Xbox head rejects Sony’s defense of blocking cross-platform play

E3’s war of words over cross-platform play in games such as Minecraft and Rocket Leaguecontinued this evening, with Xbox head Phil Spencer scoffing at Sony’s explanation for why it’s preventing PlayStation users from playing with people on other platforms.

Let’s recap the story so far. Microsoft announced during its press briefing that it is opening up Minecraft to allow for people on Android, iOS, Nintendo Switch, virtual reality headsets and Windows 10 to play the game with each other. And when Psyonix announced a Switch version of Rocket League this week, the company said that the game will support multiplayer action across Linux, Mac, Switch, Windows and Xbox One.

In both cases, PlayStation is the odd man out — and both Microsoft, which owns Minecraft, and Psyonix have pointed the finger at Sony as the company that’s keeping its customers from joining the cross-platform party. “We would love to work with Sony to bring players on PlayStation 4 into our united ecosystem as well,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement to Polygon, when asked about Minecraft. Psyonix told Polygon that cross-network play in Rocket League “would be up and running in less than an hour all over the world” if Sony were to give the go-ahead.

Jim Ryan, head of global sales and marketing for PlayStation, attempted to defend Sony’s position in an interview with Eurogamer. Ryan said Sony doesn’t have a “profound philosophical stance” against allowing cross-platform play, but claimed that the company’s primary concern is the inability to guarantee its users’ safety on non-PlayStation platforms, especially for a game with as young an audience as Minecraft has.

“We have a contract with the people who go online with us, that we look after them and they are within the PlayStation curated universe,” Ryan told Eurogamer. “Exposing what in many cases are children to external influences we have no ability to manage or look after, it’s something we have to think about very carefully.”

This explanation holds little water when you consider that Nintendo — a family-oriented company that is arguably overprotective of its users when it comes to online play — is on board with cross-platform gaming in both Minecraft and Rocket League. And in an interview with Giant Bomb this evening, on the second night of the site’s E3 livestreams, Spencer was having none of it.

Referring obliquely to Ryan’s answer, Spencer said, “The fact that somebody would kind of make an assertion that somehow we’re not keeping Minecraft players safe, I found — not only from a Microsoft perspective, but from a game industry perspective — like, I don’t know why that has to become the dialogue. Like, that doesn’t seem healthy for anyone.”

Spencer clearly inferred from Ryan’s comments that the Sony executive was casting aspersions on Microsoft’s efforts to safeguard young Minecraft players. Choosing his words carefully, Spencer remained diplomatic and professional. But it seemed from his demeanor that he found Ryan’s implicit attack insulting, and his reasoning absurd.

“We take the safety of Xbox Live, of our players across all of our games — inside of Minecraft, obviously an incredibly important part of that — it’s incredibly important to our team,” Spencer told Giant Bomb. “We would never put Minecraft in a place where we felt like […] we weren’t keeping our players safe.”

There’s always a chance that things could change. While Ryan told Eurogamer that “there is no live conversation ongoing at the moment,” he seemed to take a never-say-never attitude. For his part, Spencer told Giant Bomb that “the door is open.”

Halo Wars 2 review

It’s taken a long time for Microsoft to make another Halo Wars. The original came out eight years ago and there’s been a small contingent of fans who have been calling for a sequel ever since. A new game is finally here and everything that made the original good is still there. Unfortunately, the problems of the original are all there, too.

The game starts with the Spirit of Fire, your ship from the first game, coming out of a 28-year-long drift in hypersleep in orbit around a strange space station. There’s a human signal coming from the surface but your outdated ship isn’t able to decode it. Clearly, the war has moved on without you. The first Halo Wars was set before the events of the original Halo game, while this new one is the opposite bookend, taking place after everything that happened in Halo 1 through 5.

A scouting party lands on the planet and fast butts heads with Atriox, a Brute who fought the covenant and created a faction of alien outcasts called The Banished. He and his forces will be your main enemy of this new game and trying to get back to Earth is your mission.

HaloCraft

It’s surprising how well Halo fits the tropes of real-time strategy games. It’s always been a series of starkly different factions and as the FPS series has continued Bungie and 343 Industries have introduced a ton of units that cover a full spread of tactical niches.

Little has to be created for Halo Wars 2 – it is instead plucked from the franchise’s lore.

The humans have different types of infantry, light vehicles, heavy vehicles, aircraft and super weapons that are all familiar to fans. Similarly, The Banished have the counter versions of most these units already. Little has to be created for Halo Wars 2 – it is instead plucked from the franchise’s lore.

This is one of the reasons why Halo Wars can be a joy to play. While it seems natural to see Halo’s world from a first-person perspective, the real power of the genre shift in Halo Wars is that it pulls that camera into the sky and shows all that sumptuous color and lively action splayed out below. For fans of the series, you get to see all the familiar units from a new perspective. Every now and then I’d find myself zooming in on the action, marvelling at what was basically a living Halo toy set.

Where the game starts to fall down is its control scheme. Initially, we were taken with how well Creative Assembly has adapted the fine motor controls of mouse and keyboard to a gamepad. You can shoot about the battlefield, spinning the camera, selecting individual units, groups of units, issue special orders, dive into build queues, and everything you need to control an RTS. It really is impressive. But, there is a clumsiness to it that only became apparent when we were under pressure and rushed. Precisely when you don’t want things to go wrong.

Under pressure

One level saw us defending an island from a multi-pronged assault. There were three points of attack – Banished infantry were coming in from the south, aircraft from the west, and anti-tank vehicles from the north. It was a simple problem of commanding three forces that countered the attackers, anti-personnel, anti-aircraft, and anti-tank infantry.

We had the troops in place but still needed to hop between the different skirmishes to order troops to defend themselves. The enemy AI had a nasty habit of shooting at our team just far enough away that they wouldn’t defend themselves automatically. If we were not paying attention we could lose a whole group of defenders without them firing a shot in return. The easiest way to select them was to hover the screen over the group of defenders and tap the right shoulder button, which selects all the units in view, and press X over the enemy to make them engage.

As the mission wore on and there would start being incursions from all three routes at once we’d be darting between the sites tapping the shoulder button, targeting our defense, and scrolling the camera to the next defense site and doing the same.

In the rush of the action it was frustratingly easy to tap the shoulder button twice. Once selects the units on screen, twice selects all your units across the map. Meaning, if you make the mistake of selecting all and then targeting the enemy, all your carefully positioned soldiers up sticks and move across the map to fight one group of attackers. Separating out this mass of troops once they’ve mingled is a fiddly task, especially when you’ve three separate groups of enemy troops marching on your HQ.

There are a number of missions in the campaign that demand you to manage multiple fronts in increasingly fraught situations and right up to the final level this was a problem for me, one that only got worse on the higher difficulty settings.

Another problem with the controls that came up throughout the campaign was abilities. Some of your troops have a special ability that can be activated with a tap of the Y button. For instance, warthogs can ram into enemies, spartans can hijack enemy vehicles, and marines can throw grenades.

There are a number of problems with this setup, though. For one, it doesn’t differentiate who should act. If you’re controlling multiple warthogs and you tap Y then they will all charge at the same target, expending all their charges when one would have done. These are abilities to be used in the heat of the moment so you don’t tend to have time to select individual warthogs to select which target you want to ram.

More annoying though is that most the times we pressed Y the game didn’t seem to detect it. We’d have to tap the button two or three times to make the unit act. This was frustrating for sure but there were times when it swung the outcome of a battle. The spartan hijack move is a really effective way of taking out an enemy vehicle. Say you have a wraith pouring plasma artillery down on your soldiers you can take it out of commission in a single hit by hijacking it. It can be a fast way of neutralising your opponent. But, if your spartan doesn’t act when you tell it to then it keeps torching your soldiers until you can make the spartan do what you’re telling it to.

Against all odds

You can work around these problems, especially on the lower difficulties, but it added an edge of frustration to every game.

We felt like we were being challenged by the controls not the game itself.

Every one of Halo Wars 2’s missions felt like one we’d played before.

A final problem we had with the campaign is how generic it felt. There aren’t nearly as many big budget RTS games as there were in the ‘90s and ‘00s so there is less drive to innovate, but every one of Halo Wars 2’s missions felt like one we’d played before.

There were missions where you’re defending a base until a timer runs out, missions where you’re capturing and holding territory to score points faster than your opponent, and missions where you don’t have a base and must free prisoners hidden across the map to replenish your forces. They were all fine to play but there was nothing in there that was surprising or that twisted the familiar objectives.

You need to look to multiplayer to see Creative Assemblies real innovation: Blitz Mode. This new game type welds together King of the Hill and a card game. All of Halo’s units and special general abilities appear in Blitz as cards that can be played to the field. So, instead of a base that churns out units, if you want to spawn a warthog you need to have one in your hand and enough energy to play it. Energy comes to you as a constant drip so you only need to wait long enough for it to accrue to play your more expensive cards. The aim of the game is to be the first to 200 points. You score points by holding the majority of the capture points on the map.

These simple systems bleed together to make a fast-paced cutthroat multiplayer game. Holding the points is all that matters because it doesn’t take long to amass 200 points, so you’ll see players racing to take the points with cheap units early in a game and try to swap them out with more powerful things as they can afford them. However, because you can’t afford to let the enemy score points there’s a lot of pressure to attack as soon they hold two or more points. So Blitz games are permeated by small tactical battles. There’s none of the turtling of deathmatch games with players sitting building up armies for half an hour before acting.

There’s also a level of strategy to how you build your deck, opting for cheap weak units or expensive powerful ones. Of course, if you’re playing in 2 v 2 or 3 v 3 games then you can build your deck to complement your allies, with one player making a cheap fast-moving deck while another has all the slow-to-build heavies that come in to secure a position after it’s been taken by the scouts.

There’s a lot of potential for strategy and tactical depth in Blitz that will hopefully reveal itself as soon as there are thousands of players battling each other.

The very best DualShock 4 deals for Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2016

There’s no doubt about it, the DualShock 4 is not only the best gaming controller ever made by Sony, but also a contender for the best ever made. It’s super comfortable, packed with top tech and, unlike other controllers, doesn’t require a constant supply of batteries.

The only problem is that most PS4 consoles, such as the new PlayStation 4 Slim and 4K PS4 Pro, only come with one DualShock 4 pad, which means if you want to play against friends and family at home you’re going to need to buy a second, third or even fourth pad! And, what’s more, these pads don’t come cheap at RRP, so scoring a good deal is essential.

The latest DualShock is a massive improvement on the last iteration and the best pad PlayStation’s ever produced. Sturdy and reassuringly weighty in the palm compared to the always-a-bit-light-for-us DualShock 3, its surprising sleekness is married to a textured coating on the base and dual sticks that aid grip.

Luckily, this page is designed just for you. We’re listing all of the current best, cheapest DualShock 4 deals so that you can always find the cheapest price. The below widget lists the absolute cheapest prices but click the link below if you want to find DualShock 4 deals in specific colours.

No Man’s Sky Is One of the Lowest Rated Games on Steam

No Man's Sky Is One of the Lowest Rated Games on Steam

  • No Man’s Sky has only 12 percent positive reviews in the last month
  • Only 32 percent of all reviews are positive on Steam
  • It has an overall Steam rating of “mostly negative”

Sci-fi survival game No Man’s Sky may have been one of the most hyped titles in recent memory but the game did not live up to expectations from both critics and fans.

While we felt that the promise of an entire galaxy of possibilities was reduced to a shallow husk reminiscent to the many cookie cutter survival games that pepper Steam, it appears that Steam’s many users now agree.

According to a post on Reddit, the game is rated as “mostly negative”. This is based on 71,382 user reviews. Taking the most recent reviews, which Steam currently pegs at 5,525, the rating slides to be “overwhelmingly negative”. This means that roughly 12 percent of reviews on Steam in the last 30 days are positive while the overall percentage is around 32.

Being one of the lowest rated games on Steam comes a week after the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) has contacted both developer Hello Games and Valve with questions regarding the game’s advertisements and while the complaints draw attention to Steam, the ASA tells Eurogamer that any ruling would apply to the PlayStation Store listing and other adverts including YouTube videos.

 

“AzzerUK”, the Reddit user who issued a formal complaint to the ASA, told Eurogamer’s Wesley Yin-Poole he isn’t angry with No Man’s Sky, Hello Games or Steam, but felt the need to contact the ASA “after seeing just how vastly different the trailers for No Man’s Sky were from the actual released game”.

For many, No Man’s Sky was nowhere close to what Hello Games founder Sean Murray promised it would be. More so with a massive Reddit post detailing missing features (which was deleted later) albeit archived on other sites such as the aptly named One Man’s Lie. Despite Sony’s efforts at marketing the game, it couldn’t stop consumers trying to refund it en-masse. Safe to say, the game was a public relations nightmare. And Sony’s Shuhei Yoshida agrees. The President of Sony Worldwide Studios had this to say: 

“I understand some of the criticisms especially Sean Murray is getting, because he sounded like he was promising more features in the game from day one. “It wasn’t a great PR strategy, because he didn’t have a PR person helping him, and in the end he is an indie developer. But he says their plan is to continue to develop No Man’s Sky features and such, and I’m looking forward to continuing to play the game.”

We found No Man’s Sky to be a repetitive, superficial experience. You can check out our full review here. Or you can listen to our podcast about the game via iTunes or Feedburner or just hit the play button below.

 

Ubisoft Confirms New Beyond Good and Evil Game in Development

Ubisoft Confirms New Beyond Good and Evil Game in DevelopmentAfter much teasing on Instagram by Beyond Good and Evil game creator Michel Ancel, a new Beyond Good and Evil game has been officially confirmed by Ubisoft.

“If you’ve been waiting for news about BG&E… well, here you go! We are delighted to confirm that Michel Ancel is currently working with the Ubisoft Montpellier Studio on a new Beyond Good & Evil game,” stated the official Facebook page for Beyond Good and Evil.

Interestingly though, Ubisoft has shied away from calling it Beyond Good and Evil 2, possibly indicating it will have a different name on release.

Last week critically acclaimed game creator Michel Ancel – responsible for Beyond Good and Evil and Rayman teased what could be an impending announcement for Beyond Good and Evil 2.

“Somewhere in system 4 …- Thanks #Ubisoft for making this possible!” read a post from Ancel on Instagram that accompanied what seems to be a piece of art from the series. We may see some concrete Beyond Good & Evil news soon.

2003’s Beyond Good and Evil was lauded for its storytelling and design sensibilities although it was a commercial failure. Nonetheless, Ubisoft announced a sequel was in the works in 2008. Since then though, there’s been little else, other than Ubisoft and Ancel claiming it was in development. It would be interesting to see what platforms the game would be on.
According to several reports earlier this year, it may be exclusive to the Nintendo NX due to Nintendo funding it in order to harbour audience goodwill. 

With the NX rumoured to be in production trials, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot talked up the potential of the Kyoto-based company’s next console at a Ubisoft event.

“I think, once again, the interface is very attractive,” he said. “It’s a machine that will be easy to use for all gamers. They have built in something that will give us chance to really have a different experience from what exists today,” he said in conversation with IGN.

“That’s what I like – that they come with something new that is adapted to what we actually want now.” During a separate presentation, he called it “a fantastic machine”, stating that “I think it’s a really new approach, it’s really Nintendo, coming with something new again. We love it.”

Beyond Good and Evil, Beyond Good and Evil 2, Nx, Nintendo NX, PS4, Xbox One, Ubisoft, Michel Ancel

FIFA 17 Demo Out on September 13

FIFA 17 Demo Out on September 13
EA has confirmed when you will be able to download the FIFA 17 demo
It will be available on September 13
September 13 is also when competitor PES 2017 is out in some countries
While Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 (PES 2017) already has a demo, EA hasn’t announced when you can try FIFA 17 before it hits the shelves later this month. Well, until now.

Speaking to Gamereactor, FIFA 17’s Lead Producer Garreth Reeder said that the demo for the game will be out on September 13. Oddly, no platforms were mentioned. Though we won’t be surprised to see it available on the PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

In our experience, FIFA’s demos end up being quite close to the final product, at least on consoles.

FIFA 17 will be available in the US from September 27 and the rest of the world (India included) from September 29. The game will be on EA Access for the Xbox One a week prior to release and on PC through Origin Access. You can also pre-order the game digitally as well as at Amazon India, EA’s exclusive partner in the country. Keep in mind that buying digitally usually means a large download size and the lack of resale value, making the physical version a valid option especially in countries like India where Internet connectivity isn’t the greatest.

We found FIFA 16 to be an interesting beast in our review. The core gameplay veered towards simulation with thoughtful ways that retool some of its most basic actions and your approach to a match. However it’s hamstrung with flawed execution to some of it’s headline features like FUT Draft and women’s teams. How EA rectifies this in FIFA 17 remains to be seen.

Overwatch already has greater than seven million gamers

Snow fall announced these days that its online FPS Overwatch has already racked up more than seven million players. it truly is a very good bit short of the 9.7 million people who took component inside the beta, however the beta became loose—and Overwatch has handiest been out for a touch over per week.

 

“Over the months and weeks main up to release we saw plenty of love and aid for Overwatch—from snowstorm gamers, FPS fanatics, and those who’d in no way picked up a recreation like this earlier than—and we’re very thankful for all people’s extremely good passion and exuberance,” snowfall CEO Mike Morhaime stated. “We poured a number of effort into developing a game—and a new universe—that anybody should experience. We’re ecstatic to have had any such successful release, and we’re looking ahead to all of the amusing, competition, and new content material still to return.”

some different exciting statistics of notice: Overwatch players have sunk more than 119 million hours into the game since it came out, swapped heroes 326 million instances, and added eleven million payloads to their locations. We scored it 88/100 in our overview, calling it “a tremendous, once in a while awesome shooter… filled with clean, clever layout decisions,” and its Metacritic mixture is even higher. As numbers move, those are all excellent certainly.

speaking of Overwatch, there was some confusion the day gone by approximately while the aggressive mode may be again to the sport, however when all changed into said and achieved it turned out that nothing had without a doubt changed: blizzard is still aiming to get it in close to the end of June. we’ve also got a groovy breakdown of the hidden lore of Overwatch’s maps that you could dig into right here.

MWC 2015: Mad Catz Unveils S.U.R.F.R and L.Y.N.X. 3 Controllers

surfr_mad_catz.jpg

Not content with unveiling the quirky L.Y.N.X. 9 at CES 2015, Mad Catz announced the S.U.R.F.R, a controller that manages to cram a full QWERTY keyboard, and mouse pointer input along with a smartphone clip for Android device.

Furthermore it includes palm grips for comfort, trigger buttons, and will be available in three colours when it retails in May for $79.99 (roughly Rs. 5,000). There are integrated media controls as well which makes the Mad Catz S.U.R.F.R extend its use beyond gaming, allowing you to surf, text or navigate media.

“Today’s living room is rapidly evolving beyond proprietary cable boxes and gaming consoles. While consumers continue to gravitate towards connected devices as their preferred platform for streaming digital media content, gaming, surfing the web and social media, current controllers just don’t deliver on the experience they desire. The S.U.R.F.R has been designed to get the most out of these different devices we are now accustomed to in our daily lives,” said Darren Richardson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Mad Catz.

lynx_3_mad_catz.jpgIn addition to this, the company also announced the L.Y.N.X. 3 (pictured above). It’s a smaller version of the Mad Catz L.Y.N.X. 9 shown off at CES 2015 sporting the same fold-out design. It retains the console controller layout and phone holder but forgoes the keyboard and tablet holder of its bigger brother. The L.Y.N.X. 3 will retail for $69.99 (roughly Rs. 4,300) and be available in May.

[source : gadgets.ndtv.com]