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.


Microsoft set to boost PC sales

Historic Microsoft photo of Paul Allen (left) ...

Historic Microsoft photo of Paul Allen (left) and Bill Gates (respectively) on October 19, 1981 surrounded by PCs after signing a major contract with IBM to develop software for its upcoming PC line. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Anyone who follows the tech industry as a whole will know PC sales have plummeted and many industry analysts put a sizeable part of the blame on Microsoft for the disastrously un-intuitive Windows 8.

I’ve been delighted to see Microsoft rectify this and announce plans set to boost PC sales… by revealing details for an utterly terrible xbox one.

Signing in once a day doesn’t sound too bad on the surface but when we look at the availability issues Microsoft has had with Office 365 then what do we do when we need to “check in” at a time they’re down? I can do always on but I’m not confident Microsoft can. What about later on down the line when the xbox 4 comes out, are they going to turn the serves off and force us to upgrade?

I don’t like the idea of having to beg Microsoft to let me play my games (and they are my games because I paid for them) and them having the ability to turn my console into a very expensive brick when it’s no longer profitable for them.

What this console war has abundantly hammered home to me is just how flexible and open PC gaming is. A friend of mine was telling me about Skyrim mods, I love Skyrim but finding out about some of these high end mods makes me feel I lost out. Some are like having a near-professionally made 20+ hour DLC pack but for free.

If Microsoft insist on viewing me as a wallet on legs then I’m going to use those legs and walk.

Today I cancelled my xbox live automatic renewal subscription.

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.