We All Saw It Coming – Steam Box Revealed

As the title of this article suggests, we all saw this coming. With SteamOS announced at the start of the week, it was inevitable that one of the remaining two announcements would be their Steam Box console. As they will not be commercially available until 2014, all we can really do is look at what it promises and take first impressions based on that.

The first thing that strikes me is the contrast to other modern day consoles. The Xbox and Playstation variants all remain the same, apart from maybe hard drive space and wireless capabilities, capable of largely the same core functions. The Steam Box, however, will be offered in multiple different specs, allowing for users to pick and choose according to their exact needs. This is highly ambiguous and could translate to the same as the aforementioned two consoles, but I do not believe that this will be the case. Whilst I do not have any sort of conclusive answer, nor do I have a good idea on what to expect from this, one answer in the questions section of the announcement page leads me to believe otherwise. It is as follows:

“Can I hack this box? Run another OS? Change the hardware? Install my own software? Use it to build a robot? Sure.”

Whilst Microsoft and Sony would actively try to stop you from hacking their consoles and modifying them, Valve have straight up said that they do not mind what people do with their Steam Box. For me, this is not just good news, but great news as one of my main gripes on modern gaming is the lack of customisation. I will not expand on this, having done so at length in a previous article, but if the Steam Box is allowing us to do whatever we want, then we will not have such a hardware imposed barrier on what we can and cannot do. More freedom means more flexibility and a likely increase in wiggle room when it comes to content on the system itself. I am a strong advocate for custom content, as it means more maps, more game types, more skins and just more of everything depending on what type of game it is. What makes this better is that it reduces costs to developers as they will not have to flood us with content which may transpose onto cheaper costs for the games. Again, this is merely speculation on the system and only time will tell. That being said, 2014 is not that far off!

This will certainly make the next generation of the console wars a lot more interesting. With both Sony and Microsoft already locking horns, how will the Steam Box fair? Will it be able to knock the two giants off the top spot? Seeing as Microsoft had a very rough start with the Xbox One, I believe that the newcomer to the battle is in a strong position. However, we have to look at the Steam Box as more of a PC that will be attached to your television set that uses a controller as opposed to a traditional gaming console. This might scare people away from buying it as a lot of consumers just want simplicity. They want to be able to return home from work, switch on and have an hour of gaming to unwind without having to worry about potential errors and having to fix problems that may arise themselves. I have had many times where I have tweaked with Garry’s Mod, only to get constant lua error messages which I was able to fix after combining Google searches with a level of computer understanding somewhere between good and mediocre. With my Xbox 360, however, I have never had any such problems, though I also lack the custom content of my PC games. Will it replace the Xbox or Playstation? Possibly, depending on the consumer, price and games available. The likelihood is, however, that it will not cause the Playstation or Xbox to recede as a living room gaming system.

More information about the SteamOS and Steam Box can be found at: http://store.steampowered.com/livingroom/

Now we wait another twenty six hours to find out what Valve’s third announcement is. I am personally quite excited, despite knowing that it will not be Episode 3.

From Games, to Digital Distribution, to… Operating Systems?

As a huge fan of Valve, it was only a matter of time before I wrote an article concerning this. I have followed Valve since the early days of Half Life back in 1999 when I was a child, right up through Half Life 2 and its episodic extensions, continuing to the present day where I have looked upon DotA with disdain and much hatred and still wait for Episode 3 to come out as fervently as I believe Games Workshop will release a new Sisters of Battle codex with plastic model kits. But I digress. The main reason for the article today is that yesterday Valve made a big announcement. I will not hide my disappointment when I saw that it was not Episode 3 or even Left 4 Dead 3, the latter of which I believe has been confirmed to some degree, but an operating system instead.

For those of you who may not know, Valve was founded by former Microsoft employees, Gabe Newell and Mike Harrington, so operating systems should not be all that unfamiliar to them in theory. The company that started with games then expanded into what became the largest and most expansive digital distribution platform on the internet which expanded itself to accommodate not just games, but software and modding tools as well. To this day, Steam remains the largest digital distributor of games, far exceeding that of Origin, EA’s attempt at dislodging Steam from its throne, by boasting an impressive total of over two thousand games, millions of users worldwide and compatibility with Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems as well as various devices including phones and even televisions! As I sit here writing this article, there are a total of 4,394,074 users online of which 856,701 are currently in-game. There can be no arguments to say that Steam has not been a massive success for Valve with figures like that.

So, what can we expect from SteamOS? Valve has always been known for releasing high quality products, however irregularly, so will we see the same Valve quality with SteamOS? Only time can tell for sure, as it is currently not yet available for consumption, so we shall look at what we know. Firstly, it will be built on the Linux architecture. To me, that is definitely a positive as Ubuntu is perhaps my favourite operating system currently out, just ahead of Windows XP, for anything not related to gaming, though if it were not for compatibility issues with games and Linux, I would use it for gaming as well. It promises performance increases in graphical functions, which one would assume translates to handling the graphics processing unit’s memory more efficiently, as well as optimisations on sound, two quite central aspects of gaming. According to Valve, the operating system is being designed around their Steam platform and is being pushed towards usage in the living room. With functionality such as being able to watch TV and movies, as well as listening to music, and game sharing between family members, SteamOS seems to be trying to compete less with the PC market and more with the console market. With the Sony Playstation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One right around the corner, will SteamOS have the power to potentially sway the market and grab more customers? It is still early days as none of the three are out yet, though I think it may pull through. Why? Because SteamOS will be free like most Linux based operating systems and allows a lot more freedom than a console. Both software and hardware can be changed at the user’s will which will require more knowledge than the other two consoles, but for people like me who at least have a base understanding of computers it is a wonderful revelation. Instead of buying a next gen console, I am tempted to just use the money on PC bits and make a SteamOS machine for my living room. Oh, wait… I forgot about Metal Gear Solid 5. Nevermind! However, it will also contain all of the features of Steam as we know it at the moment. This means that we will finally get a living room system that both allows and encourages custom content and mods through the Steam workshop. Result!

This is a natural progression I feel for Valve. Having developed the ‘Big Picture’ functionality for Steam, and with the ideas of a Steam Box console around the corner, or at least around the block, then an operating system makes a lot of sense. I will reserve most of my judgement for when the operating system is released. I am really looking forward to getting my hands on it and testing it out. SteamOS has not had a release date announced as of yet.

Shedding Some Light…

I decided that, as I have not been posting over the summer holidays all that much, I would share with you a teaser. I am currently working on a cyberpunk piece of original fiction that I hope to get published, though it will at least be self-published on Kindle. I have been coming up with the characters, plot lines, how things will fit together and so on and so forth. I will not share the exact details, but what I will share is the prologue. Enjoy!

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Rounding the corner, Kim heard the impacts of bullets on the metallic corner of the building. She instinctively ducked her head as she ran, though her pace remained constant. Her heart pounded incessantly in her chest, her legs burned as she ran. It was night time, around one in the morning and the streets were largely deserted, most people either in their homes or at one of the city’s many nightclubs, apart from the illegal tech dealers, the homeless and the prostitutes who all seemed to disappear into the buildings when they saw Kim running. Shots rang out again, a spray of bullets whizzed past her and caused her to flinch, though she just continued running, darting into another darkened alley. She continued running briefly before she glanced over her shoulder back down the alley to see that her pursuers had not yet rounded the corner. She dived behind a large bin, curling up and sitting completely still. Her only hope now was that her pursuers did not find her sub-par hiding spot, she was running on adrenaline and could not maintain the chase for any longer. She cursed her lack of foresight, not stocking up on Kickstarts when she had the chance. Her breathing was heavy and by now her heart felt as if it was going to explode out of her chest. She placed a hand on it, feeling the rhythmic, albeit racing, beat as footsteps echoed down the alley. They stopped dead in their tracks.

“Sir, target has been lost… No Sir… Yes Sir… We’ll do that, Sir. Out,” came the voice of who Kim assumed was the leader of the pack that were chasing her. His voice was powerful with a prevalent North American accent. Kim was curious to see what her pursuers looked like though she did not dare to poke her head around the corner to take a look, fear kept her rooted firmly in place. “We’ll head back and call it a night for now. We’ll catch that bitch eventually,” he continued before Kim heard footsteps once more, though this time they faded away until again, all was silent barring her heavy breathing and pounding chest. She stayed huddled behind the bins for a few minutes longer as she caught her breath. Peeking out from behind the bin, the alley was completely deserted. Still breathing heavily, Kim got back to her feet and stepped out into the darkness, after a brief pause that Kim used to scan her surroundings. She could not see anyone else, so she slowly crept back to where the alley met the street, peering around the corner of the T junction to see the usual life of the city streets; people were moving from club to club, the prostitutes approaching the most desperate looking individuals and people were carrying their friends back home, the ones who had over-indulged on cheaper luxuries and left themselves in an incapacitated state. She slid into the night life swiftly, manoeuvring between people and making her way through the streets towards the Damned Angel. She needed to unwind after being chased through the streets by unknown assailants. That and she needed some information.

Walking through the door her senses were immediately assailed by the smells of alcohol, body odour and narcotics, the sounds of electronic music thumped, overshadowing the sound of multiple conversations coalescing into one messy, intangible noise. She strode confidently over to the central bar, a circular counter in the middle of the club, outlined by the neon yellow lighting that ran along the edges. As she walked, she removed her POD and tapped at the screen. The outlines of her vest, arm warmers, miniskirt, goggles and boots lit up with dark blue light, the fabric itself emanating the light and illuminating her slender figure, the colour matching the highlights in her hair though the ambient lack of normal light in the club meant that this connection could not be seen.

“Hey there, what can I get you?” came the voice of one of the bartenders, a skinny man clad in black leathers that glowed yellow over the shoulders. Kim rested her forearms on the counter, bringing her hand up and holding up two fingers.

“Two chips of Serenity,” she replied, a sly smile across her face, “and I need to talk to Zen if he’s around.” The bartender looked at her with a frown, turning away to access the large data-banks that made up the central pylon within the club. The palm of his hand opened up to reveal a standard interface port in which he connected a wire that linked to this large cylindrical data-bank. Briefly, he seemed to stay perfectly still before two chips encased in metal popped out of a small hatch next to him. He removed the cable from his hand, his palm melding back into place to form what appeared to be a normal, human hand, before he grabbed the chips and returned to where Kim was standing. He looked to either side before leaning over the to her right, his head about three centimetres from her ear.

“Who’s asking?” he inquired, quietly speaking directly into her ear.

“Kim Yun-seo,” she responded, whispering in the same manner she had been addressed. There was a brief pause.

“Booth number seven. I’ll pass the message on and the response will come to you in booth number seven,” he whispered before retracting his head and handing her the two chips. She took out her POD and waved it over the terminal, smiling as the message was relayed directly into her brain that her payment had been accepted. She smiled at the bartender with a nod, pocketing her POD, placing the chips into her bag and heading to the bathroom. She wanted to freshen up a little before indulging. Weaving her way through the rather large crowd of people that covered most of the floorspace in the club, who each had their own glowing light patterns, she entered the bathroom and walked over to a spare mirror. Another woman stood to her left, the bathrooms empty otherwise, though she appeared to be packing up. The two traded smiles before Kim started rummaging in her bag as the other woman walked out, looking for her miniature make-up case. She found it buried near the bottom, placing it on the side of the sink at which she stood. She took the time to examine her reflection in the mirror after briefly tapping at the panel to the side of it. Some of her eye-liner had smudged due to the sweat during the chase and her eye-shadow seemed to have completely eroded away. She looked down and tapped the button on the side of her make-up case, causing it to spring open and expand into much more than it appeared, with different shades of various eye-shadows and lipsticks neatly filed, and a holographic advertisement for De Santi brand lipstick popping out the top towards the back. She frowned as she stared at the advertisement.

“I really need to get this to Leila so she can fix it so these damn ads stop popping up into my face,” she murmured, leaning on the sink before looking into the basin. It was black and metallic, fading into obscurity in the metallic bathroom that she stood in. She smiled at the simplicity of it before reaching over to her make-up case. Her hand did not reach its intended location before she felt a sharp pain lance through her body, from her back to her chest on her right side. Her hand remained extended for a moment before retracting slowly, as she turned her gaze down to where the pain was greatest. A thin, silver-coloured blade protruded from her chest, the point slick with her blood. She slowly placed her hand on the blade, her eyes wide with shock, but it was wrenched free shortly after she was able to touch it. She felt her legs give way and she clung to the edge of the sink as she fell. Breathing had become incredibly difficult and every time she tried to inhale, it seemed as though her chest was filled with liquid. She coughed, spraying blood against the side of the sink at which she still clung to before her arms gave up too. She wanted to move, every cell in her brain willed for her to do something, anything. Her fingers twitched and her eyes moved to look behind where she had been standing as she crumpled to the floor. There was nobody there, just the wall and nothing else. She felt a warm, wet sensation creep up to her face which rested against the cold, metallic ground of the bathroom.

Then there was nothing at all but a black, empty void.

Are Games Getting Worse?

Phew… It seems like forever since I last wrote an article, but I had a lot of exam reassessments at University, so it has been stressful times. However, I believe that it is time to change that! Today I’m going to be writing about a subject that I’ve been thinking about during my relaxation time between now and the start of term. This topic is that of modern gaming and if it is an improvement or step backwards.

So, why am I writing this? This topic that has been done to death by more bloggers than I care to count. Recently I was playing through Unreal 2: The Awakening and it really came to my attention. Those who follow me on Twitch or Youtube may know that I recently did a play through of Unreal and Unreal: Return to Na Pali and I rather enjoyed them both. There’s something that I find satisfying about blowing Skaarj and other aliens apart as an escaped convict with no objective beyond escaping with your life. You do not play as a Mary Sue space marine of death and destruction in power armour, you literally play a convict who was fortunate enough to survive the crash landing on an alien planet of the prison ship that he or she was incarcerated on. You go through the ship, finding dead crew members, or alive crew members who then get brutally murdered before you find the dispersion pistol and start your journey, which has no real direction at the start, though it pieces together as the game progresses. As I said, I really did like Unreal. I’ve also been playing through the Half Life series of games again and absolutely loving those, but I will not subject you to my wild Valve fanaticism in this article. The original series were released in 1999, with the sequel and its episodes coming between 2004 and 2007, and possibly remain some of the best gaming experiences that I have had.

Now forward to Unreal 2. Again, not a new game, coming out in 2003, the game-play mechanics stayed true to the Unreal style; fast paced action and plenty of jumping and projectile dodging. However, when I got into the story and the core gameplay, you play as a preset, generic space trooper in power armour. He is not a marine, he used to be and is trying to get back in, so we can’t define him as a space marine at least, but he is rather generic. His supporting staff consist of a mechanic who did something bad in the past and is mopey about it, a blue alien pilot who is confused at everything and a third character who gets her own mini-rant. Of course, Unreal 2 fell into the trap that almost all games fall into these days: They made the female character the token eye-candy of the game. Why can developers not get out of this obsession? She wears the tightest fitting clothing ever that makes sure the gamer does not need too much imagination, comprising of a pair of tight fitting leggings and a top that looks like somebody got a crop top and cut a whole out from where her cleavage is. She also happens to be a war hero, and obviously war heroes all dress in PVC. So much rage! At least she seems to have a tough personality and is quite a fun character when conversing with the other crew members, but I am not sure her personality was the first thing that the developers were concerned about when coming up with her as a character. The story is, again, mediocre. Without getting into too much detail, you are space trooper Marshall John Dalton who is basically a galactic peacekeeper. You find an alien artifact when responding to a distress signal and, naturally, everything goes pretty bad pretty quickly. The Skaarj show up, the corporations show up and things get odd. Upon writing this I have not yet finished the game, so the ending could be incredibly amazing, though I’m not holding out much hope.

Fast forward again, though this time to the modern day. I’m going to not talk about specific games here as I do not buy many new games any more. ActiBlizz, as I like to call them, I will not buy from on principle, and EA are verging on the same with a few exceptions. I will instead talk about concepts and general ideas in gaming as I can not accurately pick apart a game that I refuse to play because it just looks so terrible and felt so terrible when I gave them a try. First on the agenda: Micro-transactions and downloadable content. This is a point that I can sympathise with as well as scornfully detest. On one hand, I can see that new content takes time and effort. This time and effort costs the company money as they have to pay the workers to produce said content. It is understandable that companies will charge for things that have costed them money to produce and this has always been the case through expansion packs which generally costed a little bit extra and gave you more content. What I do not like about modern micro-transactions and downloadable content is the fact that companies are charging people for downloadable content that is already on the disc! Not only do you pay the extortionate going rate for games that can be around £50 sometimes, but you then have to pay about £10 to access something that is already on the disc! As someone who is used to paying around £30 for a new game that will last me for a few years, I find this to be rather stupid. A good way around this, which a lot of Valve games seem to follow, is to release a game which has good game-play off the shelf and then leave the game open to the modding community. The modding community is hugely talented, a relatively recent update for Counter Strike: Global Offensive shows evidence to this, and want to create content for the games that they play. A lot of games that I play, including Team Fortress 2, the Dawn of War series, the Counter Strike series, Unreal Tournament, Killing Floor and Left 4 Dead 2, do not really have much or any paid downloadable content, barring aesthetics such as hats in Team Fortress 2 or character models in Killing Floor. What they do all have are a massive amount of community-developed content. I’ve lost count of how many maps I have downloaded from Filefront for my installation of Dawn of War Soulstorm, how many games of the zombie mod for Counter Strike: Source I have played over the years or just how three of my player models in Killing Floor look like Flandre Scarlet, Patchouli Knowledge and Hina Kagiyama from the Touhou series. Now, let’s go to Call of Duty. You pay $15 for five maps. True, those five maps are professionally made by the studio that made the game, however are they worth $3 each? They are simply not. If I’m going to pay $15 for more content, I expect there to be something of substance behind it, not just a handful of new maps. I will happily pay £10 – 15 for an expansion for a game, as long as there is some substance to it. The Secret World does this well with the issues that come out every now and again. £8 and you get a new line of missions that I have heard are very well written, as well as a new weapon to try out. I have not bought any issues because I am not such an MMO gamer, but I respect their payment model.

That brings me onto the next point. Subscriptions. I was following Wildstar, the up and coming MMO by Carbine Studios. It looked very interesting, despite its MMO status, because it catered towards role players and was being developed with role players in mind as customers. I enjoy role playing and was very excited when i heard the concept of player housing, character customisation and lore of the game world, so I got stuck in. Recently, however, the business model was released. It is going to operate on a $15 per month subscription with a base price of $60. My interest in the game immediately just vanished. What can I get for $60? Four copies of Counter Strike: Global Offensive, a Crimson Hunter flyer model that my Eldar army so desperately needs, a new Sisters of Battle unit of any variation, a healthy amount of new cyberpunk clothes and accessories, around eight new books, the list goes on and on and that only takes into account the cost of the game with the complimentary first month. Consider this. I have been playing Team Fortress 2 on and off now for around six years. Let us assume that I have only really played it for two of those years as I have been busy with studies and the like; that is twenty four months that I have been actively playing Team Fortress 2. Now let us transpose that onto Wildstar with its subscription. $60 for the game, then add $(24 * 15). I would have spent $420 on playing a game. Yes, $420! What could I get with $420 that would last me at least two years? Well, I can buy a normal game like Saints Row 4 for around $50, or I could massively expand my Eldar or Sisters of Battle army, or I could buy a Playstation 4 with Metal Gear Solid 5; don’t even get me started on how much out of the ordinary clothing I could get with that, I would be in heaven. People will claim that the subscriptions are in place because more content is being launched all the time and it’s a dynamically developed environment, but again is it worth it? The content is often lacklustre and infrequent, so I would say that it is definitely not worth it. Team Fortress 2 and Killing Floor require no subscriptions and I know for a fact that the Halloween events are just around the corner. Frankly, I am giddy with anticipation for more chances to obtain haunted metal without resorting to custom servers.

The next point is mainly for PC gaming, though I am not much of a console multiplayer gamer. The number of games featuring privately owned dedicated servers has massively dropped. I view this as purely destructive as privately owned dedicated servers hold many advantages over matchmaking services and company owned servers. All the best memories I have from gaming come from games featuring a list of dedicated servers as opposed to a matchmaking mechanic. Xyo’s Hardcore Search and Destroy server back in Call of Duty 4 , DarkDevice Synergy, Fizzadar’s Zombified World server in Garry’s Mod, NighTeam’s TF2 servers. All of these servers shared one factor that I absolutely loved. Community. Dedicated servers accumulate regular users who start to recognise each other every time they connect. It builds e-friendships, constructs a really pleasant atmosphere for those in the server, contains admins who can ban hackers or griefers on sight and settle disputes that may arise within seconds. Matchmaking removes all of this as every time you play, you will be put in a different server with different people and rely on an anti-cheat algorithm to ban cheaters, which we all know goes famously. Also, company owned dedicated servers require upkeep, so costs are increased with no real way to mitigate it efficiently, whereas privately owned dedicated servers, whilst having similar costs, have afar better way to mitigate it through donation services. I have donated to servers and mods in the past; you can find me in Synergy rocking my purple frag grenades as the “female hero” player model, and most server donation packages are not game breaking, usually just giving the user some new aesthetic toys to play around with, or coloured names in the chat. If people enjoy playing on a server with the rest of the server’s community, then people will donate to keep it running; it’s a tried and proven strategy that has lasted and improved for around a decade. Also, company owned dedicated servers means no custom content. Custom content is the lifeblood of PC gaming. It adds variety, fun, new experiences and gives a server its personality. I was streaming on Twitch this morning on a Mann vs. Machine server in Team Fortress 2 that multiplied all weapons stats by ten and introduced new wave configurations to make it challenging. I really do enjoy it because it gets incredibly hectic and downright ridiculous at times, when the pyro is rapid fire airblasting giant soldier robots’ rockets back at them, or when thirty steel gauntlet wielding heavy robots run forwards being impervious to all ranged damage but taking ludicrous amounts of melee damage and dishing out their own amount of pain in return. All of this is fun and breaks up the usual repetitive stream of official game modes, but with less and less games opting for privately owned dedicated servers, I do not see this fun part of gaming surviving. The lack of dedicated servers in my opinion is really just a huge step backwards, as if developers are trying to force PC gamers to think like console gamers. it is not going to happen!

Also, the quality of writing in games is definitely going down the drain. Consider the difference between games such as Final Fantasy VII, with such emotionally evocative moments that can literally bring a grown man or woman to tears, or Half Life’s memorable moments, environments and non-player characters, friendly or otherwise. Now consider Battlefield 3, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Halo and World of Warcraft. Did Battlefield 3 even have a story? How similar to an 80s Stallone action film was Modern Warfare 3? None of these currently popular games contain decently written stories. Their main characters are hilariously badly written, though not in a way that can be comically interpreted like Indrick Boreale from Dawn of War Soulstorm. I do not want to play as perfect soldier #523. I do not want to be flawless and awesome at everything. World of Warcraft I have a slight soft spot for in that regard, having enjoyed the wonders of Vanilla and role-playing as a staunch traditionalist Night Elven Sentinel, but I look at it and my first reaction is: “Pandas? Really?” which is not what I should think about. However, the butchery of Warcraft is mainly community driven, so that does go to show that community can be both good and bad (I swear if I see another Blood Elf Death Knight walking around Silvermoon in-character and casually socialising with other Blood Elves, I will stab them and their conversational partners in the face. It is like nobody remembers that the Scourge almost drove them to extinction and caused them to now be a dying race). As well as poorly written narrative, there is also the issue of game-play mechanics. Call of Duty’s mechanics have not changed, yet there are at least nine of them! Battlefield as well has followed the same mechanics since at least Battlefield 1942 and actually got rid of the best feature about Battlefield 2142, which was called Titan Mode. Basically, in Titan Mode, it was the same as conquest but the capture points were anti-air gun platforms and your tickets were shields rather than reinforcements. The aim of the game was to get the shields of the opposing team’s titan down and then board it to blow it up from the inside. Oh, did I mention that there were two huge ships above the map as you fought on the ground? Well, the Titans were there. This offered so many resources to the commander and really brought about fun, team-driven game-play that relied on coordination between each squad. Is there anything innovative about Battlefield 3? Not really. Some would argue that you can blow up walls, but I hate to burst your bubble when I say that Red Faction did that way earlier. There are exceptions to this, however, mostly coming from the indie scene. Maere, when Lights Die is an indie horror game that literally had me screaming like a big baby; Element4l made me marvel at its music as I slid, rolled, puffed and burned my way through levels as my little ball of elemental power. Indie games are not the only outlet of innovation and good ideas, however. The Last of Us is a game that made me want to up and buy a Playstation 3 just so I could play it. The game has interesting characters with notable personality flaws, interesting game-play mechanics, a story that takes its time to evolve into something great.

Combined, it creates a pretty bleak future for gaming. I do not look forward to a future filled with $100 games with subscription fees, micro-transactions up the wazoo and no community-driven content. Somebody hold me, I feel faint just thinking about it.I hold out hope for the Indie scene, which is producing some really innovative gaming experiences and I recommend that everyone pays a lot, perhaps even more attention to them than triple-A developers. As usual, there are arguments for and against everything I have stated above, these are just my thoughts on the matter, so if you have your own views, leave a comment and let me know. I would have to forfeit my self-proclaimed journalistic title if I was not open minded about these things, but criticism should be constructive! Flames help no one, as Smokey Bear says: “Only you can prevent wildfires.”

I am so sure that still applies on the internet…