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From Microsoft's Denial To A Fan Service Blowout - News Roundup 17th January 2011

Jonathan Lester
Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Games news, Gaming Console, Microsoft, Nintendo, Project M, Super Mario, Super Mario Galaxy 2.5, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Xbox 360

Ballmer: "Xbox Isn’t A Gaming Console"

From Microsoft's Denial To A Fan Service Blowout - News Roundup 17th January 2011

Many gamers view the Xbox 360 as the dedicated gaming platform of choice, but Microsoft Overlord Steve Ballmer is keen to shatter this hardcore image in 2011. More specifically, they'll be targeting families and "15 year old girls" as an important target audience over the coming months. In an interview with USA today, Ballmer declared that it "isn't a gaming console" any more.

Xbox isn’t a gaming console. Xbox is a family entertainment center. It’s a place to socialize. It’s a place to watch TV. We have Hulu coming. It’s the only system where you are the controller. Your voice, your gestures, your body.

Ballmer went on to state that Kinect opens up the 360 to the family audience, which in our book, is ultimately a good thing. What's more, apparently this year's offering of titles will also attempt to hook the elusive female teen audience.

You go to your average 15-year-old boy, and he will say, ‘I’ll take an Xbox.’ I want that average 15-year-old girl as excited about the Kinect, and we haven’t done as good a job drawing in that broader set of demographics.

We all deserve good games- regardless of age or gender. However, with a perilously small list of more traditional exclusives slated for 2011, many gamers would be forgiven for worrying whether Microsoft are ignoring their original- and more profitable- fanbase. Only time will tell. [USA Today]

We have mixed feelings about Steve Ballmer at the best of times, but we're not quite sure what to make of this one. Has the Xbox 360 truly evolved beyond just a gaming console? Or is Microsoft losing its focus on their main demographic? Is being a "gaming console" really such a bad thing? Have your say in the comments!

Deus Ex: Human Revolution Takes 25 Hours To Complete

From Microsoft's Denial To A Fan Service Blowout - News Roundup 17th January 2011

As Deus Ex superfans to a man, we all genuinely can't wait for Human Revolution to hit the shelves. One of the key concerns for series veterans is whether the experience will last long enough and provide enough scope for non-linear gameplay to rival the classic original; and producer David Anfossi has confirmed that the will take over a day to complete.

Speaking to PC Gamer, Anfossi confirmed that the entire game takes 25 hours end-to-end; with even professional games testers unable to complete it after six days of standard working hours. He also reassured fans that they'd be impressed with the depth and replayability on offer.

April can't come fast enough. Employers, expect a fair few sick days! [I'm on to you, Jon -Ed] [PC Gamer via CVG]

Super Mario Fan Project Overload: Project M & Galaxy 2.5

Today brings us news of two exciting Mario fan projects in the works. While we're not going to link you to the projects themselves, we're rather excited about the potential that they're promising to bring to the table. We can't endorse them, but we can bring them to your attention.

First up is Super Mario 2.5: a fan-built selection of new levels designed to push players to their limits. An entire game's worth of content is planned, though naturally it's legally still a major grey area at the moment. [GoNintendo]

Secondly, Project M is a custom-made fan project that's designed to bring more depth and tactics to the Super Smash Bros experience. New moves, dodges and counters will serve to massively punch up the combat in terms of speed and skill; bringing it in line with more recent fighting games. Their manifesto seeks to create "flowing, organic movement, where the player has a great degree of control over his character," and it's looking mighty fine indeed. [GoNintendo]

There's an overwhelming possibility that Nintendo will eventually kill both projects stone dead- as they have a history of squashing even the most innocent fan creations. Maybe... just maybe... they should hire this lot instead? God knows that they need to punch up their annual first party output.

Add a comment9 comments
Russ  Jan. 17, 2011 at 18:28

I think in order for it to truly be a media centre as well as gaming platform it needs to be quieter - the slim is a big improvement but even so... you wouldn't want to watch films with quiet scenes unless you have it in a cabinet (heating up nicely...)?

Matt Gardner  Jan. 17, 2011 at 18:38

Depends where you live really. In the States I can see it being a media hub, aside from LAN linking to external devices, which can be dubious at the best of times. Anywhere else and Ballmer is talking out of his rear end because the grand proportion of PR drivel that gets spouted by MS loses any meaning outside of North America. Sony have MS firmly beat on this front and no amount of talk is going to change that. To be honest, we'll believe it when we see it.

As for the 15 year old girls thing...I'd be interested to see if they've spoken to any fifteen year old girls. Ever.

StauntonLick  Jan. 17, 2011 at 18:45

MS drastically need to improve the UI for playing media if they really want to market it as a media device. Even after several new surface-level updates you still have to browse laboriously through your entire artist list to find music, and even then you can't start playing an album halfway in.

And the alternative? Windows Media Centre. 'Nuff said.

P.S. would also like to register the massive groan that followed reading that MS are focussing on the "family" demographic.

Jonathan Lester  Jan. 17, 2011 at 20:11

Aye. Ballmer is yet another businessman who's trying to flog something he doesn't understand to an audience he can't identify with.

Whoops. Sorry, I meant *insert impartial non-statement here*

Phil  Jan. 18, 2011 at 12:24

Xbox is not a console???? Really - So I'll just go home and use it watch BBC Iplayer... Wait a minute - I can't unlike the wii and PS3. What a joke.

ODB  Jan. 18, 2011 at 13:27

my slim is much quieter than my 120GB PS3. Joke that people say the PS3 is silent...its not at all. Dont mind too much during gaming but can get annoying when watching films...I think its on a par with my 6OGB 360 tbh

ODB  Jan. 18, 2011 at 13:33

PS3 wins on home entertainment system hands down...thanks mostly to the blu ray but also the other services (which IMO is what makes the PS3 decent and not the games themselves as I think its poor as a standalone console) like iPlayer, Vidzone (worth the console price alone lol) etc whereas the 360 services are pretty poor...I cba with any of them on there, its a games console and I have 2 of them so it does that part right!

I'd be concerned if Ballmer is talking to 15 year old girls tbh! Maybe they could just ask Gary Glitter or Roman Polanski?

Jonathan Lester  Jan. 18, 2011 at 13:52

Agreed. It's not enough to just talk the talk and expect us to believe it; so if Microsoft are serious about turning the 360 into a media powerhouse, they'll need to vastly overhaul their entire list of services in terms of accessibility and ease-of-use.

And bury their Zune branding like the depressing failure that it is.

*Impartiality Fail over*

Matt Gardner  Jan. 18, 2011 at 14:00

I think one can safely criticise MS for their persistent focus on remaining behind the curve on this subject without jeopardising impartiality...

...of course the fact that I have more Achievements than Trophies has absolutely nothing to do with this.

I absolutely agree with StauntonLick's comment about the media UI. But then we've come to expect that from Microsoft, slick design has never exactly been a strong suit of theirs.

I'd also like to add my completely professional massive groan to SL's massive groan.


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