Google Stadia Signals Potential Shift In Gaming Industry

Google Stadia is set to release in 2019 and could, potentially, be the cloud-based streaming platform for gamers that will change an industry at the peak of its powers.

With eyes transfixed, Google announced ‘Stadia’, a new streaming platform that will provide a revolutionary change to the gaming industry. Stadia isn’t a new piece of hardware to unbox (although Google did show off a controller), but it is a cloud-streaming platform that will allow gamers to play on any device that supports web browsing.

Stadia will feature the ability to play on phones, tablets, computers, and on TV’s, with Chromecast functionality also available.

Stadia is described as a ‘Netflix for gaming’ and requires a fast and reliable internet connection. Users simply open a new tab in Chrome, wait five seconds, and the process is complete. Gamers can use mouse and keyboard or connect the Stadia controller using Wi-Fi.

All the back-end work is done through Google servers, not like traditional gaming platforms where graphics and gameplay works through the internals of the hardware.

This is a big deal for gamers because it doesn’t force them into buying hardware, though Google gave no indication on the cost of games for Stadia nor the official controller.

Expect games to retail for a similar price as digital releases currently, but also, monthly subscriptions to the service are also likely (like Netflix) with varying packages on offer. Upcoming shooter Doom: Eternal is confirmed to be releasing on Stadia, but no other announcements about launch titles were given. 

Google promises 4K resolutions, but interestingly, Stadia features a built-in Google Assistant feature that will allow gamers to seek help in game (for passing a certain level or finding a treasure etc.) without having to switch screens.

Stadia will release in the US, Canada, Europe, and in parts of the UK later this year.

REVIEW: Sonic Forces Wrestles With Differing Ideologies

Sonic Forces is a game that finds itself stuck between to generations and no real commitment to pick its desired pathway. 

The classic side scrolling style of Sonic makes its return during large parts of Sonic Forces. For the most part, it’s fun, but the games’ insistence on taking the more modern 3D approach hinders for half of the experience kept me feeling a sense of constant change. For some games that’s good, but Sonic Forces feels like it’s trying to cater to two seperate styles, the newer of which continues to just not feel like the Sonic we all know and love.

You could argue that Sonic Forces didn’t even need to be released, because what the franchise is known and loved for already released in the form of Sonic Mania earlier this year. So why Sonic Forces? Well, I wish I could tell you, but after sinking many hours into the game, that answer still isn’t clear.

Simple Yet Annoying Changes In Style Hinder Sonic Forces

Simplicity is the name of the game here, despite the constant change happening around you. Enemies are easy to beat, and you take turns between using Sonic and a custom made character, of which you design when first beginning the game. Boss battles can be tricky at times, but after a few goes, you quickly grasp just what it is you need to do in order to beat them. Story wise, Sonic Forces just didn’t do it for me, and I didn’t find myself asking myself what I was actually working toward whilst playing through the missions.

Stop the bad guy, that’s really all I knew throughout. Having said that, Sonic Forces isn’t built to feature a gripping story mode, the story is just an essential part to aid progression, and it’s a rather desperate attempt at that.

Some levels are fun, whilst others are downright annoying. The levels I particularly enjoyed were the side scrollers, but when the game forced me into playing behind the character, I found myself wanting to immediately put the controller down. That’s a shame, because if Sonic Forces just stuck with what it did well, the side scrolling, I’d be happy to keep on going and maybe redo some of the levels.

Sonic Forces Wrestles With Differing Ideologies

Whilst fun in patches, Sonic Forces could’ve been so much better if it stuck to what the franchise has always done well. It had all the tools to be better than it was, but it’s trickery with the formula keeps it from being a must have for fans of the famous hedgehog.

FINAL SCORE: 6/10

Black Ops III set for November release

Call of Duty: Black Ops III will release in November and features a campaign designed for four player co-op and replayability.

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The third instalment in the Black Ops franchise, Treyarchs new shooter will take place in a “dark, gritty future where a new breed of soldier emerges”.

The official reveal trailer was released today and can be seen below.

Call of Duty: Black Ops III will be available on November 6th on all major gaming platforms.

Reaction: Strong E3 for Sony but nothing mind blowing

E3 was another strong outing for Sony in 2014, but it didn’t leave gamers with anything too memorable, and it certainly won’t see many go rushing to the pre order stands.

2013 was arguably Sony’s greatest E3, but with no new hardware reveals or groundbreaking sequels on the horizon for this year, PlayStation’s conference was never going to be as strong as last year and it was pretty much a case of interesting new announcements, games that look cool, but nothing that has bettered Sony’s position over Microsoft going forward.

Destiny is Sony’s big release this year, and the game will launch with a white PS4 bundle on September 9th. The white PS4 design looks amazing, and it will sell well.

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No word was mentioned about DriveClub which surprised many, but the announcement of Dead Island 2 was one of the most memorable moments from this years conference. Like it did last year, indie developers took up much of the conference, too much in fact, with some cool looking games coming to PSN but nothing that had anybody terribly overcome with excitement. There was no mention of the rebooted Abe’s Oddysee either which had me a little disappointed. Other games which were shown yesterday include BattleField 5, The Order: 1886, Last Of Us Remastered, Mortal Combat, and Metal Gear Solid.

One of the most pleasing moments of the conference was the announcement that GTA V was coming to PS4, and it was confirmed that GTA Online data will carry over to the next gen systems, and that will no doubt see the higher quality version of GTA’s most popular installment ship many copies.

It wouldn’t be a Sony conference at E3 without Naughty Dog making an appearance, and to close out the show, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End was revealed. It seems that the next game in the series may be the last, as much of the trailer showed Nathan Drake, a seemingly older Nathan Drake, be going back to Sully for “one last time”. If this is to be the final chapter in the Uncharted series then it will be a sad but bittersweet release for the PlayStation faithful, but hopefully A Thief’s End will be just as enjoyable and groundbreaking as all the other games the series has given.

In closing, Sony had another strong E3 in 2014, and their conference clearly outdid Microsoft’s. The PS4 is in a good position as Microsoft continue the fightback for brand surpremecy with Xbox One, but despite a strong E3 which promises some great things in 2014/2015, Sony haven’t really improved on anything that they came into E3 with.