Day: June 9, 2019

June 9, 2019 Off

Here are the game trailers from Microsoft’s E3 2019 press conference

By Jill T Frey

Trailers. You love them, Microsoft’s got them. According to the company, there were a ridiculous 60 games trotted out on stage at today’s big E3 kickoff. Looks like the Xbox got a little extra love at the event since Sony’s MIA this year. Along with more information on its streaming service Project XCloud a sneak peek at its next console and a very special appearance by Keanu, the company had a LOT of games to show off.

Here are the biggest trailers from today’s event.

Minecraft: Dungeons – Everyone’s favorite building block title gets its very own single and multiplayer RPG adventure.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps: Announced in 2017, Moon Studio’s platformer finally arrives next February.

Bleeding Edge: Ninja Theory’s latest is a multiplayer melee combat title.

Flight Simulator: You know, you love it — or are otherwise indifferent. The classic simulator returns in 2020.

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June 9, 2019 Off

George R.R. Martin’s Elden Ring RPG is official

By Jill T Frey

Among the more eagerly anticipated titles of this year’s E3, Elden Ring leaked out just a few days ago. The forthcoming action role-playing title was created by George R.R. Martin, fresh off the end of his wildly popular HBO series, Game of Thrones.

The game made its debut as part of Microsoft’s big E3 kickoff today, as it will be coming to both the Xbox One and Windows PC. It’s going to be arriving on PlayStation 4, as well, but Sony didn’t have its own event this year, leaving Microsoft to bask in all of the glory of FromSoftware’s “largest game to date.”

Along with the A Song of Ice and Fire author, Hidetaka Miyazaki is heavily involved in the game. Up to now, he’s best known for the role he’s played in FromSoftware’s popular Souls series.

We don’t have much to go on yet (including no date, specific or … Read the rest

June 9, 2019 Off

Microsoft teases 8K Xbox

By Jill T Frey

Microsoft is working to create its most powerful Xbox yet as it gears up for the next wave of gaming console hardware. Xbox shared some details on its next hardware at E3 and it sounds appropriately next-gen.

The company teased some huge factoids in a teaser about what it’s calling “Project Scarlett.” The upcoming console will have 8K capability, will be able to handle frame rates up to 120fps and will utilize SSD storage to keep load times low. The hardware will be powerful enough to enable real-time ray tracing.

“This generation is going to be a bigger leap than any generation before,” a video describing the new hardware detailed. Microsoft says the new hardware will be four times as powerful as the Xbox One X.

The next-generation console will be arriving in the holiday season of 2020, the company says. It will be launching alongside a new Halo title, … Read the rest

June 9, 2019 Off

Microsoft’s Project xCloud preview launches in October

By Jill T Frey

Big news out of today’s Microsoft press conference. A few days after Google finally revealed some long awaited details about its Stadia offering, Microsoft just gave us a lot more info on its competitor, Project xCloud.

Announced back in October, the game streaming service is designed to offer a hardware agnostic gaming experience. Unlike Google’s offering, Microsoft’s got the power of its own cutting edge consoles on its side. As such, the company will be leveraging that technology to let gamers use their own Xbox One as a personal cloud server. For everyone else, the computation will happen on Microsoft’s own servers.

A preview of xCloud will be available for E3 attendees this week. We’ll report back as soon as we get some hands on time with the project — including some insight into what the lag is like on the system. For everyone else, a preview version of the … Read the rest

June 9, 2019 Off

Microsoft acquires Psychonauts-maker Double Fine Productions

By Jill T Frey

As it did last year, Microsoft used its Xbox E3 keynote to announce its moves in bulking up its in-house gaming content.

At its press conference, the company’s Xbox Game Studios head announced that Microsoft had acquired SF-based Double Fine Productions, a game creator that’s been around since 2000 and was founded by LucasArts’s Tim Schafer. As is the case with past acquisitions, it sounds like Double Fine Productions will continue to operate largely externally, now beneath the Xbox Game Studios entity.

Double Fine’s team

There may be more studio acquisition announcements on the way, we’ll keep this post updated if so…

Double Fine Productions notably raised around $3 million in a Kickstarter campaign to create a title, later called Broken Age. The idea of crowdfunding a game was pretty novel at the time when they did it 2012. It is of course, more commonplace now.

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June 9, 2019 Off

Game Pass Ultimate brings Xbox subscriptions together at a discount

By Jill T Frey

Update 1:38pm PT: At its E3 conference, Xbox announced that the service will also be integrating Xbox Game Pass for PC as well.

Xbox wants the future of the gaming business to lean heavily on subscription services. The company’s Game Pass service has let users download games from a pool of dozens of titles, now Microsoft is trying to make the offer too good to refuse by bundling Xbox Live Gold with the service for $14.99.

Xbox Live Gold offers online play, but the extras included with the subscription like free games and Store discounts represent some of Microsoft’s more aged strategies in getting more revenue per user and building out Xbox loyalists. Game Pass brings users unlimited access to a library of 100+ games that include some console classics.

Live Gold retails for $9.99 per month as does Game Pass so the combo offers a nice discount and … Read the rest

June 9, 2019 Off

Feedback loops and online abuse

By Jill T Frey

I’ve long thought that much of the world can be explained by feedback loops. Why are small companies nimbler than large ones? Why are private companies generally more efficient than governments? Primarily because in each case, the former has a better feedback loop. When faced with a baffling question — such as, “why do online companies do such a terrible job at dealing with abuse?” — it’s often helpful to look at the feedback loops.

Let’s look at the small vs. large and private vs. government comparisons first, as examples. Small companies have extremely tight feedback loops; a single person makes a decision, sees the results, and pivots accordingly, without the need for meetings or cross-division consensus. Larger companies have to deal with other departments, internal politics, red tape, the blessing of multiple vice-presidents, legal analysis, etc., before they can make meaningful changes.

Similarly, if a private company’s initiative isn’t … Read the rest

June 9, 2019 Off

Top voting machine maker reverses position on election security, promises paper ballots

By Jill T Frey

Voting machine maker ES&S has said it “will no longer sell” paperless voting machines as the primary device for casting ballots in a jurisdiction.

ES&S chief executive Tom Burt confirmed the news in an op-ed.

TechCrunch understands the decision was made around the time that four senior Democratic lawmakers demanded to know why ES&S, and two other major voting machine makers, were still selling decade-old machines known to contain security flaws.

Burt’s op-ed said voting machines “must have physical paper records of votes” to prevent mistakes or tampering that could lead to improperly cast votes. Sen. Ron Wyden introduced a bill a year ago that would mandate voter-verified paper ballots for all election machines.

The chief executive also called on Congress to pass legislation mandating a stronger election machine testing program.

Burt’s remarks are a sharp turnaround from the company’s position just a year ago, in which the election … Read the rest

June 9, 2019 Off

Apple puts accessibility features front and center

By Jill T Frey

Although the meat of Apple’s accessibility news from WWDC has been covered, there still are other items announced that have relevancy to accessibility as well. Here, then, are some thoughts on Apple’s less-headlining announcements that I believe are most interesting from a disability point of view.

Accessibility goes above the fold

One of the tidbits I reported during the week was that Apple moved the Accessibility menu (on iOS 13 and iPadOS) to the top level of the Settings hierarchy. Instead of drilling down to Settings > General > Accessibility, the accessibility settings are now a “top level domain,” in the same list view as Notifications, Screen Time, and so on. Apple also told me this move applies to watchOS 6 as well.

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June 9, 2019 Off

Watch Microsoft’s Xbox E3 press conference live

By Jill T Frey

This year’s E3 is already off to an interesting start. Sony’s nowhere to be seen, and Nintendo, per usual, has opted to go online only. That leaves Microsoft as the only member of the big three with its own, honest to goodness press conference.

The company’s got a big opportunity here, and we’re hoping for some big things. On the gaming side, we expect some big news about Gears 5, Halo: Infinite and, perhaps, Age of Empires and a new Fable title.

News about the company’s Stadia competitor, Project xCloud, seems like a distinct possibility. We might even get a glimpse at the gaming giant’s next generation console. More info on all of the rumors from next week’s big show can be found here

The big show kicks off this afternoon at 1PM PT/4PM ET. It’s available on YouTube, Twitch, Facebook and Twitter

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