GameHub Concierge

GameHub Concierge: A Family of Three

A family of three kids aged 8, 10 and 12 are in the market for their first games console. Looking to keep within a sensible budget, they are torn between the Playstation and Xbox as to which will have more general family appeal. GameHub Concierge tries to give some guidance on what to consider for this important purchase:

ameHub Concierge: 

First things first, as I have a feeling this information is going to be important to at least one of the kids: Minecraft comes in both Xbox and Playstation versions, so that won’t be a deciding factor! Given the information supplied, I would be inclined to lean slightly towards an Xbox One over the Playstation 4. The Xbox, with Microsoft’s multiplatform clout behind it, has a slightly wider variety of game types than the Playstation, which means that if the children have different interests, they will all be able to find something that suits them personally from brands and franchises they recognise, from Angry Birds to  Assassins Creed. If gaming was a primary hobby, I would veer more towards the Playstation, as their range of games from independent development studios (indies) is very strong and would provide varied and interesting challenges to a hobbyist gamer. However, it sounds like the interest is more in a reliable, easy to operate family entertainment box with options for playing together and/or apart, rather than a dedicated gaming powerhouse. The “Just Dance” dance titles might prove popular with the youngest and are always a hit at parties, and if they all want to play together, a cooperative puzzler like Lara Croft And The Temple of Osiris would while away a rainy afternoon. For a bit of cheerful mayhem suitable for all ages, a LEGO franchise game is fun for everyone to give a go, -Mum included- such as LEGO Batman 3; or what about the silly gardening game Plants vs Zombies. If the elder son is starting to show an interest in sports titles, Madden NFL25 would hit the spot. And for any teenager, unwinding with a bit of bad dude blasting in HALO is a relaxing social ritual to share with friends. I think that an Xbox One, with the big franchises likely to be familiar to the children and their friends, would fit the bill for a general family entertainment box to span different ages and interests.

Got a question for the Concierge? Get in touch!

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Games Culture

Merry Christmas From GameHub! – and a note on the #Steampocalyse

A very Merry Christmas from everyone here at GameHub!

We wish all our users a peaceful and joyous family Christmas, whether your children are young or old. Remember that people around the world are unwrapping new games and consoles today, so online services such as Xbox Live, Steam and Playstation Network will be running very slowly under the weight of millions of new users. If things aren’t working out, leave it alone for a few hours and come back when the servers are less busy.

UPDATE: We have confirmed reports that something has gone really badly wrong with the PC game management system and online store Steam. Users are encouraged to not use the service at all until the engineers at Valve have got to the route of the issue. Though you may be nervous for your credit card security, credible sources believe the system has not been hacked, but is suffering from a technical problem related to account profiles. It’s Christmas folks! Something always goes wrong on Christmas!

Words Worth Knowing

Words Worth Knowing: Console Generations

One of the most challenging aspects of video-games culture for a newcomer, especially for a busy parent, is trying to learn and understand the many, many acronyms and specialised terms. GameHub HQ entries are jargon-free, so you can get the information you need as easily and painlessly as possible, but there are still some words worth knowing. Every Monday, we break down one Word Worth Knowing from the world of gaming.

Console generations can be a hard concept to get your head around, especially when manufacturers insist on calling them all the same thing! So if you don’t know your Playstation 3 from your Playstation 4, or your Wii from your Wii U*, this week’s Words Worth Knowing is here to help you out!

*And quite frankly, why would you? Life’s too short. This kind of technical boon-dogling is ours to worry about, not yours! 

What It Is: Console Generations = successive iterations of gaming console hardware

What It Means: When a new console or handheld is released, we will speak of it as being of chronological ” generation” of hardware. For example, the original Xbox was a 6th Generation console, the Xbox 360 was a 7th Generation console. All these generations belong to the same family of Xbox devices, but each generation represents a significant advance in the technological capabilities of the hardware. Each generation should be a technological improvement on the last.

Why You Care:  When a console or handheld is released, the manufacturers may describe it as having “backwards compatibility”, meaning it can play games bought for the previous generation consoles in that console family. Hence Xbox 360 was backwards compatible with Xbox, but the Xbox One is not backwards compatible with the Xbox 360. Backward Compatibility is not a concept that applies to PC gaming, as all computers are of the same “family” and do not advance in generations. When buying games, handhelds or consoles, it is important to check carefully that the game will run on the generation of console you own. Every GameHub HQ game entry displays the named consoles the game will run on. Look under “Platform,” the second tab down on the left-hand side as you browse each game title, or, if you have a specific question, get in touch via the contact form below.

GameHub Concierge

GameHub Concierge: Minecraft, All Minecraft!

“I don’t see the obsession with Minecraft. My DD 10 (soon to be 11) uses the IPAD to play Minecraft and watch the irritating videos on YouTube.
With her birthday being in the summer hols, I like to buy her something which I know she will get good use of. I was all set to get her an IPAD MINI….however she says she is hoping for a bloody XBOX so she can play Minecraft.
I am so annoyed. We had an XBOX last year but only kept it for 2 months as no one understood how to operate it!
Is Minecraft really any different on the XBOX than the APP? She says she will need headphones to chat with other players. Not sure I am liking the idea of this.
Please educate me – I am very naive with technology ” via  Mumsnet

Sounds like a job for GameHub Concierge! Minecraft on the Ipad is a different experience from Minecraft on the Xbox. Here’s some of what we said:

“If your daughter is showing an interest in gaming, a 2nd hand Xbox would be a great place to start. Minecraft is the perfect sort of game for her age group. And its great to see her wanting to make the move from Ipad to Xbox, it shows she is really passionate about the game and looking for the best experience.
For young girls, I would really strongly advise putting your foot down very firmly on the headset idea – it’s not a good plan. I would be extremely wary of her using her own voice, its likely to cause a lot of upset and unpleasantness which may well put you both off gaming. Ask her to use the typed chat option instead, and have a solid chat about keeping her account settings private, not giving out her age or gender and so on.”

I also offered to help our Mumsnetter through any queries she might have with the installation process, setting up the hardware and the Xbox Live account, and asked her to talk about some of her daughter’s other hobbies in order to suggest additional games.

Got a question for the Concierge? Contact us.

GameHub Concierge

GameHub Concierge: Minecraft, All Minecraft!

We get a lot of questions about Minecraft here at GameHub HQ.

“I don’t see the obsession with Minecraft. My DD 10 (soon to be 11) uses the IPAD to play Minecraft and watch the irritating videos on YouTube.
With her birthday being in the summer hols, I like to buy her something which I know she will get good use of. I was all set to get her an IPAD MINI….however she says she is hoping for a bloody XBOX so she can play Minecraft.
I am so annoyed. We had an XBOX last year but only kept it for 2 months as no one understood how to operate it!
Is Minecraft really any different on the XBOX than the APP? She says she will need headphones to chat with other players. Not sure I am liking the idea of this.
Please educate me – I am very naive with technology ” via  Mumsnet

Sounds like a job for the GameHub Concierge! Minecraft on the Ipad is a different experience from Minecraft on the Xbox. We spent some time with this Mumsnetter talking about understanding how to use the Xbox system and where to go for help if you get stuck. We also talked about her daughter’s reasons for wanting the console rather than mobile version of the game. Here’s a small extract of some of what we said:

GameHub Concierge: 

“If your daughter is showing an interest in gaming, a 2nd hand Xbox would be a great place to start. Minecraft is the perfect sort of game for her age group and will be a popular topic among her friends. Minecraft on the iPad and Xbox are two very different experiences. The iPad version (Minecraft Pocket Edition) is a much smaller and simplified game, whilst the Xbox variant has the full range of features.
For young girls, I would really strongly advise putting your foot down very firmly on the headset idea-its not a good plan. I would be extremely wary of her using her own voice, its likely to cause a lot of upset and unpleasantness which may well put you both off gaming. Ask her to use the typed chat option instead, and have a solid chat about keeping her account settings private, not giving out her age or gender.”

I also offered to help our Mumsnetter through any queries she might have and asked her to talk about some of her daughter’s other hobbies in order to suggest additional games.

Got a question for the Concierge? Get in touch!