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  1. Yesterday we all learned about the final remaining console to be announced in the next generation race: The Xbox One. Though the name was a bit of a surprise, no doubt many were excited to hear details about this successor to the 360 and how it would improve on and change the current Xbox gaming scene. Unfortunately, there are still a few things that remain ambiguous about the system. It's been revealed that it will require an internet connection to play games, but how often will you need to be connected? One representative said every 24 hours though others are playing coy with the official answer. How will this affect consumers' reception of the console? Another thing that remains uncertain is how the Xbox One will handle used games, with some reports saying that it will charge a full-priced fee to consumers who use a used disc, but Microsoft's Major Nelson is saying that it's not written in stone yet. So what does this mean for you? Should you be excited for the Xbox One? The GP staff assembled their thoughts on the matter and shared their initial impressions about the console (both good and bad) below. Jason Clement | Editor-in-Chief "If there's anything that truly took me by surprise about yesterday's announcement, it was the name they Microsoft went with. 'Xbox One' could quite possibly be one of the biggest misfires in video game console naming since the Wii U was revealed in 2011, and not because it sounds bad, but because it may ultimately lead to confusion among consumers. Don't believe me? It's already happening in Bing's search engine. Aside from the name, there wasn't much that excited me. Understandably, they're holding their biggest game announcements for E3, but sports and TV offerings didn't exactly strike a chord with me, and the obscured information we're getting about the console's DRM tells me that Microsoft are more concerned about taking control away from consumers as much as they can to suit their own needs. There are obvious concerns with this, and Microsoft will have a lot to prove with the console when E3 finally arrives in a few weeks." Marcus Estrada | Managing Editor "The Xbox One seems to be heading toward exactly what Microsoft wants - control of the living room TV. While I expect there will eventually be games I'm interested in for the system, as of now, they aren't playing to my interests. That's fine, as I don't expect any company to ever do so, but they also seem to be pushing me away as well. If used games cost an extra fee (aside from purchasing them used to begin with) then that is an annoyance. So too is the idea of games that are not otherwise online possibly making use of always online connectivity. Having suffered some really bad internet connectivity issues as of late, I can see that my household isn't ready for that, and that is true of some others as well. I still fully intend to buy the system, but I will continue to not support digital-only content as Microsoft has proved for the second time they do not really care to allow legacy support for XBLA games. They did not offer original Xbox users transfers of their (very few) digital titles, and they are doing so again here. As a collector, this is going to be the biggest issue I face in the future, and it's a shame no one is really looking forward on this topic." Marshall Henderson | Editor "The Xbox One is a hot mess of absurdity. It introduces a lot of ideas, but very few of the good ideas are particularly pertinent to their extant market, and the other ideas are actively geared against that market, and any other market that would use their product for any of its independent uses. Typically after announcing stuff like this, the incumbent consoles might be expected to state their case to counteract their competition's announcements, but really, one could convey anything Nintendo or Sony would need to say by simply reading the verbatim statements of Microsoft's representatives in a more incredulous tone. Frankly, Microsoft doesn't seem to be making a game console at all at this point. The representatives for the Xbox One have made it perfectly clear that their goal is television and sports, and the majority of their presented functions are not gaming-related at all, with the exception of the occasional backhand to gamers wanting to borrow games from one another or have any sort of experience with the console not pre-approved by Microsoft. This is a corporate market now, with consumers being expected to accept the terms of their purchases, rather than buying products that serve their needs. You don't owe Microsoft a damn thing, not to pay a fee on a used game you bought--oh wait not, oh wait maybe, not to connect to the internet at least once a day, not to keep your Kinect plugged up." Harrison Lee | Staff Writer "The Xbox One is a bit of a disappointment. It's a slick-looking DVR that offers voice functionality and high-quality motion control, or so we're led to believe. It also plays next-generation games, but Microsoft wasn't keen on advertising those bits. While I understand they want to save the gaming goodies for E3, it looked like the company had decided cable TV was the future of entertainment, and that the Xbox One will lead the way. I hope this isn't their philosophy because we're pushing away from standard cable service. In addition, the attempt at targeting a much broader user base makes me think they might have made some hardware concessions in the GPU and visual fidelity performance sectors to account for the extra TV and media-related tech. Surprisingly, this next generation of consoles is apparently matching your average mid-grade PC, and without compelling exclusives to draw me to the One (or the PS4, for that matter), I'm probably going to hold out until a sale." Jared | Features Editor "The new Kinect is the most interesting thing Microsoft offered at their presentation. The voice recognition that they demoed was amazing to say the least and that supposed ability of being able to monitor your heartbeat was just a great way to show of how advanced this little doohickey could end up being. Everything else they showed off or announced was predictable. It is still too early to tell if the Xbox One is going to sink or swim, but they're really going to suffer if they keep refusing to give people a straight answer on all this DRM nonsense." Gaiages | Community Manager "I'm still not quite sure what to think of the Xbox One reveal. The 360 has been taking a certain... mostly non-gaming direction as of late, and the One seems to be following that same direction. With the ability to multitask between different forms of media and many of the new features not involving gaming at all, Microsoft is really striving for this to be an all-in-One device (pun completely intended). I'm hoping we'll see more about the games during E3. With Microsoft's boast of a fair amount of exclusives and new IPs, they're going to have to reveal some of this at the show to really get gamers behind them. A random thought, though, for the voice recognition... sure, it worked fine at the conference, but what about those with accents or speech issues/impediments? Seeing how excited Microsoft was about it, I sure hope the technology is up to the task to understand everyone." If there's anything you can glean from these thoughts overall, two words seem to summarize our overall feeling of the Xbox One at the moment - hesitation and uncertainty. It's safe to say that some, if not many of you reading this might feel the same way as well, especially judging from reactions on social networks and the like. Will Microsoft be able to get rid of the doubt and hesitation currently that persists around the Xbox One currently? We'll find out in a few weeks when they pull back the cover completely on the Xbox One at E3. What were your thoughts on the Xbox One reveal? Let us know in the comments below!
  2. http://www.gamefly.com/Rent-Halo-4/5003713?adtrackingid=cmju029 Halo 4 http://www.gamefly.com/Rent-Paper-Mario-Sticker-Star/5000771/?adtrackingid=cmju029
  3. There's been a lot of discussion these last few weeks about how next gen consoles might have security checks in place that make it impossible to play a game on more than one console. By the way different publishers and company executives are talking, it just might become a reality. But I'm here to say it can't. At least, if the company wants to survive this generation, it can't. Anyone who attempts to block the sales of used games or the ability to play their games on multiple consoles will not last long for a number of reasons that I'm about to explain below. Before we begin, let's discuss what we've heard so far from the front lines of the next generation. On the Xbox side of things we've had Ian Livingstone from Eidos mentioning that the next Xbox could have always online DRM and no used game blocks on their discs. This is to be taken with a grain of salt due to it not coming directly from Microsoft, but we'll see. On the Sony side of things, its all still a bit muddled. They've said its an important issue and that they'll do the right thing, but they've also said it won't block used games and it'll be up to the different publishers if they wanted to block them or not. I'm worried that they don't have a straight answer, but hopefully that means they just don't know yet. Now onto why having no used games would be disastrous for anyone who thinks they can get away with it. We'll start with the retail side of things. You might not want to admit it, but Gamestop is a pretty big deal. It's the main place where all the kids buy their Call of Dutys and Pac-Mans, and it is also a business that exists thanks to used sales. If Sony and Microsoft cut out any of the places that make their money off of used sales, they're also cutting off their most used retail markets. When you see a midnight sale for Call of Duty - it isn't at a Walmart; it's at Gamestop. And those Gamestops are practically everywhere. Cutting them out of the deal would be like studios cutting out DVD sales and exclusively dealing in Blu-ray. Sure, they don't have to deal with an older dying technology, but now they're missing out on the millions they would have made if they had just accepted that people still use DVDs. Gamestop is the DVD in this situation. If you get rid of Gamestop, you might be getting rid of used games, but you're also getting rid of the place where most casual gamers get their games. While not a death blow for the console giants, it would take a cut out of their oh-so-important casual market. But odds are if just one console does do away with used sales, Gamestop won't die. They'll just stop stocking that system's games or severely cut down on its stock of them. Look at the PC section in your Gamestop (assuming it even has a PC section). They don't get used sales from PC games, so they just don't stock them. Imagine what kind of damage could be dealt if the PS4 shelf was just as small as the PC shelf at launch. To be fair, what I just described is more or less the doomsday scenario, and rather unlikely to happen. That doesn't mean it can't happen, but I would be surprised if things really got that bad next generation. What is more likely to happen, however, is a death by their own consumer. While losing the casual support of Gamestop would be a pretty bad deal, losing the support of the more hardcore crowd would be even worse. We've seen it before. Companies have used stupid practices to make it harder to pirate their games, only to see sales drop because actual customers were the only ones being negatively effected by the hurdles beings placed in front of all of their games. To make things worse, if only one console blocks used games or things end up being on a company to company basis, then those locked games will be on the shelves alongside games that won't lock you out. Which one are you more likely to give your money to? The one that makes things harder for you, or the one that you're free to play on any console? People will just stop buying the games that can't be played on multiple consoles. Why should they be locked while others aren't? The answer is they shouldn't be locked in the first place. If you lock your disc then you're locking out your consumers. You lock out your consumers and they'll stop buying your games. They stop buying your games and you die. The end.
  4. Marcus Estrada

    PS4 Won't Block Used Games

    Of all the things not announced during Sony's PS4 reveal conference, one big issue was the cruel rumor that it wouldn't play used games. These types of rumors have been floating around over the past year for both PS4 and the upcoming Microsoft system. More recently, a patent was even put out by Sony with means to block used content. Thankfully, this is one rumor that can finally be put to rest. In an interview with Eurogamer, Sony Worldwide Studios' Shuhei Yoshida confirmed used games won't be blocked by any means. Yoshida made a few comments including the following: "Yes. That's the general expectation by consumers. They purchase physical form, they want to use it everywhere, right? So that's my expectation. So, used games can play on PS4." With that said, gamers should rest easy knowing that at least the majority of new consoles will not have such a restriction. Of course, the Wii U plays used games just fine, and the PS4 will soon join it. What about the next Xbox system, though? It may take all the way until E3 to find out what Microsoft's plans are. With PS4 accepting used games, do you think the next Xbox will allow them as well or are they heading down a strict anti-used path?
  5. Marcus Estrada

    Used Famicom Games

    From the album: Marcus's Album