Tag Archives: Microsoft

WEEKLY NEWS UPDATE FOR 8TH – 14TH SEPTEMBER

Headline Of The Week

Microsoft are reportedly in talks with Mojang, the developers of sales juggernaut Minecraft, to buy the studio – and if the latest reports from Reuters are to be believed, the ballpark figure for the acquisition is an astonishing $2.5 BILLION.

ALL HAIL THE CATHEDRAL OF GREEN!
ALL HAIL THE CATHEDRAL OF GREEN!

If the rumors of the deal are true then this is strange news indeed, as Mojang’s founder Markus Persson has regularly criticized Microsoft in the past (going as far as claiming that the company were trying to ‘ruin the PC as an open platform’ with Windows 8) – and given Minecraft’s availability on virtual every system under the sun as well (except ironically on Windows Phones), you would suspect that any exclusivity for future content or a possible sequel would not go down well with those already infatuated with the game. More to the point, two billion dollars  is a simply ludicrous amount to splash out for a studio that, despite Minecraft’s enviable success, is essentially a one hit wonder.

The Reuters report claims that the deal could be completed as soon as Monday; so watch this space for one of the most expensive and odd deals in video game history to happen.

EDIT: As predicted, the deal has gone through at the reported price, with Mojang’s three founders stepping down to pursue other interests. A good summary of the deal can be found here.

Continue reading WEEKLY NEWS UPDATE FOR 8TH – 14TH SEPTEMBER

E3 2014: Five Predictions For The Event

Predicting what may come to pass each year at the major conferences at E3 is an arcane art, based almost entirely on wild speculation and messages received from magic 8-balls – even still, it doesn’t stop people from at least having a go.

The correct prediction of surprises may be even harder than ever at E3 2014, mainly because so many games have already been announced prior to the show making the conferences almost seem like a forgone conclusion. In any case I’ve listed below five things that I reckon could happen; some of them ambitious, some of them perhaps more ironclad than expected Continue reading E3 2014: Five Predictions For The Event

WEEKLY NEWS UPDATE FOR 12TH – 18TH MAY

Headline Of The Week

If there is anything to take out of this week, it’s that we’ve all apparently been lied to. You don’t need to wait until June 9th for all the big E3 announcements, because the likes of Microsoft and Ubisoft have been spilling the beans on projects left, right and centre over the past seven days.

Let’s start with the big news from Microsoft – starting from June 9th in all markets, you will be able to purchase an Xbox One without a Kinect sensor for £349; a price cut of just under £70 from the original RRP. Whereas the Kinect had been placed as ‘an absolutely integral part of the Xbox One experience’ and was originally set to be a mandatory requirement, a dearth of games utilizing the system, negative consumer feedback and the fact that the move now puts Microsoft’s console on a level pricing field to the PlayStation 4 seems to have forced Microsoft’s hand yet again on the console – which has earned a reputation for u-turns in policy.

The other announcements from Microsoft this week also suggest that they are finally in tune with the modern gaming audience; namely the requirement to have an Xbox Live Gold account to use entertainment apps on Xbox 360 and Xbox One is to be dropped in June as well (meaning that services including Netflix which require their own subscription and simpler applications like Internet Explorer or Twitch, free to use on pretty much every other device in the world, are no longer behind a paywall). Consumers will still need a Gold account to get online multiplayer and Games With Gold, but even the latter has received some boosting news – the service will be coming to Xbox One in June, debuting with Max: Curse Of The Brotherhood and Halo: Spartan Assault, while 360 owners will get Dark Souls, Charlie Murder & Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition.

Oh yeah – and Halo 5: Guardians has been confirmed for an Autumn 2015 release.

The question is now then – are you more tempted to pick up an Xbox One?

Continue reading WEEKLY NEWS UPDATE FOR 12TH – 18TH MAY

Dazcooke’s Video Game Land Review Of 2013

The year of 2013 has been a busy one; between balancing the last year of my extended stay at University and finally entering the daily grind of the working world, time has gone by much quicker than I would have perhaps preferred. It’s important then to take the time for a brief retrospective, not only to supplement the lazy journalism that comes with the end of the year but because when I stop and think back, it has been another banner year for videogames. Continue reading Dazcooke’s Video Game Land Review Of 2013

Microsoft Announces U-Turn On DRM & Online Policies For The Xbox One

If you have checked any gaming website in the past two hours, then you won’t have failed to notice that Microsoft have announced an enormous reversal in their policies regarding online gameplay and digital rights management for the Xbox One. In a nutshell, whereas before the Xbox One required you to connect to the internet every 24 hours in order to authenticate games to play and locked games to a single Xbox Live account, Don Mattrick has now confirmed via the official Xbox News website that this won’t be the case after feedback from consumers. The following is quoted directly from the site: Continue reading Microsoft Announces U-Turn On DRM & Online Policies For The Xbox One

Dazcooke’s Video Game Land Review Of 2012

2012 – a year that promised much, and will no doubt go down in the textbooks as one of the most interesting years of modern times. The Olympics offered a summer of sporting enjoyment in Britain, a Korean man dancing like a horse became the most popular thing the internet has ever churned out, and the world didn’t end as predicted by ancient calendars running out. Each point to their own a notable landmark I guess.

And so what of the world of videogames? It was an enviable task set for this year by the exploits of 2011; a year where games reached levels of exceptional quality in some cases. 2012 was a horrifically clichéd year in that some things were very good, and some things very poor. Below is my run through the year; I’ve broken away from looking specifically at the big three companies in detail to allow some more room for analysis, and to keep the points a bit shorter for reading purposes. Continue reading Dazcooke’s Video Game Land Review Of 2012

E3 2012: Notes From The Five Conferences And Reaction

And so the dust has finally settled on the main conferences at the Electronic Entertainment Expo; over the last two days Microsoft, EA, Ubisoft, Sony and Nintendo have all held their annual E3 media pitches. As with last year, I was furiously typing all the way through the conferences making notes, and below is my quick round up of all the relevant stuff from the two days. Continue reading E3 2012: Notes From The Five Conferences And Reaction

Minecraft And Trials Evolution Dated And Priced For Xbox Live Arcade

As part of its ‘Arcade NEXT’ promotion (yeah, I hadn’t heard about this before today either), Microsoft have just released details of four upcoming XBLA titles to be released in April and May. These games also mark a change in policy on Xbox Live, as Arcade games will now feature 400 Gamerscore with 30 achievements to unlock. Below is the marketing jargon for each game to be released.

TRIALS EVOLUTION, April 18 for 1200 Microsoft Points

“Trials Evolution” is on every front, the next dimension of the smash-hit, award-winning “Trials HD.” Bust out of the warehouse into an outdoor world of night and day, curved driving lines, and spectacular scenery. Multiplayer comes alive in your living room or on Xbox LIVE. Build your own tracks with the in-game editor or download those of any other player from the new Track Central. Customize your bike and rider with awesome gear and unique parts, enjoy innovative skill games, try ghost racing, beat your friends’ scores and more! Don’t miss the madness!

BLOODFORGE, April 25 for 1200 Microsoft Points

With a brutal combat system, stunning art style, and a deeply compelling story, “Bloodforge” empowers you to slaughter hordes of demonic soldiers, deformed worshippers, and the gods themselves, using ferocious Rage Kills, devastating Rune attacks, and furious Weapon Combos. Help seal Crom’s fate – and the fate of the rest of the world – in this dark, visceral story of revenge, betrayal, and destiny.

FABLE HEROES, May 2 for 800 Microsoft Points

“Fable Heroes” is an action-packed, hack-and-slash adventure built for Xbox LIVE Arcade. It delivers a fresh spin on the “Fable” franchise with a unique art style and gameplay that takes playful competition to the next level. Whether on the couch or using Xbox LIVE, up to four players work together to defeat enemies while also competing with one another to collect gold coins and level up. Precious gold collected in Fable Heroes can be imported into the forthcoming Kinect title, Fable: The Journey, providing players with a valuable head start from day one.

MINECRAFT: XBOX 360 EDITION, May 9 for 1600 Microsoft Points

The infinite possibilities in “Minecraft” just got bigger. “Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition” brings the global phenomenon to console gamers for the first time. The Xbox LIVE Arcade version of the game features an innovative new crafting interface, natural controller movements, a full Tutorial mode to teach the basics and for the first time in “Minecraft,” split-screen multiplayer as well as over Xbox LIVE.

So, Minecraft will be with us in May, and Trials Evolution (which looks properly superb) will be with us much earlier than expected. Cheers Microsoft!

Wii U To Be Released By The End Of The Year, Final Fantasy XIII-2 Gets Mixed Reviews & HD Remakes For 10th Anniversary Of Phoenix Wright

Good morning everyone; I apologise that I haven’t been able to get much out in terms of news recently as I have been beavering away on my dissertation. Consider this a quick round up of news from the past week or so:

  • Have you been looking at the Wii stashed in the corner of your room recently and thought ‘Man…I wish the Wii U would come out soon’? Well fear no more, because Nintendo President Satoru Iwata confirmed that the console will be released in this calendar year. Speaking at an investor meeting, Mr Iwata claimed that the console will be ready to buy in all regions by the time that 2013 rolls around. This is encouraging news for the Big N, who also had to swallow the bad news at the meeting that they will be making a loss this year…of 65 billion Yen (£535 million).
  • In other news on the eight generation front, the Marketing Director of Microsoft France has stated in a recent interview not to expect a console reveal from Microsoft this year. He makes the good point that the company has yet to slash the price of a Xbox 360 yet (usually a sure sign that the next gen is on the way), but this is all up against overwhelming feeling that we WILL see a new console at some point this year – possibly with Blu Ray support and ‘six times the power’ of the current console if rumours are to be believed. I maintain my opinion: they have to release at least something in order to not fall behind Nintendo in the race for the next generation of gaming.
  • The first big console release of the year, Final Fantasy XIII-2 has been getting a mixed reaction across the board. It seems the general consensus is that it’s a better game than Final Fantasy XIII, but in removing the linearity of that game Square Enix have left behind a sub standard story and retained the auto battle system. It’s all a bit disheartening – I played and quite enjoyed the demo (I like the whole idea of recruiting monsters and giving them hats to wear), but in a strange case of déjà vu, just like with XIII I have been put off a day one purchase. No doubt I will get round to playing it eventually.
  • Happy 10th anniversary to Phoenix Wright – the ace attorney who has made court cases fun and made shouting ‘OBJECTION!!!’ in the middle of a busy street an acceptable thing to do…well I exaggerate but you get the point. And to celebrate the birthday, Capcom are making a fifth game in the series, most likely to be an exclusive on the 3DS. Not only that, but the first three games in the series (Ace Attorney, Justice For All & Trials And Tribulations) will all be getting a HD remake for iOS and Android platforms. Early reports suggest that prices may be as low as 1,200 Yen ($15) for all three, which is a bargain considering the originals are quite rare and can be found going for about £30 apiece online at the moment. And that’s not even mentioning the upcoming Phoenix Wright/Professor Layton crossover being developed by the excellent Level 5 for 3DS.
  • If ever you needed convincing that Street Fighter X Tekken will be better on the PS3 than the Xbox 360, this week we got news that confirmed it – the PS3 and PS Vita versions of the game will be getting two exclusive characters, in the form of Mega Man and Pac Man.
  • The Witcher 2, the RPG that got some serious acclaim on the PC last year, has a confirmed release date for Xbox 360 – it will be arriving on April 17th 2012.
  • Finally, news from the realm of digital downloads – we learnt this week what the most popular titles were on both PSN and Xbox Live for 2012. On PSN, an old favourite took the crown as Tetris was the most downloaded game ahead of the HD remake of Resident Evil 4, while the god simulator From Dust shifted 375,000 units on Xbox Live to be the best selling title ahead of the still very-popular Castle Crashers.

A few shameless plugs to make before I head off – you may have noticed my new feature on the blog showcasing some of my favourite Video Game Music; all the tracks are split into individuals posts if you go to the ‘Best VGM’ link at the top of the page. Finally, I recently did a pilot pod-cast with Callum Loughlin, a good friend of mine from Lincoln University, where we talked about video games for about two hours. If you have time to burn, you can listen to the fruits of our labours for free by downloading the pod-cast from ITunes via this link.

Dazcooke’s Video Game Land Review Of 2011

Welcome everyone, to the first of what I hope will become an annual event on this blog – my review of the gaming industry in the year that was 2011. On a personal note, it has been a pleasure to have consistently updated this blog throughout the year, and thank you to everyone who has supported it via constructive criticism, or even things as simple as comments and views – I hope to continue in a positive form next year. But alas, the world is bigger than myself, and that is what the focus is in this article.

It wouldn’t be a massive exaggeration to claim that this has been the biggest year for games in ages, certainly since the release of the Nintendo Wii in 2006. The overall calibre of games has been on a notable rise this year, with a handful becoming instant classics, and the industry as a whole has advanced even further to consolidate its place as a genuine rival to the other great entertainment mediums such as film. That is not to say the year has been devoid of mistakes and mess-ups; amongst the success stories, there are a quite a few cock-ups that are well worth mentioning. Continue reading Dazcooke’s Video Game Land Review Of 2011