Tags Posts tagged with "Microsoft"

Microsoft

Grand Theft Auto V is this week’s game.

That’s it. Thanks for coming!

Here are this week’s vidyas:

 

Hot Wheels Worlds Best Driver (Wii U/3DS Retail)

We Sing: 80s (Wii U Retail)

Cut the Rope (3DS eShop)

Rage of the Gladiators (3DS eShop)

Star Wars Pinball (3DS eShop)

AiRace Speed (3DS eShop)

 

Grand Theft Auto V (PS3 Retail/PSN)

Hot Wheels World’s Best Driver (PS3 Retail/PSN)

Capcom Fighting Evolution (PS2 Classic)

Saints Row 4 – GATV Pack (PS3 DLC)

Saints Row 4 – Wild West Pack Pack (PS3 DLC)

Real Boxing (PS Vita PSN)

 

Grand Theft Auto V (Retail)

Hot Wheels World’s Best Driver (Retail)

Saints Row 4 – GATV Pack (DLC)

Saints Row 4 – Wild West Pack (DLC)

 

Foul Play (PC Steam)

Borderlands 2 – Ultimate Vault Hunter Upgrade Pack 2 (PC Steam)

Ironclad Tactics (PC/Mac)

Takedown: Red Sabre (PC/Mac)

Urban Trial Freestyle (PC Steam)

Saints Row 4 – GATV Pack (PC Steam DLC)

Saints Row 4 – Wild West Pack (PC Steam DLC)

Rayman Legends is finally out this week, though you might want to steer out of the way of the PS Vita version of the game as we heard it’s missing some content (until they patch it). Diablo 3 makes its way to consoles as promised, and you can get jiggle with it with Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate *mmphh*, and a new adventure awaits you with the Strawhats in One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2.

Here are this week’s vidyas:

 

Rayman Legends (Wii U Retail)

eShop Releases (TBA)

 

Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate (PS3 Retail/PSN)

Diablo 3 (PS3 Retail/PSN)

Rayman Legends (PS3/Vita Retail/PSN)

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (PS3 PSN)

Castle of Illusions (PS3 PSN)

Chaos Code (PS3 PSN)

Hunter’s Trophy 2: America (PS3 PSN)

Kickbeat (PS3/Vita PSN)

One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2 (PS3 PSN)

Stella Deus: The Gate of Eternity (PS2 Classic)

Borderlands 2 – Costume Packs (PS3 DLC)

Borderlands 2 – Ultimate Vault Hunter Upgrade Pack 2 (PS3 DLC)

Grid 2 – Destruction Derby (PS3 DLC)

Metro: Last Light – Tower Pack (PS3 DLC)

Saints Row 4 – Dubstep Gun (Remix) Pack (PS3 DLC)

 

Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate (Retail)

Diablo 3 (Retail)

Rayman Legends (Retail)

Castle of Illusion (XBLA)

Freefall Racers (XBLA)

Borderlands 2 – Costume Packs (DLC)

Borderlands 2 – Ultimate Vault Hunter Upgrade Pack 2 (DLC)

Grid 2 – Destruction Derby (DLC)

Metro: Last Light – Tower Pack (DLC)

Saints Row 4 – Dubstep Gun (Remix) Pack (DLC)

Minecraft – Mass Effect Mash-up (DLC)

 

Borderlands 2 – Costume Packs (PC Steam)

Borderlands 2 – Ultimate Vault Hunter Upgrade Pack 2 (PC Steam)

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (PC Steam)

Castle of Illusion Castle of Illusion (PC Steam)

Grid 2 – Destruction Derby (PC Steam)

Huntsman: The Orphanage (PC/Mac)

Metro: Last Light – Tower Pack (PC Steam)

Outlast (PC Steam)

Rayman Legends (PC)

Saints Row 4 – Dubstep Gun (Remix) Pack (PC Steam)

Total War: Rome 2 (PC Steam)

Total War: Rome 2 – Greek States Culture Pack (PC Steam)

Anyone excited about Madden NFL 25?

Anyone?

*crickets* *tumbleweed*

Okay!

Here are this week’s vidyas:

 

Wario Land 3 (3DS eShop Virtual Console)

 

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (PS3 Retail)

Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F (PS3 Retail/PSN)

Killer is Dead (PS3 Retail)

Lost Planet 3 (PS3 Retail)

Madden NFL 25 (PS3 Retail)

Crimson Sea 2 (PS2 Classic PSN)

Floating Cloud God Saves the Pilgrims in HD (PS3/Vita PSN)

The HD Adventures of the Rotating Octopus Character (PS3 PSN)

Spelunky (PS3/Vita PSN-CrossBuy)

Sweet Fuse: At Your Side (PS3/Vita/PSP PSN)

 

Killer is Dead (Retail)

Lost Planet 3 (Retail)

Madden NFL 25 (Retail)

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 – Apocalypse (DLC)

 

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow Ultimate Edition (PC Steam)

The Chaos Engine (PC/Mac Steam)

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (PC)

Game Dev Tycoon (PC/Mac Steam)

Guardians of Middle-earth (PC Steam)

Guardians of Middle-earth DLC Bundles (PC Steam DLC)

Lost Planet 3 (PC Steam)

Memoria (PC/Mac Steam)

Pixeljunk Monsers Ultimate Edition (PC Steam)

Shelter (PC/Mac Steam)

Good Nintendo releases this week for a change. Mario and Luigi: Dream Team is officially out (though some local stores already broke streetdate last week) and Ducktales Remastered makes a comeback (multiplatform). Payday 2 is also this week and I’m hearing good things about it. Check it out if you are one of them FPS dorks.

Here are this week’s vidyas:

Angry Birds Trilogy (Wii/Wii U Retail)

Phineas and Ferb: Quest for Cool Stuff (Wii/Wii U/DS/3DS Retail)

Ducktales Remastered (Wii U eShop)

Mario & Luigi: Dream Team (3DS Retail)

Heavy Fire: Black Arms 3D (3DS eShop)

 

Payday 2 (PS3 Retail)

DuckTales Remastered (PS3 PSN)

Mars: War Logs (PS3 PSN)

Thunder Wolves (PS3 PSN)

Dishonored: The Brigmore Witches (PS3 DLC)

A-Men (PS Vita PSN)

BreakQuest: Extra Evolution (PS Vita PSN)

Fruit Ninja (PS Vita PSN)

Open Me! (PS Vita PSN)

 

Payday 2 (Retail)

Phineas and Ferb: Quest for Cool Stuff (Retail)

Charlie Murder (XBLA)

Dishonored: The Brigmore Witches (DLC)

 

Betrayer (PC Steam)

Dishonored: The Brigmore Witches (PC DLC)

DuckTales Remastered (PC Steam)

Europa Universalis 4 (PC/Mac Steam)

Hammerwatch (PC/Mac/Linus Steam)

Payday 2 (PC Steam)

Space Hulk (PC/Mac Steam)

Unholy Heights (PC/Mac)

Worms Clan Wars (PC Steam)

It’s the official release week for Dragon’s Crown (the image above is from the game’s fantastic unlockable gallery)! If you have a PS3 and/or PS Vita then this should be an instabuy for you or else we can’t be friends anymore. Meanwhile, Pikmin 3 arrives for the game-starved Wii U and Tales of Xillia finally sees the western light!

Here are this week’s vidyas:

Disney Planes (Wii/Wii U/DS/3DS Retail)

Pikmin 3 (Wii U Retail)

Cloudberry Kingdom (Wii U eShop)

Mario & Luigi: Dream Team (3DS Retail)

SteamWorld Dig (3DS eShop)

Dragon’s Crown (PS3/PS Vita Retail/PSN)

Tales of Xillia (PS3 Retail)

Ibb and Obb (PS3 PSN)

The Red Star (PS2 Classics)

Superfrog HD (PS3/PS Vita PSN)

Little Acorns (PS Vita PSN)

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (XBLA)

Saints Row 4: Inauguration Station (Demo)

Divinity: Dragon Commander (PC) [Steam]

Guacamelee! (PC) [Steam]

Guncraft (PC) [Steam]

Papers, Please (PC/Mac) [Steam]

Saints Row 4: Inauguration Station (PC) [Steam]

The Sims 3: Dragon Valley (PC/Mac)

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I don’t know about you guys, but I’m buying Metal Gear Solid: The Legacy Collection and I will win. Fifty dollars for a many Metal Gears… I love me some of that!

This week also sees the release of Civilization V: Brave New World and I know a few people who want this game really bad.

Here are this week’s vidyas:

*No New Retail Releases. eShop content TBA*

 

Metal Gear Solid: The Legacy Collection (PS3 Retail)

NCAA Football 14 (PS3 Retail/PSN)

Binary Domain (PS3 PSN)

Castle Shikigami 2 (PS2 Classic)

Dynasty Tactics 2 (PS2 Classic)

History: Legends of War: Patton (PS3/Vita PSN)

Lego Legends of Chima: Laval’s Journey (PS3 PSN)

Aabs Animals (Vita PSN)

Coconut Dodge Revitalised (Vita PSN)

Total Recoil (Vita PSN)

Dark (Retail)
NCAA Football 14 (Retail)
*XBLM Releases TBA*

Civilization V: Brave New World (PC/Mac)

Shadow Warrior Classic Redux (PC) [Steam]

Toki Tori 2+ (PC/Mac) [Steam]

That’s right, we have a release date for SUDA51’s next over-the-top action and fan service game Killer is Dead (it’s August 27, 2013 if you didn’t read the title). If graphic violence, outright crazy story lines, fast-paced action, and bodacious cartoon babes aren’t enough to hook you to get a copy at launch, XSEED Games has included the following bonuses for all launch copies:

  • An 80-page hardcover art book of Killer is Dead

    KID_LaunchEdition_Image
    This is a preview of the game box art and bonus art book.
  • A Killer is Dead soundtrack CD containing 25 tracks
  • The ‘Smooth Operator’ DLC pack containing the following:
    • Bonus in-game goods ‘Gigolo Glasses,’ an alternate costume for Vivienne and Mika
    • A bonus ‘Gigolo Mission’ with Betty
    • An additional episode with the vampiric Sebastian

You play the role of Mondo Zappa, a new recruit of an “execution agency” which targets criminals. Mondo’s weapon of choice is a Katana but also has a bionic left arm which can be modified with different attachments. Between cutting your way through bad guys and facing the final boss of the stage you can engage in gigolo missions where the goal is not to kill anything but to please the ladies to receive presents and rewards from them if you’re a smooth operator.  For preview on the action game play of Killer is Dead, you can view the trailer above but if you’re all about the fan service this trailer will give you a glimpse of what to expect:

 

For more details on Killer is Dead, check out the game’s official site at:  http://www.loveandkill.com.

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Killer is Dead was developed jointly by KADOKAWA GAMES and Goichi Suda (aka SUDA51) and his GRASSHOPPER MANUFACTURE studio and published by XSEED Games under Marvelous USA, Inc.

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My new favorite character after SiMo, the coffee-making sniper droid.

Last week marked the release of the first DLC for Sanctum 2, a hybrid FPSxTower Defense game by Coffee Stain Studio. This DLC introduces the ballista-touting-rogue-insurgent-shorty-of-a-rebel named Tsygan and controlling her is a blast!  Her main weapon (Ballista) can deal the most amount of damage among all weapons when fully charged or deal damage over time (DOT) with pulsing bolts which release shock waves damaging all creep around the target it impales. That ain’t even the kicker, the final round in Tsygan’s weapon deals MASSIVE amounts of damage. We’re looking at a hit modifier of at least 200%. I don’t have a definite number because I don’t really bother to do math while killing things. This last shot modifier apparently also affects the DOT of her Ballista’s secondary fire (DOT pulse bolts) and the SMG’s poison darts so Tsygan is pretty much THE badass DPS machine right now. Hitting weak spots takes some adjustment because the Ballista fires at an arc so you need to adjust your aim depending on the distance of the target to some extent; nothing a little muscle memory can’t solve. The new secondary weapon, Gatling Laser, is also pretty bad-ass. It has high rate-of-fire, long range, and even deals damage over time on everything it hits. The secondary fire (right mouse button) of the Gatling Laser charges up the weapon and deals are-of-effect (AOE) damage around your character. It can be used as crowd control or concentrated fire on a single target making it my new favorite secondary weapon as well, with the SMG in a close second.

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The the number of “+” signs? That’s the number of times mutators evolved the blasted creep.

The new creep introduced in this DLC can be a real pain, especially when you are trying to complete the five (5) feats of strength or when you neglect their presence in the battlefield. Mutators are the worst. They basically shoot gunk at other creep to increase their health and if left alone will eventually evolve normal creep to epic boss levels. Healers aren’t that bad because they expose themselves in the air unlike the mutators who stay in the rear which makes them difficult to kill but likewise can be a big threat if you don’t kill them off immediately.

The four (4) new maps bring all sorts of new challenges with its layout but mostly because of the Mutators and Healers thrown into the mix. They are also a massive pain when you attempt to finish them with the five (5) feats of strength (each feat basically makes the game harder). I haven’t gotten around finishing the feats of strength with the original content but I have made some attempts on finishing the new maps with the feats only to repeatedly fail so hard at them even with Tsygan’s bad-ass DPS abilities. 

Surprisingly, I haven’t unlocked any of the new perks but I was able to finish all four (4) new maps. It looks like I’ll have to start grinding or playing old maps with feats of strength on to take my level to 20 and beyond (I’m currently level 19) in order to try out the companion bot (pet). I also haven’t gotten around using the new towers namely the Range Spire (increase surrounding tower’s attack range) and Slow Field Dispenser (allows your character to take portable mines to slow down creep on the fly)I’m not really a fan of support towers since I just simply go all DPS with some Kairos (tower which slows creep) to create choke points. It seems like I’ll have to explore more tower placement tactics if I want to accomplish all maps with the feats of strength on though. However, if you just want to finish the game without challenging yourself too much, you need not bother with the new perks of towers.

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Good Points:

  • The new weapons bring in more fun factor with higher damage output.
  • Maps are still well designed and very challenging when attempting to finish with the five (5) feats of strength on.
  • The new creep bring in a new set of challenges.

Bad Points:

  • You can’t acquire all the new feats and towers without grinding which is rather pointless.

Things that can swing either way:

  • I suppose if you hate getting your ass kicked, you will not like Sanctum 2 or any of its DLC.

Sanctum 2 is available on Steam and Xbox 360 for $14.99 and the first DLC: Road to Elysion can be purchased for $3.99. You can also get a season pass for all four (4) planned DLC for $11.99.

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There’s a handful of noteworthy releases this week: The Merc with the Mouth, Deadpool comes out with his own starring multiplatform game, Capcom X Sega X Namco Bandai’s tactical franchise mash-up Project X Zone is unleashed, and the awesome PS Vita remake of Muramasa finally arrives.

Magic 2014: Duels of the Planeswalkers also will be downloadable for your platform of choice with sealed-deck play.

Here’s this week’s vidyas:

Lego Legends of Chima: Laval’s Journey (3DS Retail)

Project X Zone (3DS Retail)

Kokuga (3DS eShop)

Deadpool (PS3 Retail)

Ride to Hell: Retribution (PS3 Retail/PSN)

Hotline Miami (PS3/Vita PSN)

Magic 2014: Duels of the Planeswalkers (PS3 PSN)

Pool Nation (PS3 PSN)

Riding Star (PS2 Classic)

Warship Gunner (PS2 Classic)

Spartacus Legends (PS3 PSN)

Borderlands 2 – Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep (PS3 DLC)

Lego Legends of Chima: Laval’s Journey (Vita Retail)

Muramasa Rebirth (Vita Retail/PSN)

Deadpool (Retail)

Ride to Hell: Retribution (Retail)

Doodle Jump (XBLA)

Magic 2014: Duels of the Planeswalkers (XBLA)

Spartacus Legends (XBLA)

Borderlands 2 – Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep (DLC)

Gears of War: Judgment – Lost Relics Map Pack (DLC)

Borderlands 2 – Tiny Tina’s Assault (PC/Steam DLC)

Company of Heroes 2 (PC)

Deadpool (PC/Steam)

Endless Space – Disharmony (PC/Steam)

Gun Monkeys (PC/Mac/Steam)

Jack Keane 2: The Fire Within (PC/Steam)

Joe Danger (PC/Steam)

Joe Danger 2: The Movie (PC/Steam)

Magic 2014: Duels of the Planeswalkers (PC/Steam)

Ride to Hell: Retribution (PC/Steam)

The Sims 3 – Island Paradise (PC/Mac Retail)

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Update 2: Microsoft has apparently dropped their region locking scheme among other things so the Xbox One (Eighty) is back on the table for console gamers around the world.

Update: After reaching out to Microsoft Philippine’s PR agency, we can say that there is no official word on plans of including or not including the Philippines as a region supported for Xbox One games. In the meantime, I suppose we should be content with Wii U, PS4, and the soon-to-be previous generation consoles PS3 and Xbox 360.

Microsoft is really upping their game in implementing their pro-corporate and anti-consumer strategy. According to the disclaimer on Xbox One’s pre-order page, games at this year’s announced launch on November will only be activated for the following countries:

  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Mexico
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Russia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

According to Wall Street Journal, gamers in Asia will have to wait up to 2014 to enjoy games on the Xbox One. That means screw the Xbox One at launch, PS4 it is.

While this obviously sucks, I can somehow see why this makes sense for Microsoft and potential partners across the globe. It certainly is a bad precedent for the industry as a whole so I cannot help but hope Sony and Nintendo will eventually overtake Microsoft by a huge margin because I don’t want all console manufacturers to follow suit. If anything, it’s to humble them just like how Sony got hit hard with their initial stance on the Playstation 3.

Author’s Notes: We’ll try to reach out to Microsoft Philippines to see if our country is part of their plans to launch the console in Asia next year (2014).  

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All those fancy games shown at E3 are still months away; you can’t play ’em yet.

So here are the new games you CAN play this week.

P.S. (pun not intended): If you have a PS3 and only have moolah to buy one game, you know what to do.

 

No New Releases (may change after tonight’s E3 Nintendo Direct)

WiiWare/eShop – TBA

Virtual Console – TBA

DLC – TBA

The Last of Us (PS3 Retail/PSN)

Aliens: Colonial Marines (PS3/PSN)

Contra: Shattered Soldier (PS2 Classic)

Final Fantasy XIII-2 (PS3/PSN)

Pirates: Legend of the Black Buccaneer (PS2 Classic)

Tekken Revolution (PS3 Free to Play)

Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F (PS3 Demo)

Injustice: Gods Among Us – Scorpion (PS3 DLC)

Resident Evil: Revelations Rachel Ooze and Lady Hunk (PS3 DLC)

Flying Hamster HD (PS Vita/PSN)

Zeno Clash 2 (XBLA)

Demos – TBA

Injustice: Gods Among Us – Scorpion (DLC)

Resident Evil: Revelations Rachel Ooze and Lady Hunk (DLC)

Resident Evil: Revelations – Rachel Ooze and Lady Hunk DLC (PC) [Steam]

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Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter estimates that that the cost of the Playstation 4 materials is around $275 while the Xbox One would be at around $325 in a preview note for E3. Subsequently, the investment firm (Wedbush Morgan) estimates that the the PS4 will debut at a price point of $349 while the Xbox One at $399.

Xbox-Next-Gen-2013-Xbox-One-All-in-One-Experience
The all in one experience is unfortunately not for the grey market countries like ours.

Pachter added that  Xbox One’s higher price may be subsidized through multi-year contracts with telcos or TV partners given the console’s push to integrate the television viewing experience and the always online component (although not as draconic as people expected only requiring owners to go online at least once a day). Microsoft will probably continue its program where Xbox consoles can be subsidized by a lock-in subscription with Xbox Live Gold as it did with the Xbox 360. Sony could also offer a similar scheme offering a lower SKU with a fixed subscription period for their Playstation Plus service but was noted that the company was not known for offering such a payment scheme.

Nintendo has much to lose in the upcoming E3 if they cannot provide a compelling line of games for the rest of the year to pick-up their slack in sales. “In addition, if the Wii U’s popularity does not improve by the end of the year, many third-party publishers may pass on producing games for the console. We note that EA recently announced that it had no Wii U games in development, and it remains a possibility that the publisher will abandon the platform entirely. Should other third parties follow EA’s lead, the Wii U could be relegated to a first party only platform” said Pachter.

The investment firm also made mention that we may expect console manufacturers to slash prices on current generation consoles by as much  as fifty dollars ($50) while the Wii U (also a current generation console, hehe) may be compelled to take a price cut or get a new console bundle.

kaz
Kaz emphasizing the Playstation 4 is first and foremost a game console certainly helps differentiate itself from Xbox One.

It doesn’t take a hot shot analyst to determine which console is most relevant for console gamers in the Philippines if these price points are true. I can already imagine the smug look on the faces of Sony fanboys all over the country. If possible, I’d like to be excited over a diverse range of games across all platforms as we’re closing into the start of another console cycle.

Source: GamesIndustry.biz

Author’s Note: Okay, so that was a big time gulf. I was never very good at names, I apologize for this. Changed Patcher to Pachter.

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snapviewmultitaskingSo the embargo has lifted on Windows 8.1 previews and all of the big tech sites have previews up on their respective outlets today. Now, I know a lot of you come to 30lives to read about the down n’ dirty side of tech news, so we’ll cut through the BS and give you the real skinny on Microsoft’s next big step for the fledgling operating system.

From what we’ve seen so far, it looks like Windows 8.1 will be a good bridge between the holdouts that still have Windows 7 on their systems (myself included) and Microsoft’s new cloud-based M.O. Contrary to what rumors have suggested, the Start Menu won’t make a comeback, but the Start Screen will act as more of an “overlay,” to make the transition between the desktop and start menu less jarring. I suppose if that’s still an annoyance, one can pony up the $4.99 and install Start8, a piece of software that unobtrusively adds a more traditional Windows 7-style Start Menu among other tweaks, including booting direct to the desktop (something Windows 8.1 actually fixes).

More welcome tweaks to the Start Screen include making “All Apps” the default view instead of the live tiles, which is a good compromise for power users. Other welcome tweaks for power users include disabling “hot corners,” which was a personal annoyance as I would always overshoot the corner window to hit the “close” button on apps. Users with multi-monitor setups can also elect to keep the start screen open on one screen while doing work on the other, which is a feature exactly zero people asked for, according to recent surveys.

skydriveMore importantly, it looks like Microsoft is going for Dropbox’ jugular by including 100GB of SkyDrive support out of the box, fully integrated with the OS, with full thumbnail search capabilities. From what Microsoft has shown off so far, it’s pretty seamless: files on the cloud can be used by local applications as it “streams” direct to your machine per use. Of course, with the pathetic internet speeds we all have in the Philippines, this usefulness does come into question, but it’s still a neat feature for those with fat broadband pipes.

Windows 8.1 will debut at the BUILD conference next month. As the first in a series of incremental, OS X-style yearly updates, lots of speculation has been posited about how Microsoft will price this update. Could be free, could also be a low-cost, $30 update for existing users. We’ll have to see this June!

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Microsoft’s next-gen console, the Xbox One,will have region-locking. It means games bought in one region will only work on consoles for that same region.

A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed to Digital Trends

“Similar to the movie and music industry, games must meet country-specific regulatory guidelines before they are cleared for sale. We will continue to work with our partners to follow these guidelines with Xbox One.”

But just like the Xbox 360, Microsoft still allow publishers to make their games region free if they choose. The PS3, on the other hand, is region-free — all game discs are able to be played on any region console (except Persona 4 Arena because aliens). Sony has not announced if the PlayStation 4 will have the same quirk.

Source: Digital Trends

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In a stark contrast to the direction of other console makers (Sony and Nintendo), Microsoft stated that its current business practice of requiring developers to go through a publisher to place games on Xbox Live Arcade (where indie games are showcased) will certainly make them come under fire from independent developers and their fans because they are not allowing independent developers to self publish games for Xbox One. While fans of the usual blockbuster titles will not really care, people like myself who would like to occasionally sink my teeth into a game of relative obscurity and find myself enjoying the shit out of it with their refreshing take on a traditional game format such as Guacamelee would actually care… Well perhaps not as much since two out of three of the console manufacturers are knocking on independents’ doors already, Microsoft and its Xbox One can suck it when it comes to my dollars for independently published games.

While it makes sense with the direction Microsoft is going with the Xbox One to streamline everything that happens to your utopian living room and the fact that independent developer success stories stem from mobile app stores with games such as Angry Birds, Draw Something, and the like, I can’t help but think this is a lost opportunity for the Xbox One and Microsoft. We’ll just wait and see how courting independent developers will actually play out for the three (3) console manufacturers this generation as time progresses.

In the meantime, I wait with baited breath to see if any of the Xbox One’s fifteen (15) console exclusives will come out on launch and are relevant enough to warrant early adaptation.

 

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mehmeh

You remember that Adam Orth guy? The jerk that told whiners to “deal with it” regarding Xbox One to be an “always online” console? Well, he’s no longer with Microsoft, and frankly I don’t give a damn if he got fired or not.

 

What I DO care about is trying to clarify where the Xbox One really stands. Apparently, the console needs to be ONLINE AT LEAST ONCE EVERY 24 HOURS. Well sure at least it doesn’t have to be online ALL THE TIME, but every day you need to at least connect it ONCE to the internet, even for no reason. I checked with the official press release over at Xbox Wire, and it says, and I quote:

“No, it does not have to be always connected, but Xbox One does require a connection to the Internet.”

This poses a problem for people who usually play games offline such as those who:

  • play in military bases
  • have crappy internet in their area
  • rely on grown-ups for internet (kids and maybe NEETs)
  • don’t live in the US and have shitty connections at the same time (aka The Philippines)

Heck we don’t know exactly what happens to Xbox One if it doesn’t connect to the internet for more than 24 hours. Will it shut down? Self-destruct? Transform into a robot and murder you in your sleep? Download PlayStation 4 trailers once you connect it afterwards? My colleague hypothesizes it as a logical anti-piracy measure. I think I agree with him. Then again, the console can play used games.

Nevertheless, regardless of the outcome you can either NOT buy it, bitch about it, or yeah… deal with it.

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With the Xbox One announced, we can now directly compare what Microsoft and Sony has to offer for us gamers this generation.

Here is a chart comparing both consoles’ many components. Very similar — CPU, Blu-Ray /DVD combo drive, RAM, etc. Major differences are the controller features and the slightly more advanced GDDR5 RAM of the PS4 among others. Both consoles will be released around the same time this year but pricing has yet to be announced.

Components Microsoft Xbox One Sony PlayStation 4
CPU 8 Core CPU custom built by Microsoft Single-chip custom x86 AMD “Jaguar” processor, 8 cores
Graphics Processor D3D 11.1 chip with 32 MB embedded memory 1.84 TFlops, AMD Radeon Graphics Core
Memory (RAM) 8 GB DDR3 8 GB GDDR5
Memory (Storage) 500 GB HDD Not yet announced
Optical Drive Blu-ray/DVD combo drive Blu-Ray/DVD combo drive
I/O USB 3.0 USB 3.0
Communication Ethernet, three different 802.11n radios (for connecting to controller and other devices), WiFi Direct Ethernet, IEEE 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1 (EDR)
A/V HDMI input and output, 1080p and 4K support, Optical output HDMI 1080p and 4K support, Analog-AV, Optical output
Controller Xbox One controller with redesigned directional pad Motion-sensing six-axis, clickable touch pad, share button
Motion Control New Microsoft-developed Kinect camera, with 250,000-pixel infrared depth sensor and 1080p camera PlayStation Eye dual lens 1280x800x2 camera
Price Not yet announced Not yet announced
Availability Later this year Holiday 2013

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I saw a lot of frowns and sad faces during Microsoft’s Xbox One reveal today; certainly a lot of you let their voices be heard on social media. While I wouldn’t quite call it the worst console reveal in history (the 360 had a way worse reveal; some of you people sure have short attention spans) the lack of any relevant news about games seemed disconcerting to most, this writer included.

msn-tv-2-468It’s no secret that Microsoft has had aspirations of replacing your cable box and offering a unified, set-top box. Remember Web TV? Remember Microsoft’s odd partnership with Sega on the Dreamcast? Games have always been both a blessing and an albatross hanging around Microsoft’s neck; while their games divisions certainly make the company a lot of money, I’d go as far to say that they’d probably throw that entire audience under the bus if it meant being able to to skulk their way into every living room in America.

Putting aside any obvious jokes about “4” being greater than “One,” I think the Xbox One’s name is fairly symbolic as it represents Microsoft’s grand vision for the collective living rooms of America. It can play both your hardcore nerd games and the dopey party games your non-gamer friends enjoy flirting with. It’ll supplant your cable/digi-box and even add social widgets you can use to call up fantasy league scores and the like—yes I understand nobody’s actually going to use this feature but bear with me, I am making a point. And it’s a better alternative to watch viral media on-demand than losing an HDMI port to a Roku or one of those dorky Android TV sticks.

Instead of chasing down the core gamer, they’re going after the Smart TV/Blu-Ray player crowd this time around. Which I don’t fault them for; it’s smart business: have any of you played around with, say, a Philips Blu-Ray player? The interfaces on those things are terrible. So why bother with those things when you can pick up an Xbox One for a few hundred dollars more and get a snazzier interface to watch movies with the bonus of being able to play the odd video game or two?

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Not exactly Microsoft’s dream living room…

Note that I said “America” in a previous paragraph. The new TV-ready features Microsoft revealed today made it seem evident that they’re pretty much jettisoning their foreign markets; probably for good reason. Again, Microsoft has bigger aspirations than focusing on experiences that affect their secondary markets, at least for the moment. This is where you—the Filipino gamer—should be concerned. Hardly any of those fancy features Microsoft showed off today will work on your cable provider’s system (good luck convincing Sky Cable to bring in technology past 1987). Netflix or any of the cloud/streaming services won’t work; either due to geo/IP restrictions or because our local telecommunications providers are plain incompetent and refuse to roll out acceptable internet speeds in this country. You won’t be able to easily hop on PinoyXbox and snag games for cheap.

Suddenly, Microsoft’s vision of a perfect living room collapses once you figure out you don’t live in their Utopia. You sit there—sweat across your forehead—realizing you live not in a perfectly air-conditioned living space, but in a muggy third-world country, overpaying for the paltry 1Mb/s broadband connection you are using to read this post. End game.

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Durango now has a real name… Xbox One.

Microsoft recently concluded its console reveal event in Washington state a few minutes ago, and even if it’s dead early in the morning here in the Philippines we’re so fired up to write up right now all that we learned from our live coverage! Innovation is the key theme, something that MS has boldly invested in for the ultimate goal: to be the ultimate source of entertainment worldwide.

Let’s get straight to the point and peek inside Xbox One and see what makes it tick:

  • 500 GB Hard Drive
  • 8 GB DDR3 System Memory
  • 8 CPU Processing Cores; Semi-Custom 64-Bit APU Chip at 1.6 GhZ
  • 802.11n Wireless with Wifi Direct
  • HDMI In/Out
  • Blu-Ray Drive
  • USB 3.0

Sadly, despite all that hardware, Xbox One is NOT BACKWARDS-COMPATIBLE and will require Kinect 2.0 to function . Dammit. However, the good news is what we want to hear since the rumor mongering last year: the console IS NOT AN ALWAYS-ONLINE DEVICE. YES, INTERNET IS NOT REQUIRED FOR IT TO WORK! Whew!

Speaking of Kkinect2inect 2.0… it gets amped up to accommodate the new Xbox Guide, Snap Mode and user interface. It’s now equipped with more processing power, greatly enhancing the accuracy of motion sensing and voice activation. Gesture gimmicks are now performed easier as you can easily tab between movies, music, net browsing and TV all in a wave of a hand or your voice. It even responds spot-on during the live demo as it can accurately differentiate between CBS from ESPN.

In fact it’s so advanced, it can even detect your own heartbeat! Being a required component, and essentially a vital part of the console, it will work with unison with the controller and SmartGlass. 

controllerThe controller, in the other hand boasts more than just bling-bling. Aside from the impulse trigger buttons, integrated battery compartment and Wifi Direct Radio Stack, the directional pad has been redesigned to be more precise, and the start and select buttons are gone to make way for possible social networking or menu functions. It is said to have “40 different technical and design innovations”. Although they didn’t give the complete list, we’ll gladly take their word for it.

Let’s enumerate some interesting tidbits about the new Xbox LIVE:

  • The new Xbox LIVE will host more than 300,000 servers compared to the 15,000 we have now. THAT’S MORE THAN THE ENTIRE WORLD’S COMPUTING POWER IN 1999.
  • A Cloud computing system is in place. Just upload all your movies, music, games and saves, then re-download them ANYTIME, ANYWHERE as you please!
  • You’ll have your own dedicated game DVR complete with native editing and sharing tools. Capture and save those moments on video FOREVER, and upload them into the Cloud! You can now brag on how you got that hard achievement, DYNAMICALLY. YOU HAVE PROOF!
  • Asynchronous capabilities are incorporated into matchmaking. Xbox LIVE will search the best match suitable for your favorite game, while you’re playing ANOTHER game, watching a movie or surfing!

Now, about Xbox One’s content on Games and Entertainment:

  • Xbox One alone has 15 EXCLUSIVE GAMES under its belt, with 8 of them being totally brand new IPs. 3 titles were revealed so far: Forza Motorsport 5, Call of Duty Ghosts and Quantum Break. Details will unfold on E3 next month.
  • Steven Spielberg, a self-admitted gamer is on board to work on Halo: The TV Series.
  • Xbox One made a partnership with EA Sports and together created the EA Sports Ignite engine which boasts crisp details, smooth animation/motion, human-like intelligence/AI and a living, breathing dynamic environment (especially cheering crowds).  NBA, FIFA 14, Madden and UFC will all be released next year powered by this engine, and although these games will also be released in other platforms, Xbox One will receive EXCLUSIVE CONTENT for FIFA 14’s Ultimate Team Mode in particular.

And there you have it, all vital information condensed and rounded up! We’ll be hovering around for more updates and information as they become available real-time, and we’ll definitely check out what they got to offer at E3! For now, keep yourselves glued to this section as we’ll get back to you pronto!

 

Images generously provided by WIRED.