Disney Infinity, Being Grown Up And The Timeless Draw Of Whimsy

Have you ever experienced this? It is the moment where you realise you have a full four or five hours in front of you that you can dedicate to playing games, only to be faced with a paralysing inability to choose which game you want to play. This happens to me often. My eyes pour over the shelf, my head cocked at a forty-five degree angle so as to better read the spines on the wall of green and blue cases that are lined up before me. Third person shooters, action adventures, RPGs, first person shooters and of course Deus Ex: Human Revolution (a spectacular blend of all of the above). Most of them played to around 50% completion or more. All of them a jaunt through grey, brown and mossy-green locales and involve taking control of a human player character. Probably with a short brown haircut and a name like… I don’t know… John… Prophet. Continue reading

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Next Gen Graphics – PS4 and Xbox One

I’ve seen some whiner babies folks on Twitter and the like complaining that the current crop of next gen consoles don’t appear to add much graphically when compared to the kind of games we’re getting on Xbox 360 and PS3. Aside from the fact that the real fun of the extra horse power will be the more realistic and detailed physics and AI models, I just thought I’d illustrate the sometimes amazing difference in visuals and fidelity between launch software and late gen software…

In some cases the difference is night and day.

In some cases the difference is night and day.

Good things come to those who wait.

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Filed under Games Media, Gaming, graphics, PS4, Xbox one

E3 2013 Predictions

With one week to E3 I thought It might be interesting to put my predictions on (virtual) paper beforehand and see how accurate these end up being when the show is over. Here we go…

E3-Prediction-1 v2

Date: TBC. Price – Yep!

E3-Prediction-2

Date: Yep (close enough). Price – Missed by £29. (Damn that’s expensive.)

E3-Prediction-3

Yep!

E3-Prediction-4

Miss.

E3-Prediction-5

Miss

E3-Prediction-6

Yep!

E3-Prediction-7

Yep!

E3-Prediction-8

Yep! (but no price drop)

E3-Prediction-9

Yep!

E3-Prediction-10

We will see…

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GMA Defiance – Invest In Your People

Bit of a messy week for UK games writers wasn’t it? If you’re reading this blog it almost certainly means you’re already clued up on what transpired at and after the Games Media Awards this year so I won’t rehash the timeline (you’ve got Forbes for that. Yeah. Forbes covered it).

There has been an awful lot of finger pointing and side-taking though, that’s what I’ve seen more of than anything else. Writers accusing other writers of being too chummy with PRs, with attending press events to get drunk and get free swag. Then there is the other side, the group saying that those other jerks just need some help dismounting from their high horse.

Not only am I not qualified to pick a side, but I don’t particularly want to. What I will say though as something of an outsider is that clearly there is a problem somewhere with games journalism in the UK and I think I may know where it lies or at least have an idea for how to improve things going forward. Training.
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Why Are We Using Digital Media To Send Gamers To Retailers?

Online ad campaigns for video games can certainly be creative. I’ve seen some cool concepts over the years, usually they have a level of engagement that only digital can offer too, whether that’s by adding interactivity to a takeover or by using a clever page destruction effect its fair to say that the boffins at the creative agencies have always been able to find a way to one-up themselves. So while the creativity and the technology behind digital ads is changing and getting more ambitious I’ve noticed that one thing never seems to change and that is the choice of landing page.

When I say landing page what do I mean? I’m referring to the destination the advertiser chooses to send you to when you click on an ad. This is almost always a retailer page. Like this one. Obviously I know why a brand manager might want to send people off to retailers at every possible opportunity – because he or she is hoping Johnny Consumer will pre-order the game (if you’re not aware, pre-orders are absurdly important these days – if a game hasn’t seen enough pre-orders retailers may lose confidence in your game and choose to buy in less stock for day one).

Here’s the thing though. Continue reading

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The Importance of Reader Loyalty

PR companies and media agencies are obsessed with two key statistics when it comes to gaming websites. ‘How many monthly unique users does it have and how many page impressions does it turn over?’ ‘5 million users you say? 20 million page impressions you say? Here have some promo copies and a press trip to Vegas and while we’re at it have some of this advertising budget’. And this is fair – these are very, very important statistics and an obvious indication of a website’s size and influence – but for as long as I’ve been in the business there has been a factor that remains largely overlooked; reader loyalty.

Where are your users coming from and how engaged with your brand are they? Why is this important? Why should a PR company actually care about this? A page view is a page view isn’t it?

Pretend you are a young PR exec looking to get your client’s game covered and SomeBigGamingSite.com with 3 million monthly users are kind enough to cover it. You would be forgiven for thinking that within a month that article will get read by around 3 million people. Or at least 1 million right…? Not even close. Continue reading

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