Weekend Short-Takes: 10/19/12

Nintendo Wii now bundled with Wii Sports, price slashed to just $129

Simon Wu:

Typical firesale pricing to clear out remaining stock of this console ahead of the Wii U launch; this price will have a few weeks’ lead time to make shelf space. It’s coming with the Wii Sports of the original and Resort variety on one disc, which is typical; they are after all the two flagship gimmick games. I’m disappointed Nintendo only had the bravery to shave off $20. For such a lack of features as compared to the competition, and whose successor is only on par with the 360 and PS3, it should be a single Benjamin. We now know the plays for each of the 7th gen consoles: the Wii will be priced low and sold out, the 360 will maintain relevance through software and services (more on that in a moment), and the PS3 will get one last hardware revision to shore up sales.

John Fenix:

If a price drop of a previous console as the new one comes out surprises you, you may equally shocked when we have the Olympics again in two years (This time in Russia).

Alex Miller:

As Simon and John Fenix have said, this is by no means a surprise, merely a typical clearance sale to try and exhaust their remaining inventory that they know will be next to worthless once the WiiU comes out. However, I also share Simon’s concern that they appear to be rather timid when it comes to pricing this. What I hoped for was an aggressively priced Wii to serve as a statement of intent for Nintendo, that they are not going to take any blows lying down so that they could carry that momentum into the WiiU release and beyond. As it stands, a $20 cut does not amount to much for the consumer, yet what it does do is signal a certain hesitance, a timidity about Nintendo that I’m afraid will carry over into their next console.

Photo Credit: bgr.com

Xbox 360 bundles get $50 price cut

Simon Wu:

Lest you consumers get your hopes up too high about this, the promotional pricing is strictly for the holiday season, as Microsoft are quick to remind us. However, it does follow very neatly to perhaps downplay the aforementioned Wii price cut and preempt the Wii U: the non-Kinect 250/Kinect 4GB models will undercut the Wii U initial starting price by $50. It also is $20 cheaper than the PS3 Slimmer, and bundles in games. Perfect positioning for consumers at the right time, but why temporary Microsoft? Unless you too plan to make a Slimmer 360, the price should stay down.

John Fenix:

Same comment as above, except for a price drop every holiday season.

Alex Miller:

As opposed to the Wii, the Xbox 360 has continued to make aggressive pricing moves throughout its lifespan, (granted this is aided by the fact that the Xbox was a bit more expensive at launch) and this is just another one of those. Now, as Simon says, Microsoft has confirmed this is only for the Holiday period, however that period contains the aforementioned Wii price cut as well as the launch of the WiiU. In terms of taking the wind out of Nintendo’s sails, (or at least the money out of their accounts) this is about the best job Microsoft could have done without launching the Xbox v. Next this Holiday season.

Xbox 360 Dashboard update hands-on (fall 2012)

Simon Wu:

All hands are on deck at Microsoft as the Metro stampede is about to reach a fevered pitch, with Windows 8 on the 26th, and Windows Phone 8 on the 29th. Heralding the charge is the Dashboard update, which is going to resemble even more closely its PC and mobile brethren. Unfortunately, a major concern I was increasingly having with the dashboard was not resolved. While pinning tiles and apps is now a feature, they go in a completely separate tab. I want ESPN and Netflix on the front of my apps section, but they’re never there, and they still won’t be. I can’t move games in front of social, and apps way up front past music and video. While average consumers might be nonplussed, I am frustrated because I know just how flexible Metro can be, since I use Windows Phone and Windows 8. Oh, and there’s IE. And it feels like I am just too slow to load you.

John Tarr:

I haven’t tried the new dashboard yet, but if the dashboard doesn’t constantly play this song on a loop, I will feel like I’ve been lied to:

John Fenix:

Like the other John, I have not tried out the new dashboard yet, but the change this time around doesn’t seem as drastic as the last one. So, I will probably download and continue on playing my games. I am still excited for SmartGlass so I look forward to that.

Alex Miller:

Ah, another case of almost, but not quite. While the Xbox dashboard moves ever closer to being totally in line with the rest of Microsoft’s Metro interface, it is not quite there yet. As the article points out, the pinning feature as well as the attempt at live-ish tiles isn't quite the same as what has been seen on Microsoft’s phones or computers, getting close to it without exactly matching it. Oh well though, it’s a step in the right direction, adds some nice features and makes a few aesthetic changes that sets the foundation for a later update to truly make the Xbox/Windows crossover complete.

Photo Credit: engadget.com


 

'Minecraft Xbox 360' Adventure Update 1.8.2 is now available, includes Creative Mode

Simon Wu:

Excuse me if you don’t hear my voice on the Com-cast for a while or see anymore of these Short-takes while I attempt to build the Burj Khalifa. After the initial burst of excitement over the Xbox launch, my enthusiasm had slowly been fading, before it was reignited by a new effort with a group of my friends. Then it started drooping, but this is absolutely the caffeine shot that is going to keep me up placing blocks for hours. Will we see some way to get mods on the Xbox? They enhance the Minecraft experience exponentially.

John Fenix:

I will see your Burj Khalifa, and raise you the Pillar of Autumn.

Alex Miller:

I, personally, am slightly torn over this update. While I am excited to receive the new items, the flat world type, all the tweaks and improvements, it was the Xbox version of Minecraft’s lack of creative mode that I felt set it apart. You couldn’t conjure up huge quantities of any conceivable material or access just any location to make your completion unique, you had to really work to make things, spending hours mining, exploring, crafting and building to make the little wooden hut from where your admittedly small empire would expand. However, then I stop being an old man, get out of my rocking chair on the porch and start jumping for joy. Holy Shit! You can fly and have unlimited resources and go wherever and see things from all angles and make all kinds of things and do anything oh my god the possibilities are endless I can doing anything and everything I want oh boy (at which point I then pass out from lack of oxygen). But seriously, while I thought it was cool that anything that was made on the Xbox was really worked hard for, I’m even more excited to see what I and others can achieve now that the shackles have been cast off.


Mass Effect 4 Will Not Feature Shepard or "Shepard 2"

Simon Wu:

What is this going to look like? I can certainly understand the rationale to switch protagonists up in a new trilogy/series (looking at you Halo). What I can see is Mass Effect with the new player being an average guy; the opposite of Shepard, who was the top of Special Forces (i.e. “N7”). A story about an ordinary man or woman who gets thrust into the galactic spotlight by some set of circumstances. I wonder if it’ll have anything to do with the kid and stargazer that ended ME3, or at least that timeframe, which takes place well after the events gamers were familiar with.

Alex Miller:

The thing that strikes me the most about this article, and the comments made by BioWare producer Fabrice Condominas in general, is when he says that “the new protagonist [will] not even [be] "a soldier in the universe.”" For me, Mass Effect has always been about the defense of all of organic life on the galactic level, a massive conflict of which you (as Shepard) are the absolute center. The quote to me conjures up thoughts of some sort of guerilla fighter or, as mentioned in the article, a space explorer and I am not entirely sure I am ok with that. How Bioware (or EA really, since they are the ones forcing the franchise to trudge on) are going to retain the feeling that every decision you make has an impact on the WHOLE of the galaxy, when it actually doesn’t, will be interesting to see. 

darthskeletor's picture

My god, there is creative mode now. I know that's pretty much exactly what you guys just said, but one more person needs to.

Also, I'm glad that Mass Effect is going to move away from the main protagonist. Although calling him Shepard gave the creators leverage over allowing people to call you some defined name, which helps with immersion, instead of 'that guy' or 'the Commander' or 'the dude who saved the galaxy's collective ass' five times, I think that the total anonymity and anybodyness of Fallout has appeal, especially if that's what they're going for now.

disgruntledavians's picture

Just wait until I finish recreating the Titanic in Minecraft. Anyways, I've tried IE Xbox, and it necessitates a chatpad, and just like all smartphones and tablets these days, is hampered until more people abandon Flash and move towards HTML 5. WikiGameGuides looks pretty good though, as does your site.

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