Killed the car for a faster horse? Not me.

I was very happy for Microsoft to continue with their original xbox one plans. I just wasn’t going to buy it. At that point it stopped being my problem and started being Microsoft’s problem. Now enthusiasts who were in favour of Microsoft’s original direction are blaming the army of comentards of which I was one for halting progress but we must remember it was Microsoft’s decision to U-turn.

English: Steve Jobs shows off the white iPhone...
English: Steve Jobs shows off the white iPhone 4 at the 2010 Worldwide Developers Conference Español: Presentación del iPhone 4 por Steve Jobs en la Worldwide Developers Conference del año 2010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Apple under the masterful leadership of the late Steve Jobs were a fantastic example of a company saying we’re going to do something new, something a bit different, something we think is better, and we hope you’ll come with us. People did. Apple and in particular Steve Jobs were genuine thought leaders.

Companies do not have a fundamental right to our money. Most of us live in fairly free countries where personal choice is paramount, and that extends to what we choose to spend our money on. You can produce something radically different but if you want us to buy it, we must want to buy it. That is where Microsoft failed.

I can see the argument for online games with massive worlds which evolve even when you’re not playing, games in which my save has an impact on my friends and we can interact directly and indirectly and that is very exciting, I can see games like this being huge. But if you make a game like that then you are making an online game. No one expects an online game to work offline.

Mandating to sign in, even if only once every 24hours, to play purely offline games such as Peggle is nothing other than intrusive DRM.

To those who would blame me and those like me for killing progress you must remember all we could ever have done is not buy it. Microsoft pulled the trigger.


We’re trying to make gaming more welcoming to girls but there’s just too many trolls in here

Women gamers tend to be more intelligent than the average male gamer. I’ll caveat that this is based purely on my own anecdotal experience but I wanted an attention grabbing first line to appear in the preview panel ;-). We know intelligent people tend to be less susceptible to advertising so irrespective of our own opinions otherwise it’s easy to see why the marketing money is spent pitching at young men.

New Troll and Old Troll (Front)

New Troll and Old Troll (Front) (Photo credit: Dunechaser)

We shouldn’t blame the industry as a whole. The hard working creators of games do not create their products trying to keep women out, they make them for anyone who would enjoy them so why a small subset of gamers in immature male trolls feel games are their exclusive domain baffles me.

The success of a marketing campaign can only really be measured in sales numbers and the low-hanging-fruit in this case are young men who can be convinced to pre-order any game of sequel number four or higher. But this male-oriented marketing only serves to reinforce the idea that hardcore gaming is a male only affair.

Mature gamers male and female alike are working to dispel this myth of male entitlement in favour of equality but it’s hard to do in-game without feeding the trolls. There are people who believe the world is flat and there is nothing we can say to convince them otherwise. Likewise with immature gamers how can we reason with people who won’t listen, who instead respond with a barrage of insults they would never say to someone’s face.

There needs to be real-world implications. The British Police have already started prosecuting for grossly offensive tweets, maybe this should be applied to in-game chatter as well. Even permabans are having little effect.

Graphics are there. But load times Must improve

Bethesda developed the Creation Engine for Sky...

Bethesda developed the Creation Engine for Skyrim. It allows for dynamic snowfall, and the integration of dragons in gameplay. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Skyrim. Fantastic game, graphics are immense, seems like hundreds of NPCs wondering around, many with their own face and loads with voiced conversations. The game is so immersive that I forget the seemingly epic load times.  Until I realise I forgot to put my collected ‘ingots’ in my storage chest and have to go back into my house [load screen] drop them off and come back out [load screen]. And of course fast-travel halfway across the map [load screen] to my next [load screen riddled] quest.

Skyrim is worth the wait but few games are. With the next generation of consoles and higher specs around the corner we should see load times drop again but with this comes another push towards photo-realism with higher resolution textures and more detailed models. [load screen].

As a veteran of the Sinclair Spectrum ZX, I’ll confess load times have been worse. We don’t have time to have our dinner during these waits and don’t have to listen to those awful screeches anymore and yes insta load cartridges of the 8 and 16-bit era are perhaps prohibitively expensive at modern scale but we must have a middle ground.

There is hope. The number of person-hours to make these higher resolution higher poly and higher quantity of models is ever increasing but the £40 ($60) we’re willing to pay for them is not. Can we not stop there with graphic and use the specs for faster load times?

Devs will find that depressing but I just don’t want to see another [load screen].


Will the next xbox be free on a 24 month contract?

Spoiler warning,       no.

some cell phones in my house

some cell phones in my house (Photo credit: seanaes)

The more I think about it the more gaming seems to suit a cell-phone style subscription model. Suppose you could pay £50 a month and for that you could get unlimited game downloads and playtime. Don’t game much? What if you could pay by the hour. Options including £20 for 20 hours or unlimited (or infinite even?) for £50. That could justify for me the ‘always online’ rumour of the next xbox, after all we need to ensure users are paid up.

Publishers could get paid from your subs by the amount of hours you play their game for. That would encourage them to put out good quality games rather than market the crap out of rushed unfinished rubbish ones.

Would you care about not being able to sell second hand games if you only paid by the hour rather than investing £50 upfront for a game?

Pure speculation and I don’t think the gaming market is ready for such a radically different model, but I can’t honestly think of any other reason for an ‘always online’ home console. Unless there’s something more to it, it just seems so utterly utterly stupid.