Tag Archives: Xbox One X

The tail of a prophet

I spoke on all kinds of matters, and I also gave some upcoming predictions. So, on June 17th of 2017 I predicted: “So by the end of 2018 the console offset ‘Sony:Nintendo:Microsoft’ could end up being ‘13:9:2’. This would show Microsoft on how they truly bet on the wrong marketing horses. So I admit, it is a speculative prediction, yet the sales numbers are not that far off and my expected Nintendo growth is not unrealistic“. It was (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2017/06/17/after-the-e3/) where I decided to introduce the audience to some of the massive bungles that upper management at Microsoft is involved in. Now, if they replied (read: if, if is good), it would be along the way of ‘it is not our core business‘, or ‘we have all out vestment set to the Azure solution‘. Yet in that view options like Hadoop are already mentioned on the way out, getting replaced by a new flavour of Big Data. Microsoft has Blockchain as a Service (BaaS), but there the adaption is not on the curve they need it to be, so as we see other places become contenders, we realise that Microsoft is too big to just fall over, but as they wanted to be in the generic ‘let’s be there for everyone‘, I see (a personal believe) that those focusing on one part of a business that they are excelling and they are taking away customers left right and centre. Now, this is not a tidal wave, it is a slow process. Yet, in all, the quote I gave now has a serious side. Only last night did I get the news that the Nintendo Switch has hit the 5 million sales mark Compare this to PlayStation 4 Total Sales: 63.4 million and Xbox One Total Sales: 26.5 million (not entirely accurate as clear numbers are hard to find), both released in November 2013. So in 6 months Nintendo closed the gap by a lot. Nintendo is currently committed to get production up towards 2 million consoles a month and this is showing as some analysts (not the group I have the most faith in) have predicted that by March 2018 Nintendo will be expected to be seen in over 13 million homes. So in one year the Nintendo Switch will close the gap with the Microsoft Xbox. My predictions are still on speed to become a reality, yet the given by December 2018 might not be the case. If Nintendo releases the games they have planned on time, the curve will increase and whilst the Microsoft business analysts will bedazzle the people with Scorpio, 4K gaming and other things, the consumers are starting to realise that the people at Microsoft are less clued in on the gamers needs, a thing I clearly stated for close to 2 years (or was that 3 years) and now my predictions are slowly moving into the sunlight for all to see. At present my 13:9:2 is likely to be 12:5:3 no more than, yet Nintendo remains in 3rd place, which was the larger part that mattered. Still this is based on two players with 6 years and Nintendo with less than 2 years by the end of 2018, so even as consoles would have been sold, the Microsoft growth will stagnate as a larger population from their camp will switch to Nintendo and the family friendly games that Ubisoft produces are not helping the plight of Microsoft in any way.

You see, there are two groups and as Microsoft does not care about one of them, it is that group that will drive the dagger home so to speak. It is my personal believe that Microsoft is ignoring the people who bought one and they are realise that to some degree they ended with a lemon. Now these people are not going to jump to Sony, but with the Nintendo wave and the good pricing of that console they will consider the Switch for Thanksgiving and Christmas, so there is a 95% chance that Nintendo will have a great Christmas on a near global level. You see, the group Microsoft neglected is now showing a dusty Xbox One, these people are not going to Scorpio and depending on their gaming prowess, not only will they advocate non-Microsoft solutions and buy a Switch, they will in theory prevent 2-3 other players getting an Xbox as well. So not only will Microsoft be fighting an uphill battle from the day they launch, their new system will be buried by the sales achievements that Nintendo is bringing to the ‘Just Dance’ floor, which will be a growing and is likely to be a Nintendo dominant dance floor. A nice little positive event (read: impressive achievement) for Ubisoft as well. A game that has hit the 25 million mark is showing to be as successful as the Xbox One console at present ever was. The fact that some Microsoft executives are not contemplating suicide is a small miracle to say the least. Perhaps they should have actually listened to the gaming community and not revere the spreadsheet they adhere to.

We see at present more and more news in both camps. One showing that Microsoft is more and more successful for the Scorpio, some show that Microsoft remains stagnant and are now setting $50 price drops and one source gives us “Only 13% Of Hardcore Gamers Plan On Buying An Xbox Scorpio“, which is a number I feel uncomfortable with as I expect that number to be at least twice as high. Yet between the expected buyer and the actual buyer there will be a gap and the results of Nintendo show that gap to likely be widening on a nearly daily basis. In other news, a few months ago we saw (at https://mspoweruser.com/project-scorpio-fails-impress-american-gamers-according-nielsen/) the title “Project Scorpio fails to impress American gamers according to Nielsen“. This fact is a lot more interesting were it not for one given part. When we consider the quote “Phil Spencer has to prove to gamers that they need to upgrade. The only way to do this is to show mind-blowing graphical upgrades and flood the internet and television with advertisements of the device” we need to wonder about the job Nielsen has in this. You see, ‘mind-blowing graphical upgrades‘ might seem nice, but in the end it is about good gaming and that has not been delivered by many games, not to the degree it needed to be. In the second, the part ‘flood the internet and television‘ might be to appease their other customers, but it does nothing for the gamers, only the badly informed consumers and that market has shifted a lot. It has shifted because people bought the WiiU and some of them are now hurting by the Xbox One, not in the smallest part because of unwanted and non-consensual uploads by the Xbox One into the Azure cloud. We are becoming more and more data savvy and the Microsoft helpdesk telling me (read: they really did) that this lies solely with the internet provider is a party line so stupid, it makes me want to vomit. So from the side of Microsoft, we see their hardware, their policies and their shortcomings, they sold out the gamer three times in a row with one console. that and the ignored part by Nielsen on how much of a blasting success the Switch was gives us more and more light that properly informing an audience is a loaded canon to say the least.

Now, I am willing to say that my data is not completely up to scrap. When we consider that several sources who give clear Sony sales records need to guess and get other data sources to compile the Microsoft numbers. The fact that Microsoft has been remiss (or pushing dates of publishing numbers) is one tactic to keep the diminishing group of Scorpio pre orders in the dark. The first set will be immediately sold out, that was never in question, but the three subsequent pushes are the ones that are in play. The war for Christmas is on and even as I have illusions regarding Nintendo winning that, there will be loads of Ps4pro’s and Scorpios on the list of plenty of kids. The A$650 might seem nice, but in the end, as people realise that storage remains an issue, having the A$675 2TB edition would have been the smarter move. Oh wait, that one does not exist because Microsoft did not consider the gamer in any of this, just their Teraflop speech laced with 4K resolution. That evidence is shown by Microsoft when we see “While Forza Motorsport 7 hasn’t been released yet and it won’t be out until October 3rd, the official Microsoft Windows store has listed the download size for the game and it is a gigantic 100 GB” (source: gearnuke.com), a factor I mentioned before, so as the 1TB drive loses around 300Mb for the operating system and store parts and so on, the gamer soon realises that there will only be space for 7 games in 4K. So how long was Microsoft going to hide that disaster? When you have to reinstall 3 games within 6 months and get the patches, how long until you get to be in an aggravated state of irritation? A clear issue that the Xbox One had and even as Microsoft had the ability to diffuse the situation, they decided to not do anything, which is another battle they lost to Sony and one that might drive more gamers towards the additional Nintendo pile of those who want to enjoy a game. This now also fuels the previous blog on digital rights (one that Euro gamer made me start after their video), because in that setting a physical copy on disc becomes more and more important to every gamer. Yet this is not all, it is the largest factor in gaming that is now starting to push the envelope to the degree that Microsoft will not be happy about. With the announcement of ‘a Nintendo Switch version for Fear Effect Sedna‘ just today will be coming to Switch pushes the bar as Microsoft is losing their exclusive range of games faster and faster. This is a known bar that both Sony and Microsoft pushed as much as possible, now that some iconic titles are also coming to Switch; the results will have an impact on all consoles (it will impact Sony to a much lesser extent). Even as I personally believe that some titles will not make a person not buy a game, but could push a gamer to get the Nintendo Switch on the side. This action results in more and more hazard points for the continuation of Microsoft consoles as a growing group of people are now cancelling pre-orders. Now, that is not an entirely accurate statement. Let me give you the ‘down low‘ on it. Last month has given more and more forums the issue where people came with the same issue “my Xbox One X pre-order was cancelled for no explainable reason by Target“. There seems to be a separate play going on. Some players never cancelled their pre-order, it seems that some players who wanted to make quick solid revenue are now confronted that their infrastructure cannot deal with the sudden ‘need’ of thousands of players and their systems seem to be unable to keep score to coin a phrase. So here Microsoft is wrongfully set in a bad light as other systems cannot deal with the infrastructure of some consumer chains and Target does not seem to be the only one. I believe that there are people having second thoughts, which will always happen. I believe that the ‘converted’ curve of Microsoft is a lot lower when we consider actual ‘converted’ gamers. So there are those numbers to consider as well. The backup in all this is that as cancellations happen, sales numbers might regionally shift and this is happening in the height of Thanksgiving and Christmas, so there will be a larger lash back to consider in January, but that will be a story for another day.

So as my tail is considering the tale of a console that was designed not fore gamers, but for players. Microsoft needs to sit down and make some clear considerations on where they went wrong and how they moved from second place to a possible degradation to initially position three, all because three factors that could have been directly avoided were ignored for (as I personally see it) other business needs.

A harsh situation that again, as I personally see it, is all the doing of Microsoft self and they only have themselves to blame, a market shift in merely 2 years. I wonder who they’ll blame when the numbers become crystal clear at the end of the next financial year. Perhaps it will give us a new console in 2018, the Microsoft EOFYbox, free with every Microsoft Surface Pro IV.

 

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Google is fine, not fined

Yup, that’s me in denial. I know that there will be an appeal and it is time for the EU to actually get a grip on certain elements. In this matter I do speak with some expert authority as I have been part of the Google AdWords teams (not employed by Google though). The article ‘Google fined record €2.4bn by EU over search engine results‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/jun/27/google-braces-for-record-breaking-1bn-fine-from-eu) is a clear article. Daniel Boffey gives us the facts of the case, which is what we were supposed to read and get. Yet there is another side to it all and I think the people forgot just how terribly bad the others are. So when I read: “By artificially and illegally promoting its own price comparison service in searches, Google denied both its consumers real choice and rival firms the ability to compete on a level playing field, European regulators said“, so let’s start with this one and compare it to the mother of all ….. (read: Bing). First of all, there is no ‘Shopping’ tab. So there is that! If I go into the accursed browser of them (read: Internet Explorer), I get loads of unwanted results. In light of the last few days I had to enter ‘Grenfell .co.uk‘ a few times and guess what, I get “Visit Grenfell, Heart of Weddin Shire” in my top results, a .org.au site. The place is in NSW. Did I ask for that? Google gives a perfectly fine result. Now, I am not including the top ads as the advertisers can bid for whatever solution they want to capture. So let’s have a look at Bing ads. First I can choose to be visible in Aussie or Kiwi land, I can be visible globally or I can look at specific locations. So how do you appeal to the Australian and Scandinavian markets? Oh, and when you see the Bing system, it is flawed, yet it uses all the Google AdWords terms and phrases, callout extensions, snippets. They didn’t even bother to give them ‘original’ Bing names. And I still can’t see a way to target nations. So when we see a copy to this extent, we see the first evidence that Google made a system that a small time grocery shop like Microsoft cannot replicate at present. We can argue that the user interface is a little friendlier for some, but it is lacking in several ways and soon, when they are forced to overhaul, you get a new system to learn. So when the racer (Micro$oft) is coming in an Edsel and is up against a Jaguar XJ220, is it dominance by manipulating the race, or should the crying contender considered coming in an actual car?

Next, when I read ‘rival firms the ability to compete on a level playing field’, should the EU regulator consider that the other player does not have a shopping tab, the other players has a lacking advertisement management system that require massive overbidding to get there? Then we get the change history. I cannot see specifics like ‘pausing a campaign‘, this seems like a really important item to show, for the most ALL changes are important and the user is not shown several of them.

In the end, each provider will have its own system; it is just massively unsettling on how this system ‘mimics’ Google AdWords. Yet this is only the beginning.

The quote “The commission’s decision, following a seven-year probe into Google’s dominance in searches and smartphones, suggests the company may need to fundamentally rethink the way it operates. It is also now liable to face civil actions for damages by any person or business affected by its anti-competitive behaviour” really got me started. So, if we go back to 2010, we see the BBC (at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8174763.stm) give us “Microsoft’s Bing search engine will power the Yahoo website and Yahoo will in turn become the advertising sales team for Microsoft’s online offering. Yahoo has been struggling to make profits in recent years. But last year it rebuffed several takeover bids from Microsoft in an attempt to go it alone” in addition there is “Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer said the 10-year deal would provide Microsoft’s Bing search engine with the necessary scale to compete“. Now he might well be the 22nd richest person on the planet, yet I wonder how he got there. We have known that the Yahoo system has been flawed for a long time, I was for a long time a Yahoo fan, I kept my account for the longest of times and even when Google was winning the race, I remained a loyal Yahoo fan. It got me what I needed. Yet over time (2006-2009) Yahoo kept on lagging more and more and the Tim Weber, the Business editor of the BBC News website stated it the clearest: “Yahoo is bowing to the inevitable. It simply had neither the resources nor the focus to win the technological arms race for search supremacy“. There is no shame here, Yahoo was not number one. So as we now realise that the Bing Search engine is running on a flawed chassis, how will that impact the consumer? Having a generic chassis is fine, yet you lose against the chassis of a Bentley Continental. Why? Because the designer was more specific with the Bentley, it was specific! As Bentley states: “By bringing the Speed models 10mm closer to the ground, Bentley’s chassis engineering team laid the foundation for an even sportier driving experience. To do so they changed the springs, dampers, anti-roll bars and suspension bushes. The result is improved body control under hard cornering, together with greater agility“, one element influences the other, and the same applies to online shopping, which gets us back to Steve Ballmer. His quote to the BBC “Through this agreement with Yahoo, we will create more innovation in search, better value for advertisers, and real consumer choice in a market currently dominated by a single company“, is that so? You see, in 2009 we already knew that non-Google algorithms were flawed. It wasn’t bad, there was the clear indication that the Google algorithms were much better, these algorithms were studies at universities around the world (also at the one I attended), the PageRank as Stanford University developed it was almost a generation ahead of the rest and when the others realised that presentations and boasts didn’t get the consumer anywhere (I attended a few of those too), they lost the race. The other players were all about the corporations and getting them online, getting the ‘path build’ so that the people will buy. Yet Google did exactly the opposite they wondered what the consumer needed and tended to that part, which won them the race and it got transferred into the Advertisement dimension as such. Here too we see the failing and the BBC published it in 2009. So the second quote “Microsoft and Yahoo know there’s so much more that search could be. This agreement gives us the scale and resources to create the future of search“, well that sounds nice and all marketed, yet, the shown truth was that at this point, their formula was flawed, Yahoo was losing traction and market share on a daily basis and what future? The Bing system currently looks like a ripped of copy (a not so great one) of the Google AdWords system, so how is there any consideration of ‘the ability to compete on a level playing field‘? In my view the three large players all had their own system and the numbers two and three were not able to keep up. So is this the case (as the EU regulator calls it) of “by promoting its own comparison shopping service in its search results, and demoting those of competitors“, or is there a clear growing case that the EU regulator does not comprehend that the algorithm is everything and the others never quite comprehended the extend of the superiority of the Google ranks? Is Google demoting others, or are the others negating elements that impact the conclusion? In car terms, if the Google car is the only one using Nitro, whilst the use of Nitro is perfectly legal (in this case). In addition, we see in 2015 ‘Microsoft loses exclusivity in shaken up Yahoo search deal‘ as well as “Microsoft will continue to provide search results for Yahoo, but in a reduced capacity. The two have renegotiated the 2009 agreement that saw Redmond become the exclusive provider of search results for a company that was once known for its own search services. This came amid speculation that Yahoo would try to end the agreement entirely“, so not only are they on a flawed system, they cannot agree on how to proceed as friends. So why would anyone continue on a limited system that does not go everywhere? In addition in April 2015 we learn “The other major change is that Microsoft will now become the exclusive salesforce for ads delivered by Microsoft’s Bing Ads platform, while Yahoo will do the same for its Gemini ads platform“, So Yahoo is cutting its sales team whilst Microsoft has to grow a new one, meaning that the customers have to deal with two systems now. In addition, they are now dealing with companies having to cope with a brain drain. Still, how related are these factors?

I personally see them as linked. One will influence the other, whilst changing the car chassis to something much faster will impact suspension and wheels, we see a generalised article (at no fault to the Guardian or the writer), yet I want to see the evidence the EU regulator has, I have been searching for the case notes and so far no luck. Yet in my mind, as I see the issues that those involves on the EU regulator side d not really comprehend the technology. This can be gotten from “According to an analysis of around 1.7bn search queries, Google’s search algorithm systematically was consistently giving prominent placement to its own comparison shopping service to the detriment of rival services“, where is that evidence? Analyses are the results of the applied algorithm (when it is done correct) and in this the advertiser is still the element not begotten. I have seen clients willing to bid through the roof for one keyword, whilst today, I notice that some of the elements of the Bing Ads do not support certain parts, so that means that my results will be impacted for no less than 10%-20% on the same bidding, so is it ‘demoting results of competitors‘, or is the competitor system flawed and it requires bids that are 20% higher just to remain competitive? And if I can already state that there are dodgy findings based on the information shown, how valid is the EU regulation findings and more important, where else did they lack ‘wisdom’?

There are references to AdSense and more important the issue they have, yet when we consider that the EU is all about corporations, these places want facilitation and as they ignored AdSense, that solutions started to get traction via bloggers and information providers. So when we see: “In a second investigation into AdSense, a Google service that allows websites to run targeted ads, the commission is concerned that Google has reduced choice by preventing sites from sourcing search ads from competitors“. Is that so? The larger publishing houses like VNU (well over 50 magazines and their related sites), so in 2005, Google got new clients and as such grew a business. And that was just in the Netherlands. Now those just yanking in a corner, trying to present systems they did not have 4 years later, and they are now crying foul?

There are leagues of comparison sites. One quote I really liked was “Google is like the person that has it all together but is too conservative sometimes, and Bing is like the party friend who is open to anything but is a hot mess”. Another quote is from 2016: “With Bing Ads though, you can only show your ads on the Content Network if you’re targeting the entire US”. So an issue of targeting shown in 2016, an issue that Google AdWords did not have a year earlier. This is important because if you cannot target the right people, the right population, you cannot be competitive. This relates to the system and the EU-regulators, because a seven year ‘investigation’ shows that a year ago, the other players were still lagging against Google, in addition, when we read in the Guardian article: “the EU regulator is further investigating how else the company may have abused its position, specifically in its provision of maps, images and information on local services”, we need to realise that when we relate to cars, the other players are confined to technology of 1989 whilst Google has the Williams F1 FW40 – 2017. The difference is big and getting bigger. It is more than technology, whilst Microsoft is giving the people some PowerPoint driven speech on retention of staff, something that IBM might have given the year before, Google is boosting mental powers and pushing the envelope of technology. Whilst Bing maps exist, they merely show why we needed to look at the map in Google. This is the game, Microsoft is merely showing most people why we prefer to watch them on Google and it goes beyond maps, beyond shopping. As I personally see it, Microsoft is pushing whatever they can to boost Azure cloud. IBM is pushing in every direction to get traction on Watson. Google is pushing every solution on its own merit; that basic difference is why the others cannot keep up (that’s just a personal speculative view). I noticed a final piece of ‘evidence’ in a marketing style picture, which I am adding below. So consider the quote ’51 million unique searchers on the Yahoo! Bing Network do not use GOOGLE’, so consider the fact of those trying to address those 51 million, whilst they could be addressing 3.5 billion searchers.

The business sector wants results, not proclaimed concepts of things to come. Microsoft is still showing that flaw with their new Consoles and the upcoming Scorpio system (Xbox One X), users want storage, not streaming issues. They lost a gaming market that was almost on equal term with Sony (Xbox 360-PlayStation 3), to a situation where it now has a mere 16% market of the Sony market and that is about to drop further still as Nintendo is close to surpassing Microsoft too.

There is always a niche market (many people), who want to kick the biggest player in town, I get that. Yet at present the issues shown and as far as I get the technology, I feel that the EU regulators are failing in a bad way. I might be wrong here and If I get the entire commission papers and if issues are found, I will update this article as I am all about informing people as good and as correct as possible. Yet the one element that is most funny, is that when I open up Internet Explorer and I type in ‘Buy a Washing Machine‘ Bing gives me 8 options, 7 from David Jones and 1 from Snowys outdoors, which is a portable one and looks like a cement mixer. So when was the last time you went to David Jones to watch a washing machine? In Google Chrome I get 6 models on the right side, with 3 from Harvey Norman, 2 from the Good Guys and one from Betta, and that is before I press the shopping tab, so can we initially conclude that Micro$oft has a few issues running at present? Oh and the Google edition gives me models from $345 to $629, Bing prices were $70 for the portable one and the rest were $499-$1499.

This is not on how good one or the other is, this is how valid the EU regulator findings were and so far, I have several questions in that regard. Now, I will be the last one keeping governments from getting large corporations to pay taxation, yet that part is set in the tax laws, not in EU-antitrust. As mentioned the searchers before, I wonder whether the EU regulators are facilitating for players who seem more and more clueless in a field of technology that is passing them by on the left and the right side of the highway called, the ‘Internet Of Things’.

From my point of view Google is doing just fine!

The EU regulator? Well we have several questions for that EU department.

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After the E3

I tend to not take Kotaku as a source (not for any negative reason), yet they have been hammering the nail on the head, even as they did not say it.  Their part ‘the losers’ starts with an image of the Xbox with the text ‘I witnessed the most powerful console ever‘, yes, hiding behind a technical detail whilst there is no proper space to store it is always a bad idea and I was happy to call the Microsoft presence literally a ‘waste of space‘ in my previous E3 article, so far I stand by it. Consider that the most powerful console has only 50% of storage space compared to a MacBook pro, which cannot do that level of gaming. Consider (taken Seagate 2.5″ drives as an example). The shift from 1TB to 2TB is $30, the shift from 2TB to 3TB is an additional $60. I do acknowledge that the 3TB drive is 8mm thicker, yet the dimensions of the 1TB and 2TB are identical, so twice the size for a mere $30 more, this is what makes the Xbox a joke. Sony might do the same, yet with Sony, you get the run on how to change it and there are good guides to show how to replace the hard drive. Plenty of gamers shelled out the additional $120 to get the space, with Microsoft it is not an option.

Now for the hardware, the Switch showed what fun was like and it has the games and more coming to keep us all happy. Both Sony and Microsoft failed us a little there. Now Sony was more about games, which is good and they just released the PS4pro, so this is not an issue, whilst the way they did it shows long term commitment, which is what gamers like. Now we see a changing market with any PS4 next to a Nintendo switch and it is a good day for gaming. Another visible event is that some of the better Xbox One exclusives are now making their way to Sony, so whilst the Sony exclusives grow, the Xbox exclusives list is starting to shrink. In addition, although not confirmed, the consoles Sony vs Microsoft was at 2:1 in 2015, some sources now give this a 6:1 setting. The PS4 has gone through the roof, with sales now surpassing 60 million consoles, meaning that they have surpassed the PS3 and could surpass the PS2 sales by 2018. I think it is a stretch, but part of me hopes so. Part of me can go towards Steve Ballmer with an ‘I told you so‘ state of mind. The weird think is that neither Mattrick nor Ballmer are stupid, they are decently intelligent and the conclusions I got to did not take a rocket scientist, which beckons who is drawing their marching orders and why are they on some track to force people to push data towards the Azure cloud? Why endanger your console market in this way?

By the way, pretty much NONE of the E3 attending press took a decent look at that, even the Guardian avoided the storage issue, which is a question for another day.

The only questionable part in it was the Bethesda Creation club. I think that it is not just about making money. The developer gets a share (as I understood it), so those with really good mods could stand to make $1-2 per quality mod. Now, I am not much of a mod fan, but there are a few really good ones and I would not begrudge the maker those $2 if need be. It would in addition up the ante for mod creators to become even better, which is not a bad thing. Finally, in some respects, a game like Fallout 3 (PC) went from awesome to beyond legendary, just because of some mods. Now, it might not be for all and that is fair enough, yet if your perception of a 90% game becomes a 98% game through the additional $2-$4 because of 1-2 mods, is that such a bad thing? It is up to the gamer to decide that, but I believe that there is some validity in the option. The validity is for them to come with it and for us to embrace those professional mods, or to ignore them. It should not impact the foundation (the original game) you bought.

In the end Nintendo did what it always does, it did something different, which is why I did not care about the WiiU and the failure I personally see it to be, from those ashes came the Switch and it rocks, going to the edge can get you big failures and massive hits, and the Switch could become their greatest hit yet, good for Nintendo! Yet, in fairness, there are media that really do not agree with me and that is fine. International Business Times was all but creating a shrine in the honour of the Xbox One X. The BBC is on my team when it comes to the Nintendo. They raised the issue that mattered for Nintendo; can the 100M units of Wii be equalled? I believe so! Now the Wii was backward compatible with the GameCube, which was my reason for getting it on day one, beyond that the Wii was a nice machine, yet it lacked a decent array of games. They let me down a little there. The Switch is already surpassing the game titles in the first year, compared to Wii 3 years, so they have that in the bag. Nintendo has in equal measure a few new IP options which can really make the Switch a phenomenal success. So from those points of view, the option of surpassing the 100M consoles seems like an easy mark. Even if the economy does not take a turn for the better, choosing between a Switch at $450 without 4K beats the Xbox One X at $500 with 4K gaming by close to 300%. So by the end of 2018 the console offset ‘Sony:Nintendo:Microsoft’ could end up being ‘13:9:2’. This would show Microsoft on how they truly bet on the wrong marketing horses. So I admit, it is a speculative prediction, yet the sales numbers are not that far off and my expected Nintendo growth is not unrealistic. Now, in the off season, the Switch is adding roughly a million users per month. I expect that the European summer, the upcoming games and upcoming festivity days could set it to a total of 10 million by the end of the year. If the economy kicks off a little stronger, it could go to 12 million, which means that in one year the Switch will equal the total Xbox One systems in the field. As more games come to switch, the added active users will fuel growth even stronger. Good games and word of mouth tends to do that, don’t take my word for it, and just look at the PS2 and PS4.

Yet, what more can we expect with the E3 behind us? Both the critics and people gave Super Mario Odyssey best of show, which fuels growth even more and it won by a substantial margin. Assassins Creed Origin did not win on any console or PC, they all had a different winner which was nice to see. Super Mario Odyssey also became best platformer, which is not really that big a surprise and again There was no win for Assassins Creed, which when we consider the stages of completion of the different games not too bad a negative. Again Nintendo got the best title for Strategy game. In this case ‘Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle‘, so as the laurels are handed to Nintendo in several ways. IGN wasn’t the only one with a voice, Gamesradar saw another part my way, they to just announced Ubisoft as the winner of 2017. It was a fair call and two brand new IP’s definitely boosts the score for Ubisoft. Gamesradar also shows one element the others did not, the lack of Indie developers. In regards to the PlayStation and the fact that this month Elite Dangerous will make it to PS4 is actually a big thing, it is one of the three top space games and now on PS4. The second is the remastered RPG original System Shock. Nightdrive Studios has enhanced a true original and so far has been able to capture the original suspense that System Shock brought us. The third one is unconfirmed from sources not that reliable, yet if true, Unknown Worlds with their open world RPG Subnautica will make waves. I reckon that the last two might bring additional hype to the Switch if they ever adapt those two for Switch. Games radar concurs; Nintendo is a winner, Xbox a loser. It is a harsh world for Microsoft and they might want to seriously consider in 2017 what their intent truly is, but as stated now the 4K and ‘strongest console ever‘ marketing gets them some media, yet in the end they poisoned their own customer base.

I think in the end it was a great E3, partially because Ubisoft and Nintendo amazed me with actual new stuff, which is what gets any gamer to the station ;-). I feel less negative about Bethesda than some of the ‘professional’ critics. Not sure why so negative as Bethesda delivered plenty, just some of their focus is VR, which might make them the legendary winner next year. In addition their new power puncher Prey was released a month before the E3, so there is that to consider. Finally there are more DLC’s coming for those games many love, so overall, we should not be too grumpy towards Bethesda.

So as the dust settles, we now get to wait another year for the next presentation of marketed hype by all the players. I for one will be very interested to see my own projection of Nintendo upcoming future. They have 5 optional new IP’s at their back and call and if they get 3 up and running, the run for Switch will grow more than even I predict which would be nice too. In the end, I am happy that the Nintendo message ‘it is about fun‘ that got through stronger than the need for 4K, which gives hope for gamers all over the world. For me personally, the moment it is a financial option, the Switch come in, perhaps a trade for my Xbox? I do hope that Nintendo will give us Pikmin, and Metroid Prime one and two, because those are the games I miss, and I will happily buy them again for the Switch, good gaming is just that, more good!

 

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E3, a first view

The E3 is in full swing for a few more days, yet let’s take an early look at it all. The first interest was of course the Bethesda show. Now, some have video blogged that it was ‘disgusting’. I do not agree! Mind you Bethesda was not strong with actual NEW stuff, but the VR edition of Fallout 4 and Doom is certainly a nice call. We saw more Skyrim, (Switch), we got to see Legend (the card game) and we got to see ‘Wolfenstein 2’ and ‘the Evil Within 2’ and more. That was not all but it was good to see all this. I agree that the show did not blow our minds to the degree it did last year, but Bethesda is delivering, I even saw some great stuff when we consider going to Morrowind online. Most of these trailers seem to be intro movies and not a lot of actual play time, but we will see more as we go to the actual Bethesdaland part of E3. Next is one that did rock da house. Yes, am talking about Ubisoft. I remain sceptic and distant when it comes to Assassins Creed, but we will get more on that later. What was stunning is the part I pounded on in 2015, yes two years ago (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/09/11/wakey-wakey/), I wrote in my article titled ‘Wakey, Wakey‘ “The weird part is that Ubisoft sat on a treasure, Black Flag could have been the pirate RPG Sid Meier could not make because technology stopped him and marketing relied on the AC brand to propel something that was close to utterly perfect“, now we see the announcement of ‘Skull and Bones‘ which is pretty much what I wrote about 2 years ago. However, this is not set near the founding beaches of Spicy Rum, it is in the heart of the Dutch West Indian Company, the ‘VOC’ The Indian Ocean and the beaches of Indonesia. An area where the ‘trade in spices’ was regarded as dealing in green gold; the seas that the Japanese Silk ships required to pass towards the ‘civilisation’ of Europe. As treacherous as the Caribbean’s and just as lucrative. The graphics and intro looked awesome and the game itself, for what we saw was impressive. The game offers 5v5 options as well as solo play and could be the Pirates game that Sid Meier fans have been waiting decades for. Yet that was merely small fry. Yes, small fry is literally the word. The stage started with what could be a new beginning for tactical games. The Switch game Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle will be bringing down the house. This is one of these titles that is the reason why people by a certain console. Ubisoft is delivering this time around and it could make the Switch the most popular console this upcoming Thanksgiving, St. Nicholas Day and Christmas. Even as some titles are not showing until early 2018, Ubisoft did set a quality stake of mind this year and it might be the hard needed boost they desperately required. In this Microsoft decided not to disappoint us by disappointing us almost completely. Their proclaimed ‘world’s most powerful console’ is anything except professional. The fact that they still have not learned that a 1TB drive does not bring home the bacon, and therefor pushing people to get additional EXTERNAL drives is just a near laughable bump in the world of storage. It sets the stage for the name Microsoft, which is now in danger of being a brand for micro (read: small) and soft (read: weak) gamers. So as we see the quote “Under the hood, Microsoft One X has 6 teraflops of graphical processing performance, which is 1.8 teraflops more than that of Sony’s PS4 Pro. The console uses a custom GPU that’s claimed to be more powerful than that of the Xbox One and PS4 Pro” from various sources, we see basically a lack to save what you need, so you are shifting software back and forth soon thereafter. Consider a console that is proclaimed more powerful than all others, which runs out of storage within 15 games. Is that worth the $500+ price tag? This leads me to the question on my consideration ‘what a waste of space their stand was’, it is harsh, but when you decide to not do your job in regards to the gamer in us, being soft is no longer an option. From that, the good news is that the iconic games (as I personally call them) that are out on Xbox One, and also were on the early access title list are coming to PS4 before the end of this year, so there is all manner of happy thoughts of dumping my eggbox console which could soon be regarded as a ‘has been’ before it got some actual strength, So yes, the Xbox one is less a failure than the WiiU, but not by much. Should you doubt this (always valid), consider that the Xbox One X is launched with 42 4K games, so consider that 50% of that should be maxing out the hard drive, do you still think you got a good deal? In comparison my 2TB PS4 is currently at 67% filled, none of it 4K, none of it the super high res that 4K could offer I do have a fair amount of games on it. Still, consider the games of the last year NBA (41GB), Forza5 (32GB) and Battlefield4 (33GB), 3 games using well over 10% of your total drive. Consider the AC-Unit patch (yes, patch), which was a 38GB, still feel good? Now consider that Microsoft seems to reserve 138GB on the Xbox One, I am assuming that it will be even more on the One X, but that is not a given, so the system and 3 games, that makes up for 25% of the entire storage system. Now, do you get the idea on how stupid Microsoft is regarding storage? There are games that do not require that much space, but with 4K gaming, storage will go fast, much faster than you think and that is something PC gamers have seen in the past, yet they can add drives and upgrade drives easily. An additional $110 gets you 2TB more, something consoles do not allow for. Oh, and if you like high end shooting games, space will go pretty fast.

So as we are deciding where to go, the E3 is showing us that gaming happiness is a PS4 with the Nintendo Switch next to it. Yes, this is n consoles, not PC! There is one clarity, which is me, as a deadly critic of Ubisoft is claiming now, from what ‘For Honor’ last year and ‘Skull and Bones’ showed this year, there is a need for high end PC gaming, yet the price tag is not small, but if you got the $$$, ‘Skull and Bones’ will show you why a high end PC was worth the trip. When it comes to Electronic Arts, my view is mixed. If you love Battlefield and Battlefront, you are in for a good time. Those who are not into that game category are losing out somewhat. We can churn this in a variety of spins, especially when we consider the not achieved hype that Mass Effect Andromeda got. I reckon it is a year where EA needs to figure out where it could fit and fix what was not right. Apart from that EA will launch its collection of sport games, so I reckon that the large run on the shops to get FIFA18 is not far off.

One would think that Sony rocked us all with what they had to offer, yet that is not really the case. Those who love ‘Shadow of the Colossus’ will be happy to see that a Next generation remake is on the horizon and here to we got a chunk full of VR and DLC. Last year’s new IP was shown again and no release date in sight, more spectacular God of War, now showing early 2018, so there is that to look forward to. Some other titles from last year were not shown and no release date, so will see that when it is ready.

At present the only part missing is the Nintendo presentation, yet they showed part during the Ubishow and what they showed looked amazing. I reckon that they have a few more gems, which just ups the need for the 3DS and the Switch, which is already a growing factor for all those loving a game or two.

I have to say that E3 2017 had more than one awesome surprise and those who had to really score decided to stay their hand and keep others in the uncertain dark. From that I have to admit that at present Ubisoft seems to be the winner of the 2017 show.

 

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