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.
Being an early adopter doesn't always net you bragging rights. Just ask your neighbor how his HD-DVD player is working out for him, or your co-worker what he bought with his Apple gift card after being one of the first to own an iPhone. And in the world of PCs, being the first to own a Geforce GTX 280 means you're stuck watching others pay $499 for the same videocard you plopped down $649 for just weeks ago.
It's because of this that XFX's latest announcement comes as an epic win for its customers. The company says it wants to "thank you for your loyalty and believing in the XFX brand," and to prove it, XFX is issuing up to $120 cash back for anyone who purchased an XFX-brand Geforce GTX 280 or 260 videocard between June 16, 2008 and July 11, 2008. This from the same company that offers a double-lifetime warranty on all its videocards.
You knew it would happen sooner or later, the only question being which company would be the first to offer a 2GB graphics card? PowerColor answers that question today by annoucing the world's first videocard carrying a 2GB frame buffer. Or more accurately, the world's first desktop graphics card packing 2GB of memory, as workstation cards have already reached that milestone.
The fat frame buffer will first appear on PowerColor's PCS HD4850 built on ATI's RV770 core and use GDDR3 memory instead of the newer (and more expensive) GDDR5. PowerColor advertises a "massive memory bandwidth up to 57.6GB/sec" capable of "providing faster graphical performance," though it remains to be seen what impact the additional memory will have on gaming performance. Along with the added memory, PowerColor also says the new card will utilize its Professional Cooling System (PCS), which the company claims will result in up to a 10C drop in temps.
PowerColor certainly seems exciting over its announcements. Question is, are you?
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.
Just for you, because you're awesome: new screenshots from two of our most highly-anticipated PC games of the year. Spore and Left4Dead look much more polished and graphically improved since we've last seen them. In the case of Left4Dead, all the character models have been revamped as well. The L4D screens don't actually show the new character design. For a peek at those, you'll have to hit up our liveblog of the EA press conference.
We just arrived at the EA press conference at the Orpheum theater. Lots of news being released, including the announcement of Sims 3, coming out in 2009. EA demos Dead Space, Spore, Mirror's Edge, NBA Live 09, Dragon Age: Origins, Left4Dead (characters redesiged), and id's Rage! Click through for our liveblog!
It looks like a partnership with Netflix isn't the only thing Microsoft has planned for its Xbox 360 console. Coming this fall, the Redmond company announced it will be giving the console a complete software face-lift.
And new it is. The updated Dashboard will sport 3D interface, including 3D avatars that will look familiar to anyone who's ever used a Nintendo Wii, and will be integrated into your GamerCard. New emphasis will be placed on the community with IM, video chat, photo sharing, and a nifty-looking 3D slide interface for the main Dashboard screen, along with an 8-people party system.
The console wars just got a whole hell of a lot more interesting. Earlier today at E3, Microsoft and Netflix announced an exclusive partnership that will give Xbox 360 owners the ability to stream movies and TV episodes included with their Netflix subscription to their living room TV set. The new service will launch in late fall and be available to LIVE Gold members who are also Netflix subscribers at no additional cost.
The partnership with Microsoft not only comes as a bonus to existing Xbox 360 owners, who prior to the update had to either buy a $99 set-top player through Roku or deal with unofficial (and buggy) workarounds, but also presents potential console owners a compelling incentive to pick up an Xbox 360 over the Blu-ray capable Playstation 3.
For gamers reading the site (we know there are a lot of you), we wanted to let you know what Maximum PC will have some great E3 coverage this year. In fact, Will Smith and I are at the SFO airport right now, and our plane is boarding in next 10 minutes. We'll be down in LA for the whole week, blogging live from the various press conferences and posting hands-on reports for all of our scheduled game demos and appointments. Be sure to check back frequently for the latest updates. You can also click the E3 Coverage tablet link on the right side of the website to only filter our E3 reports.