Big news this week as Facebook buy out Oculus for $2 billion dollars while everyone simultaneously scratches their heads in bemusement and wonders if they can get refunds on their Kickstarter donations. I personally feel Oculus have shot themselves in the foot on this one. With the reputation Facebook have surrounding annoying and pointless games (Farmville I’m looking at you) and bad press over controlling peoples information, this will only serve to dirty the good name of Oculus and dissuade people from buying one when the time comes.
Microsoft also chose this moment to reveal their input to the VR market with some swanky looking glasses. Not much has been revealed about exactly what they plan to do with these just yet, but expect some kind of Kinect cross compatibility.
Now that’s out the way, let’s find out what the rest of the team have been up to in this weeks ‘Our Week In Games’.
While it seems almost everyone around me is moving into the new-gen of games consoles (or at the very least buying new games for their old consoles) I’m firmly stuck in the past playing my last-gen 360 with two-gen ago Metal Gear Solid 3 being the game of choice this week. I’m not complaining or anything, far from it in fact. The truth is I never completed this back when it was originally released so it’s been good to take a trip down memory lane once again and hopefully I’ll manage what I didn’t in the past and beat the damn thing this time around!
While I have been managing to keep my beady eyes off most of the new games being released at the moment, one particular game by the name of Watch Dogs keeps popping into my vision now and again. There’s been some controversy surrounding certain aspects of the game, but I’m still willing to give it a try when Ubisoft eventually decide to release it. The idea of being able to control your technology filled environment in an open world that other real players can join without you even realising just sounds to tempting to pass up.
So the last few weeks have been stressful; deadlines, tests and whatnot. But in what little free time I do have I’ve playing a very different type of third-person shooter, Warframe. It’s refreshing to see such an old and tried formula rebooted in a quirky new way. Playing as a suited up gun wielding, sword blazing Tenno who can run on walls and flip all over the damn place is a lot nicer than playing the generic soldier who dies in three hits (yes Ghost Recon, I’m looking at you).
Customisation is also prominent in this game, from your individual warframe (your character basically) all the way down to the specific colour of your sidearms. I opted for a hot pink on mine just for the Hell of it, only to find out that there are others out there in the solar system who think along the same lines as me!
It’s hard to get bored of such a game, with its variety of modes, insane weapons and fun movement system, this is a game I’ll definitely be playing for a while (until Dark Souls II anyway). Oh, did I mention it’s also free to play? It’s in open beta at the moment on Steam, and although it’s still buggy in the connection area, this is by far one of the best F2P games I’ve ever played, and I highly recommend it for those looking for something outside the generic mould.
I had been scheduled to attend Rezzed in Birmingham this past Friday and Saturday, but sadly work commitments got in the way and prevented me sparing the time to get away. Today sees me in London for the long planned visit to see Progress Wrestling in Camden Town.
This past week has seen little time to play games, but I have been in a position to squeeze in some more time with Football Manager 2014 where I have just won my fifth Welsh Premier League title and as I enter another close season, I am in the process of building up my squad once more to take another crack at the Champions League. My efforts should be aided with some increased sponsorship deals and the board taking a bold decision to upgrade my training facilities without my prompting.
This. Is. Progress.
I often don’t have a lot to say in these weekly summaries of what I’ve been playing – the main problem being that I’ve often not actually been playing anything, either because of work or the far more troubling, often narcotising guilt of feeling like I should be doing work. Then, when I’ve finally actually put in the hours, I’m often struck by how little there is to say, or rather, how there isn’t anything new to say.
It’s something that better games writers than myself have doubtlessly learnt to push through, but it really does feel like an uphill struggle. This week, I’ve been playing XCOM Enemy Unknown, prompted in part by Matt Lees’ Spongebob Squadpants series (on the updated Enemy Within, mind). It’s fruitful ground for a play diary – Jon’s one from back in November was a good example – and I remember distinctly the daily progress updates that bounced around social media as gamers built squads based on their followers and got them blown to bits. To join in now would be more than a little tragic, so I’m just stuck here enjoying the game on my own, thank you very much (I’m not even playing with “Ironman” mode on).
I don’t do myself any favours in finding stuff to talk about. This week’s “big” gaming purchase was 3D Super Hang-On, which I have even less to say about. Perfect in short bursts, great use of stereoscopy, I’ll end up buying every SEGA 3D Classic just to have a succession of little arcade machine dioramas on my 3DS’ homescreen. On Target.
Work and family pressures this week meant my longest gaming sessions were a couple of Spelunky daily challenges, so totalled around two minutes of running around being Indiana Jones before headbutting a giant piranha. I have however been doing a lot of reading, and this week I’ve mainly been reading about VR.
The most significant news of the week came in the form of the Oculus Rift and Facebook deal, a business decision that appears to have sent large segments of the internet into fits of furious rage, culminating in the personal abuse and even death threats that give gaming communities such a bad reputation.
I’m still not overly certain how I feel about the whole thing. My first reaction on hearing the news was massive disappointment, fearing that the megalithic corporation was going to somehow mean the end of a project that had greatly excited me since its emergence. But then I took a moment to think about what had actually occurred. Oculus Rift has just been given a frankly mind-bogglingly large amount of money, money which they can spend on recruiting new members to the team, invest in research and prototyping new designs and for some reason people are upset?
Maybe Facebook will change things, but look at it this way. The largest social media platform in the world has just spent two billion dollars on VR tech, and people do not find this the most exciting thing to ever happen to VR ever?
This year, Facebook acquired WhatsApp, a massively successful mobile communications platform. Since the purchase, do you know what has changed with the app?