Microsoft rolls out latest update for Xbox One console, adds friend notifications
Microsoft's Xbox One console has received another update, rolling out beginning today. Now including notifications for when friend players arrive online, users will be able to identify friends who are playing multiplayer games. The console's Kinect voice and motion detection has also been improved, reducing false positives on non-hand objects that trigger gesture commands. Other features in the update include improved GameDVR video quality, controller headset adapter firmware updates, silent reboot after system updates and system update on demand, and more.
Intel migrates Thunderbolt peer-to-peer networking on Windows 8
At the National Association of Broadcasters 2014 show, Intel extended its Thunderbolt networking technology to Windows. Previously available on OS X Mavericks, a pair of Thunderbolt-equipped computers can be directly connected with Thunderbolt Networking, giving the pair a full original Thunderbolt 10Gbps speed connection, using existing cables and connectors. The networking uses the TCP/IP protocol, and is fully cross-platform compatible.
Xbox One owners in Europe, Canada, US involved in invite-only preview
Microsoft hopes to make the Xbox One more useful for watching television and media, by outlining updates for the game console and SmartGlass. Changes to the way SmartGlass navigates around the console have been shown off, as well as upcoming changes which will give more viewing options to users on both sides of the Atlantic in the future.
Showyou video content app now supports Chromecast
Video streaming app Showyou has released an update featuring Chromecast support for both Android and iOS versions. Featuring thousands of channels, users can browse through customized content guides and categories to find something specific to watch, or view content based on the app's suggestions, generated by what channels one follows.
Exits Microsoft Xbox unit after 14 years, three console launches
Marc Whitten, the long-time chief product officer for Xbox at Microsoft, is leaving the company, the software giant has revealed. Whitten is departing to take on the same role of chief product officer at home audio device manufacturer Sonos, leaving Microsoft executive vice president Terry Myerson to temporarily take over the Xbox position while the company searches for a replacement.
Job posting hints at lightweight Xbox Live framework for mobile developers
Microsoft is planning to push for Xbox Live to be more cross-platform than it already is, by making it easier for developers to include in their apps, according to a rumor. The company is preparing to extend the Live platform to more games, with a recent job posting hinting that it will compete directly with Google Play Games and Apple's Game Center on mobile devices.
Xbox One update due February 11, adds battery life indicator
Microsoft's Xbox One is set to have an update released, addressing issues encountered by users since the console's launch. The update is due February 11th, featuring issue corrections regarding storage management, and the addition of a battery life indicator for the console's controller. Libraries will be split into two separate lists of 'My Games' and 'My Apps', as to simplify file searches. Also expected in the update is the added ability to use a USB keyboard with the console.
Choice of Lumia 520, Lumia 521 when buying Xbox Music Pass subscription
Microsoft is offering a budget Nokia smartphone and anXbox Music Pass subscription from the Microsoft Store for $99, for a limited time. The offer, available in the United States and Puerto Rico, consists of a 12-month subscription to the music service, along with the choice of either a Lumia 520 on AT&T or a Lumia 521 on T-Mobile, as off-contract devices.
Rumor of Xbox One without disc drive denied, others still plausible
Microsoft is not working on a cut-price version of the Xbox One game console without a disc drive, a company executive has seemingly confirmed. When asked about rumors of a $399 Xbox One over Twitter, Microsoft Chief of Staff for Devices and Studios group Aaron Greenberg advised "No, you cannot believe everything you read on the Internet."
Canadian telecom company announces unlimited US data, talk and text
Wind Mobile, a Canadian mobile phone service provider, has announced the launch of its Unlimited US Data, Talk and Text plan add-on. Providing Canadian customers with unlimited phone usage across the border, Wind's add-on will be available for $15 per month. The first Canadian wireless company to provide this feature, smartphone users can utilize their phones while travelling without being subject to per use roaming charges. Wind's Unlimited Data, Talk and Text add-on will become available February 3, 2014.
Microsoft offers $100 store credit towards an Xbox One for those who trade-in their PS3
Augmenting the launching of its Xbox One late last year, Microsoft is now promoting an offer of a $100 credit towards an Xbox One purchase upon trading in of a Sony Playstation 3. The promotion bring the Xbox One pricing down to $400, which is the same as newly-released Playstation 4. The trade-in offer is available through Microsoft's retail stores in the US, and applies to Playstation 3, as well as Xbox 360 S or Xbox 360 E.
Live action Halo, soccer reality show, more coming to Xbox Live
Microsoft's Xbox Live service will receive a new wave of original content in the first half of 2014, it has been revealed. Microsoft digital media head Nancy Tellem told Variety that a range of new programs will debut on the Xbox platform in either the first or second quarter of 2014. Among the content soon to hit Microsoft's gaming devices is a live-action "Halo" project, produced by Hollywood legend Steven Spielberg.
Microsoft Xbox One aims to be your all-in-one entertainment box
The Microsoft vision moving forward is that the software giant is to evolve into a fully-fledged devices and services company. The Xbox One is perfect illustration of that vision as it is a device that delivers a wide range of Microsoft and other services. Microsoft services channelled through the Xbox One include Xbox Music, Xbox Video, SkyDrive, Skype and Xbox Live. It also does gaming. In fact, according to Microsoft, the Xbox One is the only device that you really need for your living room as it will also integrate your Pay TV service into the Xbox One interface. So is the Xbox One truly the one device to rule them all? Read on in our full review of the Microsoft Xbox One.
Elop would shift Office tactics as MS CEO
Former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, if named as the next Microsoft CEO, would reportedly consider spinning off the company's Xbox and Bing divisions. A report from Bloomberg cites sources familiar with Elop's thinking in claiming that he would strike out in a direction quite different from that of outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer. Under Elop, the report holds, Microsoft would refocus on its popular Office suite, but with the aim of pushing Office onto as many platforms as possible.
AT&T deploys LTE network in 13 more cities
AT&T has continued its ongoing LTE deployment, bringing the 4G service to 14 new markets across the US. The expansion includes Fairbanks Metropolitan Area, Arkansas; Galesburg, Macomb and Peoria, Illinois; Des Moines, Iowa; Maysville and Madisonville, Kentucky; Cumberland, Maryland; St. Cloud, Minnesota; St. Joseph, Missouri; Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina; Gettysburg, Pennsylvania; Big Spring, Texas and Winchester, Virginia.
Apps can be snapped to side of screen by verbal commands
Microsoft has shown off how its Xbox One game console will work for multitasking between games and apps. A short video demonstrating quick switching and actions by voice commands through Kinect also shows how game players will be able to use multiple apps at the same time, as well as sharing content with other users.
Xbox One page mentions possible cross-platform apps
Microsoft may allow apps made for Windows 8 to run on the Xbox One after launch, according to one manufacturer. Dell's online store makes the claim that the upcoming Microsoft game console will be able to run the apps created for the desktop operating system, something that Microsoft has yet to publicly confirm itself.
Nokia offers free Netflix to Vodafone UK Lumia customers
Nokia is offering a free subscription to Netflix to customers buying certain Lumia devices on Vodafone in the United Kingdom. Originally reported by the Financial Times and later confirmed on the Vodafone website, the purchase of the Lumia 625 or Lumia 925 will provide six months of Netflix, while the Lumia 1020 includes a free full year subscription to the video streaming service.
Samsung launches free Pen.Up drawing app for Galaxy Note 3, II
Samsung has introduced a new drawing app with social sharing made for the Galaxy Note 3. Pen.Up is billed as a "community" for Note users to view S Pen drawings by other users, along with the option to submit their own to the gallery for community viewing. Preloaded onto the Galaxy Note 3, Samsung is also making it available as a free download to Galaxy Note II users through Google Play.
Hundreds of ideas under consideration
Microsoft is reportedly preparing a wide range of original television programming for its Xbox streaming video service. In an interview with Reuters, Microsoft Studios VP Phil Spencer said the company is "very close" to announcing details of the new projects, which will include content that is not directly related to games.
New Xbox supports eight controllers
Microsoft has confirmed that its upcoming Xbox One console will support simultaneous input from up to eight controllers. The move effectively doubles the potential player count, as the Xbox 360 is only configured to handle four controllers in any game, though game developers have yet to demonstrate how they might include so many players in a game experience geared for a single display.
Comedy Central, Nickelodeon apps go live on Xbox 360 in US
The Xbox 360 in the United States has received two more entertainment apps offering streaming video. The Comedy Central app provides unlimited access to the CC: Stand-Up library of 6,000 videos, with the Nickelodeon version offering full episodes of shows and animated shorts. Both require a paid Xbox Live Gold subscription, with Nickelodeon also needing a subscription to a relevant TV provider.
Web version uses similar design to Windows 8.1 version
Xbox Music has now got a web-based version of its media player, available for use by its subscribers. The browser version of the Microsoft-owned music service will play back music from its catalog of "millions" of tracks, and will synchronize playlists between the browser, Windows Phone, Windows 8, and Xbox 360 apps.
Interview sees Don Mattrick calling Xbox 360 'offline device'
A Microsoft executive has suggested to gamers concerned about the Xbox One's online requirement to instead use the Xbox 360. Don Mattrick, head of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business made the comment in an interview ahead of the company's E3 keynote, and has seemingly done little to help the Xbox One's public relations efforts.
Xbox Live Gold subscribers to get free games until end of 2013
Microsoft revealed launch details for its upcoming game console, as well as an update for its current version, at its E3 keynote event earlier today. Aside from outlining upcoming games, the Xbox One is now slated to appear on store shelves in November this year, the Xbox 360 has been redesigned, and current Xbox Live subscribers will also receive some extra benefits.
Xbox One must connect to Internet daily for offline games to function
Microsoft has clarified its stance on a number of controversial features of the upcoming Xbox One. The company confirmed that the game console will need a connection to the Internet every 24 hours in order to play games, as well as advising on used game sales, game rentals, and the privacy concerns for the improved Kinect sensor.
Could merge TWC TV app into Apple TV
Time Warner Cable is in talks with Apple, Samsung, and Microsoft for streaming video deals similar to the one it has with set-top maker Roku, CEO Glenn Britt hinted at today's Bank of America/Merill Lynch Global Telecom and Media Conference. "You should assume we're talking to everyone who makes devices like this, whether it's Samsung smart TVs, Apple, Microsoft," said Britt. Time Warner brought a TWC TV app to Roku boxes in March, letting people watch live TV without a separate dedicated cable box.
Latency-insensitive computation work passed to the cloud from console
Microsoft will be using its new 300,000-server cloud system to help the Xbox One with game calculations. The cloud architecture will be performing "latency-insensitive computation" on behalf of the console, with it being used as an incentive for users to keep their game consoles connected to the Internet while they play games.
Instant switching between apps, Kinect system, cloud services
Microsoft has revealed its latest iteration of its Xbox game console at a media event. The Xbox One, codenamed Durango during its development, is billed as an all-in-one system for the living room, with a greater focus on allowing users to watch live television and other media, along with heavier Kinect integration, Skype calling, and gaming improvements.
A New Generation Revealed
Microsoft is set to begin its Xbox event in Redmond, Washington. "A New Generation Revealed" is the theme for the gathering, suggesting the company will finally show its next-generation gaming console. Check out our live page at 10am Pacific, 1pm Eastern, for images and updates from the event.
Electronic Arts to discontinue Online Pass policy for new titles
If a report at VentureBeat is accurate, Electronic Arts has decided to rid itself of the reviled online pass. According to the report, the EA senior director of corporate communications John Reseburg confirmed the cancellation of the program, saying “Yes, we’re discontinuing Online Pass, none of our new EA titles will include that feature." Viewed as a countermeasure to used game sales, the pass included in the purchase of new games allowed game play on the company's servers across Xbox Live or the PlayStation Network. Used purchasers, or customers borrowing a game, must purchase a pass if they wish to play online, with access costing approximately $10.
New payment system to work on Xbox Live, Windows Store, Windows Phone Store
Microsoft may be scrapping its Points virtual currency in favor of local currency pricing, according to a report. The rumor, which has surfaced a few times in the past, is now bolstered with new claims that the new system would work across platforms, with Microsoft preparing to reveal it at the E3 game show later this year.
Prototypes said to have Kinect-style motion controls
Microsoft is looking to create a set-top box for media playback, according to one report. Continuing previous rumors, the software giant is working on a device that will allow users to sign onto Xbox Live and use its apps to view streaming video, effectively cloning the non-gaming aspects of the Xbox 360 game console into a relatively-cheap product.
Next Microsoft game console expected to be revealed
Invitations sent to media for a product reveal at Microsoft's Xbox campus suggest that the company is close to unveiling its new game console. The invitation, headed with the Xbox logo, alluding to "A new generation revealed" and using the hashtag #XboxReveal, strongly hints that the event will show off the much-rumored successor to the Xbox 360.
Dashboard app allows for Kinect motion controls, voice recognition
A new Microsoft Xbox Live app, scheduled to launch on April 23, will allow users of the gaming and media service to order Pizza Hut products directly from the Xbox 360 console. The new app gives customers access to the restaurant's entire menu, and features full Kinect integration in addition to voice recognition, or regular game controller use.
Google Glass companion app includes 'Eye Gestures' functions
Google may allow for users of Glass to use their eyes to control the headset. A user by the name of fodawim on Reddit found eye options hidden in the code of the companion app for Android, specifically functions for winking. Of the five, two related to wink calibration, two turned the function on and off, and one last seems to allow a wink to trigger a photo from its 5-megapixel camera. Other eye-related controls have yet to be found, though the company has patented a number of different control systems that could potentially be used with Glass.
Always-on console rumor claimed true by Microsoft analyst
Microsoft will reveal its follow-up to the Xbox 360 on May 21st, according to multiple reports. The console, codenamed Durango, is apparently scheduled to launch in "early November" and in theory has a high $500 price-point, though this could be lowered to $300 when combined with a subscription similar to that of the $99 subsidized Xbox 360 Kinect bundle.
Service might still be tied to Internet service
HBO may be relenting on its position towards allowing HBO outside of cable TV subscription packages, Reuters reports. CEO Richard Plepler says that the company is considering allowing access to HBO GO, its digital streaming option, via bundles with broadband Internet subscriptions. That would likely add about $10 to $15 to a person's Internet bill. "We would have to make the math work," says Plepler.
Cites high cost of theatrical release, falling DVD sales
An independently-made movie has opted to premiere on the Xbox 360 instead of through a cinema or on DVD. Pulp, a British comedy, will appear on the game console before other media, with the film creator citing the high costs of movie promotion, along with the struggles of selling a DVD through high-street stores.
Xbox app provides access to Slacker service on the dashboard
Streaming music provider Slacker has announced its availability on the Xbox Live service. The service allowing Xbox Live subscribers in the US and Canada to listen to millions of songs and hundreds of pre-programmed stations on an ad-supported basis, including a new videogame music soundtrack station curated by gaming culture blog, Destructoid. The app is now available through the Xbox Live Marketplace.
Physical game registrations to kill secondhand market
Microsoft's next console will need an Internet connection to operate, according to reports. A new version of Xbox Live will apparently be central to the console itself, and through registering physical games to an individual account, would render discs useless to anyone else wanting to play them, and in effect kill off the second-hand games market.
Claimed Durango system architecture makes appearance
Claiming a world exclusive, VGLEAKS has revealed the purported system architecture for the next generation Xbox. Codenamed Durango, many of the claimed specifications align with what we already know about the device. If accurate, the architecture also reveals a few surprises, including an HDMI-in port, as well as the expected HDMI-out.
Personalization options, Home and Away audio feeds in app
Microsoft has added an app that covers hockey matches to Xbox Live, joining existing sporting apps from ESPN, the NBA and others. The NHL GameCenter service will provide subscribers the option to watch hockey live and on-demand in HD, as well as the ability to personalize the service for statistic tracking, and a number of on-demand classic games from the history of the sport.
Deal aborbs R2 team, some patents
Microsoft has won out amongst a group of parties looking to buy up R2 Studios, say sources for the Wall Street Journal. Although the exact value of the deal hasn't been identified, the sources say that R2's founder, Blake Krikorian, will join Microsoft with a small team. Microsoft is also picking up some device control patents.
Canada receives French-language video channel on console
Microsoft has added more apps to the Xbox 360 game console's already sizeable catalog, with an update that covers North America and parts of Europe. The key app additions this time lie in the US, where gamers will be able to watch original content from Blip.TV, as well as access the wide catalog available to Rhapsody users.
Sources reveal purported timing for next-gen Xbox release
Microsoft is planning to have its next-generation Xbox on the shelves in time for the 2013 Holiday Season, reports Bloomberg. According to sources ‘who declined to be identified,’ but who have seen Microsoft’s product roadmap, the new Xbox will go on sale in time for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Microsoft is also said to be undecided about whether to launch the next Xbox at a gaming event such as E3, or hold its own special launch event.
Custom consoles to longest subscribers, free game to all
Microsoft is celebrating the tenth anniversary of Xbox Live by giving some of its longest subscribers a free console. While a gift of hardware will not be made to all users of the service, Microsoft is also offering a free Xbox Live Arcade game to download, as well as allowing US-based members entry into a sweepstake for various prizes.
Air Patriot for mobile, SmartGlass for Xbox on iOS
While it is not uncommon for companies that compete with Apple to release apps for its wildly successful iOS platform (for example, Google's many iOS apps), it was still something of an odd coincidence that two other would-be Apple rivals in the mobile space, particularly in the tablet segment -- Amazon and Microsoft -- both released new apps for iOS today. Amazon has brought its own in-house game Air Patriots to iOS and Android (along with a slightly different version for the Kindle Fire HD), and Microsoft has unveiled SmartGlass for Xbox on iOS.
Sources suggest Xbox-centric tablet to have custom ARM processor
Microsoft is looking into making its own 7-inch tablet specifically for gaming, despite only recently launching the general-purpose Microsoft Surface. Rumors suggest that the software giant is working on the hardware, which will allegedly have a custom ARM processor and high-bandwidth RAM for gaming, though it is not clear if it will be for the current or next generation Xbox..
Microsoft offers 250GB Xbox for $99, with Kinect for $150 with Xbox LIVE subscription
Microsoft is expanding its subsidy for the Xbox 360 console that started with the 4GB model back in May. Now, there are three choices, with potential buyers capable of picking the 4GB console with Kinect or a 250GB console without for the same $99. The third option adds Kinect to the 250GB console but bumps the price of entry to $149.