Two weeks, 12 dramas. The most controversial console generation yet?

Microsoft dumps U.K. launch personality

YouTube star KSI performing at the Xbox One London launch

Above: YouTube star KSI performing at the Xbox One London launch

Image Credit: YouTube

For the U.K. Xbox One launch, Microsoft decided to bring in popular YouTuber KSI, whose shouty FIFA commentary videos have brought 4 million subscribers to his YouTube channel. But KSI’s onstage performance with U.K. rapper Sway was quickly overshadowed by the backlash that followed.

Social media reacted to the booking immediately as Twitter users questioned KSI’s suitability for such an event, given his misogynistic attitude and history of sexist behavior. KSI’s treatment of female attendees at 2012’s Eurogamer Expo — the U.K.’s largest video gaming event — saw him banned from all future shows, and he is notorious for making videos about his “rape face.”

Twitter didn't respond well to Microsoft's choice of Xbox One launch personality
Twitter didn’t react well to Microsoft’s choice of launch personality.

Phil Harrison, the corporate vice president at Microsoft, was unaware of KSI’s reputation when interviewed by GamesIndustry International shortly before the event, but he quickly got up to speed.

“At the Xbox One launch in London last night, KSI performed a song with three other artists, which was one part of a 10-hour event featuring a main stage show, Xbox One gameplay, and a midnight launch for hundreds of our fans,” a Microsoft spokesperson said the next day. “This does not represent Microsoft’s endorsement of KSI’s personal views, and we are not planning on working with KSI in the future.”

As for KSI himself, “Sexism is not something he condones or wants to be associated with,” according to his manager’s 550-word statement on the subject. Strange, then, that he raps the line, “That b**ch, I’ll smack her like Chris Brown,” in a Q&A video released Nov. 17.

Battlefield 4 broken

Battlefield 4 - Fishing in Baku screen 3

Developer DICE proudly proclaimed that the Xbox One and PS4 versions of its first-person shooter Battlefield 4 would offer console gamers their first chance to enjoy the full 64-player Battlefield experience.

Console gamers were just as hyped until they actually tried it.

PlayStation 4 owners got to test out Battlefield 4 first, and it was found severely wanting. Single-player sessions crashed, game installs became corrupted, save files were lost, and multiplayer was nearly unplayable. The error code CE-34878-0, visible during crashes, has 27 pages of discussion dedicated to it at the Battlefield forum.

Publisher Electronic Arts initially blamed crashing and freezing issues on Sony’s 1.5 firmware update for PlayStation 4 via a message on its help forums. This message was subsequently deleted because it was “posted in error,” according to an Electronic Arts spokesperson.

Two patches later, and the game is starting to take shape. Twitter user Nil Thacker is kindly providing the Battlefield Twitter account with his own personal status reports.

 Not looking great on day 7

Not looking great on day seven.
Well, at least conquest mode is now working

Above: Well, at least Conquest mode is now working.

Image Credit: Twitter/@nilthacker
Hmmm..... no servers?

Above: Hmm … no servers?

Image Credit: Twitter/@nilthacker

So server issues and single-player concerns still exist, but at least the 64-player Conquest mode is now working.

As for Xbox One owners, they’re playing catch-up and are experiencing a lot of the same problems. Multiplayer is still crashing, and connecting to game servers is proving troublesome for some players.

In an open letter to the Battlefield playing community last week, DICE general manager Karl Magnus Troedsson addressed these problems, saying, “I am extremely proud of the people at DICE and everyone across EA that contributed to the development of Battlefield 4. However, I am less proud to see that the game has experienced some turbulence during the launch period.”

Andrew Wilson, the CEO of publisher Electronic Arts, also acknowledged the challenges of next-gen as we noted in our review of Battlefield 4:

“We have had our challenges with stability issues on Battlefield 4, and the DICE team is 100 percent focused on understanding and resolving the problems that some players have been having. We won’t rest until we get things fixed,” Wilson said in a blog post.

Graphical disappointments and cardboard crowds

Be afraid of the Forza 5 clone army

Above: Be very afraid of the Forza Motorsport 5 clone army

Image Credit: NeoGaf/chubigans

Next-gen graphics should have blown us away, but developers have had to make compromises.

Take Forza Motorsport 5, for instance, the flagship Xbox One racing game. It’s a fine-looking title by anyone’s standards, but it isn’t quite the graphical showcase it could have been. Just take a look at the shot above of the crowd.

While a racing game is all about the cars, the virtual crowd that Forza developer Turn 10 has delivered in its final build is a mass of static 2D clones wearing an array of colorful shirts. The footage from the Electronic Entertainment Expo, meanwhile, and the build of the game showcased on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, promised an animated 3D crowd cheering on the race.

Other differences between the E3 and retail versions of Forza have been debated long and hard this week, but the general consensus is that the game just doesn’t look as good as it did in the previews — something you can clearly see in the comparative screens below.

While the graphical downgrades were probably a payoff for Forza Motorsport 5 hitting a frame rate of 60fps (the Holy Grail of gaming performance), they are still disappointing.

Prague in the Forza 5 E3 footage

Above: Prague in the Forza 5 E3 footage

Image Credit: NeoGaf/chubigans
Forza 5 track

Above: The equivalent scene in the release version of Forza 5

Image Credit: NeoGaf/chubigans
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