Author Archives: iainthegreat

About iainthegreat

I am half way between A and B personality. I shot guns, went camping, play consoles. For meeting people and entertainment, I go to the same bar in River Falls for better or worse.

game industry in 2014


Ask me again after the PS4 sells 100 mil. But M$ and Nintendo home console gaming is slowly but surely dying, yes.

down with consoles, long live arcades!

ditor’s note: Since 2005, Blake Snow has covered video games and other male-interest topics for some of the biggest names in journalism. He lives in Utah with his family and is currently writing a book about finding offline balance in an online world.

(CNN) — If console gaming were a first-person shooter, it would be taking heavy fire right now. A red hue would envelop the viewable screen from all sides, an ominous sign of spilled blood.

Or worse, near-death.

Despite this, Nintendo will release its new Wii U console on November 18, ushering in the eighth and possibly last generation of traditional home consoles as we know them.

Consider this: Dedicated gaming sales — including living-room consoles and handhelds — are in the midst of a four-year tailspin. You might say that’s because of a bad economy, but then you’d have to explain why movie revenue and cable TV subscriptions have largely stayed the same.

Or why music sales, gutted by online streaming and piracy, have held up better than slumping sales of console games. Or why the popularity of social, mobile and PC games have skyrocketed to unthinkable heights.
Hands on with the next Nintendo Wii

The problem seems to be isolated to dedicated video games. Video game industry sales in the United States, including game discs, consoles and accessories, were down 24% in September when compared with the same period last year. Many experts believe these decreases in profits, the rise of casual and social gaming and waning consumer interest are affecting makers of the three big living-room consoles: Microsoft’s Xbox 360, Sony’s PlayStation 3 and Nintendo’s Wii.

So is this it then? Is the death of dedicated gaming upon us? In a word, no.

“I bristle when people suggest as much,” says Adrian Crook, a game design consultant. “Consoles will grow again and will never go away.”

But today’s dedicated gaming business is arguably in its most tumultuous period since the 1983 gaming collapse. It’s nowhere near ruin yet, thanks to big franchises like “Call of Duty,” “Madden,” and a select few mainstream console games. But the console’s influence is waning, and there’s uncertainty about its future.

Here’s where the shots at console gaming are coming from, and how the industry might dodge and counter them.

Trojan horses

Since the ’80s, console makers have dreamed of using their “dedicated gaming machines” as Trojan horses to further control the living room with a single, proprietary device.

That time has come. Gaming consoles have transformed into entertainment hubs for people to stream movies or YouTube videos. So much, in fact, that gaming consoles no longer are being used primarily for gaming. In fact, “40% of all Xbox activity now is non-game,” Microsoft boasts. Amazon and Netflix streaming accounts for most of that, as they do for Wii and PS3.

Combined, game consoles account for half of all Netflix users. This is great news for the movie industry. Not so great for console gaming’s bottom line, especially since the industry largely subsidizes consoles now.
I’d sooner pay nothing up front and $5 to $10 later than plunk down $60 on a game and hope I like it.
Adrian Crook, game design consultant

In other words, a console isn’t helping the gaming industry if it’s mainly being used to stream Netflix movies.

Not only that, but gamers’ tastes have evolved to include quick, bite-size gaming sessions — something consoles have never been good at. (Gamers must go to the living room, wait for the console to power on, load the game from the main menu, wait for it to boot.) It’s much slower than tapping an icon on the smartphone you already carry in your pocket.

“Most people who liked console games in the past still do today,” says Alex Hutchinson, creative director of Ubisoft, “but they’re also looking for a wider spread of experiences. I want some games I can play quickly after work or while the kids are asleep and have a short satisfying experience.”

As the number of gaming scenarios has increased, so, too, has the number of diehard gamers, says market researcher DFC Intelligence.

“Gamers have not only increased in number, but they are playing on multiple platforms now,” says analyst David Cole. “Fewer enthusiasts describe themselves in a single camp such as ‘I love Nintendo and hate Sony and Microsoft’ or vice versa.”

If enthusiasm for a single dedicated machine has waned, however — or at least has been spread thin — then the machine that demands the most attention will invariably suffer. That machine is the console — the one you hold dear to your heart, but probably reach for less than you used to, whether you like to admit it or not.

Creative stagnation?

When it’s not taking a backseat to more convenient app gaming, some say the console has stagnated creatively.

“You would think that XBLA (Xbox Live Arcade), PSN (PlayStation Network), and the rise of ‘free to play’ would have opened a door to smaller games that can take more risks creatively, but right now they’re just cut-down versions of box-product games, or retreads of games I played on the SNES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System),” says Hutchinson, referring to the online gaming networks offered by Microsoft and Sony.

“I don’t honestly think that someone who didn’t want a 2-D platformer 20 years ago is going to wake up today and buy it on XBLA.”
We need to offer more experiences that are understandable to people’s real lives.
Alex Hutchinson of Ubisoft

In addition, even big-box games have lost some of their visual allure in recent years. What were once graphical leaps in previous generations have now become bunny hops, at least to the average eye.

“People aren’t as motivated by cutting-edge graphics as they once were,” says Paul Neurath, creative director at Zynga, makers of “FarmVille,” “Mafia Wars” and other social games on Facebook.

“Gamers that care intensely about graphics will continue to do so, but I think there are fewer now than there were in the past,” he says. “Big leaps in graphics no longer exist. Unless there’s some futuristic holographic display or direct brain implement we don’t know about, it’s hard to get a lot better.”

Cole, the gaming analyst, agrees.

“Cutting-edge graphics in the past amounted to nothing more than killer CGI videos that added nothing to gameplay,” he said. “That’s a problem for an industry that up until recently prided itself on “buy this console because the games look a lot better than the ones you currently own.’”

In that sense, next-generation is no longer “next.” We’ve arrived. Looking back, NES was certainly a step above Atari and imprecise joysticks. SNES and Genesis offered a huge leap in affordable home graphics. PlayStation and N64 immersed players into 3-D worlds replete with camera control. PlayStation 2 and Xbox overcame polygons in favor of rounded and non-jaggy looks. All of these were improvements upon previous generations of gaming systems.

But this current generation of consoles? With the exception of the early Wii years, they’ve largely offered better-looking versions of games we’ve already played. There have been a lot of great games to be sure, but fewer must-haves — the kind that truly take the medium into uncharted territory.

Rise of cheap, social gaming

On the other hand, cheap, bite-size games such as “Angry Birds” and “Plants vs. Zombies” have thrived in recent years, ensnaring new players with novel gameplay.

“Virtually all of my clients are in social and mobile sectors, which have totally exploded in the last few years and continue unabated today,” says Crook, who previously worked as a console designer.

As such, the demand for games has grown. “It’s not so much that gamer interests have changed since the last generation, but that a whole group of new players have started playing games,” says Zynga’s Neurath. “These people would never have played last-generation console games. They’re more into it for the social aspect.”

Console makers so far have been ill-equipped to meet this demand, given their lucrative, 30-year-old model of selling games for $50-$60.
The Wii U\’s handheld controller displays a game during a presentation by developers Ubisoft.
The Wii U’s handheld controller displays a game during a presentation by developers Ubisoft.

This partly explains why Nintendo, after five years of phenomenal Wii growth, is slumping. Industry experts say they’re not in a position to meet the demands of most new social gamers.

We’ll soon find out whether the Wii U can revive Nintendo’s fortunes. The console’s big new feature is a 6.2-inch touchscreen GamePad controller that interacts in creative new ways with the gamers’ TV. Wii U players can play together, with one person using a TV screen and the other using the GamePad. A single player also can access additional content on the GamePad that enhances the game on the big screen.

Nintendo declined to comment for this story.

In a struggling economy, consoles also have fallen victim to the cut-rate pricing of games — something consumers are exceedingly demanding but consoles have yet to offer.

In what has become a successful business model, many developers give away their games for free, then charge players later for status upgrades or gameplay perks.

“Say what you want about freemium, ‘nickel and diming’ of players, but I’d sooner pay nothing up front and $5 to $10 later than plunk down $60 on a game and hope I like it,” says Crook.

Ubisoft’s Hutchinson refers to it as a rising “fear” among console gamers. With so many deals to be had elsewhere, a lot of console gamers are making fewer full-price purchases than before.

“The free-to-play model has certainly impacted the industry,” agrees Zynga’s Neurath.

On top of that, 99¢ iPhone and iPad games are also taking a toll on the perceived value of dedicated gaming systems. Even PC games go on sale for as little as $5-$20 on occasion, a trend that has breathed new life into PC gaming and changed how some of the most ardent gamers value games.

“The business model for a five-year life cycle isn’t working for Sony and Microsoft,” says Cole. “They spend billions to R&D and market these new systems, they sell them at a loss for the first few years and then they don’t really have the software business to make up the cost. They are better getting out of the business entirely rather than go after a five-year life cycle.”

How console makers can fight back

In wake of all these changes, what’s a console maker to do? What might reinvigorate interest in living-room and dedicated handheld gaming?

A first step would be fresher consoles themselves. The Xbox 360 is 7 years old, while the Wii and the PlayStation 3 are both 6.

Newer motion-controlled gaming systems such as Microsoft’s Kinect and Sony’s Move, which let players control in-game avatars by moving their arms and legs, have helped sustain interest. But experts say more upgrades are needed.

“New consoles would help, and the rumblings have already started at Microsoft and Sony,” Hutchinson says. As if reminded by the lackluster sales of the handheld 3DS and PS Vita gaming systems, he adds, “But I don’t know that we really need a new hardware cycle at this point from a creative standpoint.”

Zynga’s Neurath, who’s worked with consoles and PCs since the 8-bit days, says console makers would do well to act more like nontraditional platforms. A new console dubbed Ouya will launch next year with free-to-play games and a $99 launch price, but keep the focus on what its manufacturer calls “TV gaming.”

Crook believes there is still plenty of time for traditional console makers to correct their downward trend.

“There will always be a big market for core game systems,” he says. “It all comes down to how consoles can get back to taking creative risks again, and what the platforms can do to broaden their markets and offer innovative means of interaction.”

Ubisoft’s Hutchinson wants console games to deliver more meaningful experiences.

“Games need to explain to players why they made certain artistic decisions, what mood they’re setting with their lighting and color choices, and less about the technical features,” he says. “We need to offer more experiences that are understandable to people’s real lives, either in terms of mechanics or narrative, and attract people who don’t read fantasy novels or watch the SyFy channel. Our mechanics are often not the barrier, but our content sometimes is.”

The good news for the industry, and for gamers, is that video games in their broadest sense are most definitely here to stay. It’s just that the way we access, control and define them has rapidly evolved. Despite the weakening sales of consoles and console games, the growth of mobile, social and PC-based games means that total spending on gaming is actually on the rise.

“Inviting more people to the fun and wonderment of games isn’t just good for social games, it’s good for the entire industry,” says Neurath.

It will likely take at least one more console cycle to gauge the long-term sustainability of dedicated gaming devices, experts say. Their ultimate survival all depends on how well console makers adapt to evolving business models and changing consumer tastes.

PS4 leads Xbox One in stability

The cheaper PS4 beat Xbox One this year. Remember, Xbox 360 had PS3 beat in sales. PS3 was more stable then Xbox 360 due to its FreeBSD firmware. I have seen rings of death on my 360s. It came down with firmware stability in November 2013 on which to choose.  I knew this, because it says FreeBSD on PS3 credits.  Americans are scrooge on their purchasing new consoles now-a-days as they buy up all second hand.  People are burnt from Xbox 360s rings of death and firmware errors.  Xbox One also had BD-ROM and software errors.   

Magneto + Nginx

In 2007, I was running OScommerce and Cent OS, Apache, MySQL and PHP.  I knew that Magneto ran the LAMP configuration.  Reviews and statistics prove Nginx servers have lot less errors then LAMPs. The enterprise ecommerce uses Nginx web server, but needs to be downloaded off the Red Hat respondories. I should have run Magneto on Nginx in 2007 cos OScommerce won’t. Nginx should be included on the installation DVD.

[root@centos63 ~]# vi /etc/yum.repos.d/nginx.repo
name=nginx repo

2. Perform yum install for nginx :

[root@centos63 ~]# yum install nginx -y

Examples :

[root@centos63 ~]# yum install nginx -y
Loaded plugins: fastestmirror, presto
Loading mirror speeds from cached hostfile
 * base:
 * extras:
 * updates:
nginx                                                                        | 1.3 kB     00:00
nginx/primary                                                                | 3.9 kB     00:00
nginx                                                                                         25/25
Setting up Install Process
Resolving Dependencies
--> Running transaction check
---> Package nginx.i386 0:1.2.2-1.el6.ngx will be installed
--> Finished Dependency Resolution

Dependencies Resolved

 Package              Arch                Version                        Repository            Size
 nginx                i386                1.2.2-1.el6.ngx                nginx                308 k

Transaction Summary
Install       1 Package(s)

Total download size: 308 k
Installed size: 623 k
Downloading Packages:
Setting up and reading Presto delta metadata
Processing delta metadata
Package(s) data still to download: 308 k
nginx-1.2.2-1.el6.ngx.i386.rpm                                               | 308 kB     00:02
Running rpm_check_debug
Running Transaction Test
Transaction Test Succeeded
Running Transaction
  Installing : nginx-1.2.2-1.el6.ngx.i386                                                       1/1

Thanks for using NGINX!

Check out our community web site:

If you have questions about commercial support for NGINX please visit:

  Verifying  : nginx-1.2.2-1.el6.ngx.i386                                                       1/1

  nginx.i386 0:1.2.2-1.el6.ngx


3. Start nginx :

[root@centos63 ~]# service nginx start
Starting nginx:                                            [  OK  ]

4. Make nginx auto start at boot :

[root@centos63 ~]# chkconfig nginx on

Classmates deleting my comments

I was prompted to write this post, after people recently thanked me for publishing their blog comments. Meghan Hatalla deleted decent comments on her blog relating to anything. They assumed that as their comments disagreed with me, they would be deleted. I am hearing this more and more often, hence the reason I want to bring this out into the open. Well, Meghan, it’s too late. I’m sorry, but I’m already well known. Everybody heard of me.

Here’s the problem: It seems some well-known blogs refuse to publish comments, if they take an opposing view to the points made in the blog post. Unless a comment is neutral, complimentary or has an argument that can be easily shot down in flames, it’s banned from being published.
Removing critical blog comments

What amazed me, was that in each case these people say they had left comments that were not offensive, but were removed simply because they made a solid argument that was opposed to the view, expressed by the blogger. In my opinion, it shows a total lack of respect (and self-confidence) on the part of the blogger, if they refuse to allow anyone to disagree with them! I believe the blogger also loses a useful learning opportunity, as banning such comments eliminates the opportunity to scrutinize their point more thoroughly.

Note: Here’s how Mark Zuckerberg used criticism, to improve Facebook.

One of the benefits of a blog is that it is designed for communication, rather than broadcasting. Communication needs to be 2 way or multi-way, which means giving people the right to question you, as well as compliment you or agree. Blog comments allow that to happen, if we let them.

However, I warmly welcome you to contribute to anything I write here, if you have something you want to share. That includes expressing a different point of view to mine (so long as we agree my point is always right, of course! ;) )

Yes, your blog is your own property and you can do whatever you want to with it. However, when you decide to ban people from expressing a different point of view from your own, the word soon gets around. Bloggers don’t need a reputation like that!

21 signs you grew up in the ‘90s

Here’s my somewhat nostalgic list of all the things people who grew up in the ‘90s know how to do that is now obsolete.

1. How to save a file on a floppy disc

2. The Dewey Decimal System

3. Dial-Up Internet

4. When AOL used to be the sh*t

5. How to record something on a VHS tape

6. When all you could do on a cellular phone was talk

7. The point of a pager/beeper

8. Walkmans

9. How to place a collect call

10. How to find your way using only a map and no GPS

11. Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?

12. How to get a Furby or Tamagotchi to shut up

13. How to write in cursive

14. How to do the macarena

15. Just how awesome the original “Double Dare” and “Legends of Hidden Temple” TV shows were (and how awesome ‘90s Nickelodeon shows were in general).

16. How awesome and frightening AOL chat rooms were

17. The secrets to collecting the best Beanie Babies and POGs

18. How to entertain yourself without YouTube videos (oh wait, the Internet in general)

19. The thrill of using Napster

20. How to send a fax

21. How to survive high school without Facebook

Impeachable Offenses: The Case for Removing Barack Obama From Office

The possibility of impeaching Barack Obama based a wide range of alleged constitutional violations already has been discussed by a long list of members of Congress, from Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, to Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif.

Now Rep. Paul Broun, a Georgia Republican who is seeking to replace the retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss, is joining the list.

He’s accompanied by a couple of his opponents in the open race.

A video from a forum over the weekend featuring candidates for Chambliss’ seat shows Broun and two others, Derrick Grayson, an engineer, and Eugene Yu, a businessman, raising their hands when asked whether they would support impeachment.

A forum moderator asked the candidates: “Obama has perjured himself on multiple occasions. Would you support impeachment if presented for a vote?”

Broun, Grayson and Yu raised their hands.

Several other candidates did not, and there were others vying for the office who were not in attendance.

WND has been reporting on members of Congress who have discussed impeachment. The list now includes:

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa; Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas; Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas; Rep. Bill Flores, R-Texas; Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif.; Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla.; Rep. Kerry Bentivolio, R-Mich.; Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas; Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla.; Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah; Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C.; Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.; Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas; Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla.; and Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla.

Read the definitive case for removing Barack Obama from office in “Impeachable Offenses” by Aaron Klein and Brenda J. Elliott.

Several, including King and Farenthold, made comments in interviews with Sean Hannity.

King pointed to the president’s actions on immigration, such as his orders for authorities not to enforce current immigration law, as grounds for impeachment.

He said there are multiple violations related to Obamacare and asserted the president’s “recess” appointments of judges when the Senate was not actually in recess also is worthy.

The “uber-presidency,” King said, has little or no respect for the Constitution.

Farenthold said Obama “is grabbing as much power as he can,” but Congress also is doing little to draw in the reins.

The two said that politically, Obama is exercising great power and believes Congress cannot or will not stop him.

“The president knows it; he’s exploiting it,” King said.

Stockman even handed out in Congress copies of a book that has been described by its authors as the “articles of impeachment” for Barack Obama. Stockman suggested that special investigations and possibly prosecutions are needed in response to Fast and Furious, Benghazi and other Obama scandals.

Rep. Bill Flores, R-Texas, was speaking at a town hall meeting when he considered the idea. A video of his comments was posted at the Western Center for Journalism.

“I’ve looked at the president. I think he’s violated the Constitution. I think he’s violated the Bill of Rights,” he said.

He said at some point a decision must be made.

“I think if the House had an impeachment vote, it would probably impeach the president.”

But he noted there are only 46 members of the GOP in the U.S. Senate, where an impeached president would be put on trial.

To obtain a conviction, the prosecuting team must have 67 votes, and he wasn’t sure even all of the GOP members would vote to convict.

“I think he’s breaking the law if he strikes without congressional approval,” Hunter told the Washington Times regarding Obama’s plan to bomb Syria. “And if he proceeds without Congress providing that authority, it should be considered an impeachable offense.”

WND previously reported Coburn’s statement that Obama is “perilously close” to qualifying for impeachment.

Speaking at the Muskogee Civic Center in Oklahoma, the senator said, “What you have to do is you have to establish the criteria that would qualify for proceedings against the president, and that’s called impeachment.”

Coburn said it’s “not something you take lightly, and you have to use a historical precedent of what that means.”

Earlier, Bentivolio said it would be a “dream come true” to impeach Obama.

Bentivolio told the Birmingham Bloomfield Republican Club Meeting, “You know, if I could write that bill and submit it, it would be a dream come true.”

He told constituents: “I feel your pain and I know. I stood 12 feet away from that guy and listened to him, and I couldn’t stand being there. But because he is president I have to respect the office. That’s my job as a congressman. I respect the office.”

Bentivolio said his experience with the president caused him to consult with attorneys about what it would take to remove Obama from office.

Cruz responded to a question about impeachment after a speech.

“It’s a good question,” Cruz said. “And I’ll tell you the simplest answer: To successfully impeach a president you need the votes in the U.S. Senate.”

In May, Inhofe suggested Obama could be impeached over a White House cover-up after the attack in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012.

He told listeners of “The Rusty Humphries Show”: “Of all the great cover-ups in history – the Pentagon papers, Iran-Contra, Watergate, all the rest of them – this … is going to go down as the most egregious cover-up in American history.”

But even with that searing indictment, Inhofe, too, stopped short of calling for impeachment.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, has offered tentative support for impeachment.

“I’m not willing to take it off the table, but that’s certainly not what we’re striving for,” he told CNN.

One Republican actually has come out and called for the impeachment of Obama, and he did it more than two years ago, before he became a congressman.

Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., posted on his website in June 2011 a list of reasons for impeachment.

Other figures who have discussed impeachment include Glenn Beck, Watergate investigative reporter Bob Woodward, WND columnist Nat Hentoff and a panel of top constitutional experts.

Stockman recently distributed copies of the book, “Impeachable Offenses: The Case for Removing Barack Obama From Office,” to the other 434 members of the House of Representatives to bolster his case for a special investigation of the president.

The bestselling “Impeachable Offenses” presents an indictment that goes well beyond today’s headlines.

The Daily Mail of London has called “Impeachable Offenses” “explosive,” reporting that the book contains a “systematic connect-the-dots exercise that the president’s defenders will find troublesome.”

Constituents also are reaching some surprising conclusions.

Voters in Republican Rep. Jim Bridenstine’s Oklahoma district may look meek and mild, maybe even sweet, but their opinions of President Obama reveal nothing but a battleground “take-no-prisoners” attitude.

One lady, for example, said there needs to be changes in the Senate so “we can impeach the S-O-B.”

She complained that Congress is doing nothing, and that “allows this moron to make decisions.”

“He has no authority. None.”

The video was uploaded just this week, but it’s unclear when the meeting was held, and the congressman’s office was unable to provide details immediately.

At one point the congressman references “back in April 2013,” and it appears to be winter, so likely it was recorded in the past few months.

The congressman had been documenting Obama’s “lawlessness.”


The best defection came too late

I only became a Green Bay Packer fan since 2005 ~ after high school. Those green and white jerseys with G in my face daily since 1989 and somehow I hadn’t any Packer gear until 2006.  After the gold and purple gear constantly alienated me from the rest of the peeps.  I must’ve been a high school retard!  At least I did not show it on my class picture by wearing a Buffalo Sabres cap.

Twenty-five years ago I couldn’t imagine hating a team and their fans more than the Chicago Bears, but somehow, Minnesota Vikings fans, you’ve managed to pull off the impossible. You don’t know shit about the game. You have no sense of history or tradition.

Teams who win are given respect. Their fans are given respect. The Vikings… are 0-4 in Super Bowls.  . It’s so bad, it annually helps make the Vikings one of the poorest franchises in the NFL. So, what are you going to do about it, Vikings fan? You’re going to go out in public and complain, demand the state finance a new stadium and make a mockery of yourself, even though your state is in major debt and faced with cutting funding for things like… education. Brilliant!

Do you know the last time a Green Bay Packers game was blacked out? No, you don’t, because it’s never happened. Do you know how long the Packers season-ticket waiting list is? Decades. On the other hand, you have the Minnesota Vikings, where anyone can buy season tickets because they’re never sold out. In fact, the Viking

In many cases, an inferiority complex results from an imagined feeling of inferiority, rather than an actual one. That certainly isn’t the case here. You are inferior, Minnesota Vikings fans. You know it and it shows. And let me tell you this, it’s not sexy, cool or even tolerable, for that matter. Your inferiority complex, which rightfully has something to do with that Super Bowl drought, causes you to make overly bold predictions, think the Vikings are better than they really are, act like a prick to all other NFL fans and gloat incessantly when something actually goes right for your beloved team. That’s not to mention you don’t have even an ounce of humility when the Vikings get their ass beat. I’ve never once heard a Vikings fan congratulate an opposing team’s fans on a win. I’ve never once heard a Vikings fan empathize with opposing fans after they lose to the Vikings.