E3 2014 has been quite lively so far and the excitement is brewing a new flavor from last year’s next gen console announcements. Since no new consoles will be announced for quite some time (usually every 10 years) we now have a plethora of console updates, new game announcements, and further innovation in the way some of these games are played using the latest game engines out there. Of course, Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s Playstation 4 are stealing the limelight in what we can call a cinematic flexing. Both tech giants are vying for bragging rights with exclusive titles and content you can’t get anywhere else.
Sony had a hay day on June 9th with some of these great titles: “Last of Us”, “Powers”, “Metal Gear Solid V”, “Batman: Arkham Knight”, “Uncharted 4”, “Dead Island 2”, “Battlefield Hardline”, “Infinity 2”, “Disney Infinity”, “Disney Minecraft”, “Magicka 2”, “Grim Fandango”, “Far Cry 4”, “LittleBigPlanet 3”, “Destiny”, “The Order”, “Entwined”…..the list is long. They also jumped right on Playstation TV with some really neat entertainment advantages you can get from a $99 micro console said to do a number of cool things. You can stream content from the Playstation Now, Sony’s music and movie network, and the Vita handheld gaming device – all to your TV.
Playstation Now or PS Now is a cloud-gaming service that was originally only available on the Playstation 4, but now the PS3, Vita, and some Sony TVs will have the capability. It allows you to play games by streaming them via your home network. The problem with this comes down to the network speed at which you play on. It relies heavily on your network speed which can be an issue for many. A hard wired connection usually isn’t at fault for demanding network usage. A lot of the time it comes down to the Wi-Fi network. To fix Wi-Fi issues, I recommend the Gaming Router AC1300 with StreamBoost™ Technology (DGL-5500). It makes sure to control your bandwidth intelligently with automatic device and application detection, that way PS Now has a chance to provide you this new convenience.
Sony is finally rolling out a YouTube application on the PS4 that allows you to upload recordings from your own gameplay directly to the site from your console. Sony stole the show last E3 and they took no time to get right to it this time around by showcasing the best they had to deliver.
Microsoft pushed hard this time around as well by focusing strictly on software and games. With recent news of the unbundling on their Xbox One and Kinect, lowering the price by $100, they found hardcore gamers were not interested enough to pay extra for powerful hardware they didn’t want (yet). Notable titles listed here: “The Division”, “Rise of the Tomb Raider”, “Halo 5: Guardian”, “The Master Chief Collection”, “Project Spark”, “Sunset Overdrive”, “Assassin’s Creed Unity”, “Call of Duty Advanced Warfare”.
Microsoft once again is reminding us gamers of their king in console gaming – Halo. The series has evolved with technology to become an on-going story we look forward to with each and every release. A teaser was let free to the public showing Halo 5: Guardians as a huge move away from Master Chief and into a “Guardian’s” perspective.
Halo never seems to disappoint, the beta was also announced in multiplayer gameplay on the Xbox One this December. The multiplayer beta trailer looks to me like a futuristic football game, sporting new armor and a bashing of brains. Though the project is not yet finished we now get all the existing Halo titles from Microsoft and 343 industries in full re-mastered 1080p HD at 60 fps, deemed “The Master Chief Collection”. Surprisingly gamers are taking to this quite well as some of their favorites will see a new day while appearing better than they remembered. Get all four titles for $60 this November as well as your ticket to the Halo 5 beta (comes with purchase).
It’s confirmed, Halo will be hitting a TV screen near you. Steven Spielberg and Ridley Scott are getting their hands dirty on this one. The digital series, called “Halo Nightfall”, which will be released with “The Master Chief Collection” while Steven’s Halo TV series (Xbox Original and possibly Showtime) is set to release Fall of 2015. Microsoft received flak last E3 when they put focus on TV entertainment over games, they now know E3 is not the right environment for a TV message. From the looks of it, Xbox Originals has 12 projects on-going and we won’t hear much till Comic-Con (a better environment for TV announcements). Some worth mentioning are: “Deadlands”, “Gun Machine”, “Winterworld”, and of course “Halo Nightfall”. This is exciting, and assuming from these titles we are looking at a gamer’s paradise in television.
Ok, Nintendo needs some love too. As a 90s kid I know how incredibly influential the Nintendo brand can be. Mario was like a brother, Donkey Kong was my best bud, and those secret levels were my personal hideouts. The historic Japanese gaming brand surprised us with an announcement on 6/10/14 with a new toy line called “amiibo”, which works directly with video games to make the experience more personal. The idea is this: you own an amiibo toy that has a special chip inside, from there the amiibo is tapped against the Wii U GamePad controller which will “spring to life compatible games in cool new ways”, said Fils-Aime, president of Nintendo of America.
Amiibo figures are modeled after some of your favorite Nintendo characters like: Villager, Donkey Kong, Kirby, Mario, Yoshi, Princess Peach, Samus Aran, and Link. The best part in all of this has to be the game is said to save the Wii U from slow sales. Smash Bros – amiibo will be compatible with this famous fighting game series, the pinnacle of current-gen Nintendo. The toys will also work with “Yoshi’s Wooly World”, “Mario Kart 8”, and “Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker.” I think it’s worth mentioning that Nintendo has once again decided to stay out of the E3 conference in Los Angeles and present digitally. Nintendo is also working to get the amiibo line compatible with the 3DS mobile gaming system. No price has been announced, but these exciting games were: “Bayoneeta”, “Hyrule Warriors”, “The Legend of Zelda”, “Omega Ruby” and “Alpha Sapphire”.
Not too many hardware updates so far this E3 but it’s safe to say players will be very happy this year with all the wonderful titles coming out. What’s most interesting about gaming today is how developers are taking advantage of the hardware and software available to them. The trend is moving into an open world gaming style, which was once very difficult for machines to handle as the environments were much too large, all the while keeping graphic quality high. Between gaming PCs, Nintendo, Playstation, and Xbox we are finding that what was once only imagined is now a mainstay for many popular mega-titles.