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XBox (Games)

Ask Slashdot: Xbox One Or PlayStation 4? 373

An anonymous reader writes: I'm looking at getting the kids a new gaming console for Christmas this year. I'm stuck trying to decide between getting an Xbox One or a PlayStation 4. I'm really wary on the PlayStation because of the 5 PS2s with broken optical drives sitting in my garage; none lasted more than two years. On the other hand, I'm also wary of buying a Microsoft product; I'm a Linux user for life after getting tired of their crappy operating system. I've also considered getting a gaming PC, whether Linux or Windows, but it's more expensive and game reviews show most are not as good as a dedicated game console. The kids want Fallout 4, and I want Star Wars Battlefront and any version of Gran Turismo. We currently have a Nintendo Wii and a crappy gaming PC with some Steam games. So, which gaming console should I get that will last a long time?
Star Wars Prequels

Star Wars Battlefront Released (giantbomb.com) 126

An anonymous reader writes: Yesterday marked the release of Star Wars Battlefront, EA DICE's attempt to resurrect a Star Wars video game series that had great success a decade ago, but gradually petered out over the course of several years. Early reviews for the game are mixed. Games Radar's video review gives it a lot of credit for being incredibly faithful to the feeling of Star Wars. Polygon's review praises the game's accessibility and its broad variety of PvP options, but acknowledges that it had to trade complexity to get there. Giant Bomb's review is much more blunt: "Slick production values, solid controls, and tons of fan service can't make up for mediocre progression and a lack of content." Many reviews rate the graphics highly, and performance is solid even on consoles. It's worth noting that user ratings on Metacritic come in significantly lower than critics' ratings, with the most common complaint being about the dearth of content.

Microsoft Kills Off Zune Music Service (networkworld.com) 66

alphadogg writes: It's one of those "You mean it was still alive?" moments: Microsoft today officially has killed off its Zune music streaming and download service. The company notified users in September that Zune services would be retired on Nov. 15. Microsoft has been phasing out its Zune brand for some time now, with Zune music service being morphed into Xbox music and then Groove music. Devices were discontinued in 2011.

How Rocket League Brought Psyonix Back From the Brink (redbull.com) 33

An anonymous reader writes: Rocket League has proved to be the surprise hit of the year, but a new interview with Dave Hagewood, CEO of developer Psyonix reveals that it almost didn't happen at all. After the failure of PS3 predecessor Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars, the team were forced to work on the multiplayer game in between contracts, and when one fell through late last year, it looked like the end for Rocket League. The studio gambled that the concept would take off this time, and it did — now the studio has to fend off offers from movie studios who want to feature their iconic cars in the game. Hagewood also hints that news of the Xbox One version fans have been clamouring for is coming, and soon: "We're looking at all kinds of platforms and there may be some announcements coming up at some point – hopefully before the end of the year."
XBox (Games)

Backwards Compatibility For Xbox One Launches 63

SlappingOysters writes: What is old is new again as backwards compatibility arrives on the Xbox One as part of a dashboard update. Finder has the full list of 104 launch games for the service, and has analyzed the origins of these titles. The site has determined that of the 104 games, only 28% ever released in boxed form, and of the remaining downloadable Xbox Live games, 36% are remakes of titles from previous generations. The site has also identified 60 games that were on the marketing material for Xbox One backwards compatibility, but were not on the launch line-up.

Sony PlayStation 4 Hits 500 Games Milestone (finder.com) 86

SlappingOysters writes: Finder is reporting that the catalogue of Sony PlayStation 4 games has just passed the 500 mark. The website has been tracking the install sizes of every PS4 game and in doing that, has been able to confirm that the mark had been reached. It's a significant catalogue advantage for the console, with the Xbox One currently offering 349 games, although the arrival of backwards compatibility on November 12 will change that dramatically. The site has also shown that the rate of releases is increasing over time.

Revisiting the Infamous Sony BMG Rootkit Scandal 10 Years Later (networkworld.com) 188

alphadogg writes: Hackers really have had their way with Sony over the past year, taking down its Playstation Network last Christmas Day and creating an international incident by exposing confidential data from Sony Pictures Entertainment in response to The Interview. Some say all this is karmic payback for what's become known as a seminal moment in malware history: Sony BMG sneaking rootkits into music CDs 10 years ago in the name of digital rights management. 'In a sense, it was the first thing Sony did that made hackers love to hate them,' says Bruce Schneier, CTO for Resilient Systems. Sony's scheme was revealed on Halloween of 2005, and was followed by a botched response, issuing and reissuing of rootkit removal tools, and lawsuits. There are object lessons from the incident which are relevant today.
Portables (Games)

Nintendo's New System Likely a Console/Portable Hybrid (arstechnica.com) 77

An anonymous reader writes: The Wall Street Journal reports (paywalled) that Nintendo has begun issuing software development kits for its new console, codenamed NX. The company hasn't provided any details publicly about how the console will work, but people who have gotten access to the SDK say it will likely include both a console and some kind of portable/mobile hardware. The intent is to be able to take some aspects of gaming with you when you leave the living room. Nintendo is also looking to step up its hardware efforts in response to criticism that the Wii U's capabilities were notably lower than those of the PS4 and Xbox One. In what ways do you think a console should be partially portable?

How To Enable Cortana On the Xbox One Experience Preview (hothardware.com) 81

MojoKid writes: Part of Microsoft's strategy to unite different devices to a single ecosystem means offering the same services and features across the board. One of those features is Cortana, Microsoft's digital assistant, which is available on Windows 10. It will also be available for the Xbox One, though not until sometime next year, at least officially. Don't feel like waiting? You might not have to. Here's a quick and dirty guide on how to unlock Cortana on the Xbox One, provided you're running the latest Xbox One Experience Preview.

Fable Legends DX12 Benchmark Stressing High End GPUs 51

Vigile writes: In preparation for the release of the free-to-play Fable Legends game on both Xbox One and PC this winter, Microsoft and Lionhead Studios released a benchmark today that allows users to test performance of their PC hardware configuration with a DirectX 12 based game engine that pushes the boundaries of render quality. Based on a modified UE4 engine, Fable Legends includes support for asynchronous compute shaders, manual resource barrier tracking and explicit memory management, all new to the DX12 API. Unlike the previous DX12 benchmark, Ashes of the Singularity, which focused mainly on high draw call counts and mass quantities of on-screen units, Fable Legends takes a more standard approach, attempting to improve image quality and shadow reproduction with the new API. PC Perspective has done some performance analysis with the new benchmark and a range of graphics cards, finding that while NVIDIA still holds the lead at the top spot (GTX 980 Ti vs Fury X), the AMD Radeon mid-range products offer better performance (and better value) than the comparable GeForce parts.
Data Storage

The Install Size of Every PS4 and Xbox One Game 106

SlappingOysters writes: One of the biggest challenges for gamers during this generation of consoles is ensuring you have enough hard drive space to hold the latest blockbuster. Given that every game needs to be installed in order to be played, and games often weigh in at over 40GB, the 500GB of storage that comes as standard doesn't stretch far. Finder.com has provided a handy resource, listing the install sizes for every PlayStation 4 game (460 and counting) and every Xbox One game (290 and counting). The list is searchable, and can be ordered.
XBox (Games)

Xbox One Launch Woes Were Preventable, Next Console Likely Digital Download Only 230

MojoKid writes: Microsoft's Xbox One launch didn't go off exactly as planned in late 2013. Before the console's release, the company was dogged over DRM restrictions with the console and concerns over its high price tag compared to its counterpart, the Sony PlayStation 4. Microsoft would attribute the higher price tag to the included Kinect camera — a peripheral that many gamers didn't particularly care for. Former Xbox Chief Robbie Bach offered his two cents recently on the Xbox One — a console that launched years after he announced he retired from the company in 2010. Bach noted, regarding the Xbox One's rocky launch, "...gosh, I think some of that was predictable and preventable." As for the future of physical game media, Bach doesn't think that the future will be so bright when it comes to DRM and always-connected requirements in the next generation of gaming consoles. He said that the next Xbox would "probably not" have physical media to speak of, with consoles adopting digital-only distribution.

FTC: Machinima Took Secret Cash To Shill Xbox One 156

jfruh writes: The Machinima gaming video network took money from a marketing agency hired by Microsoft to pay "influencers" up to $45,000 to promote the Xbox One. Crucially, the video endorsers did not disclose that they'd been paid, which has caused trouble with the FTC. For its part, Machinima notes that this happened in 2013, when the current management was not in charge.

Six UK Teens Arrested For Being "Customers" of Lizard Squad's DDoS Service 95

An anonymous reader writes: UK officials have arrested six teenagers suspected of utilizing Lizard Squad's website attack tool called "Lizzard Stresser". Lizard Squad claimed responsibility for the infamous Christmas Day Xbox Live and PlayStation Network attacks. The teenagers "are suspected of maliciously deploying Lizard Stresser, having bought the tool using alternative payment services such as Bitcoin in a bid to remain anonymous," an NCA spokesperson wrote in an official statement on the case. "Organizations believed to have been targeted by the suspects include a leading national newspaper, a school, gaming companies, and a number of online retailers."

Boeing Demonstrates Drone-Killing Laser 125

An anonymous reader writes: Boeing has successfully tested a new weapon system that tracks unmanned aircraft and shoots them down with a laser. The system is surprisingly small — it can be transported in a few medium-sized boxes, and two techs can set it up in minutes. The laser needs just a few seconds of continuous [contact] to set a drone aflame, and the tracking gimbal is precise enough to target specific parts of a drone. "Want to zap the tail so it crashes and then you can go retrieve the mostly intact drone and see who is trying to spy on you? Can do. Think it's carrying explosives and you want to completely destroy it? No problem." The laser is controlled with custom targeting software that runs on a laptop, with help from an Xbox 360 controller. Boeing expects the laser system to be ready for sale in the next year or two.
Input Devices

Skylake Has a Voice DSP and Listens To Your Commands 99

itwbennett writes: Intel's new Skylake processor (like the Core M processor released last year) comes with a built-in digital signal processor (DSP) that will allow you to turn on and control your PC with your voice. Although the feature is not new, what is new is the availability of a voice controlled app to use it: Enter Windows 10 and Cortana. If this sounds familiar, it should, writes Andy Patrizio: 'A few years back when the Xbox One was still in development, word came that Kinect, its motion and audio sensor controller, would be required to use the console and Kinect would always be listening for voice commands to start the console. This caused something of a freak-out among gamers, who feared Microsoft would be listening.'

Microsoft Makes Push To Get Back Into E-Sports 111

An anonymous reader writes: In October, Microsoft will publish Halo 5: Guardians, the first game in the series to be developed exclusively for the Xbox One. Microsoft is taking the opportunity to make a big play to become part of the e-sports market. They've announced a Halo competition with $1 million in prizes. As e-sports become more mainstream, and as game streaming has turned into a billion-dollar business, more and more development studios are seeing it as part of their marketing strategy. "When Halo fell out of favor among e-sports players, other games began to take off, often ones that were created with high-level competition in mind and that came from developers that invested heavily in events for professionals. Riot Games has turned League of Legends, its multiplayer online battle arena, into the most watched e-sport in the world, with 40,000 attendees at its finals in Korea last year." Microsoft wants back into that segment, and they're willing to spend big to do so.

Ask Slashdot: Best Wireless PC-to-TV Solution? 158

jez9999 writes: I have a slightly unusual requirement. I don't want to use some console like an Xbox, Steam Machine, etc. I just have a desktop PC which I use for most of the stuff I do (gaming, video, work, etc.), and it's upstairs. From time to time, I'd like to use it downstairs. Is there a wireless solution that will let me take control of the PC from downstairs, using the TV (HDMI) as the screen, and the TV's speakers to replace my desktop speakers? Ideally there would be a wireless transmitter in the PC, and a downstairs wireless receiver box into which I could plug the keyboard, mouse, and of course, the TV via an HDMI cable. Obviously Bluetooth wireless peripherals won't do for this as there's no line of sight between downstairs and the upstairs PC, and besides, I prefer wired peripherals anyway which I can actually plug in to something (no battery recharging needed).

Windows 10 App For Xbox One Could Render Steam Machines Useless 170

SlappingOysters writes: The release of Windows 10 has brought with it the Xbox app -- a portal through which you can stream anything happening on your Xbox One to your Surface or desktop. Finder is reporting that the love will go the other way, too, with a PC app coming to the Xbox One allowing you to stream your desktop to your console. But where does this leave the coming Steam Machines? This analysis shows how such an app could undermine the Steam Machines' market position.

Windows 10 Launches 317

An anonymous reader writes: Today Microsoft officially released Windows 10 in 190 countries as a free upgrade for anyone with Windows 7 or later. Major features include Continuum (which brings back the start menu and lets you switch between a keyboard/mouse UI and a touch UI without forcing you into one or the other), the Cortana digital assistant, the Edge browser, virtual desktops, DirectX 12 support, universal apps, an Xbox app, and security improvements. Reviews of the operating system generally consider it an improvement over Windows 8.1, despite launch-day bugs. Peter Bright writes, "Windows 8 felt unfinished, but it was an unfinished thought. ... Windows 10 feels unfinished, but in a different way. The concept of the operating system is a great deal better than its predecessor. It's better in fact than all of its predecessors. ... For all my gripes, it's the right idea, and it's implemented in more or less the right way. But I think it's also buggier than Windows 8.1, 8, 7, or Vista were on their respective launch days." Tom Warren draws similar conclusions: "During my testing on a variety of hardware, I've run into a lot of bugs and issues — even with the version that will be released to consumers on launch day. ... Everything about Windows 10 feels like a new approach for Microsoft, and I'm confident these early bugs and issues will be addressed fairly quickly."