Monthly Archives: July 2015

Why the Apple Watch is no flop, and why Apple isn’t even breaking a sweat over early sales

http://www.appy-geek.com/Web/ArticleWeb.aspx?regionid=3&articleid=44865165&source=wordpress

I’m normally not the first to jump in and defend Apple but in general I have to agree with Yoni Heisler from BGR. It is obvious that most media outlets and techsperts had an unrealistic expection for the Apple Watch. These were based on prejections using the success of unrelated product categories like the iPhone and iPad. Instead what they should have been focusing on is the actual demand for wearbles themselves as a category. As I have stated before wearbles suffer from a clear identity problem as all their primary functions can be carried out by existing technology and in most cases wearbles require a tethered device (iPhone) negating any real advantage.

This is largely the reason for unrealistic expectations but there are definitely things that Apple can change to help improve sales going forward. Yoni makes a comparison between the Apple Watch and iPod which he points out didn’t really start gain traction untill 2004. Unfortunately, Yoni doesn’t explain the steps taken by Apple, namely the release of iTunes for Windows in late 2003 and the release of the cheaper iPod Mini in 2004. This comparison provides a lesson for Apple as the solution seems simple, by shifting their strategy to provide a solution to Andriod users (like Windows years ago) they would greatly increase the size of their potential customer base. Obviously that doesn’t mean all Andriod users are going to jump at the opportunity to buy an Apple product but some will always be ready to look for the best product so if priced competively it would definitely improve sales.

E3: Best of the rest

It’s been a few weeks since E3 but as promised here is my best of the rest, a closer look at some of the PS4, WiiU and cross – platform games announced  at this years expo. A quick disclaimer this list is based on my personal interest in gaming so will not see any sport titles making the cut. With out any further delay …

Final Fantasy VII Re-make

Platform: First on PS4

Release Date: Late 2016/2017

One of the headlines from Sony’s conference which grabbed a lot of attention. This full re-make of the iconic role-playing game first released in 1997 is still in the early stages but has fans excited. Information is vague but what we know is the game will feature new content to expand on the original however the inclusion of any new characters has been officially ruled out. Additionally, developers have not eliminated the possibility of expanding release beyond the PS4 but for now it’s all just speculation. This is defiantly one to keep track of over the next year or so.

Horizon Zero Dawn

Platform: PS4

Release Date: 2016

This Action RPG was my favourite exclusive from Sony, thanks to the stunning looking scenery, style of gameplay and a unique world. Horizon Zero Dawn see’s players take control of Aloy in a post – apocalyptic world fighting against  collection of monsters including robotic dinosaurs using a variety of weapons including a wicked looking bow. The clips from E3 and additional material from Sony also suggest some type of crafting system which has become a hallmark of a quality RPG.

No Man’s Sky

Platform: PS4 & Windows PC

Release Date: TBA

An open universe science fiction exploration game which promise to deliver an experience on a whole new scale. Players are introduced to a previously undiscovered universe to explore. The E3 demo gives us some idea of individual gameplay with resource gathering, interaction with alien species and space exploration key features. We still don’t have any ideas about any overriding story arc but it’s definitely a game I’ll be following during it’s continued development. Thankfully it’s coming to windows the same time as it lands on the PS4 so I’m not going to miss out.

Have a look at IGN’s exclusive look at No Man’s Sky this month.

Street Fighter 5

Platform: PS4 and Windows PC

Release Date: Early 2016

The next chapter of this icon arcade fighting franchise promise more of the same classic gameplay with a couple of new additions. Namely the inclusion of the ‘V-Gauge’ which allows players to use a variety of unique character techniques and skills like temporary power-ups or reversals. Street Fighter is always going to be a known quantity and fans of the series like myself can only be satisfied by this newest version.

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

Platform: PS4

Release Date: Early 2016

The fourth and final instalment of the Nathan Drake story finds the series protagonist is forced out of retirement for his most trying challenge yet. Gameplay follows the same third person shooter style of action adventure which fans of the series have come to enjoy. Not having played any of the previous titles before I can say the clip below does make me a little jealous as gameplay is varied and combines different elements in a fluid experience.

Sea of Thieves

Platform: Xbox One & Windows PC

Release Date: 2016

Growing up I was always a fan of the Monkey Island games due to their swashbuckling adventures, gameplay elements and Guybrush Threepwood’s comedic timing. As a result I always look at any new pirate themed game with interest and am generally disappointed as they often lack the same light-hearted approach that I enjoyed growing up instead focusing more on gritty realism. Straight away with Sea of Thieves its obvious that Rare is not going down this over done route and will likely be a bit more playful then games like Assassins Creed: Black Flag. That being said Sea of Thieves still raises a lot of questions regarding first – person melee combat and the presence of a story within the MMO format which I feel is a must for any open world game. This article from Godis A Geek goes through a couple of other features that I’ll be looking for over next year before I make up my mind.

ReCore

Platform: Xbox One

Release Date Q2 2016

Another Xbox One exclusive with limited gameplay details but it does have a unique concept in the presence of robot companions who have their own consciousness that can be transferred into different bodies through their blue core’s. The trailer also suggests that Joule, the game’s protagonist,will have access to a variety of weapons and abilities to use in combat. ReCore has some experienced developers on board in Marc Pacini and Keiji Inafune so the expectation is high. We will just have to wait and see if they deliver.

Star Fox Zero

Platform: Nintendo WiiU

Release Date: Q4 2015

Out of all Nintendo’s announcements this is the one that grab my attention and for the first time actually made me think about getting a WiiU out of nostalgia. Star Fox 64 was an old favourite of mine back in the day so the look and feel of the latest chapter immediately brought back memories, especially with the return of the old gang, Felco, Slippy and Peppy. The main difference between Star Fox Zero and it’s predecessor is the addition of the game pad which allows `players to see a cockpit view alongside the traditional rolling screen. Still not sure if it’s enough to convince me to pick up another console but who knows if the price is right.

Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate

Platform: PS4, Xbox One and Windows

Release Date: October 23 2015

I’m glade to see Ubisoft are mixing things up a little with introduction of a female protagonist. Hopefully this acts to vary the gameplay as players are able to switch between the twins, Jacob and Evie. My main criticism of the franchise has been the repetitive experience which has not really changed since the first game despite the addition of era specific elements like pirate ships. The supposedly faster combat and other changes show that Ubisoft might be listening to fans but we will have to wait and see. I’m looking forward to this one partly because of the era as a scholar of Dickens I have an image of Victorian London and couldn’t give up any chance to explore this world.

I know there are other games that could have easily made this list but as I have said before games are very subjective and these are the ones that have caught my eye. Feel free to let me know what has got you excited from E3.

Jono