Posts Tagged ‘ xbox 360 ’

Minecraft 360 Reviews: Halloween Texture Pack

This week 4J Studios has release their newest texture pack for the Xbox version of Minecraft. In the spirit of this time of year, this pack is suitably themed for Halloween. Before I dig into this texture pack, I want to say that the Halloween theme is free, but only available till November 3rd! So I encourage everyone to go out and download it regardless of if you think you’d like it or not. However, if you require more than “free for a limited time” to convince you (or you’re actually interested in reading this) then keep scrolling down.

Truth be told, I’m not really a fan of Halloween. That’s not to say I don’t like it, only that I don’t really get excited for it. While dressing up in costumes for one night a year is kinda fun, the whole spooky/death aspect of the holiday just really takes much of the fun out of it. Pirates? Cool. Power Rangers? Why not? Slave Leia? Yes, ma’am! Man in an over-sized demon mask with far too much detail and holding an all-to-realistic fake head of a murdered woman? No thanks. I don’t care for horror/scare movies; I don’t understand the appeal of taking time out of my life to willingly poop my own pants. I don’t like Witchcraft, and I don’t believe in ghosts or other perceived paranormal occurrences. So Halloween holds very little interest for me outside of a party with friends and a few well-made cocktails.

This is my kind of Halloween!

This is my kind of Halloween!

So with that being said, I can honestly say that I love this texture pack! I think this largely has to do with the world I have already built. Everything has a purplish hue to it with many lines being exaggerated by shadows. This allows stone bricks and other similar blocks to really pop without getting as garish as the Plastic texture pack (review to come later). Every object that is supposed to be related to fire has turned a bright green as if they are the creation of magic and not the laws of physics. Torches, fire, even lava share this same color, bringing a sense of consistency to this world.

My fortress of dark sorcery!

Everywhere you look there is a small detail that brings a fun and playfully spooky feel to the world. The world is filled with an orange haze by day and a slight purple fog by night. Stone blocks contain the imprint of skulls. Flowers are small, carnivorous creatures. Glowstone Lamps create silhouettes of black cats. Minecart rails are built on broken bones. Every tool and weapon has a splash of green goo as if they were used to slay some unholy creature. Every armor set is based on a costume with the coveted Diamond Armor represented by the every fearful clown. Even the sun and the moon bear the visage of a sharp-toothed beast watching over you. Did I mention the purple rain? The list goes on. Despite my dislike of the subject matter, this texture pack is done in such a fun way that I can’t help but love it. Perhaps if my world was built in another fashion I wouldn’t have as good feelings towards it, but with my current design it fits wonderfully.

TRANSLATION

Now what about the all-important issue of translation? Or more simply put, how well do these textures work with an already built world? Almost all the blocks remain the same, only with a new coat of flair. So for most builds and designs everything should be just fine. HOWEVER! If you like to use colored wool in your designs, whether for carpeting, pixel portraits, or colorful building design, you may find yourself in some trouble. Similar to the Mass Effect textures (again review to come), many of the colored wool blocks receive total overhauls. The pink wool has been replaced by a red eye peaking out of jungle wood planks. The turquoise and dark blue blocks turn into castle window panes. Oddly enough, the grey wool now becomes black wool while black wool becomes a glowing face emerging from a pine tree. These are all really great additions to make a completely ghoulish world, however they will likely end up ruining many gamers’ use of colored wool. Likewise, building a world starting with the Halloween textures will lead to possible complications if you go back to vanilla textures as all of the sudden you’ll have random pieces of wool placed in buildings or trees.

Colored Wool in Halloween…

…and in Vanilla.

VERDICT

So should you download this pack? Well, since it’s absolutely free and will no longer be available after November 3rd there isn’t any reason to not download it! If you don’t have a heavy use of colored wool in your world, then translation problems should be very little. Overall the textures bring a pretty cool twist to a game many of us have been playing for over a year now; even to passive Halloween participants like myself. Props to 4J for their most creative textures thus far!

Enjoy some of the pictures below, but if you want to see more, check out the rest of them (as well as vanilla screen caps of my world in progress) in my Photobucket album.

Advertisements

Good ‘Ol Capitalistic Competition

I remember the day vividly. I had taken the day off so I wouldn’t miss a thing. I woke up earlier than usual so I could travel to the best vantage point for what was about to come. It was June 10, 2013; the first day of E3. I watched every moment from my brother’s 55″ 120hz TV in glorious, uncompressed HD, a computer in front of me to monitor a live blog (while also live blogging myself for BTDT) and my iPhone in my hand with the latest twitter feeds from press on the scene. I was ready to see what developers had been keeping under wraps for the past several years. I was ready to see the next generation of gaming.

Xbox One

Xbox One – via forbes.com

Microsoft kicked off the day with an amazing conference, despite a few technical hiccups, and showcased so many games that I had trouble tracking what was going on. Publisher EA easily took away my award for best conference of the show, showing off the beautiful Garden Warfare shooter, Battlefield 4 multiplayer, Titanfall multiplayer, and announcing a new Mirror’s Edge game and a new Star Wars Battlefront game by DICE (which literally brought a tear to my eye).  Ubisoft went third in a somewhat lackluster conference if only because we saw many amazing projects that we had already seen before. Compared to all the newness of Microsoft’s and EA’s conferences, Ubisoft’s conference lacked much of the same punch, at least it did until Sony took the stage.

Playstation 4

Playstation 4 – via uncrate.com

After all the amazing worlds I had been introduced to throughout the day, the last conference lead by Sony was downright boring. Sony’s big marquee PS4 titles had already been debuted months earlier, making their appearance appreciated, but not surprising. Sony also had to take time out of their show to talk about TV/video streaming offerings and teased projects from Sony’s movie production studios; announcements that have little place at E3 any other year, let alone the year of new consoles. Add in the large amount of time Sony spent on well-known Indie developers (some whose showcased projects had been out for over a year) and you end up with a very unexciting conference. The conspiracy theorist in me would say that Sony made their conference boring on purpose just to give their last few minutes more impact.

After months of silence Sony (and controversy about Microsoft’s new policies) finally threw a sucker-punch at Microsoft: no restrictions on used games. Then a hay-maker followed: no internet check-in required for the console to work. Sony finished with an uppercut to Microsoft’s jaw: a launch price of $399 ($100 less than the Xbox One’s $499 launch price). I have been following the tech industry for quite some time now, so seeing one company compare their products against another is nothing new. However, I have not seen a company so specifically target its competition’s weaknesses in such a brutal, open fashion. Especially when almost every rumor and insider comment about Sony’s policies indicated that they would be following in a similar (if not exact) manner to Microsoft’s. As surprised as I was about what Sony was trying to pull off, I can’t imagine how the suits at Microsoft felt.

Sick burn

This is how Playstation 4 shares games… – via technobuffalo.com

In the two months since, both Sony and Microsoft have been going back and forth with reversals and one-ups. Microsoft has dropped nearly all of the major complaints of the Xbox One save for the Kinect in every box and the $499 price tag. When Microsoft announced a 1000 person limit to the new friends list, Sony came out and said the PS4 limit was 2000. Microsoft announced that their video sharing feature would be locked behind a Gold membership, Sony came out and said that theirs required no such subscription. Back and forth, back and forth.

I’ll be honest, I’m pretty disappointed that Microsoft has had to back track on so many of their policies because of the angry Internet. While I had some reservations about their radical change, I do believe that their plans were the biggest step towards an actual next-generation of games and entertainment than what Sony is offering. However, I’m pretty excited about this sudden need for Microsoft to compete with Sony. With Nintendo all but refusing to compete in a post-iPhone world, Sony is the only company that has the capability to go head-to-head with Microsoft in the gaming space. Again, I think Microsoft were more concerned with competing against Apple and Google than Sony, but I am pretty surprised at how well Sony managed to drag down Microsoft to compete on their level. It’s a rare example today of capitalism at work. In a world of mega-corporations and government-back duopolies, consumers don’t often get to see one of the things that is supposed to make our country great: competition. These past couple months have truly been exciting for the gaming space because of it.

Next-Gen Gaming: Titanfall

Titanfall – via polygon.com

I am sad that we will have to wait a few more years before we have truly next-generation gaming experience, but gamers on both sides of the console space (and you PC folks as well) need to realize that this competition between Sony and Microsoft is only something that will give us better experiences. Whether you’re a Sony-drone, an Xbot, or a PC elitist, this is an exciting time for all. Don’t get mad, don’t get depressed. Be happy! It’s been almost a decade since we’ve had an environment like this, so enjoy the change!

Xbox Announcement: Temper Your Expectations

It’s official, Microsoft is making a new Xbox! I mean, everyone has known this since forever ago, but Microsoft has finally admitted it themselves, which is the key announcement we needed. Earlier today Microsoft put out invitations to many games and tech press outlets to go to Microsoft’s own campus in Redmond, Washington to see the next generation of Xbox. Needless to say, I’m pretty stoked that the last company has admitted their next-gen exploits and am looking forward to the announcement.

 

 

HOWEVER!

 

If you’re going in to this announcement expecting some E3 style bonanza, then you’ll be pretty sad. In fact, if you watch the event expecting more than “some” of the announcement being about video games, I think you’ll be very disappointed. This May event will more in common with an iPhone announcement than an E3 press conference. Sure, there will be games (we’ll probably receive a sizzle reel or even an announcement or two), but Microsoft will be saving most of their gaming announcements for E3 proper. This event will be mostly about the hardware build and the consumer services it will provide. You know, like a tech announcement.

 

Wait, why are you mad? Haven’t you complained about Microsoft’s E3 events being too focused on Kinect games and TV stuff? Well, this is one way Microsoft will be able to reign their E3 events back to a more gaming centric focus than they have been in the past couple years. The May event will allow them to really dive into Kinect functionality, family appeal, and general media hub usage. Microsoft will talk quite a bit about its integration with Windows 8 devices, social networks, and existing cable/satellite/internet providers. This will be an event catering to Microsoft’s larger non-gaming audience without any buzz from other events from Apple, Google, or Samsung or the general hubbub of E3 and the slew of post-E3 events (Comic-Con, PAX, Gamescom, etc.).

Don’t worry. Let Microsoft take the time to get this out of their system. The more about Kinect they talk about in May, the less we’ll have to hear about it at E3. And really, the turnaround is pretty quick. It’s less than three weeks between the May event and their Monday press conference for E3. We’ll get a taste for what Xbox will be bringing to the table in May and get a full helping 19 days later. Be patient. Before we know it, it will be June 10 and we’ll be sitting down to watch eight straight hours of unadulterated next-generation goodness to kick off a whole week of announcements. Just don’t be hating when May isn’t as satisfactory as you liked.

 

Thank You!

Once again, thanks for your time. Despite my cautions to not get you hopes up, what are you hoping Microsoft shows off at this event? And please, don’t just say “New IP”. Be specific.

The Xbox 720 Will/Won’t Be Always Online

I’m a pretty lazy blogger. Like, pretty bad. I’ve been sitting on a multi-blog series on next gen consoles since December and I haven’t published a single one. Well, nothing sparks up the flame of motivation like seeing something so ridiculous that you cannot sit by and idly let it go.

I’m sure many of you have heard about the Twitter post heard around the world the resulted in the departure of top Microsoft executive, Adam Orth. His inferred comments about an always-online next generation Xbox fanned a flame of Internet forum vitriol so large that either by force or choice (or as famed game designer Cliff Bleszinski suggests, unfortunate coincidence) he resigned from his position within a week of the post. Since then, multiple rumors have popped up both confirming and denying that the next Xbox will be always online. Yet out of all of that hubbub and shouting, none of that babble is actually spurring this blog together. Sure, I put ideas down and thought out potential posts, but I figured that would just be relegated my long, growing list of unfinished blogs. No, my motivation for this post comes from a member of the GameInformer online community, bunnyking.

Quite clearly one of those behind the “Microsoft is evil” band, bunnyking recently posted up a blog about his feelings on the matter. Now, I don’t mean for this to be a personal attack, but I cannot think of any way that I can describe his post without sounding like it. It is by far one of the most reactionary, ill-thought, derogatory, inflammatory, fan-boyish post I have ever read. Falsely advertised as blog on why the next Xbox will have an Internet requirement, bunnyking’s post is instead an eight-hundred-and-thirty-nine word bash of those who play on an Xbox console. Any claim he may have to being system neutral or of reasonable thinking is completely absent from post. His comments were so ridiculously awful and lacking of substance that I cannot in all good conscious sit here and not offer up some form of rebuttal. So without further ado, I present to you some reasoning on why the next Xbox will not require an Internet connection, and also why it will.

Why It Won’t

As many people are aware, the broadband Internet penetration in the United States (and most of the rest of the world) is not very great. Sure, more people are getting connected to the Web every day, but many do not have access to fast, reliable broadband speeds. Only about thirty percent of American’s are subscribed to broadband Internet, making a potential market for an always-online console much smaller than one that doesn’t need to be connected. Take away additional consumers who have access to said broadband, but do not want to have a device that becomes a brick when their ISP has a hiccup, and your potential audience has become much smaller. Microsoft would have less of a market to sell to.

And then there’s…well…that’s about it. I’ve been trying for several days to come up with other reasons why Microsoft won’t require an Internet connection, but for every reason I could think of why Microsoft won’t I found a counter on why they would that made more sense for Microsoft, developers, content providers, and a wider audience of consumers. The only legitimate reason why Microsoft won’t is simply that they will narrow their potential gaming audience, and as much as I hope that this is a good enough reason for an always-online console to not be launching this fall, I believe the “why it will” makes more sense for Microsoft, their partners, and their non-gaming customers.

Why It Will

 

I’m going to go ahead and split this second section into two sections. Sectionception!

Ignoring The Internet

No, I’m not saying that Microsoft doesn’t care about its customers. I’m saying that Microsoft cares more about its shareholders than the people who use their products. There is nothing Microsoft HAS to do for you the consumer beyond what is Federally mandated. Since video games are one of the most extreme examples of first-world privileges and nowhere near being an unalienable right, Microsoft has absolute jack (aka, zero, not some whiskey/vodka cocktail) reasons to listen to the outcry of a vocal minority on the Internet. Now, without customers Microsoft cannot make money for their investors/stock holders, so of course they have to be friendly to consumers and offer them something they want. I’m simply saying that Microsoft (and just about every single corporation known to man) will only make a truly consumer friendly decision if it will pay their investors at some point. If there’s no money to be made, or it’s too expensive to be considered a charity effort, then Microsoft won’t do it.

Let’s not forget, Microsoft has already made decisions like this. Back when Microsoft first launched Xbox Live in 2002, they made it a requirement to have a broadband connection just to enjoy their service. If you’re old enough to remember back then, broadband Internet was not a readily available service to consumers. In fact, if you take the numbers everyone has been spewing around for those without broadband or reliable Internet, you’ll find that the Internet situation has vastly improved since then. So really, it’s less of a risk for Microsoft to require an internet connection for their new console now than it was for them to require broadband just to access a peripheral feature ten years ago.

Besides, what’s Microsoft’s incentive to listen to the Internet? If you look at the top twenty best-selling games on the Xbox 360 you’ll find that fifteen of them are online-centric games. These games are built almost entirely around their online components; either by cooperative or competitive multiplayer modes. I can’t imagine that the number of players who buy Call of Duty for only the campaign make up more than 5% of its sales. Of the remaining five games, only 3 did not ship with any form of multiplayer; two of which are Kinect games. Bethesda’s Skyrim is the only Triple-A game to make the top twenty list without any form of multiplayer. So if the majority of Xbox owners only ever play games that are practically useless without the Internet, why is it such an unbelievable concept that it would now become a requirement?

You can even take it a step further. Look at all the hubbub over the recent online-only games Diablo III and SimCity. Despite all the outrage over the seemingly unnecessary Internet connection, both sold record numbers for their respective franchises. People have asked Microsoft, “Haven’t you learned anything from the Diablo III or SimCity?” I would say yes. Microsoft (and many other companies) have learned that despite having an always online requirement (and even a rocky launch), gamers are willing to buy your games by the pallet load. Why should Microsoft (or really any company for that matter) listen to the Internet when ignoring them has been so lucrative?

Gaming And Beyond

This console generation is going to be very different from the last one. Really, it’s going to be different from every generation before it. Everyone in the industry is saying that the PS4 and Xbox 720 will be virtually identical in terms of power and architecture. The PS4 will probably have an edge over the 720 with its GDDR5 setup since I doubt Microsoft will match them there. However, the PS3 was more powerful than the 360 but you could only tell in first-party titles and most third-party titles were worse on the PS3 than the 360. Granted, that had a lot to due with the PS3’s Cell processor and partitioned RAM, but it still goes to pointing out that more power does not mean it will play better games. Power won’t be the decider, and exclusive games aren’t going to be the decider either. Despite Sony’s large catalogue of first-party titles, their total combined sales only ever match the total sales of Microsoft’s much fewer exclusives. A single Microsoft exclusive will outsell half of Sony’s games in a given year. Frankly, the only reason why the PS3 is finally outselling the 360 is because of the Japanese market. Either way, after seven years both consoles are neck-and-neck in terms of numbers. So if power, exclusive games, and architecture design are not going to be the big differentiator this generation, what is? Well, nothing gaming related!

This next-generation is going to be about moving beyond gaming. BEYOND gaming, not AWAY from gaming. Gaming will still be the foundation of these systems, but gaming will become a small part of everything these systems will be capable of. Even the ever stubborn Nintendo realized this to some extent by including universal remote technology in the WiiU. Both the PS4 and next Xbox will be adding in features to make their systems do more than simply play a video game. Music, movies, communication, and social media all contribute to these systems turning from dedicated video game consoles into multi-faceted entertainment boxes. From every rumor we can gather, Microsoft is poised to take the largest dive into that “everything” pool.

Microsoft will be working with every possible content provider that it can to work out deals and agreements to bring their content onto the next Xbox or to use the console as a direct interface into the providers’ infrastructure. Cable and satellite networks and internet based providers such as Netflix and Hulu will receive a level of integration with the next Xbox that will overshadow what we currently have on any other device. That integration will only come if Microsoft can guarantee the safety and profitability of the content provided by these companies. An always-online console would be one such way to fulfill that guarantee. It could give Microsoft a better tool to make modding a console more difficult (though probably not impossible to) as well as finding and bricking said consoles thereby reducing the likelihood of content being pirated. If Microsoft can guarantee that every system will have an internet connection, they could charge more for advertisements in that small square in the bottom right corner of the dashboard. More revenue from advertisements mean more money for Microsoft to throw at content providers, which in turn encourages more providers to show their content, which in turn attracts more consumers to a growing ecosystem, which in turn generates more ad revenue, which in turn makes its way into content providers, which in turn… You see where I’m going.

Now before you go on some long rant about the evils of advertising, let me say that the only way we will ever be able to move the entertainment industry to an a la carte method of consumption is through advertising. Want to only subscribe to HBO? Well, ads on your Xbox dashboard might be one way for that to be possible. “Why can’t I just pay $15 a month like Netflix for HBO?” Well, that’s because HBO has such high overhead production costs that every HBO subscriber could pay $30 a month and HBO would still lose money. HBO only exists because its productions are subsidized by the ad revenue of cable and satellite network companies. If paying a subscription to Xbox Live and having a small ad in the corner of my screen allowed me to subscribe to HBO without needed a huge cable bill, my purchase of an always-online Xbox would be justified. I think many consumers would agree.

As for the benefits to gamers? Well, I can’t really think of any. That’s not to say there won’t be, only that I lack the imagination to come up with something substantial. The only think I can think of is that the next Xbox will make Internet a feature rather than a peripheral. What developers can do with a system they know will always be online is anyone’s guess, but it’s something to think on.

What I Think Will Happen

I would not be surprised if Microsoft did unveil a system that required the Internet to work, however I do not think that is what Microsoft will actually do. I do think that you will be able to play Fallout 4 by yourself on the next Xbox without being connected in. However, 99% of all of all the other things the system will be able to do will require a connection. Video games will only be a portion of what the Xbox will do and will likely be the only thing that won’t require the Internet. However (there’s a lot of these) I would also see it likely that if you bought one of the reduced price, subscription models or a system that was bundled in with your cable company that those particular SKUs would require an always on connection. You would be buying a system well below the price Microsoft itself subsidizes at, so they will be wanted to ensure you make up that money through digital purchases and ad placements.

 Congratulations!

You made it to the end of my much longer than anticipated blog post. Trust me, I tried my best to pare down this writing and I still didn’t include numerous thoughts and arguments. So thank you for taking such a long time out of your day to reach the bottom. This took me several days to write up; not because I’m a slow writer, but because I’m a lazy one. Hopefully putting this out will finally spur me up to finish the half-dozen other blogs on next-gen that I have in production.

Almost Everything We Know About Black Ops 2: Zombies

The next title in the Call of Duty mega-franchise is barely a week away. In preparation for the launch, I thought I’d bring together all the important bits of information about the game into three blogs to cover the three major aspects of Black Ops 2: Single player, Multi-player, and Zombies.

Zombies is a staple of the Treyarch versions of Call of Duty. Introduced as a bonus game mode at the end of World at War, Zombies has grown into a full fledged game mode alongside the story campaign and multiplayer. Treyarch has expanded the game mode into three separate (but hopefully equally) fun modes.

SURVIVAL

As far as Treyarch has said (or at least as far as what I call research turned up), nothing has really changed about the classic mode. There will be new zombies and new weapons. If there’s anything else, Treyarch has either not said so or I haven’t found it. Basically, all of the new stuff is built around the new modes.

GRIEF

A twist on the Survival mode, Grief pits two teams of four-player survivors against each other. Now don’t get excited and start shooting the other team when you see them, you’ll just waste ammo. Only Zombies can kill player characters, so the whole point of the mode is to outlive the other team. While simply outlasting another group of players would be fun, Treyarch named this mode Grief for a reason. While I could not find any specific act of griefing mentioned, you will be given a number of ways to make the other team miserable. You can imagine things like zombie-bait grenades to lure the masses to the other team, or beating the team to a certain point and kicking out a ladder or shutting a door to force the other team to take a longer, more dangerous route. Maybe you can even mess with the other team’s power supply and deactivate their traps and upgrade machines. I don’t know for certain, so please don’t take those examples as gospel. You get the idea; make the lives of other players miserable and outlive them. Shouldn’t be difficult a concept to grasp for many veteran CoD players.

TRANZIT

Tranzit is the story mode for Zombies. Players will be given a bus and an “expansive” world to travel around in and explore. The bus provides transportation and some protection, but it’s pretty tight inside, and if you want to explore the world, you’ll have to get out of it. Exploring the unknown is a must to replenish you supplies, gain new equipment, and remove obstacles out of the way of the bus so you can carry on. Tranzit will also feature “Buildables”, items that you can craft from things you find in the world for offensive or defensive uses. You can still be attacked when you’re in the bus, so if you have any desire to actually survive, you’ll have to leave what relative safety it provides and go out into the hoard.

Tranzit also has connections to the last Zombies DLC in the original Black Ops, Moon. Decisions you made in that map will have some sort of affect on how you world will play out.

MULTIPLAYER ENGINE

Treyarch has talked much about them building the new Zombies mode using the multiplayer engine and that it allows them to do a number of things that could not be done using the single player engine. The inclusion of the multiplayer engine means that you can now record and edit your Zombie experiences using the Theater feature. Everything that you can do with the Theater for multiplayer video can also be done to Zombies. Hopefully that means that the shoutcasting feature will also appear in Zombies mode, allowing players to magically stream their progress without the need for expensive video capture hardware or software.

The change in engines also allows for continuous stat-tracking, leaderboards, better matchmaking, and custom game modes. Don’t want magic guns? Turn them off. Want only headshots to count? It’s your funeral. Just because you’ve already beaten these modes doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go back.

So those are the big changes we have to look forward to in Black Ops 2’s Zombies, at least what we know about. While Treyarch has been pretty open about mechanics and features in the single player and multiplayer modes, they’ve decided to hold back several bits of information for players to discover on release day. What are you excited for most about the upcoming blockbuster?

ALSO CHECK OUT:

Single Player

Zombies

SmartGlass Is Not Microsoft’s Wii U

After several months of almost complete silence, Microsoft has finally launched SmartGlass alongside Windows 8. SmartGlass is an app for W7/8 and Android phones (iPhone app to be coming soon) that allows users to interact with their Xbox with their PCs, tablets, and smart phones to navigate menus, browse the internet, and augment a video game. Having only just been announced during the middle of this year at E3, many have said that SmartGlass is Microsoft’s attempt to copy Nintendo’s Wii U (which was announced over a year ago), much like how the Kinect was Microsoft’s retaliation to the Wii. Well, I’m here to say that SmartGlass is NOT simply a copy of Wii U and has been in Microsoft’s plans long before Nintendo first showed off the Wii U controller.

Way back when, during the olden days of 2009, Ray Ozzie (former Microsoft Chief Software Architect) talked about Microsoft’s vision of “three screens and a cloud” at tech convention and an interview with JP Morgan. He talked about how people in the future would rely less on a single device for their content creation and entertainment consumption and would instead store and process everything in the internet (cloud) and just use multiple devices (three screens; PC [now tablet]), TV, and smart phone) to interact with each other and access that content from anywhere at anytime. SmartGlass is a program for computers (tablets) and phones to interact with their Xbox or consume media content from your Microsoft account. It’s not as functional as what Ray was talking about, but it is a foundation for Microsoft to work and build upon to get them closer to that goal.

Eons later, during the middle of the 2012 year, a presentation document was leaked to the internet. The document was said to be from 2010 and was intended for an internal Microsoft meeting talking largely about the company’s plans for the upcoming Xbox successor and their plans for the few years after it.

Now let me take a moment to silence the nay-sayers and tell you that the document was legitimate. It leaked the Surface (though not by name) before Microsoft announced it and talked of using a foundation of Windows 8 for all of their products (720 included) before that had likewise been announced. It even talked about moving toward streaming games and bypassing hardware limitations, which was later confirmed when Microsoft partnered with the streaming company Agawi to bring console and PC quality games to W8 tablets and WP8 phones. If none of that convinces you, then how about Microsoft issuing a take down order to every site that had the document, citing copyright infringement and illegally possessing Microsoft property? If you didn’t catch that, Microsoft said that the document was legitimate. So now that we’ve got that settled…

In that document Microsoft went it to detail describing an app for phones, tablets, and PCs that would allow users to interact with their Xbox to interact with a game, view video content, provide supplemental information for both games and video content, listen to music…pretty much everything SmartGlass has been advertised to do. It also stated that the features (now known as SmartGlass) would launch late 2012, which it has.

Now let’s look at the timeline: In 2009 Ray Ozzie spoke about having multiple devices interact with each other to enhance experiences, in 2010 Microsoft was discussing literally every feature shown off by SmartGlass, in 2011 Nintendo debuts the Wii U with a faux-tablet controller, and Microsoft announces and launches Smart Glass in 2012. If I read that right, it means that Microsoft was concocting SmartGlass at least two years prior to the first announcement of the Wii U! So can anyone explain to me how a feature that has been in development for over three years is a response to a feature that was announced barely a year ago? Well, you can’t. SmartGlass is not a response to the Wii U; Nintendo just happened to talk about something similar before Microsoft let the public in on their secret software.