Google and Microsoft to Intro Cloud-Based Gaming Services

Google and Microsoft are about to go mano-a-mano with new cloud-based gaming services. Google plans a limited launch in November of its Stadia service, which the company says will stream any title to any device. Microsoft, meanwhile, is building its Project xCloud on Azure, its own cloud network. Because every game on Xbox One, including Xbox 360 backward-compatible titles will be able to run on xCloud, the new service will debut with 3,500+ game titles. Microsoft said a beta version of its xCloud service will debut in October of this year. Continue reading Google and Microsoft to Intro Cloud-Based Gaming Services

Microsoft Xbox One X Console Offers 4K, HDR, Dolby Atmos

Microsoft’s next videogame console, the Xbox One X, is its smallest gaming console ever, with advanced capabilities in power, speed and resolution, offering true 4K. The new console will be compatible with games made for the Xbox One and Xbox 360, which will benefit from the Xbox One X’s increased speed and improved resolution and graphics. The new console, which also features HDR (high dynamic range) playback and Dolby Atmos sound, will go on sale November 7th for $499. Sony’s PlayStation 4 Pro debuted in November for $399. Continue reading Microsoft Xbox One X Console Offers 4K, HDR, Dolby Atmos

Plex Integrates Alexa Voice Control with Popular Media Player

Media player Plex, joining many device manufacturers, has added Alexa voice control for its first foray into home automation. Now, via the company’s Plex Skill for Alexa, the user can ask for favorite content, even music, from her Plex media library without a remote control. But Alexa for Plex isn’t as simple as it is for Spotify or Pandora, which rely on the Alexa mobile app. Instead, users have to enable Remote Access for their media server in the software’s setting, to turn requests into API calls in Plex’s cloud services. Continue reading Plex Integrates Alexa Voice Control with Popular Media Player

Top Game Console Companies Test Tweaking Release Cycles

At least some game console manufacturers have decided not to wait for long release cycles to upgrade their hardware, but instead will begin to release new capabilities in between generations. Microsoft has said as much with regard to its next Xbox One, code-named Scorpio, and Sony has reportedly made noises that its upcoming releases will have forward and backward compatibility. They are both following the model of devices like PCs and smartphones that operate on a continuous evolution cycle. Continue reading Top Game Console Companies Test Tweaking Release Cycles

Disney Movies Anywhere Service Goes Wide on New Platforms

Disney is expanding support for its cloud-based digital movie service on more platforms with the debut of new apps for Amazon Fire tablets, Amazon’s Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, and Microsoft Xbox 360. Apps for Android TV and Roku are expected in a few days. The Disney Movies Anywhere collection currently features more than 450 digital movies from Disney, Marvel and Pixar in addition to Star Wars and short form content. Its new app is now available to Amazon and Microsoft customers, the result of new partnerships between the studio and both companies. Continue reading Disney Movies Anywhere Service Goes Wide on New Platforms

NFL to Launch Game Pass for Apple TV and Xbox This Month

The NFL announced that a new version of its Game Pass service will be released on July 31 to a variety of different devices, including Apple TV and Xbox game consoles. NFL Game Pass will replace NFL Game Rewind, and will include access to preseason games, all 256 regular season games, and access to archived games. The service will also include new features for accessing a range of content. Game Pass does not include live regular season, playoff, and Super Bowl broadcasts; games will be available to watch once they have aired on television. Continue reading NFL to Launch Game Pass for Apple TV and Xbox This Month

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)

BSkyB Makes Another Investment in Cinematic VR Developer

British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSkyB), the largest pay TV broadcaster in the UK and Ireland, is making an additional $400,000 investment in Jaunt, a Silicon Valley company developing 360-degree virtual reality cinema tech. The British broadcaster invested $350,000 in Jaunt last December, hoping to get one step ahead in the future of television. Jaunt’s technology, which uses Oculus Rift VR headsets, could be rolled out commercially as early as three years from now. Continue reading BSkyB Makes Another Investment in Cinematic VR Developer

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

Microsoft Will Offer Xbox One Without Kinect for $100 Less

Six months after the initial release of its Xbox One, Microsoft plans to offer a new version of the game console for $100 less. Beginning on June 9th, the company will offer a version that does not include the Kinect motion sensor, starting at $399. Microsoft also announced that it will begin offering new features to Xbox One and Xbox 360 owners in June. For example, Hulu and Netflix subscribers will be able to use the apps for free, without the need for an Xbox Live Gold membership. Continue reading Microsoft Will Offer Xbox One Without Kinect for $100 Less

Microsoft and Sony Announce Game Console Sales Figures

Sony and Microsoft have shipped more than 12 million new game consoles since the products launched last fall. One day after Sony announced it has sold more than seven million PlayStation 4 consoles (up one million since March), Microsoft said it has sold more than five million Xbox One units to retail shops. According to NPD Group’s U.S. retail data for March, hardware sales rose 78 percent from the previous year to $395 million, while sales of new console and PC video games in retail stores dropped 28 percent to $432 million. Continue reading Microsoft and Sony Announce Game Console Sales Figures

Pay TV Subscribers Can Now Enjoy Fox Shows via Xbox One

Pay TV subscribers in the U.S. who purchased Microsoft’s new Xbox One game console can now watch episodes of Fox prime time shows such as “The Simpsons,” “New Girl” and “Almost Human.” In order to access the Fox Now streaming service, consumers need to subscribe to participating cable, satellite and telco TV partners. According to Microsoft, 2 million Xbox One consoles have been sold since the product debuted last month in 13 countries. Continue reading Pay TV Subscribers Can Now Enjoy Fox Shows via Xbox One

Microsoft Sells One Million Xbox One Consoles on First Day

We recently reported that Sony’s PlayStation 4 sold more than one million units in its first 24 hours of availability. Now, Microsoft has made the same claim with the launch of its Xbox One console on November 22. While the sales figures set a new record for Microsoft, easily defeating first day sales of its Xbox 360, the Xbox One launched in 11 more countries than the PS4. Both companies are expected to sell 3 million units by the end of the year. Continue reading Microsoft Sells One Million Xbox One Consoles on First Day

Microsoft Finally Shuts Down MSN TV, Shifts Focus to Xbox One

Microsoft officially pulled the plug on its MSN TV service this week. Founded by Steve Perlman, the Internet TV pioneer launched in 1996 under the name WebTV. It was later acquired by Microsoft and rebranded. Despite hardware upgrades and new features added to MSN TV 2, Microsoft has since shifted its focus to the Xbox game console. The company is ramping up its Xbox TV programming as it preps the new Xbox One console for the upcoming holiday season. Continue reading Microsoft Finally Shuts Down MSN TV, Shifts Focus to Xbox One

Microsoft Now Offers Xbox Music Service on More Devices

Microsoft is now offering its Xbox Music service on more devices and via the Web. This is an expansion of the limited compatibility that the service offered at its initial release about a year ago. It brings familiar digital music services and software into a combined, single service. Xbox Music’s new platform support comes as Google, Apple and others are entering the music-streaming marketplace, with Amazon developing its own music-streaming devices. Continue reading Microsoft Now Offers Xbox Music Service on More Devices

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