Tag Archives: Video Games

The Atlantic Book Review – War Play: Video Games and the Future of Armed Conflict

The Atlantic published my book review of War Play by Corey Mead:

Riffing off the expression “all but war is simulation,” Mead considers weapons that are highly mediated, like Reaper and Predator drones piloted by soldiers using monitors and computer controls. As war itself turns to simulation, when buttons replace triggers and blades, and when killing is removed several orders from civilians and even from soldier-executioners, who is morally responsible for wrongful death or even “successful” “targeted strikes”? Who, in this surreal and oddly precise version of Ender’s Game, is ultimately culpable? When war becomes even more unseen, when it slides ever-more toward computerized management and best-guess threat assessment, will we be more disposed to wage it?

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Destiny Gameplay Trailer

The studio that created Halo finally unveiled gameplay footage of its new title, DESTINY.

Tagged , , , , ,

New Halo Trailer E3

At the E3 conference last week, Microsoft unveiled a new Halo title for its next generation console, the Xbox One.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Bungie Unveils Its Destiny

The studio that brought Halo into this world has said farewell to Master Chief and the highly praised 10 year project and unveiled their newest endeavor: Destiny. Today Bungie released a CG teaser of their newest first person shooter. In a few weeks, at E3, actual gameplay footage will be shown of the “always-on” massively multiplayer adventure.

Destiny will be released in 2014 and will be available on 4 platforms: the next generation of Xbox One and PlayStation 4, as as well as the older PS3 and Xbox 360.

The trailer was directed by Jon Favreau, of Iron Man 1 and 2, and is exceptional. It’s Halo, Star Wars, and GUNS…lots of GUNS.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Xbox One Faces New Array of Rivals

“The new console, the Xbox One, will enter a market very different from the one its predecessor, the Xbox 360, entered nearly eight years ago, when there was no iPad, smartphones had keyboards and mobile gaming devices were primitive at best,” writes Nick Wingfield of the New York Times.

“Today, video games can be played almost anywhere, on any device, with the biggest possible audience of online friends and without the aid of a costly gaming console.”

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Nintendo Confronts A Changed Video Game World

With the launch of the new Wii U console next week, Nintendo hopes to reassert itself in the gaming world.  Writing in the New York Times, Nick Wingfield pits the aged Mario and Link against the hordes of cheap, accessible mobile games. (In this analogy Angry Birds are goombas and skulltulas.)

After Nintendo “posted the first loss in its era as a video games company,” Wingfield outlines the business challenges facing Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo.

Games on mobile devices and Facebook are free or mere pennies.  The time investment for users is much lower for mobile games.  And the multi-screen dynamic that is increasingly more common in US households (TV + ipad + smart phone) squeezes consoles out of the equation.

(At one point Wingfield says that it can take “minutes” to boot up your Xbox and set up your Halo match as opposed to a few seconds to turn on your iphone’s field runners.  This is perhaps a very sad and oblique reference to our country’s pronounced ADHD.)

Citing industry analysts, Wingfield questions Nintendo’s decision to not develop games for android or iOS (imagine playing Mario on your iphone).

The piece is generally optimistic towards the Japanese brand, but it tries to frame the original Nintendo Wii as the company’s last great achievement.

While the onslaught of cheap, downloadable games is eating the console’s market share, Angry Birds will never replace Zelda (with games that are 99 cents, you get what you pay for).

The article helps explain key economic trends that are reshaping the industry.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Vote Halo 4 President: 30 Crucial Reasons To Support Master Chief On Election Day

Halo 4 comes out on Election Day.  Coincidence? I think not! Check out my full GIF-packed list on BuzzFeed.

“You’re such a pragmatist, Chief”

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Toys R Us Reveals Its Own Kids Tablet And Undeveloped Business Strategy

Ann Zimmerman writes in the WSJ:

In an effort to compete with the Amazonian online juggernaut, and the price mongers Wal-Mart and Target, Toys “R” Us wants to offer products that only it can sell.  One of these new gadgets is the Tabeo, a children’s tablet equipped with Wi-Fi, 50 preloaded games and priced at $150.00

According to Zimmerman, the strategy of offering in-house products was developed to combat the shopping trend known as “show-rooming.”  This is where consumers check products out at the store only to buy it online for cheap.  (I think this is how 68% of Americans buy shoes).

The odd fact about this story is the incredible risk Toys “R” Us is taking by churning out its own hardware.

If the Tabeo doesn’t sell well, Toys “R” Us will have a problem. Toy makers often guarantee the price of their products and will make up the difference if retailers have to discount the toys to goose sales. “The downside to private-label products is if they flop, and have to be discounted, the retailer can’t beat up the manufacturers,” said Sean McGowan, a toy analyst at Needham & Co. “That’s not an insignificant part of the toy business.”

So if little gremlins aren’t begging their strung out parents for a Christmas Tabeo, Geoffrey and his boardroom of giraffes will have to eat the losses. Considering that all three of the children’s tablets on the market dropped their prices to match the Tabeo, this seems very likely.

Aside from these rival gadgets, Toys “R” Us faces daunting challenges as online shopping renders large box-stores obsolete. Writing for Slate earlier this year, Farhad Manjoo describes the same obstacles facing Best Buy. He argues that the giant electronics vendor should scale down their operation, sell far fewer products, and cultivate expert, knowledgeable customer service – Apple Store style.

While I don’t think the same argument can be made for a toy store, (isn’t part of the appeal of Toys “R” Us the kind of boyish wonder it’s endless aisles inspire? Tom Hanks knows exactly what I am talking about.) the giant-warehouse style will eventually be squeezed out by Amazon.

Something needs to change.  But manufacturing an unremarkable children’s tablet doesn’t seem like the game-changing strategy needed to save  Toys “R” Us.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

New Halo 4 Trailer: Forward Unto Dawn Live Action Series

Brace yourselves.  343 Industries just came out with a teaser trailer for a new live-action Halo web series: Forward Unto Dawn.  LIVE-ACTION.  As in, Prometheus + Avatar + District 9.   Humans + costumes + killer CGI.

According to ComingSoon.net, the series follows the Master Chief and UNSC soldiers, one of whom saw Chief kick ass as a youngster and grew up inspired.  Eventually he would become the Captain of the UNSC Infinity (the same ship that crash lands in the Halo 4 Trailer).

This all sounds like one of those interweaving, simultaneous storylines like the movies Crash/Traffic/Snatch, except with far cooler characters.

Forward Unto Dawn brings us one step closer to the Halo movie.  Eventually it will be made.  I just hope that the Halo Universe isn’t butchered like so many horrible Hollywood movies.  It’s Halo.  It’s too important.

And if you have been following my spot-on theory that the movie Prometheus is Halo and Halo is Prometheus, then you’ll love this: one of the confirmed enemies in Halo 4 is called the “Promethean crawler.”  You can’t make this stuff up.

Enjoy.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 583 other followers