Pokémon Go proves Nintendo must conquer the smartphone

Nintendo has been too stubborn. Their consoles changed the way we played decades ago, but that era has passed away and the latest hardware from this legendary maker has proven one thing other makers have failed to realize: people doesn’t want another device to do what they can do on their smartphones.

It has happened with music players, with cameras and it’s happening with games. Nintendo’s attitude has been a conflicting one: not devoting themselves to the mobile world has been a disappointment for their fans.

They just need a tiny show of affection to follow the firm wherever they want, and Pokémon Go lately (and the weirdly original Miitomo) have shown how true this is:

Shares in Japan’s Nintendo Co Ltd (7974.T) soared again on Monday, bringing market-value gains to $7.5 billion in just two days as investors cheered the runaway success of Pokemon GO – its first long-awaited venture in mobile gaming.

Nintendo, it’s ok to continue pushing on the console world. The future, though, seems to be in the smartphone. Accept it and conquer this world now that you’ve got the chance.

The Xbox One will focus on games, and that’s a good thing

When Microsoft launched the Xbox One it made it in two different keynotes: one devoted to TV and video content, and the second one devoted to games. This console was meant to conquer our sitting room and be our entertainment hub, but users spoke: they just wanted games, and that’s what ultimately made the PS4 gain a big advantage.

Microsoft didn’t surrender of course, and they announced a DVR capability for the Xbox One that was supposedly coming to the console sometime this year. It won’t finally:

Microsoft is no longer planning to add a TV DVR feature to its Xbox One console. The software giant originally unveiled plans to add TV DVR to the Xbox One back in August, noting that the feature would arrive some time in 2016. “After careful consideration, we’ve decided to put development of DVR for Over-the-Air TV on hold to focus our attention on launching new, higher fan-requested gaming experiences across Xbox One and Windows 10,” revealed a Microsoft spokesperson in a statement to The Verge

Users want games? They’ll have games.

Source: Microsoft isn’t adding a TV DVR feature to the Xbox One anymore | The Verge

Microsoft Cross-Network is a nice utopia

Microsoft has announced its support for Cross-Network Play, allowing Xbox owners to play games with anyone on PC or PlayStation. First, the caveats – this…

Usually you buy your console based on what your friends already have. Until now that was the only way you could be sure you would enjoy the game experience with them.

Microsoft wants to offer a promising alternative. Its Cross-Network Play technology offers players from every network and platform a unified multiplayer, multiplatform experience.

That means that you would be able to play FIFA 16 (not really right now) with your friends wether they play on the Xbox One,  the PS4 or a PC with Windows.

The problem, of course, is that Sony won’t have much interest in this. They’ve got the upper hand currently, so it’s not that interesting for the winning platform to join the one(s) who are behind.

Nice try from Microsoft, though.

The new, evolutionary, Xbox One

I’ve been a Xbox One user since its debut, but I’m the minority here in Spain, a country devoted to the PS4. It’s hard to defend that minor position with friends -not many can play along with me- but we can for sure defend it with facts.

One of the latest ones comes from the new update from Phil Spencer at Microsoft, who ‘has hinted that the company will offer optional hardware upgrades for the Xbox One in the future‘.

The path was clear months ago: the universal platform Microsoft is building includes the Xbox One, who will be able to execute not just games but universal apps. As The Guardian explains,

What this could mean is that the Xbox One becomes more like a PC, with Microsoft releasing updated versions at regular intervals with more powerful processors and graphics hardware. In theory, because games will be written as UWAs, older titles will remain compatible with the new machines.

An upgradable console? I don’t see this coming, but I guess Microsoft will be able to make updated, enhanced versions of the console that will improve computing and graphics power and still maintain backwards compatibility thanks to the new software paradigm.

That’s something not easy to do on other consoles, and could effectively transform the Xbox One into something that resembles more and more to a PC.

I wonder if that’s not a danger in itself. Uhm.

Follow up: Mark Walton shares my thinking at Ars Technica UK, where he develops this though with much  more detail. 

 

Steam Machine is a tough sell. Steam Link isn’t. Steam Controller? I really don’t know

Valve’s developers and Polygon’s editors share thoughts on the potentially revolutionary new hardware

As a veteran Linux user, I was really a big supporter of Steam Machines when the idea started to take off. The freedom and power that Valve was giving to the traditional PC was inspiring. Your PC could finally be your console and viceversa. Clever.

The execution has to prove many things, and Polygon editors share their first impressions about the first machine from Alienware (good design), the user interface (clunky), the openness (fantastic, but here developers must tell if it is useful or useless), the controller (amazing in some ways, confusing in others), and the games (good catalog, not perfect, big franchises out).

I admire the concept, but I guess it will be a tough sell for end users. Consoles give a pretty good environment, good user interface, fantastic multiplayer online options and the newest games… at really compelling prices. I wonder how Valve will market this.

The Steam Link is different: streaming Windows games to your TV seems a nice option to have –PCGamer agrees on this– for $50 bucks. The Xbox One supposedly will have this option in the future (you can stream games from the console to a Windows 10 PC), but for people who prefer to play on PC and has no console, the idea is pretty much perfect.

Source: Steam Machine hands-on: Does Valve’s hardware live up to its potential? | Polygon

Follow up: The Alienware Steam Machine: finally, a gaming PC for the living room | Engadget