Posts Tagged Microsoft

Super Podcast Action Committee – Episode 86

Super Podcast Action CommitteeOn this week’s show hosts Andrew Eisen and E. Zachary Knight talk about the possibility of Amazon releasing a home console of some sort this year, a study that says relaxing games make people more prosocial, Killer Instinct’s new jail system for rage quitters, the PS3 trade-in for Xbox One promotion from Microsoft, and Microsoft buying Gears of War from Epic. Download Episode 86 now: SuperPAC Episode 86 (1 hour, 11 minutes) 81 MB.

As always, you can subscribe to the show on iTunes and use our RSS Feed to add the show to your favorite news reader. You can also find us on Facebook, on Twitter@SuperPACPodcast and Google +. You can send us feedback on the show by dropping a note to superpacpodcast@gmail.com.

Credits: The Super Podcast Action Committee is hosted by E. Zachary Knight and Andrew Eisen, and produced by James Fudge. The show is edited by Jose Betancourt. Music in the show includes “Albino” by Brian Boyko and “Barroom Ballet” by Kevin MacLeod. Both are in the public domain and free to use. ECA bumper created by Andrew Eisen.

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Super Podcast Action Committee – Episode 59

Super Podcast Action CommitteeIn Episode 59 of the Super Podcast Action Committee, hosts Andrew Eisen and E. Zachary Knight talk about the latest GamePolitics polls, Don Mattrick jumping from Microsoft to Zynga, a teen jailed for Facebook comments, and a whole lot more. Download Episode 59 now: SuperPAC Episode 59 (1 hour, 2 minutes) 57.2 MB.

As always, you can subscribe to the show on iTunes and use our RSS Feed to add the show to your favorite news reader. You can also find us on Facebook, on Twitter@SuperPACPodcast and Google +. You can send us feedback on the show by dropping a note to superpacpodcast@gmail.com.

Credits: The Super Podcast Action Committee is hosted by E. Zachary Knight and Andrew Eisen, and produced by James Fudge. Music in the show includes “Albino” by Brian Boyko and “Barroom Ballet” by Kevin MacLeod. Both are in the public domain and free to use. ECA bumper created by Andrew Eisen.

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Microsoft Inches Toward Indie Friendliness With Dropped Patch Fee

Xbox One Green

It seems like just last week that I was saying that Microsoft just wasn’t ready for a digital gaming future. One of the three reasons I listed was that Microsoft is not particularly indie friendly. What with its requirement that developers have a publisher and that patch fees run in the 10′s of thousands of dollars. It comes as a surprise that Microsoft is actually listening to these complaints. While it hasn’t completely opened up its digital services to indies, it has made a good step in the right direction. The patch fees are now gone.

This move makes publishing to Microsoft’s XBLA platform a more pleasant experience. Fez developer Phil Fish brought this patch issue to light because he was unable to push a much needed patch for a game breaking bug. This led to a sort of falling out between him and Microsoft. Hopefully, this policy change will be retroactive, but Fish is not optimistic.

I do find it interesting that Microsoft has not made a bigger deal out of this. Considering the complaints that this policy has raised in the development community, one would think that Microsoft would be more than happy to yell it from the roof tops. Further, it would seem that this is not common knowledge even among XBox developers as we can see from Fish’s comments. Could this mean that Microsoft isn’t ready to make this a permanent change? Hopefully it is.

Even if the change is permanent, Microsoft still has quite a ways to go before its console will be indie friendly. Sony and Nintendo both allow for indie developers to self publish and neither have had any real and widespread issues with their indie game lineups. Hopefully, Microsoft will continue to move in the right direction and make that same change. Time can only tell.

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Super Podcast Action Committee – Episode 54

Super Podcast Action CommitteeIn Episode 54 Andrew Eisen and E. Zachary Knight talk about the latest GamePolitics poll, what all they would like to see from all the big publishers at E3 next week, and the stance of two publishers on DRM. Download Episode 54 now: SuperPAC Episode 54 (1 hour, 3 minutes) 58.5 MB.

As always, you can subscribe to the show on iTunes and use our RSS Feed to add the show to your favorite news reader. You can also find us on Facebook, on Twitter@SuperPACPodcast and Google +. You can send us feedback on the show by dropping a note tosuperpacpodcast@gmail.com.

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Super Podcast Action Committee – Episode 53 LIVE

As always, you can subscribe to the show on iTunes and use our RSS Feed to add the show to your favorite news reader. You can also find us on Facebook, on Twitter @SuperPACPodcast and Google +. You can send us feedback on the show by dropping a note to superpacpodcast@gmail.com.

Credits: The Super Podcast Action Committee is hosted by E. Zachary Knight and Andrew Eisen, and produced by James Fudge. Music in the show includes “Albino” by Brian Boyko and “Barroom Ballet” by Kevin MacLeod. Both are in the public domain and free to use. ECA bumper created by Andrew Eisen.

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Super Podcast Action Committee – Episode 52

Super Podcast Action CommitteeIn Episode 52, hosts Andrew Eisen and E. Zachary Knight talk about females presenters at Microsoft’s Xbox reveal event this week, EA’s continued abuse of the Wii U community, The new S.H.I.E.L.D TV series, Wreck-It Ralph, sushi, and other topics and tangents – mostly instigated by Andrew! Download Episode 52 now: SuperPAC Episode 52 (1 hour, 12 minutes) 66.7 MB.

As always, you can subscribe to the show on iTunes and use our RSS Feed to add the show to your favorite news reader. You can also find us on Facebook, on Twitter @SuperPACPodcast and Google +. You can send us feedback on the show by dropping a note to superpacpodcast@gmail.com.

Credits: The Super Podcast Action Committee is hosted by E. Zachary Knight and Andrew Eisen, and produced by James Fudge. Music in the show includes “Albino” by Brian Boyko and “Barroom Ballet” by Kevin MacLeod. Both are in the public domain and free to use. ECA bumper created by Andrew Eisen.

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Super Podcast Action Committee – Episode 28

Super Podcast Action CommitteeIn Episode 28 of the Super Podcast Action Committee hosts Andrew Eisen and E. Zachary Knight discuss the importance of voting, Microsoft’s bad Xbox 360 press event in Israel, and a dumb patent designed to count how many people are watching licensed content from a console (so they can charge more money, we assume). Download it now: SuperPAC Episode 28 (1 hour, 18 minutes) 69.6 MB.

As always, you can subscribe to the show on iTunes and use our RSS Feed to add the show to your favorite news reader. You can also find us onFacebook (where there’s an app that will let you listen to the show), and on Twitter @SuperPACPodcast. You can send us feedback on the show by dropping a note to superpacpodcast@gmail.com.

Credits: The Super Podcast Action Committee is hosted by E. Zachary Knight and Andrew Eisen, and produced by James Fudge. Music in the show includes “Albino” by Brian Boyko and “Barroom Ballet” by Kevin MacLeod. Both are in the public domain and free to use.

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XBox Indie Game Developers Get Some Dahsboard Relief

Now, I don’t have a 360 and cannot easily verify this, but reports are coming in that XBox Live Indie Game developers are finally getting the promotion in the Dashboard they have been clamoring for for years. There is now a first page shortcut for Indie Games within the games tab of the 360 dashboard. This is something that many indie game developers have requested for as long as the program has existed.

This is also a contrast to the history of the indie game section. It seems that every time Microsoft made an update to the 360 Dashboard, the indie game section would be pushed off into some new obscure hole. It was never in the same place and almost always buried within multiple unintuitive menu options. This is the first time it has ever been listed along side Arcade and On Demand games.

Is this a new dawn for indie game developers or will this end up being only a temporary reprieve from obscurity? We won’t know for sure, at least not for a while. But let’s hope that this new placement will stay for the duration of the 360.

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Microsoft, Among Others, Doesn’t Want To Be Sued

Add Microsoft to the big list of companies that don’t want their customers to have the ability to sue them. Earlier this year, Sony added a clause to its terms of service that prevents PS3 owners from joining class action suits and forces those same customers through what is called mandatory arbitration. EA followed suit as well. Now Microsoft has done so with its latest Dash update.

For those unfamiliar with arbitration and such mandatory clauses, here is a quick explanation for you. Arbitration is a method of settling a dispute using a third party mediator rather than a court. This is meant to be faster and less costly for all parties involved. However, due to the nature of such mandatory agreements and the arbitration business itself, the deck is stack in favor of the business. Most arbitration clauses have a provision that gives the company the sole power to choose the arbitrator. Because of this, most arbitrators will side more frequently with the business in order to get more business down the road. I mean who would want to give their business to a third party that doesn’t rule in their favor.

So you can obviously see why most companies would rather settle disputes through arbitration and not a court.

On top of this provision, Microsoft’s agreement also blocks class action lawsuits from being filed against Microsoft. What this will do is prevent one of the best ways of holding businesses accountable for violating the rights of a large class of people. If people cannot band together to settle a dispute, each person in the class is forced to file separately which drives up the costs associated with seeking a remedy making it far more inconvenient.

While Kotaku notes that some states and nations may have laws that preempt such clauses, the majority of XBox 360 owners are stuck with these provisions. This is not a move that any gamer should be happy with. Arbitration should be a choice between the parties involved and should only be raised when an issue arises, not as a defensive maneuver. Sadly, Microsoft will not allow gamers to opt out of this in any way that does not involve ditching their console.

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Microsoft Does Not Handle Indies Very Well

Back when Microsoft announced the XBox Live Indie Games service, it was welcomed as a bastion for indie developers wanting to make a name for themselves in the console game world. A massive flood of games resulted over the years. Over that same course of time, Microsoft has not been able to figure out just what to do with these games. This is apparent from the often controversial placements of the Indie Game section in pretty much every Dash update.

The latest move has not been met with any less controversy. Indie devs have taken to the developer forums to complain that it takes gamers 17 button presses to get to the top download lists. This is made all the more infuriating when compared to the Arcade and Games on Demand sections that require only 8 button presses. For those still not convinced at how bad this latest update is, here is forum user Factory Eight’s break down of the steps:

For those who haven’t seen it yet, here’s the breakdown of how to access the channel, and what you see:

  1. Boot up the console
  2. Sign in
  3. Right Bumper three times to Games
  4. D-Pad down to Games Marketplace
  5. Right bumper once to Games
  6. Wait a few seconds for the rolling advert to change to Indie Games to see DBP winners and the Kotaku list (not the general XBLIG list), OR
  7. D-Pad down once and right three times to Game Type
  8. D-Pad right twice to Indie Games

Ben Kane from Going Loud Studios put together a nice list of many of the wins and losses of the update stating:

While I think there are some great wins for indie game discoverability (Bing, related games, picks), the usability of the indie games section has taken a big hit. There’s nothing to browse anymore. There’s no reason to visit. There’s no sense of there even being a place to visit at all, even if you do manage to find it.

Frankly, I’m surprised and impressed at what we got. I think that what we lost is overwhelming though.

This is pretty sad. I think what is really happening is that Microsoft never expected this to take off the way it did. Now it is a real threat to the big guns in the Arcade section. While indie developers are clamoring for more equal footing with Arcade developers, Microsoft is unwilling to follow through as it would theoretically “lower the quality bar” of arcade games, thus lower revenues. So they are stuck treating indie games as a step child. It sucks.

Some of these concerns could be done away with by implementing simple changes such as allowing for better search and sorting functionality within the indie games section. They could add a few new promotional channels  to it as well. These are just some suggestions, but the primary complaint by indie developers is that Microsoft needs to stop screwing over indie developers with every dash update.

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