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Nvidia Project Shield: The Good, The Sexy, & Salacious
C.E.S. 2013 began with a resounding thud heard not just around the gaming world, but technology, mobile, and console. Nvidia put the world on notice that it is going to put their technology, and gaming on a footing that will be noticed. Project Shield is an Android-based mobile games console that’s also capable of streaming PC games. The device is capable of playing both single, and multiplayer games, 4K Ultra-HD movies, and browse the web. The device described by CEO Jen-Hsun Huang can play games from the TegraZone and Google PLAY, or stream and play high-quality PC games delivered from Steam. Instantly offering up a true mobile console platform. Without being open source. Which in the youth of Android is a very good thing, because it’s structured. Is it time for Android gaming to compete with everyone?
The Good: Nvidia’s new Tegra 4 chipset is the guts behind Shield, and it trounces all Android devices on the market. The Ipad pales in comparison. That’s saying a mouthful, because in the mobile space the Ipad, is pretty well established with games that play well, and look great. Android on the other hand, although good, it’s a platform with a mishmash of gaming going on. Shield comes with 72 GPU cores, and a quad-core A15 processor, and a new software modem that allows instantaneous updates. Which means it has all the power to be efficient in offering up great graphics, sturdy connectivity, and productivity if need be. We are talking about firmware and new connectivity options accessibly on call when needed. The console style controller, offering bumpers, a D-pad and other triggers – plus a dedicated Shield button where you can switch from the native Android mode to the Nvidia gaming menu; are familiar to gamer’s. More so than playing just touch screen. You get a contextual feel for the games that are played on the 5-inch 1280×720 pixel screen. Cloud gaming which is all the rage is also on display with the Shield where you can stream from, as well as your home PC. You basically can stay knee deep in a game of League of Legends without missing a step. The mobile side can be expanded with storage space, and HDMI out put to television offers up a media solution to be at home distracting you from ever having to fire up that new Playstation 4 we all know is on the way. If you have a Steam library, then you will be able to take advantage of Steam’s Big Picture styling through the console controller.
The Sexy: With an unveiling on Sunday, Nvidia gave no price point. So at this point today many are interested in the device are skeptical on hard their pockets will be hit. Project Shield begs to the question who is the target audience for this mobile device? Is it the PC gamer who wants to play his titles on the go? Is it the console gamer who is interested in Android games? Is it the mobile user looking to play the best titles on the go, and still be productive? If it’s a combination of both then where’s is Nvidia going to be selling this device, and why does it not have a phone feature? People can only take but so many mobile devices with before they look like a walking Radio Shack. It’s not realistic. Does this mean Project Shield is unwarranted, or needed? No quite the opposite. In fact Nvidia has to take out a competitor, and the bad part that summons this paragraph up is. Which competitor are they killing? There is no clear answer irrespective of the technology on display by Nvidia.
The Salacious: Project Shield has too much going on in a butt ugly aesthetic. It’s so weird to see design for a mobile device come of so ancient, and archaic that I’m hoping this is only a prototype that works. Not a near final design choice. It’s riggidy looking, and don’t see most people who are now used to a clean, deliberate and fashionable mobile device flocking to Nvidia product. A part of me believes badly that Nvidia had Shield on hand for a while, but was pushed to desperately unveil something due to the independent push we are seeing from companies such as OUYA, and PlayJam with Gamestick. They couldn’t let the little guys get a jump on them in a real obvious market where the big boys are missing out on. There is nothing original about Project Shield, especially when it practically looks like an Xbox controller with a screen. There isn’t a clear distinction between what is out there, and the future that Nvidia sees. Obviously the jury is still out, and my salacious writings could be a jump of the gun. In the face of a new generation companies need to show that they are able to participate, rather sit on the side lines. In this respect Nvidia has tremendous potential on their hands with Project Shield. They just need to approach the market a bit more concretely than what we are seeing. There’s a gimmicky quality that you can’t escape that urges one to ask when will Sony, and Microsoft finally unveil something so a new gen can start already. We need one of them to get it right.
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One of Nike’s most underrated departments has to be it’s Tennis one. Don’t get me wrong people are aware of their line of Tennis gear, but not as prominently as other areas of the company. Except, consistently Nike Tennis out does it self, and competition. Enter the new Air Max Cage for example. It features a new system termed Drag-On that offers up breathable upper mesh material that is perforated, has holes of varying sizes which provide degrees of flexibility, all the while distributing support where one’s foot is needed. In this case if you are running baseline to baseline your arch, heel, and forefoot would be in good. The padded tongue, and eye tray that helps with any discomfort one might feel. An added bonus of a mid foot shank gives you stability for stopping, and going quickly. XDR out-sole, and “wear shelf” keep the ball of your foot pretty much in play. There are other notable highlights, but the beauty of the shoe is in it’s colorway, and the technology steals the show after that. I must say that the Air Max Cage is on my list of gets for Easter. Well played Nike…Well played.
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CLAE Pop-Up Store in Glaeria Malta Poland
I don’t have any current plans to visit Poland unfortunately. Then again I’m not much of a fan of leaving one cold place for another in the winter season. Except in the case of CLAE footwear. Well C.E.S is going on right now also, so I think a body double would be on order. I’m rooting for cloning these days. Apparently because, Mode:lina a Polish architectural design firm just put the finishing touches on a CLAE footwear pop-up shop. More specifically in the Glaeria Malta in Poznan. The firm was going for a low cost shop that mixes wood tables, benches, and walls for aesthetic practical use.
The 60 square shop uses long screws for shelf space offering up a clutter free space for shoppers. In all honesty it looks like a dog gone warehouse. I’m trying to see the design ethos created by Pawel Garus, and Jerzy Wozniak taking things to a new level, but I’ll chalk this up to an experimental project that was realized. Opening last month the CLAE pop-up shop offers up some of 2012 and 2013 footwear you can pick up asap. So If you are in Poland, and like CLAE you should check it out.
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Gamer’s The Future of Food-LYFE Kitchen
The state of our health, and food in the world is at a delicate place. From the way we feed our animals, to the way population is exploding the world over. How we eat, and what we eat is in critical focus. As technology becomes mandatory in our lives, being occupied both socially, and figuring out how to consistently be available will ask us to be at an optimum level to operate. When it comes to gamers, and the way we eat. Many would say a fast food diet is where it’s at. Rarely will you see healthy eating in the same sentence or even being a component to game advertising. Usually you’ll see Mountain Dew ads, sports energy drinks, etc that speak to prolonged gaming experience. How’s our diet going? In fact to most of the public, parents, peers, the perception of gamer’s are fat people sitting around boxes of open pizza all dusty, and dirty. Well there is a solution on the horizon, and gamer’s should be there to support, and eat better. LYFE Kitchen.
What makes LYFE Kitchen significant is the fact that they are taking a broad, but calculated approach to not only restaurant franchising, also what is in your grocery isle. Working with grocery stores, and big chain warehouse companies. LYFE is bringing premium healthy food to you in a way that is affordable, and tastes good. I’m a big supporter of good food, and living. So I’ve worked hard in my personal life to stay as fit as I can with my schedule, and gaming. Not everyone has that luxury, or discipline. So even for me having healthy alternatives to eating right is helpful. Costs especially because let’s face it, organic anything will hit your wallet where as some burgers, or pizza can be purchased without hurt. Where I think LYFE is super cool is in the fact that you can in the future see an establishment next to a Wendy’s, Checkers, McDonalds, or local food chain. If you would like to learn more I suggest you check out LYFE’s interview with Bloomberg TV.
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Next Generation Of Xbox Live
Microsoft hit the nail on the head when they created Xbox live more than 10 years ago. Being ahead of the curve of any console manufacturer offering cohesive game play online that allowed gamers in distant parts the ability to play one another. It was a concept, and idea that came from Sega with the Dreamcast. Microsoft nurtured online play, and social communication with the Xbox 360 to fine blade. So much so that those who argue about it’s price miss the very fact that the stability, and consistency of Xbox Live is what is payed for. Say what you say about Xbox Live, but when Sony, and Nintendo haphazardly offered their solutions; blundering with clunky aspects to their infrastructure, along side hacked systems going down for weeks on end. Xbox Live gave developers/gamers a real reason to care, and be connected. From cross gaming chat to the other myriad features. Xbox Live worked no asides…Period. In a recent Gamespot post by editor Tom Mc Shea where he felt that subscription fees should be waived, and Xbox Live in it’s current form should not return. I agree, and disagree. Instead of comparing Xbox Live to Sony PSN + it would be far better to focus on how Xbox live based on it’s own merit can grow. Not be compared to a competitor that has in the last days of a generation got themselves in a good place. Microsoft now need to redefine for a new generation of online gaming, again, because that’s what they have done for two generations. Here is how…
Xbox Live Silver should have free content:
When we say Xbox Live Silver content should be free we are saying that without gold membership users on the new platform should be able to have access to features, get incentives to entertain premium subscription membership. Every month there should be five free games, five free movies, five free music downloads, etc. The idea is that immediately Xbox Live Silver is ready to be engaged. For instance Free-to-play gaming should be available on Xbox Silver, indie games should be immediately made for rent to play. From this point Microsoft should allow users to use whatever payment structure already exists to purchase/rent what they want that is queued in menu available for Silver standard. They can rotate offerings, then serve up premium content for a What this immediately does is offer users an incentive to move onto Gold when they are shown more on offer that they are missing out on a silver level. Keep in mind you can access Xbox Live Gold cheaply at different times because of cards, discounts, coupons, etc. The point is. Carrots work.
Xbox Live Gold
With cable, satellite, and other services for television content get more expensive, and services like Netflix, along with Hulu allow people to configure their content to their liking. Xbox Live Gold will need to do the same. Using the Xbox Live Silver as the basis for this test. Microsoft can offer packages within gold that allow people to access content services from music, to gaming in a complete way on tiers. $60 a month should get me a select revolving number of free content apps that are already paid for that I can use. If a user wants extra then they can pay for that, or they can exchange a service for another one. Say have Netflix one month, and exchange it for Infinity or whatever. The point is that the access, and barrier should be more cost effective. Especially when you look at the fact that competitors are offering much of theirs freely. Xbox Live Gold must have a built in content, service, and product option without nickle and diminng for more. This will have Microsoft competing, but at the same time giving content operators options to be focused in a holistic way on a gaming platform. Microsoft has to keep in mind that gaming has to remain the core of their platform while Xbox Live is the extension. Remember people are waiting for the next Xbox so Micorosoft needs them to be ready in droves, and keeping them on the platform means entitlements that come with service that already exist out there for free. If Sony’s next console is going to be up to par then where does Microsoft differentiation begin to compete? It has to at the level people already are accustomed to. Remember with Android devices, and Steam out there it’s about who best serves customers.
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2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe
I would love a luxury vehicle right now. Nothing gaudy, but something befit a guy working, and worth spoiling himself. Sure we live in a society of aspiration, and looks. I’m more of the mind set to be comfortable, and serene. When I look at the 2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe that what comes to mind. Don’t get me wrong, I’m more of a stealth black Camaro kind of guy normaly, but there is something missing in that car’s elegance that Mercedes always get’s right with there’s. The E-Class exemplifies that credo big time. Maybe soon I will be able to upgrade my life, and this nice piece of machinery will be part of it.
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Ouya Unboxing: The Open Source Console Generation Begins
Ouya, is part of the success story in gaming, and tech for 2012. Why? Well because it was part of the crowd funding phenomena that allowed the community of interested to directly fund projects that they were inspired, and believed in. Kickstarter was the preferred platform. What makes Ouya an exciting project is the fact that it is Android based, open source, customizable, and is much more than a gaming console which allows third party support to come from a myriad of sources. To give you some background on Ouya specifically though; Here is a short video outlining the company’s mission, backers, and Ouya platform itself.
As the first open source console Ouya offers developers a means to dig in early, and with Android you have a proven operating system that exists having familiarity with a wide audience. This audience that I speak are those who own Android smart phones, or tablets. So with the proliferation of apps on the platform you know it is pretty strong for gaming. Add to the fact that Ouya uses a Nvidia Tegra 3 gpu which is powerful, but limited on smart phone/tablet devices due to batter consumption. In a console limitations like that vanish. The significance is that you can take the games you see by developers on Google Play market place, and play them at home on your television. Again although this a mainly gaming console, the fact that apps come in all forms; then it is safe to say this will be the case on the console.You’ll get music players, video streaming services, organizing apps, etc. Now you may say well my phone has all that. True, but being able to have that in a console on your TV all dedicated is a different experience. The Xbox 360, and PS3 got close to this, but not so much. More importantly not everything there offered as much free content early to access. Yes, the business model is all free-to-play on Ouya.
With the platform being so open Ouya’s brain trust is going to face some real issues. Those come down to hacking, and overall policing of what comes in, and user experience. If you take a look at the way hacking has exploded this generation, then you should be aware that the Android platform is being bombarded. Games, and apps are being pirated everyday. As open as Ouya is there should be some safety measures taken if not to twart pirating, but to create an environment that is more conducive to helping users not feel overwhelmed. You have to look no further than this being an issue in multiplayer gaming where cheating can be a real deal breaker to consistent players believing in the platform. Obviously this goes against some of the things that Ouya is about, but ultimately it’s about the end user experience.
Ouya’s presence in the game console market is significant because when you have fledgling services such as the cloud gaming idea then you need a platform that makes sense. Onlive which wanted to offer a hub that gamer’s could buy is now defunct as a publisher. Is now a third party software developer. The assests that made up Onlive fit well with Ouya’s community driven philosophy. So it’s good to see that Onlive will be one of the apps gamer’s can tap into offering all kinds of games from PC titles to console ones for Ouya. What this means for other publishers, and developers is a platform with less restrictions. The Xbox 360, and PS3 generation has pretty much prepared developers for what they need to do to focus on their games as services. Not just sell offs. At the same time they can play with business models like free-to-play with titles that already exist in more extensive way’s without too much damage to their bottom line. In many respects it turns each developer/publisher into Steam. How you ask? Well they can dictate without much financial restriction how gamer’s interact with their titles on Ouya. So the freedom now gives them all the reigns, but we have to remember. With great power, comes great responsibility. So developers must be diligent on Ouya to make it work for them. So far companies like SquareEnix, and Namco Bandi are on board. Both companies I believe have the titles to hit the ground running in their catalog. Robotoki is one developer that is taking it’s next generation aspiration seriously, and looking at what platforms can offer their IP “Human Element” a community back bone early. They are going to do episodic content, and other exclusive activities on Ouya. More developers need to follow their lead, just to establish themselves with good will, and to really get a feel for what they can do in the next generation.
Free-to-play can thrive like nobody’s business on Ouya. Offering young developers, and publishers a means to really make an impact. The biggest obstacle again is piracy. This is where Ouya’s development, and constant progression with Android needs a concerted effort from both Google and Ouya as a manufactuer. Now I’m of the mind set that because this has all been community driven, and all that has to be done is satisfy that niche base. Then Google can look at Ouya as test run, and with it being cheap they can come out in several years with a more focused platform. I think they should take advantage right now, and have that plan as a great “B”. The opportunity is now to turn the Free-to-play model into one that exists with huge incentives, and hybrid alternatives which are profit making, at the same time user focused to get gamer’s believing/buying games. Outside of business models what should be kept in mind is that this is about having a great console experience. This is yet to be seen. With that being said. $100 dollars for a next generation system is by far a steal, especially with the caliber that Ouya is going for. There really is no barrier to entry. As I said earlier in this post, it’s about how serious do developers, and publishers take the platform. At the same time the main people behind Ouya focus on user satisfaction. Right now like everyone who’s watching Ouya. The excitement is constrained with practical optimism in the platform.
As great of a run the gaming industry has had this generation. We learned that it is not immune to the recession. Despite much success many publishers have had to make critical lay offs due to canceled projects, bad sales, and restructuring for better effiency. The sad part is that with jobs in every industry at a premium, many can’t afford to be without work. THQ is the latest publisher to have serious woes that will affect 170 employees as of today. In a report by Eurogamer, Independent industry suit Kevin Dent claimed to have been sitting on the news “for a week or so”. His Twitter conversation with THQ’s vice president of technology Mark DeLoura suggests this is for real. ”This is probably going to break in the morning, I have sat on it for a week or so. The culling at THQ was 170+ souls including Mark DeLoura,” broadcast Kevin Dent, directing the message at DeLoura. ”A smart journalist would send THQ’s VP of Tech Mark DeLoura an email and see what the auto reply says,” Dent later wrote. ”Hey, that’s cheating,” DeLoura replied, smiley in tow.
Obviously these lay offs will affect many of THQ’s publishing activities, as well as threaten their standing on the Stock market. How will the publisher bounce back? Where do they lean for success? Titles like Saint’s Row are no where near the caliber of say Activision’s Call of Duty status. The way the company built itself using licensing was genius, and really effective for the titles that were successful. That well is running dry, and can not sustain the growth level THQ is at today. The publisher is going to have to dig deep for the future. In order to be viable in a way that they can compete at the level they want, and need to. THQ must focus on the type of publisher they have to be, and where they can expand revenue streams. A tall task for any publisher. Time will tell if they are up to the challenge.
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Maserati will replace the Gran Turismo S soon. The Jason Castriota-penned Gran Turismo S will for sure be one of the highlights next month at the Geneva Motor Show. Subtle body changes to the front bumper encourage air flow allowing the vehicle to perform significantly better than its predecessor. The 460-horsepower version reveals how the efficient body changes have given more life to the vehicle giving you reason to push it’s 4.7-liter engine. The car will go an impressive 0-60 mph that will take less than 5 seconds, while the coupe can hit top speed at 177 mph. The changes don’t stop their with a re designed lighting system for the front, and back areas. The 2012 GT Sport will have a new interior. As the Geneva Motor show draws close we expect more info to rain through till the official March release date.
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Summer 2012 has some time before it is here. Yet, it’s still great to look ahead for what could be a stylish heat wave. Every year there is a watch brand that becomes the signature accessory to rock. G-Shock I would say has had that ‘it’ factor from a niche, at the same time mainstream standpoint for over several years. Fullspot’s 2012 collection looks like they want to supplant G-Shock. Can they? Well that depends on how many people catch on to find some affinity with their watches. Outside of who and who does not wear these watches. It must be said that they are unique, have a great style you can create around, and just sport your way. The color spectrum is vast for the collection, so having options to choose from will definitely be welcome. The design approach is understated, with the vibrancy of color taking center stage to achieve the collections philosophy in 2012.