xbox one kinect 2.0 – creepy, cumbersome, or both?

let’s try to look at this as objectively as possible, and for a moment, take off our tin foil hats and determine, what is the verdict on the xbox one kinect?

kinect doesn’t appear to be going away. (at least not until microsoft flip-flops again). so, let’s decide, is it creepy, cumbersome, or both?

MS has affirmed over and over that the data stored on the kinect (heartbeat, facial recognition, living room conversation, etc), will be managed by the user and NEVER shared with anyone. unfortunately, this affirmation is coming from a company who does not exactly have a pristine track record when it comes to sharing stored data with *ahem*, “others”.

but the data that it is able to collect, and how it could be integrated into games in the future, is curious. while we are not yet at the point of seeing where this integration could go, the concept has been explored in numerous predictions of the future. that being neither here nor there, as i am not a supporter of kinect, how much will we really be able to control what is stored by the kinect?

it has been repetitively stated that the kinect can be turned off completely. let’s put this in perspective. i can turn off my kitchen light “completely” as it is connected to an electrical grid, not a computer monitored grid. so, in saying the kinect unit can be turned off completely, without further clarifying the variables, is basically not to answer the question at all. which obviously, MS has become increasingly adept at in recent times.

perspective: the kinect is integrated directly into the operating system of the xbox one. so, it goes without saying that the kinect does not work exactly like a ‘kitchen light’ that can be turned on and off with a flick of the switch, completely unmonitored by a computer system. this begs the questions:

  • how frequently will you have to power off the kinect if you want it to remain off?
  • is there is an internal setting that allows for the kinect 2.0 to be kicked by on each time the console is powered on and then will have to be manually turned off each time by the user?
  • if the kinect can maintain a steady system state of off, will developers who utilize the peripheral for their game have a “backdoor” that will power it on when their game is loaded causing you to manually turn it off again?
  • if a user inadvertently clicks open an app like skype, not intending to use it, will this automatically override the “off setting”, since this app is designed for video/audio chat?
  • if the device is set to not record video, is it also set to not snap pictures? (have we forgotten about the original kinect taking nude pics of people playing dance central?!!)

i am not certain any of these questions have been addressed by MS, as they have just been content on saying, “you can turn it off”. if anyone knows of detailed specs, please comment.

all in all, if you are having to change and re-change and set and reset all of the kinect settings, isn’t that a bit cumbersome? is having to be hyper-vigilant about whether or not a recording device is on or off in your living room or bedroom a bit creepy and cumbersome?

while i am not a mad tin foil hatter, living alone and sometimes needing to travel from my bedroom to my laundry room after a shower to obtain a towel precludes me from have any video recording devices hooked up TO MY TV and/or a COMPUTER MACHINE that can broadcast them at anytime.

and let’s talk about the “xbox on” command. could a machine potentially mishear those words, flipping on the kinect camera? additionally, could the machine think it is hearing “xbox on”, when in reality someone in the room is saying:

  • “put your BOXERS ON”
  • “let’s GET IT ON”
  • “put your TOP ON”

any of those situations could have the potential to lead to a wildly embarrassing situation. ever use the voice recognition on your phone? case in point.

 

console wars – return of the crapulous

long ago, in a galaxy far, far away….

…..just after e3, sony was leading this war, without question. then, the nebulous microsoft jumped back on the ship and decided to emulate sony. decided to bow to their wallets, and to the pre-orders. decided to actually re-join the console wars and compete.

as long as there is video gaming, the console wars will (likely) never end.

in the meantime, we can disect every little everything that comes our way.

let’s face it. microsoft has been dominating the news of the gaming world, with barely a story here or there about ps4 and sony. unfortunately, most all of that news has been bad news. until now.

while i am hoping it is not the case, it seems that a good deal of MS consumers are seeing them as their knight in shining armor….listening to them when they voiced their concerns. swooping down from the microsoft heavens on their valiant stallions, whisking away their worries with a recent announcement that basically said they had heard the masses and were now reversing their prior announcements surrounding drm, 24-hour online check-in, internet requirement and used discs.

with this announcement, they basically edged their way back into the competition, as unfortunately, people have been blinded by microsoft’s (what i consider to be) faux benevolence.

either way, i am eager to see where things are 6 months from know. i am eager to see who is leading sales after the holiday season.

for now, i would like to reiterate what i have said before. microsoft did this for their own benefit, not the consumer. they could give two flips about the consumer. more importantly, everyone out there who is riding the high horse of microsoft’s recent reversal, please consider that if it was this easy for them to flip the switch, it is just as easy for them to flip it back.

have they really regained the trust of their fanbase? or have they lost even more trust?

personally, if i were part of the xbox fan base, i would have to say that i would be feeling that they were less trustworthy at this time. if they truly had a vision that they thought would benefit their customer base, why wouldn’t they stick to their guns? if not, if it was just a half-assed vision of something they would backtrack on, why would they risk the upheaval of their fanbase? is it too little, too late now? or are the fans flocking back in droves?

what do you think?

xbox 180 – how microsoft spoke with their wallet

24 hours after the recent microsoft reversal, i am still not convinced they did it for the benefit of the consumer.

realistically, the consumers spoke with their wallets and then microsoft spoke with theirs.

while it is a small victory that those who wanted this got the news they wanted, i still cannot see this as a good thing.

why?

microsoft came out of the gate with announcements about xbox one that basically:

  • distrusted their customers
  • challenged the intelligence of their customers
  • stripped their customers of their basic rights in the marketplace
  • allowed them to reap massive financial benefits as their customers basically rented instead of bought everything

if microsoft truly had a vision about taking the gaming “ecosystem” into the future, both guns blazing, then why didn’t they stick by it? why did they do an about-face and lose their gall? because their piggy banks were bleeding.

although i am not a huge supporter of apple, do you think if they would have cowered when everyone wasn’t quite on board with giving up CDs for MP3s, that the itunes franchise would be where it is today?

there are scores of other examples that would be applicable here, but, no sense in wasting time outlining them one-by-one.

we are 6-7 months away from seeing any real comparative numbers in the way of xbox one vs. ps4 intial sales; amazon can only represent a segment of the purchasing consumer. still, i am eager to see what happens.

is it really enough, after microsoft acted so abominably toward their fan base/customer base for them to just flip-flop and basically match their product to sony’s? did they just put on their nice face and say please let us back into your party? please? sugar on top? used games? no 24-check-in? offline play? pretty please? but, we still aren’t apologizing by the way.

while we will probably never know the true reasoning behind this 180, one can only guess that it was done to place MS in juxtaposition with sony, and to make sure their bank account stopped taking a massive hit (and to preclude another hit at launch). if you think MS did this because they care about you, and your heart is just beaming in a halo of golden microsoft suns, keep drinking the kool-aid, my friend. business is about sales, money, profit, nothing else. needless to say, they didn’t care about you in the first place, why do they “care” now?

lastly, if it was really this easy to “turn it all around”, won’t it be just as easy for them to turn it back the way it was? is this just damage control? what are their true intentions? every single interview i have read/watched with MS execs is the same old bullshit – the same opaque answers leaving more questions than there were in the first place. what do you think?

the microsoft reversal – success and failure at once?

so, i’ve come down from the rage cloud i was hovering around on earlier, spitting fire and venom; better to discuss with clarity and coherence.

microsoft has done a 180, what i want everyone to marinate on is their reasoning behind it.

it is far too easy to see them as champion of the day, and oh! they listened to us! hark! they heard the gamers of the world! hip hip hooray! the gaming community needs to take a balanced look at what is going on here. and, no matter what, people somewhere, somehow will always complain.

now it begs the question, is this a success, a failure, or both at once?

what do you think? how does this DIRECTLY impact you and the group of people you intend to game with the most?

personally, i see this as a success and a failure all rolled into one at this current moment. things will play out over the next year or so, and we will have a better idea at that time exactly how each console is performing in not only their specific markets, but the gaming market as a whole.

so, why is this reversal of policy a success?

it can be looked at in a myriad of ways. first and foremost, MS appears to have opened their eyes and realized how out of touch their initial policies were with quite a segment of the gaming community. (at least the very vocal gaming community expressing their views on the internet with literally, hundreds of thousands of comments.)

in recognizing this, they have decided to backtrack on their “vision” and tailor it more to the desires that gamers have blasted them with. that being said, the system was clearly designed to be able to adapt to such a change if needed, so that in and of itself prompts the question, if they anticipated this, why didn’t they at least try to make the system a little more user-friendly? were they really daft enough to think everyone would be on board with such outlandish, iron-fist policies?

this reversal goes to show that not only if people collectively speak vocally enough about what they want and/or don’t want, then perhaps that will act as a catalyst for change. moreover, and i think more importantly, is the fact that many people spoke with their wallets, and that forced microsoft to “put their gun away”.

now, why is it a failure?

part and parcel because MS has shown us who they truly are. they have been talking out of both sides of their mouth since they announced xbox one. it has been a flurry of hazy rhetoric, that left no one knowing what precisely they were trying to communicate.

more important than their shapeless answers, is the fact that they were trying to force their loyal fanbase/customer base into purchasing something and agreeing to terms that they were not even tentatively okay with. maybe microsoft was so blinded by their “vision” that they got carried away and didn’t see the big picture. i don’t think that is the case, though. based simply upon the arrogant responses from MS execs, i can’t see it any other way than they thought they were dealing with a mindless, watered down populace that would support them, no matter what.

which leads me to the reason i think this is a failure. while they have re-appealed to the masses, they are doing so for a business purpose. NOT BECAUSE THEY CARE ABOUT YOU. sorry, don’t get all weepy on me, but MS is a multi-billion dollar corporation only looking to vacuum up as many dollar bills, euros, pesos, etc, that they can. they are doing this for the greater good of the company. not the greater good of the consumer.

if they had the consumer’s disposition in mind, they never would have done what they have done this far.

lastly, if the machine is built to go either way, and this is as easy as patching it on the first day, don’t think for one minute that it can’t go back, lickety-split. all they have to do is remotely recode and re-patch it, and there you go. you are back to owning a doorstop. as soon as you agree to their terms of service, which, how many of their users are really going to read in detail? you are agreeing to let them do whatever the hell they want with your $500.

now you tell me, is this a failure? or is this a success? more importantly, WHY?

xbox 180?

so, it appears to be official. xbox is doing a complete 180 and eliminating DRM, online check-in and internet requirement.

while part of me thinks that this is wildly hilarious, it saddens me to think of all the people who are thinking, “hell yeah! back to xbox!”

microsoft is a real chump of a company. (as i sit here writing this on a windows-based computer). i kick myself for not having the smarts to develop an entirely new os of my own to replace windows and apple os.

what i do know is this: MS is scrambling in an effort to undo the damage they have done. they have finally woken up and smelled the internets. and uh, yeah, i guess they realized they had really shot themselves in the face.

what i am curious to see is if every xbox turncoat will go running back to their “home”. i hope not. i hope they realize what MS has tried to do here is completely unacceptable.

this 180 (COMPLETE DEPARTURE) from their intended business model is, by no means designed with the customer in mind. and if you think it is you might want to get checked out, STAT!

MS has obviously seen that they are lagging behind PS4 in not only popularity but also initial pre-orders. not to mention the fire that has explosively fueled even the current xbox forums, with scores of their “own” flaming MS for what they originally announced with xbox one, and claiming to jump ship for sony.

that being said, MS is doing this for the betterment of their company. to promote more sales. to try to even the score. and most importantly, to line their already overstuffed pockets.

screw you, microsoft.

*shakes fist*

locking the region and locking you out (and you, and YOU!)

it is official, a navy publication has finally castigated the xbox one.

day by day,  it appears microsoft is alienating more and more of their customer base and their fan base. worst of all, microsoft doesn’t seem to care. when queried about their various new restrictive measures, including the concept of being region locked, which directly impacts a demographic such as the military, they are providing nebulous answers and seemingly sweeping it under the rug, dismissive and nonchalant.

realistically, i don’t see how much longer this smoke and mirrors show they are putting on can last.

at e3, MS said they were working on a solution for military people, and now, apparently there is no plan in place to deal with the situation. while deployed military may only account for a small representation of their gaming base, microsoft’s general ignorance in addressing this issue has not gone unnoticed.

microsoft’s continual bad press is good for something: free advertising for ps4.

you can read the full article put out by the navy here:

http://www.navytimes.com/article/20130614/OFFDUTY02/306140030

*******UPDATE*******

the above linked article published by the navy times has since been removed from their site. it appears to have been replaced by a new article discussing the reversal of the MS policies. i think this falls into the category of “things that make you go hmmmm”

damage control

microsoft has really done quite the number on their consumers. the only problem is that a good portion of their consumers, don’t even know it has happened.

for those who ARE aware, who HAVE been following the interwebs, what can you tell me about how you are feeling. if you still are in the market for an xbox one, why is that?

microsoft has, in my opinion, HISTORICALLY insulted their consumer base with not only the recent announcement, but with the aftermath in general. execs have not have the grace, or apparently, the knowledge to appropriately field queries from the media and the masses.

no internet? MS exec don mattrick says to stick with xbox 360.

don’t like the new format, prior MS exec adam orth says, “just deal with it” (he has since been let go or resigned).

this begs the question, when are other non-informed, ill-spoken MS execs going to be “let go”?

they should mostly be in “damage control” mode right now, yet, i am still hearing the most useless shit coming out of their collective mouths.

MS – seriously. tell us why we need cable TV on your new console. tell us about the digital used game system you have in place. tell use about what steps we will have to take if GOD FORBID, we go more than 24 hours without authenticating.

and MS, tell us now, authentication is in place to “authenticate” that we are who we say were are, and are not, arrrrrgggggghhhhhhh “pirates”, right? land of the free? home of the brave? innocent until proven guilty? have all of those xbox 360 users been taking food right the fuck out of your children’s mouths?

help me in understanding this.

get out here and do some damage control, because uhhhhhh, you are losing fans by the busload. (i would say by the third world county, but, your systems don’t work there, so, you aren’t losing those guys).

and, oh yeah, you don’t read the internet, so apparently you have no interest in damage control.

thanks anyway.

why used games are not killing the gaming industry

all of this recent hoopla about used games killing the gaming industry is really making me yawn.

what i am really curious about is who the people that are contending this are trying to sell it to.

used products have been around since the dawn of products. while some industries can sustain a model that allows for resale of their product without a royalty coming back, other (much smaller industries) may not be able to.

first and foremost, a general principle in the marketplace is first sale doctrine. this doctrine basically limits the rights of a copyright or trademark holder and creates a secondary market for used products, rentals, libraries, etc. disc-based games fall into this category.

used game sales are no more killing the gaming industry than libraries are killing the publishing industry and used record stores are killing the record labels.

myth.

what is truly having an impact on the gaming industry and the profit margins of developers are assorted. let’s explore.

first of all, bloated budgets and poor sales of a game that was developed too quickly and is buggy at launch certainly do not help the industry. i would say this is a leading cause of a consumer reselling a product. “yeah, i played it, it was marginal, i sold it back.” word of mouth spreads like wildfire, upon hearing this, maybe it kills one potential sale. maybe it kills 20. then the developer and the publisher are at a loss and need to point the finger somewhere, and the easiest place is the used game market, because, “oh me! oh my! grrrrrahhhhh!! our games are selling and we aren’t getting any royalties”.

well, maybe someone plays that used $15 game they bought and thought it was fantastic, and research the developer and the publisher and decide by golly, i am going to go back and by their entire catalogue, past, present and future because i really loved this game; thereby landing them sales they may not have seen in the first place.

let’s keep this real people. let’s look at the bigger picture.

i am not by any means an advocate of gamestop. the profits they make on used games are probably akin to the drug trade. and, i don’t really sell games back because i don’t want to get some bullshit $3 for a game that i know they are going to flip for $15 or $20. i don’t buy used games a whole lot, because i typically am buying something i am confident in purchasing and know i will want to keep in my collection. however, when i have gone out on a limb and purchased used, it is the scenario above, i have gotten a cheap game that i fell in love with and went out and purchased other games by the same dev, new, as i generally prefer for my games to be mint.

developers need to take a step back and determine if the terms they are on with the publisher are sufficient enough to keep their business model profiting. publishers maybe need to pull their heads out of their asses and realize that the developers they are working with are MAKING their product from scratch and should perhaps put a little more thought into the contracts that they design.

lastly, let’s just take a look at the difference between the developer-friendly ps4, and the not-so-developer-friendly xbox one.

plain and simple: ps4 allows SELF-PUBLISHED games. xbox one DOES NOT.

can you really tell me as a human being, if you were putting your heart, soul, blood, sweat, and tears into an imaginative product that you thought was worthy of a fair chance of landing in the public view that you would want some multi-billion corporation like MS telling you, sorry, but, you need a publisher to get you into our doors, and LOL! good luck finding one, my friend!

just another reason that 4 > 1.

the tactile gamer, used games, and the future

as gamers, we are tactile creatures. after all, we chisel away hours of time in front of the tv with a controller in our hand, outrunning and detonating baddies, among other things.

in addition to this tactility in the way of gaming, we are mostly hands-on when it comes to purchasing games. sure, there are those out there who are completely on the digital bandwagon and perhaps download more games than they physically purchase. for now, i think that group represents the minority.

when gamers started gaming as we know it today, they were in the arcade, they were feeding quarters into the machine, while jerking the joystick about in a crazed manner trying to get their captured galaga ship beamed back down to them. gaming has evolved, and will continue to do so, that i do not dispute.

when consoles hit the market, you bought the system, you bought the cartridge. after playing for hours or months on end, perhaps you sold back that cartridge and moved on to the next big game. or perhaps, you never parted with those games and you amassed a collection that you were proud of, that your friends ogled in awe, and that your parents lamented for taking up so much space and money. in either scenario, they are both situations that in the future, will likely be moved away from.

key things to take away from that: “in the future” and “likely”

the problems with microsoft moving away from traditional disc-based gaming and the restrictions they are implementing are many and varied. let’s just discuss a few.

digital based gaming/movies/music/books/etc is most likely going to be the only way it is done in the future. the quasi-distant future. right now, technology is developing at a pace that is unparalleled in human history; for every 10 years that pass now, we are technologically advancing the equivalent of 25 years. which is why i say, “quasi-distant future”. there is no dismissing that more and more things are becoming “digital”, however, this doesn’t mean that all things go digital tomorrow. (or this holiday season).

a MAJOR setback to microsoft’s decision with xbox one is the fact that they are making consumers get on board with digital gaming when perhaps they either do not want to, or are not ready to do so.

the marketplace has confirmed that what a majority of consumers want is choice and the freedom to choose. ever walk into the toothpaste aisle at the grocery store? case in point. we went from having a product base (toothpaste) that had a few choices back in the day, to something that now represents an entire aisle at the grocery store. same with shampoo, laundry detergent, orange juice, you name it. this is a broad comparison, but relative to the fact that no one wants to be told they have to buy a certain type of product.

this being said, a number of the comments i have been coming across in the recent days are precisely that, “i don’t want to be told how to buy or what to buy, so i am going with something less restrictive [ps4]“.

microsoft is trying to force the future on their consumers now, when, it is simply not the right environment or time to do so.

we are still in a generation of gamers that “grew up on mario”, that still have their original NES or their N64 or whatever console it may be, and can still play it any time they like.

any defender of the xbox one, i am hearing say that it doesn’t matter whether the games are digital or not, they are on the HDD, and you can play them whenever you like generations later when xbox one is no longer relevant.

i cannot wrap my feeble head around this argument. sure, it is on the HDD on a system this is DESIGNED to REQUIRE authentication and 24-hour check in on a microsoft server dedicated to xbox one. sure, they have 300,000 servers right now, but, are all xbox one servers going to be up and running for all of eternity? when the next gen or next-next gen come out, don’t you think they are going to have to be scaling back on how many servers they keep up and running for an antiquated console?

if someone can clarify this for me, please, PLEASE do.

and before we start the argument of MS still selling discs for xbox one, physically, in the store – from my understanding – those are not traditional “pressed disc” games, they are merely a vessel that houses a code to be ripped to the HDD to store your game.

microsoft may think they are on the cutting edge here and are building a console for the “future” of gaming, but, we aren’t quite there yet. if someone handed me the keys to a DeLorean that operated on plutonium and flew, that’d be pretty sweet, but, i am not sure i would jump right in and fly it without a little research.

MS has faced a lot of backlash about the used game policies they will be implementing on the xbox one. MS execs have gone as far as saying that they know the gaming community is very vocal, but they certainly have a customer-based that is “not as educated” who will buy the console without engaging in internet/gaming forums. how’s that for a punch in the face xbox consumers? (oh. wait. that demographic probably isn’t reading this.) i honestly think that was the most offensive of the ridiculous things that have come out of don mattrick’s and phil spencer’s mouths, among other current and former MS execs. (adam orth, much?)

they (MS) must have known they were going to be met with some resistance/uprising from the gaming community. if not, then perhaps they shouldn’t be running a multi-billion dollar corporation. perhaps they should have come better prepared to answer questions and highlight the benefits available, instead of saying people without connectivity can just get an xbox 360. they should have had a system in place to show that they will have a forum where you can buy/trade/sell digital copies, and that should have been advertising that as much as possible. instead, they have been fumbling more than helen keller at first and goal. (R.I.P., HK).

are you ready to be thrown into the future headlong, without a say so? if so, then take the bait. if you only know music as itunes and movies as netflix and don’t own a single CD or DVD, then this probably is just the console for you. digital libraries abound! but that being said, you probably haven’t been a consumer in the marketplace for very long.

microsoft’s “living room as a hub of entertainment”

i get it: they are trying to market their product, their brand. but, realistically, i don’t even know if i can give them an “e for effort” here.

i have heard this phrase being used about xbox one since it was announced, and it still isn’t adding up to me.

anyone: feel free to clarify this for me.

how many halo-playing teenagers do you know that want to share their xbox with the entire family, allowing mom time to stream TV and dad time to follow his epic NFL fantasy football? um, not many? i would speculate that most teens now with a current xbox 360 keep it and play it strictly in their bedrooms.

why is this all of the sudden going to change?

why is all of the sudden everyone in the family going to be engaging in utilizing the console together in the living room?

perhaps what MS is trying to communicate or market is the cable TV aspect of the device.

another aspect i don’t quite see how they are going to play to their advantage. for people that already have cable TV, well, they already have cable TV. they don’t need an xbox one to stream it for them. they certainly don’t need to pay for an xbox live account to stream the cable TV they are already paying for. in addition to this is the fact that cable subscriptions have been waning in recent years with the popularity of streaming content through the likes of netflix and mobile devices. so, tell me:

how is the cable TV functionality of xbox one a benefit?

microsoft has, in my opinion failed to give a clear explanation of this benefit.

and, for those who don’t already have cable TV, my guess is they don’t want it or need it. so, why do they benefit from the xbox one? how has MS sold that demographic on it?

ps+ now required for online multiplayer

while one of the most appealing aspects of playstation network was the fact that it was free for gamers to use for online multiplayer, that is now going away – there will be a charge (less than $5/month).

xbox one supporters are quick to point out that in the past, playstation supporters consistently used the fact that PSN was free, where as xbox live gold required membership as a selling point, yet now, are somehow “okay” with the fact that they will have to pay for the service.

a meek argument.

one can only look at it this way. over the past 7 years, PSN users have had a “free” experience. however, being “okay” with this now-required nominal fee is looked at in the way of acknowledging the users would, by and large, rather pay this cost than deal with the restrictive measures being implemented on the new xbox.

additionally, upon further investigation, they are seeing there is added value to the service with the discounts and free games available to them upon signing up.

at this juncture, it seems sony is realizing in order to build a larger, more stable online architecture, they are going to have to ask for a small fee in exchange for a great service. it is also likely they were losing money by providing the servers required to run such a network free of charge for so many years. they are after all running a business, not a charity.

another thing to consider is that while online multiplayer will need this ps+ membership, it is NOT required for the use of other apps, like netflix, hulu, crackle, etc. in this sense, sony is not requiring their users to pay an additional fee for a service they are already paying for, like netflix.

a last thing to consider is that if you are content in just completing the campaign of a game, or enjoying a massive single player open-world game like skyrim, or any of the fallout installations, then you can carry on, business as usual with ps4, you won’t need to pay for ps+.

while people of this disposition may represent the minority of gamers, they still represent enough of a constituency for sony to realize hey, we don’t need to be always online, and maybe not everyone will need ps+.

24-hour authentication

finally, down to point of one of the requirements of xbox one that has so many people out there squawking.

required 24-hour authentication.

tell me, what do you think?

clearly, right now, i am connected to the internet. i am yammering away into the zeroes and ones of cyberspace. most of the time, i have not one issue with internet connectivity. but, that isn’t to say there are times where one might face an issue with connectivity. let’s take a look at a myriad of meaningful reasons why this could be disastrous for some.

i will preface this by mentioning that almost all “defenders” of this requirement state something to the effect of, “well, this does not affect me, i am always online anyway”….while that is quite possibly true, internet connectivity is not a guarantee to anyone. period. exclamation point.

  • ever move from one location to another, and the cable company is delayed in hooking up your interwebs for whatever reason? sure, you can authenticate on your cell phone, but, without the online connection for your console, can you play your games? nope. looks like it is board-game night!
  • ever imagine being a college student paying all of your own bills and only being able to afford the necessities, getting your internet from wi-fi in places like the library or the student union? xbox one counts you out.
  • ever think of being a college student who opts to travel abroad for your studies, requiring an entire semester’s stay in a foreign country that may or may not be region-blocked, and that may or may not have steady broadband internet? xbox one is probably not for you. or at least not during that semester.
  • ever been forced to go on the family vacation to the cabin where you don’t have internet? can’t take your xbox one, and probably can even authenticate on your phone if you are in the boonies.
  • ever consider going on vacation abroad for a week or two? depending on your cell provider, you may or may not be able to authenticate on your phone.
  • ever been in a hurricane, or a blizzard and lose power and internet? power is going to be the first to come back on as that is a necessity. or, if you are lucky enough to have a generator, power will be restored. internet, not so much of a necessity, it might be a few days before they get it up and running again. so. what to do while you are snowed in for a few days after the storm?
  • ever imagine living in a dorm at college? many educational institutions do not allow for gaming devices to be connected to their dormitory wi-fi. guess you’ll be studying harder than you thought without your xbox one.

additionally, what steps will be required to re-authenticate, once your xbox one has GONE ROGUE and not checked in within 24-hours? will you have to go through a multi-tiered re-authentication to ensure that you are who you say you are? will you have to call into an “authenticate me” hotline, just to have access to all the shit you already paid for? your console? your games? there has been no clarification on this from MS, which is, in my opinion an elemental question regarding their new requirement.

for many, it is not the fact of being connected to the internet, it is the fact that MS is forcing you to be connected. you cannot even play single player games offline. that is some iron-fist craziness right there. in my heyday of logging 400+ hours in skyrim, i went weeks at a time without signing into playstation network. and, that is how it should be. it should be a gamer’s choice whether or not they are signed into whatever network is associated with their console. freedom of choice in the marketplace is crucial; if mcdonald’s began requiring that you to buy a movie ticket whenever you purchased a big mac, my guess is more people would be eating at burger king. while you may feel that is a comparison of apples and oranges, think about it like this: the requirement of the internet is microsoft’s way of making you pay for another product/service (the internet), just to use their product. again, let me decide what i want.

don’t you want to have the freedom to decide what YOU want?

the aftermath

as previously referenced, the gaming community has been “up in arms” during and after e3, with thousands of people commenting with rabidity on each given announcement/revelation.

it begs the question, will all of this passionate discourse continue in the coming months as well as after the release of the consoles?

the simple answer, i think, is yes.

it has been made abundantly clear that the community of gamers will continue in expressing their opinions, their grievances, and their praise.

the most curious aspect of this “aftermath” is the various answers and sometimes, “non-answers” that microsoft has been giving about the flash flood of backlash they have been facing after their recent announcements.

let’s take a look a just a couple….

don mattrick: “fortunately we have a product for people who aren’t able to get some form of connectivity, and that’s xbox 360″

i was categorically flummoxed when i heard this. so, let me get this straight, don, you are at e3, promoting your next gen console, and you recommend that people without connectivity use xbox 360? um. yeeeeyah. i don’t really have an appropriate reaction to this, so, if someone out there can assist me, or provide some insight as to why his statement possesses any sort of validity, i am here, i am all eyes.

i’ll touch more on the internet-requirement in a future post, but, had to mention this quote here.

don mattrick again: “we’re over-delivering value” (in reference to the price point announced for xbox one).

again, i am a bit confused. if someone can clear up what value he is referring to, i would be extremely grateful. let’s just confirm, microsoft is forcing a consumer to pay the added cost of the kinect, when most out there (from what i have read) do not want the kinect, and would rather it be an optional accessory. i think that is great news. you are really over-delivering that value there.

anyone: feel free to clarify whatever i am overlooking here. please and thank you.

 

now you’re e3, now your gone

the conference has come. the conference has gone. while we have next year to look to, this year was pretty epic.

realistically, during the current generation, i have not seen so many wildly emotional comments from such a large number of gamers. of course we are speaking about a community of individuals who are very vocal about their opinions, but i have literally read through thousands of comments on the recent subject matter of e3. (of which represents a small fraction of worldwide gamers, yet it still deserves recognition).

exclusive games, being the highly subjective nature they encompass we will set aside, and simply look at the general content of the two main press conferences of microsoft and sony.

in watching the two conferences in full, it is clear what the response of the crowd was. sony was far more well-received than microsoft. this was obviously due to their handful of announcements that seemingly “trumped” microsoft, as in other categories (exlcusives, etc.) response for both was lukewarm. for many reasons that will further be discussed, sony simply resonated with their audience.

here is the main difference i am seeing. in addition to the fact that the “audience” at e3 seemed to connect more with sony, it is the “audience at home” that i am also seeing that is connecting more with sony. this is clearly due to a number of “principle” matters to the various audiences, but also in part due to the undeniably lacking communication abilities of microsoft (hereby sometimes referred to as MS).

largely, i don’t see a way of debating this. there are so many unanswered questions from MS, it appears to have left their audience reeling.

granted, sony has unanswered questions, too, they answered the “big” ones. and, the “big” ones appear to be what matters most to the gaming community at this time.

there are many months before we might get some closure on the answers we are seeking. in the meantime, let’s debate – what answers are we looking for?

opinions, opinions, everyone has opinions

and i have one, too. (and so do you. and you. AND YOU.) how we express them is unequivocally related to how we are perceived by others. as strong as my opinion may be, i respect all opinions, despite the fact that i might disagree with you (with vitriol). in creating this site, i am looking for positive, intelligent and fiercely cogent perspectives to be brought to the forum. (but i welcome the less fierce and the less cogent).

with opinions, everything is subjective, so, theoretcially no one is wrong, to each their own. but, with facts, there is less of a gray area. personally, i try to fight with facts and not feelings. just another reason i am stepping to the plate in trying to create a functional forum for the gamers of the world to chop up the facts, the feelings, and everything in between.

so here goes nothing.

4 > 1.

fact.

or.

feeling?

the showdown

finally. we are here. the big showdown.

e3 is over and now it is time to kickback and wait for the holidays to see how this race plays out.

still, there is much to be discussed, obsessed, debated and argued in the meantime. which brings me to the meaning behind this blog.

sure, it is great to leave eleventy-nine-thousand comments on the most recent newsflash surrounding the hysteria in the gaming world of microsoft vs. playstation, however, i hope to find it even better in streamlining the process and dedicating this forum to the debates of the community.

some of the facts

as discussed previously, exclusives come down to a matter of pure opinion, so we will save those for later. for now, let’s look at some of the basic factual information that we have thus far about both upcoming consoles:

MICROSOFT XBOX ONE

  • you must have a solid, persistent internet connection in order to authenticate at least once every 24-hours.
  • DRM is pre-programmed into the system, MS clarifying that they will utilize it on their own 1st games and leave it up to the publishers for 3rd party games
  • in congruence with DRM, there may be additional fees/restrictions with used games. particularly 1st party. (e.g. – you want the newest halo second-hand? be prepared to pay additional fees)
  • kinect is required whether you want it or not
  • xbox IS region-locked
  • $499 selling price at launch
  • disc-based as you know it with MS is over – this disc bascially houses a code that rips to the hard drive upon loading – disc not required to play. more on this later.
  • you may NOT replace the internal RAM of the xbox one. (additive memory via USB only)
  • xbox live gold subscribers will continue to pay their $60/year for what is “to be determined” added value
  • if you don’t pay the $60/year xbox live gold fee for membership, you CANNOT access other web-based apps you already pay a monthly fee for, like, netflix. double-dip, much?
  • bonus: you are given a number of extras that you likely already have access to. (cable on your TV, skype on your laptop/PC, and some NFL fantasy <not even real> football bullshit)
  • double bonus: if you are not able to authenticate within 24 hours, you can, rest-assured, STILL WATCH BLU-RAY disc. um. woot? hella woot?
  • triple bonus: if you are unsure of your online stability (or if you live on a submarine) – you can forego the xbox one altogether and make do with the xbox 360 offline device. (i don’t know about you, but it almost sounds like they are urinating on your future grave for being unsophisticated enough to lack the interwebs for 24 whole hours)

SONY PS4

  • no DRM on 1st party games, up to the publisher on 3rd party games. (for those of you out there about to start shrieking incoherently, um, please calm down, this is the same as it ever was, so, no need to get rowdy). e.g. – why couldn’t i play battlefield 3 multiplayer without paying for an online pass when i bought used? DEE. ARR. EMM. in short, DRM. (thankfully in mid-may, EA did away with online passes and i can now die in glory every 1.73 minutes in battlefield multiplayer.
  • no 24-hour authentication. period. as in. PERIOD. like this ———> .
  • ps4 “eye” (the camera) is not required. woo.
  • ps4 is not region blocked.
  • $399 selling price at launch.
  • you may replace the internal RAM of the ps4
  • playing a game off of a disc is like, well, playing a game off a disc. meaning, if you are feeling all weepy-eyed and nostalgic 20 years from now and you want to cry into your virtual cornflakes over a new-awakened dominance of killzone: shadow fall, feel freaking free. pop the disc in. play it out. dominate that bitch.
  • no “new” used game restrictions. could use a smidge of clarification, but sounds pretty straightforward, we’ll see what they have to say.
  • while ps4-ers will now have to pay for a ps+ membership to access online multiplayer, it is NOT required for apps like netflix, so you can watch at your leisure without having to pay a secondary fee, and the less-than-five-dollars-per-month cost is more than worth it with the benefits you receive.

let’s do the math

if you are anything like me, and have been obsessively scouring the commentary of the rabid gaming world during and post e3, you more than likely have seen that supporters of ps4 have either a) come out of the woodworks or (more likely) b) are presenting in much higher numbers than xbox one’s.

let’s face it, right now, if you had a disease, you would not want it to be ps4 supporters, because they are increasing exponentially.

while i sit here thanking my lucky controllers that  my body is not laden with an infectious disease, i still feel like i need to be innoculated against all of the viral commentary surrounding the recent events at e3.

yet, here i am. enciting more chaos. reigning more terror.

well, maybe i am not reigning. but. let’s do this.