Category: Microsoft

The house of green and black; anything in general about Microsoft. Look to the tags for anything more specific.

Microsoft, You’ve Lost Me

030716-xboxdone

The most depressing part about Microsoft’s decision to close down the legendary Lionhead Studios and the promising Press Play Studios? This quote from Microsoft Europe’s Hanno Lemke:

“These changes are taking effect as Microsoft Studios continues to focus its investment and development on the games and franchises that fans find most exciting and want to play.”

Meaning more Gears, more Halo, more Forza and I guess that’s it. After Quantum Break fails to be the megahit that Microsoft apparently requires it to be Remedy will no doubt be cut loose. Where does this leave Rare with Sea of Thieves and their legacy of middling performance under Microsoft’s banner? What of the Phantom Dust sequel that was almost immediately put out of active development and the already delayed Scalebound?

Abandoning their in-house focus on creative and original games must also mean that they think the ID@Xbox program isn’t the loathsome cavalcade of totally overlooked or subpar releases that it is. This stuff is not picking up the slack for original, unique or inventive Xbox exclusives, guys.

Nearly from the beginning Microsoft has been pulling back on its promises for Xbox One and those cuts have finally made it to the software lineup. With these changes in mind there is almost nothing left that’s exclusive to Xbox for me. Quantum Break, Below and Crackdown are all that hold an inkling of excitement but once those are released (or cancelled) what will be left?

I really did want to love the Xbox like I did last generation but they’ve lost me.

Of 2015: My Year According to Xbox

 

of2015-thexboxyear

It remains a real head-scratcher as to how Microsoft let the sweet Ivory soap of victory pop out of their hands in the terrifying prison shower that is the Console Video Game Race. As they nearly had it back in their grasp Sony couldn’t help but stick out a foot and they’ve been careening around the grimy tile floor ever since.

I was a real Xbox fan last generation and everything had to be played on the 360. I was even a supporter of their wild ambitions for an always-on Xbox future. Even after they backpedaled I still picked up an Xbox One and was perfectly happy with it through 2014. Suddenly, though, it was PlayStation 4 that was home to the exclusives I cared about and from there it was just as slippery a ride as Microsoft’s to have Sony back in my good graces.

So when the Xbox PR machine sent me a 2015 recap I wondered what could even be on it. The full report is much longer with comparisons between me, my friends and the Xbox community but I think this sampling sums it up: I haven’t been super hot on Xbox since 2014. In fact, the game I spent the most time with was Earth Defense Force 2025, an Xbox 360 release from 2014 which is, sadly, not Xbox One backward compatible.

Given how few games I played on Xbox One I was surprised and mystified to see I racked up 423 hours on Xbox Live. I thought it was a glitch but then I finally found the culprit; Netflix. Either watching or idling while we cooked dinner, I managed to let that app run for 290 hours, more time than all the games I played on the console combined. The most active day — March 8th — reminded me that way back then I was playing through Sniper Elite 3 and using all of the Xbox One’s features. I was editing clips, posting comments and actively “Liking” my friends activities. I even Skyped with Kinect a few times.

But that’s about the time I got a PlayStation 4 in anticipation of Metal Gear Solid V and I’ve been mostly absent from Xbox One since. That explains why my most “High Value” Achievements are from 2013’s Grand Theft Auto V and 2014’s Peggle 2.

I’m not fanboying over here, I really do like Microsoft and the Xbox One. Hell, I even still like Kinect and miss its voice commands now that my Netflix watching happens on the PS4. Whenever another Xbox exclusive comes along that I’m determined to play I’ll be firing it up again… and waiting for eternal Dashboard updates to be installed.

More details (and no macros) emerge on Xbox Elite Controller

062915-xboxelite

I admit, after the halfway point in Major Nelson’s podcast segment about the Xbox One Elite Controller, I lost interest. That’s right around the point where Xbox’s David Prien confirmed it will not support macro programmability. That was my big question about the $150 controller but it may still prove to be worth it for the sake of comfort. I’ll have to get my hands on one first to be sure.

That’s really the only bummer that came from the segment which revealed loads of tidbits about the controller. There’s talk of magnets, visiting top Xbox players in their sweaty homes, interesting uses for the swappable controller profiles and OTA updates. The talk also touches on reworked bumper buttons, the story behind the carrying case, a new use for the sync button and a surprising amount more.

If you’re as interested in the controller as I am/was it’s worth a listen. The controller segment lasts about 50 minutes and starts at the 7 minute mark. Oh, and my original post about the controller still covers most of the basics so check that out too if you need to know more.

Questionable Kinect Puzzler, Q, plopped on Xbox One today

062615-q

I expressed my concern over Microsoft’s deluge of indie releases in my E3 wrap up. Case in point. This new game, Q, has come out of nowhere to be dumped on the Xbox store today. I’d have bought it straight away as it looks like a silly, WarioWare-esque Kinect game but given the quality of recent releases on Xbox One, I hesitated. Check out some of these choice quotes from the game’s description:

  • It may sound simple, but the truth couldn’t be further
  • “There are Q’s that even we developers cannot solve”
  • It can be used as an educational tool for children
  • There is so much here to sink your teeth into which makes it the best app for those moments when you have some time to kill

Broken English, the limp claim of it being educational, and they refer to it as an app? Turns out, it is an app, a Japanese iPhone and Android app released back in January. While it might be entertaining for a few minutes on your phone, I can’t convince myself to pay $6 to find out if they implemented Kinect in a way that is at all fun to play. Here’s hoping Giant Bomb takes a quick look at it some day.

E3 2015: Here’s how Xbox 360 games work on Xbox One

We’re in the Xbox Preview Program so we got to give the Xbox 360 Backwards Compatibility a shot just a day after the big announcement at E3. I grabbed all my capture gear last night and set out to cover how the feature works and what it does. So here’s Geometry Wars, Super Meat Boy, Viva Piñata and A Kingdom for Keflings.

One thing I did forget to mention in the video is that the Xbox One doesn’t recognize saved games on a USB stick. You’ll have to make sure any saves you want to use are in your cloud storage first. Any other questions? I’ll try to answer them or at least point you to the official Xbox One Backwards Compatibility page.