Minecraft Sell-out Sucks



Some people seek greatness. Others have it thrust upon them. And some, when it is thrust upon them, turn tail and flee. That latter group, alas, includes Markus “Notch” Persson, former owner of one of the most successful and important pieces of software in history: Minecraft.

Anyone who’s played Minecraft knows that it’s much more than a game. Notch acknowledges this in his last blog post, even as he totally abdicates all responsibility for his own creation. Clearly, he had a legal and commercial right to sell his company to Microsoft for $2.5 billion. And yet, it’s hard to feel that his choice wasn’t repugnant on every other level.

Bottom line, the Minecraft sell-out sucks for players, and for just about everyone else except the game’s insanely-wealthy creator. More…

Why Firefox 29 Sucks

Firefox homepageA lot has been said, written and ranted about Firefox 29 and its ‘Australis’ user-interface redesign. Just for the record, I’d like to clarify my own criticisms. ‘Why Firefox 29 sucks’ is really two questions. First, what features of the new version suck? And second, what internal process led Mozilla to take this huge leap sideways? More…

Little Worlds Game Studio Starts ‘Kickfailer’ Campaign

Little Worlds staff

Little Worlds staff celebrates ‘kickfailer’ campaign

Ten-year-old Little Worlds Studio, based in Lyon, France, is fighting for survival. Their tactic: start a ‘kickfailer’ campaign to get people to try (and hopefully contribute to) the company’s latest mobile game, Mana Crusher.

It’s hard not to be ‘touched’ by the appeal (in more ways than one). “The fate of our 13 staff is hanging in the balance, and every download of our charming and addictive new title, Mana Crusher counts,” says the press announcement. More…

12 Things I’d Do if I Were Satya Nadella

Satya Nadella, incoming Microsoft CEO

Satya Nadella, incoming Microsoft CEO

With the appointment of Satya Nadella as CEO, Microsoft has an opportunity to turn itself around, get back on track. But fixing things will be a formidable challenge… so I’d like to help out. Here, roughly in order of priority, are a dozen suggestions: things that Nadella ought to do within his first few months in charge.


Microsoft Announces Proprietary Xbox Live Video Content

Microsoft Announces Proprietary Video Content for Xbox Live

Simon Chinn, producer. Is the brick wall a subtle metaphor?

In a post on the Xbox.com site, from Xbox Entertainment Studios, Microsoft has announced an exclusive new video series:

Today, Xbox Entertainment Studios announced an original documentary series that will debut exclusively on Xbox in 2014. Xbox will produce the series with two-time Academy Award-winning producer Simon Chinn (Searching for Sugar Man and Man on Wire) and Emmy-winning producer Jonathan Chinn (FX’s 30 Days and PBS’s American High) through their new multi-platform media company, Lightbox.

This seems like a great perk for Xbox owners, but in fact it’s the exact opposite: a great reason to avoid the Xbox 360 and Xbox One. Here’s why Microsoft needs to rethink its approach. More…

DayZ Standalone Arrives on Steam Early Access

DayZ main menu

DayZ arrives on Steam Early Access, but access remains problematic

Steam calls it Early Access, but so far there’s been very little access available. The long awaited standalone version of the DayZ mod for Arma II, from Bohemia Interactive, is now theoretically available, but servers have so far been inaccessible much of the time. Optimistic players are waiting to log in today, causing most servers to show as full in the in-game browser. More…

Proprietary TV to Arrive Next Year?

Xbox One UI - the face of proprietary TV?

Proprietary TV may be on the way

At last, TV programming that only works with one specific brand of device. Microsoft has announced that its first original series for Xbox Live should be available in the first or second quarter of 2014. Clearly, this is something consumers have been eagerly waiting for. Oh… wait a minute… More…

Microsoft Xbox One Launch Games Preview

Microsoft Xbox One controller - smallAt Microsoft’s Canadian Xbox One preview this week in Toronto, I had a chance to briefly try out most of the titles that will ship at the same time as the system. The event was crowded and noisy, not a place to be reviewing games in depth. So this is just a very cursory overview. But there were a few points that seem worth mentioning. More…

Microsoft Xbox One: Canadian Preview

Microsoft Xbox One retail box
On Tuesday, November 5th, in Toronto, Microsoft hosted a preview session with its new Xbox One game console, for Canadian media. The event was typically crowded, rushed and chaotic. But there were some interesting revelations available to be dug out. Here are a few of my first impressions…

The intro was mercifully brief. Somebody said something about “breathtaking cinematic experiences,” and “a new way to play games.” After that, I got to wander the kiosks, try things out and chat with the developers. (Most titles were demonstrated by their producers, or by similarly in-the-know individuals.) More…

William Binney on NSA Spying

Now Magazine - William Binney article by Frank LenkMy story about the recent RightsWatch conference in Toronto, including comments by guest speaker William Binney, is available on the Now Magazine site. Binney helped design NSA surveillance systems for decades, before leaving to become an outspoken critic of the agency’s capture-it-all approach. He’s one of the sharpest intellects I’ve interviewed… I’ll try to post more of my notes from his presentation and our subsequent conversations over the two days of the conference. RightsWatch is an annual event organized by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA).