STATIC DISCLAIMER: All the stuff in here is purely my opinions, and they tend to change depending on what mood I'm in. If you're going to get bitter if I say something about you that you don't like, then maybe don't read. I avoid using names as much as possible, and would request that people who know me do the same in their comments. Basically, I often vent my frustrations on here, so if you happen to be someone who frustrates me, expect to read a description of someone very much like you in here!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

As predicted, Microsoft + consoles = big bad.

I've always said that Microsoft's entry to the console market was a bad thing. I've always said that their history in all things PC showed trends that would be highly detremental to what makes console gaming appealing, at least for me. And now, they unveil their latest monstrosity:

So that I'm being fair, this keyboard thingy is an add-on to the controller, but the fact that it exists at all is an abomination. You're putting a keyboard in the hands of a console gamer as he plays games, so that he can type stuff. The implications of this are increadible. For one, it won't be long before developers start using keystrokes to control games - I mean, how handy to be able to select weapons directly without cycling through. But then it will become a requirement for games. And hell, if we're going to make people buy a keyboard, why not a mouse as well? Windows Vista - Xbox edition, anyone? IT'S NOT A PC. IT'S A GAMING CONSOLE!!

Microsoft and gaming is t3h 3v1L, end of story. Their recent moves all parallel their movements in the computing industry, and while I can cope with them for my PC, I'm not willling to do the same for my console. I bought a console for the very fact that it worked different to PCs - one piece of hardware that just works with all games for years, no upgrades, simple control schemes, and a very specific focus - games. Microsoft are making it all about Live. I don't want Live. I want to sit down and play some games - often on my own, uninterrupted by random chat buddies, without needing to type stuff, or make microtransactions. *sigh* It's not going to stop though, is it? My PS3 has a lot of the same stuff now, and as the MS fanbois all cry "Ha ha - we've got and you don't!" Sony will respond by adding that abominable feature to their console, so they can keep up with the Joneses. Meanwhile, I, who love RPGs with epic stories, and really am not overly fussed about online play, will be lost in a rising sea of those who think the defining feature of a game is how many people you can have online to shoot in any one map. Don't get me wrong - I love a good bit of FPS every now and then, but I'd really much rather be playing against half a dozen friends in the same room/house then 40+ people who I've never met on the other side of the world. Why aren't people designing consoles to better facilitate this? Obviously I'm a minority, I guess.

This from the linked article:

Windows Live Messenger, big deal. While the slick friend list integration and nifty keyboard are impressive, the addition of Messenger to the Live service is really more of a harbinger of things to come. Don't be surprised to see your MSN and Hotmail email accounts added to the mix in future updates to Xbox Live and, with a little wheeling and dealing on Microsoft's part, you shouldn't be surprised to see a service like MySpace taking part. Of course, the keypad to me signals the coming of an integrated Web browser.

*sigh* Add a copy of Remote Desktop, and I could do my job on an Xbox360. Awesome. Just what console gaming needs. Not.

1 comment:

Joel Baltaks said...

Haha - yeah I agree that the controller looks pretty bad. I mean, it's always good to come up with new ideas, but I can't see myself using this controller - a keyboard is best for typing, and a handheld controller is best for playing games. This is a hash of both... maybe if you want to surf the web in front of your hi-def loungeroom tv, but that's not me right now. And the only time that I have ever done this was with the Wii - and it's input device is quite different and pretty good imho.

I seriously remember, when Sony brought out the playstation, thinking "Sony??? Don't they make VCR's and calculators and stuff? They'll flop for sure in the gaming console market!" - I couldn't have been more wrong. I was comparing them to Sega and Nintendo, then big boys in console gaming. I don't think there's anything intrinsically wrong with Microsoft making games consoles (any more than Sony), but with a big corporate culture they can always lose focus... and come out with this controller. I wonder how it will sell, and how useful people will find it. Heh, I think it sucks but I've been wrong before... :P