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Tech

A Game of Phones


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…)


. . . Without a Paddle


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…)


No. Wii’re Not.


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.
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Home of the Future


I am seriously surprised no one has been discussing this television program. I have been watching Home of the Future for the past five weeks, and this is a techie/gamer/gadget-guru’s wet dream come to life.

The basic premise of Home of the Future: they have taken an average family (three generations living under one roof), completely gutted their home turning it into an ultra-modern smart home, with damned near all the latest gadgets and technology one can imagine, then shove the family back in the home, and film their experiences.
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Concerning KARA


It’s been a while since I have actually made a blog post, but in all honesty, I have decided not to blog for blogging’s sake, but to do so whenever something comes up that I truly feel I need to say something. I know this goes completely against the proven formula of what makes a successful blog, successful (three regularly scheduled, new posts a week; creating a poll with every post, like you really give a shit about what the reader thinks, et al.), but I feel in the long term, honesty in my blog is going to be my differentiating factor. And honestly, there is no point in blogging unless I have something I really want to say . . . which brings me to the following post.
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The Same Boat


Nintendo released their fiscal 2011 financials today, and looking over the sells charts for the 3DS, it became readily apparent the effect last summer’s price drop has had in turning the misfortunes of that system around from the dismal start last spring. The effect is so pronounced even, that 3DS is gaining traction faster than the DS, or the Wii in all three major sells markets: North America, Europe and Japan.

Looking at that charts in fact, not only can you see exactly when the 3DS price change occurred, but how far 3DS adoption has climbed, both in reference to the DS and the Wii, has got me thinking that Sony may seriously want to reconsider the price point of the PlayStation Vita before it launches next month, or they may be looking at a repeat of the 3DS’ initial dismal performance, prior to last summer’s price drop.
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Pulling Rabbits from Hats


Well it would appear that CES once again, has become the dumping ground for the major game console makers to announce the previous year/quarter’s hardware sells numbers to the public. These are worldwide numbers for units sold during Q4 2011, and a huge shocker came out of this weeks announcements. Heavy competitors Sony and Microsoft were the first to announce their numbers. Microsoft last night at the CES 2012 keynote event, and Sony today in a press release from the show floor. Starting with the PlayStation 3, which has been slowly gaining on the Xbox 360 for the past five years and was poised to catch up the the market leader last year, Sony announced an Earth shattering 3.9 million units sold globally for the crucial quarter ending the calender year, 2011. However, the news of Sony’s sales numbers were already overshadowed by the previous night’s announcement from Microsoft, who managed to pull out a soul crushing (if you are a Sony fan, soul uplifting, if you reside in the Microsoft court) 10 million units globally, in the final three months of 2011. That is a face slapping 2.6 to 1 sales ratio against the Sony branded game console, which put Microsoft firmly back in the lead, no longer a neck and neck race, between the two consoles.

The question on everyone’s mind today has probably got to be, “how did they pull it off?” And sure enough as I read over the story at Joystiq, that seemed to be the question on everyone’s minds. And surprisingly, considering that it is a multi-console discussion on the very sensative topic of hardware sells numbers, it has got to be one of the most civilized (ie flamebait-free, troll-free, cynicism-free) discussions I have seen online on the subject matter, in almost a decade. There is some really well thought out insight into how Microsoft managed to pull this particular rabbit out of their hat. Anyway, I thought I’d add my $0.02 to the discussion. So here goes . . .
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How Cloud Gaming Helps PC Gaming


For those not in the know, late last night (or early this morning if you are in Europe), cloud gaming company OnLive, released their Android and iOS apps, that will allow anyone with an Android tablet, Android smartphone, an iPhone, or an iPad, to play full PC games anywhere on the go, where they can connect with a 3G, 4G, or WiFi wireless connection. Along with the apps, OnLive debuted the OnLive Universal Controller, which will wirelessly connect to any of the above mentioned devices, plus an entire cornucopia of future HDTVs, blu-ray players and settop boxes that will come with OnLive already embedded in the device. Over 30, out of the near 200 games currently on the OnLive service, do not require a controller to play while using them over your mobile device. Working with publishers, these games either come with button overlays for your touchscreen, or in the case of titles like From Dust (arriving on the service soon), and Rockstar Games’ runaway hit, L.A. Noire, the developers worked extremely closely with OnLive to create game specific touchscreen controls. Which if reports are to be believed, not only represent the future of bringing PC games to mobile ecosystems, but are truly extraordinary, and have to be demoed by everyone to be believed.

Over at Joystiq where I regularly hang out, the topic kind of sprung up among some of the posters there (namely myself, ZoomyRamen, Scuffles, eat it, nerdydesi1, Kentbrockman, and a few others) about how OnLive, and more specifically what they were doing, could serve to benefit PC gaming as a whole. I was in the process of contributing my insights on the issue, upon realizing those insights were getting a bit verbose for Joystiq’s forums, and out of courtesy to the community there, have hosted my comment from my own blog. (more…)


Playstation Home. Still Waiting . . .


Anyone who has played around with Playstation Home, Sony’s experimental, online, meta world where gamers can experience new levels of marketing from game publishers, long enough realizes, that the load times, and the downloading is horrendous at times. Any time you direct your avatar to go into an area, you have to stop and wait for that area to load – which takes quite a bit of time, before you can actually go there. And if you want to get into any new area you have never been to before, then you have to preempt your visit by first downloading and installing that area, before you can head there. And as can be expected, you have to wait for the download, and wait for the install, both of which thankfully can be assigned to the background while you continue to play around in your current area. All the same however, waiting around for the new area to load, is not as fun as you would think. And of course once it has loaded and installed, you still have to deal with the load times of actually going to and from the new location. Basically, there is quite a bit of waiting going on over Playstation Home. And this waiting can be a major interruption to the flow of the gaming experience.

So yesterday when the Playstation Blog updated with a video (found after the break) detailing all the improvements that are coming to Playstation Home in the very near future, the omission of Sony remedying the waiting problem, rightfully caught the attention of many fans of the service. But it was not until today, while perusing the comments at Joystiq, that I saw a comment that caught my eye, and got me to really thinking on the matter . . . not the matter of why the problem exists, I think we already know the why’s of the problem, but on the matter of how to fix it, once and for all. (more…)


Kinect 2.0. Siri For Everyone Else? Possibly.

Kinect. Poor Man's Prototype For the Future

You know I was watching this ad for Siri (posted after the break) just now, and got to thinking how much Siri reminded me of what I envisioned Kinect For Mobile would be like.

Microsoft has spoken several times since even before Kinect launched last autumn, about bringing the concept to mobile. Initially, I had not given it much thought – almost laughed at the idea at one point. But back during the spring, the idea lodged in my mind, and I began to think about it a bit, and came up with this concept of how it would work. And what I came up with, was pretty much Siri with a hi-def, 3D camera . . . of course this was before I had heard of Siri. But after seeing the Kinect portion of Microsoft’s E3 2011 press event, you kind of get the feeling that everything they are doing with Kinect on Xbox right now, is a poor mans’ prototype for what they intend to do with mobile and PC in 2012, with near simultaneous launches of Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. (more…)