Stephen McGill, the head honcho of Microsoft Xbox in the UK, said in a recent interview with Xbox 360 Achievements that the Blu-ray format is not long for this world. He was asked if he feels the DVD format will ultimately shorten the Xbox 360's lifespan rather than adopt Blu-ray and buy a bit of extra time.
"I think people may have spoken about that originally, but that's long gone," McGill said. "I think people now recognize what a smart decision it was to keep the pricing low, and actually Blu-ray is going to be passed by as a format. People have moved through from DVDs to digital downloads and digital streaming, so we offer full HD 1080p Blu-ray quality streaming instantly, no download, no delay. So, who needs Blu-ray?"
McGills isn't really saying anything new from the Microsoft camp, which previously was banking on HD-DVD winning the HD format war. Back in 2005, Bill Gates delcared that Blu-ray would be the end of the road for physical media.
"Understand that [Blu-ray] is th last physical format there will ever be," Gates said. "Everything's going to be streamed directly or on a hard disk."
If you weren't one of the first to snatch up a copy of Halo: Reach for the Xbox 360 earlier this week, there were plenty of others who filled in the gap. According to Microsoft, the latest title in the still uber popular Halo series pulled in $200 million in global sales on launch day.
"We feel really good about where the 'Halo: Reach' numbers are," said Phil Spencer, vice president of Microsoft Game Studios. "What 'Halo: Reach' numbers tell me is gamers are there. They are willing to buy the great experiences when they come out. In fact, that we are exceeding 'Halo 3' numbers out of the gate tells me that the industry is in a healthy state."
Fetching $200 million on day 1 day made Reach the biggest launch of any game or movie so far this year, Spencer claims. All told, the entire Halo franchise has sold more than 34 million copies during its ten-year tenure, pulling in almost $2 billion in sales.
In a blog post on Thursday, Capcom announced that Dead Rising 2: Case Zero has claimed the crown as the fastest selling Xbox Live Arcade game of all time.
"Capcom is happy to announce that its recently released downloadable title, Dead Rising 2: Case Zero, has broken all records on Xbox Live with the best week one unit sales in the history of all content distributed through Xbox Live Arcade," Capcom said.
Capcom stopped short of disclosing hard numbers for its Dead Rising prequel, but unless someone's abacus is busted, it would have to be at least 200,000 copies, which is how many Epic Games' Shadow Complex sold in its first week when it broke the one-week sales record for a single player game.
Origin today unveiled "The Big O," the company's latest gaming rig that's as orgasmic (from a hardware standpoint) as it sounds. Not only will The Big O get frisky with any PC games you throw at it, but it also tosses monogamy out the window and pulls double duty as an Xbox 360 gaming console.
A baseline config includes a Danger Den Tower 21, Intel Core i7 930 processor overclocked to 4GHz, Rampage III Extreme Edition motherboard, two Nvidia GeForce GTX 480 graphics, 6GB of Corsair DDR3-1600 memory, two 50GB OCZ Vertex 2 SSDs flanked by a 2TB Western Digital hard drive, 1500W Silverstone PSU, Creative Fatal1ty soundcard, fan controller, LED lighting, liquid cooling all around, and of course Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit. This little gem will set you back $7,700.
Upgrade options abound, and every Big O gaming PC comes with a liquid-cooled Xbox 360 slim console built in. Origin says you can even game on the Xbox 360 while your PC is busy dong whatever it is you have it doing, like Folding@Home, downloading torrents, ripping DVDs, etc.
Any way you slice it, companies that are already in the online video business are looking to get deeper in. Reports indicate that Amazon is working to expand their video offerings to include TV and movies from the likes of NBC, Time Warner, and Viacom. The new service would likely be viewable on devices Amazon currently uses for video. Devices like the Roku, Xbox 360, and PC would all fall into this category.
Amazon currently charges $1.99 for many individual TV episodes. The new streaming service would probably be a subscription affair, or would offer cheaper prices. Amazon may provide free subscriptions to current Amazon Prime members, who pay $79 per year for unlimited 2-day shipping on purchases.
As usual, the viability of this strategy is reliant on content creators signing on. No word on that yet, but Amazon will want to hurry if the Apple rumors about $0.99 streaming rentals on iTunes are real.
Lenovo is constantly eyeing new device segments, as is evident from its recent foray into the smartphone market and avowed interest in tablets. It has now emerged that the company is working on a video game console called the eBox.
The console is being developed by Beijing Eedoo Technology Ltd., a subsidiary Lenovo established in July. According to Eeedoo's website, the eBox features a Kinect-esque control mechanism. Lenovo hopes to launch the controller-free game console in China before the end of this year. Plans of an overseas launch are also on the cards.
Even though game consoles like the Wii, Xbox 360 and PS3 are yet to be released in China, they are still available through the gray market. Besides, the Chinese market is awash with locally manufactured knockoffs of popular consoles.
Microsoft's newer, slimmer Xbox 360 250GB console is fast becoming old news, except that up until now, the software giant hasn't been particularly willing to detail the system-on-a-chip (SoC) that powers the device.
Details of the SoC were unveiled at the Hot Chips symposium yesterday, and it was there that Microsoft showed off the inner workings of the 45nm part produced by IBM and GlobalFoundries. Even if you're not a console gamer, you have to appreciate that this is essentially the first mass-market, desktop chip to squeeze a CPU, GPU, memory, and I/O logic onto a single unit.
Microsoft's new SoC boasts 372 million transistors, which would have been much more impressive five years ago when the Xbox 360 first debuted. The 45nm chip realizes a more than 60 percent power savings over the original 90nm chip from 2005 and measures 50 percent smaller.
One interesting thing about the new design is the inclusion of a "FSB Replacement" block. IBM/GlobalFoundries could have just connected the GPU and GPU with a low-latency internal connection, but doing so would have made the new Xbox 360 faster than previous versions. The FSB Replacement block actually adds latency to the mix and introduces a performance hit to keep the new model from outpacing older versions.
We have to hand it to Zachariah Perry, a 19-year-old sculpture student, blogger, and the man behind one of the coolest Iron Man Xbox 360 mods we've ever seen.
Perry took a standard Falcon HDMI-based Xbox 360 console and outfitted it with an Arc Reactor with bright white LEDs. "Also there is a ring of light around the outside of the Arc Reactor that mimics the ring of light around the power button," Perry explains in his eBay auction.
Completing the ensemble is a matching red controller and a 120GB hard drive with a "Stark Industries" label. Plenty more pics can be found on Perry's blog here.
Maybe Microsoft isn't losing as much money on consoles as previously thought. According to news and rumor site Fudzilla, cost improvements for the Xbox 360 Slim have the Redmond giant making more money on its console than ever before, which could result in upcoming price cuts.
"According to our sources, it is likely that Microsoft will drop the prices of both the low-end and high-end models by as much as $50 next year," Fudzilla says. "It is already being suggested that the news could come as soon as E3 next year."
What's more, Fudzilla says its sources have also indicated a two-phase price drop for the Kinect. The first is rumored to come when Microsoft drops the Adventures pack-in title, and then another closer to the holiday shopping season in 2011.
Microsoft’s performance during the fourth quarter not only exceeded the Street’s expectations but also saved some blushes. The Redmond-based company earned $16.04 billion in revenue, a 22% rise compared to the same period last year, and enough to get it past Apple’s quarterly revenue of $15.7 billion. The Street had foreseen Apple bettering Microsoft’s quarterly revenue for the first time ever, but MS had other plans.
Windows 7 continued its stellar performance during the quarter and, along with Office 2010, accounted for a large part of the company’s growth. “We saw strong sales execution across all of our businesses, particularly in the enterprise with Windows 7 and Office 2010,” said Kevin Turner, chief operating officer.
According to a press release issued by the company, “Operating income, net income and diluted earnings per share for the quarter were $5.93 billion, $4.52 billion and $0.51 per share, which represented increases of 49%, 48% and 50%, respectively, when compared with the prior year period.”