On Tuesday, Microsoft noted several of the Games Hub changes that will go into effect when Windows Phone Mango launches this fall. Mango’s Games Hub will include new “Avatar Awardables” which, much like on the Xbox 360, will allow you to dress your avatar up with a number of unique clothing items. The first title to support Avatar Awardables will be the game “Chickens Can’t Fly.” Games Hub will also feature new game add-ons. For example, in the game “Beards & Beaks,” users will be able to purchase additional in-game add-ons using Microsoft Points. Microsoft will also provide deeper parental controls and will offer a new “Fast Async” technology that will improve turn-by-turn and multiplayer games. Read on for a link to Microsoft’s official Windows Team Blog where the company has also listed the next 14 Xbox LIVE titles that will be available for Windows Phone devices. More →
Microsoft released its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings on Thursday and noted that its revenue of $17.73 billion was greater than any other fourth quarter in the company’s history. The Redmond-based firm also reported $69.94 billion in revenue for the fiscal year — also a record — up 12% from 2010. The company’s Entertainment & Devices division was particularly successful, reporting 30% growth in revenue for the fiscal fourth quarter and 45% for the entire year thanks to Xbox Live, the Xbox 360 game console, and the Kinect controller. “Throughout fiscal 2011, we delivered to market a strong lineup of products and services which translated into double-digit revenue growth, and operating margin expansion,” said Peter Klein, chief financial officer at Microsoft. “Our platform and cloud investments position us for long-term growth.” Read on for Microsoft’s full press release. More →
Will Microsoft enter the portable gaming market to compete with Nintendo, Sony, and Apple? According to its chief operating officer, Dennis Durkin, not yet. In an interview with Industry Gamers, Durkin explained that the portable gaming market is too crowded right now and that there’s too much change happening. “I’m not sure I would want to be launching a dedicated portable device right now into that market,” Durkin said. “I think the DS – if you look at the 3DS, certainly versus people’s expectation’s it’s not been as successful as people would have thought. So that’s a very crowded market and a very, very red ocean right now with a lot of change happening. So I’m not sure it’s [a good idea] … You only have a certain number of bets you can make as a company and you have to decide what you want to put your wood behind and I’m just not sure that that’s a place that I would put mine.” Durkin said he sees strength in Microsoft’s Xbox 360 system and is excited about the future of the firm’s future plans for Kinect and Xbox Live. We also imagine Microsoft has its hands full right now with the company’s next-generation Xbox console, which is set to debut at E3 next year. More →
As Research In Motion continues on its quest to recapture consumers’ hearts, minds and wallets, the Canadian BlackBerry maker on Tuesday announced its acquisition of Scoreloop. California-based Scoreloop is a self-professed pioneer in mobile social gaming. According to a post on RIM’s Inside BlackBerry developer blog, the team at Scoreloop is “bringing their expertise in creating social and collaborative gaming toolkits for mobile developers to the BlackBerry platform.” Scoreloop had previously developed tools that supported cross-platform social gaming, and the company says it will continue to support cross-platform solutions following the its transition to RIM, though it will focus mainly on RIM’s QNX-based operating system. More →
During Microsoft’s keynote at the E3 2011 tradeshow in Los Angeles on Monday, Microsoft confirmed that it will launch a special edition of Halo, titled “Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary” edition on November 15th — the 10 year anniversary of the franchise’s launch. The game will offer the same seven amazingly addictive multiplayer maps like the original, but will also now include enhanced support for Xbox LIVE features and a “fully remastered” campaign mode with support for co-op play over Xbox LIVE. We’re here in Los Angeles for E3 2011 so hopefully we’ll be able to get some hands-on time soon.
Microsoft’s own Xbox Live homepage recently leaked some new details that we should be hearing about shortly at its annual E3 press conference in Los Angeles. According to the website, which appears to have been pulled, Microsoft will introduce Voice Search within a newly redesigned Xbox Live user interface and preview the ever-popular Halo francise’s new release, Halo 4. The website also mentioned a possible Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary edition and new titles such as Kinect Sports Season 2 and Dance Central 2. We won’t have long to wait — Microsoft’s press conference is set to kick off at 9:00 a.m. Pacific / 12:00 p.m. Eastern. More →
We’ve just seen a test handset running Windows Phone OS codenamed Mango, and even though the update won’t be available until the Fall, it brings some much needed improvements and enhancements to Microsoft’s mobile platform. OS 7.1 will also be the OS that Nokia devices running Windows Phone will launch with. Looking forward to 4G support, threads, deep social integration, voice dictation, multitasking with app resume, and much more? Check out our hands on photos in our gallery.
Microsoft on Thursday revealed its back-to-school offer for 2011, which is likely to drop students’ jaws and raise parents’ eyebrows at the same time. This year, students with a valid student ID who purchase a Windows 7 computer for $699 or more will receive a free Xbox 360 4GB video game console. “A hot new Windows 7-based PC with a free Xbox 360 is the ultimate productivity, social and entertainment package for students,” said Kathleen Hall, general manager of Windows Marketing at Microsoft, in a statement. “In one shot, with this great offer, Microsoft is giving students everything they need for a successful new school year.” We’re not sure how much the Xbox offer will help students with their school work, but it will definitely help them blow off some steam and avoid burning out while still managing to save them some money. The deal becomes available to students starting this Sunday, May 22nd. Hit the break for Microsoft’s full press release.
Microsoft has confirmed that its Windows Phone 7 platform on Friday suffered its second major outage this week. Early on Friday, users began reporting that they could not access Xbox LIVE services from their Windows Phone 7 devices. BGR had independently confirmed the issue on two separate devices, and now Microsoft has acknowledged the outage via its official Windows Phone support team Twitter account. “It’s a new issue that users are unable to access Xbox LIVE features at this time,” a Microsoft official posted to the Twitter account. Earlier this week, Microsoft’s Windows Marketplace suffered an outage that prevented users from accessing the company’s mobile app store during a scheduled maintenance that was extended due to complications. More →
The Call of Duty: Black Ops map expansion, called “Escalation,” is now available to Xbox Live subscribers. Escalation adds five new maps, including four that are available in multiplayer mode. As we noted back when the expansion was announced, the maps include a Russian Zoo, a Cuban hotel and casino, a weapons of mass destruction stockpile, and “convoy.” If you still haven’t had your fill slaying the living dead, the update also includes a new zombie experience called “Call of the Dead.” The update is available for $15, 0r 1200 MS points. We’re definitely downloading this just as soon as we get back from covering BlackBerry World. Frag out! More →
Looks like the weekend’s going to start a bit early. Hulu’s subscription-based Hulu Plus service will launch for Microsoft’s Xbox 360 on Friday, and here’s the best part: it’s free for Xbox Live (Gold and Silver) users until May 6th. After that you’ll have to drop $7.99 per month to kick back and watch your favorite shows from ABC, Comedy Central, FOX, NBC, MTV, and others. Hulu’s even adding Kinect support, which means you’ll be able to play, pause, fast forward, or rewind whatever you’re watching with your voice or with a gesture. Hit the jump for the full release. More →
Today Microsoft’s Larry Hyrb, also known as Major Nelson, announced that Microsoft has added Netflix support to the Xbox 360 Kinect accessory. Using Kinect, you’ll be able to browse your Netflix queue by waving your hands or speaking out loud, which means you won’t have to go searching for your Xbox 360 controller just to watch a movie. Controls include the ability browse, play, pause, fast forward and rewind, and you can perform any of those actions using your voice or gestures. Hyrb said the update is available now and that Kinect users should expect to be prompted to apply the patch the next time they launch Netflix. More →
On Monday, gaming site Major Nelson wrote that Activision has revealed it will launch the next expansion pack for Call of Duty: Black Ops for Xbox 360 on May 3rd. Dubbed “Escalation,” the new downloadable content — for Xbox LIVE subscribers — will sport five new maps, including four that can be played in multiplayer mode. New maps include “Hotel,” where you’ll battle on the roof of a Cuban hotel and casino, a Russian “Zoo,” a WMD “Stockpile”, and “Convoy.” And what’s an update without some more zombies? Escalation will reportedly offer a new “Zombie experience,” with new playable characters. It’s unclear how much Escalation will cost, but we’ve already begun raiding our couch cushions for spare change. More →