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Posts tagged Microsoft

Windows 10

Microsoft just announced Windows 10. Yes this is the 9th version of Windows but numbers don’t matter. This OS is everything that made Windows 7 great, along with a touch of Windows 8 (pun intended).

On the surface Microsoft seems to be back tracking. They alienated a lot of users with Windows 8, and even more businesses. People didn’t want something all new, they wanted something familiar but upgraded, that’s exactly what they’re getting in Windows 10. Where Windows 8 focussed on touch screens and tablets, Windows 10 is a return to mouse and keyboard users, you know, they way most of us use a computer.

There are still some elements of Windows 8 present in the Start menu (see the photo above) and on tablets, but for the most part this is the beefed up Windows 7 that users were hoping for.

Described as Microsoft’s “most comprehensive platform ever,” Windows 10 will offer a tailored experience for all hardware across a single platform family. And it turns out that’s intentional. Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore pointed to the millions of customers still using Windows 7, and said the company wants to make their transition to Windows 10 much more comfortable than the unfamiliar leap to Windows 8 two years ago. “We want all these Windows 7 users to have the sentiment that yesterday they were driving a first-generation Prius, and now with Windows 10 it’s like a Tesla.”

EDIT: I just wanted to note that I was / am WAY into Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. I 100% understand what they were trying to do, and I was on board. … that said, I was never going to make it my daily driver for many of the obvious reasons. It’s nice to see them return to the mouse and keyboard user.

[via The Verge]

Stephen Totillo shows off the new snapping feature coming to Xbox One. The current implementation is a complete mess, I’m really happy this is getting fixed in the October dashboard update.

[via Kotaku]

Microsoft confirms Rise of the Tomb Raider Xbox exclusivity deal "has a duration" 

Oh look. It’s the news the I (and the world) was expecting yesterday. Rise of the Tomb Raider is a timed exclusive… *sigh*. Reading the conversation Eurogamer had with Spencer it’s still clouded in PR double speak and half truths:

"When people want me to say, can you tell us when or if it’s coming to other platforms, it’s not my job," Spencer told Eurogamer. "My job is not to talk about games I don’t own. I have a certain relationship on this version of Tomb Raider, which we announced, and I feel really good about our long term relationship with Crystal and Square.

"I get the reaction I see. If I’m a PlayStation person all of a sudden I feel like, the franchise has gone. I didn’t buy the IP. I didn’t buy the studio. It’s not mine. Where this thing will go over time, just like Dead Rising or Ryse, we’ll see what happens with the game. I don’t own every iteration of Tomb Raider.

"I don’t own them building Tomb Raider on other platforms. I can’t talk about the franchise that way. I can talk about the deal I have."

So, what, exactly, is that deal?

"I have Tomb Raider shipping next holiday exclusively on Xbox. It is Xbox 360 and Xbox One. I’m not trying to fake anybody out in terms of where this thing is. What they do with the franchise in the long run is not mine. I don’t control it. So all I can talk about is the deal I have. I don’t know where else Tomb Raider goes.

Is there a time limit on the exclusivity period?

"Yes, the deal has a duration. I didn’t buy it. I don’t own the franchise."

Even reading it, and I’ve read it four times now, I get a little lost in the middle. That said, Spencer dropped the names Dead Rising and Ryse, both were recently announced to be coming to PC after being named Xbox One exclusives.

Like I said yesterday, exclusive has come to mean exclusive-ish, over the past few years.

Exclusive Has Come To Mean Exclusive-ish Over The Past Few Years

In the wake of today’s Tomb Raider news I thought it would be important to talk about the word “exclusive” and what it has come to mean.

A few days ago Editor in Chief of Kotaku, Stephen Totilo and I had the following exchange on twitter:


His initial link points out that Rise and Dead Rising 3 were both announced as Xbox One exclusives and now they are both coming to PC. Those two announcements (two months apart) have come in the midst of the commonly used phrase “timed exclusive”. It’s exactly what it sounds like, the game is exclusive to a platform for a set amount of time.

Activision has had timed exclusives on Call of Duty DLC on Xbox for a few years. It makes Microsoft happy because they get to say “we get this popular thing first” on stage at big events and the die hard fans of that franchise are more likely to buy the game on that platform.

But in the past when third party games were exclusive, they were really exclusive. Final Fantasy games were exclusive to Sony platforms for years, for example. So were Tomb Raider games. 

The first chink in the armor of “exclusivity” I can remember was BioShock in 2007. The first BioShock is one of the best games I’ve ever played, won tons of Game of the Year awards, and was touted as being “Only on Xbox” – words they even printed on the box.

14 months after it came out on the Xbox 360, a PS3 version was released.

This story is become more and more common. On the one hand, I love it. I love that GTA, BioShock, and Final Fantasy are playable on every platform. It’s great for gaming, it’s great for gamers, and it’s great for people who can only afford one console.

(Yes, as long as console makers continue to publish games you’re never going to get to play 100% of games released, but you can play 95%, and that’s pretty good. At least in the near future you wont be playing Halo on a PlayStation and you won’t be playing Uncharted on an Xbox.)

But on the other hand, we’ve cheapened the word.  People don’t trust the word exclusive when especially when Microsoft says it. Just look at the news about Rise of the Tomb Raider, almost every outlet reporting it casts some doubt about the length of this exclusive. Not a single report that I’ve read is certain that Square / Crystal Dynamics will publish Tomb Raider only on the Xbox. Everyone is expecting Sony to have Tomb Raider in 2016.

Microsoft has warped the meaning of the word exclusive to mean exclusive-ish, or exclusive-for-now. They’ve also cheapened the value of their console. When you look at the landscape of games coming one or two games may nudge you to choose one console over the other.

Stephen Totilo is right, “it set’s a precedent” and lying about a game that’s exclusive devalues your console and just makes your consumers upset.

It is still unclear weather the the new Tomb Raider is actually exclusive to Microsoft or if it’s just a timed exclusive. The fact that it’s been more than four hours since the news broke, and outlets still seem to be debating the definition of exclusive and what it means in this instance, is in of itself a problem. 

UPDATE: Eurogamer has confirmed that the Tomb Raider deal “has a duration”


No. I’m not flipping you off.

Dan Seifert points out that “Chromebooks will never be successful until they have bigger screens" since 81% of laptop sales are computers with 15 or 17 inch screens.

As a 15 inch MBP owner, I’m honestly very surprised. I can’t think of another person I know with a 15 inch machine. And even now, as I look around the coffee shop I’m sitting in, and all I see are 13-14 inch laptops.

This is really interesting data.

Rise of the Tomb Raider is exclusive to Xbox 

I’m shocked. I loved last years Tomb Raider. It was widely considered one of the best games of last year, selling about 6 Million copies on PC, PS3, and Xbox 360, something that Square considered to be underperforming.

I don’t know what Microsoft did to keep this exclusive to the Xbox One, but I bet it cost them quite a bit of money.

I’m into “second place” Microsoft (Sony is widely outselling them). They’re making me feel great about my Xbox One purchase.

UPDATE: Geoff Keighley is saying on twitter that “Official line is that the game is ‘exclusive on Xbox for holiday 2015’”

Meanwhile Joystiq updated their original article to include part of a post from Darrell Gallagher, the Head of Product Development at Crystal Dynamics. He says this:

Our friends at Microsoft have always seen huge potential in Tomb Raider and have believed in our vision since our first unveil with them on their stage at E3 2011. We know they will get behind this game more than any support we have had from them in the past - we believe this will be a step to really forging the Tomb Raider brand as one of the biggest in gaming, with the help, belief and backing of a major partner like Microsoft.

This doesn’t mean that we’re walking away from our fans who only play on PlayStation or on PC. Those are great systems, with great partners, and amazing communities. We have Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris coming to those platforms this December, and Tomb Raider: The Definitive Edition is available on PS4.

I’m really not sure what’s happening, but it certainly sounds less like this is a platform exclusive and more like an “exclusive-ish”… which is very similar to a conversation I was having on twitter.

UPDATE 2: Eurogamer has confirmed that the Tomb Raider deal “has a duration” and is a timed exclusive.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection brings four Halo games, Halo 5 beta to Xbox One Nov. 11 

This is exactly what it sounds like. I approve.

Album Art
309 Plays

Last week Microsoft announced that they would begin selling the Xbox One without Kinect. At the time I said “now they’re trying to gain traction in the market by gutting their core values.” But I was never really happy with those words.

This week on One Life Left, Kinectless Xbox was the first news story of the week (embedded above). While it starts off a little jokey, Simon Byron and Ste Curran get very serious very quickly. After Ste calls it a “backwards step in video gaming” he says:

STE: I think it’s terrible. It’s such a shame that the world has bullied them into this position, where we were looking at a situation where Microsoft had a console which had all these features, some of were weird, and some of which seemed a bit dodgy, some of which seemed creepy but I think that, that was a PR problem. A lot of those features are in PC’s and in Sony’s console already and you know that has its own Kinect although it’s not obligatory. 

Instead Microsoft have pulled it from this machine. And we all know that you can’t design games for hardware addons. And so that possibility of games that just work with this console, that’s gone now.

STE: I was fortunate enough, while I was in America, to play Fantasia, Harmonix’s new Kinect only game. Which is, you know, based on the Disney movie Fantasia, it’s kind of like a video game followup. ANd it was Phenomenal. That game does things with music that I’ve never seen in video games before. It Certainly works as a gesture control experience as a Dancing experience as well, it’s one of the most successful ones I’ve ever played. 

And that game could not exist if it was being built for a fragmented market. It can only exist because they know everyone with an Xbox One will have a Kinect - only that’s not true anymore. And I feel so sorry for those guys, for having this dropped on them

STE: I don’t think they ever thought [Kinect] was the future of controlling games. I think they thought it was the future of controlling things in your living room. Which is what they wanted the Xbox One to be. And they’re failing to sell through enough units because people have got other ways of playing Netflix, now. And better ways now and you don’t need Xbox Live Gold to use it.

I just think, if you take everything aside. If you’re not interested in who’s going to win the console race. If you’re not interested in, you know, platform exclusives, or any of the garbage they use to sell platforms if you just are interested in games as a progressive medium, and different games, different forms of games it’s sad that a lot of creators will not be able to make them anymore.

SIMON: They haven’t moved the goal posts, sort of, mid term have they? They’ve sort of packed the goal posts up.

Ste does a better job saying exactly what I felt. You can listen to the whole episode here, but at the very least you should listen to the audio embedded above. And you should subscribe to their RSS because One Life Left is one of my favorite podcasts.

I couldn’t help making this joke. #sorrynotsorry 

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 hands-on: bigger, thinner, faster 

Microsoft just announced the Surface 3. 12 inches, 3:2 aspect ratio, and a new stylus. There’s some magic in the stylus, if you click the pen it instantly opens One Note. 

I think these are more steps in the right direction for the Surface. But I’m curious to see how this shakes out. Of course, a part of me wants this to be a big win for Microsoft, but for now, I’ll watch from afar and wait for the reviews to roll in.

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