Thursday, November 22, 2012

Two Very Different Versions of the Next-Gen Xbox Coming

More rumors about the next generation Xbox console have surfaced recently, this time in the form of how the gaming system will be marketed toward consumers. According to recent reports, the next generation Xbox console will come in two highly different models that are designed to appeal to two very different groups of gamers on the spectrum.

The first console model is the one that gamers have been waiting for and expecting. It will provide a true, next-gen gaming experience, allowing you to play all of the newest titles as well as any Xbox Live Arcade game. In addition to that, you will have access to all the latest and greatest apps that have recently taken the Xbox 360 by storm, allowing you to watch all of your favorite movies, listen to music, catch up on all the latest sports scores and more. 

The other version is targeted more toward the casual gamer. It will use Windows 8 as the basis for its operating system and will be unable to run any Triple-A titles, which means no playing the latest Halo, Gears of War or Call of Duty games. It will, however, be able to play downloadable games from the Xbox Live Arcade marketplace. In essence, this version will function like a set-top box and give you access to the growing variety of Xbox entertainment apps, like Netflix, Hulu Plus, ESPN, Vudu, etc... There are also reports of an "instant on" feature that will allow you to resume whatever you were doing with little downtime.

These new reports come from The Verge, which cites multiple sources that are "familiar with Redmond's (Microsoft's headquarters) plans."Moreover, The Verge also claims that this two-model approach is part of a larger strategy by Microsoft to ensure that its core Xbox software is scalable to run on a plethora of different devices. There are even rumors of having a Microsoft phone that delivers a full Xbox Live experience, though that is probably a long way away. 

This marketing strategy by Microsoft is actually quite brilliant. It allows the company's console to appeal to two completely different cores of consumers. On the one hand, hard core gamers longing for the good ol' days when a gaming console was strictly used for gaming will be drawn to the traditional model, while people who really just want an entertainment hub and something to play fun games with family or friends can have that too, presumably at a lower price point. Both models are expected to be announced sometime in 2013 and become available before the end of that year. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Silicon Knights Ordered to Collect and Destroy Unsold Copies of Too Human and X-Men: Destiny

Ever played Too Human or X-Men: Destiny? Chances are probably not, and there's good reason for that. The games were cataclysmic disappointments when they were released. What makes that even worse is that both games were highly anticipated and had gamers really looking forward to playing them. Aside from not being standout games, these games also have a few other things in common, most notably the fact that both were made y Silicon Knights and that both games have been ordered to be destroyed completely.

Silicon Knights, the studio behind both of these games, recently tried to sue Epic Games, developer of the insanely popular Gears of War trilogy, over claims that Epic's Unreal graphics engine was an incomplete product that Silicon Knights used to develop both of these games and was the reason behind the failure of both games. Needless to say, Silicon Knights lost and, in addition to paying a hefty fine to Epic, the courts though that Silicon's punishment (cue Bane impersonation) must be more severe.

According to a recent ruling by the North Carolina District Court, Silicon Knights has been required to "cease producing and distributing" and "recall and destroy" all unsold copies of Too Human and X-Men: Destiny along with The Box/Ritualyst, The Sandman and Siren in the Maelstrom, the last three being unreleased titles, at its own expense.

In addition to that, the judge also ruled that Silicon Knights is responsible to pay Epic an additional $278,000 in court costs, $2.09 million in attorney fees and $2.3 million in pre-judgement interest. If you add that to the $4.45 million that Silicon Knights already owed Epic then that brings to overall total costs that Silicon Knights owes Epic Games to around $9 million.

According to a statement from an Epic Games' spokesperson, "Epic Games appreciates the court's careful consideration of the motions and is gratified by the order." The interesting thing is that this ruling comes over five years after Silicon Knights originally sued Epic, alleging that the Unreal engine didn't work as it was supposed to. Epic counter-sued and then the case went to trial earlier this year. The worst part about the entire suit is that even if Silicon Knights had won, it would only have been awarded $1 per claim.

If you have ever wanted to play wither Too Human or X-Men: Destiny then you better get your copy fast because all the ones still in stores are poised to be collected and destroyed pretty soon.

Source: IGN - Silicon Knights Ordered to Destroy Unsold Unreal Engine 3 Games
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