Xbox One games are installed to the console’s hard drive and registered to users’ Xbox Live accounys. It remains unclear how the system will handle used games and Microsoft has failed to address the issue. According to a report from gaming news website MCV, retailers will be allowed to charge whatever they want for pre-owned Xbox One games, however both Microsoft and publishers will receive a percentage of every sale. Microsoft is looking to take control of the pre-owned market and will reportedly only allow specific retailers that have agreed to its terms to resell games. More →
The good news with patent suits is that even when they’re successful they very rarely result in outright sales bans of popular products. And now Ars Technica reports that yet another attempt to enforce a sales ban has fallen flat on its face, this time Motorola’s attempt to stop sales of Microsoft’s Xbox. According to Ars, Motorola filed suit against Microsoft back in 2010 because its Xbox allegedly infringed upon Motorola patents that detailed technologies for “video transmission and compression as well as Wi-Fi.” Motorola’s quest against the Xbox ended this week, however, when a six-person panel at the International Trade Commission decided to toss out the company’s complaint. A Microsoft spokesperson described the ITC’s decision as “a win for Xbox customers” that “confirms our view that Google had no grounds to block our products.”
Microsoft’s newly unveiled Xbox One has gamers excited despite some huge question marks, but Microsoft thinks its current-generation Xbox 360 still has legs. Speaking with Official Xbox Magazine, Microsoft’s senior vice president of Interactive Entertainment Business Yusuf Mehdi said that the company is looking to sell 25 million more Xbox 360 consoled over the next five years. The Xbox 360 recently registered its 28th consecutive month as top-selling console, but sales of the 8-year-old console have slowed significantly in recent quarters. Inevitable price cuts may help Microsoft on its mission, but the company also has a few tricks up its sleeve that will be announced during the annual E3 video game conference next month.
Both Google and Microsoft think it’d be a shame to deny Windows Phone users the glory of Keyboard Cat videos, which is why the two companies have agreed to team up and jointly create a native YouTube app for Microsoft’s mobile platform. The Next Web reports that the companies released a joint statement today saying that they “are working together to update the new YouTube for Windows Phone app to enable compliance with YouTube’s API terms of service, including enabling ads, in the coming weeks.” Once they finish the new app, Microsoft will remove the YouTube app it created from the Windows Phone store. The two companies’ decision to collaborate on a new app comes just a week after Google sent Microsoft a cease and desist letter asking the company to remove YouTube from the Windows Phone store because Microsoft’s modified version of the app lacked support for ads.
One of the most common problems that annoyed early Xbox 360 adopters was the appearance of the “red ring of death,” a flashing red light on the console’s start button indicating that its hardware was essentially fried and would need to be sent to Microsoft to be replaced. But Microsoft Game Studios vice president Phil Spencer tells Edge that the company has learned its lessons and that the new Xbox One will not experience hardware failures on a mass scale like the Xbox 360 did. In particular, Spencer noted that Microsoft’s success rate on the more recently released Xbox 360 Slim was “very high” and said that the same team behind the Slim also built the Xbox One, so chances are very good that the new console won’t burn out within months of buying it.
Windows 8 hasn’t done much to entice people to upgrade their laptop and desktop computers, and PC makers are hurting as a result. While Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 update might make the new platform a bit more enticing when it launches later this year, consumers and enterprise users may soon have an even better reason to upgrade. According to Rani Borkar, vice president of Intel’s Architecture group, the firm’s next-generation Haswell processors will help laptops get 50% better battery life during usage and they will last 20 times longer on standby, Computerworld reports. Those numbers already sound too good to be true, but to drop a cherry on top, Borkar says Haswell’s efficiency improvements will come at no cost to performance. Intel is expected to debut its Haswell chips next month at the annual Computex trade show.
There are some concerns about gaming on the next-generation Xbox One. The system doesn’t allow independent developers to self-publish games on Xbox Live Arcade and Microsoft’s used game policy is still unclear. The company did confirm that it has big plans for its in-house gaming studio, however. Phil Harrison, a corporate vice president at Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business, revealed in an interview with VentureBeat that Microsoft is investing heavily in the gaming experience for the Xbox One. The executive noted that the company is planning to invest more than $1 billion for new content, including 15 internally developed titles in the coming year, eight of which will be brand new. The Xbox One is expected to help breath new life into the struggling gaming industry when it is released later this year.
With all the emphasis that Microsoft is giving to its redesigned Kinect sensor as a key feature of the Xbox One, it’s not surprising that the company wants to bring it to its Windows operating system as well. And sure enough, Microsoft on Thursday announced that it will “deliver a new generation Kinect for Windows sensor next year” that will deliver several improvements to the previous version of Kinect, including a higher resolution camera capable of more accurately tracking and identifying objects, an expanded field of view and improved skeletal tracking. Microsoft says it will share more details about the next-generation Kinect for Windows at its BUILD 2013 conference in June and also says that the new sensor will likely be available on Window-based devices sometime next year.
Microsoft has released a second advertisement targeting Apple and its popular iPad this week. The company compares the iPad to an ASUS VivoTab RT, noting that the Windows RT device is slimmer, lighter and can perform more functions than Apple’s tablet. Microsoft highlights Windows RT’s multitasking ability, integration with Office, and convenience with features such as a built-in microSD card reader and compatibility with “nearly all printers.” This is the second advertisement released by Microsoft that targets the iPad, as an earlier video mocked the supposedly inferior voice recognition capabilities of Apple’s Siri voice assistant. Microsoft’s Windows RT commercial follows below. More →
Despite racking up respectable license sales, Microsoft’s new Windows 8 operating system has done little to help struggling PC makers regain their footing. Microsoft will look to reverse the souring user sentiment later this year when it launches Windows 8.1, codenamed “Windows Blue,” which will reportedly see Microsoft’s Start button return along with an option to boot and log in directly to desktop mode. In the meantime, however, the damage has been done. According to this year’s American customer satisfaction index report, Microsoft’s customer satisfaction rating has now fallen to its lowest level since Windows Vista launched in 2007. More →
Microsoft is working on some important features for Windows Phone that could help it become more than an also-ran. Microsoft senior marketing manager Greg Sullivan tells PCMag that his company is working on a project with the goal of producing “an increased seamlessness and integration across” both Windows Phone and the Xbox One. Although Sullivan wouldn’t go into any details about what this integration would entail, PCMag notes that Windows Phone 8 already “has Xbox-branded games and an Xbox-branded media store” that “lets you accumulate Xbox gamer points and connect to the Xbox Live network,” so it seems that Microsoft has some very ambitious plans for making its mobile operating system a part of its gaming world in the future.
Samsung’s smartphone commercials didn’t really begin to generate any buzz until the company took aim at Apple and started to mock its products and users. Now, it appears Microsoft is going to try to take the same road to riches with Windows 8 and Windows RT. Alongside a new campaign that compares Windows RT tablets like the ASUS VivoTab Smart to the competition, Microsoft has debuted a clever ad that pits Apple’s iPad against Windows RT. As the commercial shows off various features of Microsoft’s tablet OS, Siri on Apple’s iPad continuously complains that it cannot perform all of the functions being demoed on the Windows slate. The full video follows below. More →
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.