XBox One – What You Need To Know

The Tuesday that many gamers had been waiting for has come and Microsoft announced the latest iteration in XBox consoles.  It isn’t much of a surprise to hear that they are planning a release ‘later this year’.  While this most likely means a retail release for the holiday season, it would be interesting to see them try to beat the Playstation 4 to the punch with a release prior to that time period.

XBox One

Some of the other details include a BluRay Disc Drive, 500GB harddrive and an 8-core CPU to go with 8GB of RAM.  The system will also have wireless-N tech for networking.  USB 3.0 ports will help for a faster connection for Kinect and other peripherals – it will be interesting to see how far they really want to take Kinect at this point.

In terms of backwards compatibility – none.  This isn’t really a surprise as the 360 and PS3 had virtually zero backwards compatibility after a couple years.

Used games?  The rumors were swirling and they will continue to swirl because Microsoft didn’t address this issue at all.  It does seem that you will have to install every game to your harddrive which would make for an interesting issue when dealing with enormous games on BluRay discs.  Will you have to uninstall old games and then start switching between them after awhile?  The move away from being ‘used game friendly’ isn’t going unnoticed, but many gamers out there won’t do much to prevent this move as they continue to buy big budget titles like Call of Duty and Madden without thinking twice.

Hopefully, the limitations of second-hand games will create a more picky audience of gamers.

(No price points have been discussed, but look for it to be similarly priced to the PS4)

Next Gen Consoles = The Death of Gaming

You don’t have to do a lot of googling to find out some of the rumors pouring out into the interwebs.  The XBox 720 seems destined to be an ‘always online’ DRM machine designed to say, No you can’t take your new game to a friends house.  Make those cheapskates buy the game too.  We are entering what might be the twilight of console gaming as we have known it for the

ok... Maybe it wasn't ever really like this, but it has changed quite a bit.
ok… Maybe it wasn’t ever really like this, but it has changed quite a bit.

better part of 30 years.

Whether or not you want to take the incredibly negative interaction between ex-Micro$soft employee Adam Orth and upset gamers or the non-denial denial from M$ that their console will always be online, the fact of the matter is that this stuff has been a long time coming.

Many of you have iPods that have some sort of DRM protection from Apple (a company that is highly supported by hipsters the world over) and then there are others that have been playing games on the PC client, Steam.  Either way you roll with these different examples of DRM and online functionality it is safe to say that ‘The Matrix Has You’.

While the Playstation 4 seems to be what every angry former Microsoft fanboy is cheering for, it is interesting to see them flock to a console that hasn’t actually been shown to the public.  We have seen videos of games that don’t look much better than current PC titles (or even current console titles for that matter) and we also have yet to hear what type of paid service they will demand for their console.  Sony doesn’t exactly have the best record for internet privacy or security.

If you are set on getting a new console this holiday season there isn’t much I can do to stop you from spending your money.  I personally think you would be better off saving the $500 on a new video card for a gaming rig and never have to worry about consoles running your gaming world from an ‘always online perspective’.

Whatever happened to single player games and other people having some privacy?  In a world full of instagrams and shameful skynetspring break videos it really shouldn’t surprise my seemingly old-crotchety self that consoles are going towards this same style of social networking.  Afterall, it is vital for everyone to know exactly what you are doing at all times no matter when or where.  It seems that John Connor has failed after a long fight against the corporate machines.

Skynet will become self-aware this holiday season.

Madden 25 and Infinity Engine 2.0

As many sports fans finish watching the Final Four tomorrow there will be a new direction for their attention to go in the coming weeks (assuming they are NFL fans).  The NFL Draft is this month and while there aren’t any real high profile ‘must draft’ prospects out there there is plenty of hype to be started for some teams and especially for Madden 25.

NCAA Football 14 just announced through their typical trailer promo that it would have Infinity Engine 2.0.  While this isn’t much of a surprise as Madden had it first (last year), it is something that should make Madden fans wonder what is coming this year.  Now that EA has started to push yet another cover vote (as if it really matters) they are once again pushing the old players into the mix with a bracket that seems to be played out after the Peyton Hillis cover debacle – why I voted for him to curse my

I wonder if they will still keep brittle QBs damn-near invincible...?
I wonder if they will still keep brittle QBs damn-near invincible…?

Browns is beyond me.

Now that the Madden 13 cycle is almost over (most Madden fans will put this game on the shelf until July, when NFL Camps grab their attention and they can’t help themselves) we are looking to the next iteration of the same game we buy in droves every August.  With NCAA’s announcement there are some things we can all but assume for Madden 25’s improvements.

Better tackle physics are something that happen incrementally every year for Madden.  However, now that the NFL is making rules against certain player centered moves (tucking your head when running the ball – IE, The Truck Stick) we will most likely see a trend for Madden to be even more toned down as time goes forward.

Another hope for Madden is better O-Line/D-Line interactions.  This has as much to do with physics as it does with how the game is programmed.  It has been shown on numerous occasions that Madden’s blocking system is broken at best.  There have been multiple occasions in the past where I have had a punter or kicker mysteriously jump into the O-Line and easily handle a 350 lb defensive lineman.  While this goes beyond the infinity engine, it is something that should be made apparent regardless.

Pass Interference has been non-existent in Madden for almost the entire generation of 360/PS3 titles.  There are high hopes that Madden 25 and Infinity 2.0 will actually have this often-called penalty fully functional this year (on both sides of the ball).

As far as gaming goes in 2013, it has been a surprisingly dull start with little to look forward to in terms of games and even the new consoles.  It seems that we have hit a bit of a lull when it comes to this generation’s games.  Everything is a sequel, prequel or some other sort of half-assed effort with a big name company stamp on it (I am looking at you SimCity).  I always start out my year by saying I won’t buy Madden because it is the same game every single year.  Now that we are firmly set to start draft season, I am sure my tune will change for a few months before we are once again asking for patches the day after the game comes out.

As more Madden info comes out we will have it here for you – with completely honest opinions and reactions.

If you are curious about the roster update for Madden 13 – it is in progress and will be out in a couple weeks.
The draft is often a busy time for roster updating, so it will be a good time to get that work started.

PS4 Specs For Your Viewing Pleasure

Sony

CPU – x86 Format AMD Jaguar (with 8 cores)

GPU (Video Card) – 1.84 TFLOPs AMD Radeon

Memory – 8GB GDDR5 RAM

HDD – Size Unknown (built-in)

Optical/Disc Drive – BluRay/DVD (Read Only – No Burning)

I/O – USB 3.0 (Amount is unknown)

Communication – Ethernet (10BT, 100BTX, 1000BT), 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1

A/V – HDMI, Analog, Digital Out (Optical)

* While these are what have been provided by Sony, you should keep your eyes and ears open for any changes or new details as the Holiday Season gets closer.

Gears of Boredom – Why Gears of War Judgment Isn’t Worth Your Time (or Money)

Once again, we are entering the realm of yet another sequel prequel.  The Gears of War saga has been one of the best selling franchises during this generation of consoles.  If you never played the series it can be best summed up as a cross between the 1980s movie Tremors, Predator and The Descent – with more blood, GOWTREMgore and chainsaw bayonets.

Epic Games and Microsoft did an amazing job of supporting the game with patches and developing it into one of the most compelling storylines in recent shooter-game history.  Much like the original Star Wars Trilogy was enough to keep fans satiated with what many consider to be the best cinematic story/opera of all time, it is being plagued with the corporate desire for profit rather than creativity and finality to a great story in the form of the godforsaken prequel. 

Quite a bit has changed at Epic since the conclusion of the Gears trilogy as well.  Primarily the departure of Cliff Bleszinski and other longtime members of the development team.  While it isn’t surprising that people come and go in the world of gaming and game development it isn’t exactly boding well for a series that has really lost a lot of its luster now that the story is over.  Not to mention the fact that the ‘improvements’ and tweaks being made to GoW Judgment seem to be cosmetic at best.

Looks more like a member of GWAR or the Legion of Doom than a Locust.
Looks more like a member of GWAR or the Legion of Doom than a Locust.

If you are a fanboy/girl of the series none of what has been mentioned will convince you to part with your favorite franchise.  It is one of the things that makes you what you are to corporate gaming studios – the dedicated lemmings that also populate the Call of Duty and Halo sales charts are the same… numbers on a graph.

This is why it isn’t surprising at all to see Epic pushing out one final (or first?) chapter of a game that has had a conclusion for awhile now.  They are coming up on the end of an entire generation of consoles; and there isn’t much time left before they start pursuing some sort of new blood-soaked trilogy that will impress us graphically, theatrically and monetarily.  It is almost a certainty that Epic will design some sort of new GoW-esque title for the next generation but that isn’t going to stop them from milking their cash cow one more time before laughing their way to the bank with the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.

Is It Time To Move To PC Gaming?

Now that we are coming to the beginning of yet another console generation you are most likely asking – “Should I wait this out?”.  That would be a good option if you could stick to it.  Considering the growing rumors that the next console generation will not allow you to buy games second-hand (used) or even bring a game over to a friends house to play it on their console;  It is starting to look more likely by the day that the PS4 (Oracle) and XBox 720 (Durango) are going to focus less on hard copy media (discs) and move further towards downloading and cloud based gaming.

This feels an awful lot like the console version of Steam/Origin.  Both of these game hosting services allow you to play your games through an online based client that essentially acts as a proxy game library.  Instead of actually having a collection of games on your shelf, they are in the Steam application under – you guessed it – Library.

With Microsoft’s online service already requiring users to pay $60 per year for online play and other features it will be interesting to see how they go about forcing people to do most of their gaming based on the ‘always online’ capabilities and the apparent desire to get rid of second-hand gaming.  This isn’t really that surprising in terms of the direction that gaming and entertainment have been going in recent years.  The sales of CDs and DVDs have plummeted because of services like iTunes and Netflix.  The question remains as to whether or not this is a good thing when it comes to gaming.

Console gaming is nice for many reasons, but one of the best reasons is the fact that you don’t have to sit at a desk on your computer to play these games.  You can sit on a comfortable couch, beanbag chair or even on the floor in front of a flat screen TV and game out.  That is slowly becoming a less exclusive reason as PCs are becoming easier to incorporate to your TV rather than a monitor.  The biggest downside to moving in the direction of PC gaming remains the initial investment and upkeep.

If you consider the amount of money people pour into their console gaming it isn’t really a good argument to say that it is cheaper than PC gaming.  XBox users are paying $60 a year on top of their initial console purchase.  Then there are DLC packages that often add another $20-50 to the price of the games they are playing.  After all of these expenses there are batteries for controllers or new controllers if the console is used regularly.  By the time you add up all of the costs a hardcore gamer might put into a console they could have easily bought a PC that could be used as a work station and gaming rig.  Not to mention the fact that most PC games feature free online play and more consistent patches and user mods.

A PC gaming rig also costs as much as you are willing to put into it.  You don’t have to have the same set up as someone else if you can’t afford it.  The best place to spend your initial money is going to be on a sizable case and motherboard.  The case is vital for multiple reasons (ventilation, size for expansion and video cards, USB ports, etc.) but the motherboard is the most important aspect when it comes to ‘future-proofing’ your PC.  Make sure that you have plenty of room for video cards and a powerful CPU to power everything.  You will need to also invest in a power supply to give your rig the needed juice to run.  Other than that, you can typically piece together everything else.

GPUs (video cards), RAM, Optical Drives and Hard Drives are all replaceable and changeable once the main components are installed.  If you are looking for a way to stick it to Microsoft’s XBox division and Sony’s Playstation division you should consider moving to PC gaming.  The time has come to take gaming to the next level and that means putting your PC in the living room and using your HDMI/DVI cord to link it to your television.

Looking for a few ideas on how to build a budget rig or a monster gaming PC?  Check out the wishlist section over at Newegg.com.  You should also talk to your computer savvy friends for advice or ideas on what could be the best build for you.  If you want even more input shoot us an email at officialnoobtubetv@gmail.com and include PC Building in the subject.

Happy Gaming!

 

What Does The Madden Name Change Mean?

What’s in a name?  Apparently EA Sports thinks the 25th anniversary of Madden is deserving of a trip to the social security office for a tweak in the name.

Madden 14 Pic

Madden 25 was just announced to be the official name of the only NFL game coming out this year (just like it has been since Madden 06).  The only thing that might have made people happy was hearing that the developer was working on Madden 2K14.  Keep dreaming.

Chances are good that Madden 25 will also signify a change-over in consoles just like the switch from Madden 2005 to Madden 06 also greeted the next hardware generation.  The idea of a new console is always exciting because of the possibilities in graphics and physics; but if one thing is certain we can expect one thing to dull our expectations for new software – bare bones games.

Madden 25 for the XBox 360 and PlayStation 3 will most likely prove to be another slight tweak or change from Madden 13.  Maybe there will be a few new animations or the ball will be a shade darker or smaller.  Otherwise, you shouldn’t expect much to change.  The new consoles that are rumored to be coming out this Christmas will most likely be priced between $400 and $500 with a pipe-dream hope of $300.  The unfortunate truth is that most of the games that will be released with the consoles will be bare bones in their offerings.  If you played Madden 06 or any of the other games that came out with the current generation you will notice how lacking they are in features.  Also, many of them don’t take advantage of the graphical capabilities of the console.

This isn’t a complaint at all.  It is merely a point to be raised in order to lower expectations for the next generation.  Not to mention the cynical view that Madden hasn’t changed many things in the 25 years it has existed.

Would love to hear from the fan boys out there.  2K and Madden alike.

Keep it civil.