All posts by Jon Ireson

Editor-In-Chief of Gamer for over 25 years and author of over 5,000 living online documents detailing the international video games industry.

Why Valve Needs a “Vive 2” to Re-Spark VR Developers’ Innovation


VR gaming is here to stay, and evolve. However, that evolution may be moving at too fast of a rate for companies to keep up. The mainstream adoption of VR itself has been a great blessing for developers and backers of the technology this generation. Some major flaws in the first round of VR still haven’t been addressed though, and that process is painfully slow – possibly meaning VR progress will be a lot slower than we all thought.

While at times disappointing it’s still a great thing that VR has “arrived” so to speak, and now has a foundation from which to grow. What would be great to see next is for a company to release a proper package with all of the new technology advancements that have been made since the first round of hardware releases hit. Microsoft simply investing in enabling third parties to make their own headsets is interesting, but not quite the convincing brand gamers need to trust VR is headed in the right direction and invest.

Currently there are too many add-ons and not enough software on the market to justify if they’ll actually be adopted or not in a meaningful gameplay experience. We need something like an HTC Vive 2 package with support for walking in virtual reality. This could easily be done using mostly just the same parts as the existing Vive if need be – but they need to let players walk around in open worlds using the Vive Trackers which could be temporarily marketed as foot trackers or leg trackers even though they can be used for more than one purpose in-game.

Teleporting as a movement function makes players sick after a couple of hours. Thumbsticks are not ideal either. I’ve still been enjoying lots of VR games though which are built around these problems. Racing wheels and cockpit flight stick games are also great in VR. I like virtual board games too, it’s very fun and they let you play with non-vr people as well.

Millions of VR gaming headsets have been sold now between Vive and the PS4’s new Sony PlayStation VR (PSVR for short). Vive has essentially smoked Oculus, and Valve is behind it – they just didn’t want to own the fault if it failed, so they let HTC also keep their name on it. Valve and Carmack and Oculus shared all VR information until the Facebook merger with Oculus. That’s why Vive is better. Facebook is a typical corporation, but Vive and Steam VR are the embodiment of dev legends discussions manifested.

That same strength is a weakness though, because then again it’s Valve. They suck at support, and produce no content.They are lazy as hell and so slow and perfectionist too. The foot trackers already exist as an add-on but most players have no clue that one would even be needed for ideal VR experiences. If they get motion sick, they won’t even know why and just give up on VR entirely most likely.

These add-on trackers can be used for anything the developer chooses, which is actually the right approach most likely but we need way more games that are currently not done yet to release and show the industry the way they can be used. With so many VR headsets selling on the high-end, big companies are coming in late to the game and developing multi-year projects that we won’t see for a while. It’s coming though. The problem is, we still don’t know if these developers know or care about the movement problems discussed here.

To force a user to buy expensive trackers and/or dramatically ruin the game by designing it so predominantly around teleportation or crappy thumb-stick movements when it really needs to be leg gestures for walking like bending your knee slightly as if to step so you can traverse big maps in open worlds. Or, to track your feet, put you on a treadmill if you have even more money. But that’s not all marketed and supported by games yet, isn’t perfected, and even though it works at a high level players don’t know about it.

Vive looks good, it’s trippy, and it’s fun. The games that do exist are pretty interesting, all they need is to say “Here’s a Vive 2, Here’s PSVR 2 when PS5 comes, or PS4 Ultra rather” – since the PS4 Pro doesn’t do Ultra settings textures like my PC still. SO that’s the next logical step I think for them. PS4 Pro is good, I love it, but it’s got that console blur mask going on and less detail. Exclusive games are the ones that really make the difference, even with less spec due to more money and care being spent. That’s why gamers love Sony, they hire talent.

PSVR 2 to up the quality and get foot trackers involved, get rid of the Move and PS4 Camera for better controllers and tracking units, require the PS4 Ultra console if necessary for the extra high resolution and tracking accuracy. This is a likely course of action for Sony – but will be a way harder road. They need a Vive 2 to first show them the right direction.

Complete backwards compatibility and catering to the existing Vive and PSVR userbase in ways that make them feel appreciated would be absolutely crucial to avoid souring the market and ruining the momentum of sales of course.

It would still only be a small step up from what we already have now, but with a more uniform understanding for the consumer and developers of VR games that players need to virtually explore and stop f****ing teleporting! Of course, slightly better resolutions and whatever latest controllers they want to shove at us are acceptable evils to bring this progress forward. The headset can upgrade a lot but I think they’ve finally reached a place where it’s going to stay on the market and evolve, and that’s exciting.

Entertainment Software Association Condemns World Health Organization’s “Gaming Addiction: Mental Illness” Ruling

According to the ESA (comprised of various video game interests) the WHO has actually not finalized their ruling of Video Games Addiction as a Mental Illness. Entertainment Software Association member companies currently has its own inner-battles going on due to the recent Lootbox debate where governments are categorizing games containing Lootbox Micro-transactions as Gambling therefore subject to legal regulations.

In a statement made by the ESA as their official reply to a draft created by the World Health Organization classifying gaming addiction as a disease, ESA said this;

“Just like avid sports fans and consumers of all forms of engaging entertainment, gamers are passionate and dedicated with their time. Having captivated gamers for more than four decades, more than 2 billion people around the world enjoy video games.

The World Health Organization knows that common sense and objective research prove video games are not addictive, and, putting that official label on them recklessly trivializes real mental health issues like depression and social anxiety disorder, which deserve treatment and the full attention of the medical community.

We strongly encourage the WHO to reverse direction on its proposed action.”

Sure, the ESA has a lot to say now that the World Health Organization is stepping in, but they can blame themselves for allowing what prompted this to happen-

The Lootbox Gambling Video Game Scandal of 2017.

All of this is hot off the heals of a multi-million dollar scandal costing billions in shareholder displacement as Disney wars with EA Games over their recent Star Wars Gambling fiasco involving investigation from the FTC and prompting legislators to organize. Legal questions begin to arise when titles are using players as funnels for cash in unrealistic systems designed to deceive and betray false sense of secure investment and trust in the art medium of video games.

Meanwhile, what’s left of the original Halo creators at their shell of a company (now owned by Activision and still called Bungie) has seen another high profile sci-fi fantasy online action shooter video game lying to players about the odds of obtaining experience, level ups, and rewards for their time put in. These systems of course, have been designed to be predatory for gamers of all ages in forcing them to pay to proceed in their games of choice rather than just play them.

Even worse, to pay for a “chance” to succeed and gain the items they need, but like a slot machine – there’s no guarantee they’ll win. Odds are not advertised, and behind-the-scenes scam systems have been patented by Activision themselves to deliberately trick players into illusions of gameplay experiences designed to get them paying more.

Monster Hunter World: No Lootbox, PS4 Pro Beta #2, New Trailer, and Release Date

This is the Monster Hunter game that could bring in new players while uplifting the franchise to a huge upgraded look and feel. Capcom is performing strong as many Japanese game companies reclaim their extreme prestige of the past during the recent couple of exciting years.

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Hello Neighbor Review

Hello Neighbor is a very different type of game than you may have expected. Then again, being different than what you’re probably used to is also likely what brought you here in the first place. The sense of curiosity that’s been known to kill the cat, or in this case the neighborhood vibe of a suspenseful Alfred Hitchcock film meets puzzle game and dash of Five Nights At Freddy’s fan conspiracy community sprinkled on top without the annoying parts. It’s like Five Nights At Freddy’s for adults, but it’s so much more.

This game seems to exist within its own realm and as such follows its own rules of logic. A lot of time is spent fighting with your own mental patience or lack thereof. Gamers who take a calm and calculated approach and like to pause and think before every action might beat the game quicker than those who have lots of energy.

Sometimes the right action seems so simple but any little mistake will have you running to get back to the point where you had an opportunity to test your theory. The result will just be a lot of failure and the enemy growing more prepared and aware of your thinking process. The controls and physics of the game sometimes cause problems which aren’t your fault as well.

Many abstract moments leave the player constantly guessing what’s going on, but that’s the genre of mystery / adventure games that have recently cropped up. There’s a huge audience for it, but if you need something like a clear narrative, gunfights, or magic spells to keep you interested – it might not be for you. Instead, Hello Neighbor is a bizarre and artistic piece of content which can drive you borderline insane with spirit like a creepypasta.

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Best Multiplayer Game of the Year 2017 – The Game Awards

This category was perhaps one of the most crucial elements of the show. As, if Star Wars Battlefront 2 or Destiny 2 had been allowed to win, a gamer uprising against The Game Awards was likely imminent.

Geoff Keighley and staff continued to show grace with this year’s awesome show by being diplomatic in how they handled the situation. Although still somewhat controversial, their pick avoided an immeasurable backlash by siding with what the gamers wanted.

Nominees were as follows:

  • Destiny 2
  • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
  • Splatoon 2
  • PlayerUnknown Battlegrounds
  • Fortnite
  • Call of Duty: World War II

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Get Three Free PC Games Without Any Strings Attached

A little free game for the holidays in case nobody gets you anything – at least you’ll have that.

For the next 15 hours you can still get a free Steam key for Homefront through the Humble Bundle Store recently acquired by IGN…. but that’s a story for another day. Even if you don’t have a gaming computer right now, all you need is a Steam account and to create a free Humble Bundle account, then link the two together and receive this free game.

Homefront: Free for a Limited Time

Ubisoft is also giving away World in Conflict, a top-rated RTS game for free as we speak. Even if you don’t have disk space on your hard drive for now, you can still activate it with your account for playing at a later date similarly to Homefront’s deal above. There’s really no harm in stacking up free titles this way, and Ubisoft has been doing good things in the games industry as of late, so it’s guilt-free as well. All you have to do is download the UPlay app on your PC, it’s not even half as annoying as the Windows 10 Games Store (back from the dead GFWL… Tristan “just told me don’t even bring that up”.

World in Conflict – Complete Edition – Free (Ends December 11, 2017)

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag will be free December 12, 2017

Many people felt that Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag was the last actual good game in the franchise until Origins brought it back to stardom. “Origins doesn’t bring the series backwards to its roots either, but instead reinvents the wheel in a way that’s good for the series and feels like it realizes some of the original vision behind titles like Assassin’s Creed.”

“Obviously the setting is different in this new adventure, but it feels like the series always was supposed to be.” These are our currently flu-bound Deputy Editor Tristan Werbe’s words, Stay Tuned for the Full AC: Origins RealGamerNewZ Review & grab these free games.

Every World Premiere Reveal & Trailer from The Game Awards 2017

Just in case you needed to double take some of the amazing showings at the best gaming event in recent history, The Game Awards had everything from a surprise rebirth in Soulcalibur IV to very high quality New IP never before seen until today.

The longest World Premiere is even included, in at nearly 8 minutes long – Death Stranding by Hideo Kojima, Guillermo del Toro, Kojima Productions, and  Sony Interactive Entertainment starring Norman Reedus (of The Walking Dead) who also took stage during The Game Awards 2017.

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Best Family Game of the Year 2017 – The Game Awards

With many proclaiming it as one of the best titles in the entire franchise, the company saving itself from walking off of a financial cliff was represented many times at The Game Awards this year. Rightfully so, Mario of Nintendo is to which we’re referring of course. After the Nintendo Wii U disaster of a platform we are met with a success for the Nintendo Switch and a reclaiming by Nintendo of what was once their own kingdom.

Super Mario Odyssey is the Best Family Game of the Year 2017. In this title Mario is able to take control of nearly anything in the game using his hat. Our own Deputy Editor Tristan Werbe is still preparing Nintendo Switch top lists but this one definitely made it with RGN stating “I found nothing wrong with it. It’s an incredible game.” as well as noting the title is a full installment versus the beta test feel of the 3D World titles. Check out raw, unedited, high quality gameplay of the Bowser’s Kingdom of Super Mario Odyssey below and catch a glimpse of what Nintendo Switch fans through all ages are loving.

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Most Anticipated Game of the Year 2017 – The Game Awards

Hopefully to be detailed a lot more this weekend at another upcoming game industry event, the winner of this award seems to have been ineligible for other various awards as we’re still awaiting its release. However, that can perhaps only even more so cement the title’s anticipation overall.

Naughty Dog broke the mold while at the same time delivering intuitive, familiar gameplay mechanics with The Last of Us. Notably good multiplayer was also present in the game with a new spin on the dead and broken Gears of War formula. Tactical, fine-tuned, precise, squad-based survival shooter experiences could be had in a different way than seen before. This new arrangement of gameplay elements in addition to a story-driven, gripping narrative are what brought the experience to the forefront of gaming.

After playing The Last of Us for the first time, many gamers walked away saying that they felt like they had just played a movie. The title is also sparking debate within a censorship community versus the violent and disturbing imagery often found in the title’s content as well as promotion. Sony is also under fire for Jim Ryan, Presdient of Sony Interactive Entertainment’s statement that “The game is made by adults to be played by adults.” Although very true, this type of logic is not always enough to calm naysayers.

The Last of Us 2 is the Most Anticipated Game of the Year 2017 and will star Ellie from the first title as the main character in a new, intense narrative written by Naughty Dog with help from newly hired on Westworld Writer Halley Gross (confirmed by TLOU2 Game Director). Check out a trailer for the title after the break below.

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Best Role Playing Game of the Year 2017 – The Game Awards

Although chronologically the 6th installment of the franchise, this PlayStation 3 / PlayStation 4 game has brought great pleasure to RPG video game fans worldwide. The Game Awards orchestra came up with an excellent symphony remastering live for the title as well, and it was the most hype song of the entire orchestral set all night.

Persona 5 is the Best Role Playing Game of the Year for 2017. Atlus brought out the title for Japan in September 2016 but actually localized it for other regions worldwide on April 4, 2017. Ever since that date, it’s been a nearly unanimous response of good-will and admiration between thankfulness and the patience fans had to endure to get this game in their hands.

In Europe regions Deep Silver publishes the title while in Japan and North America Atlus and Atlus USA publish respectively. The game is developed in-house by Atlus and is part of the Megami Tensei series which is made famous by titles such as P3P (Persona 3 Portable) in the west after achieving heights of popularity in Japan where the game comes from. Check out some raw, high quality, unedited footage of the game below.

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Industry Icon of the Year 2017 – The Game Awards

A great story was told as our Industry Icon of the Year 2017 took stage following a tribute video explaining her history in the video games industry developing, writing, programming, even drawing and animating games single handedly over 35 years ago.

Starting out on the Atari, Carol Shaw was one of the first female game developers. She is reportedly recognized as the first woman to ever get her name on a video game box for credit as well. Her name even began to get mentioned during ads for titles when her following grew larger. Now being awarded the Industry Icon 2017 award at The Game Awards puts her name alongside last year’s winner Hideo Kojima Industry Icon 2016 and the first winner of the brand new award category.

Carol’s story is a triumph in the dignity of video games as a medium and a reminder of an excellent developer’s legacy left behind in gaming.  Her story to this day reminds us that any person of any race or gender or belief system can participate in playing and making video games. Geek and Sundry’s Felicia Day took stage to introduce the Industry Icon 2017 Carol Shaw as she commented, “This is proof that women have always been in the game industry.”

The tribute video preceding the award detailed Carol’s game development catalog including titles such as Polo and River Raid the latter which has sold over 1 million units upon its release in a time when video games were still niche and the modern mainstream fandom hadn’t formed yet. Plaques were shown for going Platinum in game sales, copies of the games were shown to be played by the developer herself.

[Women in Gaming: Past, Present, and Future]

From College straight to employment at Atari, Carol Shaw represents someone who has helped shape gaming into what it is today. Her triumph took place in a time of rogue development, when developers as she states designed, programmed, wrote, composed, drew, and even marketed their own games solo.

Carol took the stage and gave a heartfelt sincere gratitude to having led such a life in which video games could be seen to evolve so far with even mentions of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality coming into their own upon the horizon. She looked back on all of her years in the video games industry with happiness, and gave words of encouragement to all players who would like to make a video game some day, stating that anyone can still do it today like she did.

Update: Award Now Available On Video:

Best Art Direction of 2017 – The Game Awards

Nominees included Destiny 2, Horizon Zero Dawn, Persona 5, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Cuphead for 2017’s Best Art Direction at the newly refreshed event The Game Awards 2017. Although tensions were high in the crowd, and no one was really sure how it would all end up, Cuphead took the win for Best Art Direction of 2017. Developed by StudioMDHR with Lead Artist Chad Moldenhauer putting the game together with Jared Moldenhauer, the two took stage to share some of their story.

Putting everything on the line for Cuphead, and refusing to make deals with the devil while staying true to a run and gun video game experience influenced by cartoon works of the likes of Walt Disney’s 1930’s vintage era, the game mesmerizes players. More than just looking and playing great, the game even keeps a beat. Looking like something straight out of a gamers’ fantasy, and appealing to a large audience although notoriously difficult to master – Cuphead can be seen in motion below.

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