If you’ve ever wanted to drink a chili dog from a G FUEL shaker cup, now’s your chance.
There’s something comforting about console gaming. Although the systems have gotten better and formats have changed, the machines themselves work pretty much the same way with every generation—you buy the games (either as a physical disk or cartridge, or through a digital marketplace), install them, update them, and play. You have an actual box, dedicated controllers, and probably a library of games you actually own and can use forever even without an Internet connection, if you wish. And with each succeeding generation, you also get more power; the recently announced next iterations of the Sony PlayStation and Xbox promise 8K resolution and historically high frame rates.
The media has been predicting the death of video game consoles since about 2012. And it’s true that cloud-based mobile gaming—high-octane content live-streamed to our devices in an instant through services like Google Stadia—is coming on up. Our music and our movies long ago became tied to streaming services like Spotify and Netflix, decimating our CD and DVD shelves. So why not expect the same to happen to our video games, especially when you can already buy and play games on your phone for $1 while console games cost $60?
The prognosis for cloud gaming is indeed good: Zion Market Research reports that the cloud gaming market is expected to grow around 27 percent through 2026, to an expected annual revenue of almost $7 billion. In the meantime, 83 percent of computer and video games were sold in digital form in 2018, compared to 17 percent in a physical form. As a result, the death of the next console generation was predicted by industry-watchers long before we had any news that Xbox Series X was coming.
But does the rise of cloud gaming automatically mean the death of consoles? Okay, yes, it’s likely—eventually. Microsoft is testing its xCloud service and Sony is investing in PSNow—moves that show that the big gaming companies are already planning for a digital future. Even today’s physical games are now enhanced with DLC and subscription services, allowing for continuing revenue streams that manifest digitally.
But instead of one technology destroying another, it’s very possible that this is a case in which a rising tide lifts all boats—at least, for a little while longer. After all, the gaming audience seems large and diverse, with a Pew Research study finding recently that 6 in 10 Americans enjoy video game time across all age ranges. In fact, adventure, shooter, RPG, sports, racing, and sim game players made up less than half of people who play video games, yet many of these are what Limelight Networks called dedicated gamers—and these gamers are the ones that buoy console sales.
Cloud gaming is seriously convenient in many ways, from eliminating the need for updates to seamless streaming on multiple devices. But there are drawbacks as well, including data caps and a dependence on Internet providers. In this moment, though, cloud gaming can’t always match the power, versatility or party aspect that a console offers—although it probably won’t be long until that is the case.
Given that, it may be too early to declare the demise of console systems. There’s just something solid and safe about them. Plus, having more options for new gaming experiences available for play is good and healthy. There just might be room for everyone, using different platforms for different situations. Bring on the next console generation—let’s enjoy it while it lasts!
Which chair to buy when you sit for many hours a day is a very important decision. Gaming, working, streaming, or doing anything that requires long hours in a chair can take a toll on your body. How do you pick the right chair? If you’re like me you hit the internet looking for some honest reviews. Hopefully this one about the Ewin Knight Series gaming chair I’m currently sitting on helps.
If you follow The Mommy Gamers, you may know that in April 2016 I sought out the Hello Kitty food truck in vain hopes of scoring cute snacks. Unfortunately, the truck was woefully equipped to deal with Chicagoland enthusiasm for adorable Japanese nonsense, and I failed. I get did a mug and a T-shirt (it should’ve said “I visited the Hello Kitty Cafe and all I got was…”).
This year, the Hello Kitty Cafe came closer to me – specifically, to a mall about 10 minutes from my house. Now, I know this mall. My kid did Gymboree in this mall every week from age 1-3. I do about 90 percent of my retail therapy here. I buy all my books at the Barnes & Noble. I get my Nespresso refills here. Until recently when it closed, I got my regular chocolate Godiva reward here (a free truffle every month!). I occasionally get together with my girlfriends and my book club here.
Just last week I made my houseguest from Kansas go visit so she could bring me some Nando’s Peri-Peri. Oh, I also get my hair cut here. And when I have giant stress knots in my shoulder from livin’ the glamorous freelance writer lifestyle, I go to the Mario Tricoci in this mall so someone can (attempt to) knead them out.
This is a definite advantage when scoping out Hello Kitty food trucks. When I heard it was going to be by the L.L. Bean, I knew exactly where to park when everyone else was complaining about no parking. So I arrived right at 10:30 and got into line immediately. I know this place so well I could tell without even looking that my wait would be shorter than last year.
This year I was somewhat more prepared, although I still didn’t bring any sunblock (it’s October in the Chicago area, who knew – and it looked cloudy when I went to Zumba that morning). I also forgot a snack. I had a giant book. The fourth in the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan, to be exact, which I’m re-reading for an online book club. I had a water bottle because my kid was in Orlando riding Space Mountain without me, so he could not make a tea run. I had my workout bag, with a wrap inside in case it got cold.
The people behind me clearly didn’t know what they were getting into. They’d just come from a dance class, following a slumber party that was making their two little girls very grumpy because they’d stayed up so late. After I told them about my four hours in line last year, they decided their kids wouldn’t be able to stay a half hour, let alone four, and left.
The people ahead of me were a bit more knowledgeable, and had done this the previous year as well. Nevertheless, they disappeared somewhere between my arrival and the front of the line, and I ended up talking to a nice group of three people – one of whom had the exact same name as me.
We all took lots of pictures and selfies. The point where you get to the menu sign is A Big Deal. Kids are running around, people are refreshing their pals in line with Starbucks coffees (there’s one right near where the truck was parked) and snacks (ironic, right?), and we’re getting to know our neighbors.
Actually, come to think of it, when I stood in line to see Hillary Clinton this past Monday at a local bookstore, it was basically the same thing except that Peet’s Coffee came by every so often to offer free samples of cookies and brownies. Now that would have been a good marketing ploy for someone at the mall.
Apparently I like standing in lines in order to spend money on stuff. Capitalism loves me.
Anyway, it really didn’t feel that long before I got to the front, where all of us took pictures of the Hello Kitty truck’s tires – well, they were decorated with images of bows! It felt like a triumph, especially when the only thing they’d run out of were the small thermal water bottles (18 ounces). Everyone takes longer than they should at the front because they’re deciding, once they actually see the product in the window. Today, they were selling handmade bow headbands that were not listed on the menu.
Sadly, I was assuming the t-shirts and mugs would be like last years, and they weren’t. So of course I had to buy one of everything. Although I never wore my t-shirt from last year, so I was able to resist that.
Here’s a picture of my haul:
So, I finally got to try the food. Actually, it’s pretty good. I don’t eat macarons that often so I’m not sure how they compare to the regular stuff, but they were pretty, tasty, and sweet, and you could even tell what the flavors were supposed to be. The mini-cakes were denser than I expected, rich and flavorful. The cookies – whoa, I forgot about the cookies! I know what I’m having for lunch…
I bought a freaking $36 thermal mug! But it’s totally cute and I’m just going to put it somewhere prominent in my house and stare at it with adoration from time to time. And the regular mug, with the bow handle, is going to hold lots of chai tea this winter.
Was it worth the money and effort? Well, I guess it depends on your point of view. I had been in Chinatown just the day before, and if all I’d wanted was cute Hello Kitty stuff I could have gotten it there at a fraction of the price. The best part of doing the Hello Kitty Cafe, I’ve learned, is the experience. Being there with other geeky people who are willing to stand in line for the privilege of buying overpriced merch is most of the fun.
No, I don’t regret it. Yes, I’ll probably do it again. Yes, I’m probably a bit crazy. But if you’re not willing to do it, too – or at least laugh with me about my doing it and bring me lattes while I wait – you’re really not my people anyway.
In Episode 156 of The Mommy Gamers Podcast, Carrie has some sort of plague on top of being pregnant so Marcia and Desirai are joined by one of their favorite friends and fellow podcasters, Terrence Wilson from the Stays Krunchy in Milk Podcast. You can check out his show where they talk about video games, odd flavored oreos, and other relevant pop culture topics over at stayskrunchyinmilk.com .
This weeks gaming talk covers Harvest Moon 64 from 1999 coming to the WiiU Virtual Console and the latest PokemonGO update. With the Nintendo Switch coming soon, everyone talks excitedly about features they are looking forward to and the launch titles lineup.
Desirai and Marcia are curious about a product that combines science with hair dye, resulting in colors that change based on the temperature. Terrence and Marcia both watched the LEGO Batman movie with their kids and chat about that. They also discus The Art of Hanky Panky by Olivia Savage, a fun giveaway on our website and so much more.
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