Is Microsoft Saying Fuck-You to Multi Gamer Households?

According to Edge Microsoft’s next X-Box console is going to require an always on connection to play games and games may be linked to a gamer tag to stop people reselling their games.

I don’t really care about the resell market, I’ve got games that I’ve had for over 20 years, and I don’t think I’ve ever sold a game. I’ve bought second hand games before, but I guess I’ll live without that.

Sure I’ll be a little annoyed that I can’t get classic titles that are out of print any more, I recently got my other half K.O.T.O.R. 1 and 2 for the X-Box and she loved them.

But what will make me think twice about getting an X-Box 720 if they do this is that I live in a two gamer household, with two X-Box 360s and I don’t buy games just for me to play, I buy them so I can play them as well as my other half. I already find it really irritating that we have to decide who gets to activate the DLC code for a game when we buy one, this happened when I decided to give Mass Effect 2 a shot 3 years after my girlfriend completed it: I couldn’t use the online features because she’d used the code on her gamer account.

But if I can’t play the game at all… Screw you Microsoft I’m not even going to buy your console.

Sony have a way around this, they have a parent account and all other user accounts are sub accounts of that account, so I guess if you activate a game for the parent account it would remain active for the sub accounts.

Microsoft don’t, as far as I can tell, do this. They have a family version of X-Box Live Gold which allows you to pay for 4 accounts to be gold for less money, but they don’t have a system of attributing accounts to a household.

To be fair to Microsoft previously they didn’t let you log the same account onto two different consoles without importing it over which would stop it working on the old console, so they recognise the people might own more than one X-Box, but do they recognise that more than one person might “Own” a game?

I’m not averse to buying two copies of a game to play multi-player, I own two copies of Halo 3 and Borderlands 2, both so that we could play multi-player over 2 consoles, but I really object to buying a game twice so that both myself and the person I live with can play a single player game.

Why Don’t More Phone Manufacturers Make KeyBoards/GamePads?

Sony patent suggests an Xperia Play with dual keyboards, it's slidingly slidable

I saw this post on Engadget about a Sony Patent for a phone that had both a QWERTY Keyboard and a Gamepad, I’d love that. I blog from my phone, and I’ve also tried writing on my phone (I think this was during last years NaNoWriMo) so I’d love to have a QWERTY Keyboard that allowed me to see more text and type faster. I also play a lot of casual games on my phone and I’m not 100% sold on touch as a means of control for some of them. Particularly platformers, you just need a D-Pad and Jump buttons and shoe horning them onto a touchscreen is irritating, this is why I’ve not really played FF III on my iPad, it just hurts the pads of my fingers to play it for any amount of time.

If you aren’t going to include on on the device at least sell an addon that allows you use one externally. If I had an iPhone I’d probably have one of these things:

Although the orientation of the buttons would annoy me a little, keyboards are not meant to be a grid…

I guess now Android has support for USB controllers, but as far as I can tell no one is making them… I was to emulate classic games on my phone that is more powerful than the computer I had 10 years ago god-dammit!

There is this Gametel Portable Games Controller for Android but it’s ugly as sin:

A Valve Console: My Thoughts

Needs

There has been a rumour buzzing round the internet for some time that Valve were going to release a console, a couple of days ago the rumours picked up again, I think it would be a great idea. Unlike many people I don’t have a gaming PC, there are lots of games that I’d love to play but can’t because all the PCs I have are either gathering dust in my “Study” (Read as the room I put all the crap I find around the house whenever I tidy it) or are in bits in the garage. I’ve got laptops coming out the wazoo (I think there are 4-5 working laptops floating around the house) but none of them have the oomph to play games, also lets be honest laptop keyboards and trackpads are crap for gaming.

Also I currently have a 19″ monitor attached to my aforementioned dust gathering PC (There were two but Avarinne borrowed one to use at work), which is a fraction of the size of my 50″ plasma or my 37″ LCD, sure the resolution is a little higher but I’m not that fussed about that. If I were to buy a gaming PC I’d have to also buy a big ass monitor which annoys me as I already have a big ass TV.

So I welcome a system that brings PC gaming into my living room, especially if it is subsidised by Valve. Valve have also intoned that they wouldn’t be against third parties having publishing platforms on their box, in fact the main reason they are thinking about this is because they don’t like the vendor lock in that Microsoft and Sony have on their respective consoles.

The one issue I’d have is that I’ve yet to see a keyboard/mouse combination that works in the living room, and not all games work with a controller, I’m sure this is something they can get around .

I’d pay for a machine I could play Valve and GOG games on alone, I’d pay a little more if it came shaped like a companion cube, but you can keep your hats…

Image Ctrl-Alt-Delete: “Needs

Sony’s NGP announced: stuffed with tech, no price or release date

Wow Sony has just announced the PSP2, for the time being they are calling it the NGP (Next Gen Playstaion?), it looks fairly impressive They have put in a 5″ OLED screen which is slightly bigger than the 4.3″ one on the original PSP and they’ve added not one but two touch sensors, one on the screen and one on the back of the device, the one on the back is the same size as the one on the front allowing 1 to 1 mapping of input without obscuring the screen. While I think this is cool I’m a little dubious, I’ve got big hands and I don’t think I can hold the device for hours on end the way the person in the picture above is, I like to get my mitts round a system, and I don’t want to be accidentally doing stuff because my hand brushes against the rear touch sensor.

The specs are quite impressive:

  • CPU: ARM® Cortex™-A9 core (4 core)
  • GPU: SGX543MP4+
  • External Dimensions: Approx. 182.0 x 18.6 x 83.5mm (width x height x depth) (tentative, excludes largest projection)
  • Rear touch pad: Multi touch pad (capacitive type)
  • Cameras: Front camera, Rear camera
  • Sound: Built-in stereo speakers, Built-in microphone
  • Sensors: Six-axis motion sensing system (three-axis gyroscope, three-axis accelerometer), Three-axis electronic compass
  • Location: Built-in GPS, Wi-Fi location service support
  • Keys / Switches: PS button, Power button, Directional buttons (Up/Down/Right/Left), Action buttons (Triangle, Circle, Cross, Square), Shoulder buttons (Right/Left), Right stick, Left stick, START button, SELECT button, Volume buttons
  • Wireless communications:
    • Mobile network connectivity (3G)
    • IEEE 802.11b/g/n (n = 1×1)(Wi-Fi) (Infrastructure mode/Ad-hoc mode)
    • Bluetooth® 2.1+EDR (A2DP/AVRCP/HSP)

But I wonder if all of that comes at the cost of battery life? The OLED screen will suck up less power but there is a lot going on under the hood there that will decimate the battery life.

This could be an amazing device there are a few things I’l like to know however:

Will it play video?

I must admit that I used my PSP for watching video more than I ever did gaming, the screen was just the right size for it.

Will it work as a Mobile/Skype Phone?

It’s got 3G and a microphone, can I make calls using it? I think the later PSP versions got a Skype application, this would be pretty cool, not that my mobile phone doesn’t already do this, but I might ditch my phone if my PSP could replace it, because lets face it I don’t use my phone as a phone much.

Does it come with a web browser?

The PSP did, it was rubbish but it did, with a 5″ touch screen this thing is as big as the Dell 5″ tablet, and would probably make for an okay browsing experience.

What is it running behind the scenes?

Sony have seemingly (From the screen shot) ditched the XMB they use in every other device, which to be honest is no big loss as the touch interface makes it redundant. But is this running a proprietary OS? Sony have been releasing a lot of Android phones and devices of late, and the “PSP Phone” is an android device, are Sony Computer Entertainment and Sony Ericsson talking to each other or are they working at ends to each other? Running android would make the device a great convergence device and would make it almost as much a competitor to the iPad as to the 3DS.

If Sony are following the same strategy as they are with the PS3 this would make sense, as it would allow the device to be an entertainment device which also plays games really well.

I’m sure I’ll think up more questions later, but assuming this comes out at a reasonable price, I’d consider buying one if some of the questions above were answered correctly…

Edit:

Sony announcing that they will “Bring the Legendary Play Station Content To Android” implies that maybe this is running Android? Maybe it’s not…

Edit 2:

It appears there is a promo video…

Sony’s NGP announced: stuffed with tech, no price or release date.