Howdy y’all. First and foremost I wanna get something off my chest. Literally.

This past week…on The Status Bro Show…we did a bit. This stunt, like all others was supposed to be humorous…which it was, but this time it came from our pain. I mean, we’ve done the stun gun before, but that’s over and done as soon as it hits you. This time though, even though the pain disappeared quickly, the shame will last for a good long time. Our bit for this last week was waxing strips. Ugh. I think most of y’all are aware at this point that I live my life without regrets…but if I did, i might regret participating. My nickname on the show at this point is “The Sharpshooter” which, if y’all wanna find out what that means you can listen through The Status Bro Show’s catalog, but I may be “Racing Stripe” from this point forward. Here’s some context for that…

IMG_3773

Not exactly my proudest moment, but there it is. The pool party this coming weekend is gonna be great.

Well that’s news in my hood. Now for the meat and potatoes. Last week, I said that I was going to talk about the Xbox One, and my expectations for E3. Well, I watched along a couple weeks ago when Microsoft made their big announcement, I’ve got a lot of the specs and details, and where the audience for the podcast evidently was tuning it out, I know that it will be appreciated here.

microsoft-xbox-one

So, the Xbox One announcement. It seemed that the big point that Microsoft wanted to get across in their announcement were the specs of the the new machine, the appearance, the functionality, and their biggest message was that the Xbox One would be an all in one box.

Microsoft’s vision for the future is to put one box in everyone’s living room that is going to do everything…including cover your TV options. Even current 360’s can support Verizon Fios and few other carriers.

XboxMoviesTVUIENUSFinal_610x343

Supposedly though, the One will be able to serve up quite a few different carriers with the full array of options like DVR, video on demand, and all the good stuff. Even if that isn’t your thing, the One will have what they’re calling HDMI pass through…which should allow you to hook the HDMI out from whatever your TV provider is (cable, dish, w/e) straight into your Xbox so that you no longer have to change inputs on your TV, and so that you can take advantage of Xbox’s new Guide.

chrome-2013-05-21-10-17-19-40-610x336

I’m not sure what the hype is that they’re trying to create around this Guide is…it seems like a traditional interactive guide that most of us have grown used to at this point. Maybe it’s supposed to be more awesome since it’s going to be working with Kinect…I still haven’t invested in Kinect at this point, so I’m still iffy about it. Microsoft is also really proud of their new Snap feature, which essentially lets you switch from activity to activity with very little lag time.

Screen%2520Shot%25202013-05-21%2520at%25201.15.20%2520PM%2520(2)

With Snap, you should be able to quickly switch between game playing, watching TV, web browsing, skypeing, and whatever else. Microsoft says they’re accomplishing this by running 3 separate operating systems at once on the box. One is the standard Xbox operating system, the second is Windows Kernel, which I think is the OS that Windows has running on all their mobile devices, and then a third OS which is dedicated to multitasking.

As mentioned above, the One is going to have a DVR native to the system, that if I remember correctly isn’t going to be directly tied to the TV/cable system. I believe that with it we should now be able to record and playback our game footage, so if we have a particularly good multiplayer match, or a perfect campaign section, we can play that back and maybe post it online. This is probably one of the most exciting features I’ve seen, because we should see an explosion of amateur machinimas pop into the scene.

As expected, Microsoft has admitted defeat in the high definition video race, and the One will come equipped with a blu-ray player. Another reason why I’m excited for this console. I do have a blu-ray player, but with respect, it’s a honking piece of crap. It won’t connect to my internet connection, the video is laggy, and half the time it won’t recognize its own controller. I also never jumped on the PS3 bandwagon, though I was able to get my parents to jump on. I got them to pick one up, proving to be a superior blu-ray player than the one that I inherited, but with the amount of time they spend watching TV I never got to do a lot of gaming on it.
The point being…It’d be nice if I had a decent quality blu-ray player, and Microsoft sounds like they will provide.

Microsoft will also be upgrading the capabilities of SmartGlass. For those that don’t know what that is, it’s an application for smart phones that transforms them into a limited capability remote for the Xbox. I use it all the time on my iPhone to control Netflix. Microsoft is alluding however that the SmartGlass we know has been a beta-test for the SmartGlass they want to roll out once the One launches. I don’t exactly know what that means right now, but if that somehow means more interactivity, or cross connectivity…I’m all for it.

Even though it’s been announced that the unit will have a 500 GB hard drive, it looked like most of the file storage and game saves will be stored on the cloud. Emphasis on cloud storage has been increased 10-fold. I understand, that this is the direction that things are going, but I like having local storage just in case things get messed up and deleted. Hopefully there will still be an option for local backups. My guess for the reason for 500 GB of storage when most everything is going to be saved on the cloud, is the requirement for all games to be loaded to the hard drive in order to be played.

Yea, the only reason that the discs will exist anymore is for game verification. It was inevitable that gaming would eventually move in a direction away from physical medium, but no one wants to be the one that goes first and gets all the consumer backlash.
I’m one of those people that I thought would be up in arms over the direction that gaming is going, the transition digital download and DLC, as I’m still slow to download my games from the Xbox marketplace, I still by CD’s and DVD’s instead of using iTunes most of the time, and I still prefer to read hardback books. I see the convenience now though that a digital medium offers, probably most so right now because I have a lot of clutter in my life. My parents just turned me on to the Kindle app for my iPad, and I just finished reading Dan Brown’s new book Inferno, and I’ve got to admit that, though hesitant at first, it’s nice not to have to look for a place to put it on my bookshelf now that I’m done. I currently have a stack of DVD’s sitting on my coffee table that don’t have anywhere to go, as I’ve run out of space in my DVD racks. If I had an Apple TV, and all my collection on iTunes, my place might look a little cleaner. I see the value of converting to digital, so I don’t vilify Microsoft in the least for taking that next step towards the full conversion to digital…in fact I’d sooner praise them for it. We’re just a bunch of old dogs reluctant to learn new tricks.
That’s not where the biggest backlash is though. The thing that has most people up in arms is how these games, once installed to the hard drive, become tied to your Xbox account, and thusly tying enough a physical copy of a game to one Xbox. Once installed, if you take a game over to a friends house, you become forced to pay a fee to install it to the friends hard drive. Supposedly this also uninstalls the game from your own drive, and makes you pay a fee if you want to put it back. Sharing games is a thing of the past. If that weren’t enough, you should be able to imagine the implications that this has on the used game market.
Let’s run through a scenario real quick. You go to GameStop and buy a used Xbox One game. You have to pay for it once there. Once you get it home, and out of the package, you have to pay another fee to Microsoft to install it, as you are not the original owner. Who in there right mind wants to pay for a game twice? The easier thing to do is just but everything off the Xbox Live Marketplace. Ideally the price should be lower, you are getting the newest version of a game, and obviously you’re not playing twice. Coming full circle, digital medium becomes the easier and more favorable route, and physical medium becomes a hassle and more expensive.
At some point everything will be digital, but we’ll only get their if someone makes that first step. Microsoft is going to get crucified for their decisions here, but I’m sure we’ll end up lauding them for their innovation and their foresight.

Wow, I just compared Microsoft to Jesus. I’m almost ashamed of myself, the self-proclaimed Apple fanatic, paying so much lip-service to the enemy. Whatever, I think it looks fantastic right now, and I’m much more excited about it that any of its competition at this point.

Well, I think I’ve hit on most of the high and low points of the Xbox One’s press conference. What I didn’t hit on really were the content announcements for the console, and I leave that for last for a reason…

e3 logo-580-75

E3, or the Electronic Entertainment Expo for the uninitiated, is happening in a little over a week. Microsoft would be stupid to reveal all their cards meer weeks before one of the biggest trade show of the year. Microsoft showed off a few exclusive titles with the Xbox One announcement, but if I had to guess, the announcement was going to be introduction of the hardware, where E3 is going to be more about showcasing the software. I’m anticipating tons of games, exclusive titles, more exclusive video content, gaming previews, and possibly some demos and playable betas. They left themselves a lot of room to win back our hearts making E3 about content, now that the hardware and specifications are already out there.

Sony has been pretty reserved about the hardware and specifications for the Playstation 4, so I’d be willing to bet that even though the PS4 has already been announced, that E3 is going to be there chance to really let their hardware shine. Sony has also been pretty vocal that, while the Xbox One aims to be an all-in-one entertainment box, the PS4 is going to be a dedicated gaming machine. It of course will also still play blu-rays, but they want the big emphasis of their machine to be on gaming. I’m anticipating a lot of exclusive titles, and hardware demonstations from the Sony camp.

control

I really have no idea what to expect from Nintendo. The Wii U is old news, and on top of that, it’s not selling that well in the United States. I’ve also heard that there aren’t a whole lot of games coming up on Nintendo’s release schedule, unless they’re planning on announce a whole slew of new games they’ve been keeping under wraps for a while. I hope they’re bringing some serious heat to E3, because I hate to see an old love like the Nintendo fall so far off the wagon.

Wii-U1

I also have a hope for E3, that, if it happens, will change everything. I don’t know how long the talk and rumors have been floating around at this point, I’m going to say a year or so, but their has been a lot of chatter about Valve developing a Steam Box. I have a hard time trying to describe what Steam is, but I’ll do my best here to not butcher it.

Steam

Steam is a service, developed by Valve, that is a distribution port for a plethora of games, and a multiplayer and communication hub that surrounds the games. I’m hesitant to call this a PC game service because, in addition to supporting games for Windows, Mac, and Linux, there is also some support for iOS and Android devices. At current, their are somewhere near 2000 different games available on Steam, and more that 50 million users. The conditions are ripe for Valve to develop a console of sorts around this service, and for them to own a sizable chunk of the gaming market. The possibility is so real for this Steam Box to happen, that there have been a number of different manufactures that have mocked up different versions of the hardware. I’ll give you a few examples…

IMG_0391

IMG_0395

IMG_0392

IMG_0394

IMG_0396

IMG_0397

Regardless of the form it takes, this isn’t going to be so much of an actual console, as it will be a standardized piece of computer hardware designed around the singular purpose of gaming. I know that’s pretty much the definition of what a console is, but whatever…I said that don’t really know what I’m talking about as far as Steam is concerned. E3 would be a prime opportunity to edge their way into the market.

Any way that you want to look at it, this year’s E3 has the potential to be truly amazing. E3 starts this year on June 11th. Mark your calendars, and I’ll see if I can setup some kind of countdown on here. If you have any comments on the Xbox One or any of your own speculations for E3, drop me a line. I’d love to what others have to say on these matters.

That’s all for today. I’ve got a couple of other topics hanging out in my bag here, but I’ll leave those as a mystery until next time. Hope that those of y’all that are there are enjoying AKon. Go do some cool stuff and have some summer fun.

Keep your heads up, your minds sharp, and your hearts open.

– CVSleen

Boiled Crawfish

Boiled Crawfish

Advertisements
Comments

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s