Microsoft will be the first console maker to launch a console in China since the government lifted its 14-year ban on home console systems in January of this year. Today Microsoft revealed that it plans to launch the console system on Sept. 23 for approximately $600, or ¥3,699 RMB.
Microsoft has partnered with China-based BesTV to manufacture and sell the system in the region. One of the conditions the government put on console makers is that the systems had to be manufactured in the country.
According to this Bloomberg report, Microsoft is planning to cut a number of jobs in its Xbox division as part of an overall restructuring plan. Two anonymous sources familiar with the situation have told Bloomberg that overall cuts could end up being the biggest number of layoffs since 2009 when the company laid off 5,800 employees.
Microsoft has denied a report coming from Digital Spy claiming that the company planned on canning the Xbox One's ability to double as a development kit for developers who want to create games for Xbox One. The report is based on comments made by the Xbox Advanced Technology Group's Martin Fuller, who said the company has no plans to implement the previously announced feature.
Sony Computer Entertainment president Andrew House said during a presentation at the Develop conference today that the company changed its 2013 E3 script at the last minute because of fan reaction to various missteps by Microsoft on a number of issues - particularly its stance on used games. House emphasized that it never changed its policies in response to Microsoft but it did tweak its E3 press conference presentation to highlight the PS4's strengths.
UK-based Dovetail Games announced that it has signed a global licensing deal with Microsoft to develop and publish all-new games based on Microsoft’s popular flight simulation technology. The company said in a press release today that it is currently investigating new concepts in this area and is expecting to bring a release to market in 2015.
Dovetail Games also announced that it acquired the rights to distribute Microsoft Flight Simulator X: Gold Edition via Steam. The new release on Steam will be sold under the name, Microsoft Flight Simulator X: Steam Edition.
On this week's show hosts Andrew Eisen and E. Zachary Knight talk about Nintendo president Satoru Iwata's health and being reelected by the company's board, a bunch of topics related to Electronic Arts, and whether Microsoft should bother selling the Kinect separately from the Xbox One. All this and more awaits in the latest episode of the Super PAC. Download Episode 104 now: SuperPAC Episode 104 (1 hour, 13 minutes) 84.1 MB.
Stephen Toulouse, the former policy and enforcement director at Xbox Live, is once again representing the Microsoft brand with his new job as director of Community Engagement on the upcoming Gears of War game for Xbox One. Toulouse actually joined Black Tusk Studios awhile ago, according to what he wrote on his personal blog.
Phil Spencer, head of Xbox at Microsoft says that separating the Kinect from Xbox One at retail will not drive game developers away from utilizing the device. Speaking to GII, Spencer said that Microsoft expects that the stand-alone Kinect will sell well and the success of the device and the software that uses it is heavily reliant on having a strong Xbox One install base.
Microsoft continues to refute that it is shutting Games For Windows Live down in July. In August of last year a support update on Xbox.com stated, "Games for Windows Live will be discontinued on July 1, 2014". That message was later removed and Microsoft has denied that it is shutting down the multiplayer service for PC games ever since.
Xbox head Phil Spencer says Microsoft will continue to create and release more games for the last-generation Xbox 360 because it is "obligated to support Xbox 360" for the remainder of its life cycle.
In an E3 interview with UK publication Metro, Spencer attempted to explain why the company isn't dropping all of its efforts to focus exclusively on boosting Xbox One's first-party lineup of games.
Microsoft hasn't been the best of friends with the PC gaming community over the last few years. While the company says that it has a lot of faith in the PC gaming space, you can always tell how strongly they feel about something by how much they highlight it at E3. And at this year's E3 Microsoft didn't even talk about PC games or show any that we know of.
Investment research firm Baird Equity Research has released a report related to E3, providing predications and opinions on the biggest players. One of the more interesting predictions is that Sony will preload digital copies of Bungie's Destiny and Blizzard's Diablo III beginning this fall. The firm says that this will be an optional thing for consumers. This "should drive higher sell-through for Activision, but at the cost of retail sales," the firm notes.
It's E3 week and Microsoft, Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Sony and Nintendo are doing their damnedest to convince us to buy their stuff.
Earlier this week, Nintendo had a digital event announcing it's upcoming games while the other four hosted full press conferences. Who had the best show?
If you need a refresher, you can read our recaps here:
Reminder: You can watch the biggest E3 press conferences on Twitch, starting at 9:30 am PST (that's 12:30 pm EST) with Microsoft's big E3 event.
Later today Electronic Arts will host its press conference, followed by Ubisoft, and then way later in the evening Sony will host its event for the show.
The Electronics Entertainment Expo is next week and kicking it off is a round of press conferences where the biggest publishers will try and dazzle you with game announcements and spectacle in an attempt to win your dollars.
Of course, these presentations rarely go off without a hitch. Everything from technical failures such as Nintendo's Skyward Sword demo from 2011 or EA's Battlefield 4 false start last year to horrible hosts such as "Mr. Caffeine" from Ubisoft's 2011 presser and Jamie Kennedy who MC'd Activision's show in 2007.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says he has no intention of selling the Xbox business.
"I have no intent to do anything different with Xbox than we are doing today," Nadella told reporters at the Code Conference in California this week, according to The Verge.
Microsoft has announced the pricing and SKUs that it will offer when it launches the Xbox One in Japan on September 4. Two bundles will be available to Japanese gamers on September 4: one with the Kinect bundled in for 49,980 yen ($490) and one without the motion sensor device for 39,980 yen ($392).
According to the industrial designer who helped build the prototype for the Xbox One, the Kinect motion sensing camera was built into the device at one point. In an interview with Develop, Xbox industrial designer Carl Ledbetter said that the Kinect was once built into the Xbox One unit, but Microsoft ultimately rejected the idea because the system was too large.
Last week we asked our readers, "Will the Removal of the Kinect Help Xbox One Sales?" Half of voters said that the new Kinect-free version of Xbox One will in fact help the company close the sales gap between the Xbox One and the PS4, but that Microsoft will not be able to surpass Sony by the year's end.
On this week's show, hosts Andrew Eisen and E. Zachary Knight discuss whether the unbundling of the Kinect will help Xbox One sales, the NPD Group's latest report on core gamer trends, and ISPs threatening to take their ball and go home if net neutrality passes. Download Episode 99 now: SuperPAC Episode 99 (1 hour, 5 minutes) 75 MB.
Rare has suffered a number of high profile layoffs, which Microsoft is describing as part of a decision to change the "development process" at the UK studio. A little under 20 employees have been given pink slips, including veteran programmer Chris Sutherland and designer Gavin Price.
Sutherland, a twenty year veteran at Rare, has worked on such games as Battletoads, three Donkey Kong Country games, and the Banjo-Kazooie series. He also is the voice of Banjo-Kazooie.
Starting June 9th, gamers will be able to purchase the Xbox One without the Kinect for $399.99, the same price the PS4 currently retails for.
That should level the playing field a bit, no?
As of early April, Sony announced that it had sold more than 7 million units. Microsoft says Xbox One has sold more than 5 million. Will unbundling the Kinect help the Xbox One sell more consoles? Enough to catch the PS4 by the year's end?
Microsoft will offer refunds to Xbox Live Gold subscribers who want to cancel their membership when new service policies go into effect in June. The company said yesterday that Xbox Live users will no longer require a Gold subscription to access Netflix and other entertainment apps beginning next month. Gold will still be needed for online gaming and to benefit from promotions like Games with Gold on Xbox One and Xbox 360.
Following a June system update for Xbox One and Xbox 360, users will be able to request a refund on their Gold subscription, according to Microsoft: