Penny Arcade - Technomology -
Fuck. Penny Arcade’s post is on point today. It’s the perfect blend of ‘makes me smile’ and ‘makes me think.’ I’m going to leave you with just this bit, but please read the whole thing:
What’s sort of funny about the whole thing was that the original Xbox - gah, which I keep calling the Xbox One, and then correcting myself, and then lamenting the choice which I think is good on its own but more complicated in context, which balloons some conversations (like a lunch order at Wendy’s) as much as four hundred percent. But! The original Xbox was a computer. It was a Pentium and an nVidia board bolted inside of a breadbox. There is an alternate universe out there where the Xbox was simply another Operating System, for another type of computer, existing in parallel with Windows, and of course your shit always works because why wouldn’t it work. It seems like a cool universe! I’m just saying. Also, a snakes can learn martial arts there, which just seems like bad policy.
I buy consoles because I want to play new games; I don’t have a “1984” on those systems that I go back to annually. This is much more important for a new player. I try to imagine how Gabriel’s mom would respond if she got a new phone and then, if she wanted to use any of her old Apps, she would have to carry her old phone around too. What we think of as normal is, as has been said many times, actually sort of fucked.
I will play virtually any iOS game I hear about, which means lately I’ve been playing Candy Crush. It’s a decent enough match-3 puzzler with lots of polish, but the monetization scheme makes no sense and prevents me from fully recommending the game.
Candy Crush is free to download/play, but you only have a set number of lives. Once you run out you have to pay for more lives or wait. You can also buy additional power-ups, the pricing of which is insane and hidden until you are about to confirm the purchase (see above).
I once read an article (which I can unfortunately no longer find) that compared the situation to Disney Land. Disney Land used to be more like a state fair, where instead of purchasing admission you bought a finite number of ride tickets. Then a competing theme park (maybe Knott’s Berry Farm?) opened up and offered unlimited rides. Even though unlimited rides cost more than buying a bunch of tickets, people preferred it because they didn’t have to spend their day at the park worrying, “Is this ride worth a ticket? Should I save them for that ride?”
I recently learned the same lesson from another iOS match-3 game, Triple Town. Like Candy Crush, when you run out of turns in Triple Town you have to either spend money or wait. I don’t remember the exact numbers, but you could buy a set amount of additional turns for $1 or unlimited turns for $5. I knew there was a good chance a few $1 packs would more than cover my appetite for the game, but I bought the unlimited just so I could relax and enjoy the stupid thing. Candy Crush, far as I can tell, does not offer the equivalent option.
I’ve got no problem spending money on iOS games, but I want to actually get the game in return. Giving me something finite I have to worry about using stresses me out, which is the opposite of why I’m playing games in the first place.
I agree with all of this.
Sometimes being a good dad means sending your kid into the future to cure him of a life threatening disease. But you can still bond later in life, when he returns to your present. Happy Father’s Day.
I post a version of this every year. No reason to stop now.
The Barclay’s Center gets it. There’s nothing remotely close to a service like this at (the newly renovated) Madison Square Garden, a place I call home during the hockey season.
Tomorrow, have a Happy Father’s Day!!! If you have a son, take him to see Man of Steel. If you have a dad, do the same.
There has been a lot of talk about the weather app in iOS 7. People have been saying that the app looks “exactly like the Yahoo app” that was released a few months ago. I keep seeing photos of the Yahoo app next to the iOS 7 app. But no one is looking at the stock iOS app.
While there certainly are similarities, between the Yahoo and iOS 7 apps, they are mostly in the typeface. Looking at the Apple weather app in iOS 6 you can see the exact same information is displayed in the same places in the iOS 7 app. Daily high/low, hourly carousel, week view, is all the same, just updated with a new typeface and icons that is consistent with the new look of iOS 7.
Seeing then all together above I would actually argue that all three apps are similar. Displaying all the same information laid out in, more or less, the same places. It kind of looks like Yahoo just modernized the stock iOS 6 weather app (not a bad thing). What isn’t shown is that if you scroll the Yahoo app, you get even more, very useful, information. If Apple really was ripping off Yahoo, wouldn’t they have tried to be as robust?
The truth of the matter is this; the iOS 7 weather app is simply an updated version of the iOS 6 weather app. Yahoo, remarkably, was a head of the design curve and made their own app, that does more. Seeing screen shots of the new Apple app sitting next to the Yahoo app tells one story, sure. But one look at the iOS 6 app, and seeing it in context, tells another.
Lets focus on the rest of iOS 7, and improvements for 8.
'Can't innovate anymore, my ass': Apple's bravado clouds the company's real challenges -
Nilay Patel writes, essentially, poetry about Apple and the current state of affairs. Two excerpts are below, but please, please read the whole thing.
But Schiller’s segment of Apple’s WWDC keynote on Monday took on an interesting, more aggressive tone as he introduced the Mac Pro. “Can’t innovate anymore, my ass,” he said — a line directed not at his audience of sympathetic Apple developers, but at the nattering nabobs of negativism that have accumulated at the base of Apple’s sliding stock price. Criticize this, Schiller seemed to be saying, as the imposing all-black Mac Pro stood on the screen behind him.
And while the enormous emphasis Apple placed on design at WWDC was clearly the company playing to its strengths in front of its core audience, neglecting the service side of the equation points to an equally clear danger.
I thought Marissa Mayer was great in Star Trek. I didn’t know she could act.
What’s that? It wasn’t her? Certainly fooled me.
During their press conference, Sony said that they “support used games,” and “that they won’t require an online check in.” Polygon is reporting a little bit of a backpedal:
“Well, I mean, we create the platform, we’ve certainly stated that our first-party games are not going to be doing that, but we welcome publishers and their business models to our platform,”
Tretton received a standing ovation at yesterday’s Sony E3 press conference after announcing that gamers would be able to share their games as they wished without worrying about licenses or 24-hour checks — policies adopted by the Xbox One that have proven fairly unpopular for Microsoft’s platform. Today’s comments seem to walk that announcement back somewhat, giving third-party publishers leverage to use their own copy protections on the platform; though the PS4 still won’t have platform-wide restrictions like the aforementioned daily online checks.
Sony responded to the Polygon article by adding:
“Similar to PS3, we will not dictate the online used game strategy (the ability to play used games online) of its publishing partners,” a Sony representative told Polygon. “As announced last night, PS4 will not have any gating restrictions for used disc-based games. When a gamer buys a PS4 disc they have right to use that copy of the game, so they can trade-in the game at retail, sell it to another person, lend it to a friend, or keep it forever.”
It sounds like they’re being very choosy with their wording. They’re saying they “do not dictate online used game strategy of it’s publishers.” So if Activision want’s to build in a check in every 24 hours it sounds like they are at liberty to do so. Kind of a bummer. Regardless of the policy, Sony got the applause, and the initial press saying no DRM. It’s a win for Sony, maybe not so much for gamers.