Today in Tech News Digest, the Xbox One is reviewed ahead of release, Winamp gets condemned to death, Instagram arrives on Windows Phone, Google releases its own Apple-inspired Newsstand, a clever scam to mine Bitcoin is uncovered, and Microsoft starts selling anti-Google merchandise as part of its ongoing Scroogled campaign.
Xbox One Reviews Roundup
Playstation 4 or Xbox One? #HardestLifeDecisions
— Joe Ramos (@LaxusDreyahr) November 21, 2013
The battle of the next-gen consoles has now begun in earnest, with the PlayStation 4 having been released last Friday (Nov. 15) and the Xbox One being released this Friday (Nov. 22). Having brought you a reviews roundup of the PS4 prior to launch we need to now give the same treatment to the Xbox One. And to keep things absurdly fair, reviews from the same five websites have been used for both.
What follows are the most relevant quotes from these reviews, intended to give you an at-a-glance overview of what the expert gamers think of the Microsoft console at this early stage.
Polygon states that “the Xbox One’s bold direction for the future is well in place,” before concluding, “the Xbox One is an impressive marriage of software and hardware that raises the bar in terms of what we expect from a living-room machine.” It also scores the hardware 8/10, which is a smidgen more than the 7.5/10 it scored the PlayStation 4.
Kotaku claims that “the whole thing is almost there,” but the fact that “there are so many rough edges, and the software feels incomplete” leads them to ponder, “Do you need to have an Xbox One?”
Time suggests that the Xbox One is “an immature, somewhat glitchy content assimilation engine at this stage … think of it more as the jumping off point for a fascinating experiment.” Ultimately though “it has the potential to change everything about TV and streaming media and the living room as we’ve known it for over half a century.”
Joystiq argues that the Xbox One is “a games machine in the vein of the successful Xbox 360, but Microsoft is looking to provide a platform for all your entertainment this time,” before concluding, “the success of the Xbox One is largely dependent on what you need for the living room.”
Engadget opens by suggesting the Xbox One is “a beast of a games console,” but by the end of the review that view has waned into it being “a very competent game box with an expensive camera and only a few exclusive games differentiating it from the competition.”
It should be noted that most websites are releasing their reviews in stages to ensure they get to fully explore the Xbox One and its various features and launch titles before giving a final verdict.
Winamp Is A Goner
Sad to see that Winamp is dead. Another innovative product acqu/crushed. http://t.co/aDNbNVWiAA
— Tim Stevens (@Tim_Stevens) November 20, 2013
Winamp, the music service that survived for more than 15 years, is shutting down on Dec. 20, 2013. The website and associated Web services will be no more, and the media players will no longer be available to download. Fans of Winamp are therefore advised to download the latest version prior to that date.
Winamp was born in 1997 thanks to two enterprising college students, but AOL acquired its parent company Nullsoft in 1999. In 2012 one staffer blamed the decline of Winamp on “layers of mismanagement by AOL that started immediately upon acquisition.”
There’s already a Change.org petition from fans begging AOL to release the Winamp code under a free software license, but the chances of this happening are sadly low. Because AOL.
Instagram Arrives On Windows Phone
Instagram has finally come to Windows Phone, but it’s only a beta version and it’s only available on Windows Phone 8. Video capture and photo tagging aren’t available in this particular version, but in-app photo capture is, despite the early reports that this rather crucial element of the Instagram experience was missing. Both Microsoft and Instagram told journalists that photo capture wasn’t a feature of the app, and yet it quite clearly is, leading some to suggest both company’s PR departments should turn to drink.
Good job Instagram and/or Microsoft PR. Trebles all round for that sterling effort.
— Peter Bright (@DrPizza) November 20, 2013
Google Play Newsstand Released
Google Newsstand has been released on Android, with an iOS version pencilled in for release early in 2014. Newsstand will play host to your newspaper and magazine subscriptions, as well as pull in feeds from websites you have added to the service. This is intended to replace Google Currents and provide competition to Apple’s Newsstand. I just wonder where Google got the idea for that name.
Bitcoin Costs ESEA Big
With Bitcoin increasingly entering into mainstream conversation people are invariably wondering how they can climb aboard the gravy train and grab a piece of the action. The problem is Bitcoins have to be mined, a complicated process covered in our Bitcoin guide (and briefly explained in the video embedded above).
One employee of E-Sports Entertainment Association (ESEA) allegedly decided to use the Counterstrike players utilizing their company’s product to mine Bitcoin, all without their knowledge. Two weeks later and he was 30 Bitcoins richer, but ESEA has now been fined $325,000 for the illegal act, with an ensuing class action likely to add to its financial woes. This might be the first case of someone losing serious money on Bitcoin.
Microsoft Trolls Google
And finally, Microsoft is upping its war against Google by starting to sell merchandise attacking the search and advertising giant. The Scroogled campaign is Microsoft’s attempt to wean people off using Google services in favor of its own alternatives. On top of the ‘Keep Your Email Safe‘ website it launched earlier this month, Microsoft is now selling T-shirts, hoodies, hats, and mugs with anti-Google slogans plastered all over them. The use of the Keep Calm meme will please MakeUseOf’s own Justin Pot no end.
if MS was as hip as I thought it was, it'd be attacking google with doge meme, not "keep calm." like, "wow, very data theft, such scroogle"
— Chris Ziegler (@zpower) November 20, 2013