Diecast #15: XBone, Unrest

By Shamus Posted Wednesday May 29, 2013

Filed under: Diecast 120 comments

I know, I know. We’re basically the last people on top of the Xbone dogpile. But if we didn’t say it in this episode, then people would be asking us what we thought. On a related note: This is why I didn’t have a column this week. It felt strange to have a column that didn’t address the BIG STORY of the week, but at the same time there was nothing left that hadn’t been said a hundred times already. So I said nothing.

This gig is odd, sometimes.

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Hosts: Shamus, Josh, Rutskarn, Chris.

Show notes:

01:30 What’s everyone playing?

Shamus is playing Dead Space and Starcraft 2. Also, Josh proposes the question: What series or franchise would be better if played in reverse order?

Chris is playing Sleeping Dogs.

Rutskarn is playing “Graduate from College”. I’m led to believe the game is really, really hard.

Josh is playing Hitman: Absolution.

17:00 Terrible news about SimCity XBox One.

Yeah, we spend a good stretch of time enumerating faults. The sad thing is, we didn’t even cover everything. While the machine itself has problems, Microsoft’s direction is deeply, deeply troubling in many ways.

Chris mentioned this video on the groundbreaking next-gen fish AI. We also made a few jokes about Curiosity. (The dumb game, not the awesome rover.)

51:00 Unrest Kickstarter and Development


We will be doing a hangout this Friday, May 31st at 4:30pm pacific time. (10:30pm GMT.) We’ll have links to the stream closer to when the event goes live.


From The Archives:

120 thoughts on “Diecast #15: XBone, Unrest

  1. Irridium says:

    Yeah, I know the feeling of getting late to the party when it comes to gaming news/discussions. I just recently beat Bioshock Infinite, but sadly everyone has moved on and if I tried to talk about it people would probably ask me to stop because it’s all already been discussed.

    I’m not fond of this whole “over-saturate the discussion then completely stop for months” thing gaming does.

    Also, I borrowed it from a friend. I would not have been able to play and beat it if I didn’t do it. I would not be able to do this if the Xbone really has this whole “pay fee to play used/borrowed/rented” games thing. But again, that’s if they have it. Microsoft hasn’t really clarified this particular “feature”. They haven’t really clarified any Xbone feature, for that matter. Well, except features relating to TV and sports. Because that’s what people look for in a gaming console, apparently. Stuff they already do with their television sets.

    1. Paul Spooner says:

      It’s possible that the “reveal” wasn’t meant for the gaming community at all? I mean, if so, they should have said so in the first place, but it would be an interesting twist. Was it run on TV and sports networks or something? That could explain a lot.

      1. Bropocalypse says:

        I get the distinct feeling that the Xbone is not a gaming console at all, more of a vague high-tech living room device that, “oh yeah, it also plays games.”

        1. Raygereio says:

          A couple of years ago someone who works at the xbox section of Microsoft said in a podcast that they don’t see themselves as competing against Sony and Nintendo. They see themselves as competing against everything else one could spend his or her money on.

          This development of turning a gaming console into this weird contraption that does everything fits in that strategy.

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            So,a device specialized for playing games is not competing against other devices specialized for playing games,but against other devices specialized for doing other things?There is no way that can fail.

            1. Raygereio says:

              I think you may have misinterpreted that. But I’ll admit I worded it wrong.
              They’re not just competing against non-gaming things, they’re competing against everything gamers can spend their money on.

              This sort of thing isn’t unique to Microsoft. Take modern cellphones as an example. Photocameras are specialized at taking pictures, while cellphones are specialized at making phone calls.
              But the photocamera-industry is genuinly threatened by the addition of cameras in cellphones. The cameras in cellphones might not be able to achieve the things the high-end photocameras are capable of, but they’re more then adequate for the average user and are steadily improving.
              The thoughtprocess is: “I have enough money to either buy a cellphone or a camera. Well, this cellphone here also functiones as a camera. Dilemma solved”.

              It may sound silly, but is actually smart and is something more companies should realize (or should have realized). The average gamers have other interests then just gaming. You can be interested in movies, PnP RPGs, card games, etc, etc.
              Any money you’re spending on playstation games is money you’re not spending on xbox games. But this is also true for any money you spend on Magic the Gathering cards. Or any money you spend on buying DVDs.

              1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                Actually its not that smart.It would be smart if consoles,like cell phones,were a unique device that subsequently got some new functionality incorporated into it.But they arent.Consoles are just a specialized computer.And its their specialization that is giving them relevance.Why bother with switching modes for your computer from tv to game,when you can just turn on your console?But if you remove that from a console,what are you left with?A less powerful computer that is more rigid and offers no bonuses.Especially in this age when we are turning every device into a specialized computer.

                So trying to compete with a computerized tv,while having no screen of your own,a computerized stereo,while having no speakers of your own,an actual computer,while having no optimization abilities,and cell phones and cameras,while lacking their mobility,is not a smart thing.

      2. Jakey says:

        Well it really wasn’t. It was meant to be a console-reveal and they focused on the hardware and console features. You can be disappointed with all the TV stuff and right to criticize it, but the Internet was told upfront that all the game stuff was being relegated to E3 and still chose to flip their shit over the lack of it.

        1. Asimech says:

          Except they didn’t reveal all that much about the console. It’s still unclear how used games work, how smaller publishers can get games on Xbox Live & there was conflicting information about internet requirements.

          I’m not even certain if the “needs to connect to the servers once every 24 hours” is actually how it’s going to be or just a result of internal miscommunication. I do know it wasn’t covered by the reveal despite being a popular topic for a while and a source of obvious worry to people. And it’s most certainly important to non-gamers as well.

          The reveal having barely anything do with games, and not really showing anything meaningful about any of them, upset people because it’s telling of Microsoft’s focus. Any promises of future games is irrelevant to that because all it says about Microsoft is that they think it’s a part of the console. A secondary part that can be left for later once the important business about voice controlling your television is done.

          Edit: Removed some pointless abbreviations.

      3. X2-Eliah says:

        But the gaming community was the one that watched the reveal. If MS wanted to unveil it to non-gaming, they shouldn’t have done the livestream and invited far more non-gaming press.

        1. Bropocalypse says:

          That’s a good point, actually. It’d be like if Ford unveiled a hybrid sedan at a tractor pull.

    2. Tizzy says:

      Irridium: I’ve just finished my first Dishonored playthrough; I feel your late-to-the-party pain as well…

      1. Fleaman says:

        Hence why gamers keep buying Aliens: Colonial Marines on launch day, even though by now we really should know better.

        By “should know better” I mean “should have been ruined by Steam sales”. I JUST NOW bought Alan Wake, and am indubitably too late to any party. But I paid three dollars for it. Did I win or lose?

  2. The Rocketeer says:

    I agree completely about the first Dead Space. Brace yourself, though; all of the games’ (and the series’) subtlety is frontloaded, and tapers steadily. At some point you’ll find yourself shooting more glowing weak points than you know what to do with.

    Dead Space showed some exciting promise, it just needed a LOT of polish and one or two folks at the helm who really understood horror. It didn’t get that, and ended up going the opposite direction, to its detriment.

    Sometimes, as a horror fan, I feel like a widower, but if there’s one thing the genre has taught me, it’s that you should never discount something you love rising from the grave to give you a heart attack.

    1. Klay F. says:

      As much shit as I’ve given Dead Space in the past, I actually like the original game. It had some really cool ideas. Its just that none of those ideas were conducive to horror, and every time it hiked up its pants and actually tried horror, it fell flat on its face. If you can ignore that and just look at it like a fun space romp, then its really fun. Stuff like the fight against the Leviathan, and the rooms with no gravity were crazy fun.

      1. Attercap says:

        Maybe that’s it… I’ve never viewed Dead Space as a horror franchise. Much like the Alien franchise is only a horror in the 1st movie, I see the horror movie of Dead Space being anything pre-Isaac. I really like the first game. I like bits and pieces of the 2nd and 3rd, too, but each game wasn’t as good as the one before.

      2. The Rocketeer says:

        I felt that same way about it, although maybe it took me a bit to realize it; taking Dead Space for the action game it is, it has some really interesting, unique gameplay. There’s a lot of cool weapons with unusual methods of dealing damage, and you need to get to know their proper uses to deal with the enemies, which are fought in a way quite unlike most other shooters’ cannon fodder.

        Throw in resource conservation and light crafting/customization, and Dead Space 1/2 make for a pretty refreshing shooter dressed in some other genre’s ill-fitting clothes.

        Then in Dead Space 3, they shoot the gameplay in the kneecaps and stop wearing any clothes at all, so call it a wash, I guess.

    2. Otters34 says:

      Dead Space had way too many monsters. Seriously, every single room that’s any size has monsters bursting out to attack you, they spawn onto places you just left right after a big fight, they leap out of the walls with such regularity there is not a single bit of tension, because you never have enough time to really get scared of the things!

      It is that bad, really.

      It’s like the worst Silent Hill games, which forget that you don’t make the enemies scary by throwing them at the player, but by creating a mood where fighting them is a struggle because you have no surety. After shooting at weak spots for hours and hours, you know how to fight the necromorphs, you know how the enemies move, you know their giant glowing weak spots and how to get at them most efficiently, there’s just no threat in the latest blade-armed monster charging for you because you can blast off its arms and legs with hardly a flinch! The barrage of enemies means you get used to them, and for horror that is a death-blow that is almost impossible to recover from.

      I didn’t enjoy the game. It used the cheap impervious bulletproof glass walls for exposition and mustache-twirling bad guy smack-talk way too often to be stomached. That and the baby necromorphs. Which were just ridiculous and tacky.

      1. el_b says:

        The atmosphere in dead space was overwhelming, it was kind of exhausting for me to play at first. The levels with the hunter really damn goodand the voice acting was brilliant. The only problems I had with the game were the bugs and the ridiculous control customization scheme.

        When I first installed it, I found it didn’t work with my usual keyboard setup and the controller was all messed up (probably because it’s third-party) and I couldn’t change the controller in game. I had to do it in a notepad with the only directions being like this…

        Pad.Trigger.LeftBottom = Button.5
        Pad.Trigger.RightTop = Button.8

        It took me about half an hour to rebound my controls and it was extremely frustrating. By the time I Got past the tutorial though, I was having a blast. it was only around my third play through that the game started crashing in several places Pretty regularly, forcing me to save at virtually every opportunity in order to continue. also, on level IX in the crew quarters just before the hunter, no matter what difficult to level I’m playing on, it always reverts ingame to easy. this means I have to play through that section several times repeatedly checking my save to complete it on higher difficulty levels…this is never been fixed. annoying issues like this are the reason I tend to try before I buy, but even this wouldn’t Have helped with this game, as all the problems happened several games in.

        When the first mutant baby dived on me, I freaked out. Then I punted it across the room and almost wet myself laughing. on easy I just let the things attack me so I can pull a kyle from South Park on them.

        KICK THE BABY!

    3. tengokujin says:

      All I can suggest is that you begin looking elsewhere for your horror fix. It’s a sad thing, but the days go by and the mass-market section of the industry moves away from actual horror evermore.

  3. Humanoid says:

    Friday hangouts your time are a good move, puts it on the weekend for most people (except, perhaps ironically, west coast US folks).

  4. Klay F. says:

    Hmmm. I haven’t listened to the cast yet, but the franchise that immediately comes to mind that gets better as you play them in reverse order is Resident Evil. Though I’m automatically biased against the third person entries in the series.

  5. Thomas says:

    A 3 month exclusive of CoD might still win them the race to sell the most consoles in the first year :( That’s going to be a long time to wait when your friends are talking about all the new buzz.

  6. Aaron says:

    The xboner news (i’m slowly migrating it to a completeley different and disgusting word) has basically pushed me away from the next generation of consoles completely

    rutskarns kickstarter, however has gotten me to put in for the first time, so good luck ruts! i expect either a great game or a book of puns i can use as i please :P

  7. Jacob Albano says:

    At the risk of seeming spammy, I have to leave this link anywhere I see Hitman Absolution being discussed, because it’s so very astonishingly bad and offensive.


    1. Shamus says:

      Thanks. That was a really interesting read.

      1. Jacob Albano says:

        omigosh Shamus read something on my blog \:D/

          1. tengokujin says:

            Now you need to raise more flags so that he’ll ask you on a date!

  8. Paul Spooner says:

    Who knows if the XBone will succeed despite the terrible portents, or die alone under a bridge. I’d be fine with either really, as I won’t be spending a dime on it no matter what happens….
    Now just watch, they are going to get an exclusive launch of an AI driven open world KSP Minecraft Spore mashup of excellence and I’m going to eat those words.

    Best of luck with the actual role playing game! Looks like you’re moving in the right direction. I really hope it does everything you are dreaming of and more.

    1. Tizzy says:

      Even if it dies alone under a bridge, certainly millions of units will be shipped, so that no one will be able to come out and say “it died alone under a bridge”.

      … even if it really does.

      Unfortunate, but unavoidable.

      My guess is that it’lldo fine because people get used to the appalling way too easily.

      As for me, I’ve compromised my positions once or twice for the sake of expediency and entertainment, but it’s going to take a lot before I’m ready to put up with this particular kind of crap.

  9. JPH says:

    Damn it Shamus, you just had to plan a Hangout for when I’m gonna be at A-Kon, didn’t you?!

    I hope you guys have funsies.

  10. Thomas says:

    The new xbox actually plays the game for you a few microseconds into the future to make up for the latency of the light from the screen reaching your eyes!

    1. Paul Spooner says:

      That might be a good idea, really. Do simulation based on what inputs you expect to recieve, as well as if those inputs are not recieved. Then when you actually recieve (or fail to) the input, you switch to the appropriate state and throw away the other thread.

      Not that I think they’re actually doing this.

      1. Joe says:

        That sounds a lot like the way Guitar Hero works. The song plays perfectly, until you screw up an input. Then it stops playing the song and plays some “you done goofed” sound over it.

        I think the issue with doing that in a more player-driven genre would be that, best case scenario, it’s indistinguishable from doing things the normal way.

      2. Thomas says:

        You’d need to up the refresh rate on TVs a thousandfold first =D Otherwise it’d be easier to freeze the game for the 1/60th of a second and wait for the input to come in before creating the next refresh screen.

        But when we’re talking about trying to beat the speed of light we’re probably taking optimisation too far =D The game would actually be outside you’re lightcone, what’s on the screen before the light hits you’re eyes is actually relativistically disconnected from your personal frame of time reference =D

        1. Humanoid says:

          Easily done, just invest in a Denon Dedicated Link Cable and watch the laws of physics melt away.

          1. Thomas says:

            I would not trust that $400 used one, 25x cheaper than something listed as being in worse condition? Maybe someone forgot a 0

    2. Hieronymus says:

      So Microsoft is in cahoots with Iran!

      I knew it!

    3. Steve C says:

      I thought that the whole light reflect-latency thing was a joke before listening to Chris quoting the livestream. Who do they think their audience is? I thought MS had enough common sense that giving technobabble to a an audience of tech-heads isn’t a good idea.

      If their tech works, the benefit from it is irrelevant. Except it can’t work. It would be violating the laws of physics. Electricity does not move faster than light. Binary switches that comprise a microprocessor do not move faster than light. The whole thing is absurd.

      1. Klay F. says:

        You know they are idiots when they think correcting for light lag is cool but don’t even stop to consider the time it takes electrons to move through the thousands of transistors and resistors that make up a Kinect. Hell they aren’t even correcting for the signal lag that occurs when my brain is sending my arms signals to flail about!

        Yes, this is a jest.

        1. Sabredance (MatthewH) says:

          In Microsoft’s partial defense, this kind of thing might actually be relevant. GPS satellites have a relativity compensation program to help them get accurate positioning. Something similar (not relativity, the distance and speed aren’t enough) might be useful to get more accurate positioning of the users. I don’t think the time-delay is the issue, it’s probably eliminating waver or something.

          Or maybe it really is something dumb and trivial -who knows.

          1. Klay F. says:

            A few key differences. Firstly, if said satellites didn’t take into account relativity, the errors would accumulate. Secondly, this is at least an order of magnitude of difference in importance.

            Also, it doesn’t matter how good their tech is, there is a pretty hard limit to how good it CAN be without using multiple cameras. If they were serious about it being a valid control method, it would have incorporated multiple cameras from the beginning.

          2. Steve C says:

            Assuming that satellites are in geosynchronous orbit they are moving 3.1 km/s at 35,786km from the receiver. Relatively and the speed of light does matter at those speeds and distances. Humans tend to move slightly slower than that in their living rooms and slightly closer (10000 times closer).

            Forget about the physics. Tomas hits the nail on head why it’s stupid. TVs have a refresh rate of 60-120mhz. Whatever this tech does (nothing) it’s got to wait for that anyway.

            What was announced about light in the Xbone reveal was a boldfaced lie. Anyone listening to that should have looked them in the eye and shouted “LIAR!” at the top of their lungs.

  11. Jae says:

    I have the very strong intuition that the tv is still the center of the living room.

    What I think Chris was/should be trying to say that it is backwards for Microsoft to be banking on the living room still being an important part of people’s lives.

    We don’t want a centralized media box? What do you call these things that we use the internet to do… pretty much everything that we do?

    1. Thomas says:

      I think in the world of console gaming, the living room is still king. You need a space that people walk in and out of and isn’t any one person’s in the house in particular with the comfy seats and the huge screen. People still want that, from a student perspective it’s cool to have the room you walk in on and someone playing something or other and you can chat etc…

      The television is less important though. It’s more about the screen, I wouldn’t be surprised if many gamers barely watch TV aside from Doctor Who and Game of Thrones nowadays

    2. Hieronymus says:

      The thing is, Microsoft is banking on network television as still being the center of the living room, not the television itself.

      There aren’t nearly as many people in ‘this generation’ that will turn on the television to see what’s on as there were in the last. Instead, ‘this generation’ will ‘buy’ from Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, et al. And that’s assuming they even buy it in the first place.

  12. Tony Kebell says:

    The Hitman Series has definitely gone downhill, so, yeah a definite candidate for going in reverse…

    (Also, Josh forgot to mention he got his wanted level, by using the ‘action’ button, where you open the drivers door, ready to jump to either the sidewalk or the roof of an other car, using the door to clotheline police officers, going down the seafront , before drifting onto a pier, ramping of a tether-point (those bit you tie ropes too) landing, perfectly in the back of a speedboat, climbing onto the roof of said vehicle, whilst going down with the ship)

    1. StashAugustine says:

      “The Hitman Series has definitely gone downhill…”

      Wasn’t this just the last two? I’ve heard that ignoring Absolution, the series has steadily been getting better, peaking at Blood Money.

      1. Tony Kebell says:

        I preferred Contracts other Blood Money, other than a few little gameplay caveats. (though this is generally more me being picky, I suppose) Thinking about it now, I’m more likely to save, saving graphical improve ments and it’s gameplay evolving with the time, the quality has generally been pretty even for all the games.

  13. Tony Kebell says:

    I like the first half hour of GTA IV, but it goes downhill it builds a really nice picture of Nico and then the gameplay destroys that, but taken separately the story and gameplay are, very good.

    Which is why GTA V looks like its ‘gonna be good, almost all othe the characters seem to be motivated to earn as much money as they can, however they can, whilst having only criminal skills…

  14. Tony Kebell says:

    Eherm… I support The XBONE, it has potential. I am awaiting more information about the used games thing. Other than that the features announced at the conference seem to be designed to attract new people, they may have a better showing at E3, you know, the games and other info about LIVE and improvements in RAM and CPU power, etc… and GAMES.

    (though, this may be through fear, from the vicious, VICIOUS, recoil from the fans, rather than by design, though you know, they may have planned to talk about games and stuff at E3 anyway, but now, even if they’d planned that all along, people will accuse them of hiding, or backtracking either way)

  15. Attercap says:

    I actually did play the Assassin’s Creed games in reverse (well, 3, then the 2 series, than 1). I tried to play the first when it came out, but just couldn’t get into it. The Templar/Illuminati backstory that built out of the following series really helped me enjoy the first… even I still hated the controls.

    I wonder if the Fable games would be better in reverse.

    1. Fleaman says:

      The conspiracy horseshit story was very good in the first game and a stampede of stupid in every one since. Not sure if it’s better to play the series backwards and save the best for last, or to play it forwards so that every game is disappointing, but at least the memory of the first game can remain uncontaminated by the revelation that Adam and Eve were Assassins.

  16. Tony Kebell says:

    Oh, yeah, that dog, IS dead, so…dead.

    Also…regarding The Dog and his debut game, Ruff Business…
    will it be…
    ( “¢_”¢)>⌐■-â– 
    an Xbone exclusive?


    1. Thomas says:

      It’ll be a reverse twist! Midway through the second act every single living organism on earth will be wiped out in world war 4, except the dog.

      The third act will presumably be a first-person cloning simulator as the dog tries to repopulate the earth

    2. Humanoid says:

      So, uh, I just twigged that XBONE is a contraction of Xbox One. I was just taking it as a somewhat random and stretched pejorative corruption of the ‘word’ Xbox alone.

      Guess my brain RRODed for a while there.

      1. Mintskittle says:

        Yeah, I didn’t pick up on that til I listened to the podcast, either.

  17. Ringwraith says:

    This is where I come across really petty, but 4:30 PDT is not 10:30 GMT, as with DST included it’s 11:30 GMT, (which will be 12:30 for anyone also obeying clocks being forward an hour for arbitrary reasons if they are normally GMT).

  18. Just Passing Through says:

    I’m pretty sure Microsoft is actually getting rid of XNA. I remember reading an article (probably on the escapist) about an indie dev who had to hire someone to help him remake his whole game because they’re dropping XNA and he doesn’t want his game to go to waste. Hopefully someone else remembers that since I have no clue when this was or what the game was called.

    1. Trithne says:

      But the XNA libraries aren’t just going to stop working. You can bundle the XNA Framework with your game installer and a game made in XNA works perfectly.

      And then there’s Monogame, which is basically an opensource port of the XNA libraries and near-identical, apart from the lack of the content pipeline manager.

      I use XNA. XNA is one of the best things Microsoft has done for games development in recent history, and despite their best attempts to kill it, it will live on.

    2. Trithne says:

      But the XNA libraries aren’t just going to stop working. You can bundle the XNA Framework with your game installer and a game made in XNA works perfectly.

      And then there’s Monogame, which is basically an opensource port of the XNA libraries and near-identical, apart from the lack of the content pipeline manager.

      I use XNA. XNA is one of the best things Microsoft has done for games development in recent history, and despite their best attempts to kill it, it will live on.

      On the PC, at least. They can totally kill it on the XBone, but that doesn’t bug me, since I don’t intend on releasing on it.

      (Also Shamus, the comment posting is amazingly slow again)

  19. Tony Kebell says:

    The indy games for Xbox, the XNA stuff, were all horrible, the top 100 was 80% minecarft clones, 10% ‘dating sim’ and 9% shit and 1% way too ambitious, but if it had funding or better devs would have been cool.

    I feel LIVE has lost, nothing, unfortunately.

    Talking of the Game that Rutsky is has found himself inserted into the development of, try and talk the indian man, I forget his name, the head dev… into coming on here to talk about the game, a little idea. (Oh josh just said, ‘I think you’re asking the wrong person’, in relation to the question about how it works) Yeah.

    Also, I erhm, will probably not play it…sorry, doesn’t look like my cup of tea, I will however watch a lets play for the story. =) Also, Shamus, maybe? Volunteer your services? If they can have you/If they can afford you/If you want to, etc.

  20. Tony Kebell says:


    (Also sorry for posting so many comments.=D)

  21. Nano Proksee says:

    You guys did not get the point of that conference, or Microsoft strategy. What Microsoft is doing is really smart. They aren’t talking about games, or any subject that gamers might be interested in (used games, off-line single player capabilities, indie games, ect.) because they already have that market covered. Like Josh said, gamers will buy it anyway. They aren’t after the PS, Wii or PC players, they are after the cord-cutters, the Netflix and Hulu subscribers, ect. They are after the Apple TV, the Roku, and that kind of stuff.
    MIcrosoft is aiming to secure a steady place in the living room, a place that isn’t controlled by any company, yet. And in that regard, the XBone is brilliant.

    1. Kanodin says:

      I disagree, not with it being microsoft’s plan but with it being brilliant. Microsoft already has competition in this market against SmartTVs and the roku boxes, as you mentioned, both of which are far better options. SmartTV’s don’t need a peripheral to do all this stuff and the roku box is a cheap 50$ for all the non-game functionality, and more importantly neither one comes with a yearly additional cost just to use it. As someone who doesn’t own either console I’ve never really understood why someone would choose an xbox over a playstation when it has that yearly fee, except if they really love halo and gears of war of course. If Microsoft wants to focus on a tv audience though they lose that one advantage of exclusive games someone might accept the added costs for.

      That just leaves gamers who also really wanna watch a lot of tv, but even then those people are being just as alienated by all the flaws as the rest of the gaming community. Further I’d speculate that audience to be fairly small, that demographic is moving more and more away from tv not towards it.

      1. Nano Proksee says:

        You make a couple of really good points. But the thing is, that neither Roku, the Apple Tv, nor the Smart Tvs do everything, there’s always a streaming service that’s missing or some other feature. Why? Because none these products has the massive amount of users the Xbox already has. So Microsoft can go to Hbo and say, “Hey we already have this couple of million users, what about we offer them Hbo Go without cable subscription?” And Microsoft, having this massive consumer base already, MIGHT be able to strike the right deals and achieve a media center that has everything that’s available to stream or download in one place.

        The Verge did a series of articles a couple of months about this precisely called The War for TV , really interesting if you are into the subject.

        1. Sabredance (MatthewH) says:

          I have a strong suspicion HBO will give them the same answer Showtime gave Netflix. “Your point?”

          If Microsoft can wrangle a real universal marketplace into the Xbox One, that will be a massive accomplishment -but I’m not sure what they need the box for. If they can’t -and the box doesn’t play really good games -I’m not sure what I need the box for.

          I originally picked up the Xbox because it was cheaper than buying a new gaming PC, and would stretch the life of my current PC another couple of years. At this point, I’ll need a new computer in 2014 to play Rome II: Total War. My TV can play Netflix if I ever decide to subscribe. Why should I get the Bone?

          1. Draad says:

            I think it was a bit naive to think a presentation planned two weeks before E3 would actually be about games. This was clearly a presentation for investors and the mainstream media. That’s why all the big things got checked such as EA sports and CoD.

            It was also incredibly america-centric. In Europe there are rights organizations in every country so making deals would take a lot more difficult. So probably all this stuff won’t work over here. It would basically still be a glorified gaming box.

            Also, Josh his sound keeps clipping. My speakers don’t like that very much.

    2. Cybron says:

      Sure, it’s brilliant – assuming the ‘gamers will buy our product anyways’ assumption holds true.

      The history in this regard might back them up, unfortunately, but you burn the public enough and they WILL eventually learn. EA found out the hard way that eventually people will recognize patterns, even if it takes a stupid long amount of time.

      That said, if the system’s exclusives are good enough, then it’ll sell anyways. People are willing to put up with stupid amount of abuse for stuff like that.

  22. DGM says:

    So, Shamus, what you’re saying is that if I make Chris mad enough he’ll buy me video games?

    Hey, Chris, we need to talk about your mother… :P

  23. Otters34 says:

    That discussion about the dog was some of the funniest stuff I’ve ever heard from you guys, thanks so much for doing these, they’re great!

    1. DGM says:

      On the plus side, after the dog loses his badge he’ll have more time to play poker with his buddies.

      1. Primogenitor says:

        Coming soon in Telltale Games’ Poker Night III…

  24. evilmrhenry says:

    Oh, Time of Flight! I actually know this one.

    What MS was trying to say, (and messed up) is that the original Kinect relied on a projected infrared dot pattern, which it can use to figure out how far away each dot is.

    The new kinect uses the Time of Flight design, which essentially sends out IR pulses into the room; when it detects the returned pulse in a pixel, it can use the time taken to figure out how far away that point is.

    1. Jeremy says:

      Yes, this! I was cringing a bit all through the podcast discussion, since everyone seemed to have missed the point – the Kinect actually measures the latency it takes the IR to reflect off things in the room to measure the distance. It’s very clever stuff – I don’t think its been used in consumer equipment before.

      1. evilmrhenry says:

        There’s actually been a few Kinect knockoffs using that tech, but I’m interested how good it could be with MS’s much larger budget.

      2. Cybron says:

        That is interesting technology, but if that’s what it is, Microsoft horribly miscommunicated what it was doing and what it meant.

        1. Primogenitor says:

          Much like the rest of the announcement then…

      3. Sabredance (MatthewH) says:

        So, what I’m hearing is “don’t wear black while playing.”

        1. Jeremy says:

          It would have to be infrablack.

          1. Paul Spooner says:

            So, it’s basically echo-location with light? The color of your clothes shouldn’t matter, as long as there’s enough signal bounceback for the receiver to sense the pulse. Really what you don’t want to do is wash out the sensor (direct sunlight into the room) fill the room with infrared absorbing particles (smoke) or have another random IR strobe source nearby (two kinect running in the same room). So an IR LED and a disco ball could easily wreck havoc. But that’s all understandable. Even people have a hard time seeing past smoke and mirrors. I wonder what the pulse frequency is.

  25. The Unrest kickstarter is crazy, it’s currently up to 567% of it’s goal, and only 8 of 30 days has passed of the kickstarter period.

    The pressure on Rutskarn must be just immense now, muahaha :P

    1. Volfram says:

      With apologies to Rutskarn and the rest of the Unrest team, I had a few bad experiences with Kickstarter and as a result, I will NEVER give the company any more of my money, either as a backer or as a project creator.(Project…er?)

      I hope the game turns out to be good, and depending on my financial status when it’s released, I may lay down money for it THEN, when the money will go straight to the DEVELOPMENT TEAM, but I will NEVER be giving Kickstarter another dime if I can help it.

  26. Nick Pitino says:


    Or XBoned?


  27. AJax says:

    Monolith’s games in general are one of the most interesting on how they declined in quality game after game. FEAR and Condemned being prime examples where the sequels are incredibly maligned from what I heard while the originals are still considered classics even to this day. Personally, I adore the originals of both series and absolutely hate FEAR’s sequels especially that co-op focused mess that was FthreeAR or however you spell that godawful name. Shame that Condemned 2 never made it to the PC since I’m actually interested to see why people dislike it so much.

  28. mwchase says:

    Was anyone else thinking about the dog ending to Silent Hill 2 while they were discussing CoD?

    … Just me? … Okay…

    I don’t know, something about the dog betraying you and pulling off stuff behind the scenes…

    1. Syal says:

      I was thinking about Dead To Rights Retribution, with the dog taking down a helicopter.

      It would be awesome to have the dog be a double agent; you get to the main base, the bad guy calls it over and it starts barking in Russian.

  29. Deadpool says:

    The thing about the dog that is odd…

    Why are we building a bond with the dog when we spent three games NOT building a bond with ANYONE?!?

    1. Arvind says:

      You will build a bond with him so the developers can kill him in an “emotional, shocking” moment.

    2. LunaticFringe says:

      Because the developers are self-aware enough to realize their trigger-happy jingoistic sociopaths are unlikable? Probably giving them too much credit.

      That, and people are suckers for dogs. It’s a lot easier to make a likable animal (some cute animations and you’re pretty much set, see Fable 2 and the fan response for examples) than it is to make a fully-voiced human character that an audience can connect with.

  30. RTBones says:

    Just one *minor* nit…

    1630 PDT is actually 2330 GMT, not 2230

    Check this link out.

    Time, she is indeed a gypsy caravan, stealing away in the night to leave you stranded in dreamland….

    1. 4th Dimension says:

      And I just though, “Hey, finally some sane time for us Centraleuropeans!” and now you make me realize the gettogether is not at 10:30PM but at 1:30 AM.

    2. Ringwraith says:

      My mention of the exact same thing has already been buried in the middle of the thread. :(

      1. RTBones says:

        Thats what I get for scanning the comments and not reading them properly. No trump intended – only wanted to make sure someone saw so that those in the UK (raises hand) and elsewhere on the Continent didn’t try to check in an hour before and think they had missed it.

  31. Scourge says:

    Xbox One reveal in 2 Minutes: http://www.wimp.com/xboxone/

  32. Weimer says:

    Man, do you guys remember the fake Tenth class: Dog! update to TF2? The thing is, I would have loved the hell out of the dog if it was actually added to the game.

    Also, _dog_pile? Bad Shamus!

  33. False Prophet says:

    Rutskarn’s riffing on Peter Molyneux’s take on the COD dog was amusing, but it’s basically the plot of War Horse, but with a dog.

    Alternatively, Alan Moore’s Kemlo Caesar?

  34. rayen says:

    is there any chance of a special podcast with other members of the unrest dev team? So shamus can answer all those questions he had that rutskarn couldn’t?+

    Cause you know, i’d listen to that…

    1. Primogenitor says:

      Or a written interview, with diagrams & screencaps. Probably need to be a bit further down the development road, but I’d certainly like to see something like this.

  35. Asimech says:

    About the claim that they had paid people clapping: Over the show I felt that the audience was too “good”. They clapped almost exactly where you’d want them, never seemed to get loud before a pitch was finished etc. There was one time that felt strange because normally it would’ve been the exact moment an enthusiastic crowd would cheer or applaud but it was silent and the talk could go on without pausing.

    So I do think that they did have a hired “laugh track”.

    It’s also interesting how much stupid I didn’t notice during it. But on the other hand I was in pretty severe marketing BS overdose for much of that time, so maybe the pain hid some bits.

  36. StashAugustine says:

    Mass Effect would have been terrible played backwards- most of the good parts of the later games were building off the worldbuilding of the previous ones, and the progressively clunkier gameplay would have gotten on my nerves.

  37. anaphysik says:

    Really, it’s about time that they added better fish AI to a COD game. Those terrestrial Not-Seas were way overpowered against the United Schools of Atlantis’ 20-gallon tanks.

    1. anaphysik says:

      (Also, one of the best comments on the whole dog thing was someone noting how telling it was that they’d add a dog to the series before even adding a female soldier <_<)

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Sadly,thats a reflection of real life.Most countries dont allow female soldiers to be in combat(officially at least).

      2. ImmortalSeeker says:

        To be Optimistic the dog may be Female.
        However that means that a female soldier has to be a “bitch”.

        I had this idea that a FPS may be a perfect way to pull a modern Metroid ending. as long as you make reflective surfaces hard to find or not at all present and have the dialog come from an outside source then you might be able to go most or all of the game believing the soldier to be male. at the very end in the debriefing room you could end on a look at a mirrored object and show the truth.

        1. Fleaman says:

          Nah, the “PSYCH YOU WERE PLAYING A GIRL OH WHAT NOW” revelation is pretty problematic in its own way. Better to play it cool, like Portal. You can look through a portal at any time and say “Whoa, I’m a girl?”

          “Huh?” says Portal. “Oh. Yeah.”

          So. Cool.

          First-person IS good for identity revelations though. I would like to see a game try to get a player to shout “GIVE ME A MIRROR!!”

    2. Humanoid says:

      I assume completely co-incidental, but AMD had an April Fool’s joke announcement of “PecksFX” (a follow up to Tomb Raider’s TressFX), which was purported to be a realistic modelling and rendering system for flocks of birds, to supposedly debut in Battlefield 4.

      So perhaps someone on the CoD dev team decided it would be a good idea to pre-empt their rivals by implementing realistic schools of, er, cod.

  38. anaphysik says:

    Wow, your guys’ game suggestion sounds dangerously like that old (and ratehr speciesist) dogsploitation genre.

  39. sofawall says:

    Man, the lack of mailbag makes me sad. Now I have to wait until next week to see if they answer my question :(

  40. hborrgg says:

    Playing as a dog out of context for a Call of Doody game? what are you talking about?

  41. Steve Online says:

    What do you mean the X-BONE launch isn’t memetic?


  42. Atarlost says:

    The Xbox1 connect light travel time thing sounds like a complete idiot trying to describe LIDAR, which would probably make picking the player out from the background easier and therefore reduce latency.

  43. Talby says:

    Dunno why, but almost every time I try to watch any episode of the Die Cast it will freeze at some point and stop playing.

  44. tengokujin says:

    Assuming 2m of travel to the TV, 2m of travel through wiring and processing, the added lag of light’s travel time would be: 4m / 3E8 m/s = 1.33E-8 s = 13.3 ns. Some professional fighting game players can start seeing frames of lag: 1s / 60fps = 16.6ms
    That’s an order of magnitude difference of 6, or 1 MILLION x.

  45. Volfram says:

    I want to take just a moment and mention that like Josh, I have completed the “finishing College” game. I got my degree in May, 2011(after 8 years) and then absolutely BRUTALIZED my remaining tuition debts over the course of the next month and a half.

    It’s a good feeling. I encourage anybody to give it a shot.

  46. The Judynator says:

    Pro of living in Florida: Bright Futures = no tuition debt. Con of living in Florida: terrible, terrible education.

    I honestly don’t think any of the big three game consoles are going to tank any time soon. I would like to think that it falls under the “too big to fail” argument.

    Always good to hear from you guys! Long time listener… Just recently decided to join into the conversation! :D

  47. Taellosse says:

    The dog in Dragon Age: Origins doesn’t die! So not all significant-character video game dogs get killed to make you feel things.

    But yeah, the CoD dog will totally get shot in the head or something.

  48. Phantos says:

    Oh, Xbone. You are the gift that keeps on giving.

    This thing could probably replace EA/The Sims for the weekly “This Is Stupid” segment.

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