Minecraft creator Markus "Notch" Persson welcomed Thursday morning with a pair of tweets assailing Microsoft's program certification process for its impending Windows 8 operating system, saying the software giant should "stop ruining" the PC's accessibility for developers.
Last week Microsoft confirmed that Windows 8 was on course for a late October release, but Windows chief Steve Sinofsky has finally revealed the date on which the new operating system will be unleashed onto the world. Clear your diaries for October 26th, because that's when it lands.
The announcement was made at a sales meeting last night. It's yet to be confirmed that the Surface tablets will be available for sale the same day, although it's widely expected that they and other touchy feely new PC hybrids will be.
Microsoft has finally confirmed that Windows 8 is on course for a launch this October. The date won't come as a surprise to anyone who's been following the development of the OS, as it's been widely expected that the but it has been made official at last. It will be almost exactly three years since its predecessor, Windows 7, hit the shelves, and two decades since the breakthrough Windows for Workgroups 3.1.
Age Of Empires Online's launch was far from perfect--in fact, a lot of people skipped right over the game for very good reasons (see our launch review for a quick recap). But the beauty of online games and free-to-play models is that developers can listen to feedback from disgruntled players and change their games over time to make them better.
Gas Powered Games has done just that with Age of Empires Online with recent updates that have completely reworked large portions of the game. To see if they fixed what bothered gamers most, I put together a list of the most common complaints I read on Twitter, Facebook, and our very own comments sections here on this site, and investigated what Gas Powered Games has done—or not done—to address each of them.
It's coming soon with a sleek new look, massively updated apps, Xbox integration, and a surprisingly lower price than expected. While the UK price hasn't been shared yet, though we have to hope it won't be a 1:1 conversion rate, that's not bad for a brand new OS. Lest we forget, a basic Home Premium upgrade is still listed at $100 over on Amazon.com, with Apple's much less ambitious Mountain Lion update due this month and clocking in at $20. If you want the new Windows, you won't need to save up for long.
When Microsoft unveiled the Surface, its new tablet PC, one curious detail managed to slip beneath the radar. The tablet's integrated keyboard boasts pressure sensitive keys which, as Ars Technica have pointed out, could finally offer PC gamers the chance to control the speed of their movement.
I love my mouse and keyboard like tiny, mechanical brothers, but there are some things they don't do well. I'm secretly envious of our console playing brethren's ability to walk at whatever speed they choose, all dictated by the nuanced tilt of a game pad's analogue thumb stick. Our mice may be precision pointers of death, and our keyboards may offer us more buttons than a joypad owner's wet dream, but when it comes to movement we either walk very slowly, or run full tilt.
With just a few days notice, Microsoft called journalists to an impromptu press conference in Hollywood last night to reveal their latest plan for pushing Windows 8. Turns out that they're developing their own brand range of tablets, using their existing name for touch sensitive screens, Surface. That it came as more or less a surprise (barring a lot of speculation over the last two days) is a feat almost as impressive as the announcement itself.
There'll be two tablets initially. The Surface is an ARM-based Win RT model which will compete with existing Android tablets and the iPad. The second device, Surface Pro, is more interesting from our point of view since it will have an Intel Core processor on board and therefore be compatible with some PC games.
The significance, of course, is that Microsoft is going to be making their own brand of PCs for the first time ever. But what does that mean?
Microsoft unveiled their new Smartglass technology at the E3 press event on Monday. Smartglass lets your iOS, Android or Windows phone tablet/smartphone act as a second interactive screen. As mentioned at the E3 presentation, the “magic of smartglass” occurs when “devices work together to immerse you in entertainment."
The South Park trailer was a beam of light in an otherwise fairly turgid Microsoft showing at the E3 2012 conference earlier today. Show creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone took to the stage to take a playful jab at Microsoft.
“How many times have you been watching an episode of South Park and thought, ‘I’d like to watch this on my television, while hooked into my mobile device, which is being controlled by my tablet device, which is hooked into my oven, all while sitting in the refrigerator,” said Parker. “Well, we’re not doing that. We’re just doing this game. It’s an RPG.”
The pair went on to talk about how Obsidian had managed to nail South Park's "crappy" look. They're right about that. It looks like the show, it feels like the show, it farts like the show. It'll be interesting to see how it actually plays.
Love it or loathe it, Microsoft's next operating system is creeping closer and closer. That fact has been marked today by the launch of a new beta called the Release Preview.
Coded 'Build 8400', it's an update from the Consumer Preview that's been available since March, and brings a few new apps and interface tweaks to the now familiar Metro/Desktop look and feel. According to Microsoft, this will be the final version until the Release To Manufacturing is posted to its website – an event suspected to be planned for sometime in the autumn.
Not had your fill of Win 8 betas or want to know what's new? Read on.
At 2 PM PST today, Age of Empires Online's Balance Team testers are taking all challengers in the PvP arena. Fair warning, these are the guys and gals whose full-time job is knowing every tiny nuance of the game--including how to perfectly counter your Egyptian camel rush tactic--so don't expect an easy fight.
My half-naked Woad Raiders leap into a formation of Roman archers with axes whirling around them. Meanwhile, in a serene forest far from battle, my Augur sacrifices a sacred fawn to Andrasta, goddess of war. Lightning crashes and my army glows with magical energy as the goddess’ boon charges their devastation of the Roman outpost.
The Celts, the newest civilization added to Age of Empires Online’s free-to-play roster, is the best one released yet, adding several new mechanics that advance the game’s complexity and will appeal to RTS gamers who crave more micromanagement. The first major addition is activated abilities on individual units, like the four different animal sacrifices available to the Augur to buff your army in various ways, that raise the skill ceiling for managing troops in battle.
I’ve never been birthed by Enya. I’ve never even gestated inside her womb. But I imagine the experience of floating around inside her amniotic fluid as a foetus is similar to visiting Microsoft Flight’s main menu.
The flight sim wastes no time in serenading you in an echoing, listless wail of lyric-free yawning and aspirational, muffled lady-howls, albeit set against a rolling, majestic cloudscape rather than the Gaelic songstress’s pelvic floor. It’s quite relaxing really, a bit like being dead.
As we reported in September, Xbox Live will be a major part of Windows 8. Despite concerns that PC gamers are being pushed to the sidelines in favour of the console service, this has the potential to be a very good thing. After all, well-integrated support for games could do away with the need for Games for Windows Live, whose primary purpose seems to be to inject a strain of Kafka-esque absurdity into our hobby.
NeoGamr recently asked Microsoft whether GfWL would be receiving the axe with the launch of Windows 8, and the answer, emphatically, is no.
The year is 2012, and yet somehow Games for Windows Live is still a thing. It's a dark future, to be sure, but even so I never imagined I'd have a problem as weird as this: I need it. And I can't get it. It's hard to stay angry when you're laughing.
I'm trying to play Batman: Arkham City on PC, an excellent game that was unfortunately developed in 1408 AD, the last time anyone alive didn't know Games for Windows Live was universally hated. And it's working - in fact, it's working better than usual. It's working without Games for Windows Live. That part of the game simply never starts - I'm not asked to log in, the Home key won't summon it, the main menu option does nothing, and the game seems to function smoothly without it.
Microsoft unveiled a PC version of their motion-sensing, voice activated, mind-reading Kinect camera at CES recently. It'll be out on February 1, which is exciting. The price tag is a bit problematic, however. It'll retail for $250, $100 more than it does on Xbox.
The main differences between PC Kinect and Xbox Kinect is a close-up mode that'll let it recognise nearby gestures, and an SDK kit to let programmers create applications to actually use the camera. The SDK, however, is already freely available on the Microsoft site. Why, then, is the PC version so expensive? And why should we think about buying one?
2012 looks like it’s going to be the year of the bigger studios self-publishing games on the PC. Rebellion Studios have already told us their plans to omit a publisher for the PC edition of Sniper Elite V2. Now Alan Wake developers Remedy have discussed the intricacies of their self-publishing arrangement for the PC version of the much-vaunted episodic Xbox 360 thriller.
Alan Wake was published on the Xbox 360 by Microsoft, so it seems a little odd that Remedy are publishing it themselves on the PC. We assumed that Microsoft’s vested interest in PC gaming (after all, they make that Windows thing) would put them at the forefront of publishing it, just as they have with Fable 3.
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Members of the PC Gamer team have been known to shout FUS RO DAH when activating dragon shouts out of instinct alone, making for a noisy office at lunch times. This man's suite of Kinect controls actually use the dragontongue shout as a vocal cue, letting you blow enemies away with the power of your voice. You also get to attack by flinging your arms at the screen and draw your sword by shouting "LONGSWORD!" See all of this in action in the impressive demonstration video above, spotted by Destructoid. It's easier to see how Kinect interprets his movements and turns them into game actions in KinectFAAST's Morrowind video. If you want to mess with Skyrim's inner workings yourself, check out CVG's Skyrim guide and tips.
The Microsoft Flight beta has started accepting signups. The testing period begins in January. To apply for early access, locate your Windows Live ID and password and click here.
Microsoft Flight was first announced at Gamescom 2010. It looks a lot like classic plane sim, Microsoft Flight Simulator. Click through for the trailer, even though it give absolutely nothing away. Apart from the fact that planes and oceans are going to be involved. Oh, and dreams; childhood dreams will also feature.