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The 8th-Gen Forecast - Part 1

I'll start a blog series now talking about the 8th generation of gaming consoles. It doesn't matter if the new consoles will be released this year, 2012 or even 2013, what I'll write here are the tendencies of the game companies in a general way, talking about what to expect on future consoles, games, gameplay methods, new technologies, and so on.

Let's begin this entry with what to expect about the consoles itself, be it Sony, Nintendo or Microsoft:

- Individual Console Tendencies:zing

As most gamers know, Nintendo supported mostly casual players and innovative gameplay methods, Sony focused on hardcore gamers, and Microsoft somewhere in between those markets and adding support with other microsoft products, like Windows. Looking at charts and polls, Sony is likely to become more friendly with casual players, since they represent a good parcel of buyers (just look at Zynga's fortune because of casual games), and probably adding more alternative ways of gameplay instead of being restrict to the normal controller and PS Move. As of Nintendo, no surprise they'll continue to innovate new gameplay methods with the Wii U tablet controller and compatibility with 3DS for an even greater array of control possibilities, and of course, now adopting full HD visuals. For Microsoft, probably it will focus on improving Kinect's abilities of motion capture and voice commands/recognition, hopefully for online gameplay with Kinects, and support for more Microsoft products like tablets, Windows Phone and use of Windows 8 interface.

- More memory, HD space and Faster processors.

Needless to say, in all game consoles (and portables) transitions, all those aspects improves. I'd be as far as to say next generation consoles will have built-in 100+GB of HD space, over 2GB RAM (for those thinking that's little, Playstation 3 and Xbox360 Slim have 512MB RAM) and 4 to 5+ GHz processors (divided in how many nucleus they seem fit). And I'm only guessing in a more cost-compatible viewpoint, since extrapolating much would easily rocket consoles prices over US$500,00, thus reducing sales since USA and Europe are still recovering from their economical crisis.

- Internet Dependency.

The best way of combating piracy is, indeed, internet connection and constant preventive upgrades against new cracking methods and algorithms. No, not constant internet connection like on Driver: San Francisco for PC, but instead, what EA is trying to do with Mass Effect 3, requiring a one-time only online "authorization" using Origin and then play the game normally, be to play in single player or not. Honestly, families that buy a $250 console just for entertaining CAN pay for an internet connection of a few megabytes. 8th-Gen will surely require internet connection for almost anything, and even single-players will have no excuse for not having to connect online, even without subscriptions on services like Xbox Live, Netflix, Skype and Steam (that hopefully will support consoles in the near future).

- Portable-Console Interfacing.

Tablets and Android-powered cellphones are the fever of the moment, so why not exploit this chance? Console controlled by tablets, different gameplay methods, local linking, data sharing and exchange. The possibilities are almost endless, and all I noted was already tested, and it all can go even further. And with AR technology becoming more and more advanced and flexible, it's a good call game consoles will have that kind of support interface (what Microsoft is doing right now).

- Graphics and sounds...not that better?

Yes, the current generations have awesome graphics, and full HD 3D support is even better. Unfortunately, it won't be likely that 8th-Gen will have better graphics than that, or at best, just some polishing on quality by supporting new image-rendering technologies. Thing is, better image quality exponentially increases building costs, and pricey consoles at times like this won't attract that many gamers. Plus, newer image quality technologies like 1440p images and Quad-HD are mostly unknown, have little support, and, on domestic use, don't imply in big increases of quality. Same thing with best sound technologies, like 32bit sound quality, only notably better than Dolby Digital's 24bit TrueHD sound quality on ridiculously big spaces with more than 8 audio channels. As a side note, TrueHD audio can be improved with better-than-bluray disc quality, like HVD, so there's still ways to improve just by changing the game disc's space, but that topic is for another blog entry.

- Region Lockout and No Backwards Compatibility.

Nintendo's Wii U already confirmed backward compatible with Wii games. Next Playstation probably will be backward compatible with PS3 titles, but only in its "native" region and Xbox is likely to not be backward compatible with current generation consoles' games. Also, it's most likely (except with the next Playstation) that region lock will still be present. It is a fair speculation. Why? News flash: 8th-Gen WON'T be an expensive console/game generation, as I mentioned on the first aspect. Region locks eases production of certain games, prevent piracy and regulates pricing of games worldwide (see Wikipedia for more info), not to mention being backward compatible with games from different regions also implies different processes to run before playing the game, thus requiring more processing power for older generation games and increasing production costs again. Simply put, since Xbox 360 and Wii are region locked, their successors will most likely be region locked too, and the next Playstation will be just like PS3 is now when playing PS2 games (region-locked backward compatible, but region free for its own games).

And there we have it, my forecast about 8th-Gen consoles. On the next part, we'll talk a little more about the 8th-Gen game forecast. See you then!

The Year in Review: 2011

So, another post today, and now I'll begin a series talking about games from a certain year...and what's better than begin with this year?


---> Dance Central 2

Ok, let's start with innovative titles. You should think: Why exactly? Simple actually: Kinect was barely on the edge of being something cool. It's been a year or so since Kinect was released and not many games were released exclusively for it, and even when it does, it flaws badly, be it on messy controls, lack of response, lack of innovation, or simply was so shallow it didn't made o decent expression. Dance Central 1 was a game to be proud of owning a Kinect, since it really make you sweat and have fun at the same time, even if you had to do proper tutorials for every music. Dance Central 2 took everything they had good and got it even better and still add some things here and there. Better visuals, killer pop soundtrack, new and even harder moves, multiplayer support with a single kinect, a story mode...only thing it really failed was no online-match-ups, but beside that, it was the ultimate dancing game.

---> Battlefield 3

No MW3 vs BF3 comparisions, but let's be honest, Battlefield series suffered a dramatic evolution from 2 to 3, and that's just one generation of difference (2005 to 2011). The impecable visuals, a satisfying single player story, killer sound quality, massive multiplayer options and different stragegies possible, vehicle details, controls and complexity....all this made Battlefield one tough competitor on the fps market. Even if originality wasn't present, because of the progress between Battlefield 2, Battlefield Bad Company, Bad Company 2 and finally Battlefield 3, in considerably little time, it made its place. Buggy multiplayer or not, it's part of every online game in existence.

---> Dark Souls

RPGs are rare nowadays. Quality RPGs with japanese influences are much more rare. Independently of customization and abusive items, being in control of your own story already is a mark in RPG games, be it the be-a-hero game or controlling a fixed, unmutable hero. Now, when you play a game when you have so much thing to do and paths to take, and yet so afraid of death coming from the most varied kinds of monsters and bosses, it even don't matter if you're playing in 3D or not, you're in control of your story, a very deep story indeed, always fighting enemies bigger than you and better than you, and even if death turns to be a very common word in this game, you'll not forget easily about it.

---> Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim

Oh, how can you forget about simply the best game of the year by many many gamers and game sites. Again, it inherits all qualities all RPGs have by default, plus a ridiculously wide broad of actions to take. Here, anything is permitted. Be killing your quest giver, selling quest items and returning empty handed, be simply have fun slashing innocent people and transforming into werewolf, poison a food and give to another character to see him or her die, marry people and follow a romantic life, join secret clans, and of course, killing dragons by shouting....literally. You name it, you do it. And there's nothing to explain such a feeling.

---> Rocksmith

Ok....WTF is this game doing here? it isn't that much popular, don't have online playing, no multiplayer, and just a few DLCs have been released to why it was that revolutionary? Remember Guitar Hero's revolution in rhythmic games just with the possibility to plug a plastic guitar in your PS2, and further revolution by Rock Band's compatibility of drums and vocals, all in one single game plus online co-op and face-off? Rocksmith only have single player, but nevertheless, just requires a single, real eletric guitar to play (and an adapter). And it works well! No more plastic buttons, no more custom-designed gadgets to stick in your room or whatever, you can really learn how to play a real guitar for a waaaay cheaper and efficient way than paying particular classes or self-instruct magazines. If this game already done that, imagine a possible Rocksmith 2, with online multiplayer and more eletric intruments support? It would be just like Rock Band, but with real bands playing their musics and having a great time doing what they like to do the most: play games and play their own musics at the same time.

---> Onlive
No, I'm not talking about that sh***y real strategy game for PC from way long ago. Even if Onlive was working and "officially" released last year on North America, just now it's spreading around the world at a decent rate, ranging from Europe, and possibily, for the rest of the world. C'mon, let's face it: being able to play all non-exclusive titles on your crappyI MEAN ARCAIC PC just by having a nice and stable internet connection! and with the prices of the games way below the market price tag! Where will the consoles survive now? Except for exclusive titles, there's none. And wouldn't spend money buying consoles when you can spend it only on games, right? Top-notch PCs may be cheaper and cheaper as time goes, but really, either Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft make some agreements and partnerships with Onlive to use that innovation to evolve even more, or the console gaming will meet its end soon.

And there you have it. Remember, this is my opinion only, no hard feelings if you don't agree with me. If I haven't put a game here, either I know very little of it (or nothing at all) or it simply isn't worth putting as revolutionary.

Bye everyone! See you next post!

Hello World!

First blog entry here! Horray!!!

Since it's my first posting, I'll tell you about no one else than me today! (God, I sounded so selfish there ¬¬)

As some people guessed, my name's Matheus (this account is from 2006, and back there I didn't have imagination to make up a name), I'm now 18 years old, I live in Brazil, São Paulo (where the new Max Payne game will take place *-*) and, of course, I joined here because I'm so damn addicted to games and gaming news.

It all began waaaay back there in 2000's christmas, when I received my truly own video game: the Nintendo 64. At first, I just had one game, but later on I got more games to play.On 2002 onward, I began buying a Nintendo magazine called Nintendo World, which was powered by Nintendo Power, so for me it was the same thing with little changes and written in portuguese. Even though the hot topic was already the Gamecube and Gameboy Advanced, I liked to read walkthroughs of games, read previews and reviews, check out some N64 game codes once in a while....internet was crawling that time, so I found out magazines was way more fun. Also, near to my house there was a game house, where I spend lots of my saturdays playing PSX and, rarely, PS2 games, since playing on the PS2 was twice the price of playing an hour of PSX, plus, the PS2 always had queue in order to play. Of course, it wasn't that ridiculously big game house, since there were just 2 PS2 and 8 PSX, but they also had games for rent, so I rent on saturday and could play it the entire weekend. For me, there wasn't anything better. On 2002's christmas, I got an Game Boy Advance....and I really passed out when I found that out. For me, it was like living on the edge of technology, keeping up with the rest of the world in gaming terms. Although I never got that many GBA cartridges, it didn't matter to me. I was happy that way.

Later on, in 2005's christmas, I finally got my PS2, and it was there that my really hardcore gaming life began. In fact, I completed so many games until my PS2 times that I actually made a list of all the games I completed since I could remember and put the dates on it so people couldn't say I was looking or making that up, including companies that made the game, when I completed the main story and my overall score for that game. It began with some sheets of those annotation notes, but eventually I bought an ENTIRE NOTEBOOK just for that purpose, so I would never in my life bother about buying more paper or whatnot (after some months I realized it was too much in fact, so I tore off 10 sheets and they're still waiting to be fulfilled). Back to my PS2, I owned a true lot of games and I still have a box of games I've already completed. It was adrenaline every weekend, playing new games and seeking for new ones. Back there, if I do the math, there hardly was a single week I didn't completed a game, be it for my PS2 or on PC (of course, there was weeks I didn't completed any game, but on others I completed more than one in a single day, not to mention my vacation's gaming marathons).

I guess it was on 2006 to 2007 that my grandma bought a new computer with video card. She obviously didn't used it, but I sure didn't let it go to waste, and it was there that I started my PC hardcore session. I wouldn't say it was a top-notch PC, but it could play Star Wars Battlefront 2 and Empire at War and Knight of the Old Republic 1, my favorite games from that time. I confess I went to play some emulators back there, but I gave up on them easily. It just feels so different than the real deal, and by so, even if I came back to them from time to time, I just completed a few games, then I stopped forever. On 2007 I had to stop playing games for a while in order to study and reach a really neat high school I wanted to enroll. I studied a lot back there, but actually I still completed a bunch of games back there, it just was highly concentrated during vacations instead of completing games all the year. From 2008 to 2009 my parents moved up to another city closer to the place they work, so I started living with my grandma (in fact, I still live with her most part of the year). Since my PS2 stayed with my parents, I played it only on some weekends, and since my PC rapidly got archaic, but as surprisingly it may sound I still kept completing lots of games there.

On 2010 in the middle-year vacations I finally got my XBox360 and, of course, started buying quite a lot of games for it, but again, my high school was ending and I had to start studying again for college exams. Everything went even better than my high school entrance exams, so I got really happy there. This year, in 2011, nothing much happened except I still kept playing games, mostly my X360, but sometimes some games in PC. I stopped buying Nintendo World around 2006 since I never had another nintendo console except recently I decided to buy an used Gamecube and complete some ****c games I always wanted to play like Super Mario Sunshine and Zelda: Twilight Princess (still playing!). Other than that, I'm suddenly way into Visual Novels games, specially ones based on animes. For someone's wondering, I have about 60 games for my X360, but there's still a lot of titles I still want to buy and complete, but I guess it'll take some time since I have more than 15 of those games I either need to complete or haven't even played it once.

And that's me, a freak-otaku-hardcore-updated gamer in this world. I try to be as much impartial in my reviews/comments about that console war bul****t (which I still think it will soon disappear, specially if the cloud gaming industry increases as much as they're predicting). I love RPGs, survival-horror and action games mostly, FPS are just medium to me with just a few exceptions, sports games and movie-adaptations are just sad.

My next blog entry will be about something cool, I swear! If you ever have a topic or game you want me to debate (I doubt there'll be any, but whatever), PM me and I'll seriously post something about it. I don't think I can keep a long blog for more than once a week outside my vacations, so for now, whenever I feel like talking about something here, I'll post something.

Until my next entry!