Tuesday, May 1, 2007

The '07 Downfall of Microsoft

You read right, Microsoft is screwing up, yet again! There's a lot to talk about today and well there's a lot of time to say it in. Here's a short list of what MS has done thus far.

1) Epic Games vs. Microsoft, Round 1
2) No transfer cables with Elite consoles
3) That damn DRM (Digital Rights Management)

On the plus side of things there has be a plethora of XBLA games for download and this week Microsoft is continuing it's "double hit" XBLA Wednesdays.

Read on, gamers read on...

Alright, lately Microsoft has been having some troubles....some BIG troubles. They just can't seem to get this right this quarter. Whatever is wrong with them they better fix it before people start to jump ship. Let's get things rolling...

Microsoft vs. Epic Games, Round 1 *ding ding*

Gamers wanting to get their hands on the new Gears' maps will be happy to know that they will be available to download this Thursday (May 3rd, 2007). The Hidden Fronts map pack will contain 4 new maps as announced earlier by Microsoft. These new maps will contain new features in them known as environmental hazards. There isn't much about the first two maps, but I'll tell ya what I know about them. Subway takes place in a commuting hub and Process is set in an Imulsion plant, that's about it. Bullet Marsh is swapped with Kryll and the only real safe spot is in the lights which are powered on by generators, well...until your opponent starts to shoot it out. Same goes for The Garden, the second map with an environmental hazard, but this time it's dangerous gases that will cause you harm due to the Conservatory's Pesticide ventilation system. This means gamers are going to have to vent out the areas for a safe passage through areas.

Now, you're probably wondering, "Well that's not bad at all". Well, here's the part that will get you a little peeved about the whole thing. When it was first announced that there's going to be four new maps coming out in the form of DLC, the president (Mark Capps) of Epic Games was quoted saying this: "We always take care of our customers, we always give them stuff for free, and we're going to keep doing that forever. That's how we do it. This is Epic.". Well this isn't the case anymore, for now anyway. Epic Games and MS had a falling out earlier last month about what to charge for the DLC. Epic said free, Microsoft said no. So with that, gamers and fanboys alike went wild! Attacking forums wherever a forum was found. In time MS and Epic Games have come to an agreement which is this: When the new maps are released they will cost 800 MS Points ($10) to purchase and by September will be free for all. There new "reasoning" behind this was this, "Epic thinks the way to maximize the return on Gears of War is to give the maps away for free and Microsoft thinks the way to maximize the return on Gears of War is to sell the maps," said Rein. "So what we've agreed to do is to put these maps on sale at a reasonable price then make them free a few months later. They did this with the original Halo2 map pack and it was a huge success. Lots of people bought the maps and lots of people downloaded them when they became free. That's what is going to happen and it seems like a fair compromise for both companies and a win-win for Gears players." said Mark Rein, Epic Games' VP.

The Elite Failure

Number 2, that will contribute to this quarters downfall for MS. The Elite offically launched on the 29th on April. The new Elite Xbox 360 isn't much different, but what it has, boasts for hardcore gamers and people in the market for a 360 with a snazzy black finish for the console, controller and headset. Along with a 120GB hard drive (100GB more the the original HDD)and an HDMI audio/video port bringing resolutions to a glorified 1080p, where only 1080i was possible. The 120GB HDD that's sold separatly comes with a transfer cable to transfer any content from your old HDD to the new 120GB HDD. Odd, because when gamers who already own a 360 will find no transfer cable with the new Elite console. Microsoft was said to say that the Elite system was meant for people who hadn't bought a 360 yet, so it wasn't needed in the package. Well now, after weeks of complaints, Microsoft is offering a FREE transfer cable for those who require it for a limited time only. Again, some may think that's not so bad, but here's the fun part. In order to get your free transfer cable you have to download, print and then fill out this autherization form using both systems' serial numbers. Then the form must be sent out through standard mail to a support center in Indiana, which then will ship out your transfer cable to you for free. Now that that's all done and outta the way, you have your damn cable. You hook it up the cable to your old 360 and then to the 120GB HDD. IMPORTANT: The transfer can only be done once!!!! This will erase any data on the 120GB and transfer over any non-movie content to the new drive and the 20GB will be wiped blank. Your done, the 360 Elite is now complete....or is it?

Digital Rights Management (DRM)

No...it's not over yet, Microsoft is still screwing up, now it's all about their new DRM protection. Even though getting your transfer cable was tiresome, it gets worse. For anyone who has had to replace their system or have brought your HDD to a friends house will know that unless you're signed in to Live you can only play the demos of whatever arcade game you own. This is because of the DRM and that each XBLA game is linked to a single console. Signing in verifies that you are the original purchaser of the game and then will let you play the full copy. The DRM on XBLA games also affect downloaded television content downloaded from the Marketplace. "While all of your Xbox Live Arcade games and Xbox Live Marketplace TV shows will transfer [to the Elite HDD], you will have to be connected to Xbox Live (to verify your identity) in order to access that content," Microsoft said in a statement. "This process is permanent and we advise [you to] not transfer your data if you wish to access it while offline." There you have it, the downfall of Microsoft for this quarter.

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