In the next week we see the launch of a second subscription based MMO in 2014. There are many bloggers (IHTTS, BioBreak, Jaedia ) talking about it and some lamenting how they plan on filling the time before the launch date.
Good luck to the title and everyone planning on playing it. Sadly there are 3 things holding me back from boarding the Wildstar train.
The first and biggest reason is the graphical style, I think that will suffer the same problems I had in WoW with being unable to immerse myself in the game world. Not that I’m wanting an ultra-realistic MMO to arrive, but the softer design style isn’t something that makes me want to rush out and buy the game.
Secondly I have really been enjoying Elder Scrolls Online and feel that I’d going to be my spiritual digital home for some time. I’m consuming the content at a good pace, currently around 27 and finishing off missions and exploring in StormHaven. Plus 2 subscriptions a month hasn’t really been in my gaming budget for almost 7 years.
Finally, I try not to care about who the publishers are but I have to face the facts that my opinion of NCSoft is somewhat jaded.
You maybe aware that last week Valve rolled out one of the Key elements of the SteamOS/Steam Box combo, the In-Home Streaming feature. This will allow you to run higher spec or windows only games on your PC but play and control from the comfort of your living room. This bypasses the age old problem of having Windows games running on other OS’s.
This got me thinking about how Valve could reuse this functionality. Given that recent news hints at a suspected 1 Billion pitch for the video broadcasting website Twitch by Google/YouTube, perhaps online Streaming is a direction that maybe explored.
What if Valve allowed streaming to external party sites such as Twitch?
It would cut out the middle-ware that can be a pain to configure, the popular X-Split incurs a subscription cost that isn’t ideal for gamers trying out streaming for the first time.
With the rise of E-Sports including Valves own DOTA 2, it may only be a matter of time until this comes to fruition as part of the Steam Interface, lifting restricts around games that allow streaming and have a Let’s Play Friendly stance to avoid that murky legal quagmire.
Perhaps it could move a step further, why not allow every Steam user to enable a stream for their profile?
That way a quick visit to http://steamcommunity.com/id/welshtroll/stream/ would allow anyone to watch my stream via the web, via the client or Steam authentication chat can be easily managed.
Currently only available via the Big Picture mode in Steam is the Steam Music feature, I got into the Beta recently so I thought I’d share some thoughts. As this looks to be the first element outside of the OS it could be an important element of the media center experience that Valve want your Steam Box to become. I for one enjoy game music, but often it’s nice to play something different, something your in the mood to listen to. Normally this involves having to juggle your game with media player or something similar. And having to Alt+Tab out to swap playlist or pick a different artist.
Happily I can say that the music player is rather straight forward to use, add a reference pointing at a folder containing your music and Steam will scan and import all items it finds. You can then access your the player by selecting play or bringing up the player in you Shift+Tab menu while in game. It’s not offering much new in the way of music players but then it’s no real shock. Additional thoughts:
Will they adapt the system to allow users to connect to online radio streams
The default folder for music already added is under the Steam folder structure, could this be a sign that Valve may start selling music online via the steam platform?
Connections to existing media centers to stream from already existing setups that users may have
I’m excited that Valves direction has a more focused direction, as I was typing this post Steam notified me that cross computer streaming is now available, more on that when I get chance to try it out.