Looking at all of the major conferences in the technology space, it’s hard to find one that easily stands above the others. After all, the Consumer Electronics Show is great, and Mobile World Congress is great for mobile customers. Even CTIA can be a winner.
But as far as I’m concerned, the upcoming E3 Gaming Expo, which kicks off on Monday, is the best technology-related show of the year.
If you follow the rumors surrounding Apple, you know that the company is reportedly working on a television. That television, rumors suggest, will come with iCloud support, apps, and perhaps even Siri. More importantly, it’ll deliver the kind of image quality often not found in today’s televisions. However, like so many other Apple products, it’s highly likely that the television will boast a high price tag.
I remember a time when Netflix was special. The company was delivering innovative ideas to the marketplace, it fully understood its customers, and its management was in tune with the changing market dynamics. Netflix was, just last year, in fact, a tech giant.
But after increasing how much it charges customers for access to its rentals and its streaming, and watching its content partners turn their backs on it unless it paid up, everything has changed. Now, Netflix is a shadow of its former self, and a company that, as far as I’m concerned, could very well be on its way to outright obsolescence.
Looking at the rest of the year, we can expect some blockbuster video games to hit store shelves. Activision is once again launching a Call of Duty game -- Black Ops 2 -- and despite my issues with it, Madden NFL from Electronic Arts will undoubtedly be a sales juggernaut towards the end of the summer.
But it’s November that has caught my eye the most. Early on that month, Halo 4 will hit store shelves. Only this time, the game won’t come from the fine folks at Bungie Studios that made the Halo name in the first place. This time around, Halo will be coming from 343 Industries, a part of Microsoft.
It’s an age-old question: hardware or software?
On one hand, the hardware is what you hold or have plugged in. Hardware has all of the components that make your particular device work, and without it, the software would not be accessible. The better the hardware, the more appealing (in theory) the experience.
Looking around the gaming space right now, there is an awful lot of controversy surrounding Microsoft’s recently announced decision to offer its Xbox 360 4GB console with Kinect for $99. In order to get that price, customers must sign up for two years of Xbox Live Gold and pay $15 per month.
According to critics, such pricing can lead to the unraveling of the console market as we know it. Going forward, they say, customers will be forced into online services just to get better pricing on a device. What’s worse, it could see console makers push their prices up, similar to the way carriers do when customers opt to buy a smartphone contract-free, they say.
The video game industry has once again been thrust into a state of excitement. Every year around this time, Activision unveils a new trailer for the next installment in the Call of Duty franchise. And each year, millions around the globe get ready to buy it up later in the year.
This time around, it’s Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, a follow-up to the wildly popular Call of Duty: Black Ops released back in 2010, and the successor to last year’s mega-hit Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. By all measure, Black Ops 2 looks to be a fun experience for those who want to play both the single-player campaign and multiplayer.
There was a time when some of the biggest electronics retailers in the world had issues with Amazon. They realized that the online retail giant was able to beat them on price, and with more and more people coming to its site, it had the ability to take them down.
The past is littered with companies that tried to go up against Amazon, including Circuit City, CompUSA, and others. Best Buy is now having some trouble competing against online giants like Amazon, and by the look of things, eventually, only mega retailers like Walmart, as well as small boutiques, might survive the online onslaught.
I know I’ve been a little tough on Nintendo lately, saying recently that the company should ditch plans for hardware and start licensing its software, and explaining why I believe it won’t be able to chart the gaming industry’s future. And although many Nintendo fans didn’t like it, I’m a firm believer that the company’s recently announced fiscal year losses seem to prove my point.
Quite often when I buy a product on Amazon, the retail giant offers me the opportunity to download some free tracks from its MP3 store at no charge. And yet, I can’t remember a single time when I’ve taken advantage of the offer. I like free music like the rest of us, but to me, there’s only one multimedia store worth using: iTunes.