Gamers get rewarded for good behavior

ID-100137511 By franky242 Playing Game Console
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Gamers can be quite competitive, so anything that results in rewards of any kind could become pretty popular. Enter Microsoft’s reputation algorithm for XBox Live. The company wants better behavior on their system, so they’re going to try the carrot instead of the stick. The idea is that if you reward good behavior, that’s more effective in discouraging bad behavior.

It will be fascinating to see how this plays out. In the heat of a live game, passions can get pretty heated, and frankly there a psychological and intimidation aspect to any good game, whether it’s a war game on XBox or Texas Holdem’ or other new poker games you can play in real time. Sometimes trash talk can rattle your opponent. Other times being quiet works as well, but that’s really up to the gamer.

Of course encouraging sportsmanship is a worthy goal, and I’m sure the behavior on these systems can get pretty bad. It must rival tthe comment section on YouTube and Reddit for depravity. But for many that’s a huge part of the fun.

Frank Savage, partner and development lead at Microsoft, says they are still in the brainstorming phase for Xbox Live’s reputation system, so who knows how this will play out. And I do like the rewards idea better than punishment for the reasons outlined above, though blocking and muting will still likely be part of the overall system. And of course you need those tools. The best gamers can find ways to intimidate without being offensive.

And this is the real lesson here. These are “games” and should be treated that way. If you can jab your opponent and get him off his or her game without being offensive and thus getting muted or blocked, then you’re a much more effective gamer. This applies in real life as well with games like pool, ping pong etc.

So take stock of this and up your game.


Windows Phone 7 Series: First Impression

Games on the Windows Phone 7. We’ve been waiting for a mobile version of the Xbox platform for a long time. A very long time. I think the success of the iPhone has killed that dream, and the new Windows Phone 7 is going to be the closest we’ll see for a very long time.

The problem is, the Windows Phone 7 doesn’t really do all that much. Ballmer and company were quick to tout its Xbox Live integration, but what do you really get? You can collect mobile achievements for some more Gamerscore (does anyone actually care about Gamerscore?), browse leaderboards, play turn-based games though not in real time, and take a peek at your Avatar (possible from any web capable phone already).

Those are pretty lackluster features for a phone that’s supposed to bring your entertainment experience on the go. Ron Pessner, the GM of Xbox LIVE Mobile had this to say: “It has always been our vision to expand the Xbox LIVE service to connect people to their games, entertainment and friends wherever they go, and the launch of Windows Phone 7 Series is an important step toward that goal.”

It’s a baby step, my friend, as in you guys finally have a platform that isn’t fugly so you actually did some development for it. Color me unimpressed.


Xbox Live catches the eye of the law

Microsoft points.Samuel Lassoff is sick of buying up Xbox Live points and, as an attorney, he decided to do something about it. He’s suing Microsoft, claiming that the Xbox Live point system “unjustly enriches” the company by forcing users to buy point bundles that can’t be used in their entirety.

It seems weird that it’s the unjustly enriching that we’re worried about, not the exploitation of the consumer. There are plenty of companies out there getting unjustly rich off all sorts of scams. Target’s recent video game setup service is a great example. Whatever the reason, though, I’m glad to see someone get indignant enough to try their hand at stopping the giant in its tracks.

Microsoft said recently that it never meant for the points system to confuse people, but that just can’t be true. What other reason is there for inventing a currency system that isn’t 1-1. Branding? No. Anything else? No, not really. Luckily, it’s about to change, and with impending litigation it may change sooner than expected.

Source: Information Week


Razer going after the console market

RZR_XboxControllerView7_WhtBrgIt was only a matter of time, really. PC peripheral manufacturer Razer has decided to enter the console market, starting with the Xbox 360. The company has preliminary approval from Microsoft to release a 360 controller and headset.

The controller, called the Onza, will run $50 for the wired version, supposedly for a lag-free game experience (what wireless tech are you guys using again?), no word on a wireless version. It looks almost exactly like the Microsoft controller, except that the start and back buttons have been moved. Oh, there are also some pretty lights. Razer also boasts a new Hyperesponse technology, which means I dunno, it starts firing before you see your enemies?

The headset will be wireless, featuring a 5.1 virtual surround system and the ability to chain-gang base stations for private team conversations. It’s like party chat! The headset also has some noise-canceling features, so you can really tune out that nagging girlfriend. The headset will run $130. Read more at Razer’s official press site.


Amazon has your Xbox Live sub on the cheap

Xbox Live Gold Subscription.If you’re in the market for an Xbox Live Gold subscription this month, Amazon has you covered. Of course, subscriptions you buy at retailers are usually a card with a code, so even if you aren’t up for renewal for six months this may be worth your time. Amazon is selling the normally $50 subscription for just $34.99.

Saving $15 isn’t a bad deal at all. The product page doesn’t list an end date for the deal or a stock count, so I’d get mine as soon as possible.

Source: Amazon


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