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  • (Photo: Russ Frushtick)(Photo: Russ Frushtick)

    In May of 2006, Bill Gates announced that Xbox 360 gamers would be able to seamlessly connect, play and communicate with their friends on PC, heralding a new era of cross-platform gaming. The upshot was Games for Windows Live, a service that was so maligned that Microsoft eventually shut it down.

    Now, more than 8 years later, they're taking another swing at it.

    At this year's Game Developer’s Conference, Phil Spencer, Microsoft's Head of Xbox, fleshed out plans first revealed during the Windows 10 event back in January.

    "Our goal in gaming at Microsoft is to allow people to play games wherever they are," Spencer explained. Put simply, Microsoft wants to make it easy for developers to put the same game on Xbox One, PC, tablet and phones. In the current plan, you'd buy a game once and immediately have it for any other platforms it supports.

    Read More »from Microsoft reveals big plan for cross-platform gaming
  • Virtual reality is coming to the PlayStation 4, and it’s surprisingly comfortable.

    The newest version of Sony’s Project Morpheus headset made quite a splash at the Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco Tuesday night, boasting impressive tech specs and a definite launch window. It’s shaping up to be enticing piece of gear for PS4 owners.

    It’s also the coziest VR headset I’ve ever strapped to my face. While the Morpheus can’t yet quite match the jaw-dropping fidelity of the latest Oculus Rift kit, it’s a fair share easier to take on and off. You can smoothly slide the monitor back and forth to accommodate, say, a chunky pair of glasses, and the weight has been distributed to the top of

    Read More »from Hands-on: Sony's Project Morpheus is a virtual delight
  • Tolkien fans already watched the dragon Smaug wreak havoc in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy on both the big screen and Blu-ray. But the digital creation from Jackson’s Weta Digital special effects studio, which features the voice and performance capture of actor Benedict Cumberbatch, has never been scarier than he is in virtual reality.

    At the annual Game Developers Conference this week in San Francisco, Weta and Epic Games unleashed the first VR experience recreated from the fantasy universe. The real-time sequence, which blends the original digital assets from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and Epic’s own Unreal Engine 4, uses the latest version of the Oculus Rift headset to drop

    Read More »from Smaug from 'The Hobbit' is a VR nightmare
  • Sony hasn’t had much to say about its VR headset, dubbed Project Morpheus, since showing off a few demos at last year’s E3 trade show in June. Back then, the Morpheus was one of only a handful of VR products on the horizon, but in the past few months we’ve seen somewhere in the neighborhood of 3,000 tech companies throw their awkwardly visored hats into the VR ring.

    Sony decided to go all in at the Game Developers Conference taking place this week in San Francisco, however, showing off a new “close to consumer” prototype and touting some pretty serious tech specs.

    Crucially, it also tossed out a vague release window: The Morpheus will be available in the first half of 2016.

    There’s no word

    Read More »from Sony’s Project Morpheus VR headset is coming to the PS4 next year
  • Add Nvidia to the list of companies that want to rule your living room.

    At the Game Developer’s Conference Tuesday night, the company announced the Nvidia Shield console, an Android-based set-top box built for gamers. It’s due out in May for $199.

    The Shield, which is capable of 4K playback and will ship with a game controller that Nvidia claims has a 40-hour battery life, will be powered by the company’s flagship Tegra X1 mobile chip. In showcasing the power of that chip, though, the company didn’t compare it to modern consoles from Microsoft and Sony, but instead baselined it against the 10-year-old Xbox 360, saying Tegra X1 offered twice the visual performance.

    The curious comparison was

    Read More »from Nvidia’s Shield is a 4K Android console
  • While your parents might insist that too many video games are bad for your eyes, one particular game might be just what your pupils are looking for.

    Two years after a landmark study showing that video games could be beneficial in treating patients with lazy eye, game maker Ubisoft has partnered with medical developer Amblyotech and Montreal’s McGill University to create Dig Rush, a game designed to help people suffering from the disorder.

    Clinically known as amblyopia, lazy eye involves the loss of vision in one eye that otherwise appears normal. The disorder affects between 1 percent and 5 percent of the population.

    Traditional therapy for amblyopia over the past two centuries has required

    Read More »from You'll need a prescription to play Ubisoft's newest game
  • Most big video games these days are released in a few different shapes and sizes. You can buy a standard $60 disc, go with a disc-free digital download, or, if you’ve got the dough, opt for a pricier Collector’s Edition, which typically includes the game, a commemorative statue, and some art books.

    But if you want, say, a zombie shelter, night-vision goggles, parkour lessons, and adult diapers, you’ll have to cough up a little more cash.

    Those are just a few of the goodies included in the ridiculous My Apocalypse Edition of recently released zombie game Dying Light being offered by UK retailer GAME. Only one copy is available, in part because that copy costs £250,000, or about $385,000.


    Read More »from Special edition of ‘Dying Light’ costs $385,000, includes zombie shelter
  • Over the past few years, we’ve seen smartphone and tablet gaming take bigger and bigger bites out of the handheld gaming market. In 2014, it took the biggest bite yet.

    Last year, game spending on iOS and Google Play in the fourth quarter exceeded that of handheld game systems. Put another way: Even though your favorite 3DS or PS Vita game commands a premium price, more people were buying game apps, and spending cash within those games.

    The data comes from a new report from App Annie and IDC, which points to an ongoing tidal shift in how we game on the go.

    There was a little good news for handheld systems. Game spending in the fourth quarer of last year (when most of the money changes hands

    Read More »from Report: Smartphone and tablet gaming outpacing handheld systems
  • Nintendo characters like Mario, Kirby, and Link have long thrilled fans. But these days, it isn’t just their games that have players rummaging through their wallets.

    It’s their figurines.

    Introduced in November to coincide with the release of Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U, Nintendo’s Amiibo toy line lets players access new features, abilities, and characters in various Nintendo games. And it’s ballooned into a bona fide hit, creating a hot secondary market for the company’s products.

    Nintendo has been coy about specific sales numbers, but according to their Q3 financials, the company sold 5.7 million Amiibo figurines globally through the end of 2014.

    At about $13 per Amiibo, that’s hardly

    Read More »from Nintendo’s Amiibo toys are turning into serious collectibles
  • It’s hard not to be jaded when you hear about the development of yet another massively-multiplayer online role-playing game set in a fantasy universe. How many imperiled realms must be saved, how many levels must be climbed, how much loot must be looted before you throw your mouse in the air and play another game genre?

    So it’s easy to be skeptical about Crowfall, the recently-announced title from indie developer ArtCraft Entertainment, which launched a Kickstarter today. At first blush you might think it’s another Warcraft wannabe.

    Fortunately, you’d be way off the mark.

    Read More »from Temporary worlds, eternal war: ‘Crowfall’ comes to Kickstarter


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