Almost two years ago I blogged about the promise of true cross-platforming which is made possible by the shared core in Windows ecosystem. This is a subject I’ve been passionate about for a while, so I can say I got pretty excited as Microsoft Studios announced that they will release the latest installment of the legendary Age of Empires franchise to mobile and desktop platforms, and it is completely playable between the two. Age of Empires: Castle Siege is free-to-play, and works just as well with 24” screen and mouse, as well as on a phone’s 4,5” touch screen. And of course with any Windows tablet too. Not many games can say the same!
The game does its magic trough Xbox Live (duh, obviously) so you can easily find friends who play it too and forge alliances with them – again regardless of the device they use. All in all the experience is pretty much what I visioned two years ago for the future of gaming to be. Although cross-platform games haven’t become as common as I hoped for, the movement is there.
And I like it.
Inspired by an article titled “Consumers won… or did they?” by Miikka Lehtonen (original text in Finnish here), I decided to write something about the fuzz around Xbox One myself. As you might remember, Microsoft announced in the introduction of Xbox One that they would transition to a new type of owning and distributing philosophy with its games. In a sense, discs would only become a delivery method for the games and consumers would actually buy the right to play them with a digital license. Also, it was told that Xbox One would need daily Internet connection in order to “call home”: this way a gamer’s right to play a particular game could be verified (a.k.a. DRM). This meant that you could not sell your game to e.g. your friend, but only to a verified reseller. On the obvious positive side, all the games could have been played without using the physical disc by installing them on the console’s hard drive. Some consumers welcomed this renewal with open arms, but unfortunately those who disagree with change, the laggards, have a track record of being the loudest of the audience. Continue reading “How Laggards Delayed the Future – Case Xbox One”