Weekend Short-Takes: 10/12/12

Microsoft confirms cash for Xbox content in Windows 8, Microsoft Points remain for Xbox 360‏

Simon Wu:

I have a feeling that the general reception of this news will be overwhelmingly positive at first, with everyone breathing a sigh of relief, but then negative as people wonder what took Microsoft so long and realize the huge caveat. (hear our MSP discussion on Com-cast 11) I think that this move couldn’t have been made until this point, when Microsoft fundamentally altered Windows and killed Zune to integrate these purchases more deeply into the regular experience. BUT: purchases on the 360 will continue to use MSP. Most likely because over 1 billion people use Windows, and a small fraction use the Xbox. But, if they realize that Windows users would object, why continue to foist this upon us? Will it take the next Xbox?

John Tarr:

This is a big step in the right direction. Between this announcement and Happy Wars’ imminent release (the first free to play game for the Xbox 360), Microsoft is finally giving developers what they have been asking for for years.

Alex Miller:

While agreeing completely with Simon and John, I must reiterate Simon’s question: what took so long? I understand that having their own in game currency was meant to try and create a universal, all encompassing Microsoft environment on the console, but now that they are creating this environment across all their platforms whilst at the same time dropping the proprietary currency scheme, it begs the question if it was ever truly necessary. Clearly Microsoft execs do not think it critical to their new cross-platform scheme, so was it ever truly required? We may never know, but hopefully the next Xbox, if not the current one, will see the end of this annoying exercise in conversions which is just short of mental gymnastics.

Photo Credit: enconnected.com​

'Battlefield: Bad Company' being developed for TV by Adam Sandler's production company‏

Simon Wu:

Fresh off the Mailbag Monday where John got Adam Sandler’s Jack and Jill, I wonder how this news will come. Seriously though, production company aside, we’re seeing the new phase of video game adaptations to other forms of media. Right now, the marketing for Halo 4 enters its crescendo with the release of Forward unto Dawn, a 90 minute feature divided into 15 minute bits and released on the Internet. Here we have it in the form of a TV show. However, I wonder which Bad Company will take precedence: the light, satirical first game, or the rated M, darker and more serious second, e.g. Tropic Thunder vs. Band of Brothers?

John Tarr:

I’ll bet anybody $10 that a pilot for this show never sees the light of day, and another $50 that it never makes it past the first season. This has disaster written all over it. There are so many unbelievably bad TV comedies that get cancelled every year on the major networks, my hopes for this show are very low.

Alex Miller:

Another day, another reported video game adaption. In theory I prefer the medium of television to feature films when it comes to video game adaptations as more time allows for a fuller, more fleshed out story that is more akin to a game than the hour and a half snippet we would get in a film. Ideally it would be a miniseries on HBO or a similar network so that it can receive proper funding and lack of censorship required to make it good (see GoT.) However, the problem with TV is that it is also much easier to can a tv show than a movie. Call me a cynic but I have to agree with John that it is unlikely that this goes anywhere, let alone to a small screen near you.

Windows 8 Marketplace will not sell ESRB Mature/PEGI 18 rated games

Simon Wu:

… and there goes 98% of my interest in Xbox integration in Windows 8. I should have anticipated that they would be more interested in hooking in casual gamers, but now there’s a huge hole where there could have been tremendous success. This is basically giving Valve the victory without a fight. What avenues will there be for hardcore gamers? Does Microsoft expect us to continue to use Games for Windows Live or keep buying discs? Will hardcore PC titles continue to lack achievements and tie in to Xbox messaging and chat? I now think Gabe Newell and Notch knew something more than us. Simply put, this is a grave disservice by Microsoft towards this community, and they could have garnered significant goodwill with a simple action.

Alex Miller:

This seems like a rather cold business decision. Simon and I have previously discussed on the Com-cast how it is cheaper and easier to release casual games which need far fewer sales to turn a larger profit, yet this feels like a betrayal in a way. As soon as the Xbox, so long the bastion of “hardcore” console games like Halo, Gears of War, etc. has come to the PC it has turned its back on the market that drove its success. It wasn’t casual and social games that made the Xbox 360 the massive success that it was and is. No, that credit must be given to the hordes of passionate fans that camped out and bought it on release day, that made sure it drove the sales leading to the most successful media release in history...a couple times over. Those are the fans that have made the Xbox brand what it is. The weirdest thing about this decision is that I feel it is kind of unnecessary. They could put in age restriction software, even make it so you have to somehow prove your age to unlock mature content, but to block it out entirely seems to be like a mix between a fuck you and an ill advised cutting off of an entire demographic that is more than willing to give Microsoft their money. I kinda feel like my favorite artist has sold out in the biggest possible way. Hopefully they reconsider sooner rather than later.

Gears of War movie revived - Report

Simon Wu:

So the movie got downed and was bleeding out, but then CliffyB left the game, and Epic managed to get over to the movie and revive it. Bet mashing that A-button to keep alive for five years took some effort. In all seriousness though, I would be pretty surprised if something came of this any time soon. The Halo movie was supposed to piggyback of the huge momentum of Halo 3 and that couldn’t gather enough steam, but again, Forward unto Dawn (another film for an Xbox exclusive franchise) might stir sufficient interest in the halls of Hollywood. Oh yeah, there’s also this thing called Wreck-it Ralph. That might help a little bit.

Alex Miller:

Once again, I hate to be the cynic but I have trouble seeing this as anything more than rumors and a stirring of the pot. Trying to generate interest in the product is all well and good, but the reports lack of a quote from an actual source makes me question the validity of the claim. Also, the lack of a full feature film Halo movie makes it hard for me to see a Gears movie as anywhere near being finished at any point in the near to mid future. While both major, exclusive franchises for Microsoft, Halo is by far the bigger of the two with a larger fan base. If producers are not confident enough to make a movie aimed at that audience than I think we will be hard pressed to find one who will make one for GoW.

Photo Credit: joystiq.com​

'Mass Effect 3: Omega' DLC out November 27th, priced 1200 MS Points‏

Simon Wu:

So, right after the package ME3 deal was announced, here comes this news. This is a great example of secondary media coming in to play huge role. Shepard is nowhere to be seen in this DLC, unless as a completely ancillary character, and relies heavily on the plot of prequel comics and established novels to understand the Aria’s motivations and more about her story with Omega. It’s 1200 MSP, but’s twice as big as previous DLC, which given DLC such as Lair of the Shadow Broker and Arrival, give me good hopes. I do see, however, that EA/Bioware have decided after Leviathan that kicking up anymore dust with Shepard and the ending is probably a bad idea.

Alex Miller:

Well this is interesting for a couple of reasons. First it is said to be twice the size of all previous ME3 DLC. While granted that only really means Leviathan and a couple map packs thrown in with the special ending, but it is still nice to see them throw this much effort into the game. On top of that the fact that for the first time you will be playing as not noble (or not, I don’t know your Shepard) Commander Shepard but the less than by the books Crime Lord Aria. Bringing in a new primary character could be risky, but as Simon rightly points out, messing with Shepard anymore than they already have at this point might be a bad idea. I will be watching this with great interest.

Photo Credit: gametrailers.com​

Milleniummaster18's picture

If Adam Sandler's production company is anything like he is in his movies, then you know which Bad Company title they're going to adapt.

I'm somehow not surprised that Microsoft decided to go south when the tide's moving north. I would say that either its advisers (financial, PR, and whatnot) are seeing something we aren't, or its magic ball that predicts the future is defective again. I reckon this decision was made in order to either appeal to their "family-friendly" consumers, or to not upset the balance of the gaming industry with their current power over the market, since physical retailers would surely take a hit if Microsoft were to cut them off by releasing the attractive alternative to physical distribution of mature content: the digital distribution of mature content. This alternative is already successful to an extent on a similar market. Where, do you say? Well, in these places there's loads of only mature content, you catch my drift? (ans: porn sites ;) )

darthskeletor's picture

Does this mean that you will not be purchasing and using Windows 8?

RAM's picture

I don't know about Simon (but knowing him the way I do I will give you a 99% chance he will agree with me) but I will definitely still upgrade. Much as I like gaming it is not the sole purpose for my PC and the new features and layout of Windows 8 appeals to me enough that I will accept the fact that I will have to go to the store and buy a physical copy of M games if I want to play them on my PC. Like I said above, hopefully this is something they reconsider, but even if they don't I'm still going to be playing Halo 4, AC3, etc on the Xbox 360 anyways, so unless the Creative assembly completely bucks their trade and makes Rome 2: Total War an M game I will still be able to purchase my favorite PC series through digital download, and therefore I will be happy. :)

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