In the line of fire - Techwatch 20120401 - TF3 Beta Special

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Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:16 am
Game Server Admin
1555 Posts
Q1 is behind us. With Windows 8 less than half a year away, guess what the focus was at CES 2012:  Touchables.  Whether it's a pad form PC, or a large screen TV, touching is in.  Touch screen is pretty cool for handheld devices, but I'm not sure why we'd start walking back up to the TV instead of using the remote.  Perhaps to show off the touch screen feature to to our friends and family?  Of course, once they've left the remote comes right back out.

Desktop PC - a dying breed?  After CES 2012, some people think so.  Word is that All-In-One PCs will replace traditional desktops in the mainstream, and desktops will find a new home in the enthusiast market.  I hate to admit it, but they might be right.  Not that it's what the market particularly wants, but what will be thrust upon it.  What manufacturers are looking to do is not only sell you a computer, but sell you the servicing of it as well.  They want to cut out the DIY crowd.  We say the same thing happen gradually with automobiles.  Some All-In-Ones are being marketed with peripherals like a keyboard and mouse, with touchscreen as an option.  That's just to suck you in.  The day will come when you go to plug your keyboard into a new-bought All-In-One, only to discover that there is no port for it.  It's a "true" All-In-One, everything you need is in there.  And if any part of it needs servicing, good luck with that.  You can try the DIY approach.  There's a old laptop that my buddy was going to "fix" over a decade ago.  He did get it apart - and all of those parts now sit in a box on a shelf in a closet.  I'm not holding my breath waiting for that one to get fixed, and even if it was fixed, it's far outdated now.  You can always take it back where you bought it.  They can probably fix it for you.  Of course, they will take the opportunity to explain the economics of it to you, that for the money you'd spend fixing this one, they can sell you a brand new one for just a little more.  If you stick to your guns, they will take the item from you, have you sign some take-it-or-leave-it agreement, and give you an approximate date on when it will be ready.  You may as well put the PC in a rocket and aim the rocket at Mars and launch the rocket and hope the Martians fix your PC and send it back.  Sure, it might come back, then again it might not.  For some related horror stories by BBG members, search these forums for "No So Best Buy".

They might be right about the All-In-Ones replacing traditional Desktops, but I don't agree with the time lines some are giving.  The next year or two?  I was checking some pricing and I don't see it.  Besides, what is an "All-In-One" anyway.  For making phone calls, texting, watching Youtube videos, and figuring out where your six is in comparison to where you want it to be, a smartphone will do the trick.  This is all some people need.  For technologically challenged, smaller devices mask the deficiency.  People that don't know what they are doing just feel less stupid staring at a handheld device then they do staring a 20" monitor.  Perhaps that's because it's harder for others around them  to detect that they don't know what they are doing.

Under heavy fire from the core Team Fortress player base over it's "FTP" a.k.a. "Free To Play" option, Steam has announced TF3 will soon be available for beta testing.  The TF3 client will not support FTP, and best of all, rumor is all of your items from TF2 will transfer in.  In a recent interview, Gabe Newell stated:  "The core group of players, those that were there from the beginning, they let us know that we had made a big mistake with FTP, and we listened, hence TF3.".  Some long time players of the game remain skeptical, saying that TF3 will really be just TF2.1 - more of the same.  "Not true.", says Newell.  "There will be some new maps, and some other surprises that we don't want to let out of the bag yet.  The most important thing for true fans of the game is that there will be no more intermingling of FTP and those who actually bought the game.".  Of course, players that did buy the game will have the option of staying in TF2 or moving to TF3, while the FTP community will be stuck at TF2.  Some of the FTP crowd is equally disgruntled.  One FTP player who wished to remain anonymous said "Hey, Steam made the decision to make the game FTP.  The caveats of FTP were clearly defined at the time.  Why should we be treated as second class citizens now?".  When Newell heard this, he chuckled and responded "FTP will still be available in TF2.  As a matter of fact, there are no plans to change anything at all in TF2 at the moment.  TF3 will be available as an option for those who actually bought TF2.  If the FTP players want into TF3, buy TF2. It's $20, come on.".  An inside rumor says that beta keys will be going out in a semi-random manor, with preference based on the number of "unusuals" a player has.  The TF3 beta keys will start going out as early as later today.  Techwatch has obtained one beta key for the first person who uses it:
The entire preceding paragraph was complete fiction - April Fools!

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