Initial thoughts on Disney+
I took a quick look at the Disney+ app on Apple TV this morning.
The process of signing up was painless. Creating an account takes a couple seconds and you’re able to link your subscription to your Apple ID so I didn’t have to fumble around with my credit card. The Apple TV app itself is simple, easy to use, and apparently integrates with the Apple’s TV app, though I didn’t see this in action.
I love having profiles for each user including the ability to specify a child account for my son. Signing into his account showed us content that was more suited for him whereas my account featured The Mandalorian, Captain Marvel, etc.
Speaking of content, there’s almost more available than I will ever possibly be able to watch, with more coming in the new year as deals with Netflix and others expire. A couple that I’m looking forward to checking out first are — obviously — The Mandalorian, the 90s Marvel animated shows (Spider-Man, X-Men, etc), and some of the Pixar movies we don’t already have.
Overrall, great first impression. I can’t wait to dig in deeper this evening.
Blizzard announces Diablo 4
This first look — particularly the gameplay footage — looks really impressive.
I'm happy to see that — while Diablo 3 took the game's art style in a more lighthearted direction — this new game brings the look and feel of the second game together with the fluid gameplay of the third game. I can't wait to learn more in the coming months.
Google buys Fitbit
Google has just announced that it’s buying wearable company Fitbit for $2.1 billion. In a blog post announcing the news, Google SVP of devices and services Rick Osterloh said that the Fitbit purchase is “an opportunity to invest even more in Wear OS as well as introduce Made by Google wearable devices into the market.”
This purchase makes a ton of sense for everyone involved.
I'd love to see Google roll out some sort of wearable that's an evolution of the Pebble — which Fitbit bought back in 2016 — and maybe even get the Rebble community involved in some way.
Pixel phones, Pebble watches? I'm into it. I always really loved what they were doing back in the days before the Apple Watch and Wear OS, this could be the chance to see them come back to life in some form.
Mixer should be everywhere
It's been an exciting week for Mixer — one of Twitch's rivals in the streaming space. In a week that saw major streamers like Shroud and Gothalion jump ship, it's become clear that this is just the beginning of a long battle between the two services, which is super exciting to see. With that in mind, there's a big challenge that Mixer has to face sooner than later.
Twitch is everywhere. No matter where I want to watch — phone, TV and/or console, computer, etc — there's a way to do so effortlessly. On the other hand, Mixer is painfully difficult to watch if you're doing so anywhere other than a computer or phone. This is a problem when I'm at home because I have little interest in sitting in front of my computer to watch a stream or on my couch staring at my phone.
Mixer has an app available for iOS, Android, and Xbox but if they're serious about this whole thing — and it certainly seems like they are — they need to be everywhere. The iOS app strangely supports Chromecast but lacks AirPlay and not everyone has an Xbox. As Gothalion said earlier today, Mixer isn't an Xbox only platform but — to me — it sure feels like it based on the availability of apps and the user experience the available ones provide.
AirPlay on the iOS app, Apple and Android TV apps, app for the PS4 and Switch, etc. It's a big list and this stuff takes time but this is Microsoft we're talking about here. If anyone has the horsepower to make this happen, it's them. Honestly, what good are all these big new streamers using the service if you can't watch them?
Vault Comics delivers with Money Shot's debut issue
As I assumed it would be, the first issue of Money Shot — which arrived on comic shelves this week — was a blast. In particular, I really loved Rebekah Isaacs' art. I found it complimented the humour and absurdity of the story but still worked well during the more personal moments between Christine and Omar.
I'll definitely be keeping this one on my pull list.
Jared Leto apparently tried to kill Todd Phillips' Joker movie
Leto was so pissed about the reveal of Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker movie—which essentially invalidated his own largely abortive run as the character—that he attempted to leverage his status in order to have the movie killed.
While I haven't seen the new Joker movie, I've heard from many that Joaquin's performance is reason enough to see it. By contrast, Leto's Joker – along with the entirety of Suicide Squad – was just bad.
Assuming any of it is true, it's pretty sad that he'd use his power as an actor to do something so selfish.
Gaming at the end of the world
All the craziness of Fortnite’s black hole last weekend got me thinking. Epic took the most popular game in the world offline for roughly 36 hours because they could. But what if they had to?
First, a little background on what exactly happened to Fortnite:
The season  culminated when the Visitor, a mysterious being that arrived with the meteor, launched a rocket that created numerous rifts, from which came smaller rockets which were controlled by “The Seven” that struck all across the island, creating a black hole and consuming the entire game itself. Subsequent to this event, the game was unplayable for about 36 hours with the game’s screens only showing the black hole. [Wikipedia]
To have so much confidence in your game that you can literally take it down for an extended period of time is pretty incredible. It reminds me — for the complete opposite reason — of what happened with SquareEnix and the original Final Fantasy XIV before they released Realm Reborn back in 2013:
The game, known as Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, is a replacement for the 2010 version of Final Fantasy XIV, which was shut down after negative reception at its launch. Final Fantasy XIV takes place in the fictional land of Eorzea, five years after the events of the original release. At the conclusion of the original game, the primal dragon Bahamut escapes from its lunar prison to initiate the Seventh Umbral Calamity, an apocalyptic event which destroys much of Eorzea. Through the gods’ blessing, the player character escapes the devastation by time traveling five years into the future. [Wikipedia]
On a side note, in some ways, the success Realm Reborn has seen since relaunching mirrors what creator Hironobu Sakaguchi dealt with during the release of the original Final Fantasy. The game was essentially his “hail mary” play during a period of uncertainty around his future. It was literally intended to be his final game until it because wildly successful and evolved over the years into one of the most popular, financially successful series of all-time.
In the case of Realm Reborn, they took a terrible situation and did what few studios would be able to do: shut the failing game down, rebuild it from the ground up, and make that process part of the lore. As a result, the game exploded in popularity and remains a fixture in the MMO space to this day. In a similar way — but under a completely different circumstances — Epic did the same thing during their update from version 10 to 11 not because they felt they had to but because they could.
Thoughts on Twitch's new look
The subtle adjustments to the glitch logo is fine and I actually like the updated logomark looks better than the original, which — as someone who really liked the old logo — I never thought I’d say. The larger radius on the button corners and circular pills for tags are a nice touch that I feel modernizes the look. I also really like the new typeface (Roobert) but I think they’ll need to make some adjustments to weights (ie: the sidebar “followed channels” etc) throughout the site.
The new purple is nice, particularly in the dark version of the website, but I’ll miss the previous one. It would be nice to see them use a combination of the two. Speaking of dark mode, while the dark palette of the site looks fine, the light version feels… off. Maybe too much white space? Weird contrast with the shading of the sidebar? I can’t quite put my finger on it but something about it doesn’t gel like the previous version did. That said, I almost exclusively use the dark version so it’s not something I’ll encounter on a daily basis.
I know they’ve already said this is only the beginning of the work they’re doing but I really wish they would have also done some work on the user experience of the Twitch website. The navigation is still cluttered, items are hidden, the dashboard is still all over the place, panels are a nightmare to organize and display effectively, discoverability of channels still isn’t very good, etc.
Overall, I’m into the new look. Next, I’d like to see them tackle the deeper UX issues.
River City Conventions shutting down permanently
River City Conventions after 25 years will be closing its doors permanently. There will be no future events planned for 2020 or the future.
I wasn't the biggest fan of the convention but I'm still sad to see it shut down. I had some great experiences there many years ago. Why they couldn't have simply scaled back the event and put it on in a different place is beyond me.
While the organizers were quick to blame the venue and sponsors for their troubles in their previous update, this now makes me think they're withholding details to avoid damaging their reputation with their biggest supporters.
GalaxyCon Minneapolis is in November and the guest list looks fantastic.
Pocket Casts changes offer for longtime users following backlash
We made some pretty big changes this week, and we’ve heard your feedback loud and clear. Although we intended to demonstrate our appreciation to our most loyal users, we know many of you feel we missed the mark. With that in mind, today we’ve decided to provide any user who previously purchased our Web version with lifetime access to Pocket Casts Plus.
One would assume — as I did — that the three years offered to longtime users would be more than enough to make people happy. Apparently not, since a handful of more vocal users complained enough to get the company to instead offer lifetime access to Pocket Casts for people who paid the one-time fee of $9 for the web player before Plus was released yesterday.
I can’t believe people not only felt entitled enough to more than the originally offered three years but also that they wouldn’t be comfortable paying the more than affordable annual fee of $10 (after three years) to support an app they’ve clearly gotten so much use out of.
As an aside, I’m calling bullshit on the “they said we’d only have to pay once four years ago” argument. Pocket Casts is hardly what it was three or four years ago and I’d argue there’s been more than enough updates to essentially make it an entirely new app or service.
I saw a great reply to this news on Twitter by @zatara214:
Please support good developers and don’t complain when they ask you to pay for new things. This is really cool of Pocket Casts to do, but it also wasn’t entirely necessary.