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Microsoft XBOX Scorpio SoC Powered by "Polaris" and "Zen"

It looks like Microsoft will overpower Sony in the next round of the console wars, with a more powerful SoC on paper. The new XBOX "Scorpio" 4K Ultra HD game console will feature a custom-design SoC by AMD, which will combine not just a GPU based on the "Polaris" architecture, but also a CPU based on the "Zen" microarchitecture. This is significant because it sees a departure from using 8 smaller "Jaguar" CPU cores, and upshifts to stronger "Zen" ones. The chip could be built on the 14 nm process.

The SoC powering the XBOX Scorpio could feature a CPU component with eight "Zen" CPU cores, with SMT enabling 16 logical CPUs, and a "Polaris" GPU with 6 TFLOP/s of compute power. The combined compute power is expected to be close to 10 TFLOP/s. The Radeon RX 480, for instance features 5.84 TFLOP/s of power at its given clock speed. The CPU and GPU will likely share a common memory interface, belting out a memory bandwidth of 320 GB/s. The silicon muscle of this console should power 4K Ultra HD, 1080p @ 60 Hz HDR, and "good VR" solutions such as the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. Games for the console could leverage DirectX 12.


Source: TweakTown

Microsoft Acquires Havok Physics from Intel

Microsoft acquired Havok Physics, the industry's most popular in-game physics API, from Intel. Microsoft intends to add Havok's IP to its existing tools and platforms, including DirectX 12, Visual Studio, and Azure. Havok will continue to remain accessible to all its existing licensees and partners, including Activision, EA, Ubisoft, Nintendo, and Sony. It currently features in more than 600 AAA game titles across major platforms, such as the PC, PlayStation, Wii, and Xbox.

Source: Microsoft

Next Gen Nintendo Console to Do Away with Optical Disc Media

Nintendo's upcoming high-performance game console, codenamed "Nintendo NX," could be the first major console in 15 years to completely do away with optical disc media. Patent applications covering the console, filed in February by Nintendo, with the USPTO, and unearthed by NeoGAF, describe a console that "is not provided with an optical disc drive." Nintendo is expected to reveal the NX some time in 2016.

This points at a new direction in which Nintendo wants to guide the console gaming industry - one in which an Internet connection is mandatory, games are bought from a centralized marketplace online, downloaded to your console's local storage (HDDs/SSDs), and played. DLCs and in-game purchases are as seamless as possible, and game progress, settings, etc., are stored on the cloud. Such a system already existed for close to a decade, with Xbox Live and PSN, but Nintendo NX will be the first platform to completely do away with optical disc media. This method could also curb piracy, since the only way your console can receive games to play is through that online marketplace.
Source: USPTO, via NeoGAF

Google Chooses Vulkan as the 3D Graphics API for Android

Google announced that it chose Vulkan, the next-generation, cross-platform 3D graphics API from Khronos, the people behind OpenGL; as the default API for upcoming versions of its Android operating-system. It currently uses OpenGL ES. GL-ES is widely supported across several embedded platforms, with its most recent update, GL ES 3.2, being released as recently as last week. What makes Khronos particularly interesting is that it's heavily based on AMD Mantle, a low-overhead API that proved its chops against DirectX 11 on the PC platform, before being withdrawn by AMD, in favor of DirectX 12.

Google will be helping developers through the transition between OpenGL ES and Vulkan using a suite of documentation, SDKs rich in compatibility test suits, and more. Vulkan's march to the PC could be a lot less straightforward. It's still being seen as rebranded Mantle, and while AMD announced support for all its Graphics CoreNext GPUs, there's no such announcement from NVIDIA. It could see good adoption with Apple's Mac OS, and desktop *nix. Vulkan could see a lot of popularity with game consoles other than Microsoft Xbox. Sony PlayStation 4, and Nintendo's upcoming console, which use AMD GCN GPUs, could take advantage of Vulkan, due to its lower CPU overhead and close-to-metal optimizations, compared to OpenGL.Source: Android Blog, Many Thanks to Okidna for the tip.

Seagate Announces Game Drive for Xbox One and Xbox 360

Seagate Technology plc, a world leader in storage solutions, today announced at Gamescom the new 2TB Game Drive for Xbox, the result of a strategic marketing relationship with Microsoft. This new external drive is designed to complement the Xbox color scheme and is set up for an easy plug-and-play connection with an Xbox One or Xbox 360 gaming console.

"With all of the new and amazing titles expected for this holiday season and a ton more games coming in the future, Xbox gamers will need even more storage and portability," said Matt Kesselring, business development manager for Microsoft's designed for Xbox partner program. "Microsoft is privileged to be working with Seagate as our trusted partner for this important designed for Xbox peripheral."

D-Link Announces the DNS-340L NAS Server

D-Link today announced immediate availability of its new ShareCenter + 4-Bay Cloud Network Storage Enclosure (DNS-340L). Designed to provide features offered in both business and consumer storage arrays, the DNS-340L is an ideal solution for SMBs seeking a cost-effective iSCSI target for their video-surveillance projects and storage requirements.

Powered by the latest generation 1.2GHz CPU and 512MB RAM, the new Unified Storage Enclosure delivers high performance with low power consumption. The storage solution integrates a rich feature set which can act as a small multi-functional server to support applications such as media and print serving, FTP, web server, download and backup center, photo and audio center, surveillance, and more with an affordable price.

SYBER Announces Full Line of Steam Machines in Valve Booth at GDC

SYBER, a new division of CyberPowerPC, today announced a full line of Steam Machines during the Game Developers Conference (GDC) as part of Syber's open platform PC gaming systems. Steam Machines provide the best living room access to the greatest games and user-generated content available. Steam Machines offer the In-Home Streaming capabilities of the Steam Link, plus the ability to locally install and play your choice of over 1000 native SteamOS titles.

"For gamers who want to break out of the bedroom and into the comfort of the living room, the Syber Steam Machines offers the best performance at an affordable price," said Eric Cheung, CEO of CyberPowerPC. "We created the Syber Steam Machines to give gamers more power and more customization than the standard video game consoles like Sony PlayStation, Nintendo Wii and Microsoft Xbox," said Eddie Vong, VP of Product, CyberPowerPC.

Mad Catz Reports Fiscal 2015 First Quarter Financial Results

Mad Catz Interactive, Inc. (NYSE MKT/TSX: MCZ), today announced financial results for the fiscal 2015 first quarter ended June 30, 2014. Fiscal 2015 first quarter net sales declined 10% to $16.7 million, driven by a 17% decline in net sales in both EMEA and the Americas, offset partially by a 49% increase in net sales in APAC. Gross margin for the fiscal 2015 first quarter improved to 30.2%, compared to 28.7% in the prior year quarter. Total operating expenses in the fiscal 2015 first quarter decreased 17% from the prior year period to $6.2 million.

Diluted loss per share was ($0.02) for the fiscal 2015 first quarter, compared to a diluted loss per share of ($0.03) in the prior year quarter. Net position of bank loan, less cash, of $5.3 million at June 30, 2014, compared to $4.1 million at March 31, 2014 and $8.4 million at June 30, 2013. Highlights also include shipping of the new range of Tritton Xbox One licensed headsets, the S.T.R.I.K.E.M Mobile Keyboard for iOS, Android and Windows; the Saitek X-55 RHINO H.O.T.A.S. System for Windows PC; the R.A.T.TE (Tournament Edition) Gaming Mouse for Windows PC and Mac, and the Mad Catz C.T.R.L.R Wireless Gamepad for Amazon Fire TV, PC, Mac, and Android Smart Devices. The company announced participation in Needham Interconnect Conference on August 6, 2014.

Logitech Introduces Harmony Keyboard Control

Today Logitech announced the Logitech Harmony Smart Keyboard, a keyboard and touchpad combination specially designed for controlling streaming media in your living room. This new keyboard simplifies text entry, so you can search for shows, navigate menus and browse the Web on a PC or Mac connected to your TV or Internet-connected media devices, such as Apple TV, Roku or Xbox One.

"Internet-connected and streaming-media devices seem to deliver limitless entertainment options, however their accompanying remotes struggle to keep up with the text entry needed to search for selections," said Chad Thompson, senior director of worldwide marketing and product management for Logitech's digital home business group. "Our goal with the Logitech Harmony Smart Keyboard is to unite Logitech's expertise in both universal remotes and keyboards to provide a fast and simple way to search for and navigate through the vast content options available through the living room's entertainment devices."

Polk Announces Melee Gaming Headset and N1 Sound Bar

Polk, a high-performance audio brand with 40 years of sound, engineering and design expertise, today announced the retail availability of Melee, a gaming headset created for the Xbox 360 console, and the N1 sound bar which offers an immersive soundstage for gaming and entertainment across all gaming platforms including the new Xbox One. As Microsoft's Xbox 360 continues to be one of the top-selling consoles, the Melee and N1 are both custom engineered to immerse gamers in the worlds of their favorite Xbox games while delivering epic sound.

Polk has also extended its partnership with Microsoft through the end of 2014, creating additional opportunity for product development and deepening Polk's presence in the gaming category. The extension will open the doors for continued collaboration between Polk's sound engineers and Microsoft's 343 and Turn 10 Studios, who worked closely over the past year to create the perfect acoustic landscape for Xbox game play on the Halo and Forza game franchises.

Microsoft Reports Fourth-Quarter and Full-Year Results

Microsoft Corp. today announced quarterly revenue of $19.90 billion for the quarter ended June 30, 2013. Operating income, net income, and diluted earnings per share for the quarter were $6.07 billion, $4.97 billion, and $0.59 per share. These financial results include a $900 million charge, or a $0.07 per share impact, related to Surface RT inventory adjustments. In addition, these financial results reflect the recognition of $782 million of previously deferred revenue related to the Office Upgrade Offer. All growth comparisons relate to the corresponding period in the last fiscal year.

The following table reconciles these financial results reported in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) to non-GAAP financial results. We have provided this non-GAAP financial information to aid investors in better understanding the company's performance.

Microsoft Pulls a Fast One with E3 Xbox One Demos

With its focus on on-demand entertainment at the expense of gaming prowess, Xbox One didn't impress gamers at E3, who instead flocked to Amazon to pre-order their PlayStation 4, which not only features faster hardware, that could translate to better visuals in gaming, but is also a whole 20 percent cheaper ($499 vs. $399). At E3, Microsoft tried to pull a fast one. It set up several gaming stations allegedly powered by Xbox One, where gamers could play unreleased Xbox One games using the new Xbox One controller, just to get a feel of how rich and smooth the graphics really are. Some of them fell for it, others didn't. When these peeping toms didn't find the screens wired to an Xbox One main unit, they yanked open the cupboards below, only to find a full-fledged Windows 7 gaming PC.

How full-fledged you ask? Keen observers across the forumscape made out a rig powered by an Intel LGA2011 processor, which could at least be a Core i7-3820, and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 700 series reference design graphics card, which could at least be a GeForce GTX 770. Such a system would obviously give you a rich and smooth gaming experience.

Diamond Multimedia Announces Unique 4-in-1 Networking Device

Diamond Multimedia has announced the release of the WR300NR, a 4 in 1 device that acts as a wireless router, wireless repeater and range extender, standalone wireless access point and wireless bridge device. The WR300NR is the latest and most functional version from Diamond Multimedia's popular Wireless Extender and Router series. The newest capability is that the WR300NR can act as a standalone router.

The WR300NR, Wireless Extender & Router, is a universal multi-purpose device for your home network. As a wireless range extender, it repeats and extends your existing wireless signal to areas in the home that have little or no coverage and eliminates wireless "dead zones." It extends internet access throughout your home for wireless devices like laptops, smartphones, game consoles such as Nintendo Wii, Xbox, Sony PlayStation and TVs. If you do not have a router, the WR300NR is a perfect solution for adding a wireless network to your home. It can be directly connected to your DSL/Cable modem providing a complete wired and wireless environment. It can also be used as a standalone wireless bridge and can connect to any wired Ethernet device to the Internet, so you can easily connect game consoles, digital media adapters, Blu-ray players and printers. Furthermore, the WR300NR can be configured as a wireless access point, adding Wi-Fi to wired networks.

Xbox One Chip Slower Than PlayStation 4

After bagging chip supply deals for all three new-generation consoles -- Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Wii U, things are looking up for AMD. While Wii U uses older-generation hardware technologies, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 use the very latest AMD has to offer -- "Jaguar" 64-bit x86 CPU micro-architecture, and Graphics CoreNext GPU architecture. Chips that run the two consoles have a lot in common, but also a few less-than-subtle differences.

PlayStation 4 chip, which came to light this February, is truly an engineer's fantasy. It combines eight "Jaguar" 64-bit x86 cores clocked at 1.60 GHz, with a fairly well spec'd Radeon GPU, which features 1,156 stream processors, 32 ROPs; and a 256-bit wide unified GDDR5 memory interface, clocked at 5.50 GHz. At these speeds, the system gets a memory bandwidth of 176 GB/s. Memory isn't handled like UMA (unified memory architecture), there's no partition between system- and graphics-memory. The two are treated as items on the same 8 GB of memory, and either can use up a majority of it.

Microsoft Reports Third-Quarter Results

Microsoft Corp. today announced quarterly revenue of $20.49 billion for the quarter ended March 31, 2013. Operating income, net income, and diluted earnings per share for the quarter were $7.61 billion, $6.06 billion, and $0.72 per share.

These financial results reflect the net recognition of revenue related to the Windows Upgrade Offer, Office Upgrade Offer and Pre-Sales, and the Entertainment and Devices Division Video Game Deferral, partially offset by the European Commission fine. The following table reconciles these financial results reported in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) to non-GAAP financial results. We have provided this non-GAAP financial information to aid investors in better understanding the company's performance.

Microsoft Reports Record Revenue of $21.5 Billion in Second Quarter

Microsoft Corp. today announced quarterly revenue of $21.46 billion for the quarter ended December 31, 2012. Operating income, net income, and diluted earnings per share for the quarter were $7.77 billion, $6.38 billion, and $0.76 per share.

These financial results reflect the net deferral of revenue for the Windows Upgrade Offer, Office Upgrade Offer and Pre-sales, and the Entertainment and Devices Division Video Game Deferral, partially offset by the recognition of previously deferred revenue for Windows 8 Pre-sales. The following table reconciles these financial results reported in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) to non-GAAP financial results. We have provided this non-GAAP financial information to aid investors in better understanding the company's performance.

Microsoft Gifts Xbox Live Veterans 10th Anniversary Special Edition Xbox 360

Microsoft's Xbox Live service is turning 10 soon, and the company plans to celebrate it by gifting some of its most loyal members with a special edition Xbox 360 console, which features a refreshing new color scheme, and "A decade of entertainment" logo printed on its sides. There's no clarity on what one has to do to be able to receive one of these, but we'd imagine only the most loyal Xbox Live members, probably with active memberships dating back years, get the console. A Kotaku reader was surprised to find one of these packages at his doorstep. He never ordered it, never entered a giveaway, and isn't affiliated with the gaming industry. If you've been a long enough active member of the service which started in October 2002, there's finally reason your subscription billing address could come handy.

Source: Kotaku

Xbox 360 250 GB Sold for $99, Too

In May, Microsoft sent ripples down the gaming industry by launching a subsidized $99 Xbox 360 + Kinect bundle. The bundle included an Xbox 360 4 GB console, Kinect, and "Kinect Adventures." The company applied a similar subsidy plan to the 250 GB HDD-equipped variant of the console, priced at the same $99, but which lacks Kinect bundle. One can now get a 250 GB Xbox 360 + Kinect bundle for as low as $149. Under Microsoft's subsidy plans, full-featured consoles are sold at low prices, in exchange for customers subscribing to Xbox Live for at $15 per month for two years.

Source: The Verge

Delta Six Game Gun Redesigned

Inventor David Kotkin announced today that his Delta Six project is getting a make-over. After the initial announcement of the Delta Six gaming controller hit the media, an unfortunate controversy erupted over its appearance. "The toy gun looked too realistic and was consequently considered threatening by some critics," said Kotkin. While many reviewers applauded the enhanced realism of the new game gun, anecdotal evidence suggested that some video game critics were opposed to it. Citing the controversy, a small number of potential investors began backing away from providing funding. Deciding to find new backers, Kotkin submitting Delta Six to Kickstarter, a leading source of the new enterprise of "crowd funding." It seems likely that success on Kickstarter will fully revive the project.

Apple Patents Game Controller and Console Remote

Apple might be diving into the world of console gaming yet again according to Shacknews and GI.biz The patent application shows a staggering similarity to Sony's DualShock controller and what seems to be an iPhone interacting with a Microsoft Xbox360. This might be an Apple style preemptive attack against future endeavors to create apps that interface with current generation consoles or it could be something new that Apple has in the works. With the current growth in Apples market share and the growing popularity of Apple TV it shouldn't come as a surprise it would want a piece of the console pie. Whether the big three (Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo) give any leeway to Apple has yet to be seen.

Source: Shacknews

Microsoft Reports Record Fourth-Quarter and Full-Year Revenue

Microsoft Corp. today announced quarterly revenue of $18.06 billion for the quarter ended June 30, 2012. Operating income and loss per share for the quarter were $192 million and $0.06 per share.

The financial results reflect the previously announced non-cash, non-tax-deductible income statement charge of $6.19 billion for the impairment of goodwill and the deferral of $540 million of revenue related to the Windows Upgrade Offer. Adjusting for these items, non-GAAP fourth quarter revenue, operating income, and earnings per share were $18.60 billion, $6.93 billion, and $0.73 per share, which represented increases of 7%, 12%, and 6%, respectively, over the prior year period.

Sharkoon Launches X-Tatic S7 Headset with Dolby Pro Logic II Support

With the Sharkoon X-Tatic S7, Sharkoon has thankfully updated the sound format by providing two additional sound channels for authentic and room-filling 7.1 surround sound. The headset supports the new "Dolby ProLogic" version IIx, which combined with "Dolby Headphone" technology generates authentic and room-filling 7.1 Sound for stereo headsets from analog stereo signals and digital 5.1 Dolby Digital signals.

In addition, Sharkoon has replaced the previous USB2.0 cable for an included USB2.0 Y-cable, providing a stable energy supply to the headset via a second USB port for current or weaker sound sources.

SEGA's Nights Coming to the PC

Sega is continuing to reach into its back catalog, and fans are loving it. The latest HD remaster from the house of Sonic is the Saturn classic, Nights into Dreams. The digital re-release will be available on Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network, and Windows PC this fall. The updated version adds widescreen HD graphics, as well as support for leaderboards, trophies, and achievements. The original game will be available to play in "Saturn Mode," just in case you're not fond of the sharper graphics and textures.

Battlefield 3 Getting Arranged Matches

To give the Battlefield 3 competitive scene a helping hand, DICE is working on a new 'Matches' feature that lets players set up and schedule closed servers for their bouts. It'll all run through the Battlelog, but you'll need to be renting a dedicated server. "Players will be able to coordinate Matches for PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 through the Battlelog," community manager Ian Tornay explains on the Battlefield blog. "To coordinate a Match a player must be actively renting a dedicated server. Once a dedicated server has been selected the Match host can set the Match name, start time, game mode, team size, and map rotations." You can also set rosters, so only certain players are allowed in. Then there are options to tweak and fiddle with settings from friendly fire and available unlocks to health regeneration and squad leader spawning.

There's no word yet on when the Matches feature will launch.

Source: Shacknews

Doom 3 BFG Releases October 16th

The enhanced re-release of Doom 3 is coming just in time for Halloween, publisher Bethesda Softworks has announced. The "BFG Edition" of id's classic FPS will be available on October 16 on PC, Xbox 360, and PS3. The console versions will retail for $40, while the PC version will be $30. BFG adds Doom 3, Resurrection of Evil, and "The Lost Mission"--all optimized in 3D, 5.1 surround sound, achievements, improved rendering and lighting, and a new checkpoint save system. There's also an armor-mounted flashlight, "allowing players to illuminate dark corners and blast enemies at the same time."

The BFG Edition also includes the original Doom and Doom 2, making it the "definitive collection" for the series. Perhaps after this release, id will be a bit more forthcoming about Doom 4.

Source: Shacknews
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