Weekend Short-Takes: 2/14/14

Titanfall beta registration opens for Xbox One, PC, kicks off Feb. 14

 

Alex Miller: 

Let the robotic free for all begin! Many people have patiently awaited the second coming of Infinity Ward, now aptly named Respawn Entertainment, as they were the creators of one of the last games to truly change online FPS in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. Now, with Microsoft betting big on the success of this new Xbox One, 360 and PC exclusive, a lot is expected. We will most likely have to wait till tomorrow before we start to see footage, but the fact that Respawn is allowing people to capture and post footage, of an incomplete build no less, says to me they aren't money grubbing as much as really focusing on releasing a fun title. That they are confident enough in their product to allow people outside of their offices to post videos of it online is certainly promising. Color me impressed, I simply hope TitanFall can deliver. 

Simon Wu: 

I'm still slightly annoyed by the cancellation of the limited edition console. But that aside, feedback and opinion has been incredibly strong. In light of NPD's report that the PS4 did far better than the One in the month of January, Microsoft is most assuredly counting on Titanfall to do what Halo first for the original Xbox, and what Gears of War did for the 360. Let's not forget; the PS4 is dropping in home territory this month. Titanfall really better live up to every expectation that's been made if Microsoft is to stay competitive this quarter. 

Max Gruber: 

As Simon points out, this is the one title that Microsoft is counting on Titanfall's success to carry them into a leading state, rather than the lagging state their in right now. Obviously it will be successful, but the real question is: how successful it is in comparision to Call of Duty, since EA is trotting this out as their CoD killer. 

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Gamers in the US Spent Over $15 Billion on Video Games in 2013

 

Alex Miller: 

The increase over last year's numbers is hardly surprising. With two new consoles hitting the market, you would expect sales to shoot up. However, while not necessarily shocking, I did find the fact that digital content outsold physical media by almost a billion dollars to be quite promising. Taking into account much of that is certainly made up of Steam Sales and Humble Bundles, the fact that digital downloads are outselling physical ones surely has companies noticing. If this could possibly lead to day one launch parity between physical and digital copies of a game, I would be ecstatic. However, I know that isn't in the cards quite yet, but I could certainly see an upswing in the number of titles we see making their way to the Xbox Live and PSN stores. 

Simon Wu: 

I'm a little less bullish than Alex on these numbers. The launch of brand new consoles just barely covered the sharp decline in physical media sales, with total sales ticking up just 1%. Mobile games and free to play are eating into the conventional market. Humble Bundle and other nonconventional sales channels are doing well to keep up interest and demand, but the standard $60 a pop game is going to keep going down. Moreover, Microsoft and Sony must show a commitment to constantly lower prices on digital titles as they age, and to provide sales that rival or beat Steam's. They got a pass on the last generation, they won't on this one. 

Left 4 Dead creators reveal Evolve, 4v1 multiplayer

 

Alex Miller: 

This game is certainly running with an interesting concept. Like the upcoming Fable Legends game, where one player takes the role of the bad guys facing the player party, this game could provide a new way to do Player vs. Environment (computer) style combat. While games like Left 4 Dead have an [incredibly well made] AI system to control the bad guys, there's just nothing quite like the randomness of a human opponent. However, part of the success of this game will lie in its ability to match Left 4 Dead's feat of having a well balanced AI controller for the times when you are just playing locally. I know I have had tons of fun with three friends crowded around a TV with a copy of Left 4 Dead, and though the Xbox One supports up to 8 controllers, I don't see how they would be able to work in 4v1 on the same screen. Lots more to come from this, but I definitely like the idea. 

Simon Wu: 

I've been readdicted to Mass Effect 3 multiplayer recently, and the reason is because I prefer a more cooperative type of multiplayer. And before you all tell me to play team deathmatch in CoD or Halo, it's more about the deeper level of cooperation in the average game, as opposed to everyone loosely on the same team, but more or less fighting their own individual battles. This is why I was also a big fan of Left 4 Dead 2's Versus mode, which required more talking and more collaboration. This is going to be more like Left 4 Dead Versus with only the tank and on Expert, if I'm reading it correctly. 

Max Gruber: 

For whatever reason, I've been starting to hate multiplayer, more specifically competitive multiplayer. I've been slowly accepting games where cooperation is more encouraged than straight up lone wolfing every fight. It also doesn't help that most people straight up cheat and exploit anything they can get their grubby little hands on to get the upper hand. Evolve is certainly a title on my radar for the reasons Simon brought up above. 

Final Fantasy 15 "quite far into development, given high priority" by Square

 

Max Gruber: 

Since no one will know what to write about, I'm the only one who can discuss any of this. If you thought Half-Life 3 has been in the works for a long time... Hearing this type of news on an 8-year-old title is exciting. Given how much has passed in the intervening times, I think they're taking absolute advantage of the latest trends and what to avoid when working on this. After all, this is the one title that will make or break their financial dilemma, and they're putting all their chips on the table to make this the greatest title since the original. In addition, there's also the rumors of a 2014 release, which would mean that they're closer to finishing it than what most people seem to let on.  

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