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

E3 Predictions for Sony, Microsoft: More Hardware, Games, VR

At E3 2016 next week, Sony will come to the show having sold over 40 million PlayStation 4 consoles, outselling Microsoft’s Xbox One, by two-to-one. The company plans to debut a more powerful console, a virtual reality headset, and numerous first-party games. Microsoft, meanwhile, plans to launch a wide range of new Xbox hardware this year, beginning with, rumors have it, a slimmer, smaller version of the current Xbox One. In addition to new consoles, Microsoft will show off HoloLens and debut new games. Continue reading E3 Predictions for Sony, Microsoft: More Hardware, Games, VR

Xbox One VR Rumors Fueled by Game Developer and E3 Site

Speculation that Microsoft is planning a more powerful, VR-capable Xbox One for next year has been fueled by news that at least one developer plans to show a virtual reality game for the console at E3 in June. According to Ars Technica, “a well-known European studio is planning ‘a new VR game’ set in the universe of an established, long-running franchise.” To further fan the flames, the E3 site added an Xbox One VR category featuring four developers so far. While Sony announced that it plans to launch a $399 PlayStation VR in October, Microsoft has yet to officially announce plans for a VR console. Continue reading Xbox One VR Rumors Fueled by Game Developer and E3 Site

Microsoft Pushes Windows 10, Promotes Bots to Replace Apps

Microsoft is on track to reach the goal it set when it first introduced Windows 10 last July: to reach one billion devices within two or three years. Less than a year later, Windows 10, the latest version of its operating system, is running on 270 million active devices, adopted faster than even Windows 7, its previous high point. Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella is pinning future hopes on artificial intelligence and “bots” to create new ways to interact with computers, and replace apps as the dominant paradigm. Continue reading Microsoft Pushes Windows 10, Promotes Bots to Replace Apps

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

GDC 2016: Oculus Plans to Debut 30 Games with Rift Headset

At GDC 2016 this week, Oculus demonstrated its retail headset with 41 games, 30 of which will launch with the Rift. The headset already has a pre-order list backed up to July, four months past its initial March 28 release. Over four generations, Rift has improved, says one journalist, although the “screen door effect” still exists in games that are heavy in fine details such as “Project CARS” and less so in games with fewer details and more abstraction. The Rift’s head tracking and overall latency was also deemed “spot on.” Continue reading GDC 2016: Oculus Plans to Debut 30 Games with Rift Headset

Super Bowl 50: Live Streaming Way Up, But Social Media Down

CBS now has the numbers to back up its assertion that live streaming of Super Bowl 50 broke records: 3.96 million unique viewers via computers, tablets, OTT devices and mobile phones, consuming more than 402 million minutes of coverage, for an average of 101 minutes each; an average per minute audience of 1.4 million consumed more than 315 million minutes. Last year, says NBC, Adobe Analytics counted more than 1.3 million people streaming the game, with an average 800,000 viewers per minute and 213 million total minutes. Continue reading Super Bowl 50: Live Streaming Way Up, But Social Media Down

Super Bowl 50 Sets New Streaming Record, According to CBS

Although CBS has yet to release official figures, the network claims yesterday’s Super Bowl matchup between the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers drew a record number of viewers who streamed the game. NBC broke streaming records last year with 800,000 viewers per minute on average and about 1.3 million concurrent users. Eclipsing the previous year’s numbers should come as no surprise since today’s consumers are more comfortable with streaming, and CBS made the game easy to access for free via OTT devices including Apple TV, Roku and Xbox One. Continue reading Super Bowl 50 Sets New Streaming Record, According to CBS

Microsoft Developing a Classroom Edition of ‘Minecraft’ Game

The building-block game “Minecraft” may make its way into classrooms next fall. Microsoft is planning to launch a classroom version of the game, which will allow teachers to create custom challenges and track students’ progress on their building projects. This new version of “Minecraft” would be based on “MinecraftEdu,” a spinoff of the original game that was sold to Microsoft last year. Microsoft plans to charge $5 per student annually for the classroom version of the game. Continue reading Microsoft Developing a Classroom Edition of ‘Minecraft’ Game

Electronic Arts Launches Subscription Service for PC Gamers

Origin Access hopes to become the new Netflix of video gaming. For $4.99 per month, subscribers can sample new PC games before they’re released, receive special discounts on current games, and play some games for free. All of the games are delivered via Internet downloads. The subscription service is an extension of Electronic Arts’ Origin, an online community and store for PC games. EA already offers a similar subscription service for Xbox One games and rival Nvidia has one for PC games. Continue reading Electronic Arts Launches Subscription Service for PC Gamers

CES 2016: VR, Game Platforms, eSports Coming to Las Vegas

The increasing interest in virtual reality and rise of the app stores are expected to help make gaming a hot topic at January’s CES. Coming off its crowd-pleasing debut at the show last year, and with its consumer launch only months away, expect Oculus to monopolize the floor. And with it comes an array of manufacturers hoping to add a new dimension to the immersive gameplay experience with new peripherals. Meanwhile, the widespread adoption of game systems as entertainment hubs has created a new pipeline for indie developers to reach consumers. And let’s not forget the rise of eSports. Turner Broadcasting certainly hasn’t, and will be bringing its largest-ever showcase to prove it. Continue reading CES 2016: VR, Game Platforms, eSports Coming to Las Vegas

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

More People Shopped Online Than in Stores this Black Friday

Last week’s start to the holiday shopping season marked the most social on record with 1.4 million tweets during the week leading up to Black Friday. However, sales in retail stores on Thanksgiving and Black Friday fell about $1.4 billion this year, with more consumers opting to pursue deals online. Black Friday saw a 14 percent increase in online sales over last year, for a total of $2.72 billion, while Thanksgiving online sales jumped 25 percent. Adobe estimates that shoppers spent $4.45 billion online Thursday and Friday combined. Continue reading More People Shopped Online Than in Stores this Black Friday

New Apple TV Could Compete with Traditional Game Consoles

When Apple unveils its next generation Apple TV product this Wednesday at its scheduled event in San Francisco, insiders say videogames will be one of the key selling points. The move marks a departure for Apple TV, which has thus far been marketed as a device for streaming video and music content. The device will reportedly feature the components necessary for generating interest from casual gamers, including more power and a faster processor for improved graphics, a motion-sensitive remote that could also serve as a game controller and an app store for downloading games. Continue reading New Apple TV Could Compete with Traditional Game Consoles

YouTube Rolls Out Dedicated Gaming Hub to Take on Twitch

YouTube launched its centralized hub for gaming this week, a new competitor to Amazon’s Twitch that features live and recorded video content about popular games. YouTube Gaming is available for game fans on mobile (Android, iOS) and the Web and offers more than 25,000 dedicated pages. The service automatically populates all gaming content from YouTube’s community, and Google is appealing to video creators by promising to make it simpler to livestream their games. Gaming-related video content has exploded in popularity, and is now second only to music. Continue reading YouTube Rolls Out Dedicated Gaming Hub to Take on Twitch

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