With Gamescom in full flow, Microsoft have dropped a few tidbits for Xbox Live and the new Windows Phone Mango Platform coming next month.
- “Avatar Awardables: Like achievements—but wearable. Once unlocked, these items will automatically appear in your avatar closet and can be worn on your avatar’s sleeve as a badge of honor. “Chickens Can’t Fly,” a forthcoming Xbox LIVE release, will be among the first titles to feature them.
- Game Add-ons: In the Xbox LIVE title “Beards & Beaks,” players can purchase extra mushrooms and other items from within the game using Microsoft Points. In the months ahead, keep your eyes out for more titles in Marketplace that let you buy in-game add-ons and downloadable content like extra weapons or levels.
- Parental Controls: The next release of Windows Phone gives parents more control of what content their child can access on Windows Phone, including M-rated (Mature) games. The first M-rated Windows Phone title, “Splinter Cell: Conviction,” is scheduled to arrive in the Marketplace later this fall.
- Fast Async: A new Xbox LIVE service coming this fall that improves gameplay for multiplayer, turn-by-turn (or asynchronous) Windows Phone games.”
Microsoft this week released the beta version of its Kinect non-commercial software development kit (SDK).
Gamespot report that “The Kinect SDK includes drivers for using the camera with Windows-based PCs, as well as source code samples, including a simple game where users interact with shapes falling from the top of the screen. Using voice commands, players can change the size, speed, color, and shape of the falling objects.”
This is a major move fromMicrosoft, will they be allowing developers to build their own Apps for publish on Xbox Live? They previously seemed to frown on the unoffocial but often cool and funny hacks of Kinect. Maybe they are now seeing this as a major opportunity to further embed the Xbox in peoples living rooms.
Sky have annouced that their mobile subscription phone service will be replaced by Sky Go…
From next month, all Sky TV customers will have the opportunity to watch Sky channels and programmes on PCs, laptops, mobiles and tablets at no extra charge.
Available free to all Sky TV customers, Sky Go will provide flexible access to Sky content across multiple devices including the iPhone, iPad, PC and Mac. Launching on July 6 th , it brings together two existing services: Sky Player, Sky’s online TV service, and Sky Mobile TV, the UK’s largest mobile TV service, with these services rebranded as Sky Go . Offering even more value from the Sky subscription, this will allow customers to watch live linear channels in line with their subscription while on the move in the UK and Ireland.”
Sounds pretty good for Sky customers. Our understanding is that the service will be available on iOS devices and Android as well as Mac and PC. It will not however count towards your Xbox subscription.
Check out the full press release from Sky.
Asked about Kinect support in Microsoft titles, Gamespot report that , Game Studios boss Phil Spencer remarked:
“There are some things that just seem to make navigating and playing games much easier…in the end, you’ll see all first-party games using some form of Kinect functionality.
“Whether it’s voice in Forza or head-tracking in Forza, which you wouldn’t say is somehow turning the Forza gameplay experience on it’s head,” he continued. “Rather, it’s just using the advantages of what Kinect brings to make the experience better. So I think there’s some specific examples where Kinect makes everything better.”
Lets us know your thoughts in the comments.
This weeks E3 was a glorious event celebrating what is now a very established, powerful and in our opinion joy giving industry. But some have noted that Sony seemed to stand in the shadow of Microsoft and Nintendo.
For the Microsoft Xbox 360, it quickly became the year Kinect appears to be coming of age and in to it’s own with now support spilling in to mainstream gaming title such as Mass Effect 3 and a Star Wars branded game. And they were not the only ones. Indeed, the Fall due upgraded dashboard with voice recognition, Live TV and greater Kinect interactivity alone was a major message behind what Microsoft see as the future of gaming.
Nintendo came out with that controller! The Wii U and it’s controller signals intent by Nintendo alongside being embraced by mainstream game titles alike to bring Nintendo in to the Living Room Hub game with features like video calls, touch screen drawing and a console which does not have to dominate the TV!
Sony indeed did bring out the new PS Vita which marked their next move forward in to portable gaming. But that is a market that is becoming increasingly competitive with even Apple getting in on the act through the impressively growing array of gaming titles for iOS devices and indeed reports today that AppleTV and an iOS device such as an iPad may start to even compete directly with the Wii U concept. Android and the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play are further diversifying the portable gaming market and creating some huge choices for the consumer. And the Nintendo 3DS!
Now a year in the games industry is not a great deal of time and next year it would not surprise any of us if Sony hit us all with a Playstation 4. But where will the PS4 fit with Kinect taking control of the no controller needed environment and Wii U bringing the interactive gaming experience with a motion control and multi view gaming to a new level (check out the golf shot from the Wii U promo video). Sony are capable of bringing something special that we can not think of but Xbox is catching up Sony for content on the Entertainment front outside of gaming (video playback, music hub, TV, social networking etc). They may feel (as hinted by the Playstation 3D gaming TV set they announced – which is pretty neat) that the future of gaming console wars is to be fought over the 3D market but I am not convinced this is going to universally catch on with movies and TV nevermind gaming. There is still resistance to having to wear a 3D pair of glasses to get the best experience. Sony still has the edge on Blu-Ray but is this a move to protect their investment in the format? Downloads and content streaming are increasingly where the market is moving.
And while Sony are looking at the PS4, Microsoft will surely already be looking ahead too. Where this will all take us, we will have to wait and see, but it is hard to see where the PS will catch up and indeed overtake the Xbox.
Next years E3 will certainly be very interesting!
Microsoft had some meaty stuff in their E3 conference yesterday. And last but not least they made the mega announcement showing a Teaser for Halo 4, so here for your pleasure…..
In case you missed all the detail yesterday from the Microsoft E3 announcement, check out the trailer above.
Bioware outed the project officially yesterday with confirmation that the game will pack voice controls and Kinect support. Awesome! They are touting it as the best in the series and a new edge to gaming so it should be something to look forward to in an ever improving franchise.
Will you be buying it and will all the Kinect activity announced yesterday tempt you to finally take the plunge with a brand new Kinect? 😉