Survey Suggests Microsoft is Considering An Ad-Supported Game Pass Tier

A recent survey conducted by Microsoft has asked gamers if they would be willing to pay a lower monthly subscription than the standard Xbox Game Pass monthly fee, in exchange for some limitations and the integration of ads.

A survey, by all means, is not an indication that such a tier would see the light of day, however, it does indicate that this is something that Microsoft is considering.

My Spanish is good enough to make me dangerous.

Game Pass has quickly become a cornerstone of Xbox’s strategy holding 25 million subscribers, even though growth has slowed recently. A cheaper tier subsidized by ads may give the service another jolt. Let’s also not forget that Microsoft has acquired Bethesda and is trying to also add Activision Blizzard, which would provide the service with quite the roster of AAA titles.

All in all, Game Pass racked in $2.9 billion for Xbox in 2021, which is totally a sum you can live on.

[Source: ResetEra]

John Carmack Ditches Meta – Cites Company’s Lack of Efficiency for Departure

Videogame industry pioneer John Carmack has left Meta according to an internal memo leaked to the media on Friday, December 16. He has since made it official via his Facebook page.

Carmack, a legendary programmer who has been at the forefront of gaming since the early 1990s and a founding member of id Software, did not mince words in his departure message.


“We have a ridiculous amount of people and resources, but we constantly self-sabotage and squander effort. There is no way to sugar coat this; I think our organization is operating at half the effectiveness that would make me happy.

“It has been a struggle for me. I have a voice at the highest levels here, so it feels like I should be able to move things, but I’m evidently not persuasive enough. A good fraction of the things I complain about eventually turn my way after a year or two passes and evidence piles up, but I have never been able to kill stupid things before they cause damage, or set a direction and have a team actually stick to it.

“…Make better decisions and fill your products with ‘Give a Damn!'”

John Carmack via Facebook

Carmack is straight-up cold.

It’s tough to believe that Carmack, a man who has helped to bring cutting-edge tech to the masses and was the tech lead for titles like Doom and Quake had issues with the dumpster fire that is Meta under the leadership of a pseudo-human android.

Can one blame him? Carmack went from working on intense classic first-person shooters, rocketry, VR, and AR to something that looks like a shitty Nintendo Wii shovelware game.

Carmack however, is not riding off into the sunset. He plans to spend more time at his startup, Keen Technologies, developing AI systems. Maybe he can help develop one to replace Zuckerburg’s current AI to make him appear more human?

[Source: Facebook]

You Can Now Play Steam On Your New Tesla X & S

Technically you could play Steam in your Tesla if you have a gaming laptop or Steam Deck, but now you can play Steam on your Tesla. This officially makes Tesla a console maker, no?

Steam titles will now be playable on some of Tesla’s vehicles as part of the EV maker’s “Holiday Update.” The update also includes Apple Music, a new in-cabin camera view, and updated light-show features, but who cares about that shit.

According to the announcement via Twitter, Tesla’s system is also compatible with wireless controllers, so owners can bring along their controller of choice when on the road.

Tesla does not go into details as to the logistics of when you can play these games, but let’s assume gaming will only be accessible while the EV is parked.

No doubt someone will figure out a workaround to get Steam working while the car is driving, which would be amazing and stupid at the same time.

[Source: Tesla via Twitter]

Microsoft President Says Sony Is Acting Like Blockbuster Video During the Rise of Netflix

Microsoft President and Vice Chairman Brad Smith has called out Sony’s stance against Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard in a The Wall Street Journal op-ed comparing them to the failed video rental chain.


“Sony has emerged as the loudest objector… It’s as excited about this deal as Blockbuster was about the rise of Netflix… Think about how much better it is to stream a movie from your couch than drive to Blockbuster. We want to bring the same sort of innovation to the videogame industry.”

WSJ

It is really starting to appear that Microsft is not going to back down from this acquisition. They have agreed to concessions on the deal in the EU, offering to keep Call of Duty on Playstation for 10 years. Now, according to the New York Post, FTC insiders are claiming that of the four-person panel currently investigating the proposed deal, two may be looking to side with Microsoft. This now splits voting 2-2.

Lina Khan, the Federal Trade Commission chairperson has even floated the idea of suing Microsoft over the proposed acquisition. However, former FTC chairperson William Kovacic told the New York Post regarding a lawsuit to block the merger: “Lina [Khan] would probably not put things in a position for that to take place, so instead of having that vote she would make the motion to approve the settlement.”

So in the end it looks like Microsoft will make concessions for the US, similar to the EU, to keep Call of Duty on Playstation for the foreseeable future, which is really in their best interests anyway.

Looks like Playstation Boss Jim Ryan racked up the frequent flier miles protesting the deal for nothing.

[Source: WSJ & New York Post]

TCL Really Wants You To Buy a New TV for Xbox Series X PRO and PlayStation 5 PRO – Really?

Consumer electronics company TCL, which makes decent TVs at competitive price points, really wants you to believe that Sony and Microsoft are going to be refreshing the PS5 and Xbox Series X soon. So you really should be considering upgrading your boob tube.

According to Polish news outlet PPE, TCL presented at an electronics conference in Poland and the company believes that a “PS5 Pro” and “new Xbox Series X|S” will arrive between 2023 and 2024.

TCL’s presentation showed a history of consoles, starting with the original PS4 and Xbox One in 2013. TCL then notes that the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X were released a few years later. The presentation goes on to show the launch of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S in 2020. Naturally, that means a refresh should come out next year or so, right? RIGHT!?!

At the end of TCL’s presentation, they claim that Series X / PS5 PRO will provide 60-120 FPS resolution at 4K, and have the ability to display 8K. TCL also believes that the new consoles will have AMD Radeon RX 7700 XT technology. Shit, the TV that I bought specifically for my PS5 and Xbox Series is a total piece of shit now. I should consider buying a fancy new TV from TCL.

Sorry, TCL, but I think a mid-generation refresh is a bit further out, given that the current builds of the Xbox Series X and PS5 are still relatively hard to come by.

Nice try though.

The PlayStation Plus Rollout in Asia is Opening Up Some Peculiar Decisions From Sony

You know, yesterday I said something nice about Sony’s rollout of PlayStation Plus in Asia. How it was NOT entirely a dumpster fire and actually has a robust library of games. Then Sony completely fucks it up with strange and borderline anti-consumer decisions.

First, let’s talk about a decision that’s just plain lazy. In what some would say is a case of deja vu, it appears that some of the PlayStation 1 titles on PlayStation Plus are running the slower-performing PAL versions of games. The PAL versions usually run at a lower framerate, which translates into choppier playback. As some may recall, this was an issue with the PlayStation Mini. There really is no reason why Sony would opt for the PAL version, other than not giving a shit or pure laziness.

Another decision from Sony is just “scumbaggy.” According to reports circulating online, original PlayStation Plus subscribers who purchased a subscription at a discount now have to pay the difference in order to upgrade.

As one user in Hong Kong explains, “[Imagine] if I went to KFC [the other day] and I bought a meal at a discount, then today I have to pay back that discount in order to buy another meal…”

The fried chicken analogy really resonated with me. Why can’t launch a service without it being an utter shitshow?

PlayStation Plus Has Launched In Asia and There are Actually a Ton of Games

Last week, Sony announced a list of games that would launch with PlayStation Plus when it rolls out in Asia, and yours truly had a shit fit on how underwhelming it was. Today, I stand corrected.

The list that was released today on the PlayStation website is far more extensive, including a mix of PS4 and PS5 games, as well as a “Classics Catalog,” which is a good thing. Sony also goes on to promise that more games will be added soon. So maybe PlayStation Plus won’t be entirely dead on arrival when it matches up with Xbox Game Pass.

Better yet, it was announced that games on the service may feature enhancements, like up-rendering, rewind, and quick save, thereby taking advantage of the PS5’s horsepower. Gamers can also opt for various scaling, aspect ratios, and video filters, to give their classics some retro crustiness.

PlayStation Plus is scheduled to launch in Japan next, and then rolling out to the USA and Europe in June.

For a full list, go ahead and check out Sony’s website.

[Source: Sony]

EA Is Looking for Someone, Anyone, to Swoop in and Buy Them

Electronic Arts is actively seeking someone to sweep them off their feet, for a merger or outright buyout, according to a story first reported by Puck.

The company has held talks with a who’s who of media and tech conglomerates, including Apple, Comcast, Disney, and Amazon. EA allegedly tried to get Disney to take the leap back in March, to forge a relationship that was more than your run-of-the-mill licensing deals, but the House of Mouse was apparently not looking for commitment.

EA was apparently feeling left out with the news of Activision Blizzard getting snatched up by Microsoft and Destiny Studio Bungie hooking up with Sony. EA is literally acting like that one girl who goes on vacation with her friends who find flings for themselves, so she desperately goes after any available guy in the vicinity.

EA really should act less desperately and show a little self-respect.

Sony Has Eyes in Being a Major Player in the Metaverse

I know that I give Sony a lot of shit, but I’m hard on them because I love them, and want them to succeed. I believe in tough love and as a gamer, when all game companies are competitive, then gamers win. So to see Sony looking at something so futuristic and cool like the metaverse, I become genuinely excited.

According to a Reuters article, Sony is positioned to be a leader in the metaverse. To be clear, when I say metaverse, I’m not talking about the dystopian garbage that is being pushed by Facebook, or as they like to be called now, Meta.

Chief Executive Kenichiro Yoshida said at a strategy briefing on Wednesday that “…the metaverse is at the same time a social space and live network space where games, music, movies, and anime intersect…”

Sony Chief Executive Kenichiro Yoshida

Even though Sony is obviously all in on the PlayStation 5, experts have pointed out that they are willing to dip their toes into cross-platform titles. They have even gone as far as purchasing Bungie, where according to Yoshida, “We believe it will be a catalyst to enhance our live service game capabilities… (It) represents a major step forward in becoming multi-platform.”

The metaverse is very much in its infancy and just a general concept, but I’m old enough to remember the very early days of the internet, and the metaverse is a natural and exciting evolution.

[Source: Reuters]

Sony Reveals Initial List of Games for the Revamped PlayStation Plus for Asia – But where are all the games?

There has been a good amount of information released today regarding the imminent launch of PlayStation Plus in Asia. Too bad that it’s not all good and still confusing as hell.

Next week, the new tiered PlayStation Plus subscription service will launch in Asia with a slow rollout to other regions in June. Sony has announced today that 119 games will be available in the $15/month Premium tier and even fewer titles will be available in the $10/month Extra tier.

That’s great, but that is not even close to the “up to 740 games” that Sony announced previously. That even includes 27 titles from the recently announced Ubisoft+ service that Sony has partnered up with.

It’s interesting that an official Sony blog post in March touts 700+ games while their post today mentions no count at all. However, a quick manual count shows the library at 119, so what gives? Will more games be added for the June global rollout or was this a massive miscalculation from Sony?

What I do know is that if Sony expects PlayStation Plus to compete with Xbox Game Pass, then they will need to up the value proposition. As of right now, Sony’s answer to Game Pass is looking lame as hell and I see no way how it can possibly compete with Game Pass.

[Source: Sony]