Microsoft to Pull out of Console market in 2014

There has been a recurring bit of chatter across the interwebs about Microsoft’s plans for the Xbox brand given that the division hasn’t been entirely profitable for the company (despite the brand becoming well recognized as a power player in the home entertainment sector). The latest bit of chatter has kicked up due to a lot of weight being added to the rumors about Microsoft selling off Xbox.

The Verge spotted an article on Bloomberg where they source individuals close to Microsoft’s inner operations that Stephen Elop, potential candidate for Microsoft’s CEO position to replace a retiring Steve Ballmer, would be keen on killing or diverting resources off wasteful divisions of the software (and minor hardware) giant.

As summed up in the Bloomberg article…

Elop would be prepared to sell or shut down major businesses to sharpen the company’s focus, the people said. He would consider ending Microsoft’s costly effort to take on Google with its Bing search engine, and would also consider selling healthy businesses such as the Xbox game console if he determined they weren’t critical to the company’s strategy, the people said.

This isn’t the first time this issue has come up regarding the sale of the Xbox division, but the reality strikes a heck of a lot closer to home given that once the rumor went wild Microsoft’s stock price skyrocketed at the prospect of the Bing and Xbox divisions being sold off, which could result in a hefty profit margin for the 2015 fiscal forecast.

More than anything, the launch of the Xbox One and whether it proliferates or profligates Microsoft ‘s marketing position will determine how much weight the rumors will hold. I imagine if someone like Elop saw a lot of strong consumer interest they might consider keeping the Xbox brand around a little while longer. However, if the launch is plagued with temperate sales andpoor consumer feedback, it could easily affect the Xbox brand’s market position and dampen the way people react and perceive Microsoft’s home entertainment gaming division.

Now this creates a rather interesting conundrum with a dichotomous approach from gamers on the potential dump of the Xbox brand by Microsoft.

On one side, gamers feel that Microsoft needs to keep the Xbox brand in order to keep the industry competitive and force Sony to stay innovative, consumer-friendly and feature-savvy, if not forward-looking with staying relevant with their services and devices. Many gamers fear that Microsoft selling off the Xbox brand where it becomes nothing or loses its prestige under a smaller company it could force Sony back into the early dark days of their PS3 mentality. On a personal note, I’m not sure why people don’t think Nintendo would keep Sony competitive? But oh well.

On the other side, some gamers feel that Microsoft effusing the Xbox brand could be good for the industry, opening the door for a potentially better competitor to step up and try their hand at the gaming industry. This viewpoint isn’t a bad one and it would be interesting to see who might enter the competitive home entertainment console space, although technically that’s sort of what Valve is about to do with the Steam Machines.

Right now, though, gamers need not worry too much until an official successor to Ballmer is announced and their intentions are made readily clear. Until then, enjoy the ride while it lasts.

Microsoft dropped the Ball.

Every time any MS representative goes on the record to discuss the DRM policies they take an inherently anti consumer approach even if it’s not their intent. Which at this point I’m going to assume it’s their intent given the frequency with which they and their cohorts put this bungle on the consumer. You can’t claim that consumers weren’t ready for your vision of the future. We will never be ready for your vision of an all digital future because no one at MS has never, not once, made it clear what exactly that vision is, or was, could be or will be.

Simply state that Microsoft misread the market. They operated in a vacuum under the assumption that your consumers wanted certain things that we didn’t and now they’re having to back track. That’s fine. Evil Corporations make mistakes, it happens. It’s time to reread your audience and try again. What they can’t do is continue to allude to the fact that consumers weren’t ready for their product. That’s insulting, and it insinuates that Microsoft still have plans to fuck us over in the future. Consumers are naturally entitled. We have to be. We’re paying large sums of cash, in this case a premium, for their product. We have certain expectations based on how they present that product and once that transaction is complete we’re naturally entitled to complete ownership over that product. We also have expectations for the product based on competing products and services from other manufacturers. Microsoft does not operate within a vacuum and this relationship does not work in reverse. You are not entitled to my money.

The DRM strategy as we know it is beneficial to no one but Microsoft and its partners. This statement is true based on the information you have given us. They can claim that miscommunications and disorganization led to dissemination of inaccurate rumors, but the truth of the matter is that the only time they’ve detailed any consumer benefit was AFTER they shut the DRM down. We also had it on good insider authority that those claims regarding game sharing were complete bullshit and they were lying to us. All the “facts” they attempted to detail to consumers were completely contradictory during the period of time immediately following the initial announcement. Every further clarification only led to further confusion as Microsoft continued to contradict itself. Repeatedly. These are not signs of miscommunications. These are signs of a critical lack of vision and fundamental misunderstanding of their target audience and it shows.

Right now Sony and Valve are assaulting Microsoft with precision strikes in the market that matters the most during launches, the core gamer audience. You need to buckle the fuck down and figure out what your product is, and who it’s for. Right now I can’t figure out who this product is for, or why anyone should want it. If it’s for the hardcore gamer what are the benefits of paying for XBL over PSN+? You’re entering a new generation and Sony is catching up significantly. Voice chat is no longer an appropriate answer. You’ve failed to clarify on the future of the Games With Gold promotion. At first it was temporary, now it’s not? The offerings have been substandard when compared to PS+ over the period of time since it was first announced. Your product is no longer the preferred place to play multiplatform titles and you have virtually no first party resources to draw from. The last entry of your largest IPs, Halo and Gears, was not received well by their audience and Microsoft lost a chunk of their third party exclusive content over the past generation. As a consumer why should I believe that this won’t happen again? Why should I, as a gamer, buy a Xbox One when judging by their track record they’ve nearly abandoned the 360 halfway through it’s life and let a massive series like Mass Effect go multiplatform. It seems to me like this will probably happen again and most major titles I can just wait for on Steam or PS4.

Is this for the casual gamer? If so why aren’t we seeing more kinect games? If so why is it the most expensive console on the market? Where is the content that’s going to blow the casual market away? The original kinect was successful because it was a novel add on. A new way of interacting with a product you already had in your household. This is not the case for Microsoft any more. The original Wii took off because it was something entirely new, original, and extremely affordable. It was a novelty. This is also not the case for the Xbox One. The family/casual market, if there’s much of one left, is going to Nintendo. They have the stronger family friendly IPs. You either need to focus on them or drop the kinect.

Is this a device for the mass market? Designed to integrate into television and media services? It can’t be, once again it’s the most expensive console no the market. It can’t compete in price to something like the Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, or even the Vita TV, a device that at least makes sense as a cheap complimentary purchase to a product a consumer will already own. If that’s the case then why haven’t we heard more about these television and film products? Where is the info on Remedy’s new game that’s supposedly blending video games and television entertainment? We know virtually nothing about how it plays, and we know virtually nothing about the television series. Are there other projects like that in the works? If it’s designed to compliment a cable subscription why can’t it function as a DVR? What benefit is there to a $500 black box that functions as little more than a glorified TV remote? Why aren’t you partnering with cable providers? Why are the TV services so severely limited globally?

Microsoft, who is this product for? On the surface you seem to be approaching this device as a jack of all trades type of console. The problem is that the title of “jack of all trades” implies a level of competency in these services that is glaringly absent from your strategy. You lack vision. Period. Stop making excuses. Stop blaming the consumers.

Shut the fuck up, buckle the fuck down, figure out who you’re targeting, and fix this.

Drunvalo Melchizedek – The Teaching Of The MER-KA-BA

At the Return To Atlantis Conference, I met a fascinating 84 year old man who has activated his light body by doing the following merkaba meditation. Below the instructions, you will also find a guided meditation for this.

by Drunvalo Melchizedek

Like the sun, we must breathe, radiating out to all life. And from all life we will receive our manna.

Begin by creating a place in your home that is used only for this meditation. Make a space where no one will walk through or disturb you, possibly in your bedroom. A small altar with a candle and a cushion or pillow to sit upon may be helpful. Make this place holy. It is here that you will learn to create the MER-KA-BA around your body and make conscious contact with your higher self.

Once each day, enter into this meditation, until the time comes when you are a conscious breather, remembering with each breath your intimate connection with God. To begin the meditation, first sit down and relax. Let the worries of the day go. Breathe rhythmically and shallow. Be aware of your breath and relax. When you feel the tension begin to fade, begin to open your heart. Feel Love. Feel Love for all life everywhere. Continue to breathe rhythmically, being aware of your breath, and feel the Love moving through your spirit. When the FEELING of love is in your beingness, you are ready to begin to move towards the experience to the MERKABA. Without this Love, no amount of knowledge will create the MER-KA-BA. To the degree you are able to Love, will be the degree you will be able to experience the MER-KA-BA.

 

The Merkaba Field is a permanent and highly ordered Merkabic structure of inter-connected electro-magnetic counter-rotating energy spirals that exist as an integral part of ALL CREATION

The following is an overview of the meditation to reach the MER-KA-BA. There are seventeen breaths to reach completion. The first six are for balancing of the polarities within your eight electical circuits, and , also, for the cleansing of these circuits. The next seven, which are quite different, are to re-establish the proper pranic flow through your body, and to recreate Spherical Breathing within your body. The fourteenth breath is unique unto itself. It changes the balance of pranic energy within your body from third dimensional to fourth dimensional awareness. The last three breaths recreate the rotating fields of the MER-KA-BA within and around your body.

The instructions: The following instructions will be broken down into four areas: MIND, BODY, BREATH and HEART.

FIRST BREATH: Inhale

HEART: Open your heart and feel love for all life. If you cannot do this, you must at least open to this love as much as is possible for you. This is the most important instruction of all.

MIND: Become aware of the male tetrahedron (the apex facing up to the sun, the point facing to the front for male, the point to the back for females) filled with the brilliant white light surrounding your body. Visualize it the best you can. If you cannot visualize it, sense or feel it surrounding you.

BODY: At the same moment of inhalation, place your hands in the mudra of your thumb and first finger touching. Remember, lightly touch your fingers, and do not allow your fingers to touch each other or any other object. Keep your palms facing up.

BREATH: At this same moment, with empty lungs, begin to breath in a complete yogic manner. Breathe through your nostrils only, except at certain places which will be described. Simply put, breath from your stomach first, then your diaphragm, and finally your chest. Do this in one movement, not three parts. The exhale is completed either by holding the chest firm and relaxing the stomach, slowly releasing the air, or by holding the stomach firm and relaxing the chest. The most important aspect is that this breathing must be rhythmic. Begin by using seven seconds in and seven seconds out, but as you get familiar with this meditation, find your own rhythm.

The following instructions for a complete Yogic Breath are from “the Hindu-Yogi Science of Breath” by Yogi Ramacharake. Perhaps this description will be helpful. Breathing through the nostrils, inhale steadily, first filling the lower part of the lungs, which is accomplished by bringing into play the diaphagm, which descending exerts a gentle pressure on the abdominal organs, pushing forward the front walls of the abdomen. Then fill the midddle part of the lungs, pushing out the lower ribs, breastbone and chest. Then fill the higher portion of the lungs, protruding the upper chest, thus lifting the chest, including the upper six or even pairs of ribs. At first reading it may appear that this breath consists of three distinct movements. This, however, is not the correct idea. The inhalation is continuous, the entire chest cavity from the lowered diaphragm to the highest point of the chest in the region of the collar bone, being expanded with a uniform movement. Avoid a jerky series of inhalations, and strive to attain a steady continuous action. Practice will soon overcome the tendency to divide the inhalation into three movements, and will result in a uniform continuous breath. You will be able to complete the inhalation in a few seconds after a little practice. Exhale quite slowly, holding the chest in a firm position, and drawing the abdomen in a little and lifting it upward as the air leaves the lungs. When the air is entirely exhaled, relax the chest and abdomen. A little practice will render this part of the exercise easy, and the movement once acquired will be afterward performed almost automatically.

The pattern of the Star Tetrahedron links with the Star of David

FIRST BREATH: Exhale

HEART: Love

MIND: Become aware of the female tetrahedron, (apex pointing to the earth, point facing to the back for males, point facing to the front for females), also filled with the brilliant white light.

BODY: Keep the same mudra.

BREATH: Do NOT hesitate at the top of the inhalation to begin the exhalation. Exhale quite slowly, approximately seven seconds, in the Yogic manner. When the air is out of the lungs, without forcing, relax the chest and abdomen and HOLD the breath. When you feel pressure to breathe again, after about five seconds or so, then do the following:

MIND: Be aware of the flat equilateral triangle at the top of the female tetrahedron located in the horizontal plane that passes through your chest at the sternum. In a flash, and with a pulse like energy, send that triangular plane down through the female tetrahedron. It gets smaller as it goes down and pushes out the tip or apex of the tetrahedron all the negative energy of the mudra or electrical circuit, a light will shoot out of the apex toward the center of the Earth. The Mind exercise is performed along with the following BODY movements.

BODY: Move your eyes slightly toward each other, or, in other words, slightly cross your eyes. Now bring them up to the top of their sockets, or in other words, look up. Also, this looking up motion should not be extreme. You will feel a tingling feeling between your eyes in the area of your third eye . You can now look down to the lowest point you can, as fast as you can. You should feel an electrical sensation move down your spine. The MIND and BODY must coordinate the above mental exercise with the eye movements. The eyes look down from their up position at the same time the mind sees the triangular horizontal plane of the female tetrahedron move down to the apex of the female tetrahedron. This combined exercise will clean out the negative thoughts and feelings that have entered into your electrical system. Specifically, it will clean out the part of your electrical system that is associated with the particular mudra you are using. Immediately upon pulsing the energy down your spine, you change mudras to the next one and begin the entire cycle over again.

The next five breaths are a repeat of the first breath with the following mudra changes:

Second breath mudra: Thumb and second finger together

Third breath mudra: Thumb and third finger together

Fourth breath mudra: Thumb and little finger together

Fifth breath mudra: Thumb and first finger together (same as first breath)

Sixth breath mudra: Thumb and second finger together (same as second breath)

The first part, the first six breaths, the balancing of the polarities, and the cleansing of your electrical system is now complete.

The star tetrahedral fields around our bodies

There is also a tube that runs through the center of the body, connecting the apexes of the star tetrahedral field.

Before we fell in consciousness I3,000 years ago, we breathed prana through this tube. Prana simultaneously comes in from the top and passes through the pineal gland, and enters from the bottom, meeting in one of the chakras. Remembering how to breathe through this tube, combined with rotating the fields around the body, produces the merkaba, a vehicle of ascension.

There are actually three star tetrahedral fields superimposed over each other around the body. One is the physical body, one is the mental body, and the third is the emotional body. This is literally so. The fields are rotated by linking together the mind, the emotions, and the physical body. The mental field spins to the left, the emotional field to the right, and the field for the body remains stationary. When these fields are rotated at very specific speeds and in a certain way, a disk pops out at the base of the spine for fifty-five to sixty feet and a sphere appears. It looks like a flying saucer.

This field is known as the merkaba. It is the original creation pattern of the universe on all levels of existence. It is how we got here and it is how we will leave.

The word “Mer” means counter-rotating fields of light; “Ka” spirit; and “Ba” is body or reality. So the Mer-Ka-Ba is a counter-rotating field of light that takes both body and spirit with it. Once you know how to activate these fields you can use your merkaba to travel throughout the universe.

The bottom line on the Flower of Life workshop is the teaching of the merkaba and the activation of this field so that it can, at the appropriate time, be used as a vehicle of ascension.

PART 2

You are now ready for the next part, the next seven breaths. Here an entirely new breathing pattern begins. You do not need to visualize the star tetrahedron at this time. Only the tube that runs through the star, from the apex of the male tetrahedron above your head to the apex of the female tetrahedron below your feet, needs to be seen and worked with. This extends one hand length above your head and one hand length below your feet. The diameter of YOUR tube will be the size of the hole formed by YOUR thumb and forefinger touching.

SEVENTH BREATH: Inhale

HEART: Love. There is another refinement here that can be used after you have perfected this meditation. It will be discussed in class.

MIND: Visualize or sense the tube running through your body. The instant you begin the seventh inhale, see the brilliant white light of the prana moving down the tube from the top and up the tube from the bottom at the same time. This movement is almost instantaneous. The point where these two light beams meet within your body is controlled by the mind and is a vast science known throughout the universe. In this teaching however, we will only be shown what is necessary , that which will take you from third to fourth dimensional awareness. In this case you will direct the two beams of prana to meet at your navel, or more correct, within your body at navel level, inside the tube. The moment the two beams of prana meet, which is just as the inhale begins, a sphere of white light or prana is formed at the meeting point about the size of a grapefruit centered on the tube. It all happens in an instant. As you continue to take the inhale of the seventh breath, the sphere of prana begins to concentrate and grow slowly.

BODY For the next seven breaths use the same mudra for both inhale and exhale, the thumb, first and second touching together palms up.

BREATH: Deep rhythmic Yogic breathing, seven seconds in and seven seconds out. There is no holding of the breath from now on. The flow of prana from the two poles will not stop or change in any way when you go from inhale to exhale. It will be a continuous flow that will not stop for a long as you breath in this manner, even after death.

SEVENTH BREATH: Exhale

MIND: The prana sphere centered at the navel continues to grow. By the time of the full exhale, the prana sphere will be approximately eight or nine inches in diameter.

BREATH: Do not force the air out of your lungs. When your lungs are empty naturally, immediately begin the next breath.

EIGHTH BREATH: Inhale

HEART: Love.

MIND: The prana sphere continues to concentrate life force energy and grow in size.

EIGHTH BREATH: Exhale

MIND: The prana sphere continues to grow in size and will reach maximum size at the end of this breath. This maximum size is different for each person. If you put your longest finger in the center of your navel, the line on your wrist defining your hand will show you the radius of the maximum size of this sphere for YOU. This sphere of prana cannot grow larger.

NINTH BREATH: Inhale

MIND: The prana sphere cannot grow larger, so what happens is the prana begins to concentrate within the sphere. The visual appearance is that the sphere grows BRIGHTER.

BREATH: Sphere grows brighter and brighter as you inhale.

NINTH BREATH: Exhale

BREATH: As you exhale, the sphere continues to grow brighter and brighter.

TENTH BREATH: Inhale

MIND: About half way through this inhale, as the sphere continues to brighter, the prana sphere reaches critical mass. The sphere ignites into a sun, a brilliant blinding ball of white light. You are now ready for the next step.

TENTH BREATH: Exhale

MIND: At the moment of exhale, the small sphere two hand lengths in diameter bulges to expand. In one second, combined with the breath talked about below, the sphere expands quickly out to the sphere of Leonardo, out at your finger tips of your extended arms. Your body is now completely enclosed within a huge sphere of brilliant white light.

You have returned to the ancient form of spherical breathing. However, at this point, this sphere is not stable. You MUST breath three more times to keep the sphere stable.

BREATH: At the moment of exhale, make a small hole with your lips and blow out your air with pressure. As you feel the sphere begin to bulge, all within the first second of this exhale, let all of your air out rapidly. The sphere will expand at that moment.

PART 3:

ELEVENTH, TWELFTH and THIRTEENTH BREATH: Inhale and Exhale

MIND: Relax and just feel the flow of the prana flowing from the two poles and meeting at the navel and then expanding out to the large sphere

BREATH: Breath rhythmically and deep. At the end of the thirteenth breath you have stabilized the large sphere and are ready for the important 14th breath.

THE FOURTEENTH BREATH

HEART: Love

MIND: On the inhale of the 14th breath, at the very beginning of the breath, move the point where the two beams of prana meet from the navel to the sternum, the fourth dimensional chakra. The entire large sphere, along with the original sphere, which is also still contained within the large sphere, moves up to the new meeting point within the tube. Though this is very easy to do, it is an extremely powerful movement. Breathing from this new point within the tube will inevitably change your awareness from third to fourth dimensional consciousness, or from earth consciousness to Christ consciousness. It will take awhile, but as I have said , it is inevitable.

BODY: This mudra will be used for the rest of the meditation. Place the left palm on top of the right palm for males and the right palm on top of the left palm for females. It is a mudra that relaxes.

BREATH: Rhythmic breath and deep. However, if you continue to breathe from your Christ center without moving on to the MER-KA-BA, which is what is recommended until you have made contact with your Higher Self, then shift to a shallow breath. In other words, breath rhythmically but in a comfortable manner where your attention is more on the flow of energy moving up and down the tube meeting at the sternum and expanding out to the large sphere. Just feel the flow. Use your feminine side to just be. At this point don’t think, just breath, feel and be. Feel your connection to All Life through the Christ Breath. Remember your intimate connection with God.

The Last Three Breaths

You are asked not to attempt this FOURTH PART until you have made contact with your Higher Self, AND your Higher Self has given you permission to proceed. This part is to be taken seriously. The energies that will come into and around your body and spirit are of tremendous power. If you are not ready, you could hurt yourself. If your Higher Self gives you permission to enter into the MER-KA-BA, then don’t fear, for you will be ready.

FIFTEENTH BREATH: Inhale:

HEART: Love

MIND: Be aware of the whole star tetrahedron. Realize that there are three whole star tetrahedrons superimposed over each other. One is the body itself, and is locked in place and never, except under certain conditions, moves. It is placed around the body according to maleness or femaleness. The second whole star tetrahedron is male in nature, it is electrical, is literally the human mind and rotates counter-clockwise relative to your body looking out, or to put it another way, it rotates toward your left side. The third whole star tetrahedron is female in nature, is magnetic, is literally the human emotional body and rotates clockwise relative to your body looking out, or to put it another way, it rotates toward your right side. To be clear, we are not telling you to rotate the male tetrahedron one way and the female the other way. When we say rotate the whole star tetrahedron, we mean the whole thing. On the inhale of the fifteenth breath, as you are inhaling, you will say to yourself, in your head, the code words, EQUAL SPEED. This will tell your mind that you want the two rotatable whole star tetrahedrons to begin spinning in opposite directions at equal speeds at the time of the exhale. Meaning that for every complete rotation of the mind tetrahedrons, there will be a complete rotation of the emotional tetrahedrons.

BODY: Continue the mudra of the folded hands from now on.

BREATH: Breath Yogic and rhythmically an deeply again, but only for the next three breaths, after that return to the shallow breathing.

FIFTEENTH BREATH: Exhale

MIND: The two sets of tetrahedrons take off spinning. In an instant, they will be moving at exactly one third the speed of light at their outer tips. You probably will not be able to see this because of their tremendous speed, but you can feel it. What you have just done is to start the MOTOR of the MER-KA-BA. You will not go anywhere, or have an experience. It is just like starting the motor of a car, but having the transmission in neutral.

BREATH: Make a small hole with your lips just like you did for breath Number Ten. Blow out in the same manner, and as you do, feel the two sets of tetrahedrons take off spinning.

SIXTEENTH BREATH: Inhale

MIND: This is the most amazing breath. On the inhale, as you are inhaling, say to yourself, in your head, THIRTY-FOUR – TWENTY-ONE. This is the code to your mind to spin the two sets of tetrahedrons at a ratio of 34-21. Meaning the Mind tetrahedrons spinning to the left will go around 34 times while the emotional tetrahedrons spinning to the right will go around 21 times. As the two sets speed up the ratio will remain constant.

BREATH: Breathe rhythmically and Yogic.

SIXTEENTH BREATH: Exhale

MIND: As you let out the breathe, the two sets of tetrahedrons take off from their one third speed of light setting to two third speed of light in an instant. As they approach two thirds speed of light speed a phenomena takes place. A disk about 55 feet in diameter forms around the body at the level of the base of the spine. And the sphere of energy that is centered around the two sets of tetrahedrons forms with the disk to create a shape that looks like a FLYING SAUCER around the body. This energy matrix is called the MER-KA-BA. However, it is not stable. If you see or sense the MER-KA-BA around you at this point, you will know it to be unstable. It will be slowly wobbling.

Therefore Breath Number Seventeen is necessary.

BREATH: Same as breath 16, make a small hole in your lips, and blow out with pressure. It is at this point that the speeds increases. As you feel the speed increasing, let out all your breath with force. This action will cause the higher speed to be fully obtained and the MER-KA-BA to be formed.

SEVENTEENTH BREATH: Inhale

HEART: Remember, unconditional love for all life must be felt through out all of this meditation or no results will be realized.

MIND: As you breathe in, say to yourself, in your head, the code NINE TENTHS THE SPEED OF LIGHT. This code will tell your mind to increase the speed of the MER-KA-BA to nine tenths the speed of light which will stabilize the rotating field of energy. It will also do something else. This third dimensional universe that we live in is tuned to 9/10 the speed of light. Every electron in your body is rotating around every atom in your body at 9/10 the speed of light. This is the reason this particular speed is selected.

BREATH: Breathe rhythmically and in a Yogic manner.

SEVENTEENTH BREATH: Exhale

MIND: The speed increases to 9/10 the speed of light and stabilizes the MER-KA-BA.

BREATH: Same as breath 15 and 16, make a small hole in your lips, and blow out with pressure. As you feel the speed take off, let all your breath out with force. You are now in your stable and Third dimensionally tuned MER-KA-BA. With the help of your Higher Self, you will understand what this really means.

EIGHTEENTH BREATH: This very special breath will not be taught here. You must receive it from Your Higher Self. It is the breath that will take you through the speed of light into the fourth dimension. You will disappear from this world and reappear in another one that will be your new home for awhile. This is not the end, but the beginning of an ever expanding consciousness returning you HOME to your FATHER.

source

Below, you’ll find the guided meditation for this exercise:

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Microsoft Word(and Microsoft in general) has to die.

I hate Microsoft Word. I want Microsoft Word to die. I hate Microsoft Word with a burning, fiery passion. I hate Microsoft Word the way Winston Smith hated Big Brother. Our reasons are, alarmingly, not dissimilar …

Microsoft Word is a tyrant of the imagination, a petty, unimaginative, inconsistent dictator that is ill-suited to any creative writer’s use. Worse: it is a near-monopolist, dominating the word processing field. Its pervasive near-monopoly status has brainwashed software developers to such an extent that few can imagine a word processing tool that exists as anything other than as a shallow imitation of the Redmond Behemoth. But what exactly is wrong with it?

I’ve been using word processors and text editors for nearly 30 years. There was an era before Microsoft Word’s dominance when a variety of radically different paradigms for text preparation and formatting competed in an open marketplace of ideas. One early and particularly effective combination was the idea of a text file, containing embedded commands or macros, that could be edited with a programmer’s text editor (such as ed or teco or, later, vi or emacs) and subsequently fed to a variety of tools: offline spelling checkers, grammar checkers, and formatters like scribe, troff, and latex that produced a binary page image that could be downloaded to a printer.

These tools were fast, powerful, elegant, and extremely demanding of the user. As the first 8-bit personal computers appeared (largely consisting of the Apple II and the rival CP/M ecosystem), programmers tried to develop a hybrid tool called a word processor: a screen-oriented editor that hid the complex and hostile printer control commands from the author, replacing them with visible highlight characters on screen and revealing them only when the user told the program to “reveal codes”. Programs like WordStar led the way, until WordPerfect took the market in the early 1980s by adding the ability to edit two or more files at the same time in a split screen view.

Then, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, research groups at MIT and Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center began to develop the tools that fleshed out the graphical user interface of workstations like the Xerox Star and, later, the Apple Lisa and Macintosh (and finally the Johnny-come-lately imitator, Microsoft Windows). An ongoing war broke out between two factions. One faction wanted to take the classic embedded-codes model, and update it to a graphical bitmapped display: you would select a section of text and mark it as “italic” or “bold” and the word processor would embed the control codes in the file and, when the time came to print the file, it would change the font glyphs being sent to the printer at that point in the sequence. But another group wanted to use a far more powerful model: hierarchical style sheets. In a style sheet system, units of text — words, or paragraphs — are tagged with a style name, which possesses a set of attributes which are applied to the text chunk when it’s printed.

Microsoft was a personal computer software company in the early 1980s, mostly notable for their BASIC interpreter and MS-DOS operating system. Steve Jobs approached Bill Gates to write applications for the new Macintosh system in 1984, and Bill agreed. One of his first jobs was to organize the first true WYSIWYG word processor for a personal computer — Microsoft Word for Macintosh. Arguments raged internally: should it use control codes, or hierarchical style sheets? In the end, the decree went out: Word should implement both formatting paradigms. Even though they’re fundamentally incompatible and you can get into a horrible mess by applying simple character formatting to a style-driven document, or vice versa. Word was in fact broken by design, from the outset — and it only got worse from there.

Over the late 1980s and early 1990s Microsoft grew into a behemoth with a near-monopoly position in the world of software. One of its tactics became known (and feared) throughout the industry: embrace and extend. If confronted with a successful new type of software, Microsoft would purchase one of the leading companies in the sector and then throw resources at integrating their product into Microsoft’s own ecosystem, if necessary dumping it at below cost in order to drive rivals out of business. Microsoft Word grew by acquiring new subsystems: mail merge, spelling checkers, grammar checkers, outline processing. All of these were once successful cottage industries with a thriving community of rival product vendors striving to produce better products that would capture each others’ market share. But one by one, Microsoft moved into each sector and built one of the competitors into Word, thereby killing the competition and stifling innovation. Microsoft killed the outline processor on Windows; stalled development of the grammar checking tool, stifled spelling checkers. There is an entire graveyard of once-hopeful new software ecosystems, and its name is Microsoft Word.

As the product grew, Microsoft deployed their embrace-and-extend tactic to force users to upgrade, locking them into Word, by changing the file format the program used on a regular basis. Early versions of Word interoperated well with rivals such as Word Perfect, importing and exporting other programs’ file formats. But as Word’s domination became established, Microsoft changed the file format repeatedly — with Word 95, Word 97, in 2000, and again in 2003 and more recently. Each new version of Word defaulted to writing a new format of file which could not be parsed by older copies of the program. If you had to exchange documents with anyone else, you could try to get them to send and receive RTF — but for the most part casual business users never really got the hang of different file formats in the “Save As …” dialog, and so if you needed to work with others you had to pay the Microsoft Danegeld on a regular basis, even if none of the new features were any use to you. The .doc file format was also obfuscated, deliberately or intentionally: rather than a parseable document containing formatting and macro metadata, it was effectively a dump of the in-memory data structures used by word, with pointers to the subroutines that provided formatting or macro support. And “fast save” made the picture worse, by appending a journal of changes to the application’s in-memory state. To parse a .doc file you virtually have to write a mini-implementation of Microsoft Word. This isn’t a data file format: it’s a nightmare! In the 21st century they tried to improve the picture by replacing it with an XML schema … but somehow managed to make things worse, by using XML tags that referred to callbacks in the Word codebase, rather than representing actual document semantics. It’s hard to imagine a corporation as large and [usually] competently-managed as Microsoft making such a mistake by accident …

This planned obsolescence is of no significance to most businesses, for the average life of a business document is less than 6 months. But some fields demand document retention. Law, medicine, and literature are all areas where the life expectancy of a file may be measured in decades, if not centuries. Microsoft’s business practices are inimical to the interests of these users.

Nor is Microsoft Word easy to use. Its interface is convoluted, baroque, making the easy difficult and the difficult nearly impossible to achieve. It guarantees job security for the guru, not transparency for the zen adept who wishes to focus on the task in hand, not the tool with which the task is to be accomplished. It imposes its own concept of how a document should be structured upon the writer, a structure best suited to business letters and reports (the tasks for which it is used by the majority of its users). Its proofing tools and change tracking mechanisms are baroque, buggy, and inadequate for true collaborative document preparation; its outlining and tagging facilities are piteously primitive compared to those required by a novelist or thesis author: and the procrustean dictates of its grammar checker would merely be funny if the ploddingly sophomoric business writing style it mandates were not so widespread.

But this isn’t why I want Microsoft Office to die.

The reason I want Word to die is that until it does, it is unavoidable. I do not write novels using Microsoft Word. I use a variety of other tools, from Scrivener (a program designed for managing the structure and editing of large compound documents, which works in a manner analogous to a programmer’s integrated development environment if Word were a basic text editor) to classic text editors such as Vim. But somehow, the major publishers have been browbeaten into believing that Word is the sine qua non of document production systems. They have warped and corrupted their production workflow into using Microsoft Word .doc files as their raw substrate, even though this is a file format ill-suited for editorial or typesetting chores. And they expect me to integrate myself into a Word-centric workflow, even though it’s an inappropriate, damaging, and laborious tool for the job. It is, quite simply, unavoidable. And worse, by its very prominence, we become blind to the possibility that our tools for document creation could be improved. It has held us back for nearly 25 years already; I hope we will find something better to take its place soon.

My Thoughts on SteamOS

SteamOS is here. Let’s expand on some of the features Valve announced. What are they actually saying?

In-home Streaming

You can play all your Windows and Mac games on your SteamOS machine, too. Just turn on your existing computer and run Steam as you always have – then your SteamOS machine can stream those games over your home network straight to your TV!

Let’s be honest here, both the biggest feature and the biggest problem SteamOS has is that it’s based on Linux. More on Linux later this post. This brings a lot of good things to the gaming spectrum, however it also means a rather limited catalog at this point. Valve has definitely been planning this ever since they started working on Steam for Linux and Big Picture.

Streaming games over LAN works pretty damn well for the Nvidia SHIELD, but Valve will definitely be pushing developers to develop their games for Linux (if they aren’t already). Developers would be pretty stupid if they don’t support Linux now.

Music, TV, Movies

We’re working with many of the media services you know and love. Soon we will begin bringing them online, allowing you to access your favorite music and video with Steam and SteamOS.

What does this really mean? Here are two things that have already been spotted in the current Steam Beta client, but are currently disabled.

  • Playing local music, making playlists, all from Steam. Import your iTunes music, or play music from a network share.
  • Built-in Spotify support. Already mostly implemented in Steam beta, but disabled.

We haven’t seen the next bit in the Steam client yet, but we can pretty much assume this is a given. Netflix. What’s the best way to get TV and Movies on a PC? Netflix? Maybe Hulu.

Linux

SteamOS will primarily be based off Ubuntu, as it has been Valve’s focus ever since they started testing Steam for Linux. They already have a repository for Ubuntu 12.04 LTS users designated “hometest”, which is obviously short for SteamOS being tested in people’s homes. This hometest repository has been around since April. Check out our previous blog post for more on that repository.

I’m secretly hoping Valve will ship with a lighter version of Ubuntu (or not Ubuntu at all), but seeing all their testing has been done on Ubuntu so far, and they only have a repository for Ubuntu at the moment it’s looking like Ubuntu will be the thing they ship SteamOS with. Please prove me wrong, Valve.

A problem with Linux is that not a lot of games are supported right now. Valve obviously “fixed” this by introducing in-home streaming, but this is only a temporary solution for developers that want their games played on SteamOS/the SteamBox. Valve WILL be pushing developers to develop for Linux, and will help them out in doing this. How, you ask?

Last week, Gabe mentioned in his LinuxCon keynote that Valve is working with another company on developing a Linux debugger. In previous talks, Valve has shown that debugging and improving graphics performance is much much easier on Linux, since you have deeper access into the operating system and the hardware. With Valve’s ‘debugger’ coming up, developers will have a much easier time developing for Linux than they are having now on Windows.

In-home streaming is basically Valve’s answer to people wanting to play games that are not on Linux yet. It won’t be optimal, there will be latency and quality issues (it is Steam after all) but in the end it’ll push more and more developers to develop natively for Linux as their games aren’t being played the way they want them to be played if they’re being streamed.

PC enthusiasts are taking over

Dig far enough under all the news about the tussles over mandatory Kinects and indie support for either the Xbox One and the PS4, and you’ll find a shocking bit of info: PC gaming is at its best since the 1990s. Were it John Lennon, PC gaming would be making haughty claims about how it’s “bigger than Mario” and scoffing at the petty squabbles of its box-bound competitors. And with good reason. Provided you’re not wild about jumping into exclusives like Forza 5 or Infamous: Second Son, it’s looking more and more like you won’t be left too far behind if you decide to skip the upcoming console generation altogether. PC gaming is on the rise, and while it’d be easy to claim that these successes lie in the superior processing and graphical potential of the PC caused by such a lengthy console cycle, the truth is that keys of the platform’s resurgence may ultimately lie in much more mundane roots.

It wasn’t long ago, of course, that PCs were hounded by the usual premature proclamations of demise heaped on the platform since its first heyday ended sometime around 2001. As early as 2005, Cnet was arguing that the Xbox 360 and the PS3 would mark the end of the PC as a gaming platform; more recently, we’ve heard similar claims centered around the sudden rise of social games (which often count as PC games in their own weird way) or the advent of smartphones and tablets. It wasn’t as though such proclamations packed much weight; even during its darkest hours, the PC witnessed the staggering rise of World of Warcraft’s millions, while millions of other players also flocked to games like League of Legends, EVE Online, and Mojang’s indie wunderkind Minecraft.

 

It’s not hard to see why folks less invested in gaming news would think otherwise, as endless piles of doom and gloom piled (and continue to pile) in with reports on the PC itself. As recently as last Thursday, research from IDC Insights added another dose through its revelation that PC shipments were expected to drop by 9.7 percent worldwide this year, marking another grim milestone in a steady slide that the firm expects to last through at least 2015. And yet, while sales of actual PCs might be lagging, revenues from games sold for the platform have shot up at almost an equal rate.

Way back in April, the PC Gaming Alliance revealed that the PC gaming market had brought in a total of 20 billion dollars in 2012, marking a full eight percent gain over the figures from the last year. Some of that number has to do with the release of hits like Diablo III, which sold more than 3.5 million copies within 24 hours of its PC release, but that’s but a piece of a larger puzzle that saw widespread interest across games from countless genres and from multiple publishers.

The console as we know it… has become somewhat redundant.

The long life of the current console generation is more responsible for this shift than it tends to get credit for. When the Xbox 360 and PS3 first made their appearances back in 2005 and 2006 respectively, it was perfectly possible to claim that it was simpler and cheaper to pick up one of the ready-made gaming boxes than it was to fork out cash and time to build a competent PC. Thanks to advances in PC development over the recent years, that’s no longer the case. While flashy upcoming PC games like ARMA 3 still need beastly (and costly) video cards to run well, an owner of one of today’s standard laptops or desktop units with at least an Intel Core 2 Duo chip and 512 MB of memory can run the majority of games just fine with adjusted settings.

Additional barriers to operating a gaming PC have slipped away over time. Thanks to advances in download speeds and the general maturity of the Internet itself, it’s no longer necessary to hunt down a “professional” to fix many of the little annoying problems platform’s subject to. Equipped with a decent grasp of Google, it’s possible for even the most technologically challenged gaming enthusiast to maintain the rig on his or her own. Couple that with the fact that the PC (and related devices like smartphones and tablets) has taken over the role television once played in our lives, and it seems only natural that so many would gravitate toward interacting with work and play through the same device. The console as we know it, in other words, has become somewhat redundant.

 

All that may account for the reasons why players who aren’t concerned about owning the best graphics card or processors might nevertheless gravitate toward PC gaming, but it does little to explain the explosive numbers mention above. For that, we have to turn to digital distribution services of the likes of GOG, Origin, and most importantly, Steam. Set aside the blessed convenience of being able to access almost any game you want at any time, digital distribution services also tend to trump out their retail and console cousins by price alone. It’s usually even enough to justify the purchase of new hardware since the savings you receive from the sales still result in smaller expenditures than you’d witness with boxed console games.

At times, the deals are staggering. During July’s Steam summer sale, quality games like Portal 2 and Rayman Origins were available for under seven bucks. Last month’s Humble Bundle offered by EA via its Origin service, for instance, allowed downloads of the hits Dead Space, Dead Space 3, Crysis 2 Maximum Edition, Burnout Paradise: The Ultimate Box, Medal of Honor and Mirror’s Edge in one package for as little as five bucks, with the whole project bringing in more than $10.5 million for charity from 2.1 million bundles.

Stripped of the need to worry about production costs and excessive middleman fees, digital distribution allows both consumers and developers to benefit, particularly since sales often result in more copies sold and thus more revenue. As Runic Games CEO Max Schaefer once said in an interview with  Gamasutra,”We find that we get several thousand percent increases in units and revenue on the days of the Steam sales [for Torchlight], and unit sales are usually about double the normal for a few weeks after the sales are over.”

A curious side benefit of PC gaming’s reliance on digital distribution is that it allows us to have a hand in the creation in the type of games we want to play. Some of the most standout games from the last year, such as Faster Than Light (FTL), saw their start as Kickstarter-funded projects. With crowdfunding, developers are free to make the kinds of games they want without fears of a publisher rejecting the pitch or that the concept’s too specialized to warrant widespread attention.

 

There are other factors at play here, sure, such as the emergence of multiple quality MMORPGs and fun free-to-play games like Planetside 2, but I believe these are the broad strokes responsible for the resurgence. The question remains as to whether the upcoming releases of the Xbox One and PS4 consoles could reverse this trend. For my part, I believe the PC will be fine. In fact, it may be more than fine. One of the big shifts in the new console generation is the reliance on AMD’s x86 architecture, making it easier than ever for developers to port their games to the PC.

In the words of AMD senior product marketing manager Marc Diana in an interview withThe Verge in June, “We’re struggling to find a name for what used to be called porting, because there’s not really a problem with that anymore.” (In fact, several developers showed demos of their Xbox One and PS4 games on the PC at E3 rather than on the devices themselves.) It’s so easy, in fact, that some of the next generation titles may actually come to the PC first as a result, and so this happy arrangement begs the question: why get a console at all?

Mircrosoft has decided to kill themselves, Get ready for the move to Linux

As I’ve been saying since the Windows 8 launch (hell, when it was announced) Windows is dead. Let’s all salute it—pour out a glass for it, burn a CD for it, reboot your PC one last time. Windows had a good run. For a time, it powered the world. But that era is over. It was killed by the unlikeliest of collaborations—Microsoft’s ancient enemies working over decades, in concert: Steve Jobs, Linus Torvalds, and most of all, two guys named Larry and Sergey.

Late on Monday, Microsoft announced its unsurprising, $7.2 billion plan to buy Nokia’s smartphone division. Nokia is the world’s largest manufacturer of phones that run Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system (which is a bit like pointing out that, at 6-feet, I’m the tallest member of my immediate family). Microsoft is buying Nokia in order to control both the hardware and software in its devices; this move, Microsoft promises, will improve the phones themselves and make them easier to sell.

But this is the antithesis of the company’s Windows strategy. Though Microsoft insists otherwise, when this deal is done, the thing sold as Windows won’t be what it’s always been—it won’t be software that that runs on lots of companies’ hardware, a platform to unite disparate manufacturers’ devices. Instead, Windows will be much like Apple’s operating systems, iOS and Mac OS. Windows will be proprietary software attached to proprietary hardware—Microsoft’s code running on Microsoft’s devices.

In a document that lays out the “strategic rationale” for the deal, Microsoft makes a stirring case for vertical integration: for a single company that makes both mobile software and hardware together. By purchasing Nokia, Microsoft says it will be able to create better phones by reducing “friction” between hardware and software teams that now reside in separate companies. Combining the companies also improves marketing “efficiency” and “clarity”—Microsoft can sell a single Microsoft device that bakes in the best services from both firms (Skype, Office, Nokia’s mapping systems).

Finally, vertical integration helps Microsoft’s bottom line. Today, for every Windows-powered phone that Nokia sells, Microsoft gets less than $10 in software licensing fees. When it owns Nokia, Microsoft will be able to book profits on hardware, too. Rather than make less than $10 per phone, it will make more than $40.

Steve Jobs long pushed against Bill Gates’ idea that hardware and software should be made by different firms. And back in the PC era, Gates was right. Gates recognized that most computer users didn’t understand hardware. We couldn’t tell the difference—and didn’t really care much about—the processors, drives, displays, and other physical components that made up one PC versus another. As a result, making PC hardware was destined to be a bruising commodity business, with low brand recognition, constant price battles, and dwindling profits.

But software, Gates saw, was a different story. Software had a face. Software imprinted itself on users—once you learned one Windows PC, you understood every Windows PC. Unlike hardware, software enabled network effects: The more people who used Windows, the more attractive it became to developers, which meant more apps to make Windows computers more useful, which led to more users, and on and on. Finally, software was wildly, almost unimaginably profitable. After writing code once, you could copy it endlessly, at no marginal cost, for years to come—and make money on every single copy you sold.

But mobile devices altered that calculation. Today, hardware matters. Unlike in a PC that you kept hidden under your desk, the design of your mobile device affects its usefulness. Things like your phone’s weight or the way your tablet feels in your hand are all important considerations when you’re buying a device; you won’t choose a phone based on software alone, and you might pay a premium for a device that’s particularly well-designed. In the mobile world, as Apple has proved, hardware can command just as much of a profit as software.

You might argue that once the basic design of a good phone or tablet becomes well-known, lots of companies will copy it, and that hardware will again become a commodity. That’s the tide Apple is now battling against. At some point mobile components will become good enough and cheap enough that a $50 phone might function just as well as a $100 or $200 phone. When that happens, people will again start choosing devices by price, and hardware profits will dwindle to nothing. And, as happened with PCs, software, not hardware, will become the industry’s dominant business.

All that may well occur. (The fear of commoditized hardware explains Apple’s languishing share price.) But if mobile hardware does become a commodity and software once again becomes the determining factor in your choice of phone, we won’t see Microsoft profit from the shift. That’s because, in the last five years, a brutal, profit-destroying force has emerged in the tech world: Android.

Google’s mobile operating system—which is based on Linux, the open-source OS whose fans had long dreamed would destroy Windows—is free. Any mobile phone manufacturer can use and alter Android however it pleases. This accounts for Android’s stunning market share—close to 80 percent, according to IDC—and that market share gives Android the benefit of the network effects that once worked so well for Microsoft. Nokia was paying Microsoft $10 for every phone it sold, and in return it got an OS that can’t even run Instagram. Microsoft says that it wants to keep licensing Windows Phone to other manufacturers even after it purchases Nokia, but because they can always choose Android (which runs Instagram and everything else), few phone-makers are likely to take it up on that deal.

That’s why the Nokia purchase signals the end of Windows as a standalone business. There are now only two ways to sell software. Like Apple, you can make devices that integrate software and hardware together and hope to sell a single, unified, highly profitable product. Or, like Google, you can make software that you give away in the hopes of creating a huge platform from which you can make money in some other way (through ads, in Google’s case).

But you can’t do what Windows did—you can’t make profitable software on other companies’ commodity hardware. Thanks to Android, code is now a commodity, and Windows is dead.

NEW Ratchet and Clank game for PS4!!!

Got some sweet info from my sources. Looks like theirs going to be a new Ratchet and Clank game coming out soon! From what I hear it’s possibly for the PS4, so I’m even more excited for a system I was already over excited for. So, here’s what I got:

“Ratchet and Clank are back! The beloved duo return with an original single-player epilogue to the acclaimed Tools of Destruction and A Crack in Time. Ratchet & Clank®: Into the Nexus is a story-driven platform adventure with humor and heart, featuring outrageously upgraded weapons, extreme planet hopping and brand new worlds begging to be explored. Into the Nexus marks a true return to form for the acclaimed series.

After one of the most infamous manhunts in galactic history results in the capture of Vendra Prog, Ratchet and Clank offer to escort the dangerous criminal to the Vartax Detention Center. After a daring orbital jailbreak at the forgotten edge of the galaxy, Ratchet and Clank find themselves lost in an abandoned sector. There, in deepest space, they uncover an inter-dimensional event that threatens the universe—and forces Ratchet to decide what’s really important.

Features: A return to the Future – Series protagonists, Ratchet and Clank, return along with Captain Qwark, Talwyn, Cronk and Zephyr in a brand-new, story-driven single-player adventure.

Even more crazy weapons and gadgets for your arsenal– Arm yourself with a variety of exotic new weapons and gadgets, including the Winterizer and Nether Blades.

Clank strikes back – All-new gameplay offers inter-dimensional challenges where Clank can alter gravity, manipulate objects and solve mind-bending platforming puzzles.

Discover new worlds… and the dangers of space – Traverse through the zero-gravity of space and explore a mysterious sector filled with new planets to explore along with hidden dangers and dark secrets yet to be uncovered.”

The PS4 isn’t even out yet….

GameStop has no more PS4 consoles for sale… even though the console isn’t even out yet. The console pre-order supply has run dry several months before the release of Sony’s next-generation home gaming device. I guess it’s kind of obvious who’s winning the pre-console war race right now.

PlayStation Lifestyle is reporting that GameStop’s hardware stock of pre-order units for the PS4 has run out, shortly after the company was given the greenlight from Sony to unhinge the lever of limited pre-orders.

The spigot of sales has now been plugged, but not because Sony or GameStop put a halt to it, simply because supply has not met demand and they’re all out.

At the time of publishing for PS Lifestyle’s article, there were still expensive bundle packs available for the console. However, as of the writing of this article, even all the bundle packs for the PlayStation 4 have been completely sold out… everything.

Previously, we reported on the PlayStation 4′s worldwide pre-order status, where the console had managed to become one of Amazon’s best selling home consoles for 2013. Heck, even the OUYA managed to get in on the action, out-pacing the Xbox One over in Canada on Amazon.

But the real story here is that there is an overwhelming movement of gamers who have undoubtedly, unquestionably pledged their allegiance to Sony once the floodgates were opened. Why? Simple: The principle of maintaining the integrity of video game culture.

A lot of people may see this console war as a battle of brands, but core gamers see it as a battle of industry values. We were almost on the cusp of losing everything with the Xbox One’s previous DRM measures and no gamer in their right mind could stand to support a future where there is no future for gaming.

The outpouring of dedication to the medium of interactive entertainment from gamers has been both soul-nourishing and a community-validating affair that echoes volumes of love, passion and diligence for the art and craft of video games.

Even though Microsoft has reneged on the DRM measures, a lot of gamers still want to show that they are a force to be reckoned with; despite being a minority, the core gamer is still a massive force of immeasurable willpower that can dictate the flow of the market, when they’re willing… and boy do they seem willing right now.

Microsoft has an uphill struggle ahead of them: they’ll need to win back over an audience they alienated with foreign policies of an anti-gaming nature and they’ll need to prove that the lifeblood of the industry – the indie developers – have a home on a console that isn’t just about pacifying the opulence of top-tier publishers.

Both Nintendo and Sony have proven that they understand that games start with game developers and they’re doing everything in their power to nurture and foster the growth of ingenuity and creativity, and any gamer who loves gaming has got to love that.

All that said… the console war has still yet to start and I’m certainly geeked to see how it all plays out when things get underway this fall. We’ll definitely keep you posted on the numbers as they continue to roll in.

I was always going to get the PS4, why I’m not getting the Xbox One.

Honestly, right now the fact that Kinect is required to be connected is really the only thing that keeps me from getting them both. I don’t mind that the PS4 is 50% more powerful and $100 less, I don’t even mind that the Kinect is packaged in, I just don’t want to be forced to use it. I’ve always had every platform since the NES vs Master System days. It’s not the mere fact that it could be used for illicit purposes (think NSA scandal), but on a more accepted level, it’s another point of failure. The Xbox 360 had a severe Quality issue, I personally went through 4 Xbox 360s while my launch 20GB PS3(recently upgraded to a 500GB drive) is still chugging along. My point is that the Camera adds another point of failure, perhaps not due to mechanical, but accidental incidents such as falling to the ground if on top of a TV, or a child knocking it to the ground when it in front of the TV. And if I were to wrap it up and put it away when not in use, I shouldn’t have to get it back out to just play Mass Effect 7: Search for the Pirates Gold or Call of Duty: Night Stalkers (now with Vampires AND Werewolves), where the control is best with just the controller. The Kinect’s requirement to be always connected (especially for a family with young children) puts a real hindrance to owning Microsoft’s machine. The PS4 really blew me away at E3, and the fact that  it’s $100 less, more powerful, and if I wanted a a camera, it’s only $60 away. Not to mention how much better of a service PS+ is for a person like me (I prefer single player games, so the freebees and game discounts are very attractive to me, not to mention I have a Vita and the instant game collection paid for itself. Besides, CoD and Battlefield are better on PC, hell all games with a PC version are better on PC). I was always going to get a PS4, Sony really has  better and more varied first party developers, rivaled only by Nintendo. Microsoft really only has Forza and Halo…Gears has grown tired, and other than Crimson Dragon, nothing on the new system interests me. I don’t feel I will be missing much avoiding Microsoft’s console this next generation. And those media functions are useless to me and a growing segment of the population who don’t watch “live” TV and center our passive entertainment around digital media and streaming. Sure, Microsoft’s new system has those functions, but so does the PS4 and my Media PC (2500k+GTX660…games real nice), hell the Ouya. Microsoft also let one of their best assets collapse into itself, I speak now about Rare. Talk about wasted talent, why did Microsoft even buy them? They did Wonders for Nintendo, and Banjo-Kazooie Nuts and Bolts was pretty fun. Microsoft’s disregard for Indies really irks me to. Some of the most fun I’ve had recently have been with indie games, and seeing games like Fez being treated like second class citizens on Xbox, while being respected on Steam (I’m talking about MS charging the maker $10,000 to patch the game…it’s free to do on Steam), really irks me. I guess the price is a bit much, but I worked a summer to get a Saturn (Got a PS1 for Christmas….memories), so to get the handful of exclusives that might interest me in the future, I might have considered an Xbox One, regardless the $100 price difference in spite the performance deficit (again I remember the Saturn costing more than the PS1, yet the PS1 was quite a bit more powerful and cheaper), but the requirement for the camera being connected is too much, not to mention that inspite of TWO WEEKS (or months if take the backlash Adam Orth got from his Tweets) of ranting and raving, MS went ahead with that moronic DRM Scheme at E3. If there was anytime to say your not doing something so stupid, it would have been at your conference. Instead they saw how the PS4 dominated in pre-orders and internet love, and reacted. Microsoft is a company that is just after the money. What they should be after is a happy customer, because if you go after a happy customer money will always follow, but if you ignore the customer and go after money, the customer will go away.