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Microsoft will unlock Bethesda's natural evolution

Derek Strickland | Gaming | Tue, Sep 22 2020 1:45 PM CDT

Like a good mentor, Microsoft will show Bethesda how to grow and mature its live service business model, which represents its natural evolution as a games-maker.

Microsoft will unlock Bethesda's natural evolution 43 | TweakTown.com

Microsoft's recent $7.5 billion Bethesda buyout is a match made in heaven. Microsoft gets much-needed content for Xbox Game Pass, the subscription that's not just a service, but the center of Xbox as a whole. Bethesda gets resources, flexibility, and most importantly, access to Microsoft's potent service framework.

Microsoft doesn't just have a service empire--it has the service empire. Few companies on Earth have a better mastery of digital subscriptions, recurring revenues, and services. Xbox has naturally evolved from a console-first business into a service-first business, and now the Xbox brand is starting to mature. The Xbox LIVE online framework, Windows 10 unification, Project xCloud streaming and on-demand Game Pass access across PC, consoles, and mobiles--all of this is a result of a service-first ecosystem.

Continue reading: Microsoft will unlock Bethesda's natural evolution (full post)

Xbox Game Studios conquers market with 23 first-party dev teams

Derek Strickland | Gaming | Tue, Sep 22 2020 10:31 AM CDT

Microsoft isn't playing by Sony's rules any more, and plans to conquer gaming by saturating the market with content. Now its 23 dev teams are ramping up projects to populate its console, PC, and service offerings.

Xbox Game Studios conquers market with 23 first-party dev teams 53 | TweakTown.com

Today Microsoft made a big move against its competitors. It bought Bethesda for $7.5 billion, acquiring titanic IPs like Fallout, Doom, and Elder Scrolls as well as studios like Bethesda Game Studios, id Software, Arkane, and more. This follows two years' worth of acquisitions for its Xbox Game Studios banner, which now sits at 23 studios compared to Sony's 15.

The idea here is Microsoft is buying up studios to add value to its cross-platform Game Pass service. The subscription is now so powerful it's defining the Xbox brand and has convinced Microsoft to pay triple for Bethesda than it did for Minecraft back in 2014. At the time of writing, Xbox Game Pass has more than 15 million paid active subscriptions, and grew nearly 5 million subscribers since April 2020.

Continue reading: Xbox Game Studios conquers market with 23 first-party dev teams (full post)

AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT specs: Navi 21 GPU with 16GB could cost $499

Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards | Mon, Sep 21 2020 10:42 PM CDT

I'm knee deep in reviewing NVIDIA's new GeForce RTX 3080 graphics cards, and now the RTX 3090 to have a day one review, but the world hasn't stopped.

AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT specs: Navi 21 GPU with 16GB could cost $499 04 | TweakTown.com

We now have some new rumored specs on the AMD's next-gen Radeon RX 6900 XT graphics card, where Rogame tweets it will be powered by the Navi 21 GPU and have 16GB of GDDR6 memory. The 16GB of GDDR6 memory is coming from Samsung, and will reportedly be on a 256-bit memory bus.

Not only that, but there is also the Navi 22 GPU that should power a slightly slower card that should materialize into the Radeon RX 6800 XT, or possibly the Radeon RX 6700 XT. This card will reportedly have 12GB of GDDR6 on a 192-bit memory bus.

Continue reading: AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT specs: Navi 21 GPU with 16GB could cost $499 (full post)

IDC says VR headsets sales set to climb rapidly next year

Kevin Carbotte | Virtual & Augmented Reality | Mon, Sep 21 2020 10:24 PM CDT

IDC, one of the worlds leading data analysis companies, released its latest forecast for the VR headset industry. The firm believes that the market will suffer a 6% depression on VR headset sales in 2020, but sales will rebound hard with an increase of over 45% next year.

IDC says VR headsets sales set to climb rapidly next year 3305 | TweakTown.com

IDC's Quarterly Augmented and Virtual Reality Headset Tracker report highlights the AR and VR industries' state. According to IDC, sales of VR headsets are down this year compared to last. Mid-year sales were affected by supply issues brought on by the manufacturing shutdowns earlier this year. Now that we're approaching the tail end of the year, headset sales are likely to increase.

"We're seeing increased interest in VR from both consumer and commercial buyers," said Tom Mainelli, group vice president, Device & Consumer Research at IDC. "However, a confluence of events made for a tough first half of 2020 in terms of headset unit volumes, even as demand increased. We expect a sizeable increase in shipment volume during the second half of this year as production ramps up, and new products launch into the market, and VR should see a return to robust growth in 2021."

Continue reading: IDC says VR headsets sales set to climb rapidly next year (full post)

NVIDIA addresses GeForce RTX 3080 stock issues in new Q&A

Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards | Mon, Sep 21 2020 9:45 PM CDT

We are all now well aware of the major issues retailers across the world, as well as NVIDIA experienced on the launch of its brand new powerhouse GeForce RTX 3080 graphic card.

NVIDIA addresses GeForce RTX 3080 stock issues in new Q&A 01 | TweakTown.com

It crashed retailer websites worldwide, bought sites like Newegg to their knees with more traffic than the morning of Black Friday, and had inventories evaporate in seconds. NVIDIA has now addressed it in a new Q&A on their website.

NVIDIA starts off by saying: "Last week's GeForce RTX 3080 launch was simultaneously the best GPU launch ever and the most frustrating", adding: "The reception to our NVIDIA Ampere architecture GPUs has been off the charts and driven interest to heights we've never previously experienced. A few examples compared to our previous launch - 4 times the unique visitors to our website, 10 times the peak web requests per second, and more than 15 times the out clicks to partner pages".

Continue reading: NVIDIA addresses GeForce RTX 3080 stock issues in new Q&A (full post)

Quest 2 Infinite Office is a science fiction productivity environment

Kevin Carbotte | Virtual & Augmented Reality | Mon, Sep 21 2020 9:16 PM CDT

Last week,Facebook revealed Quest 2, the company's next standalone VR headset. Facebook is betting big on Quest 2, and the company is making an effort to give you a reason to justify the purchase. Not only is Quest 2 an excellent gaming platform, but Infinite Office will also make it a great productivity tool.

Quest 2 Infinite Office is a science fiction productivity environment 01 | TweakTown.com

Facebook's Infinite Office is not yet available but got a bit of a preview last week at Facebook Connect. VR companies have always touted the productivity benefits of VR, such as group collaboration and the ability to customize your workspace. Productivity tools were on the roadmap for Oculus products, but the global pandemic and the current work-from-home reality that many of us are living accelerated the rollout.

With Infinite Office, you'll be able to use a Quest 2 headset to do your everyday work. The platform offers a multi-window solution that facilitates multitasking. You can have a browser window open next to a document that you're working on, along with a chat window to keep in contact with co-workers.

Continue reading: Quest 2 Infinite Office is a science fiction productivity environment (full post)

UltraLeap's advanced hand-tracking hardware now widely available

Kevin Carbotte | Virtual & Augmented Reality | Mon, Sep 21 2020 8:34 PM CDT

UltraLeap announced the availability of the Stereo IR 170 hand tracking module for hardware and software developers. The evaluation kit will enable headset makers to design devices with embedded UltraLeap sensor, and for software developers to prepare for that future.

UltraLeap's advanced hand-tracking hardware now widely available 01 | TweakTown.com

UltraLeap's hand tracking solution is the evolution of the company's Leap Motion hand tracking peripheral. The Stereo IR 170 offers a wider field of view than the Leap Motion sensor (170-degrees x 170 degrees versus 150-degrees x 120-degrees), and it can see your hands at up to 75cm from the sensor.

UltraLeap's new sensor is also more compact and draws less power than the Leap Motion unit, making it suitable for direct integration into VR and AR devices.

Continue reading: UltraLeap's advanced hand-tracking hardware now widely available (full post)

New Bethesda games won't all be Xbox exclusives

Derek Strickland | Gaming | Mon, Sep 21 2020 6:27 PM CDT

Microsoft just bought Bethesda for $7.5 billion, but that doesn't mean all future games will be Xbox exclusives.

New Bethesda games won't all be Xbox exclusives 65 | TweakTown.com

All of Bethesda's games are coming to Xbox Game Pass on Xbox consoles and PC, Microsoft confirms, but PlayStation gamers won't be locked out of future releases. Bethesda plans to honor pre-arranged exclusivity deals like Deathloop on PlayStation 5. Microsoft also confirms that future Bethesda games will be released on other platforms on a title-by-title basis.

When asked about Starfield and other games coming to PlayStation, Xbox's Phil Spencer told Bloomberg: "We'll take other consoles on a case-by-case basis."

Continue reading: New Bethesda games won't all be Xbox exclusives (full post)

Game Pass subscriptions grew 5 million in five months

Derek Strickland | Gaming | Mon, Sep 21 2020 4:01 PM CDT

Xbox Game Pass subscribers have grown by nearly 50% in just 5 months, showing just how powerful the subscription service is.

Game Pass subscriptions grew 5 million in five months 10 | TweakTown.com

Microsoft's Game Pass and Game Pass Ultimate subscriptions are so important they've become the center of Xbox. Consoles are just the delivery mechanism for Game Pass, which has in turn become the premiere delivery avenue for games and content. The value-oriented service now has 15 million subscribers, Microsoft confirmed, up nearly 5 million paid users since April 2020.

This growth is tremendous for the Xbox brand. As we've said before, Microsoft doesn't care all that much about hardware sales. It's doubled-down on services using Windows 10 PC-console cross-connectivity and Xbox LIVE as the bedrock for its business. Game Pass is an evolution of that plan, and it's starting to come to fruition.

Continue reading: Game Pass subscriptions grew 5 million in five months (full post)

Bethesda does 'largest engine overhaul in history' for Elder Scrolls 6

Derek Strickland | Gaming | Mon, Sep 21 2020 10:28 AM CDT

Bethesda says it's performed its "largest engine overhaul since Oblivion" to ensure its Creation Engine is in tip-top shape for next-gen hardware.

Bethesda does 'largest engine overhaul in history' for Elder Scrolls 6 43 | TweakTown.com

Today Microsoft bought Bethesda parent company ZeniMax Media for $7.5 billion, and acquired the rights to Fallout, Elder Scrolls, Doom, and everything else ZeniMax owned. It's a big, big deal for Xbox and the future of RPGs. Nestled in Todd Howard's announcement post is mention of new engine optimizations for Bethesda Game Studios' two big new games: Starfield and Elder Scrolls 6.

Howard says both Starfield, its interstellar new singleplayer RPG space epic, and The Elder Scrolls VI will be powered by a new-and-improved version of the Creation Engine. This new engine update is specifically optimized for next-gen console hardware, including the Xbox Series X and Series S duo, Howard says.

"With each new console cycle, we evolved together. From bringing mods to consoles" with Fallout 4, now over a billion downloads, to the latest technologies fueling Xbox Series X/S. These new systems are optimized for the vast worlds we love to create, with generational leaps not just in graphics, but CPU and data streaming as well. It's led to our largest engine overhaul since Oblivion, with all new technologies powering our first new IP in 25 years, Starfield, as well as The Elder Scrolls VI," Howard said in the post.

Continue reading: Bethesda does 'largest engine overhaul in history' for Elder Scrolls 6 (full post)

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