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The New Direction of Sony and PS3

After Square-Enix announcing a good deal of JRPGs exclusive or timed exclusive and Sony showing off next to nothing in the same department many long tiime Sony fans are starting to question where the PS3 is heading as far as games go. Who are we kidding though, this pretty much boils down to the announcement of FFXIII on 360. This upset a lot of fans of the series and the Playstation brand, not only because it is a lost exclusive but also because PS3 really has no major RPG titles.

If you bought a PS3 for big JRPG titles you are simply out of luck so far this gen. There is little to no emphasis on big name RPG titles on PS3. There are a few reasons for this. Many JRPG titles we saw last gen were cheaper to develop with most of the budget going into writing a strong story and decent looking characters. Now with this gen we see development costs sky rocket to the point where for many companies it is no longer profitable to make exclusive games all around, you consider how small the JRPG market is outside of Final Fantasy and you'll see what I mean and why so many developers are going to Wii or going multiplat.

All is not lost if you're looking for exclusive RPGs on PS3 though, there is still Disgaea 3, Valkyria Chronicles, White Knight Chronicles, and Final Fantasy Versus XIII. There are also unannounced projects including a rumored new PS3 game from Atlus (probably my favorite Japanese developer). If that's not enough there are still the now multiplat titles FFXIII and Eternal Sonata.

Now all this was pretty much to explain where JRPGs on PS3 stand (JRPGs have a different situation on PSP). It's not bad if you actually take the time to look at it but it's nothing comparable to PS1 or PS2's line-up and that is due to the ever changing market and demographic.

What is Sony doing then? What is with the lack of RPGs in general? Why are they betraying their once, arguably, biggest market?

The answer can be seen clearly in what was shown off at E3 yesterday and Sony's recent public event and conferences. The market in which they capitalized on with PS1 and 2 has changed from a market of gamers who play JRPGs, Platformers, and quirky action adventures to the shooter crowd. Games like Killzone 2 and Resistance 2 show this off. Big name shooters are selling and games like Folklore are not. This is not to say that Sony has abandoned core gamers at all, what I liked about their show yesterday was the amount of games that would only appeal to core gamers.

We saw games like inFamous, Siren, and Valkyria Chronicles. We also saw games for everyone like Flower and LBP. Despite what negative media and forumites are saying, Sony is offering a diverse lineup for really any gamer. Their new strategy seems to be: Build up on 1st/2nd party games for PS3, bolster PSP with killer Western titles and core appealing Eastern titles, and starting a trend to make PSN or any "arcade" games more than just a quick chuckle (Siren, R&C). They also want to expand upon the PSP/PS3 functionality.

Will some fans feel betrayed? Of course, we're just going to hear about it more because we're on a gaming site. The new strategy has it's flaws but this is probably going to be the climate for all consoles come next gen. Almost every 3rd party game will be multiplat and there will be an immense amount of 1st and 2nd party exclusives on store shelves and on stores like PSN and XBLA. It's the future of the industry.

The death of the hardcore?

While I personally don't believe in the concept of a hardcore gamer I do believe in hardcore games and if that sounds strange to you then don't worry, I confuse myself with it as well. The reason why I'm bringing up hardcore games is due in large part to this year's E3 conferences.

Bias aside it was a pretty lackluster show so far with the "winner" being Microsoft or Sony but that's not what this is about. This is about the games that were shown at the conferences. While it is very rare that I get disappointed in one of the companies for showing off new 1st or 3rd party exclusive titles this event became that rare exception because this year we saw more casual games than anything.

I'm glad the industry is growing, I really am, but casual games really have no place at an event like E3. Stockholders aside, most of the audience and viewers of the press conferences are avid gamers who want to see a game that will take them to the next level of immersion. Showing off games like Wii Music and Lips aren't exactly going to make me impressed. Showing off more shooters (looking at you Sony) isn't going to make me impressed either although I will admit I'm now hyped for Resistance 2 and MAG.

If an industry event like E3 is turning into a place to show off your casual games for the expanding market then what does that say about the industry? Does this mean gamers like me who enjoy games like The Witcher, Persona 3, UT2k4 etc. are a dying breed? Or does it simply mean we have to evolve and change our tastes to fit this new market.

I for one do not like the new market. Console gaming is really starting to go down the tubes. I don't want to see my JRPGs casualized to try to lure in the shooter crowd. I don't want my WRPGs to have mainly shooter elements. I don't want my shooters to be short with crap storylines to lure in casual gamers who like the multiplayer.

I know I'm not the only one who feels like this because looking at the comments made about Nintendo's conference around the forums here on Gamespot I can tell a lot of users are pissed. Even Microsoft's conference was very meh. They showed they could by timed exclusivity and steal exclusives, Gears of War 2 is not hardcore, I don't care how you slice it. This is where I have to give credit to Sony. Even though they are making the PS3 very shooter heavy they showed off a lot of games that may not draw in the casual crowd such as inFamous, Siren: Blood Curse, and Patapon 2. Not to mention the plethora of other PSN titles that look fun.

The funny thing is that Sony used to be the company that catered to everyone and Microsoft was the hardcore console. Things seem to be turning around and I don't mind, if this means more games like Disgaea 3 and Valkyria Chronicles on my PS3 then I'm fine with it however, I don't want to see hardcore games backed into a corner, it's already such a small market now. In the coming years I doubt we're going to see more projects like Okami and The World Ends With You because of the ever expanding market.

I can honestly see myself being solely a PC gamer if that's what it comes to.

In a closing note I'd like you to try and support small or low budget game projects where you can. The industry is turning into Hollywood as game budgets get bigger and the companies shove new and complicated tech down developer's throats. Pick up that AA game from that studio you never heard of it, it's probably 100% worth it despite what your cool shooter friends say. Try out that new SRPG that looks like its from the PS1 days. try out that quirky platformers. It's the only way we can stop games like Wi Music from taking over our industry.

You can call me an elitist but I'm more of an idealist on this one.

Vista pisses me off

So I was hesitant to update Vista on my rig but last night I broke down and did it. What a mistake. No games work now, I can't even play Chess Titans without Vista locking up and Company of Heroes is a nightmare (ever hear of the Pink Screen of Death?).

At first I thought it was a hardware problem so I tweaked my fans a little bit more (card running on 100% all the time now) and installed new drivers. Nothing.

Checked my memory just to be sure, nothing.

So after 3 hours of frustration I finally figured out it had to be the updates since everything was fine before them. So here I am, uninstalling the updates one by one, what a great way to start my day.....

CoD4 Online: What the Hell Happened?

When I picked up CoD4 last November I was immediately sucked into the awesome online gameplay. This gen has been a somewhat new experience for me because prior to my PS3 I never played console games online even though I had an Xbox and PS2 last gen. I've always been mainly a PC gamer, so I am slightly disappointed in the number of players allowed in a game on most console games.

Anyway, back on point, I stopped playing online around the end of November and started playing Oblivion (PC) again. So when I started playing just last Wednesday again I was a bit rusty but not too rusty that I went from 31 - 39 in this short while.

After playing so much over the past few days I've noticed one horrible trend that wasn't as rampant when I was playing back in November, camping. It isn't just the new players doing it either, I often get camped by 40's and even 55's in prestige mode. I understand if you're sniping you need to find a good place to settle down and pick off people but I keep seeing people camp under and around cars, corners, nooks, crannies, bushes, dumpsters, windows, ladders, tables, couches and almost anything that they thing provides the slightest advantage.

It really pisses me off. Almost to the point that I want to scream. It's absolutely horrible. The worst offenders are you LMG and SMG types who like to shoot at everything that moves.

I really wish there was some sort of penalty for being the same spot for too long, at least in TDM and MTDM. I probably sound like a whiner by now but this seriously has to stop especially when a player gets half his kills in the same spot.

The whole Jeff thing

Honestly, this is a blow to gaming journalism and I'm sure it will expose many other backdoor ad deals that gain higher scores for games that may otherwise have had a lower score.

That being said, the credibility and journalistic integrity of Gamespot is pretty much shot. No offense to other reviewers since I'm sure they are equally upset and distressed as me and many other Gamespot users.

I have been coming here for years. I registered in April 2005 (I think) but have always trusted this site as long as I can remember. This place was always my first source for reviews when deciding whether to buy a game or not. I do nopt consider all reviews on this site to be void but many of the recent ones I will discredit and no longer tell people when they ask me if a game is good or not.

Now, as for other Gamespot staff members, I hope you all support journalistic integrity like Jeff did, even if he did it unbeknowingly like certain outside blogs seem to suggest. I understand your jobs are probably also on the line here and it is up to you to approach this cautiously but in a way that will maintain your credibility and integrity.

Onto my fellow forumites, please be mature about this. I know it sucks but no one will sit outside of your place of employment when you get fired and "ZOMG THIS IS TEH SUXZORZ HOW CAN DO DIS?!!!" there are official threads GS wide and Subrosian has made a thread in System Wars that can best be described as a well organized user protest. If you still feel your voice hasn't been heard then blog it, as I have. Also it is important to remember that the mods are our friends so don't act out against them, this isn't their fault and most of them feel the same way we do.

When all is said and done I hope Gamespot goes back to normal and I can trust their reviews again. This whole incident has taken my enjoyment out of the site and the only reason I remain is in the hopes that I will be a part of a change on Gamespot and I'm sure many other long time users feel the same way.

Review: The New Console Interfaces.

Now that all three next gen consoles are out and I've had hands on experience with them all, its time for me to provide a general review of each consoles interface and which ones are easy to use and th ones that are not so easy to use.

X-Box 360:

Pros - 360 definitely has a sharp interface that almost makes it feel like a high-tech manilla folder.

Cons:  To someone who hasn't played it at a friends house or is totally new to gaming it can be a bit confusing.

Wii:

Pros - Extremly accessable and easy to see what option does what.  You can tell Nintendo geared it towards a non-gaming audience.

Cons - The menu is bright but rather bland after a while.  The Wii-mote is tricky to use at first making selecting things in the interface tricky to use.  The buttons are hard to read sometimes.

PS3:

Pros - Fairly easy to use with straightforward drop menus.  The background changes color depending on what time it is and will also change if you leave a game highlighted for a few seconds.

Cons - The menu overall is extremly bland providing no color except during the daytime.  All the menus in the cross bar options can leave you lost and wondering "what the hell was I looking for?"

TP 8.8?? Anyone starting to see a bias??

Yes the reviewers are entitled to their opinions but lately the reviews for Wii and PS3 games seem like they are being underscored by Gamespot and it makes me concerned because this site will be no fun if games like Zelda: TP and Viva Pinata and Resisatance are in the same scoring bracket while on other sites they're scoring dramatically higher or lower.

PS3 Launch and Weather

Well I was going to start the long wait outside of Best Buy this afternoon to get my hands on a PS3 but to my dismay there were already more than 26 people in the lines at both Best Buys in my area so I'm waiting on a favor that I can't really talk about.

But, a few hours ago severe storms ripped through my area and shut down one of the major cities in my are.  Aside from that there have been downed trees, many accidents, floating cars, and one rock slide I drove by.  So the people waiting outside of the one Best Buy are probably soaked because of flooding.

I'm glad I didn't go today now because no console is worth me wading in muddy flood water.

Starting to doubt Nintendo's Wii strategy.

Today I had the pleasure of playing a PS3.  I played Motorstorm and it looked quite nice all thanks to my local Best Buy.  After playing a few songs in Guitar Hero 2 I noticed some Wii accessories and some sections cleared out for games and probably consoles but what I noticed the most was the absence of a Wii playable console station.

I thought it was probably just Best Buy since they cater mostly to casuals but after going to 5 stores including EB and Gamestop I noticed its absence everywhere and in some major retailers there wasn't even space made for it.

Which brings me to question and doubt Nintendo's strategy.  Yes the casuals know what the Wii is but they don't know what it looks like or how it plays and in my opinion people aren't going to go out and spend $250 on something thats obscure to them not matter how much I or any other actual gamer tells them how good it is.
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