Limbo still haunts me

It’s been a few weeks now since I’ve played Limbo.  I snagged it pretty soon after it became available on the PlayStation Store as its reputation preceded it.  It is of course the same game that was released on Xbox Live Arcade last year.

If you had to think of a video game that could be called art, then it would have to be Limbo.  For a game that’s relatively short, with basic gameplay at its heart, it makes a big impact.  The music, the Noir visuals, and the puzzles all add up to a great little game.  In other words, it’s gameplay done right!

I’ve since moved on to playing some of the bigger releases this year such as DiRT 3 and L.A. Noire but Limbo still sticks in my mind as a small game with big presence.  It is a platform/puzzle game cut to its bare essentials, but with such high-impact visuals.

I’m not going to go on about this game anymore as I’m already treading on familiar ground here.  I just needed to get a shout out for this game, mainly for PS3 owners who like myself, will not have had the fortune of playing it last year.  A must buy!

Talking Heads: Social Gaming- Is the PS3 Disconnected?

In what I hope to be the first of many different formats and collaberations on this blog, I talk to fellow gamer Rockers Delight about social gaming and how the PS3 compares against the Xbox 360 in this regard.  In the following transcript Los Havros will be denoted with LH and Rockers Delight with RD.

LH: Thanks for taking time out to have a chat!  We’re going to be talking about the PS3 and its lack of social connectivity.  I have to admit, I’m a bit confused here.  I couldn’t help but notice some of your recent tweets noting that for you the PS3 user experience feels a bit ‘disconnected’, ‘unsociable’… your ‘loner console’.

I find this area of debate fascinating, but could you expand on what you mean.  Is it simply a lack of cross-game chat, or is it more?

RD: Hey, Los Havros! You are indeed right, more than once I’ve referred to the PlayStation 3 as my ‘loner console’, most recently spurred by a 360 gamer switching to PS3 and Tweeting the same thing.

Let me point out, though, that despite my feelings of solitary with my PS3, all my real life friends are in fact PS3 gamers, not 360. So, despite being new to the console, I do actually have a decent-sized friends list.

It’s difficult to know where to start, and to also refrain from sharing all my thoughts on this at once. To sum up how social a console the 360 can be, it feels like you’re missing a leg if not connected to Xbox Live. PS3, on the other hand, wouldn’t make much difference to me if I was playing online or offline.

The fact the PlayStation 3 is sold without any device for communicating is a good starting point. It shows that connectivity between gamers isn’t a priority for Sony, unlike Microsoft who box every console with a basic headset.

Continue reading Talking Heads: Social Gaming- Is the PS3 Disconnected?

Qore Announcement: the aftermath

As this latest, and very interesting announcement is quickly spreading out across the internet, it is time to take stock and see what everyone’s reaction is.

The controversy
At the crux of this matter, is that fact that Sony wants you to pay for Qore. However in Sony’s defence is the fact that there is some pretty tasty content on offer:

Qore will feature exclusive news, developer interviews, in-depth game previews and behind-the-scenes looks at PlayStation games and special access to game demos, special beta invitations, game add-ons and other downloadable game-related content.

However I feel that such content should probably be free if the PlayStation Network is to compete effectively against Xbox Live. With Qore charging for content, there is a danger that the PlayStation Network will be a two-tier system.

I will now round up a sample of Qore-related news to gauge reaction to Sony’s decision.

The Sixth Axis- Paid PSN Subscriptions Arrive
Attention-grabbing headline, but not strictly true. The majority of content on the PlayStation Network such as trailers and demos are free to access, with the exception of full games which of course, require payment. Let’s not forget that online gaming remains free. It just depends on how exclusive Qore’s content really is, and whether it will choke the rest of the PlayStation Store.


PS3 Fanboy- Sony reveals Qore – an interactive gaming program for the PSN
The article remains quite neutral throughout this article and doesn’t specifically comment on the cost. However there is some disappointing news in store.

There’s no word on whether this will be released outside of America, but we have contacted Sony Europe to get an answer either way. [UPDATE] Our SCEE rep has sadly informed us that “Qore is an SCEA only initiative at this time”. How disappointing.

That’s quite a blow, especially considering that Qore would probably be ‘almost’ perfect for the UK as well. I’m guessing it has something to do with the UK being part of Europe and the issue of localisation. We speak English too! Such archaic business practices make you want to scream.

Wired- Qore: New PS3 Online Mag Charges You For Game Demos
This article goes into quite a lot of detail about everything! Quite objective, and tells it like it is. Not really much to say apart from it compares the PlayStation Network against Xbox Live, which is interesting. The opinion for pricing is definitely worth a read though.

My only question is whether the value-add over what Sony was already providing for free justifies the minimum $25/year cost for the information. Although wrapping it in the very pretty package of an interactive magazine does make it seem a lot less like Sony is backpedaling on their stance of a largely free online environment, they’d be silly to release any really good demos, trailers, or interviews in the free section of PS3’s network from here on out — not when any halfway decent piece of content is another potential carrot to get users to pay them $3.

To conclude
The price issue is important to many people, with some agreeing to pay the $3 a month, and others who won’t pay it. The fact that only SCEA is running Qore and that SCEE isn’t a part of it is interesting. The US (heavily capitalist) market puts up with a lot more ads and subscriptions than the rest of the world, so maybe the launch of Qore in the US is Sony testing the waters. Who knows? Qore may appear in Europe and elsewhere in a slightly different format. The big question, is what if the European Store gets the demos and trailers that the Americans have to pay for, for free?

Very interesting.

PSN hits one million accounts in Japan

PSN hits one million accounts in Japan– Whilst nowhere near as high as Xbox Live numbers (obviously) these numbers are encouraging and there’s room for solid growth.  What has been noted however, is that these numbers represent half the number of PS3 owners which begs the question- what are the other half doing?  A PSN account doesn’t just mean online gaming, but extra game content, game trailers, demos, film trailers, themes, wallpapers etc.