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Sunday Thoughts: New Technology

And being too quick to judge.

Remember when Sony announced the Vita, and everyone was cooing about the technology the pocket powerhouse had managed to cram into it? Impressive, wasn’t it? The front and rear touch surfaces, the 3G data connectivity, the GPS, the graphical power Sony some how managed to fit into something that can fit into a pocket; all of it was worth getting excited over. And then… well then very little happened.

Now, whilst the Vita isn’t doing as badly as many people think (just look at Greg’s take on the Japanese sales figures for an example), it’s not exactly going great guns either. Despite all that technology that everyone was so keen to fawn over at the announcement, there’s just not much out there to really drive people towards the Vita as a platform.

It seems strange then that, in the wake of E3, new technology (and lack of it in some places) is rearing its head once again. Although there are still some questions about the Wii U’s hardware, it seems Microsoft’s SmartGlass demo has caused the biggest stir in the people I’ve been talking to. Many believe it’s destined to fail, to become consigned to the dust heap of history.

These early demos might not set the world on fire, but they do show promise.
Personally, I think it’s combining the solution to several different problems into an interesting product that has the potential go somewhere. Do I know if it will? I’ve got no idea.

The fact that they’re building a product that relies very heavily on external partners for some aspects of it leaves a lot of questions up in the air; it depends on deals that Microsoft need to sign and that we aren’t privy too. It’s a risky strategy for Microsoft, and one that requires a wait and see approach.

I suppose that’s not a particularly interesting attitude from the outside, waiting to see just what impact something has. It doesn’t exactly make for sparkling conversation now does it? However, as someone who thought that Kinect, whilst being interesting, would completely bottom out rather than becoming the fastest selling consumer electronics device in history, I’ve decided it’s probably worth sitting back and seeing what happens to interesting new technology on release.

Of course, I’m only human so it’s very likely that I will, at times, ignore this rule, but for now I’m willing to wait and see on SmartGlass, even if I love the concepts they’re playing with; in fact it sits in an area I’ve considered doing a Masters degree in.

Have Microsoft completely misjudged the market? I’ve no idea, and neither does anyone else yet. We don’t even know what their final plans for it are yet, we’ve just seen a few examples in a tech demo.

You could probably apply this argument to games, and perhaps we should, but there’s a difference that strikes me. When we see something like SmartGlass or the PlayStation Move it’s a new concept, or at least a new spin on an old concept that needs time to sink in. Compared to an early demo for Assassin’s Creed, or even something that feels new to gaming like Watch Dogs, we’ve still got a more solid idea of what they’re doing.

Although Watch Dogs seems fresh, we’ve still seen other games that are similar; we’ve got more of a base of knowledge to build our expectations from. When new technology crops up this is less true, even if they’re still standing on the shoulders of giants.

So for now I’m going to wait and see on SmartGlass, the Wonderbook and even the Wii U. Perhaps I can fantasize about interesting ways to use this new technology instead. Maybe SmartGlass will actually make the current Xbox 360 Dashboard navigable, wouldn’t that be nice?

  1. bmg_123
    Since: Feb 2012

    I honestly think ‘Watch Dogs’ will get average ratings in reviews in the end, mark my words!
    As for tech, I was adamant that I wasn’t going to buy a Vita until there was a better library and less expensive memory cards…yet a few weeks ago I bought a 3G Vita with Uncharted and a 4GB card. I think the Vita has a bright future, looking at the games like AC3 and Snapshot. As for SmartGlass, I think it’s destined to be forgotten, not necessarily out of lack of support; I use my Xbox to play multiplat games, and my PS3 for everything else, but even so, I don’t want to have to hook up my iPhone to look up a little character info or a map.
    I think I’ll just cut myself off there…

    Comment posted on 10/06/2012 at 18:36.
  2. coruscant
    Since: Oct 2010

    As far as I can tell, both Microsoft and Sony are trying to pre-empt the Wii U’s selling point BUT the Wii U’s selling point, the second screen controller, has yet to convince… well, anyone really, that it is a great thing. I don’t know how it will turn out but PERSONALLY I don’t see the whole two screen thing catching on.

    Comment posted on 10/06/2012 at 18:59.
  3. Crocadillian
    Since: Feb 2011

    I think it’s mainly the companies management that makes it quite predictable. The Vita IS a great piece of hardware, but like the Move controller Sony provided lackluster support. With the Wii U itll end up being Nintendo that does the controller any real justice, just like the Wii and Gamecube (and usually with Nintendo, thats enough to support the platform). The management of the Xbox platform is the only somewhat variable element in the console-based industry it feels, not becoming too predictable yet, apart from the fact that MS are all too happy to focus more on other things apart from games.

    Comment posted on 10/06/2012 at 19:00.
  4. The Lone Steven
    Never heard of him.
    Since: May 2010

    For me, a good old fashioned controller and console is enough for my gaming needs. But if it makes meals, i won’t complain. ;)

    Sony really do need to do more for the Vita as the amount of support it is getting is pathetic. In fact, it seems to be the new Move in terms of support. :o They should have showed some Vita games at E3 as there was not a single demo for a vita game that was shown during their conference.

    I think Smartglass may be met with intial success but will end up being another gimmick and just used for small features in games. Such as maps in RPGs etc.. That and i don’t think many gamers can be bothered to use more then one device at a time whilst gaming.

    As for the Wii U, i doubt it will sell as well as the Wii due to the Wii being aimed at the untapped causal market and many causal gamers won’t want to get a Wii U due to it not showing something that they could play causally. Such as the Wii motion controls. Plus Apple has started to take over the market with their apps and games on IOS.

    I think Watchdog will probably fail to reach it’s sales target due to it being a new IP and new IPs rarely meet their target but it will get a cult following and fans will be begging for another Watchdogs. Such as Mirrors Edge and people wanting another Mirror’s Edge.

    Assassains Creed 3 looks bloody excellent and seems to be very fluid.

    Comment posted on 10/06/2012 at 19:00.
  5. SH Number 7/Mini-Lipscombe
    Since: May 2011

    I personally love the idea, I just hope it works well.
    I really like the Wii U controller and am thinking about getting one because of it.

    Comment posted on 10/06/2012 at 19:32.
  6. Sitorimon
    Since: Jul 2011

    I don’t know. I’m just not ready for new stuff yet. I can’t afford it, the world is reeling unable to kickstart itself going – I just think its the wrong time to launch a wave of new stuff. Give us a chance to gobble up and enjoy this run or you’ll milk the cash cows dry.

    Comment posted on 10/06/2012 at 20:10.
  7. Gadbury
    Since: Jan 2009

    I’ve spent some time this weekend trying out the PlayStation Mobile SDK. Really cool that the Vita’s toys are available to tinker with.

    Comment posted on 10/06/2012 at 21:37.
    • bmg_123
      Since: Feb 2012

      Really don’t understand why there’s not a Mac version of the suite…if Sony want to compete with iOS, they’ll surely want access to it’s developers? And as I personally only have Photoshop etc. on Mac, it’s far too inconvenient to switch between the two OSs every time…look forward to seeing your apps, if that’s what your doing!

      Comment posted on 11/06/2012 at 10:41.