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March 2019

History Of The Future Author Blake J. Harris To Answer Your Questions On Upcoming Power Button Podcast

The History of the Future: Oculus, Facebook, and the Revolution That Swept Virtual Reality Our friend Blake J. Harris, author of The History of the Future: Oculus, Facebook, and the Revolution That Swept Virtual Reality, is coming back to the Power Button podcast soon to talk about the new book and answer all of our questions, and we want to give you the opportunity to have all of your questions about the book answered too.  Post your questions and comments for Blake below as a comment before 8:00pm ET on March 30, 2019 and we will discuss them during the recording of the show.  Then join us the following week to hear the complete interview and learn everything else there is to know about the re-rise of virtual reality, Facebook's role in Oculus, and Palmer Luckey.  If you want to catch up on Blake's past appearances on the Power Button podcast, dive into the archive and listen to Episode 134 and Episode 160.

Power Button - Episode 285: We Must Prepare For The Coming Of Bowser

Power ButtonThere's been a lot of Nintendo news in the last few weeks from Reggie Fils-Aime announcing his retirement to the reveal of Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield, so it's only natural for us to spend this week's podcast episode catching up on the happenings.  Join us for an hour of discussion.   Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes and Google Play, toss this RSS feed into your podcast aggregation software of choice, and be sure to catch up on past episodes if you're joining us late. Remember that you can reach us via , you can leave a message on the Power Button hotline by calling (720) 722-2781, and you can even follow us on Twitter at @PressTheButtons and @GrundyTheMan, or for just podcast updates, @ThePowerButton. We also have a tip jar if you'd like to kick a dollar or two of support our way. 

Xbox Live Coming To iOS And Android

Xbox LiveMicrosoft is showing just how dedicated it is to bringing its services to what have been historically considered rival platforms with the announcement that Xbox Live is coming to iOS and Android.  While you won't be playing Xbox One games on your mobile device just yet, soon you'll find mobile games using the XBL services that run underneath apps to make the magic work.  Here's Tom Warren at The Verge to explain:

Microsoft is bringing its Xbox Live network to iOS and Android devices. The software giant is launching a new cross-platform mobile software development kit (SDK) for game developers to bring Xbox Live functionality to games that run on iOS and Android. Xbox Live features like achievements, Gamerscore, hero stats, friend lists, clubs, and even some family settings will all be available on iOS and Android.

It’s all part of a bigger push from Microsoft to make its Xbox games and services available across multiple platforms. Game developers will be able to pick and choose parts of Xbox Live to integrate into their games, and it will all be enabled through a single sign-in to a Microsoft Account. Microsoft is using its identity network to support login, privacy, online safety, and child accounts.

I'm reminded of Apple's now-moribund Game Center initiative that basically sat on top of certain iOS games for a while, awarding achievements and tracking leaderboard scores that were quickly gamed and that nobody cared about when all was said and done.  Now, however, considering that Xbox Live has some cachet in the industry and a proven record of providing a variety of useful services, this could be just the kick that mobile gaming needs to take things to the next level.  A wide variety of XBL-like services for mobile games have come and gone over the years, most of them startups jumping on the next big thing and wiping out spectacularly.  Microsoft has the staying power to make this work provided that they actually stick with it.

This Just In: Nintendo Switch Pro Controller Is Pretty Great

Nintendo Switch pro controllerWhy didn't anyone tell me how great the Nintendo Switch pro controller is?  I mean, sure, the Internet at large has been going on about it for two years now and just about everyone I know with a Switch has suggested it, but how did nobody specifically tell me to buy one and then stick with that persuasiveness until I did so?  Yes, after two years of plugging away at The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, I finally broke down and bought a pro controller.  Co-op Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe made me do it.  You see, my girlfriend gave me the game as a birthday present and at the first available opportunity we were all set to play some co-op mode which marked the first time we had tried to play anything together on the Switch.  I slipped the joy-cons out of their controller shell and handed one off to her, and that was when we had our first inkling that, as adults, playing a platformer with a controller sized for small hands isn't exactly a fun time.  Trying to play a game like Super Mario with a single joy-con (especially the right joy-con where the control stick is practically in the center of the controller) is like shaking hands with a cat.  It's hard to get a satisfying grip and even if you do it right, it's not as much fun as it sounds.  We needed a real second controller.  I ordered the pro controller that evening.

We haven't had time to revisit Super Mario together yet, but I took the new controller for a test drive that began as "just one level" and turned into playing all the way through Frosted Glacier.  The buttons are larger, the control pad is an actual pad, and the controller itself is more comfortable to hold than the joy-cons.  I also received Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze and started that game with the pro controller, so now I can't imagine playing it any other way particularly with that game's reflex requirements.  The joy-cons have their place and they work decently enough for a single player, but I'm completely sold on the pro controller now.  It's a must-own for anyone intending to do some serious gaming on the Switch.