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A simple lover of video games and the gaming industry.

I enjoy anime, pop culture, reading and of course video games. I have a highly particular interest in books that explore the lore and worlds of video game universes.

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Announced back in January this year, Sony came up on the stage at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2014 and announced what Sony's acquisition of Gaikai has accomplished and what it could mean for the future of the Playstation brand.
The result was Playstation Now, a video game streaming service that was to be made available to Playstation consoles, Sony televisions and mobiles and perhaps even more.

At first, I thought this could absolutely change the gaming landscape where Playstation content becomes highly accessible on a multitude of devices without the need of a Playstation console. I saw it as a whole new dimension of introducing the fun and joy of high budget video game experiences like The Last of Us, Uncharted, God of War, etc to a much wider audience just like how smartphones changed the gaming landscape by introducing millions to gaming through the casual games.
I also saw Playstation Now as a service that was highly beneficial to existing owners of Playstation consoles as it gave us in a sense backwards compatibility with the highly extensive and vast PlayStation game library.†

However, after watching footage of Playstation Now and seeing images of the service in action, I'm growing increasingly concerned with its capability to provide us a highly responsive gaming experience as well as providing good service for its value.

As some of you may know, Playstation Now is utilising a gaming rental system where we are able to digitally stream an entire game for a limited time based on the fee we pay. Here's my first problem, at the current moment the pricing at Playstation Now is at the current stages of the Beta, downright ridiculous. $4.99 for 4 hours of streaming Final Fantasy XIII-2! $30 for 90 days...I can get the full game for $20 at my local games store. Now I understand that Playstation Now is currently in Beta and these prices are by no means, the final prices when the full version of Playstation Now is released but Sony, should be well aware that these prices are highly unreasonable. You can buy the entire game on the Playstation Store at a cheaper price than renting the game for 90 days. When doing a Beta, you want to not only show off the service and its capabilities, but you should also leave a good impression that Playstation Now is providing good value for money but right now, we are being left with a sour taste in our mouths.

Second, prices are decided upon by the participating publishers and developers. This means, that Sony wouldn't have full control on the pricing in the first place which may be a good thing considering how expensive games on the Playstation Store can be when compared to retail sometimes but I need a guarantee that should a game depreciate in value because it's so old so let's say at launch a game was $60 but now drops to $20, I want to have a sense of certainty that the pricing of said game is adjusted on Playstation Now.†

Finally, after watching some footage of Playstation Now at work on both Kotaku and IGN. Playstation Now is going to give a lot of people some major problems. As you would come to expect, Playstation Now requires a fast and stable internet connection and as such Sony recommends that you hook up whatever device you're using Playstation Now on to an Ethernet cable. Here's the problem, not all of us have wireless devices. Yes it's true that more devices, PCs included are being manufactured with in built wireless connectivity but some of us don't have them. Also, my impression is that streaming a whole video game is going to put a lot of stress on the overall speed of our internet connections but like I said this is expected but there's a lot of people especially here in Australia where our internet speeds aren't really all that great.
That's where biggest major problem lies, Playstation Now ability to provide a smooth gaming experience is entirely dependent on our Internet speeds and while this is expected, I see no possible way that Sony can help us smooth out our gaming experiences with patches to Playstation Now. Sure that can fix bugs but that's it.

I know some people will have no problem with Playstation Now because they got a strong internet connection and good speeds and to them I say "Have fun playing" but not everyone is like that and this raises another concern of mine. Sony said they had plans to provide Playstation Now to the Vita, tablets and mobiles. These portable devices don't always have access to good internet connections and speeds and public Wi-Fi isn't fast so, what is the Playstation Now experience going to look much less feel like when it becomes available to portable devices. So far, I can only see Playstation Now working well on stationary Playstation consoles that usually have access to the Internet.

Hopefully, Sony can prove my wrong in every way because I like the idea of Playstation Now but I just can't see myself being able to have a smooth and excellent experience playing on the streaming service just yet.

Sony is planning on indie and third-party games ó as well as Remote Play ó to support the PlayStation Vita, with less of a focus on first-party games.

While this shouldnít come as a surprise considering the lack of announcements of first party titles for the Playstation Vita, it is nonetheless depressing to see. The Playstation Vita is a powerful handheld console that is full of potential but to reduce the Vita to a hub for indie games isnít the right way to go about selling the handheld. Indie games will only go so far, they arenít system sellers. Yes sometimes an Indie like Bastion, Transistor or Journey comes along but not only do they come every so often but how much influence did these Indie games have in convincing gamers to buy a console. †Even, then Indie games face stiff competition from the casual games market available on mobile and tablets, as a lot of people seem to struggle to see much of a difference, as most Indie games arenít tailored for a hardcore gaming experience.

Third party games support for the Vita remains strong in Japan. Handheld consoles always did have a stronger presence there than home consoles but if Sony is withdrawing their support from their own console, what kind of message does this send out to Third party developers.

Remote Play is great, Iíve tried it and it really helps to free up my television when I want to watch something or finish off some of my PS3 games but not everyone has great internet speeds and the connection range of remote play isnít all that great. It would be idealistic if good and fast WI-FI is available everywhere but sadly this isnít the case.

Now you can go and mention Playstation Now but this feature is being expanded to beyond just the Playstation Vita, meaning while does add value to the handheld, it doesnít make it stand out. Exclusive features and games makes a console different and Playstation Now doesnít make the Vita much more of a must have console.

Overall, the Playstation Vita is just being demoted to an accessory of the Playstation 4, making it a device comparable to the Playstation camera. Yes the Playstation cameraís popularity caught Sony off guard but the same cannot be said about the Vita. Console accessories donít sell in the tens of millions and as such the Vita at this point will never come close to the sales of its predecessor the PSP. †Sadly, the future of Playstation Vita has become extremely bleak and it is safe to say, Sony is really wasting the Vitaís potential.

Last year, Rockstar games released the highest grossing video game of all time Grand Theft Auto 5, now the game is being released and remastered on next generation consoles and PC.

With the remastered visuals and technical improvements, the world of Los Santos got some much needed improvements.† If we thought GTA5 on PS3 and Xbox 360 looked impressive, then the remastered version is another step forward to what kind of worlds Rockstar games may have in future installments of their franchises.

The vegetation in the environments which were severely lacking on the PS3 and Xbox, is now there in abundance on next generation consoles. Fauna are more prevalent in environments on the remastered editions and with more NPCs, more activity bustling around in Los Santos, the world of GTA5 just became more alive and vibrant.†

Grand Theft Auto 5 was already an impressive open world with so much activities to do but with the remastered editions, the world just got a lot more visual flare and maybe it's worth jumping back into the world of Los Santos.

OK, E3 you gave us a lot of games to look forward to but I think we've all noticed a new trend in the gaming industry. It's cooperative multiplayer.

Which makes sense considering how both Sony and Microsoft have been pushing this whole "Interconnected community". I like the idea, honesty I truly do but this is my fear after watching all the E3 footage I can and then sleeping on it.

What happened to local co-op? Were we told that Assassin's Creed Unity supports split screen? What about Far Cry 4? Evolve? Fable Legends? Anyone?

See the problem. At E3, we were told that all these great games have cooperative multiplayer and cheers to that. Who wouldn't want to explore and kill hundreds of guards in Assassin's Creed Unity with other players online but I have a second Playstation 4 controller at home gathering dust.

This is my fear for gaming's latest trend. With both the Playstation Plus and Xbox Live Gold services needed to play online on next gen consoles, more people are subscribing to these premium services, meaning more people are connected to a continuously growing online network whether that is the PSN or Xbox Live.
However, I feel that game developers when seeing this data suddenly feel that the next stage in improving their games in particular the multiplayer aspect of their games, is to tap into this growing number of people being connected online. Therefore, when they make the multiplayer, developers are tailoring them to be played online and support for† local co-op is being ignored.

Announced and teased at the end of E3 2014, the Steamboy is an ambitious startup project that aims to bring the Steam Machine experience into an already saturated handheld market filled with the 3DS, Playsation Vita and Nvidia Shield.

The Steamboy is an independent project that isn't associated with Valve and is backed and developed by independent third party company Steamboy Machine Team.

While exact details on the specs of the portable handheld's hardware have yet to be confirmed, a representative from the Steamboy Machine Team told The Escapist, that the Steamboy features a Quad-Core CPU, 4GB RAM, a 32GB built-in memory card, and a 5" 16:9 touchscreen. The Steamboy will also be able to connect to the internet via Wifi and 3G and will play "the majority of Steam Games".

With the Steamboy most likely running on the SteamOS operating system which is tailored to a Linux architecture. Games developed for the PC and Mac that are available on Steam are likely to be incompatible with the Steamboy.

Based on the Steamboy's announcement video the Steamboy will feature the Steam Machine Controller's signature round track pads, an Xbox controller button configuration and a screen positioned between them. The Steamboy also seemingly has 4 trigger buttons on the back.†

The Steamboy slated for a release in 2015.

12:58 AM on 06.13.2014

To start off, Destiny visually looks great with impressive lighting and high levels of detail whether its the textures of the avatar's Armour or the attention to detail in the game's vast open landscapes. The game's draw distance is extensive enough and will leave players with many impressive sights and beautiful scenery.

Destiny has players choose from 3 distinct classes: the Titan (Footsoldier), Hunter (Precise, agile marksmen) and the Warlock (Soldiers with tons of special abilities). Each class feels really different from each other as their varying special abilities and weapons, really makes each of the classes unique and play differently in combat.

Destiny's character creation isn't really deep but this would most likely be expanded upon in the main game but for now, character creation is very limited and basic and doesn't come close to such games as the Elder Scrolls (Remember this is only the Alpha).
Destiny runs at a very smooth framerate on the Playstation 4 and throughout my play sessions, the framerate didn't drop once even during large firefights.

Combat and exploration takes centre stage with Destiny. Destiny's shooter mechanics feel tight and responsive and there are a good variety of guns to select from. Players are limited to carrying two guns around at any given time. Unlike other first person shooters were combat felt frantic, Destiny's combat feels like its running at more of a brisk pace to the point where players can even took their time killing their enemies. While challenging other players, the pace is much faster but it never felt the same as the frantic close quarters combat of Call of Duty or the intense warzones of the Battlefield series.
Also, melee attacks are extremely overpowered, with standard enemies being defeated with two to three punches, this is even worse when playing multiplayer. This unbalance in combat almost made weapons feel redundant when your fist seems to be the more powerful weapon.
Boosters gave the combat more depth as players can rain down gunfire from above and likewise. This gives the game more approaches to combat and navigation as players reach higher vantage points more quickly leading to satisfying sudden surprise attacks.

Enemy AI behaviour is highly aggressive but lack depth as AI behaviour feels basic and dull. Why aren't these melee hostiles trying to at least dodge or try to move and surround players? Why aren't the gun wielding troops covering their allies? Why are enemies not doing any flanking maneuvers? Too many times, enemies seemingly followed a routinely set pattern and often players can simply charge at enemies and defeat them with melee attacks as enemies seemingly aren't reacting to changes in battle. This made combat feel barely ever strategic and very unrewarding as the AI lacked any sense of complexity and as such hostile encounters were largely uninteresting and required little to no thought.

However, because of the pacing in Destiny's combat, I found myself more invested in exploring Destiny's rich and vibrant world. Firefights are not constant threats giving, players the chance to explore every inch of the game's richly detailed environments. Destiny's driving mechanics feels superb and highly responsive with tight handling and easy access to a vehicle at the push of a button.

Destiny's inventory customisation system is easy to navigate and understand. This ease of navigation makes customising your avatar's armour and weapons loadout simple and easy to manage.
Each time the player levels up, they gain skill points that can be spent on upgrading their avatar's special abilities which are organised into a simple skill tree and also, as players increase in level, they gain access to purchase more higher tiered weapons.

The Alpha's multiplayer sent players on a small map where they competed 6 V 6 to capture and control locations around the map. However, there is a question to how Destiny's multiplayer will be kept balanced. Players of various levels seem to be able to compete against each other, which throws the multiplayer off balance as high leveled players with their superior weaponry and special abilities seemingly have a much more clear advantage as your weapons and armour load-out and abilities transfer from PVE to PVP.

At the current stage on the basis of Destiny's Alpha, Destiny feels like a generic sci-fi first person shooter. It achieves the basics but leaves so much more to be desired.
Hopefully, by the release of the full game, Destiny will truly be able to show what it's truly capable of.
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