Tag Archives: Xbox

Post Scuttle-but 5

Yup, rumours, we all see them, we all hear them and sometimes they are true. So as we consider the digital media need to get people to click, we see a tidal wave of PS5 issues all over the internet. Things like ‘Reports of PS5 ‘Stick Drift’ Surface Weeks After Launch’, ‘DualSense Controllers Are Already Suffering From Drift, Apparently’ and it goes on. Now, rumours are not new and perhaps they are true, in some cases. I had issues with my Switch controller after a year, it was the left one, but I am not a standard user. I agree that these things happen. I never had issues on my CBM64 (after I bought a proper stick), never had an issue on the PS2, PS3, GameCube, Xbox, Xbox 360 or Xbox One. Yet the proper gaming sites do not give me that news, Eurogamer did have in October ‘Class-action lawsuit against Microsoft for alleged Xbox One controller “stick drift” now includes the Elite Series 2’, in this case with Eurogamer I will give them the benefit of the doubt, they are a decent place for gaming news and ‘class action’ does not mean that there is larger validity, it is merely a legal setting and as I stated, none of my Xbox systems EVER had a controller problem. Like many I had the red rings of death, but Microsoft sorted it out in a decent way. Will the PS5 go that way? I have absolutely no way of knowing, but the controller is comfortable, it works well and it shines nicely. It might happen, it might not, but the sites making these proclamations are not sites I trust. They all want you to click on them, so I did and whilst some might have an optional case, the fact that they added ‘Apparently’ in the headline is some form of doubt on their part. So why is it a case? We seek out the positive and negative and the digital funds stations all love a ‘click bitch’, as such they flame and they exploit, and whilst some of the ACTUAL gaming sites give us plenty of goods, they also tend to give the bad news when it is out there and confirmable. I did notice that the day I set up the PS5, a controller driver was updated. Was that. Solution for an issue I never faced? Possible, we might never know, or I might see the same issue soon enough. The fact that a size 7 controller (Nintendo Switch) had an actual malfunction dealing with the stress factors of my size 11 hands is fair enough, the fact that it was able to keep up for a year is a good thing. In light of all that, will my PS5 hamper and give errors? Possible, but so far my PS1, PS2, PS3 and PS4pro never had issues, my PS4 did, but at my own silly stupid hands, not the fault of Sony. We all face these moments in time. My PS4 controller had an issue, but t my own hands, and only after 7 years of intensive use, and I mean INTENSIVE! As I see it Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony brought me controllers that for the most, outlived the console. This is worthy of mentioning. Now, I never got any of the Elite controllers, so I am reserving judgement, yet if that thing is anywhere near the other controllers, we are in good hands. So, back to the Eurogamer article (at https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2020-10-11-class-action-lawsuit-against-microsoft-for-alleged-xbox-one-controller-stick-drift-has-been-updated-to-include-the-elite-series-2) here we see “the updated paperwork now adds seven additional plaintiffs and asks that the case goes before a jury, as well as appending more detail about the alleged defect”, as such we are given “Microsoft does not disclose to consumers that the Xbox controllers are defective, causing the joystick component to fail. Members of the general public have the right to know the latent defects with the Xbox controller components”, so this might be the case, yet before I bash Microsoft (yet again), I feel that it is important to take notice of a few facts. It is a year old, pretty much sold out everywhere, and overall there were complaints to which Windows Central gave the consumers “Microsoft has acknowledged the problem and is investigating”, this does not invalidate the class action, the wording seems to imply that Microsoft made (yet again) a stupid mistake. The claimants might have something to complain about, yet the number of Elite 2 controllers is in the wind, so this impacts dozens of controllers out of a batch of thousands. As such Microsoft optionally faces a minor issue, but they face one non-the-less. This also impacts Sony, who seemingly sold 2 PS5’s for every Xbox, and a 2:1 stage is nice for Sony, who apparently is out of stock until the end of next month. That is a good setting to have, and one I expected. Microsoft is missing out yet again and they merely did this to themselves. Although, tactically, by buying Bethesda, they do have  larger advantage, as the Bethesda fanbase is in the millions. Still, overall, as there are no new Bethesda games (at present), Microsoft will see an increase, will it meet the 3.3 million that Piers Morgan apparently stated is something I put a question mark to. I reckon that it barely will make the 3 million mark and when congestion hits (when, not if), the digital versions (both Sony and Microsoft) will hit a snag and in that Sony might overcome it a little faster, this is speculation, but the amount of system updates (between Sony and Microsoft) gives Sony the advantage. Microsoft had too many of them, and they had them too large (by my consideration).

Still, the systems are a decent match to one another, and yes, I am not ignoring the Verge who gave us ‘Why is the PS5 outperforming the ‘World’s mot powerful console’?’ (at https://www.theverge.com/21718936/xbox-series-x-ps5-performance-game-comparison). Here we see “With the Xbox Series X capable of 12 teraflops of GPU performance vs. 10.28 teraflops on the PS5, most onlookers expected there to be a small gap between the consoles. Microsoft’s next-gen Xbox also has higher levels of memory bandwidth and more compute units, but Sony offers developers less compute units running at a variable (and higher) clock rate to extract better performance out of the PS5”, as well as “the Xbox Series X version of Valhalla includes a lot of screen tearing and regular dips below 60fps. The PS5 version appears to run a lot more smoothly. Variable fresh rates do make up for this screen tearing on the Xbox Series X”, which I reckon when we see all the Xbox AC Valhalla advertisement, is funny as hell (or is that hela?) Anyway, the stage we see is littered with rumours and it is important for gamers that you check EVERYTHING you hear with a proper gaming site and for the most, if 2-3 decent gaming sites do not mention it, dump the gossip where it needs to be, in the trashcan. As such, when we consider everything, you can expect plenty of games having patch after patch after patch.

So feel free to get whatever console you want, but be certain to check decent gaming sites on the console you want, and ‘decent’ gaming sites  exist, there are however less than a dozen really good ones. 

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Deadline or death line?

I said it before, and I stick to my view, Ubisoft is in a large stage of near death, they might be denying that part, but their setting is not good, or is that was not? Let’s be clear, today I went through Watchdogs: Legion and I am decently impressed, it is an absolute jump forward from Watchdogs 2, To be fair, this looks really good and after an hour, it still looks good and plays well. As I stated, the next two games define the future of Ubisoft and at present it seems like they got this one right. I saw issues in earlier editions, but as this was before beta, it does not count and I have every intention to take another look. No matter how we try to slice it, a few things show up, first of all, those angry (read: anti) game reviews are not as present as before, some people had plenty to bitch about Watch Dogs 2, yet I enjoyed most of the game (a few weird parts), the story was decent and the intro to WD3 is a lot better than the second one, the game has a few issues as I spotted them in WD3 that is, but it is not a disabling one, some of the conversations are really too unreal, but that could be a US view on British accents, I do not know, but it flaws there, yet two elements, the first is that this is a video game, second any voice can be regarded as flawed, it is how you look at it and does it hinder the game? I think not. One review I liked can be seen (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9kEuTyKufo). It gives a few things away, but not too much. In light of my earlier statement (regarding Ubisoft), it is important to note that this game shows a first sign that Ubisoft is addressing the stupidity we saw in earlier releases. I believe (at present) that AC Origins is still the best game that Ubisoft has released in the near past and this game is making a serious approach to breaking that achievement, something we had not seen for much too long. I might add more on the weekend as I progress through the game, yet so far I have to admit: “Well done Ubisoft”, which in light of my earlier views of other games is important to notice. 

I have nothing on AC Valhalla, What I saw earlier turned me off, yet I will admit that it was an early beta version, so lots to fix and even as some parts seem nice, there is a more apparent stage of addressing, which I believe is flawed, but it is based on incomplete views, as such I am refraining of actual criticism against the game at present.

Even as I still believe that Ubisoft is optionally on its last legs, the fact that the systems that WatchDogs: Legion is released on the big two consoles, with additions to PC and Google Stadia should not be underestimated. At present it indicates that Ubisoft could get its footing back and if the game turns out as good as it seemingly is (I honestly cannot say at present), the fact that a title like this is making it to Google Stadia as well is important. It could end up being a desired taste for EVERY Google Stadia player and that is important to Ubisoft as well. For Google it matters as it is not out on the Apple Arcade (as far as I can tell), and that will matter to Google in this upcoming race. It actually got me to one (small and insignificant) flaw at present, if I am wrong, I will be the first to apologise. When you consider that this game is in London and it was made by Ubisoft Toronto (that village in Canada), it suddenly dawned on me that the game is lacking NPC backpackers. London is filled with them, you know people with backpacks speaking in a Canadian, American and Australian accent (and plenty more dialects), they could have made that into a game achievement ‘Getting around: possessed a backpacker from every commonwealth nation’, just something to consider down the DLC road. Still, the fact that I am thinking of things to add, is important, as I am not thinking of things that required essential fixing. I might be too early in the game, but I have not felt this invigorated since AC Origins and that is a good feeling to have, Ubisoft is seemingly getting it right, if I attack them, I must also acknowledge that they are doing the right thing, it feels important to do that too.

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Exit stage right

Yup, I am back. In the first there is the Swiss issue I discussed earlier today, as set the free movement ending is not reached, 68% rejected that part. So in this the larger stage were (as I personally saw it) the fear mongering side, but that is merely my view on one part. The election was on a few items and the Swiss have spoken, they rejected the ending free movement part and I am fine with it, yet I do feel that the term of all those benefits, I wonder if we ever get to see a list on that. But no matter what it was up to the Swiss and they rejected the notion.

Then there is the corona issue (not the beer), as per now we have 33 million infected and one million are dead. I believe that this number is actually higher, but I cannot prove it, the top three are USA, India and Brazil. In this I partially reject it because I believe that Indian infected is most likely a lot higher and those who died are cremated rather fast, so even as the numbers are too low, I cannot say that there is intent here, consider that in India the alleged personal need for ignorance is high, a nation where the Mumbai region alone has 55 million people, so 6 million over all India and only 95,000 deaths does not add up. When we apply the global mortality rate, the death count in India is close to 50% too low, a nation where population pressure is through the roof. I get it, not every person gets tested, there are not enough test packages to get even close to the testings required, there is no blame, no one is at fault, but we need to realise the setting and in a lot more places than India, the setting does not add up. 

And in the third setting, we see that there is every indication that President Trump will be exiting the stage on the right side. There is an overwhelming amount of push on places like Twitter where we see the Rock, George Takei, Billy Baldwin, David Cross and numerous others are giving their voice to Joe Biden, there is even a growing amount of Republicans on that list (including me) and the stage that President Trump has set is for the bulk of all the people no longer acceptable. I reckon that if the voting amount is raised from 55% to 65% it will be over for President Trump. As far as I can tell, at no time in history have Americans united against an elected president ever before. These events are making the anti Vietnam and anti Lyndon B. Johnson events fade. Even as Joe Biden has presently a 10% lead, it is a dangerous setting. Some people will fall asleep and will not bother voting, but the is the danger that got President Trump into the Oval Office in the first place. I would hazard a guess that if only 65% votes, one could argue that the USA does not deserve saving, not t this stage. The active people seem to realise that and their voice is simple “please vote”, they do not say who to vote for, they seem to think that this will be enough to get them to vote and hopefully not for President Trump. People like Dwayne Johnson are more eloquent in this, they name the people they endorse and give additional information. Still, I am to some extent in awe, I have never seen such a level of unison coming from America since WW2 (the Hitler is bad group) and perhaps it is important to pause at this notion. Yes, I remember my last piece, yet that was not about being pro-Trump. That was about the law and the constitution, little pesky things all kind of people want to avoid, I do not. 

What else is on the table? 

Well, games would be my guess and even as we are all still reeling from the Bethesda, now Microsoft decision, PC Gamer gives us a past overview (at https://www.pcgamer.com/au/what-happened-to-12-of-gamings-biggest-studios-after-they-were-sold/). I understand what they bring and I do not oppose it, but what stands out is that Bethesda is bought for more than the amount spend on 12 other acquisitions (not all Microsoft), there we see the the purchase of Mojang by Microsoft implies that all is not lost for Sony, yet this close to release of a new console makes it a question mark at best. In this there is also the thought that EA has options for Mass Effect and even the original trilogy, yet that is for another time. For the most the countdown clocks are running for Cyberpunk 2077 and the PS5/Xbox series X. November 19th 2020 for Cyberpunk and the consoles will come at November 12th (PS5) and November 10th (Xbox). The mayhem starts in 43 days 6 hours and 34.2 minutes.

 

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The house of RPG

Yup, the news only just hit the walls of the internet and a new stage is already underway. This is not about slamming Bethesda, they made a decision and I reckon that 7 billion plus is a nice looking bandaid, but now the house is falling over, because the stage of gaming is set into another realm. Do you think that Sony will like the age of dependancy of Microsoft? So as Bethesda becomes a Microsoft institution, Sony will have to look in other directions. Yes there are good RPG’s out there. There is the Witcher and Cyberpunk is about to arrive, yet the stage is largely untapped and now we see that there is a larger need for an exclusive option for Sony. Lucky for them there might be an option. Richard Garriott created the Ultima series in the early 80’s, yet it was in 1985 that Ultima IV: Quest of the avatar was born. It would take RPG’s to new heights, heights that would not be equalled for well over a decade. Now consider a first person RPG (like Skyrim) with its own rules, its own places, and a storyline that can surpass most RPG games out there. On a map that would be close to 6,000% larger than Skyrim. The map of Britannia (Ultima 1-9) was almost completely designed by the time Ultima 4 was there and the game only got better. The stage would add new dimensions to RPG gaming, something that could be done again in a 1st person setting. It would add new directions in gaming from the original setting, something that had not been done for some time. And then there is the story. Even now I see new stages in shrines and stones that the original never allowed for. There is the stage to combine Ultima 4 and 5 in a much larger setting in sequence in one game. It implies a gaming size that surpasses most RPG’s in hours and way the game is played. The Ultima series set a larger stage with the use of ships and that could remain, so there would be more in the game and more challenges. The largest is to stay original to the Ultima formula and not be swayed towards more of the same. A game that becomes a journey, a journey that we have not seen before and in this Bethesda opened the door by becoming part of Microsoft. I hope that they will remain on the Sony systems, but there is every indication that Microsoft will take a time advantage and use Bethesda games to push people towards their console. That move makes sense because there are plenty of Elder Scrolls and Fallout fans, but that also means that Sony now has the task to protect its core gamers by offering an exclusive brand of their own and that is where we see the value of Richard Garriott optionally go through the roof. I believe that for Richard Microsoft buying Bethesda might seem like the opportunity of a lifetime. No matter how Bethesda phrases it, they are quoted to have stated “all future Bethesda games will release on both Xbox and PC, but their appearance on other consoles will be determined on a “game by game basis”” this is what I would call a dicey setting for Sony, but not all is lost, they could look towards what was and redesign it to the new. Ultima is one of the most likely franchises and the stage is much larger than you think. Microsoft has paid over $7 billion for Bethesda (actually they bought Zenimax Media, the parent of Bethesda), it is a clever move, but if Sony counters it with new RPG, that price might be a little sour, especially if the RPG marketshare brittles away from Bethesda. Microsoft ends up in a stage where the overpaid for a brand that is well worth it, but as Sony counters what was not set to value, the value of Zenimax media will take a bit of a dive. So not only is there an alternative, my mind has already seen the optional design for an adjusted RPG game that would be every bit as satisfying as the original, more so when you consider that the original was never first person, but in my mind I added a stage that the Elder Scrolls never possessed. It is not merely good news for Richard Garriott, it would also be great news for Iolo, Jaana, Julia, Dupre, Geoffrey, Mariah, Katrina and Shamino. They can dust off the weapons they hung up in 1992. And the world would optionally see them back into action as early as 2022 if Sony gets a deal with Richard Garriott sober rather than later, because Microsoft was sly in getting the deal, but was it a clever move? I am not so sure about that. If we are to believe some market research results, only one in three opted for Microsoft, the rest went the way of Sony. I had issues with the results as it was against two systems and Nintendo was left outside the choice, I believe that the Microsoft numbers are not that great to begin with, but that is pure speculation from my side. Will I be proven correctly? 

I actually do not know, but the Bethesda move has set a level of shock on me, that is true enough, yet I have made up my mind, I will not get the Xbox, and if that leaves me without future fallout and elder scrolls games, so be it, yet it took me no more than an hour to set an optional new stage of Ultima, so there is always an option, there will always be RPG, the question becomes will Bethesda be part of that? I actually do not know, there is too much unknown at present.

 

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The stage pushed by Microsoft

It started recently with a setting that is now evolving into ‘Microsoft says Apple’s move against ‘Fortnite’ creator would hurt its games’ (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-apple-epic-games/microsoft-says-apples-move-against-fortnite-creator-would-hurt-its-games-idUSKBN25J0K2). In the first a person (like me) would state ‘Who cares?’, yet the state we see ourselves in is becoming less transparent. In gaming, there is nothing like branding, branding has been the centrepiece of gaming for 30 years, does that mean that there is no room to manoeuvre? No, it does not, but to understand the setting we need to take you back. Even as Microsoft would love to push the stage via “Microsoft Corp on Sunday said in a court filing that Apple Inc’s threat to cut off the creator of “Fortnite” from Apple’s developer tools would hurt Microsoft’s gaming business, as well as other game developers” to THEIR advantage, as they are in a stage where they lose the gaming business due to their own stupidity. They tried to change the business and they were willing to do this at the expense of the gamer, the consumer, so how exactly is Apple hurting their business when they are doing it to themselves? Yes that is a decent question, but to understand the stage, we need to understand the larger setting.

There are PC gamers and Xbox gamers, both with Microsoft in a larger form of power, yet they are about to lose 50% of that (Xbox), the issues is not where you play games, but the stage where Microsoft wants YOU to play. The stage is further pushed through ‘Microsoft Research has prototyped Xbox controllers for phones and tablets’, the big issues is that Apple gamers and iPad gamers consists of well over a million players and to get them to embrace Microsoft controllers, they need games that are under their control, and as such they need access to Apple hardware, revenue drives them at every turn and Apple users are a massive source of untapped revenue. In light of this, does the title part ‘would hurt Microsoft’s gaming business’ make sense? Fortnite is but one title, it is owned by Epic Games, which is part of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. So how does Microsoft fit in? Well it doesn’t but access to Apple is essential for the failed business that is laughingly known as ‘Microsoft’s gaming business’. Now, Microsoft can do in its own realm whatever it wants, and for that reason I dumped the Microsoft console, but there is no way that I would accept their stupidity on Sony Playstation, Apple, or Nintendo systems. They are loudly protesting because Epic Games has about a quarter of a billion gamers, so by stating that they are here for Fortnite is interesting for them, and the fact that Fortnite exists on nearly all systems works out well for them. And as we can see how they (as I personally see it) betrayed their own gamers base, so how can they state “Microsoft’s gaming business” when their setting is ‘revenue’, and whilst we also get to see “Apple has said that it will reverse its moves if Epic resubmits a version of “Fortnite” that complies with its payment rules”, so Epic can undo the damage when it adheres to the Apple rules. To be honest, I am on the fence on those rules, and Epic Games enjoyed the benefit in the beginning, but now they want to avoid the cost, and this is the weird part when we look at Fortnite we are given: “V-Bucks purchased on PlayStation 4 or Switch cannot be spent on other devices. Any Fortnite content you buy with your V-Bucks will be available on every device linked to your Fortnite account, regardless of which device the content was bought on”, and as I see it, why is Apple not mentioned there? In addition we see “V-Bucks are not transferable between Epic accounts”, so in that regard when we look back to 2018 where we see “Starting today on Xbox One, cross-platform play, purchasing and progression are available between Xbox One, PC, Mac and iOS.  Support for Android is coming in the next few months. As always, cross-platform functionality is a completely opt-in experience”, so  in this, there is no cross for Nintendo and Sony, as such why push Apple? All whilst Epic did this to themselves by ignoring the Apple rules (Google rules too). Whilst we see that these rules were circumvented, why do Facebook and Microsoft want a piece of it? We can start Facebook in any apple and any safari browser, yet they are limited to the data they can capture, when these games are directly added and outside of the store we will never know what security issue is circumvented, and personally, it is my opinion that Microsoft has no real credibility left, so why would I allow them there? And why are they so against the ‘rules’ that Apple set up when both Apple and Facebook had no issues forcing their rules down our throats? #JustAsking

And in finality the best cherrie of them all, straight from Microsoft (at https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/uwp/publish/store-policies#108-financial-transactions):

10.8 Financial Transactions

If your product includes in-product purchase, subscriptions, virtual currency, billing functionality or captures financial information, the following requirements apply:

10.8.1

You must use the Microsoft Store in-product purchase API to sell digital items or services that are consumed or used within your product. Your product may enable users to consume previously purchased digital content or services, but must not direct users to a purchase mechanism other than the Microsoft Store in-product purchase API. 

As such what is Microsoft exactly bitching about? 

 

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The silent reason

We (all of us) are mostly driven by offered choices, so it took me a few seconds to consider “Here is every action adventure game on PS Now that scored 9+” a little movie by IGN. I have a lot of these games, not all, but a lot. When you consider that every games is a mere 2 seconds in view and the movie lasts 1:25, you know that you are about to get a long list of reasons to move to the PlayStation 5. I am definitely taking that road, and for those embracing the Xbox, do not fear, it is your right, you still have faith in Microsoft, I do not share your view, but you are entitled to yours. There is one side giving us ‘Xbox Series X neutralizes PS5 assault with console war-winning counter-attack’, I personally see this as the ‘promoted’ choice certain makers are making a view that suits their needs. Even as we are given “Microsoft has been very vocal about the fact that gamers won’t even have to buy an Xbox Series X to enjoy the console’s new titles, and that games can even be enjoyed on mobile devices starting next month as part of Xbox Game Pass”, so if the console is not needed, why bother the war anyway? The article gives more, but I see nothing that can be seen as reliable, especially when I see mentions like ‘Microsoft are ready to lowball Sony’, ‘apparently the game runs perfectly on Xbox X’, and ‘gamers won’t even have to buy an Xbox Series X to enjoy the console’s new titles’, just consider a console war where you do not have to buy the console, how is that? In opposition GamesRadar gives us something valuable. With ‘Xbox Game Pass is the next generation of Microsoft gaming, not Xbox Series X’ we see a Microsoft Ace, Game Pass was and is a really good idea. There is no denying this, but consider that Sony Plus decides to offers their 60 games with a 90% plus rating, the playing field becomes an equal one really fast. They also give us “from all the messaging we’ve had since the Xbox Series X was announced, it’s becoming increasingly clear that Microsoft isn’t viewing this as a new console generation. Instead, it is shifting its focus to a more malleable model, one that has far more in common with the annual release cycles so commonly associated with graphics cards and smartphones. And Xbox Game Pass is at the centre of it all”, it makes sense, yet my negativity filter gives us that those with a Microsoft console could be left out in the cold, so optionally the gamer that comes in from the cold will have to choose either Sony or Nintendo and that is given some visibility, and I am willing to concede here that I optionally might be wrong, yet the evidence is out there, I will let you decide.

I have personally seen too many events and a tick record of 8 years of Microsoft selling its gamers short, as such, I lost my faith in them. So whilst we see “Microsoft’s monthly gaming subscription service is as close to the industry’s coveted “Netflix of Gaming” moniker we’ve seen so far”, it makes sense, it also makes sense on how they are crying like little bitches because Apple will not let them near to their hardware. And the failure we see at present gives rise to the setting of the console war, when Microsoft does not care about consoles, but about the Game Pass, we see the stage. What happens when Game Pass takes off on mobiles and PC’s, how long until the issues creep into the flaws of the console? Let’s not forget that they did not fix the current console for almost 8 years, a stage that has been clearly visible since the Xbox X was released. So even as some see this as the silent reason, I do not.

I have seen the stage where Sony took 180 degrees on decisions when it angered gamers (no second hand issues) and also when the gamers loudly complained on ‘always online’ Sony adjusted, Microsoft did not and that is only the beginning, the 90% plus games is the silent reason, over time the console embraced gamers and continued it course, it continued embracing the needs of the gamers, that is why Sony will win and Microsoft will hided behind new terms equalling ‘the most powerful console’ whilst Nintendo surpassed it with the weakest console. And in the end, it seems that the next stage of Microsoft might be “gamers won’t even have to buy an Xbox Series X”, so why would any gamer invest in a console that is not an essential buy? With today’s news giving us ‘Microsoft Surface Duo phone goes on sale starting at $1950’, it might be the starting signal to a different console war, it might be about console gaming on mobiles, so in that trendy stage, where will the Xbox fit? I am not certain but it seems that Game Pass was a better idea, so I wonder when they will drop the console hardware, it might not be today or tomorrow, but by the time it is 2022 I can not be certain on when it will be, as I see it, I feel that the Sony PS5 is a much better and safer investment in my days of happiness whilst I game the games I love and Sony has so far never disappointed my needs. 

 

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The moneymakers

Corporate Earth loves moneymakers, they shelf their resources on what makes the most the fastest and that is how businesses run, but what happens when the ruling council is off the ‘Fake it till you make it’ category? That is the question that matters, because the people are now following whomever has the coolest look, whilst quality takes a second turn back. For the most this is nothing new, it happens all over the place. We now have Apple and Google adding up to the next gaming war, whilst Prime Gaming is starting to get noticed. All whilst Forbes gives us ‘There Is A Belong Gaming Area Coming To Your Town’, gaming has become the 100 billion annual industry and in this age everyone wants a bite. Even as we merely accept “Vindex bought Belong Gaming Arenas from London based GAME Digital. Vindex plans to open more than 500 Belong locations in hometowns across America, and another 1,000 locations outside of the U.S. over the next five years” then we get “Esports doesn’t act like a traditional sports business—game developers have a lot to say. In esport, the playing field is the intellectual property, and it’s owned by game developers”, yet how many people realise how powerful the data is that these gaming interfaces collect? It seems all a case of ‘conspiracy theory’, yet consider the following:

Microsoft said it would be unable to launch its game streaming service on iOS due to the restrictions on gaming apps” and “Earlier this week, Microsoft said it would be launching its xCloud gaming service as part of a subscription service called Xbox Game Pass Ultimate on Sept. 15. But the app, which lets users jump into an Xbox game on their smartphone or tablet, will only be available on devices powered by Google’s Android mobile operating system, not Apple’s iOS”. A stage when Microsoft needs to get its own mess under control, they are screaming about making a mess somewhere else. The funding by larger brands is not merely about visibility, it is about getting the largest dat slice, as much as possible and as fast as possible. In an age where it is about branding, the two larger players are about “Microsoft and Facebook have lashed out at Apple for restrictive App Store policies”, there is a reason why people have lost faith in Microsoft and Facebook. I myself removed Facebook from my mobile, why would I want them to cater to my mobile gaming needs. Why would I allow other Facebook junk on my mobile, draining my battery? Similar issues exists with Microsoft, in January 2017 I wrote ‘Taking Xbox to Court?’ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2017/01/30/taking-xbox-to-court/) and it was ignored by the bulk of people. It was all my imagination, yet the specified bill was not on their side. In 15 days close to 6GB was UPLOADED and the Microsoft Xbox support stated the this was with my provider, really? My Xbox uploads data without my permission and it is the internet provider? How much data is Microsoft about to get access to, how much data will Facebook capture under the seemingly innocent stage of cloud gaming? If data is the new currency gamers are the prime clusters to get, some gamers have a following of thousands and Microsoft and Facebook are screaming murder because they want into the game and a protective Apple is something they can do without. I am not proclaiming that Sony, Apple and Nintendo are innocent, but they are showing themselves to be less guilty, Nintendo and Sony are banking on the fair play approach towards gamers, they expect it to play out in their favour and I believe that this will be the true path. They expect data to be a by-product, not the direct goal, Microsoft and Facebook have (from my personal view) a more direct approach to the benefits of data. In all this Google is not innocent, but their approach was data from the very beginning, from search to linking and to other means, data became the currency that allowed people to have free services, but the truth is that nothing is free. Facebook made the same steps in the beginning, but data took over and now as we see that TikTok is actually getting into the face of Facebook and capturing the margins and more we now see ‘TikTok Begins Doling Out $1 Billion Bonuses To Top Creators As Facebook Tries To Lure Stars’ and it is about to be worse. Even as Google Stadia is in a position to grab a larger margin, Facebook is up in arms to create the larger benefit, because the reality is that cruise liner Facebook is losing more steam and propulsion, the waves of TikTok is adding up and Apple is not Data friendly to the likes of Facebook and Microsoft, in all this the voice of emotional gamers is all that is left to them because they are running out of time and there is a larger stage where Xbox series X will underperform just like its predecessor, and that is the fear Microsoft fears, they are in a stage where they could soon be regarded as powerful as in the age of their first Xbox, they threw that much away and a lack of trust is not helping them any. That is the stage we are looking at, but I have to be. honest, the fight over gamers is one that I never saw coming, not to this degree and even now as I have seen within me the IP of several games, I wonder what these game corporations are doing, because the evidence is all around them, they merely have to open their eyes. So why are they not doing that?

Even as we see that the current situation is not the greatest stage for any business, books, movies and games help in a lockdown, so why are others faltering? I personally see it because they see games as nothing more as a springboard to ‘real cash’, yet games should be about games and about the edge of what is new and innovative, that was proven in the days of the CBM64, CBM Amiga, Atari ST, PC, N-64, Gamecube, Wii, Nintendo Switch, Xbox, Xbox360,  PlayStation 1, 2, 3 and 4, and as Apple and Google enter this domain, we will get a new stage, now with 5 players and one would think that this would benefit the gaming dimension, but as I see it, Microsoft is more about Azure and data, making it a universe of 4 (which is fine too) but when gamers catch on, when the Marketing BS comes to a halt, Microsoft will only have themselves to congratulate. Anyone stating that the fight between apple and Google is over, is mistaken. I reckon that this fight will take until 2022 to settle and in the same time Sony and Nintendo will fight for larger domain of the gaming pie, but their worlds only partially overlap, so they will set another fight and they will coexist, in this Google and Apple will slice out a part and they will be more fiercely competitive than Sony and Nintendo ever was (well they were in the age of PlayStation 1 and Nintendo 64). The fight is far from over, but all the gamers out there need to realise that not all the moneymakers out there have the welfare of gamers in mind, merely the data they give rise to. And when the gamers figure that out, some lame excuse from some wannabe executive will no longer hold water, when that happens a lot more will be lost to them. I expect that to become a reality no later than the second half of 2021.

 

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He/She said, she/he said

There is a much larger issue, a much larger problem and for a while a lot of people have been ignoring it, not really on purpose, but as long as it does not hits them, they ignore it, and I will admit that for the longest time, I was very much on that same horse. Even if I did it away as a joke, it was my way of acknowledging that it is here. For example as a Sony fan I would say ‘I hate discrimination and Xbox users’, in all honesty, I do not really hate them, but it was a way to getting the point across, a joke tends to do that, but discrimination is not a joke, so as the BBC and other sources give us ‘Wiley: Rapper deleted from Facebook and Instagram after abuse of Jewish critics’ with the quote “The latest comments were shared on Wiley’s personal Facebook profile, and not his official fan page, which has also been taken down. Although they had relatively little engagement – less than 100 likes and comments each – they were visible to the public”, my issue is not the actions, but the speed at which this is happening, at this speed it will take decades to get a real result and that is where we need to take heed. It seems that cutting the head of a journalist gets results a lot faster than calling a person discriminatory names. It seems that the stops get pulled out by a lot when it ‘matters’ to them, and that is the rather large issue we are confronted with. Even as there are plenty of celebrities and a lot of others setting the stage to fight it, and as the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/jul/25/antisemitism-labour-warns-of-cash-crisis-as-cases-grow) gives us “Labour will this week be formally notified of a batch of potentially costly new legal actions over antisemitism – days after a warning was issued to the shadow cabinet about the devastating toll the crisis is taking on the party’s finances”, we need to recognise that the inactions for years are adding up and this is more than merely a social media problem, the inactions by government as it ignores scores of discrimination issues (on a global scale mind you), and the media has been lagging (not lacking) in this and it is time for a larger global sounding and working initiative against discrimination. In the USA things are going from bad to worse, especially in the economic light of COVID-19, we see sources giving us all kinds of titles, titles like ‘A new study found fine-dining restaurants in Seattle told white applicants to start immediately, while telling Black jobseekers they’re ‘not hiring’’ are not the exception, they are apparently the norm in the US and they are not alone, whilst we see screams and demands for equality, the opposite is happening, and it is happening right now. Now, I have always been about realism, and the reality of the situation and the economy is that discrimination is too much of a problem, not merely in the long run, in the short run we see the direct station of hurting well over 31% of the global population, and yes that is not the issue for governments, but in their own backyard it is an issue, in the US alone the issue of discrimination is well over 35%, that implies that one in three will face discrimination and that is on race alone, when we add gender and religion, the picture becomes a lot less charming. In this the UK and Australia are not far behind. Many countries in the EU face similar issues. And as some are ignoring the dangers ahead, in this economy we need to create an air of inclusion, we need to move from inclusion to phases of opportunity. These happen not overnight, but they need to happen a lot faster than whatever solution social media comes with. You see, at the core of inequality is the inability to live like a person, to live like a human being and as that is taken care of, we can create time and create other means to stop discrimination. Anyone who gives you a 5 step plan is plainly a loon, this cannot be done overnight, it cannot be done in 5 steps, and at the core is clear education on just how wrong discrimination is. There is a quote, a quote I locked inside of me in the 80’s, “Change is valuable, it lets the oppressed be tyrants” I believe that this phrase is more important than you might imagine. I did not know it at the time, but the phrase is from Jenny Holzer’s ‘Truisms’, consider the option that the oppressed become the tyrants, where would you be? We need change, but one that does not include oppressed and tyrants, it requires equality and we are running out of time, if you doubt that, consider what happens in the US, when we first get to see that the USA has to admit that they are no longer a superpower, then we get consumerism collapse and in this we get to see that those so called captains of industry are left with lagging incomes more and more, what do you think happens next? And make no mistake, this is not about the USA, the Commonwealth (with minimum impact in Canada) and the EU face the same predicament, the only bad thing happening in the near future if they all get hit at the same time, a scary prospect, no? In all this we need change, we need it fast and we need it by making any setting of discrimination ‘actionable perse’, we have little other options at present. It was never that clear before but the entire Covid-19 issue brought it to the surface more and more, and if the US want to do more than merely become a police state, they actually have no options left, they might be the first, but they are not the only ones, the UK and the EU are ripe and ready for a lot more. The problem is not can we fix it (it should be) the problem in the immediate future is to lower the inequality curve, from the range it is now, towards a 25%-30% lowering curve within a year, with an additional 30%-35% lowering in the year after. These are seemingly achievable numbers, but it will not be easy, anyone claiming that it will be is at the very least insane and optionally delusional as well. We can look at a whole range of options, but in the end government after government will have to decide what is the best way for their nation. I do understand that each nation has its own priorities and its own way of dealing with matters, that was never in question, but they need to realise fast that they no longer have leeway in doing it later, that option past about a decade ago.  

 

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Decision time

I had to make a decision, we all do. For the longest of times, basically since 1983 when I got into gaming, I mostly played as many systems as I was able to buy. First the VIC-20, then the CBM-64 and from there the tracks started. PSX, N64, Megadrive, Dreamcast, Gamecube, PSX2, Xbox360, PSX3, PSX4, Xbox One, Switch and soon the PSX5. I have decided to drop the Xbox as an acceptable system, I am not taking in the hype, I am dropping my Xbox One system with 20+ games. Microsoft has left too much gaming betrayal on the road as I personally see it. 

I will admit that there is another reason, my life of 18 hours a day is over, I now need more than 4 hours of sleep a night, a system has to go and Microsoft lost the toss. Too much overhyping go games (not entirely their fault). To be honest, I got the Xbox One for two reasons. The first was Elite Dangerous and the second one is Subnautica, both are now (and have been for a while) Sony games as well. The disappointing Xbox release list and the stage where both the Last of Us 2 and Ghost of Tsushima are so far above whatever the Xbox offered that the choice was simple. 

Let’s look at the station as it now is, over 6 years Microsoft refused to give in to the old station where we do not need to be online. Former boss of Microsoft stated once “We have a system for offline players, it is called Xbox360”, yet and we noticed it, as games showed issues, I have missed out on well over half a dozen achievements. In addition to the offline part, for some reason (as I showed in a previous blog), the Xbox started to upload, it uploaded well over 50% of my monthly allowance whilst I was not playing multiplayer games or online games. Microsoft help-desk said that this was between me and my internet provider. Really? The Xbox uploads without my consent and it was their fault? The entire Azure push and that is almost halfway through my issues with a console that takes the freedom of gaming and makes it a path of data collection. Then we see the headline ‘Microsoft’s xCloud Will Officially Launch in September as Part of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate’, there is nothing wrong with the state or the choices, yet it does not show us the amount of patches this gives and the amount of data you require. Even as my link is not great 60GB in one month dented my data usage, I also see that a lot of places in Europe will see more and more congestion, and less data width (especially rural places). When that pressure gives way in too high a setting, how long until the internet providers start chasing gamers? It was within 4 weeks of the Covid-19 when congestion made YouTube and Netflix lower resolution play, no more 4K movies and streaming was reduced. As the American BS war on Huawei (and China) continues, we will see reduced systems faster and more often. So what will happen to those 4K and 8K games? If it does not come in physical format, how much more congestion will we face? As such it is important to make a stand with other gamers and make a choice, I decided to drop the Microsoft console. It was a choice that happened on several factors, several choices were available and the station that is PSX has shown more promise and have left me with less disappointment over the time that I had a Playstation (1995-2020) than the Xbox One (2015-2020),  in that stage, I am clear in my voice when I see the entire stage, it is clear to me that the most powerful console in the world has no business focussing on directing gamers in a direction we need to go, especially when it gets surpassed by the weakest console currently on sale. 

A stage where we will soon see more weak promises and powerful hype creations, I personally see the stage changing by Microsoft Business needs that has less ad less to do with the joy of gaming and more with other needs. I will admit that I might be wrong, but I feel strongly to go in the direction I believe in and as I personally see it, a Microsoft Console is not that way. Over time I might replace it with a Google Stadia, so as we see the stage entering 2021, I might miss out on a game or two, yet at present Ghost of Tsushima has blown me away, The Last of Us 2 blew me away and I expect that Cyberpunk 2077 will blow me away. That will keep me settled until Q2 2021, when the upgrade to Elite Dangerous (4K) comes through (there is a lot of noise but not an official yes or no), I will be set for the largest part. I am not continuing to rely on Ubisoft as its flaws angered me enough to uninstall those games and I feel certain that the disappointments from that address have more negative news to come for gamers on any console. 

2020 has changed a lot for us and I do believe that Microsoft will hide behind hypes soon enough and give half baked information that can be bend in a few directions, yet the clear station where the games of the Nintendo Switch are more fun and more addictive than anything the MS Console can give us is a larger stage, a stage where we wonder why this system? And whilst Kotaku (at https://www.kotaku.com.au/2020/07/xbox-series-x-exclusives-phil-spencer/) gives us ‘Exclusives Are ‘Completely Counter To What Gaming Is About,’ Xbox’s Phil Spencer Says’ we see the real flaw. An exclusive game maximises what is possible and Sony has them, whilst Microsoft gave them up. If it was on multiple systems, games like God of War, Last of Us, Last of Us 2, Spiderman, and Ghost of Tsushima would not be the breathtaking results they are now. And the list is a lot larger, which also implies that some are merely on par, not beyond. Microsoft is largely lacking such a list, which is different from the Xbox360, The elder Scrolls Oblivion, Fable 2, Fable 3, and a list that goes on a long while, Microsoft threw a system advantage that put them on par with the Playstation 3 and let some bureaucrat set the long term goals into the Microsoft greed well and ignoring the population they were serving (the gamers). So now we see the not entirely unexpected ‘completely counter to what is gaming about’, yes, counter to what THEY are about. Gaming is to set the boundaries of gaming forward, to give us the wow factor that Microsoft has largely ignored. Sony never forgot that lesson, not since the first Playstation. 

As Google learns that lesson, it will see that there is more profit in catering to gamers, than to data facilitators. We will see larger shifts in 2021, but not immediately, the next Xbox will get the limelight as it deserves, yet when the issues start hampering the Xbox and as the people will get to read carefully phrased denials and carefully phrased counters, one by one it will impact the gamers more and as they switch to Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 5, we will see that Microsoft consoles will end up in 4th or 5th position. I doubt that this will happen in 2021, but 2022 yes, that is entirely possible. I predicted the fall behind Switch a year before it happened, but it did happen and I will be right again and at least now I am ahead of the curve and got rid of my system for a fair price, I wonder when others catch on.

 

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Sources of negativity

We are all binomial in origin, we like yes/no, we dislike yes/no, we hate yes/no and we love yes/no, yet most of us hide this in long winded excuses of reasoning, we all do that (including me). I partially hate Microsoft for what they did, for how they destroyed something that was pretty fabulous, I am upset with Ubisoft or how they squandered excellent IP and hid into the woodworks and made a quick buck, destroying the IP they created in the meantime. And as such as I was looking online for a few more tidbits as we approach the demise of Xbox, I came across a few items that puzzled me. 

I love Bethesda, I do not love all their products, which is fine. I am no lover of Rage, but others are, and that is fine. On the other hand I love Fallout, but was never a fan of Fallout 76 and that is fine too. I prefer my games not online and single player. Still, I accept that this is a pathBethesda went on, we all have growing curves and there is a collection of people (a large one) who do like Fallout 76. Perhaps the evolution of Fallout 76 will turn into Fallout 176, Fallout 276 and whatever comes and I will like it at some point, but the barricade that is out there is not one that Bethesda created. In another story we see the interaction, ‘Call of Duty: Warzone console players are turning off crossplay to escape PC cheaters’ it is merely one reason why I hate online play, I do not really hate it because I loved online Mass Effect 3, I was addicted to it, but the world has enough cheaters, when I game I want to get away from that and play on a level playing field, as such I focus on single player only, and in that my taste goes wide. 

As time went by I must have invested tens of thousands of dollars in console gaming, I agree when people say that it is wasted money, but that was my choice, I had a good job, my last ‘true’ vacation was in 1998, so when I get home I need escapism and puzzles, or challenges all at the same time and the consoles provide. It got me to the first issue on consoles, the pricing YouTubes are a little redundant and obsolete when you realise the origin.

When I look back, I started with the VIC-20, then the CBM64 ($1349) with disk drive. Overtime I evolved my systems. CBM Amiga ($700), Atari ST ($700) and there was the PC to use (I’ll get to that soon). As a gamer and reviewer I had made some waves, as such the Sega Dreamcast was free (christmas present from Sega), the Sony Playstation (I forgot what I paid for it, but it was less than the N4) The Nintendo 64 ($699) and after that I pushed towards the Sony PSX-II ($899). It was followed by the Nintendo Gamecube, a machine I loved. After that there was a small lull, I got the Xbox at the end of its lifetime for free with my mobile and it brought a few highpoints. We are now getting close to the time where everything changed. I was happy with my Xbox, the controller was a little bulky, but I have large hands, so it was a blessing in disguise. I played several of the games and Time Splitters 3 was an awesome trip, so good that I got it completed to 98% in hard mode. Then Microsoft upped the game, the Xbox360 came and I truly loved it, it was close to perfect in many ways, the 20GB drive was a little small, but you could upgrade it to a 120GB and within a year I did. Gaming life was close to perfect. I mentioned Time Splitters and it matters, there was the clear claim of backward compatibility and I fell for it, yet soon thereafter I learned the hard way that it was not and I never got Time Splitters 3 to 100%, the first annoyance was created. In all honesty, it is close to one defect in its life cycle. I too received the red rings of death and Microsoft replaced it, as such I was 3 weeks without my 360, but that was not an issue, the replacement was faster, the resolution was clearly better and gaming was at an all time high. Microsoft was a clear player in all this. The next step was the PSX3, Sony had always been great but I was not drawn to the third version, I was actually still enjoying the PSX2 (as well as the GameCube). So it was a nice relief when I bought a new TV and the PSX3 was part of this as a bonus, to be honest, I was not drawn to the PSX3, I did love the games I played on it, but overall, until Metal Gear Solid IV, games of the patriot arrived, I was not madly gaming it. As such, when it did the shift was starting to happen. 

Before that time the Xbox360 had 70% of my time, the GameCube 20% and 10% was for the PSX3. MGSIV was the first game to attack that pattern. Sony would give us more games on that system that impacted the consoles.As Sony got more adapt in exclusive games, the PSX3 would consume time: God of War 3, Infamous(1 and 2), Ratchet and Clank, Beyond two Souls, Gran Turismo and the end there was the Last of Us, Sony was reacquiring the timeline. Even as I had Oblivion and Mass Effect 3 on my Xbox, the timeline had shifted to 40% X360, 40% PSX3 and 20% Gamecube. Sony was back through great games, just like it did before and Xbox was not to blame. In all this I did not mention PC Gaming and that was on purpose, from 1989 onwards my PC was for gaming and I had more often than not the best of the best. A soundblaster card? I had it and when the first games came needing the better processor I had that system. Unreal Tournament, Black an White, System Shock(1 and 2), Wing Commander (1,2,3), Red Alert, Populous, Ultima, the list goes on, it was when Thief came that I ‘woke up’, I had a really good Diamond card yet Thief forced me to upgrade to the Diamond Viper 2 (no regrets) and the realisation set in (around 2003). Gaming is about the graphics card, sound, storage and the processor and at that point a graphics card was $600, the soundcard $500, and storage came as is. As such a console was a lot cheaper and my need for gaming was fulfilled. Only two years later a high end graphics card was $999 and as such console gaming was becoming increasingly cheap.

This all matters, when we are confronted with the pricing of the Xbox One X and the PS5, we forget that what came before was a lot more expensie and offers less, it was also the time that we started to realise that we need increasingly more space, the Xbox360 and the PSX3 already taught us that, as such the faults in the Xbox were more than merely stupid. Sony solved it by letting people selecting a larger drive and replacing the old drive, Microsoft had not caught on and would not catch on for the entire life cycle of the Xbox One, it is only now that they are seeing the light and their other flaws (always online) are showing that they are no longer to be the trustworthy system and trust is everything here. 

So when I see this tyrade of options and systems and whether I (and many other gamers) are willing to pay only $500 or are willing to pay $550, I wonder if these people realise that they are continuing a consumer base that goes into pillions and they have spent a massive amount of money. Microsoft is also making the mistake to hunt towards the most powerful systems whilst good games is where it is at, so where are the great games?  This is where Ubisoft comes into the mix, exclusive or not they went from great game maker to mediocre game maker and you merely have to look at the exclusive sony titles to realise that. Whilst the creation of titles gave them 90+% games, we now see that 80%+ is the best they can muster and for the most pushed deadlines and marketing promises that cannot be kept are the cause. The lack of proper testing is another matter where they failed and it impacts the choices of consoles we have, because whether we want to accept it or now, Ubisoft is a big deal in console gaming and as they fail, the exclusives are where it is at and there Sony wins, it is a landslide win. To get the greatest games we need Microsoft and Ubisoft to get back to the top or we need someone to replace them, it is that simple.

Players like Bethesda, Capcom and others help, yet the more the merrier (in the high end gaming cycle) and we are all starved for good games and the consoles are a driving force.

Let’s hope that this gaming force is driven to the max at the highest peaks for years to come by as many players as possible, for in that setting the gamer truly wins, no matter who tops the bill.

 

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