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Power Member - Level 6
When I read last month's Gameinformer I came across an article named "E3 Failures", an article designed to feed on the missed expectations of E3 attendees and onlookers. I honestly enjoyed the article in the "there was a reason why god didn't let them do that" kind of way. (I'm looking at you Nintendo with your Vitality Sensor doo-hicky) But some of the so called "failures" were actually very understandable, and I'm glad they happened.
Lets start with some of the more unreasonable, or even unforgiveable announcements.
Even for 2006, this wasn't a far-fetched idea. Microsoft announced that they would expand their Live service beyond the XBOX. Into a multimedia outlet dubbed "Live Anywhere". What Live Anywhere did was allow Xbox Live users to exchange messages and play games across their Xbox, PC, and mobile phone. Sounds simple on paper right?
Nowadays things like cross-platform play are nearly inherent; and with the popularity of Facebook, now you're able to link your account to your favorite game proudly showing your friends what you're playing no matter if they are on PC, their Phone, or on a corresponding console. It seems the "Live Anywhere" idea has become obsolete; or rather the same concept has been stretched out over multiple companies instead of being under the "Live" umbrella.
Now remember this was 2006, and everybody had a moto-razr, nobody had heard of YouTube, MySpace was still "cool", and only the richest of richie-rich pants had a new-fangled smartphone. Not to mention the closest thing gamers had to a cross-platform communication was X-fire, which still has a very devoted user-base.
I think that Microsoft's announcement for this service was very premature and ultimately unforgiveable. And I'd bet the project took the back-burner or was even shelved due to the publicity hell Microsoft went through in late 06 through 2007 because of their numerous hardware failures. Nevertheless, even though they were limited by the technology at the time, if they would have kept this trick up their sleeve and spent more time designing a fully functioning model of the service, I'm sure we would have a more fleshed-out version of what's available now.
The simple version of the VelocityGirl story is as follows: In 2005 Microsoft wanted to expand their Xbox Live service. So to explain what you could do on the new Xbox Live, Microsoft created a fictional situation between multiple users. They said that a user named VelocityGirl made things like skateboards, stickers, clothes, music, etc., for a Tony Hawk esque game. She (or he, never can tell with usernames these days) could sell her in-game goods and make money off of it. Whether it was real-world cash or MS Points was never discussed, but the point remained the same. You could make money off of Xbox Live.
We have all heard the stories of Microsoft's questionable handling of the goods available on the Live Marketplace, from not allowing certain products to be available for free, to their (and Activision's) ridiculous overpricing of the Guitar Hero 2 DLC, and more. It's just hard to imagine a world where you could make money off Microsoft.
But it's obviously not a matter of them losing money, just look at Linden Lab. You are able to invest in Second Life's money (Lindens) and then after you've done what you've seen fit with it you can return it for its real-world monetary value. I once heard of a guy who took a second mortgage on his house so he could build a mall in second life, he then made the money back in less than half a year! And unsurprisingly, I don't hear them threatening to close up shop because people are making money off of the system they've created! I wouldn't call it unforgiveable because the current Xbox Live is great, just not ideal. I could probably blame it on corporate greed, or the desperate need to keep consumers as consumers. But in the end its just Microsoft being Microsoft.
In order to cut costs on batteries, Nintendo now allows your Wii-mote to eat your flangies for nutrients. Yum!
Before you think I'm "Nintendo Bashing" again let me say that I have a great deal of respect for the guys and gals at Nintendo. They know how to develop and market a game better than anybody. But let's just sit back and think this through. Nintendo was on a very big fitness kick in 2008 because of Wii Fit, now naturally it seemed likely they would keep up on their active gaming groove. But instead they released a peripheral that would look more comfortable in a heart-patients hospital room, than in the living rooms of "Mr. and Ms. Fit America".
It almost seemed like Reggie Fils-Amie had drunken 500 bottles of Robitussin, and then caught-up on every episode of "Gilad's Bodies in Motion" he missed on his TiVo. After he passed out, he awoke in a hospital staring at the device dangling from his index finger. Inspiration then struck, and the Vitality Sensor was born!
Now here's the only article that I believed that wasn't an epic fail at all, and aside from a few minor understandings, I believe it was actually an improvement over the E3 announcement.
PlayStation 3, it only has every hole known to man
The original Ps3, as it was announced in E3...was a beast! The system was reported to have two HDMI ports, three Ethernet ports, and six usb slots! Firstly, what device in your house has more than one HDMI port other than your computer or your home theater system? I couldn't think of any either, and I don't believe anything that isn't any kind of router has more than one Ethernet port! The six usb slots is a bit over-excessive, but in a world of wired Guitar Hero controllers, portable HDDs, camera's, and other usb powered items, I could see a need for that. Ok take the above items, add a "then very-new" Blu-ray drive, the ps2 guts needed to run ps2 games properly, and all of those flash media drives, and you'll have quite a pretty penny.
Just imagine if Sony included all of the things that they said the Ps3 had. I could see it right now: "PlayStation 3, Only $ 999.99"... grown men would be crapping in their pants.
When the Ps3 came out it was nearly $800, and people were upset over the price. Thus giving the Ps3 the reputation that it was overrated, something the system still hasn't grown-out of.
Cyber World was still in conception when they leaked the few details that Sony talked about. And over spans of time focuses change, ideas are restructured, etc. Not to mention that PlayStation Home (Cyber World is now known as PlayStation Home) is still in the beta phase, just look at the screen whenever you start it up; it says: PlayStation Home Beta (insert version here). So it still has the potential to achieve what was originally conceptualized.
While Cyber World is totally excusable, we needed the changes on the Ps3. Would you pay $1000 for a gaming system? Now before you say "That's ridiculous nobody would ever make a system that costs one-grand" check this out : X-play did a segment earlier this year where they took the classic systems and adjusted their price for inflation to see how much they would cost if you bought them new today. I think that the Neo-Geo would cost over $1000. In stark contrast, the NES would cost $250.
So, I would like to thank Sony for trimming back the specs a bit, and allowing the PlayStation 3 to be purchasable by anyone born in our solar-system.