Microsoft Acquires Indie Video Game Publisher ZeniMax Media

Microsoft just purchased ZeniMax Media, a large independent game publisher whose studios have produced some of the video game industry’s most notable titles: id Software, which developed “Doom” and “Quake”; Arkane Studios, responsible for “Dishonored” and “Prey”; Tango Gameworks, developer of “The Evil Within”; and Bethesda Game Studios, home of “The Elder Scrolls” and “Fallout.” With regulatory approval expected by the second half of next year, Microsoft paid $7.5 billion in an all-cash deal for the publisher. Continue reading Microsoft Acquires Indie Video Game Publisher ZeniMax Media

Microsoft Closes Mixer and Partners With Facebook Gaming

Less than a year ago, Microsoft’s Xbox unit signed two very popular streamers to its Mixer video game streaming platform: Ninja (Tyler Blevins) and Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek. But their presence didn’t build the huge global fan base for Mixer that Microsoft hoped for. It’s therefore no surprise that Microsoft is shuttering Mixer, but more surprising, perhaps, that it will partner with Facebook on its xCloud mobile game service. From July 22, visitors to Mixer will be diverted to Facebook Gaming. Continue reading Microsoft Closes Mixer and Partners With Facebook Gaming

Microsoft to Debut xCloud Game Streaming Service in 2020

According to Microsoft head of gaming Phil Spencer, the company will introduce its xCloud game streaming service, integrated with Xbox Game Pass, in 2020, with price and launch date to be determined. Microsoft will also bring xCloud to Windows 10 PCs, making it likely that PC games will be streamed there in the future. Microsoft head of cloud gaming Kareem Choudhry noted the lack of mouse and keyboard support for Xbox games streamed via xCloud to a PC, but said there will “be more types of content” in the future. Continue reading Microsoft to Debut xCloud Game Streaming Service in 2020

Microsoft Service to Bundle Xbox One, Xbox Live, Game Pass

After months of planning, Microsoft has announced its Xbox All Access service (formerly codenamed Project Largo) that will include the Xbox One console with Xbox Live and Xbox Game Pass. As of now, the company will offer the subscription service at its retail stores and is also working to bundle it with other PC manufacturers. According to the Microsoft announcement, the company will offer the Xbox One S with Xbox All Access for $21.99 per month, and the Xbox One X with Xbox All Access for $34.99 per month, both deals for 24 months. Continue reading Microsoft Service to Bundle Xbox One, Xbox Live, Game Pass

Microsoft Buys Four Game Studios to Ramp Up Development

During Microsoft’s E3 press conference yesterday in Los Angeles, Xbox head Phil Spencer announced that the company has acquired game studios Compulsion Games (Canada), Playground Games (United Kingdom), Ninja Theory (United Kingdom) and Undead Labs (Seattle). Microsoft is planning to expand its Xbox Game Pass service; building up its in-house game development should assist in that effort. Spencer also revealed that the company is developing a cloud-based game-streaming network that will work across Xbox, PCs and phones. Continue reading Microsoft Buys Four Game Studios to Ramp Up Development

Microsoft Releases its Powerful Xbox One X Gaming Console

At the global debut of its Xbox One X, Microsoft described it as the world’s most powerful game console, with 4K resolution, high-dynamic range (HDR) games and 40 percent more performance than other consoles. The new console already has 50+ Xbox One X titles that have been remastered to 4K, a number that will jump to 70 by end of the first week. The company says 160 games are being readied for 4K HDR, among them “Forza Motorsport 7,” “Super Lucky’s Tale,” “Assassin’s Creed Origins,” “Middle-earth: Shadow of War” and “FIFA 18.” Continue reading Microsoft Releases its Powerful Xbox One X Gaming Console

Microsoft Unveils New Xbox, VR Plans, Cross-Platform Games

At E3, Microsoft debuted the 4K video-capable Xbox One S, which is 40 percent smaller and $49 less than the previous $349 Xbox. The new console, also offered as a $400 version for a 2-terabyte hard drive, will unveil as a special edition in August and a standard version by end of year. Microsoft also plans to release a new virtual reality console and cross-platform games. Microsoft is in heated competition with Sony, which has sold an estimated 40 million PlayStation 4 consoles versus Microsoft’s estimated 21 million Xbox Ones. Continue reading Microsoft Unveils New Xbox, VR Plans, Cross-Platform Games

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

Sony Creates Amped-Up PlayStation for Use with VR Headset

Sony is planning to unveil a new version of PlayStation 4 that will be powerful enough to handle high-end game experiences including virtual reality, say sources. Sony’s move signals a radical change to the typical six-to-seven-year cycle of game console releases; the PlayStation 4 debuted in 2013. At the same time, Sony plans to continue production of the existing PlayStation 4, which has sold more than 36 million units globally. Sources say the two versions will likely share the same software catalog. Continue reading Sony Creates Amped-Up PlayStation for Use with VR Headset

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

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