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.
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 . . .
The subject of recent classic PC franchise reboots, has been something I have been avoiding for some time now. When I discovered these cherished moments are being dumbed downed into shooters, to appeal to a larger, less cerebral audience, than the audience who initially made these classics, there are mixed feelings that come with that. On the one hand, a popular IP from the days of my youth, will now be appreciated (to some degree), by an entirely new audience. On the other hand . . . well, the games have been dumbed downed, and very likely devoid of most of what made them special in the first place, just to reach this new audience. In my mind, it’s like having sex while wearing a concrete condom – the upside is that you are having sex . . . if you can call taking almost everything that makes sex pleasurable in the first place, having it stripped away, and replaced with a blunt-force object, “having sex.” (more…)
Joystiq’s Jason Lomberg wrote a nice editorial piece concerning video gaming’s shallowness, entitled, I’m Tired of Saving the World. In the piece he goes on about how in creating only the most surface of stories, and always avoiding the more interpersonal type of stories that directly connect with the human condition, gaming as a whole has sold itself short as a medium. In the piece he gives several examples of where gaming has gone wrong, and several more examples of some promising work done in recent years, that while their merits may be debatable depending on who you are, tend to attempt to push games into becoming a more versatile medium; and hopefully, into the true potential inherently in the medium.
Anyone who has known me for more than a few years, across almost any forum I have frequented, knows this issue, and it really is an issue with the medium, is one of those I have written about passionately over the past decade. It used to seem that I was alone in my feelings toward how far the true potential of the medium could stretch, but lately it seems that slowly, more, and more people (at least in the gaming press), are beginning to wake up to this potential. If you have not already read Jason Lomberg’s editorial (linked above), then do so, it is a really good read. And pretty much every thing that follows in the rest of this post, serves kind of as an addendum to what he wrote. I have a future post planned to expound far more into the subject matter than this post is today. I’ve been writing about this for ten years, so you can bet I have more than a few observations, and things to share on the issue. (more…)
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…)