New Blog Up: NERD SHOUT!

Hey readers, exciting news! In wanting to provide you with more interesting and diverse topics to read each week, I’ve collected a group of writers to form a new blog called NERD SHOUT!

The blog kicked off this week, so head to http://nshout.wordpress.com to read the new post by me and Danniel, a new writer. I will stick to NS!, so follow us to read new posts from me. Hope you’ll check us out!

Blizzard CEO: We Know Diablo III ‘Isn’t Perfect’

Today in a statement on Battle.net, Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime addressed the ‘many challenges’ the company had had to overcome with Diablo III since its launch and promised improvements are coming with new items, class tweaks, and gameplay systems that will give players new goals to strive for.

“We are not satisfied with breaking launch records; we want people to continue playing and enjoying Blizzard games for a very long time. The Diablo III team has made an epic, entertaining, and beautiful gaming experience. That being said, we know that it isn’t perfect. Our teams are working hard to improve the game balance, build on our design, and listen to what players are “saying to make it the best game it can be.”

Morhaime reiterated the decision to make Diablo III an online-only game was more than a simple measure to prevent piracy but “critical for the long-term integrity of the game experience.” tied to persistent characters, social features, security, and customer service. Despite the “downsides” of the online requirement Morhaime says “this was the best long-term decision for the game.”

Being a Diablo III player since day one and still playing, I welcome this admission from Blizzard for it reaffirms why I love the company so much. It’s hard to find another game studio more committed to their games and players than Blizzard. It takes a long time but they release amazing titles that they support and tweak for years to inch ever closer to ‘perfection’ (an impossible notion). I give Blizzard great credit for keeping such an open dialogue on their forums to address player feedback, even though much are misguided or impractical comments.

Diablo III is easily one of the best games I have ever played and well worth the $60 price. This statement only excites me more for what’s to come. :D

Ouya’s Kickstarter is UP: Help Make It A Reality!

Since posting the early details of the Ouya (pronounced ooo-yah) project, it’s Kickstarter page has gone up asking for $950,000 in funding donation to make the $99 console a reality.

The team behind Ouya is looking to disrupt the industry with a very affordable and accessible (open source) console for both users and developers who are tired of the high cost (buying/developing) of current systems. “We just think it’s time to rethink how they do their business. We don’t like it when people pay $60 for a game and feel cheated. We don’t like it when developers can’t work on a platform because it’s too expensive.”

The technical details of Ouya was revealed along with a beautifully designed twin-stick controller that includes a touchpad.

Specifications

  • Tegra3 quad-core processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 8GB of internal flash storage
  • HDMI connection to the TV, with support for up to 1080p HD
  • WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Bluetooth LE 4.0
  • USB 2.0 (one)
  • Wireless controller with standard controls (two analog sticks, d-pad, eight action buttons, a system button), a touchpad
  • Android 4.0

As for the games, Ouya will run off the Tegra3 quad-core processor that provides graphics somewhere between the Wii and the Xbox 360. Clearly the focus of Ouya is to provide fun and unique gaming experience over photorealism, which for $99 I expect and readily accept. The ‘free gaming’ concept was also clarified being that every game will be free to play either as a free demo or in its entirety, though additional content may come at a cost.

Ouya is looking to be a haven for indie developers with studios like Mojang (Minecraft), inXile, and Semi Secret (Canabalt) eager to provide support.  Support from larger publishers like EA and Activision will not likely come until a larger installed base is established. Also, because OUYA is based on Android, any app developer could publish their Android app to Ouya. Twitch.TV, a service for watching eSports like StarCraft or League of Legends, was the first app shown and certainly apps like Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube will follow shortly.

Does Ouya sound like a console you want? Then donate $99 and you’re insured a console and controller, but only if the project gets funded (likely in the next few days). Learn more on their Kickstarter page here.

I’m eager to see how this project develops and maybe picking up an Ouya myself. These are exciting times in gaming!

:?: Readers, are you interested in what the Ouya has to offer?

Ouya: The $99 Gaming Console With Free Games!

Imagine if your next gaming console cost only $99, was designed to be hacked, and best of all the games are all free?

Well that is the goal of the Ouya, a start-up project created by Yves Béhar, creator of the One Laptop Per Child (a $100 PC designed to educate children of the developing world) and Jawbone Jambox (an innovative wireless speaker). Any developer will be able to publish games on the Android-based Ouya with the included kit and all games will be free to play (my bet on an ad-sponsored platform). The project is being backed by a list of top tech people including ex-IGN exec Julie Uhrman and former Xbox vice president Ed Fries.

This indeed is an ambitious project at the cusp of the next gaming generation as rumors of the Wii U, Xbox 720, and PS4 flow in daily. With so little details known though, it’s hard to judge the appeal or feasibility of the Ouya. At $99, the hardware will be limited which will affect the visual quality of its games, unless (hopefully) it utilizes a CLOUD content streaming service like OnLive. Also, how will developers be adequately compensated for their titles if all games are meant to be played for free? This requirement may scare off many developers. As a consumer, I rather pay for quality titles than deal with ads scrolling across my screen and/or microtransactions just to progress in the game which plague many ‘free’ titles.

Will Ouya be the next hot gaming console destined to be in your home entertainment system? If certain features fall into place, it may very well be. The project is in experienced hands, so I’m optimistic. Hopefully we’ll learn more about the Ouya soon (ideally with a new name that is easier to remember :)).

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