Biggest unfulfilled promises in gaming

Online Career Multiplayer

Rock Band and its sequel are the bee’s knees, no doubt about it. You can play solo (essentially making the game Guitar Hero), but everyone knows the real meat lies in career mode. You and up to three buddies play together through the playlist in one of the best examples of social gaming we’ve ever seen (or been a part of).

Above: The loneliest drummer can’t rock with his friends around the world

So, what’s this stick up our ass about the online career mode? Well, not everyone can get together in the same room for a jam session – although that’s arguably the best feature of Rock Band. And if you’ve played RB2, you know how cool that mode is, or even knowing the option is there. What we’re bummed about is the feature’s reported announcement for the first game and subsequent removal right before release.

We were all jazzed about online multiplayer, Harmonix. It kind of sucks to drop a big feature weeks before release. Presumably, online career just wasn’t working very well and Harmonix didn’t want to half-ass the mode. And even its exclusion factored into the Official Xbox Magazine’sreview. Harmonix made up for it a year later, but c’mon, how cool would that have been the first time around?

Xbox 360

Above: An excellent system

A working system

The system, repeatedly. The 360 is a great system, but one that has a habit of killing itself. In 2005, the console was released and almost instantly consumers began to report about the three red lights that appear around the power button – dubbed the Red Ring of Death. Console failure is typical when a high-end electronic is released, but this problem persists to this day.

One of the main causes for this is a faulty heat sink issue, where heat doesn’t dissipate correctly, leading to overheating and other hardware malfunctions. But the worst part, the absolute worst part is how Microsoft initially dealt with the issue. Despite retail chains EB Games, Gamestop and Best Buy claiming the failure rate to be 30-33 percent, despite the largest refurbishing center in the UK refusing to fix 360s because they were over encumbered and despite one guy’s Xbox failing11 times, Microsoft had the BALLS not to do anything until July 2007, 20 months after the console’s release.

Above: An excellent system failing

True, Microsoft owned up to the problem and made a good move to extend warranties to three years and refunding all costs consumers had spent on this particular issue. The red rings ended up costing MS up to $1.15 billion in pretax costs. A hefty financial decision for sure, but in the end helped Microsoft’s relationship with gamers. [During the writing of this article, my Xbox did in fact red-ring for the first time. What bullshit. - Ed.]

Virtual Reality

Image courtesy ofVintage Computer and Gaming

Editor Tyler Wilde wrote extensively about the unfulfilled promises of Virtual Reality a few months back. Why don’t you take alook?

Jan 21, 2009

What the hell happened to our glistening electronic landscapes?

Bad decisions, bad timing and PR-mageddon