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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.
This morning, Mad Catz announced a new addition of its Arcade FightStick Tournament Edition 2 controller for the Xbox One. Now featuring a fully licensed artwork skin from the game Killer Instinct, the Arcade FightStick Tournament Edition 2 has become even more intimidating for your opponents. Mad Catz says that the new controller will hit store shelves in time for the 2013 holiday season.
"E3 greeted us with a positive reaction to our Tournament Edition 2 FightStick and we're pleased that the controller will provide passionate fans of Killer Instinct with an even richer gaming experience," said Darren Richardson, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Mad Catz Interactive, Inc. "We earlier commented how the enhanced performance of the Xbox One opens up additional scope for innovation and believe that the Killer Instinct Tournament Edition 2 FightStick perfectly illustrates our commitment to the next generation of entertainment."
Mad Catz says that the Arcade FightStick Tournament Edition 2 is expected to be the first fighting game controller for the Xbox One. It will feature arcade-perfect controls that have been extensively designed with the professional gamer in mind. The company says that the Arcade FightStick Tournament Edition 2 has been designed with a philosophy that will offer greater levels of customization and quality to the end-user.
The next-gen Kinect sensor that arrives with the Xbox One has had its own world of controversy lately, with all of the always-on, always-listening pieces we've been writing about for weeks now.
But, news has broken from a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" (AmA) from a Microsoft employee who has said that the Kinect plays a large role in the Xbox One experience. The person said that Microsoft bundled the Kinect with all Xbox One consoles to make sure all developers and gamers had access to it for all games, not just specific ones.
He also added that Microsoft took a big risk with the new Kinect sensor, where he noted that it "costs almost as much as the console to make" and "the success of the Kinect carries much more weight." The high price of manufacturing the Kinect sensor could explain why Microsoft couldn't compete with the PlayStation 4's price of $399 - $100 cheaper than the Xbox One which will cost $499.
Pre-ordering your next-gen console in the US needs to happen now, or you might miss out on launch day consoles
Retailers across the US are taking in their pre-orders for next-gen consoles but it looks like those pre-orders are stacking up quickly meaning that launch day purchases of the Xbox One and PS4 might not happen unless you get in with a pre-order.
GameStop closed their PS4 pre-order campaign last week, and back in June they stopped taking pre-orders for the Xbox One in-store. It looks like supply is going to not only be tight, but next-gen consoles are going to be very popular purchases for the holiday season. So if you're anywhere in the world right now and want to secure your PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, do it now.
If you're like me and want to get some hands-on time with Sony's next-generation console, you can have your chance at Comic-Con 2013 which starts next week.
The PlayStation 4 will be available to the public for some hands-on gaming with three demo titles on offer: Drive Club, Knack and Octodad: Dadliest Catch. Too bad they won't be showing off any of their other huge games like Killzone: Shadow Fall and Watch Dogs.
Good guy Sony is at it again, will allow PS4 users to access their game library from any PS4 console
It appears that life for future PlayStation 4 owners just keeps getting better and better with every passing day. Today, a Sony official has confirmed that gamers will be able to access their entire PS4 game library from any PS4 console. Sony's R&D senior team leader Neil Brown confirmed that users will be up to log into their accounts from any PS4 console and start playing straight away thanks to the console's play as you download feature.
"You can visit your friends' house, you can log into your account and play any game from your digital library, which is good. But how useful is that if it takes half a day to download the game you want to play?" He went on to say that the system is quite similar to how Blu-ray technology works in that chunks of data are automatically copied over in the background leading to faster speeds after the first few minutes.
Trawling through Reddit on a Saturday night and happen to stumble across T3's world exclusive look at Sony's next-generation PlayStation 4. What makes this different, is they get to take a look at it out of the glass box.
This means some serious hands-on time with it, where we get some very close up shots of the next-gen console from Sony. They also take the time to look at the new Dual Shock 4 controller, too. By the looks of the design, the PS4 isn't something you'll have standing vertically, even though Sony offer consumers a stand for it.
It's looking great, and I'm really digging the design of it so far.