Well that didn’t take long. Less than a week after it rolled out the app to the PlayStation 4, Sky’s now brought Now TV to the Xbox One. With today’s launch, Sky now has Microsoft and Sony’s new and old gaming consoles covered, as well as a number of smartphones and tablets, giving it a firm footing on which to challenge Netflix. Now that Microsoft doesn’t require a subscription to access Live apps, you only need to stump up the cash for one of Sky’s movie, sport or entertainment packages to get streaming on your next-gen Xbox.
So let’s say that you want to quit your day job and start making indie games. It’s a noble pursuit to to be sure, and with Microsoft’s Independent Developers @ Xbox program for Xbox One, it’s supposedly pretty easy. What Redmond doesn’t tell you, however, is just how much it’ll cost you. That’s where Jamie Fristrom, the developer behind Sixty Second Shooter Prime comes in. On his blog, Fristrom breaks how much everything from URL registration and maintenance ($19) to paying to have the game rated in foreign markets ($2,042) costs, with the total coming in at $5,143 — a stark contrast to something like Destiny‘s $140 million price-tag. He notes that even with Redmond giving away free development kits, Xbox isn’t the cheapest indie platform around but that the costs to publish there were “absolutely worth it.” What’s more, he says that if you choose to skip stuff like releasing in other territories, making a game for under $3,000 could be totally feasible. Good to know.
And even though he’s yet to see Prime‘s first sales report, Fristrom estimates that given the game’s leaderboard population he’s more than covered the cost of development and even made a living wage. How’s that two-week notice looking now?
Source: Happion Laboratories
Verizon’s FiOS app has been leading the way on the Xbox One live-TV front, and now it’s getting a handful more channels in its stable. If you’re a subscriber, you now have access to the likes of AMC HD, Showtime, Encore, Bloomberg TV and ten others. As Verizon tells it, this brings the total channel count to 88 across both the Xbox 360 and its younger brother, the Xbox One. Whether you’re going to use them to keep up with the exploits of the Ricktatorship or Homeland, however, is up to you.
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It appears EA and Microsoft have been paying attention to Netflix and PlayStation Now (which opens its doors to all PS4 owners in two days), and are combining to offer a different subscription service for gamers. The EA Access pass is available (currently in beta) for $5 per month or $30 per year and gives subscribers unlimited access to a “Vault” of games. Right now that list covers FIFA 14, Madden NFL 25, Peggle 2 and Battlefield 4, with the promise of more titles soon. Not enticed by the promise of last year’s games plus 10 percent discounts on EA games, DLC, and in-game currency? They’re also adding in early access trials for this year’s round of EA sports games (Madden, NHL, NBA Live, FIFA) and Dragon Age: Inquisition that open up five days before the games go on sale and let your progress carry over to the retail version.
EA Access passes will be sold in GameStop stores, EB Games in Canada, and online for European gamers via GameStop and Amazon. You can hit the website for details, and EA says it will become available for everyone on Xbox One “soon.” Considering the discounts, if you were already planning on picking up a sports game or two this fall, the pricing doesn’t seem particularly outrageous, although we will be interested to see what rotates through the “evolving” list of vault games. So, on a scale from Horse Armor DLC to Sim City 4, how excited is everyone about this?
- Peter Moore (@petermooreEA) July 29, 2014
Welcome to EA Access, a new membership kicking off on Xbox One! Access to The Vault, discounts, & more! Learn More: http://t.co/laaY10bpTf
- EA Access (@EAAccess) July 29, 2014
Like it or not, school is fast approaching. However, Microsoft thinks it can make the fall semester a little more bearable with big updates to OneNote on both iOS and the Mac. Both apps now let you attach files to your notes; you can include audio recordings from a lecture to add some context to what you wrote, for example. If you add a PDF printout, you can also jot down annotations.
There’s more than just attachment support in this upgrade, as you might expect, and some of the improvements are meant as much for the corporate crowd as students. You can now open and edit OneDrive for Business notebooks, and it’s possible to both lock and unlock password-protected sections if you don’t want everyone peeping your content. Other updates let you shuffle the order of pages in a notebook, and (on the Mac) share them as email. The refinements probably won’t improve your grades if you’re headed to class in the next several weeks, but they may help you make sense of hastily-written notes when you’re studying for a big exam.
Source: OneNote Blog
Microsoft just can’t catch a break from China these days. The country’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) has raided Microsoft offices in four cities over concerns that the company may be violating anti-monopoly laws. While the government isn’t going into great detail about the raids, it’s linking the investigation back to companies’ complaints about “compatibility issues” with Windows and Office — shades of Microsoft’s EU antitrust woes, anyone?
SAIC is quick to note that it isn’t necessarily convinced that Microsoft has run afoul of the law; it conducted raids because its initial checks didn’t put Microsoft “above suspicion.” For its part, Microsoft tells the South China Morning Post that it plans to “actively cooperate” with officials. So long as an investigation is underway, however, the crew in Redmond is bound to be nervous. Previous antitrust cases against Microsoft have proven costly, and China isn’t likely to be any more forgiving if it believes something is amiss.
[Image credit: Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images]
Source: SAIC (translated)
Intel may reign supreme in the desktop and laptop space, but ARM is eating its lunch almost everywhere else. That’s not something the chipmaker can ignore, which is why it’s having another crack at the hobby / developer market with Sharks Cove. The board, designed with Microsoft, has the stated aim of helping developers build apps and drivers for Windows and Android devices that use Intel chips. Since it’s also available for everyone else to buy, it could also be quietly positioned as a more powerful alternative to boards like Arduino and Raspberry Pi. Unfortunately, as with the NUC, there’s a catch: the board will retail for $300.
For all of that cash, however, you get the bones of a half-decent low-power PC, with a quad-core 1.33GHz Intel Atom chip, 1GB RAM and 16GB storage with a microSD slot for expansion. You can hook the board up to a display using either a MIPI connector or the full-size HDMI port, and can hook the unit up to the internet using the Ethernet port or with a WiFi dongle in the one USB 2.0 port. None of that may justify the cost compared to its low-power rivals, but the fact that the hardware comes with a full Windows 8.1 license may soften the blow a little. Still, at three benjamins, we can’t imagine too many hobbyists will buy one just for noodling around — so perhaps this will remain developer only gear.
It turns out that Microsoft had bigger plans for Foursquare than just search and maps for Bing. The check-in service is now accessible by Redmond’s digital assistant, Cortana, as spotted on Reddit by Neowin. The addition apparently makes for customizable, local recommendations based on your whereabouts, and presumably, your account history too. As Winbeta notes, because the Cortana updates take place on Microsoft’s servers, you won’t need to download a software patch to take advantage of them either. Whether the blue helper will get to love bees, though, is up to her creators.
- Marcus Ash (@marcusash) July 29, 2014
Ready for a fresh edition of Feedback Loop? This week featured discussions about Apple’s OS X Yosemite beta, Kindle Unlimited, Nokia’s naming conventions, MMO mice and iWatch speculation. Head past the break to talk about all this and more with your fellow Engadget readers.
Share your impressions of the OS X Yosemite beta
Apple just made the beta version of its upcoming operating system update available for download. Engadget Managing Editor Dana Wollman took a look at what we can expect in her Yosemite preview. Are you one of those brave souls who likes living on the bleeding edge? If so, share your own impressions of OS X Yosemite and let us know what you think!
Is Kindle Unlimited worth the cost?
Amazon’s new Kindle Unlimited service gives you all-you-can-read access for $10 per month, competing against services like Oyster and Scribd. Engadget’s product database manager, Kris, wonders whether the service is worth it. She argues that it’s easy to binge-watch shows and movies on services like Netflix, but it’s much harder to binge-read a series of novels. Will you be subscribing to Amazon’s new service? Sound off in the Engadget forums!
Silly model numbers from Microsoft and Nokia
It should be pretty easy to figure out which devices are better based on model numbers alone, right? A “2″ is bigger than a “1,” so “2″ must be better. Take the Nokia Lumia 520 and Lumia 530 for example. TgD examines the differences between each device and wonders whether the Lumia 530 is really better than the Lumia 520. How do you feel when manufacturers do this?
Where are all the MMO mice?
Massively multiplayer online games are some of the most popular types of titles that people play. There was a time when hardware manufacturers like Razer and Logitech made gaming mice that specifically catered to this group. However, Quaddragon feels there’s been little innovation in this area. Where are all the good MMO gaming mice?
Should Apple’s rumored smartwatch include a SIM card?
Apple’s smartwatch has long been rumored and we may finally see it as soon as this fall. Engadget forums user Korrekturlesen speculates on whether or not the watch would have a SIM card. Does this sound like a good idea? Share your thoughts right here.
Other discussions you may also like:
- What’s a good homepage for your browser?
- Sony RX-10 vs. Canon T3i Rebel
- Why is OS X sooooooooo slow to access SMB shares over a network?
That’s all this week! Want to talk about your favorite gadget or have a burning question about technology? Register for an Engadget account today, visit the Engadget forums and start a new discussion!
Windows Phone 8.1 may have only just reached the general public, but it’s already in line for a surprisingly large update. Microsoft has posted developer documents (sign-in required) for Windows Phone 8.1 GDR1, a tweak that fills in a few key hardware and software gaps. Aside from previously revealed folder support, the upgrade will allow for smart cases akin to HTC’s Dot View or LG’s QuickCircle. Phone makers will get to run special apps when the cover is closed, and specify what happens when it’s open. This seemingly simple addition could be important, since The Verge claims that HTC is preparing a Windows Phone version of the new One — such a device would need smart cover features to perform the same tricks as its Android counterpart.
The revision should also enable more of the tablet-sized phones that are all the rage in some corners of the globe. It’ll support a 1,280 x 768 resolution on screens as large as 7 inches, and there’s a new 1,280 x 800 option useful for larger devices that use software navigation buttons. Other upgrades are smaller, but should be important in the long run — the update should bring high-quality voice over LTE, higher-quality Bluetooth music (through aptX) and manufacturer-defined custom lock screens. There’s no confirmed schedule for when GDR1 would arrive, but Microsoft is clearly getting close. It won’t be surprising if the next big wave of Windows Phones ships with the new features built in.