Microsoft

And Now for the Xbox One Reveal, Abridged

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Yesterday we were all blown away by the amazing reveal of Microsoft‘s next-gen console, Xbox One. No, wait, sorry, that’s what I imagined would happen, while in fact we were unbelievably underwhelmed. If you haven’t already, do read Jason Tabrys’ breakdown of the Xbox One reveal and how it single-handedly dashed all our hopes and dreams the next generation of consoles weren’t going to suck. Sony, the ball’s in your court.

Hey, speaking of courts and balls and other sport-related things, what was with all the sports talk at this presentation? And television? Who even watches live TV anymore? Has Microsoft not been introduced to DVRs? On-Demand? Streaming? VideoGamerTV hilariously abridges the Xbox One reveal down to its core components: TV, sports, and the Call of Duty dog. Give it a watch,

DOOOOGGGGSSS! If the Xbox One doesn’t come pre-packaged with the equipment needed to mo-cap your own dog using the Kinect 2.0, I’m setting it on fire.

 

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Maybe this will all change once we get a better look, but right now, you can just smell the disappointment, can’t you? As a semi-spoiled half-futurist, I think it’s safe to say that I expected more from the last big reveal of this new console generation. That’s Microsoft’s curse. They get to close the stitch on the wound of dashed hope that was borne by an unreal set of expectations for a generation that feels like a placeholder.

No real 3-D, no holo-gaming, no photorealism, and I can’t control Master Chief with the power of my mind? Fucking bullshit.

To make matters worse, we don’t even know the depths of their possible failure because they mostly refrained from showing us real and sustained gameplay; something that has become the norm in an industry that fetishizes worthless cinematics whenever they try to rap at their audience about a new property or a re-dressed old property.

Speaking of re-dressed old properties, Microsoft probably should have embraced a Kinect re-brand in light of the tepid response that the original received.

Despite what the industry tells us, motion gaming still feels nascent with a full potential achievement that remains unlocked — the fucking wand, the twitchy camera bar, the irrelevant Wii U that bleeds relevancy from a shallow well more and more everyday — reset and rebuild, but don’t deliver unto me a corpse with sprinkles on it.

The boys in the lab over at Bill Gates’ jolly green giant project are putting a lot of burden on the back of the Kinect, further committing to the wonder of voice control, recognition, and the Kinect’s ability to now (allegedly) recognize real, human body movement as well as eye movement and the beat of our hearts and fuck that is a little creepy.

“I’ve detected weakness Dave, initiating extermination function zero. Good bye Dave.”

It’s not all bad though, the Snap function — that allows users to watch live TV (through their cable system) and split screen web search — is kinda cool, but it only pulls even with PC and Tablet capability. Again, dashed expectations pepper this reveal because we won’t see an outlet for high volume ambition in gaming like this for half a decade — at minimum — and by then, Apple will have us live streaming Downton Abbey from an antenna in our assholes.

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It’s funny, to Microsoft, this is a victory. They’re calling this thing the ONE most likely because they plan on selling it to you as the ONE device that you will need and that is the holy grail: ONE device to make all others obsolete, but this isn’t that. This is just another ONE, and I already have enough other ones that do 90% of what this one does. Prettier ones that don’t look like an Atari 2600 briefcase with a massive footprint.

You’ll need to hang on to that old 360 if you want to play your old games, by the way. The Xbox One doesn’t do backwards compatibility, but on the bright side, Microsoft did recognize that people didn’t want to be online all the time, especially if they just wanted to embrace the “single player, close out the outside world” experience that is a under-celebrated but hugely important part of gaming. So the system won’t need to be online all the time, though obviously, a great part of the One’s bells and whistles comes from full connectivity and an Xbox Live membership so that we can have that “relationship” with our TV that the introductory add teased. By the way, I’m pretty sure that you also need to love sports to enjoy your Xbox One, because FUCK did they hammer the head off that nail.

As for gameplay, I have to assume that it will also be a large part of this new system, but as I said before, we didn’t get anything approaching a significant look at that in this presentation… the one that mostly felt like a needless E3 appetizer.

Sure, we know that there will be a new Forza game and that Modern Warfare: Ghost has a mo-cap dog and fancy sounding volumetric lighting, but as a gamer, there was little here for me and right now, that just about sums up this next generation as a whole.

Incremental innovation, empty hype and a lot of redundancy — right now, this future looks bent. Wake me when the PS5 gets announced.

UPDATE: Now reports are surfacing that the Xbox One will indeed need to be connected to the net once daily and — though there is a bit of confusion on this — it seems like there will be some kind of fee associated with playing used games. Fees that could range from $40-$60.

UPDATE 2: Regarding the used game fee, Major Nelson has responded, saying:

We know there is some confusion around used games on Xbox One and wanted to provide a bit of clarification on exactly what we’ve confirmed today. While there have been many potential scenarios discussed, today we have only confirmed that we designed Xbox One to enable our customers to trade in and resell games at retail.

Beyond that, we have not confirmed any specific scenarios.

Another piece of clarification around playing games at a friend’s house – should you choose to play your game at your friend’s house, there is no fee to play that game while you are signed in to your profile.

 

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Amongst the announcements at Microsoft’s unveiling of the new X-Box One this afternoon (Nerd Bastards will have more about it throughout the afternoon and evening), was the somewhat unexpected announcement that there would be a new Halo project coming soon that would have nothing to do with the new console.

After years of trying to get a live-action movie going, most notably under producer Peter Jackson and director Neill Blomkamp, it seems that Microsoft is teaming up with no less than Steven Spielberg to turn Halo into a live-action TV series. Microsoft tweeted that Spielberg will also direct, but that likely means that Spielberg will direct the pilot before turning over those duties to others.

Why a TV series, and why now? Interesting questions. Right now, there’s no launch date for the series, and there’s no network or outlet announced to be air the eventual series. Microsoft reps have said though that they want this to look like a premium show a la Game of Thrones, which is a pretty big yard stick to measure themselves by, but at this point the series could end up on broadcast, cable, or online.

As to why, one of the reasons that the plug was pulled on the movie was because Microsoft wanted more creative control on the project. Producing a TV series probably gives them that.

Anyway, more news as it develops.

Source: Geek Nation

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This week on The Bastardcast: Jason and Jeremy return from their tour of Yo Momma to talk about the big drama surrounding a little bit of peen in Saga #12, a Game of Thrones fan’s Craigslist enabled sexy time fantasy, and world renowned sugar-tit enthusiast Mel Gibson’s possible directorial return for The Expendables vs. The Macabees: A Time Travel Adventure, aka Expendables 3.

Also on the show: Would you have sex with a robot? 9% of you would according to a new poll and apparently 50% of our adventurous hosts would as well. So, yeah, we’ll be dedicating some time to discuss Cylon banging.

We’ll also tackle the sale Shatner’s phaser, the return of Carrie Kelley to Batman comics, the departure of Microsoft’s former creative director and chief gamer pisser off-er, the sacrificial lamb that is Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Warner Bros. big DC movie plans, TV’s favorite couple (TEAM KADEEM!), and Jeremy and Jason try to figure out why Jodie Foster is rocking a smart pantsuit 140 years into the future in the somewhat District 9-y Elysium trailer.

All that and a lyrical ode to Axel Rose’ bulge on… The Bastardcast.

rangerThe Bastardcast: Nucking Futs and horrendously bad at spelling.

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Unless you’re a video game recluse you’ve by now heard Sony has officially announced the PS4. While Nintendo’s Wii U has already been available for months, it’s the PS4’s release this holiday season that really signals the beginning of the next generation of gaming consoles. Sorry, Wii U, but serious gamers just don’t care. Shit, serious gamers use PCs, so they don’t give a fuck about all this next-gen talk anyway.

The ball is now in Microsoft‘s court, what will they be offering up to counter the substantial updates of the PS4? It’s been rumored we’d learn about Microsoft’s next-gen console by GDC, the Game Developers Conference on March 25th, but maybe we’ll see something even earlier. Eventcore, an event organizing company Microsoft has worked with in the past, just registered the domain XboxEvent.com. Visiting the site will get you nowhere, but the fact it’s been registered at all is raising some questions. And honestly, I don’t think anyone believed Microsoft would stay quiet about the Xbox 720 or whatever it is for long.

What do you guys think? Will Microsoft be announcing their next-gen console soon in order to steal a little of Sony’s thunder?

Source: Geek Tyrant

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Bungie, creator of the mega-hit Halo franchise,  has a new game on the block. Destiny is the first project Bungie will put out since the break with Microsoft after Halo:Reach.  Destiny is a “Shared World Shooter” a combination of the traditional first person shooter game and the MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game). Bungie hopes to bring the best of both styles of play together in Destiny.

The storyline is set in the distant future as the last warriors of Humanity struggle to protect the last safe city on the planet from the mysterious enemies that destroyed all of human kinds colonies on other worlds. The open-world game will allow players to explore those colonies and travel to and explore other planets. Bungie is planning for this game world to be one of the largest ever created for an MMORPG.

The game will include both competitive and cooperative single-player and multiplayer modes. The game’s modes are designed to “seamlessly merge” together and won’t feature the traditional multiplayer matchmaking like you might see in Call of Duty or Halo and other online games. It will be interesting to see what these changes might bring.

Bungie put together this video to help describe and explain the game play in this massive new online project:

Right now, the game is currently in only in development for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 with no release date as of yet. I’m a traditional PC gamer so I’m hoping that platform won’t be ignored by developers.

There’s some concept art that has been released to the Internet below, and you can head over to Polygon to check out the full rundown of the game and additional pics.

Via: Blastr

Opinion: The End of Nintendo

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With reports that Sony will debut the PS4 in three weeks and with a possible holiday release on the table, the next generation has begun. Soon, Microsoft will follow with their Xbox 360 follow-up and Nintendo will sit there, their latest system not even a year old, their gamble foolish from the start.

A few years ago, when the Wii pioneered motion gaming — making it a must have system for casual gamers, families, and a lot of people who had never before owned a console before — it seemed like they could do no wrong.

Back then, the mobile gaming market wasn’t dominated by smartphones and tablets. Back then, Sony and Microsoft got caught on their heels, fighting a war over half the available market.

Then, back then ended. Android and Apple seized the mobile market and Sony and Microsoft eventually lowered their prices, marketed their systems as home entertainment hubs that could do things that the Wii could not, and then they entered the motion gaming market as well, with the Move and the Kinect, robbing Nintendo of the one thing that made them unique.

What makes them unique now? Their lack of foresight, and their pending irrelevancy.

See, when Sony and Microsoft had Nintendo beat, the House of Mario doubled down and brought a new system to market, even as it’s peers were writing off this generation and preparing to move into the future.

Will that system, the Wii U, be able to stand in against competition that will surely have them beat in every facet of the game? All signs point to no.

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The End. 

Companies die. It’s a sad thing because it means jobs and legacies vanish, but Atari just filed for bankruptcy, and Sega abandoned the console game years ago, fully aware that smaller companies cannot compete in the console wars against companies like Sony and now Microsoft — a lesson that Nintendo is now learning more fully.

Why am I so confident that the end is near for Nintendo, the home of NES and Gameboy, one of the industries’ forefathers?

I’m confident because they’re already beginning to erode, even before the next Sony and Microsoft system hit the market. From a report on Forbes.com:

Nintendo cut sales forecasts for all of its hardware and software today, most notably the Wii U. The company slashed shipping estimates on the Wii U from 5.5 million to 4, and software estimates from 24 million to 16.

The article goes on to say that, despite a profitable holiday season quarter, that Nintendo still suffered an annual loss last year. Again, this is in the last days of disco for an ending generation, and Nintendo couldn’t even live up to their own expectations with it’s new, shiny product (with current gen performance capabilities) that they are now locked into.

What about the DS and the 3DS? According to TGDaily:

The company also cut forecasts for its other consoles. 3DS sales are now likely to be 15 million by March – 14 percent fewer than predicted – with DS sales down eight percent on their forecast at 2.3 million.

Now, I don’t want to sound like I’m eager to dance on Nintendo’s grave. I grew up with an NES in my living room and adored the N64, but the past is the past and Nintendo’s corporate overlords have demonstrated a lack of vision and painful ineptitude when it comes to reading their own marketplace.

Who is the Wii U for anyway? As I said, motion gaming is now available on every system, so they have no edge there. What about hardcore gamers? Turns out they require top-line graphics and strong third party developer support — things that the Wii U doesn’t provide. Home entertainment fans? The Wii U doesn’t have a Blu Ray player. Budget conscious shoppers? You can buy a 500 gig PS3, with the Blu Ray player for the same price as a base model Wii U with only 8 gigs, and that doesn’t even count the cost of an extra tablet controller.

Is Nintendo pondering a price cut to try and gain a foothold? No, their doubling down on their failures once again.

Like I said, I don’t want Nintendo to fail, but they’re handheld products are equaled by other multi-functional products that are viewed as essential by most consumers, something that renders their products in-essential. Furthermore, they released an overpriced, under-performing, awkward to use console that doesn’t meet the demands of the average consumer, a consumer whose expectations are set to rise when Sony and Microsoft announce their new products, products that I imagine will one day host Mario and other Nintendo properties as the company stumbles down the same ravine that Sega did.

It didn’t have to be like this. The future was plowing toward the station and instead of waiting, Nintendo jumped too early and fell right onto the tracks.

They could have strived for innovation, they could have aimed for a niche, any niche, but instead, they relied on the strength of brand loyalty and the assumption that Wii owners would rejoice over backwards compatible peripherals, and everyone else would wait for the system to offer a healthy library of games.

Sadly though, the market doesn’t wait, and now Nintendo’s window has closed and they are a cautionary tale.

Game Over.

PS4 to Come Out Before Christmas?

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According to the Wall Street Journal, Sony will, indeed, introduce the Sony Playstation 4 on February 20th. The article goes on to say that Sony is expected to push the system to market before the end of this year, but nothing is known about what else will be revealed in three weeks time.

Last week, Kotaku published an article that featured loads of information on the new system, though there is still no confirmation from Sony that the specs and details presented in that article are real.

Luckily, Nerd Bastards has obtained official… nah, I’m just fucking around. Can you imagine? Shit, that would be awesome for us. Anyway…

The big questions facing Sony will likely come down to price point, developer support, and look. Casual gamers don’t know what to make of spec lists — they need to be wowed visually, and if Sony wants to take this apparent head-start and really seize momentum, they’re going to have to ring in this announcement with some visual fireworks that show us what the next generation of consoles looks like.

They also need to tell us how Orbis, or PS4, represents a clear upgrade over present systems. Times are tough, and people aren’t going to lay out hundreds of dollars unless they know that they are buying a piece of the future.

Microsoft will have the same pressures when they announce firm details and a release date for their Xbox 360 successor, an announcement that, I imagine, won’t be far behind Sony’s.

Sources Say: New X-Box in the New Year!

Hot on the heels of the recently released Wii U, Nintendo’s next generation console gaming platform, comes news that the next iteration of X-Box is on its way in the next year, according to Bloomberg News.

Sources inside, or close to, Microsoft are saying that the company is looking to a potential release date of next Thanksgiving (American, not Canadian) in order to take maximum advantage of the holiday sales period. The company is also debating right now the best way to unveil the new system, the choice being a big reveal at an industry event like E3 or a dedicated event organized by Microsoft. An official statement from Microsoft was not made when asked about the rumor.

Wii U was released a few weeks ago and sold more than 400,000 units in its first seven days of release, while the original Wii sold another 300,000 over the busy Thanksgiving week sales period. But X-Box 360 remains the industry leader, selling 750,000 units over the same period allowing Microsoft to remain the best-seller for 22 straight months.

Still no world yet on a release date for the next generation of Playstation. {tumbleweed}

More news will appear here as it develops.

Source: Business Insider

Microsoft has put out a new game-play trailer for Halo 4. The game is set to hit store shelves on November 6th. The action is set four years after the events in Halo 3 with Master Chief facing evil from the distant past. The game looks pretty damn good, but one only has to look back to see the quality of work put into the franchise.

The only thing missing is some big blockbuster summer movies set in the world of Halo. Now there is the webisode Forward Unto Dawn. It looks pretty darn good, but any hope of a feature length movie is in limbo for the time being.