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Dee Yun: (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2013-06-20 22:08:49
Xbox One Reversal
After taking a massive public relations beating, Microsoft has reversed course and the Xbox One WILL NOT REQUIRE an internet connection. It'll operate in the same way that previous consoles did. You can sell, buy, or trade used games with no restrictions.
The good news: nothing changes. You'll be able to use the Xbox One the same way as always.
The bad news: nothing changes. You'll have to use the Xbox One the same way as always.
Is there anyone who pitied GameStop's potential difficulties under the internet-required model? People were upset about the possibility of used games unavailability, but did we really think getting $5 in store credit, and saving $5 on pre-owned games was a good deal? That's recouping $10 on a $60 investment, and giving the rest to the glorified pawn shop. I was strongly hoping that developers could instead get a cut of that huge revenue stream; that would result in more financially sustainable companies and most importantly: INCREASE THE CHANCES OF MORE GREAT GAMES.
I was hoping that the Xbox ecosystem could evolve in Steam's direction. I was envisioning an entirely digital cloud service with which I'd never have to use a physical disc, and big new releases would pre-download and be ready to launch precisely at midnight (instead of fighting massed humanity at retail).
You can still purchase titles via download, but Microsoft made it clear that they cannot be shared or resold. My hope that digital pricing over time will reflect retail discounts is also dwindling. Tons of people simply wait to purchase games until they hit a more accessible price point. Again, I would love for that filthy Gamestop lucre to be funneled instead directly to developers/publishers.
And since this policy shift will require discs to remain in the tray for authentication, I'll have to still stand up, walk over, and switch discs. This is clearly the greatest injustice of all.
Software Slump has some thoughts on the matter as well.
Dee Yun: (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2013-06-21 09:18:54
Diplomacy VII - Fall of 1454
England continued her cautious, noncommittal approach. There's a favorite adage of mine: He who dares, conquers (now the motto of the S.A.S.: Who dares, wins). Queen Kodi's conservative opening was the safest approach to avoiding vengeful reprisal, but it also eliminated the possibility of her employing any initiative to dictate a favorable course. Now she is limited to reactive measures against increasingly hostile neighbors. France seized Brest, Poland froze her out of Scandinavia and built a northern fleet, and the Holy Roman Empire constructed another fleet (an overt indication of hostilities). England's natural defenses affords her some time, but Kodi MUST effect a diplomatic solution to avert the impending siege.
France's push on Spain was indeed a ruse, as King Doug promptly swung about to seize Brest. I didn't like this opening initially. I strongly felt that France could have rolled Brest without the need for subterfuge; feints are wasted effort whenever a direct thrust is sure to land. And if Doug was certain that his deception was wholly successful, the only way to exploit it for a genuine gain was to pounce with an all out attack. (I also don't like those sort of long shots from a risk/reward assessment perspective, but hilariously, it would have worked!) However, France's opening was truly bold. He dared, and possesses the momentum toward conquest. And Doug followed up with a fine job of assembling the Sea Lion: the necessary Franco-Germanic-Russian cooperation to take England down. He needs to foster this alliance, because any breakdown will result in a stalemated slapfight with England.
The Holy Roman Empire calmly got to slide into three unoccupied supply centers with zero opposition. As one of the lucky beneficiaries of France's opening, Emperor Alex is the big boy on the map, and has yet to be threatened by any enemies. He built a second fleet, which at face value, indicates that he's joined the England Must Die Coalition. He also stands in position to arbitrate the southern conflict. The HRE possesses numerous opportunities for advancement. However, he must manage one glaring vulnerability: his forces are split into two corps and are not in position to support each other. If he ends up in a two-front war as currently situated, the HRE will function as two smaller nations, as opposed to a singular juggernaut.
Poland has played a fine opening. King Steve has grown substantially in might without running afoul of any wars. The only conflict is one of his choosing, denying Scandinavia to England. Thanks to France, this is only a minor commitment and to Poland's considerable gain. Like the HRE, Steve enjoys powerful assets, a beneficial political array, and an extensive set of options, but he too is facing difficulty manning an extended frontier.
Spain showed an immensely impressive set of nerves. We're talking stout ass testicular fortitude here. King Yino participated in France's subterfuge, and exhibited ice water in his veins by exposing his undefended underbelly. If France's overtures had been a double bluff, Spain would be done. By daring to play the hand straight, Spain now enjoys full spectrum dominance over the Western Mediterranean. Any power that might have been a threat to him is fully engaged in other conflicts, and Yino can now carve out the undefended underbelly of an opponent of his choosing. A daring opening has resulted in conquests for the taking. Curiously however, he then built an ARMY in Portugal. Once you have the point of your blade in their guts, you need to thrust it in! A fleet build was necessary for a proper follow through.
Turkey did what was necessary. Emperor Kang had extremely limited options with Venice banging on his door. He's simply proceeding to slowly maneuver his forces into the required alignment to respond.
Venice continued to bang his single-minded battering ram against Turkey, to the neglect of all other developments around him. Doge Vargas is fruitlessly attempting to shove his forces down a two-territory chokepoint. He won't get anywhere. Perhaps he was thinking that fleet build in Trieste would be the necessary reinforcements to coerce a breakthrough, but it won't be able to effect any force for over a year, if ever. Meanwhile, he allowed Spain to build on the Italian peninsula, a shockingly naive oversight. If he has any sense, Vargas needs to engage other diplomatic solutions vis a vis Turkey, and deal with the growing threats on his other borders. It's one thing to boldly expose your belly for a daring expedient gain. It's another entirely to expose your back AND belly for the opportunity to go nowhere.