Microsoft is reportedly working on a new streaming music service that will tie in to its Xbox suite of gaming and entertainment services. Bloomberg on Thursday cited multiple anonymous sources in stating that Microsoft is in talks with major music labels in order to secure licensing for a new streaming music service that will compete with the likes of Spotify when it launches later this year. Details are limited, but the service sounds very much like the Zune service Microsoft already offers, which allows users to purchase digital downloads or stream unlimited custom radio stations. Bloomberg notes that Zune music services will be shuttered following the launch of Xbox Music, and users will be moved over to the new offering. More →
Purported details surrounding Microsoft’s next-generation Xbox video game and home entertainment console emerged earlier this week when a 56-page document leaked onto the Web. The supposed internal document pointed to a $299 price point for Microsoft’s “Xbox 720,” and it also outlined specs for the unit, including Blu-ray support and true 1080p output, as well as a new Kinect 2 motion and voice-based controller. The authenticity of the leaked file was questionable, however Microsoft’s actions in the days that followed suggest that it is indeed the real deal. More →
After saving things for the very last minute in an effort to keep today’s news under wraps, Microsoft is finally ready to get the show under way here in Los Angeles, California. The topic of today’s event is still something of a mystery, though a pair of well-sourced reports from last week suggest Microsoft is about to enter the the tablet game with its first own-brand offering. Microsoft is no stranger to hardware, though it has seen mixed results in the past; the Xbox 360 is still the best-selling console in the world seven years after its 2005 debut, but the Zune player was a mess from start to finish. Nothing is confirmed until we hear it straight from the horse’s mouth, however, so hit the jump to follow BGR’s live coverage of today’s event, which is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. Eastern, 3:30 p.m. Pacific.
Rumors and speculation have been flying since Microsoft announced last week that it was hosting a press conference in Los Angeles on Monday, and that might be exactly what the Redmond-based company was hoping for. Early well-sourced reports indicated that a Microsoft-branded tablet is on tap for the event, and a number of subsequent reports have said much of the same. TechCrunch later reported that we should expect a Barnes & Noble collaboration, but B&N squashed that rumor relatively quickly. Next up from the rumor mill? An “Xbox Surface” tablet with a 7-inch display, an ARM based TI processor, full HD 1080p-output and a 28-nanometer AMD graphics processor. An an interesting side note, Microsoft insider “MS Nerd” reported earlier this year that Microsoft would unveil an ARM-based “Xbox Lite” in the near future ahead of a full-fledged next-generation Xbox console, and this very well could be the device his sources were referring to. The full spec sheet for the purported tablet, which was published Monday by Shifted2u, follows below. More →
Microsoft announced this past April that it acquired a 17% stake in a newly-formed Barnes & Noble subsidiary that will focus on Nook tablets and eReaders. What the company may not have mentioned at the time is that the new partnership might also yield a line of Microsoft-branded tablets. Microsoft sent out a last-minute invitation to a press conference late last week, and multiple subsequent reports have suggested that this event will see Microsoft unveil a new line of own-brand tablets powered by Windows RT. According to a recent report from TechCrunch, however, the Redmond-based company plans to take the wraps off a Barnes & Noble joint effort. The site’s sources claim the new tablet will be an eReader-media tablet combo, and it will focus on entertainment thanks to the inclusion of Xbox Live streaming support. Microsoft’s event begins at 6:30 p.m. Eastern, 3:30 p.m. Pacific, and BGR will be on hand to cover the press conference live.
UPDATE: A report from Dow Jones on Monday states that Barnes & Noble will have nothing to do with Monday’s announcements. More →
Microsoft plans to launch its next-generation Xbox video game and home entertainment console ahead of the holidays next year, according to a recent report. The Los Angeles Times on Monday published a developer contract between Acitivision Blizzard and famed Halo developers Bungie. The firms are currently working on a new Massively Multiplayer Online franchise called Destiny, which will be a first-person shooter with a science fiction theme. While the fact that the companies currently have four titles planned for the series is exciting for gamers in itself, another tidbit may be even more titillating; the contract suggests that the first Destiny title will launch ahead of the holidays next year as an exclusive for Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and its next-generation console, which the document refers to as the “Xbox 720.” An earlier report from an industry industry insider suggested that Microsoft will launch an ARM-based “Xbox lite” in late 2013 followed by a true Xbox 360 successor some time later, however this new information suggests that timeline may not be accurate. More →
Microsoft is looking to bolster sales of Windows-powered computers this summer by offering students a free Xbox 360 video game console with a qualifying PC purchase. Beginning on May 18th in Canada and on May 20th in the United States, students who purchase a PC for at least $599 CAD in Canada or $699 in the U.S. will receive a free 4GB Xbox 360. Purchases must be made from participating retailers including Best Buy, Dell.com, Fry’s Electronics, HPDirect.com, Microsoft Stores and NewEgg.com in the U.S., and Best Buy, Dell.ca, Future Shop, Staples and The Source in Canada. Microsoft did not indicate when the promotion ends. More →
According to a new report from Forrester Research, Microsoft is leading both Apple and Google in the TV and home entertainment sector, The New York Times reported on Wednesday. While Apple and Google may control mobile, Microsoft’s Xbox entertainment system tops both Apple TV and Google TV according to the report. With the Xbox, Forrester analyst James McQuivey believes Microsoft is the farthest along when it comes to delivering users content through their television sets. “Using those metrics, Microsoft is in the lead, offering everything that matters: a growing content library, a convenient engagement path for millions of existing Xbox 360 owners, and a growing ecosystem of partners and developers eager to exploit the platform for their own purposes,” McQuivey wrote in the report. Microsoft has continued to add more content apps — such as Comcast Xfinity, Verizon FiOS and HBO Go — to the Xbox, alongside thousands of games. The software giant has shipped more than 66 million Xboxes worldwide, and Forrester estimates that half of all Xboxes in the United States are connected to the Internet. More →
A Texas electronics company has allegedly begun production on Microsoft’s next-generation Xbox gaming console, according to a report from IGN. Production of the Xbox 720 is reportedly underway at the Austin, Texas branch of Flextronics, the same electronics company responsible for manufacturing the Xbox 360 and the original Xbox. Despite these reports, however, Microsoft firmly stated that the next-generation Xbox will not debut at this year’s E3 gaming convention. The hardware currently being manufactured may instead be development kits for top-tier game developers that will get early access to Microsoft’s next-generation hardware in order to prepare new titles. The “Xbox 720″ is rumored to be six times more powerful than the current Xbox. 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. Microsoft may also be looking to use online downloads and swappable solid state cards rather than a traditional disc drive. More →
The rumor mill has gone back and forth a number of times regarding whether or not next-generation video game consoles from Microsoft and Sony will support used games. While GameStop CEO Paul Raines seems confident they will — GameStop’s business relies on the resale of used games — game developers clearly stand to benefit if consoles force their owners to purchase new copies of games rather than used copies. ”From a business perspective that would be absolutely awesome,” Rasmus Højengaard, director of creative development at Crytek — the developer behind Crysis 3 and the CryENGINE gaming platform — told CVG in an interview. “It’s weird that [second-hand] is still allowed because it doesn’t work like that in any other software industries, so it would be great if they could somehow fix that issue as well.” Højengaard did not offer any insights on whether or not Microsoft and Sony actually plan to take measures to prevent console owners from playing used games. More →
Microsoft is reportedly preparing to unveil a new streaming music service at the annual E3 conference later this year. Citing unnamed sources, The Verge reports that the new streaming service will work across several platforms including Xbox, Windows 8, Windows Phone, iOS and Android, accessible through a native app or a web browser. Code-named “Woodstock,” the service is reportedly comparable to Spotify, potentially allowing users to stream unlimited music. The service will also seemingly feature deep Facebook integration and a “scan and match” cloud locker feature similar to iTunes Match. According to The Verge, the service will be part of a larger effort to shift away from Microsoft’s Zune brand. More →
Electronic Arts and Crytek announced the highly anticipated next installment of the Crysis franchise earlier this week, and the companies have now released the first Crysis 3 teaser that includes gameplay footage. Albeit brief, the teaser reel showcases a new weapon and stunning graphics that will definitely pique gamers’ interest. ”Crysis 3 is a thrilling mix of sandbox gameplay, advanced combat and hi-tech human and alien weaponry that shooter fans will love,” Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli said in a statement. “Leveraging the latest CryENGINE technology, we’re able to deliver seven unique themes that offer stunning and visually loaded gameplay experiences. We cannot wait until people get their hands on the game.” The first full trailer for Crysis 3 will be released on April 24th, and Crysis 3 Hunter Edition is already available for pre-order ahead of its release in 2013. The full teaser video can be viewed below. More →
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 →