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Microsoft announces “Project Natal” motion controller for Xbox 360

Posted in Xbox 360 by Conner Flynn on June 1st, 2009

Microsoft announces "Project Natal" motion controller for Xbox 360The Xbox 360 motion controller is real. Today at E3, Microsoft unveiled the motion controller we’d been hearing about for awhile. The device is codenamed “Natal” and will allow for a very wide range of actions by using a group of sensors.

The accessory will even be capable of handling multiple users during single sessions. The demo Microsoft showed off at E3 included a skateboarding game and a family playing a racing game (tires were changed by the dad while the daughter handled the driving).

Microsoft working on 300,000 player MMO and next Xbox?

Posted in Xbox 360 by Conner Flynn on May 31st, 2009

Microsoft working on 300,000 player MMO and next Xbox?A Microsoft job listing seems to hint that the company is working both on the successor to the Xbox 360 and a massively multi-player online game (MMO) capable of hosting 300,000 players all at a time.

The advertisement reads: “Microsoft Games Studios is looking for experienced game developers to work on next generation Xbox platform titles and Windows games.” Specifically, Microsoft Game Studios is looking for: “an experienced server developer to help develop our server architecture. We are building an extremely high performance system to extend console games to the server in new ways; creating a completely new set of web services to support dynamic programming information of games and scheduling data.” And that’s not all, Microsoft is currently “building a backend capable of hosting a 300,000 player game in real-time with real money on the line (anti-cheating, etc).”

Sky to put live content on the Xbox 360

Posted in Xbox 360 by Conner Flynn on May 31st, 2009

Microsoft denies Blu-ray player rumors for the Xbox 360Sky and Microsoft are striking a deal that will see the Xbox 360 Console playing live broadcast TV. Xbox users will be able to upgrade to Sky channels this autumn in the UK and Ireland. Xbox owners would have access to sports and programs, and also be able to order movies on demand without a set-top box or satellite dish.

Existing Sky subscribers don’t have to worry. The company has hinted at reduced costs if they prefer to use the Xbox console. The line-up of channels and content available on the Xbox would be similar to the existing Sky Player service, available on PCs and Macs.

Microsoft Xbox 360 sells 30 million

Posted in Xbox 360 by Conner Flynn on May 28th, 2009

60GB Microsoft Xbox 360Microsoft has just announced that the Xbox 360 video game console has sold over 30 million units since the device was released several years go. Quite a milestone. Sales of the console have increased 28 percent this year alone, and over 20 million people are signed up to the Xbox Live network.

So what will Microsoft be showing off at E3 for the Xbox 360? We’ll have to wait and see, but likely we will be getting a look at the new motion-sensing camera, Metal Gear Solid 4 for the Xbox 360, and who knows what else? One thing is for sure, the Xbox 360 is kicking butt and taking names.

Zune video services moving to Xbox Live

Posted in Microsoft by Darrin Olson on May 27th, 2009

Zune video services to be integrated into Xbox LiveAlmost true to rumors, along with the press release from Microsoft late Tuesday about the new Zune HD release, the company announced they will be extending the Zune video service into Xbox LIVE this fall as well.

“The Zune music player is an integral part of the overall Zune experience, and we’re proud to be growing and extending our offering beyond the device,” said Enrique Rodriguez in the Microsoft press release on Tuesday. Rodriguez is the corporate vice president of the Microsoft TV, Video and Music Business Group.

Microsoft makes Zune HD Official

Posted in Media Players by Darrin Olson on May 27th, 2009

Microsoft officially launches Zune HDMicrosoft made the official announcement late Tuesday that the Zune HD, the next generation of the Zune media player, would indeed be hitting the market in the near future. The Zune HD packs some new features including built-in HD radio, high-def video out, OLED multi-touch screen, WiFi and an included internet browser.

Microsoft adds Netflix streaming to Windows Media Center

Posted in Microsoft by Shane McGlaun on May 21st, 2009

wmcnetflix-sbNetflix has been around for a while now with its mail order movie rentals. The service proved so popular that it has put a serious crimp in the rental business of some of the big players like Blockbuster. Netflix also offer a 12,000 title streaming library.

The streaming Netflix library can be accessed through set top boxes like the one from Roku and some Blu-ray players. Netflix also boasts a million installed users for the streaming application on the Xbox 360.

Microsoft SideShow offers gamers a secondary touchscreen

Posted in Microsoft by Conner Flynn on May 20th, 2009

Microsoft SideShow offers gamers a secondary touchscreenMicrosoft’s SideShow is a secondary sub-display running off of a Windows Vista system. It hasn’t been as popular as the company had hoped, but now they’re setting their sights on gamers to rejuvenate the concept. The idea is a 6.4-inch touchscreen that is switchable between portrait and landscape orientation, which would present game-specific controls and free up the main display.

Imagine an RPG title that could shift its control palette to the SideShow display, leaving the main monitor for the primary interface, or racing games that could offer a separate rear-view mirror. Yes, it has a lot of potential in gaming.

Screenshots of Office 2010

Posted in Microsoft by Conner Flynn on May 18th, 2009

Screenshots of Office 2010At one point, Microsoft Office had the code name office 14, at least until January, but it looks like Microsoft has decided to use the release year name. So, the next version is to be called Office 2010. Arstechnica has a bunch of leaked screenshots of Office 2010 which should go to testers in 2 months.

Office 2010 will arrive next year and include Access 2010, Excel 2010, InfoPath 2010, OneNote 2010, Outlook 2010, PowerPoint 2010, Project 2010, Publisher 2010, SharePoint Designer 2010, SharePoint Workspace 2010, Visio 2010 and Word 2010.

Microsoft working on Digital Entertainment handheld

Posted in Xbox 360 by Conner Flynn on May 17th, 2009

Microsoft working on Digital Entertainment handheldHere’s a rumor that we’d all like to see come true. A handheld portable that combines the Xbox 360 with the Zune. The project is codenamed “xYz,” and is said to feature a WVGA touchscreen. It will let you play music and movies on the device as well as the Xbox 360.

Team Xbox claims to have sources inside Microsoft who are working on just such a device. We’re talking about a connected handheld gaming system with sweet multimedia features. Obviously we want. But will it ever come to life?

HTC Magic offers Microsoft Exchange support

Posted in HTC by Conner Flynn on May 15th, 2009

HTC Magic offers Microsoft Exchange supportLooks like the HTC Magic will feature Microsoft Exchange support, which will allow users to synchronize with their Outlook emails, contacts and calendar entries in a hassle-free way. Just make sure you keep your HTC Magic juiced up if you’re relying on a push connection.

This is interesting because there is a lack of native Exchange ActiveSync support on the T-Mobile G1 so far, restricting its use in the corporate world.

New Apple ad responds to Microsoft Laptop Hunters

Posted in Apple by Conner Flynn on May 13th, 2009

applead from Gizmodo on Vimeo.
In Apple’s typically smug fashion, they have once again responded to Microsoft’s Laptop Hunters ads. This one features a Lauren-type actress giving her list of specifications, and the suited PCs are disqualified a few at a time, until eventually they all leave.

The entire ad war is pretty silly and stupid. Having said that, say what you want about Microsoft’s ads, but they are rarely condescending and smug as Apple ads often are. Just kinda leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

Microsoft “Pink” specs leak

Posted in Zune Phone by Conner Flynn on May 12th, 2009

Microsoft "Pink" specs leakHere’s some more Zune/Windows Mobile rumors. According to Mary Jo Foley at ZDNet she has specs for Windows Mobile 7 Chassis 1, the heart of that rumored “Pink” smartphone. Here’s the rundown.

Chassis 1 phones will all have 3.5-inch or larger multitouch displays with ARM v6+ processors and OpenGL ES 2.0-compatible graphics hardware, 256MB or more of RAM and 1GB or more of storage, as well as at least a 3 megapixel camera, GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth, compass, and accelerometer. And a 3.5mm headphone jack is required. Get this. NVIDIA’s Tegra platform is specifically listed as meeting the core CPU requirements, as well as TI’s OMAP 3 platform and “Qualcomm 8k,”.

WSJ confirms Microsoft’s motion-sensing 3D camera for Xbox 360

Posted in Xbox 360 by Conner Flynn on May 12th, 2009

Xbox 360 getting full-body motion control?Craving news about Microsoft’s full body motion control trick? The Wall Street Journal can help. They’ve confirmed that Microsoft is in fact “developing a new videocamera for its Xbox 360 videogame console that will allow players to control games with the movement of their bodies,”.

Unlike Nintendo’s Wii, the Microsoft camera won’t require gamers to “hold any hardware in their hands to control in-game action,”. We may just see it debut at E3.

New Zune phone in June?

Posted in Zune Phone by Conner Flynn on May 12th, 2009

Z2K bug makes 30GB Zunes fail at 12AM, December 31stAnother Zune phone rumor has surfaced. If it all pans out we may have a Zune phone this June. It all started with a Twitter update from the Microsoft Office 2010 team that stated, “June 2009 will be an important month for Zune lovers”, followed by another tweet mentioning “New product launch, that’s all I’m allowed to say. Hold off from buying an iPhone/Pre. :)”.

That suggests that this is more than a new Zune portable media player. Something to do with E3? That’s about all we know at the moment. At any rate, looks like it will be Zune this June.