Microsoft patent suggests eyewear integration for Xbox, Windows Phone

By on March 19, 2012 at 10:45 PM.

Microsoft patent suggests eyewear integration for Xbox, Windows Phone

A new Microsoft patent published recently by the United States Patent and Trademark Office revealed that the company is working on two types of headsets for its Xbox and Windows Phone platforms, PatentBolt reported on Monday. The first unit resembles an aviation-type helmet and is aimed at Xbox gamers, while the second looks like a pair of sunglasses for use with smartphones and other future devices. The software giant states that a compact display system can be integrated into goggles, a helmet or other eyewear, enabling the wearer to view images from a computer, media player or other electronic device. Since the human eye can’t focus on images less than a few centimeters away, however, Microsoft’s headsets will have the ability to virtually project an image.

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Microsoft: No new Xbox hardware this year

By on March 16, 2012 at 9:05 PM.

Microsoft: No new Xbox hardware this year

Microsoft has confirmed that the successor to the Xbox 360 will not be announced at the 2012 Electronic Entertainment Expo. “While we appreciate all the interest in our long-range plans for the future, we can confirm that there will be no talk of new Xbox hardware at E3 or anytime soon,” the company said in a statement to Kotaku on Thursday. “For us, 2012 is all about Xbox 360-and it’s the best year ever for Xbox 360. The console is coming off its biggest year ever-a year in which Xbox outsold all other consoles worldwide.” The next-generation Xbox is rumored to be six times more powerful than the current Xbox 360. It has been reported that the console will be equipped with a GPU based on ATI’s Radeon HD 6670 and should offer support for 3D technology, 1080p HD output, multiple displays and DirectX 11. It is also possible that Microsoft’s next-generation system may use online downloads and swappable solid state cards rather than a traditional disc drive. More →

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New Sonic game showcases Xbox, Windows Phone integration [video]

By on March 16, 2012 at 7:35 PM.

New Sonic game showcases Xbox, Windows Phone integration [video]

Microsoft first discussed its “three screens and a cloud” gaming strategy in 2009, describing a scenario that could carry a single video game across a TV screen, a PC and a smartphone. Now, nearly three years later, Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II counts itself among the first games to showcase this exciting integration. Owners of an Xbox 360 and a Windows Phone will be able to start a game on one device, pause, and pick up on the other device exactly where they left off. “One of the cool things about it is that the Windows Mobile 7 [sic] and the Xbox are going to be able to work in tandem in ways that are completely new,” Digital Grand Manager for Sonic 4: Episode II Ken Balough told Official Xbox Magazine in an interview. “So when you pick up the Windows Mobile 7 and you’ll be able to play Sonic Episode II, save it, stop, boot up your Xbox 360 and pick up right where you left off. And that’s a really cool thing Microsoft has going between the devices and I’m a huge fan of it.” The video interview with Balough follows below, and the conversation pertaining to the Xbox and Windows Phone can be heard shortly after the 4-minute mark. More →

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Video game publishers need to embrace different pricing models to survive, Nexon CEO says

By on March 15, 2012 at 6:40 PM.

Video game publishers need to embrace different pricing models to survive, Nexon CEO says

Nexon, the free-to-play gaming developer behind the hit game MapleStory, sees the traditional publishing model fading away. As game consoles become more advanced, video game budgets continue to increase and publishers are forced to charge consumers more for each game. But the $60 price tag associated with today’s games will simply not survive, Nexon America CEO Daniel Kim told GamesIndustry International. “I think at some point the console makers have to make a decision about how closed or open they’re going to be to the different models that are going to be emerging,” Kim said. “Today it’s free-to-play, and I’m convinced that one is going to continue to flourish and expand into other genres and other categories, but there may be something else completely and entirely different that comes out that again changes the industry.” Read on for more. More →

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Diablo III announced for May 15th, pre-orders now available

By on March 15, 2012 at 10:30 AM.

Diablo III announced for May 15th, pre-orders now available

Blizzard on Thursday announced that its highly anticipated follow-up to the hit game Diablo II will be available on May 15th. Digital copies of Diablo III can be pre-ordered starting Thursday for $59.99. The game’s story picks up twenty years after its predecessor, and a new generation of heroes must now face the forces of evil. Players will be able to choose from a barbarian, a monk, a demon hunter, a witch doctor and a wizard. Blizzard’s fast-paced hack and slash action role-playing game will be available at retailers throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, South Korea, Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand and the regions of Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau. The digital version will be available in Mexico, Argentina, Chile and Brazil as well, but gamers in Latin American countries and Russia will have to wait until June 7th. Read on for Blizzard’s press release. More →

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The iPad could be the future of gaming

By on March 13, 2012 at 4:30 PM.

The iPad could be the future of gaming

With Friday’s release of the new iPad, Epic Games president Mike Capps has offered a huge amount of praise for Apple’s new tablet in the context of video games. “Apple is definitely building their devices as if they care a lot about ‘triple-A’ games,” said Capps, in an interview with Reuters. Only the highest-quality games are considered “triple-A” titles, most of which cost tens of millions of dollars to produce and are usually found on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Capps is trying to push console manufacturers to release more powerful devices in the hopes that they won’t be left behind. Read on for more. More →

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Video game sales continue to slide in February, Xbox still top console

By on March 9, 2012 at 11:00 PM.

Video game sales continue to slide in February, Xbox still top console

The video game industry continued to struggle in the United States last month as sales slid yet again according to market research firm The NPD Group. After dropping 34% year-over-year to $750.6 million in January, total video game hardware, software and accessory sales in the U.S. dipped to $1.06 billion in February, down 20% from the same period in 2011. Hardware sales dropped 18% to $381.4 million, software sales declined 23% to $464.4 million and accessory sales were down 16% to $215.2 million. “Outside of new physical retail sales, we estimate that the consumer spend on other methods to acquire content including used games, full game and add-on content downloads, social network games, mobile games, rentals and subscriptions accounted for an additional $550 – $600 million in sales, which would bring total content spend across both retail and these other spend methods to $1.0B-$1.1B for February,” NPD Group analyst Anita Frazier said. “Our official quarterly estimate of the total Q1 2012 consumer spend in these areas will be released in our Q1 Games Market Dynamics: U.S. report in June.” Frazier noted that Microsoft’s Xbox was the best-selling hardware platform in February for the seventh straight month. NPD’s list of the top-10 best-selling software titles in February follows below. More →

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Nielsen: 56% of U.S. households own a current video game console

By on March 9, 2012 at 10:15 PM.

Nielsen: 56% of U.S. households own a current video game console

Over the last year, the total time spent playing video games increased 7% and purchases of digital content and subscriptions rose 8% according to a study from Nielsen. Over half of all households, 56%, owned at least one current-generation gaming console as of January 2012, an increase from 50% in 2011. Mobile, handheld and tablet gaming continues to grow as well, with 66% of households with kids between 6 and 12 years old owning a Nintendo DS or Sony PSP, while also owning an iOS device. More adults ages 25 through 34 play games on Android devices than on iOS devices, but iOS gaming is evenly distributed across the various age groups covered by the study. As for next-generation game consoles, four out of five gamers who own current-generation systems are interested in a future console. More →

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Xbox 720 will reportedly ditch disc drive

By on March 9, 2012 at 7:30 AM.

Xbox 720 will reportedly ditch disc drive

Microsoft’s next-generation video game and home entertainment console may use online downloads and a swappable solid state card port of some kind in place of a traditional disc drive. The news comes from British gaming magazine MCV, which cites an unnamed person who claims to have obtained the information directly from Microsoft. The Xbox 360 already supports digital content distribution models and it is expected that Microsoft will continue to increase its focus on non-physical media. At the same time, however, this new rumor counters earlier reports that the next-generation “Xbox 720″ will include Blu-ray disc support. When asked to comment, a company spokesperson wouldn’t confirm the move away from discs but did say Microsoft is “always thinking about what is next for our platform and how to continue to defy the lifecycle convention.” BGR exclusively reported last June that Microsoft intends to unveil its next-generation Xbox console at the annual E3 gaming conference later this year. The console is expected to hit the market some time in 2013. More →

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NASA astronaut explains gravity in new Angry Bird Space teaser [video]

By on March 8, 2012 at 3:20 PM.

NASA astronaut explains gravity in new Angry Bird Space teaser [video]

Rovio on Thursday released a video featuring NASA astronaut and International Space Station flight engineer Don Pettit. In the video, Pettit explains microgravity with the help of characters from the popular Angry Birds franchise, even making a slingshot and firing a bird across the station. The fourth major Birds release is scheduled to land on Android, iOS, OSX and Windows on March 22nd. In “Angry Birds Space,” users will be flinging birds on zero gravity planets with new gameplay features such as slow-motion and lightspeed destruction. Rovio has previously confirmed that the game will feature completely new birds along with some of the originals, who now possess various super powers. Rovio’s video follows below. More →

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Epic shows us the future of gaming with new Unreal Engine 3 reel [video]

By on March 8, 2012 at 12:15 PM.

Epic shows us the future of gaming with new Unreal Engine 3 reel [video]

Apple’s unveiling of the new iPad overshadowed plenty of big news on Wednesday, and Epic Games’s unveiling of a brand new Unreal Engine 3 feature reel is something we couldn’t let slip through the cracks. The popular lab took to the annual Game Developers Conference in San Francisco on Wednesday to show off the latest features of its Unreal Engine 3, the latest version of Epic’s popular platform. Shown in the reel is a small sampling of what developers can accomplish with the latest version of Unreal Engine, and the engine supports game development across Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Wii U, Windows, Mac, iOS and Android. Game samples for each of the aforementioned platforms are shown off in Epic’s video, which follows below. More →

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Nintendo 3DS sales in U.S. reach 4.5 million in first year

By on March 6, 2012 at 9:55 PM.

Nintendo 3DS sales in U.S. reach 4.5 million in first year

Nintendo on Tuesday announced that it has sold 4.5 million 3DS units in the handset’s first year of U.S. availability. Sales thus far have outpaced Nintendo’s original DS, which sold 2.3 million units in the U.S. during its first 12 months. Since launching last March, the 3DS has reached over 100 titles with over 9 million games sold, accounting for over $1.2 billion in total sales. “Nintendo 3DS closes its first year with a lengthy list of accomplishments but we’re still just scratching the surface,” said Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime. “With a massive lineup of first- and third-party games and more on the way, a budding library of entertainment options and an engaged and growing installed base, Nintendo 3DS has an incredibly bright future. We’re just getting started but this platform is built for the long haul.” Read on for Nintendo’s press release. More →

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Mari0, an amazing mashup of Super Mario Bros. and Portal, is now available for free [video]

By on March 5, 2012 at 10:53 PM.

Mari0, an amazing mashup of Super Mario Bros. and Portal, is now available for free [video]

One of the most beloved video games in history has been refreshed in a new mashup that gaming fans of all shapes and sizes need to download immediately. The title is “Mari0″ and simply stated, it’s Super Mario Brothers meets Portal. Game developer Maurice Guegan is the man behind Mari0, and he built the title from the ground up. It features a start to finish recreation of Nintendo’s original Super Mario Brothers game, adds a portal gun that shoots portals through which Mario can travel as in the popular PC game “Portal,” and mixes in a 4-player cooperative mode along with several additional features. The result is an addictive game that does a better job adding a new twist to an old classic than anything we’ve seen in recent history. Mari0 is free and open source, and it is available immediately for Windows, OS X and Linux PCs. A trailer video follows below, as does a link to a download that will ensure your Monday is completely unproductive. More →

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