The theme at CES 2013 appeared to be have given an impetus to innovation.  It is heartening to see that, even with technology (and gaming) companies becoming bigger and more removed from their roots, there still exist teams that bring us technology that is going to reshape the way we live our lives.

Today, let us talk about the Oculus Rift. The Oculus Rift is what virtual reality (VR) was always meant to be: not the trashy 3D glasses they hand you out at the neighborhood overpriced PVR Cinema.  The story of how the project is heading toward completion is quite humbling. There was this happy-go-lucky guy called Palmer Luckey with a pet project.  He posted about his project on a forum where it was discovered by the legendary John Carmack, founder of id Software.  Eventually, Carmack became a fan and proponent of this pet project and even pushed it on stage at an E3 convention.  This technology later landed on Kickstarter, our favorite crowdfunding platform.  The project raised $2.4 million.  Yes, that much.

The Oculus Rift is set to change our view of virtual reality.

The Oculus Rift is set to change our view of virtual reality.

The VR unit is meant for end consumers, which means it is going to be affordable.  This means you and I will (should) soon be able to use this as our HUD while we slice down evil mercenaries of the C.E.L.L Corporation in Crysis 3 (actually, the release dates for both will definitely not coincide that squarely, but you get the point).


Shaped like ski goggles, the unit has two lenses pointed at a 7″ LCD panel.  This LCD delivers two separate images to each eye, somewhat like what a regular 3D goggles aims to achieve.  Inbuilt gyroscopes and such-likes ensure that the unit is able to sense your own movements and correct the LCD’s vision accordingly.  As you move your head, so does the picture in the LCD.  Imagine dive-bombing into enemy outposts in Battlefield 3 with the air zooming past you as you careen toward your target: yes, that good.


It may be a while before the VR unit is ready for production, but the devkits are out this March.  If you are technically inclined, you may preorder them off the Oculus Rift website here.   To really understand the power of this product, check out some of the initial reactions captured by the Davis Daily:


With devkits out in March, it might still be a while before the gaming world is ready for the implications of this technology.  We don’t expect that adoption will be as slow the Kinect, which means most developers will jump at this much faster.  We peg the release around early 2014.  Anticipating this timeline, some developers are already joining the bandwagon.  For instance, Adhesive Games announced that its Unreal Engine-based free-to-play Hawken will be Oculus-ready when it launches this December.  Here is a screenshot:

Unreal Engine-based Hawken will support Oculus.

Unreal Engine-based Hawken will support Oculus.


This piece of hardware will revolutionize the way games work.  Additionally, this will have amazing consequences for training — imagine manufacturing, aerospace, and hazardous materials training.  This technology could easily change what the future looks like for us.  A future might even be a combination of Google’s Project Glass and Ocular Rift.


The broader picture here deserves a mention.  A lot of how this project came to be is serendipity.  If we left it to bigger corporations to get us there, we would still be depending on 3-D glasses (we have seen how slow innovation in that sphere has been).   Companies such as Kickstarter and Crowdfunding.com have provided the impetus to bring such innovation to the masses.  It may still be a while before crowdfunding becomes the preferred route for entrepreneurs and techies, but nonetheless it is a step in the right direction.

In India, we have seen at least one such initiative, Wishberry, that brings the concept to our shores.  India is a hotbed for innovation and companies like Wishberry can make it happen for all the ideas that get shelved for lack of investment — at the very least, entrepreneurs and innovators will have one less excuse for not following their dreams.

We are looking forward to trying out the Oculus Rift the moment it is up for grabs.  In the meantime, it’s back to the trusted DualShock to liberate my friends from the evil Vaas.


As true gamers, I bet you have been judged more than once in the typical gamer stereotypes that people hold — that you are a socially-challenged and entitled brat who has nothing productive to do.  So, the next time you face such discrimination, tell them off with these facts we gathered from global research on how gaming is good for you.

Increased Health Benefits

Not all of us fit this stereotype.

Gaming isn’t all that bad for your health, as we always feared.  After all, a lot of people tend to be couch potatoes that spend endless hours on their controllers (oh wait, that’s a stereotype!).  According to a recent research by the University of Rochester, gamers playing action-based video and computer games made decisions 25% faster than others without sacrificing accuracy.  The same study also concludes that champion gamers  can pay attention to more than six things at once without getting confused, compared with the four that someone can normally keep in mind — in a work environment that realistically needs its employees to juggle multiple complicated tasks, we see this as a fun way to build a pipeline of employable talent.

Increased Dexterity in Real World Situations

Its funny how people will yell sexist at any insinuation you make on women’s driving skills — and yet, will stand by their long-held beliefs that gamers could never get a date, implying that all gamers are overweight potato couches with a bottle of beer and a packet of chips on the side.  That was until now when the research above found that 42% of computer and video game players are women!  Getting back to the benefits, it seems female gamers were “better able to mentally manipulate 3D objects, a skill at which men are generally more adept” (quoting verbatim from the study, lest someone scream sexist again!).  I can see how this might be helpful in some situations like, say, parking a car?

Crowdsolving Social Problems

FoldIt uses social collaboration with a competitive edge to decipher proteins.

It wasn’t too long ago when Seth Cooper from the University of Washington, decided to tap into efforts of  thousands of gamers to solve scientific problems.  His coworker  Firas Khatib and his army of gamers cracked a critical AIDS research problem — determining the three-dimensional structures of different proteins — in just three weeks.  They used FoldIt, a social gaming experiment that brought together thousands of gamers to solve this longstanding issue.  It is interesting to note that two-thirds of the top scorers in this game have no biochemistry experience beyond statutory high school.  You learn more about the FoldIt project here and about its application to AIDS research here.

Making Work Fun

Using gaming concepts to make business processes smoother and solving critical organizational challenges is fast becoming popular — although the only thing we want to see changed about this is the term “gamification”.  For instance, with the popularity of Facebook as a marketing tool, companies are turning to gaming concepts — such as reward for progress achieved — into branding and sales tools.  Starbucks rewards (and attracts) visitors who check in to outlets on Foursquare with a Barista badge, and their most loyal customers with a $1 off.  Nike+ lets you save runs, set goals and challenge friends while you exercise.  All successful examples of how organizations have adopted gaming concepts.

But last, and definitely not the least, simple games put smiles on people — and that counts more than all else.  If you haven’t seen this already, check out how fondly this 100-yr old grandmom talks about her Nintendo:

Research and articles sourced from:


Since it is Christmas season and many of you will be looking to make big-ticket purchases to pamper yourself, we figured it might be the right time to start talking about building your own rig.  Imagine your room complete with that drool-worthy console, perfect display monitor, and the right sound system. Exciting?  If that brings a smile to your face, read on:


Wow, this one is a biggie, isn’t it?  Luckily, our guest blogger Anish Kataria, put together some good pointers that I can direct you to right away.  So, go ahead and read that article at your leisure (remember to open it on another tab, so you don’t actually stop reading this post):  Console Wars: Sony Playstation 3 or XBOX360.


For gaming, you just absolutely need a generously large TV that allows you to notice all the subtle messages new-gen games use (if you have tried to shoot an enemy soldier behind a wall a 100m away without a sniper rifle, waiting for his head to pop out just a little bit — you know what I mean).  Unfortunately, a good TV in the Indian market costs a lot more than what it does anywhere else.  It has always been a bit difficult to digest how something can be shipped from China all the way to the U.S. and still cost less than half of what it costs here — but that is a story for another blog post.  With that in mind, lets choose a price you are willing to spend and go with it.  Assuming you are decently loaded (or have saved every penny excruciatingly over the last year), let’s go with 40,000INR.  We chose that because it is roughly what you would pay for a decent laptop (you do have a laptop, right?).

Now, the key thing you have to choose is the kind of panel you need — a Plasma, LCD, or LED?  Now this isn’t a tech review by any means, and we aren’t going into specifics — except the ones that matter.  Now, Plasma is a technology that dates back a little but, is by no means outdated.  LCDs and LEDs are sort of like cousins, usually with only the backlights being different (not exceedingly advanced).

The Plasma TV is our preferred beast for gaming.  The reasons are simple.  First, I am sure you have heard a lot of burn-in issues with plasma TVs, but unless you are buying a used 6-yr old TV, put your mind at ease.  Those are issues of the past that you are unlikely to experience anymore.  In our opinion, it is just a tact used by inexperienced and uninformed salesmen to push the more expensive LCD/LEDs to you.  But hey, you are a gamer and you can’t be easily fooled (right?).  Second, refresh rates are better on the plasma.  This means that the panel will flash the same picture more number of times per second compared to an LCD or an LED.  This matters to you when you play fast-paced games like Need for Speed or Call of Duty, and don’t want those rapid moves to get blurred.  Third, plasmas manage to render near-perfect blacks that LCDs just can’t.  Most plasma TVs these days also sport a Game Mode that bypasses all the fancy-shancy filtering it typically does and lets your console take over the screen completely.  This means better blacks and better response for your Crysis 2 by letting the XBOX/PS3 do what it does best.

Plasma TVs tend to render black tones better

Now there are two valid downsides to plasma TVs though: First, the panels are reflective, not matt.  So you have to be very conscious about lighting in the room.  Make sure that there isn’t any strong light falling on the screen and you should be fine.  Second, plasma TVs usually come in sizes of 42″ and above.  This means if you don’t have a room that can give you about a 4-6 feet distance from the screen, you will be at a bit of a disadvantage.  We still recommend the Plasma TV for gaming mainly because we are looking at a sub-40,000INR expense.  Now if you have double that money to spare, choose the LED.  LEDs are slimmer (making it easier to hang on a wall), render good blacks, and consume less energy than plasma TVs.

Next, keep in mind which resolution you want for your gaming needs.  All flat screen TVs these days are at least HD-ready, if not full-HD.  The difference? — HR-ready gives a native resolution of 720p  where as full-HD provides you will a resolution of 1080p.  Now, some HD-ready screens will let you upscale to 1080i (not 1080p) which really doesn’t make that much of a difference.  Both of them are “technically” HD, but 1080i (where i is for interlaced) scans 1080 horizontal lines on your TV alternately whereas 1080p (where p is for progressive) scans the same number of lines simultaneously.  That is just technical mumbo-jumbo for “1080p is better”.  That said, if you choose the XBOX for your console, then you don’t really need 1080p (full-HD) because the maximum resolution that the 360 can do is 720p.  If you choose the PS3 and would like to watch some HD Blu Ray movies, then 1080p may be the best bet for you.


Assuming you chose a plasma TV (or still went with an LCD, or could afford an LED), chances are about 99.98% that it has an HDMI connection (if it doesn’t and it is new, go return it right now… no, stop reading — go return it!).  The first thing you need to do once you get your TV is to ditch the component cable that comes with your console and get yourself an HDMI cable.  Due to the lack of information people have on cables in general, the HDMI market has become a huge scam for manufacturers and retailers.  Do remind yourself this before you go out shopping for an HDMI cable — expensive does not mean better!  There are a lot of HDMI cables out there from as low as 500INR to as high as 4,000INR, so don’t fall for it.  There are two things you should look out for:

Step 1: Ditch this!

– High Speed vs. Standard.  Some HDMI cables claim to be high-speed.  If it is a reputed company, such as Belkin, it probably is.  High speed cables transmit more digital data without lag to your screen.  We recommend this if you are on a PS3 and are playing Blu Rays.

– Length.  Yes, this seems like a no brainer, but we can still ignore the most obvious things (ever zoom past a red light, anyone?).  HDMI cables come from a short length of 3 feet all the way up to 6 feet (maybe more too, but we didn’t go about checking every HDMI packaging we could lay our hands on).  Just make sure you have enough.

If a standard HDMI works for you, we suggest a Belkin.  A 3 feet one should cost you around 700INR.


Now if you are an audiophile, you already know which 5.1 Dolby Digital you want to get.  If not, we still suggest that you do get a surround sound system to hear those bullets whiz past you as you duck for cover.  If you have a budget of about 10,000INR, we suggest not going for an entry-level 5.1 system: instead invest in a Bose headgear.  Bose’s On-Ear Headphones have a nice cushioning pad that sits tight on your ears and provides a very high degree of clarity. That said, they may not be the best option for extended hours of gaming.  Your ears may start sweating and your head could start to feel heavy with all the booming bass.  In such cases, we suggest Bose’s AE2.  They are more comfortable on the ear and never really sit on your ear, relieving some of the pressure.  You may, however, lose a bit of bass on this model.  Now a limitation of using traditional headphones for gaming is that you will probably need to plug this into your TV — not the best solution for a gaming headset.  In case you don’t want to be bogged down by this, we suggest also checking out brands such as Razer, Steel Series, Logitech (especially if you can get this one), and Astro Gaming (especially this one rated highly by the folks at IGN).

Bose On Ear Headphones, great for gaming too!

If you have a budget of about 30,000INR or so, we suggest walking over to your nearest Harman Kardon/JBL and Onkyo stores.  Why only those two?  Because we say so.  Well, actually, there are just too many options and too many specific models out there to go by online research.  This is one buy you just have to drag your behinds to the retail store and let the sound decide.  Very often, the base model comes around the 25,000INR to 30,000INR range, but the next model is available for only a few thousands more — with a world of difference in the sound.  Now this is not common across all brands, so you do still have to listen to them.  When you go to the showroom, carry a 5.1 channel DVD of music that you listen to the most, preferably one that has many instruments playing simultaneously (we suggest Dream Theater’s Home).  Sit at a distance of about 6 feet away from the base, set the volume really low, make sure the output and input are both set to 5.1 channels, take a deep breath, and let it play.  Now let it play for a while so you can make out all the different instruments playing at different pitches.  Try to buy the best one you can afford that also separates out all the different instruments individually.  Do not raise the volume too much while testing because every sound system manages to trash out all the instruments when loud, it is really the lows that matter.  Speaking of lows, double-check the bass performance of the woofer by setting the crossover value in the receiver to 80Hz (even go down to 60Hz if you can still hear the bass).  If you get heart-pounding bass by reducing the crossover frequency while increasing the volume just a tiny bit, you are good! Crossover is the frequency below which the receiver sends all sound signals to the woofer.

Some receivers also have HDMI switching, which basically means you can hook up your console to the receiver and the receiver sends the output to the TV through another HDMI cable.  This maximizes your convenience by connecting all your other gizmos into one receiver and allowing you to switch between them through your remote.

Now, having read all that and hopefully having done some online review, please head over to the retail outlets for some hands on experience.  I can’t stress this enough, you just have to experience the sound first hand before you decide.

So there you have it, folks.  Very soon, you will have your own gaming rig set up and ready to go!  Let us know what you eventually buy (on the comments below or on our Facebook page) and why!


Not many will dispute that India is a unique country.  India is famous for its rich history and culture, for its role in ancient society, as well as an emerging powerhouse.  At the same time, India is recognized for its jugaad, or as the more politically correct would say:  “solutions-orientation”.  And yet, in spite of local innovation and a rich history, we never see such a hotbed of ideas being used effectively enough (or at all) in gaming.  And when we let Westerners create movies about India, we get a kid jumping into a pool of s*** to watch Amitabh Bachchan.  Imagine giving them free reign over gaming! So we put together this short list of Indian ideas we would like to see in games.

Crazy Dilli Auto (Racing)

Work your way up the career ladder, starting with the auto rickshaw

You aspire to be India’s next Narain Karthikeyan and take on Sebastian Vettel in the 2012 New Delhi Grand Prix.  But before you can achieve that goal, you have to start at the bottom and work your way up.  Yes, you start as a crazy autowallah careening through Chandi Chowk and Daryaganj.  Your only aim is to get your passengers to their destinations within a specified time — and you get bonus points for getting them to their destination in one piece.  You mix driving with strategy by shifting employers and upgrading autos.  Slowly, you graduate to driving the black and yellow ambassador taxis, and then to air conditioned DizzyTaxis.  Finally, you start driving a BMW for for the Tag Hotels — whose owner, incidentally, is the sponsor for the 2012 Grand Prix.   Your final challenge is to face Sebastian Vettel in your own Force 1 car.

Battle for Axom (Strategy)

Lead your brave Ahom warriors into battle against the mighty Mughals

You act as Lachit Borphukan, as he works his way up through the Ahom army and finally meets his destiny in the Battle of Saraighat as he uses military tactics way ahead of his time to crush the Mughal Army’s attempt to enter North East India.  You start your career in the army of Chakradhwaj Singha, who is tasked with avenging his predecessor Jayadhwaj Singha’s defeat by the Mughals.  You work your way up in Chakradhwaj Singha’s army and build your career as a great lieutenant and master strategist.  Your final test is facing Raja Ram Singh’s 50,000-men army at the Battle of Saraighat.


The Encounter Squad (First Person Shooter)

Clean Up The Streets Of Mumbai - The Encounter Squad

The year is 1983, Mumbai is a haven for criminal gangs who have free rein on racketeering, dealing drugs and contraband, and generally taking each other out.  You play Bhaya  Nayak, a recent graduate from the renowned 1983 police batch tasked with restoring order to Mumbai. Partnering with bad a** cops such as Pradeep Sharma and Vijay Salaskar, you start on the streets of Mumbai investigating petty thefts and racketeering.  As your career grows, you become part of the mysterious Encounter Squad, taking on the infamous Dawood Ibrahim, Chhota Rajan, and Arun Gawli gangs.  Missions range from detective work, exposing corrupt politicians (okay, this one might be a bit of strecth), to “encounters” with gangs.  You rise through the force by taking out gang members and completing missions.  The sophisticated AI enables you to chose if you are a bent cop or a clean cop through interactions with Mumbaikars.  The path you choose will influence the missions, how colleagues react to you, and even the ending of the game.  Will you die a hero stopping the 2008 Mumbai attacks or will you be gunned down with your own gun by a corrupt property developer? The choice is yours…

Rise To Power: An Indian Story  (Strategy Game)

You are the ambitious  mayor of a small town (you get to pick your state and town) hungry for more power and money.  You start off facing a challenging re-election where your opponent is whiter than white, through bribery, blackmailing, and clever use of the news you must guarantee your relection.  Then you move towards building the finances necessary for getting a shot at state elections by getting cuts on all infrastructure investments and taking out your rivals through all forms of skulduggery.  Use the media, local gangs, bribe the police and voters, leverage your political clout to increase your bank balance and political capital.  But beware, as you grow in power and fame, your rivals become more and more cunning.  And never forget the ultimate goal – becoming Prime Minister of India.

Ramayan (Action-Adventure)

Play Lord Rama and live up to his heroic status

Play the legendary Rama and rescue the beautiful Sita from the clutches of the evil Ravana.   You are accompanied by your faithful brother, Laxman who helps direct your strategy and covers your six.  You fight the asuras of Ravana, bring down the evil Surpanakha, collaborate with Hanuman to design your exit strategy in and out of Lanka.  The story culminates in an epic battle between you and Ravana, an old-world style showdown to rescue the beloved Sita.   From what we were able to find, the Ramayana 3392 A.D. project aimed to get there but was probably trashed at some point (or was built into a game that faded quickly into obscurity).





And Finally The One Game We Don’t Want To See…

Slumdog Millionaire:  A Real Indian Story (No Type)

You play Jamal Malik, a street child from the Mumbai slums with a perfect English accent.  Your aim throughout the game is to carry out every stereotype foreigners have of India.  Every time you do something normal, you are deducted points for not conforming to the view Westerns have of India.  But for every conforming action, you get Western Stereotype Points.   The aim is to get as many Western Stereotype Points by  jumping in shit, repairing computers, putting in shifts in call centers, ripping off hippie backpackers.  The ultimate aim – getting up the caste system so you can marry your loved one! Well,  actually the ultimate aim is to reassure foreigners on “what it’s really like growing up in India”.

This is, by no means, a most exhaustive list.  What else would you like to see on this list?  Is there a story or a movie you love that you would like to see in a video game?  Comment below and let us know!


Our Coming Soon page is now live, so head over to signup.gamesinc.in to sign up! If you are one of the first 100 to sign up, you will be invited to a beta run of our store before we go live! What is more, if you are one of the first 50 to sign up, you could receive a 500INR discount on your first purchase.


So when GamesInc was sitting in its Ivory Tower deciding the theme of it’s next blog post, something really strange happened. A conversation which involved armies taking over Europe, human baseball, treasure hunting across the world, ice skating for old people, an Elephant called Minimus and a Mouse called Gigantus, and whether chopsticks could be good game controllers (think about it, really!) led us to – a review of FIFA 12 for iPad. There is method to the madness – we wanted to see how iPad gaming had evolved and what it meant for the PS Vita coming out next year.

I was not enthused with the idea as I had to spend hours playing FIFA on my ipad. This sounded as appealing as counting frozen chickens in a deep freezer. But boy was I mistaken.

I must admit my preconceptions were broken as I played FIFA 12. The graphics, whilst nowhere near the console equivalents, are surprisingly good. You get a good sense of space on the pitch, and play build-up is enjoyable. Although the close up of players is pathetic – they look like they’re built of Lego – but you can live with it as it doesn’t take away from the game.

Player characteristics are surprisingly realistic – Messi is god, Rooney is unnervingly quick, strong, and accurate, Benzema will score from anywhere with the ugliest shots ever, and Zoolander can turn in one more direction than Walcott (right).

The iPad touch-screen controls work surprisingly well.

The touch screen playing which was my biggest fear turned out to be surprisingly enjoyable. You have three touch screen buttons, and by pressing, double-tapping, or sliding them you get nearly all the options of the console.  There are some nice innovations too, you slide your finger over the screen in the direction you are aiming for free kicks and corners, meaning you can curve the ball away or towards goal easily. The ability to give directions to players off the ball by tapping them onscreen is interesting, although good luck doing it when you’re sprinting down the field. You can also use your iPod touch or iPhone as controllers which means it takes more of a console feel to the game.


Manager Mode tends to crash randomly.

You obviously don’t get the same multiplayer joy from the iPad as you do for it’s console cousins, even with two players on iPhone controllers. Despite the playability being good, it’s no PS3 or Xbox version.  There are also some irritating in game habits. In the manager mode, the game would crash at random game moments meaning I had to replay or simulate the game–which, when you’re crushing Chelski 3-0 at half-time, is very annoying!  The commentaries can also be ridiculous and after blocking a clear goal scoring opportunity for your opponents at the expense of a corner, your team look distraught as if someone had just told them that Nestle had decided to stop producing Maggi noodles. And if you have quick wingers you can guarantee that they’ll be able to sprint the length of the pitch and get into the box nearly unopposed.

Overall impressions and what it means for PS Vita
Despite all the positives, FIFA 12 on iPad is nowhere near it’s console equivalents – but then it’s not supposed to be. Buying an iPad for it’s gaming offerings is like buying a PS3 for it’s Internet browsing – a silly idea. Having said that – I throughly enjoyed playing it and I still whack out my iPad randomly to continue my managerial career (although the amount of in-game crashes has curbed my enthusiasm).  It’s also been significantly less powerful for picking up chicks in coffee shops than reading a Tolstoy, Steinbeck, or Proust, but that’s hardly surprising!  Picking up chicks in India is a tough task anyway.

So what does it mean for Vita and gaming more broadly?  Well first of all, I’m not sure I’ll buy a Vita. I’m guilty of having bought a PSP and given up on it early, not really getting the gaming joy out of it, and finding my need for a portable gaming device not as big as I needed. Despite the Vita promising some innovations such as the rear touch pad, and two joysticks – it’ll need to deliver significantly more than the PSP for me to consider getting one in addition to my iPad. Having said that, there are 26 launch titles (including Wipeout and Unchartered) and another 100 games in the works. Having all the benefits of Internet access on the go and my media files, means that the media offerings of Vita are not going to sway me (the PSP ones were interesting but failed to deliver). So all in all, I will need to be convinced by the Vita before I get one – at the moment, my limited on-the-go gaming needs are well fulfilled by my iPad.

PS Vita and Wii U integrate touch screen functionalities.

The one thing that did occur to me while playing FIFA 12 is how well the touch screen can work, and hopefully console makers will take note. Nintendo seems to have already taken note with WiiU where there will be a touch screen included in the remote controller. Sony also promises that the Vita will integrate effectively with the PS3. But if you think beyond that, the development of Move and Kinect could integrate with a sort of touch screen option (or even a virtual touch a la virtual reality).  We’re not there yet – but surely the development of different types of gaming platforms will take to whole new realities of gaming in the future, which can only be a good thing!

What are you’re experiences of gaming with your iPad or iPhone? Do you agree that these types of development will push gaming forward? Want us to tackle new topics in our blog – just let us know!

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