Computex is next week, and we've pretty much heard all we need to before the official unveilings of new cards from both AMD and Nvidia. AMD in particular is going to be extremely interesting - with a brand new range of cards boasting the first ever High-Bandwidth Memory support. They're also going to be DirectX 12 compliant, which is going to be the other deadly edge to the sword.
Kinect. Some love Microsoft’s motion-sensing peripheral, while most realise that it’s very nearly useless for anything other than controlling the Xbox – something that can be done just fine using a regular controller. Since Microsoft’s allowed developers to turn the thing off so they can use more of the machine’s juice to make bigger games look and run better. There’s not been a single blockbuster game that’s made owning the thing worthwhile – and it’s something Microsoft’s finally starting to realise.
The name Casey Hudson is spoken with hushed tones around weird parts of the internet. Following the disappointing ending to Mass Effect 3 (and the utterly ridiculous reaction to it all), Mr Hudson lost a little bit of fandom online. So you're forgiven if you'd forgotten that he left BioWare last August - but his new appointment at Microsoft is wildly exciting.
This week, a batch of Gears of War footage was leaked all over the internet, like the way Darryn leaks all over the inside of his pants when he reads erotic Batman fanfiction. Leaking stuff is very obviously going against the terms and conditions set out in the signed Non–Disclosure Agreements that accompany the opportunity to play very early code. Naturally, Microsoft is unhappy about the leaks. And they’re going to be punishing leakers.
While we still have no idea what Gears of War: Ultimate Edition really is; whether it’s a remastered collection or just the first game. What we do know, thanks to some leaky Brazilians is that it exists. And now, thanks to other leaky bits of the internet, we get to show it to you in action.
Every year, when a new Call of Duty is announced, it’s inevitably plastered with Xbox branding, or words reminding you that the game is coming to, or captured on an Xbox. Microsoft and Activision have long been Call of Duty bedfellows – a situation that presents itself by way of timed exclusivity on all DLC. It usually takes a month for any extra content to hit PC and PlayStation platforms after they’ve made their debut on Xbox. It’s why Xbox is the preferred platform for the people who take their Call of Duty seriously. Is that era over?
Integrated graphic processing units try to make a strong case for passable gaming on laptops, but serve little purpose aside from that. If you're gaming on a desktop, you probably have a chunkier, more powerful graphics card to handle all your 3D needs - letting the integrated work that Intel and AMD bake into their processors essentially go to waste. DirectX 12, however, is going to put it to good use.
If you listen to Microsoft, Augmented Reality – through their HoloLens headset – is the future of computing. While they’ve shown off tech demos that hint at a future possibility, it’s always seemed like pie-in-the-sky stuff. Yesterday at BUILD, Microsoft showed it off again, and it’s starting to look like the future is here.
The Xbox One isn't doing poorly. It's selling faster than the Xbox 360 was at this point in the generation. However, as soon as you compare it to the PS4's runaway sales, it looks much less impressive. In fact, the sales for Xbox One are dropping, as is the brand's revenue.
DirectX 12 is coming (in July!) and will bring significant benefits to PC games, as the API allows developers to get closer to the hardware. It also brings changes to how the Xbox One’s eSRAM is used – which could herald a performance increase in games on Microsoft’s admittedly weaker console. For whatever reasons, Microsoft’s mum on what sort of performance increase we might see in future games on the system. Why is that? According to Stardock’s Brad Wardell, it’s because people don’t really know yet.
Newzoo has a new comparison out for the year. Based on the financial years of 2013 and 2014, we can get a sense of which companies are leading the industry. While we talk about Sony, Microsoft, EA and everyone else who has big stands at E3 all the time, there are other players in this game who are raking in billions.
Last month we told you about Phil Harrison leaving Xbox. Microsoft still wasn't saying anything about it and there was a lot of speculation about where Xbox's other Phil would end up. Well, he won't be needing to update his LinkedIn profile to find a new job - he's making his own company and using Microsoft to help.
Despite my personal admiration for the operating system, Windows 8 hasn't been a massive winner for Microsoft. The adoption rate is still depressingly lower than they would've liked, but they're directly combating this issue with Windows 10. You'll have a full year to snag it for free, and that could be kicking off as early as July.
For many, Don Mattrick is the reason that the Xbox Brand lost favour with “core” gamers – and that could be true. Since he left to go helm the mobile ship, SS Zynga, Microsoft’s public image has turned around considerably. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that Mattrick was able to bring new fortunes to Zynga…which he’s now left too.
I don't have a Kinect. You would think as the only woman in the team, they would have sent me one as well as a variety of fitness or dancing games. However, my Xbox One came solely with the console and controller. I still have mixed feelings at the idea of a camera in my living room - some aspects of "living" shouldn't be seen by outsiders - but plenty of people swear by the power of the Kinect. However, for those who use it on PC, they may need to change their shopping patterns.