Have you turned on your Xbox 360 console today? If so, you may have noticed that you're now able to save data to removable USB memory drives, just as Microsoft promised a couple of weeks ago.
In early May, you'll be able to snag Microsoft's own-branded memory sticks from outlets like Gamestop, but the question is whether you'd even want to in the first place. According to Gamestop's pre-order pricing, an 8GB memory stick will run you $40, while you can expect to pay $70 for a 16GB flash drive. The good news here is that you can use any USB flash drive, "so long as you're aware that the maximum amount of data moved or stored is 16GB on any one device," Kotaku reports.
Microsoft has been aggressively upping the storage ante for its Xbox 360 console of late. Two weeks ago, the Redmond outfit released a 250GB standalone hard drive with transfer kit after previously saying the company had no plans to do so. Could Blu-ray be next? Don't hold your breath.
We don't know whether to laugh, cry, or buy a new pack of bubblegum, but for what it's worth, new images and a lengthy video of Duke Nukem Forever have surfaced on the Web.
In case you haven't purchased a PC in the past 13 years and today is your first time seeing what this whole Internet thing is all about, Duke Nukem Forever is a follow-up videogame that was officially announced way back in late April, 1997. It was supposed to be released a year later, but obviously those intentions fell flat on their face.
Several times since 2006 it appeared as though DNF would finally see the light of day, but instead the still-unreleased games has become one of the most laughably sad stories in PC gaming history (try wrapping your head around that one).
Catch the video (NSFW for language and loud music) and pics here, and then hit the jump to give us your over/under on when you think DNF will finally ship.
We've been hearing rumors that Microsoft would make available a standalone 250GB hard drive for its Xbox 360 console, even though it was just over a month ago that Xbox Live Product Manager Aaron Greenber denied any plans to offer the larger unit outside of special bundles. Greenbrier apparently didn't get the memo.
"Make sure you have enough space for the content you love," Microsoft announced on the Xbox 360 Dashboard. "The 250GB Hard Drive is the perfect storage option for your Xbox 360 Console, with plenty of space to hold all your downloaded games, movies, television shows, music, and more. Purchase one today at a participating retailer or visit http://www.xbox.com/accessories for more information."
We did just that, and sure enough, the standalone drive is now available for purchase. The 250GB upgrade comes with a data transfer kit so you won't have to worry about losing your saved data, and is also packed with HD game demos, videos, and an assortment of Xbox LIVE Arcade game trials - in other words, console crapware.
Th 250GB standalone drive sells for $130, while the 120GB has been cut to $100.
There's never been a better time to be an enthusiast. Most hardware is at an all time low, at least in terms of bang for the buck, and it doesn't take a hefty investment to build an all-around workhorse. Where does that leave the ultra-high end segment, particularly gamers?
According to Jon Peddie Research (JPR), some 46 percent of the dollars spent on PC gaming hardware were directed toward what the firm calls the "Enthusiast class." These are the dudes that shop only top-shelf products and don't think twice about spending a grand on a CPU or splurging on a pair of videocards, speedy SSDs, specialized gaming grade mice, and other related components.
By 2013, however, JPR says these folks will lose market share to the "Performance" and "Mainstream" classes from 46 percent to 35 percent of dollars spent. Why so?
"PC hardware has caught up to most of the software and people are able to play computationally intensive games on Performance level systems," explains Ted Pollack, Video Game Industry Analyst for JPR. "Performance systems now even support high resolution for all but the most demanding simulation and FPSs. The frequency of DirectX updates is also driving some people toward mid-range GPUs."
Even so, JPR says the high end will always be a good market, even as it loses ground to more pedestrian parts. According to JPR, despite the expected loss in market share, the Enthusiast class will still grow overall, from $9.5 billion to almost $12.5 billion in 2013.
What class do you fall into? Hit the jump and tell us the kind of hardware you're most likely to buy.
Nintendo's super sized DSi XL hasn't even been released yet, and already the company is talking up the next iteration of its popular handheld. It will be called the Nintendo 3DS and it will allow gamers to get their three-dimensional groove on without the need to don any dorky glasses.
"This will certainly stimulate demand for the DS, Rakuten Securities analyst Yasuo Imanaka said. "But, we need to keep in mind that this is a portable machine. If you expect the kind of full-blown 3D visuals shown on TVs or in movie theaters, you could be disappointed."
It's unknown exactly how the new system, which is slated for release in Japan by next March at the latest, will reproduce 3D effects without the aid of glasses, but one one approach would be to use some sort of head tracking mechanism. Arstechnica posted a video of a game that does exactly that, and the effect seems to work well.
Nothing is set in stone just yet, but according to analyst Michael Pachter, Electronic Arts is planning to charge gamers for what he describes as very long game demos.
"The PDLC would be sold for $10 or $15 through Xbox Live and PlayStation Network, and would essentially be a very long game demo, along the lines of 2009's Battlefield 1943," Pachter explains. "A full-blown packaged game would follow shortly after the release of the PDLC, bearing a full retail price."
The revelation came during an analyst visit to Electronic Arts' Redwood City headquarters, in which Pachter met with EA Group General Manager Nick Earl. According to Pachter, Earl describes the extended demos as a "low-cost marketing tool."
"EA's view is that the PDLC costs a lot less to develop (essentially, it's the first few levels of the full-blown game), and they have the opportunity to fix whatever needs to be fixed in the packaged product that is released a few months later, whether than entails doing more of what people like or doing less of what they don't like," Pachter said. "It sounds like a brilliant strategy to me."
And to us it sounds like paying to beta test a product, which we suppose would be brilliant if EA manages to pull this off.
Well hi giggly hey, Razer, if Ned Flanders were a gamer, this might be the happiest day of his life. That's because Razer just announced the first gaming grade mouse designed specifically for left-handed fraggers - son of a diddly!
"Leftie gamers have long been requesting that we develop a gaming grade mouse that is designed exclusively for the left-handed gaming community and we really value the feedback we receive from our fans," said Robert 'Razerguy' Krakoff, president, Razer USA. "Not many gamers know this, but I am a southpaw myself and feel truly excited to have a mouse that fits perfectly in my left hand. There is really no substitute for gaming with your naturally dominant hand."
Before right-handed gamers cry foul, this isn't an entirely brand new model, but a left-handed version of the popular DeathAdder gaming mouse. As such, lefties get the same benefits of their right-handed brethren, including a 3500dpi 3.5G infrared sensor, 1000Hz ultrapolling, 1ms response, on-the-fly sensitivity adjustments, five programmable buttons (including two on the right side), and everything else you remember about the Death Adder.
Razer has the DeathAdder for lefties on backorder for $60.
While addressing a bunch of gaming geeks at this years Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco, PlayStation researcher Anton Mikahilov made some pretty big claims about Sony's upcoming PlayStation Move motion controller.
Much of the demonstration revolved around the controller's level of precision. According to Mikahilov, the PlayStation Eye can track the Move's movements down to about one millimeter in the X and Y planes. To prove he wasn't blowing smoke up everyone's tailpipes, he zoomed down to the pixel level.
On the Z plane, the Move's level of precision is about one centimeter, and as Mikahilov twisted the controller, he noted that the PlayStation Eye could detect rotation to the degree level.
So what does it all mean? Translated in manner we can better identify with, Mikahilov says they've been able to use the motion controller to control the PC version of StarCraft.
In what ranked as a poor month in overall console sales, analyst group NPD reports Microsoft's Xbox 360 outsold Nintendo's Wii console in February. In doing so, the Xbox 360 claimed the top spot in U.S. monthly sales, a feat it hasn't achieved in over two years.
Despite Microsoft's strong showing, it was a pretty bad month for consoles. Combined sales for software, hardware, and peripherals came out to $1.26 billion, with console sales slumping 20 percent to $426 million.
"Honestly, I had expected the industry to perform somewhat better this month," said Anita Frazier, a games analyst at NPD.
Not surprisingly, Nintendo's DS dominated the handheld gaming space, selling 613,200 units compared to Sony selling 133,400 PlayStation Portable units.
As for the games people are playing, Take 2's "Bioshock 2" topped the sales chart with 750,000 copies across all platforms, and 562,900 for the Xbox 360. "New Super Mario Bros." came in second with 555,600 units, and "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2" slipped into third place with 667,100 units, now the third best selling game of all time with lifetime sales approaching 10 million units.
MSI is pretty stoked about the latest entry to its gaming notebook line, the 17-inch GE700. The new notebook couples an Intel Core i5 processor with ATI Radeon HD 5730 graphics (with 1GB GDDR3 memory), along with a few other noteworthy goodies.
Among them are two "cinema-class" speakers and a subwoofer, an HD webcam capable of 720p video up to 30fps, two hard drive bays for up to 1TB of storage, MSI's exclusive GPU Boost technology (switch between the integrated and discrete graphics solutions), HDMI output, eSATA, 4-in-1 memory card reader, 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Windows 7 Home Premium.
MSI put a bit of attention into the GE700's styling, including a "super-cool exterior" with a glossy black finish. You'll also find luminescent touch-sensitive hotkeys.