One of the big announcements at this year’s Gamefest – Microsoft’s XNA developers conference taking place in Seattle right now – is the next step for the Games for Windows initiative. We spoke with Kevin Unangst, Senior Global Director of Games for Windows, who gave us a breakdown of the updated service and how it’ll affect current GFW account owners. Kevin also clued us into the details from the official DirectX 11 unveiling, including what three new features have been added to the API.
Click through the jump for more details, and how this affects gamers who've already paid for GFW LIVE accounts.
Remember that old economics lesson about supply and demand? If demand for a product rises, the company producing it can raise the price to the point where the supply and demand curves intersect. But when the demand for a product is almost non-existent, the invisible hand of economics demands that price falls. In the case of Microsoft’s Games for Windows LIVE initiative, the price has now fallen to zero. Microsoft just announced today that Games for Windows LIVE will be free for all users (both Silver and Gold accounts), which is the price it should’ve been at all along. Gamertags, buddy lists, and achievements will be enabled on all accounts without an annual fee, though gamers who play on Xbox LIVE will still have to pay for that service.
Check back later today for our interview with Kevin Unangst, Senior Global Director of Games for Windows, who will reveal what other plans Microsoft has next for the GFW program. Click through the jumpf for Microsoft's official press release.
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.
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!