microsoft's ex-box one more WTF?
So microsoft's xbox-one-again is out and a few weird things have come to light.
Firstly it's obvious that still just don't get it. The general pupulous 'mass market' do not want a PC under their TV, they want an appliance. But they've gone and dropped a full-blown 'metro' interface - which looks confusing as hell to start with, and looks like a total headfuck on a tv with a controller. That's completely apart from the decidedly non-mass-market price.
And then there's the whole tv integration ... no 50hz mode? What?
I'm pretty down on the 'tech press' already, but them claiming that somehow that is 'impossible to fix' is pretty laughable. Every PS2 or PS3 game in PAL regions also support direct 50Hz output because they supported composite out. Given that most of a game is being rendered in real-time it's a trivial run-time alteration (literally a couple of numbers) to change either rendering resolution or framerate output. A bonus here is that you have considerably more frame-time as well so games always run smoother at 50/25 compared to 60/30 too. The only stuff that can't be easily fixed for 50Hz output is pre-rendered video (aka 'FMV') - and that CAN be fixed by just recording two versions at the different frame-rates - which is what the high budget games have usually done. And even then it isn't really that important for lower budget games; a few judders during non-interactive game play is no big deal.
Apart from that, 50Hz is better for ALL video content apart from native NTSC recordings anyway - which is a legacy from electronic pre-history. So for a so-called 'all in one media solution' to force a shitty PC-compatible-60hz is utterly nonsensical. If you're used to watching youtube or videos on your pc you probably wouldn't notice but it just totally shits up the picture.
Is it gaming, or is it gaming?
The other big thing to come to light is the attempt to push the revenue model up significantly higher than the selling-disks model will ever be able to provide.
Here in Australia 'gaming' generally refers not to computer games, but to the computerised gambling industry. An awful lot about the intended revenue models (and mobile/tablet 'free to play games' in general) share a lot with this despicable industry which prays on people psychologically to fleece them of their cash. Even the words being thrown around like 'whales' come from directly that industry.
And gaming is big money compared to the computer game industry.
Unfortunately it seems 'computer games' are going to be headed at least in some part toward this gambling revenue model; anywhere there is this much money to be had it will be sought out actively. Companies that don't embrace it will be fighting for the scraps but hopefully they'll be able to survive and hopefully this is just a passing fad (or gets regulated out of the market).
If one looks at a graph of revenue from microsoft's entertainment division vs the other business units (i think there's a plot from semiaccurate or somewhere that shows this) something jumps right out at you: one has been bumbling on at insignificant profits or losses for a decade whereas the other units generate obscene profits. microsoft will not be in this business much longer if they cannot find a way to bridge that gap and this gambling based user-fleecing revenue model is just one of the despicable anti-customer ways they will attempt it. It will be interesting to see if they can manage it ...
Bundling with Video Services
This is another strange idea coming out of some of the analyst houses and tech press; some weird notion that entertainment providing companies will 'partner' with microsoft to deliver content through their hardware.
Now there's an idea which is bat-shit insane.
The thought that any company would willing GIVE AWAY it's entire family jewels to a DIRECT COMPETITOR is just embarassing. The only way it might happen is if entryism takes over the board as it did with nokia, and destroys the company from the inside.
And it's pretty much an obvious conclusion from applying a bit of common sense - if this was going to happen they'd never have bothered with the dumb out-dated idea of a video pass-through in the first place. That just seeems a decade late ... at best.