Windows super-fan Paul Thurrott, who has a good track record for internal Microsoft rumors, is sharing information that he has heard as it pertains to the launch window and pricing of the new Xbox (which we are assuming will be called Xbox Reveal or Infinity, but is codenamed Durango.) First, the next Xbox will launch in early November 2013, and will cost $499 out of the gate. Alternatively, you'll be able to pay $299 for the console if you also pay a $10 monthly subscription fee.
If this is true, then we imagine that this is where all of the hoopla over an "always-on" console is coming from. If you choose to go the subscription route, then your Xbox will likely need to be connected to the Internet in order to make sure the subscription is active. Piggybacking on that thought, maybe if you stop paying (or if you can't get the Xbox online,) then the Xbox will simply not let you play games until you are paid up or reconnect it to Xbox Live.
Other information shared include that the new console will ship with a Blu-ray drive, and will run on a modified version of Windows 8. We will have all the news as it happens when Microsoft unveils the next Xbox on May 21.
Read More | Windows IT Pro
We trust Google with a lot of things: we trust that it will be there for us when our memory fails and that it will find the best information for us. Can we trust it to predict the future for us too? Well, the future of consumer electronics at least.
Based on Google Trends searches, Microsoft's next generation system is poised to take down Sony's next Playstation console. Google Trends previously held the data that showed the winner of the high-def DVD race, as Blu-ray yielded more search results than HD DVD films. This time, news site Ludos Mundi used Google Trends to discover whose winning the next-gen popularity contest, and found users search "Xbox 720" about 60 percent of the time, compared to searches for "PS4" that occur 40 percent of the time.
You can use Google Trends yourself to see the data. Simply compare "Xbox 720" and "PS4" using the Forecast feature.
Nintendo's hot Wii U console is set to ship next year, but one thing that won't be a part of the package is DVD or Blu-ray movie playback. According to Nintendo, customers already have DVD and Blu-ray players, and they are so cheap that you can get one easily without them bundling that into the Wii U software.
Wii U does not have DVD or Blu-ray playback capabilities. The reason for that is that we feel that enough people already have devices that are capable of playing DVDs and Blu-ray, such that it didn't warrant the cost involved to build that functionality into the Wii U console because of the patents related to those technologies.
Usually around this time in a console’s lifespan we would already be knee deep in talks about the succeeding console, if not already playing it in our homes. However, with the constant updates and improved network capabilities the need for a new console every five years is no longer necessary. Though, Sony’s Kaz Hirai did mutter some words about the eventual Playstation 4 system, stating that a “digital future is over ten years away”, and the PS4 will definitely not be a download only console à la PSP Go. Hirai noted that this is because “we do business in parts of the world where network infrastructure isn’t as robust as one would hope, [and] there’s always going to be a requirement for a business of our size and scope to have a physical medium.”
Read More | Eurogamer
Video Games Live is pretty much the best video game concert event outside of the Dear Friends (Final Fantasy) concerts, and PBS is the station that brought us Yanni: Live at the Acropolis, which is easily the best live music event in recorded history, so it looks like there’s some kind of blood-tinged Faustian pact afoot. The February 5th, 2010 performance of Video Games Live at the Lakefront Arena in New Orleans will be taped and aired on PBS during June of next year. Tickets to the event are going on sale this Friday (the 18th), so snap them up if you’re interested.
If you don’t want to make it down to N’awlins for the event, firstly, I don’t blame you. Last time I went, everything was coated in a thin layer of insanity gravy. But more importantly, a Blu-ray and CD of the event will be released next year for your mushy consumer brains to slurp up and toss into your PS3. However, the last performance I saw had Steve Vai playing the Halo theme on his guitar, which until then had been the stuff of maladjusted, failed musicians on youtube, so it might just be worth the trek.
Read the press release after the jump.
Okay, so first and foremost, the atrocious PLAYSTATION Store that the PS3 has been sporting is going to be replaced with PS3 firmware 2.30. That is a good thing, because compared to both the Xbox Live Marketplace and the Wii Shopping Channel, the PLAYSTATION Store just performs horrible in our opinion. So good on Sony for changing that up. You can get a look at the new interface in the video above, which Sony put together. It looks a lot better.
Second thing, which is even better than the store upgrade if you ask us, is that the 2.30 firmware update is going to finally bring DTS-HD Master Audio to the Playstation 3, alongside DTS-HD High Resolution Audio. If you are a Blu-ray fan, then this means the world to you if you have a compatible receiver. Be prepared for perfect lossless audio to be read at an “incredible high variable rate of 24.5 mega-bits per second” in 7.1 surround sound. This is the one thing the PS3 was missing as a Blu-ray player (well, this, and Dolby-HD), and now makes it pretty much future-proof.
You get all this goodness on April 15th.
Read More | Playstation Blog
Sony’s next PlayStation 3 software update, due out later this month, allows downloading of games, videos, and ring tones. The console is to be updated with Blu-ray Disc Profile 2.0 and BD-Live will be added to the PS3. The update includes “resume play” for both discs and DVD. You can also copy music and images on a PSP and use it as a remote for the PS3.
We certainly are not surprised at this news as we think that Sony has been silently screaming,”Goody, goody, goody!” since the end of the disc war. While this is the first Blu-ray player that can access the Net, Panasonic also plans to release one with BD-Live later in the spring.
Read More | Examiner
“We do not believe the recent reports about HD DVD will have any material impact on the Xbox 360 platform or our position in the marketplace. As we’ve long stated, we believe it is games that sell consoles and Xbox 360 continues to have the largest next-gen games library with the most exclusives and best selling games in the industry. We will wait until we hear from Toshiba before announcing any specific plans around the Xbox 360 HD DVD player. HD DVD is one of the several ways we offer a high definition experience to consumers and we will continue to give consumers the choice to enjoy digital distribution of high definition movies and TV shows directly to their living room along with playback of the DVD movies they already own.”
Well, we think it is safe to say that we will be seeing the 360 HD DVD player (along with all the others) hitting the bargain bins over the next week or so. Now we await official word of an Xbox 360 Blu-ray add-on. It’s gotta happen.
Warhawk is set for release later this month in two forms; retail and as a downloadable game from the PlayStation Store. The retail package will include a Bluetooth headset and will go for $59.99 – but they’ve flat-out refused to make any comment pertaining to the pricing of the downloadable version. When contacted by 1UP, Sony continued refusing any attempt to discover what the price might be.
“No news yet on the pricing of Warhawk for download. I would recommend you keep your eye on our blog for an announcement soon,” said SCEA Senior Director of Corporate Comm. Dave Karraker. “Response to date from those in the Warhawk beta has been outstanding, so we think it will do very well. We will be pricing it to match what we are delivering in terms of graphics, gameplay, fun-factor and repeat playability, which we think is quite high.”
It’s an interesting situation, as Electronic Gaming Monthly is in the process of reviewing the game, but they’ve been unable to get any word on the price of the game – which will, understandably so, affect the review score of the game.
Sony won’t tell us the pricing plans are, and as a result, EGM reviewers have been forced to include caveats in their write ups. Lead reviewer (and former OPM editor) Joe Rybicki actually placed a note in his review to EGM Reviews Editor Greg Ford that his score should be dropped a whole point if the price was announced above $30, and the other reviewers have expressed concern over how they should judge the game.
“What I don’t understand is why Sony can’t give us a price when it seems like internally they have one ready. The game is done, our reviewers have been playing it, and each one has asked about the price, which we certainly take into consideration in our reviews,” says Ford. “Because of the lead time for a print publication, we’re forced to go to print with a caveat in our review addressing this issue. Not ideal, and it seems unnecessary. It’s too bad because otherwise, the company has been great getting us the review code, setting up multiplayer play sessions, and providing assets to go along with the review…just no price, which for some consumers is what matters most.”
Read More | 1UP
Announced at Comic-Con, the new price drop on the HD-DVD add-on for the Xbox 360 will lower the unit’s price to $179 (down from $199.99) starting August 1. As an added incentive, Toshiba’s Perfect Offer has been extended to the 360 HD-DVD Player – anyone who purchases the HD-DVD add-on will be able to select five free HD-DVDs from a list of 15 through a mail-in offer. Don’t expect the greatest selection of movies, though, as is the case with the five free Blu-ray movies that come with the purchase of a PlayStation 3. But free is free.
Microsoft also teased the HD-DVD release of Heroes: Season 1 and 300; Xbox Live will be home to some exclusive content. On August 14, 300 will be available for download in HD, and for a limited time, the pilot episode of Heroes will be free to download.
It certainly looks like Microsoft is pushing hard with HD-DVD, and understandably so – Blu-ray has been the more successful of the two next-gen DVD formats as of late. And the success of Blu-ray is of major support to Sony and the PlayStation 3 - and Microsoft isn’t looking to do them any favors.
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