Microsoft HATES Cross-Play Too; They Just Don’t Want You to Know It.

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CrashFM logo.  Image Source: UStream.com

Word Count (What I’m Writing); Updated Daily (mostly)

  • Project Independence Word Count: @3500 words
  • Project Ship of Shadows Graphic Novel Page Count: 12

Cleaning this up–I’m only going to list the ones that I’m currently writing (actually putting words on the page).  Expect to see 2-3 projects per month at the most.
Goal = 170 words (5000 words by July 1), added approximately 200 words.

Currently Reading (What I’m Reading); Updated Daily (mostly)

  • For Fun:
    Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson (Fantasy Novel, Stormlight Archive Book 3) (somewhere in 750s in terms of page count–more than half way finished.)
  • For School:
    Ancient Rhetorics, Digital Networks: A book that combines New Media (digital rhetorics) and combines them with ideas and theories of the Ancient Rhetorics.
  • For Research/Personal Development:
    Great Aircraft of WWII by Alfred Price and Mike Spick (for Project Skye)

I wanted to read Oathbringer over the summer break before classes started again, but BS said that it might be helpful to read a Novella entitled, Edgedancer, before starting on Oathbringer.  I finally found a copy atMTSU’slibrary and I’m reading it now.   Great Aircraft of WWII is a book that I’ve had in my collection for sometime–I’ve glanced at it periodically, but never read it cover-to-cover.  Now, with Project Skye, I intend to do just that.

Game Mode On (What I’m Playing); Updated Weekly (Mondays)

  • Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands (Ubisoft Multi-platform): Open World, Third Person Tactical Shooter–About ¾th of the way through.  Special Ops/Military combat in a fictional Bolivia taken over by a Mexican drug cartel.

    Still working my way through–I’m trying to clear out a province a week, but because I’m catching up from E3 so I only got to clear about ½ of the province I’m currently working on.  I was planning on finishing that province today, but I have far too much to do today, so I’m not going to get to play it next week.
  • Until Dawn (Sony PS4 Exclusive): Third Person, Horror– branching storyline game that features a variety of choices that affect the outcome of the story using a system call the “Butterfly Effect.”I got further along, but now I have a decision to make: do I let the “creepy” best friend die, or do I let the character’s potential girlfriend die.  I decided to stop right there.

Microsoft Doesn’t Like Cross-Play Either

So, this post has been building for long time, but I’m finally sitting down to write it based on the internet “hate” Sony is getting for its stance on Cross-Play this week.  For those who don’t know, Cross-Play is the burgeoning idea that their should be no “borders” between gamers and that certain popular games are allowing their players to play with other players on other competing platforms.  This console generation Sony doesn’t want to do it as they are way ahead and they want to control over their ecosystem and Microsoft has been accrued a ton of goodwill as they’ve jumped on the Cross-Play bandwagon as a way to promote their Xbox over the Playstation.  But in the past, Microsoft hasn’t really liked Cross-Play either.

Burnout Paradise Podcast Reveals All

What gamers this console generation don’t realize is that Microsoft isn’t as altruistic as they appear.  They HATE the idea of Cross-Play as well.  Early in the Playstation 3/Xbox 360, the developers of games were really into podcasting and many devs had some sort of podcasting presence.  Burnout Paradise developer Criterion Games was one of the many devs that had such a podcast.  It was called CrashFM after their famous (or infamous) fictional “radio station” inside the game.  You can find out more from this wikia post: http://burnout.wikia.com/wiki/Crash_TV.  Most germane to this post, on one of the episodes, the devs were discussing how hard/easy it was do Cross-Play between the two systems.  I distinctly remember him saying in the podcast that  it was extremely easy and here is the important point.  The devs said that it was so easy that Microsoft had language in their CONTRACT THAT PROHIBITED Cross-Play and they had to ADD IN CODE to prevent it from happening.  He went onto say that interestingly, Sony did not have any language in their contract either way or the other (not a direct quote as I no longer have access to my iTunes subscription with these podcasts to do my due diligence to provide a time-stamp for this assertion–I’m doing this all from memory).

So, wait, Microsoft, that paragon of telling players that they LOVE Cross-Play,  had language in a contract (allegedly) that prohibited Cross-Play?  Methinks, I smell a rat here.  Yes, I understand that positions change over time, but for the fans and the media to rake Sony over the coals for something that Microsoft has (allegedly) done in the past is more than hypocritical on Microsoft’s part.

In Microsoft We Trust–Until They Screw Us Over

Microsoft has been getting a lot of love lately and I just don’t understand it.  Have we forgotten how Sony was able to get a big console lead this generation?  They wanted an console that would need to be connected to the internet at least once every 24 hours so it could validate your games.  Their idea of game-sharing was abysmal and they were $100 more expensive even though their system was “less powerful” than the Playstation 4.  This is the future Microsoft wanted for gamers.  They tried to do the same thing as last generation by locking down Titanfall (what they thought would be the new conception of Halo).

I may be coming on thick here, but Microsoft is all about control.  This morning, I walked into our Graduate Teaching Assistants’ office and found a Windows computer complaining that its Windows version might be counterfeit (this is a LARGE university–I’m pretty sure their licenses are up-to-date).  All the way back to Windows 3.1Microsoft has tried to legislate how users of their software will use it and not counterfeit it.  With Win 3.1, they tried to this with a “cardstock” license, but the Xbox One was just the same ideas revisited, but with actual technology to enforce their dictates rather than words written on cardstock.

Sony may well deserve the censure that their getting based on what I seen/heard about the latest controversy of them locking down accounts that have been associated with their Playstation account–not cool.  However, Microsoft does not deserve the amount of praise that gamers are heaping on them as it will just encourage them to retry their dictatorial licensing practices at a later date.  Gamers keep shooting themselves in the foot by allowing themselves to be swayed so easily by Microsoft’s tactics in regards to Cross-Play.  Gaming sites like IGN and gaming pundits such as Jim Sterling aren’t doing the gaming community any favors by over-emphasizing Sony’s stance without doing research to find out what Microsoft’s history on this matter is, both current (positive–now that they are behind) and historical (negative–when they were ahead).

Sidney




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I earn a small commission on the purchase of these items.

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Economics of Buying an EA Game

So, Electronic Arts (EA) has taken a lot of heat in the past weeks for its decision to go all in on Loot Boxes and Microtransactions.  For those not aware, the major controversy in the video game industry right now is the fact than an already (comparatively) expensive hobby like video games where you are expected to pay $60.00 upfront for the product (compare with a movie that is anywhere from 7.99-19.99, a novel that is 9.99-24.99, a season of TV 9.99-39.99, or a streaming subscription, 9.99-14.99, etc.) and then buy “additional” Loot Boxes for the chance of substantially improving your character (or “grinding” for a long time by playing the game in a monotonous way in order to earn the same chance improving one’s character).

Basically, EA is changing the nature of the game (pardon the pun), from playing the game to continually paying for the game (“games as a service”).  Unfortunately, not only doesn’t the gaming public like this, EA doesn’t realize this isn’t a sustainable model.

The Economics of Buying a Game

I’m not boycotting EA games, but their tactics make it clear that I can’t support their economics any more–especially after releasing a game that clearly needed more development time: Mass Effect Andromeda.

How so?

So, I’m rarely into multiplayer–yes, I’ll sometimes dive into the multiplayer component of a game, but outside of select titles (Burnout Paradise, CoD: Modern Warfare, Destiny, and a select few others), I don’t really dive into the multiplayer components of games for any real length of time.  So you can subtract $20.00 from the game value right there.  So, a game that EA charges 59.99 for, is really only worth 39.99 to me as I don’t really delve into the multiplayer.

Okay, so now we’re down to 39.99, right?  Well, you can subtract another 10.00 for the “grinding” in this “new” system.  I buy games for fun and for diversion, not to endlessly “grind” in order to complete the game.  So, your new system that you put into to make you more money in addition has actually wasted you 10.00 because I want to be engaged, not bored–so now that I know I’m going to be “grinding” and bored, I knock off 10.00 with what I’m willing to pay.  Now we’re down to 29.99.

Add to the fact that I have a backlog of games to play and there are more coming out from other publishers that have lessened versions of or no Loot Boxes/Microtransactions altogether and as such, seem like they’re going to be more fun than the current crop of EA games, so now I subtract 10.00 more for the game (I still need to finish incredible games like Metal Gear Solid 5, Horizon Zero Dawn, Final Fantasy XV, etc.).  Now we’re down to 19.99.

Give us Good Games and We’ll Give You Money

The equation is simple–the publishing (book) industry relies on a stable of good to great authors pumping out books on a consistent basis.  You don’t get “gimmicks” such a Loot Crates with Stephen King’s latest novel.  You know his books are going to meet a certain level of quality and entertainment value.  This is what EA has lost and must get back if they really want to connect with gamers.  Otherwise, they are going to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs and then where will there shareholders (and their dividends) be?

Sidney




Amazon Associate Disclaimer:
I earn a small commission on the purchase of these items.