There’s no doubt that the Xbox 360 is one of the best things Microsoft (MSFT) has going for itself right now — not only has the popular console sold 76 million units, but it’s rapidly moved beyond the gaming sphere to become a well-rounded entertainment center thanks to popular content streaming apps for Netflix (NFLX) and Hulu. Per Engadget, Microsoft Interactive Entertainment Business senior vice president Yusuf Mehdi told the D: Dive Into Media conference on Tuesday that Microsoft really doesn’t see the Xbox as a mere gaming console anymore and now views it as a comprehensive “entertainment console.” And what’s more, Mehdi said that this gives Microsoft a big long-run advantage over Sony’s (SNE) rival PlayStation console since it “isn’t as good of an entertainment console” as the Xbox. It will be very interesting to see how much Microsoft plays up the “entertainment console” aspect when it launches its Xbox 720 later this year and if the company plans to add any features to the device to improve its appeal as a living room hub.
The Xbox is one of the best things that Microsoft (MSFT) has going for it right now, but one of the console’s founding engineers thinks the company is in grave danger of getting its hide handed to it by Apple (AAPL)… again. Nat Brown, a former Microsoft engineer who worked at the company until 1999 and who was one of the founders of the Xbox project, has written a long post on his personal blog making the case that Microsoft has only been winning the console wars over the past couple of years because Sony (SNE) and Nintendo (NTDOY) have been screwing up so badly. He also tears apart the company’s strategy for allowing independent game developers to create games for the platform, saying that the process for developing and distributing games on the console is far too cumbersome. More →
Microsoft (MSFT) will launch its next-generation Xbox video game and home entertainment console ahead of the holidays this year, and the device will have big shoes to fill. Further solidifying its position among the best-selling consoles of all time, Microsoft’s director of programming for Xbox Live Larry Hryb announced on Twitter Monday evening that cumulative Xbox 360 console sales have surpassed 76 million units. Hryb also said Kinect sales have topped 24 million units and Xbox Live now hosts 46 million paying subscribers. Microsoft’s Xbox 360 is currently the fourth best-selling home video game console of all time behind Nintendo’s (NTDOY) Wii at No.3, and Sony’s (SNE) PlayStation and PlayStation 2 consoles at No.2 and No.1, respectively.
Rumors have been circulating about Microsoft’s (MSFT) next-generation Xbox for quite some time now. Earlier reports suggested that the console may require an always-on Internet connection that could block used games and others claimed it could even include Siri-like voice controls. According to a new report from Kotaku, the Xbox 720 will be capable of running multiple games and services at once by allowing users to “suspend” their current game and switch to a second one without losing their place in the first one. More →
More than a dozen reports to date have suggested Microsoft’s (MSFT) next-generation Xbox console will launch ahead of the holidays next year, and Bloomberg now becomes the latest publication to chime in. Citing multiple unnamed sources, Dina Bass and Ian King report that the new console will launch in time for the Thanksgiving and Christmas shopping rushes. They also claim Microsoft hasn’t yet decided whether it will unveil the console at next year’s E3 gaming expo or at a dedicated press conference. Earlier reports stated that Microsoft’s next-generation Xbox will feature a quad-core processor, 8GB of RAM, a Blu-ray disc drive, Kinect 2.0 and a redesigned controller, though no details surrounding the new console have been confirmed at this point.
Now that Nintendo’s (NTDOY) Wii U is available in North America, all eyes are turned to Microsoft (MSFT) to announce its Xbox 360 successor (code-named “Durango”) and to Sony (SNE) to reveal its PlayStation 4 (code-named “Orbis”). The two consoles are expected to launch in time for the holidays in 2013, but it’s also possible the next-generation Xbox could be delayed until 2014 due to chip production issues. According to CVG, the Xbox World magazine’s penultimate issue has eight pages worth of juicy “Durango” details. Rumored next-gen Xbox bits include a Blu-ray disc drive, Kinect 2.0, directional audio, TV output and input, an “innovative controller” and support for augmented reality glasses – details that corroborate those from a leaked document in June. More →
It is the tenth anniversary of Microsoft’s (MSFT) Xbox Live online gaming community and to celebrate the software giant is giving select subscribers a limited edition Xbox console for free. According to Larry Hryb, director of programming for Xbox Live, the company is giving away the console only to its most loyal subscribers, in other words, the ones who have been with the service for the longest number of years. The limited edition Xbox comes with in a special box and color scheme, and includes a custom controller and a “decade of entertainment” logo on the side.
Reports that Microsoft (MSFT) is working on an own-brand tablet with a 7-inch display have surfaced once again. Earlier this year, rumors stated that the Redmond, Washington-based company would launch an “Xbox Surface” gaming tablet with a 720p HD display, an ARM-based TI CPU and a 28-nanometer AMD graphics processor. The Verge on Tuesday says that it has confirmed the existence of such a device with multiple unnamed sources. Unlike its high-end Surface tablet, the gaming slate won’t run Windows 8 or Windows RT but rather a custom Windows kernel with an emphasis on gaming. The device is said to be closely guarded and is expected to debut before the next-generation Xbox gaming console.
In May, Microsoft (MSFT) launched its first subsidized Xbox 360 for $99 with a two-year subscription to Xbox Live Gold. In the run up to the holidays, the company is now adding two more Xbox 360 models with subsidized pricing to the mix. Joining the existing $99 4GB Xbox 360 with Kinect bundle is a $99 250GB Xbox 360 and a $149 250GB model with Kinect. Both new models will require a $14.99 per month subscription fee to Xbox Live for two years. More →
The latest number from NPD Group paint a troubling picture for the gaming industry. In the month of September overall sales within the industry — including accessories, discs and consoles — in the United States fell 24% from $1.1 billion in 2011 to $848.3 million, CNET reports. Sales of gaming hardware alone tumbled 39% year-over-year to $210.9 million, while software sales decreased 18% year-over-year from $609.7 million to $497.4 million and accessories fell by 11% to $139.9 million. More →
Microsoft (MSFT) will reportedly launch its Xbox Music service on October 26th and will make it available free of charge, The Verge reports. The streaming service will be offered as either a free ad-supported model or a subscription-based plan similar to the company’s Zune Music Pass, which is available for $10 a month or $100 a year. Xbox Music won’t just be limited to Microsoft’s gaming console, however, as the service will also be available on Windows Phone and Windows 8. More →
The Xbox 360 turns seven this November, which is an awfully long time for a console to still be kicking around. According to a report from SemiAccurate, Microsoft’s (MSFT) Xbox 360 successor might not arrive until early 2014 because of chip production snags. The site claims the issue is with the next Xbox’s AMD processor, codenamed “Oban.” SemiAccurate says that poor yield rates might push the console from its rumored holiday 2013 launch into 2014 if Microsoft’s supply partners can’t resolve the production issues. Microsoft is reported to be dual or triple sourcing its next-gen Xbox chips to multiple foundries in the hopes the kinks will be ironed out fast. If rumors are to be believed, the next Xbox will come with a Blu-ray drive, upgraded Kinect and possibly bring games streamed from the cloud.
Gamers who are tired of Microsoft (MSFT) hyping Windows 8 and the Surface without spilling any beans about the next-generation Xbox can chill: a new version of Microsoft’s popular gaming system will launch within 18 months at the latest. PC World on Thursday spotted a now-deleted Microsoft job posting stating that the company “over the next eighteen months… will release new versions of all of our most significant products including Windows (Client, Server, Phone and Azure), Office and Xbox.” Since Windows 8 and Microsoft Office 2013 have already been tapped to launch this year, that leaves the new Xbox as the last major candidate to launch in 18 months’ time. As PC World notes, that timeframe means that the new Xbox would conveniently launch right in time for the holiday season in 2013. More →