Short Takes: April 18, 2014

Short Takes: April 18, 2014

An often irreverent look at this week's other news

An often irreverent look at this week's other news...

Titanfall No Cure-All for Xbox One as PS4 Dominates Launch Month

I so infrequently get to say this, or even want to say it, but this time I do feel it's warranted. Told you so.

Titanfall was the Number One Selling Video Game in March

First, the good news. As expected, Titanfall was indeed the bestselling video in the United States, according to the ever-reliable NPD. Also, Microsoft revealed that it has sold over 5 million Xbox One consoles to retailers since its launch in March. This is a 60 percent improvement over Xbox 360 sales from the same launch period eight years ago, the company notes.

And Now the Bad News

Sony announced that it has sold over 7 million PlayStation 4 consoles since its own launch in November. And the PS4 outsold the Xbox One in March, and possibly by as much as three times. (It's hard to tell exactly because the two firms involved are only releasing some numbers.) This means that the PS4 has maintained its lead over the Xbox One despite the launch of Titanfall, which many had expected or at least hoped to put the Xbox One in (an at least temporary) lead. Also, assuming Sony is still measuring things as it did before, those 7 million consoles have been sold to actual users, whereas Microsoft is measuring its sales where they take place, as they always have, which in this case means to the retail channel. So there are obviously some number of those 5 million Xbox One consoles sitting on shelves in stores around the world.

It's Not All Bad, Of Course

Don't get me wrong. 5 million units sold is 5 million units sold. That's not a lot compared to tablets, PCs, or smartphones, but in the more limited market for video game consoles, that's obviously pretty good. And as any Xbox apologist will tell you, the PS4 is sold in far more markets than is the Xbox One, and will be for many months to come: Microsoft will not expand into new markets until the fall (for whatever reasons). It's not entirely possible to parse the success of each console because both Microsoft and Sony are cagey about which details they reveal. But Microsoft is touting the average number of games sold per console (basically 3), the average amount of time gamers spend on the console per day (5 hours) and so on.

"Satya Nadella Needs More than One Trick to Fix Microsoft."

This assumes porting Office to all major platforms is a "trick," which frankly is a bit offensive.

Not the First Universal Apps, but Still Good News

PC World misunderstood some really good news, reporting that the first universal Windows apps had hit the Windows Store and Windows Phone Store, respectively. That's not what happened: The apps in question—Halo: Spartan Assault and Skulls of the Shogun were previously available on both the Windows Store for Windows PCs and tablets, and Windows Phone Store for Windows Phone, but as separately licensed apps. So if you bought one version, say on Windows, and wanted to play it on Windows Phone too, you had to pay again. This caused lots of complaints because, you know, they're really the same app. But as of now, if you buy one version, you'll get the other for free. It's not because they've been made into universal apps, however. Instead, this is just a licensing change that was brought about when the store back-ends were combined. Whatever the reason, it's good news. And I await my $5 refund, since I did buy the Halo game on both platforms. Don't make me hold my breath, Microsoft.

"Nokia Stops Sales of Lumia 2520 Tablet Over Electric Shock Fears."

And no one notices.

Chrome Remote Desktop Good for Consumers, Not so Much for Businesses

With an upfront complaint about Google needing to get its Android and Chrome branding in order, Google this week released a new Chrome Remote Desktop app for Android, which lets Android device users remote desktop into their Windows desktop PCs. It's not clear whether this apps holds any particular advantage over other remote desktop solutions, but this kind of thing certainly makes the heterogeneous or household more feasible. One thing I will say is that Chrome Remote Desktop isn't exactly an enterprise solution: It requires using the Chrome Remote Desktop app in your Chrome web browser. Oddly, Microsoft already has a better solution: It makes a Microsoft Remote Desktop app for Android, too, and that one works just as you'd expect.

"Microsoft's Now Imports Yahoo Mail."

What's next? The AOL guys tells you that you've got mail?

See, This is Why I Don't do Scrapbooking

The retailer Michaels this week revealed a security breach at some of stores, which could impact 2.6 million credit cards. The good news? Most of the people who buy arts and crafts aren't exactly driving the economy. But, I kid. I do hope that the silver lining to these kinds of problems is that US credit card companies finally wake up and start deploying the very basic security measures—like Chip and PIN—that Europe has had for years.

"Google Glass is Now 'Try Before You Buy.'"

Just sit here above this pool of water. If you're lucky, they'll throw the ball at the target and not at you.

But Wait, There's More

Don't forget to follow me on Twitter and the Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows.

I'm trying to change the book publishing model, and would appreciate your support: Windows 8.1 Field Guide is now complete and available for only $2 in PDF, MOBI and EPUB formats, and it will be in the Kindle and Nook e-book stores soon. But I have other free e-books available too, including Windows Phone 8 Field Guide and the in-progress Xbox Music Field Guide. Coming soon: Windows Phone 8.1 Field Guide.

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