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Microsoft’s Press Event Feb 2016

March 1, 2016

This is a first. Due to the big gaming news coming out of the Microsoft’s February Press Event, and the fact that it has generated so much discussion, I am renaming the original post. I will not change the actual link, however, because it will mean all sorts of broken.

Cheers!  Let your thoughts be known.

**** Original Post Better Call Saul: Amarillo

Better Call Saul Season 2
“That’s not a real tear, is it?”
“It’s Visine.”
Not so many laughs, not very much action, but lots of plot thickening. And I know now what “Switch” means.

  1. March 1, 2016 6:00 am

    For those of you who get “symbolism” it was almost certainly a no brainer for you, but I am slow.

    The “Switch” with the big warning
    “Always Leave ON!!!!
    Do NOT turn OFF!”

    Jimmy always testing, stretching, not going to be told what he can and can’t do. A chimpanzee with a machine gun.

    But in the legal realm, ethics cannot be turned on and off, they must always be left on.
    And yet, for Slippin’ Jimmy with a Law Degree, he turns them on and off, and so does Mike. At first, there is no repercussions, but there will be later? Well, we know the final destination, but we don’t know what gets them half way there.

    Anyway, I enjoyed even the scene with Mike eating his sandwich in his car, on stake out.

    I am fanboi.

  2. RoBBins permalink*
    March 1, 2016 10:04 am

    OT, but anyone whos excited for Dark Souls 3, check this 45 minute gameplay out. It looks incredible.

    • March 1, 2016 10:11 am

      can’t wait!!!!!

    • Blankman permalink*
      March 1, 2016 9:29 pm

      I’m your huckleberry.

    • March 1, 2016 5:08 pm

      Stay away from Days of War. It is built on UE4 tech and their netcoding is still some of the worst in the business. Go with Battalion.

      And I will stay away from both because even in my younger days, I couldn’t have competed with all you run and gun gamers. Nope, I need my points for paddles, wrenches, and objectives.

    • March 1, 2016 7:16 pm

      Batallion runs on UE4 :P. And OG COD ain’t “run and gun” brotha

  3. March 1, 2016 3:39 pm

    Lovin’ the OT going on as of late. No reason we can’t do that. Seriously.

    As for the Microsoft Event. Unimaginable! A console that is a moving target for the devs. Why not? We have all the downside of PCs (utterly broken software and continual patches). Why not get the benefits. First order, SSD. Second order, proper graphics board that can actually render their games above 15fps.

    You know that this means there is no generation after the One. They may release a machine, but it won’t be the start or finish of Xbox’ “next gen”. That does, however, put them in DIRECT competition with Valve/Steam. They will have to change their prices and offer proper sales now.

    In fact, we can jump ship any time now. Just get our own PCs and stay in touch via party chat and the games. Hardware is no longer the determining factor.

    Didn’t see this one coming at all. If you can’t win, don’t play the game.

    /stream of consciousness

    • March 1, 2016 3:55 pm

      Yeah, party chat is already on Win10! The concept of yearly xbox iterations and cross development/play is very awesome! There is a lot of info to chew on, e3 should be crazy.

      “Games coming to Windows 10 include Dark Souls III, Forza Motorsport 6: Apex, Forza Motorsport 6 (Porsche Expansion Pack), Gears of Wars Ultimate Edition, Pit People, Below, Killer Instinct: Season 3, Minecraft with Oculus Rift support, Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition, Quantum Break, and Tom Clancy’s The Division”

      UWP pretty much signals the end of exclusives only on Xbox (and not Win10). The cross platform game license is crazy appealing though (starting with Quantum Break). As is the concept of your games sticking with you for decades of iterations.

    • March 1, 2016 4:11 pm

      Also, this iterative model makes so much more sense, then launching entirely new hardware and OS every 5-10 years. Look at how rough this transition always is for developers, console makers etc. OS is always broken, overheating issues…

      Apple learned this long ago, and Microsoft has already made this transition on the windows side of things. There are several massive changes here, and it could completely kill Sony, who likely can’t copy this model. Especially with the m$ windows monopoly.

    • March 1, 2016 4:47 pm

      PPS: (can u tell i am nerding out) there are lots of rumors of an improved partnership with Xbox and Steam in some regard. I thought this would be very unlikely, but Valve registered an Xbox/Steam subdomain, and apparently there were some accidental images of a Steam app running as part of the windows store. If UWP, this would mean steam could come to xbox. I can’t imagine that happening, but Phil has alluded to existing/old PC games being made accessible via Xbox with this initiative.

    • March 1, 2016 5:04 pm

      I’m nerding out, too. It is HUGE news. The walls of the garden are being pushed way, way out.

  4. March 1, 2016 5:01 pm

    (moving it here because the comments get long and narrow)

    Sony cannot copy this model at all. They don’t have the resources or the know-how.

    However, I don’t think it has to have a negative effect on Sony’s situation. In fact, if any thing, it strengthens their position. They will no longer have any competition in the console arena.

    To some extent, it is a matter of semantics, but the reality is that Microsoft isn’t bringing the PC over into the console (as they once purported to be doing by providing an utterly useless browser, and “social network apps” etc.). Microsoft is trying to bring console gamers over to the PC. The ramifications are profound. Without an actual Xbox Console (in the traditional sense of the word), rather just various “boxes”, or shades of gray that the One takes (are you going to spend another $200 bucks to upgrade your One?)what is “Xbox”? Does the brand completely get absorbed into UWP? I don’t know.

    Really, it is a fascinating development that basically says, “We’re out! We’re going software only like Valve. Let the hardware manufacturers take it on the chin. Let people build what they want to build. Software is where all the money is.”

    • March 1, 2016 5:16 pm

      This is the big question. I am assuming Microsoft will be the only provider of an “xbox” (new version yearly). But if games are UWP and cross-platform. What is the purpose of going xbox over just a Win10 PC?

      I think that this will come down to price point and optimizations. Developers will still be able to optimize for the “xbox models” (ala iphones). In addition, I think Xbox will have access to windows store apps, but wont work the same as a PC running windows (you can’t open task manager, access command line etc). It will be much more locked down, optimized and streamlined for gaming. Console gamers will still be able to get their “console” experience, and I think this will continue to compete with Sony/Nintendo. But in addition, it will bring with it tons of legacy content, backwards compat, and unique features.

      On the other hand for PC gamers, you will get access to all the XBL services (be that online stability, party chat, video recording which are all already available) and a more streamlined gaming experience native in windows. The biggest downside, is as it stands now, windows store on PC is a lot more locked down which wont allow people to hack/modify their games. But the same could be said for Steam in a lot of ways, and it hasn’t hurt them.

      Most importantly, it seems gamers will have the option to play how they want. If your xbox is 5 years old, you will likely still be able to play the same new games (at lower quality/resolutions etc). If you want, you can also buy the latest version of xbox (for 300-500) that runs competitively for the price. OR you can simply build your own gaming rig, hook in with xbox services and play your content there with your friends on their 5 year old xbox.

      I think this is the beginning of the next era of Xbox that we have been talking about since 360. Microsoft has gone all-in with their investment with the Xbox brand, and with the power/dollars behind them this can mean a lot of awesome stuff for gamers.

    • March 1, 2016 5:18 pm

      Also, starting today twitch will broadcast party chat! (users must opt in with settings). AND we can buy 360 backwards compat games straight from the one.

    • March 1, 2016 6:27 pm

      Twitch party chat is cool.

      Is their going to be full cross-platform compatibility? Will people who build their own “xbox” be able to play fully with the “Xbox One” owning gamers, or will there be certain games (communities, I guess) that can only be played using Microsoft Xbox certified hardware?

      If we can build our own “xboxes” and play with each other, then I am done with consoles. The next machine I buy will be a homemade PC with Windows 10 and Linux installed on partitions, or even on separate SSDs.

      Constantly, I am wishing my Xbox could do more, even just as regards browsing. We always have to have a PC in the same room so we can check on things while we are gaming.

    • March 1, 2016 7:00 pm

      I am not sure that is clear. And I think you won’t be building your own “Xbox” but simply a Windows 10 PC that runs Xbox Application (just as it does now). I think the goal is cross-platform game licenses, cross-platform development and cross-platform gameplay. But I think the latter will still depend somewhat on developer choice. And really, a lot of this is still “to be determined”. Best thing we can do is voice our opinions on the matter. Indeed there would be instances

      I am also not sure how they would get existing/old “xbox/console exclusives” on PC. For example, Gears 4 will be UWP, as will other new games… but older games are not. I was expecting Halo 5 to be announced on PC and no word there. They have made their intentions clear however. This should make e3 very exciting. That is if the gaming press doesn’t skew this in a negative light and spawn the troll army.

    • Blankman permalink*
      March 1, 2016 7:57 pm

      Zos is correct that you won’t be “building” your Xbox, Suns. You have to understand that not all publishers will be bringing their games over to the Xbox & Win 10 PC ecosystem. They may be doing this to intentionally prevent alienating Sony. Even though their actions will be dictated on the level of success of MS’ strategy, there is a definite need for the existence of an “Xbox” console. I also thought that this was a similar strategy that Valve initially had with the living room PC (Steam machines), but only time will tell.

      I spoke with Zos off & on throughout the day via text, and commented that Sony is the odd man out due to what Phil announced with Xbox iterations. They don’t have the software expertise to pull something like this off. Also, they’re not going to have access to Win 10 because MS isn’t going to license it to their platform. Sony’s chest thumping has won them their short-lived victory, but Spencer & Nadella weren’t bullshitting when they stated that MS is in the console gaming space for the long game. It’s not a race, but a marathon. The recent XB1/Win 10 event is a clear declaration of that. Boo boo, Sony fanbois. Keep pounding your chest because you’re going to be left in the dust in years to come.

  5. Blankman permalink*
    March 1, 2016 7:40 pm

    OT: Here’s the TD launch trailer a week before the game hits.

    • March 1, 2016 7:43 pm

      Deserves its own post. 🙂

    • Blankman permalink*
      March 1, 2016 9:10 pm

      I didn’t want to steal any attention from your BCS post. I think the XB1/Win 10 event needs its own post!

    • RoBBins permalink*
      March 1, 2016 8:53 pm


  6. March 1, 2016 7:42 pm

    (bringing it down again)

    Well, you can count on Sony fanbois to do what they will. But when MS got hit hard at the unveiling of Xbox One, it wasn’t because of Haters, what they showed and how they showed it was so bad, they have spent the past year trying to undo it. Sony fanbois will hate, but E3 coverage industry wide has been fair in my opinion.

    For one who loves the PC, this is great news, but seriously, for Xbox Console-only gamers, how does this benefit them/us?! All the great features from our system have become usable on the PC. What great benefits are coming over from PC to the console? Seriously, is Kenny excited about any of this? As a gamer, and console owner, the only thing I care about is the next great game, and getting my console to provide a better, smoother, experience with easier and wider access to the Internet.

    I am not hating or poo-pooing this. I am just trying to get my head around the positives of this as an Xbox One owner, and until now, console-only gamer. What, now I get to play a 5 year old indie game on my Xbox, bump party chat up to 16, record party chat on Twitch streams? (something that, if desirable, should be coming for the platform anyway),

    Zos, I can understand your joy completely. You are a PC gamer at heart, and over the past year, you have slowly seen all your favorite aspects of Xbox gaming work its way into your hands. But what about Xbox gamers? Am I suddenly going to enjoy the cross-platform license to play Forza/Dark Souls on PC?

    Wish I could be with you guys in party chat tonight. So much to talk about.

    To be very open about it, if I were a journalist at this event, I would either accuse Microsoft of, once again, announce programs/plans/services that weren’t thought through a la Mattrick’s DRM Xbox One unveil, or, I would title my article, “Throwing In the Towel”, for Microsoft’s basically phasing out of console hardware manufacturing as previously known.

    Again, I am not trying to be negative, but I am experiencing mild to moderate mind cramps over this one. “I bought a 2017 Xbox with screaming hardware.” “I’m waiting until the new model (a la Apple) comes out in 2018”.

    Hmm…. Maybe this could work. Apple iPhone 4, IPhone 5, iPhone 6. Y’all buy that shit. Do you like the way it gets upgraded every year? Maybe this is a really good thing for Xbox gamers.

    • March 1, 2016 8:03 pm

      This means more games and content can come to the xbox. This also makes the Xbox a more attractive platform to develop for. It not only opens the door for previous PC only games to come to Xbox, but the stuff that’s in development now as well.

      The cross platform licensing is just sweetening the pot for PC/Xbox gamers. Both win. If you are a PC gamer, and decide to hop on an xbox, your library carries over. And vice versa. Want to upgrade to a gaming rig? Your content, profile, friends and games come with.

      Also, I think you are misinterpreting Microsoft “phasing out” console hardware. They will still be making Xboxs. In fact, their objective would be to get you to upgrade to the newer one and buy more each year (if they go iterative).

      The upgrade iteratively model is infinitly better imo. There are no “screaming better models” each year, they get a little better with each iteration. VS having a console last several years with no major changes to hardware. And you are paying WAY more than you should for whats in the box. If you Xbox dies in 4 years, instead of paying roughly the same for 4 year old hardware, you get the latest for the same price point. (or -$99 per year). It is purely more flexibility for the consumer. Not to mention you aren’t stuck an entire console generation with “the slower box”.

      Nobody forces you to buy an iPhone 6S. In fact, most people with the previous model do not. But, the difference is, if you break your phone, or decide to get another one, you aren’t stuck using the same hardware as a phone made several years ago.

    • Blankman permalink*
      March 1, 2016 9:27 pm

      Zos is correct. When MS actually starts rolling out the strategy that they’re suggesting, no one is forcing anyone to upgrade their Xbox. Zos used the example of the iPhone to simply illustrate their marketing strategy. If you don’t want the latest Xbox console, stick with the one that you have. It’ll still play the games that are released. However, if you do trade in or adopt the latest version, you’ll get DX12, better graphics & better fps, more memory, better hardware, etc. Take a look at the PC-version of the Rise of the Tomb Raider because it incorporates DX12 as a simple improvement using better technology.

      Even though you stated that you’re not being negative to Phil’s announcement, I think that there’s some resentment nevertheless. Hey, no one here has deep pockets in this community. As I initially texted Zos & rED, I don’t have $400-500 of excess entertainment funds to constantly upgrade or get the latest console iteration. I will certainly want to, but I have to exercise fiscal restraint. Who knows, MS might really make good on their intentions of releasing a modular Xbox console that will allow consumers to pick and choose what hardware tier they desire. What? You mean make it like a PC or Steam machine? Exactly.

    • March 1, 2016 10:06 pm

      I was actually the one who mentioned the iPhone upgrading first and I didn’t edit my comment so you can see, even after my disclaimer of negativity, I had a positive thought wave. 🙂

      And, yes, thinking even more about about it (I have been in and out of classes etc.), that isn’t a bad way to go. if indeed, MS does provide an upgraded Xbox every year or 18 months, then it is up to the customer as to when they want to upgrade.

      Also, regardless of what happens in the developer world (provided that devs don’t discontinue making games for Windows 10/Xbox), it takes Microsoft completely out of the console race, in a good way. They can be continuously upgrading their machine until the release of the PS5, they can slap down a new machine that actually beats the specs of the PS5 on the same day it launches.

    • March 1, 2016 10:06 pm

      Microsoft already has trade-in programs for their other hardware. But another option is selling your existing console after you get the new one to cover partial cost. The remainder is the cost of “upgrading”. Assuming they go through with any of this, it is going to be very crazy to see what happens.

    • March 1, 2016 10:15 pm

      Yeah, like so many other aspects of our hobby, that used market thing doesn’t work for me in Japan, where people would turn down a brand new machine if offered to them for free.

      However, the upgrading thing is cool, and, like buying PCs, just pick when you are going to get the latest. Create your own purchasing cycle according to your own budget. As long as gamers don’t get shut out again like they did with Party chat for the 360, then they can dictate when they will adopt.

      (That is the biggest and really, only, source of my resentment – that I either had to buy the One or say goodbye to all my friends who did. That was fucked up. The piece of shit Kinect is early adopters bane – hate it, but it is part of the deal. It is the fact that I had to buy or lose my friends that to this day, still bothers me. I got strong armed, Head-locked and my face pushed into Mattrick’s ass.)

    • Blankman permalink*
      March 1, 2016 10:51 pm

      In regards to the iPhone analogy, I was going by what Zos texted to me during our earlier text chat. He used the iPad & MacBook analogy. Not trying to take anything away from you, Suns. 🙂

    • March 1, 2016 10:55 pm

      ‘Sall good, Man. 🙂

      I don’t want to be a negative Nancy, and so I wanted to be sure that my comments were tempered and taken as I meant them. Good, good!

    • Blankman permalink*
      March 1, 2016 10:59 pm

      Suns, Suns, Suns… No one held a gun to your head & forced you to adopt the XB1. Please gingerly step down off of that old ass soapbox. 😉

    • Blankman permalink*
      March 2, 2016 12:06 am

      I’m not trying to troll you in the previous comment, Suns. What I mean is that no one here is a victim. We decided to “jump in” based on what the majority of our friends did. Also, who could have ever imagined that Mattrick would screw up that badly? Seriously, it was as if all of the checks and balances were thrown out with the baby and the bath water. That was what actually happened with the FUBAR situation that the XB1 was and is still saddled with. The legacy of mismanagement is forever written in the annals of Xbox history. It doesn’t matter about the sheer amount of mountains that Phil Spencer has moved, the debacle of the console launch has forever stained this gen’s Xbox iteration. Perception and misinformation are terrible bed fellows.

    • March 2, 2016 2:02 am

      Thank you for coming back to this, and the kind words and spirit in which you wrote. My apologies if some of my old wounds (if they can be called that, though I don’t claim to be a victim) make me tedious sometimes. Were my friendships held for ransom again as they were before, I would do the same thing over again.

      I look forward to talking about the potential of these newly unveiled strategies of MS in party chat soon. Spencer does much to regain squandered consumer trust.

      Cheers! 🙂 Hi to the gang in party and your special ladies!

    • Blankman permalink*
      March 2, 2016 2:17 am

      Much love, brutha! Say hello to the fam for me! 🙂

  7. March 2, 2016 5:47 am

    I think Ark is the perfect example of how consoles are starting to behave like PC games with regular updates. However the big divide still remains, there is just much more content out there that can be done in PC than Consoles.

    Ark for example let’s you play in customized versions of “The Island”. Until MS releases a way for dev kits to be implemented in consoles in a broader version that’s not the XNA, “let’s charge you a sub just to have it”, and that can be implemented by users without cumbersome approach to certify it, then this is just smoke.

    The other big thing is wether this will be a different tier being sold, or if it’s the case of being able to upgrade your current xbox with better parts.

    If it’s the first then to me is no different than all the different consoles I bought for the 360, except this time will probably get more benefits for the $$$ rather than just buying a bigger hard drive, an integrated HDMI slot, etc.

    The second option is still suspect to me. MS doesn’t let me swap my hard drive. Sony does. So all of the sudden they will let us swap everything? I find that hard to believe.

    But yeah let me dream for a second that what Phil is trying to say is that I can do in the future what I used to do back in the day with UT 3 on the PS3, downloading mods, characters, maps, etc. That somehow it will universally revive what Shadowrun started back in ’07 with cross platform play. That whatever tier of xbox they conjure up doesn’t become obsolete in less than two years.

    Let me dream in a cloud, like the Azure cloud…. 😛

  8. March 2, 2016 4:29 pm

    Direct Response from Phil (via PolyDong… err polygon)

    “We look at these other ecosystems out there like mobile, tablet and PC and we see that they have a very continuous evolution cycle in hardware, whereas between console generations most of the evolution is making it cheaper and potentially making it smaller.

    Both are meaningful but don’t make the games play any better. If you look at PC specifically and see the evolution that happens there, there’s no reason why console can’t ride that same curve.

    I look at the ecosystem that a console sits in and I think that it should have the capability of more iteration on hardware capability. Sony is doing this with VR and adding VR capabilities mid-cycle to the PlayStation 4 and they are doing that by adding another box. I don’t mean that as a negative. But it’s not changing what the core console is about.

    For consoles in general it’s more important now than it’s ever been, because you have so many of these other platforms that are around. It used to be that when you bought your console you were way ahead of the price performance curve by so much, relative to a PC. But now PCs are inexpensive and your phones are getting more and more capable.

    I still think a console is the best price to performance deal that is out there but when you look at the evolution … I’m not going to announce our road map for hardware … but what I wanted to say on stage for people when they see this vision of ours and question our commitment to console I want to make sure that people see that what we are doing enables us to be more committed to what consoles are about than we’ve ever been and innovate more consistently than we ever have. That’s the key for me.”

    • March 2, 2016 6:05 pm

      My indirect response to the semi-direct obtuse response:

      I loved when Suns had the no B.S. approach. 😍

    • March 2, 2016 6:24 pm

      I mean, i guess from the perspectives of possible empty promises this is relevant. But the magnitude of the implications isn’t even close to the same.

      Also, Xbox services have been (for better or worse) reliant on Azure, and many games do use it (quietly). The impact on actual game play has been minimal, but I think this is more indicative of the death of first party exclusives this gen. Those that are first party tend to use more cloud services. 3rd party is not very likely to adapt to building their game on the Azure cloud.

      Also, approaching “mold” territory, but Crackdown 3 should be out this year, and will use Azure extensively

    • March 2, 2016 6:52 pm

      well it’s not just the empty promises part. It’s also the say something when you have something.

      They employed the same tactic with Azure, if they had fast forward to now and said we are “quietly” using some advanced tech in some first party games, then of course it would be very different.

      Then of course is the bigger point of relevancy is that it was all up to a third party developer to include.

      Hey maybe Crackdown 4 will have it?

    • March 2, 2016 7:11 pm

      Well, Crackdown 3 will (unless cancelled) rely on Azure for gameplay.

      In addition, UWP is already been used for several games in active development (include Quantum Break)… likely every first party game Microsoft makes moving forward. But I don’t think this is limited to first party. The whole point is that the development process is significantly easier to make a PC version and Xbox version. This tool is open to third party, and really only makes their lives easier.

      The biggest issue I see, is developers not wanting to have their PC entity be a part of the windows ecosystem. But Microsoft has already said they wont require PC games be exclusive to Windows Store (You can use UWP to develop your PC game, and launch on Steam too etc.)

      I think there is obviously a lot of “wait and see”, and honestly I doubt Microsoft knows entirely what they are going to do yet. But testing the waters this way is smarter than what they did at the initial XB1 E3. This is definitely a “new” Microsoft.

  9. Blankman permalink*
    March 2, 2016 7:25 pm

    Continuing the Frenik & Zos convo here:

    For the most part, Phil Spencer has been a straight shooter. It doesn’t hurt that he has Satya Nadella on board with their vision for Xbox & Win 10. Part of his tenure has been to right many of the wrongs that Mattrick & his lackey, Phil Harrison, had wrought with the disastrous XB1 launch. Now that those ass hats have been jettisoned, Spencer has worked like a madman to bring the Xbox & Win 10 brands back to a positive outlook for gamers.

    The proof will be in the pudding because the current details are too general and vague. Many believe that MS will be ready to unleash the hounds at this year’s E3. Last week’s XB1-Win 10 event was just their opening salvo. Batten down the hatches because gamers are going to be getting a whole new perspective on how consoles will be treated for the future if MS is true to their word on offering hardware upgrades. Phil is correct that the current console ecosystem just doesn’t work due to how fast technology progresses. Coupled with the long console lifecycle, any planned console follow-ups will always play the game of catch-up. One thing is for sure, Spencer & MS aren’t afraid to try a new perspective in trying to break out of the norm.

    Also, the Azure Cloud system isn’t a pie in the sky series of server farms. Look at how fast Respawn was able to make changes to Titanfall and how responsive the Cloud was for them. It’s a shame that the game didn’t hold people’s attention for the long run because they were the first developer to be granted access to it. There was no need for the usual certification process because bug fixes and changes were handled server-side. Zos is correct that many games do use Azure, but they’re not building their games to take advantage of what it has to offer. Crackdown 3 will serve as the poster child for what can be possible with Azure. It will show developers how they can use the Cloud to handle the physics & computations freeing up the consoles to use their CPUs to handle other calculations such as AI, lighting, etc. If Crackdown 3 is able to demonstrate how robust the Cloud can be, naysayers will finally eat crow and devs will start building their games to use the system. I wouldn’t be surprised if Gears 4 will be utilizing Azure as well. Gears UE uses it, but only in a dedicated server role.

    BTW: Clippers beat OKC 103-98. What a comeback from a 22-point half-time deficit! DeAndre had a 20-point night & hit a clutch And+1 in the final seconds. Lob City in da house!!!

  10. Herandar permalink
    March 3, 2016 9:11 am

    As a former history major (dropped out), I tend to take the long term view. Remember the Sega CD? The Sega 32X? The Nintendo64 Expansion Pak? The Nintendo64DD?

    Now, Microsoft is intimately involved with PC gaming, so the scenario is different, but iterative consoles have not done well in the past. It is definitely a risk that Microsoft alienates their core.

    • Herandar permalink
      March 3, 2016 9:25 am

      Or, more importantly, scares away the parents that go to buy a console for their kids.

    • March 3, 2016 10:24 am

      I totally agree about the concept of “add-on”s. Even Phil Spencer pointed out that Sony is essentially doing this with the additional brick that connects to the PS4 for their VR initiative.

      Instead of an add-on, I believe he is talking about purely improving the console each year. He even used laptops/phones as a direct analogy. If parents are going to be buying their kids an iPhone for example, the iterative model just gives them more options (spend full price for this year’s iPhone, -99$ for last years, -99$ for year before that…etc.).

      There (presumably) wouldn’t be a new “name” for the new console, it would just be the latest version of “xbox”. The main question I would have, is how much this would complicate development for developers. But assuming Microsoft’s tools are designed efficiently, this shouldn’t be any different than developing for iPhone or any other platform where there are various models.

      It should be really interesting to see what happens. This is definitely a strong deviation from the “norm” and could either be hugely successful for Microsoft or another costly mistake. It all comes down to logistics, and Microsoft needs to make sure they roll out the red carpet.

  11. March 3, 2016 4:49 pm

    I have enjoyed all the console discussion here. I have nothing to add, but wanted to let y’all know I am enjoying the reading. Interesting times to be a gamer.

  12. March 4, 2016 11:19 am

    EDIT: And like that, Tim has reversed his stance after Phil Spencer went to Twitter to point out the openess of UWP.

    Tim’s Tweet:

    “I like the sound of this, and look forward to thorough technical details on UWP’s planned openness at //build.”

    Full Microsoft Update on UWP

    More UWP Xbox Specifics coming later this month!

    Tim Sweeney goes after microsoft full force.

    The problem is, what he is using to form his argument is actually, complete bullshit:

    “In response to Sweeney’s allegations, Kevin Gallo, corporate vice president of Windows at Microsoft, told the Guardian: “The Universal Windows Platform is a fully open ecosystem, available to every developer, that can be supported by any store. We continue to make improvements for developers; for example, in the Windows 10 November Update, we enabled people to easily side-load apps by default, with no UX required.

    “We want to make Windows the best development platform regardless of technologies used, and offer tools to help developers with existing code bases of HTML/JavaScript, .NET and Win32, C+ + and Objective-C bring their code to Windows, and integrate UWP capabilities. With Xamarin, UWP developers can not only reach all Windows 10 devices, but they can now use a large percentage of their C# code to deliver a fully native mobile app experiences for iOS and Android. We also posted a blog on our development tools recently.””

    Sweeney is making two primary arguments:

    1) Microsoft is providing exclusive features to UWP development.
    2) Microsoft is closing the development platform, by setting “windows store” publication as default for the app.

    My thoughts:

    — For 2), this has not been the case for 5 months.
    — For 1), Microsoft stated during their event, and even in their response, that UWP tools can be used for development and the code base can be moved as desired/needed.
    — Developers do not have to use UWP to publish games on Windows (developers can continue to use the tools/systems they already are).
    — The article is written in a very clear “attack” perspective, that appears designed to round up the army of trolls to take an anti-microsoft position. Already, this article is all over major gaming sites, with headlines such as “EPIC GAMES BOSS ATTACKS MICROSOFT’S UNIVERSAL WINDOWS PLATFORM”. The majority haven’t even included Microsoft’s response.

    Frankly, when it comes to companies “worried about consumers”, the last company I think of is Epic. This just seems like a non-issue to me. You are not forced to use UWP. It is entirely optional. Even if what Sweeney said was actually true, why shouldn’t Microsoft be able to provide tools to develop for their ecosystem exclusively? This also seems premature, Microsoft has only shared their initial vision. Why didn’t Tim contact Microsoft directly?

    Maybe Tim is just salty that the last relevant product they shipped is nearing 10 years old and owned entirely by Microsoft. 😛

    • March 4, 2016 1:16 pm

      Just another additional comment, I find it hypocritical that Epic has made such plentiful content for iOS appstore, which is about as closed as you can possibly get as a platform. (Proprietary tools, language and locked store). But I am guessing Epic made a good penny from all that work…

      Now that Tim has already made those initial statements, reversing them is almost impossible, and we will be hearing consumers complaining about “microsoft closing the PC platform” for months.

    • Blankman permalink*
      March 4, 2016 3:54 pm

      Misconceptions are very difficult to get in front of. Not only was Sweeney completely wrong about his “understanding” of MS’ UWP initiative. It made him look like a damn fool. However, Sweeney’s already caused damage to the perception of UWP on XB1/Win 10.

      Tim Sweeney is so socially inept that it’s frightening. When they lost Cliffy B, Rod, & Mike Capps; Epic lost any shred of personality that they had. Now they’re stuck with a social retard in Sweeney, that asshole, Mark Rein, along with a bunch of Chinese dudes from Ten Cent (who bought 49% of Epic). Sweeney didn’t even have the business acumen to start a dialogue with Phil Spencer before he started his “call to arms against MS’ UWP initiative. This goddamned fool has unfortunately hurt the UWP perspective. Now Phil has to really make MS’ intentions crystal clear at E3 because people tend to latch onto the first negative thing that they hear whether it is true or not.

    • March 4, 2016 4:02 pm

      Apparently there will be demoed UWP at Build conference this month, maybe details on when we will be getting our hands on them.

    • March 4, 2016 6:09 pm

      Hey you two, thank you for having this discussion here so that I can be in on it. Thank you!

      Yes, basically the damage is done – it is going to be a Herculean project to undo the negative propaganda. I am surprised, however, that Microsoft/Phil didn’t anticipate problems with their vague unveiling. DANG, learn from your mistakes people!

      Yes, I cannot think of a public system/OS that is more locked down than Apple, nor can I think of a company more assaholic to their community/customers than Epic.

    • March 4, 2016 6:19 pm

      I totally agree Suns, Microsoft tends to do that, but on the other hand they probably want to test the waters with consumers before pushing forward any new initiatives.

      Additionally, all these points Tim was making, were already made clear during the presser. That is what is shady about the entire situation. Phil didn’t do any additional specification, but rather reiterated what was already said (I even commented on the openness of the platform in my original reaction to the presser).

      If this was a simple tweet (like Tim’s reversal) I would understand. But to have your own article published? That smells like something that was planned/strategized. You can tell with Phil’s response that he was blindsided. There is no good reason Tim couldn’t have gone to Phil directly.

      I am just waiting for epic to launch their own digital pc game platform :p

    • March 4, 2016 7:09 pm

      I didn’t realize that Tim was the actual author of the article. WTF?!

      Yeah, that is some bullshit. Sure, people like us may have difficulty contacting Phil Spencer, but for people like Tim Sweeney, if not Phil, then Phil’s executive assistant is almost certainly on speed dial. And Phil would have his call put straight through.

      I remember being outraged at Sony’s declaration of launching the PS3 at the same time as the 360. Peter Moore said, “Where are the air vents?!” (not knowing the extent to which heat would be a problem for his own machine). There was no way it was going to happen. Of course, they launched fully a year later!

    • March 6, 2016 9:58 pm

      Not sure if relevant (but worth noting), Epic’s new free-to-play moba is available in to public this month… on PS4/PC. I wonder why Epic doesn’t make it available to all platforms?

    • March 6, 2016 10:08 pm

      Why wouldn’t they put it on Xbox if they are putting it on PS4?

      (also, thanks for the pics of the new ad style for MS!)

  13. March 4, 2016 8:32 pm

    OT but not irrelevant.

    Parody video on packaging differences between MS and Apple.

    • March 5, 2016 1:47 pm

      Hilarious and only recently changed since they cleaned house.

      No doubt, Apple was a huge influence, but I think Microsoft finally found a strong design language. The real test is to see how their OS evolves. If you recall, their plan is to have iterative updates (ala OSX) with Windows as well. Hopefully this rids the days of “every other Windows version is good”.

      XP 🙂
      Vista 😦
      Win 7 🙂
      Win 8 😐
      Win 10 🙂

    • Blankman permalink*
      March 5, 2016 5:01 pm

      Those emoticons are a brilliant way to sum up every Win OS, Zos!

  14. Herandar permalink
    March 5, 2016 9:46 pm

    Greetings from Costa Rica! The hotel we’re in tonight and tomorrow has fairly reliable WiFi. It is a very nice change of scene from central Florida. Highlands County, Florida has some of the highest points in the state at about 300 feet above sea level. Our plane was at 3,100 feet after it landed.

    • Blankman permalink*
      March 5, 2016 9:53 pm

      Good to hear that you guys landed safely, Herandar. Enjoy your time on the islands!

    • Herandar permalink
      March 6, 2016 5:38 pm

      This is not Jurassic Park, Blank. Went to a volcano crater today (Poas) and then spent a few hours at a coffee plantation.

    • Blankman permalink*
      March 6, 2016 8:34 pm

      What? No Tortuga island? Haha.

  15. Herandar permalink
    March 9, 2016 5:15 am

    Have you guys ever seen an emu up close? They look like dinosaurs with bad feathered haircuts. I’ll post a pic when I get home.

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