Autolog, A True Game – Changer

At the end of last week the videogame industry moved into a whole new era, it’s quite possible you didn’t notice this if you didn’t pick up a copy of Criterion Games’ Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit, but a new era is most definitely upon us, through the title’s ace up the sleeve, Autolog.

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We’ve previously had a look at Autolog, when the developer interview/trailer for it was released during the build up to the game’s release. For those that don’t know Autolog is a social network underpinning both of the offline single player campaigns, it has been nicknamed the Facebook of gaming, but as a self-confessed Facebook hater I don’t see too many similarities beyond the fact that both systems feature something called  a Wall, oh and a place to share photos, make comments and reply to others. OK, so it’s quite a bit like Facebook but obviously all geared around all your in-game activities.

Lots of games feature an area where you can track your stats, and look at the profiles of your friends and check your standing on in-game leaderboards, but never before has a game been built around such social features. Through Autolog, you can track your career and game stats, check out all your captured photos, brag about your latest accomplishments, and jump directly into challenges recommended by Autolog’s comparison engine based on your friends’ gameplay.

That isn’t all though because Autolog doesn’t just exist in the game, you can also access it through its website meaning you can text-chat directly with any friend in the game, run a side-by-side stats comparison with any of your friends,  and most importantly, save any Autolog Recommendation for the next time that you’re in the game. This way, if you check the site on your lunch break and see that one of your buddies just knocked you out of first place on a given race, you can make sure it’s all queued up the next time you’re in the game.

Still it doesn’t stop there as the Need For Speed team has announced they’re about to release an iPhone App, meaning you’re never going to be out of touch with the action, stay in touch with your friends and queue events for later when you’re back in front of the console.

Autolog really does feel like a defining moment in gaming, far more than just a clever interface for leaderboards, or a way to keep abreast of your friends activities. It makes it impossibly easy to meet-up online for all the multiplayer gaming you’d expect, but adds the exciting, competitive multiplayer experience to every single aspect of the lengthy dual single player campaigns and in the process extends its life indefinitely.

Autolog isn’t a flash in the plan, where you’ll have to wait for bi-annual releases to get your social groove on, it’s here to stay, as EA have already announced it will underpin Need For Speed: Shift 2, their take on the sim style racer, which will be out early next year.

With the NfS: Hot Pursuit disc remaining super-glued inside my PS3 since purchase, it’s hard to imagine a racer without the features and importantly the benefits that Autolog brings to the genre, it could seem almost last-gen by comparison. One can only imagine the fun if EA were to open the floodgates to cross-platform competitiveness, turning Autolog into its own platform for multi-platform gaming.

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26 Comments

  1. I play Hot Pursuit on Xbox, my friend plays it on PS3. It should be possible to implement a system on the website to let us compare our event times and send challenges to each other’s wall. it would be cool if they put something like this in place.

  2. Got hot pursuit. Awesome game and autolog is cool. I also hate facebook. I don’t use it as I think it’s pointless and annoying. I am jumping from GT5 to HP n vice versa. Really great game!

  3. Autolog will change the gaming industry as much as Facebook has changed the internet. Not a lot. We still get on with our lives. We embrace it if we want to but can equally ignore it if we so wish. For multiplayer ans social gaming online I think it’s a major step up but outside of that it’s a complete non-entity.

    Putting it into perspective helps me see what it is. A wonderful tool for people who enjoy gaming online. Certain genres (especially time-based ones like race-games, etc) will hopefully embrace it wholeheartedly.

    One day, Autolog will be held responsible for all Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) :-)

    • “Autolog will be held responsible for all Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) :-)”
      dont forget minecraft

  4. GT5 could have been awesome if it had half the features of the Autolog set up but I can’t even find a screen to compare track laps etc . I’m not a big fan of facebook but the simple challenges almost taunts from HP to beat your friends time won me over in a charming way to the point I am flogging GT5 already just to buy NFS.

    • I was really looking forward to gt5 so I got it from day 1 and traded it in for nfs:hp on day 2: online was rubbish laggy if you could get into someones lobby you couldn’t do anything while you were in there and while you were in it wouldn’t let you exit and if you did manage to get in a race it was pointless cuz someone would rock up in a zonda and lap every1. I’m sure the new patch will sort the classes out but for all hype and waiting I thought it would be perfect in every way. The graphics are good but not as great as I was expecting.so I think I made the right choice *for me* nfs:hp is great lots to do online as well as off and no problems online just good fun. And autolog is great make’s you really competitive so a great new feature.

  5. Autolog in NFS HP was for me pretty much the defining thing that set it apart from other arcade racers. It is exactly the kind of system I implement on my web site for music gamers where each song has a wall and scores can be compared across platforms etc. It increases engagement tremendously.

  6. I only played the demo, so only really saw a small amount of what it does. But even the friends leaderboards aspect – that in itself is like smack for any game. Flight control did it for me, though i quickly got bored of that.

  7. I love autolog, It makes me alot more competetive.

  8. I like the way it adds to the single player experience, beyond the in-game rewards that you get for a good race or pursuit result you still want to replay the stage to get a better result than your friend who beat you by a mere second – the b*****d! :)

  9. I didn’t buy HP after being disappointed with the demo, but another thong that put me off was the autolog, I don’t want to be bombarded with my friends times constantly.

    Can it be turned off?

    • If you didn’t like the demo and don’t like Autolog I wouldnt buy. But if your faster than your friends you have nothing to worrie about :) but it does give a good sence of replayability and you find any shortcut possible to shave those last seconds off your time and the more you play the more you see little details you missed the first 10 times you did it. Only just found out you can turn your lights off so you can tuck away somewhere and hide from the cops. Online you can either have a balls out race with 7 others. or have 4 cops on 4 racers. or 1 on 1 being a cop or a racer. Which ever 1 you choose it’s going to get messy :) so I recommend to give it a rent. You’ll either love or hate it. But autolog is a great feature makes you want to turn it on just to make sure your still top.

    • I loved the demo, I got to the max experience of both cop and racer XD

  10. I’ve been playing the single player, and haven’t really took any notice of autolog; put up a couple of pics but thats all. Dosen’t help that almost none of my friends have the game either :P

    • Take a look at the ‘recommendations’ section of Autolog if you don’t have many friends playing HP – Autolog will recommend other players playing the game that are of a similar level of play to you. It’s genius.

    • One of the other great things about Autolog is that it introduces you to friends of friends who have the game, and makes it easy to add friends from the multiplayer lobbies.

      It’s a true social experience, and just like all modern social experiences you can dispense with the ‘people’ bit of being social.

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