Source: WMPoweruser

Speaking at the UBS Global Technology Summit recently, Microsoft devices and services chief Larson-Green hinted that we could see some wearable devices from Microsoft in 2014.

"For my lifetime, there will desktop computers where people are doing precision movements with the mouse, which are highly tuned for productivity and typing – as well as maybe something on your wrist or on your head or something in your pocket where you will want to interact. You'll want to see your emails, get notifications, get access to the information you need to do your job as well as interact with friends and family."

"Devices that are going to be in your home or on your body, services where you can get access to all the information and data you care about. The people, the documents, the entertainment, all the things in your life from whatever device is most convenient for you at the time."

Microsoft's vision is based on ubiquitous computing, where we are not only surrounded by devices, but by devices that know us and try and help us.

She thinks the next step is the magic that happens when you bring together sensors that you wear or walk past, combining information from apps that can connect to each other and natural interfaces.

"From telling you didn't quite do your pushup as far down as you could go, or your heart rate is too high, you're stressed out, take a  deep breath or letting you know when your bus is running late — there are lot of things we can do bringing those together in a new way of thinking about how people interact tech. Just as the mouse was an innovation and touch was an innovation, there will be a next new way to interact."

That device could be using your phone for multi-factor authentication and single sign-on through Azure Active Directory, or it could be you walking up to your Xbox and having it show you your calendar. "If you want it to," she added. "It's about permeating technology through your life and making it available to you. We're really focused on having  devices integrated in your life, in whatever way you want it integrated."

While we have seen such pie in the sky ideas from Microsoft before, the company seem more determined now to bring their visions to reality.

"We have all the elements," she said. "We have an OS that scales from mobile devices to giant screens in your living room, up to a server, and we have the power that gives developers and IT professionals to manage those devices and to give information out to people in your business, no matter where they are. We have a great platform for building on top of those devices."

She noted after the massive re-org recently the company's divisions were working better together.

"We are working together on plans, we have a shared vision, we have a shared roadmap — and we have individual teams working on cross team scenarios. We meet weekly as the leadership team to checkpoint where we're at and where we want to go and what challenges we have."

She hinted that we could see results as soon as next year, saying  "next year you'll start to see lots of exciting things."

Do our readers think Microsoft, bolstered by Nokia's expertise can pull it off? Let us know below.

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Source: WPCentral

It's already set in stone that Microsoft's next-generation console, the Xbox One will require a day one patch - just like the PlayStation 4. Unfortunately, with the next Xbox, you'll not be able to play any games (or really do anything at all) until you've installed the update.

Luckily, should you be afraid that something may go wrong on the day to prevent you from getting on with some gaming, Microsoft has made an offline version of the day one patch available for manual installation via a USB drive.

We'll highlight some of the steps in this article, but we strongly urge you to head to the Xbox website to read through the full guide. It's recommended to only go through with this if you know exactly what you're doing. We cannot be held responsible for any issues that arise should you load the offline update.

Microsoft states that this Emergency Offline Update (EUO) is available for systems that are experiencing trouble connecting to Xbox Live for the necessary files. But the idea is for the EUO to be loaded onto a USB drive just in case there are issues when booting up your console and connecting to Xbox Live.

Here's what you'll need before you begin:
•A USB flash drive formatted as NTFS with a minimum 2 gigabytes (GB) of space
•A PC with an Internet connection and a USB port.

Following the guide on the Xbox website, you'll boot the console with the USB drive plugged in (with the necessary files - seriously, read the guide) and the OS will then automatically copy across and mount the update file. The update should then progress through as normal and you'll be able to upgrade the system to the current build.

Head on over to our forum to join in the discussion to get some assistance or to share your experience when you unbox and set up your console. Will you be going down this route or will you be trusting Microsoft's backend to battle through the load?

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Source: WPCentral

Microsoft today released the Xbox One SmartGlass app for Windows Phone, but lo and behold the company has also pushed out the same solution on Windows 8.1. Should you have the next-gen console on pre-order and are eagerly awaiting its arrival by getting your home and technology ready, you'll definitely want to have this app downloaded.

Just like the Windows Phone counterpart, Xbox One SmartGlass brings the following features to Windows 8.1 hardware:
•Navigate your Xbox One console using your device's keyboard and touch
•Control your media and set top box with the SmartGlass remote control
•Browse the web on your TV using your mobile device
•Enhance what you are watching or playing with SmartGlass companions
•Increase performance with faster connections and reliability
•Search, browse, and pin content to play on your Xbox One console
•Track achievements, get game help, message friends, and watch game DVR clips.

You can grab Xbox One SmartGlass Apps for Android, iOS, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone from these links

Windows 8.1  Windows Phone

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Source: GameInformer

The launch of the PlayStation 4 is behind us, and for the most part it went off without any major catastrophes. Some people are reporting issues, and others are having trouble signing into the PlayStation Network to update their consoles, but the majority of PlayStation 4 early adopters are working on their Resogun high scores, or taking on the Helghast in Killzone.

It’s Microsoft’s turn next week, as the Xbox One launches on Friday, November 22, and there are a few things Microsoft could learn from Sony’s launch to make everything go as smoothly as possible.

Lessons to learn

Encountering errors – Unfortunately, when it comes to mass-producing new technology, it’s nearly impossible to not have at least a few defective consoles. Some are encountering issues with blue lights, or white lights, or pulsating lights that prevent the system from starting up.

Most of these issues are covered by warranty, or fixable with a reset, but the problem that is coming up, is people aren’t sure what issue they’re encountering in order to try and get it fixed. A solution would be to associate on-screen error codes with these problems and make them easy to define and track down online.

Or in the cases where there is no display appearing on screen, make it easy to track down what the different light signifiers mean. Sony does have a helpful troubleshooting FAQ giving PlayStation 4 players a few options to fix their console, but right now it’s not as easy to find as it should be because it is embedded in Sony’s message boards.

If the Xbox One encounters the same problems, this would go a long way towards helping people get their consoles fixed or replaced as quickly as possible.

Lessons to copy

Updating outside of the network – Sony offered the PlayStation 4’s firmware update online through its website before the launch of the console. You can learn about it here, but basically it allows you to get your system up to date without having to sign into the PlayStation Network.

Unsurprisingly, the PlayStation Network’s servers buckled under the weight of one million players trying to update their console. The ability to download the firmware update remotely, place it on a flashdrive, and use that to update the system is something PlayStation 3 players have been capable of doing for some time, but it came in especially handy this weekend.
It would be very helpful if Microsoft offered the same option for the Xbox One, because I am predicting that on Friday, Xbox Live might be a little difficult to sign on to.

Twitch – PlayStation 4 also had a great opening weekend with Twitch. The new PlayStation 4 Twitch features were working and highlighted on the service's website. The Xbox One needs to make sure that people are as excited about streaming on their Xbox Ones as they were this weekend about streaming on their PlayStation 4s.

Most of the PlayStation 4’s launch problems were resolved fairly quickly, with the exception of the defective consoles, which unfortunately there is no quick solution for. Hopefully the Xbox One has a similarly smooth launch. And hopefully everything stays classy.

Source:  Kotaku

Photo: Kin Cheung | AP
Last month, Kotaku reported that student interns were allegedly forced to manufacture the PlayStation 4. Now, there are rumors that some of those student interns sabotaged Sony's gaming console.
Unlike the launch PS3, which was made in Japan, the PlayStation 4 was outsourced to Foxconn and allegedly manufactured at its plant in the Chinese city of Yantai.
As pointed out on IGN's boards, a thread appeared on August 28 in a forum set up for Xi'an Technological University North Institute, the Chinese university with the alleged forced Foxconn internships. In the thread (translated by IGN's forum member Qbroid), one student claimed, "Since Foxconn are not treating us well, we will not treat the PS4 console well. The PS4 console we assemble can be turned on at best."

The thread has since been deleted. It might have been censored. It might have simply been taken down because it's not true. Who knows. Above, you can see a screenshot of the alleged comment.
Recently, however, another forum comment appeared on another Xi'an Technological University North Institute thread. In it, one commenter allegedly wrote:

If the system is broken, don't blame us students. When we were studying, they shipped in 20,000 migrant workers from Guizhou. On top of that, there were also many Yantai local students and long-time Foxconn workers at the factories. The people that made the news were us Xi'an Technological University North Institute students. We're not even 1/10 of the workers at Foxconn. So don't blame the issue on us Chinese students, and don't talk about Foxconn on this board. You have no idea how hard it was to work in the factories as a recent high school graduate. Feel free to ask questions about the PS4 but not about Foxconn.

 Those with dirty mouths aren't welcome. If you have a problem, go find quality control. We were only in charge of manufacturing. :)

This same forum user blamed the Taiwanese for the tough working conditions at Foxconn, which is a Taiwanese, and not Chinese, company. Then, there were also alleged online comments in which workers (it's unclear if they were students or not) apparently talked about spitting in consoles and taking parts out of the factory. It's also important to note that Nintendo and Microsoft also outsourced their consoles to Foxconn.
Sony, however, is dealing with PS4 hardware issues. The odd part is that the news stories in China regarding the internship sabotage allegations all seem to stem from the IGN forum, meaning that ultimately, all of this is based off of alleged sources—something that certainly should be taken into account. Ditto for the fact that the IGN forum member who uploaded these images has been an IGN forum member since last Friday. 

That member, Qbroid, made a post after the thread he or she created on IGN was locked down. In it, Qbroid explained that he or she was simply bringing over content that had been online in China for months before bringing it over to IGN's forums, adding that while he or she indeed could not guarantee whether the original thread's content was genuine, ignoring it is like "burying one's head in the sand."

Rumors. Disgruntled workers. And all sorts of accusations. It's a shame that Sony didn't produce the PlayStation 4 at one of its own plants.

Remember that PC streaming feature Mad Catz' MOJO is supposed to be getting sometime after launch? It might be powered by NVIDIA's GameStream technology. "We're talking to NVIDIA and we hope to enable GameStream soon after the launch of the console," Alex Verrey, Mad Catz' Global PR Director told Engadget at Expand NY this weekend. Right now, the technology is only available on NVIDIA's own Shield handheld -- if the Mad Catz deal pans out, it would be the first appearance of GameStream on a third party device. Verrey stopped just short of confirming the partnership, but suggested that the company was looking at other platforms, too. "We're also very excited for Steam and we look at all these opportunities with interest."


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Details have been dribbling out bout the Valve's new push into living room gaming. First we got the announcement, then the specs, and now the first prototype boxes are showing up in the wild.

Engadget got a look, and it's a strikingly minimalist box, but a pretty large one. Of course, it's worth noting this is far from final hardware. This is but one of the 300 early prototype boxes going out to winners of Valves big beta hardware raffle. And by the time these things make it to sale, who knows what they'll actually look like, especially since they'll come in a number of different hardware configurations. But we should see some announcements coming through at this January's CES.

As for actually using the thing, Engadget says SteamOS is unsurprisingly similar to the couch-and-controller-centric "Big Picture Mode" the service has had for a couple of months now, an interface that trades tiny lists of text and buttons, for a bigger tiled interface that's viewable at a distance and thumbstick friendly. But we had a feeling that would be the case. It only makes sense.

So now the only real questions remaining are price and availability, both of which are going to play a huge factor, what with the next generation of traditional game consoles right on the horizon. We'll have to wait and see if Valve has any more tricks up its sleeve. [Engadget]

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Here are the specs for the prototype Steam Box units that Valve will be sending out. Rather than just sending a single design to the lucky beta testers, they'll be sending out a variety of units. And holy crap, the top-of-the-line will be spec'd to high heaven.

The Steam Box prototypes will be running different CPU and GPU combinations. Here's the breakdown of different units straight from the announcement:

The 300 prototype units will ship with the following components:
GPU: some units with NVidia Titan, some GTX780, some GTX760, and some GTX660
CPU: some boxes with Intel : i7-4770, some i5-4570, and some i3
RAM: 16GB DDR3-1600 (CPU), 3GB DDR5 (GPU)
Storage: 1TB/8GB Hybrid SSHD
Power Supply: Internal 450w 80Plus Gold
Dimensions: approx. 12 x 12.4 x 2.9 in high

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Well, this is certainly a surprise. While the other big names in gaming are rolling out their new home consoles, Nintendo's bringing a new handheld to the table. Called the 2DS, it looks like a 3DS laid flat without the hinge, and as you might surmise from the name, no three dimensional graphics. IGN reports that the 2DS will come in red and blue (with the front either being black or white, depending upon region) and will cost $129 when it arrives on October 12. For your money you get a handheld that packs dual screens, two cameras round the back, a single speaker and a 3.5mm headphone jack, plus a 4GB SD card.

The new handheld is considered to be a part of the 3DS family, and as such, it can play all 3DS and regular Nintendo DS games, and also provides access to 3DS apps like the Nintendo eShop. Nintendo is positioning the 2DS as a far more affordable option than the $169 3DS, which should make it the more palatable choice for parents with small children. Strong move, Nintendo, get 'em hooked while they're young.

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While PC users might be familiar with their machines under-clocking themselves to save energy, reduce heat, and prevent damage, the idea is new for Microsoft's Xbox console. According to an interview Gizmodo had with Xbox's General Manager of Console Development, Leo Del Castillo, the new Xbox One will be able to cool itself down in a multitude of ways, including "dialing it back to a lower power state."

The Xbox One is aware of the current temperature it is running at and is able to take action to cool itself down. The unit will first start by pushing up the fan all the way to its maximum speed – although Microsoft does not anticipate the need for the unit to do so under normal environmental conditions.

If after increasing fan speed, the unit still does not cool down, the unit will be able to switch itself to a lower power state in order to protect itself.

We are currently unsure of how the under-clocking works and how it might affect game performance. Although as stated above, this is a last resort for Xbox One and should not occur under normal environmental conditions.

Source: Gizmodo
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 Source: Wired
Every Xbox One sold at retail can be used to develop games, Microsoft said Wednesday, also confirming that game developers will be able to self-publish their games on the new console. Photo: Ariel Zambelich/Wired

Earlier today, Game Informer reported that Microsoft would be making yet another reversal of policy concerning its upcoming Xbox One game console. Though it said in May when it announced the hardware that game creators would have to go through a publisher to get their games on Xbox One, it now says that developers will be able to self-publish their work on the platform.
Microsoft quickly issued a statement confirming Game Informer‘s report and promising more details at the Gamescom conference, to be held next month in Cologne, Germany. (Game Informer editor in chief Andy McNamara said on Twitter that Microsoft is “angry” about the details coming to light today.)
Xbox executive Marc Whitten issued the following statement to Engadget:
“Our vision is that every person can be a creator. That every Xbox One can be used for development. That every game and experience can take advantage of all of the features of Xbox One and Xbox LIVE. This means self-publishing. This means Kinect, the cloud, achievements. This means great discoverability on Xbox LIVE. We’ll have more details on the program and the timeline at Gamescom in August.”
That second sentence would seem to confirm an additional fact dug up by Game Informer, which said that “every Xbox One unit can be converted to a debug console.” This would mean that any Xbox One purchased at retail could be authorized by Microsoft to play pre-release game code, thus making it much less expensive to develop and test Xbox One games since specialized hardware would not be required.
Numerous game developers have spoken of serious problems with the way Microsoft runs the Xbox Live Arcade downloadable game service for the Xbox 360, chief among them the requirement that developers have a publisher. Oddworld Inhabitants’ Lorne Lanning summed it up well in an interview with Eurogamer: “”Why do we need a publisher when we self-finance our games, we build our own IP, we manage our own IP and we’ve turned nearly two million units online…? Why? What’s wrong with us?”
In contrast, Microsoft’s chief rival in the console space, Sony, made a huge to-do at the E3 Expo last month about its more indie-friendly policies, bringing a parade of smaller developers on stage to show their new games and extol the virtues of PlayStation 4 as a convenient, lucrative platform for developers to freely self-publish their games.
Microsoft has a rather deep hole to climb out of, and we’ll see how it plans to do it at Gamescom.

 Boxstergut over at REDDIT WEBSITE found away to make Windows Store think you are a Verizon Customer even if you are not one.  By following the steps below you can add Halo Spartan Assault to any Windows Phone Device.  The following steps are not hard, but make sure you follow them to the letter or you may get lost.


 By boxsterguy
  1. Install Fiddler2
  1. Open Fiddler, Tools -> Fiddler Options
  2. Click the HTTPS tab, enable “Decrypt HTTPS traffic”, and accept all the popups about installing certificates
  3. Click the Connections tab and enable “Allow remote computers to connect”.  Restart Fiddler
  4. Rules -> Customize Rules (or ctrl+r)
  5. Find OnBeforeRequest
  6. Add the following:

    if (oSession.uriContains("") && oSession.uriContains("&moId=att-us&")) { oSession.url = oSession.url.Replace("&moId=att-us&", "&moId=vzw-us&"); }

  7. Now you need to configure your phone’s wifi connection to enable proxy, using your PC’s IP address (open a cmd prompt and run “ipconfig”, you should see something in the range of 192.168.x. or 10.x.x.x) and port 8888
  8. On your phone, go to http://yourip:8888/FiddlerRoot.cer and install the certificate so your phone will trust the redirected URLs
  9. Open the store and search for Halo Spartan Assault
  10. Open the page with the “Buy” button
  11. Leaving the store open, go back to wifi settings and turn off the proxy.  You can also now close Fiddler
  12. Go back to the store and purchase the game.
  13. Wait for it to download and enjoy.

If you want to clean up after Fiddler, Tools -> Fiddler Options -> HTTPS has a button to remove all of the certificates the decrypt option added. You can also comment out the rule you added using // per line or /* */ for multi-line comments (it’s just javascript).

 This worked great to actually get the game.  I’m not sure what updates will look like, whether you’ll have to go through all of this again to get them or not.  I’m sure the popular sites (and this subreddit) will be all over any updates that happen, so if you read about one but haven’t seen it after a day or so, try checking the store with the fiddler proxy setup.

 Edit:  For the T-Mobile users out there, I’m going to go out on a limb and guess the moId string is “tmo-us”, in which case you can change the “att-us” strings in step 7 to that.  But you can also verify it by looking at fiddler (follow all the steps up to 10, ignoring step 7, and then look in Fiddler for logs and grab your moId from the URL.  Then fix the rules in step 7 and restart again from step 10).

Once completed you will now have Halo installed like I do.  Oh and I have a HTC 8X and I did have to change the “att-us” string to “tmo-us” to install on T-Mobile Device.

Microsoft today has announced at its Build conference that the Windows 8.1 preview is now available to download and try out. The major update includes numerous features and improvements, which we have bundled in an easily digestible article to get you started.

If you're interested, you can download the preview from the Microsoft website.

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Project Spark is an upcoming innovative game currently in the works by Microsoft to offer owners of the Xbox 360, Windows 8 and the next-generation Xbox One the opportunity to create, share and enjoy unique games. We previously fired up an article from E3 2013 detailing the project in depth, so that's definitely worth checking out if you're unfamiliar with the name. If you have heard of it before (hopefully through us) and are interested, you'll be pleased to know beta registrations are now open.

It's a major project that will prove invaluable for those who enjoy hopping into video game creation tools and pouring hours (or minutes) into creating a unique experience. It's worth downloading and checking out once released even if you're not that creative, simply because you will be able to enjoy content created by others.

Be sure to head on over to Project Spark to sign up for the beta. Major Nelsen only mentions Windows 8 and Xbox One, no word whether or not this beta will be for the Xbox 360 just yet.

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Source:  WPCentral

In a late breaking news story, Microsoft today announced due to feedback from the Xbox and gaming community they have changed "certain policies" regarding their controversial digital-rights management features of the upcoming Xbox One.

The details are listed on the Xbox news site, which is being hammered left and right, resulting in errors when trying to load.

According to the site Giant Bomb, the changes in DRM are the following:
• No more always online requirement
• The console no longer has to check in every 24 hours
• All game discs will work on Xbox One as they do on Xbox 360
• An Internet connection is only required when initially setting up the console
• All downloaded games will function the same when online or offline
• No additional restrictions on trading games or loaning discs
• Region locks have been dropped

If accurate, this represents a complete 180 degree reversal on DRM, resulting in a significantly more competitive devices against Sony's PS4, which has none of those restrictions. It also shows how Microsoft is more than willing to listen to user feedback on their device, which is still months away and can be changed significantly.

We recently wrote an editorial defending the contentious policies with most of our audience agreeing that in fact these rules weren't too off-putting.

We'll update this story as more information comes in…

Update (Confirmed): Via the Xbox blog, Xbox head Don Mattrick writes:

"An internet connection will not be required to play offline Xbox One games – After a one-time system set-up with a new Xbox One, you can play any disc based game without ever connecting online again. There is no 24 hour connection requirement and you can take your Xbox One anywhere you want and play your games, just like on Xbox 360.

Trade-in, lend, resell, gift, and rent disc based games just like you do today – There will be no limitations to using and sharing games, it will work just as it does today on Xbox 360."

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[Image: Stephanie Frey via Shutterstock]
E3 kicks off tomorrow, June 10, with four press conferences. Four! We'll be at all of them and we hope you join us for all the gasps, heartbreak, triumph and screaming. Here are the start times and feel free to bookmark these links:

•Microsoft at 12PM (9AM Pacific, 5PM UK)
•EA 3:30PM (12:30PM Pacific, 8:30PM UK)
•Ubisoft 6:00PM (3PM Pacific, 11PM UK)
•Sony 9PM (6PM Pacific, 2AM (June 11) UK)

It's going to be a full day, so drink your Ovaltine. Don't be surprised if the decoder message is that you'll never rent a game again.

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Source: Microsoft-News

We have already seen Microsoft’s IllumiRoom project via tech demo at CES by Microsoft. There were reports in the last few weeks that Microsoft may release a consumer product based on Microsoft’s research’s IllumiRoom. IllumiRoom augments the area surrounding a television screen with projected visualizations to enhance the traditional living room entertainment experience.

IllumiRoom uses a Kinect for Windows camera and a projector to blur the lines between on-screen content and the environment we live in allowing us to combine our virtual and physical worlds. For example, our system can change the appearance of the room, induce apparent motion, extend the field of view, and enable entirely new game experiences.Our system uses the appearance and the geometry of the room (captured by Kinect) to adapt the projected visuals in real-time without any need to custom pre-process the graphics. What you see in the videos below has been captured live and is not the result of any special effects added in post production.

Xbox 360 250GB Console - Xbox 360 Consoles (Google Affiliate Ad)

 Source: Forbes
Credit: Twitter account of @JWWiesta
Is this the new Xbox logo that we’ll be seeing on May 21st? We know that the console exists with “Durango” as a code name, but we have been hearing over and over that the final device is going to be called the “Xbox Infinity”, and the image below is purported across Twitter and Reddit to be an “official leak”. But the logo on the left – sent to us by a source here in Seattle – doesn’t mention “Infinity” at all. In fact, it does more to reinforce a rival rumor that the new Xbox will in fact be called just Xbox, similar to how Apple AAPL +2.15%’s third-gen iPad was just called “iPad” and not “iPad 3”.
If the name is “Infinity”, though, then its taglines, like “Infinite Entertainment”, make sense. Microsoft MSFT -0.5% is interested in making sure its next Xbox becomes the centerpiece in users’ living rooms for more than just games. The current Xbox generation is as useful for watching movies as it is for blasting aliens, and we can expect Microsoft to want to expand on that as much as possible.

Rumored next-gen Xbox logo, take 2. Credit: Reddit

In addition to moniker whispers, we’ve heard a couple of things about the new Xbox’s new controller. Sources at Microsoft say that it’s a logical generational increment from the 360’s but with one major upgrade: A touch-sensitive area, similar to a feature on Sony’s new PS4 controller. The sources tell us that the touch area, which would be used for gestures to compliment the Kinect sensor bar, is also “clickable”, allowing it to act as a traditional directional control pad, like the one on the lower-left of current Xbox controllers. No matter what Microsoft calls it (and it most likely won’t be the “Xbox 720” because, let’s face it, that’s stupid) it’s going to face a little fan resistance at launch. A much-publicized Twitter gaffe by a now-former Microsoft product manager essentially confirmed that the device will require an Internet connection to operate – even when a player is playing a game by themselves off of a DVD – which some gamers aren’t happy with, especially those in remote locations where Internet access can be spotty at best.
When asked to comment on the name of the console and possible controller changes, Microsoft didn’t have much to tell us. “We’re excited to share more about the new generation of games, TV and entertainment on May 21, but have nothing further to share at this time,” a representative told us. We can understand that.

Xbox 360 - 4GB Console with Kinect Bundle - Toys & Video Games (Google Affiliate Ad)


The Ouya has surpassed 10,000 registered developers. The news comes courtesy of Ouya's head of developer relations, Kellee Santiago, who told Joystiq that the tiny console just passed the significant milestone. Santiago didn't divulge any of the studios that might be on the list, but noted there should be some announcements in the "upcoming few weeks."

Some of the high-profile names we've already heard include Double Fine, Polytron, Airtight Games and Minority Media. We spoke to Santiago regarding her role at Ouya and how she plans to expand its library and attract developers. Expect more on that conversation next week.

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Following the leaks of  Windows Blue 9364 few weeks back, it is time for another build. Windows Blue Build 9369 has leaked online and available for download from p2p networks. We are yet to download and check for new features and updates in Windows 8, if you do before us, please let us know the updates/changes in the comments section below.

Windows Blue Build 9364 revealed following changes/features few weeks back,
Internet Explorer 11 with synced tabs
New personalization features such as choosing from various accent colors
Ability to move group of Live Tiles together
Improved PC Settings Page with search and recently/most used settings
SkyDrive is now part of PC Settings page where you can manage device backup, etc,.
Ability to automatically upload Pictures and videos to SkyDrive based on quality.
New apps – Movie Moments, Calculator, Alarm and Voice Recorder
Improved Multitasking – New side-by-side snapping of up to 3 apps
New Live Tile sizes – Small, Large, etc,.
Ability to share your Start screen screenshot through share charm.

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Google just released the official specs for Google Glass (after releasing the API too) and the futuristic frames come with 16GB (only 12GB will be usable) Flash memory, 5 megapixel camera for stills, 720p video recording, Wi-Fi b/g, Bluetooth and a battery that can handle "one full day of typical use".

Of course with a product like Google Glass, its specs won't tell us how much we'll actually use the, um, specs. Here are the nuts and bolts of Google Glass:

Adjustable nose pads and durable frame fits any face.
Extra nose pads in two sizes.

High resolution display is the equivalent of a 25 inch high definition screen from eight feet away.

Photos - 5 MP
Videos - 720p

Bone Conduction Transducer

Wifi - 802.11b/g

12 GB of usable memory, synced with Google cloud storage. 16 GB Flash total.

One full day of typical use. Some features, like Hangouts and video recording, are more battery intensive.

Included Micro USB cable and charger.
While there are thousands of Micro USB chargers out there, Glass is designed and tested with the included charger in mind. Use it and preserve long and prosperous Glass use.

Any Bluetooth-capable phone.
The MyGlass companion app requires Android 4.0.3 (Ice Cream Sandwich) or higher. MyGlass enables GPS and SMS messaging.

Source: Gizmodo

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Microsoft had originally been planning to unveil its next-generation Xbox details at an event in April, but The Verge has learned that the company has pushed this back to May. Windows watcher Paul Thurrott revealed recently that Microsoft is planning an Xbox event for May 21st, and we understand this date is accurate. This is the tentative date for a next-generation Xbox announcement, but Microsoft had originally planned an April 24th event.
Always-on drama
Sources familiar with Microsoft's Xbox plans have revealed that the event will be at a small venue with a focus on providing the very first details on the next Xbox, codenamed Durango, and Microsoft's plans for Xbox in 2013. Recent rumors have focused on reports that Microsoft's next Xbox may require an always-on internet connection. Comments by Microsoft Studios creative director Adam Orth, asking why there was drama over the always-on rumors and telling people to #dealwithit, forced Microsoft to issue an official apology. The Verge understands that Microsoft has reminded employees that any communications about the next-generation Xbox must remain confidential, following Orth's comments.
Microsoft's next Xbox is expected to debut later this year, with a full unveiling at E3 in early June. Microsoft recently revealed that Xbox is part of the agenda for its Build conference in late June, where developers will likely learn about the company's next-generation plans. We understand that the next-generation Xbox software will be based on Windows 8, feeding into Microsoft's strategy of placing Windows at the heart of its products and services. With an Xbox event in late May, alongside E3 and Build in june, it's shaping up to be a busy summer for Xbox.

Source: Engadget

The GameStick is the second of two Kickstarter-backed Android-powered game consoles announced in the past 12 months, and its arguably the less visible of the two (the other being OUYA, of course). It's a bit different than the OUYA as well, in terms of both form factor and specs: the GameStick is roughly the size of a USB thumb drive and runs a dual-core Amlogic processor, rather than the Tegra 3 found in the OUYA. Similar to the OUYA, the GameStick also comes with a proprietary wireless controller -- the standard four button layout, two analog sticks, two shoulder buttons, and a d-pad make up its inputs -- though the GameStick's controller is actually the bulk of the hardware. The GameStick itself actually nestles into the back of the controller, making the whole bundle rather portable.

But perhaps you already know all of this? We have been hearing about the GameStick for some time now. Should that be the case, you'll wanna know how the thing actually feels, and we can deliver that just beyond the break, as we've just put GameStick and its controller through the paces.

Despite looking awkwardly rectangular, the GameStick's angles aren't a hindrance in usage. The gamepad feels more than serviceable for the hypercasual games its PlayJam service employs the controller with. Buttons are appropriately springy and the analog sticks feel responsive (they also double as buttons, allowing you to click them in). Unlike the final unit which will house the actual GameStick itself inside, the dev units keep the thumbdrive-esque GameStick separate. Shoulder buttons felt a bit dull, as did the d-pad -- PlayJam promises to improve the d-pad in the final model, though no word on those not-so-squishy shoulder buttons.

The console's UI is rather spartan, similarly to the OUYA's -- a left rail holds games, media, a profile page, and settings. Enter into the games section and you'll see a section for popular games and a section for all games. That's it. The media section currently houses a Netflix app and the previously announced XMBC integration. The profile page displays ... well, your profile (naturally), recent purchases, in-game achievements, and displays your account's balance (should you wish to buy any games). It stands to reason that this will expand dramatically as time goes on, especially given the current dev kit-only release of the GameStick.

We also got a chance to check out the dock that'll eventually arrive with GameStick's retail version, which features a whole mess of ports and is also in a prototype stage at this point. It's still a prototype, so we're reserving some criticism for now, but its current state isn't what we'd call "solid." The plethora of ports is welcome, as is the ability to not have the GameStick sticking out of the back of your TV's HDMI ports, but it looked and felt rather cheap.

Overall, the system feels like its off to a strong start, though -- as tends to be the case with these things -- it all depends on the content available. Thus far, a variety of not-so-thrilling Android games are available, but we're hopeful for the future.

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We have seen so many leaks about Xbox vNext codenamed Durango. The latest leak published by VGLeaks involves Xbox vNext XDK help documents. It confirms many things about various other leaks we had it in the past. The Xbox vNext will be based on x64 architecture with DirectX3D 11 support and dedicated audio chip to process it separately.

The interesting thing it reveals is the "Always On, Always Connected" mode. In this mode, the console will remain on with minimum power draw and will uses can enjoy the entertainment experience whenever they want with out any delay. You need not wait for the system to update or you need not restart it.

It also comes with a high fidelity Kinect 2.0 with HD video support, more accurate skeletal tracking using new depth sensor. The new controller will have less wireless latency and improved ergonomics.

Also the console with have Blu-ray disc support, however you need to install all the games to Hard disk to play it.

Source: VGLeaks

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An updated version of Kinect for Window's software development kit will be available from the device's official site on Monday, March 18, Microsoft's Bob Heddle announced today during Engadget's ongoing Expand event in San Francisco.

Perhaps most importantly, SDK version 1.7 will include "Kinect Fusion," Microsoft's at-home 3D modeling solution that allows the Kinect to capture and fabricate real-time 3D models of people and objects. We first saw this technology in action way back in August of 2011, when the concept surfaced as a Microsoft Research project.

Additionally, the new SDK also includes "Kinect Interactions," which adds support for new gestures such as "push-to-press" and "grip-to-pan," as well as "support for smart ways to accommodate multiple users and two-person interactions," according to Engadget.

Sent from my Windows Phone

Technology project GlassUp plans to support Windows Phone. The idea is to turn a pair of glasses into a heads-up display, adding an extra display for smartphone owners. How does it work? The pair of glasses sports a projector to display information on the right lens at a resolution of 320x240. Facebook, Twitter, emails and SMS and more have been provided as examples.

It's reported that augmented reality will also be on the cards, though it's still early days and we're holding off our judgement on the product for now. Two versions are believed to be in development, each supporting Bluetooth 4 and 3.1 respectively. €299 ($388) is the pre-order price with the expected shipping month of September later this year.


It's stated that initially the products will only sport compatibility with iOS and Android products, but Windows Phone (as pictured above) will be targeted in due course. Competing with Google's concept, it'll be interesting to see if the cheaper option will prove popular enough to take off.

Sent from my Windows Phone

Back in February we told you about the petition that had been started at the government's We the People petition site with the goal being for the Obama Administration to overturn the ridiculous 'law' that made it illegal for consumers to unlock their smartphones.

Not surprisingly, the requisite 100,000 signatures needed in order to require a reply from the White House was quickly met and all that remained was that reply; which we finally got today.

As it turns out the White House agrees with the 114,000+ (final signature count by the cutoff point), and they go even one step further by suggesting that tablets should be included as well. One of the reasons the White House agrees that this unlocking law needs to be changed isn't just about new devices, but also those smartphones and tablets that are bought second hand and consumers' choices.

According to the statement issued by the White House (see the full statement below) the Obama Administration would support a range of options in order to address the issue, even to the point of extremely narrow legislation that would make it clear that neither technological locks, or criminal law, should prevent the consumer from switching carriers when they are no longer bound by a service contract.

It should be noted that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is backing the government on this issue.

Here is the full statement in reply to the petition:

Thank you for sharing your views on cell phone unlocking with us through your petition on our We the People platform. Last week the White House brought together experts from across government who work on telecommunications, technology, and copyright policy, and we're pleased to offer our response.

The White House agrees with the 114,000+ of you who believe that consumers should be able to unlock their cell phones without risking criminal or other penalties. In fact, we believe the same principle should also apply to tablets, which are increasingly similar to smart phones. And if you have paid for your mobile device, and aren't bound by a service agreement or other obligation, you should be able to use it on another network. It's common sense, crucial for protecting consumer choice, and important for ensuring we continue to have the vibrant, competitive wireless market that delivers innovative products and solid service to meet consumers' needs.
This is particularly important for secondhand or other mobile devices that you might buy or receive as a gift, and want to activate on the wireless network that meets your needs — even if it isn't the one on which the device was first activated. All consumers deserve that flexibility.
The White House's position detailed in this response builds on some critical thinking done by the President's chief advisory Agency on these matters: the Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). For more context and information on the technical aspects of the issue, you can review the NTIA's letter to the Library of Congress' Register of Copyrights (.pdf), voicing strong support for maintaining the previous exception to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) for cell phone carrier unlocking.
Contrary to the NTIA's recommendation, the Librarian of Congress ruled that phones purchased after January of this year would no longer be exempted from the DMCA. The law gives the Librarian the authority to establish or eliminate exceptions — and we respect that process. But it is also worth noting the statement the Library of Congress released today on the broader public policy concerns of the issue. Clearly the White House and Library of Congress agree that the DMCA exception process is a rigid and imperfect fit for this telecommunications issue, and we want to ensure this particular challenge for mobile competition is solved.
So where do we go from here?
The Obama Administration would support a range of approaches to addressing this issue, including narrow legislative fixes in the telecommunications space that make it clear: neither criminal law nor technological locks should prevent consumers from switching carriers when they are no longer bound by a service agreement or other obligation.
We also believe the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), with its responsibility for promoting mobile competition and innovation, has an important role to play here. FCC Chairman Genachowski today voiced his concern about mobile phone unlocking (.pdf), and to complement his efforts, NTIA will be formally engaging with the FCC as it addresses this urgent issue.
Finally, we would encourage mobile providers to consider what steps they as businesses can take to ensure that their customers can fully reap the benefits and features they expect when purchasing their devices.
We look forward to continuing to work with Congress, the wireless and mobile phone industries, and most importantly you — the everyday consumers who stand to benefit from this greater flexibility — to ensure our laws keep pace with changing technology, protect the economic competitiveness that has led to such innovation in this space, and offer consumers the flexibility and freedoms they deserve.
R. David Edelman is Senior Advisor for Internet, Innovation, & Privacy

[shared from Weave for Windows Phone]
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Blurring The Lines Between Single Player And Multiplayer Is A Good Thing [shared from Weave for Windows Phone]

In the future, there may not be any more single-player games—but that doesn't mean what we seem to think it does every time some big publisher opens its big mouth and tells us that single-player games are dead. Epic, story-driven campaigns aren't going away; it's just that new forms of multiplayer are evolving in tandem with those experiences, rather than in opposition to them.

Developers are exploring this new frontier in gaming, and it's the most exciting thing in the gaming world right now.

At Bungie's Seattle press conference for Destiny, the Halo creators hinted that they've redefined the concept of the main menu. What I took from that was that in the future, we won't have to choose between "single player" and "multiplayer" when we're starting a game. It's all going to be the same thing, and nothing will be sacrificed to accomplish this. Games will only become more immersive as time goes on and this principle is widely adopted.

Dead Space 3 provides a great example of this. The series had already done a decent job of integrating most menus into the play experience; opening your inventory projects a hologram in front of the characters' faces and doesn't pause the game, and their health is illustrated by lights integrated into their armor. It's progressive.

But Dead Space 3 went much further by integrating multiplayer directly into the campaign experience. It did away with Dead Space 2's competitive deathmatches (by now it's clear to most involved that shoehorning competitive multiplayer into games that don't need it isn't pleasing anyone). Instead, a second player can jump into a friend's solo game at any checkpoint throughout the campaign. The story adapts, the game folds into itself, and suddenly you're not alone. It's really kind of amazing. And as was noted in Kotaku's Dead Space 3 review, it makes the game better.

Why go to the trouble of creating a totally separate campaign just for co-op, like what Ubisoft did for Far Cry 3? Would the main storyline really have suffered if Jason's friends had occasionally picked up a flamethrower and lent him a hand burning down pot fields? Instead, a whole lot of effort was put into a secondary story with little worth of its own, its only value in the very fact that it was a cooperative experience.

Blurring The Lines Between Single Player And Multiplayer Is A Good Thing

The Halo games played a large part in spearheading co-op in console shooters, and now Bungie is aiming to take things several steps further. You'll be able to play solo in Destiny if you want to; they've been clear on that fact. But I believe you'll be missing out, because playing with other humans sounds like it will be the real adventure. And according to the vision that Bungie has shared so far, it will happen effortlessly, with matchmaking taking place in the background and other players popping in and out of your world organically. Their goal is to make the seams all but invisible. It's the same thing thatgamecompany did with Journey, where other players would naturally appear in your game—and you in theirs—only on a much larger scale.

At the press conference, Bungie co-founder Jason Jones asked, "How do we take this genre that we love so much—the first-person shooter—and turn it on its head?" But they're not just innovating in the shooter space. I think they're contributing to a larger trend that will eventually overtake the entire medium.

It's all about the human element. That's a large part of what's so good about Dark Souls and Demon's Souls. I put 50 or so hours into Skyrim and got bored, but I've spent hundreds of hours in the Souls games, which are technically much smaller. I've been over the exact same environments countless times; I know by heart the location of every enemy and treasure. Yet I keep going back for more, because the human players that invade my world or summon me to theirs make it feel fresh every single time. That's what's going to make games exciting moving forward—not better graphics or gimmicky control schemes, but that irreplaceable human element. It's everything that's good about MMOs, but applied across the board in every genre.

That's what's going to make games exciting moving forward—not better graphics or gimmicky control schemes, but that irreplaceable human element.

And it's happening all over the place. The Arma 2 zombie survival mod Day Z took the industry by storm from the bottom up last year, inspiring compelling, unpredictable narratives about experiences between players that could never be replicated by AI, no matter how advanced it gets. And though I can't be sure, it sounds like Crytek is espousing some of the same principles with its upcoming free-to-play shooter Warface (it's big in Russia), which will be integrated with a new social platform called GFACE; in an interview with VentureBeat, CEO Cevat Yerli said that "the only place where you're alone [in GFACE] is on the login screen. Once you're logged in, you're in a realtime ecosystem."

Yerli called Warface "the world's first social FPS game," which to me sounds like an echo of Bungie's made-up genre label for Destiny: the "shared world shooter."

Some of what I'm saying here is hypothetical. Destiny could turn out awful, and Warface might be more freemium crap. But that doesn't temper my excitement at the idea of seamless, persistent multiplayer becoming the norm.

To be able to play together without having to shoot one another in the face or actively seek out co-op partners is going to be a game changer. It's a bold new frontier, and one that's dependent on technology keeping up with the industry's wistful ambitions. But the rewards when our play experiences burst through the barriers between our separate screens, houses, countries, and worlds, without us ever realizing how gargantuan that accomplishment really is, will be well worth whatever growing pains are necessary to get there.

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Engage in Gratuitous Space Battles for free this weekend on Steam [shared from Weave for Windows Phone]

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Open-source gaming on a thumb drive-sized system.
Source: IGN

Watch out Ouya, a new Android-based games console has made its debut on Kickstarter, and it's called the GameStick. Developed by PlayJam, the GameStick is a thumb drive-sized device that plugs directly into your TV via HDMI and promises an open-source games platform that challenges the traditional console publishing model. Unlike the Ouya, which is intended to be a compact set-top box, the GameStick emphasizes portability. The entire system is housed within the small HDMI adapter, including a 1.5GHz dual-core Amlogic 8726-MX processor, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of flash storage, as well as integrated Bluetooth and Wi-Fi chips. While the GameStick hardware pales in comparison to Ouya's Nvidia Tegra 3 processor, PlayJam says that the system is capable of running graphically-intensive Android games at HD resolution.

When it begins shipping in April, the GameStick will be accompanied with a dedicated Bluetooth controller, which features dual-analog and d-pad controls, as well as a port for housing the HDMI adapter for easy transportation. Software-wise, the GameStick will be powered by Google's Android 4.1 operating system, more commonly known as Jelly Bean. The company claims to have 200 supported games in the pipeline, as well as partnerships and negotiations with over 250 developers. The system will utilize a custom designed UI, which bears a striking resemblance to the tile-based interface used by the Xbox 360.

The company is seeking $100,000 in funds via Kickstarter, offering backers free systems, beta test access, and even a job at the company for providing their support. PlayJam intends to go toe-to-toe with Ouya, offering the GameStick for $79 at retail — $20 cheaper — and shipping in the same month.

You can see a video here .
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