7 Link Saturday: Microsoft Talks Smack, Tim Armstrong Teaches, and the Mercenaries Kickstarter

Weekend reads because we love you.

Microsoft Communications Chief Brings the Thunder

Where was this guy when people trashed the “always online” Xbox?

“Your own advice would have had a 2007 smartphone buyer picking a BlackBerry over an iPhone, a 2001 gamer buying a Dreamcast instead of an Xbox, and a 2008 social media user putting all their contacts into MySpace, not Facebook.”

Gun Violence Study: All Talk, No Action

Gamasutra looks at what happened (SPOLIER ALERT: nothing) after the promises to study links between gun violence and video games.

Look at the larger debate on gun control: people talk about either controlling guns or doing away with controls forever, but nothing happens. Violent video games were used as a prop for some political theater, and then everyone went on with their lives.

That Other Square Is Rough to Deal With

Payment processor Square used to handle credit card payments for a game store. The results were mixed.

A trip through customer service hell, starting with “we won’t talk to you on the phone” moving through “we are totally working to resolve this for you, trust us” and ending at “sorting this out will take too much work, PLZTHXBYE.”

Amazon Acquires Double Helix

Microsoft response with “Fine, we were going to have someone else finish Killer Instinct, anyway.”

Polygon has drawn a connection between this announcement and the rumors of an upcoming Amazon gaming device, I’ll call the SlamBox. How can console gaming be dead when we’ve got Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft consoles being joined by the Ouya, the SlamBox, and all the different mutations of Steam boxen running Valve software?

Nintendo Announces Vienna Strategy

Nintendo has ended its partnership with an Austrian distributor, opting instead to open its own office in the country.

In this unstable period of shifting alliances and power transitions, I cannot stress this enough: Nobody shoot any arch-dukes.

Mercenaries 3 Could Involve Confrontations in Zuccotti Park

A Kickstarter project from an Occupy Wall Street organizer wants to recruit a private army; can a video game adaptation be far behind?

“She also debunked what she thought was a misconception: people thought OWS activists were protesting against concentrated corporate power, and that, she claims, is simply not true.”

What Game Developers Can Learn from Tim Armstrong

AOL chief provides a character study in creating sympathetic villains

It’s a financial story: bad news for one group is good news for another. So when Armstrong set out to make some good news for AOL investors, he needed to give AOL employees the bad news: their retirement benefits were going to be cut.

Somehow, Armstrong thought this message would go better if he included an anecdote about distressed babies.

The last time Armstrong made headlines of this caliber was when he straight-up fired a dude at the start of an all-employee meeting. This nuanced profile from Business Insider shows the kind of stress that he is under and the tough choices that he continues to be faced with as he tries to save AOL. It also shows that:

  1. Armstrong went to Connecticut College, but
  2. Armstrong had a bias for only hiring graduates of top universities, and
  3. Armstrong refuses to hire people who used to work at The Melting Pot.

Actually, I’m not sure if Armstrong is a good example of a misunderstood anti-hero struggling to make unpopular decisions. Maybe he’s just a two-dimensional jerk.

About B. Indifferent

Bitterly Indifferent is a belligerent hillbilly with a substandard internet connection. He is also a fan of retro gaming who has previously written about the state of games journalism and the intersection of games and family.