Archive for the ‘Announcements’ Category

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by Lauren Feiner

GameStop said Tuesday it has abandoned its attempt to sell the company, sending the stock plunging by 28 percent.

The stock decline amounted to a loss of more than $440 million in market capitalization. Tuesday afternoon’s stock price of about $11.13 marked a new 52 week low.

The company said the board determined there was not enough available financing on terms that would be acceptable to a prospective buyer.

Gamestop previously sold its Spring Mobile business in a deal that was completed this month for about $735 million in immediate cash proceeds. The company said while its board is still evaluating the best way to spend the proceeds, it may use the money to pay down debt, fund share repurchases and/or reinvest in core businesses including video games and collectibles.

GameStop said it is working with an executive search firm to find a permanent CEO.

Here’s GameStop’s full statement:

GameStop Corp. (NYSE: GME) today announced that its Board of Directors has concluded its previously announced efforts to pursue a sale of the company in conjunction with its broader review of strategic and financial alternatives.

In June 2018, GameStop’s Board, together with outside financial and legal advisors, commenced a review of a wide range of alternatives to enhance shareholder value. The Board undertook a comprehensive review process, including discussions with third parties regarding a potential sale of the company. GameStop’s Board has now terminated efforts to pursue a sale of the company due to the lack of available financing on terms that would be commercially acceptable to a prospective acquiror.

As part of the Board’s review process, as previously announced, the company sold its Spring Mobile business. This transaction was completed on January 16, 2019 and generated approximately $735 million in immediate cash proceeds. The Board continues to evaluate the optimal use of these proceeds, which could include reducing the company’s outstanding debt, funding share repurchases, reinvesting in core video game and collectibles businesses to drive growth, or a combination of these options.

Furthermore, the Board is continuing its search process to appoint a highly qualified, permanent CEO and is working with a leading executive search firm.

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by Don Reisinger via Tech Media Network (Tom’s Guide)

According to the report, Anaconda will deliver a design that’s similar to the current Xbox One X. However, on the inside, the device will ship with faster processors and better graphics cards from AMD. Microsoft is also deciding whether to bundle solid-state drives in the device, which would allow for the console to access and start playing games more quickly.

The second model, called Lockhart, will apparently be a cheaper version of Anaconda, similar to the Xbox One S. Not much is known about Lockhart just yet, but look for it to offer lesser specs and power, but still come with support for all the same games. Windows Central says that both consoles will be shipping with backward compatibility with games built for the Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.

Not surprisingly, the consoles will also incorporate Microsoft’s xCloud game-streaming service, according to the report. Microsoft has already said that it wants to make a big push in cloud-based gaming and distribution and there appears to be a good chance that that will happen in the next generation of Microsoft hardware.

According to the report, Microsoft’s hardware will ship in 2020. But in an effort to generate some revenue in 2019, Microsoft is also apparently considering launching a disc-less version of its Xbox One S next year. The device, which could be announced as early as January, would likely launch in the Spring, according to the report.

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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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