Weekend Short-Takes: 1/11/13

Nintendo chief describes Wii U sales as 'not bad', says supplies were misjudged at launch‏

Simon Wu:
Sure... It’s not a huge secret that Nintendo throttled supplies at launch to boost hype with a universal “sold-out” across all retailers. This is simply admitting it in a very roundabout way. Also, the prevarication is incredibly frustrating, and doesn’t inspire great confidence in the company’s own confidence about its own products. Finally, does it come as a surprise to anyone that the deluxe would be sold-out and the normal one left over? After all, the deluxe SKU is the only one that even comes close to being comparable with the 360 and PS3.

Whiplash:
I’ve personally never been a fan of Nintendo. I know that a lot of people love—or loved—Nintendo’s exclusive line-up for their console. Mario, Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Kirby, et cetera et cetera. But I think the ultimate problem with the Wii-U, which I must say sounds like what Ling Ling says in Kung Pow: Enter the Fist, is that Nintendo is grasping at too many straws hoping that their initiative to push towards the hardcore and the tablet audience is just not working, especially considering that they’re entering the fight against tablet/mobile/hardcore gaming when everyone that isn’t Nintendo have already won the fight and are polishing their trophies at their house while Nintendo joined the fight late and are ill-prepared to even defend themselves or even fight for that matter. I mean look at the controversy with Bayonetta 2 being released as a Wii-U exclusive. What in the actual f*ck is Platinum Games thinking? They’re alienating their fanbase by turning a multiplatform title into an exclusive entry. Imagine if a game like Borderlands became a Gameboy exclu– wait, that’s an even dumber prospect than what I initially conceived! What am I thinking!? Yosuke Hayashi, the head of Team Ninja, is saying that the Wii-U is “next gen, because it is ‘a console video game platform that is now independent of the TV.’" Where have I heard of video game platforms being independent of a TV before? It’s not innovation if it’s already been done. People say that Call of Duty 4 multiplayer was revolutionary because you could customize your character and weapons, but that was done a long time ago. [Infinity Ward] just took the idea from, oh I don’t know, EVERY RPG IN EXISTENCE.

Alex Miller:
“Not Bad” is not an excuse you want to give. You don’t give “Not Bad” when something is genuinely not bad. You give it when you are having to justify something that is truly mediocre. “Its not bad guys, honest” is the sad cry of someone who has gotten a poor haircut before school pictures or who scratched up their buddies car. It’s never something you want to hear, and yet we hear it from Nintendo as they describe their (partially self-inflicted) poor sales results. And yes, I say poor, as anything less that achieving what the hype they build up for themselves said they would is poor. This was what was suppose to launch them into the next generation. All it might have done is finally brought them into the current one.

photocredit engadget.com

OnLive extending LG partnership to G3 series televisions‏

Simon Wu:
The big gaming news out of CES this year, other than the gigantic bombshell below, is that the recently resurrected OnLive is trying again. Here’s the thing, though, and the reason I included this otherwise uninteresting piece of news: this piecemeal approach on this TV here and that box there is not enough. I just bought a new Smart TV and when I was looking around, OnLive came on none of my potential candidates. OnLive needs to be Netflix; it needs to be everywhere already if there’s any hope of it starting to gain serious traction.

Whiplash:
I think this was something mentioned on an earlier episode of the podcast, but a gaming platform where you can play games on a TV without the need of a console? Count me in! I haven’t gotten far into cloud gaming or even considering converting to cloud gaming, but this sounds very interesting.

Alex Miller:
My first reaction when reading this piece was that it was relying on a lot of things: IF you have this and IF you have this and IF you're interested in this is how it starts off. That’s a lot of ifs, and given OnLive’s short but eventful history, uncertainty is not something I’d imagine them wanting. Its a nice addition to LG’s lineup i suppose, but I don’t think this does much of anything for OnLive themselves. They still won’t have anywhere near the market share they need for this, and without Sony or Microsoft technology empires that can foot the bill to force them to that point, I don’t see them getting their.

photocredit engadget.com

Valve backs PC maker Xi3, announces Steam Box mini-PC


Simon Wu:
Holy #$(*$#^#(#)@!!_%(^@%*# with a rusty nail! It is here. Well, sort of. More of a working prototype, but as we’ve said again, when Valve commits to something, they won’t stop until it’s done and done right. Their allergy to anything “3” excepted. Of course it will be Linux. I’m particularly impressed with the level of customization allowed in the hardware, as well as the ports offered, which should allow for accessories galore. Not just that; this is the standard by which I will measure the PS4 and Xbox v. Next, both in size and power. Microsoft and Sony have their marching orders, and they’re from Gabe Newell.

Whiplash:
Steam Box. Box has three letters in it. EPISODE 3 CONFIRMED!!!
I know a lot of people have exploded about the Steam Box, but I was really disappointed on what it’s going to be (or what I read of it.) I was expecting it to be a hybrid of a console with a computer. On one side of the coin, you have the console portion of it, where it’s simple to plug in and play, the graphic cards, RAM, processors, etc. would be decent enough to play without the need to update cards every few years, and the use of a controller would be simple to use, while on the other side you have an all-powerful PC that you can modify at any given time, allows keyboard and mouse support, and you can adjust the graphic settings in the menu (there would be two settings that let you either play the game at default graphics—what Xbox/PS3 does and is limited by—or you can untick the box and manually adjust the graphics to what you prefer—what Xbox/PS3 can’t do.)

It would eclectically combine the strengths of console gaming with PC gaming: A PC that can be played on an HD TV with HD graphics while playing with either a controller or K&M.

Alex Miller:
Well, this certainly is big. And by that I mean small, very small. Did you see that thing? A console that fits in the palm of your hand is definitely an interesting idea, though my biggest concern when reading this (other than those high prices, especially for the X7A) is how they will get the power and performance out of that space. I like the idea of modular design, especially since this brings one of the best things about PC gaming to the console, but the thing has to work out of the box too, and be competitive in its own right as such. Hopefully, with all these years between the last “new” console and now we are seeing some space age crazy technology that will make it possible to get amazing power in such a space. But until I see it, I will be reserving judgement and not losing my head over it.

photocredit gamepsot.com

Microsoft Unveils IllumiRoom, turns your living room into a screen.

Simon Wu:
I already see nothing but dizziness if I ever experience this. If I rapidly swing around and look around quickly... routine moves in Assassin’s Creed or Call of Duty, especially with the great environments of the former, I might give myself epilepsy. Oh sure, there are excellent uses of it, such as when I sync a viewpoint in AC or play a much more laid back game like Forza with great draw distance and visuals. However, the cost of the Kinect will have to unbelievable to accommodate that sort of projection. I also don’t see this working for movies, not unless you make a giant white sphere of your living room. How’s that detail on Iron Man’s shelf look on your flower vase?

Whiplash:
Wait a minute. Is Microsoft creating something to compete against Omnimax? Very intriguing. This is something to... watch, as it could systematically make 3D movies/games/TVs become obsolete. It’s interesting that they’re pushing forward with the IMAX-esque film format used in the Omnimax, but the one problem that I could see out of this isn’t whether this will be useful or just a gimmick, but rather the technical aspects of this. What if there are tons of crap in the range of the extended screen, like books or disks or what-have-you? What if someone walks through the screen? Would it interfere with what’s being displayed in front of me? How many fingers do I have on the head of my arm? Why am I asking so many f*cking questions?

Regardless, all of these aspects have to be taken into consideration and account. If they do decide to integrate 3D to this IllumiRoom, I’m going to retroactively take back anything good about this and move on with my life.

Alex Miller:
Once again, this is something I have a hard time classifying as anything other than “interesting.” The thought is neat, extending the field of vision so you can see more is definitely a cool idea. But Simon raises a fair point and my main concern with it: sudden movement. I very rarely stay alive longer than a few seconds in Call of Duty unless I have the twitchiness of thumbs, spinning me around as I continuously check my 6 in a never ending pirouette of paranoia. That would be nothing less than sickening if all four walls joined in with my tv’s continual spins. However, if there was some way to stabilize the image, make it so that your whole world wasn’t spinning like a top every time you make a sudden movement in game, this could be a very unique and enjoyable addition to a game. Certainly needs work, but under it all there is promise. 

Solifluktion's picture

Finally the steambox is confirmed. I hope the prices will be decent enough so I can buy one when it's being released.

disgruntledavians's picture

I absolutely agree that all this infighting amongst the various game streaming services and their lack of universal support on all devices is hurting them tremendously. I don't think this piecemeal partnership and placement strategy is effective at all. Good job to the guys for finding meaning in an otherwise random and throwaway news article. That's what keeps me coming back!

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