Category Archives: Gaming

3 Reasons Cloud Gaming Will Be Awesome

3 Reasons Cloud Gaming Will Be Awesome

The promise of Cloud Gaming seemed to be a false promise. But now it appears Electronic Arts (EA) can revive that dream.

Back in June 2018, EA demonstrated they were able to stream high-quality games via a high-speed connection. The person on the other end simply needed a controller to hook up to the television, computer, or laptop, and they could play the game.

Just like Netflix brings movies and shows straight to the consumer, EA is working to launch their own game streaming service.

All players will need is a controller, a high-speed internet connection on their device, and of course, a subscription. Then they’ll have access to a huge array of games to play with.

This would have been nice if they’d come out with this technology a lot sooner.Cloud Gaming

That One Roommate

Before Cloud Gaming, before even Netflix streaming, I was a college student sharing a house with five other guys.

The house, affectionately dubbed “The Shack,” should have been condemned. There were roaches living there, not to mention the squirrels and cats too. The squirrels left us alone, but the roaches were constantly inciting a turf war.

The cats just used the place to procreate, and loudly.

Rent was cheap though.

Which was the point, I guess.

To make the situation more livable, TV’s were brought in, DVD players, huge selections of DVDs, and games.Cloud Gaming

One guy had an Xbox. Let’s call him Rick.

While I did my fair share of movie watching, Rick played video games.

Non. Stop.

I shouldn’t judge, he turned out to be a great guy.

And I did spend a few nights trying to beat Gears of War. I wasn’t totally immune.

Yet, if you were to walk in there, 99 times out of ten, it wasn’t me on the Xbox trying to level up in the hottest game to come out that year- Halo 3. It would have been Rick.

So the soundtrack of the house was a constant stream of explosions, gunfire, Rick shouting into his headset, and vulgar putdowns from other people playing the game as well.

This was college.

Since Rick played hours upon hours of Halo, he was good at the game. I wasn’t.

I would be lucky to get five kills in a multi-player match. And Rick wouldn’t hesitate to point this out to me any time I picked up a controller.

As if living in that cesspool wasn’t enough, I couldn’t prove myself in the last arena of true battle- online gaming.

I graduated college, got married, and soon found online gaming really wasn’t the measure of a true man.

But I digress.

I didn’t own a game console. Thus, I wasn’t good at gaming. In hindsight, this wasn’t a bad thing. I did, after all, get into books. And I couldn’t be happier.

Gaming, however, is going to change.Cloud Gaming

As more and more games come out that only emphasize their online gaming mode and not their story mode, the video game companies will need a better way to market their games.

Enter Cloud Gaming.

It’s not all bad.

And here are three reasons why.

No Consoles to Pay For

Part of the reason I never bought an Xbox or a PlayStation was the expensive price tag. And I was a poor college kid.

My parents were also not big into gaming. So I can’t blame them for not shelling out the cash to buy me one that one time I put it on my Christmas list.

With a streaming service, there’s no need to buy the console, or even the game itself. Just hook up the internet, plug in the controller, and away you go.

A streaming game service was attempted back at the start of the 2010’s.

Two companies, GoLive and Gaikai, each showed cloud gaming was a viable possibility.

The only problem was the technology required to make it work was expensive and not as available as it was today. There was also the widely accepted belief that one buys games and does not stream them. Streaming was for movies and wasn’t seen as a stable method for delivering a high-quality gaming experience.

EA has cracked that.

Now all they need is enough subscribers to make it profitable.

Subscriptions

With Cloud Gaming, you’ll only pay once a month, or once for the whole year.

Paying once a month and getting games cheaper is better than having to pay for the console and the games too. At least, I would think so. I’m no expert here, but I do know what I like. And I’d much rather pay a little bit at a time than a lot all at once.

It’s unclear if other game production companies will create their own subscription services like EA’s. But who am I kidding? Of course they will.

Once EA proves this will work, other companies are going to launch their own subscription services to make it happen and compete.

Soon the entertainment world will be one big subscription service, with subscription services to manage subscription services.

At least the games will be cheaper.

Availability to More Players

Rick, though a good guy, was still hogging the Xbox most of the time.Cloud Gaming

With a subscription service, this opens the door for even more people to plug in and play…so long as the internet speed is fast enough. There’s a way around that, just get the best internet bundles and you’ll be able to have multiple players, on multiple devices, all streaming their games at. The. Same. Time!

If there are not enough ports for the controllers, then pull out a laptop, computer, or just another TV with an internet connection. Players would then be able to join in the game and no one would have to wait their turn to play.

Cloud Gaming would make gaming accessible to a much wider audience.

When Is The Future?

EA’s Origin Access Premiere is still in its infancy.

There will still be some kinks to work out, but as of right now, it seems to be working well. This is good news for EA as they continue their domination of the video game industry.

For those who don’t enjoy video games, or don’t object to EA on principle, there are always books to read.

As for me, I don’t see myself getting involved with video games beyond the few apps I have on my phone. Maybe when I’m older and my life slows down just a little bit I’ll have some time to just waste on a game. But I doubt that will happen any time soon.

Rick, my old roomie, did give up gaming. I’m not sure when, but it must have been some time after he got married and started working a real job. Then he had kids.

Last I spoke with him he was getting his masters and taking care of yet another baby. How he manages kids and masters level courses, I don’t know. I barely made it through my masters’ level course with one child.

A few weeks ago I was near my alma mater and thought, just briefly, if that god-forsaken Shack was still there.

Low and behold, it was.

Some other poor sap decided they’d live with the roaches, the squirrels, and the cats, in that confined space. Hopefully, they have fast, reliable internet, and a streaming service.

The 1 Way to Succeed on Twitch and YouTube

The 1 Way to Succeed on Twitch and YouTube

Monetizing a live-stream is seen as a legitimate career these days. Simply set up an account on Twitch, YouTube, or both, and just be yourself.

It’s…not that easy.

For those who assume acting is easy, simply ask any aspiring actor if they think acting can be done by anyone. Hopefully, they’re not offended and will just laugh at you.

The same with comedy. To quote the great Robin Williams’ “Of course you have to know comedy. Because if you tell a joke and they don’t laugh, then you know tragedy.”Live-stream

Streaming content is the newest version of creating entertainment. The upside is that it’s easy to get into. The downside is that this creates a saturated market.

Voices are easily lost in a market that’s brimming with people trying to get attention.

To get those coveted followers it takes a lot of time and effort.

Without a direction, however, even time and effort can be wasted.

Know Your Topic

I’ll admit, I have no skills when it comes to playing online games. The last time I touched a Halo game I barely scored one kill.

When it comes to researching, organizing, and telling a story, that’s where my real abilities lie. Thus, I’ve given up on video games and instead have focused on reading books, reading about writing, writing, talking with other writers, editing, and writing some more. The upside of all this is that I’ve now landed a job where someone pays me to do this all day.

It’s still a challenge.

Putting words on the screen every day requires hard work and discipline.

Working through horrible drafts is just part of the process of getting to the right one.

Now let’s replace writing with live-streaming. The same advice applies; keep working at it.

You’ll also learn some surprising things about yourself.

For example; my boss asked me how long it would take to complete an article consisting of 800 words. I ballparked it at four hours.

He blinked at me and said, “You’re the first person to use a number.”

And I got the job.

You don’t have to be an expert, you just need to know more than the average person.

Create Genuine Connections

This one has always proved difficult for me.

Since I’m good with writing and rewriting, and editing, and rewriting, talking to people face-to-face can be daunting. It may seem obvious, but making friends wasn’t my forte as a child.

When I worked to make people like me, I came across as a fake. And worse, desperate.

No one wants to be friends, or do business with, a desperate person. And those that do are going to take advantage of you.

Instead, working to find a personae or a particular schtick helped make it easier to interact and relate to strangers. It was subtle at first, and at times overblown. With time I honed it. It’s not as difficult as it used to be and I still work on it from time-to-time.

By being genuine you create genuine relationships.

Genuine relationships lead to a solid fan base.

Do Your Research

Once you’ve discovered what works for you, hone it, develop it, work on it.Live-stream

This means, as bad as it sounds, that you much do research.

Yes, research.

Looking for relevant information and data that are relevant to your topic takes time.

If you’re at least interested in the topic, then researching it will seem less arduous. In fact, it may even be fun.

I enjoy reading books not just for the stories, but to see how the author tells them. Soon I plan on taking Malcolm Gladwell’s Masterclass on writing.

If you neglect research, you run the risk of losing your audience. This links back to the “being a fake” mentioned earlier.

The best comedians still do it. Jerry Seinfeld, when his hit sitcom ended, went back to doing standup. It helped him figure out new material, find what worked for him, and as he says, get back to his roots.

Then You Can Think of Monetizing

Technology, though amazing, does lull us into this false belief that things will happen quickly. We stream movies and music instantly. Every time you tap an icon on your smartphone you get a little dopamine rush from completing a task and completing it quickly.

Getting into writing has taken me years. There were times I considered quitting. Thankfully, I’d started, and quit, a lot of things before then. I’m tired of repeating that process. I’m also a father now and constantly “searching for myself” does not work well with trying to raise a child.

It also helps that I enjoy telling and sharing stories. I’ve also been told I’m good at it. And now someone is paying me to do it. Took about three years to get here, but better late than never, right?

So if you decide that a career as a streaming personality or entertainer is for you, then go for it. Be prepared for a long road filled with tough times.

In the meantime, to ensure your connection is fast so you can stream uninterrupted, check out internet bundle deals.

 

“You can start any ‘Monty Python’ routine and people finish it for you. Everyone knows it like shorthand.” —Robin Williams

The 8 Biggest Anti-Amazon Prime Day Contenders

The 8 Biggest Anti-Amazon Prime Day Contenders

Today is Amazon Prime Day if you haven’t noticed.

What is Amazon Prime Day? It’s the day that Amazon opens its doors to all its Prime members to get deep discounts on select products, deals, and services. If you’re not a Prime member, you don’t get to enjoy Amazon’s version of “Black Friday in July.”

Check out our previous post, 6 Steps to Finding the Best Deals for Amazon Prime Day to find out how you can get the most out of what’s left of this thirty-six hour day of sales.

And even if you don’t have a Prime Membership, there are plenty of other retailers looking to take the wind out of Amazon’s sales by offering their own special deals on Amazon’s special day.

Who are they?

More importantly, how do you take advantage of these deals?

Massdrop

Massdrop is the online home for hobbyists and enthusiasts. From quilting to cooking to technology, Massdrop is geared towards finding and producing top quality products to help you get the most out of your hobby.

It’s an online store that’s even more exclusive than Amazon. The good news is that you can join for free to get in on their Anti-Prime Day deals.

eBay

Unlike Amazon, an online retailer, eBay is an online marketplace for people to sell their goods and wares. It may be semantics, but everyone on eBay is a reseller. A very large community of indie stores have set up shop on eBay, more so that Amazon. eBay is free to shop, no special membership required to take advantage of their deals.

Right on eBay’s homepage is the Daily Deals button to let you know who’s got sales going on and for how long. Don’t miss it!

GamestopAmazon Prime Day

Either in their physical stores or online, Gamestop has deals running throughout today and tomorrow. Check their weekly ad and the Deal’s section of their website to find out where the deals are and how to get the most out of them.

B&H Photo

Amazon Prime DayThis online retailer focuses on photography and video. This also means they branch out to computers, TVs, camcorders, lighting, and more.

Click on their Specials tab to check out B&H’s deals and sales for today.

Google Store

Google, not wanting to be outdone by one of their biggest competitors in the virtual assistant market, has offers for this day as well.

Check out their personal store to find their deals. They don’t have a centralized listing of them though, meaning you might have to guess which ones are discounted. It’s not very time efficient. Their products are also discounted in stores as well.

To do this you’ll have to search each page individually, on your own internet browser. If you’ve managed to land one of the best internet deals, this shouldn’t be much of a problem.

Razer Game Store

This online game retailer allows you to buy physical copies of your favorite game or download it directly to your platform of choice.

Razer has conveniently compiled all their deals and sales on their homepage for you. There’s more available, but the top ones are put on the homepage. There’s no need for a centralized list here!

Target

Some of the deals you’ll find with Target are at their physical stores, and some are online only. Simply visit Target’s homepage, click on the Weekly Ad tab and type in your zip code to find the deals available at your nearest Target store.

Microsoft

Similar to Google, Microsoft hasn’t put together a centralized list of their sales and deals for Amazon Prime Day. Again, you’ll have to search product by product to find out if there’s a deal going on or not.

Some Help

Thanks to sites like The Verge, CNET, PC Mag, and others, there are ongoing lists of deals both on and off Amazon that will help you find the best deals for this day.

There are also a host of third-party sites that notify you of deals going on. Simply pick the one you feel most comfortable with and set up which products, or sellers, you want to watch for deals and sales.

There’s Tech Bargains, Offers.com, Slickdeals, and much more!

Get a jump on Christmas

Amazon Prime DayIt may seem as though Amazon is trying to set up their own special shopping day in the middle of summer, but there are some positives to this whole thing too.

For one, Amazon is simply clearing out merchandise for the coming holiday season. As more and more stores are trying to milk Christmas, you’ll start to see holiday selling season start earlier and earlier.

Two, you’ll be able to take care of some holiday shopping. It’s a little absurd to be shopping for Christmas now, that’s understandable. Look at it another way, you’re able to take a little stress out of your holidays now by getting a few gifts or items purchased now.

Lastly, with Amazon creating this artificial holiday in the middle of summer vacation, other stores are responding to it. This means they’re going to be offering deep discounts and deals to compete with Amazon.

And with sellers compete on price, be Amazon, Google, or anyone else, you end up winning!

The History of the Battle Royale Game Craze

The History of the Battle Royale Game Craze

With the release of games like PlayerUknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite, the new battle royale game genre has revolutionized how games have been made and played. The genre has grown tremendously because of its simple and interactive game play.  Beginners can catch on quickly.  The online player interaction makes the game fun and exciting for players of all levels.

History of the genre

Though the Battle Royale genre just recently gained its popularity, the concept dates back to the Japanese film, “Battle Royale” (2000), where a government program forces a group of ninth-grade students to hunt and kill each other.  The film was the inspiration for “The Hunger Games” trilogy (2008).  Developer Brendan Greene created Battle Royale mods for popular games like Arma2 and DayZ.  Going by his online alias, “PlayerUknown,” Greene later went on to become the creative director for his standalone game, PlayerUknown’s Battlegrounds, which sparked the flame for all players and developers.

How the game is played

Every title within the genre has its own theme and neat tricks, but the basic idea stays the same.  The game consists of a large number of players –  usually 100 – placed on a large map with random loot and weapons scattered around.  The objective is to be the last man or team standing while running around eliminating other players, defending yourself from being eliminated, and gathering better weapons.

The global phenomenon

After the release of PlayerUknown’s Battlegrounds, Epic Games released its own interpretation of the genre: Fortnite.  Fortnite is a free-to play game with a cartoon-like design and bright, vibrant colors. This game quickly became a cultural phenomenon and pulled the attention of some A-list celebrities like Travis Scott and Drake. This game genre has (and will continue to) inspired top gaming companies, like Treyarch and Activision.  To get a sense of how far-reaching its influence has been, it was recently announced that COD: Black ops 4 will have a new Battle Royale game mode named Blackout when the game releases this fall.

Future of the genre

It’s clear that battle royale has revolutionized gaming these past two years in ways that no other gaming genre has ever has.  More and more people are getting into the craze every day with games like Fortnite and PUBG.  Both are on Twitch’s list of top streamed games breaking numerous world records, with celebrities and major top athletes joining the fun.  We can probably assume that more games will incorporate this genre or mode of play into their platforms.  It begs the question, though: where will developers take the phenomenon from here?

Why is Fortnite So Crazy Popular?

Why is Fortnite So Crazy Popular?

If you haven’t played Fortnite, chances are your son or daughter has.  The game is a sensation – the highest-grossing free-to-play game of all time.  The game has generated a whopping $223 million across all platforms, according to Superdata.   has It’s become something of a social phenomenon.  Celebrities like Drake and Roseanne Barr play it.  Professional athletes are talking about it.  Josh Hart even has Fortnite-inspired shoes to wear on the court.

What makes this game so popular?

There are several factors that have made Fortnite so wildly successful.  These factors are interesting to consider as they indicate new trends in the gaming industry.  You can be sure that competitors will be quick to follow suit.

A ready-built audience

Fortnite is a multiplayer third-person shooter game in which players control an avatar that is visible on the screen as he or she shoots at targets in a 3D environment.  These types of games are very closely related to first-person shooters, and there have been plenty of successful games in that subgenre.  Games like Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, and Overwatch, just to name a few, set the stage for games like Fortnite to enter the market.

The popularity of these types of games provides a ready-built audience of tens of millions of players just waiting for the next big thing.  Clearly, the next big thing has hit.

Social element

The most popular feature of the game is the “battle royale” mode, where about 100 players are pitted against each other in a fight-to-the-death match on a rapidly shrinking map.  Matches typically last about 15 minutes.

Players form teams.  They can chat with each other as they play, using headsets and microphones.  This social element adds an extra layer of immersion for players to relish in and is part of the formula for the game’s popularity.

Free-to-play and micropayments

The game is totally free to play.  So how does it make its money?  Simple: you can make in-game purchases of cosmetic upgrades for your character – things like clothing, hair, skins, and emotes.  None of the in-game purchases affect the actual gameplay.  You can refrain from spending a single cent and still become an amazing player.

The term for these kinds of purchases is micropayments.  Fortnite is not the first game to utilize micropayments.  However, it is unique in that these micropayments are non-essential.  Players don’t have to get them to be able to play or to play well.  That isn’t stopping people from spending like crazy.  The game rakes in about $2 million a day on Apple’s iOS.

EA tried making micropayments critical to game play in Star Wars: Battlefront II and it backfired.  Players were not happy about it and they let the company know it.  EA was forced to turn off all in-game purchases just hours before the game’s launch.  The power of throwing a fit!

Available on multiple platforms

Another critical component of the game’s success seems to be its availability across multiple platforms.  It is available on Microsoft Windows, macOS, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and iOS.  This widens the audience for the game by making it more accessible to more people.

Streamability

These days, streamability is marketability.  People like watching other people play games (don’t ask me; I don’t get it, personally).  There are entire channels on YouTube with millions of followers devoted to nothing but gameplay and commentary.  Twitch is another major streaming service.

Streaming gameplay is an inexpensive way to market the product.  You can get millions of viewers excited about the game and generate a powerful word-of-mouth campaign.  Plus, the game looks nice.  It’s bright and colorful and has a cartoonish style.  This aesthetic lends itself easily to streaming.  It’s pretty to look at, basically.

Final Thoughts

Fortnite’s success isn’t the result of just one thing.  It’s everything combined – the confluence of different trends in the gaming world.  Game developers would be smart to take notice.  I’m sure they have and it won’t be long until we see competitors come up with an answer to the Fortnite phenomenon.

The Best Online Communities for Adult Gamers

The Best Online Communities for Adult Gamers

You’re not going to like this, but it’s undeniable: we are getting old!  Wanna know how old?  I just bought an Xbox – my first video game console since owning the Nintendo 64 back in the ‘90s.  How’s that for nostalgia?  Time sure does fly.  I’m a bit out of touch with the gaming world.  Credit scores, insurance premiums, and saving for retirement are more within my field of vision.  I’d like to get back into it, but the whole gaming industry seems hopelessly (but excitingly) complex.  Where do adult gamers start?

Gamers over 25 tend to have jobs and families to take care of.  Responsibilities.  You know, a life.  It’s hard to find time to game.  We’re too busy adulting to game, and I mean, really game.  Here are a few helpful tips for people of, ahem, a certain age to connect and engage with the rest of the gaming community.

Join an Online Community

Do older gamers have a social life?  This question occurred to me the other day after a long day at work.  I came home, took my dog for a walk, cooked dinner for myself, did some light cleaning, and then sat down to play a little something.  Where do friends fit into all of this?  Do adult gamers even have friends?  Then, I thought, Of course older gamers have friends – they’re other gamers.  Duh.

Xbox is cool.  The Community feature allows you to connect with tons of other people based on mutual interests.  PlayStation has its own Communities section where users can connect.  Finding gaming enthusiasts within your age bracket is a cinch with this tool.  Beyond that, there are some good online communities specifically for older folks.  Here are a few of my favorite:

Grim Reaper Gamers

This online community is comprised of some not-so-very-mature gamers over age 25.  I mean that affectionately.  These people are fun, and they love to “drink and rip on each other,” as they put it.  Their focus is on first person shooter games, but there are members playing all sorts of games.  The community is very active.  Members are on nightly, and they have official community nights on Wednesdays.  Of all the online communities, this one is my favorite.  Their website looks cool and it’s easy to navigate.  They have sections for gaming news, an events page, publicly viewable forums, and a chat room.  Users must register to join in on conversations.  By the way, the site is ad-free so they welcome donations.

The Over 30 Clan

Started in 2010, this online community caters to people over 30-years-old.  At the beginning of 2017, they had over 900 members.  You must register to join and then fill out an application, which is a good thing.  Serious gamers only!  The people on here are fathers, mothers, singles, working professionals; you name it.   They come from all walks of life, but they share one trait in common: they sneer at gamers who don’t play the f’@$%ing objective!  They’re serious about gaming.  Mostly they play Call of Duty, Destiny, and Battlefield.  Joining is free.

2Old2Play

This gaming site is dedicated to helping people over the age of 25 find each other.  A lot of the action happens in the topic forums, where people can strike up conversations, ask questions, or find groups.  Top games include Destiny, Halo 5, Battlefield 4, and Call of Duty.  There are also forums for PlayStation and PC gaming.  Membership is free, but you must create a user account.  The site also has a cool blog featuring articles by users on various gaming topics.  Cool stuff.

Reddit

Reddit can be a good place to meet like-minded folks who share your passion for chilling out with a game after a hard day at work.  There are a few subreddits (communities) dedicated to adult gamers.  OlderGamers is a good one for gamers over 30.  OldLadyGamers is a good one for what one user cheerfully terms “less young” lady gamers.  I dig it.  GameCult is a big one with 802 members.  So is AdultGamers at 640 members.

Other resources

These sites, while not specifically for adult gamers, are top resources for connecting with other gamers, finding out the latest gaming news, and reading reviews.

GameSpot

It’s the leading resource for gaming news, reviews, trailers, walkthroughs, and other fun stuff spanning multiple platforms.  Check out the forums to connect with other gamers.

IGN

Another biggie.  Get news, reviews, trailers, guides, walkthroughs, and cheats.  Check out the boards to connect with other users.

Giant Bomb

It’s the largest video game database online, featuring reviews, news, and videos of game play across all platforms.  Connect with other users in the forums section.

Final Words

There you have it – some quick and easy resources to connect with fellow gamers who also happen to do some adulting on the side.  You shouldn’t find any of the juvenile shenanigans and name-calling that goes on among the young ragamuffins these days.  Embrace your inner old man or lady.  The way I see it, we really don’t have a choice.  If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.