Tag Archives: XBox One

Blizzard Shocks Wall Street, Microsoft Shocks The XBOX

Last night, Blizzard announced shocking revenue growth with strength across its product lineup (except WoW). Activision Blizzard stock is up over 13% today. Congratulations to everyone who didn’t sell the stock recently like this stupid kitty.

Here are some highlights from the Blizzard earnings release for the second quarter of 2015:

  • On a non-GAAP basis, the company’s net revenues were $759 million, as compared with $658 million for the second quarter of 2014.
  • “Our audience size and the total amount of time people spend with our franchises continue to grow. In the second quarter, our monthly active usersB grew by 35% year-over-year, and the time our communities spent playing our games grew by 25% year-over-year”. – Bobby Kotick
  • Destiny now has over 2 billion hours of gameplay since launch, which amounts to an average 100 hours of gameplay for each of Destiny’s over 20 million registered players.
  • On April 2, 2015, Blizzard Entertainment launched Blackrock Mountain(TM), the second Adventure for Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. The release of Hearthstone on iOS and Android smartphones followed on April 14, 2015. Key engagement metrics, which were already very strong, nearly doubled year over year, largely on account of the new content and new platforms.

Electronic Arts is up 5% today in sympathy, so this kitty is not totally forlorn. And Blizzard still has over 4 billion in long-term debt, compared to EA’s ~600 million.

Yesterday I watched the Microsoft presentation at Gamescom. Here are some of the highlights:

  1. XBOX One will be updated with Windows 10 in November.
  2. Microsoft Cloud has 20x the computing power to stream a game than an XBOX One.
  3. XBOX One will also receive DVR capability, so you can record shows from TV and store on an external hard drive. You can schedule on the go, and all shows on this DVR can then be streamed to any of your Windows 10 devices. This is coming in 2016.
  4. Microsoft showed a DirectX12 demonstration. DirectX12 is just one of the ways Win10 was built for gaming. In Windows 10 you can record and share your favorite clips with a built-in game DVR, no special hardware or software.
  5. Built-in XBOX app in Windows 10. Voice and text chat, PC to console. Start game on one device, continue on another. Cross-buy feature. Anything you purchase can also cross-play. You can play on either Windows or XBOX platform, stream from PC to anywhere in home network.
  6. Scalebound. A new action RPG, on foot or on the back of a dragon. You play as a guy with draconic powers in search of a dangerous artifact. You play with a companion, except your companion is a ridable dragon that fights and talks with the main character. I’ve recently lamented the fact that dragons are too often just plain big monsters in video games, so this is a nice-looking change.
  7. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. A new side scroller with heavy RPG elements. Simultaneous release on XBOX One and Windows 10, and gamers on both platforms can can play together.

Weekly Wyrm ~ June 7, 2013

Town Crier ImageThis week I played Dragon Age: Ultimate. I also logged into Rift tonight, played with my outfit, and gazed over the ocean while listening to the birds chirping.

I have fond memories of Rift. For example, I might be the only player on Faeblight and one of very few people with the Town Crier title for guide writing (given during six or so months after launch).

Investing time in Rift again is a decision I can’t take lightly, but it would be fun to roll a lowbie on June 12th and experience crowds like at launch with raids forming up in the starter zones to take down big invasions.

Smart players are jumping in now, of course, since Rift lite allows unlimited play to L20. The kitty and F2P get along like elves and goblin mech-saws, but Rift F2P is going to be big. My newbie guide has nearly 500 visits just this week.

A lot of discussion is taking place now about XBOX One and PC versus the new consoles. No surprise. It’s one of those ever-favorite and complicated topics. Angry Joe makes good points in his rant #2, but he also might be a little over the top.

Microsoft isn’t killing used games outright. Based on what AJ is saying, they are designing a system that enables options for them and game developers to take a royalty instead of 100% of the profits going to the used game purveyors.

Like old cowboys, XBOX 360 games have a less viable future. By refusing to program backwards compatibility, Microsoft is putting expiration dates on all games for the previous platform. This is another perk for the PC, of course.

The requirement for an internet connection is terrible for a lot of non-moneyed, non-first-world people. As poignantly pointed out by a few American armed services members in the comments to Angry Joe’s rant, always-on internet is difficult in Afghanistan or in a submarine under the Pacific ocean.

Profit is the United States of America.

In an epic discussion over PC vs. console on Escapist this week, someone declared no advantage for PC because “no one is playing ten-year old PC games.” That is so not true. I’ve played Baldur’s Gate and Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines in recent weeks.

Those are nearly 15 and 9 years old and still playable on the PC. I installed Bloodlines off of my original CDs, DRM-free.

I also listened to the Vampire Bloodlines soundtrack this week on Youtube. It’s one of my favorite game soundtracks. I like the Main theme, the Santa Monica (zone) theme, and the Downtown theme.

Revisiting Dragon Age: Origins (with all DLC) has reminded me of how to do everything right in a fantasy RPG. When the game launched, I thought it was great, but didn’t realize that it would be one of the greats ever. I played it originally on PS3, now I own it on PC thanks to Steam.

A lot of current day RPGs have lost their way with game writing. Dragon Age nails a few key things that are also found in other great RPGs like Planescape Torment and VtM:B.

  • Friends in the game right away. The friends help you and make you feel at home in the setting.
  • Solid factions that are rich and interesting. You either feel like a part of them, or you don’t like them at all.
  • Real choices with consequences (if only towards the respect of your companions.)
  • Your character is heroic, but in moderation. Not the chosen savior of the universe.
  • Steamy romance with handsome/beautiful rogues. (Ok, not really but it’s something to consider ~ haha.)

An example of a recent big-name RPG that tried but failed? The Secret World.

I also like the classic, realistic-looking game map and the mostly silent protagonist in DA. There was an article this week on Escapist about the silent protagonist. Silence has my full favor.

The voices of my characters are actually a problem for me in Guild Wars 2. I have made at least ten different characters in GW2 and none of them feel like the one. My Leonore in Rift, on the other hand; she always felt like the one.