Tag Archives: E3

SteamBoy Wants To Spread Freedom For Gamers

There was a lot of awesome stuff launched at E3 last week, most of it focused around consoles and big pieces of hardware. However, it wasn’t all big brand gaming. The SteamBoy handheld is set to take on the entire line up of handhelds and also offer the PC gaming experience too.

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N.O.W: How Did E3 Go?

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Battlefront 3 Feels The Force At E3: OMG Amazing!

My inner geek has waited for the day, when we could finally begin proper discussion surrounding Battlefront 3. That day as most definitely arrived.  Continue reading Battlefront 3 Feels The Force At E3: OMG Amazing!

N.O.W Live: Warming Up For E3

Join us for a live commentary and coverage of Xbox at E3 along with a short N.O.W from Tom, Oliver and Aaron.

Live Event start at 5:45 BST.

Use #E3GN14 on Twitter and have your say.

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N.O.W: The Kinect Problem


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Hardware specs don’t matter because it’s not 1990

If you have been stuck in the brawl between the XBOX One and the Playstation 4 following E3, now Microsoft is trying to make the decision a little easier. In a recent interview by OXM with senior XBOX figures the team discussed the pros and cons to both consoles but Microsoft had a resounding opinion when it came to hardware and the capability of a platform. Urging gamers to not be baffled by the PS4’s big numbers and meaningless internals the senior figure felt strongly that Microsoft had the right direction in the future of gaming.

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Albert Penello, XBOX Head of Planning, told OXM that Sony “displaying” its numbers on the PS4 was in fact “meaningless” to the argument, which is a better console? When we stripped down the consoles we can see that both follow the same basic design, the power and performance would not differ drastically in real life terms. However the PS4 did beat XBOX One in terms of RAM, both housing 8GB but the PS4 sporting GDDR5 unlike the XBOX’s GDDR3.

“The problem is that Sony decided to go out and publish a bunch of numbers, which are in some ways meaningless. Because this isn’t like 1990, when it was 16-bit versus 32-bit.”

Microsoft have pushed the entire XBOX experience with their latest console, XBOX One. During their announcement of the console senior executives reeled off lists of features and experiences that not only could XBOX One provided but also XBOX Live – and Microsoft seems to feel that the two brought together seamlessly will inevitably triumph.

“Our guys’ll say, we touched every single component in the box and everything there is tweaked for optimum performance. For me, I’d rather not even have the conversation, because it’s not going to matter.”

Microsoft’s XBOX 360 was said to have taken a dominant position in the last generation of  console battles, XBOX Live the obvious differentiator. But now as Sony pushes forward with its own improved Playstation Network and more focus on social connectivity the power may soon balance out. It can be said that the current fighting over ‘which console is better’ and the ‘console wars’ is tiring. Personal preference has a lot to play in the final decision and the content on each ecosystem. Games are what consoles are about and it is that experience that should matter, not how many cores or the type of RAM a console may have. But wherever there are differences their will be battles.

Should You Forgive Microsoft?

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Should you really trust Microsoft and XBOX following the latest DRM debacle and recent u-turn? Can Microsoft be trusted?

In a power struggle between online communities and the forces that be at Microsoft the company have decided to revoke their troubled DRM policies and online requirements. The Internet won. It is easy to see that Microsoft have felt troubled and worried by the thought that their newest console won’t sell anymore than the Wii U.

Microsoft made a u-turn and fell at the feet of the online communities at the uproar of gamers who felt that Microsoft had made the worst decision ever since releasing Vista. The messages came flooding through via social media and now the battle has been won and many are sat pondering over the thought, should I buy an XBOX One?

The Xbox One will now allow you to share games as ever before like every console since 1980. But now Microsoft has offered gamers what they asked for it is going to be difficult to decide if you should buy the latest XBOX…

In my opinion, Microsoft tried to screw over the consumer, in an effort to gain more money Microsoft thought it could pull the wool over people’s eyes. It didn’t work. In a way it was unfair that Microsoft targeted their most loyal consumers and believed they could get away with it. Microsoft has their fans and users to thank for the success of their previous console, XBOX 360 and had obviously forgotten this fact.

Microsoft has been in a constant battle amongst its competitors and had only just beaten Sony in the last generation of console wars. Now the tides are turning and Microsoft needs consumers to buy XBOX One to continue their success. If we all consciously make the decision to boycott the XBOX One then Microsoft may learn that the line between paying for a good service and being ripped off is thin. I am not telling you or suggesting that you don’t buy the Xbox One, of course for some people XBOX One would be the perfect device for some people and could offer better ‘all in one alternatives’ to multiple devices. Microsoft have tried to move forward with console gaming, taking it to the next level of cloud computing – this technically isn’t bad; but the consumer isn’t really ready for cloud gaming as proven with cloud computing. We don’t live in a perfect world and we can’t always be guaranteed. The always online requirement was not a good move on their part, it was likely part of the biggest downfall of Microsoft, luckily they backtracked.

The consumer is lucky for competition. The actions of Sony helped make Microsoft see sense. The PS4 didn’t play the game, Microsoft would have hoped they also implement similar restrictive limits. Sony didn’t and so Microsoft started off on the back foot. Now Microsoft has noticed sales figures aren’t too good either, they thought it might be good to change their plans. Sadly it is unlikely that the pressure of online gamers had much to attribute to the change of heart, more the dismal pre sales and low stock but still, they believed they could get away with ripping off customers and charging more for the same services. The DRM limitations only a ploy for Microsoft to get a slice of the used market. Now consumers have a decision, we can decide if we support the XBOX One and Microsoft’s arrogance or teach them a lesson by boycotting the next gen. It is your decision and some won’t want to become part of the rivalry, that’s fine. I,sadly will likely buy the PS4, its price and competitive features are jut too luring. Microsoft will have learnt either way that they can’t roll over gamers that easily. These policies maybe dead in the water at this point, but they could come back. The industry will move on at some point – and companies will have to find a way of pleasing both their wallets and customers.

Microsofts Drastic U-Turn, shows they still have a little senes…

Last week at E3 Microsoft debuted their latest console, XBOX One, we had already seen a glimpse of the future from Microsoft days before the event but the company continued to amaze and shock attendees with their list of features and requirements for the console. The next generation, as Microsoft put it, would come to XBOX fans in the form of the XBOX One – a highly revamped console that didn’t disappoint on hardware but compromised on software and restrictions.

Microsoft’s XBOX One console was one of the most highly anticipated consoles of  the last few years, how would Microsoft better the XBOX 360? XBOX One was no slouch and Microsoft didn’t hold back, saying that neither did the PS4. Sony and Microsoft have spent the last generation of consoles fighting it out, the PS3 and XBOX 360 have become iconic landmarks in home entertainment history and these will surely be still be being used as benchmarks for years to come. But as Microsoft outs their newest console what did it have inside…

  • 8 Cores
  • 4K Output
  • 8GB DDR3 RAM
  • 500GB HDD
  • Blu Ray
  • Required to connect to internet every 24 hours
  • Kinect Required
  • Games can not be resold or lent to friends that haven’t been XBOX Live friends for less than 30 days and only once
  • RRP £429 ($499)

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The specs don’t look bad, neither does the PS4’s. But what set the two consoles apart were how the individual ecosystems dealt with users DRM and their basic rights. Microsoft received horrific shock at the announcement that their console would need to connect to the internet every 24 hours to verify downloads and check DRM.  Microsoft said they had created the:

” most advanced Xbox system ever designed for games”

Nevertheless their console was required to connect to the internet every 24 hours, something a laptop didn’t have to do, something a smartphone didn’t have to do and something that a five year old PDA wouldn’t have to do… Users attacked Microsoft for their move and many called it an ‘attack on loyal fans’. XBOX has popularity all around the world, sometimes users would not have internet connection and therefore could not play even single player offline content. Microsoft was accused of being naive and arrogant in their marketing and in some ways  this was right. But Don Mattrick did reiterate Microsoft wasn’t ignoring those users who had no connection, Microsoft was prepared an ready. Microsoft had a product for you:

“we have a product for people who aren’t able to get some form of connectivity, it’s called Xbox 360.”

Users laughed at Microsoft for their seemingly stupid implementation that would only lose them users. Microsoft followed their ongoing spree with another very popular announcement that users would also not be able to freely trade games as they currently do. Users could only resell games through certified XBOX stores and and that friends could only share a game once with each other if they had been on their friends list for more than 30 days. This didn’t go down well.

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Bring on the U-Turn

Following over a week of ridicule and nervous breakdowns on YouTube by gamers Microsoft and Don Mattrick obviously had a brainwave, seeing the light. The end was everted. Microsoft released a statement on the newly launched XBOX Wire news site, to the joy of gamers, that they would be backtracking and removing the online requirement and used game restrictions. But why the change of heart? Microsoft has obviously listened and actually come out of their world into reality. Microsoft has realised that users weren’t happy and if they failed to change their strategy they may face a revolution; an exodus of XBOX users.  Don Mattrick posted directly to the site:

“I have heard directly from many of you, read your comments and listened to your feedback.”

Finally, and to much delight it seems Microsoft may actually be understanding the market isn’t quite ready for an always online console. The confession was followed by the revoking of the XBOX One limitations and a sort of apology:

  • An internet connection will not be required to play offline Xbox One games – After a one-time system set-up with a new Xbox One, you can play any disc based game without ever connecting online again. There is no 24 hour connection requirement and you can take your Xbox One anywhere you want and play your games, just like on Xbox 360.
  • Trade-in, lend, resell, gift, and rent disc based games just like you do today – There will be no limitations to using and sharing games, it will work just as it does today on Xbox 360.

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Microsoft have made a u-turn that is so monumental that it may just be able to resurrect the XBOX cause. Microsoft tired to ensure they could make as much money as possible, they tried to squeeze more out of consumers but realised it would not work. XBOX and Microsoft need to now be able to persuade consumers that they can still offer the best for gamers.

Gamers quickly responded with joy at the announcement from XBOX, many posted on Twitter:

“Good move. Because half of your XBL users (including me) were about to make the leap to PS4 just out of spite.”

Microsoft said that they would now have to alter some scenarios and will be likely rethinking some of their business models. The aim of the prio limitations was to provide Microsoft with more income, to try and still allow this the company also announced that users will be able to download their favourite games on the day of release from XBOX Live:

“In addition to buying a disc from a retailer, you can also download games from Xbox Live on day of release”

It may be a good move by Microsoft, but gamers are still showing signs of preferring the PS4 for its £80 cheaper price tag. Will Microsoft be able to re-enter the console wars?