X’d Out

Two months after they launched, next-gen consoles are still almost impossible to get. Unless you are a ‘bot or some sentient script code, your middle-aged fingers can not click fast enough to get either an Xbox Series X or the PlayStation 5 today.

Or yesterday, when I actually tried to procure one. News hit that Walmart would have both consoles in stock at noon Pacific. Right at noon I went to the site, which… promptly crashed. At 12:00:15, I refreshed the screen and got a message saying they were out of stock and to try again at 12:10.

At 12:10:05 I went back and got another brief crash and another out of stock message. At which point, I threw in the towel. And then threw away any notion of getting an Xbox anytime soon.

I mean, I had pretty low expectations of actually nabbing a console yesterday, and was honestly a bit relieved that I didn’t have to come up with a justification to my wife for a sudden $500 purchase that we really don’t need. But that is beside the point.

Actually, there really isn’t much of a point. There is no moral here. No bigger message other than wondering what’s up with Microsoft and Sony.

I understand the idea of creating scarcity to gin up demand. But at this point, outages just seem like poor planning, and if anything, make me want to delay any investment until October to avoid the hassle of trying to time my purchase like I was getting Hamilton tickets (you know, for when we can go to shows again).

FWIW, counter to what I’ve said previously, I think I’m going to go with the Xbox Series X. 40 Bit contributor, Mike Romo, is delighted by the breadth of the Xbox Game Pass catalog, and convinced me that’s the way to go.

And speaking of, Microsoft really wants you to sign up for Game Pass. Today, the Redmond giant announced that it was upping the cost of its Xbox Live Gold membership. It’ll be $60 for a six-month pass. This means that on top of the price of your Xbox, you will now pay $120 a year for the privilege to play games online. Needless to say, gaming Twitter erupted with condemnation. But gaming Twitter erupts in condemnation for a lot of different reasons.

I’m not too worried about the price of Xbox Gold Live because, well, that is future me’s problem. Present day me can’t even get an Xbox.

Photo by Lux Interaction on Unsplash

VRNot Gonna Take It, Apple

Here’s a heck of an opening graph here from Bloomberg:

Apple Inc.’s first crack at a [virtual reality] headset is designed to be a pricey, niche precursor to a more ambitious augmented reality product that will take longer to develop, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

“Pricey, Niche Precursor” could actually be the title of the eventual Apple biopic.

Anyone who has ever owned an Apple product knows that you never buy the first Apple product. While not always niche, they are all pricey precursors to something better.

Bloomberg reports that the potential Apple VR headset, sexily codenamed N301, is a standalone headset meant to be higher-rez and more powerful than anything else on the market (see: Facebook’s Oculus). It could debut in 2022, is meant for gaming, watching video and communicating and is also expected to have a price “far more expensive” than the current crop of VR headsets that range from $300 – $900.

While it’s always fun to write about Apple (and good for pageviews), there isn’t much 40 Bitters need to know about the device right now. Just be aware of it, and know that you can probably live without it.

The Apple car on the other hand…

More Headlines

A photo of Bernie Sanders at the inauguration is making its way into every videogame – If overplayed internet memes is the worst thing I have to worry about for the next 4 years — I’ll take it.

One of Destiny 2’s best seasonal loot systems is coming back for a whole year – The Umbral system. Are you happy now? I used the word “Umbral” in a newsletter.

Is the Opera GX Browser Just for Gamers? – The browser give you automated updates on game stuff and lets you connect Twitch and Discord accounts.

Cyberpunk 2077’s first major patch is here to hack away some bugs – A “a larger, more significant update” will arrive in a couple of weeks. A better, more playable game would have been nice in the first place.

Listen…

60 Songs That Explain the 90s has nothing to do with videogames. But that should neither stop me from recommending it, nor you from listening to it. Rob Harvilla has crafted one of the funniest, most well-written podcasts on pop music that I’ve ever heard. It is nostalgic without being sappy and insightful without being snobby.

Start with his breakdown of one-hit wonder and recent inauguration performers, New Radicals. Like Marylin Manson, it’ll kick your ass-in.

That’s it for this week. Thank you for reading.

Stay cool. Have a great summer. Class of ’90 rulez.

-Chris at 40 Bit

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