I think that aiming for the $400 range would be more logical for Sony. Microsoft m really doesn’t need the Series X to be the Xbox everyone buys. Because they’ll still be able to sell you a One S, or whatever the Series S becomes, for those who don’t need the horsepower as much as they want the catalog of games.

Or at least, my expectations based on the Xbox One’s evolution, is that even the original model will likely continue to run many games for the foreseeable future. They just won’t look so sexy. Likewise the One X in the middle isn’t toothless, nor would I expect sold out.

Personally, my interest in the Series X is mostly based on graphics fidelity. I have little concern for what resolutions games on my Xbox offer, for two principal reasons. Firstly, they look fine on my 2160p TV, which is to say a freaking lot better than older consoles targeting 480i; and Secondly, if I really wanted better graphics I’d throw a big assed GTX at the problem instead of a console.

For the price tag, I didn’t really see much point in the One X. 4K resolution is appreciated, but not that big a deal to me. The data posted so far on the Series X on the other hand, suggests there is going to be a big enough leap in raw power that games can take advantage of this for better graphics, not just tone it back to 720p ~ 1080p. What would be worth the upgrade to me, is headroom for eye candy rather than focusing on the pixel counts.

Thoughts on Xbox Game Pass and SteamLink

One of the perks of Steam, is the ease of continuing from anywhere.

Most games on Steam with more than ten cents worth of effort, support cloud saves. Most that don’t tend to be very old, or games that shouldn’t. Which makes it pretty easy to continue from another machine, or even the same machine from some future reinstall of the game. Many games on Xbox also support cloud saves, and it’s usually less famous titles that lack them, like indie titles.

At least when you’ve got a solid graphics card, and aren’t struggling to run the game to begin with, Steam’s in home streaming actually works great. So transitioning from /dev/desk to /dev/couch is more to do with input devices.

Microsoft’s Game Pass is pretty sweet, and ultimate makes sense if you were already paying for Live. But the trade off I think is the portability.

When I play a game on Steam: principally, I give little mind to whether I’m playing from my couch or in front of my computer. The decision is typically driven by how much precision mouse/keyboard work is required. The only game that’s been otherwise is Final Fantasy 15, as my CPU struggles to run it locally, unlike 99% of my other Steam games.

When I play a game on Game Pass, principally my thought is “Do I want to play at my xbox?”.

As much as I applaud Microsoft’s record and stream tech, I really love that they made it available, the truth is that I find the stream quality from my Xbox to my desktop to be inferior to my 780 GTX to my SteamLink over the same network and locations. There’s more visual glitches and even set for quality, the encoder can’t best the encoder on my nVidia card.

What would really make the PC side of that coin mean something, is if it were possible to share the same saves between my desktop and my Xbox. I.e. the decision would be like open Outer Worlds on my desktop, and continue from the same save I made on my Xbox. I’d call that a win.

By contrast the decision works out that I started playing on my Xbox, and need to stream to my PC if I want to play at my desk. Which means a loss of image quality, and the occasional wtf/freeze/lag; on the flipside Outer Worlds seems to do that less often than Halo 5 when I stream.

Likewise, I don’t think Microsoft offers the inverse. I.e. that I could stream my desktop to my Xbox, if I had started with the PC, I’d not be able to stream to my Xbox. Although it might be possible to horse wrangle something with my SteamLink. By contrast, Steam’s streamy goodness is basically from anything to anything, especially when you account for needing a Direct3D PC for most games anyhow.

Thus, I am finding that Game Pass is very worth it for the Xbox side of the catalog. On PC, it’s more like a “Meh”, because the only benefit I’m really seeing there is good odds of playing on desktop with a mouse, a game I wouldn’t want to play on console with a controller. To be fair though, my decision was based on the cost comparison of Game Pass + Live versus Game Pass Ultimate; that is to say on the dollars required.

Beyond the lack of PC <-> Xbox crossover, I’m finding Game Pass to be very worth it. For a while, I’ve actually considered dropping my Live subscription because Games with Gold doesn’t bring that many games of interest down the pike, versus how little multiplayer I tend to do on Xbox. Where as Game Pass delivers the content, and probably curtails much of the need to buy games outright.

I’m also pretty sure that if Valve offered something like Game Pass on Steam, I’d probably hand Gabe Newell my checkbook and be done with it, lol.

Well, it has taken a good sweet time but I finally got around to something I’ve been meaning to do for a while now.

Earlier this year, I replaced Centauri’s system drive. Going from the first small SSD I ever bought, to a shiny 1 TB able to replace its hard drive. Since then, I’ve largely migrated all data over from the hard drive.

My plans for the now redundant storage capacity has been to fix the actual thorn in my storage side. Since repurposing my best portable drive to deal with my laptop’s backups, my xbox has had to make due with an old and extremely slow 300G laptop drive for its external drive. One that sucks so much that it actually makes Deathstar One’s internal 500G look sexy, and the original Xbox Ones are not equipped with sexy drives.

Hauling Centauri out was mostly leg work rather than effort. The only real pain in the arse is that the gigabit cable doesn’t have enough extra length for me to “Pull” the tower out, rather I need to connect/disconnect the cable before moving the tower more than an inch or so from final resting place next to the wall. Yeah, bollocks to that.

Of course plugging the drive into one of my spare enclosures is as easy peasy as pulling out the screw driver set; it helps that I kept one spare within quick reach and my second spare in deep storage, last time I redid /dev/closet.

Now the real irksome ribbon was the Xbox. It decided to disavow all knowledge of how to format the sucker. Because Microsoft in all their glory, eventually decided there should be a ~200M magic partition ahead of the NTFS volume. And Xbox, no likely. Enter Linux powered laptop, GNU parted, and cursing at HDMI cables finally falling out the back of Deathstar One (>_<).

In theory, by morning most of the data should now be transferred over to it. Allowing me to decommission the 300G laptop drive to virtually anything but video game storage, and it’ll be nice not running 97+++++ percent full all the frickin’ time.

Even my lazy ass can get around to juggling parts around if you piss me off enough.

Digital Trends: Xbox One S All-Digital Edition review: No-Disc Dystopia.

Personally, I think the price point is the whole deal here.

In concept the game discs are a nice idea, if you can’t handle downloading 60~80 GB in a single day beacause of your limited internet connectivity. In practice the disc is little more than a license key, for most games: you will still have to download enough data that it may as well be a small menary card with an activation code. For smaller titles the download might be a DVD or two worth; for big famous games it will still likey be Blu-Ray sized.

So really, all you are doing is making it so the disc must be in the drive to play, in exchange for being able to sell or trade the game in the second hand market. That’s great if it is something you will play once and dispose of next week. For the rest of us, we will probably take whichever one costs less or won’t require pants.

The reallity that the game will be complete and never in need of software updates is far more dead than releasing games on disc. Sadly IMHO, but at least we live in a world where publishers don’t have to snail mail you a floppy diskettes in x weeks before you can get through that dungeon without a glitch making your sabatons fall off, and your character endlessly spin eastward for the rest of the game.

For me personally, the win of my original model Xbox One having a disc drive is the ability to watch movies on Blu-ray. All of my other devices are limited to streaming files from my server or external services like Netflix; most of my devices don’t have an optical disc drive. And the one that does it’s used for ripping discs for my private home streaming needs. I don’t think you could walk into Walmart and expect to find a cheap ass Blu-ray player back when the Xbox One launched, so much as a free to good home VCR at the dump.

Ahh, I’m reminded of what really makes me hate NT: hardware support.

Ever since my good cable got a tad bent at the connector, I’ve only had two cables that really like to drive my Xbox One controller. One that’s like 3 meters, and one that’s like 30 centimetres: neither of which is particularly fun with my desk. But at least they work, if you deal with the cable lengths.

So, I figure let’s try the wireless adapter for Windows. Well, guess what? It’s shit.

The “Slim” model 1790 now available doesn’t work with Windows 10, 1903, up to date as of what Microsoft lets my desktop get. As far as the base operating system is concerned there is no driver for this device–none, nadda, zilcho!

If you browse the go fetchy it catalog referenced in places like this and this, and get a bit creative in pointing Windows at various entries and fine one that’ll actually match the device: the most you’ll get is an error code: “The software for this device has been blocked from starting because it is known to have problems with Windows. Contact the hardware vendor for a new driver. (Code 48)”. If you give up more easily than I do when I’m tired and almost ready for sleep: you’ll just get a message saying it didn’t find squat that works with the driver you extracted.

Because why would you expect Microsoft’s driver’s to work with Microsoft’s hardware? That’s a lot to ask, I guess.

In my experience there are really only three kinds of drivers for Windows.

  1. Those that just work, and often those come with the Microsoft’s install.
  2. Those that almost never work; and
  3. Those that are about as stable as drunk with ten shots of rum in’em.

On the flipside scenario 3 is why error codes like 48 exist. Not being able to use a piece of hardware is frequently better than it turning the rest of your experience to crap.

For the extra curious nerd, the device reports itself as usb vid 045e pid 02fe in the device manager’s GUI. 0x45e being MS’s USB vendor id. Dunno what their product ids in the wild are, and I’m not buying multiple adapters to find out.

The Microsoft Xbox One Wireless Adapter for Windows kit also comes with a really nice but rather short length USB extension cable. Which aside from being an overpriced cable when you consider the wireless adapter is actually a paperweight until MS fixes the driver, does in fact solve my real problem. I.e. if I was smart I would’ve just bought a decent cable in a length > 0.3 & < 3.0 meters long instead of MS’s wireless adapter. Ha! 🤣

Thus my real solution is to take the extension cable that came with the useless wireless adapter, plug in my too damned short cable I wanted to replace, hook up my controller and go play a damned game before my head droops and hits the desk.

Circuit Breaker: A brief history of cutdown game consoles.

While only brief in that it’s limited to Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft: the modern names in the console gaming business, it is never the less a good write up.

I also find it interesting how times have changed. The way I encounter such revision has changed more than the patterns too the hardware alterations.

The alterations to the earlier NES and PlayStation consoles were things that I first encountered in stores, or later read about (PS2 Slim) after the fact. Seeing such things in stores were head scratching events. More recent history such as the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 iterations are principally things I’ve only encountered online because I skipped much of that generation. Current affairs like the One S are both things I’ve usually read about online ahead of time and have also encountered personally.

Growing up, I was pretty much exposed to everything Nintendo and Sega offered in the United States until the great dominance the Sony PlayStation achieved, and I mostly exited mobile while the Game Boy Color was still getting new titles.

Somewhere in the early 2000s, I kind of made a switch away from consoles. If they interested me: I would still buy games for the PlayStation 2. But by in large my gaming activities became focused on PC. Thus while my peers were typically (original) Xbox converts: I had returned to the desktop. Up until the late ’90s our PC was limited to MS-DOS 3 and a single 5 ¼ floppy drive, so it wasn’t hard for consoles like the Super NES and original PlayStation to ingrain themselves in my gaming habits and draw me away from our Tandy. Around when Medal of Honor: Allied Assault was young and popular: we finally gained a PC up to playing modern games. That remained the pattern and is again my norm.

It was actually my brief but multi year affair with the first model Xbox One, that I had experienced a console younger than the launch model PlayStation 2. Platforms like the 360 and PS3 are ones I either skipped totally or only experienced through games ported to PC or Xbox One backwards compatibility.

Seems the popularity of game consoles hasn’t stagnated over the decades. Changes to make the hardware cheaper as the platform ages of still the norm. But the way that I learn about them has.

On the flip side it seems like the hardware reliability has also largely remained the same, since Deathstar One remains fully operational. Despite its growing age and my focus returning to PC. Underneath my Xbox One is a Steam Link and a PlayStation 2, non slim. The PS2 still works just as well as the Christmas I first played Ghost Recon on it. Ditto for the GameBoy Color in my closet, sitting next to a Pokemon Blue and Yellow cartridge. This stuff tends to last 😁. Although I do wonder when analog A/V inputs will disappear from televisions, lol.