Plus – Upon Further Review

Started to call this one “Plusing” – not really a word, but sort of catchy. I wanted to get some additional thoughts on Plus update on this wonderful holiday weekend. This love tribute to Plus from IGN pretty much hits on the mark and mirrors my viewpoint.

Colin Moriarty: We shall see. Rumor has it that Zen Pinball is going to be the next free game, and I don’t own that one either. But yes — the discounts have a lot of power with me as well. They already have me considering buying Cuboid (which I will get to keep even if I choose to stop subscribing to PlayStation Plus). But to me, what’s really exciting about PlayStation Plus isn’t what we’ve already seen and what we already know but everything that could potentially come to the service in the future. After all, as Jeff Rubenstein told us on Podcast Beyond last week, PlayStation Plus won’t be a static service. It will evolve.

The only real disadvantage I see to Plus is that some free games that I already own, in this case Zen Pinball, may be offered as the “free” (er, rental) game. That will sort of diminish the overall value of Plus; hopefully there will be enough free DLC and discounted content to make each month worthwhile.

Is Plus worth the money? As I have previously pointed out, as an initial annual subscriber I am getting Plus for $3.33 a month.

  • So I got a theme and a couple of avatars – not really my cup of tea. Maybe future updates will have something more interesting than my current retro race car avatar.
  • WipeOut HD. I would have never paid for this without it being seriously discounted. I have always been a casual WipeOut fan of the original PSX and PSP games, but not a card carrying WipeOut junkie. So this version is a rental for 15 months. Kind of hard to say if that is or is not worth it.
  • inFAMOUS – I recently got this with my 250GB PS3 Slim bundle. I have not opened the game yet, so getting to play for free for 60 minutes should be worth it. If I like the game, I can open my store purchased bundle copy. If not, eBay is calling for a “new in shrinkwrap” game.
  • Zombie minis – Did not really enjoy this one, but have not tried it on my PSP. Maybe there is some value there. Still nice to try it for “free” … cough, cough $3.33/month.
  • Rally Cross – Have not played this yet, but I actually enjoyed this one back in the day on the PSX. I downloaded on my PS3 and PSP-1000. Need to see if I can find my old game save. Anything that gives my PSX “free” games is worth it to me.
  • Warhawk bonus content – I do not have Warhawk and do not intend to buy it. Figured I would save it in case Warhawk comes up as a free Plus title.
  • Other game and DLC discounts – Not sure yet if I will purchase any of these.

I think five days in is way too soon to say if $50 for Plus is too much, not worth it, etc. I did enough research going in that I knew this was more or less a subscription service – think of a MMORP monthly fee. I do not think $3.33 (12 months at $50 + 3 months free) is too steep a price for the entertainment that I think Plus will provide me each month.


Home Sweet Home?

Over the last few days, several Home articles have popped up discussing the success of Home. According to TheSixthAxis

Apparently there are over one hundred games now on the service, with fifty virtual spaces and fourteen million client downloads. That’s a pretty big service to provide for free. But hold on, it’s not actually free is it? The service exists, partially, to sell us virtual items (they’ve created over five thousand of them) in micro-transactions. Mr. Buser says “it’s one of the highest-margin businesses in the games industry”. So that’s why Sony representatives keep telling us how great it is!

May the Good Lord help me if I ever decide that I need some “paid for” virtual items for my Home space. If Sony can keep the Home momentum going, you have to admit that it is like printing money. What a great concept. Hire a staff to create “virtual” content that does not require any sort of distribution channel over and beyond the R&D costs associated with the development of the Home environment. Then watch folks fall all over themselves to get the latest, greatest virtual wares as a sort of status symbol in the virtual environment.

I have never logged into Home. I think I will today or tomorrow just to see what all the fuss is about. I am not sure what I expect other than giving Sony one more number to their tally. Maybe as a Plus subscriber, Sony will throw some extra bonus virtual content so I can scream “Look at me, I am a sucker too!”


End of Heavy Rain DLC?

Quantic Dream’s David Cage has indicated that instead of producing more Heavy Rain backdrop Chronicles DLC, the developer has been focusing on PlayStation Move support. According to the article posted at NOWGamer [via N4G], Cage said:

“Unfortunately, Sony preferred to ask us to focus on Move to support the device rather than on creating new content,” added Cage. “On our side, we did not want to spend more time on HR, which would have meant delaying new projects. This is a decision I can understand, and I am certainly happy we had the opportunity to play with this device and to support it, although I am certainly disappointed for fans we could not finish the story of HR the way we intended.”

Too bad. I guess one of these days I better finish Heavy Rain. After switching to my 250GB Slim, the save file was non transferable, and I just have not felt like playing the initial chapters again.

Finally, and this is pure speculation on my part based on poor recollections of an old man, at one point during the various E3 news stories I read that Move support was being added as a new game or premium content. Hopefully this is not the case and it will be just a downloadable patch. If Move support it is paid for DLC, I hope it is free (or seriously discounted) for Plus subscribers. If current games only support Move via a paid for DLC patch, the Move will be DOA.


PlayStation Plus Me Please – Initial Review and Comments

I decided to subscribe to the new PlayStation Plus service last Tuesday. I opted for a year subscription ($49.99) which includes three “free” bonus months, bringing the final price from $4.17 (12 months) to $3.33 (15 months) per month. One of the very first things I noticed was that the T&Cs committed me to an automatic renewal once my subscription expires – I did not see or notice an easy way to cancel the service.

This PCWorld article describes the new PlayStation Plus service as not worth the cost of entry. At least not yet.

What do you get for $50 a year? At this point, not much. I counted nine total PP options, including a trial version of inFAMOUS, free full versions of Rally Cross ($5.99), Age of Zombies ($4.99), a Warhawk Fallen Star content pack ($1.99), a Fat Princess: Fat Roles expansion pack ($4.99), and Wipeout HD (19.99), a lone sci-fi theme, and–wait for it–two Fat Princess avatars.

Additionally, Midway and TikGames-Creat Studios were offering a handful of specially priced items, including stuff like Midway’s Mortal Kombat II (regularly $4.99, discounted to $2.50) and TiKGames-Create Studios’ Wakeboarding HD (regularly $14.99, discounted to $11.99).

But that’s it. All told, it’s more like a sampler platter of what to expect–trial versions, freebies, and discounts–when the service finally ramps up. I though that’d be now, but alas, we’re left to hypotheticals and unofficial conjecture about a holiday content fulfillment period.

The writer also limited the fact that the PlayStation Store has some stupid, undefined, non intuitive errors. In one case, not being able to directly publish PSN purchases directly to his Facebook page. I do not do the Facebook thing; I know … maybe one of these days I will get with it … probably. I digress.

I am trying to think if Facebook integration is a cool feature or downright silly. No idea, but I doubt the vast majority of my friends would care that I just picked up two free premium bonus Plus Fat Princes avatars. Actually, they would probably say I was a wanker.

Free Games
I downloaded Wipeout HD, Rally Cross (PSOne Classic), Age of Zombies (minis), and the free avatars and theme. I am not really sure what to do with the “free” expansion content – over the weekend I am going to download it to see if there is any possibility of “keeping it around” for later in case Warhawk or Fat Princess become “free” Plus content or maybe discounted content.

Was the first month of Plus worth it to me? Probably not, although I did get Wipeout HD, which is a game I would have never purchased. Based on the reviews I can find, the Zombie minis is considered one of the better made minis. Too bad, because I thought it pretty much sucked.

Back in the day I loved Rally Cross, but I doubt it has aged well. I consider this bonus content for my PSP because I doubt I will play it on the PS3. I am going to look to see if I can find a game save on one of my old PSX memory cards, but even if I do, while I can transfer it to my PS3, I doubt there is a way to transfer saves between the PS3 and PSP.

The rest is well, not worth much to me. What am I going to do with a couple of avatars and a theme? I doubt that I will purchase any of the discounted games and content, although I will give them a look over the weekend; maybe I am missing out on a hidden gem.

Finally, inFamous was included in my PS3 Slim bundle purchase. Since I have not opened the game, I may give the free 60 minute trial a go. If do not like the game, maybe I get some eBay value out of an unopened copy of inFamous.

Automatic Downloads
This was one of the features that sold me on the Plus service. I love the concept of my PS3 pulling down patches and firmware updates in the middle of the night, so I can just install the next time I fire up my PS3 or patched game.

Right now I have no clue how this works. When I started Wipeout HD for the first time, I was greeted with a message that I needed to download the latest version. Strange since I downloaded and installed (but did not play) Wipeout HD Tuesday night, and played it for the first time Wednesday night. My PS3 is set to auto download between 4-6AM.

It is worth watching to see how this feature plays out, and what sort of message or info is provided when I turn on my PS3. It would be lovely if I was informed that a new firmware update, game patch, or demo was downloaded for my gaming pleasure. Or maybe that is too much to ask.

At one point I read that Qore would be part of the service. I was an initial subscriber, however I did not think it was worth the money and did not renew my subscription. The only reason I would like to see it is included is for more Plus content. Seems like it would be a nice perk for Plus subscribers, but no real loss if it remains a “paid for” download; I just will not pay for it again.

PSN Future Purchases?
This is where things could get interesting for Sony. Will the Plus service cannibalize other potential sales? Now that I have paid $50 for Plus, I am not sure that I will purchase minis and other PSN titles. At least not right away because sooner or later they could (hopefully will) end up as part of the Plus service, which in turn would devalue my subscription. Of course we are only talking $3.33/month, but in general I am cheap.

Let’s see what happens next month.


To Plus?

So PlayStation Plus is now available and the $50 question is should I Plus? There was a point in time when I would have said hell no to a subscription service. There was also a point in time where I would have picked it up right away just to be part of the experience (and write a review).

I am leaning towards throwing $50 to the service for several reasons. I really only game on the PS3 (and occasionally on the PSP) so it is not as if I having competing gaming interests. I like the idea of discounts. I also like the concept of automatic download of firmware and software updates; no idea why this would not be offered as a standard service instead of a premium.

“Automatic Download: Subscribers will be able to set their PS3 to wake up from standby at any time of the day or night, download and install any game updates for the games you have been playing so you don’t have to think about it. Also, select demos and videos will be pushed to your PS3 ready to go. System software updates will also download automatically (manual install still required) and then the PS3 will turn itself off again.”

Finally, any additional PSP content is a bonus.

“PlayStation Plus is for PS3 owners as subscribership can only be purchased on the PSN Store. However, some of the content – minis and PS One Classics – available each month will also be playable on your PSP if you have one. Download them on the PS3 and transfer to your PSP, or download directly from the PSP Store or Media Go for PSP.”

So should I Plus? PlayStation LifeStyle posted an article that you will come out ahead with Plus. With that type of value, how can I afford not to buy Plus?


Slimming Down PS3 Style

Yesterday my 250GB PS3 Slim arrived safely from via FedEx. Compared to Amazon, I did have to pay more for shipping and sales tax, but Amazon did not have a 250GB Slim in stock, so this was something I decided to absorb. Besides the two game bundle will allow me to dump something on eBay to make up for this modest amount that I would not have paid via Amazon.

Before setting up the new Slim, I used my USB HDD to back up my save data files and media. While I could have setup up both systems and tried to do a system transfer, the USB backup process was a fairly quick and not too painless of a process. Besides, I have been backing up regularly because I figure my original PS3 will die sooner or later. I have the process down; as I said, quick and painless.

My HVB and Heavy Rain save data were locked, and would not copy. I am not sure why these games are setup this way. In the case of HVB it sucks because I have to spend several hours re-unlocking content that I had previously unlocked. I like the game, but I am going to have to decide if I like it enough to unlock some of the decent content again. I am not as concerned about Heavy Rain because I did not get too far into the game before getting distracted with something else (and my PS3 suffering YLoD). With that said, I really do not want to play the opening chapters again; tedious and as a father, not something that I consider very fun.

I also decided to take a few minutes to write down some of my settings. It took me a long time to get wireless working correctly for Remote Play, so I figured it was worth a few extra minutes of effort. Probably wasted effort; I bet the Slim does not have any of the Remote Play issues (PS3 randomly turning on) I ran into with my original system.

Setup of the new Slim was straight forward, as was to be expected. I was quickly in the PlayStation Store looking at my previous downloads to re-download all my paid content and games. I am not sure why, but downloads are noticeably quicker with the Slim. While I was watching Game 4 of the Celtics/Lakers Finals, I quickly downloaded a slew of games and add-on content.

I did not see an option to re-download my MLB 10: The Show classic stadiums content, which was a pre-order bonus. I was surprised to see that this DLC sells for $9.99. Ouch! Talk about price gouging. For that price I would expect to see a whole slew of extras, not just classic stadiums, but I digress. I figured I was out of luck because the Heavy Rain Taxidermist preorder bonus chapter did show up in my cart as being previous downloaded. Since they were both entered via DLC codes, I am not sure why these are considered different.

I decided to put in MLB 10 to see if there was some sort of in-game option to reapply the coded. After the long update and install process, I jumped into an exhibition game and saw the classic stadiums listed as unlocked. Not sure how the game knew, but I am thankful it did realize that I had previously applied this DLC code. Now that the Braves are rolling, I hope the new roster updates have the “improved” first place in the NL East Braves, and not the sorry start of the season Braves. Sorry; another digression.

My kids seemed somewhat concerned that the Slim does not play PS2 games, however these days PS2 games rarely if ever get played. The PS2 has a great library, and I own plenty of classics, but there are just not enough hours in the day. When I am PS3 gaming, it is almost always with a PSN or PS3 title. I have been dumping a few PS2 titles on eBay in anticipation of getting a Slim, so I think I am “over” this major difference in the new Slim, which obviously does not “do everything” as the ads would imply. My personality may drive me to really miss PS2 compatibility (“want what I cannot have”), but in a pinch, I do still have my original PS3; if it comes to that extreme.

I’ll also probably miss the front loading memory slots; plugging in a camera memory card or PSP memory stick was a nice convenience on the original PS3. I can see why Sony removed these to save money; the Slim has two USB slots (original system has four) and of course the Slim can connect to a media server.

I will not miss the extra noise, heat, and constant worry about when my original PS3 is going to blow up. The PS3 is mouse fart quiet, and after several hours of being on, there was very little noticeable heat. My original PS3 would have been blazing hot and annoyingly loud. So that is a worthwhile improvement.

As they say, Slim is in. It’s Friday! Happy Gaming!


WKC:I – Free Quests Aplenty!

Sony has announced that they are offering free WKC:I quests, plus those crazy kids are running a sweepstakes, which offers up some serious looking action figure.

Beginning this Thursday, March 11th, we’ll be offering up additional quests for free every week through the end of June! You read right, free. Just log into the PlayStation Network, start up your copy of White Knight Chronicles and you’ll see new quests pop up on the World Map. Each week we’ll be releasing a new permanent quest, as well as limited quests that will only be available for two weeks at a time.

I am nowhere near enough (currently GR2) to be able to enjoy any of these quests. Not sure if this is poking me in the eye, incentive for me to drop what I am doing and get on with the game, or a little of both. I really appreciate Sony’s support of WKC:I with the addition of free DLC quests.

WKC:I has not received critical acclaim, and it is sure to be lost in the shadow of several other soon to be major hits (cough … FFXIII, cough GOW:III … cough). WKC:I has fan favorite, cult classic written all over it. I hope Sony continues to support the game for a long time to come, because I know I will be lagging behind everyone else in terms of gameplay time and guild rankings.


EA Goes All In – Project Ten Dollar

It will be interesting to see how EA’s new “Project Ten Dollar” will turn out for consumers. According to BusinessWeek (via EuroGamer), EA will include a $10 coupon in upcoming games that unlocks additional content.

At the meeting, Riccitiello green-lighted “Project Ten Dollar,” a coupon program to reward people who purchase a new game with downloadable content and upgrades. People who buy used games pay an extra $10 or more for the same goodies. To create online products quickly, EA cut a deal in November to buy Playfish, which makes free games for social networks.

While I do not typically purchase used games, I wonder what is at play? Take Madden 10 which has some DLC for classic AFL teams. If Madden 11 includes that as part of the coupon, that is a nice to have; I never purchased it for Madden 11. If the coupon is for Ultimate Team, EA will have problems growing this potential revenue stream in Madden 11. I would have never tried Ultimate Team in Madden 10 if it was not included for free.

Sticking with Madden, what if roster updates are pay-to-play; included for free with the coupon? Because Madden contains the NFL license, I do not think EA can screw consumers by only including some teams, players, stadiums, but they could go the route of making roster updates, playbooks, extra jerseys, etc, which would tick off a lot of gamers.

I can understand EA attempting to cash in on the second-hand market, but I disagree with this approach. If they make a compelling experience, and make DLC that gamers actually want to purchase, EA will make their revenue in micro-transactions. I would love to see some numbers on Madden Ultimate Team because I suspect EA turned this very late addition to Madden into some additional revenue where none was expected.


The Death of Console NCAA Basketball Titles

Over at Dubious Quality, Bill Harris posted an interesting article last night. Apparently EA is pulling the plug on this year’s annual NCAA Basketball title; I believe the 2K title was already canned.

I have never been a huge video game basketball fan, but I never thought I would see this day come. Is NCAA Football next?

From my perspective, I don’t think it is such a bad thing for EA to skip a release. Personally I would rather see developers focus on creating a really great title and then offer DLC, even if some of it is pay-to-play, in order to support and enhance the gaming experience.

Take Madden 2010 for example. While the game does have some faults, it is sold enough that I may consider not picking up 2011. I doubt EA would ever do this, but they could keep 2010 rolling – continue to patch the game and offer new content via DLC. Of course the patches should be free. EA could offer Madden 2010 gamers 2011 roster update subscriptions in two different tiers – post draft and post training camp, and an unlimited offer that would support roster updates throughout the year. EA has already shown the ability to add free DLC via Madden Ultimate Team, which can also drive revenue.

I passed on last year’s NCAA Basketball and NCAA Football titles, so I am not sure if continuing to release patches and DLC would even be an option, but it would be something that (I think) gamers would embrace. Could you image a year when the reviews did not claim “same game with roster updates?” Rejoice! That would be music to my ears!


FIFA 10 Ultimate Team Feb 25

I just opened my latest propaganda email from EA, which announced the upcoming release of FIFA 10 Ultimate Team (FIFA UT) on February 10.

Coming February 25th to Xbox® LIVE & PSN!
Choose from over 7,500 players from 29 different leagues and build your squad of soccer superstars in this exciting new game mode! Once assembled, compete in dynamically updated tournaments online!

FIFA UT looks much deeper than the recent offering from Madden 10 Ultimate Team (MUT), but perhaps that is to be expected since FIFA UT will be a second generation product. The only concern I have is that the various videos only talk about online tournaments. Longtime readers know that I am not a big fan of random online opponents, but maybe FIFA UT will give me a reason to suck it up.

An additional concern is that FIFA UT is “pay to play” feature. I am already struggling to overcome my loathing of throwing real dollars at MUT, much less throwing money at an add-on feature for FIFA 10, which is being release within striking distance of 2010 FIFA World Cup. We all knew EA would go crazy this year with FIFA releases, but that is another article.My concern with the timing of the release FIFA UT is twofold. First, how long will EA support this mode? Maybe 7-8 months before this fall’s seasonal release of FIFA 11? Second, will FIFA UT have an active and enthusiastic user base considering that 2010 FIFA World Cup will be available in April?


FIFA 10 Ultimate Team

I missed out on last year’s FIFA, so my first experience with Ultimate Team was with Madden 10. I am so in love with MUT that I am really looking forward to FIFA UT, but it does suck that it is being offered as pay to play.

Test your skills as a player and manager to claim global football supremacy with FIFA 10 Ultimate Team, available to purchase for 400 Microsoft points or $4.99 as a download via Xbox LIVE and the PlayStation Network to FIFA 10 beginning this February, 2010. FIFA 10 and an internet connection is required for play.

I have not played FIFA 10 in months, but I am sure I will open it up this weekend to start getting familiar with the controls, play style, etc. I want to be able to hit the pitch running when UT is released in (hopefully) a few days.

U.S. Soccer Stars in the News …
It looks like Charlie Davies is on his way to making it back to the pitch in April, and hopefully to help Team U.S. to glory in this year’s World Cup.

In another bit of good news, Landon Donovan, currently on loan to Everton, picked up his first Premier League goal. It is always nice to see our boys doing well!


Monday Madden 10 Football Action

At some point over the long weekend I stumbled across some news about Madden Ultimate Team. To me this looks like a free DLC engine to take additional cash from pre-teens or anyone else addicted to collecting things; videogame related or football cards.

It has been a long time since I played Madden 10 or anything else for that matter. Yesterday I decided to fire up Madden and give it a go. I had to wait for the 1.03 Update to download, but after that I was all set. I saw the new Madden Ultimate Team in the menu, read the various tutorial screens, and backed out at the point of creating a team. Maybe next time.

I only got in two off-line games, and I have to admit that they were a ton of fun. While my gaming time has been extremely limited the last few months, and really my desire to play anything has been much diluted; right now I am an unenthusiastic gamer. However, I always enjoy spending some time with Madden.

Arizona 20 – 14 Falcons
Picked Arizona as a random team, but I guess it was a timely selection being that they just got kicked out of the playoffs. I never said I was good at Madden; in fact I downright suck. I typically play on Pro, with various settings to suit my preferences. My oldest son asked me my I don’t play on All-Madden. [sigh] I think my Madden IQ is still stuck below 500; not because I do not understand football, but because I am too damn old for this stuff now! Back to the game. I should have won, but I threw three INTs, one of which was returned for a TD. The final blow was Ryan’s third INT with about 90 seconds left as I was driving for the winning score. Three Red Zone INTs will kill you every time.

Falcons 24 – 6 Giants
Another random opponent, but this time I wanted to play on the road. Just for the hell of it I selected snow, which turned out great because it was fun watching the momentum of the players. They would slip and slide; maybe not truly realistic, but the developers did a good job of making a noticeable difference between ideal conditions and a field of snow.

Did I mention that these days I am more or less a casual gamer? For this game (thanks to the 3 INTs in the last one), I made sure I had access to the Rewind feature. Yes I suck, and yes I did rewind one TD run by the Giants, but I had the damn runner dead to rights; locked him up with two different tacklers, but to no avail. I no longer have low enough blood pressure to put up with those type of antics. Life is too short.

Yesterday afternoon the weather was so nice that we took the family for an afternoon walk. It has been nasty and cold for so long that everyone needed some quality outside time. During the walk I commented to my wife that I am going to have to somehow arrange my schedule to get in a couple of hrs of video game time a week.

So yes, my Madden day was a lot of fun.


Random Saturday Gaming Links

Some random video gaming links for your reading pleasure …

The demise of a once proud franchise?
Bill Harris (Dubious Quality) on the possible demise of EA Sports NCAA Football (and possibly basketball) series:

Physics-based gameplay, an offensive style that is now common, and “authentic offensive styles of play” are possible additions to the game? WTF have you guys been developing for the last ten years? If you’ve been developing this game for ten damn years (at least) and teams aren’t ALREADY playing like they play in real life, then that’s a fail.

It would be disappointing to see the NCAA series get canned, but then again it has become rather stale. This year was the first time I completely passed up the game. EA Sports obviously has some work to do to recapture the magic and popularity of this once great franchise.

The Nintendo DS kicks core gamers in the nuts.
Eurogamer has this bit on the unexpected success of the all UK conquering Nintendo DS:

Bitter core gamers, annoyed at the invasion of their sacred domain by a host of newcomers, occasionally dismiss the DS in the same terms as they do the Wii – it’s your mother’s console, designed for the “casuals” and with nothing to appeal to real gamers. They miss the point. The DS has something for everyone, successfully filling almost every niche in the market – and it’s only by filling an enormous range of niches that a platform can ever truly become mass-market. Yes, the DS has fitness and brain training applications for the older generation, but it also has core games for the traditional market – and so much more besides. It has software for small children, for teenage girls, for language learners, for music fans, for tourists, for aspiring chefs and for everyone else in between.

Nintendo’s popularity is obviously at an all time high, and the DS (or its latest incarnation – the DSi) shows no sign of letting up anytime soon.

Holiday gift giving guide.
These things are typically a dime a dozen, but GameShark’s stand out thanks to Santa’s helper. She is very cute in a sexy sort of way, and all decked out for Christmas! I started to say that I would like to unwrap her for Christmas, but figured this is sometimes a family site.

HVB still alive and kicking
High Velocity Bowling has to be one of the better implemented motion sensor gamers on the PS3. The developers have done a damn good job of keeping the game fresh with cheap DLC (usually $0.99 a pop). If I break out my PS3 anytime soon for something other than movie watching, I am sure that HVB will get turn or two.

Sony slims down losses
An article that picked up shows that Sony is still taking a loss on the PS3 Slim. $37 per console sold adds up after a while. Prorated over 10 years (you know, the Sony lifetime achievement console plan) and things do not sound so gloom and doom for Sony after all. I should be a spin doctor.

Happy rainy Saturday!


Why would folks buy this Home stuff?

I don’t get this, which either means I am clueless, getting old, or am drunk. Two out of three? And let me tell you that I am unfortunately not drunk. I found this from awesom-home (via N4G).

Apparently Playstation home costumes are more popular then we first thought. Some rare items are being sold on eBay at surprisingly high prices. There’s even a costume that was sold for more then 60$. I get some people like to have rare stuff, but this is kind of crazy. Second-life crazy. Could you imagine if Square did a rare Sephiroth costume? .. Yeah i know, that would be awesome.

The things those crazy kids do these days. My dad would have kicked me in the ass for spending $60 on a f’ing Home costume. Then again, I have never logged into Home, so I probably just don’t get it.


Madden 10 slows down and lands a new cash cow.

I have only been casually reading Madden 10 news. What I have seen does have me cautiously optimistic about the game. Last week IGN posted another interesting article about the game. Of particular interests: the game will run slower and there is a new premium DLC called Elite.

To kick things off, let’s talk about gameplay. As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, this is the slowest moving Madden in quite a long time. I’m not talking about framerates, nor is this a knock of any kind on the game. Rather the overall speed has been reduced by 5% so it’s more in line with what we see from actual NFL players. This – believe it or not – has a huge impact on what happens on the field. I found that holes in the offensive line are easier to spot and hit, tacklers easier to juke, and the finite movements in animations that might have been lost in the frenetic pace of past games can now be seen in detail.

This is actually encouraging. Now for the cash cow …

It costs five bucks (400 points on XBL) and it unlocks what is essentially a VIP online world.

This exclusive club of sorts gets you into the Elite online community and you’ll get your own private lobbies and private leaderboards. Beyond that, EA Sports is planning on allowing for some sort of avenue for these hardcore fans to easily communicate with the Madden development team. Beyond that, Elite players will also be the only ones in the Madden online world that will be able to play a ranked match on the All-Madden difficulty setting. The standard ranked match difficulty setting of All-Pro will still be available, but these hardcore fans can take the game to the next level. As an added bonus, the players who pay for the DLC will have their online name colored in gold so everyone in the lobby will know when an elitist enters the room.

I wonder what percentage of Madden 10 owners will sign up for Elite status. What sort of badge of honor will this give online users? The dynamics of watching this play out will be a ton of fun. EA just found a cash cow and I bet we see this thing milked to no end in their other popular franchises.