Stuart Breckenridge

Super Mario Run Will Require an Internet Connection

Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto, speaking to Mashable regarding the always-connected requirement of Super Mario Run:

We wanted to be able to leverage that network connection with all three of the [Super Mario Run] modes to keep all of the modes functioning together and offering the game in a way that keeps the software secure. This is something that we want to continue to work on as we continue to develop the game.[…]

We had thought at one point that it would be nice to have the World Tour [story] mode available standalone, to be able to play without that connection. But then the challenge is when that’s operating in a standalone mode, it actually complicates the connection back to the Toad Rally and Kingdom modes. And because those two modes are relying on the network save, we had to integrate the World Tour mode as well.

This really does remind me of the debacle with the SimCity launch, which prompted this blog post from Lucy Bradshaw at EA:

Always-Connected is a big change from SimCities of the past. It didn’t come down as an order from corporate and it isn’t a clandestine strategy to control players. It’s fundamental to the vision we had for this SimCity. From the ground up, we designed this game with multiplayer in mind – using new technology to realize a vision of players connected in regions to create a SimCity that captured the dynamism of the world we live in; a global, ever-changing, social world. […]

Cloud-based saves and easy access from any computer are another advantage of our connected features. You can pop from work to home, play the game and have your cities available to you anywhere.

While I appreciate Miyamoto-san’s forthrightness in stating that the always-connected requirement is for both security (DRM)1 and game capability purposes, I still don’t think it’s a customer friendly decision. If you don’t have a connection to the network Super Mario Run simply won’t work. That’s a huge disappointment.

It’s also important to note that SimCity launched as an always-connected game, was then hacked to play offline, and only then did EA release an official offline mode.

I’m guessing Nintendo will release a standalone game mode via an update at some point in the future.

  1. EA, on the other hand, continually stated that SimCity’s always-connected requirement wasn’t for DRM purposes. ↩︎

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European Commission to Remove Roaming Charges from 2017

Andreas Ansip, Vice President, Digital Single Market:

“We are providing a balanced solution which is in the interest of everyone who uses mobile phones and devices. Every European will be able to roam without extra charges, when travelling from the place they call “home”. Every European should also be able to benefit from the most competitive domestic offers. In close cooperation with European consumers, we have designed safeguards to ensure travellers benefit from “roam like at home”, while avoiding negative effects on the most competitive domestic data packages. We have listened, we have consulted, we have refined our proposals; I believe we provide legal certainty. It is now up to EU Member States to support what we are proposing in order to make Europeans’ lives easier, cut bills and keep prices down.”

Despite paying for roaming packages before travelling, I have still been hit with large bills. On one occasion, I reset my iPhone data usage counter just before I left for my travels and when I returned it showed I had used 237MB of data, well within the 1GB I had paid for. When my bill arrived, my carrier, o2, claimed I had used close to 3GB and were charging me just over £300.

When I emailed them a screenshot of the data usage statistics they claimed they couldn’t receive it as their email system didn’t allow images to get through. They then claimed that the statistics on the iPhone were more indicative than accurate. Finally, when I threatened to take action through OFCOM, the charges miraculously disappeared.

That bill-shock situations like this should no longer occur is great for European consumers.

Donald Trump is Time's Person of the Year

Via The BBC:

US President-elect Donald Trump has been named Time magazine’s Person of the Year for 2016.

The property tycoon and reality TV star completed one of the biggest upsets in political history when he beat Hillary Clinton to the White House. […]

Time’s managing editor Nancy Gibbs said, adding that the choice of Mr Trump was “straightforward”.

Person of the Year implies that the person in question has done something good. Trump has certainly had a huge impact, but he’s not done anything in my mind that qualifies as good.

Microsoft Announce Windows 10 for ARM Processors

Todd Bishop, for GeekWire:

Microsoft will again seek to expand the reach of its Windows PC operating system to devices running mobile-oriented ARM processors, through a partnership with Qualcomm announced tonight at the Windows Hardware Engineering Community event (WinHEC) in China.

The company has tried this before, through a version of Windows 8 called Windows RT that was designed for ARM processors. But that version flopped due in large part to the inability to run traditional Windows apps on those devices. This time, Microsoft will use emulation technology to allow Windows 10 on ARM to run x86 Win32 apps such including Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Office, among many others.

Full Windows 10 on ARM-based PCs is big news. Hardware makers will be able to build PCs with ARM processors knowing that the full Windows 10 experience will be available and uncompromised. Consumers will also win: ARM processors contain cellular modems which will allow seamless connectivity to mobile networks1 and battery life will be vastly improved over Intel based machines.

Tangentially, it makes me ask the question (again): when will we see ARM-based Macs?

  1. I’m not entirely sure how this will work without a sim card. Perhaps something similar to the Apple Sim? ↩︎

Three Questions Before Any Meeting

Via Rands In Repose:

Three questions before any meeting.

Another morning calendar hack: I glance at my day and make a quick assessment: what is the value being created by each of the meetings on my calendar? In a moment, I should be able to answer that question. It’s a new director and we’re going to get to know each other. It’s a weekly sync with a team in crisis. It’s a regularly scheduled 1:1.

Once I understand the why, I then focus on the what. Whether I run the meeting or am a participant, I write three questions that I’d like to get answered at this meeting. For a day full of meetings, the three question exercise should only take a few minutes and it achieves two important outcomes:

First, it frames my goals for this meeting. What is top of mind for me and what am I going to ask when given a chance?

Second, if I am failing to come up with three questions, I ask myself, “Why am I going to this meeting?” Meetings are a virus. They infect and they multiply. The longer they exist, the more likely the humans forget why the meeting was called. If it takes more than 30 seconds to think about my three questions or if I can’t think of a single question that I want to ask, I decline the meeting with a clear explanation.