Weekend Short-Takes: 10/5/12

Sony might sell a PlayStation 3 and PS Vita bundle in the future‏

Simon Wu:

Sony has relaunched both its console and mobile platforms, with the (relatively) new Vita and the just announced even slimmer PS3, out of necessity to keep up with the pace of tech improvements and the competition far outpacing them. (read: smartphones and Xbox, respectively) We reported on the Sony’s cross-platform initiatives to tie their two consoles together more closely back in mid-August. It would naturally make sense for them to push both together, since the Vita and its games are still far too expensive and the PS3 is stubbornly not getting a price cut. As the article mentions, you can just see Sony preparing its response to the Wii U tablet controller, given the absence of anything else in the interim.

John Fenix:

This generation has not been kind to Sony (says the Xbox owner), yet Sony still continues to keep up against their competitors, especially near the supposed end of this generation. The bundle does seem enticing, yet again with the end of the console cycle there will be gamers who will hold out for the high tech shiny new console (not the new PS3). Yet, the most interesting thing for me is the fact that they acknowledge that mobile games have gotten such high quality and so cheap that they affect console sales. This will be interesting as not only Sony but also Microsoft, Nintendo, or any other big company that enters this market as they have to consider the effect of this new competition.

Alex Miller:

Never say it’s over ‘til it’s over I suppose, but as far as this move goes, if it were to happen I could only really see it helping the Vita. For those few people who are still interested in the PS3 but don’t have one, I could see this as a nice perk and an easy way to increase handheld market share against the Nintendo DSi XXXXXXL or whatever size it is now (my brother’s is about the size of a small car but I’m not sure if it’s the latest model). However, the bigger question is if Sony would actually do this. The article says Sony might consider this in the future. I might consider moving to Australia but that doesn’t mean its going to happen, especially when it just doesn’t make financial sense. For this bundle to work they would need to make up the money on solid games and large sales number for those titles, something the PSVita has been short on and the PS3 is running out of.

Star Wars: First Assault Headed to Xbox Live

Simon Wu:

Step one to Lucasarts’ ultimate redemption? I sure hope so. I was also buoyed immensely off the other news that the next Battlefront might be in development. If my nerd memory serves me well, it looks like Empire vs. Rebels on what seems to be Naboo, given the buildings in the back. Being on the XBLA could be any number of things, though. It could be simple tower defense, or it could be a light but more involved shooter or action game. The distressed logo looks more in line with the entire franchise’s shift to a more mature audience like with 1313 or the new zombie horror books like Death Troopers and Red Harvest. (that ludicrous animated Clone Wars nonsense notwithstanding)

John Fenix:

PLEASE give us Battlefront III. Or at least Republic Commando II.

Alex Miller:

I like the looks of that cover, mostly because there isn’t a cartoon Jedi to be seen. And lacking any other game media, be it screenshots or cinematics, thats what I will have to go on. If gaming as a genre can reclaim the Star Wars universe from the Animated Clone Wars tangent then maybe, just maybe, we can see titles on par with Republic Commando and Battlefront (1 & 2) grace our screens again. And as Simon said, this could very well be the beginning of that reclamation, the beginning of the return of a former icon. And with strong looking titles arriving in the future, most notably 1313, this could be a sign of very good things to come.

Photo Credit: ign.com

Why Sony’s decision to stop pushing 3D gaming on its users is the right call‏

Simon Wu:

"Those who don't know history are destined to repeat it." - Edmund Burke
In the history of mankind, there have been some tragic mistakes that no one seems to learn from: invading Russia in the winter, invading Afghanistan, fighting a land war in Asia, and thinking 3D will actually work this time. Sure, 3D will stick around in movies a bit longer, but that’s because it’s something you passively consume. The gimmick of watching something pop out at you is ok in a movie, but if bullets or cars are flying at you, and you’re the one causing that, then it’s much more distracting. Perhaps next time they give it a try, they’ll come out of the gate with glasses free 3D.

John Fenix: 

3D in theater, not a problem, if it’s the right movie. 3D TV always seem such a small niche, like luxury cars, so acknowledging to move on they can focus on more game design and related systems, or at least less expensive gimmicks.

Alex Miller:

Before I say anything else I must preface my response to the article by saying that I personally have never gamed on a 3D TV (or watch anything on one for that matter) before. However, that said I must say that I have wanted too. As Simon can probably tell you, I often enjoy the gimmicky things in games, the neat one offs and unique features. Unfortunately for 3D TV/gaming thats all it is. Until 3D TVs become a standard (and that is an entirely different discussion for another time) the technology will not be popular with gamers if for no other reason than it cannot be accessed or is difficult to access. Other than that all I can say is well done to Sony for recognizing this and backing off.

Photo Credit: bgr.com

Valve launches non-game software titles on Steam

Simon Wu:

The headline is slightly misleading; this new software is all related to gaming in one way or another, whether benchmarking tools or modeling software. This play is aimed at making the lives of power users and developers easier. Just as Steam obviated the need to go to Gamestop or Best Buy, or even to wait for Amazon or eBay, these pieces of software are usually found on the creator’s website, each with a different purchase and, of course, DRM procedure. These usually involved license codes and the like, which frequently broke and required calling those ever helpful people on the phone. Just as we discussed in Com-cast 13, Steam is definitely a feasible method for streamlining and unifying DRM in one simpler experience.

John Fenix:

This seems to be the logical next step for bringing the tools for indie developers and then being able to put it back on Steam, one of the best places these days for indie gamers to get spotlight. The innovations Steam have implemented have continued to impress me. Maybe I will see about getting a Steam account.

Alex Miller:

And little by little the Steam Empire grows. Following the release of Source Filmmaker (who hasn’t spent hours just watching some of the cool things that have come out of that) and the Greenlight project (slightly hindered by trolls), it seems to make sense that Steam would continue to release tools for their community to create and submit ideas. Seeing as some of their greatest games have come out of community mods (I’m looking at you L4D and TF2), this seems like a brilliant move by Valve.

Photo Credit: slashgear.com

Assassin's Creed III Season Pass Will Add Evil George Washington Alternate History Campaign

Simon Wu:

Huh. Well, the more important bit is the season pass, since we see that model spreading like a wildfire since its introduction by Gears of War 3, I believe. Also, I see that the Wii U will not get the season pass. It’s little things like this that make me doubt the extent of Nintendo’s commitment to and focus on hardcore gaming. As for the alternate history aspect, if/when see the Assassin’s Creed total pack, will there be new alt. history DLC for the older titles of the series as well? What if the Christians won the Crusades or Leonardo sided with the Templars because he wanted to?

John Fenix:

As someone who knows that its good to remember the past to understand the present, and as a big sci-fi fan, alternate history has always been fascinating to me. I mean who wouldn’t be interested in seeing World War I with mechas against Martians. Yet, as the Assassin’s Creed has been known for its historical fiction setting, this seems a little off. I don’t know if it would be worth having to spend $30 on this. As much as I love mechas and Martians, history can be just as interesting and strange as any sci-fi or alt-history story.

Alex Miller:

As a history guy, I love the Assassin’s Creed series. The immersion into the past is a thrill in of itself for me, so the excellent game mechanics are a definite bonus. But its things like this that truly make me giddy. What if moments are some of the most fascinating in history, to think how one small choice/coincidence/speech could so dramatically alter the course of history, it really makes you think. I look forward to this and will play it as soon as I can.

Photo Credit: kotaku.com

darthskeletor's picture

I don't know how excited to be for the Assassin's Creed alt history. I felt as though they would be better served sticking to the original line. I know for a fact that I would be thrilled to hear and learn about how more historical events fit into the fight between the Assassins and Templars. 

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