Activision will be releasing the first set of downloadable content for Call of Duty : Black Ops which will be going on sale for the XBox 360 on 1st February and will be costing around $15. This downloadable content comes in the form of a multiplayer map pack comprising of 4 regular levels including one for the game`s zombie mode.
There are 2 regular maps which are based on campaigns for the singleplayer, i.e. Hong Kong and the Arctic Circle while the other 2 take place in the cold war locations – the Berlin Wall and an ice hockey stadium. Apparently, Microsoft has struck a deal with Activision to bring the Black Ops downloadable content first by February 1 on XBox 360 under the title “First Strike” . What this means is that the game is expected to make its way through to the PC and Play Station 3 users only later than that. That’s bad news if you are not an XBox user!
Electronic Arts is offering all those people who are buying the BulletStorm Epic Edition an early access to Gears of War 3. This incentive is being offered to gamers worldwide by Epic Games in partnership with EA and Microsoft.
This Xbox 360 special edition game hits the markets on February 25th along with the inclusion of a special code enabling gamers to access the beta release of Gears of War 3 later this year. Speaking about this, Epic Game`s president, Dr. Michael Capps has said,
“Epic is poised to break new ground in 2011 with Gears of War 3 and Bulletstorm. With these two highly anticipated triple-A experiences comes a unique opportunity to do something to really excite players, and that’s what we intend to accomplish with the support of Microsoft and EA. This is for the shooter fans.”
This upcoming edition of BulletStorm will also include a few extra online goodies in the form of armour, new weapons, boots and extra experience points.
Software giant Microsoft could well become the first company to have social games running on their search engine. Their search engine Bing would soon be hosting the social game “Happy Island” and from doing this the company thinks that it will be proving its innovative talent in the sector.
The company apparently came up with the idea to incorporate social games on their search engine when their biggest rival Google came up with a fully fledged application and gaming store for its Google Chrome OS. Speaking about the launch, Parri Munsell, executive producer of Gaming on Bing has said,
“We believe this launch brings several important innovations to the social gaming industry, starting with the ability to experience great gameplay before being required to sign in,”
As per Microsoft’s press release there is a 100 percent possibility of other games like “Zuma`s Revenge” and “Bubble Town” to making in into the search engine soon. As for “Happy Island”, the game already has its presence on Facebook, iPhone and Android devices.
Microsoft, it appears, has forayed into the MMORPG development business. The company has launched Neosaurs – a browser based multiplayer role playing game (MMORPG) that has been developed in partnership with Camelot Media Investments who are already a significant player in the MMORPG arena.
Neosaurs is currently in beta mode and requires users to sign up using Windows Live or Facebook accounts – clearly viral marketing should be a prime marketing agenda here. At the moment though, there does not seem to be significant population on the game yet. A quick visit to the game’s forums section throws a dozen threads with very few posts. But given Microsoft’s marketing reach, that should change soon.
It is an interesting case to discuss why Microsoft is working on Neosaurs in the first place and how it will integrate the game to its console gaming business. Is Neosaurs coming to the XBox soon? Or is Microsoft planning on bringing XBox gaming to the browser? It will be interesting to see how all of this pans out.
You can now register and play Neosaurs here.
Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer will be unveiling his company’s plans to take on the Apple iPad during the Consumer Electronics Show to be held in the first week of January. This is after Redmond failed to produce any goods of worth in the past one year since the company demoed HP Slate at CES 2010.
So what is Ballmer demoing this time? Word is that it is going to be primarily two devices – one made by Dell and another from Samsung. The Samsung Gloria, as it is speculated to be called, will be a 10.1″ Slate PC running Windows 7. There is however another speculation that Microsoft could also reveal finer details about the next generation Windows 8 during the demo.
There is not much information on the specs of these Windows 7 tablets though the Samsung Gloria could be equipped with a ‘slide-out’ keyboard.
Microsoft has announced a new loyalty program for their Xbox Live users. The new XBox Live Rewards loyalty program is aimed at rewarding users for their continued usage of the service and thereby win points that could be redeemed. The basic service works very much like Club Nintendo – except that instead of gears, Microsoft XBox Live users will be awarded points for every activity that they do on the service. This includes things like renewing a subscription, purchasing a family pack, buying select content from marketplace, etc. The points earned for every activity depends on whether the user is a free member or a paying member.
Points earned by members can be redeemed by purchasing content on XBox Live. For instance, a user may accumulate 1600 points to redeem a product worth $19.99 from Xbox Live marketplace. Here is a graphic that elaborates on the points that the user stands to earn on each activity. Check out the Xbox Live website to learn more and to join the Rewards program.
With a jailbreak tool for Windows Phone 7 now available, it was only a matter of time before applications started being released for these jailbroken devices. A new application called ChaosHUD is one of the first applications in this category that users who have jailbroken WP7 phones can sideload to their handsets.
The application is just a basic tool that will tell the user their speed, wind direction and time on a clear screen. Additionally, the application will also render the content in HUD mode – that’s basically flipping the text vertically. Writing about the application, developer ‘chaoscentral‘ writes,
“I have recently made what I feel is a pretty decent HUD application, however I don’t have a device to properly test it on. I figured with the Chevron unlocker out allowing sideloading I could post my xap and allow people to test it to see whether or not it functions.
If all works as planned then I do plan on releasing it on the market for free, so take what is posted here as more of a beta. Please leave some feedback as to what actually happens, the more detailed the better.”
The app is expected to run in beta mode till December 12 after which the developer may make it available on the market. Anyway, if you are interested in testing the application earlier than that, click here to check out ChaosHUD.
Windows Phone 7 may not be the best smartphone OS in the market right now. But there is no doubt that the platform has impressed a fair majority of its users. After word got around that inane updates like copy-paste could soon be making its way to the platform comes a rumor that Microsoft could be bringing a massive update to the platform.
According to popular developer Chris Walsh, the next update to Windows Phone 7 that could be coming in just a month or two from now could be very significant in that it may rather be billed Windows Phone 8. Apparently, Microsoft has been working on this update much earlier than version 1 was shipped. In a series of tweets, Walsh has noted,
“they’ve been working on this update long before they actually shipped v1…
As @tomhounsell said, MS took 3 months to do what Apple did in 3 years.
@adamUCF Let’s just say, they could have called it Windows Phone 8
While Walsh has not disclosed his sources, he has noted that more features and details shall be made available soon. We will take these with guarded skepticism for now though we look forward to hearing more about these upcoming updates.
Microsoft is reported to be in talks with a number of media companies over bringing a subscription based web TV service to Xbox consoles that could give the company an effective tool to fight Google and Apple in the new web television space. Sources have indicated that under the new plan, subscribers will pay a monthly fee to access television networks such as ABC, NBC, Fox, CBS, ESPN and CNN over Xbox.
Another alternative proposal seems to be using the Xbox as an interactive layer above the service offered by cable TV. Using this, subscribers may continue to pay cable TV operators for content access but may be able to, for instance, message friends while watching a television show.
While there is not much information about the new plans on offer, Microsoft could also integrate its new expertise in motion control technology using Kinect that would let users change channels or fast-forward videos by waving their arms or using voice commands.
In addition to this, there is also a possibility of Microsoft incorporating a TV show recommendation service. You may remember our article from back in April this year where we had noted about a new Microsoft patent that talked about such a service.
These are some impressive numbers, ain’t they? Just 25 days after its launch on November 4, Microsoft has announced that their newly launched motion controller is now selling twice as fast as the iPad. The company has reported sales of 2.5 million units in this period which means an average sale of 100,000 units every day.
The numbers are not hard to fathom. Microsoft has partnered with nearly 60,000 retailers across 38 countries and thanks to the discounts and heavy shopping during the Black Friday season, the company has been able to achieve these impressive numbers. Redmond has predicted a total sale of 5 million Kinect units by the end of this year.
Quite clearly, the sale numbers do not project a worldwide success story. Last week, there were reports that suggested that Microsoft had only sold around 26,000 Kinect units in Japan through the opening weekend giving an indication that the high sale price of the motion controller in the country may have created a massive barrier to its sale. It will be interesting to see how Microsoft builds upon the popularity of the opening month to expand into the future.