Weekend Short-Takes 3/28/14

Facebook to Acquire Oculus VR for $2 Billion

 

Simon Wu:

Facebook is paranoid, and generally it's the paranoid companies that manage to survive major paradigm shifts. This is why we've seen Facebook go out and spend seemingly ludicrous amounts of money on WhatsApp and Instagram, and try to splash for Snapchat. Any possible new tech company with promise. That is, given Google doesn't get to them first. They are all hedges against Facebook's current business model declining, which the company is surely incredibly cognizant of, just by looking at the shattered wreckage of MySpace. What this means for Oculus, however, is more curious. Notch has been the loudest voice in a very public dissent against this move, noting Facebook's privacy oversteps in the past. This has also blown the VR market wide open with dozens of competitors scrambling to get up and running to get a bit of the pie vacated by OR.

Alex Miller:

Well this was certainly the big news story of the week. Between angry cancellations of preorders and calls for Oculus Rift creator Palmer Luckey to be collectively shunned by all of the gaming community, we have seen tons of VR headsets jump in, putting their name forward as successor to the Oculus Rift in the eyes of fans. However, while many are angry with Mr. Luckey for taking Facebook’s money I think there could be a silver lining here. Remember back in 2008 when Disney bought marvel? Remember how up in arms fans were then, about how the Marvel universe was ruined? http://screenrant.com/disney-marvel-deal-pauly-23610/ Yea. Several smash hits later and here we are, rose tinted glasses thinking what a good move it was. Now, I’m not saying Oculus Rift will shoot to the top because of this, I’m simply suggesting that with the vast resources at Facebook’s disposal, were they to take a hands off approach like Disney has with Marvel and let the people who know what they’re doing do the job, we could see an even better Oculus Rift than we though was previously possible.

bgr.com

King IPO stumbles out of the gate

 

Simon Wu:

Investors remember the flaming failure that was Zynga, and are approaching this with the extreme caution that is necessary. This comes as the company reveals that despite have an ostensibly impressive catalog of dozens of online games, the overwhelming majority of their revenue comes solely from Candy Crush Saga. This fact, combined with their incredibly insensitive and ham-handed approach to try and copyright the words Candy and Saga, where they've ignored and basically used brute force to push any dissenters aside, must have potential investors wary of a PR nightmare machine.

Alex Miller:

This can’t be described as anything else than a nightmare for King. Their stock tanked from the word go and they really can’t blame anyone but themselves. As Simon mentioned, their brute force method to try and lock down ownership of the word “Candy” and “Saga” amongst other PR blunders lost a lot of goodwill their large user base might have bought them. Maybe they will bounce back from this, but if hey company can’t provide another revenue venue equal to their sweet tooth inspired Bejewel rip-off then they will definitely face even more trouble down the road.

cnn.com

The Last of Us is Coming to PlayStation 4

 

Simon Wu:

Completely understandable that Sony wants to bring over the tremendous success it saw at the very end of the PS3's lifecycle. With the initial hot start the PS4 is off to, there are probably a lot of customers that didn't have a PS3 or didn't get that game for the PS3, and have heard great things about it, who will now get the chance to play it. Remastering it to take maximum advantage of the new hardware will be great, as it was already very visually stunning on the PS3. It also gives the PS4 another solid title in the lineup without too much work or investment. A winning scenario from every angle.

Jackson Sinnenberg:

Normally I have an anti-"milking it" policy for entertainment and media pieces like video games and movies, but now I can make an exception. This will be a great addition to the PS4's burgeoning line-up and, as Mr. Wu notes, a great opportunity for gamers to pick up this stellar game who did not get a chance on the PS3. Beyond the hardware additions, the graphics boost might be enough for The Last of Us to be thrown back into the "Game of the Year" polls on various sites. Sony is clearly looking for ways to combat Microsoft's bids for game-market dominance, and continues to pull crafty moves to counter them. I agree full heartedly with Mr. Wu: an all around winning situation.

softpedia.com

Xbox One may allow loaning of digital games

 

Simon Wu:

Why do I have this unsettling feeling that it's not going to work at all at first? Because that’s how things seem to be going for Microsoft this console generation. It'll get patched up... eventually. With that in mind, they are probably going to start extremely conservatively on this venture, maybe limiting your friends to a few hours of gameplay a day, or unlimited play for only a week. Alternatively/additionally, they might only let you lend out a particular game to a friend once. You probably also won't be able to use the game while it's "loaned out," despite the fact there is nothing physical stopping that from happening now. I could very well also see some sort of reciprocity requirement, to make sure that the two of you aren't simply splitting a game and sharing it between yourselves to save money.

Jackson Sinnenberg:

This is a calculated, intelligent move on Microsoft's part. Meeting the Steam model on console gifting was a greatly missed feature from the console game market, and scores them a view brownie points. I see the really brilliance of this move on the loan part. While we do not know if there will be restrictions on what kinds of games will be available for loan, it is an untapped potential in the digital market today. This might be a way to appeal to the more casual audience, who does not want to pay full price for a game but still enjoy it. I see a lot of Xbox One users with Gamefly subscriptions canceling those shortly. For Microsoft's sake I hope they do not overly restrict rentable titles. There is a lot of money to made there.

Alex Miller:

I have to agree with the fact that this is a great move for Microsoft. While they caught a lot of flak over the summer, and rightfully so more for the message they broadcasted as opposed to the features they planned, one of the few promising things they brought up was game sharing. While most of the “family” sharing plan they had thought up has had to be scrapped, hopefully the idea lives on and we do see game sharing on consoles. They will have to be careful though: it needs to be open enough to make it an easy to use, enjoyable feature for fans while also restrictive enough to not cut into their bottom line. Whether those measures come in the form Simon suggested, or some other way, remains to be seen. But I really think this something Microsoft should look into, and being the first console to allow it could earn them some desperately needed fan brownie points.
 

Create New Account or Log in to comment