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They even put ads in Minesweeper. Minesweeper!

I used to pop open Minesweeper and play a game in 30 seconds. Now it takes 30 seconds to get through loading screens and all this "Xbox live integration" crap. I hate it. Who really wants "achievements"? I just want a fast loading game that I can throw on a USB stick.

For all the improvements they've made in the Desktop space, the direction they're heading with Metro is so awful for power users.

That doesn't match my experience at all. Just to check my sanity, I flipped open Minesweeper and played a game on easy. Between the loading time and my 23 second win, I spent about the 30 seconds you mentioned from start to finish entirely. I didn't notice any ads at all, and the only Xbox Live interaction I saw was the non-modal growl-like notice that I was signed into Xbox Live as Encosia.

Also, there's nothing about Windows 8 that prevents you from running an older Minesweeper.exe from a USB stick like you mentioned.

Speaking of ads, here's a panorama of the entire app: http://encosia.com/i/minesweeper-wide/. The ad only takes up about 4.5% of the landscape, in the least conspicuous possible spot. That ad is like putting a small banner ad in the footer of a website. If you're jumping into the app to play a game of Minesweeper, you'd never even see the ad unless you're using a 4,850 pixel wide display.

I find the ad more offensive than obtrusive. This is an operating system I paid for, one where Minesweeper has traditionally been bundled - for free, and without advertising. This also changes the dynamic where now Microsoft has a vested interest in learning everything they can about me to deliver more relevant ads to improve click-through rates. The whole idea of my OS tracking me sends shivers up my spine.

    Also, there's nothing about Windows 8 that prevents you from running an older Minesweeper.exe from a USB stick like you mentioned.
For now. It's clear the direction that MS is taking Windows though, and I don't know how long I can reasonably expect to have such control. And if I want to throw that older exe onto a new WinRT machine, it would not function.

It's an incredible stretch to extrapolate from WinRT and suggest that x86 Windows will disable running arbitrary executables anytime in the foreseeable future. Surely no one actually believes that Microsoft is planning to turn away the huge mass of customers currently doing that with Enterprise apps, random Shareware, etc in Windows 7/8 any time soon.

We aren't going to agree about the ad. I literally never saw it in Minesweeper until I went looking for it today, and it's clearly a generic CPM based display ad instead of something invasive based on your activity. Focusing on these nearly-hidden ads in ancillary apps seems like the pinnacle of bikeshedding to me.

edit: Not to say that your opinion is wrong or mine is better. I just can't get on board with all of the fuss I've been seeing lately about these ads. Having been using Windows 8 as my primary desktop OS for about a year, I never see the ads. I have to hunt for them to even verify that they're still there when another blog post pops up about them.

>Speaking of ads, here's a panorama of the entire app: http://encosia.com/i/minesweeper-wide/ . //

I don't get it, which app. It says minesweeper, where are the mines? Is this like the minesweeper starter app, did they feel interstitials were so loved on the web that they wanted to give people more of them?

Also, don't they have any designers at MS or is mis-alignment the new grid? Or perhaps there's some cunning reason [other than making it stand out more in the most annoying fashion] that the advert should not adhere to the grid of the rest of the content.

I did a before and after for Minesweeper.


If that's not crack smoking, what is?

The heck?! 4000pixels, and the game itself isn't even visible!

Minesweeper? Really?

Hopefully, the people who laughed at Gabe Newell and Notch for being "paranoid" are starting to get it now.

Minesweeper only has ads if you play the new "Minesweeper Adventure" mode or the "Daily Challenges" mode. If you play the classic mode there are no ads.

Encosia's link shows [what appears to be] an interstitial with an ad, can you bypass that and go straight to the game?

That's a menu with choices of which game mode you want to play (keep in mind it's nearly 5,000px wide and you only see part of the left edge at first), not a pointless interstitial ad type experience. Similar to opening most modern games I think?

If you click/tap one of the tiles for the classic game modes, like "easy", you see a brief loading screen with nothing but a Minesweeper flag icon, and then go straight to the game and there are no ads on that next screen.

It still downloads the ads. I just checked with wireshark.

It's a joke. I'm not letting it near my network.

Out of curiosity, do you avoid all ad-supported freeware? This seems no less innocuous than other popular free apps with ads like Words with Friends, Skype, Evernote, Trillian, etc.

That's a fair point about the pre-loading when you likely will never even see it. That doesn't really bother me, but I can see your point there. Would it bother you significantly less if it only loaded the ad on-demand in the rare instance that you actually scrolled that far right?

I don't know if I'd use "Words with Friends" as an example of a non-scammy ad-based app. Because since Zynga bought them they turned evil as hell. I moved to Wordfeud, bought myself an ad-free experience, and have been happy ever since.

Yes I do. All of them.

I'd rather pay for something which is not ad supported.

So, are you saying it would make you happy if an ad-less Minesweeper were available in the Store for a couple dollars?

I prefer buying paid apps when they're available too. I don't play a ton of games, but I own the paid version of the ones I play that offer both choices (Words with Friends, Letterpress, Drop7).

I think we're seeing that pricing model fade away though, particularly in the gaming segment. Developers have discovered that only a tiny minority of paid games will be popular enough to hit the Angry Birds jackpot, driving them toward ads or IAP approaches instead. Even when they do hit that jackpot, some popular paid apps are struggling to subsist in the long term with no mechanism for paid upgrades (e.g. Sparrow).

Yes 100% I would be happy if they then took a couple of dollars off the price of Windows to compensate.

My issue is that this is a built in feature/program which has been around for at least 20 years which now has advertising with no opt out pumped into it and the base price of the OS is still more expensive than ever.

So for the Window 8 upgrade, I gain advertising pumped into my existing applications and get charged for the privilege. Fuck 'em.

That's not true. The Windows 8 Pro "System Builder" license is the same price as 7 Pro, not "more expensive than ever." The upgrade is only $40 for the next two months, going up to $70 in February, which is the cheapest its ever been. So, they took more than a couple dollars off the price. Happy?

I'm still having the hardest time understanding why you seem to be so angry about this, of all things to focus on about Windows 8.

That's US pricing. It's different over here in Europe.

What are the prices there?

"Microsoft Windows 8 Pro 32-bit DVD - OEM" is £105 GBP (~ $170 USD).

"Microsoft Windows 8 32-bit DVD - OEM" is £77 GBP (~ $120 USD).

Prices include "sales tax" known locally as VAT.

How do those prices compare to the UK pricing for the same SKUs of Windows 7? Do you get the discounted Win8 upgrade deal there too?

Windows 7 Pro OEM = 82 GBP ex VAT

Windows 7 Home Premium OEM = 55 GBP ex VAT

Large difference!

There are a number of Win8 upgrade restrictions in the UK AFAIK including you can only upgrade retail PKUs (not previously purchased OEM ones). The deal is 25 GBP for the upgrade.

Well that's a new level of bloatware.

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