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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.
Life for the older gaming consoles can be tough, but not in the sense they'll be used as containers to smuggle drugs. Older consoles were used as containers for smuggling cocaine, with four men arrested for allegedly smuggling thousands of grams of cocaine since Microsoft's first gaming console.
According to the investigation report, a pack of 1100 grams of cocaine worth over $100,000 was stashed inside an Xbox 360, and sent to a house in Reading, Pennsylvania. As investigations progressed, the police followed a vehicle where the suspects arrived in their home at Hancock Boulevard, with police raiding both houses after getting a search warrant, where they found a large amount of cocaine and even Xbox consoles, accessories and other parts.
The items are as follows:
- 1100 grams of cocaine with the potential street value in excess of $100,000
- Representative kilogram substitute containing a testable quantity of cocaine
- Miscellaneous x-box game console and parts.
- Miscellaneous documents pertaining to the defendants
- Miscellaneous packaging material related to cocaine
- Heat sealer machine
- Additional miscellaneous x-box components and shipping packaging
- Cutting agent related to cocaine.
- Five counter-surveillance cameras
- Over fourteen cellular telephones
- Box of .40 caliber ammunition and loaded gun magazine
- Digital scale
- Plastic bag containing "crack" cocaine
- Approx. $600.00 in U.S. Currency
It appears an Australian retailer has published details of the Microsoft Xbox One Assassin's Creed Unity bundle, which could be announced in the near future. Retailing for around $650 for the Australian market, the bundle includes a black 500GB Xbox One unit, Kinect, Assassin's Creed Unity and Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. The bundle without a Kinect will cost around $521 but include the same console and games.
Microsoft hopes its gaming bundles will help draw interest from gamers ahead of the 2014 Christmas holiday shopping season - an important time for the company desperate to try to catch up to the Sony PlayStation 4. The company recently announced its Halo: The Master Chief bundle, but it won't be available to U.S. gamers, however.
Microsoft India hyped the launch of the Xbox One in India last month, inviting media and those who have pre-ordered the console. The company signed up with Amazon India as en exclusive seller (for now) where they delivered Xbox One units to pre-ordered customers at the stroke of midnight on September 23.
However, ever since the launch of Xbox One console in India, the price of the unit has reduced within few weeks along with couple of freebies. When the console was launched, the cost was Rs. 39,990 ($652), while the units with Kinect version was priced for Rs. 45,990/- (US$ 750). This was accompanied with a Rs. 4,000 ($65) gift card.
Now, as a 'Diwali Dhamaka' offer, Amazon India is selling the Xbox One console for Rs. 35,990 ($587). Along with the console, FIFA 15 with DLC is pre-bundled and throwing in Rs. 3,000 ($49) Amazon India gift card. Xbox One consoles with Kinect are still priced for Rs. 45,990 ($750) - but is bundled with FIFA 15 with DLC and Dance Central Spotlight (also with DLC). Xbox One can be purchased from here.
It's been a while since Heroes had everyone rushing home for the latest episode, but after the first series ended, it lost most of its fizz. Well, Sony is set to break out onto the TV scene with PlayStation TV, and its first show, Powers, is looking like it could be a great first hit for the company's new venture. Check out the trailer below.
Sony's various entertainment divisions are producing content exclusive to their gaming platforms, in the hopes of building a Netflix-like library of content, but for PlayStation users. Powers is Sony's first show for the new platform on PlayStation, with the show being a TV adaption of Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming's work on the comic of Powers.
It stars Sharlto Copley from District 9 and Elysium, and will air on the PlayStation Network in December.
Microsoft showed off its Halo: The Master Chief Collection white Xbox One game console bundle, which will be available in Brazil and other countries. Despite initial interest in the limited-time bundle, Microsoft currently has "no plans" to release it for U.S. consumers.
The bundle includes a white Xbox One console, one white controller, and a copy of Halo: The Master Chief Collection - which features versions of Halo 1 through Halo 4, including the Halo 5: Guardians beta.
If the Master Chief bundle proves popular among international gamers, then it would be foolish for Microsoft to skip the U.S. market. However, interested gamers will be able to purchase a white Xbox One later this month, in a $399 Sunset Overdrive bundle.