So you’ve had all the family togetherness, awkward dates, spoiled sports stars and overrated high-brow writing you can take this weekend? We’ve compiled The Favs, some of the best connected entertainment stories from this past week. It’s all that you need to feed for intellectual growth — short of going back to work tomorrow morning. Some of it is original reporting, and some of it is the work of others.

 

[divider]Gaming / Xbox[/divider]

Free-to-play gaming isn’t a scam, necessarily

It’s time to face a few truths. The first is that obviously, gaming has become an expensive hobby. The second? The free-to-play model of gaming is on the rise. Instead of creating games that require the user to pick up a game with a cost up front, these days developers in general – mostly on the PC, iOS and Android – simply give the game away for free. Users are then charged for power-ups and additional in-game capabilities.

As far as most people are concerned it’s kind of like handing narcotics to known attics, knowing that they’ll continue to keep ponying up. A write up by Daniel Cook on Google+ sums up the problems associated with free-to-play games perfectly. With games like Happy Wars coming to the Xbox 360, and game development gaming more and more expensive, the Microsoft will have to face these same issues at some point. I’d imagine sometime before the launch of the Xbox One. Coercive Pay-2-Play Techniques.

 

[divider]Windows Phone[/divider]

Nokia’s Windows Phones are cool

ReadWriteWeb’s Dan Rowinski effectively conveys one of the biggest advantages of Microsoft partnering with Nokia for Windows Phone devices. The company’s devices are simply ‘cool’. Can I actually quantify that? Well, no. However, I think I can quantify uncool, and if you are one of the thousands of Windows Phone users who were forced to pick up an HTC Windows Phone 8X because Nokia’s flagship was exclusive to AT&T last fall, I think you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. Nokia Performing The Impossible: Making Windows Phone Cool

 

[divider]Windows[/divider]

Ocean Quigley leaves Electronic Arts, gently closes the door on the way out

You’ve got to hand it Electronic Arts. It’s been struggling to justify the decisions it’s made since launching the latest SimCity. You see, now that the company has dealt with the core connectivity issues caused by centering the game’s experiences on online play, now it seems, it’s be forcing to deal with the very real issue of having created what should have been a free-to-play game with next to none of the features that users wanted.

With that in mind, the creative director for the SimCity franchise, Ocean Quigley has left the company to create his own game development house along with, SimCity lead architect Andrew Willmott. I think that speaks for itself. Quigley’s dismay at SimCity’s ‘blundered launch’ and why he quit EA

 

Have any good reads of your own? Drop them in the comments to share with everyone.