Come November 15, Microsoft will be launching a Games marketplace for Windows users to browse and download gaming applications to their computers. The marketplace is expected to offer a good line-up of PC games that will offer desktop gamers a great place to browse and download games from.
The Games for Windows Marketplace is expected to only hold close to a 100 games at launch, but expect the numbers to grow rapidly as the exposure and target market that developers can gain through such a marketplace can be overwhelming. Microsoft is also expected to come up with features like ‘Deal of the Week‘ and ‘Featured games‘,etc.
To buy a game, users will need to sign in using a Windows Live ID, Zune tag or Xbox Live gamertag. The payment can be made either using a credit card or Microsoft Points. Here is a partial list of the games that will be available on the Games for Windows marketplace at launch.
- “Fable: The Lost Chapters”
- “Grand Theft Auto III”
- “Lego Universe”
- “Dead Rising 2?
- “Lost Planet 2?
- “Max Payne”
- “Deus Ex: Game of the Year Edition”
- “Flight Simulator”
- “Gears of War”
- “Zoo Tycoon”
- “Fable III”
- “Age of Empires Online”
- “Microsoft Flight”
Early this month, there was a running speculation that Microsoft may have acquired Linden Lab, the company that is behind the popular virtual reality game, Second Life. Word was that Redmond may have either actually acquired the whole company or is at least in the final stages of talks before acquisition. The rumor mills also indicated a possible inclusion of the popular game on Xbox Live, Microsoft’s online gaming network.
Now, word is out that the Founder of Linden Lab, Philip Rosedale is quitting his CEO post – just four months after he started his stint. In a blog post announcing his decision, Rosedale said,
“After about four months as interim CEO, working closely with Bob Komin, the management team, and the board, we’ve decided we are ready to start the search for a new CEO. I’ll be leaving day-to-day management of the company and continuing in my role on the board, including helping in the search to find a great CEO. I will also be continuing my work with my new company, LoveMachine.”
The announcement has revived the speculations that Linden Lab is prepping itself up for news about getting acquired by Microsoft. This is just speculation, but it would be wonderful news for the gamers should this turn out to be true.
Microsoft will be launching a new-look Xbox.com website sometime now. The new site will bring a number of new features besides opening up support for Xbox Live to nine new countries where the service is launching next month. These countries include Russia, Poland, South Africa, Greece, Czech Republic, Hungary, Brazil, Colombia, and Chile.
The new features as described by Major Nelson include
- Browser based Avatar editor: Edit your avatar and preview avatar items before purchase
- Combined views for messages, friend and game requests
- Improved notification of your account subscription
- Leverage Family Reports to understand what your family is doing and how they are using LIVE
- Play web games with your Xbox LIVE friends on the web or on Windows Phone 7
- Marketplace: More powerful search and more intuitive ways to browse and filter
The new website is set to go live starting 09:00 AM GMT. That’s almost here.
Nintendo’s new peripheral for the Wii; the Remote Plus had previously been confirmed by the company’s president, Satoru Iwata where he had noted that this new accessory will integrate the Wii Remote with the Wii MotionPlus. Now while the launch of this peripheral was announced as November 11 for Japan, the launch details for the rest of the world was hitherto unknown.
Nintendo has now taken the next step with the announcement that the new Nintendo Wii Remote Plus will make its first appearance in Europe earlier than it does in Japan. According to a media release, the peripheral will be available in Europe on November 5. There are four colors to pick from – black, pink, white and blue.
“Players of games such as Wii Sports Resort and FlingSmash will be able to take full advantage of the enhanced accuracy and realistic motion control which the Wii Remote Plus offers, as every swing of a golf club or fling of Zip is reflected in real-time on screen.”
There is no word on the pricing as yet.
Quite a few movie streaming services have been heading to gaming consoles in recent times thanks to the growing popularity of web streaming via these consoles. The latest in this list is LOVEFiLM, the popular DVD rentals plus streaming service operating out of London. According to reports on SlashGear, the service may soon be launching on Sony PlayStation 3 to allow these users to stream movies directly from their console on to a television. This service will be integrated with all the other platforms that LOVEFiLM operates upon which means that subscribers will need to only pay the monthly subscription fee between £3.99 and £5.99 for access.
LOVEFiLM is a company that is owned partly by Amazon. Last month, there were speculations that Amazon was looking at a complete acquisition of the UK company in a bid to boost their presence in the UK and Europe market. We have not heard much about it since then.
World of Warcraft, or WoW as it is popularly known, has just signed up its 12 millionth subscriber. The landmark comes six years after the extremely popular multiplayer online role-playing game was launched by Blizzard Entertainment. The timing of this announcement is significant considering that Blizzard only recently launched the Wrath of the Lich King expansion in its primary American market.
While this is definitely a positive news for WoW lovers, it is worth noting that the growth from 11.5 million to 12 million subscribers has happened over a 2 year period. Blizzard made its announcement on the earlier landmark way back in December 2008 and consequently, there is no gainsaying the fact that this extremely popular MMORPG is not what it used to be.
WoW’s subscription-based titles are currently available predominantly in North America, South East Asia, Europe, China and Australia. I wonder if Blizzard is looking at expanding into newer markets to take the popularity of this game even further.
This is how you update your Sony PS3 to the latest firmware – Ensure you are connected to the internet, go to Systems Menu -> System Updates and download the latest firmware. It is not a big deal anyway. But if you are one of those users who is not tech-savvy enough and wishes for someone who will get it done for you, you may have to pay a $30 premium.
That’s exactly what Best Buy has recently been caught charging. According to some reports, the Geek Squad at a Best Buy store in New York has been selling a 120GB PS3 with the latest 3.50 firmware update at an additional cost of $30. Of course, there are units with the older firmware that do not come with this additional price premium and so the buyer is not entirely obliged to cough up this additional cost. But in any case, this is a pretty huge cost for something as simple as a firmware update which does not show the retail store in positive light.
Epic Games, the developer of the popular Unreal Engine gaming series, had recently announced the launched the imminent launch of Unreal Engine 3 on Apple iPad. As part of the announcement, the company’s vice president, Mark Rein said that the tablet form factor was very much part of the future gaming environment and that the day was not far off when you will have an XBox 360 in a tablet form factor. Rein said,
“Imagine a future Xbox 360 that is actually a tablet you carry around. It will have more power than 360 does today, with technology like Kinect built right in. Imagine walking into a bar with some friends, propping it up on the table and playing games like Dance Central or Kinect Adventures anywhere you go. Then when you get home that same device will use technology like AirPlay or wireless HDMI to connect to your big screen, you’ll pick up a wireless controller, or use your phone as controller to play games like Gears of War.”
Of course, this is not any indication of what is to come in the future. But given Epic Games’ experience in building games for the various platforms, Rein’s words are not entirely speculative either. What do you think?
Rumors surrounding this have been flying around for quite sometime and has been confirmed now. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has confirmed that these speculations are in fact true and has announced the imminent launch of a new Wii Remote Plus that will bring together the Wii Remote and the MotionPlus. Iwata is reported to have said,
“For the convenience of the users, Nintendo is developing Wii Remote Plus, which integrates Wii Remote and Wii MotionPlus. We will announce the details of this controller on our web sites and through other media at some later date.”
Wii MotionPlus is an expansion of the Wii Remote that enables users to capture complex motions more accurately. The device comes with a sensor that complements the accelerometer and sensor bar of the Remote to render the actions more accurately on the screen. The announcement of the new Remote Plus is definitely a good news for Wii lovers.
Rumors are doing the rounds that Microsoft may have acquired Linden Lab, the developers of the popular virtual world game, Second Life. According to reports, the deal has either been sealed or is in very advanced stages. Linden Lab is reported to have been entertaining offers and Microsoft is reported to have shown keen interest. Incidentally, Linden Lab also announced that it was closing its UK office this week.
While this still remains a rumor that needs more confirmation, there are reports nevertheless that Microsoft is keen on buying social gaming companies. It’s learned that Microsoft executives are looking for more than just partnerships and are talking about purchases with several social gaming vendors.
Nevertheless, this news should be interesting if you are a Second Life user. The acquisition could bring the game to XBox Live. Do you think that’s a good move?