Better late than never, right? That seems to be what roughly half of you think about GFW Live finally ditching its subscription fee. The remaining half, then, think Microsoft wizened up too late in the game, and that Steam has already taken home the gold. Personally, I have to say that dropping the fee was a smart move, but it's what Microsoft does next that'll really count. Will they add features that differentiate GFW Live from other services, or was today's announcement just lip service to keep the unwashed masses from becoming belligerent?
Luckily, today's Roundup will provide you with instant gratification where Microsoft couldn't. Whether you're looking for humbled admittances from Nintendo, excellent new titles on Gametap, or proof that the PS3 is actually front-runner in the console wars, the Roundup has you covered.
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.
We still have a ways to go before being able to print out an entire PC's worth of components ordered through Newegg, but imagine taking that killer motherboard layout you've been brewing in your head and printing out a 3D mockup. Then the only question is do you send your design to your favorite motherboard maker, or start up your own company and show the competition what a real enthusiast's layout is supposed to look like? Forget about Fatal1ty, and slap your own forum nick on your custom mobo!
Sound farfetched? It is, but only because of the high costs associated with 3D printing. Looking to break that barrier is Netherlands-based Shapeways, an ambitious startup who hopes to help you transform your 3D modeling designs from software creations into hard printouts, all without breaking the bank. After submitting your object, Shapeways decides whether or not it can be produced and provides a real-time cost estimate, which the company claims usually runs between $50-$150.
It's all part of Shapeways' private beta for a new online consumer co-creation community and do-it-yourself 3D printing service. The site beta has just gone live, but the only way you'll get to try it out is with an invite. That's no problem for Maximum PC readers, as we've secured 250 exclusive invitations!
Hit the jump to learn more about Shapeways' 3D printing service and to snatch your invite. But hurry, they're first come, first served!
Last week GoDaddy began selling top-level .me domains for the first time ever, and it didn't take long for thousands of registrants to pounce on the newly available naming scheme. The frenzy started immediately after opening registration and according to GoDaddy, in the first 24 hours it "registered more than 20,000 .me names, making it the most successful new domain launch" in the company's history.
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.
In your May 2008 issue, you made warm comments about HD Inspector from AltrixSoft. However, the trial version is not really fully featured, as you said, since you can check only the primary drive. All other drives are blocked. Also, these guys charge sales tax on downloaded software. No physical product is delivered, and there’s no way to complain about this. The real issue is the sales tax. This amounts to a 5 to 8 percent surcharge on the price of the product. I live in Boulder, CO. I highly doubt that the company is licensed to collect sales tax in Boulder, or in any other small town in America. This is fraud, and you should look a bit deeper before recommending some of these software vendors.
Well, Tom, the Dog has an answer for you after the jump.
Not a fan of Vista? You're not alone, but you might be outnumbered. Microsoft claims it has sold over 180 million Vista licenses since launch, and while the significance of Vista sales have always been a point of contention, Microsoft has some other numbers it can now throw around that aren't so easily disputed. These include:
$60.42 billion (revenue for fiscal year ended June 30, 2008)
18 percent (revenue growth over one year ago)
$15.84 billion (fiscal fourth quarter revenue)
$5.68 billion (operating income, representing 42 percent growth over same period last year)
$0.46 (operating income, representing 48 percent growth over same period last year)
With Linux making headway as a viable alternative to Windows, it might come as a surprise to see Microsoft doing so well. But not only did Microsoft have a "strong finish in the fourth quarter, which capped off an impressive year for the company," but Chris Liddell, CFO at Microsoft, expects "another year of double-digit revenueand earnings growth in fiscal year 2009."
Instant messaging is a great way to stay in touch, but anybody who uses it extensively knows the pain of having friends spread out over different services. Ever install a bulky and bloated IM client for just one friend? Or wished you could instant message all your groupies without running 5 different chat clients in the system tray? Well IM providers and a handful of crafty open source programmers have listened to our cries. Free browser-based alternatives exist for all the major platforms, and all in one desktop clients are finally able to bring the competing services together.
Yahoo’s CEO Jerry Yang has scored a major victory against corporate raider Carl Icahn ahead of the crucial board election on August 1. Legg Mason’s Bill Miller, who owns a 4.4% stake in the internet company, has vowed his allegiance to Jerry Yang and the current board. Bill Miller’s support is being inferred as a fatal blow for Icahn’s Microsoft-backed proxy war as analysts don’t expect any institutional investors – that hold a stake in Yahoo – to back the boardroom coup.
The only glimmer of hope for Icahn is Gordon Crawford, who controls a substantial 6.5% stake. Gordon has hinted that he can align with Icahn but remains undecided. Yang wants to leave nothing to chance and wants to finalize a deal with AOL before the upcoming board elections, however, the chances of the deal going through ere Aug 1 remain slim.
Ubuntu's Hardy Heron (8.04) operating system has been flapping its wings in full-release form since late April, and now the latest Linux distro lands on pre-configured Dell systems. This isn't the first time Dell has offered Linux as an OS option, but up until now, OEM shoppers looking for a Windows-alternative were stuck using Feisty Fawn (7.04), bugs and all.
So why the nearly three month-long delay? Dell claims it spent that time in development to ensure a smooth rollout with the new OS, as well as testing for peripheral support, including ATI graphics, fingerprint readers, HDMI, and other odds and ends. Linux support has increased leaps and bounds from the pre-Vista days, but the emergence into the mainstream segment has been a relatively recent development, so it comes as little surprise that pre-configured systems using the latest distro release wouldn't be as quick to market as a Windows PC.
Dell currently offers Ubuntu on its Inspiron 530N desktop, Inspiron 1525N laptop, and XPS M1330 laptop machines, and is expected to add its XPS M1530N and new Studio 15N laptops to the lineup by early August.