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Microsoft Kills Another ‘Killer Project’, Patents Killed Commodore Amiga

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 10:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Boing ball

Summary: The era of computer games as a platform’s “killer feature” is ending; patents turn out to have been responsible for Commodore Amiga’s demise

Rupert Goodwins from ZDNet UK writes about this new blog item which says that “Microsoft Killed a Killer Project”.

I never thought I would be more disappointed in the industry then when Microsoft killed Ensemble Studios. ..however nothing surprises me anymore :)

Rumor has it that there was a project many many months ago at Microsoft that was under wraps. The goal was to bridge XBOX gamers with PC Gamers so they could play against one another in games like Unreal, or Gears of War. This was all part of their Live strategy, and had Microsoft just stuck to their guns and made it work PC Gaming might be in a much better position than it is today.

Not to say that PC Gaming is in a bad position, but it’s not like it used to be. The PC is shifting, as I’ve said many times over the last couple of years. The need for multiple high performance graphics cards is all but dead. You can play any PC Game on an HP Envy at high resolution with high detail, for example. PCs are becoming more mobile, form factors are shifting, touch is being embraced as well as other technologies. The word “PC” is dead, but the concept of personal computing isn’t. ..but this isn’t the point.


So I’m calling out to all game developers. It’s time you followed the money and looked to the future. Opportunity is in scale. webOS will have tremendous scale and reach.

You might even think about developing titles exclusively for webOS in the future, but for now perhaps you should look at taking some of your best titles – and don’t think port – think about taking full advantage of our hardware, cameras, sensors, etc. The possibilities are endless – and while it may take time for new devices to start showing up, you can rest assured that the wait will be worth it.

This is indeed an encouraging sign for Linux-based operating systems. A more commonly used Linux-based operating system is Android. However, in practice it contains very little GPL-licensed software (Linux aside) and Google pretty much controls its direction totally. This point was raised in a current debate which also had someone tell us about the “sad state of Open Source in Android tablets”. The short new story is that, “[w]ith the exception of Barnes & Noble’s Nook e-reader, a device that isn’t even really a tablet, I couldn’t find a single tablet manufacturer who was complying with the minimum of their legal open source requirements under GNU GPL. Let alone supporting community development.”

Goodwins also shows that an XOR patent ended Commodore Amiga, as claimed some years ago*. Personally I’m too young to have grown up in the age of Commodore Amiga, but I do recall these computers because of their games.
* Goodwins studies some other patent-related issues at the moment, for example: “I must learn more about patents and the early radio/electricity industry. Tons of parallels.”

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