Sunday, March 31, 2013

My Big Data Obsession

My own obsession with Big Data began while I was training for Ironman France. It was late summer of 2011 and after barely clawing my way through a sprint distance triathlon, I desperately wanted to get back in shape.
I needed a big goal to help motivate me and I wanted to do something social as well. Training for a longer distance triathlon with members of the San Francisco Triathlon Club--without whom I never would have been able to complete the Ironman--seemed like just thing.
For those who aren’t familiar with it, an Ironman is a grueling 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and full 26.2 mile marathon, back-to-back. It’s made tougher by weather--over 90 degrees in the case of Ironman France--and the need for sustained nutrition.
According to some estimates, athletes can burn as many as 12,000 calories during an Ironman, in contrast to the 2,500 to 3,000 calories we burn on a typical day. Over the course of my nine months of training, I would log thousands of laps, hills, and runs on my way to finishing the Ironman.
And I wasn’t alone. To date, fitness buffs and athletes alike have logged almost 2.8 billion miles to Garmin Connect, a web site hosted by the well-known maker of GPS devices.
This combination of low-cost “sensor” devices and web based data logging and analysis epitomizes Big Data. It once used to cost hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars to capture data points, store them, and analyze them, not to mention the cost of data analysts and engineers to work with the data and convert it into insights. Now anyone can log basic data and gain useful knowledge for just a few hundred dollars or less.
But training for the Ironman was just one half of my Big Data equation. The other half was the public offerings last year of companies like Facebook and LinkedIn--which at their core are Big Data companies--and Splunk, a Big Data company targeting businesses.
This combination of the potential impact of Big Data on my own life plus the sense that these IPOs foretold a sea change in the technology landscape intrigued me. Just as I was finishing the Ironman, I embarked on another journey, to understand the full landscape of Big Data. Much of the knowledge I have gained in the process I plan to share in this column and in my upcoming book, Big Data Demystified: How Big Data Is Changing The Way We Live, Love and Learn.
We’ll look at how companies like Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Netflix are leveraging Big Data. We’ll also look at Big Data problems that continue to stump today’s best and brightest: why we still can’t predict earthquakes despite having immense amounts of data on the subject, and why the picture you choose for your online dating profile may not matter as much as you think it does. From talking with thought leaders in the space to exploring the impact of Big Data on our businesses and our lives, I look forward to dialoging with you about this exciting topic.
Disclosure: Mr. Feinleib holds shares in Facebook, Splunk, and other technology companies.

Seven Big Data Insights From Facebook, Netflix, And Others

It’s rare to get Big Data experts from companies like Facebook, Netflix and HortonWorks all together for a discussion. But last Wednesday evening at the Microsoft Campus in Mountain View, California, we were able to do just that. 

My guests on the Big Date Date Night panel (so named because it took place the evening before Valentine’s Day) were HortonWorks Director of Data Sciences Ofer Mendelevitch, Netflix Director of Analytics Chris Pouliot, SurveyMonkey Director of Analytics Fedor Dzegilenko, Wix Business Analyst Isaac Buahnick and Facebook Head of Analytics Ken Rudin.

Here are the takeaways:

1. A great customer/user experience is the goal. When it comes to data, it’s easy to lose sight of the end goal. Asked about measuring the ROI of data analytics, one panelist said that the real measure of the impact of data and analytics is the value it brings to the end user. If, as a result of A/B testing, site and product optimization, and an improved understanding of the customer, developers are able to deliver better products to customers, then data analytics has more than paid for its investment. Customer satisfaction may be the best measure of ROI when it comes to data analytics, said Buahnick. 

2. Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want. Ken Rudin reiterated this classic line. This insight wasn’t Big Data specific, but it was certainly relevant for the hundreds of technologists in the room. Startups are the bread and butter of Silicon Valley and yet, as I wrote about in my book Why Startups Fail: And How Yours Can Succeed, most startups fail. In doing startups, entrepreneurs gather massive amounts of data about what works and what doesn’t. The insights that come as a result are experience.

3. Real time versus right time. Some panelists argued that real-time data analytics are a must. But, of course, there are different levels of real-time. There’s real-time in the NASA sense, that is, down to the millisecond. And then there’s right-time. Right-time is the kind of data analytics that gets you the business insight you need when you need it--and it’s probably what makes the most sense for today’s Big Data users.

4. Separate the signal from the noise. As companies are able to store larger and larger amounts of data, one of the biggest issues is figuring out how to separate the signal from the noise. There are two approaches to dealing with this problem...

5. The carbon-based approach and the computer-based approach. Both of these ways of working with Big Data have their place. There are those cases where data is moving too quickly for humans to analyze it--fraud detection for credit card transactions or targeted online advertising, for example. But the algorithms and the analysis that makes such computer-based systems possible are still very much carbon-based, that is, developed by humans. People and computers both have a role to play when it comes to Big Data.

6. Use products appropriately. When it comes to Big Data, there’s lots of talk about Hadoop and MapReduce. But it’s important to choose the right technology for the right business use case. Choose relational databases for problems that lend themselves well to structured data storage and Hadoop and related technologies for unstructured data and for bringing massive amounts of data together.

7. Be curious while being business oriented. At the end of our discussion, I asked the panelists what they were looking for in potential hires for their teams. Almost universally, the panelists focused on the importance of not just being good with data but of being curious while being business oriented. 

Top 3 Web Applications Security Threats Infographic

Top 3 Web Applications Security Threats

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel Review

The elements that made its predecessors interesting have been all but destroyed, making Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel a functional shooter but little more.

The Good

  • Some fun set pieces   
  • The more open levels give you room to maneuver   
  • Cover system encourages fluid movement.

The Bad

  • All of the series' best aspects have been removed or toned down   
  • Forgettable gunplay, forgettable story, forgettable characters   
  • Requires little cooperation between players   
  • Problematic AI.
Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel is a mostly competent, wholly soulless consumer product, the kind that might briefly satisfy your craving for action because it's new, if not particularly special or memorable. The third Army of Two game usually functions just fine, and its decent third-person shooting might even be enough to keep you gunning down one nameless grunt after another until there are no more grunts to gun down. But any spark the series has shown has been stripped away in favor of homogeneity. Like its two new protagonists, The Devil's Cartel blends into the background, unrecognizable among all the brown shooters that have come before it.
Sometimes, activating overkill is, well, overkill.
Those two heroes are Alpha and Bravo, whose function is to make the stars of the previous two games seem spectacular by comparison; even their very monikers give off the generic vibe the rest of the game so curiously exudes. If you're a returning fan, don't fear, for Salem and Rios have parts to play, and provide the only glimmers of energy in a story otherwise lacking in momentum and wit. For the majority of the game, the story can be summed up thusly: the titular drug cartel is bad, and so you must shoot up every cookie-cutter mercenary that stands between you and their bossman. The narrative lobs a few surprises at you near its conclusion, but the effect is akin to dropping a bomb on a desert; there's lots of noise and fire, but ultimately, the landscape hasn't changed much.
The path winding toward that bomb has Alpha and Bravo making their way through the usual places you visit when dealing with gaming's many drug cartels: dusty brown streets littered with cars that exist purely to catch on fire, weathered Mexican villages with graffiti scrawled across the walls, scrap yards loaded with rust-coated bins and barrels, and so forth. The two stop here and there to remind you of their mild "bro"ness by accusing each other of being gay, or grunting some nondescript action game dialogue, like "Watch out for ambushes!" For better or for worse, Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel lets the action do most of the talking.
If only it had something more interesting to say. Like its predecessors, The Devil's Cartel is a cooperative experience; either another player or the mediocre AI joins you in your mission of blandness. The cover system has been tweaked for the sake of mobility, allowing you to press a single button to slip into cover spots some distance away. At most times, speeding from one cover spot to another works well enough, making it fun to slide from one safe haven to another. At other times, certain surfaces won't allow you to take cover, or your slick moves could go awry when you go accidentally charging into the wrong side of a wall and leave your back turned to a legion of cartel mercs.
Regardless, the tempo of battle remains remarkably even throughout: take cover, fire at dudes until they fall down, and repeat the process. The shooting is functional but toothless; enemy death animations and lackluster weapon noises muffle the oomph necessary to pull The Devil's Cartel into the realm of power fantasy. Enemies scurry into the levels in predictable ways, and you mow them down, or you shoot the copious red barrels scattered about the battle arenas and watch them explode, taking all these copy/paste gunners with them. Even on hard difficulty, triumphing in battle isn't particularly challenging, and on medium, you may not even see the need to take cover much of the time.
To the game's benefit, several levels deviate from the corridor-shooting norm, opening up the environments and thus allowing the action to ebb and flow in sensible ways. It's nice to have room to maneuver, particularly when enemies approach from multiple angles, which is, sadly, not so common. It's too bad that mediocre enemy AI causes the game to so often fall on the "ebb" side of the coin, with soldiers sometimes failing to recognize your presence, or running right past your exposed buddy because they're so intent on stabbing you.
Like any given modern-day shooter, The Devil's Cartel fights repetition with occasional set piece sequences, putting you in charge of a helicopter's mounted guns, or behind the wheel of a coasting vehicle. The game ultimately loses this battle against monotony, though such set pieces provide the best moments, letting you momentarily revel in vehicular explosions and enjoy tearing apart the destructible environments that contain you. In many of these moments, you and your partner split up, one of you driving and the other gunning, for instance, or perhaps one of you charging through a small army while the other showers death from the sky. But for the most part, the game handles cooperative play in the most unimaginative way possible: by putting two people in the same place and having them kill stuff.
That's a disappointing direction for a series that has previously forced players to work together in clever ways. The aggro system has been downplayed to the point where it's not clear if a weapon's aggro statistic even matters, so no one needs to draw the ire of a dastardly fiend while the other winds behind and takes potshots. One of you can grab a riot shield, and the two of you can slowly push forward as a single unit, but The 40th Day's memorable back-to-back shooting sequences have been abandoned. The moral choices of that game have been dropped, too, and while The Devil's Cartel retains a weapon upgrade system, it lacks the personality of the systems that came before.
What a shame, too: blinging out your weapon in the last Army of Two game was a cheeky, self-aware delight. There are no more soda-can muzzles, screwdriver suppressors, or diamond-studded grenades--just the usual shrug-worthy scopes, suppressors, and so forth. You earn money for such enhancements by killing, which is to say, you needn't pay too much attention to this system in battle, given that you rake in enough dough to keep your gear effective. But if you prefer to exploit the economy and earn more money per kill, you can try for more melee backstabs (always a gory delight, thanks to some dramatic animations), flank your foes before shooting them, or fit in more headshots. Yet given the game's ease of play, you won't likely feel pressed to strive for maximum financial gain. In a game this simple, such an extravagant triumph rings hollow.
The other reward you reap for the act of playing the game is overkill. Gun down enough cartel goons, and you fill the overkill meter, which in turn allows you to go into a frenzy, temporarily filling everyone in sight with lead without fear of death or running out of ammo. Both players can activate overkill together, which leads to a slow-motion death spree, allowing you to again appreciate the destructible environments, with concrete chips flying about and entire cover opportunities being torn down. Such destruction is unfortunately the only way in which the otherwise dated-looking Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel visually stands out.
Given the game's cooperative nature, it's best to bring a friend along with you, not that you'll find that having a human partner is vital, since working together is usually unnecessary in a game that interprets "cooperative" as "sometimes you breach doors together in slow motion." But at least with another player you can avoid the AI's infrequent but annoying tendency to not properly follow the script and thus break the mission. Should you play on your own, expect one or two checkpoint reloads when your computer-controlled partner decides to hang around a pillar rather than move to the next destination. There's a downside to having a buddy join you, however: the third iteration of a series focused on two-player co-op doesn't support drop-in, drop-out play. If you want to invite someone else, you have to abandon your progress and start at the beginning of the chapter.
Previous Army of Two games stood apart in their own ways, not always excelling, but still willing to hew their own paths. Engaging the opposition in a Shanghai zoo, escaping across a collapsed skyscraper, saving civilians from menacing threats--these are small but meaningful moments that might be etched on your psyche from the series' past. There's nothing here to make a mark: no creativity on display, no clever competitive modes, no sense of accomplishment. There's only a seven-hour campaign, optional missions in which you try to keep the overkill meter consistently replenished, and the knowledge that in a month, you won't remember having played Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel.

Free DLC out now for Halo 4, Gears of War: Judgment

New content for Microsoft shooter games available today on Xbox Live.
Free downloadable content for Halo 4 and Gears of War: Judgment is available today on Xbox Live.
Halo 4 gamers can now download Forge Island, a map that was revealed during PAX East last week. It spans three modifiable areas and features islands called "Great Anvils." Gamers can download the map via the Halo 4 in-game store or through the Xbox Live marketplace.
Gears of War: Judgment gamers can now pick up the Execution multiplayer mode and a new multiplayer map called Haven, which will be free only for a limited time. This content is sponsored by men's magazine Maxim.
On top of the new mode and map, special playlists for Haven and Execution will be available, offering up 200 percent experience boosts. Those who own the $20 Gears of War: Judgment VIP Season Pass will receive a 300 percent experience boost in their own VIP playlist.
For more, check out GameSpot's reviews of Halo 4 and Gears of War: Judgment.

Ubisoft: Gamers want Assassin's Creed every year

Montreal boss Yannis Mallat says as long as quality remains, gamers will come back every year for more.
Ubisoft Montreal boss Yannis Mallat does not think gamers are turned off by the idea of a new Assassin's Creed game every year.
"No," Yannis Mallat told Eurogamer this week. "The players will tell us. Right now there are more and more coming into the franchise, so I don't see that day."
Mallat explained that as long as each new entry is a quality product, gamers will continue to come back every year for more.
"It's our breakthrough. When you have quality content, the frequency of coming out with the game is not an issue at all. On the contrary, people expect more and more of that content," Mallat added. "So it's natural to be able to provide that content. The gamers are happy and it's our job to make them happy."
Ubisoft has released a new core Assassin's Creed game every year since 2009. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag launches October 29 and afollow-up is already in the works.

Crytek USA wants to buy Darksiders IP

New CEO and former Vigil founder David Adams says he plans to bid on the franchise; "I think it belongs at home with its creators."
New Crytek USA CEO David Adams, who founded Vigil Games, wants to buy the Darksiders franchise from THQ. Writing on Twitter, Adams said the IP should stay with its makers.
"Going to bid on Darksiders IP," Adams wrote. "Put seven years of heart and soul into that franchise, and I think it belongs at home with its creators."
Vigil Games and the Darksiders seriesfound no bidder during the THQ auction in January and thus the studio was closed and the future of the franchise left in limbo.
Some resolution came to light later in the month, when Crytek announced the formation of an American office led by Adams and 35 other Vigil Games developers. At the time, however, Crytek said its new North American office would not develop any new Darksiders games.
Darksiders II launched this summer behind a positive critical reception.

Ouya launches June 4

$99 Android-powered console launching this summer in United States, Canada, and United Kingdom.
The $99 Android-powered Ouya console will launch June 4 in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, its developers have announced. The system began its life last July through a Kickstarter campaign thatraised $1 million in 24 hours and more than $8.5 million when it closed.
"Nine months ago, we shared an idea for an immersive, beautiful, and powerful game console that generated an outpouring of support from game developers, gamers, technology enthusiasts, and more," Ouya CEO Julie Uhrman said in a statement.
According to Ouya, more than 8,000 developers are creating games for the platform, ranging from startups to established companies like Square Enix, Double Fine, Tripwire Interactive, and Airtight Games.
On top of games, the Ouya will support a suite of apps. These include streaming video and music software like TwitchTV, Flixster, Plex, XBMC, Crunchyroll, iHeartRadio, and others.
Ouya units are shipping to backers immediately, while units will be available for purchase in June at Amazon, Best Buy, GAME, GameStop, and Target, and through the Ouya online store. Additional controllers can be purchased for $50.
A new Ouya console will launch every year to take advantage of component price drops.
In addition, Ouya hired Thatgamecompany cofounder Kellee Santiago in February to lead developer relations. She may want to speak with Borderlands developer Gearbox Software CEO Randy Pitchford, who said last week that he is cautious about the system.

GTA: Liberty City, Vice City Stories coming to PSN

Rockstar reveals PlayStation 2-era open-world games coming to online store next week for $10 each.
Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City and Vice City Stories are coming to PlayStation Network next week for $9.99 / €9.99 / £7.99 each, Rockstar Games announced today.
Both games were originally released on the PSP, before later being ported to the PlayStation 2.
Rockstar has brought a number of its classic games to PlayStation Network recently, including Grand Theft Auto III,GTA: Vice City, and GTA: San Andreas.
The stream of releases doesn't seem to be coming to a close, as Rockstar told gamers to "stay tuned" for information about additional Rockstar games coming to PSN. None of these were named.

Minecraft XBLA sells 6 million

Open-ended downloadable sandbox game reaches new sales milestone 10 months after launch.
Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition has sold more than 6 million units, developer 4J Studios has announced through its Twitter account. This is up from 5 million at the end of 2012.
The game sells for $20, meaning it has generated $120 million since its original launch in May 2012.
Sales are likely to increase further, as a disc-based Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition iscoming to United States retailers on April 30. This will be followed by launches in Australia, Hong Kong, India, New Zealand, Singapore, and Taiwan in early June.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Look at what Disney is doing with the Star Wars franchise

Star Wars Disney
It should surprise no one to hear that Disney is planning an all new line of Star Wars based merchandise after the purchase of Lucasfilm. Unfortunately, there was never anything out there to suggest that the new merchandise would be any good.
There’s a few things that Disney does really well in the merchandising space. Anyone who has been to a Disney theme park has seen the vast oceans of products that all tie back to the guy with the big round ears somehow. There’s a few exceptions, and maybe it was only ever just a matter of time for those things. The Star Wars franchise had seen its fair share of Disney integration before the purchase. The Star Tours ride features a shop that sells everything from Jedi Mickey to a host of collectible pins that feature iconic Disney characters in Star Wars getup. Starting this year, however, that integration and merchandising effort is going to ramp up significantly.
Now, for better or worse, we’re about to get a whole lot of new Disney Star Wars gear.
Star Wars Disney
The list of products Disney just unveiled for their Star Wars Weekends mashes all that is popular from Disney right now into a big melting pot and pours it into a Star Wars mold. You’ve got Chipmunks dressed as Ewoks, a ton of Star Wars Vinylmation figurines, and the entire cast of Cars done up in Star Wars outfits. If you’re looking for Darth Gonzo and Emperor Uncle Deadly figurines, you’ll even find Camilla the Chicken as a member of the elite Red Guard. Even R2-D2 can be found rocking a pair of mouse ears as he sits in a heavily Mickey themed Jedi Interceptor.
The only thing that didn’t seem to get a dose of the mouse is the stuffed version of Salacious B. Crumb that will be available during the Star Wars weekends.
This is just what Disney has managed to put together since the purchase of Lucasfilm. By the time the new movies are in theaters, there’s probably going to be some new additions to the Disney parks themselves. We may even see Star Wars show up in the new Disney Infinity game. While the Star Tours and surrounding areas of Disney have been regularly updated, most recently with 3D screens that require glasses during the ride, a whole refresh to support the new films wouldn’t be surprising.

DOS emulator lets you play classic PC games on a Raspberry Pi

DOS emulator
If you’ve got an itch to play some classic DOS games, homebrew coder Pate has just the thing. After creating a DOS emulator for the Nintendo DS, Pate has released an emulator for the Raspberry Pi based on the DS version called rpix86. All you need is a Raspberry Pi and a little free time, then the world of retro DOS games is open to you.
The DOS emulation through rpix86 v0.03 will allow you to play such classics as DoomDuke Nukem 3DUltima UnderworldDay of the Tentacle, and more. Many of these games no longer run on modern hardware, so emulation is the only way to play them, short of finding a 15 year-old PC laying around.
In this version of rpix86 the virtual machine will be based on a 80486 processor running at an effective speed of 40MHz. It can also run with 640KB of low memory, 4MB of EMS memory, or 16MB of XMS memory. Video output is capped at 640×480 with 256 colors, which is sufficient for the old titles the emulator is intended to play. Sound output comes in the form of a SoundBlaster 2.0, once the gold standard of PC audio.
Raspberry Pi
Pate only began work on rpix86 in February, but numerous bugs have already been stomped since its initial March 10th release. Now the tweaks are mostly to fix issues in specific games.
The Raspberry Pi is an ideal platform to develop on because it’s very cheap (about $35 online), and the target audience for the device is probably more interested than most people in emulating old DOS games. The Pi has a 700MHz ARM processor, 512MB of RAM, USB support, ethernet, HDMI-out, and modular SD card storage.
If you’ve got a Raspberry Pi sitting around, grab the latest version of rpix86. It’s completely free. Then get to work tracking down some of the best DOS games from years gone by

Sony to improve DirectX 11 for the PS4, triple Blu-ray speeds

PS4 DualShock 4 controller
Sony hasn’t released much in the way of new details about the PlayStation 4 since its launch eventlast month. But at the Game Developer Conference this week Chris Norden, senior staff engineer at Sony, finally went into some more detail about the underlying hardware.
The PS4 sees Sony move to a 64-bit x86 chip architecture, which will be music to the ears of developers, especially those used to working on PC games. The good news doesn’t stop there, though. Developers will be able to take advantage of Microsoft’s latest industry standard DirectX API — DirectX 11.1, but Sony has taken the time to improve upon it, pushing the feature set beyond what is available for PC games development.
Those improvements include better shader pipeline access, improved debugging support features out the box, and much lower level access to the system hardware enabling developers to do “more cool things.” That’s achieved not only through an modified DirectX 11.1 API, but also a secondary low-level API specifically for the PS4 hardware.
As well as having more control over the hardware, Norden explained that developers get complete control over the CPU, GPU, and RAM. That means the GPU isn’t just limited to handling graphics on the system, it can run arbitrary code. Developers also get to decide how to use/split the 8GB RAM between different tasks. There’s no predefined limits meaning there’s more headroom to experiment.
One area of the console that is sure to please gamers is the Blu-ray drive the PS4 will ship with. Not only does that ensure the console can double as a Blu-ray player just like the PS3 did, it’s also a 3x faster drive than in the PS3, which should help with install and game load times.
You may also remember Sony mentioned live streaming of games and recording of key gaming moments was a major feature of the PS4. Norden explained that was due to an extra chip being included in the system that will always contain the last few minutes of play. By doing that, Sony can handle live streaming automatically without impacting system performance, and gamers don’t have to remember to start recording when they think something memorable will happen. They instead just have to remember to save what the PS4 already recorded automatically.

The Razer Edge: On the edge of something special, but not quite there

Razer Edge Pro
With Microsoft and Canonical attempting to bring their full operating systems to tablets with Windows 8 and Ubuntu Touch, and with tablets inevitably growing stronger with every new hardware release, it would seem the space is already due for significant innovation. One of the main activities a portable device is good for is gaming, but even though the phone and tablet gaming arena has many wonderful experiences, the majority of them are what they are — phone and tablet games — and don’t offer what a dedicated console or gaming PC can offer. Gaming hardware manufacturer Razer is looking to change that, and have tossed the Razer Edge, a gaming tablet, into the ring. Can a tablet offer the full gaming PC experience on the go?
The short answer? Kind of, but only if you play PC games that were specifically designed with a console-style gamepad in mind, which severely limits what you can actually play. After having spent a decent chunk of time with the Edge, and putting it through the ultimate portability test — a commute clocking in at a little over two hours — I can assure you that the short answer simply isn’t enough.
The idea of the Edge is, for lack of a better word, awesome. Smartphones and tablets have some great games, as do Nintendo and Sony portables, but they just don’t offer the same experience as a full console or PC game. You can have a lot of fun playing Spaceteam or Knights of Pen & Paper on your phone, but you can’t have that blockbuster, multi-million dollar BioShock Infiniteor Starcraft II experience. The Edge aims to give you that, and for a fleeting, specific moment, delivers.


First, the hardware. There are two versions of the Edge, the standard and Pro. I got my hands on a Pro, which sports a dual-core 1.9GHz Core i7, 8GB of RAM, and an Nvidia 640M LE graphics card with 2GB of memory. Not bad for a tablet.
You can choose between a 128GB SSD or a 256GB SSD; I used out the latter, which raises the base price from $1299 to $1449. As someone who built a gaming PC with a 128GB SSD due to budget then immediately had to add another 256GB SSD after installing a few MMOs and other games, I can tell you that a 128GB SSD is not enough storage space for PC gaming. BioShock Infinite and Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm are about 15GB to 20GB each.
The drawback of the fancy hardware, aside from price, is that the tablet alone weighs a little over two pounds. The tablet doesn’t have too many ports — one for the proprietary charger (which is also the docking port), a single USB 3.0 port, and a headphone jack.
Edge dock

The Razer Edge’s docking station

The docking station will run you $99, and contains a power connector, three USB 2.0 ports, an HDMI port, a headphone jack, and a microphone jack. The bottom of the dock has a padding that keeps the thing secure on a surface and generates enough traction that it’s almost impossible to slide the dock around without knocking the tablet over. So, you know your Edge is relatively safe. The station holds the tablet at a slight angle, but the angle is similar to the Surface, which means if you’re a little too tall, you’ll wish the angle was farther back. I’m 5-foot-11, and sitting at my work desk, I find I have to hunch down a bit in order to see the screen.
The draw of this dock is that it allows you to attach a keyboard and mouse, and use the Edge as a standard gaming PC, alebit with a small, 10.1-inch tablet screen. However, you can use the HDMI port on the dock to connect to a larger display, and have what is essentially a standard gaming PC, but running off a tablet instead of a traditional desktop.

Edge again


The Edge’s main attraction, the gamepad controller, is unfortunately sold separately, and for $249 at that. Without the gamepad attachment, the Edge is simply a tablet with decent gaming specs that you can only really use for PC gaming if you plug it into a monitor or TV, and connect a keyboard, mouse, or controller. With this attachment, though, you can take the Edge on the go, and conceivably play any game that has gamepad support.
The gamepad mobile dock has two cylindrical controller grips on either side of the tablet — imagine two Move wands or Wiimotes. The left grip contains a PlayStation-style d-pad, a concave analog stick (that can be pressed in for an extra button), two left shoulder buttons, and a left trigger. The right grip contains your standard diamond of A, B, X, and Y buttons, as well as the two shoulder buttons, trigger, and analog stick that the left grip has. The left grip contains what is essentially a back button, while the right grip contains what is essentially a forward button, though how they map to a game is up to the game’s control scheme.
The controller has a vibration function, as well as a slot for an optional battery, which runs $69. With that extra battery, though, the Edge’s three-and-a-half hour battery life extends around an extra four hours — longer than a 3DS with 3D turned on.
Unfortunately, the Edge doesn’t employ some kind of feature that magically translates gamepad or touchscreen controls into a PC game’s standard control scheme, and that’s where the Edge — and really, the whole idea of the Edge — falls short.
Razer Edge controller dock

Playing games on the Edge

Even though the Edge sports competent hardware, and includes a Razer software launcher that scrapes your Steam and Origin games and tells you which ones support a gamepad, the problem is that the majority of PC games simply aren’t designed for controller or touchscreen use. I spent time with a handful of software on the Edge to make sure that notion held true, and it unfortunately did. I tested both versions of Steam (standard and Big Picture mode) with BioShock Infinite, and FTL: Faster Than Light. I figured BioShock, aside from being the newest big-budget PC game, would work well because not only does it have full controller support, but the first-person shooter genre — especially BioShock – doesn’t require too much controller input. FTL, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to have controller support, but anyone that has played FTL is fully aware that it could easily work on a  touchscreen.
Steam is a chore to use with the touchscreen, and doesn’t respond to the controller. Big Picture mode solves this, so once you’re accustomed to the layout, using Steam is effortless. The Razer launcher goes one step further and makes it so you rarely have to even bother with Steam.
BioShock started up and ran just fine. Sadly, the highest resolution available on the tablet is 1366×768, and I found the game was too choppy for my taste running on Ultra. When I turned the graphic quality down to Very High, everything ran much more smoothly. Controlling the game wasn’t an issue — you’re essentially playing an FPS on a console. I prefer mouse-and-keyboard for games in which I am required to aim, but BioShock isn’t as frenetic as other FPS titles.
As for FTL, it simply didn’t work. The game doesn’t have controller support, so that was expected. However, FTL makes a perfect candidate for touchscreen play. I was able to click on options from the main menu, but after that, the game simply didn’t recognize any other input. Just to make sure I don’t have cold, dead fingers, I had other people try it out, and they experienced the same issue. Bummer.
And this is why the Edge fails to deliver what it sets out to do. Since the Edge can’t translate its gamepad controls to universal PC game input, then the individual games themselves need to support the control schemes the Edge offers. While gamepad support isn’t uncommon in the PC gaming world, it only spans across a genre or two. You won’t be playing a traditional RTS on the Edge, nor will you be playing any kind of genre that requires a lot of input, like most MMOs. You also won’t be playing any game in general that doesn’t have controller or touchscreen support, such as a large portion of indie games. You can connect it to a TV, or dock it to a keyboard and mouse and play whatever you want just fine, but then you might as well just have a more powerful gaming PC that costs less money than the Edge, which costs over $1800 with all the accessories.
Gym bag

Portability and conclusions

With the gamepad attached, the already-heavy Edge becomes downright obnoxious. The tablet weighs over two pounds. The gamepad also weighs over two pounds. Together, you’re now lugging around a four pound, extra-wide tablet. Sure, four pounds isn’t that heavy, and in a gym setting it’s a comically small amount of weight, but lugging around a gym bag or backpack that is now four pounds heaver is not a treat. Supporting the weight while playing it isn’t a problem, as you not only have the two controller grips, but you naturally rest the tablet on your stomach or lap.
Currently, my commute involves walking over thirty minutes to a train, riding that train for a little over an hour, then another walk that’s around 15 to 20 minutes. My gym bag is normally barely noticeable during this commute. However, with the Edge awkwardly (the gamepad is quite long, around 15 inches from end-to-end) shoved into it, my back and shoulder became sore. Obviously, the weight won’t be a problem if your commute (or wherever you’re going) involves a safe place to set the Edge down, like your own car. So, it’s about as portable as a non-ultrabook laptop, except its length and shape make it noticeably unwieldy.
Overall, the Edge isn’t there. If every PC game you wanted to play supported touchscreen or gamepad controls, and if you could wipe the memory of how precise mouse-control is from your brain, and if you never needed to type things, then the Edge would be a great way to have a full PC gaming experience on-the-go. Considering you can plug the thing into a TV and attach a keyboard and mouse, the Edge does provide the experience of being able to literally take your gaming PC with you, which makes it on the cusp of something special. Unfortunately, due to the limited support for controls,  you’ll be taking your gaming PC with you but be unable to play most of the things you want to play. Unless, that is, you exclusively play popular FPSes and don’t mind having to aim with analog sticks.