Posts Tagged ‘sony’

Play, Create, Share

May 11, 2010

play create share

Play, Create, Share is the future of video game content.

sack boy

This was the Sony’s statement to its competitors nearly two years ago. Three words with endless possibilities, awash with post-modern vector power points and encapsulated within its flagship community-based video games. The term was created by Sony for its exclusive titles. Titles that rely heavily upon user-created content which can be uploaded and distributed over the PlayStation Network. Little Big Planet was the first release to fall within the Play, Create, Share bracket and despite initial teething issues it has proved to be a true success story in both micro transaction and community-based products.

After a year of speculation, Sack Boys worldwide popped, slapped and guffawed as Media Molecule announced there would be another Little Big Planet offering. Sony have alluded to creation on a grander scale than the first game. The trailer hints at this with a wider level of customisation with digital puppets, intelligently design characters, narrative arcs and hybrid genres all being demonstrated within the revamped engine.

Here’s the trailer (Did Nathan Barley do the score?):

The biggest concern with a sequel so heavily reliant upon its players content is that a new release would make everything previously created on the original LBP redundant. Media Molecule were keen to dispel this rumour by confirming that all the levels from the first game would be incorporated and fully compatible with Little Big Planet 2.

sack boy mod nation

Great news for content junkies but the gripe many have with the original release is the constant removal of content that has even the faintest nostalgic wink to a red plumber or blue hedgehog. Both Sony and MM demonstrated draconian copyright enforcement that would make Viacom blush. Let’s just hope that they won’t be too strict this time around when it comes to punishing the hard working individuals that served as stanchions for the community. People spent hours upon hours meticulously trying to rehash their favourite levels from classic franchises only to have them erased within thirty minutes for having the audacity to reference a mushroom.

mario lbp

The success of Play, Create, Share will be dependant on Sony’s communication with competitors rather than ambiguous statements of intent. Little Big Planet did exceptionally well considering its restrictions but did not fully live up to the original claims it made. ModNation Racers will arrive in two weeks time; the second game in the Play, Create, Share banner with just as bold claims.

It looks astounding what this game could and should be capable of. An intuitive and easily customisable sandbox that will allow the player easy access to a range of physics tools to create kart levels with both the fun and freneticism of Mario Kart and aesthetic horse power of the Playstation.

modnation

With two strong titles on the horizon Play, Create, Share appears better equipped this year. I shall remain optimistic as the framework is certainly admirable. If the press conferences’ claims turn out to be accurate this time it will signify a new era in video game console development and could usher in a new way we experience video games, training a generation of aspiring level designers, mappers and skinners in the process. Just to reiterate, brokering will be key in opening the door to true ubiquitous, uninhibited content. Look no further than Spotify for proof of the pudding – a handshake and discussion goes a long way.

ModNation Racers, scheduled for release on the 21st May 2010 on Playstation 3 and PSP
Little Big Planet 2, expected Winter 2010

Dré

Control the Motion, Control the Market.

October 20, 2009

consoles

Still bloodied and bruised from the first round, the consoles have begun taping up and preparing for round two – the controller wars. Nintendo came prepared for the fight with the motion sensor and has subsequently beaten its competitors to a pulp – consistently. Remember when Nintendo unveiled the ‘Revolution‘ back in 2005? With the fragmented success of the Nintendo 64 and miniscule sales of GameCube, it was common opinion that lovable Nintendo had officially lost its marbles. This was confirmed when they announced the name of the new console.

wii

100 million Wii’s later, Nintendo’s proclamation of a revolution was far from an idle threat, rather, a genuine statement engineered and marketed to perfection through non-gender specific campaigns (Yes, there are two genders with disposable income) and a thriving casual gaming community. Now, Microsoft and Sony are preparing to launch their counter attack to the mass market question Nintendo addressed three years previous.

natal

With Microsoft’s Project Natal 3D motion camera and voice recognition and Sony’s motion control wand/camera product, industry experts predict the new devices should help extend the life of the current console generation well beyond the standard five-year lifecycle. The arrival of the PS3 Slim and price drop of both the High-definition consoles reiterate this further. Once Project Natal and Sony’s motion controller arrive, we should essentially have three “Wiis” on the market (sorry but that name will never be acceptable).

sony wand

Are Sony and Microsoft wise to implement such a dramatic strategy shift at this point in time? And why are they even trying such a paradigm shift? I put it down to technological failures and the companies apathy to tackle the problem head on. Sony prevailed with their choice of Blu-Ray over the now defunct HD-DVD format. At this point, it would have been the perfect opportunity to market their system to a wider audience, as families worldwide began investing in their LCD’s, Plasma’s and home entertainment systems. A price drop to match the average priced Blu-Ray player would have seen the console off the shelves and into the homes before the recession hit. The recession I must concede, has halted sales of high-definition products, but if the console was in the homes before the downturn hit, Sony would be coasting through on a sea of crystal clear images.

dig

What both Sony and Microsoft failed to acknowledge was that their products were perceived as hardcore gaming units to the general masses rather than multimedia centres. The failure on their part is both consoles aimed to cater for such a wide variety of consumers that they both ended up getting consistently beaten by a console with specs that couldn’t match their previous generations; but had a succinct, clear strategy. The key to Wii’s success is in its consistency. Family participation, peripheral sales and 1st party products – simple. I’m sure Sony and Microsoft couldn’t tell you what their plan is, but the arrival of their motion sensor implements indicates it might operate along the same lines as its waggle stick competitor.

We’ve come so far.

atari

I suppose now its wireless though.

Dré

Money For Old Rope

October 9, 2009

Hollywood as we are all aware, has strong liberal sentiments. We watch the armies of Prius scurrying round the globe; vocally promoting the most progressive of causes. An endangered lab rat in Dubai, a boycott of a well known chocolate vendor or political conflict in a far far away land. But when it comes to progression within their own industry, Hollywood is the perfect example of cultural conservatism. Any person who has scouted the papers or dubya’s over the past year would be hard pressed not feel a strange sense of deja-vu. Film and Television it seems, has become obsessed with the past, redressing themes from the old to the damn near pre-pubescent.

tids

Now you can forgive me if some of what I say appears just as unoriginal as the summer Blockbuster offerings. But the trend of remakes, re-drafts and reboots is becoming more and more frequent. The list of upcoming recycled properties is pretty staggering, especially when you look at the great filmmakers behind the texts. Filmmakers who have proven they have the artistic ambition to do something more original – have begun embracing nostalgic, more familiar material.

harvey

Step forward Steven Spielberg, the most successful filmmaker of all time announced that he will be ‘reimagining’ Harvey, the 1950 comedy starring Jimmy Stewart. Next we have Robert Zemeckis, another filmmaker with near-perfect credentials. He will be breathing new life into the iconic Yellow Submarine animation. Looking further, we have Bryan Singer’s upcoming remakes of Excalibur and Battlestar Galactica; while rocker turned auteur, Mr. Rob Zombie; still bloodied from the second Halloween set, is trying his hands at the tongue-in-cheek horror The Blob, the films third offering to an ever forgetful public.

blobbb

Shoot ‘Em Up director Michael Davis is trying on Outland for size. Screen Gems is moving ahead with a new take on Peckinpah’s classic Straw Dogs. Believe me when I say, I wish I was finished – damn you hyperlink! Studio wise, were getting a Columbia Pictures remake of the 1990 sci-fi film Total Recall. Hancock director Peter Berg will have a look at Lynch’s Dune, Brett Eisner will reinvent Flash Gordon and Danny ‘Bhangra’ Boyle’s DNA Films is planning a new Judge Dredd movie. Terminator Salvation director McG will plummet 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, while Twilight filmmakers Summit Entertainment are having a ganders at the Highlander franchise.

blade twi

There are countless remakes already on the studio release slates. MGM has a new version of Fame sitting atop mount box-office; with a remake of Red Dawn in the works. Sony, which gave us a remake of The Taking of Pelham 123 this summer, has a vehicle for Will Smith Jr in Karate Kid; coupled with our chubby cherub Seth Rogen as the Green Hornet next summer. Mr Murdoch will also be throwing a few flicks in the mix. New versions of Gulliver’s Travels, The A-Team, and yet another Predator offering. Universal has updates of both The Wolfman and Robin Hood, the latter with Russell ‘fighting round the world’ Crowe taking lead and Ridley Scott behind the camera.

crowe hood

No, still not finished. Paramount will have us tapping our feet to Footloose next year and begging Murphy to call it a day in Beverly Hills Cop. Warner brings up the rear with Sherlock Holmes, Clash of the Titans and A Nightmare on Elm Street.

Sadly, the only thing new and exciting audiences will get from Hollywood over the next few years are creative justifications for what is essentially – money for old rope. In an attempt to distance himself from the original Blob, Rob Zombie insisted, ‘My intention is not to have a big red blobby thing – that’s the first thing I want to change,”. Thank you Rob, very nicely put. The only thing I would question is why you would want to call it The Blob then. Just a thought.

So, why are there all these bloody remakes? Apathy? maybe. Economic woes? quite possibly. Is it familiarity? That detective, is the right question.

lanning

The figures speak for themselves sadly. Since January 2007, the ten highest grossing films at the box office have all been sequels, reimaginings of established franchises or action movies based on comic book characters. The marketers would suggest that we live in an environment so full of Jeremy Kyle and clutter that having a picture with a little spice of nostalgia is a crucial selling point. If you can sell a film around some form of familiarity, something the audience can latch onto, then you might just hit the jackpot.

blart

We live in a world where the whole concept of originality is being reinvented. Artists are simply hitting the replay button, spending more time re-imagining, rather than rethinking, redefining and re-re-re-re…

If you would like to read this again please press PLAY.

Dré