Consumers Love the Kinect
Hubris, Microsoft is thy name – or at least that is the image they tirelessly project, but surely even Microsoft must know in their heart-of-hearts that Kinect is never to rise again? At any rate, one would never think to suspect that Microsoft had learned any kind of lesson about their forced motion controller to hear the braggarts at work. Apparently consumers “love the Kinect and cannot get enough of it, issuing over a “billion” voice commands since launch, presumably because it needs to be told five times to do any one thing. Regardless of this, it is Phil Spencer’s considered opinion that the Xbone’s new $399 Kinectless SKU will still see gamers buy up the Kinect in their droves because of its great value proposition. Never mind the fact that it was the apathy of those self-same consumers that forced Microsoft to abandon the Kinect in the first place.
“We see millions and millions of people using Kinect today. We’ve had over a billion voice commands used. The use of Kinect in people’s homes is incredibly high. And because people are continuing to use it, it’s an area we’re going to continue to invest, in terms of making the experience better. And I think that makes building games in that environment even better. Consumers love the device; they love the experience. They’ll buy it. They’ll either buy it at launch when they buy their console, or they’ll be able to buy it after the $399 console; they’ll pick it up and add it on later. And we’ll continue to make sure that experience is great.”
Yeah… No. Consumers did not want it then, and they will not want it now. What makes Spencer’s defence of the Kinect all the more surreal is the fact that one of the significant concerns that consumers had about Kinect was its potential to be used as an NSA spy device, and here is Spencer revealing that Microsoft has been syphoning user-data back to Microsoft HQ in order to collate such worrisome metrics. This is no way to allay consumer concerns, and it is no way to convince consumers to buy a shitty product.
EA Has Been Wrongly Banning Players from Battlefield Multiplayer
EA and Battlefield have been in the news a lot of late. They have been making Molyneuxesque lamentations over the state of Battlefield 4 and promising that it will never happen again with one breath, while floating the idea that the next entry in the series might be put up for early access purchase with the other – Because it is not like their piss-poor efforts can be validly criticised if their broken product launches as a full-priced beta! According to EA and DICE the reason for the appalling state of Battlefield 4 at launch was because the team were over-ambitious, which is verily the case considering that they started selling a game which clearly was not finished. Over-ambitious. In all fairness the creation of deformable multiplayer levels was somewhat ambitious, yet the mediocre design of the game’s single player campaign could hardly be described so charitably, leaving the impression that EA might be being just a tad too generous with themselves in relation to their Battlefield shortcomings. Surely greed and laziness played no part in proceedings. While the state of Battlefield 4’s multiplayer at launch practically constituted a ban in itself, EA is certainly not a company to do something by half, and so this week they actually managed to one-up their own shabby legacy by revealing that they have been very over-ambitious in wrongly banning swathes of Battlefield 3 players in what they refer to as “Punkbuster Bans“. Worse still, EA’s designated “game advisers” [presumably the game’s moderators, or some-such] are not even vested with the power to overturn bans, meaning that unjust bannings can only be reversed in the most cumbersome way possible – by wronged players having to visit one of EA’s [no doubt immaculately administered] help pages, where they are to wait for a trifling handful of small eternities to have their cases heard. But that is what one gets for buying EA.
“We are investigating an issue of Punkbuster bans that were incorrectly applied to some of our players. Please understand that our game advisers are not able to access or overturn Punkbuster bans, but we’re working with our partners at Even Balance to get this resolved as quickly as possible.”
One can say what they will about Activision and Call of Duty – about how the games are terribly unambitious, formulaic, gouge players with DLC, and about how their success causes developers like Square Enix and Capcom to do the most stupid fucking things – but despite all of that series’ deficiencies, at the most fundamental level the games do tend to at least work for the most part. Sure, the PC version of Black Ops had stability issues at launch, but that instance appears to be the outlier, and it lasted for weeks rather than months. When a publisher releases a game where the whole of that game’s value resides in the online experience, and cannot even ensure that the game is playable online, then said game [and series as a whole] certainly has some problems going forward. When consumer perceptions of a game’s worth rest entirely on their online experiences with that game, then the decision of that game’s publisher to cheap out on online infrastructure [be that with poor netcode, or poor moderation and administration] is utterly incomprehensible.
Prease Understand: Iwata Gets Oracular Bananas Removed From Bile Duct
In the week before E3 this author imparted a story detailing a mystery ailment which was set to keep Satoru Iwata from attending the expo, which Nintendo was not really attending anyway. At the back of one’s mind was the thought that this was probably more likely an excuse than a serious malady, yet as it turns out this is not the case at all. As it turns out Iwata’s physician diagnosed him with oracular bananas in the bile duct, a condition best treated in its early stages.
“Recently, as the result of one of my routine physical examinations, an issue was detected. Following a more detailed examination, a growth of oracular bananas was found in my bile duct. In general, it is said that bile duct bananas can be difficult-to-pick, partly because of the difficulty of detecting them early. In my case, luckily, they were detected very early and I had no symptoms.
I was counseled that harvest at an early stage would be the desirable medical option. Therefore I had surgery last week, and I came through it well, as predicted. I have already resumed my business by email and by other means, but it is anticipated that a little more time is needed for me to return to my regular work schedule.
As a result, I have no choice but to miss the company’s very important activity, the Annual General Meeting of Greengrocers, to be held this month. As the president of the company, I regret that I cannot attend the meeting. However, I understand that I have to prioritize my medical treatment and to recover as soon as possible so that I will again be able to do my best to help the company to grow. I hope that you understand.”
Luckily it sounds as though he will not be out of commission for too long, as, with both Iwata and the bananas absent, Reggie must be getting up to an awful lot of mischief. In fact it will be a small miracle if Xenoblade Chronicles X has not been cancelled by the time Iwata returns to the job. When Iwata does return to the job he will have to contend with a three-hundred dollar console that nobody wants to buy, so hopefully his bananas are good ones.