The timing is impeccable: “Microsoft Gaming will acquire Activision Blizzard — the embattled video game publisher behind such hit franchises as Call of Duty, Warcraft, Overwatch and Candy Crush — in a $68.7 billion deal, the company said in a blog post Tuesday. The proposed price would make Activision Blizzard the largest acquisition in Microsoft’s history, even as Activision Blizzard grapples with multiple lawsuits and claims of a toxic work environment.”
…Damned if I know why they’re doing it, aside of course from the fact that even a company as messed up as Blizzard is still a gateway into what is inexplicably (to me*, at least) being called the ‘metaverse’ now. There’s money in them thair pixels, and Microsoft likes money. Which has somehow become one of the less annoying corporate attitudes out there. At least they’re not yelling at me all the time…
*I get that it’s probably a READY PLAYER ONE reference. Not gonna lie; I didn’t bother watching the movie. I’m already, you know, kind of in this Metaverse thing? Why would I watch something that’s just showing a more narratively coherent version of my normal operating environment?
This is… this is perfect. It is a beautifully self-aware deconstruction of the typical AAA videogame teaser release, despite the fact that it came out under the imprimatur of Xbox; and it utterly fits the heavily satirical worldview of the first OUTER WORLDS, despite the fact (again) that Obsidian got acquired by Microsoft. This trailer has managed to somehow make me excited for the sequel despite the fact (one last time) it told me it was aiming to do just that, with a cynicism so pure, so clean, that I am refreshed.
Whoever came up with this trailer deserves a raise. And free wings on Friday night.
Maybe, maybe not. Via somebody on Twitter who I can’t really link to:
Continue reading End, the Console Wars will?
One of the more surprising stories of 2019 has been Microsoft’s pivot toward supporting other consoles. Minecraft and Cuphead are currently the #1 and #2 games respectively on Nintendo Switch, with Cuphead set to eventually feature Xbox Live integration. There were reports that Xbox Game Pass might come to Switch. Microsoft and Sony have even set aside their respective differences for a deal involving Microsoft’s Azure cloud services.
Why is Microsoft suddenly being so friendly to its rivals? One reason is that its console business has fallen firmly into third place, with the PS4 selling more than double the units of the Xbox One, and the Switch experiencing massive success of its own. Nothing spurs creative thinking quite as much as desperation. – US Gamer
Microsoft has been heavily criticized for not securing the marketing rights to as many high-profile 3rd party titles as Sony has in recent years, but that may be changing if new rumors are to be believed. According to a report from Rectify Gaming (whose website is currently down but you can view a cached version of the report here), Microsoft will have the marketing rights to quite a few highly anticipated games at E3.
Continue reading Microsoft to get rights to Cyberpunk 2077, and… Elder Scrolls 6?
No, really. Microsoft getting their new chat AI ‘Tay’ to spectacularly blow up so quickly took some skill:
What happens when you introduce an innocent Artificial Intelligence chat robot to Twitter? Well, it’s kind of predictable – you get an evil Hitler-loving, incestual sex-promoting, ‘Bush did 9/11’-proclaiming robot.
Continue reading Great moments in AI research: they broke the troll barrier!
Short version: Adam Orth of Microsoft was getting into it with Manveer Heir of BioWare over why some companies were (bizarrely, or nastily, depending on your point of view) requiring always-on internet connections in order to play some games. We turn now to Cheezburger:
Manveer Heir, a developer at BioWare, pointed out to Orth that “always-on” DRM was particularly unfair to customers in rural areas who aren’t always afforded the best internet connections to begin with. Orth’s response? “Why on earth would I live there?”
Sweet, dude. Not only does Orth not care about customer’s grievances surrounding their poor DRM model, he thinks that all those backwoods country folk have just made bad life decisions by living in sparsely populated areas.
I understand that Orth has since made his Tweets private. Can’t imagine why…
…And unlike Ed Morrissey, I’m not that sympathetic. Because do you know what the problem is with pursuing a “throw other people to the crocodile strategy?” It’s that the endgame’s pretty predictable.
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg is not backing down from a request for information about Microsoft’s dealings with California, a gesture that many interpreted as a warning to prospective Sacramento Kings buyer and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
After reports emerged that Ballmer was one of the investors seeking to purchase the Kings and relocate them to Seattle, Steinberg sent a letter to the Department of General Services asking for data about California’s contracts with Microsoft and the monetary value of the state’s past purchases from the technology giant.
Fifteen years ago Steinberg would have simply complained a bit that a sports team was moving out, but not too strongly; after all, there were plenty of sports teams that wanted to go to California. Then again, fifteen years there were more people to throw to the crocodile.