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The Xbox One is getting closer with every breath we take, and with each day that passes it feels like we're hearing more about the console. Today, the news has broken that the Kinect sensor has a cool ability.
This ability is that the sensor will let gamers scan download codes with the Kinect camera, versus the current way of entering them in manually - which is such a chore. Kinectimals is used as an example, which takes advantage of QR codes. It makes getting into the game not only easier, but faster.
We know that the Xbox One is pretty much a PC now, with its x86 architecture and Windows 8 bubbling along inside, but how are Microsoft talking to developers who are unsure where to start? Well, Microsoft have been saying they should create Windows 8 apps first.
Vice President of Microsoft's Developer and Platform Evangelism group, Steve Guggenheimer, has said: "Xbox One has two engines, it's got a gaming engine and it essentially has a Windows 8 engine." Microsoft are making sense here, something they really need to amplify in the months leading up to, and years after the Xbox One launch.
If developers begin on PC and just develop, the game requires no porting to the already x86-based architecture of the Xbox One. This means PC games will be stellar, with the only thing stopping us from having PC-built games is the game development will be done around the world of a controller (slower input method) and TV at a distance (field of view weirdness).
The Xbox one has this cool little feature that allows users to plug their cable boxes directly into the console which allows the Xbox to facilitate the changing of channels for you. While the Xbox 360 will not have the channel changing features it will be getting the ability to stream cable TV later this summer.
This morning Microsoft announced a deal with Time Warner Cable that will bring its live TV options to the Xbox 360. Unfortunately for this to happen users will not only need a pre-existing Time Warner Cable subscription, but will also need an Xbox live Gold membership before you can download and install the app.
Time Warner Cable follows in the footsteps of other content providers such as Verizon which brought its FiOS TV to the console 2011 along with ESPN and HBO to have dedicated apps. How do you feel about been able to stream Time Warner Cable TV through your Xbox? Is it worth paying for an Xbox Live Gold subscription to access the service you already have access to via your set-top box?
For those of you who have a PlayStation 3, don't fret, Sony will continue to support their current money-maker once the PS4 launches later in the year for $399.
The confidence in the PS3 comes directly from Sony Japan President, Hiroshi Kawano and Sony Worldwide President, Shuhei Yoshida, when they spoke during an interview with Japanese gaming magazine, Weekly Famitsu. They said that support for the PS3 will continue indefinitely, and that the company has "no intention of immediately shifting from the PS3 to the PS4."
Kawano also noted that after seven years since the PS3 launched, it continues to "sell at a constant pace" and that there are countless titles headed to the PS3 in the future. Kawano added: "With the 2014 launch of our cloud service in the US allowing users to play PS3 games on the PS4, some people may switch consoles from the PS3 to the PS4. But that'll be a gradual process, and to say 'we're releasing a new console, so trade in your old ones for it' would be a maker's ego talking, plain and simple."
Alienware are still here, making some seriously high-end gaming PC's and notebooks, and their General Manager, Frank Azon, has some harsh words for Microsoft and Sony's next-gen consoles.
He said that the Xbox One and PS4 are just becoming more and more like the PC, stating that the PC is the ultimate gaming platform, and that Microsoft and Sony are just borrowing concepts from the PC and putting them into a flashy-looking box that sits in your living room.
Azon isn't just talking fluff either, as we know that the next-gen consoles are powered by x86 architectures, which is what the PC is built upon. On top of that we have AMD building them, which are a PC company. We have digital downloads, streaming TV and movies, which have been staples of the PC industry for years now.
Console manufacturers have traditionally had issues having enough supply at launch. Inevitably, some users faced price gouging on Ebay if they were set on getting a console within the first few weeks. According to AMD, they won't be the result of any delays as they are completely capable of making plenty of silicon.
AMD corporate vice president and general manager of Semi-Custom Business Saeid Moshkelani:
From a manufacturing perspective, in a year we ship tens of millions of units. So we have a very strong manufacturing base for our APUs and discrete graphics. We leverage the same manufacturing infrastructure to develop for game consoles. So the volumes were not something that actually raised an eyebrow for us, because we're already in high-volume manufacturing.
This is good news for gamers, provided Sony and Microsoft don't experience supply shortages elsewhere in the manufacturing process. It should mean that more consoles are available at launch, helping to reduce any price gouging that may occur.
Today, Rovio announced that the Angry Birds Trilogy will be heading to Nintendo's Wii and Wii U consoles this August 13. This will bring it in line with the existing versions already available on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Nintendo's own DS.
The game will come in a disc-based collection and will include Angry Birds, Angry Birds: Seasons, and Angry Birds: Rio. There is no word yet on when or if Angry Birds: Space, Angry Birds: Star Wars, or Bad Piggies will make it to the consoles. The company says that the trilogy will offer 140 hours of gameplay as well as 30 episodes right on the disk, including some new and exclusive levels.
The trilogy is the perfect fit for the Nintendo Wii and Wii U as they are geared more towards entertaining families and are very popular with younger children. I may go out and buy a Wii just so I can use the slingshot via the Wii Remote.
Last week, Sony pushed out a firmware update that wound up doing much more harm than good. The 4.45 update wound up bricking thousands of PS3 consoles and left owers wondering if their machines would ever work again. This morning, Sony has released a firmware update which will fix those consoles broken by the 4.45 firmware update.
The new update, version 4.46, will fix your broken PS3 in three easy steps that require downloading the new 4.46 firmware, activating safe mode on your PS3, and then manually installing the update onto the machine. Thankfully for those less technically minded, Sony has created an easy to follow, step-by-step guide. Did your PS3 break due to the bad firmware? Try the fix out and let us know if it worked.
According to sources close to Sony, the entertainment giant decided to not bundle the PlayStation 4 camera with every console so they could beat Microsoft's $499 price point. But not only did Sony do this to beat Microsoft on price, they didn't let retail partners know that the price changed. The only information they provided to retail partners was that the PS4 camera would no longer be included with the console.
This might have been a great move. Not only was Sony able to beat Microsoft on price, but it turns out that people don't like an always-connected camera in their living room. Sony has been able to avoid accusations that the device might be spying on its users.
On the other hand, it will likely cause the PlayStation camera accessory to see less uptake in the market. By not requiring every user to have it, game developers will have to deal with a fragmented landscape where only some gamers have the camera. This means developers are unlikely to make as much use of the camera, which in turn provides less incentive for users to buy a camera. It's the classic chicken and egg scenario.
Sony has continued its support of independent game developers by launching a new indie game channel for its PlayStation Vita handheld gaming console. This new channel is the direct result of Sony launching a similar channel on the PlayStation network last month.
With 53 titles already, Sony has begun highlighting new releases such as Hotline Miami, Thomas Was Alone, and Limbo. Sony says it has plans in the coming months to showcase highly anticipated Vita-only releases such as Spelunky, Luftrausers, and Hohokm.
In a blog post Sony said:
At PlayStation, we're proud to support indie development, and our unrestrictive policies make it easier than ever for developers to launch games on PS Vita. We recognize that the unique perspective that indie developers deliver contributes to the success and future of the gaming industry. And we've learned as much from working with talented indie developers over the last several years as (we hope) they have learned from us.