Microsoft

Xbox One: Three ways it could affect PC gaming

PC Gamer at

Microsoft’s Xbox One reveal this morning didn’t present any immediate or obvious implications for Our Dear Hobby. Conspicuously few games were shown during the debut of a new video game console, and no games were demonstrated live. Microsoft mostly spoke about the new utilities (Skype!), partnerships (NFL!), and living room takeover (Kinect!) we’ll expect from the Xbox One when it releases this year. From a technical perspective, 8 GB of RAM is the only concrete hardware spec Microsoft dropped.


Call of Duty: Ghosts introduces new engine, destructible multiplayer maps, a dog

Tyler Wilde at

The big finale at Microsoft's Xbox One reveal today was not Call of Duty: Ghosts. It was Call of Duty: Ghosts' instantly famous mo-capped dog. That's right, Ghosts will feature Peter Molyneux's essential invention: a dog companion to keep us company as we fight back against an oppressive someone. This is Call of Doggy. Collar Duty. The rex generation of gaming. I could go on, but I'll stop before you flea.


Windows 8.1, formerly known as Windows Blue, will be a free update

Tyler Wilde at

Microsoft announced on its blog today that Windows 8.1, previously called "Windows Blue," will release as a free update on the Windows Store, with a public preview coming June 26. According to the post, the update will help "deliver the experiences customers—both consumers and businesses alike—need and will just expect moving forward."


Microsoft shares Kinect for Windows sample code under open source license

Omri Petitte at

Here's a spot of news tracking strongly on the intrigue-o-meter: Microsoft has released sample code for its Kinect for Windows peripheral under the Apache 2.0 license. In other words, the tech giant is giving PC developers a partially open source Kinect to play around with, opening up interesting possibilities for utilizing Microsoft's motion control device in games and other software.


Microsoft doesn't consider Valve as competition in console space

Omri Petitte at

As Valve finally prepares to roll out prototypes for its Steam Box in as little as four months, it's apparently as good a time as any for established living-room-gaming lords to talk about what they think of PC gaming's strongest push into their realm. During a talk at Microsoft's TechForum conference earlier this week (via The Verge), Microsoft's head of Interactive Entertainment Business Don Mattrick—that's "Xbox boss" in non-corporese—gave a simple "no" in response to being asked if he considers Valve a competitor.


Games for Windows Live error locks some users out of online profile, saved games

Phil Savage at

Games for Windows Live users have been experiencing problems connecting to the service's servers, leaving some unable to access their online profiles. It's an unusual situation, because the much-loved GfW Live is normally so reliable, and definitely not something we recently described as "one of the most ill-conceived and poorly executed pieces of software it is possible to install on your PC."

...Is how I might begin this story if we were in a parallel universe. Instead, all I can do is offer a resigned shrug and urge publishers to stop putting the bloody thing in their games.


Playstation 4 details hint at next-gen specs

Tom Senior at

The first clues as to how powerful the next generation of consoles will be has popped up on Edge. "Sources close to the hardware" clued them in on a more PC-like, developer-friendly architecture that will run on a 1.6GHZ eight-core AMD CPU. Current dev kits are apparently running on 4GB of GDDR5 RAM. More below.


Tales of Middle-Earth mod brings the War of the Ring to Age of Empires II

Omri Petitte at

We never turn down the opportunity to send men to their deaths to recover a piece of jewelry. Lord of the Rings continues to be great modding fodder, proven most recently by Tales of Middle-Earth. The total conversion adapts RTS classic Age of Empires II, adding 18 LOTR factions ready to clash steel on maps based on iconic battles.


Freeworlds: Tides of War mod sticks Star Wars dogfights with Freelancer sights

Omri Petitte at

Our resident droid's cursory glimpse at the Freeworlds: Tides of War Star Wars conversion mod for open-space roamer Freelancer elicited an approving "beep-boop." Translated into English: "OH GOD, YES." A free demo has been around for the majority of the year, but as PCGamesN reports, a new gameplay video released today showcases the mod's progression via a carrier launch and brief sortie against Imperial fighters.


Microsoft's new Black Tusk Studios, headed by ex-EA devs, looking to make the next Halo

T.J. Hafer at

Deep in the clandestine cubicles of Vancouver, a team largely made up of former EA developers has been assembled. Yesterday, it finally went public. The Microsoft-owned Black Tusk Studios is working on a new franchise that it hopes will become "the next Halo."


Windows 8 sells 40 million licenses in first month

Omri Petitte at

Industry naysaying, a tightened grip on program (or app, if you really want to use that nickname) quality standards, and team lead takeoffs barely budged the churning treads of Microsoft's Windows 8 push, as NDTV reports the operating system sold 40 million licenses in just a single month since releasing on October 26.

Traffic 360 add-on for Flight Simulator X adds thousands of AI aircraft

Omri Petitte at

Yes, traffic's ubiquity in our lives often turns mornings into a march to Mordor and renders afternoons into a soliloquy with your radio tuner as you wait to move another half-inch, but it's also a necessary element of authenticity as far as vehicle simulations are concerned. The skies above take no exception. Enter Traffic 360, an update to Just Flight's Traffic X add-on (via PCGamesN) furnishing Flight Simulator X with fleets of AI planes taxiing on airport tarmacs and taking to the air using over half a million real-world flight schedules and plans.


Windows 8 head Steven Sinofsky leaves Microsoft

Omri Petitte at

Microsoft's leadership echelon experienced a shakeup in its Windows division yesterday with the sudden departure of President Steven Sinofsky for unexplained reasons. Sinofsky oversaw and was responsible for the development of both Windows 7 and Windows 8. Microsoft's official announcement states the mutually agreed decision takes effect immediately.


Microsoft restricts DirectX 11.1 to Windows 8

Omri Petitte at

Microsoft's latest operating system behemoth copped noticeable criticism across various issues leading up to its release, with notableindustryluminaries chiming in their opposition to the software's reclusive certification process and boxy exterior. Add another possible flashpoint: Neowin reports a Microsoft tech revealing DirectX 11.1's exclusivity to Windows 8 with "no plan" to retrofit Windows 7 with the latest version.


Halo 4 definitely not coming to PC, "woah, really?" says nobody anywhere

Tyler Wilde at

Our couch-and-TV siblings seem to really like Halo 4, and with Microsoft in charge, you'd think they'd be planning a big Windows 8 store release. I mean, you wouldn't actually think that, because you know better, but you'd think it in a sarcastic way. Well, it's not happening. Speaking to The PA Report, a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed that they "do not currently have any plans to port Halo 4 to PC."


State of Decay video shows stealthy use of loud, noisy fireworks

Omri Petitte at

You'll need supplies to feed, clothe, and house the needy mouths hunkering in your safehouse in Undead Labs' open-world survive-a-thon State of Decay. A lot of supplies. Lucky for you, they're happily strewn about in abandoned shops, homes, and eateries. Just as unlucky, scores of those annoying shamblers aimlessly mill in the way of your scrounging. Undead Labs' Halloween gameplay video shows a return to the basics of stealth and subterfuge to avoid detection—which ostensibly involves whipping a blockading horde into a fervor with carefully thrown firecrackers. Whatever works, I suppose—by the way, that mask totally succeeds in hiding your identity from mindless dead people.


GOG has "gotten really far" in talks with either Microsoft, Take-Two, or LucasArts

Tyler Wilde at

It's mystery time! During a chat yesterday with Trevor Longino, Head of PR & Marketing at GOG, I mentioned I'd really like Microsoft to let them sell Freelancer. All this Star Citizen business is making me pine for it, but I can't find my original CD. It's very sad. In response, Longino pointed out that he still has his original Freelancer CD, but also shared the news that GOG is currently working out a deal with either Microsoft, Take-Two, or LucasArts. So I may or may not get Freelancer, but there's no losing.


Microsoft reveals wrist-mounted controller that creates in-game 3D hand

Tom Sykes at

As spotted on Edge, Microsoft has revealed a wrist-mounted bracelet that can be used to control games, smartphones, TVs, and eventually an army of killer robots, via infra-red sensors that create an accurate 3D model of the user's hand. Dubbed Digits, the technology uses infra-red sensors to build a "fully articulated hand skeleton", which can then be represented in-game as your very own digital limb. When using it on smartphones, tablets or a TV, it's more of an invisible, phantom limb, but it will obey your commands nonetheless.


Notch: Microsoft should "stop ruining" PC as an open platform

Omri Petitte at

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.


Windows 8 release date confirmed

Adam Oxford at

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.