With the recent announcement that Toshiba themselves has pulled out of HDDVD (HDDVD is Toshiba’s format), the war is now officially over. What will Microsoft do? Theres no doubt that an XBOX 360 ultimate was going to be announced at CES this year until the Warner announcement to support only Bluray was made. The Xbox 360 Ultimate was rumored to be the 360 with built in HDDVD drive and other features, probably would’ve cost an arm and leg.
I said a couple days ago that Microsoft has to add Bluray functionality to the 360 or it was over, and there are a lot of rumors that the Bluray powered 360 Ultimate will still release. Was talking about this with a friend. First I would like to say that I completely believe that a Bluray 360 will be released, Microsoft would be very stupid not to include one now that Toshiba has deaded HDDVD once and for all. But in that conversation with a friend, he talked about how Microsoft wouldn’t go Bluray because it would look bad for the company. They were behind HDDVD, spent a lot of money on HDDVD and now to go Bluray, they would have to support Sony. Sony will be getting paid from PS3 sales and 360 sales if Bluray was included. At first it made sense. Then I thought about it. Sony isnt the only company behind Bluray. Yea Sony owns the logo, but here are a list of companies that has contributed to the development, and are also getting a part of the royalties
So while Sony is the forerunner, and the most visible, there are a lot of people involved. Still, Microsoft will be paying Sony in some form if they decide to include Bluray in the Xbox 360. Just as I was thinking about how the money was being spread around I remembered one little tidbit that puts Microsoft right back into the mix. The most used Codec on Bluray and HDDVD is called VC1. Guess what, that is Microsoft’s codec. Microsoft will get paid also. Looking at that little tidbit of info it makes me realize that this has really been a "no loose" situation for Microsoft. Bluray winning the format war isnt a win for MS but its still not a loose since MS had their hands in both pieces of pie.Technorati Tags: , Bluray, HDDVD, matsushita, microsoft, phillips, pioneer, royalties, Samsung, sony, thompson, Toshiba, Xbox, xbox 360, Xbox 360 Ultimate
During the holidays I got a gift that Ive been using pretty extensively. The Microsoft Sidewinder Mouse, and I have to say I absolutely love this new mouse. Ive been a big fan of Logitech Mice, tried a Microsoft mouse a time or 2 and even though they were decent, I still went back to good ole Logitech. The sidewinder brand from Microsoft in the past was used for their gamepads, and joysticks, there was even a motion control gamepad called the Sidewinder freestyle pro (yea that was way before the Wii). This Sidewinder product follows the same lines, at least I think that is what Microsoft is considering it, a gaming mouse. There are some things that gamers will find useful about this mouse, but before I get to that I’ll give you a basic overview of the mouse itself.
What is the Sidewinder Mouse all about.
First, this mouse is a 5 button mouse, it has the traditional left and right buttons plus the scroll wheel / middle mouse button. Like many higher end mice, it also has 2 thumb buttons, used by me mainly for forward and back when web browsing. The buttons are programmable so you can use those side buttons for other functions. There are 2 things about the mouse buttons that are worth a mention, one good and one not so good. First, the thumb buttons are arranged vertically instead of horizontally. This is something that is new to me but I find that they work out pretty well for how I use a mouse. Like I said in a previous post about this mouse the horizontally placed buttons you find on most mice are sometimes hard to reach, well just the forward button. It never bothered me that much because I don’t use the forward button as much as the back button, but when I do, I have to make a conscious effort to reach that button. With the Microsoft Sidewinder mouse, the vertical thumb buttons alleviates that problem. Both buttons are pretty easy to reach and it becomes effortless to use either one.
The not so good thing is the scroll wheel. The scroll wheel on most mice have a rounded touch, while the one on the Sidewinder mouse is a flat cylinder. Doesn’t seem like much, but when I use the Sidewinder mouse It feels a little awkward if my finger isn’t completely level on the scroll wheel. Most mice, because of the rounded wheel, it doesn’t matter if your finger is level. (See the comparison picture below to help make sense of this).
What makes this a gaming mouse?
There are 3 things about this mouse that gamers may find useful.
- The first is the adjustable weights that are included with the mouse. Me personally, I like to have a heavy duty feeling mouse, a mouse with a little weight. The sidewinder mouse comes with several weights that you can add to give it just the right feel for you. It comes with 4 separate weights, 3 10g and 1 5g. You can put have a total of 3 weights in the mouse at any one time up to a total of 30 grams. I put a full 30 grams in the mouse and it is perfect for me.
- The second are the adjustable feet. On the bottom of the mouse are 5 feet that can be removed and replaced. There are 3 different sets that you can use with the mouse that are all made of different materials to give you a different slide when using the mouse. I personally didn’t find them that useful but I can see the use.
- The third thing, which is the probably the biggest feature gamers will like is the adjustable DPI on the fly. In addition to the 5 mouse buttons, there are 3 buttons that can be used to change the DPI whenever you see the need. They are also programmable, with the setting ranges from 400 to 2000 DPI. I have mine set at 800 - 1600 and 2000 with 1600 being the DPI I use the most. On top of having the adjustable DPI settings, there is also a small LED screen that displays what DPI setting you are currently using, which is a nice little feature.
So what do I think?
Like I said, this mouse has become my favorite little mouse, Ive even put my Logitech mouse in the drawer as a backup. I like how it feels and the vertical thumb buttons is something that Im not sure I can live without. All of the weights and extra feet fit neatly into an included case that also doubles as an anchor to keep the cord out of the way when using the mouse. The only problem I had with this mouse is figuring out how to use the macro feature. There is a macro button on the mouse that is suppose to record a few seconds of actions to be called up whenever you want but I haven’t figured out how to use it. Theres no setting for the macro button in the software I downloaded from Microsoft (there was no included software CD, the directions instructs you to go to Microsoft.com for download). That may have just been something I overlooked. All I can say is I definitely love this mouse.
Technorati Tags: gamer, games, microsoft, mouse, Review, Sidewinder mouse, yay or nay
I am kindof picky about what mouse I use with my PCs. I usually can use any mouse but when I buy one for my main mouse use, I like to stick with that mouse, on every PC I use. Ive been a big fan of Logitech mice in the past but the new Microsoft Sidewinder Mouse looks pretty appealing to me. There are a few things I like my mice to have. I use the middle scroll wheel / mouse button a lot so that is a must, I don’t see how anyone can use a mouse that doesn’t include it. Another thing Ive grown quite fond of is what I would call the thumb buttons. Im not sure if that is the official name or not but they are the buttons that are placed where your thumb rest when you are using a mouse. They are usually used for forward and back when web browsing.
The Microsoft Sidewinder Mouse has a little bit of a different design than what I’m use to using. The buttons are all metal and there are even adjustable weights so that you can make the mouse as light or heavy as you want (from 5 to 30 grams). Overall this mouse looks like it has a nice heavy duty feel to it, which I like. I haven’t actually used one myself yet so that feel is just from looking at the pictures.
Another feature that I like is the adjustable DPI settings. There are 3 buttons on the top of the mouse that will allow you to switch between 400, 800 and 2000 dpi on the fly, which is good for gaming. Also there is a LCD display that lets you know which dpi setting you are using so that you don’t have to fish through the menu’s on your PC for that info.
One thing about the side buttons, or the thumb buttons as I like to call them, they are placed vertically. Most mice I have used has had the thumb buttons placed horizontally so that is something that I would have to get use to. I can see the benefit of vertically placed buttons, being that with most mice, there is always a thumb button that I would have to reach to get to.DPI, games, microsoft, Microsoft Sidewinder Mouse, mouse, Sidewinder, wishlist
Earlier I talked about one of the updates to Xbox live we should be seeing this December 4th but that was only one of the 2 new features that was announced. The second feature is the new Xbox Originals program. With Xbox Originals, you will be able to buy and download full retail version Xbox 1 games through Xbox live. The games will be sold for 1200 points, or $15 bucks If you don’t want to do the math. The games you purchase through the new Xbox Originals program will be full retail games, so they will play just like if you had the original DVD. All of the Backwards compatibility issues still apply, if a game doesn’t run good in back compat mode, then it will not run good if you download it. keep that in mind. But right now, I think the biggest question on everyone’s mind is…
"What was on the first Xbox that I would even want to buy besides Halo and Halo 2?"
First lets look at the list of games that will be launched with the new service. Halo, Burnout 3, Crash Bandicoot: Wrath of Cortex, Crimson Skies, Fusion Frenzy and Fable. Other than Crash Bandicoot (which I know nothing about) and Fusion Frenzy, I can say that all of those games are excellent titles for someone who has never played any of them. Which brings me to another thought.
The Xbox 1 did "OK" in its first outing but lets be honest, most of you were only gaming on the PS2. Id say about 90 percent of console gamers were PS2 gamers last time around and have never touched an Xbox. The Xbox started out as not having anything but Halo and pretty much kept that reputation throughout its life, even though there were some things worth playing. No one paid attention to anything but the PS2. The gaming magazines and Websites all had on PS2 blinders and the gamers were so happy (for good reason) with their PS2 that they never thought to look at anything else. Alast, there were some nice titles on the Xbox, some really good titles that got overlooked. Now that more people have bought into the Xbox 360, a lot that came from owning a PS2, I’m going to give you a heads up on some of the games on the Xbox 1 that were good games that deserves a good play through if you have never had the chance. I don’t know which of these games are going to be made available, or if they are going to be made available but here a list of some games to look out for if you are wondering what to buy.Downloadable games, downloads, microsoft, Xbox, xbox live, Xbox originals
For all you Xbox 360 owners, the fall update will be gracing your 360s soon. The difference this year is that there is little known about what is going to be included in this update. And that it is a little late. All is not lost, as there has been some announcements as to a few of the new features that will be added, well 2 announcements. The first announcement came about a week ago, and that is the new service called Xbox Originals. I’ll get to that later, but first lets go to the most recent announcement.
Microsoft’s Xbox live get a little more social.
Yea it looks like Microsoft is looking to ad some of the features you see at some of the Social websites such as Facebook. the feature is called "Friends of Friends". Its simple really but it is something that can be useful. The way it works is now when you are looking at your friends list, you can also click on a friend and see their friends list. That way you can find more people that may have the same gaming interest that you have, or more people to choose from when your looking for someone to play whatever game you want to play. It just opens up the door for more options and networking when finding people to game with. It also opens up the door to potential privacy issues.
Well at least I can say that Microsoft did look ahead and added some settings to try to help this little concern that I’m sure many will have. You will have the option to not allow people viewing access to your friends list with 3 simple settings.
- Everyone: This setting can be used by everyone that is over 18. It makes your friends list available to anyone that wants to see it.
- Friends Only: This setting is available to everyone that is over 13. This limits the viewing of your friends list so that only people that is already on your friends list can view them. random people cant view your friends list.
- Blocked: This setting is also available to everyone, and if you are under 13, it is automatic. Basically, its like how it is now. no one can see your friends list but you.
These settings are also available to you when you log into your account on Xbox.com. Actually if you want to change them before the update goes live, head here. (it will be set to everyone by default)
Also the update goes live Tuesday Dec 4th.Technorati Tags: Friends of Friends, games, microsoft, Social, Update, xbox 360, xbox live
Yea it’s that time again, today is my birthday and I’m just sitting here thinking about the things I would put on my wish list of birthday gifts. Last year I did something similar, but I did it in podcast form. I would do that again but I kind of stopped doing podcast’s. To give you an update on last year’s list. These were the things that I listed.
- Microsoft Zune: Never got the Zune, as a matter of fact, I haven’t bought a new music player at all.
- Timberland Boots: Yea the timberland boot is my favorite footwear. I think I’ve bought 2 pairs since last year. Could use another pair now.
- 17” gaming laptop: I think last year I had a Sager model listed, I didn’t get that particular notebook, but I did get a pretty decent Toshiba 17” notebook that plays games pretty decently.
- Samsung 56” LED 1080P DLP HDTV: Nope, no new television. Still using my first generation projection HDTV. Maybe this will be the year.
- Gears of War (Xbox360 Video game): Yep, got that game, finished it, had a ball.
- Cheese steak shipped from Philly: Had plenty of Cheese steaks, still haven’t had one shipped from Philly.
Now that I got that out of the way, here’s the list for this year (in no particular order)
Yes again, the Zune is on my list. This time it is the new Zunes that should be hitting the stores soon. The model I want? The Zune 80. My Creative Zen is just old and decrepit now. It’s time to retire it and get something else.
The Gateway One.
I’m a PC guy, I love PC’s, I love having a nice cool new PC. Honestly, I like building my own PC’s, that’s why the Gateway One is a odd choice for my birthday wish list. I just like that PC, I don’t know what it is but every since I talked about it a week or so ago, I’ve been trying to figure out a way to get one for myself.
Yea this year has been great, I’ve been blessed with Halo 3, Bioshock and Orange box. But Mass effect is a game that I have had my eye on for a while. And I think it comes out tomorrow. Maybe someone will read this and give it to me for my Birthday.
An unlocked blackberry 8320
I’ve never been much of a Blackberry fan until these newer phones hit the market. I’ve been checking out the Blackberry Curve, but the new 8320 is what I really want. The 8320 is pretty much the Curve for T-mobile, but it has Wi-Fi, and can be used as a VoIP phone. The only problem is that I’m with AT&T, I have an unlimited minute plan that I’m not getting rid of so if I were to get the 8320, it would have to be an unlocked phone.
30” Extreme HD Display.
The motherload of all PC displays. This monitor has its own built in processor, to handle upgrading your input to a whopping 2560×1600 resolution. What more can I say? Read about it here.
Well there you have it. Will this year be like last year? Will I get some of these things throughout the year?30" HD display, Birthday Gifts, Blackberry 8320, Gateway, Gateway One, Mass effect, microsoft, Zune 80
I cant believe this isn’t all over the place yet. There has been a press release posted on Microsoft’s website shining light on the little Bungie and Microsoft splitting rumor. instead of me explaining it, I’ll just give you the quote from the press release…
REDMOND, Wash. — Oct. 5, 2007 — Microsoft Corp. today announced a plan for Bungie Studios, the developers of the “Halo®” franchise, to embark on a path to become an independent company. Microsoft will retain an equity interest in Bungie, at the same time continuing its long-standing publishing agreement between Microsoft Game Studios and Bungie for the Microsoft-owned “Halo” intellectual property as well as other future properties developed by Bungie.
The press release on Bungie’s website says something similiar but there is a little more info, heres the quote
— Bungie and Microsoft Corp. today announced a plan for Bungie Studios, the developers of Microsoft’s “Halo” franchise, to become a privately held independent company, Bungie, LLC, in which Microsoft will hold a minority equity interest. As part of this transaction, Bungie and Microsoft have forged a deep and long-term development and publishing relationship focused on the continued success of the “Halo” franchise. It is also the intent of both parties to expand their partnership to include new IP created and owned by Bungie.
Both press releases mention the $300 million global sales of Halo 3 in the first week and the interest that both companies have in continuing working with each other.
But simply put, Bungie is now its own company, Microsoft still owns a stake in Bungie. It looks like Bungie will become a true second party developer.Bungie, Bungie Leaves Microsoft, Bungie Splits, Halo, Halo 3, microsoft, Rumor Confirmed
Crazy isn’t it.
Well 8Bitjoystick claims to have a mole in Redmond that has leaked a bit of info. In that info, it seems that Bungie wants to start doing other things, expanding their portfolio. Microsoft, being greatful to have 3 great Halo games that pretty much single handedly made the Xbox brand a real competitor, has given them the ok to break away and do just that.
The details of the rumor are that Bungie will seperate from Microsoft, Microsoft will still own the Halo Franchise (so all you PS3 guys don’t go yelling "Halo 4 on PS3"), and Bungie will start from scratch creating its own IPs. It is also said that Bungie may still create games for Microsoft and that Bungie prefers to work with Microsoft (they may still develop a Halo 4). The official announcement, if this is true, should be made sometime later this month.
Now this is just rumors, but it doesnt sound too far fetched. I will be keeping my eyes open to see if there is any more news on this.
Technorati Tags: Bungie, Bungie Leaves Microsoft, Halo, microsoft, rumor
I don’t know why so many blogs are so down on the Zune..anyway, one of the newest rumors is the announcement of a Zune version 2. Right now, its a rumor but it has been all but confirmed with pictures and all. As far as the features, I don’t know what is different from the Zune that is out currently.
The features that are known so far are mostly cosmetic, and the different skews. First there are going to be 3 different versions. 2 flash based versions, a 4 gig and a 8 gig. Then we have the expected 80 gig hard drive based version.
As far as looks, it looks like all three will be pretty slim, even the 80 gig. Which makes sense to me, I can never understand why a company looking to compete with the iPod wouldn’t try to create a device as slim or at least close to being as slim as the iPod. Seems like Microsoft now knows this. Another minor difference between the current Zune and the Zune Version 2 is the shape of the navigation button. As you can see its pretty much a square with rounded corners, but the new nickname for the navigations button is a "squircle".
Also the price is said to be in line with the equivalent iPod competition, with the 4 and 8 gig costing $149 and $199. The 80 gig will cost you $249. The expected launch date is October 16th.
Technorati Tags: microsoft, Mp3, Portable media player, Rumors, Zune 2
The game console market is starting to look a little unpredictable.
- The Wii has taken first place, finally overtaking the Xbox 360.
- The Xbox 360 saw a jump in Hardware numbers in August.
- The PS3 is still pretty much hanging back.
If you listen to the different podcasts and read all the predictions from the analyst and gaming websites, people are ready for the PS3. The bashing has all but stopped, and people cant wait for the PS3 to start selling consoles. The problem is, there still isn’t much reason to buy a PS3. So far this season looks pretty bleak for the PS3. GTA4 was expected to boost sales but it has been pushed back. New games like Lair and Heavenly sword, which were highly anticipated, has turned out not to be the answer to Sony’s problem. To be honest, other than Unreal Tournament 3, there aren’t any games this holiday season that will draw much of a crowd…unless we are surprised.
The Wii on the other hand, is still selling strong, and even though I don’t really see anything worth talking about on the horizon, I still see it as being an exciting console and the unit sales will stay high.
The Xbox 360 is having a bit of a problem. loosing the top spot has made them appear to be on a decline. Their unit sales numbers, although not bad, has pretty much leveled out for most of this year. In August, they did see a nice increase to 276k units sold…opposed to the normal 175k-195k they had been selling the months prior. Bioshock is probably part of the reason there, and the pricedrop.
Micheal Patcher (analyst, Wedbush Morgan Securities) seems to think that the release of Halo3 will give the 360 a nice boost in units sold for September. He told USA Today that he expects an 130k increase of units sold due to Halo 3, bringing the 360’s Septembers sale’s number to 400k. Those are definitely "Wii-like" numbers. Microsoft is probably expecting that kind of impact. With Bioshock, Halo 3, and Mass Effect all releasing before Christmas, the 360 should do pretty well….in the US anyway.
Punchjump (source)Technorati Tags: console war, Halo 3, Michael Pachter, microsoft, nintendo wii, ps3, Sony Playstation 3, Wii-Like Console sales Numbers, xbox 360
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