Archive | April, 2013

The Next-Next Generation of Gaming

24 Apr

It has been a huge day for theĀ console gaming community, in fact, a huge few months. First off we get a PlayStation 4 announcement, and now we get a cheeky invite from Microsoft for a new unveiling.

It was inevitable, the rumors of a new Xbox (lets hope to god its not actually named 720) have been circulating for years now and it has after all been almost 8 years since the Xbox 360 was released.

Why has it been so long since a new major console has been released? The simple answer to that question is that there has been no major reason to refresh the console. The PlayStation 3 and XBOX 360’s specs have been good enough to continue being the best on the market. There have been no groundbreaking new technologies that have warranted a complete relaunch of the console, and in my opinion, there still isn’t.

The 360 was released on the brim of a major breakthrough in online gaming, Xbox Live had not long taken off and it was becoming a massive hit. The 360 was truly a next generation console that provided groundbreaking graphical processing power which can be seen in the games we have today. Microsoft had released a console that was future proof, it was high-spec for its time, it allowed for online software updates so new features could be pushed to the Xbox without the need of an upgrade. What more could people want from a console? Very little. I admit, there are a few things missing from my Xbox such as a Blue Ray Player, maybe a built in rechargeable battery pack for controllers. These little features that the Xbox has been missing are minor and don’t warrant a new machine.

We are now, like it or not, getting new consoles. Even though there is no major technology breakthrough (3D I hear you say, it’s just not practical), we will be treated to a lot more graphical processing power, this will be noticeable when game developers begin to take advantage of the new architecture that the consoles will bring. This combined with Ultra-HD (4K) TV’s should bring along some stunning visuals.

Whatever Microsoft bring to the table come May 21st, I am pretty sure it will just be a new console and controller design, with a new GPU/CPU shoved in to keep it going for another 8 years, a blue ray player(!), built in Kinect, and increased integration into SmartGlass. No new major features here.

And we all know, we will have to buy it if we want to continue playing upcoming titles.

-DC
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Facebook Home to pave the way to new mobile ecosystems?

18 Apr

Facebook Home was announced a few weeks ago and it has caused a stir within the online community, with a lot of mixed views on the idea. Whether it will be a success remains to be seen, but it shows clues to the eventual fate of our mobile operating systems.

When smart phones first launched (using the original iPhone as an example) the Application Store did not exist, we had several built in applications that without a jailbroken device we were forced to stick with. It wasn’t until a year later when the app store was launched, that we began to see the development of 3rd party applications that are now available in their hundreds of thousands (775,000 as of Jan 2013).

In recent years we have began to see some of these 3rd party applications being deeply implemented into the operating systems, on iOS it began with twitter, then Facebook joined the ranks. While not a complete integration it allowed you to tweet and post straight from the operating system, removing the need to open the application. This move in my personal opinion is good, it increases the compatibility between the operating system and 3rd party applications, but I still tend to open the app myself to make posts.

Facebook Home takes this a step further, instead of taking an operating system and building an application into it, Facebook have taken an application and built an operating system around it. Keeping Facebook as the primary focus of the OS.

By doing this, Facebook can control what a user primarily sees on the device, and push relevant content their way (they can also push advertisements if they please). This is great for people who’s lives primarily revolve around Facebook, but these days that is a decreasing amount of people. For people who don’t want their phone covered in Facebook related content, or who just want to be away from social media, Facebook Home wont be a welcome addition.

Following the announcement of Facebook there have been rumors that Facebook and Apple are in deep talks to bring this kind of integration to iPhones. The iOS operating system has not had a major update in some time, it’s signature application based layout has stuck with it since the beginning, and it is starting to get a bit stale, maybe we will see something new and fresh come WWDC this summer?

What is all this moving towards? I cannot see application driven devices being around for much longer, it’s only a matter of time before all the major applications will be built into the OS from factory install, eventually make installing applications completely redundant (or at least purging all those crap applications that are clogging up the app store). Having a deeply integrated system is better in terms of reliability, it cuts out the need for a third party so compatibility issues aren’t as much of an issue, but it might give too much power to mobile phone manufacturers. We all know that Apple are already power hungry, to remove third parties from the OS would be a dream come true for them.

Take a watch of the video below, if something like this was to be successful, deep integration of these applications into devices will be needed.

 

- DC

The Evolution of Technology

17 Apr

So I find myself in Costa, with an iPad Mini, whilst procrastinating from revision for my end of year exams.

Being an ICT student who is pushing to pursue a career within the industry, I often find myself having views and thoughts about the future of certain technologies, and how they will or will not succeed. Sometimes these views turn out to be right, sometimes they do not. However, I thought it was time I put it all into words.

I plan to making this a hosted blog sometime over the summer, but we will see how it goes.

Got anything you would like me to put my view across about? Let me know.

- DC

P.S – I’ve had to write this post out twice now as WordPress decided to delete my first published post for some unknown reason. Maybe WordPress are going to be one of the technologies I will be blogging about…