Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Sims 4 Gets Adults Only Rating In Russia

The upcoming Life Simulation game from Electronic Arts, The Sims 4 has just received an 18+ rating in Russia.

The news comes directly from The Sims Russia Twitter and Facebook which clearly indicate that the game is indeed not meant for children.

Callum9432 of The Sims 3 Forums has provided a translation of a tweet from The Sims 4 Russia Twitter which somehow indicates that this rating is due to Russia’s anti-gay laws.

According to the Tweet, the rating ‘was granted in accordance with the law number 436-FZ on the protection of children from information harmful to their health and development’.

The law number 436-FZ mentioned above includes the propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships as harmful. Whether this will actually be implemented or not remains to be seen, but if a Russian weblog is to believed, the rating will change eventually just like it did with The Sims 3.

As for the United States, the rating by the ESRB is still pending, but since there are two separate organizations – in Russia and US – for the game, it is not necessary that US will also receive an 18+ rating. Besides, every other Sims game out there – both on Mobile and PC – has always received Teen rating.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Last of Us: Beautiful Grown Up Ellie

Earlier this week, there was an image from a Naughty Dog artist, who teased about the concept art that he was supposedly working on for The Last of Us. This concept art was based on a much older looking Ellie and shows her holding a Guitar. He has shared the full concept image along with a message which again puts emphasis on the fact that this image has nothing to do with The Last of Us sequel.

Marek Okon is an artist who has worked on some promotional art for The Last of Us on the PS3. While he has clearly denied working on any sequel to The Last of Us, and calls this concept art his homage to The Last of Us, Naughty Dog’s Bruce Straley behavior seemed to indicate the opposite.

You can check out the full image below, along with the personal comments of Marek Okbon.

Click to enlarge
“We all heard the stories over the years. Tales of a girl being out there, immune to all this madness. And we knew that those stories were nothing but wishfull thinking, fairytales passed along by the campfire.
Believing those stories was a good measure of my desperation. I needed to find that girl.
You, who followed me on this hopeless journey choose to do so. Some of you paid the ultimate price for that. For my belief… But here we are, we found the girl. We found the hope.
Be careful and don’t let her bite you.”
"There’s got to be some sort of medical condition for when you paint fanarts of the projects you actually worked on. Well I guess its not as much a fanart as a homage to one of the best games I’ve ever played. I tried to imagine what future holds for Ellie and Joel and came up with this image – Ellie few years older, practicing her tunes, being chased by a woman who will hesitate at nothing to find the cure and save her loved ones.
Again, its only my own imagination at works here so please don’t board the “TLOU2 confirmed” hype train ;] Its a (deeply) personal image."

Monday, May 5, 2014

Slew of Xbox Announcements

With just one month to go before the 2014 Electronic Entertainment Expo, Xbox boss Phil Spencer has revealed a slew of new details about what you can expect from Microsoft's presentation at the event.
Asked if gamers will see new IP announcements at the show from first-party Microsoft studios, Spencer replied: "Yes, we'll announce both new IP and new sequels at E3." That's just one interesting piece of information that Spencer revealed last night during his tweeting spree.
We've rounded up what you need to know below, based on his Twitter comments from overnight.
  • Microsoft is focusing on hardcore gamers for the show.
  • Some announcements will be made in May, ahead of E3. "Yea, you'll get a couple of things before. May should be a good month for news. Took me a month to get plans set," Spencer said.
  • Microsoft will announce new studios it's working with.
  • Spencer is not allowed to talk about anything related to what Halo studio 343 Industries is working on.
  • Microsoft's overall goal for 2014: "I feel like what we will show this year is stuff we are committed to, from top studios, for this year and future."
  • Don't expect a Microsoft-made gaming handheld anytime soon. "I don't think we'll do a dedicated handheld gaming device, rather just focus on [Windows Phone], tablets, maybe with controller support someday," Spencer said.
  • Spencer wants Microsoft's E3 2014 showing to be more "fan focused."
  • Microsoft thought about using the voice of Cortana for their E3 show, but Spencer did not like this. Asked if the Cortana voice search functionality could come to Xbox One someday, Spencer said, "I like [Windows Phone] feature but don't want to overdo it."
  • Gamers won't need to wait until the Tokyo Game Show (September) to learn about new Japanese Xbox One games.
  • Microsoft is close to finalizing a release date for the Xbox One version of Minecraft.
  • The Lost Odyssey rights are "a bit complicated," but Spencer would like to see the 2008 role-playing game come to Games on Demand some day.
  • Details about external storage support for Xbox One are coming later.
  • Why there hasn't been a Battletoads sequel: "Just time, lot's of things we want to build, all the teams are full right now and a long list of what they'd want to do next. You want to spend time because you want things to be as good as they can be, I don't want to do cheap ports," Spencer said.
E3 2014 runs June 10-12 in Los Angeles, California. Microsoft's media briefing is often held on the Monday before the show kicks off, which would be June 9.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Watch Dogs vs Google Maps

Ubisoft's upcoming hacking open world title, Watch Dogs is set in Chicago City. The development team did a great job of replicating real-life Chicago City in Watch Dogs and proof of this is a comparison screen posted below showcasing Chicago City in Watch Dogs vs Chicago City Snapshot via Google Map.

All those who raised a question about graphics/visuals downgrade in Watch Dogs must check out this comparison screen, the details are next-to real.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Microsoft Q3 Financial Results

DualShockers yesterday reported the quarterly financial results for Microsoft, including a press release detailing the revenue for the quarter ended on March 31st.

 The company announced a revenue of $20.40 billion for the quarter ended on march 31st. Gross margin, operating income, net income, and diluted earnings per share for the quarter were respectively $14.46 billion, $6.97 billion, $5.66 billion, and $0.68 per share.

Just to put things into perspective.

For the quarter MS reported a $20billion in revenue overall... $1.97 billion included all hardware devices sold.
Of that $1.97billion approximately $600million came direct from console sales of X1(1.2mil * 500). another $200 million came from the 360(.8mil * 250).

The surface tablets alone accounted for $494 million which roughly equates to 1.2 million sales(494mil / ~$400).

The rest probably came from other peripherals and mobile devices that ms sells.

The total revenue for all Devices & Consumer Other category was 1.95 billion which included office 365, ad revenues generated from sources like bing as well as xbl transactional revenues among other things. I would guess at least half of that comes from bing and potentially alot more as it now has an 18% market share in the US. I'd guess that 500-600 million might be reasonable for xbl transactions. Might be generous though too. I'm shooting in the dark here.

Revenue is meaningless though. The actual net income overall for MS was $5.6 billion. This is what they gained after subtracting all costs. For all of devices and hardware the gross margin was $256million. Please stop and let that sink in for a moment. The actual net income would be less than that as the gross margin does not factor in all costs... (they neglected to report any net incomes at this level in the article as MS probably didnt report them either).

Last year the gross margin for the same quarter was 393 million. Its nearly half as profitable as it was at this time last year. That is what georgeenoob means by being at its most successful state.

The gross margin (which again doesn't include all costs) for Devices and Consumer other(bing, office 365, xbl) was only 540 million. Once again the net income is less than that. and the xbl generated income is less than that still probably by at least half. That is for the massive install base of the 360 along with the x1.

To say it is doomed isn't true, but these aren't exactly good numbers or something to be exactly proud of. The margins and volumes even on the software side do not look too stellar. I understand why they are hiding things.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Minecraft coming to PS4 and Vita Soon

Since they were first announced, Mojang has been hesitant to provide a release date for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita versions of Minecraft. And while it still hasn't given us anything exact, the developer now says the sandbox building game will be out on the two systems during the second or third quarter of this year, placing its release somewhere between now and the end of September.

Mojang shared this release window in the comments of a recent PlayStation Blog post (via CVG) about the retail PS3 version of Minecraft coming on May 16.

In another comment, Mojang's Owen Hill described the Vita version as being "closer to the console versions," as opposed to the more limited Pocket Edition available on mobile systems. In response to a question about the ability to transfer Minecraft saves from the PS3 version, Hill said, "You should be able to bring your PS3 save to PS4."

As for whether owners of the PS3 version will have to pay again for access on the PS4 or Vita, he said, "We’re in the process of finalising cross-buy/upgrade/DLC things. More news soon."
Minecraft was announced for the PS4, PS3, and Vita last August. It was released on the PS3 in December, with the other two versions--along with the Xbox One version--expected to be released sometime this year.

Monday, April 21, 2014

PlayStation Now Beta

Looks like Sony is applying some very fast iteration to the games offered as part of the PlayStation Now beta test, dualshockers delivered a few snapshots showcasing the new catalog, which shows an arguable improvement in the quality of the titles included since the last update.
Here’s the full list of the games currently available:
  • Heavy Fire: Shattered Spear
  • LUMINES: Supernova
  • NIGHTS Into Dreams…
  • Retro/Grade
  • Sacred Citadel
  • Saints Row: The Third
  • Skullgirls Encore
  • Sniper Elite V2
  • Puppeteer
  • Eat Them!
  • PixelJump Racers 2nd Lap
  • PixelJunk Shooter 2
  • BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger
  • Ben 10 Omniverse 2
  • Contrast
  • Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness
  • Catherine
  • El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron
  • FUEL
  • GRID
Another very interesting elements we can see in the snapshots below is the “rental” system present in the beta. Basically when you decide to play a game in the beta you can select to do so for 30 days, 14 days or 7 days. It pretty much works like a rental.
At the moment, of course, there are no price tags attached, and it’ll be interesting to see how this will translate into the final version this summer. Of course we have to remember that this is indeed a beta, and it doesn’t represent the final list of games that will be offered by the service.

See images and original article HERE

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Building A Gaming PC On A Next Gen Console Budget

Gamespot has a great new feature out about whether or not you can build a gaming PC at the same cost of a PS4 or a Xbox One, and get relatively equal performance or better. They conducted a study by having two their people each build a system, one being AMD and the other being Intel/Nvidia. Here are their results:

AMD Gaming PC

CPUAMD FX-6300 Vishera 3.5GHz$109.00Amazon
MotherboardASUS M5A78L-M/USB3 AM3+ AMD 760G$48.49Newegg
CaseFractal Core 1000$39.99Newegg
PSUEVGA 100-W1-500-KR 500W$44.99Newegg
GPUPowerColor AX7850 2GBD5-DH Radeon HD 7850 (open box item)$107.00Newegg
RAMHyperX XMP Blu Series 4GB DDR3 1600$40.00Newegg
StorageSeagate Barracuda ST500DM002 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB$50.95Amazon
OSWindows 8$70.00eBay
Key/MouseV7 Standard PS/2 Keyboard and Mouse Combo$10.19Amazon
Sales Tax$45.55

Intel/Nvidia Gaming PC

CPUIntel Pentium G2130 3.2 GHz$74.99Newegg
MotherboardBiostar H61MGV3$36.99Newegg
CaseTopower TP-1687BB-300$34.99Newegg
PSU300W SFX Power Supply (included w/case)n/aNewegg
GPUEVGA GeForce GTX 750 Ti 2 GB$154.99Newegg
RAMTeam Elite 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 1333$39.99Newegg
StorageWestern Digital Blue 500 GB 7200 RPM 16MB$54.99Newegg
OSWindows 8.1 64-Bit$99.99Newegg
Key/MouseRosewill PS/2 Wired$12.98Newegg
Sales Tax$38.24

With these systems, they were able to get adequate results on the new popular titles Assassin's Creed IV, Battlefield 4, Thief, and Titanfall. They all had above an average FPS of 30, and some averaged over 60 on high/ultra settings.

Many in the comments were quick to react with arguments to the study. They didn't include the cost of a monitor, or a controller. What about the HDMI cable? The Wifi, BluRay drive, Blutooth and Kinect were also not included. Does any of that matter though? Should they be factoring in the cost of a TV when talking about the cost of consoles? What about the $60 yearly subscription fee that is required to play anything on multiplayer on either a PS4 or Xbox One? A keyboard and mouse may not be the same experience as a game controller but many would argue it's a better experience. This wasn't a test to emulate a console experience, but to find if a PC could deliver an equally good if not better one. HDMI cables are only around $5. PCs don't need BluRay drives, as PC games are still primarily sold on DVDs. And Kinect? Microsoft has yet to prove its worth to the consumer, as no game needs it, and the couple that do are garbage.

If anything, Gamespot's inclusion of a Windows license more of a formality than a necessity. Most consumers don't buy windows for home use. Unless the rig is being used for professional work or the computer came with it preinstalled, people just pirate Windows. It's understandable why Gamespot didn't do this. They're a business. They're owned by a major corporation. They survive on advertisement revenue. They can't be perceived as encouraging piracy.

Who in these modern times doesn't have a computer? Everyone, at least people who have an interest in playing video games, owns a PC or a laptop. Nobody is replacing their real computer with a next gen video game console. So people are paying for computers whether or not it's being used as a gaming system. Forgoing consoles just means putting more money towards a computer that you were going to buy anyways.