Xbox or Playstation 4 for Christmas 2015?

A year ago, any gamer would have told you hands down to buy a PlayStation 4 from Sony. I think the decision is much harder this year. Microsoft has brought a whole new slew of features to the Xbox One making it much more enticing. You’ve got the Windows 10 roll out to Xbox One revamping the entire OS. You’ve got the ability to play all your older 360 games now for free. You’ve got exclusives like Tomb Raider and Halo. Oh dear, Halo. It makes things tough. PlayStation 4 is still the graphics juggernaut out of the two. But everything else has kinda evened up. I am not going to tell you to go with one or the other, I still am a big PC guy and probably always will be. Speaking of which, if you have any shopping to do I’d suggest this website I found called High Ground Gaming. I found my most recent monitor with the help of their gaming monitor guide here. To be honest here, I’ve just got too much invested in my PC gaming set up. We’re talking over $1,500 in my system, plus the desk, and office chair. Then gaming keyboard, gaming mouse, the list goes on so you probably get the jist of things.

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PS4 Will Be Sony’s Biggest Launch Ever, Xbox One Preorders Outpacing Xbox 360

ps4e3-660x330In its first-quarter earnings for the 2014 fiscal year released today, EA COO Peter Moore revealed that Sony and Microsoft were seeing high interest in their new consoles, with a majority of gamers actually being aware of the incoming systems.

According to Moore, Sony believes PS4 will be its biggest console launch to date, while Microsoft says Xbox One preorders have been trending higher than Xbox 360 when the latter launched back in 2005. This comes as Microsoft’s Aaron Greenberg tweeted that demand for the console was “through the roof”.

Elsewhere, Baird analyst Colin Sebastian believes Xbox One could out-ship PlayStation 4 this fall. Speaking in to GI.biz, Sebastian said that Microsoft had gained back its momentum after its DRM reversal.

“Despite losing the headline battle at E3, Microsoft’s Xbox One appears to be regaining some momentum, in part due to the used and online policy tweaks,” Sebastian said. “Importantly, our supply chain checks suggest Microsoft may have the benefit of a 2-3x unit advantage at launch compared to Sony’s PS4.”

Both consoles will launch later this year.

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Xbox One game prices announced for the UK

Today, Microsoft announced that Xbox One games in the UK will have a tag of £49.99 RRP (recommended retail price).  The OXM spotted these on Microsoft’s online store, with the games Dead Rising 3, Ryse: Son of Rome, Forza Motorsport 5 and Kinect Sports Rivals costing that much. It’s worth noting that UK retailers always undercut these prices.

State-side, Microsoft announced on an earlier date that first-party games would be sold for 59.99$, the current price for Xbox 360 games.

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White Xbox One devkit surfaces

A reportedly legitimate image of a white Xbox One devkit has surfaced on the internet.

The alleged “XB1 dev” posted on Reddit that “the zebra ones were also earlier devkits. We’ve gone though several revisions since the original alpha kit (giant server case) and the current one we have looks like the launch version.”

Previous versions of the kit featured zebra stripes and PC-tower setup, to prevent image leaking. Would you prefer this, even as an option?

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Microsoft Confirms That It Has “No Plans” To Release Xbox One Without Kinect

kinect1Microsoft has confirmed to Gamefront that it has no plans to release a Kinect-less Xbox One.

In a response to the site, MS Said it believes that Kinect adds great value to the overall Xbox One package at its $499 price point.

We have no plans to introduce an Xbox One without Kinect. We believe in Kinect and the value it brings to both games and entertainment, and believe $499 is a great value for what consumers receive with their Xbox One.

This as gamers have been growing increasingly wary of Microsoft’s justification for adding Kinect to the Xbox One package, and it’s been amplified after it was leaked that the Redmond, Washington company had been working with the NSA and CIA to provide said government firms sensitive information of its users on Skype, Outlook, SkyDrive and more.

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Microsoft Reverses its Indie Policy: All Xbox Ones Can Be Used To Make Games (Update)

theoneUpdate: Not at launch. The ‘every Xbox One is a dev kit feature will be added later, Microsoft clarified.

Original Story: Say what you will, but Microsoft has been listening to the gaming community, and after reversing course on used games, always online, region-lock and headsets, Microsoft has just confirmed another reversal: a major self-publishing push where any Xbox One console can be debugged to be used as a developer kit.

Here’s Xbox’s corporate vice president Marc Whitten responding to a Kotaku inquiry about a self-publishing rumor that popped up on GameInformer earlier today:

Our vision is that every person can be a creator. That every Xbox One can be used for development. That every game and experience can take advantage of all of the features of Xbox One and Xbox LIVE. This means self-publishing. This means Kinect, the cloud, achievements. This means great discoverability on Xbox LIVE. We’ll have more details on the program and the timeline at GamesCom in August.

Clearly, Microsoft has been paying attention, and we’ll just thank Sony again, as they were and still are the ones trumpeting the independent development scene, even going as far as featuring about 8 indie devs on their E3 stage.

Sony was also to thank for Microsoft’s DRM reversal when it became apparent to Microsoft that Sony had clearly adopted an approach that allows gamers to do whatever they will with their used games, and steered clear from forcing gamers to always require an internet connection when playing games on PS4. Microsoft had the opposing policies in place, and quickly banished them after it looked like Sony was getting all the good press and preorders.

Again, when it was revealed that your PS3 headets would work just fine on PS4, Microsoft had to change its policy there, too, and announced that they were working on an adapter that would allow Xbox 360 owners to use their old headsets on Xbox One, although you’d have to pay for the adapter.

But still, this is another good move by Microsoft, and I’m looking forward to hearing more about the program come GamesCom.

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PS4 or Xbox One at a reduced price, offers GAME UK

With GAME’s new promotion, you can buy the next-generation consoles at a 10% off, as reported by HotUKDeals. GAME’s latest voucher code offers a 10% saving off a £50 amount of money spent , GAME gift cards included. This means that you can rack up a ton of pounds and use them towards your next console.

For Xbox One: An example is that the console costs, normally, £429. But by buying eight lots of £50 gift cards for £360 and then topping up the difference, you’ll be able to pick up an Xbox One for £389, analyses VideoGamer.com.

For PlayStation 4: It normally costs £349, but by buying seven £50 cards, you’ll be able to grab one for just £315.

To make the best out of this deal, you will need to complete multiple transactions, worth of £50 in credit, checkout as a guest in order to still be able to use the voucher, and then see how much less your next-gen console will cost.

To take advantage of the offer, head over to GAME’s website and enter the code ‘VCUKJUL132′ at the checkout.

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Indies weigh in on Xbox One self-publishing

xbox-one-box-660x330After Microsoft’s U-turn regarding indie self-publishing on Xbox One, some indie game creators weigh in on the situation, and their reactions are still mixed.

Courtesy of Shack News, here are some of their responses to the change.

Monaco: What’s Yours is Mine creator Andy Schatz of Pocketwatch Games said that an open platform is much better, because it gets rid of arbiters of taste, reduces energy expended on pitching games, and negates the need for publishers.

“While I enjoyed working with [publisher Majesco], had self-publishing been an option on the Xbox 360 it would have saved me a lot of trouble in the long run, since my destination platform was in limbo until a year before launch. If Microsoft doesn’t promote your game, it will still be a gigantic uphill battle to see any sort of meaningful sales.”

Creator of TowerFall, Matt Thorson, said self-publishing is a “huge difference” for him.

“For me, lack of self-publishing makes it very difficult to consider launching on a platform. I’ve never worked with Microsoft, but I’ve heard horror stories from other indies. Fingers crossed they’re aware of the problems and are ready to put in the work to catch up to Sony. They seem to be on the right track with this and the recent removal of the XBLA patch fee.”

And then comes Jennifer Schneidereit of Tengami developer Nyamyam Games, who sounded a bit unimpressed.

“Up until now Microsoft have displayed a mentality that excludes independent developers. This makes it difficult for me to trust their motives for reversing their stance now. From my time at Microsoft, I know that company goals and direction change frequently. These new plans might just be a last minute band-aid and we’ll end up with a similar situation to Xbox Live Indie Games, where Microsoft provides a system, but doesn’t give it the support it needs to be successful. Microsoft will have to do a lot more to gain my trust than just changing their self-publishing policy.”

Then, Polygon also asked a couple more devs, including Jamie Cheng of Klei Entertainment and their successful Mark of the Ninja title.

“I think the real test will be the discoverability of the games on the dashboard. The gauge of a healthy channel is the success of the middle – it’s not enough that a few games are hits, there also needs to be a wide base of developers that are making a decent income. This lowers the threshold and allows more developers to jump in and take risks.”

Brian Provinciano, the man behind Retro City Rampage, said Microsoft has a way to go to catch up with Sony, saying he has heard that the tools on offer through self-publishing are quite limited.

“After my experience working with them to release on Xbox 360, I have no interest in even buying an Xbox One, let alone developing for it. The policy changes are great, but they don’t undo the experience I had. I’m not ready to forget what I went through. Working with Microsoft was the unhappiest point of my career. Policies are one thing, but developer relations are another.”

Peter Bartholow of Skullgirls developer Lab Zero Games is also wary.

“I’d need to see the fine print before making any kind of final judgment. After all, these new policies were crafted by the same people that made the last set of awful policies.”

While Sony is the big man behind indies and Microsoft is struggling to catch up, Nintendo is steadily, quietly and behind-the-scenes recruiting more indies on their platforms.

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Warner Bros. To Publish The Witcher 3 in North America

thewitcherDetails via press release are below.

Presser:

CD Projekt RED Partners With Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment to Bring The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt to North America

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment will be responsible for the distribution and promotion of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt in North America. The third installment of the Witcher saga will be released in 2014, developed by CD Projekt RED for PC, PlayStation 4 computer entertainment system and Xbox One, the all-in-one games and entertainment system from Microsoft.

“The premiere of The Witcher 3 is the most important event in CD Projekt’s history. Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment is an extremely valuable partner for us because of their experience and established position on the American market, which is crucial to CD Projekt’s further rapid development. We’re very happy that our partners share our faith in The Witcher 3′s success and are ready to become fully engaged in providing promotion and sales support for the franchise in North America,” said Adam Kicinski, President, CD Projekt.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is an innovative Role-Playing Game based on the critically-acclaimed novels by Andrzej Sapkowski and set to launch in 2014. The game was one of the most lauded titles at E3 2013 in Los Angeles, garnering over 50 awards from many prestigious magazines and media outlets, including GameSpot’s “Best of E3″ and IGN’s “People’s Choice Award.”

“The Witcher 3 is among the most anticipated games of 2014 and one of the most promising RPGs scheduled for release on next generation hardware,” said Kevin Kebodeaux, Senior Vice President, Sales, Americas, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. “We are very pleased to continue our partnership working with CD Projekt on the Witcher franchise, which aligns with our goals to deliver quality experiences to gamers.”

The first installment in the Witcher series was released in 2007 for the PC. The second installment hit the PC market in 2011 and was released for the Xbox 360 games and entertainment system from Microsoft a year later. The two games received more than 200 awards and have sold more than five million copies to date. In February 2013, CD Projekt announced The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, which is scheduled for a 2014 release. The game will be released simultaneously for the PC and next-generation consoles: the Playstation 4 system and Xbox One.

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