NEWS ROUNDUP: The giants waver

Kinect is history, Steam Controller hits troubled waters, and Oculus Rift is in danger too.

 

Microsoft abandons the Kinect

SOURCE  As this wonderful article explains, Microsoft has completed it’s “180” by finally abandoning its commitment to the idiotic Kinect sensor, which they adamantly insisted was impossible to remove from the system before launch, to the point where the system wouldn’t even function without it plugged in and turned on.  The new SKU will be $100 cheaper and not have the Kinect included at all, which still makes it a much worse value than the PS4.  Like the rest of its reversals so far, Microsoft continues to wait until the raw numbers confirm what everybody with half a brain was telling them for months, and their reputation has been dragged through the mud as a clumsy anti-consumer scumbag.  Titanfall’s poor sales must have pushed them into desperate territory.

Without the sensor bundled into every console, it sends a clear message to all developers that it’s junk, not to be taken into consideration.

 

Steam Controller problems push Steam Machines back to 2015

SOURCE  Valve announced that the Steam Controller needs so much retooling that it will delay Steam Machines (which will presumably be bundled with the controller) into next year.  Mixed reactions to the theoretically-revolutionary controller have made it clear that the previous iteration wasn’t good enough, but it’s worrying that it would delay the whole project by months.  Will they ever find a sweet spot?  Will the controller lose its immediately iconic dual touch pads, or will it become even more wacky?  I don’t want to underestimate Valve, but this is their first truly important hardware experiment, and the challenges are very real.  Thankfully, their attitude keeps me from becoming too pessimistic, because they have been open about the challenges, the need for tons of feedback, and the ongoing iterative process.

 

Oculus Rift getting threatened by ZeniMax

SOURCE  Lawsuits are not my area of expertise, so I have no idea whether this is going to go anywhere, but according to what I’ve read this may cause some troubled waters for the wonderchild, Facebook’s Oculus Rift.  Being bought by Facebook was already a betrayal of community trust, as the founder of the company no longer owns the tech, and all of his promises are therefore meaningless, but this could put a dent in the operation.  I don’t see any reason why ZeniMax would make empty threats when it knows Facebook will fight hard for its new shiny toy, and frankly I’m hoping it gets messy.

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