You’ve Been Chosen

I must admit, this PR Campaign that Bioware has going is really interesting. Today, Bioware released a new trailer for their new game entitled “Spark”. You can watch it below:

Again, it’s a live action teaser with what seems to be someone being stalked by something that can control electricity. The game seems to definitely have something to do with a group of people (things?) selecting people for something. The website has a place for you to sign up for more info and it has a message:

“DO YOU KNOW THEY ARE WATCHING?
Your power is rising.
Cologne, Germany.
08.13.14.

You’ve Been Chosen.”

There will definitely be some kind of announcement at Gamescom in Cologne on August 13th. I am getting more and more excited for this game.

EA Access Announced

EA announced a new service yesterday called “EA Access”. The service is akin to Netflix. You’ll be able to play EA Titles for $4.99 a month. Currently the beta is out and you can play: FIFA 14, Madden NFL 25, Peggle 2 and Battlefield 4. On top of being able to play full games, you will also get to save 10% on all XBox One EA Digital Downloads and be able to play up to 5 days ahead of other people. Soon you will also be able to buy subscriptions in retail and online stores.

It sounds pretty exciting but it is yet to be seen if the library of EA Games available keeps up with the pace of releases. Sure, the current offering has some of their most popular games but if the service stays behind the curve, I won’t be shelling out $5 a month.

It is also interesting to note that Sony passed on EA Access saying it was not a good value. (check this IGN Article for more info)

Truth about Monster HDMI Cables

I’m sure most of you have gone to Best Buy or some other retail outlet and have seen Monster Cables. They are the cables that have super fancy packaging and brag about how superior they are. I’m going to save you a lot of money and explain why most of the things that Monster says about their cables are not lies, but not full truths either.

Monster Cable Box

Monster Black Platinum HDMI Cable 9 ft:
Specs taken from Monsterproducts.com

27Gbps Ultimate-high speed rated
Cable For Life performance guarantee
For those who demand the best in high definition home theater – now and in the future
Ultimate 1080p, ultra HD 4k at 60fsp
Delivers up to 7.1 lossless digital surround sound for the ultimate movie, music, and game experience

So let’s break this down:
27Gbps Ultimate-High Speed – Let’s break this down a little bit, most HDMI Cables are rated as high speed (category 2) or standard speed (category 1) by the HDMI Organization (http://www.hdmi.org/). The HDMI Organization is the group that defines the standards for HDMI. High Speed is rated for 1080p and 4k signals. That being said though, even a standard speed cable could handle 1080p, it’s just not rated for it. Normal speeds for an HDMI Cable are 3.4 Gbps (10.2 Gbps total, there are 3 lines / channels in one HDMI Cable). I’m not sure exactly how Monster gets to 27 Gbps, my guess is that they add more channels to the cable itself but that doesnt really matter. What matters is that the claim that the cable can do 27 Gbps is not proven and Monster will probably not be able to give you a straight answer about how they got to the number. The “faster” a cable is will not make your picture look any better or your sound, sound any better.

Cable for Life – The only reason I could ever see having a lifetime warranty on a cable is if that cable was really expensive… which, Monster Cables are. A 9 foot Black Platinum Monster Cable goes for $99.99 at Best Buy.

Future Proof! Ultra 1080p and 4k! – Seeing how currently 4k TVs are just starting to gain momentum, I don’t think that you need to future proof your cables at this point. but oh wait, normal Category 2 (High Speed) HDMI Cables can display 4k. Also, the term “Ultimate” in front of 1080p is just dumb. 1080p is 1080p anyway you slice it, a cable isn’t going to make someones 1080p movie look any better.

Delivers up to 7.1 Lossless Surround Sound – Any HDMI Cable can do 7.1 surround sound and deliver it… that’s what the cable was built to do, carry signals.

Let’s take a quick look at a competing HDMI Cable from Monoprice.com

Monoprice HDMI Cable
(Monoprice Website)
This cable is a 10 foot HDMI Cable.

Without writing it all out here, the cable does EVERYTHING the Monster Cables claims. So you would think the price would be the same right? Wrong! The Monoprice HDMI Cable goes for: $5.15.

Most of what Monster relies on is fancy packaging and wording to make their cables stand out and thus are able to charge a whole lot more for a product that is essentially the same as a cheaper version. Just one last thought, the Monster Cables (and some other brands) claim that they can do 120hz and 240hz. Even that is a lie because the cable themselves can’t create those kinds of signals, the TV does, the wire simply transfers the data. So the $5 wire can also do 120hz just as well as the Monster Cable can.

Feel free to leave any questions if you want more clarification on this topic!

PC Decimating Consoles?

Over the weekend IGN posted an interview with Doom Designer John Romero where he says that the PC is decimating consoles. (You can read the interview here).

Essentially, Romero says that Free-To-Play is going to decimate consoles, mostly due to price. He mentions $5 Steam Games and other free to play games that release on PC. I would like to add an argument for consoles.

Romero seems to be focused on price of games but he seems to not remember the price of the hardware. Xbox One and PS4 are significantly cheaper than buying a PC with the same specs, and thats assuming you can build your own PC. Without getting into too much of the nitty-gritty of specification comparisons, if you were building your own PC to match specs with that of a PS4 or Xbox One, you would spend about $450 – $500 which is already over the $399.99 price point on the consoles. (something to note is that because the APUs are custom built, there isn’t a direct comparison to any other piece of hardware). Another thing you have to understand is that running a full blown Windows OS on said PC would not run nearly comparable to a console considering there are a lot more things going on behind the dashboard than on a console OS
that is specifically built to run on the hardware.

That being said, there are free to play games available for PS4 and Xbox One, so stating it like the consoles don’t have that option is kind of a misstep in itself.

Besides hardware, the other thing to take into consideration is the accessibility of consoles. Mostly everyone already has a TV of some size in their homes, so buying a device that is essentially plug and play into your TV is a no-brainer. A PC requires you to buy a monitor, case, and any peripherals (mouse, keyboard, speakers, etc…). There is also the constant threat of viruses, malware, and other nefarious things on a PC.

At the end of the day, the consoles are not going anywhere fast, the accessibility and price will keep selling the consoles. That being said, PCs are also a staple in their own right. So I wholeheartedly disagree with John Romero, Free-To-Play is not decimating the consoles.

New Bioware Game

So I woke up this morning and checked my email and got my pants scared right off me.

Bioware and EA have announced a new game. I can’t tell if the title of the game is: “You’ve Been Chosen” or if that’s the viral campaign Bioware is using to hype the game.

The video that was linked in the email is posted below, take a watch. Whatever the game is, it looks like it’s going to fall into a horror or suspense genre. Being that it is being developed by Bioware, don’t be surprised if it’s some kind of RPG and/or Adventure Game.

That footage seems to be a mix of live action and animation. I’m interested to see how the game actually looks from a visual standpoint.

Bioware, you have peaked my interest, so kudos to you on a teaser well made.

More info might be coming from Comic Con taking place in San Diego this weekend or (more likely) be announced at Gamescom in August.

We’ll post more info about the game as we find out!