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Misc news: Updates, WII U sales, NX predictions, Weather and the tech baffled.

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I’ve a video arriving shortly with an incredibly interesting interview with Michael Horn, which I’ve put much attention into, its an important interview for me and I’m sure you’ll be impressed at how insightful and intelligent Michael is as well as the information which he has to offer being incredibly relevant to today.

I’ve watched the UK news on the figurative periphery these last few weeks and although I am in the North East of England for the Christmas period this year hoping for a peaceful and relaxing time, I see that even in the NE, its not completely avoided the storms which have hit the country.

A rambling on modern technology and the baffled.

My neighbour has a skill, the ability to break things.  If you gave him a calculator, he’d be able to identify a set of buttons that could crash the thing,  so it comes as no surprise that his purchase of an Android box would end in tears….mine that is.

Whilst we march into this digital revolution of everything being sold with a “smart” moniker; smartphone, smart TV etc, the list perhaps shows that whilst technology may be cheaper and easier to use, there is still a market to help those who when faced with a tech issue, have the ability to break even the most fool proof systems and the one thing that certainly can’t have the “smart” title is the average user.

518873630_c_294_220What part of “If anything goes wrong, leave it and give me a call” is difficult to understand?  Well in the case of my neighbour, the answer is all of it, because when a problem occurred with his Android Box (his net connection went down due to a fault at the local exchange) he started to press buttons.  Quite how he managed in his blind fumbling to reach the menu that reset the box to its factory settings, wiping everything that had been set up on his box, is anyone’s guess.

Suffice to say, my neighbour presented himself to me shortly afterwards, baffled and clutching a vanilla install Android box, to which yet again, I found myself going through the laborious task of getting it back to the way he wanted it.  Since this isn’t a business of mine and I do it out of kindness, I really hope there is such a thing as karma, because if there is, I’m due for a Bill Gates payout.  I have a confession too, when another neighbour presented similar issues to me, dealing with packages I have not used (but could have found out) I referred them to someone who repairs them for a living.

Have you ever tried to explain to the tech baffled that HD space and memory (RAM) are two separate things?  My advice is don’t bother trying, somewhere in recent times one tech hapless individual has declared to another tech hapless individual that the two are the same and its gone viral to all the other tech hapless individuals on the planet and it doesn’t stop there.  I recall with fondness trying to get one of these individuals to understand that a bootable linux USB stick was not a “computer” and could not be plugged into anything to perform as such.

This episode of tech deja vu got me thinking (as similar incidents occur with many people in my life), is that there some people (probably in their millions) who should have no involvement in technology at all.  Cast your eye over at the net result of the average person discovering computing.  We have Facebook drama’s, malware so simple in its deception yet millions falling victim.  Scams a plenty which would have any reasonably intelligent person saying “you’ve got to be kidding” yet millions of people giving out their details (or worse) for the promise of the good life in a random email by a person with a made up name.  Oh and you have the government and its associated agencies, baffled at the fact that people who have been learning with technology all their lives in education and as a hobby, are infinitely more advanced with it than they are.

Whilst its great there’s so many people using and interested in something which for a long time was considered “geeky”, is it not time we returned to the 80’s where the only people using computers and online were the ones who knew what they were doing?  I’d quite happily trade the world wide webs average user, for a quieter experience and be labelled a geek.

wii-u-top1Its time for the WII U!

I think customer loyalty is and always has been a transient thing in the tech world – If it wasn’t, after the NES took the world by storm in the 80’s we’d all be Nintendo owners now.  The market today sees people switching between console platforms (or having all) rather than in the 80’s and 90’s where people generally picked a “side” and stuck with it.

This Xmas (and the sales leading up to it) have, from my observations noticed that many retailers are selling out of the WII U (or at least showing very good sales) now its being bundled at a reduced price.  I checked Argos in the UK for an indicator of what was happening and whilst they still had consoles in stock, it seems the games like Mario Maker were sold out in all the stores that I looked at.  Maybe this is an indicator that there’s many a WII U under the Xmas tree?

I don’t personally think this is in any way indicative of a sway from PS4 or Xbox One, but more that at the lower price, it offers something a little different and good value and its now viable to own as a “as well as” console.

So what’s different about the WII U? Well there is no argument that the specs of the Playstation 4 and Xbox One are significantly higher than that of the WII U, but Nintendo offer something which is quite a draw – No subscription costs for online gaming for starters.  Secondly you have that controller/screen which makes 2 player games on one console all the better (no split screen needed).  You’ve also got the ability to move out of the room your console is in and play your games in another room (via the screen controller).

That’s not to mention the exclusives such as the much loved Mario series and Splatoon.

So whilst Nintendo might not be pleased with shifting consoles at a lower cost, as far as the users are concerned, this is great news, now, its not unreasonable to have two consoles to ensure you get the best possible gaming experience in the home, where the ideal choice (in my view) would be a PS4 and a WII U.

As a parent, I like the Nintendo market better too.  The games (generally) are far more suitable for younger players and often promote more creativity from the user.

I think Nintendo has an opportunity here to maybe make up for lost time and ensure that the titles planned for 2016 hit the market on time.

NX Rumour mill – my views.

I think over the last few years my predictions in the tech world speak for themselves as being accurate and on that note, here’s some more.  The NX will not be a handheld console.  I think Nintendo has seen that the “handheld” war has been won between Apple and Android devices and there’s no inclination or need on behalf of the users to move to another platform.  The NX may well have features enabling crossover between devices (tablet/phone -> NX) but a handheld? No.  It won’t happen.

As for release date, I don’t think it will be early 2016.  I think a summer release (at the earliest is reasonable) with a Xmas 2016 more likely.

No DVD/BluRay drive?  Yes, I can believe this, although I’d expect a huge HD as standard, I’m thinking 1/2tb.  And if Nintendo are going to release this without some innovative new piece of tech (such as the WII when it had it’s release) then its going to have to be considerably more powerful than the PS4.  The price will have to be considered too.  Look at the staying power of the PS3 and the popularity of the PS4.  I think this will be a major hurdle for a new console to overcome unless it is seriously over-spec’d compared to the market or priced at such a silly price, it makes no sense not to jump in.

The more I consider the 2016 release date, the more I doubt it.  Since in my view the 2016 came from reliable sources I’ll give my opinion pertaining to that rumour.  If I was to give my own view, I’d say Nintendo should not be considering this release until at least 2017.  Lets give the PS4 and Xbox One to hit the limits of their tech in games.  I’m not seeing this happening yet and just like on the PS3, even now, produces some titles way above that which was expected it could handle.

Give people time to want a new console, not thrust an alternative onto an established market, otherwise what will happen is that the new console won’t sell and when the established market goes for the upgrade they will again be looking at PS5 or Xbox Two which will most likely have better specs than the NX.  Maybe the biggest problem Nintendo have is that they are out of sync with the rest of the market (in terms of new console releases).  The NX may be better spec’d than the PS4, but when PS4 owners are asking for a new console, I’d be surprised if the NX matched up to the future specs of a PS5.  “Out of sync” in my view is Nintendo’s biggest issue here.

Tim.

Nintendo – Dropped the ball? The WII U fails the future proof test?

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Could Nintendo have a Sega future on the consoles? I think so.  I think Nintendo is now better off licensing its popular titles to other platforms.
Could Nintendo have a Sega future on the consoles? I think so. I think Nintendo is now better off licensing its popular titles to other platforms.

I’ve discovered first hand the enthusiasm that Nintendo users/supporters/consumers have for their ecosystem and console.  Maybe the greatest example of devotion was that on G+ where the merest suggestion that the WII U was lacking in spec’s was met with the age old “its the games”, “gameplay is more important” – both of which valid points for a console in general, but by the Nintendo enthusiasts it seems like a selling point that only Nintendo can offer and apparently (certainly in their implication) it seems that the claim is Nintendo are the only ones to be able to create “classics”.

I’ve owned all three current generation consoles (forgetting the WII U for a second). The PS3 was released in 2006, as was the WII, with the Xbox 360 coming in during 2005.  There is no doubt that these consoles are still the mainstream “standard” at present and whilst it’s argued that the mindset of the average consumer is not yet ready to jump feet first into the next generation of these consoles, the big three all have (or in Nintendo’s case) had plans for their next generation to be released this year.

To get straight to the point, WII U in my view is under spec’d.  Offering little more than the current generation of consoles (with the immediately noticable area being RAM) we have a system that is going to be competing against Sony and Microsoft’s big guns, but potentially, the WII U could, like the 360/PS3/WII be competing for another 6-7 years like the previous generation.  If the WII U is barely more powerful now, how will it be looking in 6 or 7 years time.

But then the argument by Nintendo consumers is that its all about the games.  So what of the games? What is Nintendo offering that cannot be found elsewhere?

If we look to what the consumer is buying in droves, it’s FPS’s.  Something which, I think without seeing the titles released yet, its safe to say that a higher spec’d machine is going to perform better with.

Developers too have concerns, there are those that are leaving the Nintendo world and there are those who express concerns about the Nintendo system being up to the job in the future of meeting the demands of the consumer (in relation to FPS’s).

Lets look at the launch titles, now whilst the WII U sports a new controller (and a nightmare for parents with younger children as it’s another expense which you just know is waiting to be broken) Mario? the “new” Mario? I suggest it looks merely up to par with today’s titles (as far as psuedo 2d platformers go) but there’s hardly anything new there and I suggest that there’s very little in the “new” Mario that couldn’t have been achieved with the WII.  Would it not have been prudent to maybe release the new controllers for the WII and then hold off on their next gen console with far better specs?

Launch titles are very important, although since the WII U ones have failed to amaze, for the NIntendo supporter launch titles are not important at all (from the conversations I’ve had)  Even if the title is not known and the franchise new, launch titles offer a glimse into the future of the console and even if they are little more than a tech demo (God of War for the PS3 springs to mind here) then they are very important.

Mario is old.  2d platforming is old and its a genre of gaming which can be found on any console.  Since Mario is not offering eye candy or features that impresses (over any other modern title) then it needed something very special.  From what I’ve seen and read about the title, “new” Mario offered pretty much “more of the same”, which is great if you are a Mario fan, but when you see queues out the door for COD or similar, suggests that the majority of consumers are not clamboring over the idea of Mario.

The launch sales of WII U seem to back up that idea, and I think its fair to say the WII itself hardly grabbed the sole attention of the consumer and when the motion controllers novelty wore off, the WII became an “as well as” console, in favour of people buying Xbox or PS in order to experience the FPS’s and more adult themed games.

The Nintendo dedicated

I often wonder if some of the most aggressive supporters of Nintendo are those that have already bought into the console and now see that the purchase might of been a little premature.  They might be desperate to justify their purchase and live in the hope that their praise and encouraging words some how invigorate the sales and push Nintendo to the fore again.

In my view they won’t.  At this point the WII U can only hope to become an “as well as” console in a world where the consumer demands more graphically impressive titles and certainly more adult themed titles which I think Nintendo will be found lacking.  Add into this that consumers are stuck now with the WII U spec’s potentially for the next 6-7 years, there’s trouble ahead.

Backward compatibility

I think a mistake of all next gen consoles is the alleged lack of backwards compatibility.  I have to be fair to WII U and say here that it seems a common theme amongst all the next gen consoles.  I can understand why Nintendo would do it too.  They want people buying newer titles not spending their time playing their old collections, they can also make money on the WII Store offering the titles from yesteryear again to players.  In doing this though, for me, Nintendo have removed the one reason why I might want a WII U.  My children have a large collection of Gamecube games (as well as WII) so the idea that the entire lot will not be catered for, removes the only justification I had for spending money on the WII U.

I do want a console that provides the best spec’s and future proofing I can get at the time.  I would rather play the games that play so much better with more polygons and higher CPU workload.  I see WII U in terms of those visions a side step.

The future of Nintendo

The 3DS was hardly the success story that Nintendo wanted and people in main seem to have chosen Android for their portable gaming.  The 3DS gave more than just the users headaches, but the developers who can see the money to be made over on Android or the iStore.

The N64 was hardly the success Nintendo wanted.  The idea that Nintendo somehow gets it right doesn’t hold water and whilst the WII did enjoy great success until people got into Xbox and PS3, really the days of the NES and SNES have not been repeated.  The WII held its own until the consumer demanded titles that it was not up to the task of providing either by way of being mature or the number of polygons the CPU had to shift around the screen.

I think the future of Nintendo will be similar to that of Sega now.  Nintendo seems to believe it could direct the mindset of the gamer and I think it has found the opposite.  People DONT queue up all night outside a store for Mario, they do for Call of Duty.  So when you release a console that is better spec’d to cope with the former (in comparison to the next gen consoles) then you can expect trouble.  I think whilst the WII U will remain in the background, Nintendo will look at licensing their titles for other platforms.

There is certainly money to be made with Mario et al, however the consumer in my view is not so interested that they would buy a console just for that, or indeed Zelda.

I expect shouts of “bias” in regards to my views on Nintendo, however since I am very easily able to get all three next-gen consoles if I wished, there’s hardly a risk that a purchase I make will leave me with an unsupported system.  I would suggest though this time next year both Microsoft and Sony will have sold more of their consoles than Nintendo have to date with their WII U and maybe the most worrying sign about the future of the WII U is not the disappointing sales, not the lower spec’s, but the fact that already we have very vocal developers pulling out and voicing their concerns with the WII U.

Is it Game Over for Nintendo’s hardware future?

Tim.

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Microsoft now #failing with the console too?

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Despite getting the early start with its 360, its appearing that Microsoft is now losing the console battle which can be added to the list of other “battles” such as smartphones and search.  For the last two years it is allegedly being outsold by the Bluray equipped PS3.

It is reported that Sony’s PS3 shipped 2.2m more units than the 360 in 2010.  The reasons for this could be numerous, disaffection with Microsoft, no BluRay on the 360 or the RROD.  The approximate numbers being reported as sold are: WII – 17million, PS3 – 14.4million and 360 on 12.2million.  Oh dear.  Maybe the Kinect (like I said at the time) wasn’t the major draw to the console that some claimed and maybe only set to appease existing 360 users and people who wanted to use the Kinect on a different platform altogether.

Gamersmint comments:

2009/10: PS3 Slim sold 3.1 million units more than Xbox 360.

2010/11: PS3 Slim sold 4.7 million units more than Xbox 360.

As you can see since the launch of the PS3 Slim, Sony has outsold Microsoft’s console when it comes to number of hardware units moved.

Source: http://www.gamersmint.com/ps3-slim-sold-more-units-than-xbox-360-in-2010

I’ll end on quoting myself from a recent article:

……maybe as a testament to Microsoft losing power in the IT world I find myself having less enthusiasm/interest in a company which to me is slowly loosing its grip on just about everything in the world of IT/tech.

Take away the 360 and what generated success does Microsoft actually have….Windows 7 (well that’s aided by OEM, so for me doesn’t count)

What has Microsoft got to look forward too? Answers on a postcard or a stamp…. Just don’t ask an MVP they had to sign NDA’s.

Goblin – bytes4free@googlemail.com / TwitterIdenti.ca

You can also contact me on Skype: tim.openbytes

If you are new to this blog (or have not yet read it) please take time to view the OpenBytes statement, here.

Mail: bytes4free@googlemail.com
Skype: tim.openbytes
I can also be found in #techrights, #techbytes on freenode.net.

The week in review – ending Sunday 13/03/2011

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I’ve decided to have a new section on the Openbytes blogazine where I take a look at my views and experiences over the previous week.  Some of these topics may be covered on the TechBytes show, but mainly it will be subjects and opinions which are too large for a Tweet/Dent and haven’t had an article in their own right.

Filesharing/copyright

I see Torrent Freak (as usual) has written an excellent article.  This time focusing around the arrest of an alleged uploader of around 1000 films.   Torrent Freak highlight how their advice of precautions were seen as paranoia in 2008, it appears they were right.  I also said on a previous TechBytes show that we would see an increase in individual cases and not batch allegations due to the fact it was rather easy to build a large portfolio of evidence on an individual.   It seems I’m proving right and I think there will be more of this in the future.

The ACS:LAW story featured on the BBC on Thursday.  Very disappointing and in no way a comprehensive summary of events to date.

Linux/FOSS

Android is to have the Seti@home project brought to its market place, a unique and interesting project which I’ve contributed to over the years.

Oilrush is showing in its published figures that Linux sales far outstrip those of Windows users.  I wonder who the “freetards” really are, or maybe its a testament to the popularity of Linux? I’ll let you decide.  Of course you could also argue that Windows users have a larger selection of games available and hence Oilrush competes in a larger marketplace, but whatever the reason, Oilrush stats can be thrown back at any Microsoft advocate who suggests a Linux user won’t pay for software.

Microsoft

The Next Web seem to have offered a retraction of sorts for their claimed figures of WP7 app sales after they were challenged by a developer.  I wonder, how much attention are they paying to their sources?  If they hadn’t been challenged do you think they would have double checked at all?

Sony/Playstation 3

The ban on the importation of PS3 consoles to europe by a court order from LG has been lifted allegedly.  After a patent dispute regarding its BluRay tech, a few hundred thousand consoles were prevented from entering Europe.  Sony are now reported to have announced:

At a court hearing in the Hague yesterday, Sony’s arguments were accepted and the seizure order was lifted….We understand that there will now be no problem re-starting imports of the PlayStation 3 to Europe.

Source: Daily Mail

There could be a large claim against LG for this incident.  Unfortunately I have little sympathy…. “life” may no longer be “good” for LG.

The PSN was taken down this week for essential work, closing Wednesday from 1600 to 0300.  A very silly time to shut up shop in my view, with many people complaining that the bad timing prevented them from checking out the Mortal Combat demo.  Whilst that was of no interest to me, the timing did seem odd however it gave me opportunity to examine further God of War 3 and the latest batch of titles I received from LoveFilm (i know, I’m late with that title). Let me sum up that experience very quickly: average, bordering on poor.  GOW3 plays like a game of Dragons Lair or Space Ace, with boss characters taken down with a sequence of keypresses in a similar style.  The rest of the game is a series of simple puzzles and the annoying jumping around high places, die then repeat, with an occasional smattering of button mashing.  Sure the game looks good and makes an excellent tech demo, but other than that it holds little interest to me.

Next up, Red Dead Redemption or more accurately GTA with cowboys.  Whilst I wear the hat, I’ve no real interest in playing wild west, so RDR did not appeal to me from the outset.  Overall view of RDR? – Can’t be bothered with it.  Characters seemed as clicked as those in a Carry On film.  Online play seems fun but then I have plenty of on line titles Id much rather play.  Another title to go back to Lovefilm rather quickly.

Dead Nation saw an update on Monday which allows voice chat for multiplayer games and a host of other updates.  A great title to check out if you missed it first time around.

I’ve started to look at Trinity despite getting luke warm reviews, first impressions? It’s quite good and despite the disappointing gfx and “hold your hand” gameplay I’m finding myself enjoying this somewhat restrictive RPG. I’ll probably have more to say on it next week.

Finally, an observation.  Since Sony announced that they would be disconnecting hacked PS3’s from the PSN, I’ve noticed that my skill level when playing online has taken a massive jump.  I wonder could these hacked machines have been running patches to give an advantage in some online titles?  Who knows, but I am at a loss to explain why I’m suddenly getting  more enjoyable games and why the player who seemed impossible to kill and amasses a huge score at the end of the round no longer seems as common.

So that’s it for the week ending 13th March 2011, thanks for reading, mailing and support. Its appreciated.

Goblin

If you are new to this blog (or have not yet read it) please take time to view the OpenBytes statement, here.

Mail: bytes4free@googlemail.com
Skype: tim.openbytes
I can also be found in #techrights, #techbytes on freenode.net.

 

Sony to obtain IP details of all visitors to Geohot’s site

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Normally reserved for my articles on Microsoft actions, it appears to me Sony is doing its damn best to destroy its friendly, family orientated, fashionable image in the tech world.

In the past Ive covered many of my concerns regarding Microsoft’s actions, however maybe as a testament to Microsoft losing power in the IT world I find myself having less enthusiasm/interest in a company which to me is slowly loosing its grip on just about everything in the world of IT/tech.

With that in mind though, I think one of the most concerning pieces of news Ive read recently has to be that Sony has successfully won a subpoena to obtain the IP details of every user who has visited the site of Geohot.  I am sure its common knowledge that this is all due to the rootkey hack released to the public, much to the horror of Sony. (Wikipedia entry)

Lets consider this for a minute –  Every visitor. There would be many who would have visited just out of curiosity and many of them who wouldn’t even own a PS3, there would be news outlets looking for further information in order to make a more comprehensive report and there would be those who maybe even just clicked on a link by accident.  As a result of Sony’s court success, it will have all those people’s IP details that visited geohot over the last 26 months.

So what is Sony intending to do with all this information?  Not much I’d guess (other than to try to further the case against Mr Hotz) as I think it would be difficult (and costly to their public image) to try to suggest the purpose of an individual visiting the site, but Sony’s actions do highlight a more worrying future where a company can gain access to this type and volume of information.  We’ve seen numerous examples of companies having this type of responsibility.  Look at the recent ACS:Law case where IP details of alleged file sharers of adult material were leaked to the public.

I’ve always praised Sony products although it would be hypocritical of me to describe its actions as anything other than worrying and despicable.   Is this the future? – Lets hope not.

The reported news would be bad enough as it stands, however Sony is not apparently finished.  It is reported on Wired that:

A fourth subpoena is directed at Twitter, demanding the disclosure of all of Hotz’s tweets, and “documents sufficient to identify all names, addresses, and telephone numbers associated with the Twitter account.”

Source: http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/03/geohot-site-unmasking/

And maybe we are now getting a better idea of how seriously Sony is taking this rootkey matter.  I should remind readers though that whilst Sony is allegedly threatening to sue anyone who posts details of the rootkey, they did in fact post it themselves (albeit by accident) So as Sony blunders around destroying its image in the process, one can only wonder how much notice people will take.  Not much I’d wager if history is anything to go by and maybe Sony should have settled with merely banning people from PSN who were found to be running with a hacked system?

I think its fair to say the majority of consumers today want open systems, this is shown in the popularity of the idea of jailbreaking a piece of hardware in order to open it up to new/alternative features.  Users do not want to be dictated to after they purchase hardware.  Its my view that Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft et al better take notice because I’m sure in the future there will be plenty of companies ready to provide alternatives to the “big names”.

Instead of fighting against what I think will be inevitable, the above named (and others) should be jumping in and getting on the train.  This is not the 90’s, there is choice.  Gone are the days when consumers were limited to one or two “big name” products and gone are the days where the end-user is willing to listen to the “Do it our way or not at all” .  Just ask Microsoft in regards to the Kinect, or Apple with the iPhone (and now Sony’s PS3)  There are so many examples of users showing the finger to companies and using the hardware they purchased in the way they want to.

Rightly or wrongly, the consumer has spoken.  If a provider of tech wants to stay in the market, they had better pay attention or they will see their customer base migrate to a provider that will.

Goblin – bytes4free@googlemail.com / TwitterIdenti.ca

You can also contact me on Skype: tim.openbytes

If you are new to this blog (or have not yet read it) please take time to view the OpenBytes statement, here.

Console wars – Microsoft failing with the 360? & Killzone 3 public beta (PS3)

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Xbox 360 – Had its time?

Theres long been a “console war”, long before the BSOD there were console wars which didn’t involve the name “Microsoft”.  We’ve had Sega/Nintendo, Nintendo/Sony…the list goes on and in the history of console gaming Microsoft has entered pretty late.

Over the Xmas period I noted that the PS3 was sold out everywhere I inquired.  Whilst this was no global indicator, it must mean something if vendors in Brent Cross Shopping center were selling out of PS3’s yet apparently having plenty of the 360.  Stock levels? Maybe.  Daft shop assistants? possibly. But whats interesting are the comments recently made by Paul Thurrott,  a senior technical analyst for Windows IT Pro:

In every other month of the last quarter of 2010, the PS3 handily outsold the Xbox 360. What this all adds up to is something I’ve been warning about for years: It is likely that when this console generation finally runs its course that the PS3 will have beaten the Xbox 360 to take second place. Right now, in fact, the PS3 is almost neck-and-neck with the 360 in total sales—48 million PS3s vs. 51 million for the 360—and it’s been in the market for a year less than the 360. What this says to me is that Microsoft’s multi-billion dollar investment, for all the hoopla, was simply good enough for last place, just as it was for the 360’s predecessor.

Source: Paul Thurrott – Windows IT Pro

Microsoft advocates that read this blogazine, please try to resist the urge of jumping in with claims of “anti-Microsoft FUD” or “Microsoft hate”, I am quoting Paul Thurrott and if this is correct, could it be that just as Microsoft is breaking even with 360, it is seeing its customer base slip and maybe migrating away?  I am dubious of any claimed 360 user figures since I myself have purchased more than one to replace a faulty 360 which was out of warranty.  I am not alone.  For me total 360 sales are no indicator of total users since if people are having to buy multiple machines as I did, then the figure will be inflated.

As one blogger wrote (which echoes my experience):

Thankfully, I know I’m not alone in my pain. Every single friend I have who owns and Xbox has watched theirs pass away at least once, some, more than three times. I had one friend who had his original 360 he had since the first month of its release. “Mine is strong and healthy” he said, “She’ll last forever.” I’ll never forget the sound of his voice when he called me four years later and said, “She’s RROD’ed…and it’s not…under warranty!” I told him everything was going to be OK. But it wasn’t……..

Source: Paul Tassi – Unreality Magazine

I have both consoles, so before anyone suggests I’m being anti 360, please check out my  comments on the public multiplayer beta of Killzone 3 ( a PS3 exclusive).  I do admit, I think the PS3 is a far better product for my family and whilst the 360 is now demoted to upstairs, I do keep on-top of whats on offer on its platform.

First opinion – Killzone 3 public beta

Available for free on the Playstation Network is the open multiplayer beta of Killzone 3.  The retail release is due 22nd February, so for those who can’t wait until then, you have a one map demo to be getting on with.  The download is 800mb so, its not going to be long until you are thick in the action.

First things first, I was not too impressed with Killzone 2. For me it was not “gorgeous” looking, nor was it a technical masterpiece.  As an exclusive title I find myself far more impressed at say Gears of War and for me it doesn’t showcase the PS3.  The other problem I had with Killzone 2 was that it played more like a puzzle game, where certain parts of the game require you to do things in a certain way to progess further, choosing your own tactics and say, staying back, taking out enemies slowly was not always an option since sometimes the enemies would merely re-spawn forever.  Whilst Killzone 2 gfx were good, the drab environment take away much of the appeal for me and I think Ive seen better examples of “drab but attractive”.

I never really gave Killzone 2 a run with multi-player since I bought it on platinum and had more modern titles to play which I enjoyed more.

On to Killzone 3 though and after a bit of play I find myself quite enjoying it.  I say “quite” because I still have a few issues on the franchise.

Graphically I just don’t find it impressive, forgetting the drab look which is the setting for the game, Ive seen far more impressive looking titles on PS3 and ones released many years prior.   The ocean effect is nice but really its hardly an example of technical mastery over the format.

With that in mind though the game is good fun, there’s some unique close combat, numerous classes to choose from and a good smooth frame rate kept throughout play.   There are also a nice selection of equipment extras and the marksman cloak is rather good.

OPM has already reviewed Killzone 3 giving it a 9, however seemingly to favor other fps titles released, which whilst is a higher score than I would give the franchise does echo my opinion of there being better titles out there. I hope fans of the series are appeased with this latest offering and whilst my PS3 is the family entertainment unit in the front room (the 360 has been demoted to upstairs) I think there are far better exclusive PS3 titles.

With what Ive seen of the Killzone franchise to date, I can’t help being disappointed in face of the 360 exclusives Halo and Gears of War.  Unless I see Killzone 3 on pre-owned for a very low price, I can’t see myself rushing out to buy it.  At the moment I’m very happy with short bursts of Medal of Honour and Battlefield 1943.  That being said though, there are only a few titles this year which I will be purchasing on release day, those being the new Final Fantasy MMORG and the sequel to Oblivion. – I may also consider Space Marine, but that will very much depend on any beta demo’s that are released prior to it hitting the shelves.

Going back to KZ3, the good news though is that the PSN is free, the demo is free, theres multiple classes (and rewards to be earned) – I’m sure you’ll have great fun. You have no excuse not to get this demo and try it for yourself!

I’m not a “hardcore gamer” so feel free to shoot me down in flames with my opinion on KZ.

Goblin – bytes4free@googlemail.com / TwitterIdenti.ca

You can also contact me on Skype: tim.openbytes

If you are new to this blog (or have not yet read it) please take time to view the OpenBytes statement, here.

NewsBytes: Google, Bittorrent, ACS:Law and Sony’s Android app.

Posted on Updated on

Numerous commitments have meant fewer updates on OpenBytes.  Today, I am collecting a few articles of interest which will hopefully be at least touched upon on the next TechBytes show.

As we march into 2011, amid the noise and the haste, one thing is clear – Android is everywhere, whilst the year of the Linux desktop is hoped for by many users already switched from a Microsoft dependency, Linux has been quietly spreading onto many other devices, devices which have been taken for granted because they are shown to perform time and time again, offering the end user a solid, reliable experience.

A personal testament to the functionality is shown to me now, as I write this article sitting in Luton train station on a device no bigger than a box of cigarettes.

Enough Linux/Android advocacy though, on with todays articles.

Google “censors” Bittorrent?

It’s being reported that Google is now censoring certain words which allegedly pertain to unlawful file sharing.

Before the internet world unites under a banner of unfairness and anti-censorship, let’s actually just take a step back for a minute and consider what Google is, how this censorship is implemented and why it really isn’t that big a deal.

The total sum of what Google has allegedly done is no longer autocomplete/predict the word torrent or any word which it has deemed to be associated with unlawful file sharing.  It’s not saying all Bittorrent searches are unlawful it’s merely removing the word from its predictive feature.  Wow.  Search results remain unaffected once return has been pressed and I’d suggest that for any user that doesn’t know what Bittorrent is, complaining about its absence is rather pointless.

I think many people forget, Google offers a service.  It’s not a government, it’s not a charity and it’s certainly allowed to make its own decisions.  If users don’t like that then there’s always the option to go elsewhere.   Will Goggles actions lead onto a more aggressive form of censorship in the future? Who knows, but I’d suggest the rumblings of its current actions are little more than a storm in a tea-cup.

It should also be noted that at time of writing this, I cannot see anything being censored – everything seems fine.  Its being suggested that the changes will be occurring worldwide over the next few days.  I will have to wait and see.

ACS:Law – Heroes of “speculative invoicing”?

There has been numerous reports on the attempts by ACS:Law to drop its 26 outstanding cases whilst they are still under scrutiny by Judge Birss.  Andrew Crossley appears to have more than a few issues to deal with after perusing what many call “speculative invoicing” in respect of alleged unlawful file sharing.  Firstly he has to contend with a reported group action of harassment in respect of the letters he sent out to those alleged to be sharing copyrighted material, secondly he has Judge Birss scrutinizing the cases he is trying to drop, making some rather damning comments on how both Andrew Crossley and Media-cat have conducted these cases.  Next he has the information commissioner looking at the ACS:Law email leak, that whilst Mr Crossley claims was as a result of hacking, its reported that whilst a Ddos attack brought his site down, it was incompetence of an admin that exposed the ACS:law emails to the world.  All this and Mr Crossley has to yet again answer to the SRA at a later date as a result of numerous complaints he has received.   Let’s not also forget any other cases that may be brought against him by disgruntled recipients of his letter campaign.

Some say the SRA will ban him from practicing law, come his disciplinary tribunal.   I personally believe it won’t matter as id be very surprised if he could attract clients after this little lot.

So why could ACS:law be heroes? Well if judge Birss comments stand, then I think Mr Crossley has not only destroyed any chance that IP data alone is evidence enough to proceed with a file sharing case, but the whole practice of speculative invoicing would lose any chance of being seen as viable in the future.

There are so many articles on this and the story is far from over, one link which stands out is a timeline of events which you can read here.

PSN on Android

I’ve been looking at Sony’s Playstation app for a couple of weeks now and for those of you with a PSP or Playstation, it may be of interest.  Since it’s in an early version, the features it currently offers are run of the mill, you can view your PSN profile, see your friends list whilst also checking out the latest Playstation news (albeit from an official source).   Initial impressions have been good, although I’m not yet sure of a benefit of being able to view my gamer profile “on the go” except to show my gaming prowess to people who probably wouldn’t be very interested.

You can also view the Playstation game catalogue although again this comes from an official source, so don’t expect any damning reviews of any rotten tomatoes.

Quite why a user would not merely be happy with a shortcut in their browser to access this information does beg the question if it really does require an independent app, but then not installing it would probably make you feel less of the community and “any real ps user would have this on their phone” ;)

I would hope that Sony extend the functionality of this app in the future.  Theres plenty of scope to say have extra trophy awards with some form of phone/console integration.  – That though will remain to be seen and rightly or wrongly the Playstation app is shamelessly on my Android phone.

Goblin – bytes4free@googlemail.com / TwitterIdenti.ca

You can also contact me on Skype: tim.openbytes

If you are new to this blog (or have not yet read it) please take time to view the OpenBytes statement, here.