BOFH_UK Comments

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  • Assassin's Creed Unity season pass owners can now claim their free game

  • BOFH_UK 18/12/2014

    @Gahro I know they flagged that as a potential problem but got mine on the 26th (after the announcement, thanks Game and your usual half-arsed efforts at managing your web site!) and it all went through without a hitch. Reply 0
  • Last-gen revisited: Far Cry 4

  • BOFH_UK 18/12/2014

    @Boycie86 Actually I think it's more a case of hitting diminishing returns. Compare, say, Call of Duty 2 to Advanced Warfare. That's a huge jump but the starting point was pretty poor. Now compare Advanced Warfare on 360 to the PC version. Vast amount more power but improving over the 360 version in massive, attention grabbing ways gets harder and harder.

    Ultimately gaming is now a mature market and the easy wins of earlier generations (8 > 16bit, 2d to 3d etc) probably won't be seen again. I wouldn't be at all surprised if we start seeing both MS and Sony release consoles more frequently but sticking with PC components and ensuring backwards compatibility...
    Reply +1
  • Rich Stanton on: GTA's growing pains

  • BOFH_UK 13/12/2014

    Here's the problem that GTA 5 faces: over 35 million copies sold, almost a billion dollars in the first 24 hours of release and the biggest selling game of all time (in the UK at least).

    GTA has always had a bit of a punk rock, anti-authority vibe to it but - like it or not - the GTA series has become the establishment. GTA 5 is effectively a very public face of gaming and will be used as a yardstick to assess the industry and the issues that surround it. Is that fair? Probably not, it's certainly no way to look at a landscape as diverse as video games in 2014. But perception is everything and right now GTA is seen as representative of the industry as a whole.

    Which *is* a problem as GTA 5 has a very old school attitude in many ways. Whether the jokes are funny or not is, of course, completely subjective (and, frankly, irrelevant to this conversation) but the way it deals with some rather sensitive subject areas is... let's be generous and say questionable. That's not a knock on the game (which is possibly the best open world I've ever played) or those that play it, but when you get this big there's a certain level of responsibility that comes packaged with that success.

    Is it a major issue for GTA 5? Probably not, but any potential GTA 6 does need to address at least some of those concerns. Personally I hope they manage to find a way to do so while keeping the vast pile of good things about the series intact.
    Reply +9
  • EA Sports UFC joins EA Access next week

  • BOFH_UK 12/12/2014

    Very glad to see this come to EA Access, bit surprised it's arrived so soon. Having a look at the website seems like they've been adding extra content for free too so fair play to the devs. Looking forward to taking this for a spin and (and weird as this will sound) all credit to EA for delivering such good value for money. Reply +10
  • Assassin's Creed, Diablo, Mordor reduced in Xbox Black Friday sale

  • BOFH_UK 26/11/2014

    @dannyboi3459 Plus an extra 5% off if you like their Facebook page... Sorely tempted even if I have got the PC version but I'm going to bank on Black Flag hitting games with gold at some point...

    Edit Which reminds me, if you're buying digital from the Xbox store you could do worse than topping up on credit from CD Keys. With 50 going for 43.90 (or 41.71 with the 5% discount) you'd be effectively saving another 16% versus buying with a card.
    Reply +3
  • BOFH_UK 26/11/2014

    No idea if it's true or not but there's a 'leaked' screenshot doing the rounds of the X1 deals for the weekend. Highlights would be 50% off Shadow of Mordor (yes please!), Evil Within and Ryse: Son of Rome Legendary Edition and 75%off both a TitanFall bundle and the season pass. Full image here:

    As for the already announced stuff, I'm sorely tempted by Diablo 3 and Defense Grid 2. Only problem is they'd effectively be 'banker' games for when my current backlog runs out. UFC is another one with a surprisingly good deal but I'll wait for it to hit EA Access.
    Reply +5
  • Face-Off: Assassin's Creed Unity

  • BOFH_UK 17/11/2014

    So I have a suggestion for EG when it comes to reviews in this day and age of integrated on-line services and ongoing patches. While I realise you need to get your reviews out as quickly as possible it's become very obvious this year that this doesn't always serve the game buying public as well as it could when issues appear almost immediately after launch. With this in mind - and considering you have DF contributing tech analysis articles on most AAA titles these days - why not hold off on the final score for a week or so?

    Still publish the review as-is just leave that number off the bottom. When the DF article comes out (or the initial week has passed if DF aren't covering that particular game) update the review with a 'one week later' closing section and add the score. That ought to be enough to give people a guide as to whether it's something they're interested in while maybe giving pause for thought as the initial feedback comes through?
    Reply +18
  • Far Cry 4 review

  • BOFH_UK 14/11/2014

    This might sound odd but it just struck me while reading through the review that there's almost no discussion of the core gameplay or performance. Nothing about the gunplay or movement, no comment on vehicle handling, no mention of AI beyond saying you can call them in instead of a co-op partner. In fact (and of course this is just my opinion) there doesn't seem to be anything here that tells you what the game *is* beyond a reskin of Far Cry 3. Similarly surely there should be a basic discussion of performance, even if only a couple of sentences or a 'yep, it all runs fine' confirmation (doubly so considering recent events). Reply +130
  • Assassin's Creed: Unity launch debacle sparks Ubisoft rethink

  • BOFH_UK 13/11/2014

    Except that this is only dealing with the surface issue and both Ubisoft and the gaming media knows that. Yes public betas and *gasp* allowing reviews to be published ahead of launch are helpful steps but with the current culture of pre-orders they don't fix the main problem. There is an expectation that, while a modern game with dozens of interlocking systems and on-line components may have some issues that aren't discovered until it launches, it isn't fundamentally broken.

    Looking around at the vast number of issues reported with Unity it's clear that this is a game that needed to be delayed. It's just not finished with full blown crashes, serious performance issues, incomplete character models, horrible LoD problems and a ton of traversal-based bugs including the whole world vanishing. There's no way that Ubisoft didn't know about this before launch yet it went ahead anyway leaving the customer reliant on patches to deliver the game they paid for.

    Again, we're not talking about a few days of on-line play not working or issues with a particular side-quest. While intensely irritating those sorts of problems are almost inevitable given the complexity of todays games. Ubisoft needs to be careful here as this is one of their major marquee titles and there's going to be a lot of unhappy Unity players out there. It's time to ditch the PR speak, hold their hands up and acknowledge that they screwed up big time. A gesture of compensation wouldn't go amiss either, maybe make the DLC free or something. Whatever's done I suspect a great many customers may be a bit more cautious when plunking down the cash the next time...
    Reply +17
  • Assassin's Creed Unity review

  • BOFH_UK 11/11/2014

    @Skyclad To be fair CoD did at least introduce something new this time round with the exosuits. Though I suspect it's more that CoD gets the basic systems more-or-less right. Sure it may be a twitch shooter not to everyone's tastes but if it IS something you're interested in it does that very very well. Unity, on t'other hand, seems to still have issues with the core mechanics (parkour, tailing missions etc) that have been present for a long, long time and with the gameplay shifting back to a city setting they're more of a problem than they were in, say, Black Flag. Reply +1
  • BOFH_UK 11/11/2014

    I normally never comment on editorial decisions but I've got to make an exception here. Reports are coming in from all over the place that Unity is an absolute dog in terms of performance and stability yet the only mention of this in the review is a screenshot caption. Yet we've got a huge article diving into every last detail of Halo: Master Chief Collection from Digital Foundry.

    This strikes me as flat out bizarre. Unity is a multi-platform game where people may base their purchasing decision on performance on one system over another. There's also clearly a story on the tech side to be discussed. Yet EG decide to go with a system exclusive that, lets face it, will sell based on whether you like the franchise rather than on whether a particular game renders at 1080p60 or not...
    Reply +2
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition's EA Access trial detailed

  • BOFH_UK 04/11/2014

    @riz23 Umm... many hours of fun playing games for far less than it'd cost to buy them? Getting new experiences I might have missed if I had to pay for the title? Same way I'm more than happy to pay for Netflix as it gives me access to a ton of media that I'm interested in trying but don't want to own. I've already got more hours of gameplay from that 20 than I've had from any full price title this year so, for me, it's been a very worthwhile purchase.

    Sorry but I've got no interest in owning all my media anymore. I used to - hell I've still got my original Gameboy and Lynx in a drawer along with several games for both - but ultimately all they do is take up space and get played maybe once a year, if that.

    Now this is, of course, just my personal opinion driven by my experiences in gaming, my preferences and my current circumstances. Others, like yourself, will have different views and that's fantastic! The world would be deeply boring if we all agreed on everything after all. But it also doesn't make any one viewpoint *wrong* either... just a thought.
    Reply +3
  • YouTube unlocks 60fps playback

  • BOFH_UK 30/10/2014

    @Davemanz Up to a couple of years ago I'd have agreed but some of the current systems can be incredibly effective. The problem is most manufacturers still default to the most aggressive settings which turns everything into an episode of The Benny Hill Show. Turn 'em down, reign in the excessive processing and you can get a noticeable improvement without sacrificing realism. Reply 0
  • Sony "temporarily holding back" DriveClub's free PlayStation Plus edition

  • BOFH_UK 09/10/2014

    I know that teething problems with on-line titles are sadly all too common these days but this seems a tad farcical. After all this was a title that was intended to be released for free (albeit in limited form) to PS+ subscribers. It's also a major graphical showcase and an exclusive title to the PS4 that's been hyped for over a year.

    Surely when you put all those together they had to expect that a large percentage of the PS4 user base would all try and grab it at the same time? Considering that they've held back the PS+ version and this is just retail purchases how badly under-spec is the back end infrastructure? For a game that puts the on-line component in its title that's pretty poor...
    Reply +8
  • What next for Minecraft on PlayStation?

  • BOFH_UK 18/09/2014

    Fairly sure MS won't kill Minecraft on other platforms. Doesn't make sense and would likely anger the entire fanbase, plus they're kinda used to publishing on rival platforms at this point. Still wouldn't be surprised to see Minecraft get bundled with every Xbox One (or, indeed, a special edition console) but there's one thing in particular that jumps out as a natural fit for MS: Minecraft Realms.

    For those that don't know Realms is basically a rent-a-server service for Minecraft with decent security services and the ability to import or export maps from/to the standalone game. It's only on PC/Mac at the moment but surely it's not a huge stretch to imagine MS throwing some of its cloud computing services at Realms to bring it to Xbox.

    The other thing that'd be very interesting on the consoles would be Microsoft enabling (albeit likely in limited form) modding, probably as paid DLC. As presumably there's no fee for MS to put content on its own platform allowing a lot of small bits of content wouldn't present an issue and you've got to imagine that stuff like texture packs would find a big following if priced cheaply enough.
    Reply +3
  • Destiny review

  • BOFH_UK 17/09/2014

    For me Destiny is the most frustrating game I've played in years. There are moments - usually while on patrol missions - that everything comes together perfectly. When random players come together to take on a public event, the game systems encourage you to almost subconsciously use decent tactics and something truly spectacular ensues. But those moments are rare and end up lost in a sea of grinding that never feels like it rewards you in a meaningful way.

    Maybe it's down to not yet reaching level 20 so the game 'hasn't started' yet. But surely having to chuck 10 to 20 hours at a game just to get to the good parts point to a failure in the development cycle? What's really strange to me is this is Bungie, they know how to make a ridiculous, overblown sci-fi universe work as a coherent story so why on earth is this so bare bones?

    The really annoying part is you can see the potential shining through everywhere. Maybe the best comparison I can think of is the original Assassin's Creed which clearly had so much potential but never quite delivered on it. Hopefully Bungie can realise that potential but I've got a horrible feeling that if and when they do it'll have a big DLC price tag attached...
    Reply +15
  • Microsoft buys Mojang and Minecraft for $2.5bn

  • BOFH_UK 15/09/2014

    @sid-6581 Random thought but it doesn't have to justify itself in software sales alone. What if, just for example, they bundled it free with the X1 and made it permanently free for existing users? That's a VERY powerful incentive for a huge demographic of gamers (and, if I was being cynical, helps them get away from the Bro image a little). Reply +2
  • BOFH_UK 15/09/2014

    As odd as this will sound... might not be a bad thing in the long run. Pace of updates on the consoles has been slow and if there's one thing MS can bring to bear in spades its resources. And I wouldn't be too quick to dismiss Minecraft as past its prime. Seems like every single kid I know these days is using it and it's (in theory anyway) more or less timeless. Reply +7
  • Need for Speed: Rivals is cruising onto EA Access

  • BOFH_UK 03/09/2014

    Fair play to EA, Access is proving to be exceptional value for money at the moment. Of course I'm sure this thread will soon be full of 'it's the end of the world!' posts but here's a thought: judge based on what you can see, not what you can imagine. Right now EA are doing this right. Access isn't affecting demos, offers money off digital downloads, gives a nice long preview of a game if you want it and has some good titles in the Vault. For 20 a year it's hard to argue that isn't great value for money.

    Now of course this could change over time. All sorts of horrible things could happen and EA could really abuse the service to put a ton of content behind a paywall. Thing is though there's a really simple solution to that: just drop the subscription. Money talks and in this case the absolute worst case would be you've payed 20 the day before the service changed and you decide not to use it any more.

    As for other publishers following suit so what? Hell I hope they do! Would a one stop shop at these prices be better? Of course but there's zero chance of this happening as it wouldn't be economically viable for the publishers. Frankly a 20 yearly sub to play games that are a year or two old doesn't sound like a bad deal at all for the big publishers. Even if you subscribed to, say, EA, Ubisoft and Activision that's still only the retail cost of a single full priced title. Or, to put it another way, you're looking at steam sale prices on consoles.
    Reply +7
  • Amazon acquires Twitch for $970 million

  • BOFH_UK 25/08/2014

    @Scopeh Simple answer: Money. Twitch has a huge user base and it's mostly focused on one area - video games. Where Google would have served other people's ads Amazon can just link straight to its own services. Watch a livestream of, say, GTA 5? Here's a link to the game on whatever platform it's being played on, and another to buy the console itself. It could also integrate very well into their Fire range of mobile devices. Reply +6
  • Titanfall and MGS: Ground Zeroes both half price on Xbox One

  • BOFH_UK 14/08/2014

    @obidanshinobi If you've got some experience at SP FPS you'll probably be fine once you wrap your head around the movement system. Nice thing with TF is the small teams, ability to take other routes and (usually) decent respawns tends to prevent the two-seconds-of-life problem other MP FPS can suffer from. Snipers are rare as it's almost impossible to find truly safe locations & everyone moves so quickly anyway. If you find yourself dying against humans go hunt the AI, it still gets your team points and can swing the balance of a match. Or hop in a Titan, stay away from the busier bits and provide long range fire support. Or.. well, you get the idea. Reply +2
  • BOFH_UK 14/08/2014

    Not sure why Titanfall is seen to have a failing community, don't think I've ever had to wait more than a couple of minutes to join a game and it's actually improving recently (though that may be due to the matchmaking changes). As for the game itself it's the FPS that got me back into on-line play for the first time in years! Wonderful movement, rare you get into a die-respawn-die cycle and there's always something you can do to help the team, even if it's just minion hunting.

    Picked up Ground Zeros and initial impressions are very good. Yep it's short but the replay value is obvious from the first time you screw up and get spotted. 12 is probably about right for the amount of content and it's a good way to see if you're going to enjoy the basic mechanics before Phantom Pain comes out. Also must be said it's just gorgeous and a great way of showing how much of a difference a good lighting model can make in a game.
    Reply +12
  • This is how Minecraft looks running on PlayStation Vita

  • BOFH_UK 14/08/2014

    It's not that Minecraft isn't big enough to sell Vita that's the problem, it's that Minecraft is already available on iOS and Android and is massively popular. As such it's very hard to convince people to buy a dedicated handheld for a game the majority can already play if they want (albeit a less developed version). Reply +3
  • Assassin's Creed Unity is more than meets the Eagle's eye

  • BOFH_UK 13/08/2014

    While I'm waiting for reviews on this there's one bit in this article that really gives me hope. Not the redone story or fighting engine but the tailing missions no longer being insta-fails! By far and away the most irritating part of the other games for me and they seemed to be much more common in later installments. Being able to take another option would go a long way towards easing the frustration they caused.

    And the thing is I really hope they nail Unity. AC is a franchise with so much potential but it's only really AC2 and maybe Brotherhood that delivered it. If they've really got rid of the hand-holding and forced approaches to missions this could end up being something very special.
    Reply +3
  • EA Access is now publicly available on Xbox One

  • BOFH_UK 11/08/2014

    @Watkins Yes I remember and while MS made some serious mistakes during the XB1 introduction... there's also some real benefits to going digital. Have a look at the Home Xbox option for XB1 if you have a minute, allows anyone who signs in to that console to play any game you've bought digitally. Or look at the PC market where games have been moving to digital delivery for years now, or the entire mobile phone app industry. It's really only the console market where the loyalty to physical media remains strong... Reply +1
  • BOFH_UK 11/08/2014

    Signed up as, for me, it makes a lot of sense. Yes, the price may / will go up in the long run and there's all sorts of horrible things EA could do to abuse the service. However if they do any of that stuff I'll simply re-evaluate my use and decide whether it's worth keeping the sub. Until that happens I just paid 20 for access to 4 games I want to play and a fiver off at least two titles I'm planning on buying digitally anyway. And yes, before the usual name calling starts, I'm well aware that it's cheaper to buy physical copies but I place value on convenience, don't trade or sell games when they're still worth much and am fed up of having racks of physical media taking up space so have made the decision to go all digital this time round.

    And that's surely what this comes down to, personal choice. If you don't see the value in the service as it is today then that's fair enough. But if it fits your needs then why not? I've got no particular burning desire to play the latest sports games but there are times I enjoy a few games of FIFA or Madden. Peggle 2 has been on the radar for a while and Battlefield has me curious. Great, best value purchase I'll make all year and I've got 12 months to decide if I want to pay to play beyond that.

    As for games as a service, actually I've not got any problems with that if it's done properly. EA Access isn't quite there yet - and I'd be astonished if they went all the way with this for new releases as I'm not sure how that business model would work - but if the alternative is a more publisher-agnostic service at PS Now prices I'd far prefer this. Hell if every big publisher went this route and at these prices you'd have access to a back catalogue of dozens of games for around 60 (say EA, Activision and Ubisoft) or the rrp of ONE new release. Not seeing where the problem is there. Again this can all change in the future but any silly price increases (again, current PS Now prices are a good example) will surely see demand drop like a stone.
    Reply +3
  • Video: Releasing the Kraken in Evolve

  • BOFH_UK 04/08/2014

    @Dizzy To be fair though you'd expect the game to be heavily biased towards the hunters at the start as they're playing a (relatively) familiar FPS. The creature player is going to have to develop a whole new approach to take them on successfully and most journalists just don't have the hands on time to do that yet. Reply +1
  • Titanfall: Frontier's Edge review

  • BOFH_UK 01/08/2014

    Time will tell of course but the Black Market sounds like a very, very good idea. At the moment the game looses a lot of its momentum when you hit the level 50 cap. Sure you can regenerate but you immediately lose access to the bulk of the weapons and upgrades you've worked to unlock, plus the requirements to regen past level 2 can force you to play with stuff you just don't enjoy. Black Market will at least give another option as part of your otherwise wasted XP gets turned into cash. Reply +3
  • Sony says EA Access program isn't "good value"

  • BOFH_UK 30/07/2014

    What utter nonsense. Sorry but this whole "PS+ is up by 200% since PS4 launch because gamers want value" would carry a lot more weight if the PS4 didn't *require* PS+ for on-line gameplay. That's not necessarily criticizing PS+ - it's still a very good value service and I'm happy to be signed up to it - but this ain't comparing like for like.

    As for value, why not let the customer decide? Presumably Sony would have got a cut of whatever subs are sold so they're leaving money on the table and I doubt they'd do that because they're protecting their customers from a bad deal. The cynical part of me may, however, suspect that Sony really doesn't want a PS Now rival on the system at $30 a year when they're currently charging that much for 90 days of access to Final Fntasy XIII-2.

    Of course there's one big, big difference between the two services that goes a long way to explaining that cost. EA are basically just delivering the digital copy of the game to your Xbox whereas Sony are having to run a full server infrastructure and streaming service for every second you're playing. That's likely to make it near-impossible for PS Now to be price competitive if EA keep their prices at this level.
    Reply +5
  • EA Access gives players access to triple-A games for $5 a month

  • BOFH_UK 29/07/2014

    As much as people dislike EA this is a really interesting and potentially consumer-friendly idea. I say potentially as we don't necessarily know all the details yet so let's reserve judgement until it launches but if there's no hidden catches I'll be signing up. $30 (or, let's face it, likely 30) for a year of access to older titles is a really good deal and the 10% discount is nice for those of us who prefer buying digital anyway. Doubly so if, like me, you want to play sports games but don't care about having the latest teams etc.

    What I'm not so keen on is the potential for locking non-subscribers out of demos / trials of new games. Hopefully it splits with demos for all and limited access to a fuller version of games for subscribers. That being said if it does take off it'd mean a decent size pool of players who could effectively stress test games like Battlefield before it goes on public sale so I guess there's upsides there too. It'll be interesting to see if other publishers consider doing something similar...
    Reply +2
  • Bungie reassures fans disappointed that Destiny only has one playable area per planet

  • BOFH_UK 28/07/2014

    Gave the beta a whirl on the weekend and, frankly, was wondering what all the fuss was about. It's a pretty game but the weapons felt weak, the enemies a bit boring, the storyline strangely dull and the character / weapons upgrades didn't seem to be a patch on Borderlands 2. Only four areas to explore seems a bit stingy and my worry is that Destiny will go down to WoW route with a LOT of add-ons post launch.

    All that said it IS only a beta at the end of the day and I'll reserve judgement until the final game is released. Problem is there's a lot of competition in the FPS market right now so Destiny is going to have to do something very special to stand out from the crowd.
    Reply +28
  • Microsoft's PR blunders caused Sony to re-write E3 PlayStation 4 script

  • BOFH_UK 09/07/2014

    You know I still wonder if things would have been different had MS not led with TV. If they'd pitched the X1 as a games machine first (and, let's be honest, they had a decent launch line up) would the backlash have been quite so viscous? Okay, granted, the always-online thing was ludicrous but there were some interesting ideas tucked in there. Reply 0
  • Samsung's Gear VR headset revealed in leaked image

  • BOFH_UK 09/07/2014

    Leaving aside the whole 'strap a phone to your face' part for a moment surely any VR headset needs to arrive with a compelling reason to use it? 3D TV's have already shown just how (un)willing people are to put on lightweight glasses, surely the market for the facephone as a media consumption device is measured in single digits? Reply +5
  • Destiny beta release dates, expansions announced

  • BOFH_UK 08/07/2014

    @Gayrath Actually it's the other way round, the maintenance period hits the PS3 and 4 beta which starts on the 17th. Maintenance on 21st and 22nd then the full beta on the 23rd. Still seems like a daft thing to do mind. Reply 0
  • Gran Turismo 7 in the works, standard cars set to stay

  • BOFH_UK 27/06/2014

    At some point Polyphony is going to have to bite the bullet and start over on the car models. The difference is already jarring on the PS3 (especially if you play in cockpit view!) but it's going to be a farce on the PS4.

    While Turn 10 copped a lot of flack for 'only' having around 200 cars in FM5 they did a really good job of curating them and I've never felt short changed while playing. Same with the circuits, yes more would be better but there were just about enough and the quality was high across the board. Frankly I think they were pretty cunning to get the pain out of the way now at the very start of the generation so they can build out for future versions.
    Reply +16
  • Titanfall update four adds new features, Marked for Death mode

  • BOFH_UK 25/06/2014

    Decent update, though Respawn really need to get SLI sorted out for our PC brethren. The increase in Burn Card limits will be welcome, especially the ability to still receive new cards when you're at max hand size. Weapon balancing sounds about right (most players seem to be packing either the R101, Shotgun or R97) and the ability to customise Titans is long overdue (even if it's not the full-blown Forza style editor I'd hoped for). Matchmaking still needs a bit of tweaking mind, bloody depressing joining a team of gen 1's and seeing no-one under gen 9 on the other side. Reply +1
  • Sniper Elite 3 has a 10GB day one patch on Xbox One

  • BOFH_UK 23/06/2014

    @nottorp Actually, Xbox accepts ANY hard drive via USB3 up to, I believe, 16Tb per USB port. That includes RAID arrays that can give some redundancy if a drive fails if you're really paranoid. Now can this ridiculous argument please go away for ever? Reply +16
  • E3 2014: the relaunch of brand Xbox One

  • BOFH_UK 18/06/2014

    For me the management change is reflecting bigger changes at Microsoft. The old view of 'Windows Everywhere' is slowly but surely being shuffled aside and business units are being freed up (a little, anyway) to make sensible decisions regarding their products. Office on iPad is one example, treating the XB1 as a gaming device another.

    And I think they've got a pretty good shot at this one. The hardware, while not at the same raw performance level as the PS4, is closer than most think and I suspect we'll start seeing near-parity more and more often over the next 12 months. While everyone will have their own opinion on individual titles the XB1 has a good range of stuff coming this year and some big names in the works for 2015. While the focus on media, TV and apps was misguided as a launch feature it's resulted in some pretty nice additional functionality that's surprisingly good for a console less than a year old. Plus for all the improvements Sony has made to their online functionality (and they've done a hell of a job) it still feels like MS are ahead on that score. It's certainly going to be interesting to see if / how cloud services can help deliver improved gaming experiences as has been hinted at recently from devs.

    Will the XB1 'win' the generation? Probably not. The PS4 still has the brand name and commands an advantage over the XB in a lot of markets. Coupled with the strong hardware and positive mindshare it's enjoying it's hard to see Sony coming in second. But does that really matter if the XB1 remains a strong platform with all of the multi-platform titles and a bunch of great exclusives?
    Reply +4
  • Why the Batman: Arkham Knight delay was a good thing

  • BOFH_UK 17/06/2014

    While I'm still really looking forward to this game my problem was never with the fact they delayed it. It was that they delayed it just three months after announcing the original launch date! Surely at that point they'd have known they were going to need more than the six months or so they'd given themselves so... why the original 2014 date? Reply +11
  • How the Xbox One GPU Kinect reserve unlock works

  • BOFH_UK 17/06/2014

    But this month Microsoft began selling the Xbox One without Kinect for a reduced price, and as a result unlocked the 10 per cent reserve for developers to use as they see fit.
    Uh, reading through this article isn't this complete cobblers? Seems like the SDK changes are intended to free up more system resources *regardless* of whether you have a Kinect or not. Not having one plugged in doesn't magically free up resources. Seems to me Microsoft were intending to launch this functionality all along (in fact didn't they confirm they were looking at this months ago?) and it's not directly linked to the decision to launch a Kinect-free version of the One at all.
    Reply +39
  • Diablo 3 runs at 1080p on PS4, 900p on Xbox One

  • BOFH_UK 12/06/2014

    @Bertie Of course the problem then is what an individual considers noticeable which will depend on a) eyesight, b) what rig they're playing on and c) how urgently a purchase must be defended! ;-)

    The thing is though (and sorry about this in advance) games journalists have kinda brought this one upon themselves. In the year since final consoles designs were shown an unbelievable amount of time has gone into pushing the notion that the XB1 was crippled (or the PS4 was the second coming, either way). Neither is really the case and of course both will evolve as SDK's improve and devs get more familiar with what they're dealing with. But now there's an army - no, wait, two armies - of fanboys lining up with that mantra daubed on their flags determined that there will be blood before the day is done.
    Reply +3
  • BOFH_UK 12/06/2014

    @Bertie Sorry but I disagree. Total and complete parity is not a requirement, only when one console is *noticeably* worse than the other when it's being played does it become an issue. Up to that point minor differences are mostly used to fuel fan boy arguments and the insatiable need to have a winner in every aspect of life. Reply +5
  • Assassin's Creed Unity is a backward step for progressive games

  • BOFH_UK 12/06/2014

    This is a fight that's going to get really ugly over the next few years. Let's face it gaming today still clings to a mindset born from the almost entirely male-dominated 80's and 90's. Guns and power fantasies dominate the landscape because that's what's seen to sell. Moving away from that even in small ways is going to be considered a big risk especially in the AAA arena where a single game can cost hundreds of millions of dollars to make, distribute and market.

    At the same time I do think people need to pick their battles carefully. This particular issue with AC:U does seem to be blown out of proportion, though a large part of that is due to the ridiculous initial statements of 'too much production work' which is clearly nonsense. These conversations (and, indeed, changes) do need to happen but, at the same time, it's very easy for the very valid desire for equality to be seen as overbearing and aggressive which destroys the potential for debate and understanding.
    Reply +9
  • Halo: The Master Chief Collection includes Halo 1-4

  • BOFH_UK 09/06/2014

    Day one purchase for me. Never got a chance to play 4 and the other games all have levels that are true standouts of the last decade.

    Also think this is an incredibly powerful weapon for Microsoft this Christmas. Ridiculous value and the huge multiplayer element is going to be a very strong draw for 360 Halo fans who haven't made the jump yet. All eyes on Sony's conference now but Microsoft's 2014 lineup is looking pretty damn strong to me at the moment with at least four exclusive games (Horizon 2, Halo MCC, Sunset Overdrive, Ori and the Blind Forest) that I'm interested in and a number of multi platform titles as well. For a system only a year old that's pretty good going IMO.
    Reply +5
  • Batman: Arkham Knight release date slips to 2015

  • BOFH_UK 03/06/2014

    On the one hand well done for taking the time to get it right. The Arkham series (well, the Rocksteady entries anyway) have been consistently superb and it'd be a shame to break that run.

    On the other hand... they only announced the title three months ago! Surely they had to know when announcing in March that they weren't going to hit a deadline six or seven months away? Wonder if this is a case of a publisher pushing to have something out the door for Christmas and being forced to back off?
    Reply +2
  • Performance Analysis: Wolfenstein: The New Order

  • BOFH_UK 22/05/2014

    And here, I suspect, is the template for cross-platform game analysis from DF in about 12 to 18 months time. Nothing to do with Microsoft or Sony bias this one, just the same pattern we saw in the last generation. XB1 is a bit more awkward to develop for so it'll take a bit more time for dev's to get to grips with it and for the SDK to mature. Once that happens (and the next gen only stuff coming this year like Arkham Knight and AC:Unity will likely be a good data point) expect cross platform titles to be very, very close to each other just like we had to wait for the PS3 to achieve parity. Reply +3
  • PS4 premieres pre-loading with Destiny

  • BOFH_UK 21/05/2014

    @FuzzyDuck Made the decision to go digital only with XB1 and haven't regretted it yet. For me the extra cost is worth it for sheer convenience and not having to store yet more physical media. Besides the cost can be reduced by buying store vouchers under retail price, though make sure you stick with reputable suppliers.

    As for resale I tend to keep my stuff for years at which point it's hardly worth anything anyway. Oh and with the XB1 at least you sorta get two licences with digital downloads - one on your 'home' Xbox that can be used by anyone logged on to that console and the other that follows your profile around. Very handy for families with multiple consoles (now or in the future) or if you want to share libraries with a friend.
    Reply -1
  • PS4 and Xbox One double sales of predecessors during first six months in US

  • BOFH_UK 16/05/2014

    @captain_Carl Hmm... I suspect that's true but there'd be a fair few teeny tiny legal bullet points after the statement. For one Titanfall was bundled (as a download no less) so there's likely a few hundred thousand sales worldwide that aren't measured. PS4 is available in more territories than XB1 so a bigger market right now. AFAIK no-one tracks digital sales other than the manufacturers so they're not included. Etc etc etc.

    Eh, to be honest I'm getting deeply bored of the way this is all being reported anyway. Right now we're seeing two strong platforms developing with great games and good futures that'll offer us gamers a competitive market for years to come. Surely that should be celebrated?
    Reply 0
  • BOFH_UK 16/05/2014

    Ugh, I'm getting really tired of the gaming press (sadly Eurogamer is far from alone here) phrasing every single report in ways designed to bait fanboy arguments and increase hit counts.

    Let me be absolutely clear on this one, this is NOT an accusation of bias or just because it's a MS-related article. Look back over the last few years and you'll see the same tactics of playing up the negative for Nintendo (WiiU), Sony (Vita) and MS (XB1). The recent Digital Foundry article on the potential impact of freeing up GPU resources ring fenced for Kinnect was a prime example of this. There's actually some very good points in the article itself but the 'it won't close the gap' angle was seriously played up with the actual *games* (you know, what most of us actually buy these devices for) only mentioned in the very last line. Even then it was put as a 'MS need a phenomenal E3' prediction of doom which is just silly under the circumstances.

    And it's the same here. For a kick off there's no context, how well did the PS4 sell as a point of comparison? Yes, we know it was more but 500,000 or 115,001 is an important detail when it comes to the direction EG decided to take. XB1 sales are called 'middling' then launches directly in to "rapidly drying up sales" That's some tonal shift there EG! It's a real shame as there's some interesting data here and it paints the US video game market as (surprisingly IMO) healthy but it's drowned under the need to make it a more dramatic story.
    Reply +1
  • Better without Kinect

  • BOFH_UK 14/05/2014

    I know I've said this before but I think it's worth repeating: I don't believe the extra performance of the PS4 isn't as important to the mass market as the gaming press make it out to be.

    Let's face it, we've seen this same pattern in the last three console generations. One platform has either more raw power or an easier dev environment so the first wave of games are noticeably better performers on that platform. Over time the systems evolve, the SDK's improve and developers get better at optimising their code. The gap closes to the point where differences are minimal and both platforms offer exclusives that deliver great visuals and performance. PS3 and 360 went through the exact same dance, albeit in the opposite positions, and look how that turned out.

    Honestly I think at this point whichever platform you buy you're going to be happy in the long run. Multiplatforms will be (broadly) similar on both so make your decision based on the exclusives that appeal, the controller you prefer or any other factor that sways you.
    Reply +7