There's a new addition to the "Hardware" section of Microsoft's website. It's the "Xbox One Controller + Cable for Windows", a 'wired' Xbox One controller designed specifically for the PC platform. What I mean is, it's exactly the same as any other Xbox One controller, only it comes packaged with a micro-USB cable.
Microsoft bought Mojang yesterday—you may have heard something about that. You may also have heard grumblings from some corners of the community that Minecraft creator Markus "Notch" Persson "sold out" by taking the money and abandoning his game—and, by extension, his millions of adoring fans—to the fickle whims of of a corporate villain. But Garry Newman, the man behind indie darlings Garry's Mod and Rust, says he'd do exactly the same thing if he could, and you probably would too.
The rumors are true: Microsoft is buying Minecraft developer Mojang for $2.5 billion. And as we discovered this morning, Mojang founder Markus "Notch" Persson is leaving the company. As you can imagine, the PC Gamer team has some strong feelings about the acquisition, and the impact of Minecraft.
After a week of rumours, Minecraft maker Mojang has today confirmed they're being bought by Microsoft. The studio has also announced that founders Markus "Notch" Persson, Carl Manneh and Jakob Porser are to leave. Blimey!
The rumor that Microsoft may acquire Minecraft creator Mojang (now upgraded to a maybe), is an uncomfortable possibility. If the deal materializes, it would put a game whose spirit and mechanics are rooted in openness and tinkering in the hands of a closed, proprietary platform holder. It will put the best-selling individual PC game ever in the hands of PC gaming’s most obstructive opponent—a company responsible for timed exclusives, the closure of studios like Ensemble, and the mutant DRM known as Games For Windows Live (which continues to be purged).
Yesterday's all-but-unbelievable rumor is today's "looking like it might actually be so," as reports that Minecraft studio Mojang is on the verge of being acquired by Microsoft continue to surface. Even more interesting, the word on the street is that the idea of the buyout came not from Microsoft, but from Minecraft creator Markus "Notch" Persson himself.
In what may be the most unexpected rumor of the year, Microsoft is reportedly close to completing a deal that will see it acquire Mojang AB, better known as the studio that makes Minecraft.
There's a lot to love about the original Fable and its sequel, only one of which ever made its way to PC. We still haven't seen the sequel, and after so many years it's unlikely we ever will, but after a delay of just over six months we're about to get the remastered version of the original game, which hit Xbox 360 back in February. Spruced-up graphics, Steam achievements, and a bunch of additional outfits are the biggest changes here, but it's the same farty, tongue-in-cheek, fairytale action RPG underneath.
I have good news, and I have bad news. First, the good news: Microsoft has announced that a new Age of Empires game is coming in September! The bad news, however, is that it's probably not the game you were hoping for.
We're ready for Windows 9 to wash away the sins of Windows 8, and it looks like Microsoft is, too. According to ZDNet's veteran Microsoft reporter, a "technology preview" version of the OS is coming in late September or October, with the final release scheduled for spring 2015. More tantalizing: that technology preview may be freely available to the public.
Gamescom isn’t the only big conference going on at the moment, though, if you’re into Witcher 3 footage, Tomb Raider exclusivity rage and Snake slithering onto the PC, it’s probably the most important. Still, this week has seen SIGGRAPH 2014 taking place in Vancouver, the 41st international conference on computer graphics. Intel has been there showing off how good DirectX 12 is going to be for its processors.
Using one of Microsoft’s new Surface Pro 3 tablets, rocking an Intel Core i5 CPU, they have been showing a neat little graphics demo that could have been ripped directly out of Elite: Dangerous.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is releasing on PC, and that’s great news. Rise of the Tomb Raider isn’t releasing on PC, not right away, at least, and that’s not so great. But what it does mean is that console manufacturers see us as competition, and we’re doing pretty well. We attracted a massive game with MGSV, and we’re scary enough that Microsoft has gobbled up Tomb Raider for the Xbox.
Well, I guess this is adieu then Lara. The news from Gamescom today that Rise Of The Tomb Raider will launch “exclusively on Xbox” next year means that, at best, PC gamers will have to wait out whatever window of time Microsoft’s money hat has paid for. Irritating, but nothing we’re not used to. More troubling is the suggestion that this is actually a lifetime exclusive. If that is the case (and I strongly suspect it isn’t), then it would represent one of the dumbest partnership deals I can recall.
Gamescom 2014 has arrived, and is kicking off with the press conferences. Microsoft is up first, and, as always, will be focusing on their console concerns. But while PC won't be directly mentioned, expect plenty of multi-platform talk through the company's third-party partners. The action kicks off in a few minutes, at 1pm BST, 2pm CET, 5am PDT or 8am EDT.
Over the past few years, Microsoft's behaviour in regards to the PC gaming has more closely resembled a teen high-school drama. One minute he's—Microsoft is a he in this analogy, just roll with it—he's inviting us to the prom, saying we're the prettiest platform around. The next, he's run away with the console market. Sure, he still calls to tell us that we mean the world to him, but we don't really believe him at this point, do we?
Well, not really, no, but that doesn't mean Microsoft doesn't see the potential of the PC as a platform. In fact, they've outlined its dominance in a new job listing, advertising a Business Development position overseeing games on PC, mobile and tablets.
The second iteration of Kinect will launch for PC this month, according to a listing on the Microsoft store. The updated motion sensor technology hasn't exactly set the console world alight, with Microsoft finally opting to release its Xbox One console without the sensor. In addition, there's barely any software that utilises it in any meaningful way. Still, it's there if you want it for US $199.
Games for Windows Live has been in a Schrödinger's service-style quandary since last year, when a (quickly deleted) Age of Empires Online support update claimed it would shut down this July 1st. Ever since, it's been suspended in an atmosphere of non-life: functional, yet dead—many of its games fleeing for the safety of a Steamworks alternative.
Lending credence to its demise was Microsoft's complete lack of follow-up statement. Their silence suggested that they'd rather forget about the existence of the client... and of the PC entirely. Now, though, just over a week before its apparent closure, Microsoft have rumbled into life—their new statement revealing a plan of "continuing to support the Games for Windows Live service".
You may have noticed that Microsoft's E3 press event was heavy on the Xbox and rather light on Windows—which is to say, it didn't come up at all. According to Phil Spencer, the head of Microsoft's Xbox division and Microsoft Game Studios, there's a good reason for that: E3 is a "console show," and Microsoft didn't want to bring a gun to a knife fight.
I've always loved Halo, and I've always believed that it should have had a bigger presence on PC. That sentiment is probably enough to get me drawn and quartered in the comments below—we always get a few people who believe that a holiday in console land warrants permanent exile from the PC's glittering clubhouse. I don't feel that way. If we ignored what consoles we're doing we'd never have brought Dark Souls to PC. If we don't pay attention the games that they're getting and we're not, we miss out on our chance to broaden the range of experiences on our chosen platform.
Turtle Rock Studios unveiled an all-new Evolve gameplay trailer at Microsoft's E3 presser, complete with a never-before-seen glowing-eyed electro-squid monster that could have come straight out the Lovecraft mythos.