Gamestop might be king of the hill today, but it could be Tower Records tomorrow. After its E3 press conference, Microsoft announced during a press lunch that full game downloads will be available on-demand starting late summer. Those games include Bioshock, Assassin's Creed, and Oblivion, all full-disc experiences.
On August, 30 titles will be available at the start of the service. It's not clear yet whether these will be "classic" 360 titles or will also expand to cover newer holiday releases. Considering the bandwidth drain this will already cause, it seems likely the supply will be (… Read more
The big news from Microsoft' E3 press conference was clearly its "Project Natal" motion sensing technology.
We're pretty sure that it is based on technology from 3DV systems, an Israeli start-up that we wrote about some time ago. I'm hearing that Microsoft has in fact, acquired the company, as has been reported. I have yet to get that 100 percent confirmed, however.
In any case, here's a video from Microsoft showing the technology in action.
After a bunch of (mostly) expected games, Microsoft's E3 press conference finally revealed something of greater interest and scope: Project Natal, the code name for the company's well-rumored motion-sensing bar.
Project Natal is going to work with all current, past, and future versions of the Xbox 360, according to the press event. While the wide-open excitement of the initiative was refreshing, the fact that Natal has no official name, price, or release date was disappointing. In fact, it was called a concept for the future.
As if the legitimacy of Microsoft's move had not been validated yet, on came Steven Spielberg to rave about this future direction for game technology, claiming that "people are too intimidated to pick up game controllers." This makes sense, but it's already been proven with the Nintendo Wii and the iPhone. Microsoft is a latecomer to this party, but Spielberg did announce that he's currently working on games for this platform, although no more details were given.
Demoed at the press event were a Breakout-like game called Ricochet, which involved hitting a ball across a room to destroy bricks, and a paint program called Paint Party. Paint Party's gestural vocabulary seemed to be stuck in Jackson Pollack-land, but the simple splash-to-paint commands seemed to be relatively responsive.
Accuracy, however, remains a big question mark.… Read more
Microsoft announced a host of forthcoming media upgrades for the Xbox 360 at its E3 press conference Monday. The chief highlights: an updated video store, now using the Zune branding, that will allow instant-on 1080p video purchases of movies and TV shows; improved Netflix integration; access to Last.fm's streaming audio service; and expanded access to online video content in more countries around the world. (Disclosure: Last.fm is owned by CNET's parent company, CBS Interactive.)
For starters, the Xbox Video Marketplace will be rebranded as the Zune Marketplace. The pay-per-view movies and TV shows will be upgraded to 1080p (from their current 720p incarnations), and will be available as instant-on streams rather than "queue and view" downloads. Availability of the service will also be expanded from its current 8 countries to 18.
The Zune branding was hinted at last week when Microsoft announced the updated Zune HD portable media player. Despite indications of cross-linked functionality, the Zune HD did not make an appearance at the Xbox event, nor were any specifics on syncing between the Zune and Xbox provided.… Read more
It might not be as hotly anticipated as the "Beatles: Rock Band" game, but Microsoft announced at its annual press briefing at the E3 Expo that Facebook and Twitter will be coming to the Xbox Live service.
The press event included short demonstrations of what are effectively Facebook and Twitter clients for the gaming console, aesthetically adapted to the Xbox Live interface.
With the Facebook app, which will be a download from Xbox Live, members will be able to engage in a limited number of features including photo browsing, status updates, and looking at friends' profile "streams.&… Read more
LOS ANGELES--It may be an off-year in the video game console, but you wouldn't know it by the lines outside the Galen Center at the University of Southern California, where Microsoft is having its annual E3 press conference.
Expected announcements include some form of motion-control system; new features and offerings for its popular Xbox Live service; and several hot new games, both from its own publishing outlets and third-parties. Among them is "Halo 3: ODST."
This blog followed Microsoft's announcements--including its new motion-control system, upcoming games, and several new features being added to the Xbox Live … Read more
You probably are familiar with today's leading video game consoles: the Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360, and the PlayStation 3. But a fourth console of this generation, Zeebo, might matter more.
Zeebo is produced by a company of the same name, with backing from chipmaker Qualcomm. It sports 3G wireless connectivity, ships with four games preloaded, and enables gamers to download a fifth game from the Web for free (as well as others at a cost). Zeebo was made available last week in Brazil for about $249.
Zeebo's focus is on developing countries. Although it is hardly the first console maker to try its hand in emerging markets, the big three have centered their development and marketing efforts on North America, Europe, and Asia.
While those efforts have helped form a multibillion-dollar industry, many game makers realize that as with other forms of entertainment, success in developing countries could be quite lucrative.
The Xbox 360 has had some trouble getting off the ground in India due to a perceived high price. The iQue Player, a joint venture between Nintendo and a Chinese-American scientist, was produced for Chinese gamers. And Brazil--the country Zeebo is currently targeting--has had a homebrew console market for quite some time. A combination of pirated and custom development has provided Brazilian streets with interesting hardware.… Read more
In case you hadn't heard, pictures and a video of Sony's new PSP Go, the worst kept secret in gaming, appeared ahead of Microsoft's news conference today. After the Go leak, the question is whether the PSP announcement remains the Sony E3 headline or just a subplot.
If you're to believe Sony Computer Entertainment's representative Jake Osuwah, the company's still got a few surprises up its sleeve. "Pre-E3 announcements or not!" Osuwah tweeted after the leak, "There's still lots of shockers planned for you guys @ E3, stay tuned..."
Whether … Read more
Ah, there's nothing like a little random tweet to start a rumor.
"Just finished promos for hulu/microsoft event I'm doing on june 8!" Olivia Munn of G4's "Attack of the Show" wrote on her Twitter feed last night.
Seems harmless enough on the surface, but put it in the hands of some zealous bloggers, their antennas on high alert for any E3 related news (Microsoft's press conference is on Monday), and the rumor wheels start churning. Could Microsoft be planning to announce Hulu support for the Xbox 360?
Sounds good to … Read more