Loadmaster writes "The new Oddworld game New 'n' Tasty is coming to every platform in the current generation and even the next generation but not the Xbox One. It's not that developer Oddworld Inhabitants isn't porting the game. It's not that they hate Microsoft or the Xbox One. No, it's that Microsoft has taken an anti-indie dev stance with the Xbox One. While the game industry is moving to Kickstarter and self-funded shops, Microsoft has decided all developers must have a publisher to grace their console."
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symbolset writes "In the wake of a disastrous E3 product reveal Microsoft has purportedly distributed a confidential internal 100-point 'FAQ' for the Xbox One that reads like it's from the Ministry of Truth. It was of course immediately leaked on pastebin. Kotaku has the story and an amusing online poll. In the discussion below make sure to line up the FAQ entries with the AC comments for extra 'Informative' moderation."
MojoKid writes "Dell recently introduced their Alienware X51 series of small form factor gaming PCs but until now, squeezing in components that were powerful enough for the enthusiast gamer was a significant thermal challenge. Intel's recent Haswell Core processor release, as well as NVIDIA's GeForce 670 series graphics cards have changed the game considerably though. The X51 R2 is shaped similar to to an Xbox 360 Slim, and though it's slightly larger, it would be right at home in a living room setting. Alienware is also bundling Steam Big Picture mode installations with systems as well. Performance-wise, with its latest CPU and GPU upgrades, the system is over twice as fast as the first generation X51, again thanks to Haswell and upgraded NVIDIA GeForce graphics. The console-sized PC is capable of running virtually any current gen DX11 title at full 1920X1080 HD resolution and high image quality settings."
Tackhead writes "E3 is turning into Bizarro World this year. Sony has not only promised that the PS4 will support used games without an online connection, they trolled the Xbox folks hard with this Official PlayStation Used Game Instructional Video. Compounding the silliness, and hot on the heels of the political firestorm surrounding Donglegate, Microsoft went for rape jokes during their Xbox presentation." Similarly, onyxruby writes "The Verge covers how Sony has crafted policies explicitly to make the PS4 consumer friendly to the public. They make the case that the PS4 will be superior in nearly every way [to the Xbox Next] by not requiring an Internet connection, not restricting used games, supporting indie developers and selling for $100 cheaper than the Xbox One." And if you're interested in the guts rather than the policies or the politics, Hot Hardware has a comparison of the internals of both of these new offerings.
mvar writes "According to Kotaku, a hacker named SuperDaeE who breached multiple gaming companies (Valve, Sony, MS to name a few) has released a 1.7TB treasure trove file for download. The file which contains source code for older titles plus development kits for the PS4 and Xbox One consoles, is encrypted and SuperDaeE claims that it is his insurance in case he gets arrested."
Following the confusion surrounding Microsoft's announcement of the Xbox One, the company has now clarified many of the hot-button issues in a set of posts on their official site. First, they confirmed that the console will need to phone home in order to continue playing games. On your primary console, you'd need to connect to the internet and check in once every 24 hours. They also announced that you'll be able to access and play any of your games by logging in on somebody else's console, but the internet connection will be required every hour to keep playing that way. Other media don't require the connection. Microsoft also explained how game licensing will work. On the upside, anyone using your console will be able to play your games, and you can share your games with up to 10 members of your family for free. The downside is the news about used games; Microsoft says they've "designed Xbox One so game publishers can enable you to trade in your games at participating retailers." The key word there is can, which implies that you can't without the publisher's express permission. Finally, the company made a set of statements about how Kinect's audio and video sensors will collect and share your data. "When Xbox One is on and you're simply having a conversation in your living room, your conversation is not being recorded or uploaded." They also say data gathered during normal use won't leave the console without your explicit permission.
puddingebola writes "This story from Forbes touches on Steve Ballmer's announcement that Microsoft will reorganize. From the article, 'Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer appears to be planning a major reorganization. His apparent objective is to help the company move toward becoming a "devices and services company," as presented in the company's annual shareholder letter last October.' What follows is an analysis of the current state of Microsoft's current ventures: shrinking PC sales, Nokia management calling for a change of course, Office 360 lagging, a $1 Billion investment in Nook, the losses on Xbox. Once again, if Microsoft starts to lose the revenue of Windows and Office, how long does the boat float? And what of the suggestion, on the verge of another update in the Xbox console, that Microsoft should sell the Xbox division?"
Nerval's Lobster writes "In his latest Asymco blog post, analyst Horace Dediu suggested that Windows' share of the personal-computing market is declining at a faster rate than many believe, once Microsoft's cash cow is put in direct competition with Android, iOS, and other platforms built for tablets. In that context, Windows' share of the personal-computing market has dipped past 60 percent on its way to 50 percent. The big question is whether it'll keep plunging. 'If Windows tablets start growing as fast as the tablet market overall then Windows could stabilize in share,' Dediu wrote. 'But if Android and iOS tablets follow their phone brethren in growth then it will be far harder for Microsoft to maintain share.' Yet despite that gloomy scenario, Dediu doesn't necessarily see a market-share dip as a cause for concern on Microsoft's part: 'Even if Windows dips to only 20 [percent] of the world's computing market it will still be perfectly 'viable' for some time to come,' he wrote. But even if Windows can perpetuate, will its decline fatally undermine Microsoft as a company? All that Windows (and Office) money also allows Microsoft to launch projects that lose money for years before they gain traction. Without that monetary base, for example, it's possible that the Xbox (which bled money for the first few years of its existence) wouldn't have survived long enough to become a viable platform from a financial perspective—much less the center of Microsoft's future plans for living room domination."
Nerval's Lobster writes "In the early 2000s, three young programmers without much money gathered in a basement and started coding what would become one of the most widely used pieces of software in the video game industry. 'Nobody really remembers how we survived in that period except we probably didn't eat much,' said David Helgason, the CEO and co-founder of Unity Technologies, maker of the Unity3D game engine. A decade later, untold numbers of developers have used Unity3D to make thousands of video games for mobile devices, consoles, browsers, PCs, Macs, and even Linux. The existence of Unity3D and similar products (such as the Unreal Engine and CryEngine) helped democratize game development, making the kinds of tools used by the world's largest game companies available to developers at little or no cost. This has helped developers focus less on creating a video game's underlying technology and more on the artistic and creative processes that actually make games fun to play. In this article, Helgason talks about how Final Cut Pro helped inspire his team during the initial building stages, how it's possible to create a game in Unity without actually writing code, and how he hopes to make the software more of a presence on traditional consoles despite Unity3D being several years late to supporting the PS3 and Xbox 360."
Phopojijo writes "Consoles have not really been able to profitably scale over the last decade or so. Capital is sacrificed to gain control over their marketshare and, even with the excessive lifespan of this recent generation, cannot generate enough revenue with that control to be worth it. Have we surpassed the point where closed platforms can be profitable and will we need to settle on an industry body, such as W3C or Khronos, to fix a standard for companies to manage slices of and compete within?"
New submitter geirlk writes "Toms Hardware reports that 'Group program manager of Xbox Incubation & Prototyping Jeff Henshaw recently told OXM that for every console Microsoft builds, it will provision the CPU and storage equivalent of three Xbox One consoles in the cloud. This allows developers to assume that there's roughly three times the resources immediately available to their game. Thus, developers can build bigger, persistent levels that are more inclusive for players.'"
MojoKid writes "Microsoft might have one of the most talked-about products at the moment with the Xbox One, but would you believe it doesn't own the rights to the most obvious domain name to accompany it? Domain squatting is a real issue for companies about to launch a new product. If they register a domain before the official launch, people can find that and subsequently ruin the company's surprise. This particular case is different, however. The domain name wasn't registered just the other day. Instead, a UK resident registered the name XboxOne.com in December of 2011, long before Microsoft itself even likely had a definitive name for its upcoming console. So, what can a company do in this instance? File a dispute with the National Arbitration Forum, an ICANN-approved organization that specializes in dealing with these sorts of matters."
An anonymous reader writes "Now that both Sony and Microsoft have announced their next-gen consoles, and we've gotten solid information about their hardware, technology, and features, Eurogamer asks whether Nintendo's struggling Wii U will be able to hold its own once the new competition arrives. 'Wii U has tanked — there's no other way to put it — with even the release of traditional big-hitters like Dragon Quest 10 failing to make a dent in the Japanese market. If you believe certain analysts, April saw things getting even worse in the U.S. with the Wii U shifting under 40,000 units, easily outsold by the 360 and PS3 — and, even more embarrassingly, the Wii.' If the Wii U doesn't see a miraculous turnaround, Nintendo may be left with the difficult choice of whether to port its software to competing consoles. It'll also serve as a bellwether to see if the big gamer complaint about the new Sony and Microsoft consoles — that they're only partly about games — is honest. 'At a time when the goal of its competitors is to own the living room, the extent of Nintendo's ambition is simply to be in it — a dedicated games console, and no more.'"
An anonymous reader writes "While everyone was glued to the Xbox One announcement, Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 launch, and Intel's pre-Haswell frenzy, it seems that AMD's launch was overlooked. On Wednesday, AMD launched its latest line of mobile APUs, codenamed Temash, Kabini, and Richland. Temash is targeted towards smaller touchscreen-based devices such as tablets and the various Windows 8 hybrid devices, and comes in dual-core A4 and A6 flavors. Kabini chips are intended for the low-end notebook market, and come in quad-core A4 and A6 models along with a dual-core E2. Richland includes quad-core A8 and A10 models, and is meant for higher-end notebooks — MSI is already on-board for the A10-5750M in their GX series of gaming notebooks. All three new APUs feature AMD HD 8000-series graphics. Tom's Hardware got a prototype notebook featuring the new quad-core A4-5000 with Radeon HD 8300 graphics, and benchmarked it versus a Pentium B960-based Acer Aspire V3 and a Core-i3-based HP Pavillion Sleekbook 15. While Kabini proves more efficient, and features more powerful graphics than the Pentium, it comes up short in CPU-heavy tasks. What's more, the Core-i3 matches the A4-5000 in power efficiency while its HD 4000 graphics completely outpace the APU."
Chewbacon writes "Details about the used-game policy on Microsoft's newly-announced Xbox One console have been leaked. The policy explains how used-game retailers can survive Xbox One destroying the used-game market as we know it: they have to agree to Microsoft's terms and conditions to do so. In summary, the used game retailer can still buy the game from the consumer, but they must report the consumer relinquishing their license to play the game to a Microsoft database. They must also sell it at a market price (35£ in the UK), but the publisher will get a cut of the price. The article goes on to explain how Xbox One will phone home periodically to verify a player hasn't sold the game according to the aforementioned database." A big downside is that we're likely going to see the end of cheap, used games. A potential upside pointed out by Ben Kuchera at the Penny Arcade Report is that this would unquestionably boost revenue for game publishers, giving the smart ones an opportunity to step away from the $60 business model and adopt pricing practices seen on Steam and iTunes (neither of which allow the purchase of "used" games/media). Also, it's worth noting that even if the policy leak is 100% correct, it could change before the console actually launches.
An anonymous reader writes "The Xbox One was revealed earlier, and Kotaku was able to get some answers about the always-online rumors that plagued the console before its announcement. Microsoft VP Phil Harrison said Xbox One doesn't need a constant connection in order to play games, and you won't be dropped from single-player games if your connection cuts out. However, it does require check-ins with Microsoft servers. This echoes the Xbox One FAQ, which cryptically says, "No, it does not have to be always connected, but Xbox One does require a connection to the Internet." The number Harrison gave was once every 24 hours, but Microsoft's PR department was quick to say that was just one potential scenario, not a certainty. Microsoft also provided half-answers about how used games and game sharing would work. Players will be able to take a game to a friend's house and play it (using their profile, at least). Players will also have some mechanism to trade and sell used games, but it's not yet clear exactly how it would work. If one player uses a disc to install a game on their Xbox One, then gives the disc to a friend, the friend will be able to install it, but needs to pay full price to play it. That scenario, however, assumes both players want to own the game — the second one would essentially be a unique copy. Microsoft said they have a plan for trading used games, which would involve deactivating the game on the original owner's console, but they aren't willing to elaborate yet." Several publications have hands-on reports with the new hardware: Engadget, Ars Technica, Gizmodo.
Today at a press conference leading up to E3, Microsoft unveiled its next-gen games/entertainment console, the Xbox One. Their stated goal for the Xbox One is to have a single device provide "all of your entertainment." One of the big changes is increased support for voice and and gesture input. You can turn the console on by voice, and it will recognize you and automatically login. Swiping to the side with your hand will browse through menu pages, and saying "Watch TV" will bring up the TV app very quickly. The same with music, internet, and movies. The new console also supports multitasking — for example, while watching a movie, you can bring up your web browser in a side panel and surf the web at the same time. There is also a built-in TV listings app that responds to channel names — saying "Watch CBS" will switch to CBS without giving it an actual channel number. By this point, you're probably asking: does it play games? Yes. Hardware specs: 8-core CPU/GPU, 8GB RAM, a Blu-ray drive, a 500GB HDD, USB 3.0, and Wi-fi Direct. (They didn't provide the CPU frequency, instead saying it had 5 billion transistors.) The Kinect sensor got an upgrade: 2Gbps of data capture has finer skeletal visibility, can detect minor orientation changes in hands and fingers, and can even calculate your balance and weight distribution. The new controller looks slightly bigger, and is designed to play well with Kinect. They've also updated Smartglass, the remote control software that runs on mobile devices, but they didn't explain much about it. The new Xbox Live will have 300,000 servers powering it, up from 15,000 this year — though, of course, no details were provided about server specs. The console will have native game capture and editing tools — essentially, a game DVR. Saved games will be stored in the cloud, and they have new matchmaking capabilities that operate in the background. Update: 05/21 17:50 GMT by S : Halo is getting its own live-action TV show, for some reason. They'll be collaborating with Steven Spielberg. Microsoft is also partnering with the NFL for live broadcasts and interactive experiences, such as split-screen Skype chats and fantasy league updates. Xbox One will be out "later this year." No price information. it will not be backward-compatible with Xbox 360 games.
An anonymous reader writes "The new Xbox is almost here and the details appear to strongly suggest 'always on' is the way forward. We all know that this is an artificial requirement and certainly there are plenty of people on all sides of the table. To paraphrase the user 'tuffy' who commented on this issue at Ars Technica recently; if you're trying to sell 'always online' as a feature of the future, there needs to be some benefit for me the customer. There is not one. Or, rather, there is no sign yet of any actual clearly compelling reason why any end user would support this limitation to their purchase. So, what's the best way to express this? Spend your money on an Ouya? Contact the Xbox team? These are all valid options but they also lack visibility. What we need is a way that could help actually quantify the levels of discontent in the gamer community. Maybe E3 attendees could turn their backs in protest like some did during Thatcher's funeral procession. Or gamers could sign some useless petition. What do Slashdotters think? Is the upcoming Steam box a reasonable plan? As a gamer, I'm of two minds about the whole thing. I really don't like it but I may roll over eventually and join the herd because I could get used to it. Then again part of me is rankled by this slow erosion of access to me and my data."
Nerval's Lobster writes "Even before the Google acquisition, Motorola Mobility was engaged in a major legal battle with Microsoft, insisting that the latter needed to pay around $4 billion per year if it wanted to keep using Motorola's patents related to the H.264 video and 802.11 WiFi standards. (The patents in question affected the Xbox and other major Microsoft products.) Had that lawsuit succeeded as Motorola Mobility originally intended, it would have made Google a boatload of cash—but on April 25, a federal judge in Seattle ruled that Microsoft's royalty payments should total around $1.8 million per year. 'Based on Motorola's original demand of more than $4 billion per year from Microsoft,' patent expert Florian Mueller wrote in an April 26 posting on his FOSS Patents blog, 'it would have taken only about three years' worth of royalties for Microsoft to pay the $12.5 billion purchase price Google paid (in fact, way overpaid) for Motorola Mobility.' This latest courtroom defeat also throws into question the true worth of Motorola Mobility's patents. After all, if the best Google can earn from those patents is a few pennies-per-unit from its rivals' products, that may undermine the whole idea of paying $12.5 billion primarily for Motorola Mobility's intellectual-property portfolio.
New submitter inkribbon writes that Microsoft blogger Paul Thurrott has now predicted that Microsoft's Xbox 720 console will actually hit the market this November. Thurrott offers a mix of what he considers cold, known facts and "clearly identified conjecture" about the upcoming device. Important to users is this confidently offered claim about the price: "Microsoft will initially offer two pricing models for the console: a standalone version for $499 and a $299 version that requires a two-year Xbox LIVE Gold commitment at an expected price of $10 per month."