Weekend Short-Takes: 8/29/14

Amazon acquires Twitch


Simon Wu: 

It wouldn't be another week in the tech industry without another big money acquisition by one of the big firms. The moment we heard the rumors that Amazon had overtaken Google in the race to snap up Twitch, I immediately suspected it was due to antitrust concerns. As it turns out, it seems to be the case that the deal with Google fell through because the two sides couldn't hammer out a failure payment in case the Justice Department slammed the banhammer. Amazon continues its digital acquisition apace, but I'm pretty sure that just as Amazon Prime videos are basically only playable on Fire Phone, there will be a way to prioritize Amazon's own walled garden that it is very quickly constructing, soon to be a veritable rival to the existing ecosystems of Apple, Microsoft, and Google. 

Jonathan Tung: 

As the internet cheers about how Google will not get their dirty paws on their streaming videos, we can hopefully all look forward to free Twitch Turbo access for Amazon Prime customers. That being said, the fact that two of the largest mega corporations in the world are trying to control the video game streaming industry in one way or another, It would be interesting to see some of the game devs jump in and do their own streaming thing in the near future. 


Nintendo Reveals New 3DS Models With Built-In NFC, Better 3D, And More


Jackson Sinnenberg: 

Nintendo is doing what Nintendo always does: work on its own thing, at its own pace. At the height of the console wars, I too joined in the heckling of my beloved game company. However, Nintendo has only been reassuring me that it still is a dominant player in the games world. Unlike Sony and Microsoft, who are concerned less with making game consoles and more "all-in-one entertainment systems," Nintendo has always had its eyes set on building its own, visionary gaming technology.

A game designer friend of mine believes that Nintendo is going to go the way of making a completely mobile console for the next gen -- something based upon the Wii U game pad -- and so this update to the 3DS suggest them trying this technology. The 3DS will look more like a Sony/Microsoft controller after this upgrade, suggesting a greater diversity of control and gameplay that Nintendo wants to introduce. The gaming world should keep strong focus on Nintendo, as who knows what they will bring to the table next. 

Jonathan Tung: 

In this day and age where we constantly see Apple release updated versions of their own products, It is an odd surprise to see Nintendo do the exact same thing with the New 3DS. To be honest, I'm kind of torn regarding this new announcement: on one hand, I find it to be extra convenient that the console adds in two additional buttons and a mini analog nub, which should make it easier to play games that require perfect camera finesse (such as Monster Hunter for example). On the other hand, I am still a little upset that the new console will also come with exclusive titles that will not run on earlier models, which irritates me to no end as I will be unable to play Xenoblade Chronicles or even use those Amiibo toys they keep talking about. 


Stand-Alone Xbox One Kinect Will Cost $150


Simon Wu: 

There's not even going to be a picture for this because I am assuming everyone already knows what the Kinect looks like. Releasing the standalone unit for Windows with the SDK makes sense. That's where we get cool robots and other really interesting and innovative research projects. But just for consumer use? Do we suddenly foresee a ton of people that bought the Kinect-less Xbox One will suddenly regret the lack of the Kinect? Will they be so remorseful that a $50 premium will not matter? I can't quite figure out the logic behind this move. I suppose it's a good idea just to have it out there for the sake of having it out there, but right now, Microsoft has more important things to be focusing on. Much more important things. 

Jackson Sinnenberg: 

Apparently the geniuses as Microsoft behind the original Xbone - yes I will call it that for this case - scandals are rearing their vast intelligence and marketing prowess again. I just want to ask Microsoft one question: Who the hell will pay $150 for a Kinect? I am worried that Microsoft will soon also announce a "sudden" discontinuation of the original One + Kinect bundle, leading those who have games who need Kinect to pay more than one ever should. Alternatively, maybe Microsoft hate their own hardware so much that they're using this as a ploy to run Kinect into the ground so they can stop caring about it. Either way, Microsoft is again showing a complete lack of respect to its consumers while most likely being blinded by cartoonish dollar bill signs. Let us hope that someone can snap them out of it again.  

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