100% Orange Juice is getting its version 2.0 update in the coming days. Lets have a look at the change list:
Change, this year has seen a lot of it. Technology has changed, the focus is continuing to push towards the wearable market, the next-gen consoles don’t seem too next-gen now and lets not forget extreme market turbulence (looking at you Apple and Samsung). Gadget Nibble hasn’t been immune from such transitions either – with the last of our beloved mascots, Boog, departing us. As we go into 2015, things are going to keep changing.
The next generation of XBOX is likely only hours away from being unveiled by Don Mattrick and his team at the XBOX Campus tonight, we are definitely on our toes in an unexpected wait for the next version of Microsoft’s highly popular console. We don’t really know what to expect but then again we didn’t with the PS4.
Microsoft will either way have a massive step to follow with the ‘reveal’ of the PS4 components in February. Sony wasn’t standing still and came out on the attack, launching a console that could easily take down any of the current generations. Sony is however in a different position to Microsoft, they have been required to think carefully about the software they bundle with the console and more importantly the social integration of their Playstation Network with users. Sony’s PSN hasn’t caught traction unlike XBOX Live and lacks basic features, such as party chat, that XBOX users take for granted – we hoped that is what they would remedy in the newest console from Japan and so far it looks that way.
Microsoft will undoubtedly come out on the attack also, they are the last to the party when revealing their next generation console and will have to work hard for people to remember let alone buy it. Microsoft has kept their details and components well hidden, leading to a barrage of online rumours suggesting the console may always need an internet connection, may block second hand games and will be bundled at lower subscription prices… Nevertheless whatever Microsoft release tonight, they will need to have worked hard to ensure their console is the best. Even prior to the launch of the XBOX 360 over 7 years ago the market was a different place – gamers relied on their consoles to game, but today the markets and demographics have evolved. Microsoft no longer needs to fight off Sony and Nintendo but concentrate on the likes of Google, Samsung and Apple who now dominate mobile gaming and are offering somewhat more portable, engaging and cheaper services. Microsoft’s own recent inforgraphic shows mobile gaming is no longer a niche market. As well as the big three Microsoft also has to be weary of the upcoming Steam Box, released by Valve, as it too could remedy a new Redmond Console obsolete with its vast game library.
Microsoft need to focus on key aspects to survive. The gaming world has already seen what a failing console can look like in the form of the Wii U – Microsoft will do well to avoid such a route. The console will need to first and foremost be a great gaming machine, supped up and ready for action and will be unlikely to falter under the demands of latest games. Microsoft need to continue to improve upon their XBOX Live service, remove adverts for paid subscription users and also focus on how entertainment can be made more widely accessible. The service already, I believe, has a steady social base but requires a few inner tweaks. As well as their console update, I would possibly hesitate to ask if Microsoft could also refresh Kinect, the ageing accessory is great. But it needs to become more accurate and advanced to allow for more creative content and less mess ups when tracking a users – I don’t really need my avatars hands sticking through my head on a constant basis. Finally there has to be a USP (unique selling point), Microsoft needs to stand out from the crowd, the other updates I mentioned would put the console inline with the changing demands for average users, not set it apart. I am no mind reader and therefore can not predict their USP of the newest XBOX, but advanced sharing features for game users and better device integration would be nice. I hope that Microsoft does indeed work closely with developers to build in a USP that can set the console apart. Nevertheless Microsoft will have to prove that their console is the best on the market – or lose customer loyalty.
Join us from 6PM BST and 10 EDT at gadgetnibble.com or on YouTube for a full coverage, via Google+ of the latest from Redmond.
The time is nearly nye – the heavens will soon be opening or dependant on how you look at it the next apocalyptic battle between two major giants may soon erupt. Sony has already shown us what it intends for the next generation of gaming and will likely continue to boast about it next month at E3, but the news in the next couple of days will surely be ‘X’traordinary with the upcoming date of May 21st. Microsoft have pinned this date for the supposed launch of their next generation console, the next version of XBOX. The XBOX has taken the gaming world by storm and along with the Playstation series of consoles have dominated the gaming stage since the beginning of time. Sony and Microsoft have been the major players in the console battle and each time an announcement is made by either party the other tries to out do the latter.
The XBOX and Playstation have been battling since the beginning of the millennium – the PS2 was launched in 2000 and XBOX in 2001 – both offered a new gaming experience, unique to each console. The PS2 bought top of the range, industry defining graphics and an experience that couldn’t be challenged by similar platforms. The XBOX came along and tried to take up this challenge – the Dolby Surround Sound and networking capabilities along with the iconic brick sized controller would define a generation of gamers. Nowadays the XBOX and Playstation divide is quite large – the consoles hold their own and each community constantly boast about who’s best.
The PS4 unveiling earlier this year showed us Sony means business this time round – the XBOX 360 has overtaken the PS3 in sales and Sony want to regain ground. The newest core architecture, social sharing compatibility and the next gen hardware such as 8GB RAM and a RADEON GPU has left many wondering how the next XBOX will step up to the mark…
Well soon we will know – on Tuesday 21st May 2013, Microsoft will unveil the next generation of XBOX at their unveil at their Commons Campus. Redmond has apparently been working on something big and has said on their newly launched blog to cover the even – XBOX Wire that:
“We can’t wait to share our vision for Xbox and give you a real taste of the future”
The launch will being at 18:00 BST and 10.00 EDT. Gadget Nibble will be covering the launch with a full broadcasting program. Join our team for a Live Google Hangout on 21st May from 18.00 to cover the launch. We will have upcoming analysis and more, we hope you can join us and will hope to see you there. Let us know what you think will be in the next XBOX in the comments below.
Join Gadget Nibble from 18:00 on 21st May for Live coverage.
We have not even confirmed the next generation XBOX, yet the rumour mill is already in full overdrive. Gamers will rejoice and some may question the need for the continuing of some of these series – but courtesy of IGN we have managed to grab hold of a list of ‘confirmed’ video games that we will likely see on the next XBOX. Codenamed the Durango or commonly known as the XBOX 720 – we expect Microsoft to lift the veil on May 21st. We expect a hoard of new titles but most importantly a special surprise that will set them apart from the competition. This might be better Xbox Live integration or simply a full revamp of the console. Either way a console is nothing without its blockbuster titles. Below is a list of titles that developers have announced and have suggested will be coming to “other next-gen systems.” e.g. the XBOX 720. Nothing is set in stone, but these come from very likely sources – none of these are too outlandishly unreal either. So scroll down for a breakdown of the upcoming epics that gamers will be sinking their thumbs into over the next year or so…
|Ryse||An anonymous source suggests that Ryse (the first-person Roman combat game first revealed in 2010) has been “re-worked into a next-generation game designed to be Microsoft’s new Gears of War / Halo mega launch title.” The game is said to “take advantage of the new body tracking improvements in the next Kinect sensor.”|
|Forza Motorsport 5||An anonymous source suggests that a new entry in the Forza series with “super life-like graphics” will be a launch title on the next Xbox. Job listings also suggested in 2012 that a next-gen version was in the works.|
|Halo 5||Before the release of Halo 4, 343 Industries confirmed that it was the first part of a new Halo trilogy. In 2012, 343 job listings were posted “to help create the current and next generation of game visuals in the Halo universe.”|
|Destiny||Destiny is confirmed for “the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and the PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system, as well as other future console platforms“, which presumably means the next Xbox and PlayStation|
|Call of Duty: Ghosts||Developer Infinity Ward posted a job listing on its site calling for a senior animator with “interest in working with next-generation technologies.” The game is rumored to be called Ghosts.|
|Dragon Age III: Inquisition||Despite being announced by BioWare for a release in 2013, the resume of an EA Shanghai level designer suggested that the “scope” of the game has changed and that it “will be postponed to 2014” and “target next gen platforms.”|
|The Evil Within||The newest game from Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami was announced by Bethesda for a 2014 release on “next-generation consoles,”|
|Next-Gen Family Game||An anonymous source suggested that the next Xbox will launch with “a family game set on an island with Pixar movie-style graphics” that “will utilize Kinect to scan a body and generate a virtual character in the game.”|
|Thief||Square-Enix’s reboot of Thief was announced for PlayStation 4 “and other next-gen platforms” for release in 2014.|
|The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt||Witcher 3 was officially announced by CD Projekt RED for release in 2014 and is set to target “all top of the line consoles and PC.” It was advertised as “a next generation RPG.”|
|Next-Gen Zombie Game||An anonymous source suggested that the next Xbox will launch with “a zombie game,” which has caused some to speculate that it could be Dead Rising 3.|
|Rainbow 6: Patriots||Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said Rainbow 6: Patriots is still in development and “there’s a good chance it can be” pushed to next-generation consoles.|
|Mafia III||Rumors suggest that Mafia III is in development at 2K Czech and was delayed in order to shift to next-generation consoles.|
|Doom 4||Bethesda confirmed that an early version of Doom 4 “did not exhibit the quality and excitement that Id and Bethesda intend to deliver and that Doom fans worldwide expect” and was canceled in favor of a new one. Rumors suggest that the game is targeting next-generation consoles and that a planned sequel to Rage was canceled in order to add more members to the Doom 4 development team.|
|Watch Dogs||While the game has been confirmed for PC, PS3, PS4, Wii U and 360, leaked marketing materials say it’s coming this holiday to “all home consoles.” This would imply the next Xbox.|
|Ready at Dawn Next-Gen Game||The developers of the God of War PSP games are developing “an exciting new AAA IP for a Next-Generation home console game system.”|
|Next-Gen Sonic Game||Sega notes that Sonic “won’t become photo-real” in next-gen games and that he “will always remain stylized and will have that bright, colorful world. What the high hardware spec will allow us to do is make that more convincing.”|
|Square-Enix “Luminous” Games||Square-Enix is showing off its “Luminous” tech engine, capable of highly realistic next-gen graphics. Luminous will make games 30% cheaper and shorten development cycles.|
|Crytek Next-Gen Game||Perhaps Homefront 2 or TimeSplitters 4? Crytek was the company that originally outed the Xbox 720’s Durango codename.|
|Lionhead Studios Next-Gen Game||The studio (sans Molyneux) has been on the lookout for programmers with experience using the Unreal Engine, and “significant experience leading teams designing and implementing modern rendering engine.” Example given is DirectX11, which is rumored to be compatible with the Xbox 360’s successor.|
|Remedy ‘Future-Gen’ Game||Alan Wake developer Remedy posted on its community forums that it is hiring more than 20 people for work on a game for “future generation consoles.”|
Now normally I would’t be one to give rumours and online ‘hear-say’ any second thoughts, but recently – via many channels, an interesting and slightly peculiar story made its way to my attention. The XBOX 360 console is the most successful console of this generation and houses over 40 million active Xbox Live users. The Xbox family has for over a decade graced our screens with top quality content and unbeatable online services, regardless of the state of your internet connection or home set up. But now a rumour has come to light the puts Microsoft in a very awkward and treacherous position. Several renowned gaming sites have claimed the next generation of Xbox console to have an “always online” requirement to be able to play games as well as a requiring a ‘decent internet connection’.
The latest news out of Redmond is that it is ‘likely’ the next generation console will require a internet connection to be able to play games, even though they may not feature a multilayer functionality. Now take these with a pinch of salt, but stop and think. Microsoft has built up a fan base of honest die hard users that are loyal to the Xbox brand. Launched in 2001 the original console seemed underpowered compared to the likes of the PlayStation 2. Either way Microsoft marketed the console in a way never seen before and coupled with major exclusive game titles pushed Xbox to become a highly successful console. Featuring a unique online service, Xbox Live, it was unrivalled by the likes of Sony. Later replaced in 2005 by, problem riddled Xbox 360 console – Microsoft built upon their success and introduced HD gaming, WIFI and an improved XBOX LIVE service.
Throughout the history of Xbox, Microsoft has been shown to offer an experience that some one say is distinctive. The likes of Halo and other exclusives have locked gamers into an ecosystem, that many do not want to leave. But as the latest rumours emerge from the web, I personally as a casual Xbox user, start to worry about the future of the console and Microsofts further plans. Microsoft has apparently begun development on the next console in attempts to rival the PS 4, code named Durango but commonly known as the Xbox 720; Microsoft is said to be toying with the likely idea of requiring the console to be connected to the internet before using any game in the console – otherwise rendering the box useless. I have a high regard for Microsoft – it is easy to criticise when you are not the one building a console, nevertheless the consumer has to be forefront during design.
Adam Orth – Creative Director at Microsoft Game Studios has recently committed a cardinal sin in the rule books of customer relations. He has done a disservice to loyal Xbox and Microsoft customers by questioning the “drama” over a “always on” console”. In replying to several tweets by avid users who where concerned that they lived in rural areas with low internet connections which had the likelihood of cutting out Orth replied: “Why on Earth would I live there?”
In an instant reply to a concerned user – Orth single handedly insulted the entire rural population of America. I however could see this as a short attempt at a sarcastic response – but on the other hand this highlights the issue and reality behind Microsofts ‘always online’ plans. The fact is, and placed on Twitter, not everyone can be guaranteed a perfect internet connection, Orth went on to compare electricity going out and the fact he would :
“not purchase a vacuum cleaner”
But as internet tariffs remain overcomplicated and a high percentage of the world remains without high speed internet – or even an internet connection at all; Microsoft needs to seriously communicate more with their consumers. Again, this is still a rumour – but if a senior Creative Director amongst Microsoft is making a fuss over such a thing, it must be at least being considered in side the great walls.
The benefits, if there are any…
There would have to be a benefit for Microsoft in implementing such as system, otherwise they’re going stark raving mad. In forcing a console to be connected to the internet, Microsoft would be able to over come a vast majority of the issues surrounding DRM and copy right infringement amongst pirated games. At the birth of the CD/DVD game – a gamer would be required to enter a unique code taped to the inside of a box in order to gain access to the vast majority of features, now these forms of activations are mostly obsolete, apart from EA who remains a stubborn user of such codes. By constantly connecting to servers Microsoft would be able to more easily identify those pirated and infringed content and take action, but games that are forced to connect online have recently faced bad press – SimCity (We’ll say no more). Always online would become and extension of copy right management and the cost of the user.
Microsoft risks alienating a proportion or their user base. Those with a limited internet connection may see themselves with an unusable console or one drastically limited. And for those who argue that everywhere is connected, how about rural villages and countries who see sky high internet prices, not to mention those defending our countries in places such as Afghanistan? Such as system would place a lot of strain on a users current connection, and could possibly see a jump in prices, especially for those who pay per use. I find myself at least once a month shouting at the TV after a long day – after finding that Virgin Media have decided to carry out maintenance in the area resulting in a local blackout. How about then. Below is a video of a YouTuber, boogie2988 – who voiced his concerns noticeably on the video sharing site – and who I believe sums up the issue nicely (warning excessive swearing below).
Why would I buy a console if I already pay £5 a month for an online service but then also have to fork out to ensure I have an internet connection that is capable of handling my gaming sessions? As it stands Xbox Live has now become a fairground for uninteresting, irrelevant and annoying adverts from Doritos and the likes of Netflix – I pay for a service and therefore should not have to wade through ads to find my content.
Microsoft has built the XBOX on a reputation of social integration and quality titles. It owes it success to the likes of Halo and CO. But if this next generation of consoles requires me to be “always on” I think I may just skip this time round. Microsoft need to ensure that the consumer is at heart and that users can actually use their consoles. Microsoft risk losing users, especially since the announcement of the PS4 – they don’t need to lose any more. After all the only casualty in this debate is the hardcore Xbox fans.