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800px-Yule_lads_in_AkureyriSome thoughts on how the Xbox platform is no longer a rival to TV, smartphones and any other screen/device, but a natural partner with them all.

Most people will be happy to sit in front of terrestrial TV on Christmas Day and evening. Some of them will search the digital channels. Some will watch DVDs or downloaded movies. Some will play a variety of games.

Some will get through it. Many will truly enjoy the time with family/friends and away from work. Millions will of course openly or not search the net for bargains and/or keep up with social networks.

Whatever they are doing, it’s in the name of entertainment. And the convergence of devices and platforms means that entertainment will be just what people get, to suit personal tastes.

Microsoft Game Plans

To introduce the new Halo 4 game, in a piece of what was either clever marketing or a statement of reality, Phil Spencer head of Microsoft Studios said that they look at ‘Halo as the real base of the Xbox platform’.

He said that people’s TVs have found a natural place in their homes in the biggest screens in each house, and Xbox now fits in with that, it doesn’t compete. TV manufacturers are increasingly building gaming functions into their sets in a natural progression.Hi-def games are accessible on every kind of device.

The future is undoubtedly cloud gaming without separate consoles, although poor broadband speeds could hamper that evolution for some years yet.

Spencer said that their end-goal was to ‘create a platform for everyone’. The unspoken end-goal was to create a head-start and expectation monopoly in the digital games marketplace.

Hello Halo 4

Launched in autumn 2012 reviewers were generally enthusiastic about everything from outstanding graphics to riveting story line. Larry Frum on CNN said that for all its expected action and drama, it boiled down to an essential question: ‘Are its central characters humans, machines or something in between?’

He described the latest in the Halo franchise as ‘retaining the intense first-person shooter action’, but also ‘it ups the emotional interplay between characters, humans and machines’. He confessed to being hooked emotionally before he realised it. ‘Some scenes made me feel waves of despair or elation before I recognized I was mirroring the emotions in the game – truly a sign of an immersive experience’.

So, fast running out of superlatives, that reviewer incidentally pinpointed the way digital gaming is going. It is mashing reality, time, space, humanity, gadgetry, graphics and filming and emotion in the name of entertainment.

And who can ask for more than that today? The future will be a different story.

Check out:

Halo 4

CNN, Larry Frum, Halo 4 Review, 6 November 2012 http://edition.cnn.com/2012/11/06/tech/gaming-gadgets/halo-4-review/index.html

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Image: Lusinemarg
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