Microsoft is preparing to update its Xbox 360 with another dashboard update. Sources familiar with Microsoft’s Xbox plans have revealed to The Verge that the dashboard update will enter into a public beta in late June or early July, with changes and updates in preparation for the next-generation Xbox. We’re told that the user interface will be refreshed alongside smaller Live Tiles, similar to what Microsoft is preparing for Windows 8.1. Microsoft is also said to be tweaking the look of the Xbox dashboard, with the possibility of darker or lighter themes.
We understand Microsoft is aiming to ensure Xbox 360 users can transition over to the next-generation console and interact with existing Xbox 360 users using messaging, beacons, and…
At a recent design day event in Norway, Windows Phone design studio general manager Albert Shum and Todd Simmons, creative director at Wolff Olins, held a talk about “re-imagining” Microsoft. After switching its Windows, Office, and Microsoft brand logos last year, it appears the company has some additional plans for Bing, Skype, Yammer, and Xbox. Simmons revealed a concept video from two years ago of how Microsoft looked to rebrand its key products. Part of the video includes a new Bing logo that looks very similar to a paper airplane.
At first it seems the clip is simply an old concept, like similar ones Microsoft has experimented with previously, but later in the presentation Simmons reveals design work for the same Bing logo and…
Microsoft’s next-generation Xbox will be revealed on May 21st, 2013, an invitation from the company has revealed. The announcement from Don Mattrick and the Xbox team, titled “a new generation revealed,” will take place at the company’s Xbox campus in Redmond, Washington.
Microsoft says that the event will “mark the beginning of a new generation of games, TV, and entertainment,” and will stream the event to the public on Xbox.com, Xbox Live, and on Spike TV. “We are thrilled to pull back the curtain and reveal what we’ve been working on,” writes Xbox Live’s Larry Hryb (“Major Nelson”).
After a very public defense of rumors about the next Xbox’s always-on Internet requirements, a new report claims that Microsoft creative director Adam Orth is no longer with the company. In a series of Twitter posts, Orth defended the move by countering that “every device” is now constantly connected, and then delivered a low-blow when someone responded suggesting always-on connectivity might not work great for customers in rural locations, responding snidely, “Why on earth would i live there?”.
According to Game Informer, which confirmed reports from unnamed sources via a call direct to Microsoft that Orth was no longer employed there (we also contacted Microsoft for official confirmation, but a spokesperson simply said ““We are not commenting further on this issue”), it’s likely that incident led to his resignation or removal. And based on Microsoft’s public apology, it likely is the case that this wasn’t the venue. But the real problem here might be that defending a decision to embrace an always-on Internet connection requirement is bound to devolve into personal arguments, since logical ones that don’t involve owning up to a simple “we want to lock down our product and better control piracy” aren’t readily available.
The original report of how the next Xbox would work included a requirement that a user be connected to the Internet to even begin playing games or apps on the console, along with a 3-minute time out for a connection loss before said games or apps are suspended pending the resolution of the network connection issue. For users who have been burned by the always-on requirements of recent PC gaming titles like Diablo III and SimCity, this rumor (which Microsoft neither confirms nor denies, despite its apology) probably sounds like a total nightmare scenario.
It’s not making things better that a report surfaced this week from the Verge which claims that the next Xbox will interact with your cable box, hence the need for an always-on connection. The timing of that report smacks of Microsoft trying to do some subtle damage control based on these recent leaks, without giving away anything official ahead of its own planned Xbox events, the first of which is reportedly taking place late in May.
Of course, even that doesn’t justify an always-on connection requirement, not for isolated functions like single-player gaming which should have no problem running without an active connection, even if a player has to give up some features like achievements and leaderboard ranking to make that work (you know, exactly the way it works now).
The problem with trying to come up with a coherent argument for why a device or game needs an always-on connection without saying those three dreaded letters (D-R-M) is that it’s impossible to do convincingly. Companies like Microsoft and EA, which have very savvy PR professionals on staff, know that trying to do so without a proper feint like a connected TV service is fruitless. Aside from strongly suggesting that the leaked info was correct, taking to Twitter also meant venturing away from the party line that always-on is value add, not consumer punishment, and that’s not something any company mulling this kind of sensitive and major change to the way it delivers services can afford.
Microsoft is working on a number of launch titles for its new Xbox console. One of the first games to launch on the next Xbox will be Ryse, according to multiple sources familiar with Microsoft’s Xbox plans. Microsoft originally unveiled Ryse at E3 2011, promising an exclusive Xbox 360 release with Kinect functionality. A release has never materialized for Xbox 360 and the company has remained fairly silent about the title’s progress, noting that it was still in development in mid-2012 and again earlier this year. The Verge understands that Crytek, along with Microsoft Studios, has been rewriting the game to take advantage of its next-generation console, due later this year.
‘Ryse’ will be the mega launch title’
We’re told Ryse is…
As more of the story about the simultaneous cyber attack and real-world “Swatting” carried out against security researcher Brian Krebs comes to light, one of the significant details has the reported targeting of Microsoft employees for hacking. Allegedly, the hackers who targeted Krebs did so because he helped to reveal the method by which they have been compromising the accounts of “Microsoft employees who work on the Xbox Live gaming platform,” Krebs writes. The method apparently involves acquiring and then utilizing the employees’ social security numbers along with some social engineering to obtain (and apparently then sell) access to those accounts.
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