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:
Microsoft doesn't plan on providing any compensation to those who have already bought an Xbox One, according to Eurogamer, though one has to ask the question - why would they? After yesterday's announcement that it would start offering the Xbox One without a Kinect for $399, GameSpot decided to ask Microsoft if it planned to offer any freebies to early adopters of the system.
Naturally the answer is an emphatic "no."
Microsoft has finally completed its acquisition of mobile phone maker Nokia. The completion of the acquisition follows approval from Nokia shareholders and various governmental regulatory agencies around the world. Microsoft announced on Sept. 3 of last year that it intended to acquire Nokia for a total of $7.5 billion in cash. The deal consisted of approximately $5 billion and an agreement to license Nokia's patents for $2.17 billion.
Microsoft revealed this week that it generated $20.40 billion in revenue and a net income of $5.66 billion in the third quarter of fiscal year 2014. The company attributes those numbers to sales of Xbox consoles. The company says that it sold 2 million Xbox console units over the quarter, including 1.2 million Xbox Ones. We assume the remainders of that number belong to Xbox 360 sales...
Microsoft announced this morning that the Xbox One will (finally) be launching in Japan on Sept. 4. The company did not say how much the system would retail for when it is released. It is pretty surprising that Microsoft is waiting until almost the end of the year to bring its current generation system into Japan.
Microsoft is inviting fans to join them as they unearth the urban legend surrounding the supposed “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” video game burial site. Excavation on the site will take place on Saturday, April 26, 2014 from 9:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. at the Alamogordo Landfill (4276 Highway 54 S) in Alamogordo, New Mexico.
Phil Spencer has been named the new Head of Xbox at Microsoft. In his new role he'll be in charge of Xbox Live, Xbox Music, Xbox Video and Microsoft Studios. Spencer says that he will employ a "gaming first" philosophy at the Microsoft division, making sure that video games are the most important component of the Xbox One.
During the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco this week, Microsoft offered more details on some of the games that are coming to Xbox One as part of its self-publishing program, ID@Xbox. Microsoft revealed 25 games that are being developed through the program for Xbox One including 1001 Spikes by Nicalis, It Draws a Red Box by Other Ocean, and Roundabout by No Goblin.
Marc Whitten, best known as the chief product officer of Xbox at Microsoft, has left the company. Whitten has worked at Microsoft for the last 14 years and was key in launching all three Xbox systems, from the original console back in 2001 to the Xbox One last year. Whitten will take up the same role as chief product officer at wireless audio company Sonos.
Microsoft has softened its position on enforcing the controversial parity clause in its agreement with independent developers who join the ID@Xbox program for Xbox One. Normally the clause in ID@Xbox program agreement requires independent developers interested in self-publishing on Xbox One to release their games on Microsoft's console or at the same time as it does on other platforms like the PS4.
Speaking at SXSW this weekend, Microsoft Studios corporate vice president Phil Spencer said that Xbox’s Games with Gold program (it's free monthly game giveaway for Xbox 360 - and eventually Xbox One) is "fundamentally different" than "other programs" (we assume he is referring the PlayStation Plus for PS3 and PS4) because it allows members to keep the games regardless of whether they continue to pay for a subscription or not.
Xbox executive Phil Spencer has publicly praised outgoing Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Jack Tretton, who has been one of Microsoft's chief rivals for the last decade or so. Tretton announced yesterday that he will leave his post as president and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America on March 31.
Microsoft issued a brief statement today to Polygon offering assurances to players concerned about Killer Instinct being abandoned after news surfaced that Amazon had acquired the game's developer Double Helix.
A Microsoft spokesperson told Polygon that Microsoft Studios will be working with a "new development partner" on Killer Instinct for Xbox One going forward.
Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith said in a blog post today that President Obama's proposed changes to how the National Security Agency collects and stores both phone and internet data is not enough.
"Despite the President’s reform efforts and our ability to publish more information, there has not yet been any public commitment by either the U.S. or other governments to renounce the attempted hacking of Internet companies," Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith said. "This has been and remains a major concern across the tech sector."
A NeoGAF thread reveals a bold initiative from Microsoft whereby they'll knock $100 off the price of the Xbox One for any consumer willing to turn in their old PS3 system. The ad, which is reportedly from the official Microsoft Store, lists a number of terms and conditions related to the trade-in deal: