E3 – Worth keeping?

Is it still worth having E3 around?

E3 has been around since 1995 and is still going strong after all these years. However, with the revelation of the internet, showing trailers and sneak peeks of upcoming games has become easier than ever. So, whats the point of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars for conferences to show off trailers that can be put right on the internet for essentially free? Let’s see both sides of why E3 is worth keeping around and why it should stop.

Stay

E3 showfloor

Community is the first word that instantly comes to mind when you think of E3. What could be better than a much of video game nerds getting together to get hyped for the new upcoming games? E3 has been around long enough to become synonyms with everything video games. Like many big industries, conferences are a common occurrence to show potential customers products available for purchase or upcoming technologies. E3 is the perfect opportunity for companies to show off the newest and biggest games for the upcoming year or years to come. It also lets developers have people play test their games and see what people think of them. All and all having E3 is the perfect opportunity everyone, young and old to gather together and enjoy a medium that gets bigger every year.

End it

End E3

From a business perspective conferences are great to show off new technology but it costs a lot of money. Setting up, speakers, prototypes, and everything else needed for a conference has to be paid for and that adds up quickly. So why bother with all that time and effort when you can release a video on Youtube showing off your product. Cost wise it is much cheaper compared to holding a full blown conference. If as a business my goal is to make money, then a conference isn’t very cost effective.

The Verdict

Overall, should E3 be discontinued? In my opinion… No. For the sake of the gaming community as a whole, E3 is the Christmas of gamers who want to see the newest games and get hyped together. Personally I look forward to watching the different conferences to learn about new upcoming games, even if some are leaked before their official announcement. Sure some presentations may seem they lack in certain areas but I still get giddy every time I see the combination E3. For more information about E3 and scheduled times for presentations you can visit the E3 website.

Virtual Reality

Is it going to change the world or is it just a fad?

Virtual Reality is starting to take the world by storm. Youtube has their 360 degree videos, video games are starting to take advantage of this new technology and you can even use special apps on your phone to play games and watch other videos in VR space. But why? Is Virtual reality really going to be the next big entertainment breakthrough? Or will it just fizzle out of the mainstream in a few years?

So how is VR going to affect how you get your entertainment? Well, imagine you are watching a video about someone who is traveling, lets say to a beautiful temple. In the traditional format, you only get too see what the camera sees at that moment. With VR you are no longer limited to these constraints, YOU the viewer can physically look around and see what you want to see. This video gives you an example of how this looks in practice. You can use the arrows at the top left of the video or click and drag your mouse across the video to look around.

This is one of many examples you can find on Youtube of how VR can change the way we view videos. But how else can it change how we view entertainment?

 

Video games are leading the charge with new technologies for VR. Many companies have already developed and released VR headsets for in home use. Some of these include Oculus, Vive, and the PS VR for PS4. Of course each comes with its own unique way of playing, Oculus and PS VR use standard controllers and are stationary VR experiences, where you stand or sit in one place and look around. While the Vive allows for complete body movement, where you physically move in a small area of your room and use your arms to control your character.

Here is a funny and excellent example of this in practice. You play as a store clerk and have to move around your work area to give the customers what they ask. Using the two controllers he can use them as hands to grab, press, toss, open, etc. different items to complete his task. This is a much simpler example of how the Vive can be played. If you are interested in more extreme examples of how the Vive is being used you can check out another game called Onward.

 

While video games are all well and good for showing VR off, many people don’t want to play video games. So what’s the next best way? Using your own phones! Companies like Google and Samsung have come out with what many will call “VR boxes”. You put your phones in these headsets that hold them so you can get the up close experience of VR without holding on to your phone. It works the same way like the Youtube 360 but you use your own head movement to look around instead of a mouse. One of the best examples I have found is the app “Within”. Even if you don’t have a VR box you can still use this app to get an idea of how VR works for yourself. You can download the app for Android and iPhone.

My Thoughts on the future of VR

Virtual Reality is growing extremely quickly, way faster then most people thought it would. Big companies to individuals are now racing to be the first to create that one big app, game, or experience that will draw people in and make having a VR headset the next big thing. VR still has a long way to go but I can see VR being used for every day use at work or home for varies reasons in the next five to ten years. I’m excited to see where VR goes in even just the next couple years.

Has the best “next gen” console been decided?

Which console is the best?

Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony have all finally released their next gen consoles. Awesome! So, which console is the best console to own? Is there a way to determine that one console is better than the other? Does it matter that there is a “best” console? Let’s go through each console and see.

Nintendo – Switch

Nintendo Switch
Nintendo Switch Gamepad

The Nintendo Switch was released March 3, 2017. This makes the Switch the newest out of all the current “next gen” consoles. Its biggest selling point is that the console is portable just like a handheld, this makes it the most unique out of all the other consoles. However, with it being the newest it also has the least amount of games and additional software. Some of the software that are not included yet are a web browser and video streaming service, so currently you can only play games. Many of the games available have an emphasis on multiplayer, which makes it a great choice if you want to play with friends. Additionally, Even though the release titles are few, many games have already been announced from 3rd party developers, which means there will be plenty more games than just regular Nintendo type of games.

Microsoft – Xbox One

Xbox One Console
Xbox One Console

The Xbox One was released November 22, 2013. Xbox one has not been doing very well the last couple years. The console is has been struggling to sell because it doesn’t have anything special to offer. One of the big initial selling points is that it is integrated with your television. This means you can use your system to watch television and play games at the time on one screen. Additionally, exclusives are also few and far between. Not many exclusives have been made for the console except for some of the major titles like Halo and Gears of War, other than that any games you can get on the Xbox one you could get on the PC or PS4. The Xbox One does have backwards compatibility for Xbox 360, however it is limited to certain games. One last issue, is that Microsoft is making their games now available to play on the PC, which includes exclusives as well. This means if you have a PC you can play any Xbox One games on your PC, without even owning a Xbox One.

Sony – Playstation 4

Playstation 4 Console
Playstation 4 Console

The PS4 was released November 15, 2013. So far sales wise, the PS4 has been the most successful. The PS4 is considered the most powerful out of the other two consoles, especially with the new PS4 pro. The PS4 has also released its own PS Virtual Reality headset, the VR headset is still fairly new so there are only a few games, but the catalog is steadily growing. This is a nice perk if you are interested in VR headsets but don’t have a high end PC to run it, however, the headset only is $399. This may be too steep for some, however, all things considered a PS4 and a VR headset is the same amount as an HTC Vive by itself. Along with all this, The PS4 also has the most amount of exclusives and overall games. A downside though is if you are interested in playing online you now have to pay a monthly fee to play your games online with other players but is not needed for any of the other PS4 services.

 

Each console has their own pros and cons that make it more appealing to different people. Currently the overall of each console go as follows.

  • The Switch has the greatest potential.
  • The Xbox One is okay but only if you want to play Xbox exclusives.
  • The PS4 has the most bang for your buck.

If you are interested you can purchase a Playstation 4, an Xbox One, or a Nintendo Switch here.

 

Nintendo Switch

Will the Nintendo Switch be successful?

The Nintendo Switch is Nintendo’s newest console that will be released March 3rd 2017. Its big selling point is the portability of the system much like a PS Vita or a Nintendo 3DS. The system is playable on a docking station that will charge and put the screen on to your television screen that will run at 900p at 60 fps, but has the power to run at 720p at 30 fps while off the docking station. This would allow for you to play a powerful next gen console anywhere on the go. Of course, this doesn’t come without some downsides.

While playing off the dock, Nintendo has stated that the Switch will be usable for up to 6 hours. Specifically for the launch title, Zelda the Breath of the Wild, it will last approximately 3 hours. This gives us an idea of how the battery longevity is in use compared to not running anything. To give some perspective the newest 3DS model battery life is around 3-7.5 hours while playing 3DS games depending on if the 3d is enabled or not. Depending on how often you plan on playing your games this could create problems. For local travel or events this is not much of a problem but for traveling longer it starts becoming harder to use without a portable charger. So the battery life is good but the greatest in the world; however, what about the games?

Nintendo Switch will have ten launch titles that will release on the day. The two big ones will be 1-2 Switch and Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Starting with 1-2 Switch, this is a two player game that uses the Switch’s Joy-Con controllers attached to the system. Each player has a controller and does some action the game calls out, you can see the gameplay here on the official Nintendo Youtube channel. 1-2 Switch is meant to show off how the Joy-Cons work and a start to how multiplayer games can be created with the system. Zelda: Breath of the Wild is Nintendo’s trump card in games for the Switch. The Zelda series is one of Nintendo’s staple games and the last major console Zelda game was released in 2011! So you can see how many fans are excited. With its fascinating graphics and open world environment the new Zelda game will show the power the console is capable of. You can see gameplay here at the official Nintendo Youtube channel.

With all that said, will the Nintendo Switch be successful? Before I answer that I want to define what I mean by successful. Success can be measured in several ways, such as, the company made a profit, if the console was well received from consumers, and so on. The measure of success will be about how well the console will be received as a whole; based on the launch titles, announced future games, and what the system can offer in terms of portability and power.

I believe the console will be very successful throughout its lifespan. This is because not only are the release titles and near future titles already being well received, the amount of 3rd party developers is staggering. So far there have been over 50 different partners that have announced development of games for the system! This gives the consumer more of a reason to consider purchasing the system early. Even with the possible issues that may arise with the reduced battery life I predict people will figure out ways to easily charge anywhere. I personally plan on purchasing a Nintendo Switch when I can. I have high hopes for the Nintendo Switch and I believe it will bring Nintendo back to the forefront of gaming with Sony and Microsoft.

You can purchase a Nintendo Switch here.