Sony is aiming to launch its next-generation PlayStation video game console ahead of rival Microsoft, a recent report claims. Microsoft’s next Xbox console — which could be an ARM-based “Xbox lite” that will launch ahead of a true Xbox 360 successor that will be released some time later — is widely expected to hit store shelves for the holidays in 2013. According to an unnamed source speaking with VG247, Sony plans to launch its PlayStation 4 console before Microsoft’s next Xbox makes a splash. ”Sony are completely in the belief that they have the jump on Microsoft this time,” the source reportedly said. The anonymous source continued, ”Top line publishers already know about it. Developers working with publishers – like Ubisoft, for example – already know what’s going on. They’re already working on it.” Both Sony and Microsoft are expected to unveil their next-generation consoles during the annual E3 gaming conference next year. More →
Using nothing more than a few common tools, hackers can reportedly recover credit card numbers and other personal information from used Xbox 360 consoles even after they have been restored to factory settings. Researchers at Drexel University say they have successfully recovered sensitive personal data from a used Xbox console, and they claim Microsoft is doing a disservice to users by not taking precautions to secure their data. ”Microsoft does a great job of protecting their proprietary information,” researcher Ashley Podhradsky told Kotaku in an interview. “But they don’t do a great job of protecting the user’s data.” In order to avoid potential data theft, Podhradsky recommends users remove the hard drives from their consoles and wipe them while connected to a PC using special software. The Drexel researcher warns that not taking this precaution could have serious consequences. ”A lot of [modders and hackers] already know how to do all this,” she said. “Anyone can freely download a lot of this software, essentially pick up a discarded game console, and have someone’s identity.”
UPDATE: Microsoft contacted BGR via email with a statement regarding Kotaku’s report, which can be read below in its entirety. More →
Cable network operator and Internet service provider Comcast reportedly confirmed earlier this week that it would give its own video streaming service a huge advantage over rival services like Netflix. Showing blatant disregard for net neutrality principles, Comcast said this week that its video streaming service Xfinity will be exempt from the 250GB bandwidth cap it foists on subscribers, Raw Story reports. Movies and TV shows streamed using rival services such as Netflix and Hulu will still apply toward users’ monthly bandwidth caps. Microsoft announced earlier this week that Comcast’s Xfinity service was launching on its popular Xbox 360 video game and home entertainment console, and heavy users on Comcast’s network now have a clear reason to choose Xfinity over any of the dozens of rival streaming services supported by the Xbox. More →
Rumors that Microsoft’s next-generation video game console might somehow block owners from playing used games began swirling earlier this year, and gamers around the world cringed. Of course the rumor had much more significant implications for video game vendors like GameStop, and the company’s chief executive Paul Raines addressed the issue during its earnings call last week. ”We think it’s unlikely that there would be that next-gen console because the model simply hasn’t been proven to work,” Raines said according to Digital Times.” Remember that used video games have a residual value. Remember that GameStop generates $1.2 billion of trade credits around the world with out used games model. So consider taking used games out of that, you’d have to find new ways to sell the games, and our partners at the console companies have great relationships with us.” GameStop accounted for between 60% and 70% of first-week video game sales as of 2010 according to ADVFN. More →
Microsoft had intended to unveil its next-generation Xbox console during the annual E3 conference this year according to a BGR source, but it now looks as though that won’t happen — the company has gone on record in stating, “we can confirm that there will be no talk of new Xbox hardware at E3 or anytime soon.” According to “MS Nerd,” an insider with a good track record of leaking unannounced information regarding Microsoft’s plans, the Redmond-based company is currently working on not one but two Xbox consoles that will launch in the coming years. Read on for more. More →
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.
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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
Microsoft will be killing off two well-known brands with the upcoming Consumer Preview release of Windows 8, according to The Verge. The software giant has removed Windows Live applications and has replaced the software with its Windows Communications suite. Windows 8 will remove the “Live” name from its mail, calendar and photos applications as well, with “Live Contacts” simply being renamed “People.” Microsoft Account will replace Windows Live ID as well, and the company will be removing any references to Zune from its Windows Store, music and video applications. Microsoft’s Xbox team will reportedly be creating and managing Metro style video and music applications within the operating system, with “Xbox Live for Windows” becoming the primary entertainment hub for music, video and games in Windows 8. More →
Microsoft is working to bring exciting new 3D features to future generations of it wildly popular Xbox gaming and media console. As the world waits for Microsoft to unveil its highly anticipated next-generation Xbox 720, rumors continue to swirl regarding what we might expect from the upcoming Microsoft console. We know it will be more powerful, it will support more impressive graphics and it may focus as much on other forms of home entertainment as it does on gaming. Microsoft has also teased us with the idea of integrated 3D capabilities, and a new job listing suggests the company is still hard at work to make enhanced 3D Xbox gaming a reality. Read on for more. More →
Microsoft’s next-generation Xbox will use controllers that have “an HD screen surrounded by the traditional 360 buttons and sticks,” according to Xbox World Magazine. The magazine claims Microsoft’s tablet-like controller will have shape closer to Sony’s PS Vita than Wii U’s “bulky unit”. The next Xbox “will be a matte-black media hub with a mission to bring games to life in your living room with augmented reality, directional sound, and a four-player, finger-tracking Kinect.” The new controller will apparently also be used as a remote control when watching TV, a browser for the Internet or for extra buttons while playing a game. Earlier rumors suggest that the next generation console may be six times more powerful than the current Xbox, however it is not expected to launch this year. The publication speculates that the console could be priced over $600. “Microsoft are playing it safe with the CPU and GPU but running wild with the functions that will change how you play, but it won’t be cheap,” the site claimed.