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ouya

ouya (Photo credit: Saad Faruque)

If you’ve read any of my previous blogs, you know I was a Kickstarter backer of the Ouya back in August of last year. While I thought receiving a new console would be cool, putting money towards a console that really pushed for more indie content was something I was willing to do. I anticipated March not just for a new plaything, but also to see what games could be developed for it.

Fast forward to today. In a week, it will be a month since Kickstarter systems will have started shipping, and I have yet to receive mine. Add in that it could be more than a month before I get mine, and I’m getting extremely worried for the fate of this little console.

My concern stems not from the whole, “But I want what I ordered!” mindset, but from the statistics of it all.  Follow me, if you will, into the way this has played out in my head:

At the end of March, Kickstarter backers were told that shipments would *start* on March 28th.  This is very different wording than the original backing, which stated “Estimated delivery: March 2013″.  Now I’m already getting pledger’s remorse just from realizing I’m not going to receive my device when promised.

A few emails have been sent out to backers since shipments started going out to give updates for those still awaiting devices.  Of these emails, the last one caught my eye because it said that they were at full production capacity, and yet would not have every since Kickstarter backer’s system out the door until May 27th.  That’s two full months since shipments started going out, to ship out roughly 55k OUYAs.  That’s 27.5k systems a month, with all devices being made going out as soon as it’s off the assembly line.  This is probably the lowest production rate of any device that intends to compete with name-brand consoles I’ve ever seen.  The Wii U will sell faster than this just by pure willpower alone.

There are several arguments that can be made from this to look at it from an optimistic point of view.  However, consider this: if you want to buy this on its launch date in June, do you have any guarantee you will be able to get one the very month you ordered it?  Kickstarter backers may not even receive theirs until the day before full launch, not to mention the unknown amount of people that preordered one just after the Kickstarter ended.  Those were supposed to be released this month.  So either Ouya is making more consoles than they say and shipping out preorders alongside Kickstarter backers, which makes my remorse even worse, OR those that preordered and were originally told April now won’t get theirs until June.

Another possibility is that they are indeed making more than they are shipping out and stockpiling for the June launch.  If so, that means Kickstarter backers are not their priority even though we were told we would be.

All of these different possibilities make me extremely anxious.  I know Ouya keeps trying to calm their backers and preorder customers, but the fact is that they just do not have the ability to compete quantity-wise with even the smallest player in the video game market if the numbers truly are as they state.  They can’t put out enough consoles to satisfy the people that have already paid for one, and they have just a little over two months before Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, and GameStop want to have their consoles ready for store shelves.

I hope I’m wrong about this, but until I see an uptrend in shipments, I don’t see how the Ouya can have a future.

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diablo III - installed! [1230]

diablo III – installed! [1230] (Photo credit: brianjmatis)

So…..

*watches tumbleweed roll by*

….am I the only one that isn’t playing Diablo 3?

I mean, I have it.  I downloaded it.  But…yeah.  I’m not playing it yet.  Never been that big on the Diablo scene.

But it’s all I hear about now.  So I must be in the minority in the world.

 

…*hears echo*

Adventures in TERA

Adventures in TERA (Photo credit: _Chag)

From my previous post, you can probably tell that my first impression of Tera was rather piss poor.  While I did play around for about an hour that night, I decided my frustration was putting such a damper on the experience that I would go ahead, call it a night, and take a fresh look at it again tomorrow.

Tomorrow came, and I found I actually like the game.  Up to level 9, anyway.

I started off as a warrior, which said it required the most skill to play well (and I can see how; being able to know the best time to dodge an attack to keep from being splattered is often a good test of skill).  I enjoyed it a lot more than I was expecting.  The basic combo ability was a delight to watch and had fluid, dynamic animations.  All of the skills I gained were great to look at too.  Definitely made it more fun than to stare at action bars and cooldown timers like other MMOs.  Coming from a World of Warcraft Protection Warrior, though, it definitely took a little bit of getting used to.

Next character I created was a Lancer, so that I could play the only shield-wearing class and see how they stack up to my expectations.  Honestly, I was less than impressed.  Their basic combo move had only subtle differences between the first, second, and third press, so it just looked like I was stabbing someone with a lance most of the time.  Blocking, though, was a lot more fun than WoW and more dynamic; this is how I picture “active mitigation” whenever someone says that phrase, not “I’m going to build up resources to make me block better.”

I tried an archer as well, but I only got to level 4.  So far it seems to be spam click city, but was actually more enjoyable since you have to aim vs tab + right-click.  I did run into a slight bug, though: if you assign an ability that has a charge effect to a mouse button (let’s say, Mouse 4 that’s on the thumb side of my mouse), even if you hold the button down, the ability casts immediately instead of doing its charge effect.  For now I just use a keyboard button for those, but then again, I’m only level 4.

Overall, I’m impressed with the game.  Definitely moreso than I was with Rift, and probably on par with where I was with Star Wars: The Old Republic, but for different reasons.  The world is beautiful but slightly generic high-fantasy; the music is a step above average, but isn’t what I would consider breathtaking (it’s not bad at all, though); and the story is slightly better than I was expecting (but most people will snooze through it anyway and probably wouldn’t miss anything).  The core of the game lies in its combat system, and I’d like to think it will keep me engaged for a while.  Overall, I give the game a B, leaning towards B+ just in the little bit I’ve played.

Maybe this will apply to some of you: the one thing I kept thinking when I was playing this game was, “This is how Final Fantasy XIV should have been.”  It’s stylized in the same vein, and a Final Fantasy setting and story would have taken the game to a whole new level.  That’s about the only problem (and this doesn’t just apply to Korean MMOs, but to all MMOs that do not have an established setting): it’s hard to break it in the MMO sphere with a brand new franchise or IP unless you provide something really stunning.  I think Tera’s combat system does just that.

Image representing TWiT as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

I want to take a moment to plug a show that’s about to be cancelled unless it can somehow miraculously double its viewership.  I believe in the video game community enough to believe this miracle can happen.

The show: Game On!

Whether you watched it live, listen to it in audio/podcast form, or download the video, Game On! is a refreshing take on gaming podcasts.  Most other shows focus on their own content that they pander on their sites (reviews or videos they have on their site), or they have sponsorships pushing them to show things just for lipservice.  Game On!, however, takes things to a more personal level and interviews developers and other people behind the games that we know and love.  The hosts, Brian Brushwood and Veronica Belmont, are no strangers to the tech industry, and bring a level of enthusiasm that can’t be matched.

Sadly, the cost of production plus the lack of viewership has caused production of the podcast to halt.  However, Leo Laporte, owner of TWiT, has stated that he would consider bringing it back if viewership can reach more than 50k.  So, please, help this show stay around.  It truly is worth watching and worth keeping.  Download it through your podcast program of choice (iTunes, etc.) and help keep this show alive!

A joystick controller for the Atari 2600 video...

A joystick controller for the Atari 2600 video game system. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I just realized that I started a brand-spankin’-new blog and didn’t even try to tell what my intent is.

My intent is simple: I want to talk about the game industry every week.

No fuss, no muss.  I want to hear from you (if anyone even reads this >.>).  I want…candy.

Sweet, sweet candy.

But I digress.  I believe video games are a creative outlet, and should be discussed as such.  So please, join me whenever you can.  Bookmark me, tweet me, comment me, whatever; let me know if you like, dislike, etc.  I will try to make a post every week about what I feel is the biggest topic of that week, and I’m definitely open to suggestions as well.

Anywho, This is the Professional n00b signing off.

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