Mobile gaming is one industry that is slowly crawling its way to the top by stepping over console counterparts. Having said that, you can assume that most game developers are entertaining the idea of optimizing their games to become fit for different mobile computers. However, for Playdead Limbo, handheld games still sound profitable. In a very surprising move, Denmark’s Limbo, one of the most successful indie games of all time, announced that it will be available on Playstation Vita soon. There’s no definite date yet on when gamers will be able to start playing the game. The game, which is a 2D side-scroller that uses the physics system Box2D to control environmental objects and the player character, is played on Xbox 360 (XBLA), PlayStation 3 (PSN), Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, and Cloud (OnLive). For many, Limbo is found on almost all consoles and the next platforms that the company should take on are mobile computers. Well, the Danish company must be cooking something really good for PS Vita Limbo.
Consoles and mobile computers are at war right now and so far, it looks like the latter is winning the battle. During the Game Developers Conference pre-show survey, most participants said they are leaning more towards games made fit for smartphones and tablets because they have a bigger market. You can’t blame gamers if they prefer mobile gaming because these are more convenient. Take mobile poker as an example. This game is one of the most played games on mobile computers. With these games, players no longer have to go to casinos. All they need is a smartphone with a very reliable internet connection to log on to poker sites anytime and anywhere they want to. Playdead is probably not aware of how online poker is in its country. Denmark is one of the biggest online poker markets in Europe. In fact, the country is one of the participants in the 2006 Partypoker Football and Poker Legends Cup. The team that played in this event was composed of Denmark’s top football and poker personalities like Gus Hansen, Kim Christofte, and Theo Jorgensen. This is not to say that Playdead should indulge in online poker games, but the Danish game developer can somehow get an inspiration on how large mobile poker is in Denmark.
When it comes to mobile computer sales, Denmark is one of Europe’s largest. The smartphone is too big in the country that some sellers even gamble to sell units in up to 24 installments. Playdead’s Limbo may be scrutinized for choosing PS Vita, the console that Yahoo bloggers put on technology flops. However, Limbo is known for their knack in surprising gamers. They even won the Best Virtual Awards in 2010, Best Platformer for Playdead, Game of the Year from BAFTA Video Game Awards, and the 2010 Annie Award for Best Animated Video Game. Hopefully, Limbo will again prove critics wrong and be able to raise the flag for video game consoles.
Nothing’s official yet but it looks like the next-gen Xbox, code-named Durango, is going to be an always-online console. By that, the literally mean no internet, no play. It doesn’t matter if you paid $60 for a game and $400 for your console, without the internet, you can’t play. Nasty stuff, IMHO. We all know how this worked for Blizzard with Diablo III and very recently with EA with their launch of Sim City III.
There’s been a back-and-forth twitter convo between Adam Orth, the creative director of Microsoft Studios and Manveer Heir, a designer at BioWare. Apparently, the Microsoft guy doesn’t see the big deal with requiring gamers to always be online with the Bioware guy thinks otherwise. Sure, I get both sides but the world still leans more toward “I don’t want to be always online.”
Here’s what I think: Save always-online for the next next-gen console. Why? Various reasons.
First, always-online requires servers. What if the servers aren’t ready? What if they go offline? Inevitably, they will go offline, we then have useless crap. We all know all consoles go EOL but the thing is, with all consoles of the past, you get to re-play 99% of your games even when the console if already EOL. Anybody with a NES can still fire up their console and have fun if it’s still in working condition. With an always-online requirement, once a server goes dark, you don’t get to do anything.
Next, the internet. We don’t all have uber-fast, low ping connections. Gameplay may suffer if your connection sucks. Again, with current consoles and everything preceding, this isn’t a problem. You can be on a deserted island with no food and shelter with a portable PSOne and a battery pack and you can play.
Another thing is privacy and security. With next-gen consoles gearing towards game downloads and online purchases, you’ll be seeing some of your personal information stored on the system. Sure, this info may be accessible when you go online but if you’re not always online, at least hackers can’t go through your crap any time they want. If you’re always online, though, the risk is just so much higher.
Finally, always-online typically leads to “forced socializing.” Think Facebook games where you have to add 200 people to get through a game or Diablo III where you can’t very well get the best items without being forced to trade with other people or purchase stuff with real money.
In arguably the saddest news this week, Disney has pulled the plug on LucasArts. They studio was responsible for a couple of great games like Dark Forces, Monkey Island, X-Wing and of course, the Star Wars games. There was also the very-much anticipated Star Wars 1313. That, of course, has now been scrapped.
Apparently LucasArts wasn’t making money for Disney and that’s almost always a guaranteed death sentence in the corporate universe.
Disney will still own all the intellectual properties related to the games so we can expect other studios to get licenses so we may eventually see good things from LucasArts.
Here’s a look at the Star Wars game that could have been, Star Wars 1313:
It’s official, folks! We’re getting the PlayStation 4 soon.
Sony has revealed the PS4 at an event in NYC. Actually, they announced it. They didn’t actually reveal the PS4 unit. The console was actually absent during the event but they did give us an idea of what to expect.
There’s going to be an update to the DualShock controller with a touch pad, among other things.
The next-gen system will also be significantly faster with quicker start-up and loading times and will be a more “social” system. You can expect a lot of sharing between gamers with partnerships with Facebook and UStream.
The PS4 will also be able to learn what you like and will eventually be able to make suggestions for games and apps and other stuff.
Sony are also working on building the “most powerful network for gaming in the world” so we hope we won’t be seeing PSN issues. Remember the PSN outage? Let’s hope that wont happen again.