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This afternoon, Microsoft announced via Facebook that the Xbox One would allow self publishing of apps and games. The announcement says that every Xbox One can be used for development by anyone and everyone. We will not know more until Gamescon next month, but this announcement does point towards a consumer-level, easy entry development kit rather than using something like Visual Studio which almost requires 4 years of college to use efficiently.
Marc Whitten, Chief Product Officer for Xbox said:
Our vision is that every person can be a creator. That every Xbox One can be used for development. That every game and experience can take advantage of all of the features of Xbox One and Xbox LIVE. This means self-publishing. This means Kinect, the cloud, achievements. This means great discoverability on Xbox LIVE. We'll have more details on the program and the timeline at Gamescom in August.
It looks like the FCC have enjoyed the presence of a Sony PlayStation 4 developer kit last week, but have received the consumer version of the next-gen console quite recently.
The federal documents show off the PS4's polished exterior, with a note that there's a "max clock frequency" of 2.75GHz. There's not much else to write about, but there is a very labels stating "Made in China" and "Made in Japan". We are to expect the PlayStation 4 to grace our gaming hands later this year.
Both next-gen consoles constantly record your gameplay, with the recording ability being pushed as being 'social'
Earlier today we reported about the Xbox One recording the last five minutes of your gameplay, but now Sony have confirmed that the PS4 will keep a 15-minute buffer of your gameplay.
The PS4 goes a little further, though, with a dedicated social "Share" button built directly into the controller. We have no idea if gamers will actually use these functions yet, but it would be nice to go back through your last few minutes of gameplay for sharing purposes. I wonder if it records all of the audio through the various microphones, and Kinect?
Today Microsoft confirmed that the Xbox One will continually record the last five minutes of gameplay for any game that you're playing. The company says that this is so you can share any last-minute achievements, feeds, or skills after the game has ended. We knew the console would already create clips automatically when you unlock achievements which can then be shared with your friends, but the recording of the last five minutes of gameplay is entirely new news to us.
"The idea is you're always recording. The last five minutes of any game you're playing is always being stored locally on your hard drive," said Ken Lobb of Microsoft Studios during an interview with GameSpot at Comic-Con 2013. This means that you can use command such as "Xbox record that" which will instantly save the last 30 seconds of gameplay or you can choose to trek through the full five minutes of footage to edit down to the key parts.
NVIDIA delayed Shield, their portable Android-powered gaming console last month, but have now confirmed a July 31 shipping date. Until now, we didn't really know why the 5-inch gaming device was delayed.
The company have now said that a "mechanical issue that relates to a third party component" is the reason behind the delay, but NVIDIA haven't said anything past that to explain that the issues had been resolved. NVIDIA's original release date for Shield was June 27, so we're not talking about that much of a delay.
But, in order to fan away consumers' issues with the delay, the pricing was dropped from $349 to $299 - something that definitely can't be complained about.
PAX Australia 2013 - Something else I've been quite excited to see is the Xbox One in person, which is something I got to finally do at PAX AU today. This is the first time that Microsoft have shown the next-gen console to the public down under.
There's not much to talk about other than what we've already reported, but we took a nice long look around the console itself, checking out the ports, etc that it has on offer. We also took a look at the Kinect sensor, which is huge in person, as is the cord and plug it uses to hook up to the Xbox One console. The controller isn't much special, but we still take a look at it all in the video above.
Microsoft is really making a push to build subscription levels of its Office 365 Suite. Today, we learned that Microsoft will start bundling one year of Xbox Live Gold with any purchase of Office 365 Home Premium or Office 365 University that is made before September 28.
Once signed in for the first time, the Xbox Live code will be provided during the initial setup process for Office. Sadly, those of us in the US are not eligible for this freebie, but our readers in Europe, Asia, Australia and Canada will be happy to know that the offer does apply to them. When you combine this with Microsoft's recent promise of giving away two free games per month to Xbox Live Gold subscribers, this deal virtually pays for itself three times over.
It's no doubt that Sony's DualShock 4 controller is one of the most advanced gaming controllers of all time, and today were learning just how advanced Sony originally wanted it to be. In an interview with Stuff magazine, Sony's lead system architect Mark Cermu said that the company "looked at pretty much any idea it could think of."
One of the ideas developers came up with was to have the controller measure the galvanic response of your skin. This essentially means that it would measure the electrical conductivity of your skin to judge your sweat levels. Sony's plans for this was to detect a player's current stress level, which could then be incorporated into the game by making a player's avatar lose some of his accuracy or even become more fatigued.
After scrapping that idea, Sony says that they focused on improving the DualShock 4 for better first-person shooter performance as the older controllers were not ideal for games like Call of Duty and Battlefield. This is when they decided to include a touch-sensitive trackpad and the light bar. Sony was not the only company looking into bio feedback technology; earlier this year, Valve's resident psychologist said that the company had begun testing sweat-based experiments with the game Left for Dead which would adjust the player's gameplay according to his or her stress level.
In a recent interview with website Polygon, a spokesperson for Microsoft confirmed that the upcoming Xbox One will allow owners to start playing games shortly after purchase before the game is fully finished downloading. This will apply to disk-based games which will require a mandatory install as well as all digital titles.
Microsoft says that this feature will cover Xbox Live Arcade games, digital purchases, and any games that are already available as a physical copy--also known as" games on demand". This is similar to what Sony will be offering on its highly anticipated PlayStation 4 console which is presumably why Microsoft has added the functionality to the Xbox One.
This morning, we're getting word that Sony has taken a few steps back on its DRM policies regarding downloaded video content on the PlayStation 3. The company has now made it much easier for people to download and re-download shows they paid for in the past. Additionally, consumers can now download their purchased video content from any PlayStation 3 device.
"If you purchase a copy, the video or TV show download will be available infinitely and can be transferred to other enabled devices," reads the announcement on Sony's Video Unlimited website "Movie rentals are available for viewing up to 30 days after purchase and can be viewed multiple times within 24 hours on the same device."
I see this as another big step forward in the movement to abolish harsh DRM policies that do more to hurt the industry than they do to help it. Sony has really been stepping up lately and looking out for the consumer more so than the content provider. This really is a refreshing attitude over other companies such as Microsoft, Apple, and Verizon.