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Rolling out to Xbox One preview members today, Microsoft has finished work on a brand new update for their champion console. With regular users to receive this in February, there have been some new features listed and improvements made.
One of the main improvements is the apparent upgrade to the TV functionality, alongside adding new game hubs - a new section for each game, displaying your friends that this title, DVR clips and broadcasts and a VIP view that will highlight popular Twitch.TV streamers. Thanks to the new game hubs, you can also launch the game with a party, track achievements or broadcast game play in snap mode.
As for the TV component, Microsoft have added a OneGuide rollout for the Netherlands, added support for new AV receivers and set-top boxes and have also added Live TV trending for France, Germany, Brazil and Mexico. This Live TV streaming service will also be supported on Windows Phones and Android for Xbox One Digital TV tuner customers in France, the UK, Germany Italy and Spain.
First we covered the Xbook Duo, which placed a non-backwards compatible Xbox One and an Xbox 360 into a single package - now we've got the Playbox. Developed by the same modder, he's thrown a PS4 and an Xbox One into the same shell - confusing and worrying elitists worldwide.
In the lead up to these two creations, Eddie Zarick has thrown a PS4 and Xbox One into their own separate shells, but as the famous saying goes "¿Por qué no ambos" (why not both?). The Playbox hosts the PS4 component on the left side of the system and with the Xbox One on the right.
Both consoles are powered by a single cord, however they don't function at the same time due to overheating constraints. You can flick an easy-to-reach switch on the back to help change from one console to another at your will.
The Nintendo New 3DS XL will finally be released in the United States on February 13 with a $200 price tag, and includes a number of hardware improvements for gamers. The new gaming unit has better face-tracking 3D, a more powerful processor, additional shoulder buttons, built-in NFC and a second analog mini-stick for gamers.
Nintendo also decided not to include an AC adapter with the New 3DS XL, so owners will get home and find they don't have a bundled charger. All new units will have a 4GB micro SD card, as Nintendo moved from standard SD to micro SD, due to changes in the internal layout of the new 3DS XL's hardware.
Unfortunately, Nintendo isn't releasing the New Nintendo 3DS in the United States, despite it launching in Japan and Australia.
Microsoft has captured an Emmy Award for Television Enhancement Devices, as the Xbox One captured award during the 66th Annual Technology & Engineering Emmy Awards last week during CES. The Xbox One has a number of different apps supporting streaming video, premium content channels, and other video services.
In addition to CD, DVD and Blu-ray disc playback and apps, Microsoft included MKV and DLNA support, so downloaded videos are supported - and features an Interactive TV Guide.
"Microsoft is in good company with the likes of fellow award recipients Apple, Roku, Sony, and TiVo, and we're proud to be awarded this honor by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences," Microsoft said in a blog post.
Nintendo has confirmed it has pulled the plug on video game and console sales in Brazil, facing challenges that were ultimately too difficult to overcome.
"The current model was unsustainable," said Bill van Zyll, Nintendo general manager of the Latin America division, without going into detail. However Nintendo offered a more-detailed statement in an email to Polygon:
"Brazil is an important market for Nintendo and home to many passionate fans, but unfortunately, challenges in the local business environment have made our current distribution model in the country unsustainable," Nintendo said in an emailed statement to Polygon. "These challenges include high import duties that apply to our sector and our decision not to have a local manufacturing operation. We will continue to monitor the evolution of the business environment and evaluate how best to serve our Brazilian fans in the future."
Sony has confirmed it is pushing back the expected Jan. 11 launch date of its PlayStation 4 game console in China, and must deal with "various factors" that caused the rescheduling. The Japanese electronics company plans to initially file for 30 game licenses with the Chinese government, and begin expanding its software offerings inside of the country.
Both Sony and Microsoft face long-term issues selling their consoles in China, as PC and mobile gaming have become more prominent - and the Chinese government has strict censorship rules in place, so it's possible leading titles in the US and European markets can't be sold in China.
The Chinese Ministry of Culture, the regulatory body responsible for video game content, is never in a hurry while approving licenses for foreign video games that will be sold inside of China. It is suspected for the Microsoft Xbox One launch also being pushed back, as there are restrictions on video games that have extreme violence, political content, or otherwise seen as profane.
Sony proudly boasted that its PlayStation 4 game console has topped 18.5 million units sold since launching in late 2013.
There was high demand for the game console during the 2014 holiday shopping season, with 5 million units sold since the end of October. The PS4 suffered supply issues in Europe, so it's possible sales would have been even stronger ahead of Christmas if there was adequate inventory available.
Even though the Microsoft Xbox One has boosted sales in recent months, the PS4 continues to reign supreme. The Xbox One reportedly shipped 10 million units from late 2013 until November 2014 - and that doesn't equal actual consoles sold - with Microsoft not updating its numbers.
To make up for a few days of PlayStation Network disruption because of the Lizard Squad distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, Sony has announced it a "holiday thank you" to gamers.
"Happy New Year! Since access to PlayStation Network was impacted during the holidays, we wanted to show our appreciation for your patience by offering all PlayStation Plus members that had an active membership or free trial on December 25th a membership extension of five days."
The extension will be automatically applied, and additional details will be published on the official PlayStation Blog. Also, all PlayStation Network gamers can receive a 10 percent discount code for a one-time purchase from the PlayStation Store. The discount is applicable towards new releases, indie games, game add-ons and season passes, along with select movies and TV episodes.
A group called H4LT reportedly released the Microsoft Xbox One software development kit onto the Internet, to help "end 2014 with a bang." The leaked SDK could potentially open the door for developers to create their own apps and games for the Xbox One - but they will still be required to register with Microsoft beforehand.
H4LT noticed there is no "definite exploit" for the Xbox One, but hopes this will help coders to begin working on their own homebrew solutions.
"We leaked it to the community because if something is shared then... progress is achieved faster than alone.... The SDK will basically allow the community to reverse and open doors towards homebrew applications being present on the Xbox One."
Microsoft is currently tweaking its latest SDK for the Xbox One, something that Dying Light developer Techland has gotten its hands-on. We've heard that Dying Light will be running at 1080p and 30FPS on the Xbox One and PS4, but it looks like the Xbox One side of things received its 1080p 30FPS target thanks to the latest update.
The update in question provides developers with the ability of tweaking the Xbox One's eSRAM usage, where performance can be improved. The Lead Game Designer on Dying Light, Maciej Binkowski explains "We were using the latest version just prior to the new release that came out on December 12th. In terms of advantages, the main thing is just how much the ESRAM control has improved. The new API allows you to do a lot more with the ESRAM, things devs have always wanted to do but were not easily accessible. This together with better tools (PIX) allowed us to really improve performance and tweak ESRAM usage."
PIX, or Performance Investigator is a software tool used by developers on the Xbox One to analyze and debug their code in order to increase the performance of their titles. There have been a few developers that have been doing this, squeezing out as much performance as they can from the current (at the time) SDK. These developers include Bungie with Destiny, and Rockstar with Grand Theft Auto V, so Techland isn't the only one doing some tweaking with Dying Light.