Should 4K Consoles Be Offering Increased Storage?

It’s Episode 96 of the Gamers of the Lost Spark Podcast and with E3 out of the way (just), Antony and Darren get together once again to discuss all the happenings after the dust has settled. Braving the blistering heat of their respective studio’s as the UK swelters beneath an intense heatwave, nothing as paltry as ridiculously high temperatures will stop the guys from having their say.

Continue reading

The Return Of The Lost Spark E3 Podcast Extravaganza

Strap yourself in because it’s back! It’s the return of the Lost Sparks E3 extravaganza, Join Darren and Antony as they breakdown, analyse and get down-right excited about the E3 2017 Press Conferences:

EA (00:10:44)
Microsoft (00:50:13)
Bethesda (02:53:29)
UbiSoft (03:07:29)
Sony (03:45:02)
Nintendo (04:55:12)

If you want more information on some of the items in this weeks Podcast here are some handy links:

If you would like to give us a rating or a review on iTunes then we have this handy link for you, click here to jump to iTunes review for the Lost Spark Podcast!

The Essential E3 2017 Games List

It’s back! The Lost Spark E3 Essential games list is here.

No need to run from site to site in order to create your most wanted games list. The sparks have done the hard work for you with our guide to the most essential titles shown at E3 2017.

Beyond Good and Evil 2 – Cinematic Trailer

Continue reading

Lost Spark E3 2017 Predictions

This week, as E3 grips the Sparks, James and Antony run-through the E3 press schedule timings and spend a moment to wildly speculate and try to predict what will be announced during the highlight of the gaming calendar, E3!

Will we see Nintendo adding ‘Deluxe’ to all of the old Wii U titles and release them on the Switch? Will Spider-Man open the Sony conference? Will we see The Avengers on stage at Microsoft’s conference? Join James and Antony for episode 94 of the Lost Spark Podcast for this and all the gaming news from the last 7 days.

Continue reading

Is Xbox Game Pass The Right Price For You?

After a fairly short trial period, Microsoft have announced that the ‘Xbox Game Pass’ is now live for all Xbox Live Gold members, starting with a free 14 day trial, Xbox Gold members can now access over 100 Xbox 360, ID @ Xbox and Xbox One titles for the requested coin of £7.99/$9.99 per month.

Some of the big hitting titles available in the first wave are; Halo 5, Mad Max, Gears of War Ultimate Edition and Spark favourite Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise. Continue reading

No Halo at E3 – Disappointing or Refreshing?

It’s episode 92 of the podcast and in addition, this edition marks the 2nd anniversary of the dawn of the Gamers of the Lost Spark. Join the guys as they celebrate this milestone with their unique look at the gaming news of the last 7 days.

In a week where Halo developers 343 Industries announced that there will be no Halo 6 at E3 or Gamescom, Antony and Darren discuss whether this is a bad thing or a good move for the Xbox team’s E3 presentation.

This can be argued both ways it seems with a reasonable case put forward that Halo is Xbox and Xbox is Halo, that the rolling out of a new and exciting Halo-centric announcement at the Xbox E3 conference is a tradition, a right of passage, the big thing that all the Xbox fans are excitedly waiting for during the other treats that are announced for the future of the platform and that a no show form the Halo franchise would leave a disappointing edge to the proceedings in June for Phil Spencer and the team. Continue reading

Halo 5’s Free DLC More Profitable Than It’s Paid DLC

Welcome to episode 91 of the Gamers of the Lost Spark podcast. Another delve into the underbelly of the gaming underworld’s news metaverse examining the stories, rumours and games of the last 7 days.

This week an interesting argument put forward by Michael Pachter (Pachter Factor) makes the point that there is a shift in the DLC model and that instead of DLC being slices of paid for additional goodness for the games we love, that in fact free DLC, apart from being most welcome by the gaming community – who doesn’t love free stuff? – can actually prove to be more profitable than paid DLC.

How can that work? is the resounding retort. Well, Mr Pachter goes on to explain this using 343 Industries Halo 5 as an example of where this model has been a success.

Halo 5 took a different approach to the more standard paid DLC model that we are used to these days. What the guys over at 343 Industries did was to make the first 6 months of DLC for the game free. That’s right, free and many people will know this having played one of the bigger hits over on Xbox One. So that’s fantastic, 6 months free DLC for the Halo 5 community, great move guys, much appreciated. Hold on though, is this just an incredible gesture of goodwill from developer / publisher to the gaming masses? I mean, what’s in it for them? Apart from the love and gratitude of the gamers of course – a commodity more precious than any currency. Oh hold on, yes, of course, back to the real world.

So the game is out there and the first 6 months DLC content is free to all players, yet Halo 5 made more money than any previous Halo game and this was due to the in game microtransactions. What happened in this case was, due to the DLC being free for all, Halo 5 kept more players playing the game than it had ever done before and in doing so, kept a bigger pool of customers enjoying the game who were then potential purchasers of in game microtransactions. The results from 343’s experience with this model indicate that more profit can be made by keeping more players involved in the game and so increasing the pool of potential (and real) microtransaction purchases than charging for separate iterations of DLC content.

Mr Pachter cites an approximate model of DLC purchase trends explaining that with each paid DLC drop there is also a drop in player take up, with the first DLC being the most popular at say 80% take up, the second being picked up with maybe 50% of those guys and the third DLC drop having the lowest purchase rate. It was this trend that paved the way for the ‘Season Pass’ that we have today, as the publishers looked for ways to stop that drop in take up of DLC over time by offering the lot at a discounted price.

This model only works for games that include DLC and have potential for communities to grow and thrive on their platforms. The type of games that are sure to be the focus of Microsoft’s recently announced ‘Games as a Service’ strategy, the most obvious being competitive FPS games like the Halo’s and the Titanfall’s, it would be more difficult to apply to other genres so we will probably not be getting single player campaign DLC for free anytime soon.

All said and done though, it’s an interesting idea that has already been used and turned a greater profit than the more traditional approach. Keeping all those players in there obviously reaps rewards while at the same time keeping those servers nice and busy with more players, in turn making the experience for the gamer more enjoyable for a longer period, potentially creating more fans who will be pre-ordering the next game.

Sound good? Or would you prefer the more traditional model? As always let us know what you think.

Continue reading

Does the Zelda Season Pass Make You Tingle?

This week the man himself (@BigSheep) joins the guys to discuss the gaming news of the moment in episode 90.

It’s a bit of a Nintendo-fest this week as the often visited Nintendo corner grows into the Nintendo-Annex in light of the sheer volume of stories over the last 7 days, in no small part owing to the phenomenal success of the Switch console which is showing no signs of slowing down in it’s meteoric mission from store shelf to gamers pocket.

The guys have been gushing about Breath of the Wild since release and with good reason and it looks like the release of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is shaping up to be just as much fun and just as successful with a 45% attach rate topping both the UK’s Individual and All Formats charts this week.

After some discussion about if we will see an up to now unrevealed big game on Switch between Arms and Mario Odyssey the conversation turns to ward the reveal of the Zelda Season Pass and the content therein (full details below). With the advent of a full fangled Tingle costume being a genius standout for the Sparks.

The question is, in a game world so big, will people want more, are the revealed features welcome and most importantly, does the lure of this extra content get you tingling enough to part with your rupees?

To hear what the guys think, listen in and enjoy the latest installment of the Lost Spark Podcast.

Continue reading

There’s More To Gaming Than Just ‘Triple A’

In this weeks podcast we have all the usual fun frolics and frivolity as the guys discuss the week in gaming, what’s hot to play and everything in between. Hold on to your control pads gamers, it’s Episode 89 of the Lost Spark Podcast.

An interesting point in the news (courtesy of wccftech) this week was made by Cliff Bleszinski (Cliffy B) of Unreal Tournament and Gears of War fame and more recently the co-founder of Boss Key Productions.

During industry conference Reboot Develop 2017, Cliff took to the stage and put forward his view that ‘AAA games’ cost too much to make and the development of such games are a ‘nearly unsustainable’ model, his reasoning behind this is based on a number of points including the fact that:

  • Customers can only afford a few $60 dollar games a year and this price is a high point for most consumers
  • Consumers have been burned with DLC / Bugs in their games
  • Player expectations are very high in terms of Graphics. feature sets and polish and quality

Citing Horizon Zero Dawn as an example, Cliff went on to posit that the seven year development cycle for a project like this can be undertaken and afforded by Sony with the reason that they can get so heavily invested in something like this is that they will be the ones profiting from the sale of their consoles, which a game like Horizon Zero Dawn is very likely to have a positive effect on.  So Sony – whom Horizon Zero Dawn’s Developer Guerrilla Games belong to – has two branches here, both the software and their hardware, with which they can recoup their investment and further to this make a profit.

In contrast to this he then made a comparison to the financial commitment that was made by Take-Two with regard to Bioshock Infinite where the outcome of overstretching to fulfill a AAA vision resulted in a number of lay offs over at Irrational Games.

A remedy for this, he suggested, would be the advent of the ‘AA game’. These games would be games that despite a restricted budget focused on what matters most, giving examples of his type of game being the likes of Rocket League by Psyonix and Digital Extreme’s Warframe adding also that digital only would also be a consideration for success.

So, have our expectations got out of hand, or is the amazing high standard and polish of the games we see nowadays simply a result of the evolution of technology and the desire of creators to improve, innovate and deliver that next big thing? Is it all simply about the bottom line (obviously to a great degree, it’s business), or is there something to be said for the ambition of developers and creators to express themselves and push the limits of the gaming medium via the technologically impressive consoles we use today?

Whether it’s gamer expectation, businesses pushing for profit or creators with the passion and determination to bring their ambitious gaming visions to the gaming community, it does look like there is a point here. No one likes to hear about studios closing, job cuts, or devs not getting paid for their hard work and if this can be avoided by simply scaling back ambition on a project and being more realistic in financial terms of what can be achieved then that’s great. Though conversely, it would definitely be a shame if the spectacle of the ‘AAA game’ was only within the reach of the hardware manufacturers.

Ultimately, if the costs of the AAA’s continue to get out of hand and cause businesses problems the amount made will dwindle as the lessons are learned.

Continue reading

Star Wars Battlefront II: The Campaign Awakens

There’s a tremor in the Force. What’s this, a feeling of excitement and wonder? Of course, it’s episode 88 of the Gamers of the Lost Spark podcast, lovingly crafted for your listening delight.

This week Antony and Darren are at fever pitch with all the Star Wars news of the last week and try and keep themselves calm enough to objectively discuss the full reveal of the new game and of course, the trailer for The Last Jedi.

Announced at the Star Wars Celebration we can look forward to – Star Wars™ Battlefront II being released on November 17, 2017 worldwide.

With the press release stating that we will finally see that long yearned for campaign mode that we have all been waiting for it’s an exciting prospect:

‘Building upon the foundation of groundbreaking visuals and authenticity of EA’s Star Wars Battlefront, DICE, Motive and Criterion are teaming up to deliver one of the most expansive Star Wars games to date. Star Wars Battlefront II will allow players to experience the untold story of an Imperial elite special forces soldier in an all-new single player campaign. In epic multiplayer battles, players will be able to pilot a First Order TIE fighter through intense dogfights in space, and play as ground troopers or iconic heroes and villains, such as Yoda and Darth Maul, across all three Star Wars eras.’

Featuring new characters created by Motive in close partnership with the story group at Lucasfilm, the Star Wars Battlefront II single player campaign will deliver a new exciting story to the Star Wars universe. Taking place in the 30 years between the destruction of Death Star II and through the rise of the First Order, the single player story introduces Iden Versio, the leader of Inferno Squad, an elite special forces unit of the Galactic Empire, who are equally lethal on the ground and in space. In addition to Iden, players will also encounter and play as other iconic Star Wars heroes and villains like Luke Skywalker and Kylo Ren during the campaign.

In addition to the all-new single player campaign, the team at DICE is evolving the game’s multiplayer to become the ultimate Star Wars battleground. With modes supporting up to 40 players, Star Wars Battlefront II takes fans through a wide range of iconic locations from all three eras: prequel, classic and new trilogy, including new in-game locations such as Yavin 4’s jungle canopies, the spaceport town of Mos Eisley, and Starkiller Base. Players can choose from an array of land and air vehicles and master their own hero’s journey, with customisable character progression across heroes, villains, troopers and starfighters.
Continue reading