Staying In The Loop

There’s so many sources of news out in the world. It amazes me that I can literally figure out the same piece of information in so many ways. I can read a book, a magazine, or a newspaper. I can listen to a podcast or the radio. I can see a movie or watch the news. I can even simply talk to others, and I can get the same information from any of the sources. I’ve been thinking about this more and more because as I talk to people about video games, they all (basically) know the same gaming news, but follow completely different sources of information. It’s just intriguing to see what one person prefers over another.

Personally, I subscribe to magazines and check online for news once in a while, but my favorite source of news is through podcasts. I love listening to them as I go through my daily routines. I just feel like podcasts are much more personal, and over the course of an hour, I will have acquired much more information than I would have if I was reading a magazine or a newspaper, simply because of the fact that I can listen to something a lot longer than I can read something. I often get distracted while reading, but if I’m listening to a podcast, I feel like someone is talking to me and I have a much harder time ignoring what they say. I have also been thinking about this because I was recently given the opportunity to be a podcaster myself, and I might just take that opportunity. I just don’t know what people find to be the most successful in terms of getting information across, so I haven’t made up my mind yet.

So my question to you, the reader of this humble little blog that I call home, is what do you find to be your favorite source of gaming information? Along with what your favorite is, what is the most useful source you use? I find that sometimes these often differ with people. Some like the internet, but get more useful information from a newspaper. So if you have an opinion, just leave a comment below. I’d love to hear what you have to say!

February’s NPD Sales Numbers

Have you ever heard of the NPD sales numbers? I’m not surprised if your answer is no. A lot of people haven’t. They are basically the sales figures of the gaming industry in the United States. Meaning, it tracks how many consoles, handhelds, games, etc. were sold within a given month or year. The stats are released every month, and are typically used by game industry analysts and people who work within the industry in order to see how they are doing. The NPD sales numbers for February just came out a few days ago, and I figured I’d pass along the news. Admittedly, I did not look up these numbers myself. I actually get them from KOXM (The Official Xbox Magazine’s podcast) every month. It’s quite fascinating to see what the stats look like each month because then you can see how each console/game is doing, and from there, attempt to predict what will happen in the following months. These are some of February’s sales numbers:  Continue reading

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!

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!

Neversoft Makes A Comeback!

Remember the OLD Tony Hawk games? The only real good ones, in my opinion. They lost me after Underground 1. How about the original Spiderman game? Or Guitar Hero? These were all games made by Neversoft. Now I know that they’ve made a lot more games than that, but these ones in particular were my favorite. I’ve stopped following them for a while because they’ve basically just dedicated themselves to Guitar Hero for the past couple years (until it shut down), and I stopped buying those games a long time ago (5 GH releases over the course of 2 years was ridiculous). But I follow Dan Amrich, the man behind One Of Swords (Go to his site for more info. He has a great podcast too), and he recently mentioned the fact that Neversoft is coming back with an all new game plan. They created a brand new Facebook page (Like the page to follow them, if you wish to do so), and they’re trying to gather their fan base for an all new project they’re working on. I actually commented on their wall post, and they said it was going to be an FPS, but that was all they could say. Personally, I’m extremely excited to see what they have in store, because I used to love their work. So I figured I’d spread the word in case anybody else was interested in checking it out as well.