The future of gaming

With E32016 now dead in your back garden, its time for the games media to break down what they saw at this glorified sales event. Personally i’m more interested in making wild speculation at what the future of the gaming industry holds for us.

Microsoft made a semi competent appearance at E3 this year despite continuing its down hill spiral of sales against the PS4. With the announcement of a new system “project scorpio” the xbox team is looking to throw themselves back into a loosing war by bringing a bigger gun.

Sony and Microsoft have in my opinion occupied different areas when it comes to exclusive titles. Sony has opted to be a little more experimental with its IP. You can see this in games such as Horizon Zero Dawn and Wild. But they also exploit the nostalgia side of things with the announcement of God of War; which i think is just going to be called “God of War”.

Microsoft tend to stick to tried and tested IP, with the announcement of the new Gears of War and Forza.  All games which sit well with its western audience. Sony are pushing for some new ideas and its looking good.  Of course this isn’t a major criticism of just Microsoft try finding a new idea in the Nintendo camp and you will be left disappointed.

O wait: mecha Kerby?, sure why not.

So what might happen?

One of the biggest things to be announced by Microsoft was that all new Xbox games will be coming to Windows 10 (maybe). Yes that horrible little gremlin that keeps trying to drag you away from your beloved Windows 7. So this triggered a few thoughts in my head.

Its been rumoured for a while now that the new CEO has had little love of the Xbox department and believes that Microsoft should get back to its software roots; something it excels at. With the announcement that all new Xbox titles will come to the PC, we could end up with something similar to the Steam box. Microsoft handles the OS and the games and hardware companies build the boxes to run it – you know; like a PC.

So thats controversial, I essentially said the Xbox will die off – kind of.

Everything’s going to the cloud. Lets be honest the gaming disc is dead. Future consoles will not come with a disc tray. Lets hope you have a solid internet connection because those 40GB games you download now; will be more in like 100GB.

Or we might all be streaming games?

With everything going into the cloud this could lead to a new business model entirely. The idea of monthly subscriptions to get access to the back catalogue of Playstation and Xbox has recently become a thing. So why not take this business model and apply it to new games. You pay a month fee to Sony or Microsoft and you can play any game your heart desires.

Lets not forget our old friends micro-transaction and DLC. You get the core of the game for your monthly fee but extras are going to cost you more.

All this talk of consoles and owning things: not anymore.  Remember OnLive? unfortunately the idea of paying a subscription and playing games over the cloud with just a controlled and a tiny box to communicate to the mothership was a little ahead of its time. I always saw the potential in this idea and once the internet infrastructure finally catches up with demand you might not even have to buy a console anymore. Just a one off fee of £100 and then £25 a month to access unlimited games on your chosen platform.

This is a big old shake up in the way we do things now but its not to far from how other companies have moved away from the expensive per-unit price to an affordable monthly subscription.

It sure would kill of pirating a game, why even bother if the month price is right. It might also cut out all the middlemen in the industry like amazon, but Im sure a deal can be made so amazon can give away a game code for 20% off the price of buying it direct from Sony or Microsoft in exchange for promotional material on their site or through traditional means. Lets be honest that pretty much what they do now anyway.

Game wont be about then so I wont include them.

Despite all this sounding terrible and “No way man your talking smach, I wont do it” its kind of already happening. If you think about it.

Sorry.

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God sims wanted

With the latest news that our beloved Lionhead Studio is about to get disembowelled by the mighty money goliath Microsoft, the idea for a post came to me about a genera of game which seems to have gone missing over the last few years – God Sims.

Before Lionhead Studios was turned into a Fable sweatshop they produced a title which remains one of my all time favourites, Black and White. Black and White was the first title from the studio founded by the worlds best salesman Peter Molyneux, before Lionhead we had Bullfrog which bought us such awesome games as Populous and Dungeon Keeper.

Populous: The beginning along with Black and White sparked an interest within me for being an all powerful God figure with the capability of killing and rewarding my followers as necessary. Something which at the time helped to mold me in to the all powerful being you see today. Praise be to me.
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Black and White was a ground breaking game for the time. The graphics where pushing it to the top end with the ability to zoom in and interact with each follower individually. Not to mention all the spells you had to master, which you could gesture into life with a wave of your magical God hand. Storms, fireballs, lightning and thunderstorms, you had total control over your domain. Under pinning it all was a basic moral system which allowed you to become a merciful bounty giver or an easy going, people sacrificing, cow slapping, dick.

Being good was always the harder approach in the game but some what more rewarding, people generally got a bit carried away with your resources and plundered everything they could get their hands on leaving you with a large population of complainers, you know.. like the world today. Being evil meant you didn’t care, people where just fuel for your spell power wok and after a while you where so proficient with fireballs you could burn down the next settlement, kill everyone then drop one of your follower in, and job done town taken over.

The added bonus  to being a God is the joy of having a pet to do all your bidding, as time went on the little guy became more self sufficient and started eating people with out your encouragement. You could also teach them spells which almost always ended up with everyone on fire. If the next god over ever got a little bit lemon you could always challenge him to a pet battle, it was a bit like a dog fight but virtual.

Black and White was/still-is a good game, the 2nd game which came out 4 years later was a massive disappointment. Its a shame that after this the franchise disappeared and along with it the God game genera. Being an all powerful being has its appeal and although Fable had hints of this power later on in the games it never truly felt the same.

Populous: The beginning entered my life as a demo disc from a playstation magazine. This was back when game demos where purchased with a magazine for £3 and not released as a £20 intro game *cough* Ground Zero *cough*. That demo was played into the floor I would spend hours building up a massive tribe just to take out 1 shaman and 5 warriors. When the game finally showed up  I played the shit out of it, the 15min loading screen and the need to use a whole memory card just to play it didn’t stop me and soon everything was purged for the opportunity just to play some Populous.

As a god blessed Shaman you had powers over the element and could use those powers to achieve a vast array of different spells. From summoning a volcanos to creating more land, you had it all. You could also train your follower as warriors, balloon enthusiast, fire fist bros and preacher. And everything was done just so you could become the one true Deity, by killing everyone who didn’t believe in what you believed in.

God sims seem to have been lost over the years and although some could argue that games like Tropico, Sim City, Rollercoaster Tycoon, etc are similar its not exactly summoning lighting and killing everyone. There is a difference between a game where you manage something and a game where your all powerful. Although some in management like to think they are all powerful, until you key their car in the car park. WHO’S THE BIG MAN NOW SHARON!

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