The console wars continue. Microsoft announces significant changes to the XBox feeds, friend lists, Blu-Ray and mobile purchases, yet the Playstation 4 still remains the best-selling console in the past six months. On the App front, Google no longer considers titles with in-game purchases as free, following European Commission’s recommendations. Another ugly early access story rears its head, but this time impacting the developers rather than the customers. Finally, Russian TV uses a Metal Gear Solid 5 screenshot in their report about child soldiers. Here is the gaming news daily digest from Guardian Liberty Voice for July 21, 2014.
Big changes coming to Xbox in August
Microsoft has just announced a rather hefty update coming to their latest console. The activity feed will be changed to a single column with more content and ability to post, like and comment on various items such as user gaming clips. The home area will also show recent friend activity and notifications of the last time a friend was seen online. XBox social scene is definitely taking notes from Facebook.
Another nice addition is mobile purchasing, allowing the users to buy games or Downloadable Content (DLC) remotely using the SmartGlasses or through the website. The console can download them automatically, making the new tool very handy for preparing a gaming session while on the way home from work. The console will also enable 3D Blu-ray support and add One Guide (live TV listings) for Brazil, Mexico, Austria and Ireland.
Playstation 4 still top-selling console in the US
The big update above and the recent news of Kinect-less XBox are undoubtedly Microsoft’s attempt to overtake its competitor. However, Sony’s Playstation 4 has been the best-selling console in this generation of hardware and it looks like it will keep that title yet again in July. When the current XBox was released six months ago, Microsoft received a lot of criticism for its DRM and Kinect bundling, whereas Sony was praised for more leniency and embracing of indie titles. It seems the initial reception predicted the success of the consoles.
News report on child soldiers uses Metal Gear Solid 5 screenshot
Russia Today, an English-language 24/7 news network from the Russian perspective, has recently broadcasted a report on child soldiers in Africa. During the report it used a screenshot from the upcoming game depicting a group of kids armed with guns sitting on a tank. The picture has been released by Konami as promotional material earlier this year and, although it is very high quality, it is hard to mistake it for an actual photo. Perhaps some of the Russia Today reports are secretly big fans of the series and wanted to pay a little tribute. This is reminiscent of Fox News showing a “Defending the Homeland” logo very similar to that from Bioshock: Infinite a few weeks back. The incident was rather ironic given the game’s core themes about immigration and nationalism.
Early Access game leads to early pirating
Modern Combat 5, an upcoming first person shooter for the mobile and Windows platforms, proves another disappointing early access story, but this time for the developers. Gameloft, who is working on the title, recently ran a contest to give players a chance to try the game early. One such player apparently cracked the game and released it on various torrent and pirate websites for free. Florian Weber, the Gameloft community manager, understandably expressed a lot of anger and disappointment. While early access has been often criticized for leaving paying customers with unfinished games, this might be one of the first instance where the model jeopardizes the developers directly.
Google Play no longer labels Free-to-Play games as free
The Google app and game marketplace removed the green “free” label from all titles that contain in-app purchases, including big hits such as Angry Birds. The change follows a recent European Commission recommendation to better inform app purchasers about what the games involve, particularly for children. Amazon has recently been sued for deliberately making monetization easy in kid’s games, leading to thousands of dollars unwittingly charged on parents’ credit cards. The Apple store faced similar lawsuits in the past as well.
Gaming New Digest From Guardian Liberty Voice Commentary by Jakub Kasztalski
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