Category Archives: Microsoft

OUYA

I mentioned before that Android and iOS were going to be threats to future Sony and Microsoft consoles (here).  If you haven’t already taken note of the success of OUYA, the open source Android-based game console, the news they’ve secured over $1,000,000 in funding via Kickstarter in a little less than 24 hours should give you an indication that this is now something to take seriously.

This is different from the phone-based/DLNA route I thought might happen, and still might, but it is an interesting concept.  If it is a major success, and we’re talking to be a major success this project would need to sell a lot more than the 8,000 consoles they’ve managed to sell on day one, for comparison the PS3 currently sells about 14,000 units a day and sold over 70,000 a day at its peak, then this would be a hugely significant development(1).

OUYA is like Steam, in that it is a software digital distribution and communication platform on top of Android so you won’t be able to play games you already own on your phone on the OUYA system.  This begs the question, why not?  From an OUYA point of view it makes perfect sense, they don’t want you jumping ship to another Android Console every five minutes, but as a consumer it seems a bit backward.  As all OUYA games will have to have free-to-play elements (which could be as little as a demo) the pain of switching is lessened as you may not have invested a great deal of cash into the platform, but it is still a little disappointing that it isn’t as completely open as one might expect.

1. For further consideration, Android activates over 900,000 devices and Apple sell over 500,000 iOS devices a day.  To paraphrase Mrs Merton – What attracted you to the low development costs and massive user base of iOS and Android gaming, Mr Developer?

Halo 4 – New Direction Announced

I’ve just been speaking to a representative from Microsoft.  He’s been telling me about the changes they’ve been implementing in Halo 4 since the reveal of the Tomb Raider reboot.

‘We thought that it was such a bold direction to take, we wanted to make sure our flagship title wasn’t made obsolete before it’s even released.’

Master Chief has been given a face lift, screenshots show, and his macho image has been completely redesigned.

‘It’s difficult to relate to a character if they’re a gun-toting, ass-kicking space marine, so we’ve stripped away the armour and changed Master Chief’s physique to match a more typical mortal man.  He can only carry one gun at a time and his ammo capacity has been limited severely.’

I asked why this was necessary.

‘Because we want the player to relate to Master Chief in a different way.  We think that players don’t want an empowering character to play, they prefer a character they can nurture and protect.  Changing the essential formula is a brave move, but one we think will pay off when players actually experience the campaign.’

My contact explained that the story of Halo 4 will now be heavily narrative based and feature several scenes with Master Chief forced to make difficult choices and deal with perhaps unpalatable consequences.

‘We can’t match what they’re doing with Tomb Raider, even we’re not that crazy, but Master Chief will be forced to fight like a cornered animal against human enemies with little more than a switchblade and a snooker ball in a sock.’

Halo 4 will be released in November this year.