It’s Virtually a $75 Reality

“I shall call him Stitch Face”

Charlie Nash is back and I’m not sure if he’s better than ever with that face. The game does does look superb though. I may pre-order for the beta code but I don’t know if I’ll keep my pre-order. Especially not for $74.99.

Upcoming new releases listed at $74.99

It seemed like it was just yesterday that we saw Canadian video game prices rise from $59.99 to $69.99.

It was actually just little over a year ago.

I’m still not used to seeing $69.99 MSRP and retailers and/or publishers have already raised prices by another $5. It matches the exchange rate but it’s still an unattractive proposition and will undoubtedly affect the buying habits of most consumers. I am very curious how these price hikes have affected the new generation console adoption rates. Imagine having to pay $74.99 for The Order: 1886? Imagine paying $499.99 for a PlayStation 4?

I wouldn’t be surprised to see Sony raise the MSRP of the PlayStation 4. They did it once already.

For myself? It’ll just mean longer waiting times for games to get to my price point. On the plus side, it gives us all more reasons to delve into our backlogs.

Virtual Reality

These are the questions that I ask myself before I buy anything:

  • What are the additional costs?
  • Does it integrate well with my current flow?
  • If not, Is it worth the hassle?
  • If it’s expensive, will I be able to enjoy it for years to come?
  • How quickly will it be dated?

Most of these are giant question marks and I don’t see myself finding convincing answers for them any time soon. I hope the upcoming VR extravaganza at next week’s GDC will yield more concrete information but I’m not getting my hopes up whatsoever.

It’s difficult for me to get excited for virtual reality because it goes against the way I play games. I’m not against the idea of total immersive view of a virtual world but to me, it’s like a racing wheel, a DDR pad or a fighting stick; it’s appealing for only certain genres. I can see myself wanting to use this in a game like MechWarrior: Online but how often do I play that these days?

For now, I’m treating it like an arcade machine. I’m sure it’s amazing and fun but I don’t want to actually own one just yet.

Random Thought of the Week

If you’ve ever wondered how player ratings are calculated in sports titles, read this excellent piece by FiveThirtyEight Sports

About that EA Access service for Xbox One

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ea-logo.pngIf you pay Electronic Arts $4.99 per month or $29.99 per year, you will gain access to some older Xbox One titles published by EA themselves. EA Access service members will also receive 10% discounts and 5-day early access to new EA titles.

It’s really about that Vault access but its appeal will depend heavily on what EA is offering at the time.

The beta will initially offer access to Battlefield 4, Peggle 2, Madden NFL 25 and FIFA 14. If this was coming for PlayStation 4, I’d pull the trigger right now. I’m still playing Battlefield 4 and my interest in FIFA games are at an all time high at the moment. I also wouldn’t mind trying Madden NFL 25 and I’m sure I’ll find enjoyment in more Peggle.

Unfortunately for me and other PlayStation centric players, this is an Xbox One exclusive. I don’t know if this an EA and Microsoft thing or if Sony actually denied EA access from entering their ecosystem but I’m bummed out by its absence. I actually want the titles being offered by EA unlike the ones that appear on Sony’s Instant Game Collection.

I can understand Sony wanting to put the kibosh on this if it means publishers will begin to withhold titles from their PlayStation Plus Instant Game Collection program though. If they allowed EA to start this service, what’s going to stop Ubisoft, Activision and other publishers from doing the same? It would be like every movie and TV studio having their own service instead of using all encompassing services like Netflix or Amazon Instant Video.

Next Gen Sports: Not So Hot

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Both Electronic Arts and 2K Sports unveiled footage of their next generation versions of their Madden 25 and NBA 2K14 titles. They’re showing off some of the most underwhelming footage imaginable.

 

Improved skin, improved grass and yet everything still looks unnatural and a bit stilted. I cannot wait until they do honest overhauls.

For the Eighth Generation: 1080p60 or bust?

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I love the optimism of new console generation. I remember the EA Madden NFL CG teaser from 2005 and how I actually believed for a brief moment that was possible on the Xbox 360. Of course that CG trailer never panned out.

720p is so last generation

It is believed that 720p30 was the de facto resolution and framerate for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. That wasn’t the case at all. Many games wavered from that standard and while some developers were better at hiding that fact, many were not as successful.

I’m not kidding when I say Call of Duty: Ghosts will be the first Call of Duty game rendered at a high definition resolution.

With that harsh reality in mind, I will not be shocked to find an Xbox One or PlayStation 4 game was actually rendering at 720p and upscaled to 1080p. We all want 1080p to be the gold standard but like gold, it will be malleable and don’t be surprised if we see regularly see sub 1080p games.

If not 1080p, how about 900p?

If we’re not going to get 1080p games, I hope the bare minimum rendering resolution will be 1600 x 900. I’ve played many PC games at that resolution and it is a fine compromise. These $4-500 boxes are not packing the kinds of hardware that developers (and publishers) want for all their eye candy. Prettier explosions and effects sell games and until the masses start picking up games with superior resolutions and/or framerates, these compromises will continue.

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