Friday, August 24, 2012

The Midagedgamer Report 8-24-2012

Midagedgamer Report 8-24-2012

Microsoft is in the news! in a slow news week, AMD 7990, and OnLive is OffDead!

Think 3D gaming is the wave of the future?  Not according to EA.  In a statement Tuesday to Eurogamer an EA exec was quoted as saying, "3D is certainly not in any way on our list of things we are focused upon as a company," he said. "It's just not a technology particularly in our world of gaming that seems to have got traction. If I was skeptical 18 months ago I remain skeptical"

Which pretty much pokes a hole in Nvidia's 3D vision marketing for EA titles. Considering EA is one of the biggest players across all platforms a statement of "meh" doesn't give much incentive to developers. 

In other EA news, PopCap Games known for such cult hits as Bejeweled, has cut 50 employees from its Seattle office and may shut down its Dublin, Ireland office.  John Vechey, the studio's co-founder doesn't accept the speculation that EA has been pressuring the company to make the cuts or control it in any way stating,

"EA has provided a lot of resources for us to grow and allowed us to operate as an independent studio. I've seen speculation that EA is no longer letting PopCap run independently, and that's simply not true. The founders, CEO, and executives who were in charge of PopCap still are"

It does beg the question, however, about why staff have been departing the Dublin operation since the July 2011 acquisition of PopCap by EA.  Vechey is also quoted as saying he expects to grow back the same number of staff cut by the end of the year with some former PopCap staff going to EA. 
Still, Vechey is grateful to EA saying,"If we didn't have EA behind us, the cuts would have been worse."

Sounds more like talent costs were getting too high so it came time to slash payroll by bringing in cheaper alternatives.  There's no other business reason why you'd let a large chunk of your talent go and expect to replace them in such a short period of time. 

If there's any argument for a technology based union I think this is it...

In the everything old is new again section, Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic 2 is being offered on Steam as of august 23rd.  Steam is currently asking $9.99 through the Steam store which is $5 less than anywhere else that has the 7 year old title.  The system requirements aren't taxing, requiring only a DX9 capable system based on a P3 with 256MB of Ram and 32MB video card.  If you're into Star Wars RPG this is already old news to you.  Of course on Steam the release date is stated as 8-23-2012.  Valve, please find some consistency in your stated release dates!  Is it when it's on Steam or when it was released by the publisher!

 Anyway, Might be fun to try in a Win 8 VM!

If you've been waiting for an answer to Nvidia's 690 Dual GPU from AMD your wait may soon be over.  Powercolor has unveiled the Devil 13 HD 7990 Video card with 2 7970 GPU's clocked at 925Mhz, 6GB of VRAM on a 384 bit memory bus x2 (3GB per channel) clocked at 1375MHz.  It's HDMI and Displayport connectors can support up to 4096x2160 resolutions.  
Oh and make sure you have at least an 850W power supply with 3 8pin PCI-E power leads.  IT's a triple wide card as well so forget about putting it in a SFF case.  No official price or availability yet but expect the price point to be around $1000.00 U.S.  The important thing to note is that AMD has authorized the use of the 7990 moniker but has not produced a reference design for the board.  It appears AMD is leaving it up to their board vendors to come up with their own ideas.

Onlive looks to be OffDead...

As I reported last week Online cloud gaming service OnLive was in dire straits.  Apparently more dire than OnLive's director of corporate communications, Brian Jaquet let on.  The company was indeed bankrupt with its assets sold to Lauder Partners LLC.  

Insolvency Services Group handled the transfer of the company and CEO Joel Weinberg reports they were 30 to 40 million in debt.  The remains of the company has proceeded to lay off 100 employees, which equates to half its workforce and has left investors HTC and British Telecom out in the cold. Investors can only expect 5 to 10 cents on the dollar for their interest in the company.   The service will continue for the time being but I wouldn't be renewing my subscription any time soon.

In Microsoft news The company has a new logo said to be the first change in 25 years...It's got colored boxes and boring text...Who Cares...

In other news Microsoft, they're offering an OEM upgrade for $15 to those who've purchased a new PC since June 2nd.  There's till the $40 upgrade for everyone else. 

Must be a slow news week since these stories have been rehashed by everybody...

In our WTF segment, Microsoft will be carrying Election 2012 events including all three presidential debates and both party conventions via its Xbox Live platform.  Yes friends and neighbors,  just like 2008 you'll soon be able to enjoy breaking political news between Halo sessions.  I wonder if they'll make avatars for Obama and Romney...

In other Windows 8 News, People are still bitching about how awful it will be for games.  In an article on Kotaku by Kate Kox entitled, "Windows 8 is not good for games.

Kate expressed her dissatisfaction with the new OS.
The primary complaint was Metro and the Xbox Live experience which wouldn't allow interaction between a player on an Xbox and on a PC.  Because that works so well in Windows 7 don't you know. 

Also bemoaned was the switch to desktop in Valve's Steam and when loading non-metro based games. 

Further evidence of the "catastrophe" of the Windows 8 tile interface was shown as a long screen capture at 5200x900.  Of course it included every conceivable screen option in Solitaire turned on.  So we got to see all the help tiles, friends, leaderboards, etc. 

I'm not going to spend much more time on this.  I'm by no means a fan of the new Windows 8 UI but this crap has got to stop.  The whole idea is that most pc's in the next few years will likely at least "offer" a touch screen option to compete with tablets.   People like to touch their screens, get used to it.  It's why people pay upwards of $500 for an IPAD.  That's why the interface favors it and is likely to be in all of our futures. 

The Desktop is still there, still functional and automatically pops up when you load a non-metro app.  Much of the bad blood between developers and Microsoft has to do with the Microsoft Store's 30% sales premium on the channel, it's as simple as that. 

To hold up examples that amount to nothing more than unfamiliarity with a new interface is setting up a straw man.  A legitimate gripe is more along the lines of Steam crashing or a lockup in Battlefield 3 that only happens in Windows 8. I can make that happen in Windows 7 or XP so even that's not definitive proof of anything.   

Windows 8 is coming like it or not and all this noise is much ado about nothing.  If it's a success then everyone will have to learn how to take advantage of it.  If it's a failure then Windows 7 will have 10 years of support like XP got when Vista bombed. 

Now shut up!

So closes another animated but still snarky midagedgamer report.  Sorry if it offends but when the hype fails the reality as in the case of OnLIve or Diablo 3, it's just too easy...

The Midagedgamer Report, No BS since 19.....lines ago...

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