Archives For Gaming


A former colleague shipped me his company’s highly regarded Playstation 4 Afterglow wireless headset to check out. Unfortunately, as an owner of the far superior Xbox One (heh heh), I’m unable to partake – and we decided to share the love.

From the (after)glowing review on KSTP:

PDP’s Afterglow wireless headset for the PS4 is awesome. I liked everything about it. […] The first thing I noticed when I put on the headset was that it was very comfortable. […] At the end of the left speaker is a flexible noise cancelling microphone. I used this a lot when I was playing with my friends and they said that they could hear me perfectly and there wasn’t any distortion. […] The audio sounds amazing.

So if you’re in need of a PS4 headset upgrade, this giveaway is for you. Simply leave a comment declaring your interest and we’ll pick a winner at random in the next couple days. US residents only, please.

Amongst the predictable onslaught of rehashed new games out of E3, comes word that the Xbox One is set to receive a significant makeover – courtesy new Windows 10 underpinnings. And it really can’t arrive soon enough as I find the current interface unwieldy and disorienting. Granted, I am middle-aged and perhaps my synapses don’t fire as fast as they once did. But we’re often the ones bankrolling these initiatives. So I’m happy to see Microsoft throw this old dog a bone. In fact, I give them credit – when it comes to Xbox, they’ve never been afraid to blow up the UI and try something new. It may not always resonate, but I salute their risk-taking in support of bettering the experience.

Some highlights: Beyond a much simplified, though still visually rich, presentation, with a heavy emphasis on “community,” clicking left from the new Home screen or double clicking the Xbox button while in a game brings up a narrow overlay of common settings, features, and messages we’d quickly want to get at. Microsoft is also promising a generally smoother, quicker experience. Further improving usability in a highly significant way is an always-present Cortana for voice control. However, it’s not clear to me if Cortana can be accessed via the gaming headset with mic or if I’m going to once again plug in my dust-collecting Kinect. Sadly, while you can still “pin” your favorite apps, games, and the like … they’re now banished to the very bottom of the Home area and, at least for the moment, I pine for higher priority presentation.

No additional word on background music or DVR capabilities, but we expect both are on the docket … even if they don’t launch with this already massive update, scheduled for late Fall.

A massive influx of new Christmas gamers coupled with a denial of service attack brought both the Playstation Network and Xbox Live to their knees yesterday. While Microsoft appears to have partially recovered, Sony is still sucking wind – with no ETA on restoring service. And, beyond the consoles, many games themselves are down with back-end problems.

For real-time updates on your specific console and game, hit these links: Continue Reading…


Amongst the various E3 gaming convention announcements is news that Sony intends to bring PlayStation TV to US shores this fall. Introduced in 2013 as PlayStation Vita TV (review), Sony appropriately drops “Vita” branding given its generally poor mobile market reception and the PSTV’s broader capabilities. Part TV streamer, that will surely replace Sony’s unsuccessful line of Roku competitors, and gaming system, PSTV will be priced at Fire TV equivalency: $100 for the base system, add $40 if you’d prefer the gaming controller upsell. Continue Reading…

Digital Media Bytes

Dave Zatz —  April 24, 2014

A periodic roundup of relevant news… that we may have missed due to database issues


After recording my first flawless victory, in terms of K/D ratio, and frequently landing the top spot in Hardpoint gameplay, it’s time to retire my Titanfall mech. As you probably know, Titanfall launched a month ago as the first, big exclusive Xbox One title and the game is also notable by forgoing a single player campaign, offering only online combat. In fact, its release finally compelled me to pick up the Xbone One via Titanfall bundle on day one.

In terms of gameplay, the Titanfall controls are mostly spot on – I’d say pretty close to flawless when playing as a human and generally very good when strapped into your mech. Available weaponry is well balanced, although as with most shooters, snipers will be frustrated when they’re taken down at range by a mere assault rifle. And satchel charges do supersize damage – including usage as a more effective grenade. Continue Reading…


By way of an overseas regulatory agency, similar to our very own FCC, we continue to hone in on the elusive Amazon media streamer. And it’s looking to be something far more substantial than a Roku or Chromecast competitor. As the story goes, an Amazon fall set-top box launch was delayed with the potential Apple TV competitor now looking quite likely for a March or April delivery. Netflix and Hulu appear to be confirmed, along does a forked Android build – similar to what Amazon has done with their line of Kindle Fire tablets. Which makes gaming out of the box quite likely.

The uncovered wireless Bluetooth controller features a gaggle of controls, including both shoulder buttons and triggers, in addition to media playback transport controls – ideal for the aforementioned streaming services in addition to Amazon Instant, of course. And we give Amazon credit for using Android-esque iconography for home, menu, and back. Additionally, the central radioactive-looking button presumably taps into Amazon’s GameCircle – perhaps to evolve beyond merely a gaming app hub and into something more full featured akin to Apple’s Game Center or Xbox Live. A LED array is used as an indicator for both battery levels and Bluetooth connectivity. Lastly, we expect the controller, powered by a pair of double As, would be sold as an accessory and ultimately also designed to work with Amazon’s line of tablets to close the circle. Won’t be long now…