MojoKid writes "When Microsoft reversed its Xbox One DRM policies a few weeks back, there was momentary hope that the company has listened to its customers and understood the features they were asking for. Granted, this was brief. However, with Mattrick gone, there was some hope that maybe the company would reintroduce plans like Family Sharing and put the console back on track. Apparently not. Microsoft's big new feature with Kinect? Advertising. Microsoft plans to use Kinect to make advertisements even more engaging than their current counterparts. In the future, Kinect may offer you a 'Choose Your Own Adventure' style narrative in which you speak commands or give orders to an ad as it's playing to change the final outcome. The other way Microsoft wants to use Kinect is to monitor what's going on in the living room to serve you group-appropriate content, rather than resorting to the plain old method of bombarding you with non-interactive advertising for things you don't care about. Microsoft will likely learn that telling gamers that the Xbox One is an ad-centric experience and attempting to spin it like a positive doesn't actually work."
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An anonymous reader writes "While the Wii U struggles, Nintendo's been raiding the archives and resurrecting some of its lesser known stars from yesteryear, including Chibi Robo, Steel Diver, and yes, Mario's oft-ignored brother himself — the company is going so far as to call 2013 the "year of Luigi". But as an article published today points out, there are still many more forgotten heroes in Nintendo's IP back catalogue. Series like Excitebike, Waveracer and 1080 used to be trusted to launch a new console, while NES classics like Ice Climber have all but been forgotten, alongside some of GameFreal's lesser known creations. Will they be enough to save Nintendo this generation?"
trawg writes "A new Australian study on the effect of violent video games on Australia has just been published, failing to find any evidence that playing video games affects prosocial behavior. The study compared groups who played different types of games, including notably violent titles like Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty, as well as non-violent titles like Portal, comparing their behavioral response through a simple pen-drop experiment. In a follow-up interview, the researcher said his perspective on how violence might affect people has changed since he started the research: 'I've played video games for most of my life and got into this research because I couldn't believe that violent video games could make me do something I didn't want to do, that is, be aggressive. My attitude has changed somewhat. These days I find it totally plausible that violent video games could influence people's behavior, but the real question is whether their influence is harmful, and I'm not yet convinced of that.'"
An anonymous reader writes "A server error has meant that for the past few months, a man not associated in any way with social gaming powerhouse Zynga has been getting customer support emails. When Zynga failed to return his messages, he started replying to the customers himself. Hilariously." Sadly (though perhaps some of his correspondents would disagree), the glitch has now been fixed.
Freshly Exhumed writes "There's a new security breach announcement over at the website of game publisher and developer Ubisoft today. Quoting:: 'We recently found that one of our Web sites was exploited to gain unauthorized access to some of our online systems. We instantly took steps to close off this access, to begin a thorough investigation with relevant authorities, internal and external security experts, and to start restoring the integrity of any compromised systems. During this process, we learned that data were illegally accessed from our account database, including user names, email addresses and encrypted passwords. No personal payment information is stored with Ubisoft, meaning your debit/credit card information was safe from this intrusion. As a result, we are recommending you to change your password by clicking this link.'"
Edsj writes "While Don Mattrick leaves Microsoft to work at Zynga, Steve Ballmer announces that, from now on, he will be directly in charge of the Xbox One division as quoted: 'Don's directs will report to me and will continue to drive the day-to-day business as a team, particularly focused on shipping Xbox One this holiday.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Legendary DIY gaming guru Ben Heck has given a new interview in which he talks about the Access Controller, his modular controller for consoles that lets disabled gamers play with one hand, and how he plans to update it for the next generation of consoles: 'I'm sure I will. At the very least people are going to want the accessibility controllers I build...People have already asked about them for the next-gen consoles, and that was at E3. When I was there, the thing I looked at the most was the controllers. The Xbox One looks pretty similar to what we have at the moment, but they finally fixed the D-pad.'"
An anonymous reader writes with a link to Kotaku's recent profile of Civilization creator Sid Meier, and includes this snippet: "One year, as [coworker John] Stealey recalls, the two men went to an electronics trade conference. On the second night of the show, they stumbled upon a bunch of arcade games in a basement. One by one, Meier beat Stealey at each of them. Then they found Atari's Red Baron, a squiggly flight game in which you'd steer a biplane through abstract outlines of terrain and obstacles. Stealey, the Air Force man, knew he could win at this one. He sat down at the machine and shot his way to 75,000 points, ranking number three on the arcade's leaderboard. Not bad. Then Meier went up. He scored 150,000 points. 'I was really torqued,' Stealey says today. This guy outflew an Air Force pilot? He turned to the programmer. 'Sid, how did you do that?' 'Well,' Meier said. 'While you were playing, I memorized the algorithms.'"
An anonymous reader writes "A report by the Wall Street Journal says Google is working on an Android-based gaming console in addition to the long-rumored smartwatch. 'The hardware plans are the latest sign of Google's determination to build on the success of Android, the software it launched in 2008 that powered 75% of all smartphones and 57% of tablets shipped globally in the first quarter, according to the research firm IDC. ... The people briefed on the matter said Google is reacting in part to expectations that rival Apple will launch a videogame console as part of its next Apple TV product release.' This development push comes as the company is wrapping up work on Android 4.3, and as the Kickstarted, Android-based Ouya console is finding success in retail markets. Google is also reportedly working on a revision to its Nexus Q media streaming device, which the company announced last year and quickly shelved after they realized it was a bit weird and not terribly useful."
symbolset writes "Ars is reporting that Microsoft XBox One Kinect will not work on Windows PCs. It uses a proprietary connector and an adaptor will not be available. If you want Kinect for your PC you will need to buy a 'Kinect for Windows' product. Although the Kinect 1.0 for XBox 360 also had a proprietary connector it came with a USB adaptor for compatibility with older versions of the 360 that lacked the new proprietary port and PC compatibility was quickly hacked up by third parties."
First time accepted submitter Zanadou writes "Al Lowe, the original creator of Leisure Suit Larry and other classic games, announced earlier today the final release of the remake of the first game of the series, Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards: 'This is the moment I've been waiting a year for – Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded is finally available! Right now. Tonight. For PCs and Mac. At the Replay Games site. (It would also be available via Steam, but they refuse to release a game at midnight; they said 'Tomorrow.' Hmm.) iOS versions will be available as soon as Apple releases it in the iTunes store. Android will follow shortly. What a night! Thank you to everyone who contributed to our Kickstarter campaign. It's been a long, hard year but I think this game is well worth it.'"
NVIDIA's Android-based gaming gaming handheld called SHIELD was to start shipping today to customers who had pre-ordered it. Reader MojoKid writes "Unfortunately, in its last round of QA work, NVIDIA uncovered a problem with a third-party component used in SHIELD and will be pushing the launch date out into July. NVIDIA is, however, allowing some members of the press to talk a bit about their experiences with a couple of Tegra 4-optimized games — namely Real Boxing and Blood Sword: Sword of Ruin — and also about an AR Drone controlled by SHIELD with a bird's eye view. The AR Drone streams video from its on-board HD camera to the SHIELD device as you fly. Just launching the thing high into the air and peering into trees or over the houses in the neighborhood is really cool."
Ouya, the Android-based game console that arose out of a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign, officially launched today. The $99 device quickly sold out at a number of retailers, including Amazon and GameStop. "According to Ouya, the console currently has more than 170 downloadable games, as well as a built-in software development kit that enables people to create and test titles right from the hardware." Many reviews of the console suggest the controllers are not very good, and there are reports that the Wi-Fi connectivity can be flaky. There's also a lot of commentary about Ouya that clearly came from unrealistic expectations of what a $99 device can provide. Most of the backers from the Kickstarter campaign have received their consoles, but some are still waiting as Ouya tries to sort out shipping problems with DHL.
jones_supa writes "This discovery comes nicely alongside the celebration of FreeBSD's 20th birthday, for all the UNIX nerds. The operating system powering the PlayStation 4 is Orbis OS, which is a Sony spin of FreeBSD 9.0. It's not a huge surprise FreeBSD is being used over Linux, in part due to the more liberal licensing. The PlayStation 4 is x86-64 based now rather than Cell-based, which makes it easier to use FreeBSD. BSDs in general currently lack manufacturer supported full-feature AMD graphics driver, which leads to the conclusion that Sony and AMD have likely co-developed a discrete driver for the PS4. Some pictures of the development kit boot loader (GRUB) have been published too."
capedgirardeau writes "Caleb Kraft of the well-known Hack-A-Day site noticed that game controllers and alternate keyboards for people with physical challenges were very expensive. Simple switches for buttons that could be made for a few dollars were running $60 or $70 apiece. Working with a young man he knew who loves gaming and has muscular dystrophy, Caleb created a do-it-yourself controller for people with physical challenges using a 3-D printer, a super-cheap micro-controller board and some simple keyboard emulation software. He is freely releasing all the 3-D printer files and tutorials to make his and other controllers on a new site, The Controller Project. He also encourages people to check out The AbleGamers Foundation"
Nerval's Lobster writes "Now that Microsoft and Sony have unveiled their respective next-generation gaming consoles, the two companies have cheerfully resorted to firing broadsides at each other. Whether the current brouhaha has any effect on sales of the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 (if hardcore gamers keep complaining, they may even convince Microsoft to knock $100 off the new Xbox and bring its pricing down to the PS4's level), it's also drowning out what many perceive as the real issue: gaming consoles face an existential threat from mobile devices, most notably those running iOS (with some threat from Android). First, there are signs that the hardcore gamer market is soft: console sales in the United States dropped 21 percent in 2012, and sales of new video-game cartridges haven't fared much better. Second, PC/console games such as X-Com have begun appearing on iOS; if that trend continues, the console companies will have more rivals to fight against. Third, Apple is developing a game controller for iOS which could make it an even more dedicated opponent — and convince other tech companies to follow in its footsteps. But don't tell any of that to Microsoft and Sony, which seem content to fire at each other."
TheSHAD0W writes "It's been over a decade since Megatokyo was mentioned in a Slashdot story. Fred Gallagher, author of the long-running webcomic, has launched a Kickstarter for a Megatokyo Visual Novel Game. The KS has fared very well, funding its basic goal in less than four hours and covering most of the posted stretch goals in the first twenty-four. Fred also posted a half-joking stretch goal at a half-million dollars to include'"excessively romantic content,' wink wink nudge nudge. He may have been kidding, but there are some indications it might be reached."
One of the biggest criticisms of Microsoft's recently-announced Xbox One console was that it would require an internet connection once every 24 hours in order to keep playing games. Enough people complained about the DRM, and Microsoft listened. Today, they announced that they're removing the phone-home requirement. "After a one-time system set-up with a new Xbox One, you can play any disc based game without ever connecting online again. There is no 24 hour connection requirement and you can take your Xbox One anywhere you want and play your games, just like on Xbox 360." They've also scrapped the game trading and resale system they'd built, which allowed publishers to set their own rules with regard to used game sales. "There will be no limitations to using and sharing games, it will work just as it does today on Xbox 360." Unfortunately, that also means users won't be able to take advantage of the good parts of the original system, such as trading and gifting games without needing the disc, or sharing games with remote family members. "While we believe that the majority of people will play games online and access the cloud for both games and entertainment, we will give consumers the choice of both physical and digital content. We have listened and we have heard loud and clear from your feedback that you want the best of both worlds." Also noteworthy: they've dropped region-locks as well.
Craefter writes "It seems that the Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset caught the attention of investors after its showing at E3 this year. Spark Capital and Matrix Partners were able to push $16 million at Oculus VR in the hopes that the product will live up to the hype. The HD unit looks a bit more slick than the ski-goggles-with-a-tablet-glued-to-it prototype, but the device would look even more appealing if the next-gen consoles would commit to supporting it. (We all know how well the PS3's 'wave-stick' did as an afterthought.) That said, major titles like the 9-year-old Half-Life 2 and the 6-year-old Team Fortress 2 are getting full support for the device. Hopefully some developers are looking into support for the Oculus Rift as a launch feature, rather than an addition years after the fact. IA bit like the EAX standard from Soundblaster. That worked out well too."