Friday, March 22, 2024



The writing has been on the wall that the world of video games was headed for trouble. Lackluster releases, low sales figures and studio closures, layoffs and shakeups were present, but oft overlooked by media types. Here’s why.


Gamers knew it. The video game industry knew it. Even Wall Street knew it. And yes, the media knew trouble was looming on the horizon for video games. Yet, most journalists ignored, glossed over and even, turned a blind eye to what was really going on.

As studios close, layoff staff and cancel games, many saw the signs, but seem to be caught off guard.

Here are a few reasons the media failed to report the steady decline of the video game industry.

  1. The media is way too close to video game companies. Publishers, parent companies often dole out a ton of swag, game-inspired freebies and all-expense paid trips to some pretty epic locales prior to a game’s release. I’ve been in magnificent hotel suites in the heart of NYC, The Ciry (San Francisco) multiple times. Limo rides - the driver holds a sign with your name on it at the airport - and chauffeurs you to your plush accommodations. Journalists are treated to some amazing perks. The attendant can influence journalists from being truthful, but compelled to give comments and games great scores for sub-par video games.
  2. Troubling signs known, but not reported. We become friends, on a first-name basis with devs, our PR handlers, and even top executives. Trust me, top-tier journalists have access to scoops, even personal calls/texts most media types don’t. Due to their relationships, some do not want to say anything negative, out of fear of losing games/consoles/accessories.
  3. Relying too much on AI. AI is quick, and can reduce a staff to a skeleton crew. But, it lacks heart and passion. It’s dry and makes reporters lazy. While it may take a staff weeks, if not months to properly research and do a story, AI aggregates numerous stories that may or may not be true.
  4. Reviewers/influencers are posing as journalists. Journalists abide by ethical standards. They attended J-School and understand how to construct stories. They understand libel and know how to research and not take a tweet or hearsay without proper research. Influencers, content creators don’t adhere to the code of ethics to always report the truth. We journalists aren’t fishing for views and clicks; we are compelled to inform accurate, truthful and factual information, whether good or bad.
  5. Honesty. Be truthful, and exercise care. You receive a code for a terrible, broken game. You know it’s trash. Instead of posting a review, reach out to the PR representative for clarity. Being truthful is what increases your credibility. Once, a ci-worker was designing her news page and read through a story about a stabbing at a bar. She soon realized the suspect accused of the stabbing was her dad! She had amazing design skills, but was not a journalist. She literally held the news story hostage for a couple hours, until my slot editor made a copy of the story, slapped it on the page and published it. We journalists are not called to be on a company or games’ team. We have to tell the truth about the industry, good, bad or ugly. 

The media failed that standard. If a controller looks cool but tends to suffer stick drift, tell your PR representative, but tell the truth. If the game will need a Day 1 patch, report it. Holding back news that can impact consumers’ purchases is costly to their wallets, and the media’s credibility.

Wednesday, March 20, 2024


Several factors, including studio closures, layoffs and underperforming AAA games, have contributed to the industry’s missteps



WE’VE BEEN HERE BEFORE, folks. Gamers have had their share of rides on the video game hype train, numerous video game studio acquisitions and Day 1 patches for AAA games. It’s par the course for young gamers, who grew up with microtransactions, multiplayer matches and broken games at release.

However, the video game industry woes feel different this time.

The latest series of troubles are very similar to the epic video game crash of 1983.

Yes, you’d think an event so tragic for video games would give everyone connected to the industry pause. Those near-fatal mistakes should be feared and never repeated.

Yet, here we are. Again.

These are a few contributing factors that have caused the industry’s series of setbacks

  1. Mergers / acquisitions: The negative effect of mergers is that it reduces competition and will lead to continued job losses. The high price of acquisitions will most definitely lead to further layoffs.

  2. What’s trending?! The industry chased trends and fell flat. The Nintendo Wii motion controls were chased by Sony’s PS Move, Microsoft had the Kinect. Nintendo’s Gameboy had several portable imitators including Atari’s Lynx, Sega’s Game Gear and Nomad, Sony’s PSP and the PS Vita. Instead of learning from their wounds, Sony recently released the PlayStation Portal, a portable controller attached to a small LED screen. The device requires the Internet, but can’t use cellular data. It can’t access WiFi and hotspots, because it doesn’t have a browser.
  3. Industry lacked vision: The industry  earned billions with their games, micro transactions and digital content, but did not invest back into new IPs and games that were struggling in development. They should have used their profits on adding more staff to polish titles before release, and help teams in need of support.
  4. Poor quality-control issues: Half-baked games at release, Day 1 patches on certain games. Years ago, before the evolution of the Internet, titles were released ready to go. Devs and publishers knew they had to have their games ready to go, no matter what. Now? Many games, even AAA titles that are glorified betas, are sold at full sticker prices.
  5. Live-service mirage: Video games devs, publishers are leaning too heavily on live-service games. Not every studio, developer and publisher can be Rockstar Games or Epic Games. The industry shouldn’t  follow trends. If the industry wants to have live-service games, hire/assign a small team focused on developing and maintaining that game(s).
  6. The customer is ALWAYS RIGHT: The video game industry has been inconsistent on giving fans what they want. Fans beg for epic sequels, only to get truckloads of "shovelware". Sadly, it’s not for consumers, but to meet stakeholders' expectations and market-watchers projections. Great games take time. Even then, it’s a gamble. It is possible to crank out great games on low budgets - Ghost of Tsushima for the Sony PlayStation 4 and 5 - and make catalogs diverse. Give gamers a reason to stay in your console’s ecosystem, game franchises.

Tuesday, March 12, 2024


I’ve seen the writing on the wall for several years. Questionable choices, misguided efforts have put the video game industry into a predicament that could fuel a crash. 

Here’s Part 1 of my video series, “Is the video games industry in a FLAT SPIN.” 

Will post the written blog link shortly.

Please SHARE. Thank you, all!

Thursday, February 22, 2024

REVIEW: Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra controller punches above its weight [HD]

HERE’S the VIDEO REVIEW for the TURTLE BEACH STEALTH ULTRA wireless pro controller.

Look for the full written review soon. Thanks and please SHARE!

Monday, February 19, 2024

5 THINGS to know BEFORE you BUY the Stealth Ultra controller! [HD]

The Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra wireless controller is an advanced peripheral that could elevate your game.

Stay tuned. The REVIEW will hit by the end of the week!

Friday, February 9, 2024

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Turtle Beach STEALTH ULTRA controller #UNBOXING [HD]

Here’s a quick look at the Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra wireless controller. The controller can be used with Xbox Series consoles and PCs. You can use the controller wirelessly or wired via a USB Type C cable (included).

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

THE Houston Gamer’s 2023 Holiday Gift Guide!




WITH JUST A WEEK before Christmas, you did it again. It’s in the final days, and you’re trying your best gifts for gamers.

Have no fear, your friendly, neighborhood video game guru, The Houston Gamer himself, M4D Ski11z, is here to help!

First, let’s talk ages. 

Houston Gamer 2023 gift guide 

Monday, December 18, 2023

Lack of innovation holds “Modern Warfare III” from greatness

Developed by: Sledgehammer Games 

Published by: Activision-Blizzard

Release date: November 10, 2023

Available on: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S

By M4d Ski11z


HAVE YOU EVER had a favorite tee, some favorite pair of shoes, or a dish from your favorite restaurant / diner? You likely have had better meals, possess better quality clothing and footwear, but it’s something about familiarity that clings on to you like an old flame.

That’s what the newest installment of “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III” offers diehard fans, stans but misfires at multiple points.

Developed by Sledgehammer Games and published by Activision-Blizzard, MWIII picks up after the events of “Modern Warfare II.” This offering, however, features a familiar foe that looms large over the seven-hour single-player campaign.

The antagonist, Makarov, or his variant, is back and even nastier than before. He is a heartless villain in the OG “Modern Warfare 2 and 3” in the Sony PlayStation 3 and Microsoft  Xbox 360 days. He’s figured out a way to earn a hotter seat on the throne in the eighth ring of Hades, but he did it.

The campaign features a few flashbacks, which have life-altering, actually prophetic, consequences. 

There are a couple dialogue “choices” that do not change the narrative in the game, they just unlock different dialogue. I would recommend practicing with caution, because “MWIV” may reward gamers for their choices, ala Bioware.

The gameplay features tried and true battle scenes - a gulag, nukes, Mideast backdrops and a “Death from Above” mission. It is a familiar formula that has printed money for Activision-Blizzard. Gamers keep buying the games, so why tweak it? Yet, it was fun in the OG MW back in the days, and was cool in the MWII reboot.

Was the third time the charm? No, it is played out. You know how it works. Machine gun ‘em down, 105mm rounds, tons of crispy body parts and over-the-top explosions.

Innovation is sorely needed in “Call of Duty,” in general. Yes, MWIII is familiar and comfortable. But, just like that favorite tee or your go-to kicks, wear and tear comes for us all. Clothing fades and develops holes and tears. And this is a gripe I have with MWIII.

As far as graphics, it’s the best “Call of Duty,” hands down for now. The character movements, facial expressions, even the weathered textures on gear and environments are impressive. 

The audio is just as engaging, and sounds great on a high-end sound system.

Multiplayer modes are familiar and the DLC, “Warrior Pack”, offers a way for gamers to help the Call of Duty Endowment organization help real-life veterans in the U.S. and the U.K. A few bugs were reported early on, but will likely be ironed out.

The drawbacks are few, but can be a deal-breaker for some players.

First, size matters. No, really. You’re looking at 211gb of space GONE for MWIII. With the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, you have some space left, but mercy on Xbox Series S owners. You’ll need external storage options if you want to download video games.

Second, there were two game-breaking bugs. Both were during the single-player campaign. Granted, it was the day before release and I could not replicate the errors, but they froze the game, like it was Olaf in that chilling Disney movie. Both freezes required game restarts.

Overall, I did like MWIII. The ending assures there will be a fourth installment. Plus, the final cutscene is powerful.

The verdict? 8.5 (Out of 10)

Activision-Blizzard, with backing from Microsoft, has the money to slow down and create an amazing, fresh take for “Call of Duty.” The real-life battlefield is constantly evolving. COD needs to as well. Guiding the cruise missile, piloting explosive drones in the Mideast, even “All Ghillied Up” lite was cool. Maybe a surveillance mission, a “Splinter Cell” level and level that requires disabling NPCs without shooting / killing them could freshen the game. They could also do flashbacks to days before Captain Price, Ghost and Gaz became Task Force 141.