March 2, 2016

Phil Spencer: There May Be Room For Large Hardware Upgrades For Xbox One

Posted on March 2, 2016 by Rae Michelle Richards

Phil Spencer

Microsoft’s Xbox One platform was center stage last week when the software giant held a games’ centric press event in San Francisco to show how exclusives on Xbox One and Windows PC could be developed & released simultaneously. Sure demonstrations like Remedy’s upcoming Quantum Break and Turn 10’s Forza Motorsport 6: Apex running on both platforms showcase how titles can run great on both platforms, but what happens when the available PC hardware outclasses the nearly three-year-old Xbox One?

The answer, according to Xbox head honcho Phil Spencer is how in how Microsoft looks at the Xbox One platform as a whole. Rather than looking at things through the traditional 5 – 7 year console generation framework that has existed since the 1980s, Microsoft is thinking about the Xbox One similar to how consumer mobile phones are approached. This could potentially mean substantial hardware updates without breaking backwards compatibility thanks to Xbox One’s universal application structure that was introduced alongside Windows 10.

Speaking to Polygon Spencer had this to say about where the future of Xbox One’s hardware may be heading:

“We look at these other ecosystems out there like mobile, tablet and PC and we see that they have a very continuous evolution cycle in hardware, whereas between console generations most of the evolution is making it cheaper and potentially making it smaller.

 Both are meaningful but don’t make the games play any better. If you look at PC specifically and see the evolution that happens there, there’s no reason why console can’t ride that same curve.”

No solid details in regards to what we could see from a potential Xbox 1.5 in the future. Perhaps it will be powered by the next generation Polaris APUs from AMD? Right now it’s all speculation but here’s hoping that Microsoft has paid attention to previous attempts to supercharge existing consoles with add-ons, lest the next Xbox One iteration become Microsoft’s 32X.


Battlestation: Harbinger back from the dead

Posted on March 2, 2016 by Fionna Schweit

Review by Robyn Robo
Back in 2014, a new independent developer in Finland by the name of Bugbyte started making mobile space combat games called Battlestation. Now, they’ve made their first PC release on Steam with Battlestation: Harbinger. This game has obvious mobile roots, but makes for a fun, affordable and instantly gratifying desktop game. Written in Java, the game runs on Windows, Linux and OSX. I tested on Windows and Ubuntu 14.04, and I had no issues with it. In fact, it should run on any machine with a GPU built in the last decade.

Bugbyte has had an interesting history. The company is a tiny one, with the only 3 staff being the founder and his brothers. They went nearly bankrupt in the current mobile games market and pulled through via a Reddit AMA, Kickstarter, and other new funding and social sites to make it to their Steam release of Battlestation: Harbinger (simply referred to as Battlestation for the rest of this article). There, Battlestation is currently available for ten dollars, with 20% for its launch week. Assuming it takes off, all is financially well that ends well.

Battlestation is an interesting game, combining select 4X elements to deepen a Rogue-like (permanent death and random levels) space combat game. The battles involve small to midsized fleets with careful, pause-able, real time maneuvering. The closest analogy I could think of to this game specifically is a 1990 release by the name of Star Control, also known in its open source incarnation as Ur-Quan Masters. You can also customize your ships with new items you build, buy or loot as you make your away across the map, jumping from system to system


It’s really *not* a 4X game!

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Rock band 4 to come to PC via Fig

Posted on March 2, 2016 by Fionna Schweit

When I say Rock Band, it evokes in most people memories of playing the game in a crowded college common room, or home living room full of friends. So its a bit of a suprise to hear that Harmonix developer of the series has decided to port the game to PC. PC which is pretty much a 100% solo (at least in person) experience. I am even more confused because Harmonix has specifically said Rock Band 4 wasn’t coming to PC. Well that all meant nothing becuase yesterday Harmonix announced that Rockband was coming to the PC in the worst way possible. ok, not the worst that would like a Linux only port or something, but the second worst, crowd funding on FIG.

Harmonix is askign its fans for 1.5 million dollars to push their PC port out. Perhaps this has something to d with the fact the co-founder of Harmonix sits on Figs board of directors? If you arent aware of FIG at all its a smaller alternative to kickstarter, that basically allows you to “invest” in a project. Its an intresting take on crowd funding. This new PC version will at least have support for Steam workshop, so maybe we wont have to pay for all of our songs! Mouse and keyboard will be support (in case you just want a rythm game) and Harmonix has said they will support as many rock band instruments “as possible”. If you dont own any, the FIG campaign has several tiers which include them.

Important to note is that while Harmonix is doing the majority of the PR and crowd funding the game itself will come from Sumo Digital. Sumo has a good track record, so I am not expecting shovel ware, but 1.5 million dollars is a lot of money to ask your fans for a port to PC!

Will you be getting the new Rock Band port? Reach out to us on twitter @brokenjoysticks and tell us what you think of big companies doing crowd funding for games or PC ports!


Pokémon 20th Anniversary Continues with Celebi Download

Posted on March 2, 2016 by Jason Nason

It’s the second month of celebrations for Pokémon’s 20th Anniversary, and you can celebrate with the digital release of another legendary Pokémon in X, Y, Alpha Saphire, and Omega Ruby.

Celebi, a Mythical Pokémon introduced in Pokémon Gold and Pokémon Silver for Nintendo Game Boy Color, is being distributed via Nintendo Network! You can download the Pokémon, who is also the feature of the fourth film, by selecting the “mystery gift” option in the game and then choosing “receive gift.”

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