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PriceSpy predicts big Black Friday ahead for Kiwis

Black Friday is approaching fast so PriceSpy has sent through some data on what it expects this year’s edition to hold for Kiwi consumers.

Excitement for Black Friday is mounting, as keen Kiwi shoppers search out the best deals ahead of Christmas.  According to New Zealand’s fully impartial price and product comparison site, PriceSpy,  popularity for the big day is as popular as ever, as visitors numbers using the site grew by a fifth (20 per cent) in 2018 compared to 2017.  What’s more, PriceSpy predicts this figure will rise by the same amount (20 per cent) again later this month on Black Friday.

But as some savvy shoppers know, not everything is always as it seems. PriceSpy data also reveals the global shopping phenomenon doesn’t necessarily offer the best deals, with discounts on some popular products being considerably lower than what consumers may actually expect.

Liisa Matinvesi-Bassett, New Zealand country manager for PriceSpy, says: “Our insights suggest popularity for Black Friday has continued to rise year on year, with the percentage of overall visitors using our site increasing by a massive 108 per cent since 2015.  

“For those looking to take part in the Black Friday sales this year, we couldn’t recommend more strongly the need for consumers to be price aware, as a recent PriceSpy survey* found Kiwis may be expecting more of a bargain that what is actually being offered.”

The  survey found:

  • A fifth (21 per cent) of Kiwis expect to save an average of up to 30 per cent on Black Friday 
  • Three fifths (58 per cent) of Kiwis said they expect to save an average of between 30 and 90 per cent on Black Friday.
  • Historical insights from PriceSpy however suggest a very different reality, as the average discount offered across all products listed on the site last year was just 12 per cent.


Liisa continues:  “Out of all the products consumers clicked on last Black Friday (124,771), 37 per cent of items were found to offer a discount, but almost one in ten (nine per cent) increased in price, going against what the majority of shoppers believe.”

For those hoping to bag a bargain or two ahead of the Christmas shopping frenzy, historical data from PriceSpy suggests electrical items are amongst the most popular that consumers are searching out.

Liisa adds:  “Last year, 68 per cent of TVs listed on PriceSpy decreased in price on Black Friday, offering an average discount of 10 per cent per item, which is a pretty decent saving.

“On the other hand, even though almost two fifths (39 per cent) of headphones decreased in price on Black Friday 2018, the average discount per item was only seven per cent. What’s more, nine per cent of headphones were found to increase in price!”

“So even though a large proportion of products appear to offer a discount on Black Friday, some of the prices aren’t slashed as much as consumers might expect.”

Liisa Matinvesi-Bassett concludes: “With almost 50 per cent (47 per cent*) of Kiwis planning to purchase something this Black Friday, shoppers should first head to a price comparison site like PriceSpy to be sure the purchase being made is being offered at the best price, as this will avoid the disappointment that comes with finding out you’ve overpaid later on.”

To help Kiwis gamers prepare for the big Black Friday rush, here are PriceSpy’s top predictions on most popular games:

 

Top predictions Game Price range (current as of 23 November 2019)
1 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (PS4)

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (Xbox One)

$93.69 – $114.95
2 FIFA 20 (PS4)

FIFA 20 (Xbox One)

$75.00 – $109.99
3 Pokémon Sword (Switch)  $87.69 – $99.95
4 Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Switch) $93.69 – $99.95
5 The Outer Worlds (PS4) $93.69 – $99.00

Player 2 Charity Marathon: Gaming for a good cause

Here at GamejunkieNZ, we love supporting our fellow gamers when they’re doing good things for the community.

Well, our friends at Australian website Player 2 is holding its fourth Charity Marathon on November 2, supporting the Terry Campese Foundation. The Terry Campese Foundation, a charity started by ex- Australian, NSW and Canberra Raider player Terry Campese, helps those in his home region that are doing it tough. 

Player 2 Editor Matt Hewson has been a strong supporter of this cause for many years, with the last 2 marathons raising $8314 for the foundation. Matt’s passion for this charity has been recognised by Terry and his foundation with Matt becoming an official member of the Foundation’s board in June of this year. 

With Matt now having a say in where the money raised during the P2 Charity Marathon is used, he has chosen something close to Player 2’s heart, video games. Country hospitals in NSW are severely underserviced when it comes to providing entertainment for sick and injured children being treated in their wards. As any parent can tell you, waiting in an emergency bed for results or observations with a sick child can be a painful experience, making things worse for a kid that is already feeling terrible. With that in mind the Marathon is looking to raise $4000, enough to purchase three GAEM Vanguard portable game systems, three gaming consoles and associated accessories and three android tablets for the Queanbyan District Hospital and Braidwood hospital. 

It is Player 2’s belief that making any stay in a hospital for a child and their family easier is a goal worth chasing and that is what they are going to do by playing video games for 24 hours and streaming the entire event on Twitch. Player 2 invites people to donate, win prizes and watch the fun as the Player 2 team tries to make it through all 24 hours without nodding off or going insane. 

Anyone who donates $AU5 or more (one entry per $5) will go in the draw to win prizes donated by Xbox, Turn Left, Namco Bandai, 2K Australia, Koch Media, Ubisoft and more. Thousands of dollars of prizes are up for grabs, the full list of which will be available on Player2.net.au in the lead up to the event. 

From the team at GamejunkieNZ here in New Zealand we say “Good on ‘ya, Matt.”

You can find Player 2’s Twitch channel here and more about the marathon, and how to donate, here.

 

Lonely Mountains Downhill: You, your mountain bike, & nature

Two years ago, I was browsing through Kickstarter and was intrigued by a campaign for an as-yet-unmade mountain biking game called Lonely Mountains: Downhill.

Inspired by videos by riders like Danny MacAskill, German development studio Megagon Industries wanted to create a “mountain biking game in which the mountain is your only opponent and nature your only companion”. Fast forward two years and I can confidently say they have succeeded.

I plonked down 25 Euros ($NZ44) on the campaign, which got me a digital copy of the game, a digital art/behind the scenes book, an exclusive wallpaper and an exclusive poster, my name in the credits and the developers Megagon Industries, based in Berlin, Germany, would plant a virtual tree in the game for me.

My name’s in there as a backer. See if you can spot it? (Hint, second line from the bottom, sixth name from the left).

Megagon Industries was seeking 35,000 Euros and when the Kickstarter ended, they’d secured 45,042 Euros, and reached some stretch goals, too. I was backer number 274.

I think I was attracted to Lonely Mountains because I loved the low poly-aesthetic and I love mountain biking – and this would let me be more reckless that I would ever be on my real mountain bike (I’m too scared of crashing most of the time I go downhill these days).

This was the pitch: “Just you and your bike – take it on a thrilling ride down an unspoiled mountain landscape. Make your way through thick forests, narrow trails and wild rivers. Race, jump, slide and try not to crash – all the way from the peak to the valley!”

Now, 2019, the game is out and I’m loving it. A lot. It was originally slated for a mid-2018 release but development slipped. These things happen, you know. I wasn’t even worried: I actually forgot I’d backed it for a while. It was a surprise when the the Steam key landed in my inbox.

Off the bat, Lonely Mountains looks gorgeous. I love the low-poly asthetic that gives it a real unique look and feel. The environments, too, are just vibrant: Full of life and colour. I mean, look at this shot (I stopped my rider there purposely, so he could look at the waterfall below). Impressive, right?

I’ve said it before but Lonely Mountains really does let me be more adventurous that I would ever be on my real mountain bike. While I’m able to climb hills OK when it comes to the downhills, I tend to ride the brakes more than I should. Lonely Mountains lets me sprint, jump and slide to my heart’s content without any fear of injuring my ageing body.

Talking about injuries, I’ve crashed a lot in Lonely Mountains: a helluva lot. Megagon said we would. Despite smacking into numerous trees and rocks (which puffs of pixelated blood), my little rider dusts himself off – and restarts at the most recent checkpoint.

I wouldn’t be surprised if I’ve already smacked into the tree that Megagon Industries planted for me. Keep an eye out for it, will you? It’ll be the one with lots of pixelated blood on it.

The thing I like about Lonely Mountains is that it rewards persistence.

At first, each new trail – like real mountain bike trails – is an unknown quantity, unfamiliar. You take it cautiously (well, I tend to), braking on every corner, following the suggested path. The more you ride that trail, though, the more confident you become: You notice shortcuts between stands of trees or around a clump of rocks. You notice little things that shave precious seconds off your time and get you to the finish just that little bit faster.

Another thing I like is that the in-game soundtrack is nature itself. It’s refreshing, to be honest, to play a game that doesn’t bombard your ears with an overly loud soundtrack.

If you haven’t already guessed, I’m loving Lonely Mountains and am slowly unlocking new challenges and trails. This is one Kickstarter I’m glad I backed.

 

Win with Gamejunkie & PriceSpy

 

If PriceSpy’s latest data insights are anything to go by, Kiwi gamers appear to be steering more towards driving games, with CTR Crash Team Racing – Nitro Fueled Edition (PS4) and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Switch) proving to be amongst the most popular games for the month of July.

Accelerating to poll-position for a second month running is CTR Crash Team Racing – Nitro Fueled Edition (PS4), followed by Marvel’s Spider-Man (PS4), which despite receiving an overall price increase of $17 since last month, the game has consistently been well-placed since first launching in September last year.  Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Super Mario Maker 2 (Switch) and Days Gone (PS4) placed as third, fourth and fifth most popular games.

Liisa Matinvesi-Bassett, New Zealand country manager for PriceSpy, says “The most popular games for July certainly appear to be driven by the two racing games, CTR Crash Team Racing – Nitro Fueled Edition and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.

“Interestingly, all five of the most popular games were also priced under the $100 mark, which goes to show just how important price is to consumers in driving overall interest in a game,” she says.

WIN WIN WIN

PriceSpy has teamed up with GamejunkieNZ to give away the top two most searched for games for the month of July, CTR Crash Team Racing – Nitro Fueled Edition (ps4) and Marvel’s Spider-Man (PS4).

To enter the draw to win these two games, leave a comment on this post telling me what your most anticipated game is. The competition closes September 4.

Competition rules: 1) The competition is only open to NZ residents 2) You must comment on this post to enter the draw 3) The prize is two (2) games for the PlayStation 4: Crash Team Racing – Nitro Fueled Edition & Marvel’s Spider-Man. 4) A PlayStation 4 is not included in the prize. You must already own the console 5) The winner will be contacted by email.

Oppo Reno 10x zoom: Serious smartphone competition

Colour me stupid but it took me a little bit to actually cotton on to where the front facing camera was on Oppo’s new Reno 10 x zoom smartphone ($NZ1299), one of the latest handsets from the Chinese manufacturer.

I’m no fan of selfies but, you know, for the sake of a thorough review,  I had to test of the phone’s forward-facing camera, right? But try as I might I couldn’t see an obvious camera lens in the screen, like other phones. “Where the heck is it?” I thought to myself.

Then I had a light bulb moment: I pressed the on-screen camera rotate button – and voila, the front facing camera glided out of the top edge of the phone, just like magic. Here’s a video showing it in action.

OK, stupidity on my behalf out of the way, Oppo’s Reno 10x zoom is an impressive phone from a manufacturer that isn’t as well known as Samsung or Huawei – but it deserves to be.

The selling point of the 10x zoom is the phone’s three lens set up which features a 48MP Sony camera, a 13MP telephoto lens and a 8MP wide angle lens, which in layman’s terms means it can take pretty damn good photos and you can zoom in on things really far away.

I did find the camera rather good, especially when I used it to zoom in on objects in the distance, but confusingly, the Reno 10x zoom doesn’t actually have a 10x optical zoom as the name suggests: It has a 5x optical zoom backed up by a digital zoom. It’s a little confusing, to be honest, but the end result is a top-notch camera on Oppo’s flagship smartphone.

As an example, the two photos below were taken from exactly the same spot near my Christchurch home as I photographed the city’s hills from the roadside, which were a good 5km away. In the zoomed shot (on the right) you can clearly see a television broadcasting antenna as clear as day. You can zoom in set increments ie 1x, 2x, 6x & 60x but I actually found pictures more blurry at the 60x zoom.

Oh, and remember how I said the front facing camera pops up from the top edge? It means that the 10x zoom doesn’t have a notch like other smartphones to house the front camera so the front of the phone is all screen [I did notice, though, that the pop up camera  did get a little bit of dust on it that I’d have to wipe off].

The 10x zoom sports a 4065mAh battery, Dolby Atmos audio playback, packs 8Gb of memory and has up to 256Mb of storage space. It’s a big phone, too, with a 6.6-inch AMOLED screen and it has a good weight to it. As you’d expect, it features all the bells and whistles you’d expect in a modern smartphone, including a blazingly-fast fingerprint scanner that unlocked almost instantly using my thumb. I found battery life to be really good.

One thing I was especially keen to test out, though, was the phone’s gaming-specific functionality which  Oppo boasts about. The phone comes pre-installed with Oppo’s Game Space software which is said to boost gaming performance by doing things like predicting in-game lag and adjusting in-game frame rates accordingly.

So I put the phone to the test with some of my favourite mobile games: Deus Ex Go, Lara Croft Go, Alto’s Adventure & racing game Asphalt 9: Legends, as well as benchmarking tools 3D Mark and Antutu, which tests 3D gaming performance, memory performance, CPU performance and the user experience using a variety of real-world tests.

It scored a respectable 5673 using the OpenGL API with the Sling Shot Extreme demo [3D Mark actually told me the Reno 10 x zoom was too powerful for the Ice Storm Extreme benchmark so pointed me back to the Sling Shot Extreme demo] and managed 35,2371 in the Antutu benchmark, beating out phones like the Sony Xperia 1, the Samsung Galaxy S10 and the Huawei P30 Pro. Most impressive.

Deus Ex, Lara Croft Go & Alto’s adventure all played well, but then all three are relatively undemanding games. The true test would be with Asphalt 9: Legends, a graphically demanding racing game that boosts console-quality visuals and fast-paced action. Legends looked eye-wateringly beautiful on the Reno’s AMOLED screen and I didn’t not any stutter or lag during my sessions playing it. Clearly, the Reno 10x zoom has the hardware chops to make it a great gaming smartphone [it would be wasted on Candy Crush, though].

Look, I was really impressed with the Oppo Reno 10x zoom. It’s a high-end smartphone that deserves attention from consumers who are eyeing up top-end handsets from the more well-known manufacturers.

Judgment’s Komurocho in selfies

Judgment might have its roots based on Sega’s wonderful Yakuza series (games I’ve been playing since the days of the PlayStation 2 & with the purchase of Yakuza Kiwami 2 last night, my collection is growing even more) and lawyer Takayuki Yamagi might not be as well known as the Dragon of Dojima Kazuma Kiryu , but Ryu Ga Gotaku Studio’s legal thriller is the perfect reason to revist Komurocho.

The game follows Yamagi, a former lawyer turned private detective, as he investigates a serial murder involved a high-profile Yakuza captain.

This isn’t a review of Judgment – I haven’t played it for enough hours yet to justify a review – but I thought I’d document my journey through Kamorucho using Yamagi’s mobile phone, in a series of selfies. That’s the modern way to document life, right?

Enjoy.

Bite sized news & reviews, June, 2019

God of Waaaar tops June games

Santa Monica Studio’s PlayStation 4-exclusive God of War has topped the games charts in New Zealand for the month of May, according to price aggregation site PriceSpy.

Despite being released over a year ago, the game staring angry Kratos and his son stomping around Norse mythology, beat out Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption 2 (PS4), EA’s Anthem (PC) and Insomniac’s Marvel’s Spider-Man (PS4) for the top spot. That’s a pretty impressive effort. given the game came out early last year. Coincidentally, you can just happen to find my thoughts on God of War here

God of War originally launched with an RRP of $120 and according to pricing insights from PriceSpy, it can now be picked up for just $48, 60 percent less than 15 months ago.

If you haven’t played it, then I  politely suggest you give it a go. It’s very, very  good.

“They’re not loot boxes. They’re surprise mechanics,”  says EA 

Spotted on Eurogamer this week, EA and Epic Games got a grilling from Britain’s Digital, Culture, Media & Sport Committee on a few video game related issues. One of the topics of discussion was loot boxes .

The response from EA’s vice president, legal and government affairs Kerry Hopkins will become the stuff of memes: “We don’t call them loot boxes – we call them surprise mechanics … People like surprises. We do think the way we’ve implemented these kinds of mechanics is quite ethical and quite fun. They aren’t gambling and we disagree that there’s evidence that shows they lead to gambling.”

Eurogamer reports that the “thorny” issue of loot boxes and gambling was also brought up, but EA, which makes hundreds of millions through the sale of a virtual currency that’s then used to buy packs of cards in FIFA Ultimate Team, believes the two aren’t linked.

There’s not really much else to say on that, is there?

Total War Three Kingdoms & Shakedown Hawaii reviews

I’ve started writing for Australian-based website Koru-Cottage so here are a couple of recent reviews I did for the site: PC game Total War Three Kingdoms and PlayStation 4 game Shakedown Hawaii. Enjoy.

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