A couple of months back, Sky revealed that it was working on bringing Now TV to Sony and Microsoft’s next-gen consoles. Today, it finally started that rollout with the PlayStation 4, ensuring Sony fans have all of their bases covered in the process. Although the Xbox One app is still in development, the broadcaster notes that it will become available in the coming weeks. Neither the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One require a subscription to access the Now TV app, meaning you’ll only need to put money down for Sky’s movie, entertainment or sports packages to get streaming.
Microsoft’s Project Spark has already been available to early testers for the better part of four months, but gamers have been kept in the dark over when it’ll finally go on general sale. Until today. The company has announced that the retail version of its game-creation title will hit Xbox One and PC in October as part of a phased worldwide rollout. It’ll be available first in the Americas on October 7th, then make its way to Asia-Pacific countries on October 9th before hitting Europe on October 10th. Microsoft is pricing the Project Spark Starter Pack for Xbox One at $39.99/£29.99 and will include packs full of sounds, effects, animations, props and “advanced creator features” that will help you create a virtual world that you (and hopefully others) can be proud of. It’ll also feature the first sci-fi pack Galaxies: First Contact, Champions Quest: Void Storm, special characters and the first episode of what the developers are calling an “epic campaign adventure.” The good news is that there’s plenty of time enjoy the open beta , check the source links below to get involved (and earn achievements in the process).
If you’ve pondered buying an Xbox One but have felt a sense of loyalty to your Xbox 360, Microsoft is very keen to help you make the switch. As spotted by user BeforeU on NeoGAF, the company is running a new promotion that gifts its “very best customers” with a $75 promotional code if they buy an Xbox One or any Xbox One bundle. It appears that not everyone is eligible for the offer, with Microsoft only targeting a subset of Xbox 360 owners across the US ahead of its July 31st deadline. However, there’s no word on whether the promotion will come to other countries. To find out if you qualify, turn on your Xbox 360 and make sure it’s connected to Xbox Live. If you’ve been selected, you can order a (full-priced) console from any retailer and Microsoft will credit your Xbox account with $75, as long as you redeem your voucher code by October 15th. That’ll cover you for at least one Xbox One game like Destiny, ensuring your game collection gets off to a good start.
[Image credit: BeforeU, NeoGAF]
After almost a month of testing, the July update for Xbox One is here. Committed to a rapid pace of improvements, Microsoft has delivered a number of new features, including a new Snap mode for Achievements, improved voice functionality and the ability to ‘Like’ your favorite recorded clips through the SmartGlass remote app. The new Achievement tweaks are designed to provide instant feedback while you play games, letting you track your progress and search for online solutions to help you unlock the more difficult challenges. If you’ve recently invested in a Kinect-less Xbox One, today’s update lets pull up the Snap menu with a double-tap of the home button (because you can’t issue voice commands without Kinect). That button combination lets switch back and forth between apps too, so you’ll now have more control over your multi-tasking flow. With the choice to select a spoken language, your Xbox One can also differentiate between your accent and where you live — perfect if you’re an Englishman in New York struggling to turn your console on.
Source: Xbox One System Updates
Microsoft’s plan to bundle Kinect with the Xbox One may not have been to everyone’s taste, but that’s not stopping it from expanding sales of the motion-sensing peripheral. In fact, you’ll only have to wait just over a week to get your hands on the second generation Kinect for Windows. We know because the company has updated its pre-order listing with the promise of shipment by July 15th. The sensor, which costs $199/£159, delivers better depth sensing, 1080p resolution, a wider field of view and various other improvements. Developers have been invited to publish their creations to the Windows Store, so there’ll likely be more Windows Kinect apps to download than ever before — good news if you’re not interested in the Xbox One but have always wanted to wave your arms about in front of your PC.
Last week, Google announced the aptly named Android One, a plan to unite the myriad budget devices running its mobile operating system. But Sundar Pichai and crew aren’t alone in banking on the singular power of one. No, Google’s One is just one of many in the industry’s recent past. It turns out, everyone wants to be the one.
Sure, Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft all have their own internally-developed games but there’s so much more to E3 than what The Big Three show off for their respective platforms. Even better, almost every game from the likes of Activision and Electronic Arts will appear on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One so there’s almost no need to choose which platform to buy if you want to play a specific title, either. Let’s get down to business, shall we?
THE WITCHER 3: WILD HUNT
Polish developer CD Projekt Red does one thing and one thing only: role-playing games. This year was The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt‘s second E3 and it still faces the same problems that it did in 2013. Namely, the game looks like a ton of fun when it’s condensed to short snippets onstage at Microsoft’s media briefing, but otherwise what makes the game special like story-affecting choices and scouring the map’s nooks and crannies just doesn’t demo well. I saw an uninterrupted 45 minutes of game-play during a private demo and witnessed monster-hunter-for-hire Geralt exterminate harpies, undead swamp people, werewolves and demonic tree roots (seriously), and while that was cool, he was mostly an errand boy in between battles. To me, this robbed him of any narrative weight or importance.
Tracking a gigantic, bleeding griffin through the forest using supernatural forensics, however, and then delivering a killing blow and carrying its head into town on the side of your horse looks unbelievably bad-ass. You’ll be able to check the game out for yourself come next February 24th.
METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN
“Let the legend come back to life.” At some point in the extended gameplay demo for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, those words are uttered in Big Boss’ direction… and then a horse shits. That’s just a partial taste of how Hideo Kojima has colored this new, open world of MGS.
MGS V: The Phantom Pain picks up nine years after Big Boss has fallen into a coma and shows the character severely scarred and brandishing a curious bit of horn-shaped shrapnel sticking out of his head. The gameplay doesn’t vary from the series’ typical blend of action and stealth, but thanks to Kojima’s Fox Engine, the environments (said to be roughly “200x the size of Ground Zeroes“) and character models are much more detailed. In fact, Konami reps said that a key game dynamic — the ability to fast forward time with a Phantom Cigar (e-cig) — is entirely possible because of this new engine. The resulting effect is not unlike that of hi-speed cinematography, where a static landscape is shown passing from day into night and back again. MGS V also throws in an entirely new element for long-time fans: the ability to visit a dynamically expanding Mother Base populated with all the characters, materials and artillery you’ve Fulton’d back. And yes, that even includes livestock.
I’ve gone on record saying that I was very much disinterested in Destiny, but that was until I actually got to play developer Bungie’s latest. Going hands-on with the former Halo studio’s game felt like a welcome trip home; damn near everything about the game just feels right for me as a Halo fan. Gunplay is tight and strikes a solid balance between the heft of a Killzone or Battlefield versus Titanfall‘s or, say, Call of Duty‘s feather-light locomotion. The environments I’ve seen are gorgeous, feeling lived-in and appropriately desolate and even in the early state I’ve played, the game feels incredibly polished.
Everywhere I turned, it seemed like I was seeing an idea that Bungie had wanted to put in its next game for the past 10 or so years. Whether the studio couldn’t due to hardware limitations or because its next game was always Halo-related, though, isn’t clear. Things like summoning vehicles on-demand to help get across the game’s vast expanses of geography, for instance are more than welcome. Or, even better, the way voice-chat audio subtly reflects your current environment (in a metallic tunnel, it sounded like my co-op buddy’s voice was echoing off the steel walls) was super neat. Tricks like this make me keep wanting to go back. I’m just worried that I’m not the only one who initially wrote it off as Just Another Shooter.
It’s surreal to play a first-person shooter that’s based in the same city I’m currently visiting. In Battlefield: Hardline, I played cops-and-robbers on the battle-scarred streets of downtown Los Angeles. Since it was a war zone, no civilians were around to get in the way. I was one of the robbers wandering around parking structures, stairwells, hotels and office buildings, searching for loot and evading law enforcement with the rest of my team. Saying that the round was chaotic would be a gross understatement; cars and helicopters alike flew around corners, and thanks to the tech running the game, rubble, shrapnel and destroyed buildings were everywhere. If being a bad guy isn’t your style, you can also play as a cop that’s trying to prevent the opposition from snatching the booty.
While the game’s extreme levels of action are pretty awesome, this is a Battlefield game by name only. Seemingly, the sole aspect that ties the title to its namesake are the tools developer Visceral Games used to make the game and what you use to wreak havoc on the ground. Hardline is essentially a re-skinned Battlefield 4: cops kill the robbers, and robbers, well, they kill cops. Each side is essentially the same, despite their respective vocations, and are soldiers fighting a virtual war. And you’d be justified to remain cautious about whether the game will work as advertised at launch based on series history. There’s a beta test happening right now, well ahead of the fall release, should you be (morbidly) curious about how the game plays.
Let me get this out of the way up front: Alien: Isolation is difficult. The developers at Creative Assembly not only nailed the atmosphere of director Ridley Scott’s sci-fi masterpiece, but they ensured that I respected just how fragile life in deep space is when the hulking monstrosity pictured above is out to murder you every chance it gets. My demo tasked me with few objectives, but most related directly to me making it toward the next area in one piece. That didn’t happen. However, with each successive go at it, I made considerably more progress toward my goal. On my first attempt, I tried sprinting down a desolate corridor with the intent to make it through the doors I imagined were at the other side. No dice; the xenomorph noticed me before I even knew it was there and the next thing I knew, its double mouth punched another hole in my face.
The next attempt I made it a little further, grabbing a flame-thrower before I exited the first room and figuring out how to use my motion tracker — the latter of which caused me to fail an optional objective. When I rounded the first corner and the alien spotted me, I darted back and jumped into a storage locker, figuring I’d be safe. Nope. The alien ripped me from my haven and murdered me. On my third try, I noticed a series of air vents big enough to crawl through. Huddling down, I crouched and made my way into the first one that I’d spotted. Hooray! Progress! That was short-lived. I got cocky and thought that I could traverse to the next one without paying attention to where the xeno was. I’d heard the thundering footsteps behind me but figured I’d be safe as the vent closed behind me. Not so much: the alien reached through and ripped me out of there, making my face a see-through in the process. I loved it.
You’re a fan of the tough-as-nails Dark Souls series, yeah? Then you’ll likely feel right at home in its mastermind’s latest, the PlayStation 4 exclusive Bloodborne. Atmosphere and mood aren’t the only things the game is dripping with. As the title implies, there’s also a lot of blood. Buckets of it. Set in a 19th century gothic city, your task is to eliminate the blight plaguing it by any means necessary, be it with a giant straight razor or a hand cannon, and well, trying to not die too much in the process. As combat proceeds, the player character becomes covered in progressively more blood, and it never faded away during my hands-off demo. Getting a sense for how difficult the game is wasn’t particularly easy since the presentation had an invincibility mode turned on (staring at loading screens and repeatedly falling at the hands of nightmare creatures and undead townspeople isn’t exactly exciting), but I was assured that the game doesn’t stray far form its roots in terms of just how hard it is. This supposedly makes each victory that much more satisfying. You know, if you’re into that sort of thing.
HOMEFRONT: THE REVOLUTION
What would America feel like under North Korean occupation? That’s the question Homefront: The Revolution wants to answer. You might remember Homefront from a few years back as a hokey, underwhelming shooter from the now-defunct publisher THQ. From what I saw during a presentation, new developer Crytek London took what was good about that game (the concept of an invaded United States), married it with a sense of dread and hopelessness, and added a dash of fancy graphics. The brief demo I caught followed a citizen making his way through the streets of an open-world Philadelphia, passing brothers and sisters in arms who were figuring out how to ration off enough necessities to survive planning an uprising. The sequence reminded me an awful lot of the intro to Half-life 2, Metro 2033 and Resistance 3; the sense of despondency was palpable, thanks in large part to solid voice acting and environmental design. Once the combat started toward the end, Crytek’s other strength showed through: gunplay and weapon design, with the latter sporting an upgrade system with part-by-part modifications akin to the Crysis series. We’re still a year or more off from this game releasing, but it already looks and feels killer.
MORTAL KOMBAT X
I’ve got bad news for you: I don’t play fighting games. The last Mortal Kombat game I played with any sincerity was for PlayStation 2/Xbox, and even then I wasn’t that good at it. So what can I tell you about Mortal Kombat X, Mortal Kombat fan? This game focuses on a gaggle of new characters — somewhat expected given the fatality-laden ending of the last MK game — and Netherrealm Studios had three such new characters available to play at E3 2014. We got a look at all three, as well as returning favorites Scorpion and Sub-zero.
Here’s the good news: Mortal Kombat is still hella fun. Even with my vast ignorance of fighting games, it was a blast leaping around in that world once more, trying my best to avoid Cassie Cage’s utterly revolting “X-ray” move. Like the last MK, “X-ray moves” are back in Mortal Kombat X; one such move has Cassie pulling an homage to her father’s iconic split attack. Not clear enough? She does a split and punches her opponent in the genitals, which I watched explode in X-ray mode. It was the only demo at E3 where I turned to the demo assistant and said, “Really?” Even he, a Netherrealm Studios employee, was a bit bashful about it. Anyway, the other new characters I tried were neat as well, with Ferra/Torr standing out as a highlight (dude throws a person at you to attack — pretty serious!). The game is way early at this point, but it looks to be shaping up really well already.
Ben Gilbert, Brad Molen and Joseph Volpe contributed to this report
[Image credit: AFP/Getty Images]
Today, we dive into the realm of laser-cut clothing, review the Lumia 630, break down the benefits of the recent Xbox One update and take a look at Nike’s new Android Fuelband app. Read on for Engadget’s news highlights from the last 24 hours.
Say hello to the Lumia 630, one of Nokia’s last in-house handsets. This entry-level WP device is comfortable to hold and packs a decent camera, but really, that’s about it. And with an expected price of $200, there are plenty of better, cheaper options available.
Did the Xbox One June update actually provide developers with access to more CPU power? Yes. But as it turns out, that boost doesn’t come at the cost of your Kinect.
What’s at the convergence of science and fashion? Laser-cut clothing, that’s what. Read on for everything you need to know about such intricately designed garments and their impact on the industry.
Own a Fuelband and an Android handset? Listen up: you too can finally join the ranks with iPhone users and track fitness statistics on your mobile thanks to Nike’s newly released Android Fuelband app.
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Filed under: Misc
If you sell a voice-activated console, it’s probably wise not to have people in your advert uttering the key phrase. Someone at Microsoft missed that point when they asked Aaron Paul to bark “Xbox on” at his TV to promote the Xbox One. More than a few people have commented on Twitter that the Breaking Bad star has inadvertently activated their consoles thanks to Kinect’s well-tuned microphones. Cheaper faster and now immune to celebrity interference? The reasons to buy a Kinect-free Xbone are stacking up.
Source: BBC News
Sony’s odd augmented reality demo / broadcasting tool Playroom is getting some new features. At its E3 2014 event, Sony announced the PlayStation app will be updated with custom broadcast sets, just in time for the addition of YouTube. That could help your trip to broadcast stardom, unless you choose to take a slightly less savory approach to content, which helped get the app banned from Twitch.