Microsoft ushered in their own brand of next-generation home entertainment last night with the highly-anticipated reveal of the “Xbox One,” their third Xbox console and the all-encompassing successor to the world conquering Xbox 360.
I really don’t use the phrase “all-encompassing,” too lightly here. As it is, Xbox One is seemingly more interested in being an expensive entertainment Swiss Army Knife than that of a mere video game console, the basic premise that made the Xbox brand what it is today.
Under the hood, Xbox One packs some incredibly impressive features for a console – a Blu-ray drive, 500GB of storage space, the ability to interact with live TV, a new Xbox dashboard interface controlled using your voice and the inevitable evolution of their hands free Kinect controller. Throw in Skype, cloud saves, evolving game achievements, an expanded Xbox Live service and impressive first and third party support for the console – and on paper, Xbox One seems like an impressive evolution of brand Xbox. Microsoft clearly want this new Xbox to have more of a relationship with your living room and with your day to day life, an impetus that they have been eluding for the last couple of years with Xbox 360.
Based on last night’s reveal, you can’t help but feel that games, the reason that most of us actually made space below our heavily cluttered TV units for an Xbox to begin with, has now been relegated to the sidelines to some extent. While the architecture is clearly impressive and the huge next-generational games that we all expect from this new console will no doubt be announced and revealed in the coming months, last night Microsoft only managed to alienate the core demographic of gamers, who made them who they were to begin with. Apart from the fact that they had very little in terms of games that we didn’t already know about like a new ‘FIFA,’ and a new ‘Call of Duty,’ to show us last night, it was revealed that Xbox One will support a pre-owned “fee,” to play games.
What this means is that individual games will be tied to individual accounts – meaning your titles can only be played elsewhere on another Xbox One if the second user ‘chokes up,’ an additional fee. Paying the fee means both users now own the game, and the disc isn’t needed going forward. So basically the days of getting a new game on Christmas morning, trying it on your Xbox and then bringing it over to your cousins house, after your dinner, to try it on his new Xbox, are gone, unless of course your cousin is happy to incur a pre-owned fee. PC’s have been locking games to people’s hardware or on-line accounts for years now. Consoles have always had an advantage over PC’s in so much as you can take one single retail disc and do whatever you please with it. Xbox One just relinquished this advantage.
Xbox 360 Games Not Backwards-Compatible With Xbox One
In addition, your current catalogue of Xbox 360 games are not backwards-compatible with Xbox One, meaning you cannot play your current 360 games on Xbox One. There was no suggestion of Xbox 360 games being made available through another on-line service or the cloud. As you can imagine, these announcements, coupled with a seemingly everything but the game-centric entertainment energy, have made the game playing public very unhappy.
And then there’s the question of always on-line connectivity and the suggestion that the new Xbox requires you to be always connected to the internet to play and interact with its it fruitful features. Thankfully, it does not require an always on-line connection, BUT it still requires an internet connection and it still needs a connection to the web at least once a day. You know, in this day and the age of Smart-phones, 3G, high power fibre-optic broadband and enhanced connectivity; it’s easy to forget that not everyone has a connection to the internet readily available to them where they live. God knows Ireland’s greater broadband issues are by now well documented. Xbox One will reportedly require an internet connect once every 24 hours. If you don’t have an internet connection, then your Xbox One is rendered unusable it would now appear.
You might ask yourself just what Microsoft is thinking about with these features, but in truth, any gamer will tell you that these revelations aren’t as surprising as you think. They’re actually merely reinforcing the precedents already firmly established in this industry. Paid un-lockable content already on the shipped game disc, micro-transactions in games, games that require an on-line connection to actually play and paid subscription services to do things like browse the web, go on social media or play on-line (things that are already free to begin with) have become stalwarts of this industry – and its continuously getting worse. If you have money, games companies and publishers will try and put both hands in your pocket, because they know that you’re a sucker for your favourite game or your favourite gaming franchise.
Your Move Sony
You must wonder what Sony, Microsoft’s biggest rival in the games industry arena, makes of all of this. In the wake of the Xbox One Sony reveal their financial stock actually rose significantly. Last February they were the first to weigh in with their new next-generation console, the PlayStation4. What did they confirm? Yes games and lots of them. That’s what gamers want. Yes, PlayStation 4 will use different applications, watch movies, play music, allow you to browse on-line and do all the other things that you expect it to do, but if PS4 is anything like PS3, you won’t have to pay for the privilege. As it is, on-line services on PS3 via the PlayStation Network are free – No subscription required and if you do want a little more “bang for your buck,” you can subscribe to PlayStation Plus, a completely optional ‘Games on Demand Service,’ that grants the user access to dozens of free games every year for a flat €50 a year entry fee. The service is a unanimous success and you never feel like you’re paying for something you shouldn’t be. Sony has also confirmed that PlayStation 4 will not discourage pre-owned games users, so don’t expect any kind of entry level fee to play a game you don’t actually own unlike with Xbox One. But Sony must come out and reaffirm this stance. The ball is squarely in their court.
In early June at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angles, both Sony and Microsoft will fully reveal their final console wares, ahead of the Xbox One and PS4 releases this holiday. For Microsoft you would think, it’s an operation in damage control and in saving some face on last night. If they can justify all of the confusion and unnecessary fees that surround their new console with big exclusive games that people want and need to play, they might just be able to get the gaming public behind them again.
As for Sony, if they’re clever enough, they could rub further salt into Microsoft’s wounds. If they stick to their guns, keep their console free to use on-line and don’t block or discourage used games, while continuing to deliver on their promise to release a games console ahead of all else, there might be no way back for the Xbox One. Microsoft appear to be more interested in gaining customers and not passionate gamers.
As we say at Chess, “Your move Sony.”
Both Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are both expected in time for Christmas this year in Ireland. Which “one” will you choose?
Canadian Astronaut Commander Chris Hadfield, whose beautiful 26 year old daughter, Kristin, presently attends Trinity College, Dublin, has bid farewell to the International Space Station, by making a cover version of David Bowie’s Space Oddity & posting numerous photographs, taken from space, of Ireland, as his successful five-month mission comes to an end.
Commander Hadfield, NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn and Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko boarded their Soyuz capsule and undocked from the station at 7:08 p.m. for a planned landing on the Central Asian steppes of Kazakhstan at 10:31 p.m.
We wish you a safe landing & welcome home Commander.
InsideIreland.ie report this morning that Kieran Wallace and Padraic Monaghan of KPMG have been appointed Joint Receivers to the Anner Hotel here in Thurles Co Tipperary with effect from yesterday.
Pillo Hotels Limited have taken over the management of the hotel, which was a wonderful family friendly run Three Star Hotel on the outskirts of Thurles Town, established and operated by the Mulcahy family for the past 25 years.
The receivers have confirmed that business will continue as normal at the hotel and there will be no interruptions to trade, with all customer bookings, deposits and memberships continuing be honoured by the new management.
The arrival in Thurles on Thursday afternoon of RTÉ -TG4 television journalist Tomás Ó Mainnín to St.Mary’s Famine Museum, has given a huge boost to the campaign by the Thurles tourist group ‘Hidden Tipperary,’ latter who are calling for the repatriation of the Derrynaflan Hoard back to The Source Exhibition Centre in central Thurles.
The programme went out on Sunday evening 28th April last on Nuacht TG4 (See Below about 5.24 minutes into the news bulletin.)
Hidden Tipperary wish to thank Flan Quigney, Tom Noone, Stewart Willoughby, Brian Corbett & Michael Bannon for their assistance during the filming of this event.
Thurles Town Bell
Hidden Tipperary are also now requesting the return of Thurles Town Bell which was once suspended from a wooden tower above the Thurles Market House in Liberty Square, latter which was demolished in 1901 by Thurles Urban Council, following the erection of the “Stone Man,” more accurately referred to as the 1798 Memorial.
This Thurles Bell is understood to be currently stored somewhere in the possession of North Tipperary Co. Council.
The Thurles Market House
Thurles Market House was originally erected in 1743, in the centre of Main Street, now named Liberty Square. It was an oblong structure with stone stepped balconies at both ends, giving access to the top storey of this structure. The upper storey was used as a courthouse and assembly room, until the erection of the present Courthouse now in Rossa St. For a short time this upper floor was also used as a protestant Church.
Under the balconies arched-gateways, made of cut-stone, were the doors which led to the ground floor chamber, the entrance to which, on either side, contained small cells used for the detention of prisoners awaiting transportation to larger jails. The centre part of the under chamber, to which side gates also granted admission, were occupied & rented by butchers’ stalls selling fresh meat. This meat market or “Shambles,” sometimes referred also contained tables on which on occasion other traders displayed their goods for sale.
The greater part of the building fell as a result of a fire about the year 1870. It’s aforementioned Town Bell escaped injury and was given to the local workhouse (Hospital of The Assumption) or county home, where it remained in use, with the title of ‘Famine Bell,’ until resent years & prior to the revitalisation of the buildings in this area.
It is on record that Ger Grant, the highwayman, spent a period of incarceration in Thurles Market House. He once attempted to escape from there, however a blow on the head from an iron implement, by a woman, one Jenny Crowe the jailer’s assistant, rendered him unconscious and he was thrown back into his cell. Near this Market House, on this public street, up to about the year 1800, were also to be found the “Stocks,” for the detention of disorderly individuals, deemed in need of physical punishment involving public humiliation.
In the words of talented singer / songwriter Bruce Springsteen (Album “Wrecking Ball.”)
“The banker man grows fatter, the working man grows thin, It’s all happened before and it’ll happen again,
Rural Tipperary Dogs Must Continue To Eat Of The Crumbs Which Fall From Their Masters’ Table
A submission request, seeking the repatriation of the Derrynaflan Hoard back to its home in Thurles Co. Tipperary has possibly fallen on deaf ears, or maybe it is a case of local politicians & Tipperary Councillors being ‘deaf in one ear and unable to hear with the other.’
Either way rural townships, like Thurles, are struggling desperately, with unemployment the single greatest stumbling block to local consumer spending.
Nationally “The Gathering 2013,” was an excellent government proposal, however the policy of continuing to fund & attract visitors to the Gateways of Ireland only; i.e. Our coastal towns & cities like Tralee, Galway, Limerick, Dublin, Waterford etc, at the expense of midland counties, is having a major effect on our Irish heartland communities.
These local communities in midland counties, like Tipperary, are becoming dangerously despondent, cynical, unenthusiastic & lifeless. Events designed to attract & continuing to be run by a remaining few well meaning & strong willed committees in midland areas, now fail to draw previously expected support, mainly because of the total lack of ‘public purse,’ funding being generously doled out only to what are described as the “Gateways to Ireland.”
(2) In 2013, €5 million was laid aside for Marlborough Street Bridge in Dublin, covered by the NTA (National Transport Authority), through funding provided by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport.
(3) In January last Minister for Arts Jimmy Deenihan announced that Dublin’s National Gallery is to get a €20 million upgrade, thus forming a key part of the plans for the 1916 centenary commemorations in Dublin.
(4) North Tipp Labour Minister Alan Kelly announced, last February, €5 million in funding for sustainable transport projects, for guess where, yes Dublin; €2.6 million to expand the Dublin Bikes scheme as far as Kilmainham, €1.5 million for improvements to the Thomas St. / James’s Street bus-lane to shorten bus journeys from Ballyfermot and the west of the City, €250,000 to extend the existing Chapelizod – Heuston Liffey Cycle Route as far as the City Centre, €120,000 to plan an upgraded cycle-lane from the Blackhorse Bridge down Davitt Road as far as Portobello, €60,000 for pedestrian improvements in Inchicore Village & €40,000 for traffic management on Inchicore Road. These funds come as part of a €23 million allocation for the Dublin City Council area, which also includes funding for street resurfacing across the city, designing a new cycle network, and other measures that will benefit all areas of Dublin.
The list of funding for our capital city is endless, including constant job announcements, thus demonstrating that our Dublin must be taken care of as a number one priority, while not so much as a ‘red cent,’ is to be spent in promoting much of Tipperary & Thurles. In relation to Thurles, just one example of incompetence can be found by Checking HERE. Note Discover Ireland has conveniently forgotten the Thurles Butler connection.
The Derrynaflan Hoard and its arrival back home to Thurles, is now a must, for reasons already discussed HERE and sent to Minister Leo Varadkar in December 2012. (Five Months ago.) Had a decision been made, we would now have an attraction for which the current non-existent bus tour operator would immediately have included in their daily itineraries. Events could have been organised around its arrival and we could have worked together to create some small much needed employment on the back of its repatriation.
Obviously the return of these wonderful pieces of Tipperary owned Irish heritage will generated a certain resistance by others, in particular those whose economies stand to gain most at Tipperary’s expense, namely Dublin. The urgency with regard to a government decision in the repatriation of the Derrynaflan Hoard, back to Thurles, is now paramount to our town’s very existence, which has seen 14 businesses fail in just 12 months on Friar Street, Thurles alone.
Since our local elected representatives appear helpless, you our readers can assist by emailing the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton at firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember a simple “Copy & Paste,” of the link (http://www.thurles.info/2013/04/20/thurles-gis-a-job-minister-bruton) emailed to the Minister’s Office will suffice. Alternatively, share this Blog on your Facebook Time Line.
If you have a favourite Minister you would like to contact, chances are, you can find all their Email addresses HERE.
Ministers, we also would like to be in a position to pay the heavy burden of taxation your government have levied on us, Taxes for debts brought about not by us, but by greedy Developers & Bankers, latter with which most of us had little business connections.
Note also the ransom being sought for the return of our property (€100,000 – See Noel Coonan’s correspondence in video.) is €33,000 less than the cost of sending Minister Phil Hogan & his advisor’s, jetting from Durban in South Africa to Shanghai in China and Rio de Janiero in Brazil, where he clocked up bills of €133,000 since he took office in March 2011. His 181,000km round trips in the past two years are the equivalent of a trip halfway to our moon.
Silence is no longer an option for Thurles & County Tipperary.