PlayStation Plus Satisfaction Rate Nosedives

Sony originally launched their PlayStation Plus service way back in 2010 to offer an enticing package of monthly games with a monetary value which far outweighed the monthly fee. This rightfully received a warm reception and helped Sony to forge a harmonious relationship with the PlayStation community. It’s also important to remember that during the PlayStation 3 days, online play remained free, and PlayStation Plus wasn’t a requirement. Sadly, this was changed once the PlayStation 4 launched and players have to pay the subscription fee to play online.

This isn’t a shocking revelation because Microsoft employed a similar tactic with the Xbox Live subscription service. Not only that, Microsoft even required this to use the Internet Explorer web browser! Thankfully, they have seen sense and granted free access to programs and media applications using a free account. It’s evidently clear that the monthly line-up of PlayStation Plus games has deteriorated in recent years and caused many users to show their displeasure. Even though indie games provide stunning experiences, consumers want to see more mainstream titles to enhance the service’s value proposition. It’s not that simple though because the PlayStation 4’s game library is pretty small compared to the PlayStation 3. Saying that, there’s more than enough third-party games and Sony IPs to keep consumers entertained.

According to a PlayStation Reddit poll, user satisfaction of the service has dropped to a miserable 21.3%. Furthermore, 65.2% felt dissatisfied by the service in one form or another. In comparison, an internal Sony poll in 2012 concluded that over 95% were satisfied. As you can see, this is a drop of more than 70% in just three and a half years. Of course you have to remember that the sample size is fairly small with 3923 responses and might not reflect widespread opinion. However, it’s large enough to provide an indication of user frustration and I wouldn’t be surprised if the results were similar using a larger sample.

Are you happy with the current PlayStation Plus service?

More Mass Effect: Andromeda Details Leaked?

New details regarding BioWare’s hotly-anticipated action RPG sequel Mass Effect: Andromeda may have leaked online. Screenshots of an EA marketing survey were posted to NeoGAF this week, which – while unverified – reveal that the forthcoming game deals with issues of colonialism, and casts humanity as the aliens in an unfamiliar and hostile galaxy.

The survey screenshots read:

“Below is a description for a possible future version of Mass Effect. Please read this and answer some questions on the following pages about this game.

There is a major battle brewing, and it awaits you. In is unfolding across a galaxy of planets, with creatures and species entirely unknown. Draw your weapon, because the fight is bigger than you thought. It’s not just for your own life, it’s for all of humanity – the ultimate battle for a place we can all call home.

Mass Effect: Andromeda takes players to the Andromeda galaxy, far beyond the Milky Way, where players will lead the fight for a new home in hostile territory – where WE are the aliens – opposed by a deadly indigenous race bent on stopping us.

Experience the freedom to traverse and explore a planet-dense but seamless open-world galaxy, rich with discovery. Play as the leader of a squad of military-trained explorers in an intense third-person shooter, with deep progression and customization systems.

This is the story of humanity’s next chapter, and player choices throughout the game will ultimately determine our survival in the Andromeda Galaxy.”

We’ve been here before, of course: at the turn of 2015, a similar survey leak occurred, which revealed that the game’s protagonist would be known as The Pathfinder, and would lead humanity into a previously unexplored area of space. With momentum building behind the game, can we expect BioWare to formally unveil Mass Effect: Andromeda at E3 this Summer?

A Look At The Steam Survey Results For November 2015

I will only pick out the most noteworthy Steam Survey Hardware and Software results for November 2015; otherwise, I might be here until New Years day 2017.  So, what do we have? Below are the Steam monthly survey stats, starting with the most common type of OS (Operating System) that is being used amongst Steam gamers.

As you can see below, Windows is the most dominant Operating system with 95.26% usage, Windows 7 64 bit is the most popular with 35.63% usage, this is down slightly (-1.04%). Windows 10 64 bit has risen slightly by 2.39% with current usage at 28.81%.  These stats hide an interesting point, with many reports noting that back in August 2015, only 17% of users were running Windows 10, therefore, this is around a 59% increase in the last three months. Of course, there are many factors including the persistent attempts by Microsoft to push at all costs their latest OS onto consumers.

Unsurprisingly, Steam users are not in favour of Mac or Linux’s operating systems considering only 3.64% and 0.98% of users respectively implement these operating systems when utilizing steam to play games.

When it comes to preferred CPUs for all formats, Intel is unsurprisingly the big winner, 76.31% Windows Steam users own an Intel CPU for November 2015, while Windows users of an AMD CPU is at 23.69%, this is down ever so slightly (- 0.28%) compared to October 2015.

Other noteworthy stats for the CPU section include 47.93% of Steam users owning a dual-core CPU, while 45.12% own a quad-core CPU.

Ram stats are quite interesting, and yes I am a geek, the most popular configuration of Ram is 8GB and is being used by 32.06%, this has risen slightly by 0.36%, although 12GB and higher is at a healthy 16.04%.

By all means check out the full in-depth list of stats, it’s certainly revealing and conveys Steam users preferences and also how well manufacturers are placing their products within the market.

Women Own More Consoles than Men According to New Survey

It’s always interesting when people release studies on video games and even more interestingly their users. While asking people for their opinions and ideas in polls may not be the best way to get accurate figures, it’s always interesting to see what people come back with. This time, the interesting figure is the number of console owners, or rather the number that identified themselves as female.

From the Pew Research Centre, the study looked at device owners, and what demographics they fit into. For example, they calculated that over 80% of 18-49-year-olds had a smartphone, with around 45% of U.S. adults owning a tablet (up from only 10% back in 2011).

Computer owners range at around 74% of U.S. Men, with 71% of Women stating they owned a computer, with 42% of women stating they own a console (described as “e.g. Xbox or Playstation“), a whole 5% above the stereotype of male gamers (who sit at a mere 37%). Dedicated portable gaming devices sit at 14% for each gender, with devices like the PSP and Sega Genesis (yes that was included in the category of portable gaming devices), while MP3 players still have roughly 40% ownership within the U.S. (38% and 42% for Men and Women respectively).

With roughly 3.7% margin of error stated on the gender, and up to 2.6% stated as the error in calculating the percentage of U.S. adults in whole, are there any figures that have surprised you or did you expect something different for any of the figures?

30% Car Owners Would Give up Their Vehicle Before Their Smartphone

The Frog 2015 survey of 1999 people across China, Denmark, Germany and the United States investigated modern attitudes towards car ownership. The data indicates that 53% of the sample use their own vehicle compared to 14% on public transport. Interestingly, 37% of car owners revealed they could easily give up their vehicle without it affecting their daily routine. Additionally, 30% admitted they would rather give up their car than their smartphone. At first, this seems unbelievable but it makes sense when you consider vital tasks like e-mail and web browsing are just a touch away.

On another note, travelling long distances to reach office spaces could theoretically become an outdated notion as people begin to work from home. Similarly, virtual presence devices might be accepted although that does seem like a long time off. In today’s market, it’s incredibly expensive to run a vehicle especially if you’re under the age of 30. Petrol prices and insurance costs are absolutely staggering.

Smartphones are now an integral part of daily life and becoming more influential as each passes. The advent of cheap, Android handsets have broadened the appeal and contributed to many people’s social media addiction. Clearly, many struggle to live without a smartphone, and this is shown quite clearly in the Frog study.

Roaming The Open World Of GTA V Money Generator Scams

Grand Theft Auto is a franchise which has captured the imagination of fans with an engrossing open player world and also regular updates which never fail to entertain. But, with every tech development lays the reality of scammers and hackers who regularly target consumers with the notion of “free” items which are not as generous as they appear to be.

This time around it’s the good old-fashioned money generator scams which are attempting to persuade GTA V players with the promise of free money to be used within the game. So, what are the potential traps for those who stumble onto the wrong site and decide to commit a bit of GTA of their own?

Example – gta5moneyserver(dot)com

This site is in the business of counterfeiting news articles from popular legitimate websites, this is with the aim of touting its own service while convincing consumers of its own credibility. There are problems which are easy to spot; firstly, the articles are badly written which is a red flag in itself; secondly, none of the articles appear on the genuine sites if cross referenced and the formatting is uneven.

OK, let’s imagine I believe this, I don’t of course, that would be idiotic, the perpetrators of the site would need to implement a technique in order to send users free GTA cash. According to them, they have “exploited a cloud server through a very private 264bit encrypted DNS IP”  If a user submits a gamer tag through the site then he/she would be promoted to fill in a scam survey, which has plagued the internet for what seems like forever and a day. You won’t be receiving your coins anytime soon so it’s best to avoid.

All sites purporting to offer free in-game, well, anything, that is not from an official URL address site or provider is in all probability too good to be true. It will either contain a survey, virus or some .exe file which is little more than a fake, it might also ask for personal details which is also to be avoided. Oh, and while you’re at it, avoid any sites which “offer” in game Money, free DLC generators, rank improvements, account unbanning and any kind of DNS code tricks.

These scams will vary in order to seem relevant, but it will be in all likelihood the same outcome.

Thank you malwarebytes for providing us with this information.

75 Percent of Americans Have No Idea What Computer Memory Is

There are all sorts of polls and focus groups where people are trying to find out what other people think or know, that’s nothing new, and since we’re a technology site here, those are the ones that we focus on. A recent study where 1000 American’s, aged 18 to 65, were polled in their knowledge on computer memory.

I’m pretty sure that pretty much all of our readers know what computer memory is and most of them also know how to upgrade it, so it came a little bit of a shock that nearly 75 percent of the polled people had no idea what computer memory was and half of the asked people thought it was where computer files live.

Now upgrading memory is probably one of the easiest tasks in a computer. Pop the old modules and insert the new, even with a bit of fiddling it’s a job that should be done in about 5 minutes. However, only about 10% of the asked people believed that to be true and 91% thought that it would take at least an hour or more.

“We rely so heavily on our devices to maintain our productivity levels and time management that in times of frustration we often forget that our devices rely on us, too, to stay functional and efficient,” said Crucial.com Marketing Manager Ed Walker. “A memory upgrade is a simple solution. It can be done in less than 5 minutes, costs around $50 (potentially saving hundreds to thousands of dollars on buying a new device) and helps shave off hours of time waiting for a slow computer to load.”

While this study was conducted in the US, I’m pretty sure that the picture can be replicated in almost any country, so no need to bash the Americans for that. The poll also revealed that 91 percent of Americans admit that it can take up to an hour longer to perform tasks on a slower computer, but only 4 percent upgrade their memory when their computer slows down. 49 percent scan for viruses and 26 percent “just deal with it” or put it off for a little while and then return to work.

Smartphones are now the UK’s Most Popular Web Surfing Device

Ofcom has conducted a survey into the browsing habits of UK citizens and discovered the majority of users prefer mobile devices for internet browsing. Previously, laptops held the top spot with 40% of the vote while smartphones only attributed to 22%. The 2015 results signify a major shift as 33% of people said their smartphone was the primary device to get online compared with 30% who chose a laptop. In Q1 2015, 66% of households contained a smartphone and managed to overtake laptop ownership which stands at 65%.

Interestingly, the report says smartphone users spend an average of 144 minutes browsing the internet, which is almost twice the figure of a Laptop or PC at 69 minutes. The research suggests smartphones are more of a digital companion than a communication tool. For example, 42% of those surveyed watch video clips, 21% stream TV shows, 45% engage in online shopping and 44% have setup online banking.

The largest increase stems from tablet PCs and it’s surprising to read that 54% of households now own a tablet device. Although, the growth of ultra-cheap Android tablets shouldn’t make this a shocking revelation.

Rather alarmingly, almost half (48%) of smartphone users admit to being “hooked” on a mobile phone and rate their addiction a 7 or above out of 10. The data emphasizes how revolutionary connected smart devices have become. Consumers cannot exist without checking their social media, browsing for the latest deals and watching a variety of their favourite programmes. This doesn’t mean the laptop is dead as productivity through a normal keyboard is significantly higher. However, for casual usage, the smartphone looks set to dominate.

It’s Going Great for Independent UK Retailers According to New Study

It is going great for independent UK retailers according to a new study performed by ShopTalk, and there are also a couple of surprises in it. ShopTalk is a not-for-profit service operated by IT distributor Target Components to provide free impartial business advice to IT resellers.

The most surprising find was that independent retailers that have heavily discounted prices do not enjoy better sales than those charging the highest prices. The ones selling the most are the ones placed in the middle of the field, most likely as a result of people not wanting to pay too much but in return also don’t trust a product sold too cheap.

ShopTalk didn’t just compare the figures of independent shops, they also took in large chains into the comparison. The Study found that independent retailers are offering both lower pricing and a wider range of products and services than their larger rivals. Independent retailers offer prices that are 9% lower on average, that’s £9 of every £100 marker and that’s not insignificant. The only bigger company that beat the independent retailers on an average scale of products offered was PC World, they offered 50 of the 65 items surveyed. But over half of the independent retailers also offered more than the 50, and that’s a double-up from last year’s survey.

“Under-pricing for indies simply doesn’t work – our research shows it depresses sales and stifles profits – so it’s encouraging to see signs that support what we hear anecdotally, that indies are taking a more considered approach to pricing.” said Shoptalk’s John Coulter on the report

Despite a drop in the price margin over last year’s result, independent shops continue to improve their sales for a more sustained business model. The number of lines selling ‘ok’ or better have improved from 71% to 75% over the last year.

New Mass Effect Details Leak Through Online Survey

Details of the next Mass Effect game may have leaked due to an online survey that revealed plot and gameplay details, courtesy of a post by a now-deleted reddit user. The new Mass Effect, currently in development by BioWare, is reported to be halfway complete with the developer targeting a 2016 release.

The reddit user responsible for the post claims that they “take surveys online for a little extra money,” and that one such survey described the forthcoming Mass Effect game in great detail, and then asked if the description sounded appealing.

Beware of potential spoilers!

The synopsis posted on reddit  reads:

“The next Mass Effect game takes place in the Helius Cluster (a cluster of 100s of solar systems in the Andromeda Galaxy), far removed by time and space from Commander Shepard’s heroic acts and the final events of the Mass Effect trilogy. You are a pathfinder, a combat trained but un-tested explorer leading an expedition into the Helius cluster to establish a new home for humanity.

As you explore this sprawling series of solar systems (over 4x the size of Mass Effect 3), collecting resources and building colonies, you will encounter the savagery of untamed lands in the form of cut-throat outlaws and warring alien races. To survive and colonize the wild reaches of space, you will need to grow your arsenal, your ship, your crew and make strategic (and often uneasy) alliances to fight against increasingly menacing foes.

Along the way, you will encounter the remains of a once powerful and mysterious alien race, the Remnant, whose forgotten technology holds the key to gaining power in this region of the galaxy. As you uncover who the Remnant were, and the mysteries their ruins contain, you are drawn into a violent race to find the source of their forgotten technology that will determine the fate of humanity.”

The survey also mentions “seven distinct crew members” who can be recruited for missions, while gameplay is said to include a strategic element, with you as commander tasked with deploying “AI controlled Strike Team[s]” to defend territories, since “you can’t be everywhere at once”.

As far as first-person missions are concerned, BioWare plans to integrate all travel and combat modes, saying, “Transitions between activities, like flying your Tempest (space ship) across a solar system to land on a mineral rich planet, then jumping into your Mako (land vehicle) to explore the surface of planet, all happen smoothly without loading screens”.

The game will also include online multiplayer hoarde mode, much like Mass Effect 3, and loyalty missions for your seven recruitable team members. Further details, regarding upgrades, vaults, and colonisation, can be found in the reddit post.

The above is unverified so, of course, should be taken with a huge pinch of salt. If true, though, it sounds like the next game in the series has the potential to wash away the bad taste the ending to Mass Effect 3 left in my mouth. If not, I’ve always got that salt.

Thank you reddit for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Unigamesity.

Norway Wants to Kill FM Radio by the End of 2017

Nordic countries are beginning to pick up the pace and keep up with times, more than ever before! According to Radio.no, Norway plans to make the step to full digital audio broadcasting in as little as 2 years.

Norway’s Ministry of Culture took the decision and announced that the change will start on the 11th of January and end on the 13th of December. Before you ask ‘why the heck are they rushing things?’ While you are still listening to your old-fashioned radio in the background, you should know that hard evidence is backing up the ministry’s decision.

The ministry based the decision on a Digitalradio survey made by TNS Gallup, a marketing research company. The survey revealed that 56 per cent of radio listeners use digital radio on a daily basis and 56 per cent of households own at least one digital audio broadcasting radio device.

Still, the change that led to half of Norway’s population having a DAB radio was not made overnight. Norway started embracing DAB technology back in 1995, having two national DAB networks, along with a few other local ones, cropping up in recent years.

But did you think Norway is the only one doing this? Of course not! A few European countries along with some from South Asia are doing the same thing. This would only help diversify the content broadcasted and bring better quality to radio listeners. What are your thoughts on the matter?

Thank you Radio.no for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of 123inspiration.com

Study Reveals Gamers To Be More Educated, Social and Successful Than Non-Gamers

Gamers have always been thought to be comprised mostly by loners and rejects, the so-called nerds who live in their parent’s basement and play video games all day long. However, a recent study has shed light on this dilemma, revealing that only one perception is true from the previously mentioned, which is that gamers are truly nerds.

A study commissioned by the video game streaming network Twitch and conducted by social researcher Neil Howe revealed an entirely fresh perspective of the gaming community by suggesting that gamers are more successful, social and more educated than the non-gamer society. The company is said to have surveyed more than 1,000 people via the Internet regarding their gaming habits while also extracting some demographic information. For the case study at hand, it has been said that a typical ‘gamer’ was defined as an individual who has played a game on a digital device in the past 60 days, having over 60% of surveyed individuals in total fitting the profile.

According to The Washington Post, who received a copy of the case study, gamers are more likely to be living with others, such as family, friends or significant others, and are more likely to agree with the following statement: “My friends are the most important thing in my life”, having 57% of gamers agree with the statement. The study also reveals that gamers are also divided more evenly by gender, with 52% identified as being male and 48% female, compared to a similar study back in 2004 revealing an estimated 40% of female gamers.

Another aspect extracted from the case study is said to reveal that gamers are slightly more likely to be employed full-time, having 42% of gamers employed full-time, compared to the 39% non-gamer full-time employees. In terms of media habits, it has been identified that gamers spend more time using their gadgets and also tend to spend a lot of time with media through popular video streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu.

Though most modern gamers already are familiar and agree with the provided information, it is nice to see Twitch and Neil Howe providing some actual hard facts and truthful information regarding the definition of a ‘Gamer’ and hopefully diminish the false rumors which have been roaming around the non-gamer community for some time now.

Thank you The Washington Post for providing us with this information
Images courtesy of Capital FM, GBeye and Keep Calm-o-Matic