Beginning of the Last?

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The Last Version of Windows

Windows 10 will be the last version of Windows and I’m not surprised. Apple has been stuck on OS X for well over a decade and have been iterating and refining that version over time. Microsoft is just finally getting on board with the whole “operating system as a service” thing.

Now instead of waiting for tentpole releases in 3 years time, Microsoft will roll out updates to functionality on a regular basis. From a consumer perspective, it’ll be nice knowing that Windows Updates will now be more than just a security updates and bug fixes.

But what about for enterprise clients? Giant IT departments won’t be as keen on regular functionality updates. Will Microsoft utilize a different release schedule? Will it be up to IT departments to decide which updates to install? Linux distributions have frequent updates as well but they usually have a long term support branch that favors stability. It will be interesting to see how Microsoft handles all of this.

Another Assassin’s Creed Unveiled

Unsurprisingly, there’s another Assassin’s Creed game coming this year. This time Ubisoft is continuing the hot trend and bringing us to Victorian London. Unlike Windows, this doesn’t seem like it’s going to end any time soon and I doubt I’ll be picking one up any time soon either.

I skimmed through the 9 minute walkthrough but didn’t see anything of note. It looks gorgeous and I enjoy the cutscenes but the gameplay sends a shudder through me like the thought of eating a cockroach.

 

Ouya! E-Sports!

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Ouya company is up for sale

Remember the Ouya? I do. It was such a hot Kickstarter with the promise of cheap quality games. Instead of spending $79.99 for Call of Duty: Black Ops III, I could have discovered other quality games for a small fraction of the price.

It was such a non-story for me that I didn’t even bother sharing it on this site. I didn’t buy it.

I didn’t buy their promise or their pitch. The economy of it all just didn’t make sense for me. Why would anyone create a game specifically designed around the controller when there were millions of touch screen Android devices? What was stopping this machine from being hacked and have all the games pirated to hell and back? What if I did enjoy Call of Duty titles? Where can I find that experience in the Android space?

They promoted the use of emulators early on before people accused them of advocating piracy but that’s what the Ouya is popular for now. It’s a cheap way to play Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis and other older titles on your HDTV.

E-Sports on ESPN

E-Sports is a terrible term; let’s just call it what it is: competitive gaming.

I’m not fond of watching competitive games. I won’t get into the reasons why but I will advocate for showing competitive game competitions on ESPN. They’re not above it. They’ve shown poker, spelling bees and other competitions on their many channels already. I’m glad someone up in ESPN’s programming team is trying new things.

The negative reactions from people were to be expected and the same goes with the negative reactions to those negative reactions. I just wish the gaming press weren’t so touchy about it. Be the bigger man.

Small Problems of All Kinds

12″ Macbook 2015 Review

Leave it to AnandTech’s wonderful reviews to bring some reason to Apple’s 12” Macbook. Thanks to today’s review, I have a better understanding of Apple’s reasoning for creating the Macbook the way they did but I still don’t agree with some of the decisions.

I’m okay with the fact that the worst case scenario for the Macbook’s performance is somewhere around 2011’s 11” MacBook Air. I have one and it’s plenty fast for the word processing and light image editing that I do. I’m pleased to see that the battery life is superior to my 2011 Macbook Air, the fact that Force Touch works well (I tried it in person on a rMBP and it’s amazing) and the new keyboard is effective.

I didn’t even clue into the fact that Magsafe would be gone with the move to USB-C. I am a big fan of it and I’m sad to see it go. I also didn’t realize there was a cheaper USB-C to USB Type-A adapter. It’s $25 compared to the ludicrously priced $99 breakout box but I still believe Apple should have included the full breakout box with the laptop. It’s silly having to decide between using your USB stick or charging your laptop.

With this review and their dedicated Core M article, I have a better understanding of what Core M is all about. Burst performance > sustained performance. Most light workloads do not require long stints of sustained high performance so a processor like Core M makes a lot of sense for everyday computing. And it is impressive how Intel managed to pull off this feat while consuming just 4.5W.

It all sounds reasonable until I was reminded of the $1549 price tag for the base model. That’s just too much for all those compromises. Maybe in a few year’s time when there are more USB-C devices and more powerful Core M processors can be crammed into that chassis.

Mortal Kombat X DLC & Microtransactions Kerfuffle

I’m not picking up Mortal Kombat X until the inevitable Komplete Edition hits the $20 – $30 price tag. Realistically? That could be some time in 2016.

I was postponing the pickup for a handful of reasons.

  1. I only care about the single player campaign.
  2. I wanted all the DLC characters without having to pay extra.
  3. I didn’t want to pay more than $40 for all the above.

I don’t buy DLC characters like I don’t buy additional maps for multiplayer games. I feel those extras hurt the base game and the community. It either divides the player base, creates an artificial competitive imbalance or sometimes it seems tacked on. Whatever the reason, I try not to support it.

Now I have more reasons not to give them $70+. I heard about the “easy Fatalities” microtransaction but that’s like the shortcuts and other “cheat codes” that EA have been offering for years. Yes, it’s scummy but it’s unlockable through normal means. (In Mortal Kombat X’s case, unlocking it through in-game Krypt coins)

Well what happens if those “normal means” were made more inconvenient? Then we have a problem. A very scummy problem.

A Mobile Nintendo

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Nintendo Moving in on Mobile

After years of rumors, prodding and speculation by everyone, Nintendo is finally going to make a genuine effort to bring their intellectual property to mobile platforms with Japanese developer, DeNA.

We’ll finally see Pokemon and Mario on iOS and Android. “In what capacity?” That’s the question. Will we see a real Pokemon title or a F2P variant? Will we see an endless runner starring Mario? Or perhaps a Rayman Fiesta Run style game? That’ll be neat.

Nintendo has so many properties that would find natural homes on an iPhone or iPad. I would love to see a Kirby’s Canvas Curse port or a rendition of Picross on iOS.

The fruits of this Nintendo x DeNA partnership will be made bare in the autumn of 2015. I am looking forward to it. Who knows? Maybe one day Pokemon Yellow will legally make its way onto iOS.

Project NX

Nintendo have also stated that they’re working on a Nintendo wide account system which will be at the core of their upcoming dedicated game system codenamed Project NX.

Satoru Iwata said there are no other details at this time and we’ll find out more next year. What a tease. Now Nintendo will be inundated by Project NX inquiries.

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