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Spoiler alert: they misspell "pwned"
March 19, 2011 8:25 AM   Subscribe

A video has leaked online showing Microsoft's vision for their next generation gaming platform. The video comes from the WGX (Windows Gaming eXperience) team, and as ZDNet reports, the video shows "[the] team’s ambitions for next-generation gaming between Windows, Xbox Live, and mobile platform[s]."

The video seems to be crafted with similar love and care given to the Windows 7 Launch Party advertisements. Summarizing the video with as little editorializing as I can muster...
Social - Share achievements and invite others to play across social networks.
Identity - Maintain a consistent and customizable avatar across games and platforms.
Search - Find games similar to the ones you already like with integrated search and recommendation features.
Transactions - Buy things!
posted by codacorolla (85 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
SIST. You know... pronounced like 'cyst.'
posted by verb at 8:34 AM on March 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


More like a SIST upon the face of gaming.

That was originally going to be a joke, but the more I think about the video, the more I am disturbed by the direction they're headed in. Things I mistrust that they advocate in rapid succession: Farmville, Facebook, and the purchase of custom avatars. (Bejeweled is great, though.)
posted by voltairemodern at 8:34 AM on March 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Will you accept this cow?
No. I will not accept this or any other cow.
posted by pts at 8:34 AM on March 19, 2011 [39 favorites]


Microsoft's vision for next generation gaming:
1> Embracing & extending Facebook.
2> Ripping off Nintendo & The Sims!
posted by markkraft at 8:37 AM on March 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


"Heh, POwned"!? *groans, slaps forehead*

The future of Windows Gaming is Farmville and Bejeweled?

Are you sure this video was leaked? I don't think intentionally releasing marketing pabulum is really a "leak". This is so bad I'm wondering if you're getting paid to post this.
posted by loquacious at 8:39 AM on March 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


Mind you, I own two XBox 360s and I think they've delivered the best gaming experience of any of the current generation consoles. Their vision fo a fully integrated social and transactional stack across all devices strikes me as delusional, though.
posted by verb at 8:39 AM on March 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


This isn't gaming. It's a merger of Farmville, American Idol, facebook credits and xbox live into a horror show of pointless consumerism. They didnt even show a single "game", just a parade of pseudo-gamelike social engineering products. Now you can send your real cash payments to Microsoft right from your Window Live enabled facebook phone, and receive a virtual cow and a pair of virtual ruby red slippers in return, what a joyous expression of new frontiers in the art of video games. (Actually you can already basic do this, but Microsoft would just love to own the virtual distribution channel from end to end, all the better to fleece you with my dears).
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:39 AM on March 19, 2011 [32 favorites]


I don't do social gaming, so I guess I don't really care about that aspect of it. I have never owned a current gen console, so double with that. But the fact that their ideal vision of the future is a shooty FPS game where you BUY your weapons instead of FIND THEM IN THE LEVEL makes me start to think that I'm just starting to reach the point where mainstream videogames and I start to go in different directions.

Are you sure this video was leaked? I don't think intentionally releasing marketing pabulum is really a "leak". This is so bad I'm wondering if you're getting paid to post this.

Well, that's offensive. First of all, the "leak" came from ZDNet, so if you want to blame anyone for being a shill blame them. Second of all, I found this browsing another site, and thought people interested in gaming would also be interested in this. Third, I don't think any company would pay to make themselves look like tone-deaf idiots who's only experience with gaming comes from marketing department briefings and watching their son play Mario 20 years ago.

But maybe you're right, maybe I've been a member of this site, posting comments and contributing FPPs for the past 2 years (and lurking for 3 years before that) as a secret sleeper agent for Microsoft. How did you figure me out?
posted by codacorolla at 8:43 AM on March 19, 2011 [22 favorites]


I HAVE SEEN THE FUTURE!

and it is vapid
posted by mazola at 8:44 AM on March 19, 2011 [13 favorites]


Anyone else find the little cartoon-y avatar smiling soullessly and shooting the guy off the tower a little creepy?
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 8:46 AM on March 19, 2011 [18 favorites]


Social - Share achievements and invite others to play across social networks.
Identity - Maintain a consistent and customizable avatar across games and platforms.
Search - Find games similar to the ones you already like with integrated search and recommendation features.
Transactions - Buy things!


None of these things are about gaming. It is like how a plate, knife and napkin are not about sandwiches, but sometimes coincidental.
posted by oxford blue at 8:48 AM on March 19, 2011 [7 favorites]


"Identity - Maintain a consistent and customizable avatar across games and platforms."

This, of course, means a consistent identity that plays well with Facebook... and as Mark Zuckerberg says:
""You have one identity. The days of you having a different image for your work friends or co-workers and for the other people you know are probably coming to an end pretty quickly Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity."

Ummm... No thanks!
posted by markkraft at 8:49 AM on March 19, 2011 [16 favorites]


Anyone else find the little cartoon-y avatar smiling soullessly and shooting the guy off the tower a little creepy?

Yes. I found the whole shift from appeal-to-soccer-moms to appeal-to-hardcore-gamers very awkward, in part because the cutesy avatars were used consistently throughout.
posted by voltairemodern at 8:50 AM on March 19, 2011


LOL MICROSOFT
posted by fire&wings at 8:52 AM on March 19, 2011


"Hey guys, why don't we put the final nail in the coffin of the Games & Devices division and cripple Xbox just like we did the Zune?" Steve Balmer's vision of the future looks a lot like MySpace circa 2006.
posted by KingEdRa at 8:53 AM on March 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


All I can picture is avatar Steve Ballmer having icons of Windows and Office dangling in front of his face with the message:
     Will you accept this cash cow?
And him furiously hitting:
     No. I will not accept this or any other cow!
while pissing away billions.
posted by mazola at 8:53 AM on March 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


Ummm... No thanks!

Increasingly it seems that the people in positions of power with a lot of money have a vision for Computers, the Internet, and gaming that's completely opposite of my own. It takes what should be open systems that anyone can create content in, and turns it in to a system where users are easy to track, monetize, and advertise to. I guess that makes sense when the traditional model of the Web as advertising driven only gives so much dough, and you need X times so much dough to grow as a company.

The future, if these people have their way in dictating what the consensus is, is a bunch of services that use the Internet as a platform for their own personal, heavily moderated, walled garden. These don't seem like people who will support net neutrality, and in fact may actively oppose it.

I hope that as the rest of the world moves to their FaceBook-MicroSoft-Zynga © web spaces there's still something of the open Internet left for the rest of us.
posted by codacorolla at 8:54 AM on March 19, 2011 [11 favorites]


Request For Permission

Microsoft is requesting permission to do the following:

Access my basic information
Includes name, profile picture, gender, networks, user ID, list of friends and any other information I've shared with everyone.
Send me email
Microsoft may email me directly at fnord@google.com·



NONONONONO!!!!
posted by markkraft at 8:56 AM on March 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Anyone else find the little cartoon-y avatar smiling soullessly and shooting the guy off the tower a little creepy?

Nah, there lots of games that mix cutesy chibi with ultra-violence. Remember Metal Slug or 8-bit/16-bit Final Fantasy?

But, I've never played social games. As long as Xbox Live keeps allowing indie devs a way to get games to a larger audience, then I'm okay with whatever.
posted by FJT at 8:59 AM on March 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


This could easily been seen as another shot in the war on privacy (for little people). Facebook and Microsoft seem to be making a play for establishing a "trusted computing" model for online identity, meaning they could well be teaming up to become the identity monopoly when National ID is eventually forced upon us.

Minority report was set in 2054, seems like wishful thinking it'll take half that long.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:00 AM on March 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Gaming? They call exchanging cash for an ugly CGI dress gaming? That's not gaming; that's Skinnerian conditioning.

KILL IT WITH FIRE
posted by fifthrider at 9:09 AM on March 19, 2011 [14 favorites]


Well, that's offensive. First of all, the "leak" came from ZDNet, so if you want to blame anyone for being a shill blame them.

Sorry, it was more of a snarky rhetorical question than a baseless accusation.

But I'm still wondering if you have a case of brain worms, and if it's contagious, and if I possibly just caught it by watching this video.
posted by loquacious at 9:10 AM on March 19, 2011


Facebook and Microsoft seem to be making a play for establishing a "trusted computing" model for online identity, meaning they could well be teaming up to become the identity monopoly when National ID is eventually forced upon us.

This sort of thing is absolutely inevitable. It's as inevitable as it was in the 17th century, when the unregulated use of the printing press, and the associated explosion of piracy, required us to build licensed publication systems to identify and control authorship of text. The internet is reaching the end of its early expansion days, and now regulation moves in. Government and industry both want this badly, so it's hard to understand what could effectively oppose it.
posted by mek at 9:11 AM on March 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Looking sassy, Microsoft!
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:12 AM on March 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Check Facebook this morning and got a message from an old friend I'd not heard from in ages to join them in Farmville. It was kinda like hearing they had been struck down by a nasty illness... oh no, not you as well...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:14 AM on March 19, 2011 [7 favorites]


PSSST. Hey Microsoft, over here! I got something sweet for you-- a fucking great idea for your next console.

Okay, okay, here's what you do. You take the Xbox 360. Give it a better processor and graphics card. Give it a built in hard drive. Keep the controllers. Those are great controllers. Change NOTHING ELSE.

DO NOT ADD MORE SOCIAL CONNECTIONS. I have a friend's list. That's how I keep in touch with my gaming friends. I do not need crossplatform support for this shit. I do not need tweeting my achievements or facebook interconnectedness or any of that shit.

I need a device that plays games on my television. That's all I fucking want.
posted by graventy at 9:14 AM on March 19, 2011 [33 favorites]


Yeah, if you look at Steam you don't get any -OH HEY NOW, WHAT THE CRAP IS THIS UNDER THIS COMMUNITY TAB?
posted by Artw at 9:19 AM on March 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


Behind the curve.
posted by Lord_Pall at 9:22 AM on March 19, 2011


But the fact that their ideal vision of the future is a shooty FPS game where you BUY your weapons instead of FIND THEM IN THE LEVEL

HALO: COMBAT MARKETPLACE EVOLED.

You get an alert from Cortana when you're running low on credits or the bank has rejected the loan you needed to buy that second Fuel Rod.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:22 AM on March 19, 2011


ArtW: I go both ways on Steam. Valve's recent moves with using microtransactions in Team Fortress 2 to buy items that have ingame impact and coupling that with give-aways on shovel ware to get people to buy them full price all seems shady and below the bar of what I would like them to be doing. But, at least, Steam mostly stays out of your business if you want it to.
posted by codacorolla at 9:24 AM on March 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hi, we're MetaFilter and we can overthink a plate of over-glossy user experience work.

As artw noted, what Microsoft wants is what Steam already has. They then want to mix in what Facebook offers the social casual gamer. You can question whether this is the best way forward, but this is definitely where we are now.

The video is hokey, but they're right on for 2010-2011. And given the state of consoles right now, that's not such a bad place to be.

Maybe you should get off your own lawns before your manicured grass dies from your dripping bile, grandpa.
posted by dw at 9:29 AM on March 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


stop trying to make avatars happen.
posted by empath at 9:39 AM on March 19, 2011 [5 favorites]


Little Child: Grandpa, I need your credit card number so I can pay 2 dollars to get the key to advance to the next level in Bejeweled Wars 3!

Grandpa: Well... did you do your homework and submit it through BlackBoard-NewsCorp-Media? Ok, here you are.

Little Child: Say, Grandpa, what was gaming like when you were my age.

Grandpa: Ahhh, well, if you were playing a game you didn't have to buy your weapons, you mostly just memorized where stuff was and picked it up. You couldn't buy things to make you better, you just improved the more you played.

Little Child: No way!

Grandpa: Yep! And if you didn't like a game, then most of them came with tools so that amateur programmers could change it around and fix problems to make them better. They were called mods, and most of them were totally free!

Little Child: Get out!

Grandpa: And gaming was mostly just a personal hobby, and if you started telling people how many goblins you've killed, or your high score in Peggle, then they would just think you were an annoying nerd.

Little Child: Sounds lame. Anyway, I'm going to upload this video of you talking to Google-Tube Incorporated for a low, low price of 30 cents (thanks for the card, by the way) and title it "Old Man With Dumb Ideas About Things." Smell ya' later, asshole.

Grandpa: ... I've been p0wned.
posted by codacorolla at 9:40 AM on March 19, 2011 [9 favorites]


Great, more narcissism for today's youth while they ...oooh, doesn't my avatar look pretty!$!$
posted by acheekymonkey at 9:42 AM on March 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


There's a huge divide between the social/casual gaming scene and the console scene. I honestly can't see the Xbox Live team implementing any of this. Though some games already let you buy things like ammo as DLC, so maybe I'm wrong.

I read a couple days ago that Zynga said they have no plans to ever bring Farmville to consoles because the market is too small.
posted by Sibrax at 9:46 AM on March 19, 2011


That's all I fucking want.

It's seeming to me that companies don't prosper by giving customers what they want. There's a strange coercive dance that goes on, but the result is not what you're talking about right there.
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 9:53 AM on March 19, 2011


More like:

Social - Share shiny digital things and coerce others to play across social networks.
Holistic - A universal brand & user experience across all platforms
Identity - Maintain a consistent and customizable avatar across games and platforms whether you want to or not.
Transactions - Buy things! Digital things! Things that make you cool!

Amirite?

Seriously, I can't be the first to this joke?
posted by BeerFilter at 10:18 AM on March 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


68 likes, 100 dislikes

Yeah, that about sums it up.
posted by tybeet at 10:19 AM on March 19, 2011


I've heard variations on this strategy for a while and have always been puzzled by the assumption that the people who play console games are interested in using the Xbox's goofy dashboard avatars as player models within a console game.
posted by chaff at 10:40 AM on March 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


I do not need tweeting my achievements or facebook interconnectedness or any of that shit.

You can't do this already? WTF? I just got an XBox 360 and I can't set up Live on my mobile broadband but I assumed part of the point of Achievements was instantly sharing them with your social friends. As it is I have to manually Tweetdeck when I've beaten a game.
But then I got annoyed when Facebook Places wouldn't work at my local at 4am tonight
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:51 AM on March 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've heard variations on this strategy for a while and have always been puzzled by the assumption that the people who play console games are interested in using the Xbox's goofy dashboard avatars as player models within a console game.

I am only a casual videogame player (I don't own any current generation non-portable consoles) but I am surprised by this new design philosophy that assumes players want to play as themselves in games.

Has it been successful for Nintendo with the Miis, and that is why microsoft is pursuing this?
I find it takes you out of an experience to see yourself as literally a character in the game as well as wrests authorial control away from game designers.
posted by Enigmark at 11:10 AM on March 19, 2011


I have seen the future, and it is stupid.
posted by killdevil at 11:11 AM on March 19, 2011


Its all been downhill since Quake 3.
posted by hellojed at 11:13 AM on March 19, 2011


**Looks up from Nintendo DSi.**

**Looks back down at Nintendo DSi.**

"Back to catching more pokemon."
posted by Fizz at 11:18 AM on March 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


At least the phrase "3D" isn't in there.

...is it? I don't know if I can bring myself to look.
posted by HostBryan at 11:23 AM on March 19, 2011


I am glad a female avatar was featured for most of the game. But, did she seriously fret about choosing a dress so other avatars could cat call her? I watched this on my phone so it was difficult to see exactly.
posted by munchingzombie at 11:24 AM on March 19, 2011


Meh. And I interrupted a good game of Zork to watch that?
posted by drhydro at 11:24 AM on March 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, either you control each game by making your Avatar control the game or that video didn't show any actual anything.
posted by defenestration at 11:25 AM on March 19, 2011


At least the phrase "3D" isn't in there.

...is it? I don't know if I can bring myself to look.


Oddly, no, although it is a year old. All of the gestures the avatars are using do look like something you would input using a kinect, however.

I am glad a female avatar was featured for most of the game. But, did she seriously fret about choosing a dress so other avatars could cat call her? I watched this on my phone so it was difficult to see exactly.

She does. And then, when her friends approve of her dress, she jumps up triumphantly. This is what Microsoft thinks of women who play video games.
posted by codacorolla at 11:26 AM on March 19, 2011


they're continuing that awful pay-a-musician-to-rip-off-a-popular-song trend with that safety scissors version of lisztomania
posted by thetruthisjustalie at 11:38 AM on March 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


codacorolla: "Ummm... No thanks!

Increasingly it seems that the people in positions of power with a lot of money have a vision for Computers, the Internet, and gaming that's completely opposite of my own.
"

Well said. This is a case of delusional, middle-aged cokeheads (and former cokeheads) who still operate under they assumption that they're trailblazers and visionaries. They just don't know when to get the fuck out of their own way. Instead of jumping in the river and going with the current, they try to change it's course because they believe they know better. They no longer do. They're old and in the way.

"P0wned"? Seriously?

It's funny to hear Zuckerburg sound like an old school business type:
"You have one identity. The days of you having a different image for your work friends or co-workers and for the other people you know are probably coming to an end pretty quickly Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity."

Bullshit old man. It's called being savvy and smart about exposing yourself to some of the crazy shit on the internet. Now get back in your box and go invent something new.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 11:42 AM on March 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


This will be huge one day. Just you wait and see. Sort of like Google Wave!
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 11:43 AM on March 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


Nah, there lots of games that mix cutesy chibi with ultra-violence. Remember Metal Slug or 8-bit/16-bit Final Fantasy?

Metal Slug did it very well actually. You actually got to sympathize with the enemy soldiers a bit even as you blasted five at a time because they had so much character and were so well animated. A balloon-headed avatar or Mii wouldn't be the same thing at all.

8&16-bit Final Fantasy had very little violence, because it was so abstract. I mean, the characters would often not even step out of their lineup to slash at a monster! They'd take a step forward, wave their sword "swish swish," and damage numbers would appear. Gory!

I think we should thank Microsoft. It's so rare that you have the opportunity to see such utter fail at an early stage of development. It's a nightmare scenario of gaming.

Apparently in the future, user interfaces will make the sounds from Pop-Up Video to the visuals of Star Trek done up in pastel, all in the service of the most banal conversations possible. Apparently living in bright pink Tron-world won't do a thing for anyone's spelling habits.

IDENTITY
My Avatar is my online identity. It represents my style, attitude and character. Perhaps because of this, it resembles an animate Macy's Parade character. It's "attitude" is comfortingly bland, like myself. What meager customization opportunities are offered provide for a pitiful means of masking my own essential similarity to thousands of other people. I am excited about it only because Nintendo dropped the ball so hard in using Miis.

Its following me around during games and even on the web proves it is a homunculus, a hellish miniature version of myself that follows me around the web, no matter how much I might wish to escape it. It reminds me of the dark pacts I have made. I will pay for the rights to wrap this mincing cartoon ape with polygonal clothing, because I have lost touch with the value of real money.
posted by JHarris at 11:52 AM on March 19, 2011 [9 favorites]


The snark is strong in this thread. I get the Microsoft hate, but there's nothing in this video that any other gaming company isn't considering. Zynga brought in $850 mil. last year—social and casual gamers are a huge part of the future of the gaming market. Most of this video is about bringing a demographic that is not on the XBox (for the most part) into the fold. Pretty standard stuff I think.
posted by wemayfreeze at 12:01 PM on March 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


codacorolla, I'm sorry I doubted your cynicism or commitment to snark. Carry on.
posted by loquacious at 12:11 PM on March 19, 2011


After seeing how bogged down the Xbox interface has become this makes me dread the next version, even once you've purchased an Xbox 360 and a full live subscription you still have to look at the adverts when you first login to the dashboard. In addition to this they're pushing twitter, facebook and netflix integration as a reason to charge 40 euros a year.

Recently I've let my live subscription expire (and what a pain it is to stop it auto-renewing) because I can't justify the expense of having to pay for basic multiplayer while still viewing adverts.
posted by MrCynical at 12:22 PM on March 19, 2011


It's not Snow Crash yet.
posted by localroger at 1:12 PM on March 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't treat the current Xbox avatar as an avatar, but instead as a sort of guide-sprite on the Navi vein. It'd be nice if more companies would go this way rather than "this character represents me" because after the 5th time my uncoordinated ass gets blown up in ten minutes while playing a fps, that'd be kinda bleak.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 1:12 PM on March 19, 2011


It makes me sad that I've lost the battle against using "U" and "R" in a professional (even "casual profession" setting. I know I wasn't the only one fighting the battle... but every time I see it, I weep for the future.
posted by DigDoug at 1:39 PM on March 19, 2011


Microsoft and XBox could give a shit what gamers want. They want to create a product to crossover and have mass appeal. Apple did it ten years ago, and Nintendo did it five. As far as I can tell they're getting closer and closer to doing this.
posted by P.o.B. at 1:42 PM on March 19, 2011


I miss the old internet. The days when we did not know who we were. I refer to the days long gone, the days before both vanity blogs and myspace. The days when we did not have anything to protect, or rather, did not know what it was there was to protect. The days when your sloppily constructed web page were selfless temples to your passions and interests. When these temples floated freely without ties to your name except some handle or discarded yahoo email address. In those days your "interests" were without ownership. The Zuckerberg quote isn't describing what will be. He described what has already happened. Anonymity is now the exception. Multiple handles is now suspicious. Continuity of identity has been embraced by the internet. Everything you explain on the internet means something about you, and there is no more freedom from being interpreted by others. There is nowhere left to run from that question: "who am I to you?", "who do I seem to be to others?", "am I who you want me to be?", "what will they think of me?"

Whatever possibilities were open during the early internet are disappearing fast. It was the last time we all were no one, and when the only question to ask was a private one: "Who/What am I?" We would lie to see how people reacted differently. We could play roles, and now we must choose one. We must all be professionals now. There was a profound sincerity in the lies we spun back then. In those early years of the internet I lied for my own enjoyment, not for my own benefit. I don't know if what is to come is a good thing. The fall of the troll and the rise of the judge.
posted by TwelveTwo at 2:11 PM on March 19, 2011 [12 favorites]


That was an excellent advertisement for the Playstation 4.

So, Farmville, American Idol, Bejeweled, entirely too much fuss over avatar style nonsense, and by the time we reach any reference to a proper, non-casual, non-goddamn-Facebook games, they present us w/ in FPS where weapons are to be purchased with actual money. I assure you, Microsoft, that the statement "buying things enhances my gaming experience" is one huge, steaming pile of unreasonable assumption. #grandpa #offmylawn #seriouslythoughfuckfarmville
posted by EatTheWeak at 3:42 PM on March 19, 2011 [9 favorites]


Hooray! Now twelve-year-olds can follow me around and awkwardly curse me out on all my devices!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 3:57 PM on March 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


You haven't learned to be soul-crushingly mean to 12 year olds yet? The best defense is a great insult.
posted by stratastar at 4:01 PM on March 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


At about 2:25 in the video they show a white-collar manager-type person playing video games from the office at 10am with a smile on his face, as his desk phone keeps ringing unanswered. I don't know much about Microsoft, but that seems pretty subversive.
posted by Hiding From Goro at 5:18 PM on March 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


I heard a story on Marketplace (a public radio show) this afternoon about a Facebook game where people gamble money and never cash out. You get a small amount daily, but some people want to gamble more, so they pay for real credits to get more in game money. It'd count as "real" gambling if you could cash out for something real, like cash, so the game is just gambling for gambling's sake.

This may be the future of gaming. ;_;
posted by mccarty.tim at 5:36 PM on March 19, 2011


This may be the future of the gaming industry.

fixed that for you.
posted by TwelveTwo at 5:46 PM on March 19, 2011


This is really an instrument for branding yourself. It makes sense, given that branding is the top design priority for all MS products.
posted by clarknova at 5:50 PM on March 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


This isn't gaming. This is a disease.
posted by Malor at 7:11 PM on March 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


So, who plays this many video games? Don't you guys have mountains to climb near you, or oceans to sail across, lovers to win over?

This all seems like just something to do, while your life goes flashing before your eyes.
posted by alex_skazat at 7:23 PM on March 19, 2011


lolecovision
posted by jeremy b at 7:57 PM on March 19, 2011


colecovision
posted by mazola at 8:22 PM on March 19, 2011


I hear you 12-2, as I remember the old days well too. But, honestly, I don't quite see the doom and gloom since it's relatively easy to protect your anonymity even now. Have one identity here, a different name at Reddit, yet another name at Twitter, and a Facebook purely for friends with yet another name and another hometown which isn't mine. There's a LinkedIn account with a real name for when I have to do boring business networking but it isn't connected with any of the other accounts and the business contacts listed there are not friends on the Facebook page.

So, if I end up being forced into some Microsoft networking hell because they've got some game I want, the profile there will be a dead end since there won't be any crosslinking. It's not pure anonymity since I'm sure anyone with the resources of the Feds or Google could figure it out, but for the purposes of communicating with the general public, there's no trail, nothing that could haunt you in a future job interview.
posted by honestcoyote at 9:18 PM on March 19, 2011


Microsoft has got to be the most successful completely fucking clueless company in human history.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:01 PM on March 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


MetaFilter: Just something to do while your life goes flashing before your eyes.
posted by clarknova at 10:50 PM on March 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


honestcoyote, it is not so simple. There is a cost now that is quite visible. If I were to do something very clever and loved under one name, then I cannot link it back to my 'real' name without appearing two-faced, scandalous, or, at the least, inconsistent. I may have done a lot of other things on that other name I would not want associated with my 'real' name. To link two pseudonyms together irrevocably combines them. If you have become a bit of a local expert on Ask.Metafilter but you also are a bit of a dirty joker, then you can't let it reflect on you if you've been cultivating a cleaner humor at work. Everything gets cross-contaminated.

How to operate socially on the internet has become a bit of an obscure gamble. If you spread yourself across multiple names, then you must be on your best behavior on all of them. Whenever something great happens under one, then as you have been so polite and politically correct, you can combine them with your real name. Now you look like you are someone on the internet. However, until then, this compartmentalization will make you seem quite computer illiterate. I know people in HR who have rejected applicants that have had a suspiciously small internet presence. In reality, many of them had a wide and diverse existence on the internet but they kept them hidden and compartmentalized. No one knew they were into translating subtitles for anime, but the cost of their privacy was that they appeared as if they don't own a computer. This is not a new problem, imagine the Mathematician or scholar of any variety who decides to submit under a different pseudonym for each field. If one of them happens to get him in the running for a reward, then he must admit the pseudonym or engage in a situational comedy.

The other extreme is centralizing under one name, or pseudonym. If you take this approach, then you must have a clear role to play and one which is not too small. While this strategy allows you to direct all your efforts into a single image to project over yourself, you are encased and trapped within it. You must assume your role you have drawn or else. If a certain comedian assumed his position as representative mascot of an insurance company, then his job would have remained secure. This is the terror that I see in our future. Contrary to the optimistic post-modernists of the 90s, we are not free to slip between symbols and representations without cost. For the very cost of that fluidity is the appearance of being a flake, a snake, a chameleon. In criminal trials today a single image of you with a gun anywhere on the internet is a jail sentence. We may now be free to clad ourselves in countless images and symbols, just as the post-modernists breathlessly predicted. But all it has given us is a freedom to encase ourselves within a prison of mirrors of our own choosing.

This seems so doom and gloom, I know. I have seen all of the attempted solutions so far and there remains none outside of this prescribed professionalism of private life. I know friends who have attempted a compromise position between this and the last strategy. They build 'potemkin profiles.' They have a Facebook page, a LinkedIn, a Flickr, and a Twitter account, but all of them desolate and quiet. They update monthly, or maybe every few weeks. But they are shallow. There is no real life behind them, and it is obvious. What active Facebook gallery has no new photo entries for over a year? Elsewhere on the internet they may enjoy a lively anonymous internet presence, but the cost is that they appear dull and lifeless to everyone outside of it. They have not made any compromise, they have simply reproduced the way it used to be. It reminds me of how the most telling aspect of early Facebook and Myspace was that people on the internet referred to it as part of 'real life.' Potemkin profiles continue this tradition of division, but the case is that the wall has fallen. I don't see it being rebuilt.
posted by TwelveTwo at 10:56 PM on March 19, 2011 [7 favorites]


Ugh, this is really typical of MS, and I say this as someone who has had more interaction with them than I'd care to admit.

They discover a bubble/fad/etc. when it is already past its peak and starting to smell a little, throw a ton of money at it and reproduce it even better than the original, with zero new ideas and absolutely no soul. I will take this video to be a clear sign that dot-com-bubble 2.0 is underway.

Also, MS is especially weird for having such a strong internal marketing-speak culture that it starts to leak into the language that they use to talk to the outside world. Do they expect everyone to know what they mean by "property," let alone how one can have "gaming experiences across properties and platforms?" Why is it a "gaming experience" anyway? Someone I know at ms, in response to complaints about how half-baked windows phone 7 is, apologized for MS having "failed to make public their platform story." This isn't a flack I was talking to, this is how most people at this company think, IME.
posted by tempythethird at 5:39 AM on March 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


That's a great summary TwelveTwo. Optimistically, I bet corporations like Facebook (and competitors to come) can learn to facilitate and profit from multiple social identities just as much as they can from a consistent/continuous identity, as long as those multiple identities have equal strength.

In the meantime, it strikes me as strange and unexpected that it's becoming easier to exist in vastly different social niches and wear different faces *in the real world* than it is online, and that giving someone a link to my Facebook account is actually detrimental to my desire for a multi-faceted existence.

Same with professional sites. Right now, on LinkedIn I can list all of my skills/titles next to my name as long as there's the common thread of say, an industry. But what if I'm a clinical psychologist by day, an anime translator by night and a stand-up comedian on the weekends? I can't put those in the same profile and expect that to enhance my chances with prospective employers and clients. Meanwhile, in the real world, it's easy to go to a psychology conference and *not* mention that I'm a comedian at the parties.

Maybe there could at least be something like this: Hidden identity categories on Facebook and the like. So for example, if I was JimmyJock, JimmyGeek, JimmyFreak, JimmyCrass, etc., and I wanted the ability to engage in all of those identities, I could pick and choose which contacts and friends to invite to (or associate with) those particular IDs. And when, for example, I clicked the Status Update box, I'd have a simple pulldown menu that allowed me to to "Update All", "Update Geek", "Update Jock", etc.
And, like I say, they could be hidden. No one would have to know what I call my particular IDs or which IDs are associated with whom.

Obviously, there are certain things I can proclaim to my Sunday night drinking buddies that I can't say to the conservative uncle I see once every two years. But, the Status Update box and the Wall, which provide the quickest and easiest ways to post on Facebook as far as I can tell, are not going to see much content from me until I can speak separately to multiple social and professional groups. As a result, the corporations miss out on my precious marketing data.
posted by jimmymcvee at 9:11 AM on March 20, 2011


To be fair to Facebook, I see that you can post a status update for "Specific People" now. I'm curious how searchable that is for the general public. Does LinkedIn have something like this?
posted by jimmymcvee at 9:29 AM on March 20, 2011


jimmymcvee, this is precisely why we are in a transitory place right now. The internet is beginning to make quite apparent that we are not these stationary objects composed of interest lists and photos. We are each many. The slow movement toward separation of your chat list and friend list on Facebook is prophetic of what we will be seeing in the future. It will not be the division of identity of the past, it'll be something more like refraction. However, the people developing social applications right now believe very strongly in each of us having a 'real self' behind all the masks. This illusion of singular identities certainly makes the database structure easier to grok. But I remain standing beside my position that modern society will be terribly imprisoning until we shake off that fantasy.
posted by TwelveTwo at 9:33 AM on March 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, MS is especially weird for having such a strong internal marketing-speak culture that it starts to leak into the language that they use to talk to the outside world.

While elsewhere true, it seems to me like this video was meant for internal use only, like a power-point presentation meant to get the PR and Infrastructure people on the same page.

But what I'm not sure I understand is this: isn't everything demonstrated in that video already a part of how XBox Live works? (I don't own one, but I've seen them in action; maybe I'm assuming functionality it doesn't have?) Is there anything there other than a pledge to bring precisely that experience to Windows? (The Windows logo at the end supports this theory.)
posted by nobody at 6:01 PM on March 20, 2011


While elsewhere true, it seems to me like this video was meant for internal use only, like a power-point presentation meant to get the PR and Infrastructure people on the same page.

But what I'm not sure I understand is this: isn't everything demonstrated in that video already a part of how XBox Live works? (I don't own one, but I've seen them in action; maybe I'm assuming functionality it doesn't have?) Is there anything there other than a pledge to bring precisely that experience to Windows? (The Windows logo at the end supports this theory.)


I think you're right, with one exception I'll mention, less extreme, or less obvious versions of this already exist on Xbox Live.

Not exactly at the level of paying for extra weapons yet, but you'll see a lot of tie-ins where you get extra, non-vital, gear if you buy at a certain location
posted by codacorolla at 6:13 PM on March 20, 2011


If I were to do something very clever and loved under one name, then I cannot link it back to my 'real' name without appearing two-faced, scandalous, or, at the least, inconsistent.
Maybe it's just me but I'd be more likely react to the new info as meaning you're multi-faceted, dead cheeky, or at the least, flexible or adaptable.
posted by unliteral at 11:23 PM on March 20, 2011


I know people in HR who have rejected applicants that have had a suspiciously small internet presence.

What the hell kinda screwed-up shit is that? Seriously. Someone has no Facebook page and suddenly they are unemployable? The fuck kind of company do you work for anyway? I find that more frightening than anything in the stupid MS gaming video.
posted by caution live frogs at 8:00 AM on March 21, 2011


Hiring processes aren't about understanding people; they are about dismissing them as fast as possible. Multifaceted people only have more edges that might cut the wrong way.
posted by TwelveTwo at 12:44 PM on March 21, 2011


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