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2024-06-10 14:30:46| Engadget

After announcing several new Xbox Series X consoles including a $600 special edition model, Microsoft may be working on another one. In response to a question from IGN about portable gaming, Xbox chief Phil Spencer said "I think we should have a handheld." That's a vague comment, but it certainly shows that the company is taking notice of all the portable PC gaming devices out there like the new Rog Ally X from ASUS and no doubt Sony's PlayStation Portal remote handheld. Such a device would also make a lot of sense for the Xbox platform.  "The future for us in hardware is pretty awesome, and the work that the team is doing around different form factors, different ways to play," he said. He then deferred any future questions about consoles to Xbox president Sarah Bond. Spencer hypothetically kiboshed the idea of a Sony-like internet- or cloud-only device when asked about it, though. "I think being able to play games locally is really important," he said.   This by no means confirms the development of such a device and it wasn't the right event for such an announcement in any case. "Today was about the games... but we will have a time to come out and talk more about platform, and we can't wait to bring it to you." This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/microsoft-xbox-chief-phil-spencer-i-think-we-should-have-a-handheld-123046226.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising
 

2024-06-10 14:13:02| Engadget

Microsoft showed off three new Xbox models yesterday at Summer Game Fest 2024, but anyone following the mass of leaks last year may have been surprised at how little changed for this mid-cycle refresh. In case you didnt follow the FTC-Microsoft trial last year, things went pretty well for Microsoft, ending in the company acquiring Activision Blizzard. One thing that didnt go so well was redaction. Nestled among the court filings was a trove of internal documents, including one on the future of Xbox or at least, one potential future, considered by Microsoft in May 2022. Xbox head Phil Spencer told the FTC in October 2022 that the Roadmap to 2030 document was a presentation from our devices organization to the gaming leadership team, and said he disagreed with some of its projections. The slide deck outlined the teams plan for its mid-cycle console refresh, codenamed Fairhaven, and its next-gen console. Essentially a pitch deck, then, comprising some things that were definitely happening and others that needed funding to become reality. Lets look at what was (un)announced: Chronologically, May 2024 was to be a debut month for Sebile, the codename for an all-new controller. Sebile would ship with new wireless tech, which the document referred to as Xbox Wireless 2, and a Stadia-like cloud connection for reducing input latency when playing games on Xbox Cloud. More exciting for gamers, it would also have advanced haptics like the Switch and PS5 controllers, and a Stadia-like direct-cloud connection for reducing input latency on Xbox Cloud Gaming. Sebile, a proposed new Xbox controller from a May 2022 slide deck that leaked last year.Microsoft Then, Xboxs big summer 24 show (which in the real world happened yesterday) would bring a pair of new Xbox consoles. First, a cylindrical Xbox Series X redesign codenamed Brooklin, which was set to be a $500 2TB all-digital device with WiFi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2 and a Sebile controller packed in. Second, Ellewood, a $300 Series S refresh with 1TB of storage, with the same improved wireless connectivity and the Sebile controller, but no big redesign. Brooklin, a proposed new Xbox Series X SKU from a May 2022 slide deck that leaked last year.Microsoft The document noted that all three of these devices were funded but also gave two eventualities: one that would limit Fairhaven investment and another that would deliver the full Fairhaven vision. The former would pare down the new controllers features and cloud connections, but would supposedly include a new industrial design. Ellewood, a proposed new Xbox Series S SKU from a May 2022 slide deck that leaked last year.Microsoft Fast forward to Summer Game Fest 2024, where we appeared to get neither of these futures. We already figured that the Series S wouldnt be refreshed, given Microsoft has been selling a $350 1TB version since last fall. But Microsofts vision for the Series X was unclear, and what we ended up with was a pretty weird pair of configurations: a 1TB all-digital Series X console priced at $450 and a 2TB special edition Series X with a disc drive, priced at $600. If theres improved wireless connectivity Microsoft hasnt mentioned it, and weve currently heard nothing of Sebile; the new consoles were announced with standard Xbox controllers. Taken alone, these are fine refreshes. But Microsoft was in the unenviable position of competing with not only Sony and Nintendo, but also itself, in the form of those leaked plans. Microsoft's actual 2024 Xbox refresh.Microsoft A $450 all-digital 1TB console and $600 2TB special edition are disappointing in comparison to Brooklin, the 2TB $500 all-digital console with a shiny new controller the leaked deck was pitching. The $450 console is almost a price increase, given Microsoft and third-party retailers regularly sell the original 1TB Series X for that price. (It should be mentioned that Sony has actually increased the price of the PlayStation 5, with the discless model priced at $450 vs. the $400 it cost at launch.) The $350 1TB Series S is essentially the same console we got last fall, but that too represents bad value compared to the leaked $300 refresh. Plans change, especially plans dated May 2022. But how they change can give an idea of how Microsoft is thinking about Xbox right now. Back in 2022, Series X and S sales were broadly keeping pace with Xbox One. That is no longer the case. Estimates put the total number of Xbox Series consoles sold since the November 2020 launch between 28 and 29 million. Even in the US Microsofts strongest market by far retail analysts Circana say the Xbox Series consoles are trailing Xbox One by 13 percent. One particularly telling slide in the May 2022 document predicted 25-29 million of the mid-cycle consoles could be sold in three years. As of today, that would mean more-than doubling the lifetime sales of the platform. At the time, Microsofts hardware team was probably not expecting sales to be as dismal as they currently are. Microsoft ended the last console generation with around 58 million Xbox One consoles sold, which was a marked decline from the 85-plus million Xbox 360s it moved. A leaked slide from May 2022 suggested sales volume would depend on the amount of investment Microsoft makes on its mid-gen Xbox refresh.Microsoft Microsot doesn't talk console sales figures unless it has something positive to say, but third-party analysis suggests a typical week for Xbox in 2024 involves moving 60-80K consoles, with Nintendo doubling that figure and Sony often tripling it. Put in plain words: Xbox falls further and further behind every week. Its unlikely well find out what Microsofts expectations for the refreshed consoles are, but its probably not 25-29 million. The tough thing for team Xbox is Sony and Nintendo are broadly walking their own road and doing pretty well at it. Sony has sold 58 million PlayStation 5s and is preparing to launch a pro variant that will be significantly more powerful than the Xbox Series X. Its also opening up to publishing on PC and just announced a game thats coming to Nintendo Switch. Nintendo has sold over 140 million Switches, regularly outsells Xbox and has pre-announced a sequel console that will assumedly be able to handle current-gen games (including Call of Duty!) with fewer cutbacks. Meanwhile, Microsoft is struggling to sell its existing consoles, faltering in its plan to grow Game Pass subscriptions and seemingly squashed its hardware teams dream of a bold mid-cycle refresh. One thing it does have is game developers making games. Outside of the underwhelming new console SKUs, Microsofts big Summer Game Fest was a reminder of just how much of the industry it now owns, and how many games it currently has in development. We got updates on Fable, Perfect Dark and the future of Gears of War. We got a new Call of Duty and a new Doom. There are still countless developers under its wing that dont have an announced project, and big games previously announced that didnt make an appearance, like Marvels Blade from Arkane Lyon, The Outer Worlds 2 from Obsidian, Everwild from Rare and Hideo Kojimas OD. Microsofts game studios have a lot going for them, but with all of their titles coming to PC (and several to PlayStation and Switch) great games might not turn into great console sales. Phil Spencer has spoken on last years leaks a couple of times. He nearly-immediately took to Twitter to say that so much has changed which was clearly true, though maybe not for the better. Separately, he told a court something pretty wild about Microsoft potentially leaving the gaming business if Game Pass didnt get a better mix of players by 2026 or 2027. Game Pass growth, as of February this year, has been seriously tapering off, so uh-oh? I dont for a second think Microsoft would spend the best part of $100 billion on developers to exit gaming, but I do sincerely believe that its console business is on life support, and it doesnt need shiny new hardware to make a ton of money on gaming. The gaming leadership team that was pitched Sebile, Ellewood and Brooklin in May 2022 clearly agrees.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/microsofts-xbox-refresh-cant-compete-with-its-leaked-roadmap-121301282.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising
 

2024-06-10 14:00:15| Engadget

ASUS has been busy at Computex 2024 this year, announcing not only the ROG Ally X gaming handheld but a bunch of new laptops. Now, the company has moved on to monitors, unveiling several interesting entertainment and content creation models, including its first Google TV and 8K ProArt displays. The 27-inch 4K (IPS) ZenScreen Smart MS27UC is the company's latest entertainment display. As mentioned, it's ASUS' first with Google TV and includes a remote with a built-in Google Assistant microphone.  ASUS Along with what ASUS calls "ultra-thin display bezels and a small footprint stand," it has built-in front output 5W Harman Kardon speakers and a headphone port on the back. One unusual feature is a rear shelf that lets you store a keyboard, mouse and the Google TV remote. Other features include a DisplayPort 1.4 and HDMI 2.0 port, USB-C (PD 90W), dual-band WiFi, Bluetooth 5.0 and Miracast. ASUS ASUS also dropped some impressive (and probably fairly expensive) ProArt displays aimed at content creators. The first is the ASUS ProArt Display 8K PA32KCX, what ASUS calls "the world's first 8K mini-LED professional monitor." The 32-inch display offers 7,680 x 4,320 resolution and a peak brightness of 1,200 nits (sustained brightness 1,000) nits, thanks to the Mini LED tech with 4,096 local dimming zones. It offers professional level specs, with a delta E of less than 1 in terms of color accuracy, true 10-bit color and 97 percent coverage of the DCI-P3 (HDI) color gamut. It includes a built-in motorized flip colorimeter for auto- and self-calibration, while offering dual Thunderbolt 4 ports with up to 96 watts of power delivery (along with HDMI 2.1 and DisplayPort 2.1 ports). ASUS Meanwhile, The 27-inch ProArt 5K PA27JCV and 32-inch PorArt 6K PA32QCV displays support 5,120 x 2,880 and 6,016 x 3,384 resolutions respectively. ASUS doesn't say what display technology is used, but they have something it calls "LuxPixel" technology that uses an anti-glare coating that offers a "paper-like" effect without softening the image. Both offer 99 percent DCI-P3 coverage, a Delta E less than 2 and DisplayPort over USB-C with 96 W power delivery. Both appear to be fairly low profile and come with with metal stands. ASUS Finally, ASUS showed off some new dual-screen displays that may appear in laptops or standalone monitors down the road. Those include the ZenScreen Duo OLED, that features a 14-inch 16:10 FHD dual-0LED display that can fold out to 21 inches for increased productivity. So far, there are no prices are delivery dates set for any of the new displays. This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/asus-zenscreen-smart-27-inch-monitor-is-its-first-with-google-tv-120015995.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising
 

2024-06-10 13:15:54| Engadget

Todays the day youve all been waiting for: WWDC 2024 kicks off with Apples customary opening keynote. Thats where youll catch all the hot news about what the company is cooking up for the next 12 months. Fortunately for you, well have (metaphorical) front-row seats to all the action, so point your browsers to our liveblog to learn all about whats coming. Dan Cooper The biggest stories you might have missed Xboxs Fable reboot will come to Xbox Series X/S and PC next year Call of Duty: Black Ops 6 kicks it back to the 90s on October 25 Gears of War: E-Day is the origin story of the Gears franchise Perfect Dark reboot trailer shows Joanna Dark hunting bad guys in a near-future Cairo Doom: The Dark Ages hits PS5, Xbox Series X/S and PC in 2025 You can get these reports delivered daily direct to your inbox. Subscribe right here! Microsoft moves to resolve privacy concerns over its Recall feature Making it opt-in defeats the point, but at least you can. Microsoft thought it would be a good idea to constantly monitor everyones desktop activity with its Copilot AI. Now everyone has pointed out the litany of reasons thats a terrible idea, the Windows maker is backtracking. It has pledged to make Recall opt-in and to lock the information about what youre doing behind a biometric key via Windows Hello. Is that enough? Continue Reading. An all-digital Xbox Series X is coming this holiday season The yoke to Microsofts digital games service just got tighter. Microsoft Summer Game Fest was an opportunity for Microsoft to refresh its console lineup with a new disc free Series X. The all-digital model comes in robot white and has 1TB of storage for all those beefy downloads. Itll set you back $450 but, if youre already in that territory, surely its better to wait for the disc-enabled Series X to go on sale, which it does quite frequently. Continue Reading.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/the-morning-after-live-from-apples-wwdc-event-111554178.html?src=rss

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2024-06-10 10:00:22| Engadget

Empire of the Ants, a real-time strategy game with dazzlingly photorealistic insects and other critters, arrives on November 7. Although the game doesnt sound like its exactly a remake, it comes from the same publisher (and draws from the same source material) as the 2000 RTS game of the same name. The new version will be available on PC, PS5 and Xbox Series X/S. Publisher Microids and developer Tower Five describe the new Empire of the Ants as a 3D real-time strategy game with progressive difficulty. Set in Fontainebleau forest, youll play as 103,683e, a determined ant on a mission to protect its colony. Youll gather resources, secure outposts, fortify your armies and execute the queens plans. The game was built using Unreal Engine 5 and will have scalable difficulty. The RTS title has a narrative storyline, and its gameplay will adapt to different seasons and day-night cycles. Microid / Tower Five With Empire of the Ants, every decision is critical, every move is strategic, and every conquest reflects your skill in exploring a world where the smallest beings wield immense power, the games press release reads. Strategy, exploration, battles, and even alliances with the local wildlife will be necessary to emerge victorious from the myriad challenges that await players. Like its Y2K predecessor, the 2024 version of Empire of the Ants is based on the 1991 novel of the same name (in its English translation) by French author Bernard Werber. (Le Fourmis is its title in the authors native French.) The book, the first in a trilogy, follows a society of ants and a parallel world of humans in early 21st-century Paris, covering themes of communication, cooperation, environmental impact and social hierarchy. You can check out the trailer below ahead of the games November 7 release date. You can wishlist the game now on Steam, GOG, Epic and the PlayStation Store. Catch up on all of the news from Summer Game Fest 2024 right here!This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/empire-of-the-ants-will-let-you-explore-a-photorealistic-bugs-life-this-november-080022224.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising
 

2024-06-10 00:00:39| Engadget

Andrea Baronis Halfway to Dawn is unbelievably bleak for a game you can play from start to finish in about 10 minutes. I mean that as a compliment; its the best horror experience Ive had on the Playdate yet. As someone who tends to gravitate towards all things spooky, one of the things Ive been most interested in as I explore whats out there for Playdate is seeing how developers will make horror work for the weird little handheld. Halfway to Dawn takes a blended approach: in the first half, its a text-based narrative game where youre scavenging for resources and readying yourself for the long night ahead; in the second, its an all-out fight for your life against an onslaught of eldritch creatures. Halfway to Dawn wastes no time in setting a mood of desolation and impending doom, beginning with dialogue from our protagonist about feeling as lifeless as these scattered remains of humanity in a city overtaken by some unnamed terror. During the narrative portion of the game, you must choose among different locations to visit the mall, pharmacy, gun store and a house so you can hopefully find things like first aid kits, guns, ammo and traps. But theres no telling whether each of these trips will be successful. Andrea Baroni/Cyberleaf Studio You might find a box of shotgun shells but never get your hands on a shotgun to actually use them. You might even get hurt while scavenging. There is also the option to rest, which will fill up your health bar (while youll start with full health on Easy mode, Hard will start you with two out of the six health points already depleted). But an hour will pass after each selection, and you have to stay conscious of the time. The clock starts at 6PM, and once it strikes 1AM, youll be forced to go out and defend yourself against the monsters until dawn. At this point, the game becomes a top-down shooter and depending on how you fared with resources, a pretty challenging one at that. Monsters will be closing in on you from all sides, some of them harder to take down than others, and you can only replenish ammo and first aid kits from your finite supply at set breaks marking the passage of one hour. If you run out before then, youll have no choice but to try and fight off the monsters with a knife, which you can swing using the crank. Thats about as effective as youd think it is. Halfway to Dawn is a very, very short game, but it really had me sweating on some runs. Its a fun one to keep coming back to, since the randomness of resource collection makes for a different experience each time. And the tension of it all is perfectly rounded out by a synth-heavy soundtrack (available on Bandcamp), which could be right out of an 80s B-horror movie. If creepy is your thing, this is definitely a game to check out. Halfway to Dawn is on the Playdate Catalog and itch.io for $5.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/halfway-to-dawn-is-a-surprisingly-tense-bite-sized-survival-horror-game-for-playdate-220033899.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising
 

2024-06-09 21:32:30| Engadget

Xboxs Summer Games Showcase on Sunday brought a nice little surprise amidst all the expected news: the announcement of a new Life is Strange game, Life is Strange: Double Exposure. The game, which sees the return of its original protagonist Max Caulfield, will be released on October 29 for Xbox Series X/S, PC and PlayStation 5. Anyone dying to get their hands on it a little earlier, though, can pre-order the Ultimate Edition, which will grant them access to Chapters 1 and 2 on October 15. A Nintendo Switch release appears to be coming later, as well. Life is Strange: Double Exposure picks up years after the events of the first game. Now, Max has found her friend Safi murdered and tries to use her powers of time manipulation to go back and save her but things go awry. Its a full-on murder-mystery, with a supernatural twist in which Max will have to bounce between parallel timelines to stop the killer. Catch up on all of the news from Summer Game Fest 2024 right here!This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/were-officially-getting-another-life-is-strange-game-this-fall-193230167.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising
 

2024-06-09 20:45:39| Engadget

Toward the end of the Xbox Games Showcase, Microsoft unveiled a refreshed console lineup. For the first time, the company will offer an Xbox Series X with no disc drive in a robot white colorway. It comes with 1TB of storage and will cost $450. The MSRP of the original Series X is $500, but it often goes on sale (Microsoft itself is currently selling the console for $450). A Xbox Series X without a disc drive had long been expected. A leak in March suggested that an all-digital robot white model was in the works. As with the PS5 refresh Sony released last year, perhaps Microsoft will offer a disc drive attachment for folks who later decide they want to play physical games on their Series X too. A special edition Xbox Series X will also soon be available. This model, in galaxy black, does have a disc drive and double the internal storage of the regular Series X at 2TB. It will come with a matching controller and cost $600.  The Xbox Series S is getting a more modest update. Microsoft released a 1TB model in carbon black last year, and a version with the same storage and original colorway is in the pipeline. The 1TB robot white option will be offered in select markets and cost $350. The company notes that the black model will be available "while supplies last," indicating it's phasing that variant out. More details on availability and regional pricing will be revealed soon. Microsoft says it also has plans for controller designs to match certain games and more Xbox Series X console wraps. Catch up on all of the news from Summer Game Fest 2024 right here!This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/an-all-digital-xbox-series-x-is-coming-this-holiday-season-184539660.html?src=rss

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2024-06-09 20:38:38| Engadget

As the grand finale of Xboxs Summer Game Fest showcase, after the new consoles, we were treated to the exclusive premiere of the latest addition to the Gears series, Gears of War: E-Day. The trailer kicks off with a one-on-one brawl between the Gears guy and a grunt, ending in a headshot. Immediately after, however, the floor collapses between them. Fortunately, Gears Guy #2 is there to grab your hand. And the sad Mad World melody plays in the background. Because Gears. Called E-Day, and ending on an apocalyptic view of a city, it looks like this game will center on an invasion. Apparently, this is the origin story centered on the Locust invasion on Emergence Day, through the eyes of Marcus Fenix AKA Gears guy. Get the big guns. Theres no release window just yet, but it will, of course, be landing on Game Pass when it does arrive. Catch up on all of the news from Summer Game Fest 2024 right here!This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/gears-of-war-e-day-is-the-origin-story-of-the-gears-franchise-183755128.html?src=rss

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2024-06-09 20:20:38| Engadget

Its Treyarchs turn at bat for a big ol Call of Duty game, which means its time for a new Black Ops. Today we learned that Black Ops 6 will have a full campaign set in the 1990s that picks up (broadly) where the 80s-infused Cold War left off. Raven Software is actually handling the campaign, and is promising globetrotting missions along with stealth gameplay mixed with blockbuster action. Sure sounds a lot like Black Ops! Locations for the storyline include the Middle East, southern Europe, Russia and the US. For those deeply entwined in Blops' gripping storyline, Frank Woods and Russel Adler will return for 6, and the story will be tied to the 1980s flashbacks in Black Ops 2. The campaign will branch out from an expanded campaign hub set in a safehouse where youll be able to learn about allies, explore and solve puzzles, gather lore and upgrades and, of course, select missions. Multiplayer is the main event for most Call of Duty players, and is also the area where Treyarch typically excels. This year, the developers are talking up omnimovement, which will seemingly deemphasize linear strafing and movement in favor of a more fluid chained system. We didn't see this in action check the livestream above for that but heres a description from Activision: Omnimovement lets players sprint, slide, and dive in any direction, along with the new Supine Prone, the ability to rotate while prone, granting Black Ops 6 players more freedom of movement and tactical flexibility. And a screenshot called BO6_Multiplayer_Omnimovement.jpg that Activision sent over: Activision Rad! In terms of multiplayer modes, therell be 16 basic maps 12 for six-on-six battles, and four Strike levels that support two-on-two and six-on-six matches. As pre-launch rumors suggested, Black Ops 6 marks the return of the classic Prestige gameplay for the most advanced players. Round-Based Zombies will also be in the game at launch with two all-new maps, Liberty Falls and Terminus. Activision promises more maps and modes post-launch. Expect to hear a ton more about Call of Duty: Black Ops 6 as we get closer to its launch date October 25, 2024. Therell be a free Open Beta, with pre-orders granting early access as usual. Its coming to PC (Battle.net, Microsoft Store and Steam), Playstation 4 and 5, Xbox One and Series consoles. No Nintendo Switch this time around I guess Microsofts deal with Nintendo is predicated on the Japanese company having a console more powerful than a mid 10s smartphone. Catch up on all of the news from Summer Game Fest 2024 right here!This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/call-of-duty-black-ops-6-kicks-it-back-to-the-90s-on-october-25-182038777.html?src=rss

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