Tag Archives: Xbox One

SNES Mini – A Piece Of Gaming History But Is It Worth The Hassle?

This week in the vacuum that the behemoth that is E3 has left, Antony and Darren talk about the official announcement of the SNES Mini from Nintendo. A console that has been snapped up and out of stock from retailers even before the pre-orders became available – yes, that’s how massively popular this retro piece of nostalgia is.

Learning lessons from the last iteration – the NES Mini, Nintendo have promised more supply this time, in order to meet the intense demand that this desirable console will garner. It looks as though, however that consumers have also learned lessons from the last versions’ popularity too with the SNES Mini being almost instantly completely wiped out of stock over the face of the earth.

It’s the same old story. Great coup for Nintendo and for the lucky few who manage to secure their pre-orders in those first precious seconds of the console going live on the web. After which, it’s the struggle for the majority of eager fans that would be owners of this dinky gem – the website crashes, the furious refreshing, the scouring stock at every store you can think of and then, finally, the reality kicks in as you finally give up and grudgingly admit that the only way to obtain your cherished Nintendo throwback is to succumb to the nefarious re-sellers that have somehow snapped most of them up and advertised them on Amazon or eBay explicitly to take advantage of the likes of you (and us).

‘What can be done though?’ cries the throng of frustrated customers as they struggle to attain this lovely little system and only silence and a temptation to pay two or more times the price through one of the re-sellers remains.

So, what can be done? And can this familiar situation ever be dealt with?

UK gaming chain GAME have tried to make a stand by increasing the deposit required on the SNES Mini to £50 instead of the usual £10 they require in order to presumably discourage this behavior. It’s a stance that can be appreciated but in the long run may do more harm than good as your profiteer type will no doubt think nothing of putting down the full £50 deposit to secure an item that they are sure to sell at a profit later – not phased at all. However there may well be plenty of gamers who haven’t got that kind of money to put down as a deposit and so they may miss their chance of securing one due to that policy, which is really sad.

The only way that this frustrating trend can be effectively dealt with is by Nintendo providing such healthy supply that eager consumers can pick one up without jumping through hoops for hours on end. Or, consumers rally, stay strong and make a decision. A decision that enough is enough and they won’t allow themselves to be exploited anymore and refuse to pay double or more RRP for these tempting toys.

If the profiteers efforts could be rendered useless and null with supply and/or consumer resistance leaving them stuck with their bulk buys that no one took off their hands then perhaps the practice could be quashed and the honest gamers would join hands and cheer as one in light of a new dawn of fairness.

Or is it unfair of us to resent people trying to earn a few pounds out of an almost sure thing? It’s not illegal after all, just really annoying for those that missed out.

All this is not even mentioning the dreaded fear that the fantastic games housed up inside the SNES Mini could mean a lack of them appearing on the virtual console when it becomes available for the Switch. Let’s hope that isn’t a thing that’s going to happen. We want our classic Nintendo games liberated and portable in these days of the Switch. Let them roam with us and keep us company during train journeys and plane trips.

So are you interested in the SNES Mini and if so, are you going to buy one (should that be try to buy one)? Or are you going to leave the queue and make a stand?

Listen in to Episode 97 of the Gamers of the Lost Spark Podcast to hear views on this and much more. 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.

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2017 and the Gaming Super 7 – Best First Quarter Ever?

This week in episode 85 Antony and Darren take a moment to pay tribute to this stellar first quarter for gaming that we have had in 2017, admire the amazing selection of top quality games available for us all and reflect upon whether the standard set could possibly be held up by the rest of the year. That rest of the year sure has its work cut out if it wants to hold a candle to this stunning start that we have had.

The Sparks 2017 ‘Super 7’ goes like this:

  • Yakuza 0
  • Resident Evil VII
  • NiOh
  • Horizon Zero Dawn
  • Legend of Zelda – Breath of the Wild
  • Nier Automata
  • Persona 5

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Can Mass Effect Tear Us From Horizon and Zelda?

It’s a time when Gamers worldwide are suffering from the most delightful of troubling problems, a severe bout of too many games. The stars don’t align this way often, but rarely, when the moon shines in the 16th quarter and the stars fall upon each other blurring the celestial axis, a time of plenty is triggered for the hallowed gaming ones. A time of constant quality games pouring forth from all directions. A time of joy and delight as we decide what fantastic diversion we want to get swept away with next. A time of working out how we are going to manage to play all these games before the next one comes hurtling along. A time to manage those gaming finances. A time of, yeah actually, too many games.The Legend of Zelda – Breath of the Wild

Of course, we shouldn’t cry out in dismay at being troubled by so many delightful distractions and of course, we can wait. Every game doesn’t absolutely have to be consumed on release day does it? Of course not, but for some gamers out there an influx of fantastic games, whilst being a wonderful thing, can also be fraught with pondering, calculating and decision. Which game to get? Is only one open world required or do others provide enough distinctive difference to justify a purchase at the same time and what about the time? Being hit with many a 40 / 50 / 60 hour (and in many cases beyond) game can back a dedicated gamer to the wall with the important (and nice) decision of just what is the best use of their time and money. Which game is the one to go for or can they all be squeezed in at once and if such an undertaking is undertaken, is there a risk of rushing them and perhaps not enjoying them as much as if they were all treated individually? Continue reading

It’s A Hit! PSVR Sells A Million

On this weeks’ treat for your earbuds, the Sparks chat as usual about the news that’s making the news in the world of gaming. There’s plenty to discuss this week with some fantastic games and also a fair chunk of VR related news and innovations.

Sony have gone on record with their announcement that their PSVR foray into the VR strata has sold almost a million units in the four months that it has been available (915,000 to be more precise). This is a great start for VR on the PS4 with sales figures hitting higher than the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive combined so Sony have a right to be pleased enough with themselves to make this announcement. That 55 Million PS4 install base will certainly have helped, that’s for sure and teh figure would most probably have been higher in terms of sales if Sony had taken a risk on manufacturing more units. Nevertheless though, in terms of VR, this is a strong start and shows a demand and passion out there in the gaming massive for VR type gaming goodness.

The podcast turns into a bit of an expensive shopping list for Dazza as the guys discuss the just announced GTX 1080ti from Nvidia, HTC’s Motion Tracker peripheral and Deluxe Audio Headset (now priced) and Nullspace’s haptic-fantastic Hardlight suit. So, much, shiny, tech!

Antony and Darren also get down to discussing a matter that most of us deal with occasionally – our local game stores. Has customer service declined, or was it never there to begin with and should a business based around fun really act at point of sale in a manner that threatens to deflate a gamers happy enthusiasm for their hobby? Is your local store one of the good guys, or do you find the whole process wearing? Antony tells his story and makes his compelling case this week.

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Has The Sting Been Taken Out Of Scorpio’s Tail?

This week the Sparks drill down into the surprising revelations of Microsoft Scorpio’s hardware specifications according to the leaked whitepaper that Eurogamer brought to light. These poured a degree of cold water onto the flames of expectation that Antony and Darren were fanning in anticipation of what was thought to be communicated as a console that would be godlike in its power, delivering true (let’s assume that means native) 4K graphics without batting an eye, a monster of a box that had the Sparks seeing the line between console and PC getting meaningfully blurred.

But wait! Stop right there oh faithful one, because as Digital Foundry writer Richard Leadbetter delves deeper into the whitepaper specs, it seems that a less awe inspiring piece of tech could be what looms before us and if the information is correct we could be looking at making a decision on buying a very different beast than we may have been lead to believe from the initial announcements. More of a PS4 Pro competitor than the behemoth incarnate that the initial announcements framed for us.

The Whitepaper in question is from E3 2016 and so is an old piece of documetation and could have changed from that time to this so we can perhaps look at this news as possible conjecture. Of course we will know nothing for sure until we get official word from the boys in green.

But were we perhaps naive to expect such a machine to appear within this generation being as it was also communicated that this system (akin to the PS4 Pro), would not leave those not ready to upgrade their Xbox Ones (and S’s) behind, promising parity with those legacy systems. Could we truly see something great from any endeavor that was in this way shackled to the legacy sku’s?

Whether it is Naivety, Desire, Gaming Passion or just plain old believing official communications, let’s all just step back, take a breath and temper our expectations. Let’s stop expecting the second coming of the (Insert your fave console here) and just downplay our hopes a little.

Then, when the time comes for reveal, instead of a collective disappointed eye roll and sigh resounding through gaming communities everywhere, we may just be surprised for once. A little bit pleased and a little bit excited about the next shiny console to look forward to.

You never know, those sighs may be replaced with surprise as our tempered expectations are met with more than we expect from the

Scorpi…Oh! Continue reading

Will The Strength Of Its Games Always Be Enough For Nintendo To Ignore Power?

‘Now Your Playing With Power’ proclaimed the 1986 NES marketing campaign that is just so wonderfully a product of those 80’s days. Fast forward 30 years and there’s a different cry that seems to resonate from Nintendo’s camp.  It’s all about the games now, and that previously lauded power is secondary…

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Did EA Get The Titanfall 2 Release Wrong, Can It Respawn?

Thrown into the midst of this weeks jam packed podcast is the sad tale of Titanfall 2. It’s a disheartening story of lack of sales, which is so sad when the Sparks’ both agree that Respawn’s second iteration of their Pilot/Mech shooter not only feels amazing to play, with the tightest control and gameplay out of the big three FPS releases of the moment (Battlefield 1 and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare), but also boasts the most refined and enjoyable campaign mode too.

With flashes of inspiration from the likes of Mirror’s Edge to Super Mario Galaxy, this is one FPS that really has the player relishing each and every moment of minute-to-minute action in a campaign that really does feel like the start of a great future for the franchise.

Unfortunately, a bad release strategy – releasing in between the likes of Battlefield and Call of Duty – seems to have hampered the pick up of this great title and really, it’s fair to say that we understand why.

It is rather a baffling release strategy that leaves the Spark’s wondering if EA will back the franchise further, or was this plan perhaps designed as a way of giving the Titanfall universe one last hurrah before relinquishing any future commitment to sequels based upon sales figures?

We also discuss how Respawn got Titanfall 2 to just feel, you know, so good. With some light shed on the matter from Respawn’s own CEO Vince Zampella in an interview he recently did with glixl.com. Hear about Respawn’s development mantra and just how those controls were honed on the pod.

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PSVR Excitement Grows – Will You Be Batty for VR?

With a week and change until PlayStation VR is launched the Sparks are going PSVR crazy! In this week’s podcast excitement is building as Antony prepares his game space for VR and scours the Official PSVR FAQ for hints, tips and features to get him started on day one. Are you, like Antony, hoping to be one of the day one PSVR massive?

The VR desk has a bumper edition of PSVR news this week in preperation for the big day on October 13th and spirits are high until… Could there be a slight oversight that dulls teh celebratory speculations somewhere in the VR soup?

The answer to this and of course the rest of life’s great questions lies deep within the pod.

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