Microsoft made headlines recently by proudly proclaiming it would support Netflix streaming video to Gold members starting this fall at no additional cost. They have also announced plans to open a community application store whose concept very much mirrors the approach taken by Apple with the iPhone app store. Anyone can apply to join the XNA Creators Club, as long as you have the $99 application fee and a unique idea to work with. Microsoft will distribute content at prices ranging from $2.50 to $10.00 taking a mere 30% cut of the profits. Most readers know this approach is about as creative as the mii2 avatar’s but is still a step in the right direction. With community application support and streaming video now coming to the Xbox, it speaks to a larger trend. Consumers are increasingly looking for a one box solution to their entertainment needs. And the battle for the living room is just starting to heat up.
Click the jump to see to see why the future of all in one entertainment devices is bright.
You've read our in-depth interview with the designer of the game, but here's a chance to you to get a clear look at the awesome zombie slaughterfest in Left4Dead. Valve has given us four exclusive screenshots from its upcoming multiplayer shooter, along with a detailed briefing explaining the graphical enhancements they've made to the game engine since acquiring Turtle Rock Studios. The new post-processed filmic effects and advanced shadow rendering makes the game look like nothing you've seen before. It sure doesn't look like Half-Life 2!
Click the jump for more exclusive screenshots and Source engine upgrade details!
Pro: E3 was tons of fun. Con: It served little-to-no purpose. Sure, the California-based trade show presented journalists with a relaxed pace and a civil atmosphere, but the only thing it served up for lay-gamers was a heaping plate of disappointment. No big announcements, no mind-blowing demos, and only one or two cases of easy fodder for the Internet's flames. We can only hope the show will see a drastic revamp soon, because it's quickly circling the drain.
But let's not dwell on the recent past; today has provided us with plenty of interesting stories, including Peter Molyneux's MMO aspirations, another new Sonic game, and, er, Michael Pachter's damning comments towards E3. Ok, so maybe the past deserves one more quick peek into the rearview mirror.
Face it, pirates and ninjas are out and zombies are in. And we have no doubt that one of our most high-anticipated games of this year is Left4Dead, Valve’s post-apocalyptic survival horror shooter. Our initial playtest sent chills down our spine when we first saw it at last year’s Showdown LAN, and the game looked much more refined and polished when we played it at this year’s E3. A revamped visual style and new character designs suit the cinematic direction -- the levels looked grittier and the zombies were definitely more terrifying (if that’s even possible). We spoke with Michael Booth, the designer of Left4Dead, to find out what other changes have been made to the game since Valve bought up his development team.
Xbox Live is a major money-spinner for Microsoft's gaming division, one which both Sony and Nintendo envy. Sony is currently trying to replicate Live's success with its very own PSN service and the wide array of new additions to PSN might help Sony in its endeavor. One of the new additions happens to be the Playstation video downloading service, which is now live.
Users can rent or purchase SD or HD content from various leading TV and movie stables including Fox, MGM, Warner and Disney etc. TV videos begin at $1.99, while movie rentals and purchases begin at $2.99 and $9.99 respectively.
Several reports frequenting the internet seem to suggest that the service is not available in all regions/countries. But there is no word on this issue from Sony. Limited launch or not, Wedbush Morgan’s videogame analyst Michael Pachter believes that availability of videos on PSN can lure potential Apple TV owners towards the PS3.
Back when the PlayStation 3 launched in November of 2006, PC Gamer magazine tempted the gamers waiting in front of the Sony Metreon in San Francisco (the official PS3 North American launch headquarters) with a Faustian bargain (look it up). Our sister publication offered to give away a $7,500 Falcon Northwest gaming PC to one of the campers if they willingly relinquished their place in line. The catch: the unfaithful console fanboy who accepted the PC would also have to sign a legally binding contract preventing him from owning a PlayStation 3 for three years – an eternity in game industry time.
The (in our opinion) lucky gamer who volunteered to defect to PC gaming was one Neal Chung-Lee, a local student had at that point been waiting in line for several days to be the one of the first people to own a PS3. But after selling his console-loving soul to PC gaming (and making the front page of Digg), Neal fell off of our radar. That is, until we bumped into him this past week. And you’ll never guess where.
Read on to find out where we found Neal playing a PlayStation 3.
Just call us licky. We mean, lucky. You've seen the official super-hot photos of the Voodoo PC's Envy laptop, but we got our hands on one and were able to take tons of close-up photos of the as well as try out the highly touted instant-on feature. Our initial impressions: the laptop is really light. HP claims the laptop (it was the SSD version) weighs three and a half pounds, and even though we didn’t have a scale in our messenger bags, it sure felt about the same weight as the Macbook air, power supply notwithstanding. Stacking the Envy against a Macbook Pro and Thinkpad X300, Voodoo’s pricey portable was both smaller and slimmer, though it sports a 13” screen.
Click the jump for more impressions and all the photos, including the instant-on Linux interface, laptop size comparisons, and gross licking details.
Sorry about yesterday. E3 is a harsh mistress, and when I returned to my hotel at 4 AM, I decided you guys wouldn't really care about a Roundup whose time had long passed. So anyway, let's jump right in. Read more to find out all about E3, Flagship Studios' death knells, and much, much more.
We had an opportunity to speak with id co-founder John Carmack after the big EA press conference yesterday (where id surprisingly announced a partnership with EA to publish Rage). We grilled the legendary game developer (and part-time rocket scientist) about id's post-apocalyptic shooter, the state of gaming graphics, and what his plans are after id Tech 5. Rage looks be a drastic departure from the traditional id FPS, not only in gameplay style (open worlds with vehicles vs. claustrophobic indoor environments) but also in the way Carmack has designed the code-base. id has already announced that Doom 4 is in development (no publisher has yet been annonced), and Carmack confirmed that it'll run at 30Hz and run with several times the graphics power as Rage, a 60Hz game.
Click through to read our extensive interview and find out what John Carmack thinks about DirectX 10!
The smell of gun powder hangs in the air, and E3's off to leisurely, jogging start. Since news is spewing out of the California-based trade show like lava from an active volcano, I'm going to focus on bigger stories that will appeal to Maximum PC users' more-refined palettes. So, with that said, read more to find out all about Portal's early return, Duke Nukem's new trilogy, and much, much more.