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Video Games: Pro Cycling Manager and Le Tour de France to Launch in 2014


Pro Cycling Manager and Le Tour de France 2014

With the weather warming up in locations that in some instances endured weather that was not too kind -- you may be thinking of getting out and about and enjoying the sunny, spring weather by walking, jogging, biking, or  performing other fun outdoor activities.  There are video games that embrace an outdoor sport that is synonymous with enjoyment of nice weather, albeit from a competitive vantage point.  These games are  Pro Cycling Manager and Le Tour de France 2014.   For the first time the Le Tour de France  game will be available for play on Sony's PlayStation 4.


Pro Cycling Manager and Le Tour de France 2014

In the latest version of these games, changes have been made for more immersive gameplay.  In addition to being able to explore and race in some of the most eye-catching environments such as  the London countryside, cobble roads of France, the mountain ranges and of course the finish line at Champs Elysees -- there are also new rider animations with more detailed backdrops.  During video game play, you will be able to compete over several  seasons and recruit some of the top players to ensure that you win.


Pro Cycling Manager and Le Tour de France 2014

When playing Pro Cycling Manager, you will be able to choose between 75 pro teams, take part in over 200 competitions and 550 stages. As you may know, sometimes it takes more than speed to win races. Therefore this game will offer you a brand new intuitive interface, consecutive orders and winning race tactics.

Pro Cycling Manager 2014 will be available for play on the PC and Le Tour de France 2014 will be playable on the  Xbox 360, PS3, PS4 and the PC.  A specific release date was not available at press time.


Last Updated on Monday, 19 May 2014 08:04

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Video Games: Path of Exile Is 5 Million Users Strong


Path of Exile

Sometimes it takes time for a video game to hit the 5 million users mark.  In the case of Path of Exile, a New Zealand PC video game, developed by Grinding Gear Games, it took about seven years to reach this point. It may also help that Path of Exile is  free-to-play and has been since its inception.  

Path of Exile has been in open beta testing and as recent as October 2013, had a 2 million user fan base.  Since that time the fan base has grown to its current 5 million users mark.


Path of Exile

Path of Exile is a PC online Role Playing Game (RPG) where you essentially control one character throughout while exploring outdoor worlds, battling monsters and the like. The game itself is described as a dark fantasy one which is set on the continent , Wraeclast, that is haven for unsavory type characters. The gameplay plots the video game player against a wilderness filled with dangerous inhabitants -- with each out to survive at all costs. The actions in Path of Exile has been compared to that of the video game, Diablo.


Path of Exile

Regarding the 7 year timeframe to reach the 5 million users mark, Grinding Gear Games Jonathan Rogers indicated they thought the game would take no more than two and one half years to develop; however, a lot more work went into making this game, which stretched the time out.  In other words, the game took a lot longer to develop than expected.  The game was further helped by the fans raising $2.5 million via an online fundraiser when the company temporarily ran out of money for the game.

Path of Exile is out now and is available free to play on Steam as well as on Grinder Gears Games website,

Last Updated on Sunday, 30 March 2014 19:14

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Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor -- Pre-Order Bonuses Available


Middle Earth:  Shadow of Mordor

More and more it appears as if video games are being released without pre-order bonuses available for video game players.  In other words, you can pre-order some games, many of them block-buster type games without being given any type of bonus.  One such game was the latest version of Tomb Raider which I pre-ordered but did not receive a bonus. I enjoyed playing the game, but would have enjoyed it even more if I was given a bonus for pre-ordering it.  I'm sure there are plenty upcoming games that will not come with pre-order bonuses.  I'm glad to let you know that there are exceptions. One such game is Monolith's Middle Earth:  Shadow of Modor. Pre-order this game and you will receive bonuses that will not only add to your enjoyment of the game, but may be beneficial to your game play as well.


Middle Earth:  Shadow of Modor

Middle Earth: Shadow of Modor is an open world action Role Playing Game (RPG) inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit.  This game will bridge the gap between The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings.  In this video game, you will play the main character of Talion, who is a Ranger with Wraith-like abilities.


Middle Earth:  Shadow of Modor

If this sounds like a game you would like to play, pre-order bonuses are available now from and the Middle Earth: Shadow of Modor web site.  The pre-order bonuses consist of a method to increase your power by having access to The Dark Ranger.  You will also get to play the exclusive Test of Power challenge mode.  You can get a head start, defeat the Sauron's Captains and earn powerful Runes.   Pre-order from the Middle Earth:  Shadow of Modor's official web site, and you will also receive an exclusive playable character skin.

Middle Earth: Shadow of Modor will be rated M for Mature, and will be playable on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One,  PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and the PC.   The release date for Middle Earth: Shadow of Modor is October 7, 2014.

Last Updated on Monday, 21 April 2014 06:09

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PlayStation 4 vs Xbox One: How the "Tables Can be Turned Around" (Part 1)


 Xbox Ones stacked, circa March 2014, more probably in storage 

The competition between Microsoft's Xbox One and Sony's PlayStation 4 continues, with Sony's PlayStation 4

seemingly winning.  I admit that I was one of those video game players who waited in a long line eagerly anticipating getting the PlayStation 4 when it launched on November 15, 2013.  I had no plans to stand in line for the Xbox One when it launched November 22, 2013.  I chose the PlayStation 4 over the Xbox One because Sony seemed to have a more stable outlook of what video gamers want -- while Microsoft did a lot of waffling about what the video gamers can and cannot do on its system. Additionally the television, or video watching rather than the video gaming aspects of the Xbox One were stressed. This would have been ok, if your sole purpose in purchasing a video gaming system was to watch television.   From my perspective, Microsoft was concentrating on the non-gaming features of its new system while Sony, in my opinion, took the right and more effective approach of emphasizing the gaming aspects of the PlayStation 4.  

Of course, there were some problems with the PS4 at launch, after all it was a completely new system; however, Sony was quick to respond to problems with the PS4 and in some cases shipped out replacement units in record time based on the extent of the problem.  I am a witness to this.  Experiences may vary, however, my communications with Sony's Customer Support were positive and always resulted in some fast action on Sony's part to resolve the problem.  I now have a PS4 that I am satisfied with.  Video game players were even told ahead of time about  the requirement to load a patch as soon as they received their PS4 at launch date. This was communicated prior to the launch date, so there were no surprises or confusion as to what you had to do when you first plugged in and turned on your PS4.

Now -- lets look at how Microsoft chose to introduce its Xbox One.  First of all, it appears that noone really knew what the system would be called.  Finally, during the Microsoft press conference, video game players found out the system would be called the Xbox One instead of the Xbox 720.  To be fair to Microsoft, there was also speculation as to what the Sony's PlayStation 4 would be called with Orbis mentioned as a possible name--which thankfully, in my opinion, did not stick.  However, Sony did not keep video gamers in as much suspense as Microsoft did with the name of its console, and once released, the name of the system did not change for the PS4.  This is not true for the Xbox One.  My question to Microsoft is why number a video game system "One," when it is clearly not the first generation console.  Months later, under a new advertising campaign, Microsoft stated that the Xbox One, was an "All in One System" which in my opinion is not a unique idea.  There are lots of "all in one" systems on the market, including it's competing rival, the PS4. Microsoft's attempt to increase excitement for its system, seems to have fallen on deaf ears -- in my opinion.


Xbox One vs PS4 

Additionally, when the PlayStation 4 was introduced as PlayStation 4 or simply PS4 -- the name stuck.  This was not the case for the Xbox One.  The Xbox One is sometiimes referred to as Xbone.  When I first saw this name in print, my first thought was that someone was trying to underrate Xbox One by referring to it as a "bone."  I deciphered Xbone as "X + bone" instead of "Xbox - one" where the "ox" was simply dropped and replaced by "one."  I do not know who started this name reference, but my recommendation is for it to stop before it takes off and gets a life of its own.   You may ask exactly what is in a name -- My response would be "Everything."  Personally, the image of a bone, is not one I would like to visualize when I referred to my video game console system as Xbone.


PS4 and Xbox One

Of course there are die-hard Xbox One and PS4 fans who will buy their system of choice, no matter the botched publicity of the Xbox One, vs. the focused, video game player PR from Sony.  By now, you probably already own your console of choice, or have an idea of which system you plan to get.  Alternatively, you may opt to get both systems and enjoy the benefits both can offer.

However, looking from the viewpoints of Sony and Microsoft, your choice does make a difference. Both companies are out to get your video game playing dollars so it would be in their favor, from a bottom line stance, if you chose to purchase their video game console system over the competitor.

Just who is winning so far -- the Xbox One or the PS4? How can the tables be turned for the less popular system? Check out Part 2 for these answers and more coming soon.

PlayStation 4 vs Xbox One: How the "Tables Can be Turned" Part 2 Read more.

Xbox One vs PS4 Controller Wars Read more.


Last Updated on Monday, 07 April 2014 00:17

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PlayStation 4 vs Xbox One: How the "Tables Can be Turned Around" (Part 2)


PS4 vs XBox One  

The latest ploy by Microsoft to get you to purchase an Xbox One, if you have not already done so, is to try to lure you in with a promotion I saw recently where three free days of Xbox Live is being offered via an advertisement on bags of Lay's potato chips.  That's right.  Microsoft apparently sees no limits or boundaries as to where to remind you (including potato chip packages)  that if you have not yet purchased an Xbox One, now is the time to do so, especially if you want to get a few free days of Xbox Live usage.  The question is -- will this offer as well as other future ones steer more people to the Xbox One instead of the Playstation 4.

Probably more telling is Microsoft's introduction of the TitanFall Xbox One bundle where you get a free TitanFall video game along with the Xbox One system.  If that did not make you want to run out and buy an Xbox One, an additional promotion was a price cut of $50.00 offered at Walmart and Best Buy.  Of course, if you consider that the Xbox One comes packaged with the Kinect that is valued at about $100.00 -- there was really not that much of a price difference between the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 from the beginning -- with Xbox One selling for $499.99 vs.  the Playstation 4 price of $399.99. PlayStation 4 offers a camera that retails from $60.00 and up -- which did not come with the PS4.  

Regarding the price of both video game consoles, Sony, in my opinion,  did a much better job of marketing the PS4 at what it thought was a reasonable price and did not waffle on the price as Microsoft is doing with the Xbox One at some retail establishments.


Xbox One sits alone, circa April 2014, without the PS4 (probably out of stock due to demand), waiting to be bought at a small discounted price.

Let's get down to the basics of what Microsoft needs to do to turn the tables around in its favor.  First, in my opinion, its focus must turn toward the video game playing components of its system -- instead of the other video showings that it offers. Unfortunately, Microsoft cannot go back in time to undo its ill-thought out, and misdirected conference when the Xbox One was first introduced and the emphasis was on the TV-watching instead of the video game playing benefits of the Xbox One.  Also, even though Microsoft did not follow through on its "threats" to require internet access as well as its initial ban on trading its games, and even on the poor choice of name -- the Xbox One --  it can try to paint a more positive picture in video game players' minds.  In other words, it can try a second time -- to make a good first impression on the video game players with its Xbox One.

Regarding the name -- Xbox One, I believe just about everyone is accustomed to the name by this time -- so the name can stay the same.  However, instead of using the mantra that the Xbox One is an "All in One" system (which is nothing new), it must somehow -- by its tagline or slogan -- make it be known that Microsoft understands the Xbox One is for video game players -- who purchase the Xbox One to play video games. In other words, gamers should come first.  A suggested tagline for Microsoft is, the "Gamer is number One "-- hence the name -- Xbox One.  It may also use a play on the three musketeers' saying by stating that -- "Microsoft is all for One and  One for All"  when it comes to making the best of video game player's experiences. There are a number of creative ways Microsoft can try to rekindle the interest of  the Xbox One. I believe a new advertising campaign would greatly help to change the sometimes not so positive perception of Microsoft's Xbox One.


Unlike the PS4 -- Xbox One peripherals displayed on the bottom shelf.


 PS4 takes top shelf not only physically here, but tops Xbox One financially in sales as well.

Of course, the name and tag lines are mostly cosmetic, and much more is needed to turn the tables around in Microsoft's favor. The one sure way for Microsoft to get ahead on sales is to have more new video game offerings.  If you have either an Xbox One, a PS4 or even both, you may already know that one of the biggest complaints about both systems is the lack of new video games.  If Microsoft could somehow come out of the gate running with a slew of sophisticated/upscale, top of the line new video games that would rival games, such as Call of Duty and others, they may be able to get close to -- if not surpass Sony.  The problem with this solution, is that Sony, too knows about the lack of new video games for the new systems -- so as we speak, the company probably already has a lot of new games in the works.  In fact, it has been recently announced that Sony will be introducing its own version of Oculus Rift -- the new  Virtual Reality (VR) video game enhancement system. Nothing new from Microsoft so far.  Looks like Microsoft is too busy, in my opinion, trying to push the sales of the Xbox One, to be thinking of other innovative ideas for video game players. A fail for them, again,  in my opinion.

The above being said, there can be light at the end of the tunnel for Microsoft.  Since that ill-fated conference and resulting negative publicity for the Xbox One, there have been numerous management changes at Microsoft -- including the hiring of Phil Spencer.  Phil Spencer has indicated he knows the video game players should be the first and utmost considerations relative to the Xbox One. Now all he has to do is convert this statement into some actions to turn the tables around for Microsoft's Xbox One.

As can be expected, Sony is not holding its breath waiting for Microsoft to catch up.  It contnues to keep the video game players first and foremost in mind in all things PlayStation 4 -- Now Microsoft needs to follow suit and do the same for the Xbox One.

PlayStation 4 vs Xbox One: How the "Tables Can be Turned Around" Part 1 Read more.


Last Updated on Monday, 07 April 2014 00:10

Hits: 1417

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