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MS says Xbox 360 Twitter and Facebook claims inaccurate

By: Array

We are always quick to dispel any FUD we find. So when we saw the reports that Twitter and Facebook were only going to be free for the Xbox Live Gold members we were very disappointed but did not want to post about it right away.


Well we are glad that we waited. It seems that the information that caused these reports is inaccurate. MCV UK has been in touch with Microsoft and they have said that the statement that was at the bottom of the price cut announcement was not correct.


"Xbox Live Gold Membership will be required for Twitter and Facebook when they are available"


Apparently MS has not finished detailing how they are going to integrate these functions yet so they are not even sure what you will need. The integration is probably going to be part of the Fall update but nothing official has been said. If MS requires a gold membership it would hurt the adoption of these features. After all they are free on the PC, iPhone, BlackBerry, and even the PS3.


I guess we all will have to wait to find out what will happen with these new social networking tools for the Xbox 360.


MS says Xbox 360 Twitter and Facebook claims inaccurate


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BioShock 2 Sea of Dreams previewed

By: Array

If you are a fan of BioShock then this is right up your alley. After a couple of years wait BioSock 2 is coming closer to its release. The developers of BioShock and BioShock 2 are the remnants of Looking Glass Studios. LGS was the master mind behind the games System Shock and System Shock 2 (are you seeing a trend here?)


As with the move from System Shock to System Shock 2 BioShock 2 takes place years after the event. Unlike System Shock 2 you are returned to the scene of the original event; the City of Rapture. You take on the character of the first Big Daddy.


This time due to your status as a very powerful Big Daddy you have access to the outside of the city. This was not possible before and adds a new level to the scope of game play. The same role-playing like style exists in BioShock 2 that was pioneered in System Shock 2 is present in the new BioShock. This system has been copied by many other games including Lucas Arts and even id Software in their latest release Wolfenstein.


2K Games has improved this system by allowing you to arm multiple "Plasmids" at once. You can place one in each hand and even combine them into something unique. This adds to your power and death dealing ability.


But all is not beer and pizza as a Big Daddy. Although you are much faster than you were as a Big Daddy in the first game, 2K games have created a character to oppose you that is just as powerful and what's more, much faster than you are. This is the Big Sister.


As the Sea of Dreams takes place 10 years later 2k Games has gone to great lengths to make sure the environment matches what you would expect from the dead city. The illumination is flickering and dim. Everything appears dank and dirty. This all adds to the horror based theme that came across so well in BioShock.


This is one game that I know we are looking forward to very much. 2K games says it should be out sometime in 2010



Continue reading 'BioShock 2 Sea of Dreams previewed' (full post)

Microsoft Officially Drops Price on Xbox 360 Elite

By: Array

The rumors about Microsoft dropping the price on the Xbox 360 Elite have come true. But the secondary rumor about the Xbox 360 Pro going the way of the Dinosaur also seems to fallen through a lttle.


According to Microsoft the new pricing will put the Elite at $299.99 a full $100 cheaper than before while the Pro will drop down to $249.99. These will continue to be sold until current supply is gone and then they will be no more.


The pricing puts the Xbox 360 Elite in line with Sony's new PS3 Slim. But according to MS that was not the plan. MS says that they had the price reduction in mind for the holiday season. They have also removed the HDMI cable from the packaging saying that their research indicates most people do not use them.


I am not sure about these claims from MS. They might be thinking of the Holiday Season but I have a feeling they are thinking about how well the Xbox will do against the PS3 Slim and Wii. As for the HDMI cable considering that HD content is now available from Xbox Live and more and more people are using HDMI on their home entertainment systems it does not seem to fit the current state of the market.


Another thing that is odd is the decision not to put in BluRay or a Browser. MS says this is because people can get HD content from Xbox Live but it seems to me that many people might see a BLuRay Player as a bonus. This was many people's reasons for getting the PS3 when it came out. It was the least expensive BluRay player and they got a console to boot.


As for the Browser, well MS says it would be awful. Of course Twitter and Facebook are ok just not the full internet. In the entire situation around the price drop is confusing, I get the feeling that MS is not being completely honest.


Microsoft Officially Drops Price on Xbox 360 Elite


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Battlefield's Frostbite Engine ported to DX11

By: Array

Here is some news that we all have been waiting for. The crew over at DICE has been hard at work on the Frostbite Engine. This is the engine that is used in the Battlefield games. The current version supports up to DX10 and can be run on the XboX 360, PC, and PS3. The new version will have support for DX10.1 and DX11.


The main feature they are interested in is the highly parallel workings of the engine. It is capable of running two to eight threads. This is perfect for the i7 and represents a real multi-core advancement over past games.


The actual port of the game was not that difficult as it reportedly only took three hours to complete. You can now add Battlefield to the list of coming DX11 games. This shows a much faster adoption than DX10 did when it was at the same place. Of course there are not as many differences between DX10 and 11 as there were between DX9 and 10.


In all it makes the outlook for DX11 games and hardware for the coming year.


Battlefield's Frostbite Engine ported to DX11


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Sony losses money with each PS3 Slim Sale

By: Array

Now this has to hurt. According to multiple sources on the Internet Sony is not making any money at all on the new PS3 Slim.


The story goes like this; Sony says they are losing money on the hardware for the PS3 and PS3 Slim. This means they are not making a profit off of that single device. However they say that this loss is balanced out by profit from other areas.


The other areas are peripherals and software. What is funny is that they compared the way things are with the PS3 to the Xbox and Wii (Funny I thought the Wii and Xbox were actually making money). So in the end while Sony eats a few bucks on each PS3 Slim they make up for it by overcharging you for everything else. Which come to think on it is the way that many businesses work.


Now Mr. Smith you know you need that under body coating and service plan for your carÂ…


Sony losses money with each PS3 Slim Sale


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Dirt-2 DX 11 engine shown off in new trailer

By: Array

If you are not out a Quakeconn and need something to take care of your DX11 fix then the following video from PCPerspective should do quite nicely.


The demo shows of Dirt-2 complete with D11 engine and running on ATi Radeon DX11 hardware. The effects are very impressive as the trailer shows actual in-game footage.


DX11 will debut with Windows 7 in October, this is when we should see DX11 cards from ATi and possibly the first reviews of nVidia DX11 parts. Availability of these should be around the holiday shopping season if the information we have is correct.


Enjoy the video but you might want to turn your speakers down as the volume is lound.





Continue reading 'Dirt-2 DX 11 engine shown off in new trailer' (full post)

Sony finally announces PS3 Slim for $300

By: Array

This morning K-Mart let the proverbial cat out of the bag on the Sony PS3 Slim. This is the same console that Sony has been denying for the better part of a year. Well K-Mart messed up by putting this up on their website for $299.99. The launch date was set for the 24th of August.


At the same time Sony was preparing for a news conference at Noon Eastern Time in the US. Many knew that they would hear word of the PS3 Slim from the horse's mouth.


Well Sony did officially announce the PS3 Slim and for the listed $299 but the launch date is a little off. Sony says that it will be ready in early September. The new PS3 will have a larger HDD at 120GB but will feature pretty much the same hardware otherwise.


Sony also announced that it will knock off $100 from the current PS3 system bringing it down $299.99 for an 80GB full sized version. Why you would want to do that I am not sure as in a couple of weeks you can have the newer version with a larger HDD for the same price.


Sony finally announces PS3 Slim for $300




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Ads in games ruin the experience cause slowdowns

By: Array

So what is the price of Advertising in Gaming? If you are a player of WipeOut HD then it means slow load times, poor performance and host of other problems. Of course to me it means much more.


When I purchase a game I pay for gaming content, this comes in the form of graphics, AI, sound, immersive game play and storyline. I will happily shell out as much as $60 for a good game. This is in addition to any upgrades to hardware I might need to make sure I can play the game properly. What I do not want is to have to deal with advertising in my game.


I despise the presence of ads in games as much as I hate FUD (Fear Uncertainty and Doubt) both have no place in gaming and technology in general. Both are the last ditch efforts of the desperate.


Placing Ads in games will no doubt inspire more pirated versions of the games as they can selectively remove those ads like some games get their cut scenes removed. If fully pirated copies are not the outcome then surely tools to block these ads in the games will. So in the end the consumer and the gamer loose out by putting ads in our games.


Ads in games ruin the experience cause slowdowns

Screenshot courtesy of Planet Half Life


Continue reading 'Ads in games ruin the experience cause slowdowns' (full post)

Rage to be designed for the console

By: Array

Well it looks like Rage from id Software will be primarily aimed at the console market. This is in line with what John Carmack said back in 2008.


This is an interesting departure from id's normal work. Usually id titles hit the PC and then are later ported to the console if there is a big demand for it (like Doom). So why the shift to the console? Well if I were a betting man I would say that is the popularity of the newer consoles combined with online access they all now have. I would also add that porting from console to PC is usually easier than PC to console.


id has said that there will be a PC version with a little better graphics but that it will be split onto two DVDs for the install. However, since it is being designed for the console first it will be like many console ports and have controls that will feel awkward and clumsy on the PC unless you use a console style controller.


Rage to be designed for the console


Continue reading 'Rage to be designed for the console' (full post)

Xbox with Natal could be out in H2 2010

By: Array

If you are into the Xbox 360 then there is some potentially good news for you.


The blunder made by Steve Balmer in announcing that Natal would come to the Xbox in 2010 could be correct and not a mistake.


The evidence that points towards this is Aptina being hit up for a few 1.3 MegaPixel cameras (of the type that would be used by Natal). This could put the "Natal Xbox" in the stores in time for the holiday shopping season in 2010.


There is no confirmation on this from Microsoft, but then again they need to clear out their existing inventory and honestly they would not confirm it now anyway. It is way too soon and could give the competition time to counter the move.


Xbox with Natal could be out in H2 2010


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