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Microsoft

Microsoft Considered Giving Away Original Xbox 51

Posted by timothy
from the could've-been-a-cue-cat dept.
donniebaseball23 writes While the term 'Xbox' is firmly implanted in every gamer's mind today, when Microsoft first set out to launch a console in 2001, people weren't sure what to expect and Microsoft clearly wasn't sure what approach to take to the market. As Xbox co-creator Seamus Blackley explained, "In the early days of Xbox, especially before we had figured out how to get greenlit for the project as a pure game console, everybody and their brother who saw the new project starting tried to come in and say it should be free, say it should be forced to run Windows after some period of time." Blackley added that other ideas were pushed around at Microsoft too, like Microsoft should just gobble up Nintendo. "Just name it, name a bad idea and it was something we had to deal with," he said.
Power

Measuring How Much "Standby Mode" Electricity For Game Consoles Will Cost You 196

Posted by Soulskill
from the trading-money-for-convenience dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Modern game consoles have a "standby" mode, which you can use if you want the console to instantly turn on while not drawing full power the whole time it's idle. But manufacturers are vague about how much power it takes to keep the consoles in this standby state. After a recent press release claiming $250 million worth of electricity was used to power Xbox Ones in standby mode in the past year, Ars Technica decided to run some tests to figure out exactly how much power is being drawn. Their conclusions: the PS4 draws about 10 Watts, $10-11 in extra electricity charges annually. The Xbox One draws 12.9W, costing users $13-$14 in extra electricity charges annually. The Wii U draws 13.3W, costing users $14-$15 in extra electricity charges annually. These aren't trivial amounts, but they're a lot less than simply leaving the console running and shutting off the TV when you aren't using it: "Leaving your PS4 sitting on the menu like this all year would waste over $142 in electricity costs."
Graphics

Another Upscaled Console Game: Battlefield Hardline 225

Posted by timothy
from the just-extrapolate dept.
jones_supa writes Video game developer Visceral Games has confirmed the actual resolution that the coming Battlefield Hardline will run on when it is launched on the Xbox One and on the PlayStation 4. An official message from the Twitter account of the studio explains that gamers will get a 720p resolution on the Microsoft console and Sony platform gamers will get the game running in 900p. 60 frames per second is promised for both consoles, but many fans are still expressing their disappointment that neither of the two versions will be able to properly deliver the native 1080p resolution of the consoles. When development started, Visceral Games and publisher Electronic Arts said they were aiming to use the power of the modern consoles to push the game engine as far as it would go, but they clearly couldn't fit that target without cutting corners. This is similar to what happened with Titanfall, which renders into an 1408x792 framebuffer on Xbox One.
XBox (Games)

Microsoft Closes Gap Between Windows 10 and Xbox One With "Crossplay" Plans 66

Posted by samzenpus
from the all-in-one dept.
An anonymous reader writes In its attempt to make console gaming more accessible, Microsoft has announced that it will be developing universal apps which can run across Xbox One and Windows 10, as well as smartphones and other mobile devices using the upcoming OS. At the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco yesterday, Phil Spencer, head of Microsoft's video games branch, said that the end-goal was to allow people to play games wherever they are over whichever platform they wish to use. Microsoft also announced that an adapter was currently being developed to hook up wireless Xbox One controllers to PCs. This latest move from the tech giant shows its push to grapple back its position in the mobile computing revolution, as the booming smartphone and tablet market shadows its longstanding desktop and laptop business.
Games

New Wolfenstein Game Announced: The Old Blood 61

Posted by samzenpus
from the mein-leben dept.
jones_supa writes Last year, Wolfenstein: The New Order was well received, and showed that old school shooters still can do extremely well in the current market and actually be a lot of fun. Now, Bethesda Softworks is already announcing a standalone prequel to The New Order, called Wolfenstein: The Old Blood. It's back to the roots for B.J. Blazkowicz, and you embark on a perilous journey "deep within Bavaria", with the goal of infiltrating the Castle Wolfenstein. Just like last years' game, The Old Blood has been developed by Swedish company MachineGames on the same platform including id Tech 5 engine. The release date is May 5th and the game will be available for PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.
Android

NVIDIA Announces SHIELD Game Console 116

Posted by Soulskill
from the a-challenger-appears dept.
MojoKid writes: NVIDIA held an event in San Francisco last night at GDC, where the company unveiled a new Android TV streamer, game console, and supercomputer, as NVIDIA's Jen Hsun Huang calls it, all wrapped up in a single, ultra-slim device called NVIDIA SHIELD. The SHIELD console is powered by the NVIDIA Tegra X1 SoC with 3GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, Gig-E and 802.11ac 2x2 MIMO WiFi. It's also 4K Ultra-HD Ready with 4K playback and capture up to 60 fps (VP9, H265, H264) with encode/decode with full hardware processing. The company claims the console provides twice the performance of an Xbox 360. NVIDIA demo'ed the device with Android TV, streaming music and HD movies and browsing social media. The device can stream games from a GeForce powered PC to your television or from NVIDIA's GRID cloud gaming service, just like previous NVIDIA SHIELD devices. Native Android games will also run on the SHIELD console. NVIDIA's plan is to offer a wide array of native Android titles in the SHIELD store, as well as leverage the company's relationships with game developers to bring top titles to GRID. The device was shown playing Gearbox's Borderlands The Pre-Sequel, Doom 3 BFG Edition, Metal Gear Solid V, the Unreal Engine 4 Infiltrator demo and yes, even Crysis 3.
Microsoft

How Machine Learning Ate Microsoft 96

Posted by samzenpus
from the doing-it-smarter dept.
snydeq writes Yesterday's announcement of Azure Machine Learning offers the latest sign of Microsoft's deep machine learning expertise — now available to developers everywhere, InfoWorld reports. "Machine learning has infiltrated Microsoft products from Bing to Office to Windows 8 to Xbox games. Its flashiest vehicle may be the futuristic Skype Translator, which handles two-way voice conversations in different languages. Now, with machine learning available on the Azure cloud, developers can build learning capabilities into their own applications: recommendations, sentiment analysis, fraud detection, fault prediction, and more. The idea of the new Azure offering is to democratize machine learning, so you no longer need to hire someone with a doctorate to use a machine learning algorithm."
Privacy

Gadgets That Spy On Us: Way More Than TVs 130

Posted by timothy
from the it-looks-like-you're-writing-a-letter dept.
Presto Vivace writes with a reminder that it's not just Samsung TVslots of other gadgets are spying on you "But Samsung's televisions are far from the only seeing-and-listening devices coming into our lives. If we're going to freak out about a Samsung TV that listens in on our living rooms, we should also be panicking about a number of other emergent gadgets that capture voice and visual data in many of the same ways. .... Samsung's competitor, the LG Smart TV, has basically the same phrase about voice capture in its privacy policy: "Please be aware that if your spoken word includes personal or other sensitive information, such information will be among the Voice Information captured through your use of voice recognition features." It isn't just TVs, Microsoft's xBox Kinect, Amazon Echo, GM's Onstar, Chevrolet's MyLink and PDRs, Google's Waze, and Hello's Sense all have snooping capabilities. Welcome to the world of Stasi Tech.
Microsoft

Will Every Xbox Be a Dev Kit? 69

Posted by samzenpus
from the working-it-out dept.
jfruh writes There were a lot of rumored features of the Xbox One that vanished after public outcry — that it would need an always-on Internet connection, for instance. But another rumor from that era was that every Xbox One sold would include a dev kit that would allow anyone to create games — and it looks like this is one dream that might be coming true soon.
AI

The Uncanny Valley of Voice Recognition 83

Posted by Soulskill
from the siri-do-these-pants-make-me-look-fat? dept.
An anonymous reader writes: We've often seen the term "uncanny valley" applied to the field of robotics — it's easy to get unsettled when robots act close to being human, yet fail completely in a few key ways. GitHub Engineer Zach Holman writes that we've now reached uncanny valley territory in speech recognition as well, though the results are more frustrating than they are disturbing. He says, "Part of this frustration is the user interface itself is less standardized than the desktop or mobile device UI you're used to. Even the basic terminology can feel pretty inconsistent if you're jumping back and forth between platforms.

Siri aims to be completely conversational: Do you think the freshman Congressman from California's Twelfth deserved to sit on HUAC, and how did that impact his future relationship with J. Edgar? Xbox One is basically an oral command line interface, of the form: Xbox (direct object). ...it's these inconsistencies that are frustrating as you jump back and forth between devices. And we're only going to scale this up."
Security

Lizard Squad Hits Malaysia Airlines Website 41

Posted by Soulskill
from the kicking-them-when-they're-down dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Lizard Squad, the hacking collaborative that went after the PlayStation Network, Xbox Live, and the North Korean internet last year, has now targeted Malaysia Airlines with an attack. Bloomberg links to images of the hacks (including the rather heartless 404 jab on its home page) and columnist Adam Minter wonders why Malaysia Airlines, which has had so much bad press in the past 12 months, was worthy of Lizard Squad's ire. In apparent answer, @LizardMafia (the org's reputed Twitter handle) messaged Mr. Minter this morning: "More to come soon. Side Note: We're still organizing the @MAS email dump, stay tuned for that."
Microsoft

Hands On With Microsoft's Holographic Goggles 171

Posted by samzenpus
from the check-it-out dept.
First time accepted submitter mkukuluk writes Forget Google Glass — Jessi Hempel describes the amazing experience she had with the new Holographic goggles from Microsoft. From the article: "The headset is still a prototype being developed under the codename Project Baraboo, or sometimes just “B.” [inventor Alex] Kipman, with shoulder-length hair and severely cropped bangs, is a nervous inventor, shifting from one red Converse All-Star to the other. Nervous, because he’s been working on this pair of holographic goggles for five years. No, even longer. Seven years, if you go back to the idea he first pitched to Microsoft, which became Kinect. When the motion-sensing Xbox accessory was released, just in time for the 2010 holidays, it became the fastest-selling consumer gaming device of all time. Right from the start, he makes it clear that Baraboo will make Kinect seem minor league."
Hardware Hacking

Engineer Combines Xbox One, PS4 Into Epic 'PlayBox' Laptop 78

Posted by timothy
from the bipartisan dept.
MojoKid writes We can finally stop arguing over which is the superior game console, the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One. Quite frankly, it's a pointless debate, and it took a self-taught engineer to put the argument to rest, which he did by combining both game systems into a 22-inch laptop. Meet the "PlayBox," a gaming laptop that's equal parts Xbox One and PS4 rolled into one. The PlayBox wins the argument because it allows you to play games on either system, and when it comes down to it, the ability to play games is all that matters. Built for a "specific customer," the owner of this prototype system needn't worry about exclusives since he now has a system that can play them all, and do it while taking up no more space than a single console.
Crime

UK Suspect Arrested In Connection With PSN/XBL 'Lizard Squad' Attacks 55

Posted by timothy
from the just-a-bit-of-fun dept.
Dave Knott writes UK Police have arrested an 18-year-old man over involvement in the cyber-attacks on Sony's PlayStation Network and Microsoft's Xbox Live gaming services over Christmas, for which the Lizard Squad hacking group claimed responsibility. The man was arrested Friday in Southport, England, on suspicion of computer hacking, threats to kill and swatting. Computers and other electronic devices were seized during the arrest by officers from two UK cybercrime units working in conjunction with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation. A spokesman said that police were still in the early stages of an investigation working closely with the FBI to identify further people involved in the attacks.
Sony

After Outage, Sony Makes Peace Offering To Users of PlayStation Network 95

Posted by samzenpus
from the sorry-for-your-trouble dept.
An anonymous reader notes that Sony is offering deals to make up for the downtime over Christmas. "PlayStation Network gamers didn't have such a happy holiday thanks to the reported handiwork of some hackers, so Sony is hoping to appease users of its online gaming service with promises of deals and discounts. For Playstation Plus subscribers, Sony is offering a 5-day membership extension, and for all members, a 10 percent discount at the PlayStation store, according to a blog post published Thursday. The PlayStation Network is Sony's online service for its PlayStation game console. Both PSN and Microsoft's online gaming service, Xbox Live, were intermittently offline beginning on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Xbox Live came back online first, with PSN following Saturday night."
Hardware Hacking

Hackers Leak Xbox One SDK Claiming Advancement In Openness and Homebrew 86

Posted by samzenpus
from the open-it-up dept.
MojoKid writes Microsoft, it seems, just can't catch a break. Days after a major hack took its servers offline on Christmas day, and after being lambasted in multiple stories for shipping games like Halo: The Master Chief Collection in nigh-unplayable condition, the company's Xbox One SDK has been leaked to the public by a group calling itself H4LT. H4LT, which apparently objects to being called a hacker group, offered this explanation when asked why it was distributing the SDK. The group claims that "the SDK will basically allow the community to reverse and open doors towards homebrew applications being present on the Xbox One." To be clear, what H4LT has done is a far cry from groups like Lizard Squad. The SDK for any given product is typically available behind some degree of registration, but they don't necessarily cost anything. The SDK is one small component of creating the ecosystem that would be necessary to get homebrew up and running on the platform. Whether or not users will ever pull it off is another question.
Crime

Finnish KRP Questions Suspected Lizard Squad Member 62

Posted by timothy
from the breaking-off-the-tail dept.
An anonymous reader writes Coming on the heels of the UK arrest of Vinnie Omari, Yle reports that Finnish police have interviewed "Ryan", the Finland-based hacker reportedly responsible for hacking the PlayStation and Xbox networks on Christmas day, but have not arrested him — contrary to reports in the international media (such as Washington Post). Lizard Squad had tweeted that the Finland-based hacker had been detained. Chief Inspector Tero Muurman of Keskusrikospoliisi (Finnish National Bureau of Investigation) confirmed Yle that reports of "Ryan" having been detained were wide of the mark. He had been interviewed at the start of the week, but then released. Finnish police are continuing their probe and co-operating closely with the FBI.
Crime

UK Arrest Over Xbox Live and Playstation Network Outages 86

Posted by timothy
from the but-officer-I-was-having-fun dept.
An anonymous reader writes Neowin.net is reporting the arrest of one Vincent Omari, a UK citizen [see also this Daily Mail story from a few days ago mentioning Omari], in the Christmas Day DDoS attacks on Sony's PSN and Microsoft's XBL systems: "In documents sent to Neowin, Vinnie Omari has been accused of 'hacking of the Playstation Network and Xbox Live systems over the Christmas Period'... While this is the first arrest related to the recent service disruptions, it may not be the last... In further conversations with those who are familiar with the investigation and the arrest, Omari believes that the police will not find anything of substance on his computers. His alleged crime is that he helped coordinate the DDOS attack on the service."
Advertising

Lizard Squad: Xbox Live, PSN Attacks Were a 'Marketing Scheme' For DDoS Service 139

Posted by timothy
from the now-how-much-would-you-pay? dept.
blottsie writes The devastating Christmas Day attacks against the gaming networks of Sony and Microsoft were a marketing scheme for a commercial cyberattack service, according to the hackers claiming responsibility for the attacks. Known as Lizard Squad, the hacker collective says it shut down the PlayStation Network (PSN) and Xbox Live network on Dec. 25 using a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, a common technique that overloads servers with data requests. The powerful attacks rendered the networks unusable for days, infuriating gamers around the world and causing yet-untold losses of revenue. Now, members of Lizard Squad say the group is selling the DDoS service they used against Sony and Microsoft to anyone willing to pay.
XBox (Games)

FBI Allegedly Investigating Lizard Squad Member Over Xbox Live, PSN Attacks 78

Posted by samzenpus
from the who's-to-blame dept.
blottsie writes The FBI is actively investigating a member of the hacker collective that claimed responsibility for recent high-profile cyberattacks on Microsoft and Sony properties, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the investigation and the attacks. A member of the Lizard Squad hacking group, who goes by the alias "ryanc" or Ryan, allegedly garnered the attention of a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation after speaking with the media about Lizard Squad's Christmas-day attacks on Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network.