is this a repeat of the basket situation? I think so.....

And again....

Again.

Again again again again again again again agian agin agN ign IjfneidnIA SFNSUH AJUHUFHUSAXA S DUFBEUDCVBSUFBEUV SJCUEFHE SF EUFBEUBEH

Ahem yeah anyway.

So basically at this stage you've clicked pay like a bazillion times. And guess what? The page is still fucking loading!

And then, then it happens. It goes white and then.... then.... then.... then it says something like "Sorry there was an error completing your order".

ARE. YOU. FUCKING. MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE?

Oh God why....WHY??

But wait - wait a fucking minute? There wasn't an error, it was a trick. A devious trick by SportsShitErect.

You go and check your e-mail and then you see, you see the confirmation e-mail.

"Hi we're just e-mailing you to let you know that your item _______ order is being processed."

So why the fuck did you tell me it hadn't gone through you dumb fucks?

But there's more.

"As you did not order through a registered SportsDirect account you cannot receive tracking information for your order. Please create an account by following this link in order to track your parcel when it is sent."

What? What? WHAT? But I fucking signed in? I fucking signed into SportsDirect and then I was redirected to Paypal?
So what you're telling me is that I signed in, but I didn't, and I was sent to Paypal for no fucking reason?

FUCK. YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU.

It's not over yet.

Ohhhhhh no.

If you got express delivery then you can expect your lovely item to be delivered by the folks from Yodel. Yes. Y-O-D-E-L!

I already did a rant on those bastards which you can read here.

Just to sum Yodel up they're basically like a really fit hooker with aids. They promise a lot, but in the end you regret ever putting your faith in them and their services.

By the way all of this rant was dedicated to if you actually ORDER your item SUCCESSFULLY.

If it turns out the item you ordered on Wednesday is out of stock but they didn't say so on the site, you can expect an e-mail telling you it hasn't been sent because of this a good couple of days later. Like, Friday. And your money that you spent on this nonexistent item? Won't be in your account for a couple of days too...

There is one plus to SportsShitDirect though. They send you a lot of free mugs. Thanks for those guys.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Microsoft Being Dicks About Headsets & Domains

I know I've been bashing Microsoft a lot recently, so let me say this:

I am not biased against them. In fact I *was* a fan of theirs. And these 'bashing' articles are simply me being honest about Microsoft and their recent business strategies.

So with that out the way let us move on.

There are two things I want to mention here:
1) The lack of current headset support on the Xbox One
And
2) The total arsehole way Microsoft are going about trying to obtain the domain names 'XboxOne.com' & 'XboxOne.net'.

The first issue in hand is regarding the whole headset situation. These details have already been known for a good few days and I wasn't going to mention it in this article (I was going to focus on the domain problem instead) but I figured that if I was gonna moan about one thing regarding M$, I might as well moan about two things instead (Mike logic).

You probably already know that the Xbox One is not going to support current Xbox headsets however let me get this straight with you, just so you're 100% with the info and not at all unsure.

The Xbox One is not going to support ANY current Xbox headsets, not just the Microsoft ones. So if you thought that only those shitty £10 Microsoft headsets that hurt like hell and only give you voice chat were the only ones not going to work on the next-gen console, you are wrong. If you own Astros, Trittons, Turtle Beaches - whatever - they're not going to work.

This is due to the port on the controller that connects to the headset being different on the Xbox One. That said, as it is ONLY the speech port that is different, you may still be able to use your headset to listen to the gameplay, but you definitely can't chat.

This is killer. This is like Microsoft personally coming up to me, you, everyone, and spitting in our faces. OK so you own a £40 pair of Tritton Detnators. Good headset by the way, but cheap. Not the BIGGEST deal - although still a bum that it won't work. But many headsets cost easily over £100. Over ONE HUNDRED POUNDS. And you're saying that they won't work, M$? Well fuck you too.

And you know the worst part? You can't necessarily take your headset and use it on the PS4 instead, regardless of whether the chat system on that hasn't changed, because some headsets, like the Tritton Detonators, Warhead and Primer are ONLY on Xbox. So they're not compatible with Sony's own brand of console.

Obviously the only benefits of this go to Microsoft themselves. They care about their own profits and business, just like every company, however their tactics are disgusting. So why, why would they do this?

If the Xbox One has a unique chat port, which I'm guessing it does, it may mean that Microsoft simply wants to develop the headsets for the console themselves or only allow certified companies to do so. Like Tritton or Turtle Beach. It doesn't matter how they go about it though, the bottom line is they will be making extra bucks out of this design decision. And that is all that matters. To them anyway.

Oh and they're also saying this decision to not allow current headsets to be used on the Xbox One is for the USER experience, that it is to BENEFIT you. Yeah, go fuck yourself Microsoft.

But I'm not done! Yaaaay. Onto the second point.

This one is really recent and it is regarding the domains 'XboxOne.com' and 'XboxOne.net'. As you know, the new console is called the 'Xbox One' and Microsoft want to obtain the domain name. Unfortunately for them the domain name is already in use. Yes, XboxOne.com/.net is taken and Microsoft is filing a complaint in order to try and gain control of it.

So there is one particular instance in which Microsoft would be perfectly fine to make this complaint. First of all if the domain names 'XboxOne.com'  and 'XboxOne.net' had only been set up a week ago, preferably shortly after the Xbox One reveal, and had nothing on them except a blank site, then that is easily called out as domain camping.

However the issue with this is that the guy who own the domains set it up a year and a half ago. Yes 18 months ago. So unless he had inside information about Microsoft's Xbox naming plans and decided to camp down and take the domain in the hope of getting some extra cash, he has probably set up the websites unaware of the future issues he might/would cause.

Ultimately my overall problem with this, for me, is Microsoft's attitude towards it. They've 'filed a complaint'. Yes they have 'complained' about someone owning a domain THEY want. Big fucking deal Microsoft. Get over yourselves. Other people can own domains too. You have no right, no right at all to seize those domains from that man. He has as much right to own them as you do.

What really gets me is that Microsoft has the domains XboxFusion.com and Xbox8.com registered already and have done for some time. Why register them and NOT the domain with the actual name of your console in it? I mean did they not decide on the name until NOW? Really? REALLY? If so then that is terrible planning. Really terrible. And if they just forgot to register it? Well tough luck.

In my mind they should just use the current Xbox.com domain anyway. Why are they trying to make all their products separate? However it's likely that they didn't actually plan on making the XboxOne.com domain the actual website for the Xbox One and instead would have the domain link BACK to the normal Xbox.com website. Quite like how when you type in Xbox360.com you are redirected to the Xbox.com website.

Will Microsoft win the battle for the domains? Who do you want to win? What do you think about the headsets? What do you think of it all? Leave yo comments, BELOW.
PEACE.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

eBay Rage, Brain Frizzle & Star Trek

I look a bit like Pikachu with that yellow face...
My Metro: last Light review was delayed, as you know. This was because the mug I pre-ordered it from on eBay didn't send it until 3 whole days after they were supposed to.

You might be wondering why I actually bought it off of eBay when in reality it would make more sense to purchase it from, like, Amazon. The answer? I don't, uh, actually know. I guess it's because I like bargains and the copy of Metro: Last Light I pre-ordered on eBay was really cheap. But I paid the price in terms of poor delivery and I shall never - NEVER - pre-order off of eBay again. NEVER.

I actually ended up going out and buying a copy of Last Light from a Smyths toy store near where I live. It was the full £40 RRP price but I figured I could just sell or return the other copy of Metro when I got it and, while I'd lose money yes, it was better than nothing. So dat, dat my friends, is what I did.

I sat down and played Metro from 1pm till 10:10PM. A full 9 hours 10 minutes. Well, about 9 hours if you count the bathroom and dinner breaks I had. It was surprisingly satisfying to play it so fast though. I enjoyed it. But my mind was frizzled afterwards. It was like I was seeing squares everywhere. I hadn't had a single proper break and my arse, oh God my arse; it was killing me. Like KILING ME. Literally.
Well, not literally. Obviously it wasn't actually killing me. It just hurt a lot.

Actually, isn't it weird how much people say 'literally' when they don't actually mean what they say literally? Everyone says it as if it gives what they're saying more basis or will make you believe them more but they don't seem to realise that if something is literal, it is actually that way, completely.

Example: Someone actually said to me: "Oh God that film was so bad it gave me aids, literally." And they weren't using the word 'literally' in a joking way either. However by them putting it in they were actually saying that instead of the film giving them aids in a metaphorical sense, it actually game them aids. Like in real life. Like, it genuinely gave them a decease.

I think people should use the word 'literally' less loosely...

Before I wrap up this short, random, blog, I wanted to touch on the new Star Trek film that I saw earlier this week. I'm not really a Star Trek fan, although I liked the first of the new Star Trek films a lot. However the new one, Into Darkness, is absolutely AWESOME. I loved it. It was action packed, it had crying, it had an English bad guy (AGAIN. A-FUCKING-GAIN. IS HOLLYWOOD INCAPABLE OF CASTING AMERICANS AS BAD GUYS IN THEIR OWN GODDAMN MOVIES?) and it had laughs. It was great fun.

Although I'm gonna come right out and say it: Benedict Cumberbatch was overrated.

Yes. I think he was. He wasn't THAT amazing. I mean what the fuck was with his emo hair and gothic looks? I mean really? Really? C'mon, you could've at least made him a bit more original.

Oh and one last thing: I'm buying a domain for this blog that will be active from the 31st of May onwards. Check out my previous article update for more info.

So anyway, I just thought I'd do a quick blog touching on a few things that happened to me recently. How have you been though?

New Domain - IMPORTANT UPDATE

OK guys so here is a quick update regarding the blog. It's very important too, as the title suggests.

From the 31st of May onwards the domain of the blog will NOT be michaelthekyle.blogspot.co.uk anymore. Instead a new domain will be used and the address will now simply be michaelthekyle.com. 

If you bookmarked my blog then this shouldn't be an issue for you, but if you use the full address as it is now to find or search for my blog then you will need to make a note that it will be changing.

This change ONLY effects the domain and not the host, so the blog itself will remain the same.

I was considering changing the actual host from Blogger to a professional website but that would defeat the object of this being, well, a blog. I plan on keeping my blog on the Blogger platform forever as it sets the perfect tone for the content I produce.

So there you have it. The domain will be changing to michaelthekyle.com from michaelthekyle.blogspot.co.uk. 

PEACE.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

How Microsoft F*cked Up The Next-Gen For Themselves

I'm a bit of a Microsoft fan but for this article I took the stance of someone pissed at Microsoft and their pretty shitty Xbox One reveal. This is me pointing out why everyone is saying the Xbox One sucks. If you've got anything to add or say, comment away!

Microsoft's Xbox One reveal was supposed to be big, shocking and amazing. It was supposed to blow the PS4 reveal out of the water and take everyone by surprise. It was supposed to prove all of the Xbox naysayers wrong. But it didn't. In fact it went possibly as bad as it could have gone.

I do like Microsoft but why do they never listen?
It's been a couple of days since the Xbox One event and everyone's had time to mull over what they saw and heard. Ultimately I was very disappointed by it, however this isn't just about what I thought. Gamers everywhere are grouping together and saying about how much the Xbox One sucks and how the PS4 is without doubt going to be better.

Microsoft have received such negative backlash from the reveal event that the question of whether or not they have just completely screwed up the next generation for themselves is becoming ever more asked.

Currently practically no one likes or is siding with the Xbox One. But why? Why does it look like Microsoft have just fucked up their next console?

The consumers are the ones that Microsoft needs to impress. And to do this you often have to listen to them and take their views onboard, something Microsoft hasn't seemed to have done.

There are 3 core issues here that Microsoft did not approach or deal with proeprly. These 3 issues are what are greatly contributing to the Xbox One looking like a bad deal. These 3 things, which could have been avoided, are what are really causing the consumers to get pissed. These are 3 things Microsoft didn't take note of, that they didn't work with the consumers and their users to make work. Why did they do it alone? Why did they not listen? Why do they not seem to have any idea what we, the buyers, the people with the money, WANT?

* The first issue is the lack of games and the whole entertainment side of the console.
Sony's reveal was all about the games. Sure, they did not show the console and I was very disappointed by how shady they were about some aspects of the it, but they did NOT forget their audience: the ones who they were broadcasting to.

My sister likes movies and TV and entertainment. She does. The things that Microsoft highlighted that the Xbox One does in the entertainment area of things are probably things my sister could very well use and like. But she doesn't care about the Xbox One. She didn't watch the reveal. Why? Because she doesn't game. It's not her deal. So, Microsoft, the Xbox One is still a games console. It is an XBOX. It's part of a GAMING brand. It has hardcore gaming CAPABILITIES. It's why people BUY the CONSOLE.

This. This was the most interesting game related thing they showed.
Which isn't bad. I can't wait for it. But this wasn't even proper
gameplay. Fucks sake.
So why were you pushing all of this entertainment crap into our faces? Why on earth were you emphasising areas of the console and what it does that NO ONE watching gave two shits about? You want to make an all-in-one entertainment device? Go ahead. But just don't call it an Xbox and market it as a games console at the same time.

The lack of games at the reveal was stupid. They totally neglected basically who their entire audience and following was and tried to convince us other things mattered. But no one cared Microsoft. We just want games. And that's what Sony and the PS4 is making SURE they deliver. So why aren't you?

* The second issue is the online requirement. How many times did people have to yell and scream and fucking make it CLEAR AS DAY that they DID NOT WANT online to be a necessity?

OK, OK, so it isn't a 'constant necessity', but the Xbox One's core features still rely on it.

The Xbox One doesn't have to be constantly connected to the internet to be used, but it needs to be connected about once a day in order to keep functioning. This means if the internet goes down you can still game and do things on it for some time (about 24 hours) but will need to reconnect it at some point soon to still be able to use it before it shuts off completely.

This isn't a big deal for a normal person who lives in a normal place, but what about people who don't have consistent or constant internet connections? Well they can't use it. Simple as that.

The fact it HAS TO HAVE an internet connection to function longterm is not what we, the consumers, wanted. It might not be always online, but it's as good as.

All Microsoft did by making the console like this was reduce people's confidence in them and whether or not they actually listen to the community.

* The third and final main issue is the charge for borrowing games. You can use a friends game on your console if you are signed in as them, however if you're not singed in as them and you simply want to borrow a game for a week, you have to pay a fee. A full price game fee. So basically you have to buy the game yourself.

This is the final straw for many people. It's the thing that proves just how much Microsoft don't seem to care. While Microsoft has said pre-owned games will still be available and game rentals will still somehow work, not being able to borrow or simply lend games is a ludicrous feature to get rid of.

People made it clear months, maybe even years ago, that they did not want restrictions like this. And what has Microsoft done? They've fucked you. They've fucked me. They've fucked the consumer.

Yeah Microsoft, no one gives a fuck about apps on
a games console. Where are the fucking games?
It's almost like they thought the pros would outweigh the cons, but didn't they realise everyone was going to be looking at the bad parts of the new console? It's like they tried to say "Yeah it has to have a consistent internet connection to work and you have to pay to use a friends game but hey, look, we haaaaaaaaaaaaaave - SPORTS GAMES AND ENTERTAINMENT THINGS!!!" But Microsoft wake up. No one cares. Nobody gives one shit. No one cares about this 'app' and that 'app' and this 'movie thing' and that 'movie thing'. No. One. Cares.

Hey but you know what gamers do care about? Games. We care about games. We care about being able to lend a friend a game for free. We care about being able to game without an internet connection. We care about the fucking video games we can play on your fucking video game console. And basically everything we, gamers and consumers, care about you didn't seem to care about. You seemed to brush aside or screw up. And it's hard to have faith in a company like that.

That's why everyone is pissed. That's why everyone is saying the PS4 is better. That's why everyone says the Xbox One is rubbish. Basically that's how you, Microsoft, fucked up the next generation for yourselves. Take a fucking bow.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Xbox One Reveal Roundup - Flop Or Success?

UPDATE 1: Microsoft has confirmed that you can play other people's games on your own console but only if you are singed in as them. If you wish to use someone else's game on your Xbox One without using THEIR profile you must buy the game.

Microsoft has also confirmed that while the Xbox One is NOT technically always online it does require consistent connections to Xbox Live in order to update and function consistently and properly. If your internet dies it is suggested you can use the console for at least 24 hours before it needs to reconnect to the internet. 

It has also been suggested that you can constantly use basic DVD and musicfunctions without an internet connection at all times. 

As for pricing and the release date, there is no confirmed info on this yet.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Microsoft revealed their new Xbox console, now named the Xbox One, yesterday. Here is my own personal review and take on the information we received about it and how it works. 



I'll be splitting this down into 3 parts: the console, controller and the games. The console overview will cover all things related to the Xbox One device itself, the controller part will be about the controller (obviously) and the games section will cover all of the game information we have.


The Console


The Xbox One is called exactly that: Xbox One. Yes Microsoft has named their new console 'One'. I think many people, including myself, will agree that it is an awful name. Really, really bad. Hell Xbox Infinity was better. Or even 720. But One? Maybe they're trying to set themselves up like the Playstation and name the console after the 'One' the 'Two'. Arguably that's a good idea and keeps things basic but still, not a great name.

So let's talk specs. The Xbox One will offer 8GB of RAM, the same amount as Sony's PS4, however unlike the PS4, which has its RAM formatted to GDDR5, the Xbox One's is DDR3.

As for the processor, the Xbox One features a Microsoft custom CPU with 8 Cores. The current Ghz it runs at has not been confirmed. Nor has the overall benchmark and power. Thus it is impossible at this time to compare the power of the PS4 to that of the Xbox One.

Looks quite nice but a bit big
Something interesting about the console is it will 'improve over time' thanks to cloud storage. Apparently, while you cannot upgrade the console manually like a computer, the cloud will allow for more transistors to be used in conjunction with the transistors built into the console.

The problem with this? Well how about the entire thing. First of all an internet connection would be required constantly to play games using this cloud transistor system. Secondly what if you have slower internet AND what about the millions of other people using this one cloud system at the same time? What, lag? LAG? In a single-player game? This isn't Onlive. I'm sorry but this idea is flawed. Unless Microsoft come out with some amazing, shocking information that proves it will work no matter what then this could really easily fail. Good luck with this Microsoft.

Anyway, the Xbox One will come with a built in 500GB hard-drive that cannot be user removed or replaced, meaning if you want more memory you have to either go to a professional and pay or buy a USB flash drive to plug into one of the 'few' USB 3.0 ports on the console.

The Xbox One will also feature a Blu-ray drive, so it will play all of your Blu-ray DVDs and games.

It will come with a next-gen Kinect too, which has been beefed up to offer a 1080p camera and far, far, far more improved tracking sensor. It can also process a whopping 2 gigabits of data every second.

The Kinect responds to many voice commands too. Simply saying 'Xbox on' will turn your console on. You can also control how the Xbox multitasks via voice commands. But more on multitasking in a lil bit.
The console will NOT function without the Kinect and it seems that due to it being so compulsory Microsoft are trying to make it integrate and function in same games you use a normal controller for.

The Xbox One will run three operating systems apparently. The first is a watered down version of Windows 8 RT. This is for basic app functions but lacks any proper 'Windows depth' like the full on OS does. If you want a good example of what it'll be like just look at the Windows RT tablets. Their OS is for normal apps and services but lacks the ability to run fully fledged Windows orientated services.

The second OS is the Xbox one, which will be for playing the Xbox games.

The third OS is sort of a translator if you will, allowing the main two OS's to communicate and function in unison.

These three OS's, when combined, are supposed to allow for a multitasking system that lets you view the different parts of the console at the same time. While the Xbox OS is playing your game, the Windows OS is managing apps like Skype that you can view or switch into at any time. 'Snap view' will let you view two apps at the same time so there is definitely some sort of on screen multitasking system included.

What puzzles me is why Microsoft hasn't just made one big OS that combines all the elements that the console needs, instead of having three separate systems that require more power. Surely the gaming part of the Xbox OS could be inbuilt into the Windows part allowing for a totally, overall, custom OS?

Hey everyone VCRs are back IN!
As for the apps, you can definitely expect to see way more available than there is on the Xbox 360. The Windows OS may allow access to the Windows app store and be able to run the Windows specific apps. This, however, is speculation as nothing has been confirmed.

Xbox Live will now run off of a massive 300,000 servers. That's 285,000 more than what the current Xbox Live uses.
This increased server range will offer a far deeper match making system that not only works better at finding you your perfect opponent to play against, but is also faster.

The Xbox One also includes an inbuilt game DVR. This records all your recent gameplay for you to view back and upload. It seems quite amateurish though and doesn't exactly look like something you'd replace your Elgato with. It's a shame because I was desperately hoping that it would come with a full blown, built in, capture card.
This DVR system is more for the sake of saving great moments during your time gaming and sharing them with other people.

There are some questions that people really, really want answered though. Is the Xbox One, yes or no, backwards compatible? Is it always online? And does it cost to play someone else's game on your console?

To answer the first question; no. It is NOT backwards compatible. So keep your 360 if you still wanna play your current games.

To answer the second question: Microsoft are being shady here. At first I thought it wasn't always-on, which was awesome, but then some Microsoft person came out and made everyone even more confused. Bottom line is that, from my perspective at least, it doesn't SEEM to always need an internet connection to work, but at the same time it may do. We don't know for sure yet.

As for the third question, this is kind of confusing too. Some people were saying that if you lend someone else a Xbox One game then they have to pay a fee to play it on their console. However Microsoft kind of debunked this by saying that it wasn't true. Yet at the same time they weren't very convincing. Just like with the always-on thing, this info is not clear.

What is clear and what I should've mentioned earlier is that games will require a compulsory installation   onto the HDD on the Xbox One.

If you're worried about your XBL profile or gamerscore don't be because it will all be ported to the new console!

The Controller


The Xbox One's controller is pretty fugly. It isn't exactly a looker. It has basically the same button layout as before however what the buttons do and how they work is slightly different.

First of all the D-pad is no longer that horrible circle thing that really sucked. It's now a precision D-pad.
The start and select buttons are likely to have been changed to do different things, like trigger multitasking or something. 
Bit of an ugly bastard really

The Xbox hub button, which has been moved back, will probably still bring up the Xbox hub, but not necessarily the same kind of 'hub' that we currently know on the Xbox 360.

The back triggers and bumpers are pretty worrying though. They are bigger and look more dominating. I didn't like the look of them at all. That said I haven't used it so I don't know how they feel and work exactly. 

The trickers apparently contain inner motors so they vibrate and twitch by themselves. So no more standard, generic, controller only vibration, it seems that the new controller is trying to draw you in with more precision vibrations instead.

The Games


Quantum Break
The problem with the Xbox reveal is that Microsoft were trying to depict the console as more of an overall 'entertainment device' rather than a proper games console. 

The games weren't a big part of the reveal, unfortunately. Microsoft announced there are going to be 15 exclusive titles in the first year, 8 of which are from totally new franchises. A game from Alan Wake developers Remedy called Quantum Break is going to be released as one of these exclusives. Forza 5 has also been confirmed along with a lot of other third party games like Call of Duty: Ghosts, Battlefield 4 and Assassins Creed 4. For a decent list on these games check out IGN's Wiki page.

Call Of Duty: Ghosts
I wasn't very impressed by the so-called 'amazing next-gen graphics engine' that Infinity Ward showed off when they did a little demo of CoD: Ghosts. That said, no visuals really blew me away here or at the PS4 reveal.

Was It A Success Or Flop?


In my eyes the next Xbox looks good. While the reveal event was a bit meh and they focused way too much on the entertainment side of the console and didn't do enough game related shit, I'm more psyched for it than the PS4, for the simple fact that Sony's reveal was awful in that they, well, 'revealed' little. I know where, for the most part, I stand with the Xbox One and what to expect from it. But what about the PS4? Sony didn't give any of us much to go on. The Xbox reveal might not have been great and the console itself may look a bit unimpressive or not what we want, but at least we Goddamn know what it is and even what it looks like. 

The event itself was more success than flop in terms of the info we received but more flop than success in terms of presentation and what they ultimately showed off. The Xbox One itself is looking somewhere in the middle of good and bad to be honest. Ultimately Microsoft need to realise we want a GAMES console, not a Smart TV entertainment device that plays games all rolled into one. Let's hope they do it right.

What are your thoughts on the Xbox One reveal? What do you think about the console, its features, the games - the entire thing? Say what you want below. If you have any questions regarding the console leave comment I'll try to answer you.

Oh and don't forget to vote in the poll on the right and give your opinion on the Xbox One reveal. You can select multiple answers by the way.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Review - Metro: Last Light (Xbox 360/PS3)

I apologise greatly for the review delay. My pre-order of the game was late. I'm also sorry for not posting an article for 5 days. I expected the game to arrive on time & the review to be posted a couple of days ago and didn't write anything else.

Metro: Last Light is the sequel to 2010's Metro 2033, a game that while was admittedly flawed, I absolutely adored. Unlike the first game, Metro: Last Light is not based completely on a book. The first game was based on a novel of the same name written by Dmitry Glukhovsky, however Last Light is not based off of any of the books sequels - Metro 2034 and 2035 - and is instead a unique story.

The game's story picks up from the 'bad' ending in Metro 2033. The main character, Artyom, bombed all of the 'Dark Ones' and is now a part of the highly regarded 'Order'. However after Hunter, a returning character from the first game, says a Dark One was spotted where the old Dark Ones were bombed, Artyom's sent on a mission with a girl called Anna to deal with the creature. However that doesn't go to plan and things go down hill for Artyom and basically everyone in the Metro from there.

There are two sides to this plot: the supernatural side and the political side. Both are connected however each can be understood in their own ways too. For instance the story behind these mysterious 'Dark Ones' is far easier to understand and more intriguing than the political story to do with the factions within the Metro itself and while both stories link together, you could say they are also kind of separate too.

I've heard some reviewers criticising the supernatural side, saying it is pretty stupid and not the direction the game should've taken, however I couldn't disagree more. The supernatural part of Metro 2033 was one of the most surreal and creepy and interesting things about its story. And it's the same here. Mostly.

The political side of things is harder to understand. I don't do politics in real life or in game life. I got lost pretty early on in truth, which will no doubt make me seem like a total idiot. It's fairly easy to get the gist of what is going on and who people are though and you never feel totally lost, but some things are harder to understand.

Throughout the game you'll meet various characters. Obviously you have your character, Artyom, who I believe has a different voice actor this time around. Either way he sounds better in this game than the first one. There's also a couple of real bastard bad guys who you'll want to kill as well. And then you have Anna and Hunter, two good guys helping you out occasionally.

To be honest the character building in Last Light is a massive missed opportunity. It's not BAD but it isn't what it could have been.

First of all Artyom never speaks in-game. He only reads out his diary extracts during loading screens in-between missions. What is up with this? Why on earth does he not have an in-game voice? It's absurd. People ask him questions all the time like "Artyom are you alright?" and he just says NOTHING. But the NPC's just continue talking like he's answered them. This is a really, really old school style of doing things and really poor. He needed to have an actual voice not only for conversations sake but also to make you like him more; for him to seem more real.

There aren't that many characters and this makes the lack of character building even less excusable. For instance Anna is a great character who appears what? 3-4 times? About that. Most of these times last between 2 and 10 minutes. Yes. Really. And towards the end it becomes apparent she is a really, really important character. So why in God's name did we not see more of her? Also her interaction with Artyom was COMPLETELY hindered by the fact he NEVER F*CKING SPEAKS.


The rest of the characters are good enough to be honest. Not much to add here. It's mainly their interaction with a completely silent Artyom that lets them down.

Just like in the first game, the Metro is totally alive and full of activity and people (and monsters, but more on that in a bit). There are Metro stations scattered around the tunnel system. Each Metro station is full of different people and things to do (like watching a full on live show or getting a topless lapdance). Everyone is always busy and in conversation and NPCs can talk for, like, ever. It's always interesting listening to people's tales and hear about what's going on around the Metro. The NPC interaction is superb and 4A did a super job of making places feel alive and breathing.

At these stations you can also stock up on supplies like ammo and filters and weapons. To purchase these goods you need money, and the currency in the Metro is bullets. Well, military grade bullets to be exact. You can use them in battle to deal more damage than the standard, worthless, cheap, handmade ones or you can use them as money to buy things. This system works better than in the first game because you now have a clear way of telling which ammo is military grade and what is the standard stuff. You won't be accidentally spending any bullets anymore.

However this system is somewhat weak as well. Unlike in 2033, military grade ammo is never really necessary to use in combat. In fact, you'll likely use them maybe once or twice to kill people. In 2033 you were constantly low on ammo (until the very end of the game that is) and using your money bullets was sometimes what had to be done. I remember feeling totally depressed as I shot away my money into monsters. But that was the beauty of it.

Like I said, it's not like this in Last Light. Unless you play on Ranger mode, which is the extreme version of the game, you won't really need to use up your money to kill people or creatures so you'll rarely be skint or low on cash.

The rest of the gameplay system has been refined and smoothed out too. It's now clear what supplies you need and the game isn't anywhere near as hard to understand as it was before.

However I still have a beef with the shooting. It just isn't meaty. It's like 4A Games didn't listen. The guns still feel papery and unsatisfying to use. It makes firefights less fun and combat not as good. I'm really disappointed this wasn't improved.

Another gameplay feature to note is the gas mask. You'll need to put your mask on when on the surface or in highly toxic areas of the Metro. There is far more gas mask ON time in Last Light than there was in 2033, which is good by the way, because the gas mask is a totally brilliant gameplay feature.

Things become more complicated when you have your mask on. First of all your vision may become distorted by dirt or water or blood covering your visor. To deal with this simply tap LB/L1 and Artyom will wipe anything the crap away.

Second of all you have to make sure you have enough filters. If you run out Artyom will suffocate. However unless you play on Ranger mode, you will find a LOT of filters lying around so you'll never have to fear.

The last mask related thing you must be cautious of is the gas mask breaking. However, unlike in 2033 this is hardly EVER an issue. In fact, on my first playthrough my mask never broke. Not once (except in the scripted set piece where it does break. But that's, well, scripted. Not much you can do about that).

The gas mask is a really original feature that adds in an extra layer of depth and variety. You won't simply spend the entire game running around as normal. Things get switched up a lot.

In fact, there are a lot of great, realistic, gameplay features. Like pulling out your lighter to burn cobwebs, using your lighter in conjunction with your note pad and compass so you can see objectives and where to go, using your torch and generator thing to power it and also manually pumping up the air gun. Last Light has lots of original things that make it feel all the more immersive and realistic and the gameplay benefits massively from this.

During the time you'll spend in the tunnels you'll encounter a ton of radioactive creatures after your blood.

Things can get very intense when you're wandering around the darkness on your own. You never quite know when shit is about to go down or something is gonna jump out at you.

There's a lot more human enemies this time around though. As in the first game you can choose to deal with these guys with either stealth or all out blasting. Stealth works a lot better, however it doesn't really feel very necessary, except in Ranger mode. Most of the time you'll probably just silently take down a few people to thin out the crowd before blasting the rest to hell and back.

There's a nice amount of stealth orientated features though. Like being able to unscrew lightbulbs and turn out lights. Knock out or kill guards. Use silent throwing knifes and silencers too.

When you take things above ground it gets a bit harder. Not only do you have to use your gas mask but the surface is far more dangerous than the Metro.

There is a almost perfect contrast between the tunnel and the above ground setting. Above ground enemies are more varied and frequent. There are monsters in the air, in the water, in the grass and just wandering around.

The surface is extremely ugly yet beautiful and terrifyingly unpredictable. It really is a scary place. As you wander around with condensation coating the sides of your gas mask and a few cracks on the visor; with unknown enemies wandering around shrieking, out of sight, it is a very intimidating world indeed that you want to rush through as fast as you can. But in a very, very good way. The settings are without doubt superbly done.

One of Last Light's biggest issues is with its boss fights. There are several boss battles throughout the game however they are bad in almost every way.

Unlike the rest of the Metro game, which is realistic, unpredictable and original, the boss fights are completely unrealistic, predictable and unoriginal in the extreme. They are so unbelievably generic I was actually shocked. Bosses have totally cliche 'weak points' and take forever to kill and are totally, totally, 100% out of place. They weren't even close to necessary and add nothing to the game. The encounters with these bosses is not random or unpredictable. They are completely scripted and basically lame and generic.


The hardest bad guy to kill in 2033 was the Librarian, which was quite big and very dangerous. In a way THEY were the boss fights. But the great thing about the Librarians was they were very random and it was optional how you dealt with them. The boss fights in Last Light are terrible and just so utterly generic I can't even put into words how awful these sections are.

What makes these fights even worse is the ammo placement. If you're gonna make a boss fight generic and 'arena' based then you need to ensure that people actually have enough ammo to get them through it. If you screw up and go into one of these battles unprepared, the lack of supplies within the fight itself will ensure you die.

It's also worth noting that frame-rate drops plague most of these fights too.

Actually, as we're on the subject of frame-rate issues let's talk graphics and glitches.

The graphics in Last Light are almost exactly the same as they were in 2033. In fact, I can't think of any improvements. It's not an ugly game but it's not the most attractive either. Fire animations in particular are pretty awful. However, ironically, water animations are fantastic.
Lip syncing is sometimes great and other times non existent. Sometimes character's mouths don't even move making it almost impossible to know who is talking, especially when it's a random NPC with a generic voice rater than a main character.

As for glitches, Last Light has a fair few. There are some more minor problems, like pop-ins, screen tearing and graphical glitches like floating objects and bodies. However there are also a few game breaking freezes. I encountered a few complete freezes during the game. Everything froze and I had to switch off my console by the power button and restart from the last saved checkpoint.

The last main problem I want to note with Last Light is the pacing. Generally the pacing is OK. However towards the end, in the final hour, the pacing is absolutely horrendous. For possibly over an hour there is fight after fight after fight after fight after fight after fight after fight....And I'm sure you get the picture.

I can't actually even think why on earth 4A Games made the ending section a complete, full on flurry of battles. I don't get it at all. If anything the ending section of a game should be less action orientated. Very bad design decision.

The final thing I want to say about the game is the ending(s) (there are two endings by the way) are excellent and the music choice for the finale is pitch perfect.
It's a little odd that while this part of the soundtrack is good, the rest of the music used is poor and sounds like MW3. It's totally out of place really, making it feel a bit more like an action FPS than a survival horror game.

Anyway, the ending is excellent and very conclusive. It didn't feel too rushed and it leaves you feeling satisfied. However the mediocre character building I explained earlier leaves you feeling less emotionally impacted at the end than you could have been.

Overall Last Light doesn't improve on all of 2033's problems. This wouldn't be a big deal if some of them weren't so blatantly obvious and in need of changing. Like Artyom's lack of in-game voice and the flaky gameplay.

When I reviewed Metro 2033 on my old website I gave it a 9/10, which I acknowledge is a higher score than it probably deserved. The thing was, though, is it was just a fun, original and unique game that was, quite frankly, brilliantly flawed. Last Light isn't a big improvement though and while the story is far better told and some things have been improved, it is still flawed. I enjoyed it and loved it don't get me wrong and it deserves a high score for its story and originality, however it still has its problems and if they're going to do another game 4A MUST recognise its issues and do things a bit better.

Should you buy it? Well I'm keeping my copy because I just know I'm going to replay it a few times. It's still an awesome and enjoyable game. But maybe a rent would be more in order, given its slight lack of content. The single player will take about 9-10 hours on normal difficulty and 11-13 on hard. Ranger mode will take a good 14+ hours.

It's a great, fun, original and unique game. But just like its predecessor it has issues. The thing is that these should have been resolved beforehand.


Thursday, 16 May 2013

EA Are Slowly Taking Steps To Become A Better Company But Still Suck Balls

I don't often do articles covering more minor news articles. That's what sites like IGN are for. However when a little bit of news like this takes my fancy and I feel I have a deeper opinion than a simple head nod to share, then I write these things. Blogs. Articles. News features. Whatever the fuck you wanna call them. Anyway, it's written now so read on or go do something that's arguably more constructive, like brush your teeth or eat food or game or something. You know. Boring people things (except the gaming of course).

Anyway. Where were we? Oh yeah. This news. 'What is this news?' I hear you ask? Do you want to know? Yes? I'm slightly tempted to keep you hanging but not only would that make me seem a dick it would also do nothing at all for this article. I mean, what am I supposed to prolong this bit of news with? A blank space? Me rambling like this?

EA loves giving you heart-attacks and stress issues. All for £44.99RRP!
Dying early has never been so fucking easy.
ANYWAY. Fucking digressions.

So this news is the news that EA has scrapped the online pass system. There you go. Happy now? You should be. You got your bit of news OK! Sheesh. Oh and yes, you did read that right. EA has done something for its customers. For YOU. Not for itself. Actually, I'm so surprised by this I've spent the past 10 minutes wondering and trying to figure out if there is some sinister motive behind this somewhat unnecessary move by the publishing giants.

And it is, well, unnecessary. I'm not trying to be a dick but I don't get WHY they got rid of the pass system? Everyone was used to it. The constant complaints weren't as high as they were before. EA didn't have to do this. But they did. And that is why it kinda makes it seem better. Because they didn't need to do it but they did they don't seem so evil anymore.

But they still suck balls.

If EA don't want to win 'worst company in America' for the 3rd year running then they're gonna have to do a lot more than scrap the online passes. And I mean A LOT more.

Improving customer service should be one of these must-do things and should be pretty damn high on the list.

Recently I was having problems with FIFA 13. Again.

The problems were mainly these two things:

Freezes in career mode when using Creation Centre teams (which I paid for by the way)

&

Freezes when exiting/finishing a match in pro-clubs.

I talked to this one guy and he, well, fucked me. Virtually.

He got me to delete these files from my FIFA profile. Said they were safe because they were 'stored on the server'. 'EA's server?' I asked and to which he replied 'Yes'. That's fucking comforting.

I deleted these files and then the game wouldn't sync with EAS FC and the game was unusable. This isn't even close to a joke.

The guy didn't get why it wasn't syncing claiming that there had been issues with the PS3 servers a few hours ago but no problems on Xbox.

And then, after about 5 minutes he said "Oh yeah the servers are down. Just got this info through 10 minutes ago." How typical.

To cut a long story short the game ended up syncing but then started freezing at the menu. I ended up talking to another fool online who was a total useless person and then calling them, EA, twice. They didn't answer at all the first time. The second time it took nearly 15 minutes to get an answer.

The guy on the other end just ordered me about. Like literally, ordered me.
He was like:
"What you're going to do is install the game to your Hard-drive. Then you're going to take the information I just e-mailed you and give it to you ISP so they can forward your internet ports."

Wow what honesty from you EA. Oh, what? That's not your logo?
Well maybe you should start using it.
All I said was: "Why doesn't the game come with a warning that you may need to do a billion other things before you can use it?"

And he said: "It's totally random and unexpected. Sorry."

You shouldn't be sorry man. Your employers should be. Although you do need to work on the way you speak to people.

Anyway I just thought that was a good example of how shit their customer service is in reference to how shit EA is in general and how they need to improve in way more ways than just getting rid of online passes.

Oh and what the guy ordered me to do didn't work. I'm getting back to those mofos today. BE PREPARED EA. BE VERY PREPARED.

Anyway, I don't care much about them losing the pass system as I almost always buy my games new anyway and the ones I do buy pre-owned aren't usually the type I'd play online. I'm also hoping EA will lay off of the Microtransactions a bit. To be quite frank though there are so many issues with the company that I can't even list half of them here. They just need to become way more consumer friendly.

 So what are your thoughts on this bit of info? Are you glad? Upset? Sad? Crying? Happy? Also what do you think EA needs to do to ultimately improve? Say what you want in the comments & PEACE!

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Why Devs Aren't Interested In The Wii U

I haven't written a blog for 3 days, which I know is a while, but it was the weekend and I was very busy and Monday I felt like crap. 

Anyway, I was reading an article on IGN about how Call Of Duty: Ghosts is not yet confirmed for the Wii U and it got me thinking. I wanted to write an article on this a while ago but I never got round to it. 

So here it is: why developers aren't interested in, well, developing for Nintnedo's newest console. 

It's actually really important to note that all of the things I say below about why devs don't like the Wii U are linked. All of the issues with the console go hand in hand to create a device that ultimately isn't good to make games for. 


It's More Effort To Develop For


You can view the Wii U's nifty tablet controller as a plus. Or you can view it as a con that weighs it down. In a way it's both, but unfortunately, to developers at least, it's far more of a problem. 

Why? Why is this added feature that was supposed to change the way we play and the way devs develop disliked? Simply because it's so much more hassle, really.

You don't HAVE to incorporate it into your game, but it's one of the highlight features of the Wii U; you'd be cutting corners and ignoring what seems like the 'point' of the entire console if you didn't implement any gameplay features that utilised the use of the tablet controller.

The thing is that devs develop mainly for the likes of the PS3 and Xbox 360. Why? Well because of popularity of course (popularity is also noted below as an issue with the Wii U). The PS3 and Xbox are the most popular consoles of this gen. The Wii U may be 'new' and what Nintendo wants to call the 'next-gen' but in truth the device is more the 'next-gen' of Nintendo consoles. Not consoles on the whole (which, again, we'll touch on a bit later). 

The Wii U's extra bit of tablet tech is cool but it takes extra effort to use. To put a game developed on Xbox onto the PS3, all the devs need to do is port it and clean up the bugs it has. Sure some issues occur but they're often nothing that can't be fixed. 

However due to the Wii U's extra requirements, a simple port won't really suffice. It's far more effort to develop for the Wii U than other consoles.

However it would be totally worth it, right, if the Wii U was popular. And is it popular? Well that's another issue entirely...

Less Fans & Popularity 


It wouldn't be a big deal having to go to the extra effort of porting a game to or developing it entirely for the Wii U if it was actually popular. Unfortunately the Wii U isn't that popular. 

As of late April 2013 it's sold over 3 million units. Which isn't much. Respectable, but for a piece of tech that requires extra effort to develop for from developers, that isn't a good number. 

If devs are going to put in extra money and time just for the Wii U, their going to want borderline guarantee that their game is going to sell well on that platform. If you're still a bit skeptical about what I'm saying, maybe this figure will help:

The Wii U, as of late April 2013, has sold over 3 million units.

Bioshock Infinite, as couple of days ago, has sold nearly 4 million units.

Now what I'm saying here is not that a game has surpassed Nintendo's console's sale figures and that's stupid, what I'm saying is that a game has sold more copies than there are Wii U users. If Infinite had only been released on the Wii U (in fact, in real life it wasn't even released on it at all) it would have been IMPOSSIBLE, even if EVERY SINGLE WII U USER BOUGHT IT, for Infinite to get as many sales as it has now. 

I know, I know; Bioshock Infinite was released on PC, Xbox 360 AND PS3 and if you want to work it out in a very generic way then you could say that that means Infinite has sold around 1.3 million copies PER platform it is on. And obviously there are more than double that many users of the Wii U.

However I'd also like to pose the question: how many of those 3+million users actually, well, USE their console? Not as many as you'd think. In recent years Nintendo's consoles have appealed more to casual gamers who either rarely game or, when they do, play games like Mario and Animal Crossing. So how many of THOSE do you think would be totally into a first person shooter like Bioshock Infinite? Exactly.

A lack of popularity means there is little reason for devs to go out of their way to develop for the Wii U and risk more money. So far the Wii U isn't looking a good investment for anyone. And it's clear why.

It Doesn't Move Consoles Forward


The PS4 looks pretty awesome and no doubt the next Xbox will rival it well too. They're both consoles that will move the industry forward. They'll give devs more options and do a better job of matching the gorgeous visuals that PC gaming offers. 

They're going to move consoles forward.

This is something the Wii U does not do. And why should any developer or publisher waste time with something that's as good as a fad, just like the first Wii?

A tablet controller does not pass, by anyones standards, as 'moving the industry forward'. It's a gameplay feature at most. To really move forward you need to have a technical edge more than anything. Things like the Kinect and PSMove prove this easily (they too lack popularity and success and they are gameplay features that offer little technical awesomeness).

And where is the Wii U's technical edge? Where is it? It doesn't have one. It doesn't exist. 
The Wii U has nothing new or technically brilliant to offer developers. It will be outdated the moment the next Playstation and Xbox are released. And, as I said before, why does anyone want to invest and spend time working with a console that does nothing for them? 

The Wii U has little popularity. And the fans it does have might be mostly casual gamers that don't like hardcore games for all devs and publishers know. That is, after all, the audience Nintendo has been attracting recently. 

It also has little edge over even the current Xbox and PS consoles in terms of technical ability. 

It does nothing new except offer a tablet controller that, if anything, makes the console HARDER to develop for. And why spend the extra time, effort and money on something with the above issues? It makes zero sense from any perspective. Especially a business one. And gaming is a business. First and foremost.


I'm sorry for being so harsh on the Wii U. I know Nintendo has a shit ton of lovers and I'm not trying to be a hater. I'm just being brutally honest. I love Nintendo to bits. They produce some of the most consistently brilliant and borderline perfect exclusives like Mario and Pokemon and Animal Crossing and I have awesome memories of using their products and playing their games. But I don't see a future, or much of one at least, for the Wii U. Especially not with the more hardcore audience it seems to be wanting to attract. Nintendo need to step up their game and stop marketing themselves as these softy, plushy, casual game and console developers. That is if they really want to attract more serious gamers and be taken, in general, more seriously themselves.

What are your thoughts on Nintendo's current predicament and the Wii U itself? Leave a comment below!