Yesterday, I discussed, in brief, gaming's trend toward the future -- generally at the expense of the past and even the present. Coincidentally, I think that trend ties in well with another point of discussion yesterday's Roundup shoved into the limelight: PC gaming's "death." A good many of you seemed to think I'd love nothing more than to drag the ol' PC out back, aim down the sights, and end its miserable existence.
You couldn't have been more wrong.
PC gaming is, in my mind, thriving. Oh sure, consoles may rake in more mullah, but PC gaming never stops blazing trails into the future. Do I think we should grind to a halt and take a look around every once in a while? Sure. But never should we stagnate, or else our industry really could slump into a lifeless heap. PC gaming, whether it be through MMOs, services like Steam, or even its colossal casual market, is console gaming's crystal ball. "That's what I want to be when I grow up!" I can almost hear Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo's petite blocks of plastic excitedly screech.
With that said, however, progress is a series of trials and errors. Today's Roundup casts its gaze upon a few recent missteps, from MMOs' lack of true emotion, to E3 2008, to, er, the iPhone. Oh, I didn't just go there; I rented a room, saw the sights, and brought back a refrigerator magnet. Read more for all of that -- and more.
Microsoft this week bids farewell to Kevin Johnson, the now former president of its platfroms and services division. During Johnson's tenure, many thought he would one day succeed CEO Steve Ballmer, and together the two of them played a major role in the company's pursuit of Yahoo.
This isn't the first defelction in recent times, as earlier this year Senior VP Steven Berkowitz announced plans to leave Microsoft by the end of the summer. And with Bill Gates having gone into semi-retirement, the face of Microsoft is beginning to look much different than it did just one year ago.
Find out why Johnson's announcement comes ill-timed for Microsoft after the jump. Touché?
Last year a company called Anascape brought a lawsuit against Nintendo and Microsoft, claiming the companies violated several of its patents on game controllers. Microsoft’s deep pockets settled the case for an undisclosed amount. Nintendo decided to continue the fight, but lost. A jury awarded Anascape $21 million in damages.. The judge has refused to give Nintendo a new trial and threatens to halt sales of GameCube controllers, Wavebirds, and Wii Classic controllers until Nintendo puts up the money or posts a bond so it can continue fighting.
With Sony losing a similar suit to Immersion and Microsoft caving in, it doesn’t look good for Nintendo to win its case.
ArsTechnica looked deeper into Anascape and its patents. They found that Anascape doesn't have a web site. All of its patents belong to Brad Armstrong of Carson City, Nevada. Searches for Anascape’s offices haven't turned up anything. Anascape's lawyer Doug Cawley claims that the company wants to enter the game controller business, but Nintendo has "clogged the market”.
What else did ArsTechnica find? Make the jump to see.
It looks like Google may be in final negotiations to acquire Digg for somewhere in the $200 million range. TechCrunch.com reports that negotiations that have been on and off again, have been moving along for the last six weeks. A letter of intent has been signed and a deal is close that will bring Digg under Google News.
As close as a deal is with Google, it could still not come to fruition. Microsoft has previously expressed interest in Digg and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a pending Google deal to stir Microsoft’s interest in Digg again. It seems most of Digg’s revenue comes from a three year ad deal with Microsoft.
The big fish are gobbling up the little fish, but will Microsoft want a nibble too?
For Windows Vista users who use Windows Media Center, there's good news and bad news:
The good news? The long-awaited "Fiji" update to WMC, officially known as the Windows Media Center TV Pack, was released to manufacturing last week. The bad news? Pick a pair: a) TV Pack is currently available only to OEMs. b) Nobody who knows exactly what TV Pack includes is telling, and the rest of us don't know.
Some long-rumored features, such as support for H.264 encoding (used by DirecTV), didn't make the cut, but exactly what's in "Fiji" is still a mystery. To find out the best guesses we've found about TV Pack, and when the rest of us might finally get our hands on it, join us after the jump.
In order to work in the gaming industry -- or any industry where ravenous journalists circle about, just waiting for a choice quote, really -- you probably need a fairly resilient sense of humor. After all, even if you possess an iron will and never blab a single well-guarded secret, out-of-context headlines are still perched atop websites, waiting to knock the wind out of your sails.
With that said, life isn't fair, and I have a living to make. Today's Roundup does, in fact, feature a couple of seemingly-ridiculous lines from a couple of your favorite industry luminaries. But you guys are great, so I'm sure we won't have any issues with context or mockery, right? Right?
Microsoft has taken a cue from the Flat Earth Society as shown in the recent ad below. Don’t let it fool you though, its not part of Microsoft’s $300 million campaign to turn opinion around on Vista. Several sites mistook this as part of their new ad campaign not due out until later this year. Clicking on the ad sends you to Microsoft’s website for Vista they have been working hard at breaking up stereotypes about Vista:
“But we know a few of you were disappointed by your early encounter. Printers didn't work. Games felt sluggish. You told us—loudly at times—that the latest Windows wasn't always living up to your high expectations for a Microsoft product. Well, we've been taking notes and addressing issues.”
Attendees at the Microsoft Global Exchange saw some of the new upcoming ads for Vista. One attendee was quoted by liveside.net, "got goosebumps - just, wow".
We’ll see. The hype building up over this marketing campaign might rival Vista’s hype, and if they don’t deliver, they’ll blow another hole in Vista’s boat.
Over at PCmag.com, they bring up an interesting point about Asus’ new ROM boot chip and "Express Gate"; how it will affect users psychologically. We are not talking about power users, but just regular end users and how they feel about Linux.
For power users, there just isn’t much draw on Express Gate. So it lets you boot into a basic OS with a web browser and Skype in five seconds. Not really a big deal since most power users keep their machines on 24/7, or maybe let them sleep/hibernate. They also may have a dual boot system to a full featured Linux OS as well. This leaves power users scratching their heads asking why. Had Asus decided to make use of this Linux on ROM to provide things like diagnostics, data recovery, BIOS configuration/updating, or hardware systems monitoring, they would have had us at “hello”.
End users on the other hand, are more likely to power their systems on and off. For these folks having the option to boot quickly to use a web browser for a few minutes before rushing off someplace makes sense. More importantly it gets them using Linux without being obvious about it. I am sure Asus likes this idea as it will warm users up to their Eee line using the Linux OS. This could spool up to be a big deal if other manufacturers pick up on the idea and start serving up their own Splashtop Linux ROM chips on their motherboards.
The effect becomes that there will be more users comfortable using Linux and that could eat into Microsoft’s market share. If this takes off, Microsoft has little choice but to make it’s OS capable of going instant on, or creating a super light and cheap version of Windows that can do the same thing (like Windows CE, but better).
Do you think this might take off? Can we expect Microsoft to follow suit and do their own instant on OS? Let me know!
With the all the brouhaha surrounding solid state drives (SSDs), there remains a question of exactly how big of a performance advantage flash memory really holds over today's hard drives. On paper, most SSDs scream ahead in both read and write speeds, but real-world benchmarking paints a different picture. So why the discrepancy? At SandDisk, they're blaming Vista. The company's CEO, Eli Harari, says SSD "performance in the Vista environment falls short of what the market really needs. Vista is not optimized for flash memory solid-state disks."
It's not hard to find fault with Vista, but blaming the OS for underperforming SSDs qualifies as a new one that even Apple hasn't yet exploited in its many mocking commercials. To be fair, Harari made the statement as part of a pitch to improve SSDs' next generation controllers, which he says "need to compensate for Vista's shortfalls." Because of this need, the company claims it is behind schedule bringing competitive SSDs to market.
Is SanDisk justified in pointing the finger at Vista?
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To learn more about the process, and to find out how you can put your screen-sized 2D double to work, join us after the jump.