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Over the weekend, a new update for the Xbox One started rolling out to users. The update adds in a nice new feature that allows the user to control the sound level of snapped apps. That means that the user can decide which of the two snapped apps is louder than the other.
The update also brings the ability for the user to control volume levels when using Kinect for chat. Optional data tracking for Kinect Chat is also added .The goal of that feature is to improve voice recognition for different accents.
According to a new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council, the PS4 and Xbox One use a large amount of power even when in standby mode. Then we have some astounding numbers to look at.
The NRDC's new report has said if the PS4, Wii U and Xbox One replace the 110 million current-generation consoles sold in the US between 2005 and 2013, the total energy use of the three current-generation systems will be over 10 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity per year - enough juice to power the United States' fourth-largest city, Houston.
At what cost? Well, this would cost American households over $1 billion per year in energy costs, with 40% of it coming from the consoles' standby mode alone. The report reads: "The new consoles consume more energy each year playing video or in standby mode than playing games". The Xbox One in standby mode uses 15.7W of power, while the PS4 uses 8.5W and the Wii U with just 0.4W.
Sales numbers for the two major next gen game consoles are in for the month of April and things don't look that good for Microsoft. Microsoft has been outsold again by the Sony PS4. According to the NPD Group, the PS4 outsold the Xbox One for the fourth month in a row.
Sales of new game hardware for the month of April grew by 76% to $192 million compared to the same month last year. NPD says that the bulk of those sales were of game consoles. NPD notes that sales of video game accessories in the US also increased year over year compared to last April to $159 million. That makes a 21% gain for game accessories.
For many gamers when it comes to the Xbox game console, the Halo franchise is the main reason to own the game system. Halo has been around for years and Master Chief is an iconic gaming character. Microsoft is talking a bit about the next game in the franchise called Halo 5: Guardians that will be coming to the Xbox One.
The game will run at 60 fps and will use a new engine created by Halo developer 343 Studios. 343 Studios general manager Bonnie Ross says that more details on the game will be offered at E3 on June 9. Along with talk of the game, Microsoft is also talking a bit about the Halo TV series as well.
We've heard rumors that Nintendo would unveil its next-gen console at E3 next month, and while this might not happen, the company is already talking about its next-gen console. Nintendo President, Satoru Iwata, teased that the company is "always developing new hardware" during a recent Q&A.
During the company's recent financial briefing, Iwata said that once Nintendo has launched a platform, it begins preparations for the next one. Iwata explained: "The most difficult question for us to answer in public in concrete terms is when we are going to launch our new hardware and what kind of hardware we are going to launch, and I am afraid that I cannot talk about this in more detail. However, I can certainly assure you that we are not at a dead end of any kind in which we are out of ideas for developing new hardware".
Nintendo aren't just a hardware company, but mainly a software company - it plans to stay that way, and keep consumers happy with their current devices, such as the Wii U. Iwata continued: "We will continue to work hard to ensure that consumers who already own our platforms are satisfied, and make sure that people will continue to see great value in our software. But I would like to say that we are preparing for our next hardware system, and in fact, we already have a clear idea to some extent about the direction our next hardware is going to take".
Microsoft is set to release the Xbox One without the Kindle bundled in, available on June 9 with a $399 price tag. The company also is shaking things up so Live Gold subscription will no longer be necessary for access to Netflix, YouTube, HBO Go, Hulu Plus - and also won't be necessary for OneGuide, Internet Explorer, or other premium services.
Microsoft still believes the Xbox One game console bundled with Kinect offers gamers "the best experience," though understands that a cheaper solution must be made available to customers. However, the $399 price point puts it on the same level of the Sony PlayStation 4 game console, which continues to outsell the Xbox One worldwide.
Just a few days ago, research group IDC predicted Microsoft would unbundle the Xbox One and Kinect by 2015, as Microsoft continues to try and compete with Sony.
A rumor is making the rounds that claims a couple of the most popular video streaming services will be offered to Xbox users who don't have an Xbox Live Gold subscription. Those two services are Hulu and Netflix. Some other unnamed streaming media apps will also be offered with no Xbox Live Gold subscription according to the rumor.
One bad thing about this rumor is that the sources also claim that to make up for potential lost revenue from moving streaming media in front of the pay wall, Xbox might put some other services behind the pay wall for the first time.
This morning Blizzard announced the console launch date of its Diablo III: Reaper of Souls - Ultimate Evil Edition title. The game will launch on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One consoles later this year on August 19th, and is expected to retail in the $60 price range for next-gen consoles and $40 price range for the older consoles.
"The Ultimate Evil Edition brings Reaper of Souls to console gamers for the first time, and wraps all of the content, features, and updates we've released for Diablo III into one epic package," said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. "Whether you're a veteran of the crusade against the forces of evil on PC or are just stepping foot into Sanctuary for the first time, there's never been a better time to experience Diablo III from the comfort of your couch."
To better compete with the Sony PlayStation 4, Microsoft might decide to unbundle the Kinect from its Xbox One game console, according to research firm IDC. The Xbox One is struggling to try and keep up with global PS4 sales, and has already cut prices on its game console.
"If Microsoft unbundles the Kinect sensor from the Xbox One console as we expect in 2015, this should lead to rough price parity with the PS4 and reset the sales dynamic at retail," said Lewis Ward, IDC Research Director of Gaming, in a press statement. "We project this change will lead to enough of a console sales bump that Xbox One will emerge with the largest installed base of any console in North America by the end of 2016."
Meanwhile, IDC believes the PS4 should still outpace the Xbox One worldwide, with continued popularity in Japan and Europe.
When the Sony PS4 originally launched many gamers were annoyed at the blue light bar on top of the console's DualShock 4 game controller. The annoyance was because the light reflected in the TV and was too bright for some user's tastes.
Developers at Sony say that the big problem for them was that they were unable to tell anyone what that bright blue light was actually for. They are now speaking out and have said that the light bar is actually there to support Project Morpheus. We talked about that Sony VR headset about back in March.