News: Microsoft’s Xboner Continues to Disappoint

Xbox One PlayStation 4 Size Comparison
The Xbone’s vast size is something of a mystery, as it certainly isn’t full of powerful components.

[Rumour]: PS4 Has More CPU Resources Than Xbone

In the run up to the launch of the Xbone, Microsoft looked on as their new successor console was shown to be categorically lacking in every single hardware capability in relation to the PS4. In a desperate attempt to regain some positive marketing spin for their fledgeling box, Microsoft upclocked the system’s CPU by a paltry 150mhz [raising the frequency to 1.75ghz] and used this as a positive point of comparison against Sony’s PS4. Microsoft’s Albert Penello even went on to boldly declare that the Xbone had ten percent more CPU than the PS4, despite Sony’s CPU particulars being undisclosed.

We have at least 10% more CPU. Not only a faster processor, but a better audio chip also offloading CPU cycles.

As of writing, the PS4’s CPU particulars remain undivulged, and yet it is rapidly becoming apparent that the amount of processing power that it allows developers is yet another area in which the PS4 outperforms the Xbone. In benchmarking the texture generation prowess of the Substance Engine, a multiplatform engine compatible with both the PS4 and Xbone, it was shown that the PS4 was able to process fourteen megabytes a second to the Xbone’s twelve megabytes per second. Given that this process is solely performed by the system’s CPU, it would appear to indicate that PS4 developers will have a tangibly greater amount of CPU processing power available to them than will their Xbone counterparts. One explanation for this result is that Sony have managed to overclock the PS4’s CPU somewhere in the vicinity of 2ghz, while another plausible explanation is that the Xbone’s CPU is still clocked at a higher speed than the PS4’s, but that the Xbone’s Windows 8 and Kinect operating systems reserve an extra CPU core for overhead than does the more efficient PS4 system software. Whatever the case, it remains too early to say. The only reason that this story remains in rumour territory, is because the Substance Engine developers did not provide enough in the way of detail as to under precisely what conditions their benchmarking took place.

In other PS4 news, the PS4 is officially the fastest selling console launch in UK history, selling a massive 250,000 consoles, easily eclipsing the former record of 185,000 units sold held by [of all things] the PSP. 250,000 sales was easily enough to shoot Sony past the 170,000 units that the Xbone has managed to shift to date – and makes a complete mockery of the 150,000 Wii Us that Nintendo has been able to sell since its UK launch over a year ago.

JRT Is Too Damn High Meme
Japan’s dreaded JRT takes another scalp…

Japan Developers Signal Further Decline into Mobile Development Doldrums

What is the logical reaction for a publisher who has experienced a huge unforeseen success in the form of an extremely hardcore console title. Is it to nurture the franchise and double down on everything that made it popular? Is it to create a string of quick iterative sequels to capitalise of the success of the initial game? Or is it to attempt to force the game’s developers to turn it into a smartphone franchise, as that is the trough from which all the pigs of the industry are currently gorging themselves? If the latter explanation happens to be the case, then the publisher in question must almost certainly be Japanese, as it is currently the defective moon-brains of the yellow nation which are entertaining the superficial train of thought that smartphone development is a fool-proof rout to certain mega-profits. Of all the game franchises that have been ill-suited for a forced migration to touch screen mobile phone gaming, perhaps the most laughably inappropriate would be From Software’s Dark Souls, and yet this is precisely what the creatively derelict simpletons at Namco Bandai are attempting to coerce the game’s developers into.

The strength of the Dark Souls brand rests with its unrelenting difficulty coupled with tight and responsive controls, meaning that players will die often, yet it will always be their fault rather than the game’s. One thing that is for damn sure is that the game’s mechanics, much like its audience, is untransferable to the smartphone environment, and yet the idiots in control of the purse strings of the large corporate publishers do not understand this. The people in charge are little more than bean counters who view games as widgets and a franchise name as little more than marketing voodoo which allows them to sell more widgets, irrespective of product or platform. In short, they do not understand their own product.

We’d like to bring Dark Souls to mobile, but it’s very difficult because the guys at From Software are very much console oriented. To change their mind about it, it takes quite a while.

Of course this smartphone-centric approach can also manifest itself in the entirely opposite direction, with Square Enix president, Yosuke Matsuda, pretty much stating that the company will no longer green light new console projects unless the franchises can first prove themselves on smartphone.

Also, not just limited to smartphones, but we’re putting consideration into the type of games and their target audience, as we decide on the platform. Again, I feel that we also need to add more original titles for smartphones. Similar to Kaku-san-sei Million Arthur, if it becomes a hit on smartphones, then there’s a chance we may also release it for consoles, too.

The smartphone audience is not the same as the console audience; they are a different group of people who enjoy playing titles which lend themselves to markedly different dispositions and playstyles. Success on one platform is not an indicator of success on the other, as console owners would not hand over four or five hundred dollars for a new PS4 or Xbone if their needs could be just as effectively catered for on a smartphone. Japan’s response to the emergence of smartphone gaming has been one long unmitigated sadness.

The Witness Developer Panel
The Witness (TM) brought to you by Sony.

Youtube Flags Jonathan Blow’s Own Game Development Footage for Breach of Copyright

One of the more recurrent news stories of the week has been Youtube/Google’s mass genocide of game content on the grounds of baseless copyright claims. One is not adverse to a thinning of the herd with respect to the bloated ranks of ‘let’s players’, but the truth of the matter is that many high quality review channels have been punished for their perfectly legitimate use of game footage to illustrate their critical points. The ostensible reason for this switch in Youtube policy has been user’s flaunting of copyright law by uploading full movies and CDs to the video streaming service, and so the way that videos are now flagged for breach of copy right is Youtube’s use of algorithms which scan uploaded content for copyrighted music and video. While this may be perfectly reasonable for film and music content, it is clearly inappropriate for video gaming content, seeing as a game’s soundtrack is almost certainly comprised of copyrighted material, and yet this material is inextricably linked to the gameplay experience, making its use permissible under fair use laws.

This switch in policy has seen the termination of WatchMojo’s channel [with over a million subscribers], while the Angry Joe Show has received over sixty take-down notices, and Classic Game Room has opted to leave Youtube altogether. It was only in the last several days however that this situation managed to devolve into a fullblown farce, with one of Jonathan Blow’s one gameplay videos for The Witness being flagged for copyright by Sony, despite the fact that it is a product that Blow himself owns one hundred percent.

I feel like Google [and] YouTube are just unprepared for the reality of how things are made in the current era and what relationships look like. What they are doing only makes sense when most things are owned by a small number of corporations. Well, that’s the 1950s through ’80s. …

Here is a thought – if Youtube/Google wishes to have a zero tolerance policy with respect to copyright, then how about they actually spend the money to hire real people in order to ensure that their guidelines are enforced properly, rather than simply allowing a computer program to sanction users based on some extremely arbitrary parameters. Youtube has lost a lot in terms of quality content this week, and one’s gut feeling is that there is a whole bunch more that will be lost in the weeks and months ahead. If the current Youtube policy goes unmitigated then one can only imagine that in the fullness of time it will be replaced by another service, yet the current problem is that Youtube has no immediately apparent competitor with the same reach or monetisation options – and so in the meantime it will likely be the users who continue to suffer.

22 comments

  1. If the current Youtube policy goes unmitigated then one can only imagine that in the fullness of time it will be replaced by another service, yet the current problem is that Youtube has no immediately apparent competitor with the same reach or monetisation options – and so in the meantime it will likely be the users who continue to suffer.

    Idea: Kickstart a website which will be a gamer-friendly alternative to Youtube. Call it.. Mepipe.

  2. Japan’s push for smartphone-centric gaming is almost certainly a side-product of being such a secular culture. The very quality that also makes their games so refreshingly different and free of the obnoxious social climate of preaching to the public that’s now showing up in western developed games more and more frequently. But it’s still a troublesome sign of the generation ahead for those of us who grew up with and still favor their brand of gaming. I don’t own a bloody smartphone, or even a cell phone for that matter, nor do I have any plans to at any given point in time. And as an avid Dark Souls fan, I can confirm with some certainty that forcing that series to a bastardized, portable shadow of itself would kill me interest in the series.
    Damn Japan, take a look beyond your own borders every now and again. Not everyone rides a train to work and lives in a crowded city.

  3. Why can’t Japanese developers develop games for the Japanese? Typical Amerikan bullshite.

  4. @Satan: They can, should, and do, which I support. However, focusing only on smart phones and handheld devices like the Vita is not going to help them reach the sales numbers they want to aspire to, and it’s the global gaming market that suffers for what is essentially a fast-cash-grab effort on the part of the corporate puppetmasters in these old Japanese companies who aren’t interested in anything more than appeasing the shareholders. Something Julian and Lusipurr talk about in the most recent cast. I’m saying that they should consider that the rest of the world is not looking to adopt a smart phone or Vita as their sole gaming experience.
    But of course, you were too busy trying to take issue with my nationality to actually consider anything I said. Typical internet trollery from a typical internet prick. Oh, and how’s this for typical American: Go fuck yourself you insignificant waste of carbon.

  5. Also, way to completely miss the fucking point, genius – Dark Souls’ creators, From Software, do not want to make smartphone games, and are being pressured into doing so by their corporate publisher.

    Speaking more broadly, Japanese developers continually lament their national slide into irrelevance, and then don’t do a damn thing to try and reverse it. It’s all getting a little annoying.

  6. Indeed. I hope they don’t fold under that pressure or they’ll lose the good faith that Dark Souls unexpectedly created. Until Demon/Dark Souls, From Software was notable only to hardcore gamers for their work on Armoured Core and King’s Field. I’d rather not see them slip back into such a marginal niche.

    As to the narrow operating field they’re trapped in, I have to figure a lot of that has plenty to do with corporate and social structure there. It comes off as a very pyramid like, where the guy at the top just can’t be questioned, and if making games is how you make your bread as a little guy, what choice do you have? I guess there’s a point to be made about the Inafune/Mikami split with Capcom in favor of western developers and kickstarter, but until we see what fruits those bear, it’s hard to really speculate with any success.

  7. In retrospect, I’m not sure if you’re addressing me, or the other fellow Julian.

  8. Yeah, pretty sure it was me. So let me clarify. I know the situation with From Software pretty well, since I’d already read the news story elsewhere beforehand. I was addressing Japan’s corporate decision makers, not From Software. I really didn’t distinguish who I was referring to, and assumed (incorrectly) that it would be evident. My apologies.

  9. I think part of the issue is that, up until recently, Japan was always perceived as the juggernaut of gaming markets. All the consoles, until Microsoft entered the industry, were developed and launched in Japan, as were most games. Japan played up this image as much as they could, and it wasn’t really until the internet took over for print media that the gaming public got clued into the fact that Japan was lagging behind Europe and North America in sales. After years of “dominating”, they find themselves in unfamiliar territory and can’t figure out how they fit into the future of console gaming.

  10. Sorry, didn’t notice they’d slipped that little ad for their site on the bottom. I’d edit it out if possible.

  11. I know that 95% of people I know that are ‘gamers’ are buying an Xbone because: ‘Microsoft can be trusted’, ‘It is cheaper, so of course it is better’ and the best ecuse I have ever heard… ‘Its an Xbox’.

    If only there were an anti-idiot kill-switch that was attached to my arm. Id be hitting that more times that my boyfriend! (Cue faggot jokes now!! :P)

  12. They think the Xbone is *cheaper*? WTF

    And why would I joke about you hitting your boyfriend? Domestic abuse is srs bzns!

  13. ‘Hitting that’ is a euphemism for sex Mel. No surprise you are wrong again!! :)

    I know, they are fucking idiots. :L

  14. ‘Hitting that’ is a euphemism for sex Mel. No surprise you are wrong again!! :)

    I know, they are idiots. :L

  15. ^

    I wasn’t sure about the sites swearing rules.

  16. I thought so, but you can never be too careful :3

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