Oculus has forgotten its reason to exist

Start with Why. Then figure out How. That leads to What. Never start with What.

Oculus kickstarted the modern, fledgling virtual reality industry – literally, on Kickstarter. VR has been around in various forms for decades. The Oculus Rift represented a major leap forwards and received massive goodwill and public support.

Fast forward to now and there are multiple players in the market. Most notably Oculus (now owned by Facebook) and the Vive from the odd pairing of Valve and HTC. But this industry isn’t like home video in the 80s – back then, home video was definitely going to happen. The format war between VHS and Betamax was daft, but it didn’t threaten the very concept itself.


Steam Controller impressions from someone who doesn’t like controllers

Every negative article on the Steam Controller has been from experienced gaming journos, all of whom tend to profess to having used traditional controllers for over a decade. These are people who love Xbox or Playstation controllers and have a ton of muscle memory invested in them. It’s not surprising that they’re finding it difficult to adapt to something very different. Crucially, I think they’ve forgotten the initial learning curve they had with the Playstation and Xbox controllers, because it was decades ago. (more…)

Steam streaming beta thoughts


I wrote a post a few months back theorising a little about SteamOS and how it’s bad news for Microsoft – if Valve get a number of plates all spinning in unison. A big part of SteamOS’ initial appeal will come from Steam’s new streaming ability, which is now in beta and works across Mac, Windows, Linux and SteamOS itself. I’ve been fiddling with it on a couple of Windows machines and it’s quite the remarkable thing. (more…)

Rise of parental motivation in games


There’s a surprising number of games around now in which you take on the role of a parent, one way or another – including literally. Whether it’s directly protecting a child in The Walking Dead and The Last of Us or delicately balancing your ethics against the welfare of your family in Papers, Please, there’s an increasingly common thread of adult responsibility that I don’t recall encountering previously. (more…)

SteamOS and the fall of Microsoft


For a while now I’ve been tempted to write a fictional blog post purporting to have been written in 2050-or-thereabouts, essentially along the lines of “Hey, anybody remember Microsoft?” The company that for most of my lifetime has just been there has, in the last 5 years, suddenly become rather wobbly – despite still seeming quite healthy in financial terms.

The announcement of Valve’s SteamOS and associated gubbins added a whole new element to Microsoft’s woes. Now, a lot of this is working on the assumption that SteamOS, the Steam Controller and Steam Machines will be actually good. If they’re not, then the debate is a bit moot.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the key market areas where Microsoft have historically ruled.