Report: Atari Seeks to Auction Off Brand, Video Game Business
Bankrupt Atari is taking steps to auction off its storied brand after failing to find a buyer for all of its assets, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The company on Wednesday filed preliminary papers with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan seeking approval for an auction of properties that include the Atari brand itself and individual video game franchises like RollerCoaster Tycoon, Test Drive, and Humongous, the newspaper reported this week.
Atari's U.S. arm filed for bankruptcy on Jan. 21 as a way to extricate itself from its French parent, Atari S.A., and began a search for a buyer of its assets. In the ensuing several months, Atari received 15 preliminary bids for its catalog but found "none of the initial offers acceptable," according to gaming site Polygon.
Breaking up its assets into blocks that would be auctioned off beginning in July offers the best course of action for the failed gaming company, Atari told the bankruptcy court.
"The Debtors believe that this type of a targeted bidding process affords the Debtors the best opportunity to market the Assets and maximize the value thereof for the benefit of all stakeholders," Atari said in court papers, according to the Journal.
Microsoft’s Next-Gen Kinect for Windows Sensor Launching Next Year
Microsoft has already revealed the always-on Kinect for its new Xbox One console, but Redmond is adding another sensor to its lineup—the next-generation Kinect for Windows.
The tech giant announced on Thursday that its new Windows-based sensor, expected to launch next year, was built with much of the same technology as the new Xbox One Kinect, meaning it will include voice and gesture commands.
"Just as the new Kinect sensor will bring opportunities for revolutionizing gaming and entertainment, the new Kinect for Windows sensor will revolutionize computing experiences. The precision and intuitive responsiveness that the new platform provides will accelerate the development of voice and gesture experiences on computers," Bob Heddle, director of Kinect for Windows, wrote in a blog post.
Kinect for Windows will come with a high-definition color camera, as well as a noise-isolating multi-microphone array to filter ambient sounds and better recognize speaking voices. It will also include Microsoft's Time-of-Flight technology, which measures the time it takes photons to bounce off of a person or object.
"All of this means that the new sensor recognizes precise motions and details," Heddle said, pointing to slight wrist rotation, body position, and even the wrinkles in clothes as data the new Kinect will sense and analyze. The sensor's enhancements will make it easier for developers to better track people, objects, and environments with greater detail. And with an expanded field of view, those details will come alive no matter the size of the room you play in.
Microsoft Hints at Xbox One-Windows Phone Integration
LAS VEGAS—Hey, you know what we didn't hear about at this week's Xbox One launch? Windows Phone. While Microsoft's mobile platform has only 3 percent market share and a unique connection with Xbox, the company still didn't take a moment during the launch to let Windows Phone draft off of its new, blockbuster set-top box.
But that doesn't mean there's nothing to say, just that they're not saying it.
"Is there anything I can say? No. It doesn't mean there's nothing that's being worked on. There's some time between now and the delivery of Xbox One. It is true that the general idea of an increased seamlessness and integration across these elements is a goal," Microsoft senior marketing manager Greg Sullivan told PCMag on Wednesday here at the CTIA trade show.
Windows Phone has Xbox-branded games and an Xbox-branded media store. It lets you accumulate Xbox gamer points and connect to the Xbox Live network. I tried to tease out whether Microsoft would extend the Xbox One's streaming media channels to Windows Phone, but no dice.
"I would offer up Windows Phone as evidence of great cross-divisional collaboration at Microsoft. Are we where we'll ultimately be? No, and we'll continue to improve it," Sullivan said enigmatically.
Editorial: The Next Xbox Revealed – ‘Xbox ONE’
Editorial By: Mark Fritts
The next generation of Xbox has officially been revealed and named – the Xbox One. It is rather simple, but far better than the rumored ‘Xbox 720’ or ‘Xbox Durango’ to name a few.
To start it off, Don Mattrick, President of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business took us back through the history of Xbox. Mattrick highlighted the innovations of the hardware and Xbox Live, and where it has gone over the years. During the opening, he stressed the all-in-one functionality of the new generation, which the Xbox has become more evident in recent years.
What was truly surprising was Microsoft’s decision to reveal the actual Xbox One hardware, along with the new Kinect sensor and controller. While the design is very sleek, nothing about the size or look shouts “next gen.” Both the console and the senor looked larger than the current generation – not something you would expect for the new generation. I am pleased that they kept the controller with similar design choices, but enhanced the ergonomics, integrated battery, and added new sensing technology.
Microsoft Unveils Xbox One, Arriving Later This Year
As expected, Microsoft today unveiled its next-generation gaming console, the Xbox One.
The updated gaming and entertainment device will debut "later this year," Xbox chief Don Mattrick said during a launch event at Microsoft's Redmond headquarters. Pricing was not discussed.
The Xbox One will come with a revamped controller (below) and Kinect sensor, which Microsoft said "is now an essential and integrated part of the platform."
Unlike its rival, Sony, Microsoft actually showed off the new Xbox One at its press event. Some joked on Twitter that it looks like a VCR.
Mattrick talked up the Xbox One as not just a game console, but an "all-in-one entertainment system." To that end, he brought out Yusuf Mehdi, senior vice president of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business, to demo some of the new features coming to the non-gaming Xbox experience.
Using your voice, for example, the Xbox One will let you switch between games, live TV, and music as fast as you might switch the channels on the TV. With Snap Mode for Xbox One, you can also multi-task and do two things at once, like watch Star Trek on one side of the screen and surf the Web on another.
Live Stream of Microsoft’s “Xbox One” Reveal Event
Microsoft today is set to unveil its next-gen Xbox, called the "Xbox One". The event is at its Redmond headquarters and below is the live stream video for the event.
Sony Unveils PS4 Teaser Video Ahead of Xbox Launch
Ahead of tomorrow's Xbox event, Sony has unveiled a new teaser trailer for its own next-gen console, the PS4.
The 30-second spot features what appears to be a blurry, zoomed-out shot of the new console (left), spliced with quick shots of what might be zoomed-in images of the next PlayStation 4, but are really too quick to decipher.
The end of the video promises more details about the new console on June 10 at 6 p.m. Pacific, the eve of this year's E3 gaming conference in Los Angeles. The company is inviting fans to "RSVP" on Facebook for the press conference, which will be webcast.
Sony confirmed the existence of the PS4 at a large New York City press event in February. But the company didn't actually show off the new PlayStation console, focusing instead on specs, a new controller, and details about games that will be available for the PS4.
While same gamers (and reporters) were annoyed by the move, it does allow Sony to host another high-profile event at E3 to actually unveil the console, which is expected to hit stores before the 2013 holiday season.
Unreleased Nintendo Wii U Games Coming to Best Buy During E3
In an unprecedented move, Nintendo will bring several unreleased Wii U games to Best Buy stores during next month's E3 and let fans try them out.
"In the past, we've focused the E3 hands-on experience on those attending the event. But this year, we're making E3 for the people," Reggie Fils-Aime, president of Nintendo of America, said in a Friday morning Nintendo Direct video message. "And we want to make sure you get the chance to try our games as well."
The games will be on display at approximately 100 Best Buy stores in the U.S. and Canada during the week of E3, which kicks off on June 11 in Los Angeles. File-Aime promised "more details in the coming weeks" about which games will be featured at Best Buy and which stores will be participating.
"This year, it's all about the games," Fils-Aime said.
Also today, Nintendo announced that the next Sonic the Hedgehog game from Sega will be released exclusively for the Wii U. More details about the title, Sonic Lost World, will be unveiled at E3. At the show, Nintendo will also reveal more details about The Wonderful 101, a mass-action adventure from Platinum Games, set to launch Sept. 15.
The Sims 4 Arrives in 2014 for PC, Mac
Electronic Arts today announced that The Sims 4 will debut next year.
The game will be available for PC and Mac in 2014 from EA subsidiary Maxis.
"The Sims franchise is fueled by the passion and creativity of its millions of fans around the world," Maxis said in a blog post. "Their continued devotion to the franchise ignites the fire of creativity of the team at The Sims Studio, driving them to continually improve and innovate on one of the world's most successful simulation game that has sold more than 150 million copies worldwide."
EA promised more details about the game later today. In the meantime, it encouraged fans to share their excitement on Twitter via the hashtag #TheSims4.
Report: Nintendo Modifying Wii U to Run Smartphone Apps
Nintendo is thinking outside of the box in an effort to boost sales of its Wii U game console.
According to The Japan Times, the company is working to modify its new console so that it is compatible with smartphone applications.
Nintendo has offered professional-use conversion software to app developers, the newspaper said, so they can build smartphone games that can be played on the Wii U.
Nintendo did not immediately respond to PCMag's request for comment.
The Times suggested that the gaming company has high hopes for the smartphone software to help advance console sales. It could also increase the volume of popular game titles — considered to be one of the main reasons the Wii U has suffered from poor sales, which reached only 121,000 in the first two months of the year. (Comparatively, Microsoft's seven-year-old Xbox 360 sold more than 300,000 units in the U.S. in February alone.)
Initial Wii U sales hit 400,000 following a pre-Thanksgiving launch, pushing Nintendo's first major console release since 2006 into sold-out territory just days after it hit shelves. The success didn't last long, though, and by March, Nintendo was claiming its second consecutive annual operating loss, having dropped 36.4 billion yen ($367 million).