The Death Of Print, And The Growth Of Digital Distribution

This post is less about Xbox, and more about an observation that I’ve had recently. I subscribe to 2 gaming magazines: The Official Xbox Magazine, and Gameinformer (It’s kinda just packaged in with a Gamestop membership, but whatever). Just a couple months ago, OXM has started putting their magazine up for digital download via newsstand (Apple’s magazine store), and Gameinformer has begun to as well. I was happy because I had another reason to use my iPad, but also kind of sad, because it shows that print isn’t doing so well. After all, we can get newspapers, magazines, and whole books online now. We don’t have to wait for any of them to ship to our house, and because of this, many of the distribution companies are having a huge impact on profits. I loved getting the physical magazines because I could pile them up and see all of the stuff I had read, but I, along with a lot of other people, gave into temptation and subscribed digitally. I fear, like the music industry, the print industry will go almost completely digital in the near future.

I do, however, see some of the benefits to this. A lot more people have access to digital content now. Because of this, they don’t have to be weighed down by large books, as well as wait for things to come in the mail. This could actually positively affect the market because it’s now much easier for people to get their information, and so they might feel more inclined to subscribe to a digital magazine. Now I know this isn’t very Xbox related, but I do have a recommendation for everyone. I recommend going online and subscribing to Gameinformer or OXM. It’s incredibly cheap, and you don’t have to wait for it to get shipped to you anymore. This is a great way to get a taste for what the magazines are like, and if you end up hating them, there’s no trash to throw away! I think that these magazines (More OXM than Gameinformer though) are great tools for any Xbox user (The OXM podcast as well), and I would highly recommend them to anyone and everyone.

Playing Games For A Living

Have you ever wanted to play video games and get payed for it? It seems like every kid’s dream job, but it’s actually a possibility. Careers like game reviewers at gaming magazines are completely possible if you really want it. How do you get this job, you say? Well, Dan Amrich, the guy behind One Of Swords just wrote a whole book on it! He’s been reviewing games, talking about games, and playing games his whole life, and he gets paid to do it! He currently works at Activision as a community manager, but he has worked at OXM (The Official Xbox Magazine), Gamepro, GamesRadar, Wired, and others. If you’d like to know more about it, go ahead and check out his website (also in the sidebar on the right). The book is available on Kindle and paperback now, and will be on iBooks soon. So if you’ve ever been interested in working in the gaming industry, this would probably put you in the right direction.

Speaking of books, Hugh Sterbakov’s book that I mentioned before, entitled “City Under The Moon,” now has a full web page. It even has a sample of the book on his site, in case you were hesitant about buying the book before. So there’s no excuse now! Check it out!

How Games Can Change The World

Have you heard of TED talks? If you haven’t, then you will after you’re done reading this post. I’ve known about TED talks for a while now, these speeches made by extremely  bright individuals, and I’ve always been fascinated by them. They are always sending an awesome message, and I always enjoy watching them. I have just finished watching one video in particular that I found fascinating, even though it’s a couple years old, and I feel like I need to share it with everyone. The speaker talks about gaming, and how it can help change the world. I’m not going to try and summarize it, because it’s 20 minutes long, and she’ll do a much better job actually telling it than I can do summarizing it. So if you’d like to watch the video, click this link. If you’d like to give your own opinion on the matter, post in in the comment section below. Hope you enjoy it!

New Mass Effect 3 Demo

There’s a brand new demo out on Xbox Live, and I’m sure a lot of people are going to be talking about it. The third installment of the Mass Effect series is coming out soon, and to prep everyone for it, they have released a demo. I’d like to tell you what the demo includes besides the fact that it’s a third-person, open-world RPG, but I’m actually not sure if I’m going to play it. Usually I love a good demo, but I can’t quite get myself to download this one. I love Mass Effect, so you’d think I would want to play it, but the opposite has occurred. I don’t want anything spoiling the story for me before I get the whole game, and even if it doesn’t spoil anything, it’ll only tease me into wanting the full game even more! I have the same opinion towards large previews in gaming magazines (or spoiled news on the internet) regarding games that I’m really looking forward to. I just can’t have anyone spoil huge sections of the game for me. I guess if someone is curious about picking up ME3 without playing the first two, then the demo (and previews) would make sense, but usually one would think that they would want to play the first two before they wanted to play the third, because they’re not going to know what the story is about. Also, in Mass Effect, a lot of the things you do in the first two games actually carry over into the third through your saved games, so starting on the third game won’t have the same impact as playing the whole series. So if anyone plays it, feel free to express your opinion about it in the comment section. If you haven’t played any of the Mass Effect games, I would definitely recommend picking up the first and second game (they’re probably incredibly cheap now), or if you don’t want to play them, go ahead and try the demo! It’ll still give you a pretty good idea about whether or not you’ll like the full game.

MLG Pro Circuit Controller

There’s a new controller on the market for Xbox and PS3 users, and I figured I’d spread the word. It’s called the MLG Pro Circuit Controller and it seems pretty interesting. I’d definitely like to try it out. Mad Catz built the controller on the idea that every gamer has their own preference when using a controller. All of the main buttons can be rearranged in order to fit your style. Even the joysticks can be moved! You can now put the D-pad in place of where the joysticks are, or add weights to the bottom of the controller (Which is cool, but I wonder how it would affect gameplay). It is a wired controller, which at first I thought was a downside, but then it made sense considering it is designed for MLG (Major League Gaming) use. Nobody wants to run out of batteries in the middle of a tournament. On top of that, the cord is extremely durable and screws into the controller, which allows you to easily store the controller if you want. Lastly, the grips and faceplate of the controller can be changed to have different textures while playing. I found this controller to be quite fascinating, considering the fact that nobody has made anything like it before. I’d like to state that I heard this news on the One Of Swords podcast, so here’s another example of great news that they talk about. If anybody wants to see what it looks like, visit the Mad Catz website. The only downside I can foresee people talking about is the cost, but I don’t even think that’s a problem, considering what it does. It’s $100, whereas the regular Xbox controllers (wired) are about $50 I think. So if you’re looking for a new controller, might as well go for the top-of-the-line hardware being used by the pros!

Podcasts Anyone?

I’ve listened to a lot of gaming podcasts, but most of them haven’t lasted. They either stopped making episodes, or just simply lost their touch. Even most of the gaming podcasts put on by the famous gaming channel G4 have come and gone. They only have a few good ones left. However, I have stuck to two specific podcasts that have helped me stay in the loop with a lot of gaming news. I know I’ve mentioned them before, but I haven’t actually talked about them in any sort of depth. The first podcast I listened to is one of the only ones that I have still stuck with all this time. The Official Xbox Magazine Podcast (KOXM) has been the greatest source of Xbox news I’ve ever had, besides their monthly magazine. I’ve been listening since episode one, and they’re now on episode 285. They have been around for so long that they’ve really perfected the art of podcasting. They have giveaways every week and I’ve won multiple times. After listening to KOXM for a while, one of the co-hosts left and started his own podcast because he was hired by Activision. He then started the One Of Swords podcasts, which also happens to be the other podcast I now listen to. They have great information on all types of gaming (related to Activision, obviously), and the co-hosts are hilarious. They’re both fantastic weekly podcasts and I recommend them both to all gamers. If anyone would like to check them out, the links are on the right side of the home page.

City Under The Moon

Catchy title, huh? Well unfortunately, it’s not mine. It’s actually the title of Hugh Sterbakov’s new book. Who’s Hugh Sterbakov you ask? Well, he’s a lot of things, including an Emmy-nominated writer for Robot Chicken, co-host on the One Of Swords podcast, and now he’s going to be a self-published author! I’m mentioning this because I listen to the podcast every week, and just recently, Hugh announced the plot to his long-coming thriller “City Under The Moon.” He has requested that everyone spread the word about his book, so that’s exactly what I’m doing, and you should too! I’m personally going to buy this book when it comes out because I think the plot sounds awesome, and I think everyone else should buy it too. If you’d like more information on it, go to his website or listen to episode 104 of the One Of Swords podcast. (I would recommend subscribing to the podcast anyways, because they put on a great show every week, and they provide listeners with all sorts of awesome gaming news.) So if anyone is looking for a good book to read in the near future (or purely looking to support a new author and independent publisher), check out City Under The Moon!