July 05, 2013, 6:00 AM —
I have a couple quick Xbox One topics to finish up the week with.
First up, on Wednesday I wrote about Don Mattrick leaving his position as president of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment unit, and since then there's been some speculation on who will replace him.
After a story surfaced on Bloomberg on Wednesday, there seems to be a bit of confusion among some of the gaming blogs about this. I've read in a few places that Julie Larson-Green will be the new head of Xbox, or words to that effect. Gamers are concerned because Larson-Green doesn't have any gaming DNA, so to speak.
Actually (assuming Bloomberg has it right) Larson-Green, currently in charge of the Windows division at Microsoft, will take over a new division that covers all hardware at Microsoft. That does include the Xbox, yes, but it also includes Surface tablets for instance. I'm assuming that this means there'll be another tier of the org chart between Larson-Green and the Xbox team (and between her and the Surface group), and I'm also assuming that the person in direct charge of the Xbox team will have some experience in the gaming world, and probably will be someone we're already familiar with (I'm betting on Phil Spencer). So don't fret, gamers! At least not until we know for sure what's going on.
This new hardware division was what Mattrick was rumored to be getting after the big re-org and he didn't think it was a promotion so he left. Sounds like it was a good move for him: the NY Times says Mattrick's compensation package at Zynga will be $50 million, and potentially more, over the next few years. Base salary? $1 million/year. That's a lot of Zynga Coins.
The other thing I wanted to talk about today is the Xbox Live community on Xbox One. Currently, the Xbox 360 Live community is pretty notorious for being vile. Jump into a random game for a hot new title and more times than not you'll wind up with someone hurling racial, ethnic or gender-based slurs before you've spawned for the first time. Most of my Xbox friends only play with other friends, or just auto-mute everyone in every game they play.
Microsoft seems to at least be attempting to clean up this problem with the Xbox One. A post over at OXM talks about the new reputation system that's rolling out with the new Xbox. This time around the system will look at behavior rather than just what other players say about you. If the system sees that you get muted, or reported, or kicked from games on a frequent basis, your reputation will start to go down. If these things don't happen to you, your reputation will go up.
When you join a random match, the system will put you into a game with other players that have a similar reputation rating. In theory this means players who're civil will end up in games with other civil gamers, and the vile players will end up playing with other vile players.
None of this is really news; the MajorNelson blog talked about it earlier this month. But gamers are talking about it now and I'm seeing a mix of some skepticism about how it'll work, concerns that you'll be able to game the system, and appreciation that Microsoft is at least trying.
I'm willing to give it a go. I completely avoid MP gaming on the Xbox 360 because I don't want to listen to all that nonsense. But I'll give it another try when the Xbox One ships. After all, TitanFall has no single player component.
Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.