Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Next-Gen console launch celebrations tainted with devastating hardware issues

With new technology there is always the possibility of unforeseen problems that arise immediately after they are released. It's especially common in this day and age where cell phones get upgraded every six months, tablets and computers at least every three. It's difficult to imagine that there is a long testing phase for these products, yet the vast majority usually go off without a hitch. Why is it then, that a product that has been in development for years can have so many issues?

Sony launched their Playstation 4 almost two weeks and immediately reports hit the internet about defects, "bricked" consoles out of the box and/or after downloading the mandatory launch update, and issues with the PS Network. With Sony's relatively optimistic numbers of only 0.4% of consoles being affected, the true number appears to be much higher. Customer reports on many sites have stated that when they have tried to call for a repair, Sony has kept them on hold for several hours if they even managed to reach the automated service. What's worse is the 4-6 week estimated repair time. The console just came out and they are already forcing people to wait more than a month so they can play what they actually bought? Pure poppycock.
"(While no hardware failures) most games for me were unplayable for 24-36hrs and required me to do 2-3 resets (to make them work)." - Mike M.

This isn't to say the Xbox One has been a white knight in the console world. Multiple users have experienced trouble with applications, especially Netflix, while others have been kept from playing the games at all due to an unknown malfunction that reverts them back to the dashboard mid-game. Others report a "rattling" that could mean loose hardware inside the console. The numbers aren't nearly the same scale of the PS4 failure rate, but it is still troubling to say the least.
"I love my #xboxone (so) far but it has given me one issue that I might have fixed but Idk yet. While playing #BF4, after matches the game crashes and returns to the dashboard. Selecting the game again starts the game over, not resume where I was. At first it was just with (Battlefield), but it soon spread to #KillerInstinct. While searching for a match, it crashed. then the crashing got worse. In both games (the) crashing increased and got random. Even offline killer instinct crashed" - @YourDevastator
A lot of issues can arise whenever you develop new technology. Hardware is not carved out of steel, and component parts can chip or break loose, especially during shipping. However these kind of problems should be thoroughly tested before they are placed on trucks and sold to millions of eager gamers. Those gamers also should not be forced to endure an extra 6 weeks of waiting to get a replacement system for an extremely large oversight. Software issues that restrict gamers from even using the console to play games or watch movies is entirely unacceptable as well. These are brand new units that should be in pristine working condition, not a lottery system where instead of being excited to play the newest launch title, you are instead praying you didn't get stuck with a broken one.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Microsoft's free "Games for Gold" program will continue on Xbox One

Earlier this year Microsoft started their "Games for Gold" program that delivers older titles for free to Xbox Live Gold members each month. Halo 3, Dead Rising 2, and Assassin's Creed II were some of the bigger names that were handed out. While very old titles, they were still quite popular and resulted in several hundred thousand downloads. Microsoft is continuing this program for the Xbox One.

Start dates on when this will occur have not been released, however Major Nelson did say on his twitter page that "Details coming later in 2014" which makes it logical to assume that we won't be seeing these titles until probably late 1st quarter - early 2nd.

Available titles will most likely be Indie developed, as giving out full priced games that are only 3-4 months old wouldn't seem to be a very smart business decision. With the quality of Indie games on the rise however, it's certainly not a bad thing for players. Xbox One launches November 22nd, 2013.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Extra Life gaming charity raised millions despite hostile interruptions

On Saturday Nov. 2nd, 30,000+ gamers spent a full 25 hours grinding away at their rigs and tossing dice on the board, playing anything and everything they could to bring in donations for the Extra Life charity event. Extra Life is a charity made specifically for gamers, allowing that underestimated community to get involved. There are many charity events like it, but Extra Life seems to stand above most with their size and strength. Streams went on across the country seeking donations to go towards funding the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals.  

Unfortunately, not everyone was interested in helping charity, and at least one individual was determined to stop it. According to Extra Life, the site received no less than 4 DDoS attacks aimed at destroying the charity event. The person(s) responsible have not been discovered as of yet, nor has anyone stepped forward with information on who it might be. 

Even with these incidents, the event raised an astounding total of over $3.6 million. It was an overwhelming success for such a great cause.