Gam­ing gaffes

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - TECHNOLOGY - By CHONG JINN XIUNG bytz@thes­tar.com.my

THE videogame in­dus­try is not ex­empt from blun­ders. All three ma­jor con­sole man­u­fac­tur­ers made a few boo-boos as they in­tro­duced their much-awaited gam­ing con­soles.

Mi­crosoft un­veiled its Xbox One gam­ing con­sole on May 21 as an all-in-one me­dia hub with the abil­ity to con­trol the de­vice with just your voice.

In a move to go fully dig­i­tal, the com­pany an­nounced that all game pur­chases would be tied to the Xbox Live ac­count and, in the­ory, this would al­low users to ac­cess the games from the Cloud and share them with up to 10 fam­ily mem­bers.

The only catch to this oth­er­wise cool sys­tem is that the Xbox One must be con­nected to the In­ter­net at least once ev­ery 24 hours. Fail­ing to do so will ren­der the games un­playable un­til the con­sole is con­nected to the Net once again.

Gamers were not happy with this move and within weeks Mi­crosoft re­versed its de­ci­sion and did away with the manda­tory In­ter­net con­nec­tion and the con­sole only has to be con­nected on­line once when it is ini­tially be­ing setup.

How­ever, this has put the game shar­ing fea­ture in limbo al­though Mi­crosoft says it might make a re­turn.

With this an­nounce­ment came two other good news — the com­pany did away with its com­pli­cated pol­icy for re­selling used games and it also abol­ished re­gion lock­ing. This means you can buy a game from any coun­try for the Xbox One.

Stream­ing sur­prise

One of the ground­break­ing fea­tures of the next-gen con­soles is the abil­ity to share and stream game­play mo­ments with a sim­ple press of a but­ton.

For ex­am­ple, you can share your awe­some kills in Kil­l­zone or the fastest lap time in Drive Club with friends but Sony took this a step fur­ther with its Play­room which is an aug­mented re­al­ity game that al­lowed users to fea­ture vir­tual items in their videos.

But Sony was in for a shock, as some gamers had posted ob­jec­tion­able videos of them­selves us­ing the PlayS­ta­tion Cam­era. The straw that broke the prover­bial camel’s back was a video of a naked lady passed out on a couch.

This prompted Twitch.tv, the stream­ing ser­vice provider, to re­move all streamed con­tent from the PS4’s Play­room. How­ever, it still al­lows gam­ing con­tent to be streamed from other games on the PS4 and has said it will take another look at Play­room again in the fu­ture to re-enable the ser­vice.

This just goes to show that you can’t leave gamers in a room with a cam­era with­out ex­pect­ing some form of mis­chief.

Sony’s woes with the PS4 didn’t stop there — a few days af­ter the launch of the con­sole, re­ports ap­peared on­line that the PS4 suf­fered from a ter­mi­nal flaw which now has been chris­tened as the Blue Light of Death.

In a state­ment, the com­pany said that only 0.4% of its PS4 units is af­fected which is roughly about one in 250 units.

Ser­vice ex­ploited

Even Nin­tendo was not spared from hav­ing to make dif­fi­cult de­ci­sions. The com­pany re­cently re­moved a fea­ture from its mes­sag­ing app Swap­note, which al­lowed users to ex­change pho­tos via the In­ter­net.

The rea­son be­hind this hasty de­ci­sion is be­cause some users have ex­ploited the free Nin­tendo-made app to share of­fen­sive ma­te­rial with other users, in­clud­ing mi­nors. The ser­vice has also been used wrongly to ex­change friend codes, Nin­tendo’s own spe­cial game ID to play on­line with other play­ers.

The orig­i­nal in­ten­tion of Swap­Note, when it was in­tro­duced in De­cem­ber 2011, was for users to share and cre­ate hand­writ­ten notes and draw­ings. The on­line shar­ing fea­ture, also known as Spot­pass, was ter­mi­nated across all re­gions on Oct 31 this year. Users can still ex­change notes when they pass each other with a 3DS.

Nin­tendo’s de­ci­sion is a wise one as it will pro­tect the mi­nors us­ing the gam­ing de­vice but it’s sure to up­set many gamers who have come to love the ser­vice.

Gamers were un­happy with Mi­crosoft’s ini­tial in­sis­tence on an al­ways-on­line Xbox one, com­pli­cated pol­icy for re­selling used games and re­gion lock­ing, which led to the com­pany back­track­ing on all three poli­cies.

Gone for good: nin­tendo had to make the dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion of re­mov­ing a fea­ture from its Swap­note app.

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