Sony Will Fix Your Brick

bigstock-single-red-brick-isolated-on-w-42513223Sony recently released an update to the PlayStation 3 that didn’t work as intended. The software update was version 4.45. Some gamers quickly discovered that it bricked their console.

They reported the problem on the PlayStation Community Forums. Several people said that after they updated to 4.45, their PlayStation 3 wouldn’t go to the screen that would let them play. It was stuck.

They also found that they could not shut down the PlayStation 3 by pressing the power button. Unplugging the console didn’t solve the problem either. It was still stuck after being plugged back in.

If this happened to your PlayStation 3, fear not. Sony is aware of the problem. They are working on fixing your brick. They posted the following information about it on the PlayStation Community Forums:

We have identified the issue related to the PlayStation 3 software update (version 4.45) that impacted a small number of PS3 systems earlier this week. A new PS3 system software update is planned to be released on June 27 that resolves the issue. Thank you for your patience and understanding and we apologize for the inconvenience.

Image: stock photo single red brick isolated on white background by BigStock.

Rovio teases new Angry Birds Go game

angry birds

Rovio can do no wrong these days, it seems. Th Finnish game maker is behind the Angry Birds franchise, as well as newer games such as Bad Piggies, Amazing Alex and The Croods.

After recently launch Angry Birds Friends for Android — a game that was previously on Facebook only. THe games presents users with several new levels each week, levels which must be played then, before disappearing and being replaced by new ones.

“Those birds and piggies are getting ready for their most thrilling and action-packed game yet! All your favorite characters are returning for a brand new title that will bring you closer to Piggy Island than ever before. It’s Angry Birds, but not as you know it”.

There is really no news about what is coming. Everything is rather vague at this point. We have no clue what the game will about, but there is a solid chance it will be a hit!

4 Reasons to Buy a Sony PlayStation 4

PlayStation logoSony released some extremely interesting news at E3 2013! Those of you who have been trying to decide between the Sony PlayStation 4 and the Microsoft Xbox One now have all the information you need to make this a super easy decision. Personally, I believe that the Sony PlayStation 4 is the winner in this situation. Here’s why:

Price: Sony PlayStation 4 will be released with a “holiday price” of $399.99. That’s $100.00 less than what the Microsoft Xbox One will be selling for.

Privacy: Sony PlayStation 4 doesn’t come with Kinect (or anything even remotely resembling it). I find the level of detail that Microsoft Xbox One can identify with Kinect to be creepy.

Internet Connection: Sony PlayStation 4 does not require you to check-in online in order to play a disc-based game. The console doesn’t require you to have it constantly connected to the internet.

The Microsoft Xbox One will require you to check-in online. If you don’t check in and authenticate in more than 24 hours the Microsoft Xbox One will stop working. This means you have to keep the console constantly connected to the internet, even if you are playing a disc-based game by yourself.

Used Games: Microsoft has allowed publishers to block access to used copies of games on the Microsoft Xbox One. This means that gamers cannot save a few dollars by purchasing a copy of a used game from a store. They would have no other option than to buy a new copy for full price. It also means that gamers cannot choose to share one of the games that they purchased with a friend.

Sony PlayStation 4, on the other hand, won’t place those restrictions on used copies of games. If you buy a disc-based game for the PS4, it is yours. You keep the rights to that copy of the game (and can give it to one of your friends if you want to). Your friend will be able to play the used copy of that game on his or her PS4. Here’s how:

Diablo III Release Date Announced for Consoles

BlizzardBlue It’s been a little over a year since Diablo III was released for PC and Mac. We have known for a little while now that the game will also be released on consoles. Now we know the release date. Blizzard Entertainment has now announced that Diablo III will debut on both the Sony Playstation 3 and the Microsoft Xbox 360 on September 3, 2013. Select retailers are offering it for preorder, and the suggested retail price (for either version) is $59.99.

Those of you who, like me, have been playing Diablo III since the beta might wonder why anyone would want to play it on console. I guess the most obvious reason would be so you could play D3 on your big screen TV (instead of your much smaller computer monitor screen).

Those who reserve their copies right away will get an exclusive in-game Infernal Helm for their character to use. It gives an experience bonus to any character that wears it. Another cool thing about the console versions is that it will allow gamers to make a party that includes both local and online players. In other words, you and your friend could be sitting on your couch and playing with two people who are online (and not at your house at all).

What you can’t do, however, is play Diablo III on your Playstation 3 or Xbox 360 and create a party that includes your friends who play D3 on PC or Mac. You cannot mix the two. You also cannot transfer your characters, their progress, or their loot from a PC or Mac game to a console version. That being said, if all your gaming friends use Xbox 360, or Playstation 3 (instead of a computer) the console version of Diablo III will give you a chance to play with them. (Assuming, of course, you have the same gaming device that they do).

Here is the “sizzle reel” that was released when it was first announced that D3 would be coming to consoles. The interface is a bit different than how it is on computers (judging from that shot of the player equipping his Barbarian), but it looks like the essence of the game has been captured.

Nintendo Goes After Player’s YouTube Profits

NintendoNintendo has started doing something that is not making gamers very happy. The company has started taking the ad revenue from videos that players post on YouTube of themselves playing one of Nintendo’s games. These are referred to as “Let’s Play” videos, and people make them about all kinds of different video games (not just the ones from Nintendo).

Have you ever watched a YouTube video that showed a portion of a video game? People make them all the time. For gamers, it is a good way to learn how to beat a “boss”, to check out end-game content before their characters are big enough to get there, and to discover techniques that they may not have figured out for themselves. Other people will stream themselves playing a game so people can watch “in real time”. The player might record what he or she is streaming and post it on YouTube.

When a new game comes out that looks interesting to me, I will go to YouTube in the hopes of finding videos that show what the actual game play is like. I’ve also watched live streamed games for the same reason. It’s a good way to find out more about the game than the official ad shows. If I can’t find any further information about the game from these type of sources, it is highly unlikely that I will end up buying it.

Nintendo is using YouTube’s Content-ID to identify the videos that contain content from their games. One of the options that the Content-ID system allows is for the content owner to block that video from YouTube. Another option is for the content owner to make money from the videos that include their content but were posted by someone else.

In this case, Nintendo is placing ads that generate revenue onto the videos that were posted by gamers that showed them playing one of Nintendo’s games. Effectively, what happens is that the gamer is now unable to make any revenue from those videos. Instead, that money goes directly to Nintendo.

This can be problematic for people who have a YouTube channel that is filled with gameplay videos that have been generating ad revenue for the gamer. GameFront posted a statement from Nintendo:

As part of our on-going push to ensure Nintendo content is shared across social media channels in an appropriate and safe way, we became a YouTube partner and as such in February 2013 we registered our copyright content in the YouTube database. For most fan videos this will not result in any changes, however, for those videos featuring Nintendo-owned content, such as images or audio of a certain length, adverts will now appear at the beginning, next to or at the end of the clips. We continually want our fans to enjoy sharing Nintendo content on YouTube, and that is why, unlike other entertainment companies, we have chosen not to block people using our intellectual property.

I believe that Nintendo is “shooting themselves in the foot” with this choice. Gamers who make “Let’s Play” videos, and who have a YouTube channel that is making them a profit in ad revenue now have good reason to stop making videos of Nintendo’s games. They are going to choose games from other companies instead. The result will be less “Nintendo content shared across social media channels”, not more.

Twitch Releases App for Xbox 360

TwitchTwitch has announced that they have a brand new app that can be used on your Xbox 360. As you may have guessed, it is called the Twitch App for Xbox 360.

It will allow you to watch (at least some) of the content from Twitch on your big screen TV. This may appeal to Xbox 360 users who would prefer to watch gaming related streaming, shows, and other content on the same big screen that they play games on. Perhaps the intent of this app is so that Twitch can make more of a connection with the users who play games on Xbox 360, and expand their audience. They already have a lot of people using computers to check out Twitch.

The app will have 300 live channels. Users can browse through the directory either by games, featured content, or top channels. The app is Kinect-enabled, so you can use voice or motion commands to tell your Xbox 360 what Twitch channel you want to watch. Right now, the Twitch App for Xbox 360 is available for Xbox LIVE Gold subscribers who live in the United States, only.

RIFT is Going Free-To-Play

RIFTTrion Worlds has announced that RIFT is going free-to-play as of June 12, 2013. This means that everyone who wants to play RIFT can download it, log in, and play all of the entire game without having to spend any money to do it. The free-to-play day coincides with the arrival of Update 2.3: Empyreal Assault.

Brand new players will have access to all of the content within the game (without having to put up with level restrictions). New players will start with 2 character slots and 3 bag slots. Veteran players (which means everyone who has purchased RIFT or Storm Legion) will keep everything that they have earned. In other words, this isn’t going to involve a “reset” that wipes out your progress.

Gamers who have been holding off on playing RIFT because they couldn’t afford a subscription will soon be able to start playing it for free. However, if you buy the game before June 12, you will get extra character slots, extra bag slots, and expansion souls.

There is going to be new stuff in the RIFT store, but according to the announcement, RIFT is not going to be a “pay-to-win” kind of game. The in-store items will be cool, but the best stuff will only be available to players who earn it in-game.

The subscription system is getting a new name. Subscribers will be known as “Patrons”. Those that subscribe and spend money on RIFT will get extra currency, bonus experience, bonus tokens, and much more. The main point is that you won’t have to spend money to play RIFT, (which makes it easier for your friends to check out the game and play with you).

Why are they going free-to-play? It seems that this is what players have been asking for.

Rovio adds account feature, lets you continue games across devices

angry birds friends

Many of us play Angry Birds, but are frustrated by the issues that arise when we change devices. There are options for getting around this. In fact, there are at least two backup and restore apps available in the Play store, both of which I have used. There are also options for doing a complete backup using a service like Carbon.

Now Rovio aims to solve this issue with a new Account feature built into the games. This allows the customer to log in and save progress, then log in on another device and resume play from the same spot. “Rovio Account lets you store your game progress and continue playing on another device” the company tells us.

There is a good chance you have not seen this feature yet, as the Finnish game maker explains — “Rovio Account is currently available in The Croods game globally, and in the classic Angry Birds game on iOS in Finland and Poland. We will gradually introduce Rovio Account into more areas in the future and also add new features”.

This will be a much welcome addition to the popular game franchise and will eliminate the need for third-party solutions, which work, but can be a hassle.

The Sims 4 Will be Single-Player Offline

Sims4It looks like EA may have learned something from the SimCity fiasco! One of the many problems with the launch of SimCity was that players were having difficulty being able to access the game. This was, to make a long story short, due to problems that EA was slow to resolve regarding their servers. Many have said that things would have been so much better if SimCity could be played without having to be online.

Perhaps the frustrated cries of thousands of gamers have been heard by EA. They have announced that The Sims 4 will offer a “single-player offline experience”. The EA blog says:

The Sims 4 celebrates the heart and soul of the Sims themselves, giving players a deeper connection with the most expressive, surprising, and charming Sims ever in this single-player offline experience. The Sims 4 encourages players to personalize their world with new and intuitive tools while offering them the ability to effortlessly share their creativity with friends and fans.

I don’t have any details about exactly how the sharing ability will function. What I do understand is that The Sims 4 won’t require people to share anything at all with other players in order to access and play the game itself. Perhaps The Sims 4 will be able to avoid the problems that happened with SimCity.

Another interesting thing, at least to me, is that The Sims 4 is currently in development for both PC and Mac. As a gamer who uses a Mac, this makes me happy. Of course, we will all have to wait until The Sims 4 is released, sometime in 2014, before we can play it.

Even Pirates are Frustrated by Piracy

Greenheart GamesGreenheart Games has done something unique, and fascinating, with the release of their brand new game. They released a cracked version of Game Dev Tycoon that contained something that the real version did not. The results show that even people who pirate software become frustrated when someone pirates from them.

Game Dev Tycoon is a Sim game where you run a game development company. The idea is to create some great games and make as much money as you can. The cracked version included in-game messages that were designed to look just like the regular ones. One such message reads:

Boss, it seems that while many players play our new game, they steal it by downloading a cracked version rather than buying it legally. If players don’t buy the games they like, we will sooner or later go bankrupt.

In the cracked version of the game, that is exactly what happens. Every time the player creates a good game, he or she finds that more people are pirating it than paying for it. They will, over time, go bankrupt as a result. Greenheart Games found a unique way to hold a mirror up to the nefarious and unfair behavior of people who choose to steal games instead of paying for them.

The irony is apparent in the comments that the pirating players left in regards to this particular in-game difficulty. They were obviously frustrated. Greenheart Games has posted a few really telling comments on their blog. Keep in mind, the players who had this particular in-game problem were the ones who obtained pirated copies of Game Dev Tycoon.

I find this fascinating! As a former teacher, I am well aware the learning potential in experiencing something for yourself (rather than just reading about it). Those who felt frustrated by virtual players pirating their games will, hopefully, consider buying the next video game that interests them. Game Dev Tycoon sells for about $8.00 USD.