At Microsoft’s pre-E3 #XboxReveal event, the veil was lifted away from the company’s next-gen hardware known as Xbox One. The event focused primarily on introducing the hardware (including the black box, the enhanced wireless controller, and Kinect 2.0) and the power behind it. Xbox One and its ability to act like a TV set-top box and serve as “the ultimate all-in-one home entertainment system” was the big highlight from that event. Though a handful of titles were teased there, MSFT would save the games for its E3 media briefing. For more, jump after the break. (Click here for more…)
Like Microsoft, Sony held a pre-E3 event where they officially announced the next-gen PlayStation, the PS4. Without showing off the actual console, Sony filled in a lot of the blanks by talking up the advanced architecture that powers the machine, introducing the DualShock 4 wireless controller, a new PlayStation Eye camera, the system’s ability to share and stream gaming sessions, and the company even saved time to introduce some next-gen games. At last, Sony revealed the actual box behind it all and previewed many more games coming to PS4 (more than 140 of them are coming this year) at its E3 briefing. For more, jump after the break. (Click here for more…)
This year Nintendo opted out of the E3 press conference circuit and instead released a pre-recorded Nintendo Direct video hosted by the company’s Global President Satoru Iwata. Ninty’s Wii successor the Wii U has been on the market since November and due to a lack of must-have titles and drooping third-party support the console hasn’t gained much traction in the gaming community. The house that made Mario is looking to turn things around this year with the introduction of many first-party games featuring some of the company’s most prized characters like Mario, Zelda, and Donkey Kong. And yes, there are even some third-party titles coming that should stir some excitement Ninty’s way. Iwata previewed many titles coming to Wii U, as well as some for the 3DS handheld, and you can check ‘em all out after the break. (Click here for more…)
This week Apple held its latest World Wide Developers Conference from San Francisco, introducing to the world the next versions of OS X and iOS, as well as upgrading its MacBook Air lineup and previewing the next generation Mac Pro. For the full rundown, jump after the break. (Click here for more…)
On June 26, eight months after its general release, Microsoft is updating Windows 8 to Windows 8.1. The free new update brings lots of new features and functionality to the modernized version of Microsoft’s operating system.
The updated Start screen allows users to resize their apps with new larger and smaller options; users can swipe up from the bottom of the screen to reveal an app drawer and access all apps installed and organize them by name, date installed, most used, and category; installed apps are no longer downloaded to the Start screen–they are placed inside the app drawer and you must manually pin it to the Start screen if you want it there; and you can match your desktop background with your Start screen background to “create a greater sense of unity and familiarity” between them. Also, the Start button returns to the traditional desktop but it won’t open a portal to folders and files like it did in previous Windows iterations; it simply brings you back to the Start screen and all your apps. Also, multitasking just got better: depending on your screen size and resolution, you can now snap more than two windows next to each other and you can further customize the size of each window (you are no longer shackled to the 80/20 split).
Elsewhere, the lock screen has been updated to become a picture frame that can now play a slideshow of your pictures stored locally on your device or from images stored in the cloud in SkyDrive. Users can also take pictures directly from the lock screen without having to log into their Windows 8.1 powered device.
System-wide search has been enhanced here, too. Type a query in the Search charm and you’ll be provided with actual files and documents you may be looking for. To date users are forced to tap headers like Files and Apps to dig for their searches; in Win 8.1 time will be saved since the OS will now show you relavant Word documents and Xbox games at first glance. Something new called Search Heroes are also being introduced here; search “Brad Pitt” and the OS will provide an aggregated view of many content sources to help you learn more about your query.
To read more about the new features and functions inside Windows 8.1, head over to this Windows blog post that details it all. For a quick look at 8.1 in action, watch the clip embedded above. Some screenshots hang in the gallery below.
“Can we take what you love and make it better?” That is the question Microsoft posed at the start of its #XboxReveal event earlier today. The answer lies in their new generation of Xbox hardware and software, “the ultimate all-in-one home entertainment system” that is “simple, instant, and complete.” Nope, it’s not the Xbox 720 or Xbox Infinity as the rumor mill had us guessing; the next-gen console from Microsoft is the Xbox One. (Click here for more…)
Sony still refuses to show us the PS4 hardware, but they continue to tantalize with this 39-second teaser clip. In a blatant attempt to steal Microsoft’s thunder (tomorrow the company announces the 360 successor), the makers of PlayStation done did this. With E3 just days away (it runs from June 11-13)–the event where Sony promises to take the veil off their next-gen console–we’ll have to make do. (Dissect stills from the teaser here.)
With every passing trailer, Rockstar’s next installment in the lucrative Grand Theft Auto franchise looks better and better. This brand spankin’ new clip clocks in at a lengthy 3:53 and is organized by playable protagonist. There’s rich but miserable Michael, caught up in the hood Franklin, and hillbilly Trevor. GTA V releases for Xbox 360 and PS3 on September 17; preorder today.
Get introduced to the next game in the Call of Duty franchise after the break. (Click here for more…)
Nintendo released the Wii U, Sony laid out its plans for the PS4, and so now it’s time for Microsoft to reveal its next-gen console. The followup to the hugely successful Xbox 360 will be announced on Tuesday, May 21 at 1PM EST at the Xbox Campus in Redmond, WA. On that day “we’ll mark the beginning of a new generation of games, TV and entertainment,” says Xbox’s Major Nelson. “We’ll share our vision for Xbox, and give you a real taste of the future.” If you didn’t score an invite to the event, don’t fret; the press event will be streamed live globally via Xbox.com, Xbox Live, and on Spike TV. See you then.
Google Glass is starting to ship out to key members of the press who attended last year’s Google I/O, developers, and winners of the #IfIHadGlass contest. If you aren’t included in any of these precious categories, here’s a little something to keep you occupied. Google has released a how-to video for their futuristic wearable technology and it brings you closer to the sleek hardware and the Android-powered user interface. Memorize the “getting started” clip above so that you’ll be ready to interact with your Glass when Google eventually decides to open its new product category to the masses.
On April 23 Apple reported its third quarter financial results. Apple posted a $9.5 billion profit on $43.6 billion in revenue. Compare this to one year ago, that’s down from a profit of $11.6 billion on $39.2 billion in revenue. That’s the first year-over-year drop in profits and revenue in nearly a decade for the tech company. But still, stay assured Apple is doing just fine in the big scheme of things; they currently have a healthy cash balance of $145 billion. Says CEO Tim Cook: “We are pleased to report record March quarter revenue thanks to continued strong performance of iPhone and iPad. Our teams are hard at work on some amazing new hardware, software and services, and we are very excited about the products in our pipeline.”
Now let’s break it down by product category. Apple sold 37.4 million iPhones in the quarter (compared to 35.1 million in the year-ago quarter); 19.5 million iPads (compared to 11.8 million); just under 4 million Macs (compared to 4 million); and 5.6 million iPods (compared to 7.7 million). Elsewhere, the App Store has seen 45 billion downloads, and iCloud has amassed 300 million users.
Looking ahead to the third fiscal quarter of 2013, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer expects revenue between $33.5 billion to $35.5 billion.
Twitter is expanding its horizons with a new app called #music. It’s a simple service, really, with a snazzy user interface that helps you discover new artists, see what’s popular, and preview and share tunes. The app is organized into five sections: Popular (new music trending on Twitter), Emerging (Hidden talent found in the Tweets), Suggested (Artists you might like), #NowPlaying (Tweeted by people you follow), and Me (a section that lists the artists you follow). Essentially the service scans your Twitter activity (people you follow, specific artists you follow and interact with, etc.) to aid in the discovery of new music you might like. The main portal is the Popular section and the UI displays interactive images of artists that you can tap on. You can preview tracks, share them, and download them via iTunes. Additionally, the artist squares give users quick access to a musician’s Twitter page where you can find out what artists that musician is following. In addition to iTunes for track previewing, #music is tied to Spotify and rdio; if you subscribe to those streaming services, you can link your account to enable the app to play full tracks.
Currently Twitter’s #music app is available in Apple’s App Store free of charge; if you have an Android device you’re out of luck for the time being. However, you can test drive the new service in a desktop browser at music.twitter.com if you live in the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia or New Zealand; the desktop layout mirrors its mobile counterpart. In time, the service will expand to more devices and countries.
So watcha waiting for? Go get your discovery on. #getlucky
Here we are again: April Fools Day. Only this time around it’s 2013 and no one is safe. We start, as is tradition, with Google’s masterful pranks. It’s all after the break…or is it. (Click here for more…)
Do you remember at the 2012 Video Game Awards when an intriguing trailer by the name of “The Phantom Pain” from Moby Dick Studios premiered to much fanfare? Well it turns out that the mysterious title is actually the next installment in the Metal Gear franchise from Konami. At the Game Developers Conference this week, Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima of Kojima Productions revealed Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain with a brand new nearly six-minute trailer that includes cinematic cutscenes and a more extensive look at Snake’s next adventure. Previously Kojima announced another MSG game in development called Ground Zeroes but according to a recent tweet GZ will serve as a prequel to TFP with a potential to ship on the same disc as TFP:
“Ground Zeroes” is a prologue of “MGSV”. 9 years after that event will be “The Phantom Pain”. MGSV is constructed w/ prologue and main game “TPP”. The game play demo I presented today is the opening of “TPP” which is tutorial that starts from crawling.
MGSV takes advantage of Kojima’s new FOX Engine and the game is confirmed to hit the current generation of platforms including Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. No word if the game will make the leap to next-gen consoles such as the PS4 and the next Xbox.
Now, there are reports that Snake will not be voiced by David Hayter, the voice actor who has played the franchise’s protagonist since the beginning in all English-language versions of the MGS titles. In an interview with GameTrailers, Kojima explained it like this: “What we’re trying to accomplish is [to] recreate the Metal Gear series. It’s a new type of Metal Gear game and we wanted to have this reflected in the voice actor as well.” But for fans this pill is surely hard to swallow. David Hayter is Snake, just as Steve Downes is Master Chief in Halo.
There’s no release date in sight yet, but feast your eyes on the next Metal Gear Solid. Like all things Kojima, it’s candy for the eyes.
On Thursday, March 21 Twitter reached its seventh year in existence. To celebrate the occasion the company released a short video highlighting some of the most memorable moments shared across the world via the social platform. Did you know that Twitter currently has well over 200 million active users creating over 400 million Tweets each day? And it’s only getting more popular by the second. From company founder Jack Dorsey’s first tweet to the explosion of tweets made by people from all around the planet, Twitter has proven to be a resourceful and entertaining destination for breaking news, laughs, and everything in between.
Remember Ducktales, the classic and addicting NES platformer that released way back in 1989 and let players take control of Scrooge McDuck to collect gold and rare treasures from all around the world? The game’s original developer Capcom is joining with Disney and WayForward Technologies to produce a “remastered” version of the title to be released this summer for Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network, and Wii U eShop. Though Scrooge and his nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie are leaving the 8-bit world for today’s advanced graphics, the game’s animation style will still retain a 2D-like design and the original voice cast from the cartoon series that actually inspired the game is back to reprise their memorable roles. The game will feature the same levels from the original, with a few new surprises and challenged sprinkled in to keep things fresh.
Watch the reveal trailer for DuckTales Remasterd in the clip hanging above and sing-along to the unforgettable theme song from the ABC animated series that ran from 1987-1990.
Netflix already does a great job at recommending to its users TV shows, movies, and documentaries based on what you watched in the past and the ratings you give the content you watch. This week the streaming company launched a new way to discover content with a social spin. Subscribers can now link their Facebook account with Netflix to see what their friends are watching. Once the accounts are linked, Netflix users will notice a new “Watched by your friends” row in the streaming site’s main menu as well as a row called “Friends’ Favorites” that features content watched by friends that they have rated with four to five stars. Additionally, friends will be able to see what you watch and rate highly; but if you’ve got a guilty pleasure you don’t want to be shared you can easily click the “Don’t Share This” button in the player. Netflix notes that by default all this social sharing with Facebook friends happens on the Netflix side of things only. If you want your Facebook friends to see what you’re watching on Facebook, you have to dig into Your Account, Social Settings to flip the switch on; there you can also stop sharing altogether if you don’t want to take part in the new social recommendation engine.
Currently the Netflix/Facebook cross-sharing initiative is live in the U.S. Netflix says they will “continue to experiment and improve our social features over the coming months and years.” Click after the break to watch a brief demonstration of this at work across Netflix.com in the browser as well as on the PlayStation 3.
Quick update from the team working on Google Glass: for those of you who wear prescription glasses, yes, you will also be able to take part in the grand experiment of wearable computing. Google explains:
The Glass design is modular, so you will be able to add frames and lenses that match your prescription. We understand how important this is and we’ve been working hard on it.
The image above features a member of the Glass team Greg Priest-Dorman wearing an early prototype version of Glass affixed to a pair of prescription glasses. Google confirms that Glass for prescription types will not be available for purchase alongside the regular (lenses-less) Explorer Edition when that releases this year. However, Google promises it will come to market later in 2013.
Heads up, Facebookers; there’s a new design update coming to the ubiquitous social networking site. Before it lands in your lap, get a quick overview of what to expect right here, right now.
After overhauling profile pages and search, Facebook’s next task is to revamp the News Feed by reducing clutter and making the site’s main portal even more personal. The site promises “you [will] see all the stories you saw in your News Feed before, but with a fresh new look.” Each story (or post) that your friends share will show up in your News Feed will be highlighted in new ways to make content discovery easier; for example, photos, news articles, maps, and events will appear larger and brighter and more colorful and vibrant. Also new is the addition of several feeds users can choose from. There’s a new drop-down menu in News Feed that allows you to dig deeper into specific content your friends are sharing. For example, the Photos feed filters out everything except for the photos your friends are posting; the Music feed tells you what your friends are listening to and provides you information about the artists you like; and the Following feed will show you the latest news from the Pages you like and the people you follow. Mark Zuckerberg says the enhanced News Feed aims to “give everyone in the world the best personalized newspaper we can.”
The new and improved News Feed is inspired by Facebook’s mobile presence. For example, the left-hand menu that users are used to exposing with a flick from the left-hand side of a tablet or smartphone’s screen will soon be accessible in desktop browsers. Also, users will have the ability to jump right to the top of News Feed whenever new stories trickle in. The main reason for porting over these mobile functions is to unify the overall Facebook experience across all devices. The “same clean look” will soon be present on our phones, tablets, and desktop browsers.
When is “soon” exactly? Facebook isn’t providing a hard date for the switchover, but the new News Feed will slowly roll out over the coming weeks on web and mobile, so says the company. If you’re itching to get your hands on the new design, you can join the feature’s waiting list right here; that site will also give you a visual rundown of it all. Facebook employees discuss the inspiration and vision for the News Feed redesign in a brief video embedded after the break.
During the unveiling of PlayStation 4 last month, Sony briefly glimpsed at what the next-gen console’s user interface will look like this holiday season. Since then, however, a handful of images surfaced on the ‘Net giving gamers an extended look at the PS4′s UI both on the system and on mobile devices. Player profiles, the Share portal, game streaming powered by Ustream, and other menus with a social aspects baked in are all previewed. So without further ado, a gallery filled with shiny screenshots awaits.