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Entries in iPhone (4)


What the F is Going On With EA?

As an avid Battlefield 3 player, I often blame a lot of that game's shortcomings on the game studio that made it, DICE. And while DICE is far from blameless, one gets the feeling after a while that EA is equally culpable. Especially when it comes to networked (multiplayer) gameplay.

After having many issues (especially connection issues) EA pulled it's iOS version of Battlefield, "Battlefield 3: Aftershock," from the iOS App Store and permanently suspended development on it. Then yesterday they announced that they pulled another game, "The Simpsons: Tapped Out," from the App Store so they could "limit the game's server capacity...and address connectivity and lag time issues."

In some respects, this is a good thing. They're addressing issues their customers are having and are working to fix things. In fact, I wish they were half so responsive to Battlefield 3 players as they seem to be with iOS gamers. But why on earth is this happening in the first place?

EA is the king-daddy of video game companies. They're the guys who do Madden. They're the guys who, when Steve Jobs wanted a game developer to show off his new iOS devices, stepped up and made the big splash. They're the video game company that every major brand - from the NFL to, well, The Simpsons - wants to work with. So why don't their technological capabilities back up the games they release?

I can't believe it's because they're incapable. While I freely acknowledge networking thousands upon thousands of iPad gamers together across the globe to play a game against each other via the Internet isn't an easy thing to do, they must know how to do it. In fact, they seem to be able to do it with smaller number of users. It's just that they can't keep up with demand.

Which means it comes down to biting off more than you can chew. They definitely couldn't meet demand with the launch of Battlefield 3 (on PC, XBOX 360 and PS3) and with this Simpsons iOS announcement, a pattern is developing. EA needs to learn that spending a bit more time and launching a game with a bullet proof user experience is more important than being first to market, or making a big splash with a big-name title that never works right.

While it sucks if you bought Battlefield 3: Aftershock thinking you were going to get a great iOS multiplayer experience, it's actually a positive thing that they scrapped it. Hopefully they focused those resources back on games that need the help. And I can only hope that in the future they invest in the infrastructure they need before they launch the great games that they make.


$1.74 Billion Spent On Video Game Content? That's a Lot of Microsoft Points.

Image via DICE Designer @ChristinaCoffin

Someone once said that the guy that invented money was smart, but the guy that invented the poker chip was a genius. I suppose the same could be said for Microsoft Points, Facebook Credits, Wii Points and all the rest because according to a recent report, in Q2 2011 consumers spent more on video game content than they did buying physical video and PC game software. "Content" seems to be defined as anything except physical games, including in-game content, game downloads (including mobile games like on on your iPhone), game rentals and everything else.

To me it's a staggering number, and indicative of where the industry is headed. A few years ago I don't even think I'd heard of the term "DLC," but now if I love a game I won't think twice about spending 1,200 Microsoft Points on new maps. And iPhone and iPad games? What's a couple of bucks if I can get a few good hours out of it (or, more importantly, if it will distract my kids for 15 minutes).

"It adds up" is apparently an understatement.

Consumers spent additional $1.74 billion on video game content in Q2 []


Game Center is My Biggest Disappointment on the iPhone

(No. "Thor" is not my Game Center nickname.)

Game Center is Apple's take on a "social gaming network." It keeps track of most all of the games I play on any iOS device (iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch), showing me my high scores and giving me achievements for different in-game challenges I've completed. On some games it will connect me with someone else (a friend or otherwise) so that I can play with them. It will also compare my scores to players all over the world, including my Game Center friends.

Wait. Game Center friends?

That's my problem.

Click to read more ...


Trucks & Skulls Is A Great Time-Waster on the iPad & iPhone

The game I've been wasting the most time with on my iPad lately is an Angry Birds clone called Trucks & Skulls. While the cosmetic changes from Angry Birds are a little more manly (skulls instead of pigs and trucks instead of birds) the gameplay is mostly the same. Which, considering how good Angry Birds is, isn't a bad thing at all. The puzzles are both fun and challenging, and just like Angry Birds you'll find yourself replaying the same level over and over again just to get that right combination of destruction.

There are some additions too, like a reward system that lets you "buy" new tricked-out trucks and periodic challenges for more "coins." And like a lot of casual games these days, you can buy the coins with actual money. So if you're letting your kids play it on your iPad, make sure you've locked in-app purchases.

I paid for the game itself, but apparently now you don't have to. Trucks & Skulls NITRO HD for the iPad and Trucks & Skulls NITRO for the iPhone is now free in the iTunes App Store.