Tag Archives: Microsoft

E3 roundup: The latest and greatest from Microsoft, Sony & Nintendo inside

Summer’s just around the corner, and gamers know exactly what that means. E3 is in town, and The Big Three console makers are ready to show off the best they have to offer. For 2016, Microsoft took a big swing by introducing loads of new hardware, including a new Xbox console debuting in August, as well as its next-gen beast due out in 2017. Sony and Nintendo, on the other hand, laser-focused on their respective games library. The PS4 is on the verge of transforming into a virtual reality conduit, and Sony packed quite the punch with its PS VR launch lineup. Nintendo, meanwhile, lifted the veil off the next game in the coveted Legend of Zelda franchise and it looks spectacular. If there’s a theme to be had here, it’s that all three companies are churning out visually splendid and heart-pounding experiences coming to systems this year and beyond. It’s a great time to be a gamer.

For the full scoop from Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo at E3, jump after the break. READ MORE E3 roundup: The latest and greatest from Microsoft, Sony & Nintendo inside

Microsoft demonstrates virtual collaboration with VR/AR unifier Windows Holographic

Microsoft’s making a point with its latest glimpse into the future. Instead of choosing a side in the race to develop virtual and augmented reality technologies, the Windows maker is embracing a mixed reality, and it’s a vision that aims to break down the barriers between our physical world and the endless potential of a virtual space. Powering the company’s mixed reality is Windows Holographic, a platform embedded inside Windows 10 that enables end-users to transform the physical world around them with interactive holograms. In the video demonstration above, Microsoft promotes a collaborative experience where multiple users can virtually meet up, plan, and execute ideas in real time.

Collaboration is the key here. If you look closely, you’ll notice that the gamer featured in this clip is not wearing Microsoft’s HoloLens hardware. In fact, he’s sporting a VR headset designed by HTC called Vive. It’s one of the more popular VR devices out today, a direct competitor of Oculus’s Rift. So what is it doing here, featured in Microsoft’s mixed reality demonstration? Well, MSFT aims to bridge the gap (see a trend here?) between competing VR and AR offerings by opening up the Windows Holographic platform to partners including HTC, ASUS, Intel, Dell, HP, Lenovo and other pioneers in the PC market. Whether or not Microsoft succeeds in becoming the definitive holographic interface is a question for another day, but you must commend its forward-thinking initiative for inclusivity.

The first step in creating this future was taken in March when Microsoft began shipping out the first HoloLens units to developers. The company says that there are already hundreds of Windows Holographic-infused apps in the Windows Store today as developers continue to mine the headset and its underlying, universal platform for its potential across a multitude of industries including entertainment and education.

With the Rift and Vive out in the wild, and Sony’s PS4-powered PSVR device just around the corner, VR is about to blow up and it sure will be interesting to watch Microsoft respond with a decidedly different approach to our VR AR MR future.

[Via Microsoft] READ MORE Microsoft demonstrates virtual collaboration with VR/AR unifier Windows Holographic

Microsoft uses HoloLens tech to turn your living room into the ultimate sports den

While companies like Oculus, Samsung, Sony and Valve are betting big on virtual reality, Microsoft is taking the road less traveled (I’m looking at you, Google) and putting its focus on augmented reality. It’s HoloLens helmet aims to merge the physical world with digital by overlaying holograms on top of the real world around you. From video games to the classroom, Microsoft HoloLens aims to be a dominating force across myriad industries. One that makes just as much sense as the others? Sports.

At a panel called “The Future of Football: How Technology Could Shape the Next 50 Years of the Game,” Microsoft showcased the power of HoloLens and the exciting potential augmented reality and holograms can bring to gameday. Imagine if you had the ability to extend the big game beyond the confines of your existing HDTV, and not just by literally making the screen bigger. I’m talking live, interactive player stats and real-time fantasy football updates. Peer at your coffee table and watch it come to life with 3D instant replays viewable from any angle. This is the future of watching sports, and with it, the so-called “second screen experience” folds back up into one.

Now, I hate to burst your bubble, but this seemingly pie-in-the-sky tech doesn’t exist yet as it’s shown in the visually impressive demonstration above. It’s merely a concept, but you can rest assured Microsoft is considering it very seriously. The HoloLens hardware and software (it runs on Windows 10, believe it or not) is still in the development stages; Microsoft is ramping up production for developers to test and improve the device later this year. Still, this glimpse into the future is nothing short of amazing and it expands the evolving potential for an augmented reality lifestyle.

[Via Microsoft] READ MORE Microsoft uses HoloLens tech to turn your living room into the ultimate sports den

Microsoft rolls out revamped Xbox One user interface

On November 12, Microsoft rolled out a new Xbox dashboard update and it brings a totally revamped user interface to the surface along with backwards compatibility. Microsoft’s been keen on doling out monthly updates to its home video games console/entertainment hub, and this latest one is its boldest yet.

Xbox One now features a UI based on Windows 10 with a focus on speed, efficiency, and social interactions. Along the top you’ll notice four sections: Home, Community, OneGuide, and Store. Inside Home, you’re presented with your most recently used games and apps, and your pinned games and apps live below them under a category titled “My stuff.” Along the left-hand side there’s a new Guide pane that presents quick access to Friends, Parties, Messages, Notifications, Settings, and app-snapping functionality. From here you can also sign-in and manage users. This pane can be accessed at anytime (read: inside games and apps) by double-tapping the Xbox button on your controller. Inside Community, you’re presented with an activity feed filled with unlocked achievements, screenshots, and clips shared by your friends. Here you can interact with them with likes, comments, and sharing. Above the feed, there are buttons to refresh it and dive into your Game DVR. Next to the feed you’ll see what’s trending on Xbox Live with quick access to content from sources like Xbox and YouTube. A new OneGuide section features trending entertainment offerings across TV, movies, and sports. App channels from content providers like Amazon and Crunchyroll provide quick access to preferred programming. Last, there’s Store; when this section is selected it auto-expands to reveal sub-sections Games, Apps, Movies & TV, and Music. These redesigned storefronts highlight popular media and make it easy to discover and search for content thanks to large thumbnails and detailed splash screens.

In addition to the faster, streamlined UI, the “New Xbox One Experience” brings with it Xbox 360 backwards compatibility, a feature that gamers have been clamoring for ever since launch. Microsoft is launching the initiative with 104 Xbox 360 titles on Xbox One, and it promises more to come as soon as December. You can view the complete Backwards Compatibility Game Library right here, and you’ll want to bookmark that link to stay updated about future additions. Oh, and it’s been confirmed that multiplayer-enabled games will support cross-play between the 360 and the One–how cool is that?!

Kinect owners may notice that motion-activated gestures are no longer supported by the dashboard with this update. There’s no need to fret, though. An even more natural way to navigate the system is coming and that’s Cortana integration. Soon you’ll be able to call up Microsoft’s digital assistant to perform even more advanced commands; finding out if a friend is online, inviting a friend to a party, and recording and sharing gameplay to your activity feed will be handled swiftly by Cortana in the near future. Also coming in 2016 is DVR functionality, so you can look out for that, too.

I’ve spent some time with the updated dash and I’m happy to report that it’s a breeze to use. The redesigned Home, Community, OneGuide, and Store sections present consolidated and streamlined portals into the best of what Xbox has to offer. Accessing your content and sharing your achievements are simple affairs. Peering into your Xbox Live community (Friends list, Parties, Messages, etc.) is made much more efficient thanks to the new Guide. Your favorite Xbox 360 titles are injected with new life on Xbox One; in addition to emulating them on your console, you can also take advantage of Xbox Live’s latest features including taking screenshots, recording Game DVR clips, and even game streaming to Windows 10 devices. In an effort to make Xbox One an easily accessible destination to play games with friends and consume streaming entertainment, Microsoft succeeded with flying colors with the New Xbox One Experience.

In case you haven’t automatically received the NXOE yet, you can manually download and install it inside Settings. And if you’ve got time to kill, jump after the break to preview the nooks and crannies of the new UI with Xbox’s Major Nelson. READ MORE Microsoft rolls out revamped Xbox One user interface

Microsoft dominates gamescom in Germany with Xbox One games lineup, software enhancements & welcome hardware additions

This week Microsoft took over gamescom, the world’s biggest video games expo (even better than E3!) in Cologne, Germany. The Xbox maker hosted a media briefing, while the competition–namely, Sony and Nintendo–sat on the sidelines this go-around. The briefing played mostly like a reiteration of Microsoft’s E3 presentation, highlighting Xbox’s “greatest games lineup in history.” Numerous upcoming titles were previewed. Among the most prominent are these Xbox One exclusives: Remedy Games’ Quantum Leap, a “cinematic, story-driven action game” with a live action show baked inside is to Xbox One on April 5, 2016. Actors Shawn Ashmore (X-MenThe Following), Dominic Monaghan (Lost), Aidan Gillen (Game of Thrones), and Lance Reddick (Fringe) are among the talent lending their likeness to the game. ReAgent’s cooking up Crackdown 3, the next installment in the third-person open world shooter, and it lands on Xbox One in summer 2016. It supports a 4-person co-operative campaign mode. Befriend a dragon in PlatinumGames’ Scalebound, an action-adventure RPG from renowned game director Hideki Kamiya, coming fall 2016. Killer Instinct Season 3 arrives in March with cross-platform functionality across Xbox One and Windows 10. From Mojang (the makers of Mincraft) and Oxeye Game Studio comes Cobalt, a new 2D platformer with multiplayer support. This one is coming to Xbox One and the 360 in October; the alpha version is out now for PC and Mac today. KickStarted game We Happy Few, from Compulsion Games, is a first-person stealth game that looks to be as unsettling as it does fun; it’s due out sometime next year for Xbox One and Windows 10. Halo Wars 2, from 343 Industries and Creative Assembly (Total WarAlien: Isolation), capped the briefing and received big applause from the press in the audience. The sequel to the 2009 real-time strategy game is coming to Xbox One and Windows 10 in fall 2016.

For more from Xbox at gamescom, including software updates and new hardware announcements, jump after the break. READ MORE Microsoft dominates gamescom in Germany with Xbox One games lineup, software enhancements & welcome hardware additions

Microsoft launches Windows 10 marketing campaign with the world’s cutest babies

It’s easy to breeze past commercials when you’re watching TV. I’ve got a TiVo at home and it’s a rare thing these days to catch me ever sitting through an ad when I can simply sift through it with the click of button. Boy am I glad I didn’t miss out on this one.

With the release of Windows 10 just about a week away, Microsoft is launching its marketing campaign to push its first-year-free fresh OS unto the world. With taglines like, “The future starts now” and “A more human way to do,” MSFT is building a brand that highlights Win10’s new feature set and its focus on user accessibility.

The spot stars a number of the world’s cutest babies from all walks of life. “Imagine, these kids won’t have to remember passwords, or obsess about security. For them, every screen is meant to be touched,” says the voiceover. Essentially, Microsoft is saying that Windows 10 will transform the way we interact with our PCs today and it’s future-proof for the kids of tomorrow. ALSO HOW CUTE IS THAT WINDOW BABY!?

With Windows Hello, remembering login passwords is a thing of the past; built-in webcams will scan your smiley face and you’re in. Internet Explorer’s more secure and leaner successor Microsoft Edge allows you to draw directly on web pages and share with others. Cortana, Windows Phone’s personal assistant, is coming to the desktop and she’s there to answer your questions and learn your preferences. And course, the company’s pushing familiarity here. Gone is the “Metro” Live Tile interface; the classic desktop from Windows 7 is back with a modernized touch–helpful Live Tiles now live inside the Start Menu.

Windows 10 begins its rollout on July 29, starting with Windows Insiders (those that beta-tested the OS) and then getting to reservations. If you’re a Windows 7 or 8.1 user, Win10 is offered to you as a free upgrade for the first year of its existence. To learn how to reserve a copy, click here.

[Via Microsoft]

E3 2015: Microsoft kicks Xbox One into high gear with exciting games lineup and backwards compatibility

Microsoft kicked off E3 2015 with a media briefing that mostly included first-looks at anticipated game sequels and new IPs, and also a dash of exciting software and hardware announcements. It’s all for you after the break. READ MORE E3 2015: Microsoft kicks Xbox One into high gear with exciting games lineup and backwards compatibility

Microsoft solidifies Windows 10 summer release, reservations live today

In Game of Thrones, Winter is Coming. In reality, Windows 10 is coming. Today Microsoft spilled the final bean surrounding the shrouded release of its next operating system. Without further ado, Windows 10 comes to market July 29. It brings with it a slew of enhancements and new features. Windows 10 feels familiar as it reverts back to the desktop you know and love from Windows 7; elements from Windows 8, including Live Tiles, are now found inside the revamped Start Menu. Internet Explorer is no more and Microsoft Edge takes its place as the leaner, meaner, and more secure native web browser. Cortana, Microsoft’s digital assistant from its phones, is making her way to the desktop to help with all kinds of queries. Additionally, Microsoft is tying its ecosystem closer together than ever before by implementing a new Xbox app that brings your Xbox 360 & Xbox One gaming communities to Windows.

So how do I get my hands on the fresh OS, you’re probably wondering at this point. If you’re currently a Windows user, you may have noticed a small Windows icon taking up space in the lower right-hand corner of your display, sitting inside the Notification Area within the Taskbar. Tap it and you’ll be asked if you want to reserve your free copy of Windows 10. (If you don’t see it yet, Microsoft advises you visit this site.) After the simple reservation process is complete, Win10 will automatically download to your device on July 29; when it’s ready to install, the system will let you get it started at your convenience. It’s so easy, a kid can do it, or so Microsoft claims. Note that the free upgrade applies to Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users and will only be offered for one year. Windows 10 is rolling out to desktops, laptops, and tablets first, soon to be followed by a wider release on Windows phones and the Xbox One gaming console.

Of course, Microsoft is selling Windows 10 to those few who are still running ancient versions of Windows such as Vista. Windows 10 Home goes for $199 next month, and Windows 10 Pro will cost $199. If you’re curious about upgrade paths coming from Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, check those links provided by VentureBeat.

Be sure to jump after the break to acclimate yourself with MSFT’s new OS with a couple demonstrative videos.

[Via Microsoft 1, 2] READ MORE Microsoft solidifies Windows 10 summer release, reservations live today

Discover the Master Chief’s origins in ‘Halo 5: Guardians’ exploratory marketing campaign [Update: Two new trailers inside]

Microsoft’s expansive marketing campaign for Halo 5: Guardians begins now. Watch the helmet-shattering teaser trailer above and at the end you’ll notice the hashtag #HuntTheTruth. Shortly after the televised teaser launch, MSFT opened up a “Hunt the Truth” Tumbler that further explores the mystery behind the shrouded plot of the upcoming game. Fictional journalist and war photographer Benjamin Giraud hosts a weekly podcast that promises an in-depth profile of the Master Chief with an aim to uncover the truth behind his origins and motives. Fans of the Xbox franchise (myself included) are going to eat this up.

Halo 5: Guardians is expected to release this fall on Xbox One.

Update (3/29): Microsoft unleashed two extended trailers for Halo 5: Guardians tonight during the season finale of The Walking Dead on AMC. The first features Spartan Locke threatening Master Chief: “All hail the conquering hero. The one who was supposed to save us all. But now I must save us from you.” The second spot reverses the roles, with Master Chief pointing his weapon and saying, “You’ve completed your mission, Spartan Locke.” What’s happening?! See for yourself after the break. Also confirmed: the next Halo comes exclusively to Xbox One on October 27. READ MORE Discover the Master Chief’s origins in ‘Halo 5: Guardians’ exploratory marketing campaign [Update: Two new trailers inside]

Microsoft impresses with the renewed power of Windows

On Wednesday, Microsoft held a press event to make some major announcements regarding its next operating system, Windows 10. That’s right–the company that Bill Gates built is skipping the number 9 and gunning straight for the solid number 10 for its next OS release. MSFT demoed many new features found in Win10, many of which highlight the fundamentally cohesive nature of the fresh new OS. With Windows 10, Microsoft aims to bridge the gap between hardware and software to create one unified Windows that stretches across phones, tablets, laptops, desktops, and even the Xbox One. Also, Win10 will power a new product category for the company: augmented reality. For more, jump after the break. READ MORE Microsoft impresses with the renewed power of Windows

Microsoft aims to break down language barriers with Skype Translator

We’re living in the future, folks, in case you didn’t know. This week Microsoft is leading the charge in breaking down language barriers with its Skype Translator. Essentially, the new software allows Skype users to translate their conversations into another language in real-time. A perfect example of it in use is featured in the saccharine clip posted above. Students in America are video chatting peers in Mexico City; when an American student speaks English, the Spanish-speaking student on the other side can understand her completely (and vice-versa) as their spoken words are translated almost instantly. It’s quite magical, really.

Skype Translator is currently available as a preview and only supports English and Spanish. Skype promises that additional language support is on the way. You can help refine the incredible technology by signing up to become a preview user today.

[Via Microsoft]

Xbox and PlayStation at Gamescom 2014

Gamescom is a video games trade show–like E3, except for the that fact that it takes place in Europe (in Cologne, Germany to be precise) and it attracts a much, much larger crowd of attendees including members of the press and game developers. And just like they did at Los Angeles’ E3 in June, console makers Microsoft and Sony held press events revealing new titles, providing updates on previously announced ones, and showing off new system features. For the latest on the games, I recommend you visit Joystiq. This post will mostly focus on software updates coming to the Xbox One and PS4, as well as new hardware options revealed. For the full scoop, jump after the break. READ MORE Xbox and PlayStation at Gamescom 2014