So Electronic Arts has something else to crow about: it may be the first company to ever force part of Microsoft to go out of business instead of vice versa.
For those of you that just tuned in, Microsoft is laying off 70-some people â itâs entire XSN department. This is most likely the result of EA and Microsoft finally coming to terms over online play on Xbox Live. I suppose I should be happy; I have a copy of what will probably be the only edition of Links to make it to consoles, so it ought to be worth â¦ what â¦ $1.50 on eBay now?
While this move makes perfect sense, it still saddens me; and moreover, it signals to me that Microsoft has completely lost the desire to innovate and compete.
At least before, when Microsoft was engaged in deplorable predatory business practices against anyone who produced anything even remotely resembling something that could almost be performed by a Microsoft product, they were competing, you know? They went out with the âkill or be killedâ attitude that got them where they are in the computer industry food chain. Xbox itself was a bold, bold move into a market dominated by the Japanese since pretty much its inception.
But I guess some heavy judgments against you can take away the desire to stick your neck out, huh? M$ has gotten hammered in the courts for the last few years, and now the tide of public opinion, or more importantly public works, has turned towards open source (HAAAAALELUJAH!!) software for a lot of governmental systems. I suppose fighting a two front war against the Japanese on the hardware end and Electronic-We-Can-Release-The-Same-Game-Five-Years-In-A-Row-And-You-Sheep-Will-Still-Pay-50-Bucks-For-It-Arts on the software end in one of the few Microsoft divisions to not get a huge fine levied against them in the last two years isnât terribly desirable to The Gates or his boardroom lackeys in Redmond. Still, Iâm a bit disappointed that they didnât put up more of a fight; even more so if you make the stretch (which isnât much of one) that blowing up XSN was part of the deal with EA.
XSN games werenât bad. They werenât EA or ESPN but they sure as hell werenât 989 either (and HOW on earth are these people still in business?). After playing a bit of NFL Fever 2004, I was actually looking forward to the next iteration, it had that much potential. Now there just wonât be one. And Links is probably dead too, to be replaced with the next version of Tiger âI havenât done squat for two and a half yearsâ Woods 2006. Iâd like to point out that, with a minimum of effort, I actuall shot a round of 48. On the PGA Tour. At Pinehurst. Thatâs 24 under par. Itâs the only golf game Iâve ever seen where the winner of a playoff is the first player to get a hole-in-one.
Spurring this brand new round of venom against EA is the experience Iâve had playing Madden 2005 this weekend. Specifically, I have issue with the mini-camp games. Now, theyâre the exact same games that theyâve had for the last three years (since Marshall Faulk could actually run) but now theyâve tied them into some of the Madden Cards. See, you canât buy some of the cards in packs; you have to earn them by getting gold trophies in all mini-camp games of a certain type. The âLB Chase and Tackleâ one, for example (being the easiest one to complete) gives you a Brian Urlacher card.
Now, I donât mind the concept, and Iâm sure that with a reasonable amount of time, I could unlock all of those cards â¦ save one. Of the mini-camp games, there is one that it so difficult, I havenât been able to get a gold trophy on anything but Rookie difficulty yet: The RB Ground Attack. Basically, you have to be able to bust through and around three tacklers for a touchdown at least every other play to do it, and the fullback blocking for you acts like heâs missing his frontal lobe half of the time. Anyway, guess whose card you unlock be completing this Sisyphian task. Just guess. Iâm a Chiefs fan â¦ a BIG Chiefs fan .. and this has to deal with running backs. Just guess.
And, Iâd like to point out that Matt Wong and Ray Lewis must have been playing Madden in Ricky Williamsâ bong room if they think the defensive play has gotten any better this year. Riiiiiight. Thatâs why I just threw for 507 yards against the Broncos and theyâre âshutdown cornerâ Champ âan âaâ, not a âuâ â Bailey. Thatâs why I rolled up almost 200 yards rushing against a Panthers team that went to the Super Bowl last year. If anything, itâs EASIER to pass this year; the receivers seem to be better at hauling the ball in. Iâve heard people saying that itâs WAAAAY harder to return kickoffs for touchdowns now. I did it my second return, and apparently Iâm not alone.
I still stand by my comparison last week (and GameSpot ripped me off â¦ and even THEY thought ESPN NFL 2K5 was better.
Mainstream â¦ IS â¦ Lucard
Angeloni expresses his desire to be the next Baxley, but there is only ONE Bad Guy.
L.C. needs to remember (and I break this joke out about once a year because I love it so much) that Cthuhlu saves â¦ in case heâs hungry later.
When IP is acknowledged the world over as THE site for video game news and opinions, I have a feeling the Cookie Stunt will end up being one of those folkloric events that most people will think is apocryphal. Be assured, it DID happen. A-Will DID send those cookies.
This week on Wall Street Week: Berg vs. Demand-Side Economics. Film at 11.
Misha, the only movie-based game Iâve EVER seen that didnât suck outright is Spider-Man 2. Even games from GOOD movies usually suck. BAD movies â¦ thatâs not even up for debate.
Preach on, Brother Parfitt. Preach on.
OâReilly 1, Zombies 0.
Baxley returns, thus allowing me to bring the Baxley/Lucard Transpacific Goodwill Association out of mothballs.
Eric S. and I are playing correspondence chess via e-mail. His drunken monkey style is no match for my tiger style.
Sports need some love, and Iâm not just saying that because I write for them, too.
Murphy took his lumps playing poker at my house Saturday night. Yet Friday everything will be fine and weâll camp out for Smackdown tickets. Thatâs the kind of friend he is. Iâll just have to keep an eye out for itching powder in my sleeping bag.
Nute discusses something that I wouldâve thought was a nickname for the Boston Bruins in the 70âs and 80âs â¦ changing one letter perhaps.
Why the hell do I even bother with NFL Street? It has none of the groove of the NBA Street series. Itâs just a game for goofy, jerkish teenagers to see their football heroes behaving like goofy, jerkish teenagers and get points for same.
Yes, Iâm going to actually camp out for Smackdown tix. Just so I can have my âWidro Fears The Kliqâ sign on national TV. Itâll be worth it.
Not enough time to get really random this week. Iâll have to save the Brownian Thought Processes for next week.
Until then, get some sleep.