Category Archives: Video Game Article

Elder Scrolls Online Lost it’s Subscription Fee, but What Does that Mean for Players?

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If you have been following The Elder Scrolls Online like I have, then you probably heard that Bethesda is finally launching the game on consoles on June 9th as The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited. Tamriel Unlimited is also an update that coming to the PC version of the game on March 17th. The significance of this update is that the subscription fee for the game is being remove entirely. That’s right, you’ll now be able to explore Tamriel with your friends without having to pay a monthly fee.

Since ESO was originally first announced, fans and other gamers (myself included) have wondered how long it would last on a subscription based model. A number of other big MMOs, such as Star Wars: The Old Republic, have ditched their subscription model to become free-to-play and many other online games are simply being released as such. So Bethesda’s decision to remove ESO’s subscription fee wasn’t much of a surprise.

I could go on and talk about why companies are choosing to do this, but that is not the purpose of this post. Today, I’m focusing on the changes that are coming to ESO’s business model. I also hope to address concerns people may have about these changes. After all, not everyone has had a good experience with free-to-play games.

Now I should make it clear that ESO isn’t actually going free-to-play, but rather buy-to-play. In other words, you simply have to buy the game in order to play it – much like Guild Wars 2. The decision to keep the price tag is understandable, as the company needs to make back the money it spends on development. But Bethesda can’t rely on the money they make from selling ESO. After all, they can only sell so many copies of the game before everyone (who wants want anyway) has it. Just how are they going to sustain themselves?

One of the ways Bethesda plans on doing this when Tamriel Unlimited launches is through the Crown Store. Using real money, players will be able to purchase a currency called crowns to spend on cosmetic and convenience items – such as costumes, potions, and mounts. For those who are worried about the consumable items from the Crown Store making the game pay-to-win, they are not as powerful as the items you can find or craft in the game. Another good thing is that the cosmetic options will be account bound; meaning that if you buy a pet for one of your characters, it will be available for all your other characters and any ones you make in the future.

Youtuber Deltia’s Gaming gives an in-depth look at how the Crown Store functions in the game. He even shows all the items that players will be able to buy, so it’s worth watching if you’re interested:

A new premium membership called ESO Plus will also be made available. This service will grant members crowns to spend in the Crown Store, access to all of ESO’s DLC (for the duration of their membership) and a 10 % bonus to experience and gold gain, crafting research, and inspiration. Now some people will be worried that the passive bonuses will make the game pay-to-win, and I understand that. However, Bethesda said this won’t change how current progression in the game plays out; members will simply get to the end game a little faster.

Finally, Bethesda’s guide to ESO Plus (linked to above) also revealed that they will be releasing game packs in the future, although they didn’t specify what they will contain. I’ll assume that these packs will include new areas to explore, new quests to take on, and new items to obtain. Based on the DLC that was made for previous Elder Scroll games (such as Dawnguard for Skyrim or Shivering Isles for Oblivion), this is safe to expect. As for the addition of new abilities or classes, Bethesda may save those type of features for expansion packs; assuming they have plans to make any that is.

Bethesda’s decision to remove ESO’s subscription fee has me excited, as I will be able to return to the game without worrying about a monthly fee. Granted, not everyone shares my enthusiasm as some are worried about the implications the upcoming changes will have. The skepticism isn’t a surprise when you look at the methods some companies have chosen to make money off of free-to-play games. But Bethesda doesn’t seem to be going down avenue that these companies have. They are just an trying to make the game more accessible and encourage previous players to return.

But now I am left with a question. When the gates to Tamriel reopen and I return, what’s going to keep me there?

E3 2012: Quantic Dream Reveals Beyond: Two Souls

When Quantic Dream’s Heavy Rain was released 2 years ago, it was meet with critical acclaim; selling over 2 million copies world wide. Now Quantic Dream has announced their latest game at this years E3. It’s called Beyond: Two Souls, and it is awesome!

Not much information was given about Beyond‘s story. The game centers around Jodie Holmes (who is played by actress Ellen Page), a young woman with psychic powers. Apparently, these powers come from a connection she has with a ghost named Ivan. The story will follow 15 years of Jodie’s life as she tries to understand the bond she has with Ivan.

What made the reveal of Beyond: Two Souls so amazing, however, was the trailer for the game. The trailer not only showcases the Beyond’s story, but also it’s technical power. Thanks to advanced motion-capture technology, the character’s expressions and movement are incredibly life-like; they just ooze with emotion! Beyond also features lots of action; with intense chase scenes and tons of explosions.

Personally, I think Beyond: Two Souls looks amazing. It has that epic cinematic feel to it; with emotionally driven characters and intense drama (the good kind of course). If Quantic Dream plays their cards right, Beyond could very well blow Heavy Rain out of the water. I just wish they’d hurry up and give us a release date for the game (all though it’s probably too early to determine).

Mario: A Pop Culture Icon

Since the release of Super Mario Bros. in 1985, Mario has been moving up in the video game industry.  The Nintendo’s mascot earned the title as the best selling video game franchise of all time; having sold more than 262 million copies world wide.  With his huge popularity, it should be not surprise that Mario has become a pop culture icon.

Much like other popular fictional characters, Mario can be found in many of today’s merchandise;  such as shirts, hats, lunchboxes, coffee mugs, and backpacks.  There’s even a movie based on the video game franchise; all though it was poorly received by fans. Even the theme music to the game is widely recognized by people.

It is clear that Mario has became an household name; just like Spongebob, Mickey Mouse, and others have as well.  With the continued success of his games, he is sure to stay popular for years to come.  It will be interesting to see what Mario’s future game’s will be like; especially with Nintendo’s new video game console just around the corner.

Downloadable Content: Extend Your Game!

For most gamers, finishing a video game is a moment of mixed emotions.  On one hand, you’re happy that you beat the game; on the other, you’re sad that it’s over.  Luckily, there is a way to extend your game through downloadable content (DLC);  which is addition content for video games that can be download to your game console.

By purchasing downloadable content, players can get more content for their games; such as extra levels, weapons, and even customization items.  There may be addition characters you can play as, or even more quest and adventures to go on.  With downloadable content, games last longer than they would on their own.

While downloadable content has been around for a while now, a recent study by the research firm EEDAR has shown that only 51 percent of console gamers purchase downloadable content.  Despite this, downloadable content has grown popular over the years due to the appeal of extended game time.  If you’re interested in getting more out of your games, buy some downloadable content and enjoy what they have to offer.

E3: The Electronic Entertainment Expo

E3, otherwise know as the Electronic Entertainment Expo, is a trade fair for the video game industry held in Los Angeles, California.  Many video game developers use the expo to show off their upcoming games and game hardware.  Despite being invitation only, last year’s E3’s had 45,600 attendees and 300 exhibitors.

Generally, a game developer’s exhibit will include trailers and/or gameplay clips of their upcoming game.  Some times,  they  even have a playable demo of their game as well.  This is great for journalists, as it gives them some hands-on experience with the game.

Since it’s creation, the Electronic Entertainment Expo has become the biggest trade fair in the video game industry.  Many big name  game  developers attend E3 from year to year; showcasing their upcoming video game blockbusters to the public.  You could say the Electronic Entertainment Expo the biggest event of the year for the industry, due to the news coverage it receives.

While E3 is not open to the public, professionals who work in the game industry or journalism field have the ability to attend the expo. If you can prove that you work in these fields, then you are eligible to attend e3.  More information can be found at the expo’s website at: http://www.e3expo.com/attendee/1205/registration-faq/.  Perhaps you’ll be one of the lucky ones who gets to go to next year’s E3.

Protect Your Gaming Account from Getting Hacked!

Many gamers use game accounts, such as  Xbox gamertags, to  access additional activities on their gaming console; such as the ability to purchase downloadable games,  play online with friends, and even have access to other online services including Netflix and Hulu. Unfortunately, many gamers are at risked of having their accounts hacked into and their information stolen. According to mail online news, an estimated 77 million Playstation users had their personal information compromised by hackers earlier this year.  Luckily, there are ways to protect your account from hackers and keep it safe and secure.

First, use a password that is long and complex so that it will be difficult for hackers to guess.  Just make sure that the password will be easy for you to remember.  Second, don’t put any important personal information such as credit card information in your account. This will prevent hackers from stealing that information from you if they are successful at hacking into your account.  Lastly, don’t ever give away your account information to anyone; especially to sites that promise you prizes for doing so.

Following these tips can help keep your game account secure and your personal information safe from hackers. You’ll be able to spend more time playing and less time worrying.  I hope this information was useful to all my fellow gamers out there; be sure to share it with your friends!

Video Games from Around the World

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Since it first began, the video game industry has grown quite considerably;  so much that it is worth $65 billion dollars as of July 2011.  It should be no surprise then that game developers have been popping up around the world.  Many of the video games we play are not only from the United States, but from other countries as well.  You’d be surprised at how similar some of these games are.

The first game I’ll be showing you today is called Limbo; which was developed by the Danish game company Playdead.  Limbo is a platform-puzle game about a boy in Limbo (hence the game’s title) who is searching for his missing sister.  Players control the boy in the game’s dark environment; avoiding various hazards the game throws at them by solving puzzles and using machinery.  If the player is unable to avoid the game’s hazard’s, the boy suffers from a gruesome death.

The second game I’ll be showing you today is called Toki Tori; which was developed by the Dutch game company Two Tribes B.V.  Toki Tori is a puzzle game about a baby chick who goes on a a quest to save his brothers and sister, after they were blown out of their nest.  The goal of the game is to gather up all the eggs throughout each level within a certain amount of time; using various tools given to you at the beginning of a level.  These tools include a teleporter, freeze ray, ghost trap, and a bridge builder.

The last game I’ll be showing you is called Braid; which was made by the American game developer Jonathan Blow.  Braid is a platform game about a man named Tim who searching for a princess that was kidnapped by a terrible monster. The game consists of many levels which the player must guide Tim through by maneuvering platforms, defeating enemies and solving puzzles. This is accomplished by utilizing Tim’s ability to control time; which allows the player to rewind, fast forward, and stop time in the game.

As you see, while these games are visibly different, they share many similarities as well.  Limbo, Braid, and Toki Tori are all puzzle-platformers featuring protagonists that are searching for someone dear to them.  Of course, there is also plenty of diversity among these games as well.  We can expect to see more games like these from around the world as the video game industry continues to expand.

Girls and Video Games: The Surprising Facts

Over the years, video games have been generally labeled as a guy thing.  That’s understandable, seeing how it is a male dominated activity. You might be surprised, however, to find that girls play video games as well.  There are more female gamers than there has been before and the statistics may surprise you.

While female gamers are still outnumbered by there male counterparts, studies have shown that females make up 42 percent of the game population. Based on those numbers, the male-to-female gamer ratio could be equal someday. Studies have also shown that there are more women who play video games than there are boys that do. That is quite interesting considering how video games were once looked at as a childish activity.

With the amount of female gamers on the rise, the video game industry needs to start making games that appeal to them. One of the best ways to do this is by creating more games that feature a female leading role. Of course, there are games out there that can appeal to both male and female gamers alike. In fact, it may be best for the video game industry to create games that both genders can play together.