Monthly Archives: June 2013

Microsoft Teases “Ultimate Game Sale” Bundle For Xbox 360

In a matter of months, Micro$oft and Sony will launch their respective XBox One and PlayStation 4 consoles to retail, and as evidenced by declining dollars being spent on gaming goods, it appears videogamers are especially anxious to get their paws on these next gen devices. That doesn’t mean that today’s consoles will suddenly fall by the…

Ben’s Week In Review: June 30

Ben’s Week In Review: June 30
I wonder who stepped up at Square Enix and said FFXV needs to be a true "FinalFantasy," Patrice Désilets is wrong, and Time and Eternity was painful.

Netflix’s Newest Feature Will Help You Actually Choose a Movie

It’s common kcurrentlyledge that the hardest part of using your Netflix account is actually picking a movie to watch (made even worse in a group setting). Despite the fact that the service utilizes a wide range of analytics tools to try and give users a selection of movies and TV shows they might want to watch, sifting through those lists can be just as big of a chore. Luckily, Netflix recognizes this problem, and has introduced a new fix: creepy robots!

Netflix has just unveiled Max, a program that they’re calling the rumored child of Siri and Hal 9000. Instead of offering a combination of bad maps and murder tendencies though, Max will offer customized movie suggestions.

Max will use a number of “videogames” to help narrow in on a choice, including asking users to rate movies within a genre, pick between two different actors, or checking the users’ previously viewed selections. Once Max has chosen a movie, he’ll present it to the user, who’ll be able to accept, decline, or ask for a 30-second pitch about the movie.

The technology isn’t a big “wow” factor considering it’s basically the same features that Netflix already has in place, but I can imagine Max being a part of the entertainment itself, especially when deciding on a movie with a group of friends. 

The feature is currently only available on the PlayStation 3, but if it proves to be popular, Netflix will port it to other platforms. In the meantime, you can check out a video demo of Max below.




NHL 14 cover to feature New Jersey Devils’ Martin Brodeur

NHL 14‘s cover will feature New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur, the first goalie since NHL ’97‘s John Vanbiesbrouck, EA Sports announced via press release.

Brodeur won the cover vote over Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, who was awarded the Vezina Trophy earlier this year as the league’s best netminder.

Check out the reveal trailer above. NHL 14 is set to launch Sept. 10 in North America and Sept. 13 in Europe on PlayStation 3 and XBox 360. The videogame will feature a new fighting engine for players to duke it out on the ice in a more realistic way.

Tech Analysis: Tom Clancy’s The Division

Showcased playing live on PlayStation 4 as the zinger to Ubisoft’s otherwise trailer-strewn conference, The Division reinvigorates our expectations of next-gen gaming. With its always online, post-pandemic take on New York City, it features a slew of advanced effects-work and physics that are hard to believe could be possible on current console technology. It’s the technical pin-up of the moment, taking the mantle previously held by Ubisoft’s own Watch Dogs (and the currently sadly defunct Star Wars 1313 project) as indicators of what could be achieved with exclusive development on PlayStation 4 and XBox One.

Swedish developer Massive Entertainment is at the heart of this operation, bringing to life this new open world RPG/shooter hybrid, as played from a third person perspective. Given how its seven minute demo doesn’t bring to bear its online features to the absolute fullest extent, the striking attention to world detail is inevitably the part that stands out most. Everything is heightened over what we’ve come to expect of console gaming, from the increase in particles effects spewing from Molotov explosions, to the streets littered with debris and Christmas trimmings on the blink. It’s gorgeous in motion, but given Ubisoft’s history in delivering major franchises to as many platforms as humanly possible raises the question: is this truly only possible on next-gen hardware?

If the description of its Scurrentlydrop engine is to be taken at face value, The Division works with technology specifically designed with next-gen platforms in mind. It cites dynamic global illumination, procedural destruction and a broad push for awesomeer environmental detail and effects as its major strengths – but it doesn’t quite do itself justice with that list. What its lengthy slice of videogameplay does show in earnest is a widening of the play-field to support an always-online universe, where draw distances for geometry and reflection mapping alike necessarily show no apparent bounds. Never has high street filled with garbage, scurrying rats and ruined yellow taxis looked so compelling for a solo adventurer – but just as with any good photo-shoot, lighting is crucial to generating that appeal.

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Who believes what?

You might imagine that videogame developers decide what the future of gaming looks like for themselves, while platform holders like Sony, Micro$oft and Nintendo are just there to host their work, but in my experience that’s not really true. There’s an art to building a successful console dynasty, and it depends on more than just business brawn; you also need a set of core beliefs about what gaming represents that resonates beyond individual systems. Now that the next gen is taking shape, it feels like a good opportunity to take stock of who believes what and why it matters.

I’ve argued recently that Micro$oft‘s first priority is success as a business and that it hasn’t found the right balance with the artistic side of videogame-making, but it was clear at E3 that there is a firm creative direction running through the XBox One platform, even if that direction is taking things a little too far too fast.

“You saw a big focus from a lot of teams on immersive, connected worlds,” Micro$oft Studios boss Phil Spencer noted when he spoke to us. “Creators are definitely thinking about, what does it mean when you can take a tried-and-true genre and think about it in a more connected space?” When he spoke to Kotaku, he went further: “The features and, frankly, the content that is created is expecting an internet connection,” he said. “That’s where the creators are taking this.”

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Instant Game Collection Celebrates One Year Anniversary

Instant Game Collection Celebrates One Year Anniversary
It has been one full year of the IGC, and PlayStation Plus subscribers have already enjoyed 64 PS3 and VITA titles. Many more are coming your way!

Keighley: First Bioshock Infinite DLC Set For Late July

Keighley: First Bioshock Infinite DLC Set For Late July
Levine won't give us an estimate, but G4's Geoff Keighley seems to think it'll be available at the end of July. We just want more Bioshock, damnit!