November 28th, 2005

Walter

Home again, home again

Jiggety jig, etc.

I wrote a bunch of posts on my laptop on the train about game design and game consoles, but I'm not sure it's worth posting them all here.

Basically, I find it amusing that the 360 is having all kinds of issues. Most of them do seem to be overheating problems, but they also seem to have cheaped out on the drives... Ironic since they're still loosing $126 a console, and their policy is to completely replace any unit which appears to be defective. (But maybe this is actually more profitable than putting better drives in all of them, who knows. I'm reminded of the Automotive Recall formula from Fight Club...)

Also, I suppose this does shed some light on their purposefully stunted production run... They may have expected hardware problems, and used the early adopters as a trial run. (Maybe they lost $126 on each box, but they also ensured that most of the units sold were part of a $600 - $700 bundle, padded with games that they do make a profit on... So they may not really have lost much money. Yet.)

Also interesting... They have super badass DRM, and it appears to be integrated with the tamper-proofing on the box as a whole. I'm not sure if it's intentional, but that suggests that screwing with the hardware or OS of the box at all (such as to use it as a cheap linux workstation with an HD display, at Microsoft's expense) counts as "attempting to defeat a copyright mechanism" and thus is a punishable federal offense under the DMCA. Ouch!

I still give their new unbreakable protection about a month or so to get broken... But that month won't really start until they do a "real" production run of boxes, that sell at list price and aren't incredibly rare on top of being 10% - 15%(?) defective.

Also, I had a cool conversation about how totally not computer literate TRON was, and what it seemed to be saying about programmers and operating systems, and the various ways you could interpret it. It's definitely anti-corporate, and some of the "freedom" aspects ring faintly of Open Source, but if anything, the idea of a demented Master Control Program forcing mild mannered applications to fight to the death in arenas sounds like a scathing indictment of Windows 98 and NT...

Also, that recent TRON game could have been a lot more clever and computer-oriented, but clever gameplay ideas aren't really in style anymore.

And this made me impatient for the Revolution again.
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