Predicting the 2nd Video Game Crash.

OK folks, so I’ve been following video games a long time and I’m here to predict the 2nd North American video game crash (the 1st happened during 1983). Now, keep in mind that I’m not an “expert” by textbook standards. I was, however, playing (and studying) the game market long before these so-called “experts” were born.

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You will often hear E.T. on the Atari 2600 catching the brunt of blame for the North American crash of 1983. This is not the case. Granted, there were a lot more copies published than Atari 2600 owners, which was an idiot move, but E.T. isn’t to blame. The crash happened because of a very saturated market, product confusion and a serious lack of quality across the board. There were dozens of gaming consoles and low-end computers which doubled as gaming machines. There were hundreds of publishers pumping out games at such a rapid pace that consumers couldn’t keep up. Sound familiar?

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Heard of the Nintendo NX? Unless you’re close to gaming – you probably haven’t. It’s Nintendo’s next console which is rumored to offer portable gaming as well as console gaming at home. I’m also going on the record and guaranteeing that you will begin to see the 2nd North American gaming crash next year when the NX releases.

Here’s why. The gaming industry is already saturated. This past weekend as I strolled into Gamestop, I was able to pick up Halo 4 on the cheap ($4.99). I also remember a time back in the day when I picked up mainstream Atari games for the same price out of an eerily similar bin. I know, I know, games always discount as they age. Here’s the problem, though. They don’t go away. Halo 4 is just as solid of a game as it was 3 short years ago when it debuted at $59. Halo 4 is an example, but I could name off hundreds more. Borderlands, Fallout 3, Call of Duty, Gran Turismo…see the trend? These are solid games!

At some point, consumers will have too many games to choose from and too many systems to keep up with. What’s the sense in shelling out $400 for a new gaming rig when the last generation (even the one before that) is still so fun to play? With the release of the Nintendo NX, Nintendo will be trying to support the Wii (yea, they still support it), the 3DS, 2DS, Wii U and their newest system, the NX. That’s just Nintendo! Factor in the explosion of mobile gaming, online gaming through social media platforms, Sony, Microsoft and PC gaming and I promise you, the storm is upon us.

For consumers, that’s great news! You can slide into a local game store and purchase a boss gaming rig with all the fixings and a stack of games for less than $200. For game publishers, on the other hand, it’s terrible news. It means they won’t be able to peddle their product for the new asking price of $69 a game, while releasing them half-finished and relying on an online patch to finish up (also the new trend). Mark my words, we are about to see most game publishers go under.

In closing, everything has lined up for the 2nd North American gaming crash. The market is saturated, which has bottomed out the prices for most games only months after their initial release. There is a heap of consoles that will begin confusing the average gamer (it’s also why Wii U isn’t selling. People can’t distinguish it from the original Wii b/c of its name). The end is near, but fear not. Crashes lead to beautiful beginnings once the gaming industry has to take a year off and hit the reset button. Anyone remember how the original NES rose from the ashes last time around?

Until then, this is the gaming rig I recommend based on price, features and its fantastic library of games.

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Gunship: Space Rebels

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We’re just a chapter or two away from the finish line! Gunship: Space Rebels should be available by the end of 2015 and fans of the series are in for a treat. Meant as a prequel to the original series, Space Rebels will finally answer some of the biggest questions to date. How did Dalton and Adam originally meet? What happened during the 1st Glimmerian War? How much whiskey can Dalton actually drink? Well, then again, nobody knows the answer to that one.

PS4 vs. Xbox One: Which is best?

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So yea, it was bound to happen eventually. As both a full-time author and lover of video games, I knew it was only a matter of time before I threw my PS4 vs. Xbox One blog out there. Hopefully it helps someone make a solid purchase this Christmas season.

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PS4 – The Playstation 4 is a solid gaming system and I’ve had my hands on it quite a bit. My biggest gripe, to be completely honest, is that the PS4 doesn’t feel like a huge upgrade from the PS3. Sure, it’s better. There’s no denying it. The graphics are certainly a bit more crisp and now I have the option to upload directly to Twitch for live broadcasts. At first, that’s a very cool feature. However, I quickly learned that not many people actually care what I’m playing. If you’re knee-deep in an online sports league or something of that nature – the Twitch feature is great. Otherwise, it’s not that big of a deal. My overall takeaway is that the PS4 feels more like a PS3 1/2. When it originally launched, the price was just too steep for such a small leap forward. Now that it’s gotten more affordable, it may just be time to jump in and start gaming. The PS4 currently has a strong list of games and is selling much better than the Xbox One. My personal favorite is the Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 bundle this holiday season. It’s flying off the shelves and likely won’t be available for much longer.

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Xbox One – Otherwise known as the XBone, the Xbox One is just starting to gain a little momentum. Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you already know that the PS4 has been outselling the Xbox One by a large margin. This Christmas, you might just see that begin to change. Highly-anticipated games like Halo 5: Guardians and Gears of War 4 have combined with a very attractive price that’s quickly helping Microsoft catch up to the PS4. Side-by-side, the PS4 looks just a bit more polished, but it’s barely noticeable. The Xbox One is also the likely choice for cord-cutters as it offers a huge selection of apps (Netflix, Hulu, Sling, etc.) compared to the PS4. As of right now, the Xbox One is packing a lot in the boxes of its consoles and offering insane deals which give customers a lot of bang for the buck. My personal favorite leading up to the holidays happens to pack in 3 complete games and a 1TB hard drive, which is the new rage in gaming (as a bonus, Amazon is including a $50 credit off of your next Amazon purchase).

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Clingers – There’s a third group of gamers this time around and you won’t hear about “clingers” on other blogs…because I just coined it. The gaming industry is seeing a record number of gamers stay behind and continue their PS3 and Xbox 360 commitments. Simply put, there are a lot of legit games for both systems and this holiday season, we’re seeing a dumpster fire of consoles that are still in stock. You can literally pick up a brand new console (either) with a huge hard drive and several free games for about half of the cost of a next-generation console. They do most of what the new generation of consoles do and they look pretty close in terms of graphics. Are you better off buying a last-generation console? That’s not for me to decide, but I will say that both the Xbox 360 and PS3 have offers this year that are attractive enough to consider.

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Currently, you can fetch a brand new PS3 console with a 500 GB hard drive, a copy of GTA5 and a free month of Playstation Plus OR a brand new Xbox 360 console with a 500 GB hard drive, Call of Duty: Ghosts, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and a free month of Xbox Live Gold for about 1/2 the cost of a next-generation system.

My final thoughts on which next-generation console is a better purchase this Christmas? I personally believe that the Xbox One will be your best bet. This isn’t to slight the PS4 in any way, but I’m already hearing horror stories of the PS4 being sold out and that’s likely to get even worse with Black Friday approaching. Meanwhile, the Xbox One is selling, but it remains stocked well on store shelves. Unless you plan to stand in line for doorbusters and are prepared to get into swinging matches with other PS4 owner-hopefuls, I’d plan on embracing the Xbox One console. I have a Yoda-like sense when it comes to gaming and my gut is telling me that 2016 will be the year that Microsoft finally catches up (or even passes) Sony. Their upcoming list of games is just that strong. I’d also consider a PS3 or Xbox 360 bundle if you’re on a budget. Normally I wouldn’t do that, but they’re just getting stupid with the prices at this point. Both companies are practically giving their older models away and I can tell you from lots of experience – there’s good gaming to be had on both of them.

FILE - In this  Friday, Nov. 22, 2013,  file photo, Emanuel Jumatate, from Chicago, hugs his new Xbox One after he purchased it at a Best Buy in Evanston, Ill. Microsoft is billing the Xbox One, which includes an updated Kinect motion sensor, as an all-in-one entertainment system rather than just a gaming console. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Christmas Guide For Geeks

I hate Wal-Mart and I love the goodness of geek! Those are 2 things that people typically pick up on very quickly around me. Every year at about this time, I begin receiving tweets/emails asking what the hottest geek items will be during the Christmas season. So this year, I decided to make a list. A guide, actually. A toy book for geeks of all budgets. These hot-ticket items are guaranteed to make the geek in your life smile and, most importantly, can be picked up at Amazon – instead of Wal-Mart.

So I’m on a budget.

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You can still geek out on a budget. Every true gamer knows his/her roots and Pacman started it all. Imagine plugging into your massive television and reliving the arcade experience. Halo fans in the house? The UNSC shirt is classy (I'm about to order one my damn self). It's a can't miss. There are coffee mugs, and then there is the Vader mug of the elite. I would have listed Yoda's, but it's already sold out and this one is moving fast. Better hurry.

I ain’t broke or rich.

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I love Risk and I love The Walking Dead. Everyone else must, too, because this game continues to sell out online like nothing I've ever seen before. The Atari Flashback is retro (yes!) and it includes actual controller ports that will use original 2600 joysticks! Finally, a nice model of everyone's favorite ship. I still want to bitch slap Fox for cancelling Firefly.

I’m a high-roller, son.

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Ah yes, I dream of lighting my cigars with $100 bills and not mowing my own lawn. Maybe you are a high-roller in search of geek gifts. Every year I predict the #1 selling game console through Christmas and every year I'm right. The PS4 Battlefront (Star Wars) console WILL sell out. Reserve it now. Want to be famous for a day? Order the Master Chief suit and walk into a nearby comics convention. If you're the gaming type, order a true arcade machine.

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Finally, I’ll give you my “hot-ticket” item that is moving faster than Amazon’s stock. It won’t last, not at only $49. Oh and guys/gals, let’s try to remember the true meaning of Christmas.