Archive for the ‘Announcements’ Category

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Microsoft has confirmed that work is now underway on the Xbox Two… But there’ll also be another, surprise addition as well

by Richard Goodwin via Know Your Mobile

The Xbox Two is happening, Microsoft confirmed that work is now underway on a new console system at E3 2018.

This new Xbox console, likely called the Xbox Two, will be a straight-up console in the vein of the Xbox One and Xbox 360.

That means lots of hardware and specs. But there is another system in development alongside it that sounds, well… quite a bit different.

According to Thurrott’s Brad Sams, Microsoft will also build a completely unique, and cheaper, cloud-based Xbox console that will get a release alongside the Xbox Two.

Xbox Two Codenamed “Scarlett”

The two new systems are currently codenamed, Scarlett. The cloud-based system, however, is known as the Scarlett Cloud.

The cloud system will be cheaper, and this will be achieved by it not running the same hardware as its big brother.

This cloud Xbox will be ALL about streaming, so even though it is cheaper than the Xbox Two it will still be able to run the same games.

Here Are The Specs For Microsoft’s Xbox Two Console:

  • CPU: Eight custom x86 cores clocked at 2.3GHz
  • GPU: 40 customized compute units clocked at 1172MHz
  • Memory: 12GB GDDR5, 326GB/s bandwidth
  • 4K UHD Blu-ray optical drive

Game Services Are More Profitable Than Hardware

Microsoft’s always maintained that game services – things like Xbox Live, Xbox Games Pass – are more profitable than hardware.

And the end game for Microsoft has always been to make Xbox content available on ANY platform.

For now, the Xbox Two Cloud console will serve as a cheaper, entry-level console for those that might find the price of the Xbox Two a bit too prohibitive.

“With all Scarlett games living on its cloud,” notes BGR, “Microsoft could dictate the rules when it comes to subscription fees, opening up its library to exponentially more players while charging them for access, even if they don’t own an Xbox device. 2020 looks to bring sweeping changes that will change the industry forever.”

Don’t expect to see either of these consoles before 2020, though…

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by Brian Heater via TechCrunch

Honestly, “gaming disorder” sounds like a phrase tossed around by irritated parents and significant others. After much back and forth, however, the term was just granted validity, as the World Health Organization opted to include it in the latest edition of its Internal Classification of Diseases.

The volume, out this week, diagnoses the newly minted disorder with three key telltale signs:

  1. Impaired control over gaming (e.g. onset, frequency, intensity, duration, termination, context)
  2. Increasing priority given to gaming to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities
  3. Continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences

I can hear the collective sound of many of my friends gulping at the sound of eerily familiar symptoms. Of course, the disorder has been criticized from a number of corners, including health professionals who have written it off as being overly broad and subjective. And, of course, the potential impact greatly differs from person to person and game to game.

The effects as specified above share common ground with other similar addictive activities defined by the WHO, including gambling disorder:

“Disorders due to addictive behaviours are recognizable and clinically significant syndromes associated with distress or interference with personal functions that develop as a result of repetitive rewarding behaviours other than the use of dependence-producing substances,” writes the WHO. “Disorders due to addictive behaviors include gambling disorder and gaming disorder, which may involve both online and offline behaviour.”

In spite of what may appear to be universal symptoms, however, the organization is quick to note that the prevalence of gaming disorder, as defined by the WHO, is actually “very low.” WHO member Dr. Vladimir Poznyak tells CNN, “Millions of gamers around the world, even when it comes to the intense gaming, would never qualify as people suffering from gaming disorder.”

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by Rachel England via Engadget

Microsoft’s Xbox gifting feature was a big hit with players last fall. Now, the company has expanded digital gifting to include PC games and PC downloadable content (so things like map packs and skins). It’s also made all Xbox One games eligible for gifting. It’s a pretty straightforward process. Head to the Microsoft Store, find your game and select ‘buy as gift’. Just enter the recipient’s email address — or choose their Gamertag if you’re gifting via Xbox One — and they’ll get a redemption code. Then you can sit back and wait for the gratitude to roll in.

Of course, there are some restrictions. You can only gift two discounted products every 14 days (although there are no limits on full price gift purchases). Xbox 360 and Xbox original games are still off the table, as are pre-orders, free products and downloadable consumable content, such as virtual currency. And finally, recipients can only redeem gift codes in the country or region where they were purchased. Navigate all that and you’re guaranteed to be someone’s favorite person.

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by Samuel Axon via Ars Technica

Microsoft has announced that the Xbox One will get 120Hz-display refresh-rate support in a software update for the consoles. Support for higher refresh rates opens the door for smoother gameplay, both in terms of performance and input responsiveness.

In a news post on the Xbox website, Microsoft briefly described the 120Hz feature, along with several other updates, and said they are coming this May. Other coming changes include the ability to group games and apps in new ways for easier browsing of your library, an improved interface for managing family account permissions for parents, a slight overhaul of button commands in the Xbox interface, the ability to trim game capture clips directly from the Guide interface, and improvements to the Xbox Accessories app.

Earlier this year, Microsoft added support for AMD FreeSync 2 to the Xbox One S and Xbox One X. FreeSync is a variable refresh rate (VRR) technology that reduces distracting screen tearing on many displays without impacting game performance. FreeSync, along with 1440p resolution support that was added in the same update (and now 120Hz support), all expand the Xbox One S and Xbox One X’s compatibility with computer monitors. Microsoft is positioning the Xbox One as an alternative to a gaming desktop, even if your preferred setup is in the home office rather than the living room. That said, many TVs also support 120Hz.

Let’s manage some expectations here, though: you won’t be able to play 4K games at 120fps in the upcoming 120Hz update, because the HDMI 2.0 standard used in the Xbox One S and Xbox One X isn’t capable of that. That won’t be possible until HDMI 2.1, which likely won’t be available in consumer TVs or future Xbox models until next year. For now, the Xbox One S and Xbox One X will only support 120Hz at 1080p and 1440p resolutions.

Microsoft’s news post doesn’t clarify whether 120Hz support will come to all Xbox One models or just some, but we’ll be surprised if we see it in the original Xbox One (that is, the one that precedes the more recent S or X models), because the original Xbox One uses HDMI 1.4a, which is even more limiting than 2.0.

It’s also important to note that, while the console itself will support 120Hz, the games won’t necessarily support it. There are benefits to running a game at 60fps on a 120Hz monitor, but game developers will have to update their games to offer 120fps modes to take full advantage of the technology. In most cases, the standard Xbox One and Xbox One S won’t be able to hit that target, but the Xbox One X could manage that at 1080p and 1440p for many games, should developers choose to support it.

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by David Gelmini via Dread Central

Agony looks like one of the most explicit games we’ve ever seen, so it comes as no surprise that it had to be slightly censored in order to avoid an Adults Only rating from the ESRB. Now, before you go bitching about how much you hate censorship, keep in mind that the changes made to the game were minimal, with the camera having to be slightly obscured during some of the most extreme sequences so that it could secure an M-rating.

As AO-rated games are never released on consoles, the version of Agony coming to PS4 and Xbox One will be the slightly altered M-rated edition, whilst the PC version will come with an optional patch to remove the censorship and to experience a fully uncut version of the game.

As anyone familiar with the history of the ESRB will know, this isn’t the first time that a non-pornographic game ventured into Adults Only territory. The Punisher and Manhunt 2 both had to be censored in order to avoid an AO rating, whilst Hatred was released uncut on Steam with the rating intact.

Agony, which takes place in Hell, was developed by Madmind Studio, and will be published by PlayWay later this year.

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by Brian Crecente via Variety

Grand Theft Auto V: Premium Online Edition” is now available in stores for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One and hits digital platforms, including for PCs, next week, publisher Rockstar Games announced on Friday. The game will cost $84.99 digitally and $79.99 for the physical version.

The game includes the complete “Grand Theft Auto V” story, “Grand Theft Auto Online,” and all existing gameplay upgrades and content, including “The Doomsday Heist,” “Gunrunning,” “Smuggler’s Run,” and “Bikers.”

It also comes with the Criminal Enterprise Starter Pack, the fastest way for new “Grand Theft Auto Online” players to jumpstart their criminal empires with the most popular content, plus $1,000,000 bonus cash to spend in “Grand Theft Auto Online” — over $10,000,000 (GTA) in value.

“Grand Theft Auto  Online” — the multiplayer component of “Grand Theft Auto V” — went online in 2013. Since its release, “GTA Online” has become Rockstar’s chief money maker with more than 33 million people having logged in over the game’s five years.Rockstar Games ’ continued support of “Grand Theft Auto Online” helped make “Grand Theft Auto V” the United States’ best-selling game. The game has shipped more than 85 million copies to retail.The studio regularly rolls out substantial updates, new items, and new modes for the game. Just this week, Rockstar released “The Vespucci Job” for “Grand Theft Auto Online,” a thinly veiled Rockstar take on the movie “The Italian Job.” In the free new mode, players either get behind the wheel of a Vapid Flash GT Sports Car, the Weeny Issi Classic (an in-game take on the Mini Cooper), or fly a Sea Sparrow helicopter. One team tries to flee through a series of checkpoints while the other group tries to stop them.

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