08 May 2012

If you feel like being locked into a monthly subscription plan with Microsoft over 2 years, you can get a $99 Xbox 360 bundle the rumors were true.  Microsoft is offering a subsidized $99 bundle that includes a 4GB Xbox 360 and Kinect sensor to anyone that commits to a two years of a new $14.99 per month online service.  It is already being offered in some Microsoft stores but is it worth its weight in Xbox Live Gold?

27 Apr 2012


Dust 514  CREDIT:  CCP

An Icelandic developer will attempt to bridge the gap between computers and consoles with its forthcoming Dust 514 this summer.  Once this occurs it will be the first time users of two different platforms could play cooperatively breaking that barrier that has long stood in the way of gamers.

When it comes to uniting gamers across multiple platforms the video game industry has been very segregated.  Even if you have a game that is released on multiple systems it doesn't mean you can join with another person and play.  John has an Xbox 360, Roy has a PlayStation and Lisa has a PC, but these three can't play together.  We are all playing online, but we just can't do it together, until now.

15 Apr 2012


So you have made it to the point in the main quest where you must track down Esbern on your Windows PC.  You get to Esbern but there are glitches.  You cant hear him speak and the dialogue's subtitles fly by, impossible to read.  There are also issues where a door won't open as it should.

The Door Fix

For this one, you can quick-save then quick load while in front of the door. 

If the quick save doesn't work you can turn off collisions in the console, then Esbern opens the door:
To get to the console use the tilda key (~) then enter TCL to toggle no-clip mode.  Check this page out for a complete list of commands.

Another option is the chain lightning spell can be used to kill Esbern until the AI makes him open the door.

The file fix

There is a file called Skyrim - Voice Extra.bsa in the Skyrim folder in Program Files.  If you unpack this using the tool designed for Morrowind, you just extract the contents directly into the data folder.

Otherwise, the easiest thing to do is to download the actual unpacked file from gamebanana.com and extract the contents into your Data folder.

The end result is that the folder structure ends up looking like this (as an example):
(The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim install folder )\Data\Sound\Voice\
where Sound and Voice and all the files below this were extracted from the file above.

Now you can enjoy the groovy sound of Esbern's voice and continue your mission.

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12 Apr 2012

Get your best Dragon Shout voice ready as official Kinect support has been announced by Bethesday for the Elder Scrolls V:  Skyrim.  Imagine yelling "FUS RO DAH!" at your TV, an instant classic.  This ability will come for free as an update this month and introduce more than 200 voice commands.

Support voice commands will include Dragon Shouts, Hotkey Equipping, Follower Commands, and all Menus.

You will be able to create and load saves during gameplay and access all menus and inventories.  There will be Kinect support for special map functions, additional hotkey options, along with the ability to sort inventory items by name, weight and value.  The full list of voice commands will be released by Bethesda in the next few weeks.  No word on if any other Kinect integration such as motion control, will come in the future.

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11 Apr 2012

Ever wished that you could defeat Bowser literally right from your coffee table with giant built in buttons?  Well, your dreams have come true with the fully-functional Nintendo Controller Coffee Table.  This is the creation of Charles Lushear that has combined old school entertainment with maple wood and craftsmanship.  Simply plug into an existing classic NES system and go to town.  The table also features a removable glass top with retractable cord to use the furniture as just a table when you are done playing Mario.

The table dimensions are 42" long x 18.25" wide and 18" high and is yours for a cool $3500 from Etsy.

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04 Apr 2012

This fall, Nintendo is expected to be the first company to introduce a next-generation console.  The Wii U will have HD graphics support and a new tablet-style controller.  These new features would typically excite many developers, but already many developers are all ready turned off.

Weaker Graphics than the Xbox 360 and PS3

Many believe its the graphic system of the Wii U.  Developers told GamesIndustry International that the Wii U is "just not as powerful" as the PS3 or Xbox 360.  Mind you these consoles have been around for ages now.  Another developer said that "there aren't as many shaders, it's not as capable."

This will come as a shock to many consumers that are expecting a new console that is designed at least five years beyond the Xbox 360 and PS3 to be more powerful, the Wii U's specs are technically less than these consoles.  The designing of a console though, often involves more than just giving it more graphic power, as that comes with a price.  For example, the latest Nvidia GPU in conjunction with a powerful CPU may yield a cost that is around $1000 or more.  

02 Apr 2012

The PlayStation 4, that many believe is going to be called the Orbis, will ship before Microsoft's next-generation console, according to a source that spoke to VG247.

The source claims that the PS4 plans were set "at least" two years ago and Sony is "confident" that it will release the PS4 before the next Xbox.  Indications seem to indicate this would be around the holiday of 2013.

It was also mentioned from the source, that many partners (such as Ubisoft) and their developers are already working on the next console.

VG247 also states that parts of the PlayStation Vita's launch hardware were modified to make sure the PS4 and PS Vita would work similar to the Wii U and its controller (The Wii U is debuting this holiday season).  PS4 games will be playable using the PS Vita controller.

Sony has stated previously that it has no plans to bring the new system to the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in the summer.  E3 runs June 5th through the 7th.

Source:  VG247

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01 Apr 2012

Netflix revealed today that they are acquiring the cloud based OnLive gaming company for $1.1 billion.  OnLive currently offers a free membership.  Once you have the membership you can then purchase the rights to play individual games for a one time fee ranging in price or you can get play passes for multiple days or playpack subscriptions.

Netflix has stated that the Netflix branded online streaming of games will keep the OnLive interface intact, but will offer different pricing plans to be announced.

Netflix will be combining resources between OnLive and their own servers to provide even more quality to the streaming of the games.  This teaming will also prove beneficial in the battle to get the licensing figured out for the OnLive cloud based Windows-on-iPad service (OnLive Desktop), which was recently tagged by Microsoft as violating licensing terms.

Netflix has indicated that the existing mini-console offered by OnLive for playback of video games on TV's will also support the playback of all Netflix content, making it an all in one multimedia device.  There are some rumors that Netflix may try to offer playback of video games on existing game consoles (where movie streaming supported), but some manufacturers may try to block this feature.

This move by Neflix is possibly Foolish, given their past moves such as with Quickster.

The Tech-Stew Take Home **Update**

Well as you might have guessed from the last line of the main article...  APRIL FOOLS!.  This topic does make good fodder for discussion or in a future podcast.  There could be many negative side effects to such a merger if it were to happen.  The first would be less competition.  Less competition usually leads to less quality in a product.  With Netflix being the only major streaming company around right now, there is not much room for competition.  Sure there is Hulu and Amazon, but in the big market, Netflix leads the way as of now.  Verizon is to have streaming of their own soon, so is Comcast with Xfinity Streampix, but that's for Comcast customers.  I think most would say that OnLive remaining a solo act, is a good thing for the time being, especially as they begin to move into other areas outside of just gaming, such as their service called OnLive Desktop that runs Windows on iPad and even streaming movies. 

As we move into next generation consoles, we will see more of a shift towards downloading the games (possibly the only way to get new content), but that is downloading, not so much streaming as of now anyway.  OnLive graphically is already pretty good, not quite as close as top end PC graphics on a stand-alone-machine, but very playable.  OnLive is leading us into this new frontier of streaming games and with a bit more time, it will become an even more solid platform for the future.  At any rate, Happy April Fools 2012 to everyone. 

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