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 411mania » Games » Columns

Four Player Co-op 01.15.14: PS Now, UbiSoft, SteamBox, More
Posted by Stephen Randle on 01.15.2014

Mathew Sforcina has joined the game.
Todd Vote has joined the game.
Jeremy Thomas has joined the game.
Dan Watson has joined the game.

Quizmaster Greetings, and welcome to another edition of Four Player Co-op. I am the Quizmaster, here to remind you that if you haven't done it yet, you can check out the official 411 Game of the Year Awards, where you can find out what the true best game of 2013 was.

Start the game!

QUESTION ONE: Well, Gaikai streaming technology has a name, and it's Playstation Now. More importantly, it's entering beta by the end of this month, and is expected to be in full use well before the end of this year. As we already know, the idea behind it is to eventually allow the PS4 (as well as the Vita and, apparently, any web-connected device) to stream the entire Playstation library from all three previous consoles over the Internet. Assuming all goes as planned (and hey, stranger things have happened), how interested are you in seeing the future of Playstation…now?

Sorry, I couldn't resist.

Mathew Sforcina - Depends on how open it is. I mean, if I, as an Australian, can get access to the games that I've wanted to play forever but couldn't (like, I dunno, FIRE PRO?!?) due to my being Australian, then I'm very interested. But, if it ends up like I suspect, where Americans and Japanese consumers get lots of everything and the rest of the world gets shafted for no real reason beyond Sony not caring to submit games for approval and the like, then I'll be very uninterested. Call me once we know how this works for the majority of the consumers outside of America and Japan...

Todd Vote - f it is something that makes it cheaper for me to have access to the old library of Playstation games, without having to shell out the money for a PS3, then I am all for it. I'm not sure how this is all going to work though. When you say any web-connected device, how exactly will that work? The article I read stated that all you need is a controller and screen with access to Playstation Now.. Where the hell do I plug in the controller? Either way, I am very curious about the service, even if I don't fully understand how it will work.

Jeremy Thomas - Bad puns FTW! Anyway, even though I'm not a Playstation owner I am definitely interested in seeing what happens with PS Now. The simplest reason is kind of obvious: depending on how successful this is, it could be a game-changer for the industry and you always want to look at these new innovations (particularly when someone mainstream picks it up) to see where it goes from here. I can certainly hope that Microsoft does the same thing somehow, so I can play my 360 games on my Xbox One, though it isn't essential because I still have the 360. I certainly hope this blows up big because it's only going to mean good things for gamers if it does.

Dan Watson - I'm very interested to see how this plays out. Will there be issues like licensing contracts that have expired from PS1 titles that change gameplay today? How long and for how much will these titles be available? There are still a lot of questions for me but overall I'm interested.

Quizmaster - I like Todd's answer, for 548 points. Cautiously interested, but admitting that we still don't have any idea how or if it will work. Hopefully I'll be in the beta and can potentially provide some more info by the end of the month.

QUESTION TWO: As if things weren't going badly enough for UbiSoft, with basically every title currently in development (Watch_Dogs, The Crew, South Park) having been delayed for one reason or another over the last couple of months, now rumours have started that The Division, another one of their projected 2014 releases, may not have even started real development and probably won't see release this year at all. After their success with Assassin's Creed IV, are you worried about how UbiSoft may perform in 2014?

Mathew Sforcina - No. I mean, why should I care about how a company will do? I'm not a shareholder, the fact that a company is taking longer to make games should not be a bad thing. I wish more companies took longer to make games, to make sure they were working and good and what have you rather than thinking they can just patch them later. Although I should say that if you like/care about the franchises Ubisoft has, you probably have an interest, and fair enough too. But Ubisoft doesn't own anything I really care about so...

Todd Vote - I know we have all said this before: "I'd rather they delay the game and get it right than release a buggy crappy mess". That still holds true, for the most part. The problem here is that it seems to be happening with every game Ubisoft has coming down the pipe. Basically all they need to do is stop announcing release dates before they know if the games will be ready. While all the delays are not going to make for good quarterly reports for the company, they will be fine by the tail end of 2014 when at least a couple of these will release. But seriously, find the guy that sets the release dates, and the guy that told him when those dates would be, and slap them both.

Jeremy Thomas - You know, I've defended the shit out of UbiSoft about its delays for Watch_Dogs, but even I'm getting concerned at this point. Again I will reiterate the point: I would rather have them take all the time that they need rather than just dump a crap game out there. And with EA facing something like four lawsuits now over allegations that they did harm to the company by doing just that with Battlefield 4, I don't blame them for taking their time. Still, that doesn't mean that it isn't concerning as hell because while I applaud them for being concerned with quality, delay after delay suggests that you're failing on the quality front. I'm not ready to call 2014 a failure for them yet of course, but I would hope they get some good news out there quickly.

Dan Watson - I have figured for a while Ubisoft would be the next THQ. They have solid titles but most usually fall flat once released. Look at Ghost Recon. That game was going to be solid and use the Kinect so gracefully. It sucked. I don't have much hope for Ubisoft lasting through 2014.

Quizmaster - As you all know, I am in favour of any solution where someone gets slapped, so Todd earns 1284 points. See kids, violence can be the answer.

QUESTION THREE: So, the first third party Steam Machines were revealed last week, and…well, they range in price from $500 to $6000. So not only are they computers that you can hook up to your TV like a console, they are really freaking expensive computers. Given that the early Steam Machines seem to be the most expensive console on the market, does that detract your interest in Gabe Newell's new pet project?

Mathew Sforcina - CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i.CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i. CD-i.

*Nice men with a nice white jacket and some lovely blue pills arrive at this point and escort Mr. Sforcina to a nice white room.*

Todd Vote - Absolutely! The only reason the Steam box was really catching my attention is because there is no way I can afford to build a computer for gaming. So the Steam Box was a very intriguing idea at first. Plus coming from Valve, a company that has built a certain level of trust with gamers, myself included, after two awesome Left 4 Dead titles and The Orange Box, I was actually looking forward to seeing the finished product.

All of that went right out the window once I saw the price points. The cheapest one is the price of the Xbox One. The PS4 is cheaper at this point. I no longer have any reason to be interested in the Steam Machine. No thanks, Gabe. I still love your games, and I will be here when you finally get around to releasing Left 4 Dead III, but I am no longer interested in the Steam console. Good luck to you, I hope there are a lot of rich people who want this thing...

Jeremy Thomas - My initial reaction to the prices of the Steam Machines was basically this:

And that hasn't changed. Seriously, $6000 for a god damned console that is basically a computer (albeit an admittedly nice one) with Steam OS? I can spend $400 on a PS4, $500 on an Xbox One, $300 on a Wii U and $3000 on an ungodly powerful computer that dwarfs anything the Steam Machines can offer, and STILL have $1800 left over. And yes, I am aware that is the most expensive of the models, but the fact remains that anything shooting for well over the price of a regular console is a mistake. I was only vaguely interested in Steam Machines in the first place, and this killed that interest like it was Peter Parker's mind circa December 2012. Except that I don't think my interest is coming back by March.

Dan Watson - Price is a huge deterrent. I get that they are basically super gaming computers but that's a hell of a range. I almost didn't buy the Xbox because of its price and that is an established console. I pass on this third party console.

Quizmaster - Well, PS4 outsold XBOne so far and you can't tell me that being a hundred dollars cheaper didn't play into that somewhat. I'd give Sforcina 2395 points, but I don't think he'd appreciate them where he's going.

QUESTION FOUR: And in the seemingly continually declining market of sports game franchises, 2K Games has officially cancelled their MLB 2K franchise, ending their exclusive deal as the only third-party producer of MLB video games and leaving The Show, a Sony exclusive, as the only licensed baseball product on the market. Did you even know 2K did an MLB game? And with the license now assumedly up for grabs, do you see EA (or anyone else) stepping up to try and take a swing at the throne now comfortably occupied by The Show?

Mathew Sforcina - Wasn't there some sort of Nickelodeon Baseball game? Anyway, the only sport game I truly care about that doesn't involve Orcs and Amazons or Speedballs is WWE, so yeah, whatever. Sucks for baseball video game fans, but the 6 or so of them out there will be fine I guess...

Todd Vote - Is there money to be made? Yes. So there is your answer. Someone will definitely be looking to get a piece of that license, I'm sure. Sony may be producing the best baseball game of all time with The Show, but that leaves the entire MLB fanbase on the Xbox 360, and the Xbox One without a licensed baseball game to play. Someone is going to want that. I don't think it should be EA (let's be honest, they need to get their NBA games worked out first), but someone should probably give it a go.

Jeremy Thomas - Someone might, but I wouldn't count on it. Let's face it: baseball games run at the back of the pack of sports games. Football, basketball, soccer, racing, even golf and general exercise are more anticipated and better-selling games than baseball games. EA could easily swoop in; I'm sure they'd be happy for another franchise now that they lost NCAA football. But does anyone really think "Ooh, a new baseball franchise" and get excited? What is there left to offer new for that kind of game? Not much that I can think of. Sure, that hasn't stopped Madden, but that's because people give a shit about football games.

Dan Watson - I would love for EA to bring back their baseball series. Oddly enough, I loved 2K's football series and EA's baseball and both companies got the other sports' rights. It would be extremely smart for EA to get back in. 2K baseball has lagged behind most other sports titles not named NBA Live.

Quizmaster - I think a big problem with baseball simulations is that a true simulator is boring as hell. I want to love The Show so much and it's literally the closest you will get to playing real baseball without actually playing real baseball, but the relentless minute attention to detail required to be any good at all is so hard to find enjoyable, and I'm an actual baseball fan. Fortunately, MLB is bringing back RBI Baseball!

BONUS QUESTION: Hope everyone survived the polar vortex, and as a reward for standing up to Mother Nature, talk about whatever you want.

Mathew Sforcina - My Drabble blog. You know, if you want to check it out. Or not. I'm not your boss.

Todd Vote - Wait... it was cold? When did that happen?

Jeremy Thomas - Um...yeah, I got nothing. So instead, you get this picture of Jennifer Lawrence looking amazing at the Golden Globes. Anyone who says that girls with short hair are ugly can suck it:

Dan Watson - I froze last week in a parking garage so I apologize for my absence. Chicago saw highs of negative 14 degrees before wind chill was taken into account. Just got a Xbox One so back to gaming,



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