Tag Archives: gaming

Breaking it Down: Console Evolution

I am likely somewhat biased, but I thought the E3 Xbox briefing was well done. Not only was there a nice mix of hardware and software announcements (with launch dates!), but more clarity was provided on the vision and roadmap for console hardware.

But wait, that’s been the focal point of much hand-wringing and teeth gnashing. Here’s one from Engadget, speculating that Xbox One sales will dry up, because something better will appear next year.

At the macro level, here are the critical take-aways on where the industry is headed:

  1. Expect console hardware to iterate more rapidly.
  2. Expect great developers that make great games to tune for the few “click-stops” of consoles and their respective capabilities, not unlike supporting N and N-1 console generations or cross-platforms, today.
    1. Consoles and PCs are becoming more and more alike, so assets and content should be sharable, but with an extra layer of closer-to-metal API access and specific settings to be tuned for consoles.
    2. Over time, the top-of-line AAA games will raise the min-bar, but expect studios to support N, N-1 and possibly N-2 iterations, to hit the experience-install base sweet spot.
  3. And, like nearly all other industries (TVs, phones, even your toothbrush and home furnishings), potential customers will have a cost-benefit trade-off to make. A novel concept.

For the Xbox family, specifically, the One S is the natural cost and form-factor reduction version of the original One. This time, the deal has been sweetened with additional functionality and hardware (UHD Blu-Ray). The change for next year is that both the One S and Project Scorpio will exist, side-by-side, and unlike compatibility breaks of some previous generations, there won’t be one here.

Some may postpone purchases until next year, for Scorpio, but given the S is incremental and a year earlier than the typical mid-cycle refresh, I doubt there will be significant overall sales cannibalization due to the Scorpio announcement. Instead, the S maintains the new entry-$299 price-point and entices new users with a smaller, nicer-looking console, riding the wave of 4K marketing. There isn’t remotely close to 100% TAM overlap, as some allude to, nor the even more outlandish claim that someone eying an Xbox will now suddenly buy a PS4. Because, why?

Change is challenging for most to accept. So while one might question why console gaming is the anomoly in consumer electronics (recall all those bemoaning that smartphone GPUs were more capable then previous-generation consoles), the fact that it’s about to change is the most anxiety-inducing part.

Joining the Wii Sheep

The last game console I purchased was a Nintendo 64; in fact all the consoles I’ve ever owned have been made by Nintendo. This past weekend, on something of a whim, I picked up a Wii. I’m not one to camp out to get in that next shipment, so with the inventory shortage mostly sorted out (Futureshop has plenty of stock both in store and online) I walked into a local store and walked out with $500 worth of hardware and games. Hey, it’s been almost 10 years since my last purchase, so I figure there’s some reverse-amortization happening. 🙂 It’s really only like $4/month.

I loved the Mario Kart game for N64, so I just had to have the new version for the Wii. I picked that up along with an extra wheel. For another controller, I went with the Wii Play package, that includes some little games, but more importantly, the extra Wii-mote. I dropped in another Nunchuk to be safe and I was off to the cashier.

Now there’s a logo I haven’t seen in a while…

Right off the bat, I could tell why lots of people have fallen in love with the console. From the diminutive size to the slick interface, this could easily be something Apple conjured up. Also of note is the Wii-mote ‘jacket’ that comes equipped with all new controllers now. It’s this monstrous rubber/silicon protective wrapper, so that it doesn’t hurt so much to get hit by someone waving their Wii-motes around madly. I’ve been told by plenty of people that it’s not about the big arm movements in a game like tennis, but let’s be honest, it’s a bit hard not to get into it. I found myself swinging pretty hard on more than one occasion.

Without a doubt the games are fun; Mario Kart with a ‘wheel’ is just a whole other game compared to the N64’s controllers with little thumb-sticks. Golfing brings me back to those days on PEI. The motion sensitive controls take a lot of these games to another level. I’m not a hardcore gamer, so I really couldn’t care less about chainsawing people in Gears or War or slinking around in Metal Gear Solid. On the other hand, a large number of games for the Wii appeal to a wider audience, which is exactly what Nintendo intended. And looking at the sales numbers, I think they were right on the money (excuse the pun) by targeting this underserved market.

Yep, you can add another soul to the already countless Wii sheep. 😉

Taking a break from UT2004

I’ve been playing quite a lot of CTF in UT2004 recently. I used to play only Bombing Run, but with the community on the decline, I’ve found myself integrating into the CTF community. I’ve found it quite enjoyable up until the last couple days when I ran into some problems with a member of the clan that hosts the servers I play on. Long story short, I was kicked from the game and threatened with a ban for something I completely disagree with. Attempting diplomacy (as in talking about the issue) only seemed to fuel the fire. Let’s just say the other guy played loose and fast, shooting his mouth off at me – calling me names, cursing, and threatening me with a permanent ban.

The reason? Apparently I was camping and ‘spawn-raping’ him. Well whatever the hell that means. If shooting someone on the way to the flag constitutes camping of some sort, then color me guilty. But I’d disagree and with the sort of sportsmanship he demonstrated, I was put off to say the least. Attempting to find support on his clan forum led me nowhere (now that I think about it, what did I should I have expected eh?). Apparently I was in the wrong for complaining about being kicked from the server and subsequently being told-off when I tried to convey my point of view. They pointed out how badly I outplayed my opponent (apparently a match that is one-sided is pointless – even if it’s a 1 on 1) but didn’t have any problem overlooking the chat logs, where it would have clearly showed his threats and insults to my cool-headed debate.

Yeah, the little shits are quick to insult and abuse their powers in a game when things aren’t going well for them. Too bad (and fortunately for the rest of us) they don’t have admin privileges in the real life server. It looks like I’ll be taking a break until Unreal Tournament 3 comes out and the community revives itself. Perhaps I’ll waste less time this way.


Well, I thought I should write something even if it’s a whole lot of nothing on this first day of 2007. You know, just to have that little mark on the first day of a brand new calendar.

I’m off to university tomorrow. School doesn’t start until Wednesday, but I’ll be moving into a place (off campus) with some classmates tomorrow. I just did a quick look through my weekly schedule again, and for some reason or another, it looks awfully empty (not a bad thing at all). There are a few labs that aren’t on that schedule yet. That’ll probably fill a couple of the mornings. I don’t start classes until 1:30pm just about every day. You don’t know how nice that looks when you just came from a semester of 8:30am classes every day.

I’m not going to be taking my desktop with me for the first week at least. This is partly due to a lack of space in the car and partly so I can cool down this game, Medieval 2: Total War. It’s been consuming me so much that, as you can see, I still haven’t completed the new site design or moved over to the new host/domain. In fact, I haven’t touched the design over the past two days. Maybe the rest from that will help when I start work on it again. So I’ll just be bringing the laptop. No gaming, just work for the first week. First impressions are everything right? Hopefully my courses’ first impressions of me will be decent and they’ll decide to go easy on me this semester. 🙂

Winding Down

I’ve been enjoying what I believe is a well-earned rest before shipping off to university again. I’ve spent a lot of time (perhaps a bit too much to be honest) obsessing over Medieval 2: Total War. It was actually a Christmas gift for my dad, but as it turns out, he’s still engrossed by Civilization IV, a game I bought him last Christmas. I’m looking for my copy of Kingdom of Heaven as well; I didn’t particularly like the movie, but I always have to have a movie to go along with a Total War game. For Rome, it was obviously Gladiator; for Medieval 2, Kingdom of Heaven seems to fit particularly well, based on when I remember of it anyways. Now, if I could just find that disc… Oh, I’m sure glad I didn’t live in the era of this game. I mean those inquisitors have already burned too many of my generals (quite annoying really). I don’t think a person like me could last too long in a time of faith.

Don’t worry, I haven’t been wasting all my time on a game. I’ve been trying to show some self-discipline; for a couple hours each day, I’ve been going through the intro to my programming class for next semester. (It’s really a Data Structures and Algorithms class, according to the university.) Since I haven’t really programmed anything for almost a year now, I was pretty certain I would have forgotten just about everything. Actually, picking it back up isn’t too bad at all. It almost seems like I’m understanding it better the second time around, reviewing it myself. Some concepts I sort of breezed through without really understanding (and hoping wouldn’t show up on the final), like pointers, are making sense to me now. Maybe my random bits of work with Javascript and PHP during my WordPress template design process kept those concepts I learned on the backburner.

Speaking of that design, it’s coming along quite nicely now. If I were some software design firm, I’d probably call it ‘feature-complete’ or something along those lines. Now I just need to pretty it up for presentation. I’ll be launching the new design along with a completely new domain. I’ve already got the hosting and a domain name registered, so it’ll be a matter of moving over all the archives from this host. I’ll fire off a permanent redirect to the new domain so I can keep most of my search engine rankings, hopefully. (I rank up near the top for some interesting search terms; I’ll be sure to put together a post on that before I make the move.)

Well, it’s nearing 1:30am so I think it’s bedtime for me.

Super Confidential

This is just plain amazing. Nvidia’s about to launch the world’s first Direct3D 10 compatible video card on November 8th, G80 (or the 8800 series in market-speak). As usual, the rumours abound and the most coveted details are starting to appear. Are you ready for this much performance? I know I am.

Rumoured 8800GTX Performance

Now seriously, here’s an actual picture of the card. It’s absolutely huge and it’s supposed to suck power like there’s no tomorrow. Oh did I mention expensive? Looks like I’ll be waiting until late next year for the second generation D3D10 cards. (Click for more pictures/details)


Oh How True

I read this post and I immediately thought, oh dear, this is a perfect discription of how I feel.

The Stack – Gamers With Jobs

I will say, even a game like Oblivion gets a little tedious after a while of killing goblins and running aimlessly. You probably all thought I was some sort of addicted gamer, but I’m really not! I’m quite picky with my game playing. 🙂

All the computer parts have now arrived, but they’re back home and I’m… not. I’m heading up to Blue Mountain for the long weekend to do some sightseeing and hiking. It should be good. The weather is supposed to be amazing (sunny and 22C on Sunday) so some time with nature will be oh so very nice after weeks of sitting cooped up in an offce. Those fluorescent lights I tell you….

Yeah, so I’ll have to make do with this semi-busted laptop for another week. Damn.

P.S. This week’s PDEng assignment looks even gayer than usual. I may have to ask for an extension seeing that I’ll be relaxing this long weekend and NOT going PDEng.

BoB and CoH

What a combo. I’ve been playing Band of Brothers and Company of Heroes off each other over the past couple days, although, for the most part, it’s been Band of Brothers sucking me back into my addiction. I can’t believe the quality of shows HBO puts out, consistently. Company of Heroes is so similar in idea to Band of Brothers, it’s not even funny. Both follow the progress of a company from D-Day onwards. As well, the sort of tactics are pretty similar as well, since both revolve around small squads of soldiers for the most part. After watching the gallant efforts on the screen, I get this overwhelming need to play it out myself. Quite addictive really. It’s possibly one of the best TV-Game combos I’ve ever come across. Another good one was the Gladiator-Rome TW combo.

Yep, Company of Heroes also has an awesome story line. It really draws you in. You actually feel for your troops, as cheezy as that sounds. And that feeling you get when your small squad of riflemen overcomes a tank is… a little surreal. It gives you a sense of pride for your troops. There’s been a multitude of games centered around World War 2, but this is one of the most accurate and… touching.

So enough about that. You probably feel a little creeped out by the connection I’m having with a computer game of all things. Well, I’ve had to fill in the gap that UT2003 has left. I haven’t played (or seen anyone playing for that matter) in about a week. It was a real letdown to see so many of the old guys around again for a couple weeks, and now it’s dead. I’m still checking periodically for some familiar names, but I haven’t seen them yet…

I’m actually going to bed now. I’ve been sleeping really poorly over the past couple nights. It makes for a tough day when the thing you have to concentrate on the most is staying awake. Hopefully it’ll be a little better tonight.