Tag Archives: Windows

The Only 5 Good Reasons To Choose Console Gaming Over PC

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A few interesting announcements have come about in PC gaming this week. Namco announced two of its upcoming games which previously bolstered the PS4’s library of exclusives in my view — Ni No Kuni II and Ace Combat 7, are now headed to PC. A smaller announcement of interest is that MSI at CES announced an upgraded version of its Trident PC-in-a-console-box. I think this is as good a time as any to try to sort through the reasons a lot of people still pick console gaming over PC gaming despite how much the differences between the two sides of gaming have shifted in recent years.

I’m not really writing this to say console gamers are wrong or that PC is objectively better. What I want to lay out is that there are legitimate reasons to choose a console as your primary platform over PC, and then there are outright myths made of a combination of outdated information and a bit of undue fear. I want to at least begin to separate the two. Continue reading

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Why Iterative Consoles Make Sense Now

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Now reports have come in that Sony is at least playing with the idea of iterative game consoles. A lot of people seem to be afraid of the changes this might bring. I’ve already done a whole post on why I think this is ultimately where game consoles should go, but it was framed around what Microsoft’s Phil Spencer was saying which included a lot of things about Windows.

When you’re talking about Sony doing this though, the PC element isn’t there so you’re only talking about iterative game consoles. I should note here that based on the nature of the Sony reports and speculation on them from other tech sites, it looks like nothing is set in stone as of now. What seems to be happening is that Sony is merely exploring and researching the idea of taking the existing PS4 and beefing it up. Nothing may ever actually come of it, but something also might. We probably won’t have anything concrete until E3.

That said, I still want to go further into what this could or should mean for game consoles going forward. I think iterating on game console hardware is a pretty fundamental shift that could put the industry more in line with what other tech has always been doing. It could get rid of the entire idea of “console generations” as we know them.  I think some people are scared because the uniqueness of game consoles seems to be under threat. Continue reading

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WordPress Desktop App And The Supposed Death Of The Web

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The last few updates on this blog have actually been done using the WordPress desktop app. I guess it’s just been another step in the computing world’s conversion from web to app, but personally I’ve felt different forces pulling in both directions. Continue reading

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20 Years Of Microsoft Fury3

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Yes it’s the 30th anniversary of Super Mario Bros. Basically everybody’s already talking about it and I don’t know that there’s a whole lot I could contribute. It was one of the first games I played as a toddler and was obviously a founding influence in my experience with the medium. That’s about it. Whatever. What I am here to write about today is another anniversary that slipped by me a couple weeks ago at the end of August.

What I’m here to write about, is Microsoft Fury3, which just turned 20. Continue reading

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What I Actually Care About In Windows 10

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It’s not exactly unusual to hear about someone being cautious to upgrade to the latest version of Windows, but as everyone around me is upgrading I’ve been thinking about what I actually care about on my PC that would get me to upgrade. That’s obviously different for everyone but I’ve found I have a pretty narrow idea of what would get me to upgrade. Continue reading

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D-Fend Reloaded And The Accessibility of DOS Games Today

In my periodic treks through old school PC games one significant wall I keep running into is MS-DOS which complicates the process of playing almost any PC game that came out prior to 1995. I only recently found out about D-Fend Reloaded which has immediately made an entire era and platform of gaming more interesting and accessible to me. Continue reading

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Mobile Computers And In-Between Devices

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It’s been about a month since I moved to Apple’s phablet model, and I haven’t used my iPad once. I’m seriously starting to re-examine where each computing form factor fits.

Obviously everybody has different needs for these things and uses them in different ways. This is just my own slice of life with these devices as they change the way we get and use software. Continue reading

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Gaming At The Windows 10 Briefing: Xbox vs Windows (Updated)

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Another Windows presentation, another round of promises from Microsoft to PC gamers. Some of what they announced at the Windows 10 briefing is surprising, but they’re still very much taking a light-touch approach to the interaction between Windows and Xbox.

I think Microsoft knows they have to do this if they want to maintain Xbox as a wholly separate product aside from Windows. It sets up an interesting irony as they talk more and more about integrating Windows across devices. Continue reading

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It Seems Portable PC Gaming Is On The Way

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I imagine anyone who plays PC games and owns a Windows tablet already has a clue. It’s pretty straightforward: we now have tablets and other portable devices that run the same Windows you get on a laptop or desktop, which means games built for Windows should boot up on them.

I haven’t tried out one of these things for myself but I’ve started to look at the fruits of Microsoft’s attempt to combine tablets and laptops. What I’ve seen suggests the beginning of what could eventually become real handheld PC gaming. I’m starting to wonder if that’s a possible future of handheld gaming for hardcore consumers depending on how developers and hardware play out. Continue reading

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SteamOS and Microsoft’s Mistakes

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The reception to Valve’s CES presentation of Steam Machines has been kind of muted, and I think the main reason is a lot of people are still confused as to what exactly Valve is trying to do. I think the best way to describe how Valve is different is that it’s currently making plans for something that might happen 10 years down the line instead of trying to make a huge impact on the market today. I’m trying to collect what my previous thoughts have been on this in the following post.

In 2004 when Valve first started up Steam, people didn’t really understand why the company was tying Half-Life 2 to this strange DRM service. Now a lot of PC gamers won’t buy games without it. Admittedly though, I kind of bought into the hysteria over the idea of Valve actually making some kind of impression on the console market. That’s still a possibility, but it probably isn’t Valve’s primary objective. What Valve is trying to do is possibly what Microsoft should have been doing a decade ago.

I’ve made asides about this before: how one purpose of SteamOS is as an insurance policy against what may or may not happen to Windows in the future. I think this is Valve’s veiled statement that over the last several years, Microsoft has really been a terrible steward of Windows gaming.

Really, almost everything Valve has done for the PC platform is what Microsoft should have been doing as the company that runs Windows. Microsoft tried to consolize Windows with Games For Windows Live but failed miserably, as they’re finally putting a bullet in the service’s head this summer, and Steam became… pretty much what GFWL should have been. Microsoft’s neglect of traditional PC gaming on their new Windows 8 platform is more telling I think.

I saw Windows 8 as a perfect opportunity for Microsoft to maybe reform GFWL into something that links with Xbox — imagine buying a game like The Walking Dead Season 2 and playing it on your Windows tablet, your Windows 8 PC, and your Xbox One. Microsoft might still do that for apps in the future but I have a feeling traditional PC games could be left out of this. A robust XBL-style service built into Windows 8 would probably scare Valve a bit too. But nope, the game selection on the Windows 8 store right now is almost nothing but mobile fare.

And we of course know why — Xbox. Even higher ups at Microsoft are rumored to be disappointed with former CEO Steve Ballmer’s plunging what used to be a software company into consumer hardware. Microsoft wanted its own PlayStation 15 years ago, and then it wanted its own iOS, and now there are people there possibly threatening to actually sell the Xbox division and return Microsoft strictly to its software roots. If Microsoft wasn’t actively neglecting PC gaming in favor of Xbox we’d have a Windows 8 version of Forza 5 and it would announce Halo 5 on both Xbox One and Windows 8. The only legitimately good things Microsoft has recently done for PC gaming are Xinput and continuing to iterate on DirectX. And Valve’s SteamOS initiative even involves its attempt to wean developers off DirectX.

Furthermore, people point out Windows 8 as a factor in declining PC sales, as it’s trying to be more like the tablets and phones that are replacing PCs for the vast majority of consumers. Valve head Gabe Newell doesn’t attempt to hide his fear that these new closed-box platforms threaten the currently open PC platform.

Lastly, and most ironically, I think the Steam Machine initiative is something Microsoft could have done long ago. It’s what Xbox could have been.

Imagine if instead of trying to make another PlayStation, Microsoft simply said it was going to partner up with hardware manufacturers to make console-like devices that ran a sort of “console version” of Windows — an open gaming OS oriented for TVs. It would maintain Microsoft’s position as a software company while also bringing it into the console space. It’s just a question of whether such an idea was possible in 2001 or 2005. This is part of what Valve is doing today.

I think by releasing SteamOS Valve is pretty much saying “Y’know what? If Microsoft — the operator of the OS that is the foundation of PC gaming, isn’t going to be a leader of PC gaming, then someone else is going to have to step up.” If the living room approach causes a few console gamers to convert over to Steam, then that’s cool too. Who knows, maybe Valve will decide to actively go in that direction in the future. The most important thing to understand in that though is SteamOS and Steam Machines are going to be a very slow burn.

I think this new article from USGamer points it out well. The manufacturers of those Steam Machines do not expect them to explode out of the gate as fast as a new PlayStation or Xbox. They expect them to sell modestly over the course of years and maybe even decades. There will still be SteamOS and Steam Machines when Sony is releasing the PS5.

BULLETS:

  • Man. I’m hyped for whatever it is Area5 is doing.
  • My Steam user review of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is up. http://t.co/sPhBd29XXy
  • I just found out about Cops: Skyrim. http://t.co/3X1dOR5X8f
  • Interesting blurb from Kill Screen on No Man’s Sky. http://t.co/evT7MtwYNl
  • Nobody reading this has been through a pulled hamstring have they? How long does it take to stop hurting whenever I bend over?
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