Weekend Short-Takes: 3/8/13

Xbox 360's first exclusive movie, Pulp, launches today (video)

Simon Wu:

Here we go again. Little series here and there, all exclusives of online media groups as each tries to corral its little segment of space, hoping that it has the breakout hit. If I want to watch each of these series, must I subscribe to 10 different services? My rant about the increasing necessity of 16 separate monthly subscriptions aside, this is really Microsoft’s first news about Xbox following the PS4 announcement, and if anything it’s a symbolic statement not only of intent to continue to make Xbox more of a general entertainment service, but also that it is far ahead of Sony in this arena.

Max Gruber:

“Oh brother”, Charlie Brown says with a distraught sense of amazement, “How many more useless add-ons to their company record can Microsoft dish out at us? Are they just making things for people who had a brain transplant with a leprous moron who had cigarettes burned on him when he was young?”

Jonathan Tung:

First they gave us exclusive DLC. Then they gave us an exclusive TV series. Now we have a movie. What’s next, we get an exclusive TV channel as well? Oh wait, we have. Why do I get the feeling that Microsoft is only trying to casualize themselves even more and more?

Microsoft's head of Xbox doesn't see Valve as a competitor, happy with curated apps‏

Simon Wu:

... and this is Microsoft’s second big piece of news post-PS4, not addressing PS4 at all. Hubris? Just as I think that the console should cost $400 at the most, and preferably $300, because we are in the era of $200 tablets and smartphones, we are also in the era of cheap games and apps, which are very easy to develop and update. If Microsoft truly envisions the Xbox beating out not only Valve, but also Apple and Google in the living room, these guidelines need updating as well. This is why I’m excited that the man behind Windows NT is working at Xbox, and why the new Xbox is rumored to have x86 processor architecture. That way it can hook into the APIs and policies of the Windows Store.

Max Gruber:

While I see Valve really making itself known in the console market, if their intentions for making a walled garden are to be believed, I could really see Valve take the lead in the console “wars”. Since Valve took over the PC market by storm, I wouldn’t be surprised if they assume direct control of the console market. They have a lot of cards that tip in their favor, but I would say that it really boils down to the execution, and how they approach and implement things into the Steam Box.

Jonathan Tung:

When you proclaim to the media that you do not consider Valve to be a competitor in the console market, you fail to observe the fact that Steam happens to have almost the exact same number of users as Xbox Live (40 Million to be exact, as of January 6). Expect Don Mattick to eat his words when the Steambox comes out eventually (in Steam years).


Dead Space 4 canned, series in trouble following poor sales of Dead Space 3

Simon Wu:

Uhh. Pure business completely overrode any sort of creative vision behind this game, and once again we see the dark side of the industry laid bare. The continuing shifting of expectations and requests from higher-ups during the developing process absolutely killed the title, and I think it’s a true testament to the developers that the game wasn’t worse on arrival than it was. Some of the choices in the game of weapon mods and the like totally ripped away the original essence of the game, of minimal overhead and maximum exposure. I really can only wonder what the game would have looked like and sold if the original creative design had held. This also makes me very disappointed to see that EA thinks that success means forcing games through a funnel that robs them of originality and points them in the same direction.

Max Gruber:

Oh no! If one of our games doesn’t sell more than three million units, we have no choice but to axe it. All we care about is making money and coming up with little to no innovation in our games we publish. Sob sob sob. May I remind everyone why I hate EA? Because all they do is curbstomp companies to the ground and break them to their limits to the point that they become unrecognizable.

Jonathan Tung:

This is what happens when you decide to force a video game to use microtransactions AND turn it into a clone of Resident Gears of Duty Planet. That, and expect the whole thing to sell. And on a related note....


SimCity Launch a Complete Disaster

Simon Wu:

I am very hard pressed to remember a time before when expectations and reality were ever farther from each other. Will Wright must be pulling his hair out at the colossal train wreck his vision has become when given over fully to EA. One does not need to connect to a server to play SimCity. The problem is that excited gamers can’t rally around anything, despite some attempts to boycott or protest. So EA will tragically muddle through this fiasco just as Activision did with Diablo III and we’ll be no closer to an end in sight for always-online. And what happens when those servers get repurposed or shut down? What if they go down? Does that mean that your game is magically not going to work? What if you’re going on a trip and just want to play? I feel like this is going to fuel piracy further, not combat it.

Jonathan Tung:

….This is what happens when you decide to turn a single player video game into one that constantly requires an always-online connection as means of DRM. Seriously, EA STILL hasn’t learned after the terrible fiasco that was Command & Conquer 4 and what happened to Blizzard when Diablo III came out. Word to the wise Peter Moore: You’re doing it wrong.


Milleniummaster18's picture

I couldn't help it, but I smiled from ear to ear just as I finished reading this one. It looks like EA is finally vividly living up to its awarded "Worst Company" title. You reap what you sow, EA. My sincere condolences to those affected by these decisions.


While Steam might be the bomb on the PC, I don't think that Valve will overtake the already existing consoles anytime soon. After all, a platform change is a difficult switch, proprietary console or not. It might take some time for them to fully adapt, but if they pull that steeling edge they have over to their new product successfully, then Microsoft and Sony better hold on to their panties, 'cause the man is coming to their town.

MadRazz's picture

So no Dead Space 4? I guess I can live with that. Dead Space 3 was a good game. I could play it multiple times in a row, but I'm not so keen about the building weapons stuff and upgrades needing these different things. The last two did it perfectly. Sure, I wouldn't mind some upgrades, but DS3 was turning a bit into an RPG. DS3 may have lost its edge a bit compared to the previous ones, but it's still a very good game (unlike AC3). I'm guessing there will still be some DLC or spin-off, but if this is it, so be it.

Solifluktion's picture


I have to agree with you. They should have seen those problems from a mile away.

darthskeletor's picture

So... there is news that EA has totally denied the allegations that Dead Space are overblown and patently false... blaming the epidemic of unsourced journalism... but it is true that Visceral Montreal were shuttered. Hard to know what exactly to believe these days.

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