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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.
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.
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 car
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.
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.
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.
Screenshot courtesy of Planet Half Life
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.
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.
Fans of Resident Evil will be happy to find that the Fifth installment in the Zombie killing game is due out for PC on September 18th in Europe.
Now this all by itself is pretty cool but there is further news that it the PC version of the game will support GeForce 3D Vision.
So for the lucky few of you that have a 120Hz LCD monitor and the 3D Vision glasses you will get to dive into the brain hungry, blood thirsty realm of zombie destruction in full 3D.
Now all we need is something to slash you with gore and a scent emitting device and you will feel like you are really there.
In a recent interview Bill Gates indicated that project Natal would not be a technology limited to the Xbox 360. It seems that Natal could be developed for Windows too.
Gates also indicated that Natal would not be just for gaming, it could be developed for content consumption, collaboration etc.
It is a very cool thought to think of interacting with your system in this way. Given the fast introduction of 3D capable displays, movies and upcoming games it seems that this would indeed become a push for PC makers and Microsoft.
When I first heard about this I first saw that scene in Iron Man where Tony Stark is making his new Iron Suit. Right after I envisioned Majority Report. Still it seems that the future is looking pretty cool, not only for gaming but for system interaction as a whole.