Archive for the ‘Announcements’ Category

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by Juilian Benson via LAD Bible

Microsoft has emailed Xbox Live Gold members to say that from May 8 the price of a subscription is going to increase by more than 15%.

12-month subscriptions will increase from £39.99 to £49.99, three-month subscriptions will go from £14.99 to £17.99, and monthly prices will rise from £5.99 to £6.99. Six-month subscriptions will remain the same at £29.99.

Microsoft says these increases are being made to “address changing market conditions”. Over the past three years the value of the pound has dropped significantly – against the US dollar, the pound has dropped in value by more than 15% since June 2015. In large part the devaluation of the pound has been due to the uncertainty and confusion linked to Brexit.

The move makes the price of membership more consistent across Europe, too. “This new pricing is aligned to the changes we made in the region in 2016 as we strive to offer our members premium gaming and entertainment services at a fair price,” Microsoft said in a statement.

It also makes Gold Membership similar to PlayStation Plus membership, which also had a price hike back in 2017. No word yet as to if the same hike will happen to our North American counterparts.

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by Tom Hoggins via The Telegraph

PlayStation 4 maker Sony had its first ‘State of Play’ livestream, highlighting the console’s upcoming slate of games. Taking a leaf out of Nintendo’s fuss-free ‘Nintendo Direct’ streams, State of Play was a fast, lean look at what is coming to the PS4 in the next few months.

There was nothing particular revelatory or surprising –no new PS5news or new footage from The Last of Us 2 or Death Stranding– but we did get glimpses of promising titles like Days GoneConcrete Genie, multiplayer dungeon-crawler ReadySet Heroes and NoCode’s fabulous looking sci-fi thriller Observation.

But there was a clear focus on PlayStation VR, Sony’s virtual-reality headset that has proved a considerable success for the company — even if the lack of headlines betray it. Sony announced that as of 3 March 2019, PSVR has sold 4.2m units worldwide. A considerable number bolstered by an impressive 2018 that saw sales of VR headsets jump by 30pc after a slow 2017 for the technology. PSVR lead the way in the last quarter of 2018, with 463,000 PSVR headsets sold, while Facebook’s Oculus Rift and HTC’s Vive sold an estimated 300,000 and 230,000 headsets respectively.

VR, then, may not have been the overnight success that some of the hype suggested a few years ago, but headsets are making headway and Sony are clearly keeping the faith. It announced a slew of its ‘next wave’ of virtual reality games in its stream.

First up was Iron Man VR, placing you in Tony Stark’s famous suit. Space sim No Man’s Sky is getting a significant update called No Man’s Sky Beyond, which will drop in VR support on both PS4 and Steam. There was also a VR announcement for grotesque horror favourite Five Nights At Freddy’s and a release date for British crime thriller Blood and Truth.

These were just a few of the VR games announced in the stream (along with the news that Concrete Genie and Observation will have their own VR modes), making the headset an area of focus for Sony. PSVR has never garnered the headlines of more high-profile video games, but with a selection of new titles adding to an impressive 2018 —which included Tetris Effect, Astro Bot and From Software’s Deracine— Sony are looking to keep its quiet momentum going.

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by Jacob Siegal via BGR News

Just days after Google unveiled its “vision for the future of gaming” at GDC 2019, we appear to be getting a glimpse of another company’s future-facing vision. Rumors of the disc-less Xbox One console have been swirling for months, but they all culminated in a report two weeks ago from Windows Central which claimed that the console had a name (Xbox One S All-Digital edition) and a release window (early May).

Two weeks later, the same source reveals that it has received confirmation of the console’s existence in the form of product shots and documents pointing to a specific release date.

According to Windows Central, the image you see at the top of this story is an accurate representation of the product shot that the site received recreated in Photoshop to protect the source. The no-disc variant looks virtually identical to the Xbox One S, save for the lack of a disc drive in the center. There is also a symbol at the bottom of the box with a line through a disc, just to make sure potential buyers understand what they’re purchasing.

Based on the product shots, it looks like the All-Digital edition will ship with digital codes for MinecraftSea of Thieves, and Forza Horizon 4. Furthermore, Windows Central’sinformation suggests that the Xbox One S All-Digital will have the lowest MSRP of any Xbox One console, as Microsoft hopes to attract a new wave of customers.

Finally, the documents the site obtained suggest that the Xbox One S All-Digital will arrive on May 7th, 2019. If that is indeed the plan, it’s likely that an official announcement from Microsoft is right around the corner.

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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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