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 411mania » Games » Columns

Four Player Co-op 10.03.12: Halo 4, X-Box Live, NBA Live 13, More
Posted by Stephen Randle on 10.03.2012

Todd Vote has joined the game.
Jeremy Thomas has joined the game.
Dan Watson has joined the game.

Greetings, and welcome to another edition of Four Player Co-op, the only game in the world where black is white, up is down, and occasionally, Todd is correct. It's mass hysteria!

Start the game!

QUESTION ONE: So here's an interesting attempt to inspire gamers to care about the morass that is American politics. X-Box Live has announced that if you watch at least three of the four upcoming October presidential election debates using Live's coverage, you'll receive a free Halo 4 Warrior skin for your XBLA avatar. So, does the prospect of free cosmetic items whet your appetite for the American political process?

Todd Vote
Not so much my appetite, but if it gets more people out to vote, who cares how cheezy the method comes off. It's getting people to take notice, and that is what the most important part to take away from this is. If they can get even 20,000 people to watch the coverage, and of those 20,000 only 300 are inspired to vote, I would still call that a success.

Jeremy Thomas
Well, I was planning on watching the debates anyway, but if it would get me extra stuff to watch it via Xbox I might do this (if I had an Xbox). This is less about politics than it is the streaming war between cable networks, set top devices and consoles. Comcast, Xbox and Roku, for example, were battling forever over HBO Go because Comcast wanted the usage to run through them and refused to authorize the Xbox and Roku for HBO Go. They relented on Xbox only as a distraction technique after Netflix head Reed Hastings brought attention to the fact that Comcast violates Net Neutrality laws by making streaming through Xfinity not count against user's bandwidth cap. All sides know that the debates, as much as people hate politics, garner big ratings. Those ratings will translate into ad revenue. So they're not trying to get new users watching as much as they are trying to carve out a sizable chunk of the existing portion for themselves. It's as dirty as politics, but with half the 47% comments.

Dan Watson
I think the idea is in the right place but it isn't enough to sway a young person to watch the debate. I enjoy US Politics because of the debate feature. I know, living in Illinois especially, politicians couldn't be trusted even watching my Xbox while I piss. That being said, there is some hope given when you hear these empty promises at maybe one or two may accidentally get done.

Jeremy gets 532 points for managing to expose the politics behind the politics behind the politics, but unfortunately, he loses 47% of those points because they don't like him, so why should he bother to keep them?

QUESTION TWO: Well, if that didn't grab you, maybe this will. Announcing the new XBLA Rewards program, where you will get rebates on your Marketplace purchases based on how big your Gamerscore is! Okay, so it's only 2% MSPoints back if you have a score of higher than 25k, or 1% if you're only over 10k, but still, it's better than nothing, right? It's such a clever plan, it simply has to be evil, right?

Todd Vote
Count me among the Legendary who will get the full 2% back. Plus a special gift during my birthday month. I don't see anything wrong with this at all either. Doesn't have to be evil, does it? Maybe it is. I'm all out of damns to give already this week so I don't care. This is a good thing, even if it is only 2%.

Jeremy Thomas
I'm going to have to break down and get an Xbox so I can answer these questions with more confidence one of these days. Anyway, I generally view all things Microsoft with a bit of skepticism and suspicion of evil, but I think this is pretty straight-forward. More and more people are doing digital purchases and lots of people have more than one console. So if you're going to buy a game that is available on both XBLA and the PSN, why not buy it on XLBA, where at least you're getting a little bit back? Plus, it gets people potentially playing the Xbox more in order to work that Gamerscore up for a bigger discount. It's a win for the company, a win for the consumer. Makes sense to me.

Dan Watson
I'm all for this, I think for those of us over 100K should get 50% off and additional free DLC every month. Reward the people that play frequently, not the people who use other services.

Dan's a little optimistic and Todd's been blinded by the fact he can get the discount without even trying, but I feel like Charlton Heston trying to point out to people the evil overarching plot wherein Microsoft makes sure you play their X-Box games obsessively in order to gain a minimal benefit that you can only use to buy more games! It's made of money, people!

QUESTION THREE: Well, after we speculated about a month or so ago about NBA Live 13's potential for release in time for the new basketball season, the answer is in. That is to say, EA has cancelled NBA Live 13. How can the same company that manages to churn out a new Madden franchise every year have screwed up things so badly on the NBA side of things? Should EA just abandon ship on the entire franchise at this point?

Todd Vote
I don't think EA should abandon ship, but if I was the brass that heads up the NBA side of this deal, I would damn sure be looking for another company to offer our license to. At this point, this deal has to be costing the NBA money, doesn't it? I mean they sold the rights to EA, sure, but after two years without producing a game, don't they have some say in what goes on with this? Are they like movie rights, where EA has a certain amount of time to produce a new game, or what? If I'm David Stern, or whoever, I'm asking some questions by now.

Jeremy Thomas
I think that goes without saying (even though we're saying it anyway). I'm less curious about how the company can keep screwing this up than I am about why they announced it and then cancelled it three weeks later. That's gotta be some kind of record for a big gaming company, right? I mean, if it was teetering on the brink of yes or no the way I have to assume it was, shouldn't you give it a little more time before officially announcing it? EA's done some dumb things in the past, but this one just makes them seem flat-out amateurish. Smooth move, guys.

Dan Watson
Have you played 2K basketball? This series is simply amazing. If I were EA, I'd work on creating an arcade title for the NBA like NBA Jam or Ballers. 2K has a superior product right now so don't waste the time or energy if you are only going to fail. Plan B should be just go buy the rights and an exclusive deal with the NBA. That worked out well for Madden.

Dan earns 1934 points for asking EA hasn't picked up the NBA exclusive license similar to their NFL one. Although I would argue that since EA hasn't put out a true NBA game in three years, I'm pretty sure the NBA isn't interested in giving it to them, and why would 2K waste the money when they don't have any competition?

QUESTION FOUR: So, do you want the functionality of using a handheld tablet device to play video games on your home console? Do you own a PS Vita? Well, then according to a Sony rep, not only do you likely own a PS3 as well, but those two systems apparently have the capability to act almost exactly like a Wii U and its tablet controller. Except they aren't planning to "force feed" that functionality into a bunch of games because…they just don't want to. Maybe they hate money, because it seems to me that something like that might actually let Sony offload a few more Vitas, wouldn't you agree?

Todd Vote
Well couldn't they go the Kinect route, and use that functionality to enhance your gaming experience without force feeding it to us? Seems to me that would be the way to casually build interest in this, while also sticking it to Nintendo a bit in a "We can do that too, but aren't making people buy a whole new Playstation to do it" sort of way? So yes, I am going to agree with the Quizmaster, even if that goes against everything I believe in.

Jeremy Thomas
I'm all for their strategy. No need to force it into games and have it come out awkward or buggy. I don't know the average Vita owner that well, but I assume they didn't get it for the ability to pretend they have a Wii U, and it wouldn't be any kind of tipping point as to whether I bought a Vita or not. I don't think the potential problem with game bugs or increased development time, not to mention oversensitive gamers finding something new to complain about, is worth what few extra Vitas they'll sell.

Dan Watson
I would agree. At the same time, maybe Microsoft has the best idea yet, allow users to use their own tablet. Imagine if Microsoft we're to take this program to the next level and allow gamers to play on the go with a remote access program. This may be the new gimmick of the next generation and for once I'm on board and excited about it.

I didn't really expect that we'd get a perspective that involved how Microsoft could do something similar as well, but that's why I ask these questions. Anyway, Todd violates his principles for 4312 points, because anytime I can get him to agree that I'm right is Christmas come early for me.

BONUS QUESTION: I've had a rough week already, and it's not even half over. Amuse me.

Todd Vote
I've had a week of my own. I have nothing to talk about. I filled in for Ask 411 games this week. Check that out, laugh at me, do what you must. Again, I care not.

Jeremy Thomas
Here...in consolation for your rough week, have a GIF you can use in appropriate situations:

Dan Watson
Well outside of a chaotic week, I'm still celebrating the Minnesota Vikings winning over the Lions. I do have to ask you, as a Canadian and both teams being so close and the Bills playing games in Toronto, who do you root for? Your answer will decide how quickly I reply to these questions for the remainder of the year.

[QM NOTE]: Dan's answers for this week were received 29 minutes before the submission deadline, so I guess I'd better say the right thing. I watch football on Sundays because that's what my dad did and so there's family tradition there. I have no true rooting interests in any team, although I did cheer against Buffalo in all four Super Bowl appearances for reasons that I don't remember. Also the Bills Toronto series was and is a joke that they couldn't pay me to go watch.

Gun to my head, though, I do like the Ravens.

Please wait…Host is calculating scores…



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