As a T-Mobile customer with family on both T-Mobile and MetroPCS, and as a former wireless industry insider having worked with three wireless providers (one in Europe, two in the US) over a ten year period, I thought that I would weigh in on the proposed buyout of MetroPCS by Deutsche Telekom. It’s merger to T-Mobile US. And the spinning off the the combined company as a publicly traded entity.
This is actually a great deal for customers on both networks, and may actually work out to be a great deal for US wireless customers overall. And here’s why. (more…)
A story about Facebook went around twitter last night that provoked quite a reaction in privacy advocates like me: Facebook, it seems, is experimenting with getting people to ‘snitch’ on any of their friends who don’t use their real names. Take a look at this:
Facebook has had a ‘real names’ policy for a while: this is what their ‘Help Center’ says on the subject:
People in my field have known about this for a long time – it’s been the cause of a few ‘high profile’ events such as when Salman Rushdie had his account suspended because they didn’t believe that he was who he said he was – but few people had taken it very seriously for anyone other than the famous. Everyone knows ‘fake’ names and ‘fake’ accounts – my sister’s dog has a Facebook account – so few believed that Facebook was going to bother enforcing…
View original post 985 more words
My immediate thoughts on the announcement that Sony is refusing to bring a price drop to the PlayStation Vita during calender year 2012. I think Sony’s problem is, and I think many Sony fans’ problem is, they are all making the mistake of thinking that the Vita is competing against the 3DS. And maybe, just maybe for the 10% to 15% of gamers who represent core gamers, this is true. But for the majority of gamers on the planet, the 3DS is not the main competitor keeping them from purchasing a Vita. The main competitor is iPhone, and Android, and possibly even soon the Win8, WinRT, and WP8 family of devices (especially if rumors are true that the Surface is going to retail for $199). Twice before I have written about this at length, in both cases before the Vita had even launched. The most recent being, The Same Boat, which I posted seven months ago. And in both cases I have been so spot on the money, that it is eerily insane that I can see something so obvious, but the people at Sony who get paid millions to steer the company in the right direction, cannot.
For crying out loud, you cannot even go a week around the net without reading a news article about how even major developers are jumping ship from traditional game development, to focus on the greener pastures that make up the mobile gaming space. There are signs everywhere of a huge shift that is currently happening to the games industry – and the portable games business is being hit with this shift hard. And soon enough, even the console business will be hit with the same shift, and must adapt, or die. And so long as SCE continues to fail acknowledge this shift, the PS Vita is always going to be in danger of simply dropping off the face of the Earth. (more…)
It’s amazing sometimes the memories, or a place in time, that a particular song, or a distinct smell can bring a person back to. And just now I got hit with a one-two punch from my music player, armed and loaded with over twenty-four thousand tracks, and set to shuffle. And just like that – epiphany. Just now (actually a week ago today, as of this posting) I was listening to Jonathan Coultan/Ellen McLain’s Still Alive, followed by Godley & Creme’s Cry, and a thought that has been brewing in the back of my mind for sometime now, finally bubbled up to the top – and then as I said before, epiphany; sad, sad epiphany actually. The best gaming moments of this console generation, have very likely already come and gone . . . years ago.
On the subject of the Wii U, after having a couple weeks to process everything revealed about it. Thank you Nintendo, but your services will no longer be needed. I’d maybe get one if I had kids. But I don’t. And to be honest with you, with Kinect around, I am thinking that if I actually had kids, I’d hand-me-down my Xbox 360 + Kinect to them, when I get a proper next-gen console for myself, before I’d waste money purchasing a Wii U. And this coming from a gamer who has purchased every game console, on it’s day of release for every generation since 1989.
Anyone who is a close friend of mine is already aware that I have taken a challenge upon myself to save as much money as possible on my gaming habit in 2012. There are lots of obvious tactics involved to the overall strategy, many of them like never purchasing anything at full price, looking for sales, taking advantage of sites like Half.com for pre-owned purchases, making liberal use of Steams ample sales, avoiding Gamestop at all costs, are all pretty much common knowledge to most gamers who give a damn about how much of their hard earned money they expend on gaming. However, some less commonly known tactics towards this goal involve a bit more imagination, a little extra leg work, and sometimes a little help from your friends. This particular tale, is one in which I purchased/pre-ordered over $130 worth of brand new games, for less than $16 out of pocket. I have finagled some really good deals over the past six months, but I have to admit that this one, this one took the cake.
Summer of Arcade, Xbox LIVE Arcade’s annual promotion marking the middle of summer every year, turns 5 this year, and looking back over the 19 games released over the previous four years, I am not shocked that I own 13 of them. The annual promo usually brings out the best of the digital offerings every year, and 2012 looks to be no different.
Of the five games on offer this summer, at least three of them will go down as instant classics, not to mention day one purchases by yours truly. It would have been four day one purchases, but I no longer give money to help sponsor the corporate wrongdoings of Activision. Pretty much meaning that Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD is a no-buy for me; even if you paid me to purchase it – I’d just take your money, and still would not buy the game with it.
That aside, it looks to be a great summer line up, with a few surprises thrown in. And I for one cannot wait until the festivities kick on in late July. Look past the break to see the highlights of this year’s Summer of Arcade.
38 Studios. For the past two weeks, this story has practically overshadowed every other story in the game industry. Even in the mad dash of news released in the weeks prior to E3, which any other year would be all the news in this business, the demise of 38 Studios looms over everything. And it seems to me that over the last couple of weeks everyone has put their own $0.02 in. Most of it from the perspective of passersby staring at the spectacle of a horrific traffic accident on the side of the freeway. But maybe it’s because everyone is in shock (unless you are in New England, then you are outraged – New Englanders love to be outraged by anything people in high places fuck up at; just ask Drew Bledsoe). But everyone else seems to be transfixed, which is probably why some of the most obvious stuff that should be what is being said about this situation, is not.
I’ve been reading everywhere like a madman, and the most obvious things, the stuff that in this particular incident are likely to be reserved for hindsight, no one is saying. And worse still, none of the talking heads in the game business are even speculating on solutions to fix this mess at all. This despite the fact that if 38 Studios goes under, it is going to have a negative impact on every game publisher and developer in North America and the EU. Half of every politician for the next decade will use 38 Studios as the poster child for not handing out tax breaks, and tax credits to game studios under their aegis. For the end gaming consumer, this means that the price of games are about to go up again over the next few years. When you consider that in many places, game companies receive between 30% to 50% of their development costs returned to them via nontaxable revenue earned under tax credit programs, you begin to realize very quickly why the retail price for games is headed upward should 38 Studios tank. And what is most sad, is that 38 Studios can be saved; should be saved even. I’ve already listed several good reasons why, and there are even more.
What do you get when you take the frame story behind Batman Beyond, blend it with the Tron universe, fill it with a veritable star-studded geekfest cast of voice talent including Elijah Wood, Fred Tatasciore, Lance Henriksen, and Emmanuelle Chriqui, up the production values beyond what is usually associated with television animation, include tons of action and a halfway intelligently written script, and bring in Bruce Boxleitner to reprise his role as the titular, Tron? Well what are you still reading this shit for, when the answer awaits you in the first full episode of Tron: Uprising embedded below.