Microsoft and Mojang don’t just have a story-based Minecraft game to show at Minecon 2015 — they’re also revealing a beta version of Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition. This release will ditch the less than ideal Java code of desktop versions in favor of native Windows code, and shares some roots with the Pocket Edition you typically find on phones. You’ll even get to build worlds with those mobile players through an update that should hit “soon” after the beta arrives. And to no one’s surprise, the construction title will do a lot to take advantage of Windows 10’s many Xbox tie-ins, such as 8-way multiplayer (both locally and on Xbox Live) and game video recording. The beta will be ready on July 29th, and it’ll be free if you already have the existing PC version. If you’re new to all this, it’ll cost $10 to get in during the test phase.
Source: Xbox Wire
Microsoft can cross out another patent dispute in its list, now that it has settled its issue with Kyocera. Redmond filed a lawsuit against the Japanese electronics maker back in March, claiming that the latter’s Android phones infringe upon seven patents it owns, including their messaging and location tracking features. Several Android device manufacturers, such as HTC, ZTE and LG, have been paying Microsoft royalties to use its patents for quite some time. It’s unclear if money will change hands when it comes to this particular deal, though, since its announcement only talked about signing “an agreement expanding” an older one. The two have apparently signed a cross-patent license after making peace, allowing them to use each other’s technologies in their own devices.
Microsoft has an exorbitant $150 controller coming this year that it hopes will make up for the Xbox One’s middling gamepad, but that won’t make the upcoming Rare Replay feel any more authentic when you play. The folks at Hyperkin — makers of the Retron 5 console — know this and set forth a challenge: mod a Nintendo 64 controller to work with Microsoft’s latest game console. And they succeeded. Mostly. As you’ll see in the video below, the three-pronged paddle can navigate the console’s dashboard and select apps, but, since there’s only one analog stick, that rules out it playing nicely with a vast majority of modern games. The wiring is a bit wonky and certain inputs trigger at random, but, from the sounds of it, the project is far from over.
The plan is to make “an awesome controller” work in time for Rare Replay‘s release. Does that mean Hyperkin will actually sell an N64-styled controller for the game? It sounds like a possibility. We’ve reached out to the company for more info and will update this post should we hear back.
Source: Chris Gallizzi (YouTube)
We hope you aren’t curious about Nolan Bushnell’s game development history… you may find yourself sucked into a time sink. Microsoft has quietly added an option to play Pong in Bing (Bing Pong, get it?) if you search for the digital table tennis classic in your browser. It’s not a novel concept, and it certainly isn’t the most advanced — Google’s Cube Slam experiment is on another level. It’s surprisingly addictive, however, and might offer just the right amount of ’70s gaming nostalgia to tide you over when you’re stuck at work.
We hope you didn’t book off July 29th to celebrate Windows 10 launch day — depending on your circumstances, you might be disappointed. Microsoft has detailed its rollout plans for the new operating system, and it notes that only Windows Insiders (aka beta testers) are likely to get Windows 10 on day one. If you’re a regular user who reserved an upgrade, you’ll likely have to wait as Microsoft deploys the new software in gradually larger “waves” until everyone can hop aboard. Big companies and schools who pay for Windows licenses in bulk, meanwhile, won’t get their copies until August 1st. In either case, you’ll get a heads-up if your system isn’t quite ready. The cautious approach is understandable given the sheer scope of what Microsoft is doing (“millions” of people are going to get a major OS for free), but it’s not so hot if you want to be the first on your block to make the leap.
Source: Blogging Windows
Today on In Case You Missed It: Microsoft debuts a Kinect-based room mapping system that understands furniture; we watch LEDs change color as they’re frozen in liquid nitrogen (because science!) and a programmer creates a game whose code fits into a single Tweet.
From the cutting room floor: Google rolls out 60 FPS video playback for its mobile app so now the walkthrough on your phone matches the gameplay on your console.
Let the team at Engadget know about any interesting stories or videos you stumble across by using the #ICYMI hashtag @engadget or @mskerryd.
The first all-electric Formula E season may have just ended in real life, but the racers will keep going when Forza Motorsport 6 arrives. Microsoft announced today that after including a single car from the series as a DLC option for Forza 5, the sequel will include ten versions of the Renault Spark SRT_01E racecar representing each team. Other cars announced today include the 1988 Lamborghini Jalpa, 1965 Shelby Cobra 427 S/C and 1985 Toyota Sprinter Trueno GT Apex. The full list of cars announced so far (117 of 450 or so) is available on the official site, but we’ll have to get closer to its September 15th release to see the rest.
Smartphone theft is a huge problem – one that costs mobile consumers about $2.5 billion a year. California is one of the first to take action by introducing a law that requests every phone sold in the state to include what has been commonly referred as a “kill switch”.
California bill SB-962 was finalized last August, when we were also informed the new regulation would go into effect starting July 1st 2015. Fast-forward nearly a year later and we are seeing things come to fruition. The day has come and the law goes into effect immediately.
For those who may be out of the loop, a kill switch is a system (hardware or software) that deems a smartphone unusable if reported stolen. Apple has been implementing its own technology for some time, but they are no longer alone. In fact, a long list of manufacturers, carriers and tech companies are backing this movement, including Google, Microsoft, Samsung and HTC.
Our beloved Google kept its promise to provide an effective kill switch with the introduction of Android Lollipop. It comes in the form of Factory Reset Protection, which allows smartphone owners to set a password the user would need to input before a factory data reset is performed. This, in combination with Android Device Manager (which can lock phones remotely), makes for a full kill switch method without any loopholes.
How many of us have gotten our smartphones stolen? It has happened to most of us, which means something definitely had to be done. Not everyone was for this kill switch idea. In fact, it was voted down by the senate at first, and those who make a profit out of phone insurances (carriers, insurance companies and the CTIA) were not too happy about the possibility of losing part of its $7.8 billion yearly profits.
The issue here is that this is a proven method and it’s already reducing smartphone theft! Kill switch systems have been put into effect by some companies before the law required phone makers to do so, and it’s doing wonders. Though about 2.1 million Americans had their smartphones stolen in 2014, this is a huge improvement over 2013.
Theft went down by 32%. More specifically, New York saw a 16% drop in handset robberies, and Apple phones had a 25% decrease in losses. Another report published this February also indicates San Francisco’s theft numbers went down by 40% in the last 12 months, while London was the star with a whopping 50% reduction. And it makes total sense! If every phone out there will be unusable when stolen, thieves will have very little incentive to steal them. That is, unless they want an amazing paper weight.
Even with all these advancements, though, 2.1 million thefts in 2014 is a big number. We certainly need to do better than that. For starters, people need to make sure they know how to protect themselves and actually use these kill switches. The implementation of this law keeps you protected only if you know how to operate the tools handed to you. We all still need to educate ourselves; only then can we make kill switches ubiquitous, and hence, effective.
How many of you guys have used these kill switches? Did it ever actually help you recover your device? Do you think kill switches are even the answer? Hit the comments and share your thoughts with all of us.
It’s only natural for an entertainment corporation as massive as The Walt Disney Company, with IP holdings that span the likes of Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm, to be exploring the potential of virtual reality. It’s something John Vignocchi, VP of Production at Disney Interactive, the division behind toys-to-life platform Disney Infinity, confirmed when we chatted a few weeks back. But when it comes to Infinity, the future focus seems to be weighted more towards augmented reality. “We’ve had multiple meetings and discussions with Oculus; multiple meetings and discussions with Sony about Morpheus; multiple meetings and discussions with Microsoft about HoloLens. We’re very interested in that space,” Vignocchi said. “There’s the socialization problem right now with VR, but augmented reality is very exciting.”
The issue of isolation in VR isn’t new. It’s a hurdle Sony PlayStation addressed onstage during its E3 presentation last month and one Worldwide Studio head Shuhei Yoshida is determined to overcome with a range of new Morpheus demos (see: RIGS). But despite the inroads being made towards socializing VR gameplay, Disney Interactive head John Blackburn remains unconvinced it’s the way forward for the local co-op baked into the family-friendly Infinity.
“My own experience with these devices right now is that I feel like they almost cut directly against what we’re trying to do which is experiences that can involve you with somebody else,” Blackburn said. “…The idea of kind of creating that family memory and playing it together is really core to the experience we’re trying to build. And so when you put a lot of these headsets on, it’s almost isolating in a way. Until we can get over that piece of the technology, it’s not as interesting to me.”
Which is why Blackburn hinted that if infinity were to pick a side in the VR vs AR battle, it’d likely come out as a HoloLens project. And when you consider the parallels between the crafting of Infinity‘s Toy Box creation mode and Microsoft’s recently announced HoloLens Minecraft project, the prospect doesn’t seem too far-fetched. Though, that’s not to say Disney Interactive’s completely ruling out VR.
“You kind of look at Microsoft’s HoloLens stuff where you can kind of see through,” said Blackburn. “And that one’s kind of interesting from that perspective because I can see everybody else around me. But yes, we’re absolutely interested in that space because the toybox itself is kind of a very interesting concept of ‘I’m in the world I built.’
Information from an internal conference that Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella had with senior Microsoft employees regarding the future of Windows Phone leaked this week. Details included expanding further into Android by making apps that could potentially replace some Google services like Maps, Search, and maybe even YouTube.
Windows Phone sales are such a small percentage of the smartphone market as it is, so Microsoft could be saving money by axing their mobile operating system. Windows Phone 10 is scheduled to released later this year, announced by the very same Microsoft so these talks seem to be another version of leadership laying out its options.
Who do you genuinely know that actually likes Windows Phone? It seems like such a niche operating system at this point due to the combined market shares of iOS and Android, fragmentation aside.
Source: The Inquirer
Come comment on this article: Microsoft possibly looking at reality (finally) by reconsidering Windows Phone