Day: July 31, 2005

  • Why Yahoo! Music Unlimited Makes Sense

    This is yet another observation that I had a week or two ago that’s been sitting in the WeblogPostIdeas queue for far too long. It’s a rather obvious actually, but it seemed to “click” after Rio released a firmware update that included PlaysForSure support to a few of their more popular models. This meant that a sexy little 2.5, 5, or 6 gig player that can be easily had for less than $149 could make use of subscription audio and not just the $n per download model.

    In a perfect world I could go online, pay my $.99 (or $.89, or $.79), download a song, and be able to do whatever the hell I’d like with it. Unfortunately we just don’t live in that type of world. Yes there are a few companies out there that “Get It” and provide unencumbered plain-jane mp3s when you pony up your cash. Yes there are ways of getting around iTunes and other types of DRM, but it’d be nice not to commit a crime in order to use the music you paid for in a manner that you see fit, like stashing a copy of it on your laptop, desktop, protable player, music server at home, and your desktop at work. I mean that’s just something you should be able to do with something you’ve paid $.99 for.

    But I digress. You pony up your buck and you don’t actually own the music and you can’t really do what you’d like to. That’s realy okay. Like I said, there are ways around most of it, but that’s not something that Joe User should have to deal with.

    That’s where Yahoo! Music Unlimited comes in. It fills that gap between price per downloads that you don’t own and higher priced subscription services.

    What have they done right? They’ve gotten the price point down to the “no-brainer” level. Really. Five bucks a month (if paid annually of course) for all you care to eat, and you can listen to it as long as you pony up monthly or annually. It’s easy to pay more than that on a coffee run to Starbucks. Yeah you don’t own your music and there are restrictions, but that’s not much different than the stuff you paid your buck for.

    Having said that, it’s not perfect. Y! Music Unlimited only works if you’ve got Windows, which leaves out Mac, Linux, and other people out of the loop. Still, for a lot of people this music service makes a lot of sense.

  • N-Gage: SSX Isn’t Tony Hawk

    I’m a bit bummed after picking up SSX: Out of Bounds for the N-Gage platform. I’ve been eyeing it ever since it was released at $34.95. I have a lot of trouble paying $34.95 for any game, let alone a game that I can’t demo for a platform that’s becoming harder and harder to find.

    There’s still a mini-aisle of N-Gage stuff at my local game merchant, but the people behind the counter can’t do much more than use their cognative skills to match the game box you’re talking about with the one behind the counter. They don’t know anything about “that N-Gage thing” and nobody seems to have used games for it anymore. Tony Hawk was the best five bucks I’ve ever spent on a gaming platform, hands down.

    That brings me to my review of SSX: Out of Bounds. It’s pretty good. I’m getting in to it a bit more, not always placing last, and even landing most of my tricks. But it’s just not Tony Hawk. (Read: Tony Hawk rocks.)

    I still love my taco though. I forget about it every so often, but it’s always there in my backpack, ready for a quick game or to let me listen to the evening edition of Marketplace.

    There are some promising titles slated to come out for the mobile gaming platform that wouldn’t die (or hasn’t pulled a Zodiac yet).

    In September, there’s going to be a release that should have been a launch title: Atari Masterpieces Volume 1. Comeon, everybody loves retro gaming!

    Then in November I’ll be paying full price for the new Pathway to Glory title, simply because Pathway was so much fun. I’ve gone on to the Arena looking for a quick game, and there were a few people around right after launch, but nowadays I can’t seem to find anyone to play a quick pickup game with. It’s a shame too, because online/multiplayer was the killer feature of an already killer game. That doesn’t make me feel good about the total number of Pathway copies sold. I already feel like the only N-Gage user on the Eastern seaboard though.