'Xbox 720' slated for November 2013 release, report claims

By on May 23, 2012 at 10:00 AM.

'Xbox 720' slated for November 2013 release, report claims

Microsoft Xbox 720 Launch Rumor

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 →

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Microsoft offers free Xbox 360 to PC buyers

By on May 18, 2012 at 4:10 PM.

Microsoft offers free Xbox 360 to PC buyers

Free Microsoft Xbox Promotion

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 →

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Microsoft leading Apple and Google in TV race

By on May 17, 2012 at 7:40 AM.

Microsoft leading Apple and Google in TV race

Microsoft XBox TV

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 →

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Next Xbox may already be in production

By on May 7, 2012 at 5:10 PM.

Next Xbox may already be in production

Next Xbox may already be in production

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 →

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Crytek exec: It would be ‘absolutely awesome’ if next-gen consoles blocked used games

By on April 26, 2012 at 1:40 PM.

Crytek exec: It would be ‘absolutely awesome’ if next-gen consoles blocked used games

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 →

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Microsoft reportedly readying cross-platform streaming music service

By on April 25, 2012 at 11:00 AM.

Microsoft reportedly readying cross-platform streaming music service

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 →

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Crysis 3 teaser shows off stunning graphics, brief gameplay [video]

By on April 20, 2012 at 11:50 AM.

Crysis 3 teaser shows off stunning graphics, brief gameplay [video]

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 →

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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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Microsoft says Xbox hacking claims are ‘unlikely’

By on April 5, 2012 at 3:05 PM.

Microsoft says Xbox hacking claims are ‘unlikely’

A report emerged last week from a security researcher claiming Microsoft’s Xbox lacked important security features that might protect owners who sell used consoles from having personal information stolen. Ashley Podhradsky of Drexel University claimed to have purchased a used Xbox console and used readily available hacking tools to recover the prior owner’s credit card number and other personal information. “Microsoft does a great job of protecting their proprietary information, but they don’t do a great job of protecting the user’s data,” Podhradsky said at the time. More →

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Sony says PlayStation 4 will launch ahead of next Xbox, report claims

By on April 3, 2012 at 8:30 AM.

Sony says PlayStation 4 will launch ahead of next Xbox, report claims

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 →

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Hackers can easily steal credit card info, other data from used Xbox consoles [update]

By on March 30, 2012 at 8:45 AM.

Hackers can easily steal credit card info, other data from used Xbox consoles [update]

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 →

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Comcast deals blow to net neutrality, says own video service is exempt from bandwidth caps

By on March 29, 2012 at 1:20 PM.

Comcast deals blow to net neutrality, says own video service is exempt from bandwidth caps

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 →

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Next-generation Xbox will not block used games, GameStop CEO says

By on March 26, 2012 at 4:15 PM.

Next-generation Xbox will not block used games, GameStop CEO says

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 →

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