Microsoft: We Are Committed To Xbox

Ever since new CEO Satya Nadella took over at Microsoft, many gamers were wondering if the company would stay the course with its Xbox consoles, or try something different. However, rest assured, Microsoft’s staying in the game.

During the SXSW show this weekend, Microsoft’s Phil Spencer assured that the company would remain committed to the consoles. According to him, the company remains “extremely committed” to the Xbox brand, according to Twitter user Todd Lutz.

In addition to staying with the brand, Microsoft also stated that they would make the newly introduced Games With Gold program – which offers two downloadable titles for free a month to Xbox Live Gold subscribers – would get better.

Speaking with Polygon, Spencer acknowledged that the program’s start with older games wasn’t as well-received as the PlayStation Plus program’s offerings. “One of our issues with Games with Gold – not “issues” but differences between the other system we get compared to – is the fact that with Games With Gold, you get to keep that game, regardless of whether you continue to subscribe,” he said.

“And the business around Games With Gold, for us, is just fundamentally different from some of the other programs that are out there, which does put a different financial picture on a – you’re gonna go buy a game that’s brand new, the cost of putting that in, just to be kind of blunt about it.”

Rumor has it that the program will expand into the Xbox One library later this year.

Source: VG247

Nielsen Sees Merging Of Media Advertising

While TV and online advertising remain on separate mediums (for now, at least), it won’t be too long before they eventually merge together, according to a report from Nielsen and Simulmedia.

The report, titled The Data-Driven Future of Video Advertising, indicates that video advertising has become a huge part of online interactivity, and should gain more than $5.72 billion ad spend in the U.S. this year alone. TV companies are looking to play a big part in that as well.

While the merging of the TV and online mediums isn’t likely to happen anytime soon, statistics show that the two will go into full cross-channel coordination and integration by 2020, with digital video playing a big part in that partnership.

Source: Clickz

‘Game Of Thrones’, The Beer

With the fourth season of HBO’s Game of Thrones coming next month, fans everywhere are gearing up to see what happens next. While they wait, however, they’ll be able to get their hands on some fine ale.

Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, New York has begun brewing a third round of beer inspired by the show, readying them for release on March 31.

The brew, called Fire and Blood Red Air, features three different labels based on brands from the show – Drogon, Rhaegal and Viserion, all of which belong to the character Daenerys. This follows the company’s previous brews, Iron Throne Blonde Ale and Take the Black Stout.

The beer will be ready for distribution on March 31, one week before the show’s fourth season premiere. It will be available nationwide, selling in 750ML bottles for $8.50 each.

Source: Mashable

Live-Action ‘Titanfall’ Coming Soon

It’s a big day for Xbox One and PC gamers today, as EA’s multiplayer shooter Titanfall has finally made its way to stores. But gamers are in for a surprise if they think the story ends with that single game.

Respawn Entertainment, the developers behind the shooter, have teamed up with visual effects/post production studio Playfight to work on new live-action content for the game, via a teaser website announcement.

The project will be led by director William Chang, with a focus on “laying the foundation for the creation of original content within the vast expanse of the Titanfall universe.

Titanfall is set in a rich near future universe with visceral, epic battles with Pilots and their Titan companions,” said Respawn’s Dusty Welch. “We wanted to partner with Playfight, who has a history of delivering movies that meld gameplay, live action and stellar CG into truly entertaining media, for Titanfall. What this collaboration brings is yet to unfold…”

Meanwhile, Titanfall is available in stores now, as well as through digital download.

Source: Polygon

 

Samsung’s ‘Virtual Hand Keyboard’

Samsung is on a roll when it comes to new tech for 2014. Along with its own variation of Google Glass, the company now appears to be working on a camera-based augmented reality keyboard system – which would do away with needing to type in functions on a physical model.

The patent, titled Input Method and Apparatus of Portable Device, has the goal of eliminating issues that speech recognition-based controls can run into, such as low recognition accuracy and being to input functions in private.

With this method, users can utilize a headset to see an AR keyboard mapped out on their fingers and palms, then use their thumbs to type the letters of choice. Although not set up like a conventional keyboard, it’s easy to see how someone could get used to this method.

Originally filed last august through the World Intellectual Property Organization and South Korea’s Korean Intellectual Property, the tech could be unveiled as soon as this September at the IFA trade show in Berlin. However, Samsung hasn’t confirmed anything as of yet.

Source: PSFK

OnLive Returns With New Services

It’s been a rocky road for the OnLive cloud gaming service. Despite offering some key titles, the service has seen a lot of behind-the-scenes shuffling, as well as a lack of new games. However, all that changed this past week when the company launched some new services.

The new CloudLift subscription service links games from a player’s library to OnLive and automatically saves data within said games. That allows them to pick right back up where they left off, playing the game on a number of devices, including mobile. So far, the service only works with a few key titles, including Batman: Arkham Origins and The Lego Movie Videogame, but it’s likely to expand into other titles soon.

In addition, OnLive Go will focus on supporting MMO-style games for the service, although specific titles weren’t confirmed just yet.

OnLive has also seen the addition of new staffers on its team, including Mark Jung, former CEO of IGN who now serves as the company’s Executive Chairman; Carrie Holder, new VP of Business Development; and Rich Sanchez, OnLive’s VP of Product and Marketing.

The new CloudLift service is available now, and OnLive Go should follow shortly.

Source: TechCrunch

Ads Go Multiscreen

A recent poll by the Association of National Advertisers and Nielsen have found that 2 out of 3 marketers dedicated about 25 percent of their budgets on executing integrated, multiscreen campaigns. Marketers are looking to a future where this will be commonplace, as 72 percent of pollers said that by 2016, they expect this to increase to anywhere between 26 to 100 percent. Nearly half said that utilizing multiscreen advertising is important to their marketing efforts now.

 

Source: eMarketer

EA: No Price Drop Near For Current-Gen

The current console war is an interesting one, while the previous generation (the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3) continue to be quite popular. Still, with “fresh blood” on the market, one would have to wonder if the older systems would drop in price anytime soon. EA’s financial officer Blake Jorgensen, however, doesn’t think this will be the case.

Speaking at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Technology conference, Jorgensen stated, “At some point, (Microsoft and Sony) will most likely bring those prices down, which could expand the marketplace for old-generation software. I’m guessing it’s probably late in the year or maybe even after next Christmas. I don’t know; they’ve not told us what their plans are but it’s probably not any time real soon.”

In the meantime, there are plenty of bundles to choose from, many of which are reasonably priced around $200 to $300, for both the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360.

Source: GameSpot

Ouya Launches On Mad Catz’s M.O.J.O.

Even though Ouya is content with its own console, it’s busily spreading its services around to others.

The company has announced that it will share its online store with other hardware makers, as part of its Everywhere initiative. This past week, it announced that it would bring its games to Mad Catz’s Android-based gaming system, called M.O.J.O. As part of the move, Mad Catz will lower the price of the system from $250 to $200, to help attract new customers.

“Up until now, the game console experience has been locked inside a box,” said OUYA chief executive Julie Uhrman in a statement. “Together with the hardware veterans at Mad Catz, we end that. Today’s announcement signifies the inception of a truly open platform where independent developers can bring their creations to the platforms where gamers actually play: everywhere.”

The OUYA services will coincide with M.O.J.O.’s own Google Play application, where players will have a number of games at their fingertips.

“This agreement with OUYA encapsulates our vision of an open software platform powered by M.O.J.O.’s high-performance hardware, and supported by the entire ecosystem of GameSmart gaming accessories,” said Mad Catz chief executive Darren Richardson. “We believe today’s announcements will widen the appeal of M.O.J.O. introducing it to a greater number of passionate gamers.”

Source: VentureBeat

Microsoft Bundles ‘Forza’ With Xbox One

Microsoft is ready to up the ante with its Xbox One console. In addition to launching a specific Titanfall bundle with the first person shooter’s launch next week, the company has another deal in place for those who prefer the regular model – the racing game Forza Motorsport 5.

Those who purchase the system will receive a complimentary download code for Turn 10 Studios’ realistic racer, according to company spokesman Larry “Major Nelson” Hyrb.

The offer is for a limited time, but it’ll save potential buyers $60 on a purchase, making the $500 asking price for the Xbox One seem a little more affordable. Note: the offer is only for regular Xbox One systems, and not the Titanfall package.

Hey, that still provides something to play, doesn’t it

Source: Digital Trends