Weekend Short-Takes: 11/16/12

Microsoft forces more gamers to upgrade to Windows 8, Valve has already been sampling out potential controllers, the next Mass Effect will use Frostbite 2, Origin is now breached, Nintendo could not explain storage space any more confusingly, and the PS3 is actually tied in sales with the 360, this week on the Short-Takes.

DirectX 11.1 exclusive to Windows 8, Microsoft confirms

Simon Wu:

I didn’t find this interesting for the mundane details of DX11.1. Rather, I’m interested in the fact that Microsoft is using this as a vector to force the hardcore gamers that actually get something out of DX to get Windows 8, and forcing developers to use Windows 8 if they want to make the nicest looking games. Microsoft is going carrot and stick, this being the stick, and the carrot being really cheap upgrade pricing. I’m certain this was an important factor in Valve’s resistance to Windows 8, and why they’re moving towards their own hardware (more on that below).

Alex Miller:

While I’m sure some people are going to be quite upset with this move, it doesn’t particularly bother me. Though I do have Windows 8 personally, speaking as a fair (as much as possible) commentator I don’t particularly see this as a negative or evil move by Microsoft. Companies release software all the time that only supports the latest Operating Systems, though I concede that it would not have hurt them to add support for at least Windows 7 as the newer OS is less than a month into its lifecycle and there are certainly many who have not yet made the jump. As Simon says, Microsoft is using that carrot and stick approach, though I think Valve’s concerns lie more with the encroachment of the Microsoft Marketplace on the digital distribution territory of their Steam service. Call me cynical, but I’m not entirely sure Valve is being completely straightforward when they make their complaints (more on that in a new, upcoming feature). Also, who even plays 3D games at all, let alone on a PC? As thats the only really substantial added feature, my reaction to the release in general can be little more than “meh.”

Valve's Newell says three different controllers are in hardware beta, already out in the wild

Simon Wu:

It seems like each week we have something new on Valve and its new efforts to boldly strike out into the world of gaming hardware. I’m definitely excited to see these controllers, because I’m not quite sure what innovation there is to be had with controllers at this point, I say as I hold a Razer Onza in my hand. I certainly wouldn’t call the Wii U’s controller innovation. But if it’s the Steam of controllers, who knows?

Alex Miller:

This news makes me want to do two different things at the same time: laugh and cry. I find it kind of funny that Valve are plowing full steam (pardon the pun) ahead into the next console generation and in so doing potentially stepping away from their key fan base of keyboard and mouse purists. However, there is another part of me that wants to cry because if Valve starts focusing on consoles, just like almost every other developer, than where else is there for a PC gamer to turn if not steam. Hopefully their new console does not preclude them from putting the same energy and innovation into the PC gaming industry as they have in the past.

Photo Credit: engadget.com

New details about next 'Mass Effect' game emerge, will use same engine as 'Battlefield 3'

Simon Wu:

These are some slim pickings, to be sure, but the Frostbite engine is interesting. The previous trilogy used the more popular Unreal Engine 3, but I guess that like Halo 4, with the original trilogy over and done with, you need a new visual style, and new ideas, but still with connections to the past. Frostbite is known for detail, but more importantly, the realistic destruction of scenery that is a Battlefield hallmark. We know from earlier that the protagonist will be a different person, with plausibility that it’s more of an average Joe type. What interests me more is the potential gameplay changes. BioWare was really honing the RPS genre by ME3, and I want to see how radical those changes are.

Jackson Sinnenberg:

All I can say is that I am tentative about a new “Mass Effect.” For one, I hope they come up with something better than Mass Effect 4. Halo can get away with it because, while yes it is a new trilogy, it still has some of the key characters of the original, while it seems like new Mass Effect will be different characters all together. As for that note, I hope BioWare is sincere when they mean a new game altogether, I do not think they can handle much more fan outcry and claims of betrayal. On the other hand, I am happy they are continuing to use this rich, immersive world [galaxy] they built over the course of three games and a few novels. They have a lot of potential to do good here, but also a lot of potential to do poorly, so we’ll just have to hold our breathe and cross our fingers for now. Also, when are they going to make Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic III? There is a game franchise that was worth the time and money spent on it.

Alex Miller:

I have to agree with Jackson when he says that there is a lot of room in the Mass Effect Universe for a good story to be told. I hope that is the bit they use because, though I am tentatively excited, there is a lot they can do to make things worse with fans of the series, something they really cannot afford if they want it to last. Like Simon, I am honestly most interested in the gameplay changes that the new game will have. When I heard the words Frostbite engine my immediate first thought was a Mass Effect FPS. While this is (probably) unlikely the way they bring in Battlefield 3 into Mass Effect 4 will be interesting, to say the least.

Photo Credit: moddb.com

EA Origin may have been hacked, users report difficulties reclaiming their accounts‏

Simon Wu:

On Com-cast 11, we discussed the effects of hacking on these services and whether paying for it (read: Xbox Live) added some guarantee of safety, and I think claims to that effect can be furthered now with this breach. With the exception of the barely existent Nintendo Network, I don’t believe there is another major online gaming network that has not suffered an intrusion of this sort save for Xbox Live. Is there something to be said for paying a premium price?

Alex Miller:

Another week, another hacking story. Seriously, I am beginning to feel like these things are a regular occurrence now, and that is a terrible thing. I have to emphasize Simon’s point that one by one the major free services are dropping (sometimes multiple times) like flies. This should alarm any user of these services, and for me personally once again justifies my decision not to put my card on file with Origin.

Photo Credit: lifehacker.com

Nintendo Explains the Wii U’s Storage Options In The Strangest Way Possible

Simon Wu:

I’m glad Kotaku decided to take this one head on, because the way the explain it is so classic Nintendo. It’s convoluted and ridiculously explained. The short end of it is what we all know about devices: 8GB or whatever the advertised storage space is, never really is. There is an OS, and profiles. So we see that about 3.2 GB of space is left on a Basic. Wonderful. The hypothetical hardcore gamer (once again with this example because Nintendo is trying so hard for them and failing so hard) will try and download some more Black Ops II maps or another AC3 memory sequence... and fail spectacularly. I remember my first Xbox with the 20GB hard drive, constantly fighting to keep it about 5 GB free. That required some serious content churn. So the Deluxe model (which costs even more I might hasten to remind) is basically the only option for hardcore gamers. Don’t forget your separate Pro controllers and headset.

Alex Miller:

Well, that was...colorful? I honestly don’t know how else to explain what Nintendo did there other than to reiterate Simon’s point that it is classic Nintendo. Kotaku’s point that you are going to need an external hard drive is the central bit of this article. Skip around all of Nintendo’s colorful beads and the bottom line is that you're going to need an external hard drive to enjoy your content (for sure with the Basic model, still almost required for the premium.) While I will say well done to Nintendo for supporting third party external drives from the beginning (finally one-uping the Xbox 360 on something, even if it is seven years later) the fact that is is even necessary is just another thing to add to the price tag and that slows down people’s access to the content. The immediacy of the original Wii, getting it in a what-the-hell moment and immediately playing it, was one of its strongest selling features. The WiiU looks, once again, to be unable to repeat the successes of its predecessor.

Photo Credit: kotaku.com

PS3 neck and neck with Xbox 360 at 70 million consoles sold worldwide

Simon Wu:

This headline actually makes perfect sense because of that little qualifier on the end: “worldwide.” The PS3, despite the astronomical starting price, difficult development curve, and year delay, has a strong following in Europe, where I believe it does sell better than the Xbox. And don’t forget about the home firewall of Japan. I’m pretty sure the Xbox sells almost no units there, and is a complete Sony and Nintendo show. In the US it is a pretty skewed figure, which is where we really pick up the perception of the 360 wildly outselling the PS3. Speaking of wildly outselling, those handheld console numbers are actually quite hilarious.

Alex Miller:

I remember seeing a picture on reddit about a week ago where some random Nintendo DS game had a sold out sign on its stand right next to a huge stand of untouched Halo 4s. This was right around release day, so this should show you how insignificant of a player the Xbox 360 is in Japan. And it would seem that that “home field advantage” is really what's keeping it in the race. Europe can probably be called more or less a tie, with both sides each having a successful following, while in the United States the Xbox 360 is the far and away leader. Interesting point but it really shows how important home turf is for Sony, and it kind of makes you wonder what the long term decline in the Japanese population will affect their long term strategy. With less future gamers being born, they will have to get more out of each customer, which doesn’t sound like a plan for success. Food for thought.

(Also, Simon’s right those numbers are hilarious. 47 to 1. Wow)

jbrad6's picture

its posted on biowares dragon age website that dragon age 3 will also be running the frosbite 2 so that mass effect dragon age need for speed  medal of honor and battlefield all running frostbite 2

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