Independent game developers who are excited about selling new games on the Xbox One got some bad news on Wednesday. Microsoft confirmed to ShackNews that independent developers cannot self-publish their own games on Xbox Live Arcade, and are instead required to partner with Microsoft Game Studios or a third-party publisher. The policy is completely different from those employed by Sony and Nintendo. Sony embraces independent developers and welcomes them to create and self-publish content on the PlayStation Network. Microsoft’s upcoming console matches up with Sony’s PlayStation 4 on paper, however there are still some questions that have been left unanswered, such as the ability to play used games.
New details continue to trickle out following Microsoft’s Xbox One unveiling. Some new tidbits answer burning questions and some simply raise new questions, but there are also a few key features being discovered that Microsoft was oddly quiet about during its presentation but happily confirmed after the show. For one example, Forbes’ Matt Hickey was able to learn after the presentation that the new Xbox One will indeed support “Ultra HD” gaming at 4K resolution. “The video and interface portions, absolutely,” Microsoft marketing boss Yusuf Mehdi responded when asked whether or not the new Xbox would offer 4K gaming. It looks like games will be 1080p at launch, though 4K games will certainly be available down the road once Ultra HD TV sales pick up.
Microsoft is trying to differentiate the Xbox One from rival consoles by giving it several key set-top box features for television sets but that doesn’t mean it’s going to take away your need to subscribe to cable services anytime soon. As AllThingsD’s Peter Kafka notes, Microsoft is limiting the amount of live television content Xbox One users can access without a cable subscription, thus ensuring that cable providers don’t feel threatened.
“In order to get the TV part of Xbox One to work, you’ll essentially end up plugging it into your existing cable box, via another box that lets you perform an ‘HDMI pass-through,’” writes Kafka. “In essence, Xbox One is acting as a sort of custom remote for your cable box, which will let you change the channel; it is also creating its own programming guide so you can see what’s on TV.”
As Kafka also notes, Microsoft has worked with ESPN and HBO to create Xbox apps that only deliver content if you’re already subscribed to a cable service. So while we one day just might be able to get all the programming we want over our broadband connections, it’s highly unlikely that Microsoft will be the company to give it to us.
Sony might not have revealed its console hardware during the PlayStation 4 unveiling, but at least we walked away with a pretty good idea of how buying and selling games would work. Microsoft finally took the wraps off of its next-generation Xbox One video game console on Tuesday and many people were left with more questions than answers. The gameplay demos we saw during the presentation looked fantastic, but how exactly does buying and reselling those wonderful new games work? More →
We all know that the PC industry is in dire straits at the moment, which has naturally led to speculation that Microsoft could also soon find itself in big trouble. But while Microsoft’s struggles to establish itself in the mobile consumer device market are well-documented, the company still has an ace up its sleeve in the form of enterprise cloud services. Barron’s points us to a new note from UBS analyst Brent Thill, who makes the case that Microsoft cloud offerings such as Office 365 and SkyDrive have the potential to give the company a more predictable revenue stream and make the company more like IBM, which for years has raked in high earnings despite being out of the consumer electronics spotlight. More →
It’s taken a while, but Microsoft’s big plan for conquering consumers’ living rooms is now finally coming together. For years, major tech companies have been obsessed with getting their software and applications onto television screens and have mostly employed a series of set-top boxes that have done little to spark consumer interest. But unlike Apple and Google, Microsoft has always had a secret weapon that it’s been waiting to deploy to make sure that its software becomes entrenched on users’ television sets: Namely, the Xbox. More →
Bad news, Xbox fans: Your current collection of Xbox 360 games will not work on Microsoft’s new Xbox One, and the company’s used games policy is very unclear. The company finally took the wraps off its next-generation video game console on Tuesday and while there was plenty of good news to be had, there were also some some troubling announcements. More →
Microsoft on Tuesday announced a redesigned Kinect motion sensor at its Xbox One press event in Redmond, Washington. The accessory comes bundled with the new gaming console and delivers faster performance, improved gestures and voice recognition, and more. The sensor will allow for gamers to use a variety of voice commands to control the console, such as turning it on, watching tv, listening to music or searching the Web. Users can also navigate the Metro interface with pinch and swipe hand gestures. The Kinect can analyze a whopping 2GB of data per-second and is now equipped with a 1080p camera, a significant boost from the VGA sensor in the original model. Microsoft’s Xbox One gaming console is expected to be available this holiday season.
Microsoft on Tuesday finally took the wraps off its highly anticipated Xbox One, the successor to its Xbox 360 gaming console that will launch in time for the holidays this year. Earlier rumors have indicated that the new console will run on the “core” version of Windows 8 and will feature an 8-core 1.6GHz processor, 8GB of RAM, an 800MHz graphics processor, a 50GB 6x Blu-ray Disc drive and Gigabit Ethernet connectivity, but Microsoft finally put all of the speculation to bed on Tuesday during its big Xbox event. More →
After years of leaks, rumors and speculation, Microsoft’s next-generation Xbox will finally be unveiled on Tuesday during a press conference in Redmond, Washington. Recent reports suggest that the new “Xbox 720,” “Xbox Infinity” or whatever else it might be called will feature vastly improved specs such as an eight-core processor, 8GB of RAM, an 800MHz graphics processor, a 50GB 6x Blu-ray drive, gigabit ethernet connectivity and enhanced TV features. The new console may also require an always-on Internet connection to play games, though reports on that front have conflicted. We’ll know all there is to know shortly, however, and here’s how to watch all the action live from your computer, Xbox or smartphone: More →
Microsoft’s Windows 8 platform hasn’t exactly been the catalyst PC makers were looking for as sales continue to slide, but the new operating system does seem to be making some progress. IHS-owned market research firm Displaybank says that of the 46 million notebook computers that shipped during the first quarter this year, 4.57 million of them included touchscreens, Digitimes reported. That figure is good for a 10% share of the global market and is up a healthy 51.8% from the fourth quarter last year. Displaybank is impressed by touchscreen laptops’ relatively quick penetration considering how young the market is, but it remains to be seen whether or not Microsoft’s new platform and the touchscreens that come along with it will help struggling PC makers rebound.
The Xbox 360 topped the charts again in April, marking the 28th consecutive month Microsoft’s gaming console has outsold Sony’s PlayStation 3 and Nintendo’s Wii consoles. According to research from NPD Group, the Xbox 360 accounted for 42% of current-generation sales with 130,000 units sold last month. It wasn’t all good news, however, as sales plummeted 50% from 261,000 units in March. As a whole, the industry continued to struggle in April with total gaming sales down 25% year-over-year from $657.5 million to $495.2 million. Microsoft and Sony’s next-generation consoles are expected to help sales pick up when they launch ahead of the holidays this year.
In the past year, Microsoft has increased its efforts to dethrone Google as the world’s top search engine. To accomplish this, the company has launched a “Scroogled” advertising campaign that looks to shine a light on Google and its sometimes questionable privacy practices. The company has previously attacked Google’s search engine and Gmail service, and is now taking aim at its Chrome Web browser. iCosmoGeek obtained an internal video that is believed to be created by Microsoft that mocks Google’s latest Chrome commercial. Google recently created an advertisement touting Chrome’s ability to sync addresses and passwords across smartphones, tablets and desktop computers. Microsoft’s video attacks the company, meanwhile, for tracking customers and monetizing their personal information with targeted advertisements across smartphones, tablets and desktops. Google’s original video and Microsoft’s parody follow below. More →