Instant switching between apps, Kinect system, cloud services
Microsoft has revealed its latest iteration of its Xbox game console at a media event. The Xbox One, codenamed Durango during its development, is billed as an all-in-one system for the living room, with a greater focus on allowing users to watch live television and other media, along with heavier Kinect integration, Skype calling, and gaming improvements.
A New Generation Revealed
Microsoft is set to begin its Xbox event in Redmond, Washington. "A New Generation Revealed" is the theme for the gathering, suggesting the company will finally show its next-generation gaming console. Check out our live page at 10am Pacific, 1pm Eastern, for images and updates from the event.
Electronic Arts to discontinue Online Pass policy for new titles
If a report at VentureBeat is accurate, Electronic Arts has decided to rid itself of the reviled online pass. According to the report, the EA senior director of corporate communications John Reseburg confirmed the cancellation of the program, saying “Yes, we’re discontinuing Online Pass, none of our new EA titles will include that feature." Viewed as a countermeasure to used game sales, the pass included in the purchase of new games allowed game play on the company's servers across Xbox Live or the PlayStation Network. Used purchasers, or customers borrowing a game, must purchase a pass if they wish to play online, with access costing approximately $10.
New payment system to work on Xbox Live, Windows Store, Windows Phone Store
Microsoft may be scrapping its Points virtual currency in favor of local currency pricing, according to a report. The rumor, which has surfaced a few times in the past, is now bolstered with new claims that the new system would work across platforms, with Microsoft preparing to reveal it at the E3 game show later this year.
Prototypes said to have Kinect-style motion controls
Microsoft is looking to create a set-top box for media playback, according to one report. Continuing previous rumors, the software giant is working on a device that will allow users to sign onto Xbox Live and use its apps to view streaming video, effectively cloning the non-gaming aspects of the Xbox 360 game console into a relatively-cheap product.
Next Microsoft game console expected to be revealed
Invitations sent to media for a product reveal at Microsoft's Xbox campus suggest that the company is close to unveiling its new game console. The invitation, headed with the Xbox logo, alluding to "A new generation revealed" and using the hashtag #XboxReveal, strongly hints that the event will show off the much-rumored successor to the Xbox 360.
Dashboard app allows for Kinect motion controls, voice recognition
A new Microsoft Xbox Live app, scheduled to launch on April 23, will allow users of the gaming and media service to order Pizza Hut products directly from the Xbox 360 console. The new app gives customers access to the restaurant's entire menu, and features full Kinect integration in addition to voice recognition, or regular game controller use.
Google Glass companion app includes 'Eye Gestures' functions
Google may allow for users of Glass to use their eyes to control the headset. A user by the name of fodawim on Reddit found eye options hidden in the code of the companion app for Android, specifically functions for winking. Of the five, two related to wink calibration, two turned the function on and off, and one last seems to allow a wink to trigger a photo from its 5-megapixel camera. Other eye-related controls have yet to be found, though the company has patented a number of different control systems that could potentially be used with Glass.
Always-on console rumor claimed true by Microsoft analyst
Microsoft will reveal its follow-up to the Xbox 360 on May 21st, according to multiple reports. The console, codenamed Durango, is apparently scheduled to launch in "early November" and in theory has a high $500 price-point, though this could be lowered to $300 when combined with a subscription similar to that of the $99 subsidized Xbox 360 Kinect bundle.
Service might still be tied to Internet service
HBO may be relenting on its position towards allowing HBO outside of cable TV subscription packages, Reuters reports. CEO Richard Plepler says that the company is considering allowing access to HBO GO, its digital streaming option, via bundles with broadband Internet subscriptions. That would likely add about $10 to $15 to a person's Internet bill. "We would have to make the math work," says Plepler.
Cites high cost of theatrical release, falling DVD sales
An independently-made movie has opted to premiere on the Xbox 360 instead of through a cinema or on DVD. Pulp, a British comedy, will appear on the game console before other media, with the film creator citing the high costs of movie promotion, along with the struggles of selling a DVD through high-street stores.
Xbox app provides access to Slacker service on the dashboard
Streaming music provider Slacker has announced its availability on the Xbox Live service. The service allowing Xbox Live subscribers in the US and Canada to listen to millions of songs and hundreds of pre-programmed stations on an ad-supported basis, including a new videogame music soundtrack station curated by gaming culture blog, Destructoid. The app is now available through the Xbox Live Marketplace.
Physical game registrations to kill secondhand market
Microsoft's next console will need an Internet connection to operate, according to reports. A new version of Xbox Live will apparently be central to the console itself, and through registering physical games to an individual account, would render discs useless to anyone else wanting to play them, and in effect kill off the second-hand games market.
Claimed Durango system architecture makes appearance
Claiming a world exclusive, VGLEAKS has revealed the purported system architecture for the next generation Xbox. Codenamed Durango, many of the claimed specifications align with what we already know about the device. If accurate, the architecture also reveals a few surprises, including an HDMI-in port, as well as the expected HDMI-out.
Personalization options, Home and Away audio feeds in app
Microsoft has added an app that covers hockey matches to Xbox Live, joining existing sporting apps from ESPN, the NBA and others. The NHL GameCenter service will provide subscribers the option to watch hockey live and on-demand in HD, as well as the ability to personalize the service for statistic tracking, and a number of on-demand classic games from the history of the sport.
Deal aborbs R2 team, some patents
Microsoft has won out amongst a group of parties looking to buy up R2 Studios, say sources for the Wall Street Journal. Although the exact value of the deal hasn't been identified, the sources say that R2's founder, Blake Krikorian, will join Microsoft with a small team. Microsoft is also picking up some device control patents.
Canada receives French-language video channel on console
Microsoft has added more apps to the Xbox 360 game console's already sizeable catalog, with an update that covers North America and parts of Europe. The key app additions this time lie in the US, where gamers will be able to watch original content from Blip.TV, as well as access the wide catalog available to Rhapsody users.
Sources reveal purported timing for next-gen Xbox release
Microsoft is planning to have its next-generation Xbox on the shelves in time for the 2013 Holiday Season, reports Bloomberg. According to sources ‘who declined to be identified,’ but who have seen Microsoft’s product roadmap, the new Xbox will go on sale in time for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Microsoft is also said to be undecided about whether to launch the next Xbox at a gaming event such as E3, or hold its own special launch event.
Custom consoles to longest subscribers, free game to all
Microsoft is celebrating the tenth anniversary of Xbox Live by giving some of its longest subscribers a free console. While a gift of hardware will not be made to all users of the service, Microsoft is also offering a free Xbox Live Arcade game to download, as well as allowing US-based members entry into a sweepstake for various prizes.
Air Patriot for mobile, SmartGlass for Xbox on iOS
While it is not uncommon for companies that compete with Apple to release apps for its wildly successful iOS platform (for example, Google's many iOS apps), it was still something of an odd coincidence that two other would-be Apple rivals in the mobile space, particularly in the tablet segment -- Amazon and Microsoft -- both released new apps for iOS today. Amazon has brought its own in-house game Air Patriots to iOS and Android (along with a slightly different version for the Kindle Fire HD), and Microsoft has unveiled SmartGlass for Xbox on iOS.
Sources suggest Xbox-centric tablet to have custom ARM processor
Microsoft is looking into making its own 7-inch tablet specifically for gaming, despite only recently launching the general-purpose Microsoft Surface. Rumors suggest that the software giant is working on the hardware, which will allegedly have a custom ARM processor and high-bandwidth RAM for gaming, though it is not clear if it will be for the current or next generation Xbox..
Microsoft offers 250GB Xbox for $99, with Kinect for $150 with Xbox LIVE subscription
Microsoft is expanding its subsidy for the Xbox 360 console that started with the 4GB model back in May. Now, there are three choices, with potential buyers capable of picking the 4GB console with Kinect or a 250GB console without for the same $99. The third option adds Kinect to the 250GB console but bumps the price of entry to $149.
Latest beta sees Xbox Video app default to credit card
Microsoft is reportedly replacing its virtual currency with real-world currency, users of the latest Windows 8 beta claim. The Microsoft Points system, used on Xbox Live for purchasing downloadable content, is apparently absent from the Windows App version of the Xbox Video store, according to The Verge.
Zune store replacement to have subscription, free options
Images of the oncoming Xbox Music Pass, originally revealed in June and considered to be the spiritual successor to the Zune marketplace, have leaked online. The service, according to images received by Engadget, will allow music to be downloaded and synchronized across the Xbox, Windows, and Windows Phone platforms, and appears to offer various subscription options.
Microsoft reveales list of 40 Xbox games for Windows 8
Microsoft on Friday revealed the list of the first 40 games, some of which will be available on the October 26 launch of Windows 8 and Windows RT. The majority, or 29, of the titles are from Microsoft Studios and some of these are exclusive to the platform. Freshened up classics like Minesweeper, Solitaire, and Mahjong are back, but so are some more advanced games.
Live programming, daily polls, voter registration on channel
Microsoft is adding a new hub to Xbox Live for the upcoming presidential race. Election Hub 2012 will offer US-based Xbox 360 owners the chance to view live feeds from the Republican and Democratic national conventions, watch the three presidential debates, and receive news updates about the candidates and their respective political parties.
Google adds saved search settings to accounts
Google has added a function that saves settings for its search engine. Preferences set for Google Search will be saved to the Google account, which in turn will automatically configure search on other browsers and web-enabled devices using the same account. Separate options for desktop and mobile search will allow for different configurations for each, all of which can be adjusted by selecting the cog symbol at the top of search results pages after logging in.
Auction by leak provider sells one of two Microsoft dev-kits
A computer claimed to be a development kit for the Microsoft Xbox Durango has sold on eBay for $20,100. The auction was set to run for another six days, but sold early after 43 bids had been placed for the machine. The original eBay listing consisted of one image of the box and a single line of text, saying it came with power cables and a wired controller.
A leaked image suggests the Kinect 2 will work with improved depth-of-field and use more movement data than before. The image surfaced on a Twitter feed run by @superDaE, apparently showing perceived depth as seen from the sensor. The two subjects viewed appear to have a higher level of detail than the current version of the Kinect is capable of producing, suggesting the system will measure movements with higher degree of accuracy.
China-based domain squatter fails to respond to complaint
Microsoft has won two domain-related disputes with a resident of China. The person, identified as “Cheng Juan” in the complaint, registered various domains through GoDaddy.com in what appears to be an extensive domain-squatting bid. According to Fusible, the complaints were filed with the National Arbitration Forum in late May, with the decision in Microsoft's favor published late last month.
Includes Studio, APIs, sample code
Streaming service seen as considerable threat to console industry
Microsoft appears to have recognized the potential impact of the game streaming service OnLive, and may have eyed the company as a potential acquisition to help cement the Xbox console's future in the cloud gaming era. The revelation was buried in a recently revealed (and then rapidly removed) 56-page document purporting to lay out Microsoft's plans for a new Xbox due next year.
Fresh rumors focus on Monday's mystery event
[Update: official response from Barnes & Noble] Rumors surrounding Microsoft's mystery announcement have continued to swirl, with the latest reports pointing to a tablet developed through a collaborative effort with bookseller Barnes & Noble. Previous rumors claim the imminent event will focus on a Microsoft-branded tablet powered by Windows, however unnamed sources have told TechCrunch that the surprise is actually a tablet/e-reader featuring Xbox Live streaming.
Document detail SmartGlass, possible augmented reality
A file thought to be a Microsoft company presentation about the future of the Xbox was briefly leaked online before being removed, reports say. The 56-page document -- dated to August 2010 -- describes concepts such as a new Xbox, augmented reality glasses, Xbox TV apps, and SmartGlass. It was removed from Scribd following a takedown notice from a law firm listing Microsoft as a client.
Record videos from Xbox, PS3 feeds
Among the myriad of gaming companies in Los Angeles this week for E3, Elgato may seem a bit out of place. The company last week released its Game Capture HD, however, and we had a chance to check out the new recording device for Xbox, PlayStation or any other game console.
Zune branding officially killed by Microsoft
While the Zune hardware has been gone for some time, the Zune branding is finally dead. Microsoft spokeswoman Melissa Stewart confirmed at the Electronic Entertainment Expo that the brand is going away to make room for the better known and more respected Xbox brand for its entire entertainment service, including audio and video. Zune Music customers who created playlists using the old service can still access the content using the newly announced Xbox Music Service. The new Xbox Music Service commences sometime this fall.
Refined approach to multi-screen experience
Microsoft executives speaking at the company's E3 keynote did not surrender any details surrounding the next Xbox, however they did show off the company's SmartGlass technology. Electronista took a closer look at the system, which aims to integrate Xbox, Windows Phone and Windows 8 functionality into a seamless experience.
Simultaneous release expected August 21
As promised by Valve in 2011, the follow-up to one of the most popular player-versus-player online games of all time, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is shipping for the PlayStation Network, Xbox Live, and Steam for Windows and OS X on August 21. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is a combined effort from both Valve, and Hidden Path Entertainment. Demos are available for play at this week's Electronics Entertainment Expo.
Xbox Live gold and Amazon Prime subscriptions required
Earlier today, Amazon and Microsoft made the Amazon Instant Video streaming media application available to Xbox Live gold-level subscribers. Over 17,000 streaming videos are now available to watch on Microsoft's console for free. Both an Xbox Live gold subscription and an Amazon Prime membership are required for streaming.
Woodstock music to have Facebook link, more
Microsoft's restarted music plans will see them escape the platform and feature limits of the Zune Music Marketplace, according to new leaks. Tipsters for The Verge had the service, codenamed Woodstock, being available not just to Windows, Windows Phone, and Xbox users, but Android and iOS as well. It would also be playable on the web, although without needing a plugin.
Skype seeks development engineer with Xbox focus
The Skype team is looking to bolster its ranks by posting a job listing which references the Xbox gaming console. Based in its London office, the position tells little about exactly how the video, voice, and text chat service will integrate into the platform hasn't been revealed. The Software Development Engineer will contribute to the development of experiences on Xbox, the listing reads.
Xbox Live services to go free from April 19-23
In an attempt to get some more users hooked on its premium Xbox Live subscription service, Microsoft will offer it for free for five days, commencing on Thursday, April 19, and running until Monday, April 23. Partners like Hulu Plus, Netflix, and EPIX will also open their doors for free during the same time period. Depending on where users are, however, they will get various amounts of free app access during those five days.
Next-gen Xbox console to get 16-core CPU?
The next-generation Xbox console, which may or may not be called the Xbox 720, may be powered by a 16-core CPU, SlashGear reported on Friday. That CPU may be branded as IBM Power PC, and be paired with one or two GPUs that has comparable processing power to AMD's Radeon HD 7000. That power will be needed to run next-generation games and the Kinect successor, which is said to be able to read lips and fingertips as well as track multiple players and thus require at least four cores.
GameStop settlement offers customer restitution
GameStop has settled a class-action lawsuit concerning advertised downloadable content not being included in used games being resold. Under the settlement terms, the game retailer must warn potential buyers from California online and in-store that certain content may require an additional purchase.
PS Orbis may use both dedicated and integrated GPU
Sony's PlayStation Orbis may have had some of its specifications firmed up through an unusually detailed rumor. The next-generation combo is now believed by IGN to be using one of AMD's current higher-end processors, the quad-core 2.9GHz A8-3850, with the as yet unannounced Radeon HD 7670. While the graphics would be considered low-end by modern standards, the A8's integrated Radeon HD 6550D video might be used in an asynchronous pairing to offload some tasks.
Next Xbox may lean on graphics and DRM
A currently uncertain but unusually detailed rumor Monday has Microsoft's next-generation Xbox making aggressive decisions on hardware. Multiple tips to VG24/7 supported AMD's hints of movie-quality 3D graphics with claims there would be two Radeon HD 7000 graphics cores. Rather than simply pair them up to form a single virtual card, as with AMD's usual CrossFire, it would have each core rendering separate objects in the same scene.
Player can be controlled using gestures, voice
The BBC has finally brought its iPlayer streaming video player to the Xbox 360 for UK residents. The app enables users to access many of the latest BBC television content, along with the company's radio stations and select programs from other broadcasters.
Sources corroborate 2013 E3 rumor
Microsoft has rejected rumors that have suggested the company may unveil its next-generation Xbox later this year at E3. In a statement provided to Bloomberg, Microsoft spokesman David Dennis claimed that the company will not be focusing on hardware at the gaming conference this year.
Xbox audio developer sought, ad pulled quickly
Microsoft is, once again, seeking to fill a job position for a Software Development Engineer for the next Xbox. The ad was pulled, most likely because it makes a reference to a "next generation console." It does seek a software engineer to develop content for the console, and the job is based at Microsoft's Redmond, Washington headquarters.
Epic Games pushes for faster PS4 and next Xbox
Epic Games is concerned that Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony might let Apple take over in gaming by being too conservative with their hardware, the developer's VP Mark Rein said in a discussion this week at the Game Developer Conference. The Bulletstorm and Gears of War creator told CVG his company was "constantly pushing" hardware designers to make high-end systems to give a clear incentive to pick their systems over what Apple makes. Rein liked Apple, but he didn't want TV gaming to disappear by eroding the gap in experiences.