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Kinect-free SKU will be the only price markdown for now, says Microsoft

Despite Sony Corp.'s (TYO:6758) PlayStation 4 (PS4) outselling the Xbox One more than three to one in Q2 2014, Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) said it had no additional plans to further cut the price of its console to drive stronger sales.
 
Rumors of a price cut heated up after the mobile version of the Microsoft Spain website showed an image of a Kinect-free SKU with the price €349.99 -- roughly €50 cheaper than the current Kinect-free SKU.  The surprising price was first reported on by TechRadar, but Microsoft later confirmed that the listing was due to "an error" -- an employee mis-entered the price of the new Kinect-free SKU.
 
So far the Xbox One has only received a single price cut, of sorts.  It's now offering a SKU that lacks the Kinect 2 sensor for $399 USD.  While this is definitely a substantial price reduction it's open to debate whether it's a true price "cut" as the reduction is only realized by dropping one of the console's top selling points (voice and motion control).
 
The fact remains Microsoft is scrapping a key part of its work that it put in during the Xbox One development cycle, and a key part of what it claimed made the console great.

Xbox One Spain price error
[Image Source: Neowin]

Microsoft by its own accounting has room to cut the price further, as it claims to have been making a profit off the $500 USD Kinect SKU (with Kinect 2) since day one.  Given it's almost a year later, Microsoft surely has realized further cost savings since, making it highly likely that the $400 Kinect-free SKU is profitable.  It's likely Microsoft could sell the hardware at a small loss, at worst, for $350 USD.
 
Microsoft's decision to stick to a safer, more cautious pricing scheme despite its poor sales may be second guessed later on if it is unable to find some way to turn the tide against Sony's console.
 
Our analysis of Microsoft's published Xbox 360/Xbox One sales breakdown, combined with its earnings report, Sony's earnings report, the NPD Group, and other sources suggests that despite doubling its Xbox One sales in June, Microsoft was still outsold roughly 2-to-1 by Sony console wise.  Next month brings the Xbox One to nearly three times as many markets -- something that could definitely jumpstart sales.  But if expansion fails to prove the catalyst, Microsoft may be forced to trim its price if it wants to truly have a shot at competing with Sony for the lead this console generation.

Sources: TechRadar, via Neowin



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Console Wars of the 90s
By EricMartello on 8/7/2014 11:01:33 AM , Rating: 3
There used to be a significant difference in both the look and feel of games for a given console. Back in the 90s you had the 16-bit wars with Sega Genesis and Super NES, along with some outliers like Turbo Grafx and NeoGeo. It's safe to say that Nintendo won the 16-bit era by a long shot in terms of technical capabilities, but the Genesis was able to put up a fight just by having a unique game library. I personally think SNES took the crown for having a better game library...point is, they were both unique and had a lot of exclusive titles.

We then had the 32-bit consoles of the mid 90s that Sony won with the PSX and Sega lost miserably with the Saturn, despite the Saturn having some cool exclusive titles. I'd say that the peak of the battle was the PS2 vs Dreamcast vs Xbox, where the Dreamcast failed and I really wanted it to succeed.

Skipping ahead to the current console generation - there's very little difference between the PS4 and XB1 visually. At lot of this is due to the whole cross-platform approach to game development, where most games are available on every system...so what is the point of having different systems? Even if the PS4 has better technical capabilities than the XB1, most games will be developed to run well on the weakest console, offering no improvement on the better console.

I doubt that we're ever going to go back to a time where console sales are driven primarily by the unique first-party games and their A/V capabilities...but I don't see game consoles continuing if they become more homogenized with each new generation. Wouldn't it be cool to have a new console war for the 10s? I think it would be.




RE: Console Wars of the 90s
By karimtemple on 8/7/2014 2:16:45 PM , Rating: 2
There was never a 'reason' for different consoles existing. Consoles are just content delivery platforms, so the "reason" is companies competing to control content delivery as much as possible.

The difference between earlier generations and later ones is the increased difficulty in creating each game. The amount of labor, time, and capital to create a AAA title in 1991 was several orders of magnitude lower than the amount to create a AAA title in 2014. The usual methods used to streamline the process and minimize costs introduces quite a bit of homogenization to essentially every aspect of the games.

It all boils down to some technological barriers that we have yet to break through. If we were to make games that were as computationally and graphically simplistic as the ones from yesteryear, which we're absolutely free to do, they could be so wildly 'different' from each other as you seem to lament. But I believe you'd find that no one wants to play them. Technological advance brings with it an escalation of technique, and society automatically adapts to that escalation, which is the source of obsolescence.

The kind of game you're talking about is obsolete.

But that's all just talk of generalities. In reality, the unique gameplay experiences you want are all out there. XBL and PSN have relatively lively indie games selections. Instead, what you may be experiencing is a perceptual bias which stems from noticing that super unique games are a minority by total percentage.

But that was always the case. And that will always be the case. Forever.


RE: Console Wars of the 90s
By therealnickdanger on 8/8/2014 7:58:31 AM , Rating: 2
All the more reason to support PC gaming. You get access to all the multi-platform titles as well as many titles that are (or were) exclusive to only one console but not the other. The interface clunkiness and graphics/audio tweaking that is normally associated with PC gaming are disappearing thanks to things like Steam Big Picture Mode, Raptr, GeForce Experience, and more common controller support. I think the PC experience still has a long way to go to match the "just turn it on" experience of consoles, but it's getting better all the time while also not limiting those that like to tweak, hack, and mod.


RE: Console Wars of the 90s
By karimtemple on 8/8/2014 9:52:39 AM , Rating: 2
Nothing I said is a "reason to support PC gaming," lol. It's almost the opposite, in fact. Begone with your message hijacking.


RE: Console Wars of the 90s
By Bill S. on 8/13/2014 7:27:37 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, didn't you know you speak blasphemy, when you mention PC's around "true gamers"?? 1000 lashes with a wet noodle for you!!


RE: Console Wars of the 90s
By EricMartello on 8/8/2014 1:04:48 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
There was never a 'reason' for different consoles existing. Consoles are just content delivery platforms, so the "reason" is companies competing to control content delivery as much as possible.


Your generic corporate buzz-word mentality of "content delivery and control" is incorrect - it was about content availability. It was about making video games accessible to the masses at home during a time when the only other option was spending quarters at an arcade.

The delivery and control paradigm is what started making home gaming suck, because the focus shifted from "how can we outdo our competitor by making a BETTER gaming experience" to "how can we dump and sell as much content as possible to our user base".

quote:
The difference between earlier generations and later ones is the increased difficulty in creating each game. The amount of labor, time, and capital to create a AAA title in 1991 was several orders of magnitude lower than the amount to create a AAA title in 2014. The usual methods used to streamline the process and minimize costs introduces quite a bit of homogenization to essentially every aspect of the games.


Why not stick with the douchey corporate terminology? It's called "middleware", or more commonly "game engines". Back in the day of 8 and 16 bit consoles, programming for them was a very specialized task that few possessed. It really wasn't until Sony introduced the PS1 that a common high-level language was adopted, C.

Couple that with the fact that there was really no such thing as middleware, so every aspect of a particular game had to be coded. This resulted in fewer games, but arguably better games and undeniably more unique.

quote:
It all boils down to some technological barriers that we have yet to break through. If we were to make games that were as computationally and graphically simplistic as the ones from yesteryear, which we're absolutely free to do, they could be so wildly 'different' from each other as you seem to lament. But I believe you'd find that no one wants to play them. Technological advance brings with it an escalation of technique, and society automatically adapts to that escalation, which is the source of obsolescence.


You've succeeded in condensing a lot of stupid into one paragraph here. It was never the graphical complexity or lack thereof that made people enjoy a game - it was the mechanics and whether or not the game itself was fun to play.

People today still love playing simple games with basic graphics, as evidenced by the wildly popular smartphone gaming market. People spend a lot of time playing games that are remakes of bejeweled, tower defense games like plants v zombies, etc. None of these games require cutting-edge hardware to create and operate - but they're FUN.

quote:
The kind of game you're talking about is obsolete.


Today's ultra-realistic FPS game has identical mechanics to Quake.

Today's action RPGs are fundamentally no different than the RPGs of the 80s and 90s, just better audio and visual details.

To date, they have not made a 1 on 1 combat game that is more responsive than street fighter 2 on the original Xbox (which is basically an arcade port).

The list goes on and on...but the key point is that FUN GAMES ARE NEVER OBSOLETE.

quote:
In reality, the unique gameplay experiences you want are all out there. XBL and PSN have relatively lively indie games selections. Instead, what you may be experiencing is a perceptual bias which stems from noticing that super unique games are a minority by total percentage.


The types of games I like to play are not much different than the classic RPG games of before. The problem is that the modern game development mentality is far too corporate - with a fixation on releasing annual sequels to "franchises" rather than taking a quality over quantity approach.

Indie games can be fun, there are some notable gems like Portal and Torchlight, but most of them are simply clones of each other.

I'm surprised that you haven't noticed the trend of declining classic-caliber games as game consoles become more homogenized.

Here are some of my classic console game picks that are still as great today as they were when they were first release:

1) Chrono Trigger (1994)
2) Zelda: A Link to the Past (1992)
3) Final Fantasy VII (1997)
4) Tales of Vesperia (2009)
5) Jade Empire (2005)
6) Street Fighter 2 (1992)

It's not an exhaustive list, but these are what I remember off the top of my head. I do enjoy FPS games - but not so much post Unreal Tournament 2003. I enjoyed Quake 2 as it still had the single player mode as well as a solid multi-player mode and I'd classify UT2K3 as the best competitive FPS right next to Quake 3.

World of Warcraft deserves to be mentioned here too, I played it a lot and it has made me a better gamer by drastically boosting my hand-eye coordination skills, thanks to its engaging PvP system.

I don't care much for sports games and not really a big fan of car racing games, since I can play sports myself and I own several fast cars - so why pretend.

RPG games are definitely my favorite genre, and I do prefer Zelda-style realtime action to FF turn-based. My affinity for these games is due to the fact that to be great, they have to win on all fronts - story, graphics, music, SFX, character design and development, etc...and when all of those factors align, the result is almost always awesome. They are arguably the most difficult kinds of games to get right, which is why there are so few great RPGs out there...and why Chrono Trigger has not been surpassed to date, on any platform.


RE: Console Wars of the 90s
By karimtemple on 8/8/2014 2:49:14 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
it was about content availability. It was about making video games accessible to the masses at home during a time when the only other option was spending quarters at an arcade.
That's what I said. Content delivery. lol.
quote:
The delivery and control paradigm is what started making home gaming suck, because the focus shifted from "how can we outdo our competitor by making a BETTER gaming experience" to "how can we dump and sell as much content as possible to our user base".
You're just talking in circles. There's a quality component and a quantity component. You're saying games "suck" now (have you PLAYED some of these games??!) because publishers focus more on quantity now than quality, which is largely untrue. The quality/quantity balance is essentially the same now -- the 'problem' is the WAY quality is done these days.

Now that games are more commoditized, pop plays a larger role which makes artistic risk and avant-garde feel more marginalized. The same thing happened to music and movies. There's still great music and movies. There are still great video games.
quote:
Why not stick with the douchey corporate terminology? It's called "middleware", or more commonly "game engines".
Why not stick with [obvious, accurate wording]? Because middleware is only a part of it. The cost to keep the attentions of the masses, and to develop today's ultra high definition art assets, and character models, and ever-increasing animation fidelity, and voice talent, and everything is immense .

Some people say "just go back to [making games graphically and computationally simple]," but that's naive and doesn't account for escalation and the state of the art. Imagine if a movie studio went back to filming movies on 1950's film equipment, using 1950's writing and acting techniques. Their competitors would wipe the floor with them.
quote:
You've succeeded in condensing a lot of stupid into one paragraph here. It was never the graphical complexity or lack thereof that made people enjoy a game - it was the mechanics and whether or not the game itself was fun to play.
More naivety. They're called video games. Video. You say to look at "phone games" as an example, but you're almost getting sidetracked there. When discussing console games, it's important to remember that they went DOWN to costing $60. Make a phone game that people pay $60 for, and I'll accept your argument readily and whole-heartedly.
quote:
FUN GAMES ARE NEVER OBSOLETE.
Thank you for showing me that you haven't listened to a single word I said, and that I'm wasting my time.
quote:
I'm surprised that you haven't noticed the trend of declining classic-caliber games as game consoles become more homogenized.
You should read some arguments about books some time. And movies, my god. There's always some crotchety old man wailing about the Good Old Days™, completely oblivious to his own biases and to the spectacular progression of artistic technique and technology. Smell the coffee, old man; video games are better now than they've ever been. Have there been some regrettable developments in the way the industry works? Absolutely. But I don't buy for one minute that VG is in trouble or that we're in some kind of decline. Depending on how the next year or so goes, we may enter into a golden age of gaming.


RE: Console Wars of the 90s
By EricMartello on 8/8/2014 10:04:53 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
That's what I said. Content delivery. lol.


Delivery assumes you already have an audience. Availability means your trying to acquire and/or increase your audience. The latter is what the early game consoles were focused on. Try to keep up.

quote:
You're just talking in circles.


Oh, that's right. Games have not been made into commodities.

quote:
Now that games are more commoditized, pop plays a larger role which makes artistic risk and avant-garde feel more marginalized.


Wait, what? You mean modern games ARE commodities, which reduces them to some notation in a spreadsheet? I bet they're so much better than the games that were created in a time when there was no captive audience waiting to download the Nth sequel to some overdone FPS or football game.

The best movies coming out these days tend to be the ones done by pixar...and they would be just as enjoyable if they were cel shaded and not computer generated.

Even so, most media is corporate and lacks a soul...this includes games.

quote:
The cost to keep the attentions of the masses, and to develop today's ultra high definition art assets, and character models, and ever-increasing animation fidelity, and voice talent, and everything is immense.


Middleware is largely responsible for most games looking and feeling like clones of each other, albeit with different "skins". You are greatly overstating the cost associated with gaining attention - you can gain attention by uploading a cat video to youtube.

If you are essentially cutting and pasting the same game over and over, with updated graphics and uninspired design, of course you will have to make up for the lack of a compelling game with more compelling marketing. This is what liberals do to get elected and why they need to consistently outspend republicans 10:1 or more to keep their positions.

The eye-candy isn't what sells a game; it's not what attracts interest. All it is, at best, is icing on the cake...but the cake has to be a great underlying game and that's often NOT the case.


RE: Console Wars of the 90s
By karimtemple on 8/9/2014 4:43:52 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
a giant load of total nonsense
...okay old man. New things suck, old is better, Good Ol' Days. 1987 was the height of human civilization. Right. Got it. Thanks. Valuable insights. I am edified.


RE: Console Wars of the 90s
By EricMartello on 8/9/2014 11:50:39 PM , Rating: 2
I have nothing against new...but are you really going to sit there and assert that the whatever'th sequel to call of duty is "new"?

I want consoles to have their own distinct identities like they used to have due to their unique game libraries. I'd like to see game consoles that are not merely evaluated by tech stats, but by their ability to deliver a unique gaming experience.


RE: Console Wars of the 90s
By EricMartello on 8/8/2014 10:10:06 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Some people say "just go back to [making games graphically and computationally simple]," but that's naive and doesn't account for escalation and the state of the art.


Your facile argument continues here and doesn't say anything new or relevant. If your audience is watching movies solely or primarily for the quality of the visual effects, then you're probably targeting the moron demographic, i.e. fans of the daily show.

If your audience is more interested in the characters, plot and storytelling then it hardly matters what the budget of a film (or game) is, so long as the person producing it does a good job of making the key elements work. That is not something you can "buy", it's something that relies on talent...and with the bar of entry to media production at an all-time low, we're faced with a lot of crap.


RE: Console Wars of the 90s
By karimtemple on 8/9/2014 4:52:06 PM , Rating: 2
God. Just shut up.


RE: Console Wars of the 90s
By EricMartello on 8/9/2014 11:52:53 PM , Rating: 2
Brilliant rebuttal.


RE: Console Wars of the 90s
By Piiman on 8/10/2014 1:56:46 PM , Rating: 2
" targeting the moron demographic, i.e. fans of the daily show. "

Really? Fans of the daily show are morons? Please explain!


RE: Console Wars of the 90s
By Alexvrb on 8/7/2014 10:23:14 PM , Rating: 2
Actually the Genesis and SNES were pretty well matched overall. They each has their own strengths and weaknesses - which talented developers could often take advantage of or compensate for as the need arose (for example, talented Genesis developers using shadow, highlight, and raster effects to greatly expand the number of colors onscreen). The biggest advantage the Genesis held was an undeniably faster CPU.

We could get into the nitty gritty specs but suffice it to say that there were things the SNES could do that the Genesis could not and vice versa. This is pretty amazing considering the Genesis launched in Japan as the Megadrive two years before the SNES! Probably the closest I've seen to this sort of feat was the Dreamcast pushing amazing graphics against the "far more powerful" PS2.

Furthermore when touting the capabilities of the SNES, keep in mind that quite a few graphically impressive games actually used supplementary processors embedded in the cartridge, used to add capabilities or offload certain tasks from SNES CPU. The Genesis had ONE game that used an additional chip housed in the cartridge - Virtua Racing (for pushing polys at a fairly high framerate).


RE: Console Wars of the 90s
By EricMartello on 8/8/2014 1:29:23 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Actually the Genesis and SNES were pretty well matched overall.


I disagree; when both systems' respective capabilities were "maxed out", the SNES produced better graphics and sound. The SNES game "super adventure island" wasn't really that great but its soundtrack is so good you'd think it was playing off a CD. Genesis could not touch the SNES sound capabilities even though the SNES only had 2 extra stereo channels over the Genesis' 6 channels.

The Genesis did have a higher clock speed on its CPU, but the SNES total system was far more capable.

- The SNES could have more sprites on screen simultaneously (128 vs 80).

- SNES has more simultaneous onscreen colors (256 vs 64).

- The SNES has a vastly larger pallet of 32K colors, vs the genesis having only 512, requiring hacks to simulate more colors.

- The SNES could have up to 4 onscreen planes; genesis effectively only 2.

- SNES max display resolution was 512x448 vs the genesis at 320x224.

I don't really need to go on; it is undeniable that the SNES was the dominant force of the 16-bit era by a very large margin. The Genesis managed to hang on due to its library offering some exclusives that the SNES did not have and not because of its technical abilities. The average SNES game looked and sounded a lot better than the muddy, pixelated stuff on the genesis, and so any time you had the choice to buy a game for either the genesis or SNES, the smart money was on the SNES version - so long as the developer took advantage of the SNES higher capabilities.

quote:
We could get into the nitty gritty specs but suffice it to say that there were things the SNES could do that the Genesis could not and vice versa.


You probably want to check your source of [mis]information. There was nothing that the genesis could do that the SNES could not do better. The genesis is more like an upgraded 8-bit system rather than a real 16-bit contender.

quote:
Furthermore when touting the capabilities of the SNES, keep in mind that quite a few graphically impressive games actually used supplementary processors embedded in the cartridge, used to add capabilities or offload certain tasks from SNES CPU. The Genesis had ONE game that used an additional chip housed in the cartridge - Virtua Racing (for pushing polys at a fairly high framerate).


Something the SNES could do due to having a degree of expandability within its cartridges and a fast enough system bus; whereas Sega tried to sell us bulky, expensive and unimpressive addons like sega CD and the 32x...even with those things the SNES still did better.

Sega's crowning achievement (technically) was the Dreamcast. It really was the best console of its time as far as capabilities go, definitely better than the PS2...but by then they lost a lot of support because they bet on the past with the Saturn, expecting 2D games to continue to be popular in a time when the Sony PS1 was bringing 3D games to the home.


xbox one $349.00
By DanSanDiego on 8/6/2014 9:55:02 PM , Rating: 2
If i am not mistaken, I believe Target had a sale for the Xbox one for $399.00 with a $50.00 back as a Target gift card. If you shop there, might be worth it.




RE: xbox one $349.00
By bah12 on 8/7/2014 9:33:42 AM , Rating: 2
Technically correct, but the $50 gift card is valid on the PS4 too, negating any real advantage.


Meh
By Flunk on 8/7/2014 9:23:55 AM , Rating: 2
It would have to dispense free candy at this point to interest me. Xbox One produces lackluster visuals and I doesn't really seem to have many interesting exclusives, most of the games seem to come to PC anyway.

The only real draw to consoles right now is Japanese games (because they rarely do PC ports) and Xbox 360 sold so poorly in Japan I can't see the One doing much better so the Japanese games companies will likely avoid it after being burned by the 360.




By rountad on 8/7/2014 9:58:50 AM , Rating: 2
It's priced in Euros, so even at the mistaken, lower price, it's still more expensive than it is here.

349.99 euro is still over $468 at present.




bla
By p05esto on 8/7/14, Rating: 0
RE: bla
By SPOOFE on 8/8/2014 2:10:18 AM , Rating: 2
I've suspected for a while that both will do a mid-cycle refresh. Sony in particular doesn't have the initial R&D budget of Cell to recoup (this big initial expense served as incentive to drag out their system as long as possible), and MS has the weaker AMD proc and as such has potentially more to gain by stepping up.

I expect a PS4K in a few years. The only reason I say that is because Xbox One-4K sounds stupid.


By fteoath64 on 8/7/2014 11:39:42 PM , Rating: 2
I am sure there is a market for a higher-end model with faster APU and more RAM. Maybe even msata SSD inclusion to even the score with PC rigs. Providing a choice of console models makes sense and allow for diversity in the user base. Besides, the faster more powerful models will support additional features like streaming games to tablets.
In as much as large screen or big TV is great for gaming, there are times where users prefer portability and mobility in their gaming. This is where Nvidia Shield comes to mind. It gives users more choice, hence there is attraction to the platform and its gaming base.




The End of Microsoft
By Acupuncture on 8/6/14, Rating: -1
RE: The End of Microsoft
By stm1185 on 8/6/2014 6:52:42 PM , Rating: 5
Yes, apparently they are going under... if you discount the oh yeah BILLIONS in profit...

And the little things like the XBox One while failing to outsell the PS4, is selling more than the 360 did back at its release.

And as for their treatment of PC gaming? WTF are you talking about? I get that its just anti MS trolling, but really now. Its like you idiots haven't even loaded up SteamOS to see what a pile of shit it is; yet are ready to throw MS under the bus because of Win 8.


RE: The End of Microsoft
By Acupuncture on 8/6/2014 7:18:28 PM , Rating: 1
Games for windows Live was shit, they released most 1st party games on Xbox and never brought them to PC, DirectX releases have been stale and non-innovative. The list goes on and on. Microsoft doesn't like PC gamers.


RE: The End of Microsoft
By StevoLincolnite on 8/6/2014 7:32:53 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
And as for their treatment of PC gaming? WTF are you talking about? I get that its just anti MS trolling, but really now. Its like you idiots haven't even loaded up SteamOS to see what a pile of shit it is; yet are ready to throw MS under the bus because of Win 8.


Think about it, what has Microsoft actually done for PC gaming in the last decade that was significant?

Here is some that I can remember:

1) Introduced Games for Windows Live! Which was ridiculed by most, barely even supported, DRM infested and then eventually gets it's marketplace closed down, with a complete service shutdown probably sometime in the future, which would make the GFWL games unplayable. (Those that aren't transferred to Steam.)

2) Closed down PC only developers like Ensemble Studio's, Digital Anvil, FASA Studios who brought us Age of Empires, Freelancer and Mechwarrior, all 3 of those franchises are some of the most highly rated games of all time.

3) Shifted focus to console-only for some developers such as Lionhead Studio's and Bungie. (Where is Black and White 3!?)

Heck, they still don't even acknowledge PC gamers at say, E3 and other events, despite the PC having more gamers than the WiiU, Xbox One, Playstation 4... Combined. - Not to mention more hardware and software sales occur on the PC too.

As for Valve, imagine where PC gaming would be today without them?
I wouldn't be surprised that without Steam, PC gaming may have been significantly smaller as Piracy would be far more rampant due to sheer convenience. (Over the years shelf space has decreased for PC games at places like Gamestop even before Steam arrived, thus torrents are probably most peoples only option.)


RE: The End of Microsoft
By StevoLincolnite on 8/6/2014 7:37:01 PM , Rating: 2
Can't forget the kickstarter revolution either, kinda' made publishers a bit more irrelevant, PC gamers simply vote with their wallets on what games they want developed now, rather than relying on publisher politics in the hope a particular game being released.

Which unfortunately isn't something that ONLY Microsoft is guilty for, but EA, Activision, Ubisoft etc' etc' too.


RE: The End of Microsoft
By stm1185 on 8/6/2014 9:10:55 PM , Rating: 2
1. DRM infested is your complaint and then you praise Steam, which is 100% DRM 100% of the time, connection required... So is DRM bad or only when its not Valve doing it?

2. Closed down failing studios... failing being the key word. Are they supposed to pay for games that don't sell year after year? The better properties found other homes. See Mechwarrior Online.

3. Bungie as a PC dev? When was that? Because pre Halo I could have sworn they were busy making Mac games like Marathon.

Steam created a digital storefront. Was the first successful one at that. Yet to think that with the switch to digital in all other mediums another player wouldn't have sprung up is silly. Let alone now when you have other options and publishers looking into just selling directly, like EA with Origin.

And as for what MS has done for PC gaming in the last 10 years? How about being the only OS provider that actually gave a crap enough to work on providing GPU makers the software to take advantage of their hardware. Things like the ongoing development of DirectX.

Or hell how about being the only company that sells a good wireless PC game controller! The Xbox 360 controller is the best thing to happen to non mouse gaming on the PC.


RE: The End of Microsoft
By inighthawki on 8/6/2014 9:44:47 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
2. Closed down failing studios... failing being the key word. Are they supposed to pay for games that don't sell year after year? The better properties found other homes. See Mechwarrior Online.

It's probably also worth pointing out that those studios are unlikely even remotely close to what they were when they made the games they're known for. Devs come and go over time, policies change, etc. At this point I bet the only thing they have in common with their 10 year old selves are their studio names. Some not even that :)


RE: The End of Microsoft
By StevoLincolnite on 8/7/2014 1:45:26 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
1. DRM infested is your complaint and then you praise Steam, which is 100% DRM 100% of the time, connection required... So is DRM bad or only when its not Valve doing it?


Actually Steam doesn't require an Internet connection, it has an "offline" mode.

On the flipside, Valve have built up a massive amount of goodwill with consumers, they have updated, patched and supported games even when they are many many years old.

Conversely, if for instance, hypothetically Steam did start having some financial crisis, then the main "Value" of Steam is actually in it's 75+ million active users, thus there would be dozens of companies willing to jump at the chance to take the reigns.
It's similar to Facebook, where it's value isn't in the platform, but rather the Billions of users that use the service.

And Lastly, Valve is a private company, thus their main objective isn't to appease shareholders with ever increasing profits at the expense of the consumer.
And with that in mind... Gabe has already stated that there would be a high probability that a patch would be issued.

quote:
And as for what MS has done for PC gaming in the last 10 years? How about being the only OS provider that actually gave a crap enough to work on providing GPU makers the software to take advantage of their hardware. Things like the ongoing development of DirectX.


Direct X? Common.
Microsoft ended up resting on it's Direct X 9.0 laurels for how long? A stupidly long time.

Not only that, but Direct X is a "part" of Windows and it's sole use is not limited to only gaming, software such as CAD/CAM even use it, so it's in Microsoft's best interest to continue development of it due to enterprises/business's that require it.


RE: The End of Microsoft
By Reclaimer77 on 8/7/2014 10:32:13 AM , Rating: 2
You can use DRM and not be a complete cock about it. Steam has shown us how to do it.

Microsoft's original idea for the Xbox, however, was as example of how NOT to do DRM. At least not how ANY consumer would want it.

Plus I can choose to NOT use Steam and still game on my PC just fine. You can't exactly buy an Xbox and choose to opt out of Microsoft's DRM scheme, can you? So you're kinda stuck.

But hey why let facts and an unbiased viewpoint get in the way.


RE: The End of Microsoft
By cwolf78 on 8/8/2014 11:03:59 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
3. Bungie as a PC dev? When was that? Because pre Halo I could have sworn they were busy making Mac games like Marathon.


Oni was the game Bungie made before Halo and it was for Windows (and a lot of fun to play). In fact Halo was a PC exclusive title when it was originally developed and in fact was going to be a launch title for the GeForce 2 GTS. (See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6VPjF7BaE4 ).

That was when Microsoft came in and bought up all these developers (including Bungie) so that Microsoft actually had some chance against the PS2 with the original Xbox. Being the new kid on the block, they pretty had no other choice. But still, I don't see any merit in any argument that MS has done anything other than half-assing it when it comes to PC gaming. They hijacked a lot of promising PC developers so they could get the Xbox platform going.


RE: The End of Microsoft
By Piiman on 8/10/2014 2:03:38 PM , Rating: 2
"connection required.."

False


RE: The End of Microsoft
By inighthawki on 8/6/2014 10:03:38 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
1) Introduced Games for Windows Live! Which was ridiculed by most, barely even supported, DRM infested and then eventually gets it's marketplace closed down, with a complete service shutdown probably sometime in the future, which would make the GFWL games unplayable. (Those that aren't transferred to Steam.)

What makes steam any better? If Steam ever disappears, the result would be even more catastrophic. For every GFWL game, there are 10+ running on steam's backend. (Note: This is a what-if question, I'm not comparing the popularity of the services or the likelihood that this would ever happen. Purely a counter-point. I sincerely doubt Microsoft developed GFWL and expected it to fail like it did)

quote:
2) Closed down PC only developers like Ensemble Studio's, Digital Anvil, FASA Studios who brought us Age of Empires, Freelancer and Mechwarrior, all 3 of those franchises are some of the most highly rated games of all time.

How many of the devs from those studios who worked on the well known versions of those games do you think are still around? Also closing a studio doesn't mean a game is dead forever. Microsoft still owns those IPs and are more than capable of letting one of their many first party studios take a crack at the next version of the game.

quote:
3) Shifted focus to console-only for some developers such as Lionhead Studio's and Bungie. (Where is Black and White 3!?)

Some studios simply focus on console exclusives. Consoles have a huge advantage of being standardized, thus are easier to develop high quality titles for, and provide a consistent experience to everyone. Sometimes that's what they need. Xbox is very popular (more so than PC) so it makes financial sense for them to have some studios not fork development across multiple platforms.
That said, I agree this is obviously not a point in favor of bringing something for PC - :)

Hopefully though with DX12 coming over the next year or two, we'll start to see more cross platform titles. That appears to be part of the goal, at least. Based on the initial DX12 demos showing off things like Forza - ported from an xbox exclusive to PC with relative ease - we should likely being seeing more developers have an easier time reusing their engines on PC.

quote:
I wouldn't be surprised that without Steam, PC gaming may have been significantly smaller as Piracy would be far more rampant due to sheer convenience. (Over the years shelf space has decreased for PC games at places like Gamestop even before Steam arrived, thus torrents are probably most peoples only option.)

Well this one is hard to debate. People can argue back and forth about the "what ifs" of how piracy coulda-woulda-shoulda affected the market. My personal opinion is that piracy is a nearly negligible factor on game sales. Most people who pirate games do it for two main reasons:
1) What I think is the most prevalent reason: Price. A lot of people either just don't have the money, or are unwilling to pay the price of a game. $50 is a lot to shell out for a new game, and every hardcore gamer knows it can be hard to keep up with the cost of owning all the latest and greatest games. But these people are the ones who pirate a game, but were almost certainly not going to buy the game anyway. I consider these people a net-neutral effect on the industry
2) Convenience, as you mentioned. Sometimes it was just inconvenient to deal with some of the DRM, such as CD protections. Or maybe they don't have opportunities to run to the store and buy it. Or maybe there was no demo available and they're not willing to pay for a game they cannot try. These are the kinds of people who likely torrented the game and left it going overnight, came back the next day, and walla, a new game. Are these people a loss in the market? Probably, but I feel like it would be a minor impact at best.

Feel free to disagree, these are of course all hypothetical opinions based on my experience :)


RE: The End of Microsoft
By ProfFarnsworth on 8/7/2014 4:09:43 AM , Rating: 1
People that pirate do so to try a game before buying it. A lot of the time with games coming out lately, the game is bugged or broken, or not even worth the time. So a lot of pirates try before buy. Like renting.


RE: The End of Microsoft
By tamalero on 8/7/2014 11:05:09 AM , Rating: 2
Agree,
specially now that a lot of reviewers are paid shills of the mayor publishers. They inflate the games, ignore the bugs..etc.
They even outright lie! (Activision) Games like "Out of the Shadows" tmnt game.. isnt even in working condition on the PC!


RE: The End of Microsoft
By stm1185 on 8/7/2014 8:39:07 PM , Rating: 1
So then if Steam did as Origin does and let you return a game after playing it for up to 1 day; then the pirating would die off?

No wait thats complete bullshit because Titanfall was crazily pirated...


RE: The End of Microsoft
By Piiman on 8/10/2014 2:09:48 PM , Rating: 1
"No wait thats complete bullshit because Titanfall was crazily pirated..."

How do you know this?


RE: The End of Microsoft
By inighthawki on 8/6/2014 9:35:49 PM , Rating: 1
While we can all agree on the obvious - it's not selling as well as PS4 - you're absolutely mistaken if you think it's a failure. It's selling in huge quantities, and while I haven't seen any numbers (have they released any?), they are almost certainly doing well econimically.


"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser














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