Amazon reportedly readying Android console


Game Informer says online retailer is working to have a new system with dedicated controller out by Black Friday.

Android console

Amazon could be the latest company jumping into the Android-based console market. Game Informer cites sources “who have knowledge of the in-development hardware” with the news that the online retailer is looking to launch its own Android-powered console by the end of this year.

The report says the system will have its own dedicated controller, and that Amazon will use the hardware to push its own Appstore, which offers a different paid app for free every day. Amazon uses a similar strategy with its Kindle Fire tablet, using the hardware to drive consumption of books, movies, games and other content that are also provided by the retailer.

The Android-powered console market is quickly becoming crowded. Ouya and Nvidia’s Shield were the first to launch, but there are a number of competitors on the way, including PlayJam’s GameStick, Mad Catz’s Mojo, and Bluestacks’ GamePop. Google is also rumored to be preparing its own Android console.

As of press time, an Amazon representative had not responded to a request for comment.

 

[source]

Daily Reaction: How Publishers Try to Control the Media


July 24, 2013 Written by Dan Oravasaari

FreePress

The long wait is finally over: The Daily Reaction crew of Seb and Dan are back at work and complaining about something. Today, a leak outing Microsoft’s plan to bring self-publishing to the Xbox One angered the platform holder because they were shocked that journalism had just happened.

Dan: Earlier today, Game Informer leaked Microsoft’s plans to bring self publishing to the Xbox One. This forced Microsoft to confirm the news, but their response to GI’s leak has caused a bit of a ripple. According to Game Informer’s Andy McNamara:

Even though we reached out to MS hours ago, we of course didn’t get the official statement as MS is reportedly “angry” about our story

MS reached out to a few publications to clarify the situation and it seems that, in a bit of a tantrum, they gave GI the cold shoulder.

The games industry has not always been known for its maturity, but for a publisher of MS’ size to blatantly respond to a situation that is the standard practice for most industries outside of gaming takes things to a new level. Games journalists rarely get a chance to shine in any form like the world media, as other ‘real-world’ publications break topics about the NSA spying on people, and we try to break information about announcements. Similarly, the outside world will not care about MS finally adding self-publishing to the Xbox One, so Microsoft should realize the leak just isn’t that big of a deal and it is people just doing their job.

This ultimately breaks down to a much bigger issue that stems to the reason for a publisher to become hostile towards their media: A lack of control. The games media does not have the power that other publications have – we are split between trying to balance the information we can obtain ourselves and what we can and can’t say through our embargo system. Publishers feel that they can manage the information that goes out to the press and only get out positive information in the time frames they want, but seem to forget we are a free press system still.

The most infamous and publicized event to represent this is the Kane & Lynch review by GameSpot, that launched journalist Jeff Gerstmann into the public spotlight when the publisher’s marketing team took issue with his score. Control over the media is far from a new concept, as the media in general usually relies on bigger powers for information, but they also act as a balancing force to keep those powers in check.

Moments like this may seem small and trivial to the general public, but the pressures of a system that allows retaliation for due diligence will have bigger repercussions for the audience much further down the line.

Seb: This is just depressing, so it’s the perfect topic to kick off DR’s return with. Sadly, this is nothing new – publishers have far too much control over the games press, and they believe they are entitled to it.

The games press mostly regurgitates press releases, covers events publishers hold, previews games at publisher preview sessions and reviews games sent to them by publishers. That’s mostly unavoidable, and not always bad – for example, E3 can be great for the press, and can be even better for the readers.

Publishers do this because it is essentially free advertising – every time we cover a game trailer, that’s thousands upon thousands they’ve saved on YouTube ads. But they seem to think that’s the press’ only purpose, getting upset like spoiled brats every time the press do their job – holding the industry to account.

Honest reviews are vital for obvious reasons – people need to know if a game is terrible, and it helps ensure publishers at least try to make something good. But covering what is wrong with other parts of the industry is just as important – for example, the press’ part in covering why self publishing was so great for the PS4 is one of the main reasons Microsoft has now backtracked and ‘embraced’ it.

In the past, when the press didn’t do as their masters bid them, they would be blacklisted (completely shut out of any press events, interviews etc) – Kotaku was temporarily blacklisted by Sony for leaking Home’s existence, while Activision reportedly blacklisted Gameblog.fr for writing about something viewable on Amazon. Despite both these being legitimate pieces of journalism, publishers contacted them letting them know they were blacklisted.

That doesn’t happen any more. Now, they don’t let sites know. Instead, they simply stop inviting you to as many events, don’t send over as many games, or agree to do as many interviews. It’s just childish, and pathetic.

However, Game Informer is huge, a massively powerful gaming outlet whose coverage can literally impact the sales success of a game (and platform) to a noticeable degree. Microsoft can’t afford to be petulant for too long to GI. Sadly, the same can’t be said for the smaller sites, and even here at a medium sized site we’re aware of missing out or review copies and event privileges suddenly, just after a scoop or a harsh review (according to Metacritic, we are noticeably harsher than the average critic) is published. Because they don’t outright say ‘you’re blacklisted’, we can’t outright say ‘Capcom is trying to blacklist us for being journalists’, but it is something that’s happening.

It’s a sad indictment of all that is wrong with the industry, but as publishers are reliant on the press, it is becoming increasingly clear that they don’t have as much control as they think they do. There will always be some members of the press who don’t just follow what a PR company is telling them to do, and if that number rises it will become harder and harder for publishers to try to exert any authority over them.

We need to draw attention to this every time it happens, as this bad publicity will put pressure on publishers as public support rallies behind GI/etc for covering the truth. Equally, the press cannot shy away from covering things that will make people unhappy – be they publishers or readers. The only thing that matters is the truth, and journalists should strive to uncover it no matter what enemies they make.

[source]

Out of Print, The Decline of Games Journalism


As the year has progressed, more and more games print publications have closed up shop. It’s a sad state of affairs that shows an undeniable trend towards a digital-only future. Daily Reaction’s Seb and Dan discuss what has happened, why and what’s next.

Seb: It’s definitely very tragic to see the death of print media happening right before our eyes. Over here in the UK, PSM3 and XBW are closing down before Christmas and over in the States PTOM is set to go along with Nintendo Power.

Nintendo Power began 24 years ago and is now coming to an end. They began as almost a bulletin board of what was happening in Nintendo news, published by Nintendo themselves. It gave people strategy guides, helping people with harder games – they didn’t just make the games super easy, like they do now. Future Publishing took over in 2007, adding NP to its then-growing roster of games mag

It, along with PTOM and all the other gaming mags of old, were people’s gateway to the world of gaming. It’s how they knew what was coming out, was was probably good, and what to avoid.

Then came the internet.

Dan: Yeah it is very sad to see some of the last standing print gaming magazines going down, as there already only so few left. As the internet has become the mainstay for the most current and up to date source for news, and all things within the industry, it is understandable that print as a news medium is becoming more and more obsolete. Yet, as someone who grew up reading GamePro, Nintendo Power, and EGM, it’s hard to believe that the only one left is EGM, and locating copies is harder than ever.

As almost every major gaming news publication has already migrated over to the internet, it’s easy to see that the ability to reach every person connected to the web is one of the strongest methods of communication available to date. We are now able to have information spread throughout the world within seconds, without having to wait for the printing process, and distribution of a product to inform people of anything from the smallest detail to the most life altering events. Sadly, with this comes not only the benefits of having news instantly transferred to you, but we are also inundated with pointless articles, and spotty journalism. This ability to transfer news has created competition in grabbing a readers attention through sensationalism, instead of enlightening readers and giving them something to ponder.

Seb: Exactly, the internet is a brilliant tool for news (full disclosure: I work for a games news site) and can be an incredible source for in-depth features – but mostly it’s not. All media is flawed, it relies on commercialism, it relies on getting money by making you read it. So in newspapers they’ll go with massive headlines like “Obama Kisses Romney”, even if it requires stretching the truth a little.

But the great thing about print is the sensationalism is mainly kept to that front page, because that’s the only point at which they need to draw you in. Once they’ve done that, they can give you the longer features that are of a higher quality.

With online, every single article is a potential goldmine of traffic, and each one needs to draw people in all over again. So that leads to terrible sensationalism to simply get people clicking. It also leads to a focus on pumping out tons of short posts so that readers go to a bunch of ad-covered pages, rather than staying on one massive, well thought out page.

Despite the flaws of internet games news, it is inevitably going to win – less people are buying mags every month, the economy sucks, and certain sites out there profit by uploading scans of magazines and putting them on N4G.

One avenue print as a whole is desperately trying to move into is having e-publications on tablets and smartphones. The success of this is still debatable, and piracy is again an issue, but it could give them a way to keep going.

Or we could just hope that online games websites do more quality features.

Dan: Luckily there are a few major print magazines still going out into the wild, but sadly we will see them die off slowly. Although, Game Informer have found a way to sustain themselves in this current climate that is killing off major print publications from every type of medium. Sadly, the only way that GI found a way to weather the times, is that they are owned by GameStop, and are pushed into customers hands on each sale of merchandise. This can be considered a conflict of interest, but that is a topic for another day. The fact of the matter is, that without GameStop pushing the GI magazine, it is doubtful that we would be seeing it for much longer.

As the end of print nears, we are seeing less professional work being done as well as a downgrade in the perception of games journalism. This is something that as a writer is very disheartening, especially when you see the strength that sensational articles get by simply stating a big title’s name and top 10 or new something or other. So as we see the industry move away from the old way of delivering news, we are also seeing a change in the climate of type of news being delivered. Long gone are the intelligent and thought provoking articles of years past, now, as attention spans diminish and the ability to read drops, audiences are expecting a slimmed down and direct method of news. This ‘news lite’ leaves out much of the ability for readers to see a full picture, and leaves too many openings for immature and unprofessional writers to congest real news and information from actually reaching the masses.

Do you still subscribe to games magazines? Are you worried about the average quality of online news? Did you hear about that rumor from this guy on Twitter that there’s a PS4 on the loose? Share your thoughts in the comments below, see if we’ll print your made up comments by messaging us on Twitter at Seb and Dan, and don’t forget to email us magazine scans.

Be sure to email DR ideas, podcast comments and general stupid stuff toDailyReaction@PlayStationLifeStyle.net to enter a competition to win nothing.

The Last of Us Gets New Female Character


Naughty Dog sure does love teasing us with The Last of Us information. After the mind-blowing E3 demo for the game, we were told that we’ll have to wait until the VGA’s on December 7th for another world exclusive trailer, complete with brand new gameplay footage.

Now, in the latest issue of Game Informer, this image has surfaced of Ellie, Joel, and a mysterious woman:

We don’t know who she is or what she has to do with the story, but this quote was featured within the issue:

“It looks as though Joel and Ellie are joined by this mysterious woman… Who is she? Can she be trusted? Stay tuned.”

With just under a month before the VGA’s we have that much time to speculate just who this woman is, so let us know your wildest theories in the comments section below.

The Last of Us will launch exclusively for the PlayStation 3 at some point in 2013.

[Source/Via]

Grand Theft Auto V Pre-order Items Arrive


Update: Rockstar Games says the recent hurricane in New York City has delayed production on the second trailer to some degree. It’s unclear when we can expect its release.

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Eager fans can begin pre-ordering Grand Theft Auto V starting today. Retailers received a bunch of promotional items and even a letter suggesting a new trailer is coming soon.

Forum members on NeoGAF have posted the extra items you receive, which includes a double-sided poster and collectible Los Santos photo viewers showing screenshots of the game. The letter sent to retailers suggests a new trailer for the game is also coming in a few days.

Check out the gallery below for high-resolution screenshots of the posters.

[Source: NeoGAF]

Disclaimer: Game Informer is owned by GameStop