McColloch To Receive an Additional Dyicking
Precursor Games founder [and former Silicon Knights luminary] Kenneth McColloch’s official job description while at the company read “Lore-keeper. World-Builder. Dream-merchant.“, yet his dreams quickly ran to the nightmares of others, and perhaps not just in a vicarious sense. McColloch has been sentenced this week for the initial charge of possessing and making available child pornography. Police found a large number of videos and photographs depicting prepubescent boys having intercourse with adult women, and for this he was given time served, which has thus far amounted to twelve months behind bars.
In sentencing judge Joseph Nadel informed the hapless pedophile that “You have a penchant or an attraction to looking at young persons and children in perverted circumstances. You are potentially a danger to young persons and children.” It is for this reason that he was ordered to stay away from anyone under the age of sixteen, and to avoid schools, parks, recreation centres, and public pools for the next ten years; he will also appear on the provincial sex offender registry for the next twenty years, because goodness knows he will no longer constitute a threat to the community after those arbitrary periods of time have elapsed.
While McColloch’s initial crimes are now behind him, he is nevertheless set to return to court on the 26th of August to answer for the additional charges that the police have leveled against him while he was fighting his court battle. New charges include: sexual assault, forcible confinement, and sexual interference. It also must be noted that McColloch’s accomplice, Denis Dyack, has not yet elected to refute these latest crimes, possibly indicating that he is not at all confident in defending the charges. While he might not have taken the possession of a few perverted images all that seriously, accusations of sexual assault are an entirely different kettle of fish, and constitute a charge that one might have fully expected Dyack to defend himself from – that he does not speaks volumes about the man’s frame of mind.
The Banality of Evil
Following on from the news last week that Microsoft has paid Square Enix to withhold their forthcoming game, Rise of the Tomb Raider, from Playstation and PC owners, Xbox boss, Phil Spencer, has been on the smarm offensive this week attempting to assure the industry that Microsoft did not intend any malevolence with the move. You see, it is Spencer’s contention that that this was no act of evil, but merely a business move that businesses do because of business:
“I knew there would be some push back when we came out. Certain people won’t believe this: it doesn’t come from an evil space. It comes from a space where there’s an opportunity that maps really well with what we need in terms of the genre, and a partner that’s looking for a partnership. Other people can do the deal, but it was a deal that fit well with us. And I think it could help the franchise in the long run and help Crystal and Square and us.
I don’t want anybody to be happy that somebody else isn’t playing the game. I don’t look at the war that way. I just want gaming on Xbox to be great. This wasn’t an attack against anybody else. It was an opportunity that came up for us that fit really well.”
One wonders if Phil Spencer has never heard of the term: ‘banality of evil’ – that is the evil that occurs when ordinary individuals perform perfectly mundane and rudimentary tasks within corrupt environments which encourage conformity. Were an individual in such a situation required to give account for the evils they are responsible for, then their response would almost certainly consist of ‘I was just doing my job’ and/or ‘it was just business as usual’. This may be business as usual for Microsoft, but it is not the normative standard across the industry.
Both Sony and Nintendo do find themselves in possession of console exclusive third party games from time to time, but when that is the case one of the following has occurred: i) Sony/Nintendo has funded the development upfront [or at least has had some involvement from the start], ii) the development is in trouble and Sony/Nintendo steps in to salvage it, iii) the developer can only focus on one platform at a time, and so the Sony/Nintendo exclusivity is by default rather than by design. Most importantly, both Sony and Nintendo own multiple world class development studios which they use to produce critically acclaimed and innovative exclusive software titles, and this is what constitutes the vast bulk of their exclusive content. One would wager that Sony in particular probably runs their first party studio network at a net loss, but nevertheless pursues a diverse development portfolio in order to add perceived value to Playstation consoles. Microsoft on the other hand only internally produces franchises which they know will sell at a profit [Halo, Forza, Gears of War], and if they feel like they need any non-bro content then one of their number is liable to produce a chequebook and sharpen their pencil.
Sony and Nintendo give back to the gaming industry – they have better goodwill capital than Microsoft because their currency consists of ideas and novelty rather than iteration and drudgery. It is for this reason that Microsoft cops so much flak for poaching third party games, especially considering they bought Rise of the Tomb Raider many months after it had already begun development. Non-Xbox gamers can only interpret that as Microsoft paying money in order to take something away from them, and that is why Microsoft’s name is mud at present.
Microsoft Decides that 1080p Is Important After All
Since the release of the PS4 and Xbone Microsoft has told gamers time and again that crisp 1080p visuals are not important to the gameplay experience, and that very few people can even tell the difference between the PS4’s native resolution and the Xbone’s 900p and 720p resolutions. Now it would seem that Microsoft has performed another 180 of sorts, as they apparently told Blizzard at E3 that launching Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition at 900p was unacceptable, and subsequently worked with them to get the game to 1080p to some mixed results.
“We did find it challenging early on to get it to 1080p, that’s why we made the decision to drop to 900. That’s what we demoed and were showing around E3 time. And Microsoft was just like, ‘This is unacceptable. You need to figure out a way to get a better resolution.’ So we worked with them directly, they gave us a code update to let us get to full 1080p.”
Diablo 3 is not a technologically ambitious game, so it is quite a surprise that Blizzard experienced so much trouble getting the game to 1080p in the first place. Presumably Blizzard were always capable of hitting 1080p with the game, yet elected not to in service of 60fps gaming. However, Microsoft’s intervention appears to have put Blizzard in a bit of a tough spot, and so they ultimately chose to ratchet the resolution back up to 1080p come what may. The result has been that the game now drops from 60fps down to 50fps when the action heats up.
“Diablo 3 running at 900p on Xbox One may not boast the same, granular level of sharpness as its PS4 counterpart, but the difference is very subtle. It’s a difficult one to call given that the patched Xbox One frame-rate dips don’t make Diablo 3 any less enjoyable either. But for a game of Diablo 3’s action-focused design – and having played both iterations – we would probably take the locked 60fps at 900p over the less consistent 1080p, given the choice.”
Whether or not the trade-off for 1080p is worth it likely comes down to personal preference, though the fact that such sacrifices even had to be made on such a modest looking game speaks volumes to the power of the Xbone. The PS4 version certainly features absolutely no issues with running at 1080p and 60fps, and likely could have been pushed much further without breaking a sweat.