Friday, February 03, 2017

Weekly Link Round Up

I'm SO GLAD it's Friday. It's been a long week and we could all use a break. The U.S. in particular. We are getting horribly screwed by our government right now. (Checks and Balances? What's that?) Between life, politics, and work, the weekend is sorely needed. So let's start off on the right foot with the Weekly Link Round Up! The best, worst, and silliest gaming news on the internet. Here's what we've got:

- Facebook has been ordered by a Texas court (it's always Texas) to pay $500 million to ZeniMax Media Inc., whom claims that their VR technology was stolen by Oculus. Facebook purchased Oculus in 2014 and has been developing the VR kit for consumers. ZeniMax claims that one of their former employees, John Carmack, used his knowledge of their technology and provided it to Oculus when he was hired with the company in 2013. The jury ruled that none of the defendants misued ZeniMax's trade secrets, but the code for the Rift did infringe on their original copyright. ZeniMax's next step is to put a stop to Oculus using the code for the Rift, which could completely stop sales and production of the unit. We'll have to wait and see what's next.

- The European Union has launched an investigation into 15 companies that are restricting online sale of video games and electronics to prevent people from buying products at a fair price. This includes companies like Valve, Bandai Namco, Capcom, Focus Home, Koch Media and ZeniMax (yep, the same company from the last story). All are claimed to be using geo-locating tools to increase prices on products to prevent people in European countries from getting fair bargains on games. Companies convicted could face a fine of up to 10% of their global turnover - right now the EU is working out dates to begin proceedings.

- Sometimes we just want to play games and not have a long-ass opening sequence. That's the opinion of Alex Olges for the Daily Toreador, and I'm inclined to agree with it. Unless it's a game like Final Fantasy or Metal Gear Solid where I know the product is going to be drawn out from the moment I see the title screen, it does become cumbersome when the game play is slowed down to make room for the tutorial and long animations. There's nothing wrong with them, but when you want to jump in and play, it's a hassle. I just want to start building my digital world, not spend 20 minutes listening through a tutorial.

- A lot of people are calling out Nintendo for having a small line-up for their Switch release, coming next month. Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will take the top spot, but the rest of the games are per-existing titles available on other platforms. President Tatsumi Kimishima, Reggie, and Iwata have all given their 2-cents on the issue. The biggest response being that in the past, Nintendo was known for releasing a lot of games with each system, that they felt each title didn't get a chance to shine on their own. It also meant longer spans of time between game releases for a system that developers had a hard time keeping up with consumer demand. By spacing out game releases, Nintendo feels it can better accommodate to the customers.

- Odd-ball article on Investment U, part of the Oxford Club, looking at the rise and fall of brick and mortar video game stores; specifically GameStop. They've been having a rough week, so why not kick them when they are down, eh? (I may not have the best history with this company, but I don't want people to lose their jobs over the CEO and board's stupid decisions.) But what Investment U does get correct is that the traditional store models are starting to fade away for games. People are going digital where it's faster to receive your product and cheaper, typically. More developers like Capcom, Ubisoft, and Square Enix are selling collector's edition games only through their stores and no where else, cause fewer people to shop with other retailers. Even used games don't hold a flame to digital. The GameStop store fronts may soon be a thing of a past as they move more towards the online space. And there's no further proof of this then going to your local strip mall and seeing the rows of empty stores.

- Hey look! WhatCulture is back on the weekly review! This time they have 20 reasons why 2017's biggest games will probably suck. Some of them include vast open worlds of nothingness, no one caring after one play (Nintendo Switch), and lack of character transfers (Destiny 2). All good reasons, but with such a huge gaming year lined up, I doubt most people will care unless they are game-breaking concerns.

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