So, now that I've had a few days to think about the presentation that Microsoft put together for their next iteration of the Xbox console platform, I have determined I have some serious issues and concerns with what they showed the world on Tuesday.
- Issue number one has to do with the price of the console and the related Xbox Live services.
Both Sony and Microsoft take the cake for talking tech, tech, tech, but never mentioning a price for the console. Microsoft takes this to another level when they talk about so many features and integrations, but never talking about the elephant in the room, that being Xbox Live. Nearly everything that you can do on an Xbox console, as far as integration with the internet (outside of game patching,) requires an Xbox Live Gold subscription. It would be foolish to think that you won't need to have that subscription for almost everything that they mentioned in the press conference on Tuesday. I will be pretty surprised if they don't require a Live subscription for everything from the fantasy sports updates, to the ability to use the TV integration in the system. Considering the fact that they make you have a Gold Subscription to use Netflix (a service that you already pay for,) I don't think it's a stretch to think that you will be looking at spending extra money every month for the new features of the system. I would project that Xbox Live will move from their $5 a month pricing at the moment to $6.99 or $7.99 a month, and maybe $69.99 a year.
Also, when you see the details of what Microsoft paid to the NFL for their exclusive deal, you have to know that someone is going to be paying that price tag.
(Side note: The subsidized systems that they already have in place for the Xbox 360 consoles are probably a very good indication of where they might go with this. Sure, they might sell you the system for $299, but you'll pay $15 a month for Xbox Live, for the next few years, to subsidize it.)
- Issue Two has to come from the fact that the system will not work without the Kinect. At this point, I can pretty much see that my theater will never be a room for an Xbox One because of that requirement.
Personally, I have been nothing but annoyed by the Kinect. I thought it would be an awesome system addition for motion control, but I found it to be frustrating to use over time and it sits under my living room TV completely unused.
I have seen the videos and I know that they have greatly improved the capabilities of the Kinect and it looks like it does a much better job of recognition, but the fact that it can detect my heartbeat through some of their software creeps me the hell out. I don't want a box that can recognize me the second I walk into the room (oh, and never mind the privacy concerns along with that considering the system has a persistent ethernet connection to Microsoft.)
I loved the movie Minority Report, but it's clear that the engineers at Microsoft LOVVVVEED it. Everything that we saw was some sort of connection to the visual interfaces from that movie. None of which are things that I want to do while sitting on my couch watching a show or playing a video game. I yell at my TV when I am annoyed at a sporting event or the game I'm playing, not when I want it to change a channel.... I have a remote that can do that just fine, thank you very much.
- Issue Three has to do with used games or game sharing.
The issues with this have been covered on a great deal of sites over the past few days, but when you talk about
Well, most of you aren't living under a rock so you probably already heard about the new console, the Xbox One.
1. My DirecTV already allows me to change channels on my remote. I really don't need voice commands.
2. Nothing on how you'll get TV into your Xbox. Looks like you'll pass through the HDMi from your cable/direcTV converter as there's no cable card slot. So how does that work? Does it have a built in IR blaster without wires like the Slingbox 500? Will it work with DirecTV or cable only? Will it suck as much as the Wii U's TV mode that has yet to really be developed?
3. My that's a good looking dog.
4. So much for taking your Xbox One with you on trips since it requires internet. Can you use your mobile phone as a Wifi hotspot to connect your Xbox?
What bothers me so much as that all of these console developers think they control the press in the same way a Cold War country did in the 60s. I don't understand why they don't put out the date, the price, how it works with backwards compatibility or any of that stuff. Putting it out six months later must be a "good marketing strategy" but I think it's stupid. In my focus group of 12 year olds that live at my house; they thought the dog was awesome but wanted to know how much it was to start saving for it. They wanted to know when it will be out. They wanted to know if they could bring the game over to a friends house to play it. I had no answers.
Why even bother with an event if basic questions can't be answered. At least with this presser, we saw what the console looked like.
..and people wonder why the industry is crashing...
- Well, it's my birthday and it's clear to me that the only thing that my body is getting better at, as I get older, is producing more ear wax and ear hair.
- I stopped into Starbucks this morning to get a free birthday smoothie (quite nice of them, really) and saw that they had free iTunes codes for a TV show. This weeks code was for the ESPN Films presentation of Catching Hell, a great documentary about Steve Bartman.
Here's the code that I picked up for any of you iTunes users. First come, first served.
Please post a comment if you use it.
- The Islanders played a hell of a series against the Penguins, losing 2 of the 6 games in overtime, including the series clincher on Saturday night. That team really does look like it's got things heading in the right direction for the first time in a few decades.... hell, they haven't won a series since 1993, so I think they're due. With a bit more experience, I think they could be a tough Eastern Conference team for years to come.
- As far as gaming is concerned, I've been playing around with Sleeping Dogs on the PS3 thanks to its addition on Playstation Plus. The fighting engine really has a similar feel to the Batman Arkham Asylum/City games, and that is a great compliment. One other thing that I really enjoyed is that after you spend some time with certain characters in the game, it adds specific bonus items to your map so that you don't have to search the city blindly looking for them (health shrines, surveillance cameras, and jade statues being the ones that I've got added to this point.)
I know that I've sung the praises of the Playstation Plus before, but I really don't think about buying many games lately due to the fact that there are so damn many good games on the service right now. Best $50 I spend in gaming each year.
- Have a great Tuesday.
I'm still using DirecTV and just in awe of all the channels that are available. I mean who knew I needed 20 channels devoted to shopping? I can buy exercise equipment, improve my sex life and listen to songs of the 80s just from the infomercial channels.
The coolest thing has to be the 3D channels. As you know I have a couple of those Playstation 3D TVs...the Sony brand didn't really sell them very well and it's too bad because Simulview is great technology and when I bought mine for $99, it was a steal. So since DTV has 3D sports channels, I turned on a World Cup Qualifier....wow. 3D is cool. I mean I'm not sure it's much more than a novelty but it's a very cool novelty nonetheless.
As I continue to upgrade my technology, my old slingbox (hd pro) is gone for the 500 and the Roku 3 replaces the Roku 2. And the Tivos are replaced by the Genie...so I have to hit eBay sometime.
Finding the endless cables for these things is driving me crazy. I have these plugs that I have no idea what they originally plugged into. It's so frustrating. Why would I just leave a plug out without it being next to the applicance it's plugged into. And it's not a "usual" plug. That's why USB is pretty awesome. It's more like find the AC Adapter tip that fits into this. Ugh. Stupid.
- Still working on finding a new host for the website. I hope to have something in place in the next week or so. Just a matter of being able to make the time at home to be able to pull it off.
- Also, dealing with an abdominal injury that I seem to have suffered either while playing hockey or working in the yard last Sunday. It's caused me to miss one day of work this week and is severely hampering my ability to train for my half-marathon that is coming up in a few weeks. Not much fun there.
- At this point, I'm not surprised any more to see how resilient the Islanders have been in their series with the Penguins. Each time they are down, they manage to fight back into the game. Outside of the 5-0 Game 1 loss, they have really been playing inspired hockey and I've been stuck by the TV for each game. If they can manage to steal game 5 in Pittsburgh tomorrow night, things will get very interesting. Hell, I'm just happy to see them playing well at the end of the season though. It's been since 1993 since they won a playoff series, so it's been a long time since I've seen any success for this franchise.
- Still enjoying my 2010 Prius, but I'm debating replacing the stereo, as the one that was factory installed is really not all that user friendly. I've been debating a ton of different models from units with GPS built in, to having the unit mirror what is on your phone, there are just too many options to look at.
Also, I'm not incredibly handy with installing stereos. The last time I attempted it, I was in high school and my dashboard was a complete frankenstein job. I would tend to think that I would do better this time around if I tried... but I'm still concerned about how great of a job I can do. If anyone has any suggestions or thoughts about the stereo process, please pass them on.
Just saw from the Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online website that the service will end on June 6, 2013. This also includes the online service for the Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12 game for the PC.
Not unexpected, but a bummer. Waste of my money and items for my golfer. Luckily EA will make it up to me by hHAHAHAH OMG are you serious, no they won't, I think they said "sucker!"
And now I would like to present this World Exclusive video, courtesy of Joe DiSano, dedicated to Bill Harris.
Happy 5th of May.
I have been playing a lot of Your Turn Football and can't wait for it to be officially released!
Glad to see the Orioles are at least contending so far.
Anyone preorder Call of Duty Ghosts yet?
For the past month, I've been struggling with my cable company and my Tivo Premieres. During the month of April, when the Boston Bruins and Boston Red Sox are on at the same time, NESN expands to two channels. The problem has been the "alternate" channel on my Tivo. It says I'm not subscribed even though I am. After four truck rolls and tech support I gave up. I called DirecTV and signed up for their Genie. I had it installed yesterday and although it's quite a change from the TiVo interface, the channel depth is pretty amazing.
It seems like their on-demand offerings for TV shows are very cool but not deep. For example, I wanted to see the 4/24 episode of the Americans, but the latest on demand is the 4/17 one. Hopefully it will be on tonight after the 5/1 is shown..otherwise I gotta plug the TiVo back in and watch what I had, which is kind of a pain.
Anyway, so far so good.
- Let's start catching up....
- I'm now the proud owner of a 2010 Toyota Prius after finally dealing with all of the issues with my wagon getting totalled out. So, if you see someone driving way too slow on Wisconsin highways while they are trying to conserve as much gas as they can, it's probably me. (Last tank was 49.5 MPG, WOO!)
- Another reason that I haven't been around as much of late is that I'm training for another half-marathon in a few weeks. This one has been a hell of a lot harder to train for than the last one, so it's taking quite a bit out of me. 4 more weeks and it'll all be over though, for good or bad.
- Back to sports stuff....
- I have a tremendous amount of respect for what Jason Collins did yesterday in announcing that he is gay. It's been far too long that athletes needed to dread this decision while being an active participant in any major league sport. Hopefully others will be able to follow in his footsteps soon enough.
- EA Sports has reportedly canned Tiger Woods 15 for next year, which I can't say is all that surprising. Each year the title seemed to struggle with finding it's identity. With some luck, they'll be able to make some large advancements for the new console platforms (and perhaps for the PC as well.)
- If this is what is due to come of the next Xbox, count me out.
- All I've heard for the last week or so is that EA might be going exclusive with certain titles on the Xbox, which I truly believe will be one of the worst things that could happen in console gaming. Ugh. All of this stuff just makes me want to lock into PC gaming more and more....
- Still playing Your Turn Football, like it's going out of style. Each day, I get frustrated with my crappy backup TE's that can't catch a pass, but I keep playing over and over to try and get enough money to get a better team put together. The game is just crazy addictive.
- Since I really didn't have a ton of interest, I'm curious as to what thoughts people had about the NFL draft. Word around here is that people are very happy with what the Packers did, but I have no real thoughts on it either way.
- Not that it was all that surprising down the stretch, but I'm very happy to see the Islanders in the playoffs again. Not thrilled that Crosby will be back on the ice for their series with the Pens, but glad to see them back in the hunt for the Stanley Cup again.
- Lastly, I don't think I could have ever imagined a game where the Brewers hit 5 home runs (and 3 triples) and not one of those hits came from Ryan Braun. This team is a total mystery to me right now as they doing the lion's share of their scoring and work without Weeks hitting or Aramis Ramirez or Corey Hart even playing. Utterly remarkable that they're over .500 at the end of April.
$129.99 gets you a blue one or a purple one...you can even buy it with Zelda if you like.
One of my first sporting memories, at the age of 8, was watching the 1982 Milwaukee Brewers win the ALCS against the California Angels, which propelled them to their first (and only) World Series appearance. Since then, I was a dedicated Brewers fan, but being a very young one, some of the stories and events of that year, along with many others before it, were lost to me. Thankfully Brewers beat writer, Tom Haudricourt, has put together this book detailing 100 of the greatest moments and activities that have happened with the Milwaukee Brewers, County Stadium, or Miller Park.
You would think that it might be difficult to come up with 100 great moments (well, some of them weren't all great) for a team with only 44 years worth of history, and while I knew a good deal of these, there were plenty of surprising tales contained within the book. Whether it was reading the story of Terry Francona's ejection while receiving an intentional walk, hearing of the dangerous games of "flip" that were played by the 1982 team, the story of Gus the Wonder Dog, how the "ball and glove" logo was designed for the team, or reading of some of the great moments from the playoff seasons of 1982, 2008, and 2011, there is plenty of history for a Brewers fan (or any baseball fan for that matter) to get from the book.
If I had one criticism of the book, it would be that since each of the stories has a backstory told alongside it, that you will deal with a good bit of repetition if two stories from the same year are read back to back (which can and does happen throughout the book.) Even with that caveat, it still wouldn't be something that I would say to someone to prevent them from picking up the book though.
You can tell from the book that Tom has a passion for the game, as well as for the team that he covers, and I highly recommend picking up this book for any Brewers fan that you know.
Over the past few weeks, Dan and I have been teasing you about a new sports game that is in development by some former industry veterans. Today, we're going to give you a bit more information about a free-to-play game for iOS and Android called, Your Turn Football.
As you can see from the screenshots, the game has a "10 yard fight" look to it and has a great pick-up-and-play type interface.
The game play controls are much more simple than a lot of the sports games that you have seen on mobile platforms before. Gone are the options to pick "X-Right, Y-Split, Iso." You pick your offensive strategy and then the game leaves the timing of your cut or passes up to you with, simple, two button controls. For the defensive side, the only thing that do is to pick your strategy to run against the opponent while they are playing offense against you.
By playing games (either winning or losing,) you gain coins that can be used to enhance the players on your team. Also, if you want, you can spend real money to get dollars in the game that allow you to purchase better players, upgrade your special teams, or buy better offensive and defensive coordinators.
We'll be posting our Riding the Pines podcast with the staff behind the game in the next week or so when the game releases and you'll get a ton more information about the game at that time.
I can safely say that this is one of the most fun games I've played on a mobile platform to date. Between my phone and tablet, I have over 15 games going all at once and am enjoying every one of them from the blowouts to the nail-biters.
The game is due to be released in the next few weeks and we'll be pestering each and every one of you to download it as soon as you can, so we can start playing games against all of you.
One of my favorite PC games was Motocross Madness from back in the day, so when it came out for Xbox under the Arcade moniker, I was very curious. I did the trial and was like oh goody, the big feature is you can play as your Xbox Live Avatars. Given how important that is for all your Wii games (lol), I wasn't sold.
Then I played the game enough to pay the $10 to buy it. The depth and replay value of this game is amazing, given the fact it is only $10. It's fun to play, has a lot of the character of the old game as well (but not all). The career mode is amazingly deep.
So for $10 to me it's a no brainer. Check it out!
We had some database issues with the site recently, but all should be corrected now.
I'll be moving the site to a new hosting provider in the next month, due to some of the issues that have come up over time.
Hopefully that will resolve those sorts of issues.
Thanks for your understanding.