Microsoft

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.


Windows 8 release date set for "late October"

Adam Oxford at

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.


Did Age of Empires Online's revamp solve its biggest problems?

Josh Augustine at

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.


Windows 8 Upgrade to be $40 (UK price TBA)

Richard Cobbett at

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.


Microsoft says tablets will outsell PCs next year

Adam Oxford at

Microsoft Surface has pressure sensitive keys, could be perfect for stealth games

Tom Hatfield at

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.


Microsoft launches own brand surface tablet

Adam Oxford at

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?


PCs do it better: why I don't care about Smartglass

Owen Hill at

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."


South Park: The Stick of Truth trailer features machine-gun Jesus, war, flaming farts

Tom Senior at


 
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.


Windows 8 Release Preview ready

Adam Oxford at

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.


Beat Age of Empire Online's devs in PvP this afternoon, win entire civilizations

Josh Augustine at

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.


Age of Empires Online: Premium Celtic Civilization review

Josh Augustine at

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.


Microsoft Flight review

Steve Hogarty at

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.


Microsoft "continues to support" Games for Windows Live

Chris Thursten at

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.