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Consoleation: E3: Bringing the "A" game

Nintendo Project Cafe Wii HD Concept Art Image

Looking at the calendar, we're less than two weeks away from what will be one of the most important E3 events in recent memory when it comes to what I call the Hardware Trinity—that is Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft. Each of the three companies have issues to address. Nintendo is facing lackluster 3DS hardware sales and the lame-duck status of the Wii until its new platform is launched. Sony has to deal with the aftereffects of one of the largest online security breaches in history and major losses in the last year. Microsoft may seem bulletproof, but the stagnant nature of the Kinect sensor and a slow trickle of software for it call into question the viability of the technology.

Is Dead or Alive: Dimensions child pornography in Sweden?

Dead or Alive: Dimensions Art

Is Dead or Alive: Dimensions kiddy porn? Maybe it is, maybe it isn't.

The Dead or Alive series has never pretended to be anything but what it was. It featured nubile, scantily-clad women with entertaining breast physics that kicked and punched opponents across a fighting ring or stage. It was a game aimed squarely at young men and over the years it catered to that demographic to much success.

Consoleation: Sounding the alarm

Consoleation: Sounding the alarm

Recent economic trends—notably rapid increases in fuel prices and associated price hikes in the general cost of living—should be something that the console video game industry starts taking seriously. Everything is getting more expensive at a most inopportune time for the domestic economy, and with the decline of disposable income, it's only a matter of time before pain is once again felt by the console gaming industry.

Consoleation: Solo, so long

Portal 2 Screenshot

Why is the industry so quick to dismiss the single-player experience? What happens when an online service goes down, which happened to Xbox Live a few years ago and is currently affecting PSN? What happens when your internet service provider has connectivity issues or goes down completely? If today's games are more about connectivity and playing with others, wouldn't the $60 spent on each game be a waste at that point?

Consoleation: The war on used games—greed-ality!

Mortal Kombat Screenshot

I was excited for Mortal Kombat. The demo played pretty well, albeit a little on the slow side. The special editions of the game looked pretty neat. It felt like a throwback rather than an attempt to keep expanding in the direction that the games took during the last console generation. It seemed like a day-one purchase for me, if only to support the revival of a fighting game that used to share the spotlight with Street Fighter some 15 years ago.

Consoleation: L.A. Noire—Case of the Ransomed Content

L.A. Noire Screenshot

L.A. Noire is one of the most anticipated games of 2011. The premise is unique, as gathering evidence and solving cases are going to be at least as important as any other features of gameplay. The motion capture looks amazing. The voice acting sounds fantastic. There's a lot to be excited about when the game finally emerges next month. Unfortunately, L.A. Noire is also set up to be one of the most segmented game releases in recent memory.

Consoleation: The not so noble intentions of abandoning instruction manuals

Fight Night Champion Screenshot

I came out pretty strong on Twitter recently, decrying the loss of instruction manuals as publishers such as Ubisoft and EA Sports have made moves to abolish print manuals in exchange for digital manuals that can be found as extra content on the game disc. While publishers are reasoning that eliminating such manuals is better for the environment, it seems evident to me that there are more significant factors at work here.

Consoleation: Review embargoes and the consequence of inconsistent silence

Homefront Screenshot

Last October, I wrote about what I perceive to be the dishonorable practice of review embargoes. I stand by my belief that the reason for many embargoes is to prevent early negative reviews for potentially spoiling sales of a game. Consumers can be excited about the game and buy it and launch day without reviews being made available until after many purchases have already been made. The cases of Medal of Honor back in October and of the recently-released Homefront are classic examples of using embargoes to this effect.

Consoleation: DLC -- Be careful what you wish for

L.A. Noire Screenshot

I already have problems with launch-day downloadable content. Although discussions about the subject on Twitter with PR people and those "on the inside" have generated a few valid explanations, I'm still not 100% fine with the practice.

Consoleation: E3 2011 -- Cheering the locked door

Consoleation: E3 2011 -- Cheering the Locked Door

Recent events make me realize that some of the same people that I have had respect for also want to see me fail—at least indirectly. In response to the ESA's recent decision to link press invitations to E3 with site traffic, which will likely all but eliminate any chance that I have at attending this year's event, I have been seeing some of these people approve of these changes and actually consider them to be better for everyone. I will not publicly call any of these people out, but I will say that the sense of entitlement among these privileged individuals is disheartening and disappointing.

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