Xbox One and the power of “the cloud”

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It’s been noted that Microsoft’s Xbox One doesn’t quite have the processing power or high-speed RAM of the PS4.  For graphics enthusiasts beckoning the new generation of gaming, this is surely a drawback of the system.  What the Xbox One does promise, however, is that it’s “Cloud Powered.”

Microsoft has increased the number of their Xbox Live servers from 15,000 to 300,000 and promises that these servers will help with some of the graphics processing of your game system.  They specifically indicated that the servers will be used for background effects such as lighting or fog to prevent latency from ruining your gaming experience as these effects don’t need to be persistently updated.

This cloud power may explain why Microsoft would require an online connection for the Xbox One, but it doesn’t explain why you’d need to check in every 24 hours.  If you’re not connected, you’re not going to be experiencing the benefits of this additional processing power, so why make the connection necessary at all?  I can see the availability of this additional power a nice perk that would encourage gamers to stay connected, but requiring a connection to their servers sounds like it will hurt the system’s longevity.  For instance, if I want to play my NES right now, I can play my NES; twenty years from now, if I want to play my Xbox One, I won’t be able to because their servers will, undoubtedly, be offline.

 

Source:  The Verge

Remedy’s Sam Lake explains why we’re not getting Alan Wake 2 (yet)

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When I saw Remedy Entertainment take the stage at Microsoft’s Xbox reveal, I was hoping to hear that they were going to announce the highly anticipated sequel to 2010’s Alan Wake.  While it was initially disappointing to see that what they have in the works is not Alan Wake 2, it’s exciting to see that they’re pushing a new IP for this new console.

Given that many, myself included, were expecting an Alan Wake reveal, Sam Lake, creative director at Remedy and creator of Alan Wake, prepared a message to us, the fans, to accompany the Alan Wake Humble Bundle.  The video explains what exactly is going on and why we won’t be seeing Alan Wake again just yet.  It’s an insightful video and a nice gesture from the studio.

The success of Alan Wake wasn’t immediate and, as such, it was difficult for things to fall into place for the much desired sequel.  Fans and Remedy both want to continue Alan’s journey, but “the time wasn’t right.”  Given that Remedy and Microsoft were willing to partner in this new venture and Remedy’s dedication to the Alan Wake IP, I think it’s safe to assume that Alan will be back sometime in the future after a Quantum Break.

As a fan of Remedy Entertainment, I’m glad to see that they’re willing to take a risk with something new even if it means waiting to see how Alan Wake’s story pans out.

For those of you who have yet to experience Alan’s journey into darkness, Remedy has discounted the Alan Wake games on Xbox Live and has provided a Humble Weekly Bundle.  I encourage you to invest in these experiences and support Remedy and the talented folks who have worked hard on these games.

Xbox One will Not be backwards compatible

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Microsoft has confirmed that their next console will not be compatible with Xbox or Xbox 360 games.  The reason being is architecture of the x86 CPU that the utilizes won’t allow the games built for Xbox 360’s Power-PC core to run.  So, hold on to your 360 if you’re looking to keep getting mileage out of your games because they’re not going to make the trip to the next generation.  Xbox Live Arcade games also won’t make the transfer for the same reasons, as expected.  However, your Xbox Live Gamertag and all the Achievements you’ve earned will be waiting for you when you boot up your Xbox One.

It’s disappointing that we won’t be able to carry our games of the now into the future, but it’s interesting to see how many similarities there are between the Xbox One hardware and the PS4.  The similarities suggest that cross-platform play may be a possibility in the future, which is an exciting prospect.

 

Sources:  Engadget, Joystiq

Xbox One revealed as next generation console

Starting their event strong, Microsoft has officially revealed the name of their next Xbox console:  Xbox One.  Far from the speculated Xbox Infinity, this new system promises to be an all-in-one entertainment system bringing all of your gaming, television, and film experiences together in one cloud-based device.

The reveal of the system’s official name was followed by a teaser video showcasing the design of the system’s design, the new Kinect, and the redesigned controller.  The system is sleek, but, in my opinion, boxy and ugly.  It looks like a satellite box, honestly.  However, the redesigned controller looks incredibly comfy.  The design is familiar with some minor tweaks that change the overall feel of the device.  The d-pad is new and the teaser promised more precision than the Xbox 360 controller–the disc d-pad of the 360’s controller and it’s “tilt” input has been criticized for years.

Windows 8 features having multiple programs running with one on the main display and the other snapped on a sidebar.  Skype has also been finally added to the Xbox suite with chat across platforms being confirmed.  The system’s multi-app capability is a welcome feature and it seems to be able to cycle through all of those apps quickly and seamlessly.  It’s really quite impressive.

Stay tuned to PowerUp Online for more Xbox One news.

Spring Sale Coming to Xbox Live

Xbox Live is hoping to start spring strong with a large sale of downloadable games and expansions.  The sale has the first episode of the excellent The Walking Dead game available for free with each subsequent episode available for half off (800 MSP or $10 for the entire season); the Skyrim, L.A. Noire, and Max Payne 3 expansions are marked down 50%; and select games including two Hitman titles, Just Cause 2, and Dead Rising 2 are discounted from 33 to 67% off.  The entire list can be viewed at Major Nelson’s blog.