Weekend Short-Takes: 8/16/13

Microsoft Will Not Sell Xbox One Without Kinect

Simon Wu:
The Xbox One of E3 little resembles that of the Xbox One at present. We have no used game limitations, no always online requirements, the graphics card clock speed has been upped, and Kinect will not be required for the Xbox to start up. Microsoft has pulled enough 180s to justify calling this the Xbox 720. Since then, the Xbox has rocketed past the PS4 as gamers on the fence choose sides or jump ships with each incremental rollback. Only one ugly truth stares down Microsoft now: the Xbox is still $100 more. While it would all but guarantee a colossal Xbox victory if they were on level pricing terms with the PS4, we now understand that the console serves to subsidize a much more costly sensor bar, and that Microsoft intends to force through change the same way they want to force touch adoption with Windows 8 by bundling the Metro UI portion with the traditional desktop environment.

Max Gruber:
While it pains me that the Kinect is still required for every Xbox One, it does bring up the important question of privacy, especially considering all the big concerns about the PRISM data-gathering scheme that was rumored a while ago. I know that Microsoft came out and said that no one is watching you, but it’s still a very sensitive discussion that needs to be considered.

Jonathan Tung:
Despite my initial glee upon learning that the Xbox One will not require the kinect to function, I am still a little disappointed that Microsoft is still going ahead with packing in the device as a mandatory feature for their new console. I understand how they are attempting to make it the norm for people to utilize the camera, but in a Post-prism world like ours, there are still some folks who still think that the device would only make them even more vulnerable, especially in the comforts and confines of their own homes.

Alex Miller:
I think that this is the best possible solution to the question of Kinect integration with the Xbox One. Since you are able to turn it off those who have concerns above the devices ability to record private information can simply unplug the device, or even leave it in the box in the first place. With that said, Microsoft’s insistence that the device remain in the box means that the many who were intrigued by the ease of use features shown so far can still use it, and as I have said in the past the fact that every Xbox One will have a Kinect means developers will actually pay attention to the device, hopefully leading to more creative uses for it than basic motion control. Microsoft continues to impress in the post E3 period.

lazygamer.com

Iwata: Wii U Basic model sales show price isn't the issue

Simon Wu:
Hey kids, want to hear the sound of Alex facepalming? Network externality. There. Yes, Iwata, you’re quite right, you need more titles. And no, price is not the issue when you are selling them with your own titles. But any remotely 21st century game with multiplayer, season pass DLC, and game installs will require more than a handful of GBs in order to work at all. And developers know this full well, which is why key studios like Bethesda are tapping out. Price is not the concern, the capabilities are.

Max Gruber:
Gee. I wonder what it is, then... Oh wait, I know what it is: It’s all the incescent milking of their big, exclusive titles that’s to blame. All these people who have played Mario or Legend of Zelda as kids are now adults, and realize what’s really going on. That, and there’s nothing about the Wii U that compels me to go out and buy one, when I could just buy an iPad or a Windows tablet and get way better games for that than what the Wii U provides; or better yet, I could just buy a 360, a PS3, Xbox One, or a PS4 and I’ll get way better titles than the same slew of titles from Nintendo.

Alex Miller:
The only reason I would facepalm is if you had used up your "network externality" quota for the month, but you have been good and haven't used it lately so I'll let it slide. Anyways, while I agree with Mr. Iwata that the main issue is a total lack of any kind of a catalogue of games for the Wii U, I believe his use of the basic Wii U as an example ignores several factors. While it is cheapest, its miniscule hard drive size and last gen hardware means it practically removes itself from consideration fullstop. As Simon and I have both said, the WiiU desperately needs more titles, something Mr. Iwata seems to understand here even if it is yet to happen. However it also needs a price cut and a larger hard drive. Unless all three happen I can’t see the WiiU becoming anything more than barely relevant.

tearsoftime.com

$200 PS3 headed to North America

Simon Wu:
Max and Alex have a more positive spin on this than I do. I’m somewhat befuddled by this. I’ve always been a huge critic of the 4GB Xbox 360, and doubly so when they did nothing to change it for the final refresh. I vocally said that the PS3 moving forward was the superior console, with higher capacity HDDs and bundles available for the same price or cheaper than the 360 SKUs available in market now. I understand the desire to target an even lower price segment at this point, which by all means the 4GB 360 should be doing, but considering the PS3 requires an install for every game, I don’t know how this will work. I certainly hope Sony doesn’t intend for people to use it just as a media box or Blu-ray player alone.

Max Gruber:
I’m very surprised by this. I was at a local Best Buy and I saw that the PS3 Uncharted edition with a 500 GB HDD was selling for $250, and to see it drop another 50 dollars is really fantastic, but it’s for a 16 GB version of the PS3. To see them lowering the price for the PS3 is, I think, an excellent way for Sony to sell more PS3s before the release of the PS4.

Alex Miller:
A good move by Sony as this generation comes to a close. Even though the $250 console, bundled with a 500GB hard drive seems like a better deal than a $200 one with 12GB, for those on a budget options are nice. As the current generation begins to head towards retirement I think options will be the single most important selling point for new buyers.

escapistmagazine.com

 

 

First Look: Rockstar takes GTA Online

Simon Wu:
The GTA MMO! GTA IV did multiplayer in the weird way where you accessed it through the cell-phone menu, and hopefully this won’t replicate that. But... there’s not much more to say than the fact that it is absolutely tremendous. And that there will be no better study of a society in anarchy.

Max Gruber:
The reveal was fantastic as always from Rockstar, and it’s as massive of a reveal as it can get. It’s basically a consistent world environment, where hundreds of thousands of people play at the same time in the same world. You can rob banks with friends, go out and play some golf, or race with your fastest and sexiest car in your collection. There’s also the content creator that allows you to create your own environments and set up your own weapon spawns, vehicle spawns, etc. This is just so massive, and it’s coming two weeks after GTA V comes out.

Jonathan Tung:
Now this is a surprise: Rockstar Games is attempting to change the way you play multiplayer sandbox games with Grand Theft Auto Online, a special pack in for the upcoming Grand Theft Auto V that isn’t really a multiplayer game per se. Instead, I am actually quite surprised how much this new feature borrows heavily from some of my favorite servers on San Andreas Multiplayer, a multiplayer PC mod for GTA: San Andreas that allows the user to play the game online with up to 500-1000 other players from all across the globe. Some of the features they mention include the ability to call on other players and invite them to join your session, as well as the ability to rob banks, own apartments, and even buy your own cars, similar to the actions seen in a popular SA-MP server I frequent called NG-RP (or Next Generation Roleplaying). Even though I am still disappointed about the low player count of 16 players per session, I still remain hopeful that this mode could provide us with a fresh breath of air in a world where nearly all open world multiplayer games feel almost exactly the same (I’m looking at you, APB!)

ignimgs.com 

Solifluktion's picture

I don't really care for GTA Online but I'll admit that it looks pretty awesome. Maybe someday when there is no other multiplayer game available to me I'll give it a try.

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