Microsoft Unveils 3 New Xbox Consoles for Holiday Shoppers

Microsoft has three new Xbox consoles slated for the holiday shopping season, including an all-digital Xbox Series X model in Robot White. This $450 discless iteration has up to 4K resolution, 1TB of SDDS storage and the same performance as the Carbon Black Series X introduced last year. A white Xbox Series S with disc drive is also coming, for $350, “for players who wanted more storage without the full power of Series X.” For power users, a 2TB Galaxy Black Xbox Series X Special Edition that offers “the same speed, performance and features of Xbox Series X” is priced at $600. Continue reading Microsoft Unveils 3 New Xbox Consoles for Holiday Shoppers

Roku Unveils Tech to Show Ads on All TV Connected Devices

Roku has applied for a patent on technology that is said to be able to display ads over any device plugged into your television. According to reports, the patent application describes a system that interacts with devices connected to TVs via HDMI, which could include everything from cable boxes, DVD or Blu-ray players, game consoles, PCs or other video-streaming devices. The patent, filed by Roku in August 2023, was published three months later, but still hasn’t been granted. The idea is to have even more ways to display ads when consumers aren’t actively streaming content. Roku already does so on its screensaver and home screen. Continue reading Roku Unveils Tech to Show Ads on All TV Connected Devices

Microsoft Q2 Profits Surge 33 Percent Driven by AI and Cloud

Microsoft profits were up 33 percent year-over-year to $21.9 billion in the quarter ending December 31, its fiscal Q2 for 2024. The quarterly growth was the company’s strongest in more than two years. Executives credited it to excitement about artificial intelligence services and the resulting demand for cloud services including Microsoft Azure. Earlier this month, Microsoft achieved a $2.89 trillion market valuation, overtaking Apple as the world’s most valuable public company, and this week it surged past $3 trillion. Revenue was $62 billion for the quarter, up 18 percent. Continue reading Microsoft Q2 Profits Surge 33 Percent Driven by AI and Cloud

Spotify Redesigns TV Interface to Better Match Its Mobile App

Sweden-based digital music service Spotify has redesigned its television user interface to make it look and feel more like the platform’s desktop and mobile experiences, a move its users have been waiting for. The frequently played content now appears at the top of the interface, while playlists and favorites are also easily accessed. A playback queue that opens from the side of the screen lets you see what’s playing and program what’s coming up, and you can easily switch accounts by toggling profile options. A dark mode option has been added for the television interface as well. Continue reading Spotify Redesigns TV Interface to Better Match Its Mobile App

New PS5 Model Adds Option for Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc Drive

Sony announced it is introducing a new PS5 shipping in November, timed for the holiday shopping season. The slimmer form factor, which features a detachable Blu-ray Disc drive and 1TB SSD for internal storage, has been reduced in volume by more than 30 percent and is 18- 24 percent lighter, depending on the choice of two models. The PS5 Digital Edition will run $449.99, while the PS5 with Ultra HD Blu-ray disc drive will cost an additional $50. For those who purchase the base PS5 Digital Edition, a $79.99 Blu-ray disc drive can be added later. The new PS5 includes a horizontal stand; a new $29.99 vertical stand is compatible with all PS5 models. Continue reading New PS5 Model Adds Option for Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc Drive

Sony’s Wireless PlayStation Portal Coming to Market This Fall

Sony Interactive Entertainment has announced its new wireless gaming device, the PlayStation Portal remote player, will debut in time for the holiday season. The handheld unit streams PlayStation 5 games over Wi-Fi, displaying the action on an eight-inch LCD screen in 1080p resolution at 60 fps. The player will be priced at $199.99. Sony is positioning the PlayStation Portal as ideal for multigame households where players share a TV or want to play PS5 games in another room of the house. Since the Portal operates by mirroring the PS5, it can also display other media. Continue reading Sony’s Wireless PlayStation Portal Coming to Market This Fall

‘Mario’ Movie and ‘Zelda’ Game Propel Nintendo Profit Surge

Mario and Luigi’s cinematic star turn and the new video game “The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom” boosted Nintendo’s quarterly earnings with a 52 percent profit surge. “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” from Universal Pictures has collected more than $1 billion at the global box office since its April release, while the latest “Zelda” game installment became the fastest-seller in the series’ history when it debuted in May. As a result, Nintendo’s April through June fiscal quarter produced revenue of $3.2 billion, a 50 percent increase year-over-year. Continue reading ‘Mario’ Movie and ‘Zelda’ Game Propel Nintendo Profit Surge

EU Greenlights Microsoft Offer to Purchase Activision Blizzard

European Union regulators have approved Microsoft’s proposed $68.7 billion purchase of game company Activision Blizzard. The European Commission accepted Microsoft’s remedies for staving off antitrust concerns in the area of cloud gaming. Microsoft said it would guarantee at least 10 years of access to Activision titles on third party cloud services, which satisfied the 27-nation bloc’s executive body. The EU announced its decision just weeks after UK lawmakers blocked the acquisition, and in the U.S. Microsoft is fending off efforts by the Federal Trade Commission to cancel the deal. Continue reading EU Greenlights Microsoft Offer to Purchase Activision Blizzard

UK Blocks Microsoft-Activision Merger, Companies to Appeal

Microsoft shares jumped 9 percent on Tuesday after a strong earnings report that beat analysts’ expectations and rode a wave of enthusiasm over the company’s prospects in artificial intelligence. The rally continued on Wednesday, when shares were up by more than 7 percent even after the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority said it intends to block the software giant’s planned $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, citing concerns about the merger’s impact on “the growing and fast-moving” cloud gaming sector, while providing a clean bill of health in the console market. Microsoft says it will appeal the decision. Continue reading UK Blocks Microsoft-Activision Merger, Companies to Appeal

Animated ‘Super Mario’ Is the Top Game-Based Film Opener

Nintendo’s Mario the plumber is officially a movie star, becoming the top-opening video game adaptation worldwide this past weekend. “Super Mario Bros.” original game designer Shigeru Miyamoto says he plans to keep his celebrity duo — Mario and brother Luigi — away from the small screen, meaning mobile. The legendary video game creator can afford to be picky about his A-lister’s venues. “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” animated feature easily topped the long Easter weekend box office charts by earning $204.6 million domestic and $377 million worldwide. Continue reading Animated ‘Super Mario’ Is the Top Game-Based Film Opener

Report: 2022 Online Sales Sets Another Record, Says Adobe

Digital Black Friday shopping was brisk, with a record $9.12 billion spent, according to Adobe. Online sales were up 2.3 percent year-over-year for Friday, November 25, the day after Thanksgiving. Also a hit, Buy Now Pay Later payments increased by a whopping 78 percent over the prior week, beginning November 19, with inflationary pressures seeming to drive that pattern. Adobe tracks transactions on retail websites. Total seasonal revenue is estimated to top-out at $209 billion, Adobe says, noting that Cyber Monday alone accounted for $11.3 billion. U.S. consumers also spent more time and money shopping in stores on Black Friday than they did the same day last year. Continue reading Report: 2022 Online Sales Sets Another Record, Says Adobe

New YouTube Shorts Feature Is Optimized for HDTV Screens

With research showing TVs are the biggest growth platform for YouTube Shorts, the streamer is rolling out its purpose-built player for HDTVs worldwide, starting this month. The YouTube Shorts on TV player will work with recent-model smart TVs, game consoles and streaming devices such as Roku and Google’s Chromecast. Users will now see a “Shorts shelf” on the homepage of their YouTube TV app, or the Shorts can be launched directly from a creator’s channel. YouTube Shorts are seen on about 1.5 billion mobile devices monthly, and this move is designed to increase views. Continue reading New YouTube Shorts Feature Is Optimized for HDTV Screens

CTA: Streaming Services Will Be Focus for Holiday Shoppers

Tech items are making the list this holiday season, with the Consumer Technology Association’s annual shoppers survey forecasting a record-breaking 78 percent of U.S. adults — nearly 199 million people — will purchase devices and related services this season. Streaming services, headphones and earbuds, mobile cases, smartphones and game consoles top the trade organization’s survey, the 2022 Hot Tech Holiday Preview. The seasonal projection marks a 4 percent increase over last year. The 78 percent of American shoppers who intend to purchase tech gifts in the coming months will spend an estimated $145 billion. Continue reading CTA: Streaming Services Will Be Focus for Holiday Shoppers

Google to Shutter Stadia Game Streaming Service in January

Google is shutting down its Stadia video-game streaming service in what many say is a response to leaner times. The cloud-based subscription service is going dark January 18, three years after it launched. It delivers games directly to compatible smart TVs, computers and Android phones, and is accessible to incompatible devices, such as iOS, via web browsers. While Stadia “was built on a strong technology foundation, it hasn’t gained the traction with users that we expected so we’ve made the difficult decision to begin winding down,” Stadia VP and general manager Phil Harrison wrote in a blog post. Continue reading Google to Shutter Stadia Game Streaming Service in January

Conviva: Streaming Growth Surges in Asia and Latin America

Streaming analytics firm Conviva reports that the global streaming market grew 14 percent in Q2 2022 as compared to the same period last year. Asia and Latin America drove the growth, vaulting 90 percent and 70 percent, respectively. The quarterly Conviva State of Streaming Report noted that North America, the most mature streaming market in the world, grew a modest 5 percent year over year. “As the global streaming industry matures, streaming success is getting more complicated,” Conviva reports, citing as factors device fragmentation and heightened quality expectations in an increasingly ad-supported streaming world. Continue reading Conviva: Streaming Growth Surges in Asia and Latin America