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Microsoft is getting serious about increasing the adoption of its Xbox One console, with a new $50 discount to kick off the Season of Xbox discounts for the holidays.
The $399 price is out, with a new $349 price now entered in - with the deal applying to the bundle without Kinect, as well as the Special Edition Sunset Overdrive bundle. This will start on November 2, ending as the year rings out. Most major US retailers will be having these deals, with similar specials rolling out across the world in the near future.
Sony's forthcoming update to the PlayStation 4 is an interesting one, with the new update providing something the company teased earlier in the year: Share Play. Share Play allows people to play your games, either with you or by themselves, even if they don't own a copy of the game.
The company didn't provide much details on Share Play, or when it would launch, when it teased it a couple of months ago. All Sony said is that it was coming "this fall" but now we have a firm date: October 28. Sony took to the PlayStation Twitter account, saying: "PS4's next software update, Masamune, will be available on 10/28. Includes Share Play, USB Music player, and more!" The tweet also teases that the new PS4 update will include the ability to play music from a USB device, all while playing a game. We should also expect a YouTube app for the PS4, an improved voice command system, and the ability to tune the background color of your PS4's home screen.
Let's talk Share Play. Share Play isn't some unlimited function where you could buy a single copy of a game and then a friend just plays through the entire thing for free. Share Play will limit your friends to 60 minute portions of play time, which is still very generous of Sony.
Microsoft said its first quarter Xbox sales increased 102 percent, totaling 2.4 million units, but didn't offer specific details on Xbox 360 and Xbox One sales. Despite the strong percentage boost, the Sony PlayStation 4 game console has dominated the Xbox One for nine straight months, according to NPD.
However, it appears Microsoft's incentive to include a free game title with new Xbox One purchases is working, as consumers look to save money anyway possible.
Meanwhile, the Xbox One was released to 28 new markets last quarter, and the company hopes to carry whatever momentum it has into the 2014 Christmas shopping season. Sony plans to release its sales earnings next week.
The ability to take screenshots on Microsoft's next-gen console isn't something you can do right now, with the simple screenshot taking ability meant to come in the December update, but it has been revealed that it won't be happening just yet.
Xbox boss Phil Spencer has come out and said: "It's a little more technically challenging than I thought. Two weeks ago, they think they've found a good solution for screenshots. They're working on it. They know people want it. The team has a path to getting it done, and now it's just prioritizing".
Microsoft is pushing out its December update soon, with it being smaller than some of the previous updates to the Xbox One. Spencer has said that it's time "for us to pause for a little bit and settle just as all the new consoles are coming online". What do you think? Excuses? A closed-off system like the Xbox One should've had screenshot taking abilities from day one, it's not like we're talking heavy stuff here, like 1080p at 30FPS, let alone 1080p at 60FPS - there's no hardware change in letting gamers take screenshots.
The Sony PlayStation Experience event will take place December 6-7 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Tickets will go on sale starting tomorrow, and one day passes will cost $50, while two-day passes will be available for $90.
The event will feature 400,000 square feet of PlayStation games, with panels, contests, signings, giveaways, and collective memorabilia open to attendees. This is a unique offering from Sony, trying to provide an event to PlayStation fans in a smaller, more personal setting than E3, CES, and other major industry trade shows.
Would you fork over $50 or $90 to head to Vegas to enjoy some PlayStation-themed entertainment?
Microsoft is pulling the plug on its free ad-supported Xbox Music streaming service on December 1, as the company plans to transition to a paid subscription plan. Users will be able to purchase songs and can sign up for a free 30-day trial of Music Pass.
"Effective December 1, 2014, the free Xbox Music streaming feature currently available on Windows 8, Windows 8.1, and over the Internet will be discontinued in all countries where it is offered," Microsoft confirmed.
Xbox Music Pass will still be available on Windows PCs, tablets, smartphones, the Internet, and through the Xbox - with the cloud-based service also providing free streaming radio.
Nintendo is reportedly prepared to begin development of a 3DS and Wii U successor, hoping to recruit a new senior software architect position that is located in Redmond, Washington. This is a unique change since the posting is for a US-based job instead of a position in Japan - but Nintendo was careful to use rather generic terminology for a future-facing project.
The company has previously said there were no immediate plans for a new console platform, but the rumor mill has been in overdrive. If you're interested in applying for the position, you'll need the following requirements: "The ideal candidate will have had experience working directly in a GPU architecture and design team with significant responsibilities. Low power and SoC design experience would be a plus." And a bachelor's degree is required, though a graduate degree in computer science/engineering or electrical engineering is preferred. Also, at least five years of lead or architectural role experience wouldn't hurt, according to the job posting.
It appears HBO GO will hit the Microsoft Xbox One in the near future, as pictures recently surfaced of the app being used on the Xbox One game console. It's an important step forward to HBO, which is moving away from just partnerships with cable and satellite providers, including plans to launch a standalone online streaming service in 2015.
Microsoft and Sony both are relying on apps and connected entertainment to keep console owners engaged - as content providers want to give consumers access to streaming TV episodes and movies on numerous devices. Earlier in the year, Microsoft announced 45 different entertainment apps will be introduced for the Xbox One, which will bring the total to more than 225 apps once they are all introduced.
The Sony PlayStation 4 continued to dominate the North American console gaming market, outselling the Microsoft Xbox One in September. The PS4 has racked up nine consecutive months over the Xbox One, but Microsoft hopes its gaming bundles will help draw more interest leading into Christmas.
Console hardware sales increase 200 percent year-over-year, with prices dropping as the console battle continues to heat up.
Meanwhile, video game software struggled in September, even with the release of Activision's Destiny. It's worth noting that last October saw the release of Grand Theft Auto 5, which became an instant hit. Madden 15, Fifa 15, Super Smash Bros. and Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor rounded out the top five game titles in the month. Software sales were down 35 percent year-over-year, but digital video games delivered over the Internet were up 8.6 percent, up to $873 million.
Sony has shown off some new updates that are set to enter the PlayStation 4, with the PS4 interface itself being updated in a 2.0 system update. Part of the new update includes the ability of a USB Media Player, something that should be welcomed with warm arms.
Gamers can't transfer music to the PS4, but they'll be able to play MP3, MP4, M4A and 3GP files from a USB stick inserted into the PlayStation 4, as background music while they game. Sony is also amplifying the social interaction on the PS4, which will now suggest "players you may know", recommending PS4 users that your friends frequently game with. On top of that, if purchasing themes isn't something you're into, the new PS4 2.0 update will allow you to customize the background color of the PS4 interface.
The new update will also provide a feature to add a game to your library, instead of forcing you through the steps of cancelling that unwanted download. Continuously expanding gaming libraries will be easier to manage with the PS4 2.0 update, with improved filters to organize your game collection. The PS4's live broadcasting tool is also being reworked, providing gamers with more control for following broadcasts, searching for specific games, as well as archiving sessions.