Wednesday, August 29, 2012

the "post-playstation" rant

Hey, remember that "playstation rant"? And how I ended with the complete loss of Sony on the mobile gaming industry and what would be next? NO? Then go read it now...

Ok, now look at this. This is what's next for mobile gaming, coming in to compete with the already winning smatphones and tablets (via engadget): 

See the price?
See the amount of games (and apps) you can get?
See the decent pricing? Some (God forbid) even for free?
See the standard microSD expansion NOT locked to anything?
See how I can log on on the browser and push games into the console? See where you're going to fail next Sony?

Of course not...

Well I can see... mysleft. And my kids. And everyone:

Killing zombies for free with physical buttons instead of touch:

...burning rubber for €0.79...

...or for free :o

or even both, and for free!

or... well, you get the picture, right?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

the PlayStation rant...

Well, I've been away from the consoles for a while now, and today I decided to get the Vita from work and update it to see all the new goodness of 1.80 fw. The cross-play games and the PSOne games and what not.

Well, I was surprised. But with myself mostly. That I had believed there was anything good, new or in any way interesting in there that would justify wasting the time I did with this pile of dump of a platform ecosystem Playstation has become.

Some background:

Let's go back in time for a bit... I'm a guy that started gaming on PC. Nothing as cheesy as this though...


Had I the time and income to do so and I'd still be one. I would not be playing GranTurismo on PS3, I'd play real real-driving-simulators or flying simulators for instance.

(image found on "console vs pc gaming" forum thread, click for it)

Thing is, the Playstation brought me affordable, accessible, stable, reliable, good quality gaming. Consoles were no longer bits and pixels and (barely more than) midi tunes. The Playstation for me marks the beginning or "proper" consoles.

Don't get me wrong, I like the classics, I had a Spectrum, respect the N64, my kids still use the GBAs and I often play retro gaming on emulators etc.

But for the first time for me, the Playstation was close enough to the PC while being a no-constant-hardware-upgrading-needing easy-to-boot-and-play-in-any-Tv 3D gaming platform (that or it was just Gran Turismo addiction).

So what went wrong?

The good times:

For years, mostly because of GranTurismo, I played on the Playstation daily. I have a PSOne, a PS2 and a PS3. When I look back, I don't own many games. A few shooters, the Burnout and the GT "collections" and not much more. On "hacked" consoles, I tried many games, but they where never "that" good, and the original was usually easy to get 6 months to a year later at a nice price, and I never longed for any game or a hacked console to play ALL THE GAMES. For years, it worked very well. Prices where almost acceptable at launch, there were good titles and the base was always the same. Hardware, firmware and software.

Those were good times.

Good stuff done wrong is bad:

But now? With the PS3 when I turn the console on or start a game, "new software found, you must download before... bla, bla, bla". And if you don't, you get locked off line... and let's face it, playing a game without online features nowadays is eating only half the cake. Online IS good. Even if you're not going on a multiplayer shooter battle or race, it's cool to see your scores and trophies and how you stack up against your friends, the "news" that get pushed and other added content like the GT5 seasonal events.

But Sony PSN and Playstation, allegedly "because piracy", ruined their platform gaming experience. There is no patience for the constant need to upgrade FW or SW. Wanna lock hacked consoles from online? No argument here... Force a FW / SW update if you want to play a game on online multiplayer? Cool... But why force the rest of the upgrades? Why am I be forced to update FW so it can support some new feature in GT5, what if I didn't want to play GT5 at the moment? Why would I want to update a game before I run it, if I only want to quick check some online feature, like my B-Spec racing? Sony PSN Playstation turned their biggest asset into a nuisance.  I feel like I spend more time looking at this than playing:

yet another f****** upgrade

Ecosystem vs platform:

And the there's the fact that it's not actually one platform. Technically it's a freaking fragmented mess of an ecosystem that makes Android look good. There's PSOne, PS2, PSP, PSP GO (big WTF there) PSVita...

...and then, because that's not enough, there are 4 different regions, separated and locked of course, with DRM, different prices, content, add-ons, etc. And for no discernible good reason 99% of the time. The worst thing Sony has, the distribution model, is really messing this up. The real reason? Same as music and video. Greed. Maximize sales. Prevent people from getting too much stuff for "free" or at a reasonable price, build hype on regional exclusives etc. But there's basically no free content in ANY PSN Store, prices are stupidly high. Like PSOne Tomb Raider games ranging between €2.50 and $9.90? Even if I own the original disk? You must be daft... Of course they are coherent with the rest of the "milking strategy" and dying console gaming prices, which makes sense in a suicidal stupid manner I guess. You do know games are apps, and apps are not coffee or food, right?

And "stuff" is not interactive, backwards compatible, etc. And worst, that has been promised hinted or expected. Waaaay back, there was talk of using the PSP to interact with PS3 and their games. Like here and here. So today, I though, well maybe... but nah...

UPDATE: Wait! There's more in v 1.80... More stupidity and locking, that is:

I've been lured and sold out to "true" mobile:

I've been thinking "I have not time to play" was what drew me away from consoles. But today it sunk in. It was the exact same thing that attracted me in the first place, that stopped and appealed to me somewhere else. I have and use a no-constant-upgrading-needed easy-to-boot-and-play-anywhere system. It's in my hands or pocket every day, all day. I still play every day, just not Playstation. I started playing on the move with the PSP but know I don't. I no longer sit "in private" with the PSP, and it's not because "it's real gaming" that I have to dedicate time to. It's cause now I have tons of free or cheap, quality stuff to play on my mobile. Phone or Tablet. Apple or Android device. Single or multiplayer.


And it's not a freaking "ecosystem", it's a unique platform (or 2). It has free stuff, daily promos, and decent prices. I only realized that I I'm still a heavy gamer. I just play differently. And the thing is, my gaming progress on the iPhone, translates via cloud to the iPad in some games. Hell, in some games it even syncs across both mobile platforms.

like for example: "Dead Trigger"

And I'm not "afraid" to turn it on and be greeted with a FW upgrade, SW upgrade, Server Unavailable, Unable to Connect to Server or whatever message is thrown at me much too often on the PS3.

The future:

There is cheaper, as good as or even better gaming elsewhere. More rewarding, less frustrating, no broken-promise disappointing gaming, on mobile devices. And just slapping a SIM slot on a PSVita and adding social apps and features is not what's gonna get mobile gaming back to Playstation. You have to find other revenue sources. Which I'm afraid you don't really know how, and since you won't tread this path, the only option that remains is Sony Mobile. But selling "power houses" with exclusive content? Not sure yet if your efforts on this are worth it.

Although the price, for once, looks to be about right! At least when compared with the PS One prices.
Lara Croft: Guardian of Light ($1.29) [Google Play]

(I know... it's not "their" game, it's not their channel, so it's not their price, I'm being ironic...)

Anyway, this is is a shame cause I much prefer the hardware and form factor of a Playstation, than a touch device. Oh wait...

Today I though "hum interesting, maybe some free/cheap PSOne games, decent cross-gaming and I'll start using at least that"... but sadly no.

To end, (since my kid saw the Vita and now wants to play with it, lets see for how long...)
I'm gonna direct you to Chris Kohler ( who I think nailed this one very nicely:

/end rant

Monday, August 13, 2012

I'm just gonna leave these here for future reference... #Maldonado

No F1 racing? No problem for mister "I just lost my rear".

Unfortunately for him, there wasn't another driver to bounce off of this time.

"Sempre e assi"
"Que raro Pastor chocar!"

"Hasta aca choco"

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