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Nintendo isn't in the best position right now, facing low sales on its 'next-gen' Wii U console. But the Japanese company is about to face an entire new world of hurt once the next-gen consoles from Sony and Microsoft launch in the coming weeks and months.
Now we have Atari founder Nolan Bushnell rubbing salt in the wound during an interview with the BBC, saying that Nintendo was left in a "very difficult position" and could be on a "path to irrelevance." Games analysts are currently drawing parallels between the two companies, comparing the Atari Jaguar console from 1993, and the Nintendo Wii U.
He had quite a lot to say: "I don't think handheld game-only devices make sense anymore. Not when you have an iPod or an Android microtablet. When it comes to the console market, I think the market is truncating. Nintendo always had a soft spot for young people - they sort of did the 12-and-under pretty well, and the other guys did the 12-and-over. And now I think the other [consoles] are good enough on those things, and the rush to upgrade from the 12-and-under is not nearly as important."
Microsoft's SmartGlass app will be even more feature packed for the upcoming Xbox One. The company says it will carry the same basic features of the current version for Xbox 360, but will be able to handle multiplayer matchmaking, feature a help button to assist those stuck during a game, and allow users full control of their cable television set-top boxes.
Microsoft says that the Xbox One will support up to 16 SmartGlass devices and that it will connect directly to the mobile device via local Wi-Fi or Ethernet. This will allow gamers to access many of the console's features remotely, including achievements, updates, and recorded in-game videos stored on your Xbox One. Microsoft says the updated app will be free to download for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone when the console launches in November.
It looks like Microsoft is wanting to make some moolah on the Xbox One at launch, and not wait years and years in order to come back into the black. Microsoft wants to make profits on its next-gen console at launch, instead of bleeding money from the Xbox 360 launch.
Xbox chief marketing officer Yusuf Mehdi said that "we're looking to break even or low margin at worst" on the Xbox One. Microsoft and Sony have previously lost billions of dollars upon launching a console, but it looks like Microsoft won't be repeating this mistake with the Xbox One. Mehdi continued:
As we can cost-reduce our box as we've done with 360, we'll continue to price reduce and get even more competitive with our offering. You've seen us over the years constantly be focused on profitability and improving year over year. If you look at 360 that platform lasted for seven to eight years and it's going to go for another three years. It's incredibly profitable now in the tail.
The Xbox One launches on November 22 in multiple countries, but how long will Microsoft support its current generation console for? Well, Xbox CMO Yusuf Medhi said during the Citi Global Technology Conference that Microsoft is shipping more games than it ever has to the Xbox 360.
Not only that, but the Xbox Live subscription service is seeing continuous growth. Medhi called the Xbox 360 "incredibly profitable" as it reaches its last legs, before it's replaced with the next-gen Xbox One. Medhi has said within the next three years of its life, the Xbox 360 will see over 100 more games shipped for the console.
He said: "If you look at 360 that platform lasted for seven to eight years and it's going to go for another three years. It's incredibly profitable now in the tail. Some of these things take some time in the launch year in which you invest, and then they they play out over time."
Today, Microsoft announced the official release date for its upcoming Xbox One console. November 22 is the magical "day one" on which the next-gen console will hit retail shelves across the US and 13 other countries. It is unclear as to why Microsoft chose such a late date, and many thought that Redmond would launch before Sony launches the PS4 on November 15.
Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, UK, and the USA will all get the Xbox One on November 22. The rest of the world will see a slow roll out beginning in 2014, but no date has been given on which countries will get the console next. Have you pre-ordered an Xbox One,or will you be heading to the store on November 22 to fight the crowds? Let me know in the comments.
I've been asking myself this question for a while, but Microsoft continue to give me more and more reasons to not buy the Xbox One, but today's news takes the cake: Microsoft is support support for 8 controllers on the Xbox One, yes, eight.
The PS3 can support seven controllers, so it's not new - but really, who uses seven controllers on their home consoles? Sony haven't announced how many controllers the PS4 will be capable of accepting, but I'm sure it'll be the same. Which developers will build support in their games for 8 controllers? That's yet to be divulged.
Sports and casual games would most likely enjoy the 8 controller support, but it is still quite overkill.
The Xbox One isn't too far away, but according to Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of marketing and strategy for Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business, the Xbox One is in full production.
Before going into full production, the next-gen console received a boost in its CPU clock speed - increasing 150MHz from 1.6GHz to 1.75GHz. Mehdi announced the news at the Citi Global Technology Conference, giving a quick update on the Xbox One's progress and manufacturing. He also added: "We're on track for launch in November," you'd kind of hope so, considering it's September already.
He also said: "We'll announce a launch date shortly. We recently just went into full production, so we're now producing en masse Xbox One consoles. We've had real good progress on the system. In fact, we just updated the CPU performance to 1.75 GHz on top of the graphics performance improvement, so the system is really going to shine [and] the games look pretty incredible."
This is the second tweak Microsoft has done to the Xbox One, where we saw an increase in the Xbox One's GPU clock speed in August from 800MHz to 853MHz.
Seriously Microsoft, what are you trying to do? Are you trying to sell the PlayStation 4, or are you trying to sell your own console? Because this latest news isn't helping you.
Microsoft spokesperson Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb has said that the Xbox One, at launch, will not support external storage. He was responding to a PAX Prime attendees question, where he explained that Microsoft plans to allow Xbox One users to use external HDDs if they need more space, but this feature will not be working at launch.
He said: "The Xbox One will ship with the 500 GB hard drive, all of them have that. The future plan is for definitely to support external storage much like we do on the Xbox 360. My understanding is that feature will not be there at launch, because the team is working on some other things, but it definitely is on the list. I don't know when it will come in though."
I have no idea what Microsoft is thinking here... they are a software company, with traits of Windows 8 in the Xbox One. Windows 8 is a full blown desktop OS that supports countless styles of HDDs, RAID arrays, SSDs, and more. Why won't the Xbox One be capable of using external storage on day one is beyond me. Microsoft's next-gen console doesn't seem so next-gen now, does it?
The always-listening Xbox One is already capable of this, but the PlayStation 4 will also be able to do voice commands through its PlayStation Camera. Sony confirmed the news, telling Polygon: "Sony Computer Entertainment can confirm that PlayStation Camera allows for voice recognition and we will look forward to sharing more details in the lead up to the launch of PlayStation 4 on November 29."
At GameStop Expo 2013, SCEA's group manager of retail training and advocacy, Sean Coleman, outlined the PS4's features, which included a quick overview of the PlayStation Camera's abilities. With YouTube user 'lex1020' with the video above, describing the camera as "From navigational voice commands to facial recognition, the PlayStation Camera adds incredible innovation to your gaming."
Coleman added: "When you add the PlayStation camera into the mix, the pair works together to expand upon system features and enhance your PlayStation 4 experience. The new stereoscopic lenses track your body movements in games or even recognize your face easier system navigation."
Last week I reported that the Sony PlayStation 4 would be capable of remotely downloading games, a very nifty feature that would come in handy in more ways than one. Well, Microsoft has now announced that it's next-gen console will also be capable of the same thing.
Xbox Corporate Vice President Marc Whitten confirmed the news, stating that the Xbox One will be capable of remotely downloading games purchased through smartphones and other devices on the Xbox mobile companion app.
The Xbox One will be available in the holiday season for $499.99.