Tag Archives: Xbox

New Xbox watches you

 

Kotaku, the gaming news blog which is ever the scourge of the self-described thinking gamer, may have done it again.

Citing information and documents gleaned from arch thorn in the side of Microsoft, SuperDAE, the games blog today claims to have an inside track on many things Xbox 720 related.

Fancy having a Kinect plugged in all the time (because the new Xbox integrates the peripheral video control deeply into the Xbox UI)?  Keen on the idea of playing a game as you install it to the now standard 500gb HD platter?  It would be intriguing to see how much of this stuff comes to pass and how much is just click-bait designed to inspire comment thread meltdowns (which drives more clicks) – if the word on the boards is true, we’ll find out just how much is on the level on or around the big Sony announcement on 20th February.

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New Xbox – no Xbox?

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Ruh-oh.

Edge Online is reporting that Microsoft’s next Xbox console may require users to have a permanent internet connection, virtually ensuring the end of the second-hand games business.

You’ll still be able to buy a physical copy of a game (which will ship with a one-use unlock code, tied to your Gamertag), but Microsoft’s overarching strategy for the next-gen is download-based.  Great if you live in a major city with serious broadband infrastructure, but not so brilliant for everybody else.  Can’t afford a decent download speed?  On a monthly plan which caps your downloads?  Sucks for you.

This is, to say the least, a bloody risky gambit and one designed to lock out a great many gamers who can’t afford to buy a $60/£45 game every month  – I find it hard to believe that Microsoft, of all companies, would view providing a download version as an opportunity to pass on cost savings to the consumer.  Their ‘on-demand’ store on Xbox Live currently charges hilarious prices for games – and I would suspect that controlling the method of delivery to gamers will only make that worse.

Of course, Microsoft don’t comment on rumours and speculation ahead of one of their major product announcements, but if this method comes to pass, I don’t see myself persisting with Xbox gaming – after a while, you begin to get the message that Microsoft are akin to the neighbourhood kid who took their football home when the game wasn’t going their way.

There’s no word on whether Sony are looking to carry out similar measures with their PS4 – and a gambling man would suggest that where Microsoft choose to go, the Japanese company might look to distinguish themselves to consumers by offering a different system which doesn’t seek to marginalize and alienate potential consumers.  Just an idea, mind you.

I’ve given up Xbox live this year and felt no ill-effect from doing so.  If Microsoft are going to treat gamers like this, it might be time for me to jettison any thought of adopting their future platforms.  I mean, as I’m European, it’s not as if Microsoft gives a toss about me anyway, is it?

 

 

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PS4 – 20/02/2013?

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Cryptic, much?

In a bid to steal a march not only on Microsoft’s next Xbox console, but also the encroaching threats presented by both Valve’s Steambox and whatever the tablet/phablet scene offers up next, once dominant gaming titan Sony is going to announce…something on February 20th in New York.

And if you were of the betting persuasion, it wouldn’t take much to persuade you to drop some currency on the PS4 being announced formally – whether this is confirming specs or just showing the case, who can tell?

It’s all getting a tad bit exciting, games fans – new generation get!

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Is this the next Xbox – or just a very confusing infographic?

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Look! Colours and boxes!  Via VG Leaks.com

So, this is what the inside of the next Xbox looks like, apparently.

It’s a deeply interconnected series of coloured boxes with vaguely impenetrable titles, which will somehow allow you to play the next “Gears of War” in eye-wateringly intense super HD vision from the future.  Why, it’s almost as if we’re on the verge of a new generation of games consoles, Valve-approved PCs and similar free time monopolising devices of fun…

I’m no technologist, but I know that 8 GB of RAM and an identical number of CPU Cores promise lots of potential to deliver more immersive games worlds.  Of course, it’s an arguable point as to whether the complexity of the PS3‘s internal architecture was ever satisfyingly grappled with by most of the multi-platform publishers and developers in this generation of machines – if the 360 couldn’t handle it, it does seem that EA and Activision didn’t exactly shoot for the fences with the systems out there.

Ever played “Dragon Age: Origins” on the PS3?  Exactly.

Expect major fireworks to be unleashed come E3 this June – or possibly earlier, if you believe the word on t3h str33tz…

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Next Xbox, PS4 for Spring 2013 reveals?

Almost certainly not what the new Xbox will look like – but don’t you just love a cool case mod?

File this one under “I’ll believe it when I see it” – venerable UK games mag turned page-view hungry website, CVG, are reporting that we’ll see the new Xbox and Playstation consoles revealed in the Spring – with Apple style events planned for the Games Developers Conference in San Francisco at the end of March.

Which would be delightful, but for the fact that most people attending the conference are already working on titles for the new systems, so  the impact of a reveal at such an event would seem to be muted at best.   A behind-doors, strictly policed, NDA-heavy presentation I can see happening, but my money is still on Microsoft and Sony playing to a wider audience at E3 and crashing the internet twenty seconds after showing their latest hardware off.

Will Sony go nuts and have some kind of bonkers, crustacean-related shenanigans to show the power of PS4?  Will Microsoft show some games this time rather than media apps targeted solely towards their US heartland?  Will Nintendo show us some killer games that make the Wii U look worthwhile? Or will Gabe Newell sneak in with a “Half-Life 3“/Steambox announcement which sucks the oxygen out of the whole internets?

There’s nothing like an imminent new generation of hardware to make gaming more exciting…

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Multi-player Madness?

Money spent on Xbox Live membership by Fluffrick in 2013? Zero pounds!

Microsoft have recently been keen to remind gamers that Xbox Live has been around for a decade – hence e-mails like the one above, which I received this morning.

I might rather have received one of these, but as I live in Europe (and we don’t matter to Microsoft), I’ll just be happy that they deigned to send me an e-mail which has reminded me of something crucial – my Xbox Live Gold membership is the nerd equivalent of the gym membership that I don’t use.

My taste in games has always skewed towards the solitary and offline – a good percentage of the Role Playing games that I spend my time with don’t really bother with online modes and competitive functionality – and so it really doesn’t make that much sense for me to spend the price of a new game on a service which I don’t actually use.  Sure, Mass Effect 3 has a suite of multiplayer options but it’s not really the kind of thing which appeals to me – plugging wave after wave of NPC’s in the company of some random dude who doesn’t speak/plays music down his headset or regale you with his unsolicited neo-Nazi views is not my idea of happy-happy fun times, truth be told.

I’ve tried “Gears of War” multi and “Call of Duty” online (see my previous neo-Nazi comment) and found the experience profoundly wanting – and it’s not just a problem with the 360 audience, as Uncharted 2 on the PS3 had more than a few highly vocal 12-year-old nitwits ready, willing and eager to demonstrate their bigotry and stupidity to all and sundry in matches and lobbies.  I find myself actively wanting to disassociate myself from many of the people who play online on consoles, as this gaming generation has exposed me to people so acutely unpleasant and unrepentantly objectionable that their stupidity can surely only be explained away by being a stunt or deliberate tactic of some kind – gamesmanship employed by people for whom winning is the only goal.

Testify, Wonka – testify!

Yes, we can mute and report people to the enforcement teams on the respective platforms but the point to me is that by the time that you’ve done that, the very last thing that you want to do is venture back online and play against people – I’m fairly soured on the whole notion of competitive play against people who I don’t know.

When my Gold membership expires in a month or two I am pretty certain that I won’t be renewing it. And, you know what?  I’m totally okay with that.

 

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He’s NOT the UN Peace Keeper you’re looking for…

I know that times are tough for us all, but surely the BBC can afford to employ people who call the difference between the UN and some made-up dudes from “Halo”?

BBC News mistakes Halo UNSC logo for UN • News • Xbox 360 • Eurogamer.net.

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Video game icon Master Chief, from the “Halo” series.  Not presently working for the UN.

Under-Secretary-General for UN Peacekeeping Operations, Hervé Ladsous. Does not have own, multi-million-selling FPS franchise.

I’m thinking that the difference between those gentlemen is wholly apparent, even to those zany funsters at the BBC.  Isn’t it great to know that your license fee money in the UK goes towards employing folks who know what they’re doing?

Give me five minutes and Google Image search and I’m pretty sure that I could find the proper logo.  Call me unduly competent if you must…

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All Our Base Are Belong To This Guy

Got a 360 and a PS3?  You’ve got nothing on this guy.

There’s cable management problems and then there’s the back of THIS system…

In the words of Jodie Foster in “Contact” – “They should have sent a poet…”

Image and original story via – Global Geek News | Celebrating Geek Culture.

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To Phish, or not to Phish – Hack is the question.

Sir, they're hacking all of Teh Internetz!

Did you know that the very act of switching on your Xbox 360 now carries with it an automatic £100 penalty?  Hackers can magically extract money from your bank account merely by dint of you owning a Microsoft console and logging into Xbox Live – it’s that easy!

If anything in my hypebolic introduction sounded a tad Phishy, that’s because  Rupert Murdoch‘s wholly reputable, in no way morally bereft and entirely ethically sound newspaper The Sun ran a panic-inducing headline today which sought to convince the parents of younger gamers that Phishing and account theft is so widespread on the Xbox platform that it constitutes a routine systemic problem.

You and I may know different, but why let facts get in the way of a cheap front page on a slow news day?  Also, the Sun (a News International title) earnestly lecturing Britain about hacking?  Kind of boggles the mind, doesn’t it?

What we appear to be dealing with is old-school hacker social engineering married to new school digital larceny.  The “Hack” being alluded to by The Sun appears to be nothing more than naive gamers being redirected to a compromised website and being directed to enter personal details which are, of course, used to hijack their accounts, stored credit card details and grab identity information for subsequent use.

Social engineering works frequently because people don’t know that it’s happening – talking online in a “Modern Warfare 3” or “Battlefield 3” lobby to a chatty gamer isn’t likely to make you think that you’re going to get hacked somewhere down the line, but this is frequently how accounts get compromised.

If you want the original story from the Sun, you can Google it, because I’m not giving that unpleasant bunch of reptiles the link traffic.  If you want to read Microsoft’s response, you can find it on Facebook, read Bitter Wallet’s take here  and follow UK Xbox community manager Graham “Acey Bongos” Boyd here on Twitter for a more measured take on what’s been going on – or to be more accurate, what’s not been going on.

Three Rules to live by online –

1) Do you know the people that you’re chatting with?  No?  Then keep things general – you have no idea that the people you are talking to are who they say they are.

2) Would you give your bank card PIN to somebody you barely know and hope that they wouldn’t run amok with it the moment that your back is turned?  No, you wouldn’t.  So why would you let somebody have vital information which allows them to get into your online identities?  If the questions get more personal than you’re comfortable with, mute players and disengage.  At best, they’re engaging in gamesmanship, at worst they’re trying to get into your digital life.  And you don’t want that, do you?

3) Make your passwords distinctive, difficult to guess and secret answers to questions used to reset access to your account should be guessable only by you.

If you’re using ‘password’ or ‘123456’ as your password in this day and age,  you probably deserve to have those nice Chinese hackers buying seventeen million iTunes downloads or PSN games on your dime.

Stay safe out there, Gaming compadres…

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Your weekend gaming Quick Hits…

It’s the weekend and you don’t have time to read blogs – you want links to cool stuff and you want them now.  Who am I to argue?

The Gamecube's controller is my favourite console controller - fact!

Nintendo World Report celebrates the tenth anniversary of the Gamecube…

…Whilst Joystiq ponders the 10 greatest GameCube exclusives (Not an exclusive, but where, pray tell, is the love for ZooCube?)

The console is literally the size of a small child. Possibly.

It’s not all Ninty goodness, of course – Microsoft’s Xbox platform had its tenth birthday this week as and in a suite of anniversary features, US Official Xbox magazine laments the loss of the pioneering interactive gameshow, “1 vs 100”  – still the only 360 game I have all the achievements for.

Yahtzee's fair and balanced review of "Uncharted 3" awaits

Meanwhile, over The Escapist, lovely Yahtzee reviews “Uncharted 3: Drake’s Decision”.  It gets a bit rough…

Finally, PCMag.com has a list of things that you might want to try in “Skyrim”.

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