Microsoft expanding $99 Xbox program to Best Buy, GameStop

By on June 5, 2012 at 6:15 PM.

Microsoft expanding $99 Xbox program to Best Buy, GameStop

Xbox 360 $99 Best Buy GameStop

$99 Xbox 360 consoles just got a little bit easier to find. Xbox Live programming director Larry “Major Nelson” Hryb said on Tuesday that Microsoft is expanding its pilot program that lets customers pay just $99 for a 4GB Xbox 360 as long as they sign a two-year service agreement to pay $14.99 a month for an Xbox Gold subscription. While the $99 Xbox deal was initially only available in certain Microsoft retail stores, Hryb said it will soon be available in select Best Buy and Game Stop locations as well. Hryb made sure to emphasize that the $99 Xbox deal is still a pilot program and that gamers shouldn’t come to expect $99 consoles to become the new norm just yet. “This next phase of the pilot program will be limited in terms of both timing and the number of units available—we’re excited to forge new ground and explore a new retail model for Xbox 360, but also want to emphasize that this is a pilot period for the program,” he said. “Call your local Best Buy, GameStop or Microsoft Store if you’d like more information about how and where to purchase.” More →

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Microsoft unveils SmartGlass, Xbox Music and new Kinect features

By on June 4, 2012 at 2:30 PM.

Microsoft unveils SmartGlass, Xbox Music and new Kinect features

Microsoft E3 2012 Xbox Music SmartGlass

Microsoft on Monday revealed that its Xbox 360 gaming console is now the world’s top selling console, beating out the Playstation 3 and Nintendo Wii, during its keynote at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles. Despite the fact that the software giant has no plans to introduce the next-generation Xbox until next year at the earliest, Microsoft’s Don Mattrick said “There never has been a better time to own an Xbox.” Read on for more. More →

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Microsoft sells over 67 million Xbox 360s, 19 million Kinects

By on May 30, 2012 at 8:12 PM.

Microsoft sells over 67 million Xbox 360s, 19 million Kinects

Microsoft Xbox 360, Kinect sales

Yusuf Mehdi, the CMO of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Division, announced on Tuesday that more than 67 million Xbox 360s have been sold since the console launched in 2005, and it has generated more than $56 billion in sales. The motion sensing input accessory, Kinect, has sold more than 19 million units and the company’s Xbox Live service now boast 40 million members. Xbox users are spending more time on the system and are averaging 84 hours of usage each month. Mehdi also revealed that Microsoft holds a 47% market share of the current-generation console market, however he did note that sales, while continuing to increase year-over-year, are slowing down. More →

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Xbox 360 gets Amazon Instant Video

By on May 30, 2012 at 2:24 AM.

Xbox 360 gets Amazon Instant Video

Xbox 360 Amazon Instant Video App

Amazon announced on Tuesday that its Prime Instant Video service and access to “Your Video Library” is now available to Xbox Live Gold subscribers. The streaming service, which is available as a part of Amazon Prime for $79 a year and offers customers free two-day shipping, features more than 17,000 movies and TV episodes, including hundreds of Paramount films. “Working with Amazon.com marks a significant milestone in our mission to make the entertainment you love more amazing on Xbox,” said Ross Honey, general manager of Xbox LIVE Entertainment and Advertising, Microsoft Corp. “By bringing the Amazon Instant Video app to Xbox LIVE and adding voice search and voice control through the magic of Kinect, we’re transforming the way people discover and experience entertainment.” Amazon’s press release can be found after the break. More →

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Analyst fears video game industry may hit six-year low

By on May 14, 2012 at 11:45 PM.

Analyst fears video game industry may hit six-year low

Video Game Sales Slide In 2012

NPD Group last week announced that video games sales for the month of April were down 26% and software sales plummeted from $630.4 million to $307.2 million, representing a 42% decline from April 2011. The numbers shocked industry analysts, who predicted a maximum software decline of 27%. The only segment of the gaming industry that did not suffer was the accessories segment, which grew a mere 0.5% from $147.8 million last year to $148.6 million this year. According Gamasutra analyst Matt Matthews, “should the contraction from 2011 continue at this pace, annual U.S. retail video game revenue in 2012 could fall below the $12.6 billion figure from 2006,” representing a six-year low since the first full year of Xbox 360 sales and the launch year for both the Nintendo Wii and Sony PlayStation 3. More →

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Microsoft launches $99 Xbox 360 bundle

By on May 7, 2012 at 2:10 PM.

Microsoft launches $99 Xbox 360 bundle

Microsoft officially offering Xbox 360 bundle for $99 and monthly subscription

As previously rumored, Microsoft is now offering a subsidized 4GB Xbox 360 gaming console and Kinect for $99 with a monthly subscription option. The bundle requires customers to sign up for a two-year subscription to Xbox Live Gold Membership for $14.99 per month. The subscription plan is similar to the model wireless carriers have been using for years. If a customer is to break off the agreement prior to end of the 24-month contract period, early termination fees will apply. The deal is only available at Microsoft Stores for the time being. A chart from Microsoft outlining applicable early termination fees follows below. More →

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Microsoft may be readying a subscription-based $99 Xbox 360 and Kinect bundle

By on May 2, 2012 at 2:25 PM.

Microsoft may be readying a subscription-based $99 Xbox 360 and Kinect bundle

Microsoft may announce a $99 Xbox 360, Kinect bundle

Microsoft is reportedly planning to launch a subsidized Xbox 360 and Kinect bundle with a monthly subscription option, according to The Verge. The software giant may offer its 4GB gaming console alongside its motion sensing input device for $99 with a two-year commitment, and an early termination fee will be included for contract breakers. Subscribers will then pay a monthly $15 fee that includes access to Xbox Live Gold, a two-year warranty and possibly additional streaming content as well. Microsoft will apparently position the package to compete against the Apple TV, Roku streaming box and PlayStation 3. The Verge reports that we could see an announcement as early as next week. More →

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Call of Duty: Black Ops II trailer released [video]

By on May 2, 2012 at 1:30 PM.

Call of Duty: Black Ops II trailer released [video]

Call of Duty: Black Ops II announced

Activision on Tuesday announced the next entry in the Call of Duty franchise, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, a sequel to one of the most successful games of all time. Treyarch, the studio behind the original Black Ops title, is developing the sequel. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 propels players into a 21st Century Cold War, where technology has created a new generation of warfare. Activision chief Eric Hirshberg previously said, “The next Call of Duty will bring meaningful innovation to the series.” The game is available for pre-order now and is slated to be released on November 13th for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC. The official Call of Duty: Black Ops II trailer follows below. More →

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More than one in five U.S. households have a TV connected to the Internet

By on April 30, 2012 at 10:34 PM.

More than one in five U.S. households have a TV connected to the Internet

​Approximately 27 million U.S. households, more than one in five, have either an Internet-ready TV, game console, standalone Blu-ray player, and/or smart set-top box connected to their home network, according to ABI Research. Gaming consoles are the most popular devices, with a connection rate of over 80%, followed by Internet TVs (27%), standalone Blu-ray players (24%) and smart set-top boxes (13%). The research also indicated that a relatively large number of consumers have not connected some devices to their home network, most notably Internet-ready TVs. ABI predicts that the combined penetration rates of all of the devices will reach 60% by 2017. The firm notes that while not all of these devices will be connected to a network, there is room for growth, however, as only 48.5% of consumers with a home network currently have one of these devices connected to the Internet.

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Crysis 3 gameplay trailer released [video]

By on April 25, 2012 at 2:25 PM.

Crysis 3 gameplay trailer released [video]

Electronic Arts and Crytek last week announced the highly anticipated next installment of the Crysis franchise, Crysis 3, alongside a 19-second teaser trailer. On Tuesday, the two companies issued the official gameplay trailer that showcases the game’s stunning graphics. The third installment of Crysis is set in 2047, and users control protagonist “Prophet” as he returns to New York only to discover that the city is covered by a giant Nanodome created by the evil Cell Corporation. This dangerous new world demands advanced weapons and tactics, such as a lethal composite bow, an enhanced Nanosuit and devastating alien technology that will turn Prophet into the deadliest hunter on the planet. The game, which is built using the latest CryENGINE technology, will be released in Spring 2013 on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC, and is now available for pre-order. The full Crysis 3 gameplay trailer follows below. More →

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NVIDIA’s mobile GPUs to surpass Xbox 360 performance by 2014

By on April 20, 2012 at 12:55 PM.

NVIDIA’s mobile GPUs to surpass Xbox 360 performance by 2014

NVIDIA sees its mobile system-on-a-chip graphics solutions surpassing the performance of the Xbox 360 in the coming years. A new graph the company shared with AnandTech highlights the performance of Tegra chips in comparison to those found within PCs and gaming consoles. The solid lines are estimated performance, while the dotted lines are trends. NVIDIA estimates that at some point in 2013, mobile graphic performance will match the Xbox 360 and by 2014, mobile performance will surpass that of the Xbox 360. Of course processor performance is hardly the only piece of the puzzle when it comes to gaming, and Microsoft and Sony will each have new consoles on the market in 2014. More →

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Microsoft announces Halo 4, coming this November

By on April 18, 2012 at 7:20 PM.

Microsoft announces Halo 4, coming this November

Microsoft on Wednesday announced the return of Master Chief and the Halo franchise with the release of “Halo 4″ on November 6th. The franchise was originally imagined as a trilogy, with the game’s third installment becoming the biggest consumer product launch of all time when it was released in 2007. Many questions were left unanswered, however, and fans of the series wanted more. The game is set four years after the events of Halo 3, as Master Chief returns to confront his destiny and face an ancient evil that threatens to destroy the entire universe. “We are beginning a new saga with ‘Halo 4′ and embarking on a journey that will encompass the next decade of ‘Halo’ games and experiences,” said Phil Spencer, corporate vice president of Microsoft Studios. “Millions of fans worldwide have been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to step back into the boots of Master Chief, and, with ‘Halo 4′ leading the charge, we’re confident 2012 will be the most successful year in Xbox history.” Additional details surrounding the game will be announced on CONAN Wednesday night on TBS at 11:00 p.m. EST. Microsoft’s press release follows below. More →

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CryENGINE 3 gives us a glimpse at the future of gaming [video]

By on April 16, 2012 at 2:00 PM.

CryENGINE 3 gives us a glimpse at the future of gaming [video]

Devices like Apple’s iPad have shown the world that huge advances have been made in mobile gaming over the past few years. Featuring the Apple A5X processor with quad-core graphics, the third-generation iPad takes mobile video games to new heights on iOS devices, but technology blogs and the media tend to get a bit carried away in terms of comparisons between console gaming and mobile gaming. Gameplay itself paints an obvious picture, and the numbers do as well; Microsoft’s seven-year-old Xbox 360 console features floating-point performance of 240 Gflops and 500 million triangles while Apple’s brand new iPad is rated at a maximum of 7.2 Gflops and 35 million triangles. More →

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