Video Games: Digital Download vs. Hardcopy

December 9, 2014  |  Gaming, Guest Writers, Techie

[Disclaimer: Article written by a Guest Writer provided by Social Monsters]

4291_shutterstock_187770899That 1978 song “Video Killed the Radio Star” sure had a point and makes us think about the recent physical vs. digital debate in the interactive entertainment industry. Sometimes media change is hard to deal with due to both cultural and technical factors. It has happened in most entertainment industries in the past two decades. As digital formats take over as the main content delivery system, some purists defend the physical format and claim that digital delivery will ruin the industry.

There is a hint of nostalgia for the old formats fueling their claims. As human beings, we are collectors by nature, and having a bookshelf full of CDs, DVDs, comic books, video games and books allow us to brag and to feel a sense of accomplishment (even if we have watched/listened/read only half of them). Remember how music CD aficionados cringed at the idea of digital-only collections? Or how DVD collectors suspiciously frowned upon Netflix? Having 16,000 songs on your iPod just doesn’t feel the same as having a gargantuan CD and LP collection, right?

However, anyone with a Netflix account, or similar, knows that watching the movie or TV show that you want, when you want it, is quite convenient. And what about digital and subscription music services like iTunes or Spotify? Digital delivery allows for more flexibility and freedom for the technically savvy and well-connected. After all, one of the promises of digital media is to render physical formats obsolete.

Well, video games are no exception. Some gamers feel proud about their collections and claim that having an enormous list of games on Steam just doesn’t feel quite the same. Several gaming companies are leaning heavily toward downloaded content, in fact the percentage of digital games to physical games (now up to 92 percent) rises every year. Though you can still stop by the store to pick up a physical disc, titles like the new Dragon Age: Inquisition are easily downloaded straight to your computer. For some hardcore gamers who fall into the older age bracket, this represents quite a paradigm shift. But the fact that games such as DAI is available for download at a standarized price, bypassing the middle-man (your local video game store) is quite significant in terms of industry and media change. There is now a direct link between publishers and consumers, which represents both a new revenue model and a paradigm shift in how we consume video games. In fact, gamers are already creating digital collections: it was recently revealed that 37 percent of the games downloaded on Valve’s Steam engine have never been played.

However, the concerns of those in #TeamPhysical are valid on a technical level. In order for the gaming industry to go fully digital worldwide, there are a few things that need to happen:

  • Broadband: the Internet needs to be widely spread across the globe. There is a misconception among U.S., Australian and European gamers that everyone has good Internet access. However, in order for the video game industry to go fully digital, strong broadband connections need to be the standard across the world.
  • Internet plans need to be uniformly speed-based, not data-allowance-based. Some countries like Australia determine monthly Internet fees based on the amount of data that you download and upload, not on the speed. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) need to standarize their model so all gamers can download games without concerns about surpassing the data allowance.
  • What about trading games? One of the most prominent cultural practices among gamers is exchanging games. Of course, digital formats make this a bit hard. The industry has to adopt models such as Amazon’s mechanism for lending and borrowing Kindle books.

As newer generations of gamers become the group with the most purchasing power, the physical and digital sides will continue to divide. Spoiler alert: digital will win.

New Technology: Know the Risks First

November 29, 2014  |  Guest Writers, Techie

[Disclaimer: Article written by a Guest Writer provided by Social Monsters]

In this age of global economy, online marketplaces and all things virtual, securing your personal data is more important than ever. And while many new technologies seem fun, exciting and designed to make your life easier and quicker, they can also put you at serious risk of having your identity stolen.

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High-Risk Technology

As technology continues to advance and we get closer to a completely wireless and paperless age, new gadgets and gizmos are continuously developed to automate nearly everything. But the speed at which those technologies are implemented and distributed oftentimes doesn’t provide enough testing in the safety and security that needs to go along with it in order to keep you and your family safe.

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[Gadgets] QBracelet A Wearable Battery Bracelet

November 17, 2014  |  Accessories, Fashion, Geek Chic, Techie

While I was compiling my annual Birthday Wish List as I am the type of person to tell my friends and family what items I want so they don’t shock me with something that I might not want, I stumbled across this new wearable gadget that is called the QBRACELET.

Apparently it’s a stylish bracelet that allows you to charge your phone by just unhooking it and slapping it onto your phone (not really slapping but you get the picture).  It’s a 1.8 oz bracelet that has a 1,160 mAh battery in it, which pretty much can charge an iPhone 5s approximately 60%.

It comes in 3 different sizes (small, medium, and large) and in 4 different colors (polished silver, matte silver, polished gold, and matte black).  It’s available for pre-ordering at a 20% discount bringing the price down to $78 from $98.

I find that its insanely cool and awesome! I might grab myself one since my wrist is filled with technological gadgets anyways :P

Shipping will be Spring 2015.  Interested then visit their website.

(And I just placed my pre-order woohooo!)

The Best Times of Year to Buy Tech

October 24, 2014  |  Guest Writers, Techie

[Disclaimer: Article written by a Guest Writer provided by Social Monsters]

Successful woman onlineIf you are like most shoppers, you are always looking to save a little money, especially when it comes to tech purchases. According to GoRave, the average household spends more than $1,600 on consumer electronic devices annually. Oftentimes, getting the best deal simply requires choosing the right time to make your purchase. Here’s how you can figure out when is best to buy that new piece of tech you’ve had your eye on.

Video Games and Consoles

The best time of the year to save money on a video game varies. It’s best to wait several weeks after a game is released. Demand is always highest right when a game hits the market which leads to inflated price tags. According to Kotaku, many disc-based games will see their first price drop after just two weeks of sitting on shelves. Consoles are harder to predict timing. Price cuts seem arbitrary, and in some cases, infuriating if you bought your console the day before a price cut is announced. The holiday season is a common time for video game and console prices to drop in price. Give yourself an edge by signing up for Black Friday and Cyber Monday email lists to receive alerts on upcoming holiday tech sales.The best deals of the year on consoles often surround the holidays, especially a year or two after their initial release.

Laptops

For many electronics, the best sales start when inventories are at their lowest and the current shopping season is ending, which is the case for laptops. April is usually the best time to grab a deal on laptops because so many new models are announced during this month each year. This is because April is the beginning of the Japanese fiscal year, and many manufacturers and developers of laptops are based in Japan. These companies don’t want to be saddled with old inventory when new models are on their way to the shelves. Laptops are often even cheaper in April than they are during back-to-school season. July could yield good prices as well but waiting until then could mean the model you want is out of stock.

Smartphones and Mobile Devices

The most difficult devices to predict price drops for are smartphones and similar mobile devices — the original iPhone launched at $599, but in just two months dropped $200. In some cases, price drops on smartphones occur right after tech conventions where new models and technological advances are announced. In this case, it pays to keep up-to-date with the industry. With so many manufacturers creating smartphones around the world, tracking the possible factors that might lead to a price drop is nearly impossible for the average consumer. When looking to score a deal on a smartphone, the best strategy is to shop around and find three or four models that would suit your needs. Monitor them each for a price drop. In the end, the best time of the year to buy a new smartphone is when you need it.

5 Ways to Extend Your iPhone’s Battery Life

October 16, 2014  |  Guest Writers, Techie

[Disclaimer: Article written by a Guest Writer provided by Social Monsters]

Few things are worse than your phone dying when you need it most. According to a battery test done by the tech blog Which?, the iPhone is the smartphone that charges to full life the quickest- but it’s also one of the worst at keeping a charge. Fortunately, you can extend your iPhone’s battery life to get just enough time to make that business phone call or send an important text or two.

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Who Needs Paid TV When You Can Watch on Your Mobile Device for Free?

September 18, 2014  |  Guest Writers, Techie, TV

[Disclaimer: Article written by a Guest Writer provided by Social Monsters]

You pay for Netflix, DirectTV, cable, on-demand, pay-per-view, pretty much everything. But not anymore. If you have a mobile device, you can watch TV on it for free.

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Really.

Event better, you will be able to do other things at the same time. If you have a tablet, you can surf the Internet, chat and check your email all while watching one of your TV shows—multitasking at its best.

You don’t have to hack anything. You don’t have to go to some backdoor website that streams about two minutes of your show and then stops. Just pick up any mobile device of your choice and watch some free TV. Here’s the scoop on how to get free TV from three major phone service providers.

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Amazon Updates Kindle Family Line Up

September 18, 2014  |  Amazon, New Products, Techie

While we were all so busy with the iPhone 6 update and with what Apple was offering with the new iOS 8, Amazon had silently updated its Kindle family line up to include five new devices.  We have a brand new affordable Kindle with touch-screen priced at $79, the Kindle Voyage (best thing to date), Kindle Fire HDX 8.9, Kindle Fire HD 6″ Edition/7″ Edition, and the Kindle Fire HD Kids edition as well.

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