Blog Archives

Microsoft gives up on the Xbox One DRM and used-game restrictions

Xbox One

It appears that Microsoft have been listened to the almost unanimous complaints aimed at their restrictive digital rights management (DRM) they had announced for the Xbox One.

To be honest they had to reverse their decision or take a huge hit in sales.

Their new stance is as follows:

  • An internet connection will not be required to play offline Xbox One games – After a one-time system set-up with a new Xbox One, you can play any disc based game without ever connecting online again. There is no 24 hour connection requirement and you can take your Xbox One anywhere you want and play your games, just like on Xbox 360.
  • Trade-in, lend, resell, gift, and rent disc based games just like you do today – There will be no limitations to using and sharing games, it will work just as it does today on Xbox 360.

Don Mattrick, Head of Xbox, had this to say: Read the rest of this entry

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First look and details on the PS4

PS4 controller

Sony announced the new PS4 at E3 and it appears they have looked at what Microsoft were offering with the XBoxOne and the problems people had with that.

First up, unlike the XBoxOne the PS4 has no online requirements or used games DRM. It is also region free. It will cost US$ 399 ($100 less than the XBoxOne), Canada$ 399, € 399, and £ 349. It is available for pre-order.

The video below shows how you can share your games on the PS4.

PS4 has a 500GB hard drive which, like the PS3, will be upgradeable.

PlayStation®4 (PS4™) (CUH-1000A series) computer entertainment system will come in “Jet Black” color and will be available this holiday season in North America and Europe at a recommended retail price (RRP) of US$ 399, Canada$ 399, € 399, and £ 349.

The design of PS4 made its public debut at the PlayStation® press conference on June 10, 2013, which kicked off the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles. PS4 will also be displayed this week at the Sony Computer Entertainment America booth at E3, one of the world’s largest video game exhibitions.

The internal design architecture of the PS4 system, from the optical drive and power supply unit to the cooling mechanism, has been pursed to keep the body as slim and light as possible to dramatically enhance the flexibility of the design.
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The New Generation Kinect for Windows

kinect

Microsoft will also deliver a new generation Kinect for Windows sensor next year. We’re continuing our commitment to equipping businesses and organizations with the latest natural technology from Microsoft so that they, in turn, can develop and deploy innovative touch-free applications for their businesses and customers. A new Kinect for Windows sensor and software development kit (SDK) are core to that commitment.

Both the new Kinect sensor and the new Kinect for Windows sensor are being built on a shared set of technologies. Just as the new Kinect sensor will bring opportunities for revolutionizing gaming and entertainment, the new Kinect for Windows sensor will revolutionize computing experiences. The precision and intuitive responsiveness that the new platform provides will accelerate the development of voice and gesture experiences on computers.

Some of the key capabilities of the new Kinect sensor include:
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Xbox One Launch Trailers for Call of Duty: Ghosts, Anthem, Quantum Break and more

Call of Duty Ghosts

Yesterday saw lots of news about Microsoft’s Xbox One. Now here are lots of trailers for the different games heading our way.

Call of Duty: Ghosts takes the critically-acclaimed franchise into the next generation. New world. New story. New, next-gen engine. 

Infinity Ward Executive Producer Mark Rubin and the Call of Duty: Ghosts development team discuss the all-new world, story and characters, and take you inside the new, next-gen engine.

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Here is the new Xbox One

Xbox One

Microsoft has unveiled the Xbox One which will go on sale later this year. There is also a new Kinect and controller.

So what is new about the Xbox One?

It has 8 gigs of RAM, USB 3.0, Wi-Fi Direct, a Blu-Ray disc drive, 64-bit architecture and “practically silent operation.” The Kinect camera sensor is now 1080p and “when you’re exercising, it can read your heartbeat,” according to Microsoft.

You’ll be able to use gestures and voice control to interact with the new system. “Xbox, on” starts up the machine. “Xbox, watch TV” will open up your television.

The new console can carry out four times as many calculations a second as the Xbox 360 and 10 times more “animation depth and detail”.

Microsoft also introduced a feature called Snap Mode, for multitasking while watching television. You can use Skype, for example, to chat with friends while viewing something.

There’s a feature called “Xbox Trending” that shows what shows are popular. “This is the beginning of truly intelligent TV.”
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New XBox may have a PC type processor

xbox-next-generationWhile Microsoft are keeping detals of the next XBox very close to their chest, rumours are beginning to leak out.

The latest details, if correct, suggest the next gen console will use an Advanced Micro Devices Inc (AMD) system-on-a-chip that combines powerful “Jaguar” central processing units with graphics chips. This was from an anonymous source talking to Bloomberg. The shift to the so-called x86 format ubiquitous in modern personal computers means Microsoft will drop the Power PC technology designed by International Business Machines Corp. (IBM), and game discs made for the current Xbox 360 won’t be compatible.

Microsoft also stands to benefit because game developers, who have moved toward making games for PCs and mobile devices, will find it easier to deliver those titles for the next Xbox.

If this is true then it will be a shame that it will not be backwards compatible with XBox 360 games, but it would mean the possibility of more games and pushing the boundaries of what is currently possible on consoles.
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Microsoft Dynamics Reimagines and Unites the Worlds of Business and IT

MS-Dynamics-Logo

Microsoft Corp. today opened a sold-out Microsoft Dynamics Convergence 2013 with a keynote address from Microsoft Business Solutions President Kirill Tatarinov featuring Microsoft Dynamics customers Chobani Inc., Habitat for Humanity International, Revlon Inc., Shock Doctor Inc. and Weight Watchers International Inc.

Speaking to more than 11,000 attendees, the largest in conference history, Tatarinov addressed how business leaders can reimagine the way they engage with customers, build brand relevance and collaborate with employees to stay ahead of the changing roles across all levels in business. Observing the increased influence of marketing and other areas of business over a company’s technology investments and the value of collaboration, Tatarinov reinforced the idea that business functions can work more effectively when they unite with their IT counterparts. Tatarinov noted that Microsoft Dynamics is uniquely positioned to serve as a catalyst for unity, and he announced new advancements in integrated marketing, embedded social capabilities, and new cloud and mobile scenarios enabled through Microsoft Dynamics solutions that will help businesses unite with their customers, unite their organizations, and unite their people and technology.
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Microsoft have been fined $730M because of their Web Browser

choose

Do you remember when Internet Explorer had a Browser Choice Screen pop-up? Apparently it began March 2010 as part of a settlement following an EU competition investigation.

Then, according to Microsoft, due to a technical error it disappeared after a Windows 7 update in February 2011.

Because of this they have been fined 561 million euros ($731m; £484m) for failing to promote a range of web browsers, rather than just Internet Explorer program, to users in the European Union (EU) according to the BBC.

Microsoft got off lucky as they could have been fined 10% of its global annual revenue, which would have totalled $7.4bn based on its 2012 report.

“We take full responsibility for the technical error that caused this problem and have apologised for it,” a spokesman for Microsoft said following the announcement.

“We provided the Commission with a complete and candid assessment of the situation, and we have taken steps to strengthen our software development and other processes to help avoid this mistake – or anything similar – in the future.”

Microsoft’s chief executive Steve Ballmer and the former head of its Windows division Steven Sinofsky have already had their most recent bonuses docked, in part because of the browser affair.

“While it’s highly likely that it was a technical mistake that broke the browser choice facility the fact that it remained broken for 14 months raises significant questions about Microsoft’s ability and willingness to comply with the voluntary agreement with the EU,” Chris Green, principal analyst at the consultants Davies Murphy Group Europe, told the BBC.

“At the same time the situation also raises concerns over the EU’s ability to actually monitor the outcomes of antitrust agreements.”

IllumiRoom Projects Images Beyond Your TV

Microsoft-Illumiroom-2

This new IllumiRoom system gives another use for the Kinect. It appears to be a step up from the ambilight system that appeared on some TVs. I am still not sure if this is a good idea or whether it will induce motion sickness.

It is definitely a step closer to the immersive world of virtual reality.

IllumiRoom is a proof-of-concept system from Microsoft Research. It augments the area surrounding a television screen with projected visualizations to enhance the traditional living room entertainment experience.
IllumiRoom uses a Kinect for Windows camera and a projector to blur the lines between on-screen content and the environment we live in allowing us to combine our virtual and physical worlds. For example, our system can change the appearance of the room, induce apparent motion, extend the field of view, and enable entirely new game experiences.

The video below gives an idea of how it will look and work.
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Microsoft may have their own Project Glass in development

Google’s Project Glass plans on bringing a HUD augmented reality type feel to a pair of glasses. If it works out it could well be a game changer, but there is still a long way to go.

In the meantime it appears that Microsoft have their own version of Project Glass on the way. The news came to light from a Patent Microsoft had applied for.

Unlike Google’s version, which is planned to be worn all the time, Microsoft appear to want their device to enhance live experiences such as sports or concerts. This would consist of text and audio overlays to the event as you watch it.

It seems to be a bit more of a realistic approach than that of Google’s Project Glass.

Via