22 Mar 2012

Microsoft was intending to unveil the new Xbox during E3, but according to a BGR source it won't happen.  Microsoft has stated "We can confirm that there will be no talk of new Xbox hardware at E3 or anytime soon."  An insider called "MS Nerd" with a good history of leaking information about Microsoft, says that Microsoft is working on two Xbox consoles to be launched in the next few years.

"My understanding is that we’ll see a Xbox device in late 2013 which does Arcade-style games & all the current & future media apps with Kinect (with near-mode)," MS Nerd wrote on Reddit.  They went on to say "It will be an ARM-based platform price-competitive with the Apple TV (if you own a Kinect already)."

"At some point after that, we’ll see a Xbox Next, a true successor to the 360,” MS Nerd stated. "Details about it are very hazy, except that, like the 360, it will do games for core-audiences & the same media apps as the other device, also with Kinect."  MS Nerd went on to say that the Kinect controller will receive a camera upgrade after the next Xbox launches, with this new Kinect being in 2015.

The Tech-Stew Take Home

These rumors of an ARM-based smaller, cheaper and specialized Xbox actually date back to 2010 and then again in late 2011, but the posts from MS Nerd have been updated as of 2 days ago.  The real question becomes do we really need this type of new Xbox to cater to arcade games and Kinect (if there is even any truth to the rumor).  The Xbox 360 dates back to 2005 that is 7 years, an eternity when it comes to gaming consoles.  I personally would want to see development geared towards a single full-fledged new Xbox console, rather than two new ones.

Source:  bgr.com


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20 Mar 2012

More rumors and speculation are swirling in tech land regarding the Xbox.  This time based on a patent for a virtual helmet that Microsoft filed a patent for in 2010.  The design is similar to that of a helmet, much like the failed Virtual Boy by Nintendo.  Its unclear if it would be for both the old and new Xbox or just the new one alone.  PatentBolt.com outlines how it would work and the workings seem fairly detailed:

"Microsoft states that a compact display system may be coupled into goggles, a helmet, or other eyewear. These configurations enable the wearer to view images from a computer, media player, or other electronic device with privacy and mobility. When adapted to display two different images concurrently--one for each eye--the system may be used for stereoscopic display (e.g., virtual-reality) applications."

Apparently the viewer would see the equivalent of a 21" display with two eyepieces, possibly implying 3D possibilities as well.  There could even be augmented reality (AR) ability, allowing you to see the games HUD through the helmet rather than on a screen.  The other area of possible integration could be with Kinect, imagine the possibilities here, if Microsoft executes and designs this well.


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19 Mar 2012

                                                          Goodsir North Tower

Flight Simulator fans rejoice, the new FS Global Ultimate Series has been completed.  "The Americas" and "Europe/Africa" are shipping now and the last part of "Asia/Oceania" are shipping March 24th.  For those unfamiliar, FS Global is a height map mesh for the world.  Imagine the landscape as a grid and at every grid point, the ground gets pulled up or pushed down from sea level to the height of the ground at that location, forming a more accurate height model of the surface of the Earth, adding many levels of detail to the ground.  It literally adds an immense amount of depth and realism to Flight Simulator.  

19 Mar 2012

Move over Knights of the Old Republic, we may have a new player in town.  For some time its been rumored that an Elder Scrolls MMO will be coming, with news of it soon, possibly in May.  Sources claim that Bethesda is working on the MMO project and this project will be a big feature of E3 this June.  Bethesda has made no comments.

The Elder Scrolls MMO will apparently take place hundreds of years, if not 1000 years, before Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim.  There are rumors of three factions that you can play in as well, one represented by a lion, the other a dragon, the third a bird of prey.

Bethesda has a track record of being buggy, so many wonder how the MMO will perform, given this fact. 

Stay tuned for more information.

Source:  Forbes.com

 


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16 Mar 2012

With Skyrim's 1.5 update, there are new kill move animations for melee combat and kill cams on ranged weapons and spells.  In addition there are some improvements to the games graphics such as a better transition when going under water, as well as other bug fixes.  The 1.5 update is available from Steam right now, just go into settings and opt in through the client.  There will be updates for Xbox 360 and PS3 players in the near future.  Full details are here at the Bethesda blog.


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13 Mar 2012

If you haven't already heard, there are rumors circulating that the next Xbox may not have an optical drive.  Apparently sources have broke NDA and stated the new Xbox will have an interchangeable solid-state card storage.

It's still being speculated that Microsoft will unveil the new Xbox during E3 2012, for possible launch in 2013.

Microsoft has stated that they "do not comment on rumors or speculation".

So could Microsoft really be going the route of the digital download?  Clearly the thinking is that in the next 2-5 years, most discs will be obsolete, however, some games are massive in size and would require a lot of hard drive space.  What does this also say for backwards compatibility or for retail markets, particularly those that profit on used game sales?  I smell add-on optical drive devices for Microsoft to offer and gain some profit.

Source: MCV


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05 Mar 2012

 Speculation abound!  Several sources are claiming to have uncovered information from unnamed sources, stating that Valve is going to unveil a Steam-centric gaming console at GDC next week, called the Steam Box.

According to sources it will be a Core i7 CPU with 8GB of RAM and an NVIDIA GPU.  It will run basic PC titles and even support EA's Origin to be installed.

The image above is from a Twitter feed of a valve employee Greg Coomer.  Tweeted on November 2nd: "Built this tiny PC. i7 quad core, 8GB ram, Zotac Z-68 mobo w/ on-board Nvidia mobile gfx. Runs Portal 2 FAST"

Valve has also apparently been working on custom PC controller designs for years now, at least three.  There was a patent filed in 2009 and published in 2011, a "controller featuring user swappable control components".  There is even mention of biometric feedback, similar to Nintendo's Vitality Sensor which never was released and also literally swappable components, like moving thumbsticks to different locations.  Keep in mind the actual design of the controller will probably be different in the end, that the design shown in the image is for illustrative purposes in the original patent.

 

Source:  The Verge


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29 Feb 2012

As I've mentioned before, I am a big Flight Simulator X (FSX) fan and am quite familiar with the hardware dependencies of that platform and have built a beast of a machine to run FSX to the full tilt.  Many are welcoming Microsoft Flight on less stringent hardware requirements alone, which should fly with better frame rates on lesser hardware and use DirectX 11, but will this be enough to enchant flight sim enthusiasts?  Microsoft has decided to make the base platform of Microsoft Flight a free-to-play model.  The profit will come from their premium plane and scenery add-ons.

You can download your very own free copy of the simulator from this link.  The download is just a web installer file.  The web installer file will then download the entire program, around 1.5 GB to your machine.  It installs as a Games for Windows Marketplace game.

At least as of now Microsoft Flight is land locked in Hawaii, which compared to the Microsoft Simulators is extremely limited.  One would hope these scenery add-ons will expand the options into the rest of the world.  The only option you have in the free-to-play initial release is to fly a mission around some balloons in the default Icon A5 aircraft.  If you stray too far or take to long they force you to start the mission over.  This initial version feels too much like an arcade to me because of its mission orientated play and stripped down controls.  No where in any of the options could I find a way to break free of the mission(s).  You are very limited on planes and ATC at this point as well, disappointing.

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