Microsoft’s Next-Gen 8K Xbox Will Significantly Boost Power

Just ahead of this week’s E3 conference in Los Angeles, Microsoft announced that its next-gen Xbox console, dubbed Project Scarlett and slated for release Christmas 2020, will feature an AMD Ryzen processor that will make the console four times more powerful than today’s Xbox One X. The AMD processor features 120 fps operation, which means that latency for loading games will be greatly reduced. Project Scarlett will also feature 8K capability and will ship with a new version of “Halo.” Additionally, Microsoft’s xCloud streaming platform will debut in October, enabling users to stream games from their Xbox One to numerous devices. Continue reading Microsoft’s Next-Gen 8K Xbox Will Significantly Boost Power

Cyber Monday Sets Sales Records, Mobile Shopping on Rise

While retailers have extended their special online deals before and after Cyber Monday this year, yesterday’s sales are still poised to break records. Adobe reports that by 10:00 yesterday morning, shoppers had already spent a record $490 million. When the numbers are finalized, Adobe predicts the day will represent the biggest e-commerce day on record with $3 billion in sales. Mobile shopping is also on the rise; Adobe notes that 41 percent of shopping visits originated on smartphones and 12 percent from tablets. Continue reading Cyber Monday Sets Sales Records, Mobile Shopping on Rise

The Rise of E-Sports: Videogame Coaching is a New Profession

With the rise in popularity of e-sports, videogame coaching as a profession is also on the rise. Coaches can make from $30,000 to $50,000 a year, a salary that matches that of minor league baseball coaches. Coaches study gameplay, oversee practice sessions and provide feedback to e-sport competitors, many of whom can earn up to $120,000 a year. As tournament fans are quickly turning videogame competitions into a popular spectator sport, e-sports now generate more than $600 million in global revenue. Continue reading The Rise of E-Sports: Videogame Coaching is a New Profession

Perspective: In Reality, VR Not the Only Game at E3 (Part 2)

In Part 2 of our E3 overview, we look at the featured products and emergence of virtual reality. E3 operates with a familiar orchestration: Press events, lavish floor displays and private parties with big name bands. The Who, for instance, entertained guests of Electronic Arts. The layout of the exhibit floor gathers the platform players — Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo — in the Convention Center’s West Hall and fills the South Hall with the major game developers. In a sign of where VR leader Oculus fits into the spectrum, its booth anchored a prominent corner of the platform-centric West Hall. Continue reading Perspective: In Reality, VR Not the Only Game at E3 (Part 2)

Microsoft: Mixed Reality is Future of Immersive Entertainment

Microsoft used its E3 media event last week in Los Angeles to present its vision of the future of immersive entertainment with a “mixed reality” demonstration of the popular video game “Minecraft” seen through its HoloLens headset. The demonstration at the Shrine Auditorium exhibition hall lasted only a few minutes but its impact continues to resonate. Although Microsoft has provided few detailed plans, its early demos and comments made at E3 and other conferences suggest a future that is something more than a virtual or augmented reality. Continue reading Microsoft: Mixed Reality is Future of Immersive Entertainment

E3 Expected to Focus on AR, VR, Online, Mobile and Wearables

The 2015 Electronic Entertainment Expo opens it doors in Los Angeles today following a series of press conferences from major players such as Bethesda, EA, Microsoft, Sony and Ubisoft. This year we expect to see a new emphasis on virtual and augmented reality, wearable devices, online gaming and mobile apps. At last year’s show, only six companies were dedicated to VR; this week, there will be 27. Also, 74 companies touting mobile and online gaming products will be in attendance. According to Gartner, worldwide mobile revenue is expected to nearly double to $22 billion this year. Continue reading E3 Expected to Focus on AR, VR, Online, Mobile and Wearables

Microsoft to Pay $2.5 Billion for Mojang, Maker of ‘Minecraft’

Microsoft has agreed to purchase Mojang, the Swedish company responsible for developing the world-building computer game “Minecraft.” The $2.5 billion cash deal, expected to be completed later this year, will bring the immensely popular title — and the Stockholm-based Mojang team — to Microsoft Studios, which publishes blockbuster game series such as “Fable” and “Halo.” “Minecraft” is currently the most popular online game on Xbox, and the top paid app for iOS and Android in the U.S. Continue reading Microsoft to Pay $2.5 Billion for Mojang, Maker of ‘Minecraft’

E3 2014: Microsoft Places Emphasis on Games at Xbox Event

At yesterday’s Xbox briefing, Microsoft took a different approach by focusing its entire E3 presentation on games. Traditionally, the event has included other media functionality of Xbox hardware, but this year Phil Spencer, the new head of Xbox, noted that changes to strategy were necessary for the Xbox One — changes initiated by user response to the (formerly) always-online, DRM-heavy console. The event included major titles, trailers of previously announced games and a slate of indie titles. Continue reading E3 2014: Microsoft Places Emphasis on Games at Xbox Event

Optimistic Financial Reports from Electronic Arts and Activision

Activision Blizzard and Electronic Arts released positive financial results and showed optimism about the holiday shopping season. EA said sales of new video game consoles from Microsoft and Sony exceeded their goals, as well as the sales of games for those devices. EA also announced a repurchase plan for $750 million shares, and a lofty profit forecast for the rest of the year. Activision reported that presales for the newest version of “World of Warcraft” are the strongest in the game’s history. Continue reading Optimistic Financial Reports from Electronic Arts and Activision

Microsoft Planning Original TV Programming for Xbox Console

Microsoft is expanding beyond video games in an effort to make its Xbox console more of an entertainment media hub. The software giant is planning to produce TV-like original programming including an expected series from Steven Spielberg based on “Halo,” a version of Swedish sci-fi show “Humans,” a soccer reality-style series and a documentary about discarded Atari games. Microsoft joins a growing field as companies such as Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and Yahoo are tackling original content. Continue reading Microsoft Planning Original TV Programming for Xbox Console

Amazon Fire TV to Feature Android Games Created In-House

Amazon’s new Fire TV will serve as a game console in addition to streaming movies and TV shows. To help distinguish itself from industry giants such as Xbox One or PlayStation 4, Amazon plans to develop some of its own Android games. While Amazon Game Studios has not released a full list, sci-fi shooter “Sev Zero” has the potential to be the most popular. Amazon recently acquired Double Helix Games, the company that made the Xbox One launch title “Killer Instinct.” Continue reading Amazon Fire TV to Feature Android Games Created In-House

Cortana: Microsoft’s New Siri-Like Personal Digital Assistant

Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8.1 update will include its new personal digital assistant “Cortana,” named after the AI character in the “Halo” game series. Designed to rival Apple’s Siri and Google Now, Cortana’s circular animated icon will replace the built-in Bing search functionality on Windows Phone, and will animate while speaking or thinking, creating a personality similar to the Siri approach. Cortana will save data in a Notebook system that will enable it to track data and generate notifications much like Google Now. Continue reading Cortana: Microsoft’s New Siri-Like Personal Digital Assistant

Microsoft Expands TV Efforts, Sees Xbox One as Media Portal

Microsoft is expanding its TV programming in order to market the Xbox One as a portal for games, music and video content. Microsoft hopes its new console will merge television viewing and video game playing. Additionally, the company is producing a live action “Halo” show that will involve director Steven Spielberg and a concept development team in the Los Angeles area. This show is just one of many ideas currently being developed by Microsoft. Continue reading Microsoft Expands TV Efforts, Sees Xbox One as Media Portal

Cortana: Microsoft Developing Next-Gen Personal Assistant

Microsoft is developing a personal assistant app called Cortana that will compete directly with Apple’s Siri and Google Now. Cortana derives its name from an artificially intelligent character in Microsoft’s “Halo” series. Essentially, the app will be able to learn and adapt while utilizing machine-learning technology and the Satori knowledge repository powering Bing. The app will likely be released somewhere between 2014 and 2016. Continue reading Cortana: Microsoft Developing Next-Gen Personal Assistant

Microsoft Unveils Xbox One, Emphasizes More Than Gaming

As promised, Microsoft announced its Xbox One yesterday, the successor to the Xbox 360 and the company’s eighth generation gaming console. Scheduled for release by the end of this year, the Xbox One will compete with Nintendo’s Wii U and Sony’s upcoming PlayStation 4. While the update touts plenty of power and rich features for gaming, Microsoft is emphasizing the Xbox One as a lifestyle device designed for streaming an array of entertainment media. Continue reading Microsoft Unveils Xbox One, Emphasizes More Than Gaming

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