The Xbox One controller cost $100M to design and took 200 iterations to perfect. The console took Microsoft’s team 75 tries.

Written by admin. Posted in Games review, Simulation

Xbox One design team used hundreds of 3D-printed prototypes to fine-tune the console

Xbox One prototypes

There is no question about it, the Xbox One is an impressive piece of hardware. Sure, the games look sharp, but the console is pleasing in and of itself. Once a product hits shelves, it’s easy to forget that people had to design it from scratch. From toasters to game consoles, the devices we use every day have gone through countless iterations, and an absurd number of man-hours are spent perfecting these technological masterpieces. Now Microsoft’s Carl Ledbetter wants you to know just how much work was put into the Xbox One’s hardware.

In an interview on Microsoft’s site, Ledbetter — who holds over 200 patents —  explained the extensive prototyping process that the design team used to create the Xbox One. With the help of a 3D printer (we’re not sure which one), Ledbetter and his team ended up with over 75 versions of the console, 100 versions of the Kinect, and 200 versions of the controller. With hundreds of iterations available, the team was able to try out a wide variety of tweaks before honing in on the final design.

DualShock 4

Sony PlayStation 4 review

Written by admin. Posted in Games review, Simulation, Sports

Welcome to the next generation

PlayStation 4 1024px

Seven years is a technological eternity. Yet the PlayStation 3 has sold well for that long, ever since DJ Fatman Scoop and Ludacris hosted its blowout launch event in New York City in 2006. At launch, the PlayStation 3 was big, heavy, and expensive — it took nearly two revisions and almost a dozen SKUs of PS3 to get Sony to 2013. The console now starts under $200, the controller rumbles, Blu-ray is the dominant physical disc format, backwards compatibility is a moot point, and there’s a large back catalog of titles both physical and digital. PlayStation Move exists now.

But even as the current generation continues to adapt and evolve, Sony has decided it’s time to start anew. Time to do something fresh, to create the console that will sate gamers for seven more years. Sony’s new PlayStation 4 reflects the company’s guess about the future of video games, and displays the many lessons Sony’s learned over the life of the PS3. It’s built a different kind of console for a different sort of purpose as it looks to 2014 and 2021 to see what we’ll want to buy.

The next generation of console is here, and it’s here to stay. But while Microsoft decided to use its next console generation to lay siege to your living room, Sony’s simply taken its formula to the next level — it’s attempted to build the game console of our dreams.

A black box

Broadly speaking, it doesn’t matter what your console looks like — it’s certainly not a reason to buy, or not buy, any given console. That’s why it’s so nice to see the care Sony took in building the PlayStation 4, a remarkably better-looking console than the PlayStation 3 — or the Xbox One, or the Xbox 360.


How the PS4 and Xbox One console war will be won: China lifts 13-year ban on consoles

Written by admin. Posted in Simulation

For a while now, the console war has been decided on the Western battlefront, Japan no longer the deciding factor in both sales and what influences game design. American sales and taste has given rise to the most popular and successful video games of all time, but now, on the eve of the launch of the PS4 and Xbox One, a new soldier in the console war has joined the fight, and could massively boost sales, as well as instigate a sea change in game design that will forever alter the video gaming landscape. Chinese gamers historically have very different taste when it comes to games — and if they become the majority, which they probably will, this could be spell the end of the West’s obsession with shooters and the start of a new era of MMOs, MOBAs, and sandbox games.

For the past 13 years, the sale of video game consoles was banned in China. China’s State Council has now decided that video game consoles can be sold across the entire country so long as the foreign companies establish sales and production operations in Shanghai’s new free trade zone. Establishing either of those things isn’t particularly difficult, as China already has another successful free trade zone in Shenzhen. Video game consoles, however, weren’t banned due to tricky foreign production and sales policies, but becauseChina decided that video games stunt the development of its youth. Of course, this didn’t prevent the entirety of video games from existing in the country, as the country’s citizens were still able to play PC and mobile games, and the black market does what it wants. Now, though, the Chinese government has lifted the console ban — perhaps because it has finally gotten with the times and realized video games don’t inherently stunt the development of youth, but largely in order to stimulate the new free trade zone in Shanghai.

As we saw a week ago, the iPhone 5S — though barely changed from the previous iPhone 5 — absolutely demolished previous iPhone sales records by almost double. The iPhone 5 sold around five million units through the opening weekend, while the 5S and 5C sold around nine million units combined during its opening weekend, with the 5S significantly outselling the 5C. Did the addition of a new, somewhat gaudy gold color and an easily-bypassed fingerprint scanner really make four million sales worth of a difference? Perhaps, but the 5S (and 5C) was the first time Apple began selling iPhones in China on release day, rather than after a long delay. The Chinese market certainly boosts sales, and in Apple’s case, to record-breaking amounts. Surely, allowing the sale one of the most popular forms of modern-day entertainment would give the next generation of consoles a boost.

Xbox and PS4

DIY external Thunderbolt GPU turbo-charges MacBook Air graphics performance by 7X

Written by admin. Posted in Games review, Simulation, Sports

External GPU

Apple’s MacBook Air is a great piece of kit in a number of scenarios, but if you’re a gamer, it’s not a great system. The only available graphics option is the Intel HD 5000, and while that core is decent enough for the casual gamer, it’s still weak compared to other solutions for any modern title. In theory, Thunderbolt is capable of fixing this; the standard offers direct GPU attach capability via the PCI-Express bus and connects to the motherboard on an x4 PCIe 2.0 link. In practice, however, Intel has refused to certify any direct GPU solutions. While we’ve seen several manufacturers demo such products, no one has shipped an external GPU chassis yet.

Fed up with this state of affairs, forum member Kloper decided to build his own. On the hardware side of the equation, that meant buying an adapter for converting PCIe video cards to ExpressCard slots. The PE4L-C060A from Bplus Technology is capable of handling this task. Next came an Express Card to Thunderbolt chassis courtesy of Sonnet ExpressCard Pro. Run the Thunderbolt cable from the ExpressCard Pro converter to the laptop, hook the GPU up to a power supply, and the hardware side of the equation is good to go.

What is a next-gen game?

Written by admin. Posted in Action, FPS, Games review, Other, Racing, RPG, Simulation, Sports, Strategy

Battlefield 4 stock e3 2013 1020

This November, the Xbox 360 will be eight years old. The PlayStation 3 will be seven. At the 2013 Electronic Entertainment Expo, we finally got acquainted with their successors. The new Xbox One and PlayStation 4 represent a new generation of consoles, the fabled “next generation,” and with them comes the tantalizing possibility of “next-gen” games. Why else would we spend upwards of $399 on a new game console?

What does a next-gen game look like, though? What does “next-gen” even mean? Going into E3 2013, we had no idea what to expect. So on Monday morning, we made it our mission to answer this question. We tracked down the most advanced games, watched dozens of demonstrations, interviewed their developers, and occasionally even got to play. Slowly, over the course of the week, patterns began to emerge.

 Tightened graphicsForza_5-hero

Xbox One: Hardware and software specs detailed and analyzed

Written by admin. Posted in Games review, Hardware, OS, Simulation, Software, Sports, Strategy, Tech, Tech News

Xbox One: All-in-one entertainment system

After eight long years, we have finally met the Xbox 360′s successor: The Xbox One. While console makers never give away all of their secrets, we have cobbled together enough data from the official unveil, Q&A panels with various Microsoft execs, and statements issued by Microsoft that we now have a good idea of the software and hardware inside the Xbox One. Read on for details of the Xbox One’s hardware, software, and some analysis of the Xbox One’s pre-owned games controversy.

The Xbox One’s hardware specs

The Xbox One is powered by an 8-core x86 AMD CPU (almost certainly based on AMD’s Kabini), and a GPU that’s very similar to the Radeon 7790. There’s 8GB of DDR3 RAM (shared between the CPU and GPU), 32MB of very fast SRAM on the graphics die, and a total of 200GB of memory bandwidth (more on that later). There’s also some new silicon in Kinect 2.0, which will come with the Xbox One as standard, which we’ve covered in a separate story. Rounding out the hardware, there’s a Blu-ray drive, 500GB hard drive, 802.11n WiFi (with WiFi Direct), HDMI in and out, Gigabit Ethernet (yay!), and USB 3.0. There’ll be three 802.11n radios, so that the console can connect to your gamepads (WiFi Direct), mobile devices, and home network without added latency.

Xbox One hardware diagram, including ports