Playstation Vita, UMD transfers and Why People Will Have To Pay

Lots of rumours and corridor conversations are circling the web today about Sony's plans to have UMD PSP games transfer to Vita and what it means for the consumer.

While I'm sure many people would love to think they will get all their games for free its far more likely that if you want your UMD's on the next Playstation portable your going to have to pay to get them and here's why.

There is no definitive way to tell if you've owned that title
This was one of the biggest issues to when UMD transfers were originally discussed for the PSP-Go. While I'm sure everyone who's reading this is as honest as a new born baby, there is nothing stopping the scum of the earth all pretending they bought their friends games and Sony would have a hard time trying to pair up figures with scammers.

Sony have no idea if you bought the UMD new or pre-owned
When I first bought my PSP, 4 years into the machines life cycle, I bought a copy of Crisis Core new and then 4 or 5 other titles pre-owned for under a tenner each. I'm confident many of us would say that we should get copies regardless of whether it was pre-owned or not but Sony wouldn't agree.

To keep the publishers happy
I cant say for sure but its a safe bet to say Sony have the final word when it comes to the content up on the PSN right now. Where they lack authority is trying to force publishers to upload PSP games with the sole intent being to give those copies away for free to customers who cant prove they own a title. Sony would (all an assumption at this point) get a far better response from publishers if they asked for Playstation Vita owners to be given a discount on older PSP titles for the first week of them going up.

Other companies have been selling you old digital titles you've owned for years
Nintendo made a mint when the Wii was first release with its Virtual Console program, and while its now died down on the WIi its now taking flight on 3DS. At no point did anyone ever say "hang on, I already have a copy of Mario Kart 64! WHY ISNT THIS FREE!?" so why do people think they have the right with UMD's?

Microsoft has also been selling titles like Halo on the Xbox 360 for a few years now. Pricing the titles between 10 to 15 dollars/pounds. all of the titles on XBL can still be played if you have a disc copy but no one expected Microsoft to transfer the content over to a digital copy.

Does the idea of paying for the right to have a title you enjoy on a different platform seem so wrong? Do gamers really think they feel entitled to these titles for a second time or do you think that paying a low price seems justified?

Let's Play! Jamestown

As far as I can tell, very little has been said about the rather awesome debut title from Final Form Games named Jamestown, a PC only Schmup', with brilliant 16-bit visuals and a fast paced, bullet-hell orientated feel, it has a very neat package for under $20.

But why does it matter? aside from being the only new schmup to hit a major gaming platform in the UK this year, it also has 4 player local coop which is a welcome addition to any genre of game. take a look at the video above and let me know what you think.


IMO: a few hours with OnLive

I was lucky enough to get my hands on an OnLive unit while at the Eurogamer Expo last month and people have been asking me what OnLive is like since then. While the above 20 minute video sums up the package quite nicely I know a few of you would rather me go into finer detail.

First off, the video at the top was captured by me. it doesn't edit any footage, so you'll see my stupidity at the start where I cant open a door, and any lag, "artifacting" or slow down is due entirely to the OnLive service.

I'm not trying to rub it in your face when I tell you I have a 30mb connection at home although I would be lying if I said I wasn't slightly smug about it, but it's important to know that I have one of the best internet connections in the UK as of right now (I know next year BT is planning to put down some rather impressive services which will make my 30mb look like 56k dial-up) and even with that super fast optic awesomeness I still couldn't get a consistently good quality connection to OnLive.

Over the past week I've spent a few hours on various titles over OnLive, testing its response time, controller lag and graphic quality and have to say I'm a little disappointed with the overall outcome. Try the service at 8am on a Sunday morning, when the average gamer is fast asleep, and its silky smooth. But, try it at 7pm on a weekday and you'll be lucky to get 10 frames per second if you can log in at all.

You have to factor in that 30,000 people all got OnLive micro-console's at the Eurogamer Expo for free and are likely trying it out the same as I am now but if the service cant handle 30,000 people on top of its user base how will it ever stand up to the Gears of War user base or Modern Warfare nuts who buy their £40 title a year and only play that?

On the subject of other games I should mention that OnLive has over 100 titles to choose from, mostly random European PC titles that sound so stupid you'd never bother starting them up like "Puppy Love Fun House 3: Here Come the Pugs!" (if this game exists I'm very sorry). There are a few quality titles that you can pick up such as Space Marine, Deus Ex, Borderlands and Batman Arkham Asylum which can all be rented for 3 or 5 days and if you really want you can buy the game outright for around £30, a large sum of money for a service which hasn't quite proven itself yet. you can separately get a subscription of 6.99 a month to play over 100 titles on the service which is mainly made up of the Puppy Love Fun House series but does have a few good titles on there such as Fear 3 and Homefront ( I said good, not great)

Overall I'm happy to use OnLive as a demo machine as it gives 30 minutes of play on a large selection of titles for free but I would never consider using it as my main console. With a small growing user base, a small selection of quality titles mixed in with a bunch of shovel-ware and a service which is dependent on the time of day you play, OnLive shows promise for a possible future in the video games industry.


E3 2011: My Microsoft Predictions


Here we are, the day of E3 2011. Lots of people are waking up now getting ready for the event while im in the UK. In this post I'll outline what I think Microsoft will showing off, while the giant has been extremely quiet over the past few months with what they've got in the pipeline, all will be revealed 5:30pm BST today.

Here are my (mainly safe) predicitions for Microsofts showing.
  • 360 will be the star of the show: no 360 successor will be announced, shown or hinted at.
  • New 360 hardware/bundle/colours: the slim will be shown off with a reduced price or new bundle in white as well as black
  • Exclusive partnership with MW (again)n and is shown on stage: repeat of last year, the map pack exclusivity will be extended and a demo of Modern Warfare 3 will be given, likely to be just as boring as last year
  • Halo Collection in HD, some fancy box. not shown on stage but trailer: This will only get a few minutes, it'll likely be logo's and brief gameplay footage.
  • Valve show off their latest game, likely left 4 dead 3: Portal 2 has been out for a bit now and Valve dont have anything slated for a while, Left 4 Dead 3 would be an easy one to work on or possibly just more maps for L4D
  • Epic show off Gears 3: if this doesnt happen I will shit out a copy of Gears 2
  • Mass Effect 3 (Side Note: might be at EA show instead): Mass Effect 3 will have an on stage demo of combat with a story trailer after.
  • Kinect sequels, Dance Central 2 (including geeky dude dancing on stage again), Star Wars Kinect and whatever Lionhead & rare are working on: one of the main focuses of the conference will be child friendly Kinect games and sequels.
  • Bioshock Infinite is shown on stage: another big title will get an on stage demo (perhaps the one shown to press late last month) and a short trailer after.
  • More movie partnerships, improved twitter and Facebook integration: the main focus of the conference will be social media and streaming services all tied in to xbox live.
  • The number 3 will be used as some kind of keyword: The amount of 3rd itterations coming out in the near future wil have the PR department brainstorming of stupid ways to make them link together, this would be the outcome.

Come back later on in the week where I'll report on my opinion of the conference, disect my predicitions and back pedal on each one that didnt come true. 



Portal 2 PS3 Review - a Guide in Gaming Excellence.

Valve has an unfortunate disorder of not being able to release a game with 3 at the end of it, whether it be Team Fortress 3, Half Life 2: Episode 3 or even just Half Life 3. While this has angered some gamers, it makes more sense to try and enjoy its benefits which just so happen come in the form of Portal 2.

Some of Portal 2 will leave you scratching your noggin for some time.

You pick up where you left off from in the original, taking control of Chell and trying to escape the facility run by Glados, a maniacal computer that treats science as a drug habit its never been able to kick. Our mute female isn't alone this time however, teaming up with the Wheatley, an AI who’s about as sharp as a marble and as cunning as an empty milk bottle, you try your best to work through the facility, righting the wrongs and completing experiments and hopefully get your freedom in the process.

While it wouldn't be right to spoil Portal 2’s excellently written and well executed story, its worth noting that the game’s pacing has been expertly tweaked, starting with smaller less confusing rooms and slowly increasing the difficulty til about ⅔ of the way through where it levels out nicely. Its done in such a way that by the time you’re ready for a new challenge its presented in front of you so you’ll never be overwhelmed.

expect some of the areas to look a little...untidy

Along with this pacing comes some fantastically written dialogue. Its true that the 2007 debut was one of the funniest games that year and Portal 2 will more than likely take that award this year in many gamers minds. Glados' bitter and sarcastic humour is now coupled with Wheatley's childlike and unlearned personality and the two bounce off each other nicely while you get to stand in the middle hearing them both moan, its brilliant stuff.

the co-op is as meaty as the single player

This humour continues into the co-op, brand new for the franchise, which roughly doubles the game length, giving another 6-7 hours of game play of new test chambers, totally separate from the single player campaign (although I'd urge you to play the single player first). Not only is setting up the co-op an easy experience unlike previous co-op titles (I’m looking at you Resident Evil 5), it’s also possible to do it cross platform with any PC player and seeing as you get a PC copy with every brand new PS3 copy, a partner shouldn't be too hard to find.

There are 3 main things you need to know about Portal 2. Its hilariously funny, beautifully paced and has been finely tuned with love. Everything from the graphical design, the writing as well as its delivery, the bleeps and bloops of its sound effects and background music is absolutely top notch.