Xbox 360

THE UK EMERGENCE OF GAMESTOP!

Over the last few years, supermarkets have received criticism for selling big title games like Call of Duty and FIFA at a loss, knowing that they will end up recouping the money quickly. They did this with the thinking that the average customer will probably spend more in store anyway, so on paper it’s a cunning yet shrewd move.

However, maybe gamers were too frugal and simply brought the game and nothing else, because supermarkets don’t seem to be offering the same tempting deals any more.

There is a new sheriff is in town, though, and he answers to the name GameStop. This tough hombre seems to be adopting a very familiar tactic (I’ll stop this western thing now, shall I?).

Although not hugely popular here in the UK at the moment, GameStop have been around since 1984 and are the world’s largest video-game and entertainment software retailer with 6,500 retail stores worldwide. They seem to be aggressively moving into the UK online market, which can only further affect troubled stores like GAME, who have been closing stores at an alarming rate.

For those of you that have missed out on the recent deals, last week the retailer hit the headlines when it reduced current UK No.1, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, to just £20.97 for a limited period. They followed up with Driver: San Francisco for just £21.97, after tweeting the deal and advising that it would last for one hour.

Online shoppers will be more than aware of this interesting sales strategy, which comes through the medium of social networking sites such as Twitter. They can sell the most popular games at a loss, which will guarantee high levels of traffic to their website and new customer sign-ups, which would most likely be much cheaper and more effective than any big advertising and marketing campaigns.

Make no mistake though; no consumer website is actually your friend and will never operate with only your best interests at heart. It is worth remembering that GameStop also recently admitted to removing coupons from the PC version of Deus Ex: Human Revolution. The coupons would have entitled buyers to sample a free copy of the title on streaming service OnLive, but Gamestop removed them as they are launching their own game streaming service in 2012. It would not be a giant leap of faith to see the importance of gathering customers information to prepare for such an event, and what better way to do this than to offer cheap games?

Deus Ex: HR for £20.97, but what’s the catch?

In under a week they have massively discounted two of the biggest games this year and when asked by Tweeters about the deals, they replied with “There’s more to come!”. I have a feeling that we will be seeing lots more gaming bargains heading our way this year, but at what cost?

As a gamer and a man that appreciates the concept of value, the allure of a gaming bargain often proves too great to resist, but it’s also very important to remember that stores selling games at a loss are doing this to destroy the competition. When your local friendly independent store has gone, you can guarantee that the bargains will no longer exist, so in the long game do you actually save any money?

I am of the belief that gamers are quite a savvy bunch and their favourite pastime prevents them from being played by marketing teams. They play the game well, which is why supermarkets have retreated a little from the price war.

You all know the risks involved. You know that you are being offered games at a steal in the hope of you signing up and becoming a loyal customer, just so they can reap the rewards in the near future. We have all played through enough story arcs to know that misguided loyalty or blind faith will kill you faster than any bullet, but we’re also wise enough to know if you play the game right you can bag yourself a true bargain.

What are your thoughts on this kind of sales strategy? Let us know how you feel about GameStop by commenting below.

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Kinect is for Christmas, not for life…

Gamers, as a rule, have a reputation of not being the most active of people but make no mistake Kinect is not aimed at your hardcore gamers, but at the all important family market over the Christmas period.

Whilst the PS3 and Xbox 360 sales hover around the 45 million mark, The Nintendo Wii has so far sold a whopping 75 million units because they managed to tap into the “Christmas Family Market”. Of course there are now many Nintendo Wii’s that are left unloved and untouched and sales are dropping like a stone because the fickle occasional gamers  are looking for something more sophisticated to impress at their Christmas Party.

In my head there will be many snob like scenarios, where people find themselves gathered in a living room of people whom they see once a year and when the Wii is turned on, someone will say “Darling, the Wii is so last year haven’t you seen Microsoft Kinect? We have it and it’s so much better”. At this point the hostess runs upstairs in tears saying “Why do they always have to be better than us and ruin our Christmas”. Christmas ruined! For me, this is the market Microsoft is aiming for.

As news breaks that worldwide sales of Microsoft Kinect smashes the one million mark in ten days, I thought it was about time I should test the latest must have from Microsoft in a home environment. The biggest drawback seems to be that you need to be at least six feet away from your TV with no obstructions in the way. This may be fine for your typical American living room, but I think it’s fair to say that the average UK living room is a little more intimate, or should I say cosy.

Is your living room this big? (more…)

Product placement in games

We have recently touched upon how corporate gaming has become, what used to be an underground guilty pleasure is now rapidly turning into mainstream entertainment and if there are any doubts about this, one look at the sales figures. They show that the PS3 has now sold 35.7 million units, Xbox 360 40 Million and Wii 70 million. This shows the main reason that we will be seeing Sony’s “Move” and Microsoft’s “Natal” this Christmas as they go after the Wii market.

The hardcore gamers amongst us are beginning to get a little tetchy as the world of gaming begins to change with rising costs of DLC and an increasing amount of product placements in games are starting to become the norm. The sad truth is that TV Shows, Magazines, Newspapers etc are created for one purpose and one purpose only and this is to fill advertising space and if a show does not perform it’s axed to make way for something else to keep the advertisers happy. A fail safe system but guess what? People are no longer watching TV, and even if they do, they skip the ads anyway. (more…)

1 vs 100 Beta: First Impressions

1vs100placeholderFriday saw the two-hour live game show called 1 vs. 100 finally launch onto Xbox Live, and a large number of Gold Subscription members over in the UK finally got to try their hand at its brand of multiple choice trivia.

For those that didn’t get chance to download and check out the extensive beta test of the first addition to Xbox Lives ‘Primetime’ channel that was announced at E3 last year, or found the concept a little confusing at their first glance, Neil takes time to explain his findings with the experience of being in a game show. 

Let’s get the basics out of the way. Only one person is “The One”, a hundred people are in “The Mob” and everyone else is in the crowd. It tells you at the start of the round where you’re playing. The Mob are those in front of the blue dotted screens, and the crowd are in front of the purple stripes. Of course not all 75,000+ players are shown; you’ll see your row and some random avatar’s too.

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5 Achievement Boosters

Placeholder2Xbox 360 achievements are a very controversial topic forany gamer, but hidden inside most of us is a ‘Stat Junkie’ or ‘Achievement Whore’. We all know that a gamerscore of over 10,000 made up of easy games does not deserve the respect against someone that has only 1500 but earned them after spending countless hours on Halo 3, but still it makes us feel just a little bit better to have a half decent number next to our gamer tag.

The depths as to which you will sink to is another story though, Hannah Montana : The Movie for example is an easy 1,000 points but do you really want to share this with the world?

Whatever your opinion, if you rent games and feel your gamerscore is in need of a quick boost but equally do not want to sell your soul, here is a list games that can work a little magic.

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