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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Windows 8 Sure Isn't Wowing Them

Posted by on Wed, Dec 5, 2012 at 7:35 AM

Windows 8 is incredibly important to the future of Microsoft, and the future of Microsoft is incredibly important to the region. And so I've quietly been collecting depressing stories about Windows 8 and worrying about the local economy. The most recent story comes from Yahoo:

Almost one year ago today, we laid out the nightmare scenario for Microsoft (MSFT) that could lead to its business collapsing. After laying it all out, we concluded, "Fortunately for Microsoft, none of this is going to happen."

We were wrong.

A lot changed in the last year. Microsoft's nightmare scenario is actually starting to take hold.

I understand that tech writers like to be histrionic. If something isn't the biggest hit ever, it's the biggest miss ever, and the future of every single tech company in the world hangs in the balance at any given time on any given day. But there are so many unimpressed stories about Windows 8, and very few positive ones. I stopped by the Windows Store at University Village a month ago and played with a Surface tablet and found it to be a difficult, unintuitive mess. The OS could get better with practice, but I'm sure not willing to shell out for a Surface to test that hypothesis.

I know that many commenters think I'm gleeful when Microsoft fucks up. That's not true; Microsoft is an important part of the area, and I want the company to succeed. And when I read all the stories about Microsoft halving their supply chain on Surface tablets, as a Seattleite, I think the only appropriate reaction is worry.

 

Comments (55) RSS

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1
I don't get everyone's complaints about Windows8. I have it and had little learning curve and no major issues. Seems ok to be, but then I work in a computer related field.
Posted by WestSeven on December 5, 2012 at 7:45 AM · Report this
2
OMGZ! Stop being such a moron. You even admit that tech writers like to be histrionic. They do. And you do, too. Windows is holding steady at 91% market share worldwide, even while you type this shit on your MacBook. They're not going anywhere.
Posted by peebee on December 5, 2012 at 7:46 AM · Report this
Fnarf 3
I certainly have no interest. We're just now getting around to Windows 7, and that only because we need the 64-bit version so we can utilize more memory, and because some (but frustratingly not all) of our applications are starting to require it. In the real world, I think the OS is going to come close to going away altogether, serving just as a platform for getting into the browser as quickly as possible. I certainly hope so; the basic operations of the OS mostly just piss me off beyond belief -- like the clusterfuck of the various Win7 control panels. In perfect synchronization, the Microsoft support websites have become completely unusable, and the best support now comes from barely literate forum posts written by non-English speakers -- still better than Microsoft's "would you like to watch a video on the new features of Active Directory?" NO I WOULD NOT.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on December 5, 2012 at 7:47 AM · Report this
4
Sheesh... if it isn't just like iOS it is suddenly confusing? I love the Windows 8 interface. I think people writing stuff like this isn't helping no matter how much angst you express over MS losing market share. And every other writer on the new OS seems to be doing the same thing in one way or another.
Posted by Bean on December 5, 2012 at 8:08 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 5
@2: The problem being alluded to is that while Microsoft has around 90% market share, that is only with laptops and PCs.

They have essentially no market share on the products which will shortly be replacing them. Which is what Constant is saying.

But pardon me if I do no faint when I hear that a Microsoft product is not living up to expectations, and does not work well.
Posted by Theodore Gorath on December 5, 2012 at 8:13 AM · Report this
sloegin 6
The dumbing-down of Win and Mac OSes is targeted towards the last few people who don't get this whole computer thing. Bubba wants Netflix and email but has no idea what files and attachments are. Copy and paste, finding something previously saved is impenetrable arcana to these folks.

Seems a damn fool idea to drag the whole populace along to cater to these last few idiots, but I don't work in marketing.
Posted by sloegin on December 5, 2012 at 8:15 AM · Report this
pragmatic 7
Most of those articles are from before the product was even released, which is also before the hardware that was designed for it was released as well. This makes a huge difference since this version of Windows is all about touch and very few touch enabled PCs existed on the market before October 26th.
Posted by pragmatic on December 5, 2012 at 8:15 AM · Report this
Knat 8
This boom-bust cycle seems to be what Microsoft is familiar with. Every other OS or so is a colossal failure (Windows ME, Vista), followed by a resounding success (Windows XP, Windows 7). With each failure, they seem to be trying out some new things, which are better implemented in the subsequent OS. This keeps upgrading costs down for me, at least: by the time the first service pack comes out for the new OS (the minimum amount of time before I'm willing to upgrade), there's already a consensus regarding the new OS.
Posted by Knat on December 5, 2012 at 8:17 AM · Report this
venomlash 9
What gives me the willies (heebie-jeebies, not penises) about Windows 8 is that every ad I've seen for it shows it being used on a tablet. No no no. I don't want some tablet POS. I want an OS that works well on an actual computer, the sort of thing that I can do work and play games on.

@8: Well put.
Posted by venomlash on December 5, 2012 at 8:26 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 10
@6: I am still pissed off about the wide-scale dumbing down/nerfing of video game RPGs.

Compare Morrowind to Skyrim for a good example. Or even Mass Effect to Mass Effect 3.

Dammit, I am not a Madden-playing mouth breather, I can understand complex game mechanics, and highly detail-oriented gameplay!

Of course, I have no idea if you play video games, so you may have no idea what I am talking about.
Posted by Theodore Gorath on December 5, 2012 at 8:29 AM · Report this
11
The Surface is a piece of shit. I spent over an hour with one in a Microsoft store before giving up - how Microsoft has the temerity to sell these at the same price as the iPad - without the frigging $120 cover - is beyond me. Oh, and that cover - I've used gas-station keypads that had more responsive action than the floppy crap that they're selling at over twenty times the cost.

Now they're saying the ultrabook/laptop combo is going to cost about the same as the 11" Air, and again, without the cover.

So, to repeat: the brand-new untested tablet with zero marketshare is going up against one of the most popular and well-supported consumer products in history at the same price, and is actually more expensive when used with the accessory that is in literally every single one of their ads. Then, in a couple of months, they're selling a touchscreen ultrabook at almost the same price as the best consumer laptop in history.

But whatever. I got almost ten years of use on XP before switching over to 7. As long as I'm never forced to use this 8 garbage I'll be a happy camper.

Microsoft, please go out and get the following words tattooed on your collective dick so that you may actually remember: SELL AT A LOSS.

PS: histrionic is a needlessly gendered term, like hysterical or bitch. 'Over-dramatic' would've sufficed.
Posted by johnjjeeves on December 5, 2012 at 8:31 AM · Report this
12
I'm not sure Microsoft / Windows understands its core demographic, at all. They seem to want to compete with Apple as "cool" technology. Sorry, that market niche is already filled! You may not like it, but your core demographic is people who do not want things to look different or change, people who want things to be fundamentally easy to do for non-experts, people who don't want to invest time in learning a new system - corporate users, older users, and people who aren't as tech savvy. And actually, that's not a bad demographic to have - it is the majority of people - they just need to get over their egos and serve that demographic! (I include myself in this group - I still have yet to get used to the new Office fully even after using it for years and have installed a program that brings back the menus because I do not want my fucking word processor to be constantly changing/difficult to use).
Posted by sara on December 5, 2012 at 8:34 AM · Report this
13
@10 @6 - you two sound like those ninnies who whine about how no one makes good music anymore. 'Dumbing down' of OS, of videogames - geniuses, YOU ARE GETTING OLDER. The stuff that seemed super complex to you as nine year olds isn't any less complex just because you have a better understanding of it now that you're older! No one is going to make shit for people like you anymore - not movies, music, video games, or even OS - because you're not the ones who are buying!
Posted by johnjjeeves on December 5, 2012 at 8:36 AM · Report this
Kinison 14
"Microsoft is an important part of the area, and I want the company to succeed. "

Then why dont you post stories about their success? Xbox360 is a huge success, especially when you factor in Kinect. Seems like the only positive stories you post are when MS donates money to a political cause you agree with, everything else Slog posts is "Haha! Apple rules!!!".

As for Windows8, even if it fails, MS still makes money, just as they did for Vista.
Posted by Kinison http://www.holgatehawks.com on December 5, 2012 at 8:37 AM · Report this
15
@12 - this is very telling: "I include myself in this group - I still have yet to get used to the new Office fully even after using it for years and have installed a program that brings back the menus because I do not want my fucking word processor to be constantly changing/difficult to use."

In what universe should Microsoft or anyone else waste their time on a demographic that either cannot afford to buy new shit every year (most companies) or is so set in their ways that they refuse to use a new product when it's presented to them?
Posted by johnjjeeves on December 5, 2012 at 8:38 AM · Report this
16
I so wish that Microsoft made good operating systems. It would be beyond awesome to have pride in the local brand. I've heard that XBOX is great but haven't gotten into that lifestyle choice (still prefer interacting with people, oh yeah, I'm commenting online so I'm already screwed). Coming soon, I suppose.
Posted by Why are there cars? on December 5, 2012 at 8:39 AM · Report this
17
Like every other OS Windows has ever released, Microsoft eventually gets it right with a major service pack release; the real worry is how long that will take. (For XP, it wasn't too long (and XP went on to become the most popular OS Microsoft ever released); for Vista, it took way too long; Windows 7, right in between.
Posted by bitethemailman on December 5, 2012 at 8:42 AM · Report this
18
Like every other OS Windows has ever released, Microsoft eventually gets it right with a major service pack release; the real worry is how long that will take. For XP, it wasn't too long (and XP went on to become the most popular OS Microsoft ever released); for Vista, it took way too long; Windows 7, right in between.
Posted by bitethemailman on December 5, 2012 at 8:42 AM · Report this
pragmatic 19
Here's something else from Todd Bishop, his experience living with a surface tablet: http://www.geekwire.com/tag/surface-diar…
Posted by pragmatic on December 5, 2012 at 8:43 AM · Report this
Fnarf 20
@15, you believe that "most companies" "buy new shit every year"? That's hilarious. Corporate America largely runs on Windows XP and Server 2003.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on December 5, 2012 at 8:43 AM · Report this
Pick1 21
@10 if only we could go back to the day of Battletoads.

Personally, I didn't play Skyrim necessarily for the difficulty. Their combat system has always been pretty wonky. I can understand where you're coming from,but no one does the sandbox aspect better than them which is really why I play the ES series at all. MMO's were ruined because they've all basically taken out the "Multiplayer" requirement from them and now their just all simple single player RPGs where you can see other people but never need to interact with them. Their are a few difficult games, but by and large games are no longer made for the gamers. They are made for the Madden frat boys and the Farmville players because that's where the biggest profits are.

As far as windows 8 is concerned, my parents updated their computer recently and I could only get them windows 8 (they are terribly opposed to pirating earlier versions and couldn't find a single copy of windows 7 at any retailer) so now I get calls every other day because they are unable to perform some simple task and I have to walk them through it.

My parents are completely computer illiterate but yeah, I don't think the big fancy pictures help.

Posted by Pick1 on December 5, 2012 at 8:44 AM · Report this
22
13: They should pay attention, because who is buying a lot of Office software? Businesses - may not buy every year, but they buy in volume. Older people who can actually afford to pay for it. I would guess most people under the age of 25 pirate stuff like Office rather than purchasing it.

And I did buy the new Office with my new computer, because it was all that was available - the menu thing is an add on.
Posted by sara on December 5, 2012 at 8:46 AM · Report this
seandr 23
@fnarf
Predictions that the browser would supplant the OS were all the rage 10 years ago, but you don't hear that as much anymore given that the trend has been towards native clients (largely due to Apple), and HTML 5 has been slow to catch on. I can understand why IT people would prefer a browser-based world, but IT people are a bunch of killjoys who should be beaten with sticks, and consumers seem as happy as ever to install and use rich client apps.
Posted by seandr on December 5, 2012 at 8:50 AM · Report this
24
Haven't tried Windows 8 yet. But I think if MS can survive Vista, they can weather Windows 8.
Posted by GermanSausage on December 5, 2012 at 8:51 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 25
@13: Actually, the games I am talking about where all played when I was an adult, thank you very much. When I was nine I was playing side-scrolling Mario games and Ken Griffey Junior baseball on the SNES (which is still my favorite baseball game). It is not just a jump to adulthood.

If you have played Morrowind and Skyrim for example, it is plain as day that one is a complex, multi-faceted system, and one is extremely simple. I prefer the complex system that gives me more freedom, like in a tabletop RPG. I still enjoyed Skyrim a lot, I just do not think the simplicity makes it a better game.

But they dumbed it down to appeal to a wider share of the market. Just like the jump from the older survival horror Resident Evil games to the current third person shooter style.

Your widely wrong assumptions and inability to understand how to use Windows 8 after an hour tell me you are often wrong, and always arrogant.
Posted by Theodore Gorath on December 5, 2012 at 8:51 AM · Report this
26
The article is half baked. Some of what it says has merit, but some does not and still other parts it admits that the jury is still out on. It draws a conclusion in the headline that is not supportable if one takes the time to actually read the text. Also, the first point is, to pardon the pun, an apples to oranges comparison. Yes, Apple might be outselling Lenovo on it's total sales, but the article only quote Lenovo's PC sales. It doesn't state whether that number for Lenovo's sales includes tablets and notebooks (as it separates out the iPad). Also, Apple is the only manufacturer of the products containing it's OS. Lenovo is but one manufacturer on the Windows platform. If one took all of the Windows platform units they outsell Apple by a huge margin.

Left out of the article is any mention of the Android platform which is giving Apple's iOS a run for it's money in the phone market and in the tablet market (if one throws in Kindle and such). That would be an interesting addition to the discussion.

But, that the OS is becoming a less important platform and that Microsoft trails on the important new hardware forums...yes, those are salient discussions...for the long term. One shouldn't count Microsoft out, though, as they have a tendency to react and improve on their products and finally get it right around the third iteration.
Posted by dv8or70 on December 5, 2012 at 8:52 AM · Report this
27
I've disliked MSFT a long time. I use their OSes and suffer through them as best I can, but all the bullshit and opacity built into them is infuriating, starting not least of all, with their registry, and culminating in the bushel basket of leftover install files for their constant rainstorm of automatic updates.

All I want is a well-documented (in less than 500 pages of 12-pt font), tidy, secure, configurable operating system without 2-to-the-googleplex of available hidden exploits, with open APIs, and anyone allowed to sell apps (or give them away) for it. Why is that so hard?
Posted by Brooklyn Reader on December 5, 2012 at 8:55 AM · Report this
28
It is an even version of Windows. They always, invariably, suck ass.
Posted by TechBear on December 5, 2012 at 9:11 AM · Report this
Phoebe in Wallingford 29
@9: Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 works well on the desktop.
They had to change the paradigm. Start->All Programs-> was becoming problematic. Now it's a Chinese Menu approach, pick à la carte tiles of programs that you're going to use most often and put them on your desktop.
In other words, you really don't need to scroll through all of SQL Server's menu items via Start->All Programs if you're never going to use it.
Posted by Phoebe in Wallingford on December 5, 2012 at 9:11 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 30
@15: Haha, companies buy new software every year? Are you even old enough to have a job? I work for one of the biggest companies in the Mid-Atlantic region, and we just upgraded to Windows 7 this year. This is common.

@21: Man, I loved Battletoads. I could never get past the level that was the tall, winding tower. But last time I played I think I was ten. Better coordination/timing now, I would wager.

But my point was not that I want harder games necessarily (although I do), but games which require more thought than "enemy over there, mash attack/fire machine gun." I like having thirty different skills though I may never use them, I like having lots of numbers and meters to keep track of. I like having many different playing styles to choose from, I like having many pros/cons to equipping new gear, I like having the opportunity to mix strategies and "outsmart" the AI, not just overwhelm them with regenerating health and higher stat values.
Posted by Theodore Gorath on December 5, 2012 at 9:13 AM · Report this
Sir Vic 31
The points made above about the quality of MS OS offerings skipping a generation are by and large spot on. Windows95, 2000, XP and 7 were very solid, whereas Win98, ME, and Vista were shaky at best. From the standpoint of someone who has done official Windows tech support, Windows8 looks like a dressing up of Windows7 with a flashy-touchy overlay. The Metro "live tiles" interface is taken straight from their Windows 7.5 phoneOS, which got rave reviews in many circles. (I thought it was a battery waster.) They've basically married their currently successful touchOS (phone) with their currently successful desktopOS (7) and released it at the start of the Holiday Quarter.
It's a cash call, just like 98 & ME were.

If you need a touch screen interface for a desktop PC, this might be a good idea. Otherwise, you can wait for the next MS OS.
Posted by Sir Vic on December 5, 2012 at 9:13 AM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 32
Remarking on what Venomlash and Theodore Gorath mentioned, my home computer is used primarily for playing games. Yeah, I use it to work from home occasionally, and I use the internet too, but I wouldn't need an actual computer for either of those.

I don't see Windows 8 as a good gaming OS. Gamers don't play touch screen games, people who play nothing but 'angry birds' on their touchscreen phones aren't gamers, they're just bored. A big, space-hogging, memory-burning OS is not ideal for gaming.

Unfortunately, like someone else posted, I'm no longer in the video game buyer demographic. I don't play madden, or any MMO. I like strategy games, old-school turn based games, and a few older, well-made shooters. Video game companies are abandoning the PC market altogether and moving entirely to console gaming. So be it, they've lost me as a customer with that, but I don't think it'll hurt them any.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on December 5, 2012 at 9:22 AM · Report this
pragmatic 33
@31 95 was far from solid, frequent illegal operation errors anyone?
Posted by pragmatic on December 5, 2012 at 9:23 AM · Report this
jackie treehorn 34
This comment thread is like the zombie fights the governor puts on in this season of the walking dead, only instead of toothless zombies on chains chomping at fighters in the arena, it's nerds byting each other (on chains, in an arena, surrounded by bonfires and bloodlusting comment lurkers). Love.

Just hire Hodgman again to play the part of the PC and all will be swell.

Posted by jackie treehorn on December 5, 2012 at 9:30 AM · Report this
35
MS sucks. To put in an edit on a footer now takes so many clicks; I have to turn off so many stupid fucking autocorrect features; I have not even had time to learn the last set of revisions to office from what, 2010? many of which were retrograde things that made it too god damn complicated, too many choices, too many windows, my god, I only use the same format for page numbers in every fucking document yet it takes insert click, hand on mouse, scroll down with mouse, click on bottom right side option, then move mouse back up to view, then hit page view, it's like nine fucking movements to put in the same fucking page numbers used in every fucking document. Because 99% of all options I never use. So no, I don't want to have to spend two weeks every two years learning new operating system or new office layout whatever, just leave it the fuck alone so we have time to even learn what's already there!
Posted by former wordperfect lover on December 5, 2012 at 9:41 AM · Report this
bleedingheartlibertarian 36
Anecdote, not data: There were guys from Microsoft demoing Window 8 when I passed through SeaTac last week, and they couldn't get anyone to stop and check it out. And that's in an environment where a substantial portion of people have time to kill and not a hell of a lot to do.
Posted by bleedingheartlibertarian on December 5, 2012 at 9:48 AM · Report this
Fnarf 37
@23, You need an authorization form from HR before you can be assigned your stick, and I can tell you right now I'm not going to approve it. Even worse, I'm taking away your 24" monitor and giving you the last 15" CRT from the basement for your subordination. Yeah, that's right -- and a used ball mouse, too, with ten years of someone else's skanky hand sweat jammed up inside it.

As I'm sure you are aware, software decisions are not made by users OR IT, and instead are made by elderly managers who believe everything they read in their junk mail. So the future looks very bright for slow, poorly designed web apps from here on out. Preferably ones that require Internet Explorer 7.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on December 5, 2012 at 10:00 AM · Report this
approachingmidnight 38
The Yahoo article takes everything to a worst case scenario. But it's built off of many kernels of truth.

Many many places will skip Windows, 8 as they did with Vista.

Windows and Office are the breadwinners, but in 2017, or 2022, will their marketshare (vs Apple and Google) be the same? Really?

Their (very nice) phone has potential, but is more and more noticeably, not getting anywhere.

The successful Xbox is a tiny part of their revenue.

For their big push for the future, the Surface, they already had to cut their orders in half. I think one of the Surface tablets only gets like 4.5 hours of juice before needing a charge.

They just raised some licensing fees, likely in order to keep the books from showing more decline. Although long term, this will just just drive away customers who see this treatment.

Linux servers > Microsoft servers, and more than ever.

Hey guys, I know there are counterpoints to all these things. And yeah, anything is possible. But on almost every front, Microsoft is either losing mindshare, marketshare, or relevance. And with nothing on the horizon to stop the bleeding of any of those. Don't look at the short game, the long game is where to predict, and the long game on all these points....well it doesn't look so hot.

I have to repeat Paul here, where I really really want them to do well as a major local employer, and am also worried. Hopefully they can find a way to do what IBM did when Microsoft beat them in the 90's....transition to something else less front and center, and last a long, long time.
Posted by approachingmidnight http://www.google.com/search?q=don't+argue+with+me+buster on December 5, 2012 at 10:01 AM · Report this
39
Microsoft has long been trending towards becoming the software equivalent a utility company--selling massive quantities of necessary-but-boring software to other companies and the government.

Windows 8 is an effort--probably a futile one--to get back into the growth parts of consumer/phone/tablet touch space.

Even if they love all of the consumer side they still will still have tens of billions/year in reliable revenue for another decade or two. But they'll be as drab as IBM.

I like the idea of splitting the company into three or four pieces...put xbox/phones/tablets and other consumer stuff into one, put office/windows/exchange into another, bing & internet stuff into another.
Posted by ryanmm on December 5, 2012 at 10:08 AM · Report this
40
ugh, lose not love...
Posted by ryanmm on December 5, 2012 at 10:09 AM · Report this
41
Microsoft is having a major identity problem. Their stack rank system sows mistrust among employees, people make safe decisions, and over time, their strategy becomes nothing but catch up. But the really alarming thing to see from Microsoft now, and their apologists in this very comment thread, is the arrogance against the end user. "Hey, I'm using Windows 8 and it works for me!"

It doesn't matter if it works for YOU. It matters if it's widely accepted and adopted as a new paradigm in emerging computing environments. WIndows Phone sales are flat. Windows Tablet sales are non-existent and interest is nil. When Microsoft shrugs off the newly emerging markets and disparages the "stupid users", they're speaking exactly as IBM used to rationalize twenty years ago, just before Windows killed OS/2. And you know what happened? Everybody put a happy face on IBM but the fact is, they never were the same. They lost control of the API, the developer network, the technology market, and the entire computer kingdom. They're pretty much nothing but a bunch of consultants now and Microsoft is on that same path. You would think that Microsoft would recognize this repetition of history but they don't, and you know why? Because all of the folks who battled IBM either left or were driven out of the company.

This scares me and I don't even work for Microsoft. You local Microsoft haters can hate all you want but if you're also property owner keep this in mind - if Microsoft fails, your own property investment will collapse. Everybody, even the local haters, have a stake in Microsoft succeeding.

Posted by Evil(tm) Evolutionist on December 5, 2012 at 10:13 AM · Report this
venomlash 42
@21: Get out of here! MMOs requiring you to group up (read as: DEAL WITH PEOPLE) is aggravating. The one MMO I play, SWTOR, can be mostly soloed until you hit the level cap, and almost nothing in the central storylines requires grouping.
@30: Battletoads was the shit. One of the few games I bought as soon as it came out. I still play it, even though the graphics look a little outdated now.
I understand what you're saying about complex gameplay. I like having multiple options in-game. Do I run in close and spray lightning out of my gun? Do I hang back and open up the cannon's heavy-hitting attacks? Do I toss a sticky grenade and stockstrike the enemy over the head while he's trying to get it off? Or do I go all-out and wipe up a whole group with a mortal volley?
Posted by venomlash on December 5, 2012 at 10:31 AM · Report this
emor 43
@10

I'm anxiously awaiting the release of Baldur's Gate for iPad. If it does well, they'll rerelease Baldur's Gate 2 and (be still my heart) Planescape:Torment, probably the two best CRPGs ever released. On a similar note, I'm really looking forward to Project Eternity. There's still a few of old, good kind of games being made. In fact, I'm glad they're so far and few between -- no way I can spend a ton of time playing video games like when I was 15.
Posted by emor on December 5, 2012 at 11:08 AM · Report this
Cascadian 44
@21 and @42, MMOs are annoying when they require either grouping or solo play. Sometimes I want to play the game myself, and sometimes I want to play in a group, and there should be a way to accommodate that organically. I don't know of a single MMO that handles that right. They've also got problems with the subscription model and game design process encouraging grindingly repetitive collection or kill quests over actually entertaining content. And sometimes quests are just too hard for people (like me) who play occasionally rather than constantly to finish, without adequate options to scale the difficulty. There are other problems but those are the big ones for me.

As for Microsoft, they had the right idea with the Windows 8 products but it looks like they didn't execute correctly. And really, the problem with execution is with their management structure and their performance review system, which reinforce bad product development practices. I don't think even good ideas will help save them unless they change how they attract, manage, reward, and retain employees.
Posted by Cascadian on December 5, 2012 at 11:16 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 45
@42: One of the best examples for me is the difference between Mass Effect and Mass Effect 3.

Mass Effect 3 was damned impressive graphically, and the gameplay was smooth and very polished. The shooting was fun enough, enemies were varied enough to keep it interesting. It was too easy, but playing on the Insane difficulty helped.

But at the end of the day, it was just another third person shooter with bare-bones RPG elements. No rewards for excellent play, hardly any rewards for exploration/completion, an underwhelming lack of weapon/armor variation or improvement system. Just point and shoot, maybe change your ammo type if the situation warrants. Did not even need to depend on companion skills. No reason not to put all squad points into shooting ability.

Whereas Mass Effect was not as polished, the controls were not as smooth, and the enemies had less variance.

But there were choices to be made. Do I use that power knowing it will kill my accuracy? Do I focus on the Geth charging me (enemies in Mass Effect 3 NEVER charged, and were big pussies), or the Krogan with he rocket launcher whose health is rapidly replenishing? Do I need the Mako for this (no, figure out a strategy to win and get that bonus XP), Should I try to find higher ground and snipe?

I never had these choices to make playing Mass Effect 3. The best strategy from the first mission to the last was always, equip Avenger assault rifle, wait in cover for enemies to get out of cover, repeat.
Posted by Theodore Gorath on December 5, 2012 at 11:19 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 46
Surface is dead.

Win 8 is dead.

Long live Windows 9 - and bring back the Start button!
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on December 5, 2012 at 11:32 AM · Report this
ArtBasketSara 47
@43 I was just about to bring those games up! The height of my computer gaming days (aside from the original Starcraft). BG2 was perfect...Icewind Dale; not so much. Torment was pretty great (though I found the expansive dialogue combined with exp. points for going through it all was a bit tiring).

Skyrim is beautiful but it can get boring and rather methodical...and no real consequences for doing bad things! My character should be fairly reviled for some of the things I've done...

Oh and...my work computer still uses Windows 2000 (and a database system released in 1994 called Paradox). Just to stay on topic...

Posted by ArtBasketSara on December 5, 2012 at 11:47 AM · Report this
treacle 48
" Microsoft is an important part of the area, and I want the company to succeed."

Great. And as far as "local economy" goes, I would too. But you probably don't have to support Microsoft products... They are endlessly frustrating and weird.

They need to stop pretending they are an "innovator" ... they are constantly chasing superior products: Socl? right. Zune? crap. Surface? yawn. Bing? what?

The Xbox was the single best thing they invented, and Microsoft Word 5.1 was the best word processor they ever put out. Everything else has become messy, complicated, and annoying. They seem to have a policy of reinventing the damn wheel in order to create a monopoly market (NetBEUI? Winsock? :P ).

Neither of their last two 'chairmen' (Gates & Ballmer) have been "seated in the Tao", as Lao Tsu offered as the sage advice for any ruler. As a consequence, Microsoft is not "seated in the Tao", and is -essentially- an autistic kludge.
Posted by treacle on December 5, 2012 at 12:15 PM · Report this
49
I bet quite a few companies will upgrade to Windows 8 once they figure out their employees like the idea of seamlessly linking their phones and tables with the corporate infrastructure.

No way my iPod is updating our group's Projected Test Results access database.

Copy of the Joe's killer hiring protocol powerpoint to read while on the plane? Yes sir, I think that will look great on my ultraPC.
Posted by six shooter on December 5, 2012 at 12:23 PM · Report this
50
(and think of how happy the IT department will be when they can start automatically updating and maintaining your phone software)
Posted by six shooter on December 5, 2012 at 12:25 PM · Report this
Rotten666 51
My eyes just glazed over while reading this thread.
Posted by Rotten666 on December 5, 2012 at 12:28 PM · Report this
balderdash 52
I wouldn't touch the current release of Surface tablets. WinRT is Win8 with all the stuff you might actually want to use Windows for stripped out of it. It's a less-stylish Microsoft clone of iOS and there's no goddamn reason anyone would want that. It was a stupid fucking move and if Microsoft gets burned for it, they damn well deserve it.

I'd give the Surface Pro a try when it comes out, though, with the full version of Win8. Meanwhile I haven't tried Win8 yet so I really don't have much comment on it.
Posted by balderdash http://introverse.blogspot.com on December 5, 2012 at 1:04 PM · Report this
seandr 53
@37: lol
Posted by seandr on December 5, 2012 at 3:03 PM · Report this
Free Lunch 54
I'm disappointed by this. I was hoping Microsoft would be rewarded for actually innovating in user experience, rather than just copying like they always have in the past.

The Windows Phone has spectacularly innovative design. Ballsy not to just knock-off Apple like Google did. Sounds like it doesn't translate to bigger screens, though.

Now Windows 9 will be hard to distinguish from the Mac operating system. The only giveaway will be the hideous laptop it's running on.
Posted by Free Lunch on December 5, 2012 at 9:11 PM · Report this
55
@12
people who want things to be fundamentally easy to do for non-experts

This is why I switched to Macs.
Posted by Susan on December 6, 2012 at 3:13 PM · Report this

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