Okay, so it’s not like the whole Project Natal launch window has been kept that silent. At CES, Microsoft let us know that it would launch this holiday season. A while later, UK television personality Jonathan Ross tweeted that Natal would be launching in October. Well, we can add more fuel to that October launch rumor, as Microsoft Saudi Marketing Manager Syed Milal Tariq said yesterday in an interview that Natal will launch globally “somewhere in October.” He went on to say that the day would be firmed up in time for E3 in June, but that we will definitely see it in October 2010.
Now, that isn’t official (read: PR) or anything, but at this point, we believe that you’ll be flailing wildly across your living room before Halloween.
Read More | Gamertag Radio
“Nightmares exist outside of logic, and there’s little fun to be had in explanations; they’re antithetical to the poetry of fear.”
- Stephen King
And so begins the story of Alan Wake. When you begin the game, that line is spoken by the main character, writer and horror novelist Alan Wake, and it sets the tone perfectly for the adventure that you are about to embark upon. Alan Wake is a game where you’ll spend time searching for answers, questioning what is real, and answering questions that the main character never wanted to have asked. The beauty of the title is that the premise is simple and enthralling all at once—a horror novelist’s story has come to life, and he is in the middle of it. Even stranger, he doesn’t recall writing it.
We must say, we’ve been excited about Alan Wake since we first heard about it some five years ago. The narrated gameplay makes it feel like you are playing through a novel, or maybe more closely, a series of Twilight Zone episodes. This is a welcome difference from the all-to-common feeling that developers often try to make it feel like you are “playing” a movie. The game has been in development forever, and saw a couple of delays, which normally signals trouble (just look at Too Human.) However, we are here to tell you that Alan Wake didn’t suffer for it. This is one book that you won’t want to put down until the very last word.
Gallery: Alan Wake review
This week, Intel announced the availability of technology made especially for digital signage. The new platform, based on Windows Embedded Standard 7 and running on Intel Core i5/i7 processors, along with technology such as touch screens to allow interactivity from a passerby.
The “Intelligent Digital Sign” also could use a camera to use what they call “anonymous video analytics” to show items of interest to the user at an appropriate height for the user, along with gender recognition software. The sign is large enough that if another person comes up to the ad and interacts, they would be presented with their own advertisement while the first person continued their own experience.
I’m a bit wary of anything using a camera or having access to my cellular phone, but take a look at the release and decide for yourself. The release also has a video from back in January when they demonstrated the system.
Read More | Microsoft: Next Generation of Digital Signage Applications Is Possible Today
If you own an Xbox 360, then we’re fairly confident that you’re salivating over getting early access to the Halo: Reach multiplayer beta. Sure, the beta goes public on May 3rd, open to all who have a copy of Halo 3: ODST, but who wants to wait 4 more days to get in on the action if you can have it today? Yep, that’s where we come in. We’ve got a bunch of Halo: Reach beta codes that we are going to be giving away today, and if you get one, you’ll be able to download and play the Halo: Reach beta today! So, how do you enter to win one of these super-exclusive codes? Here’s your answer:
- If you don’t have one already, sign up for a Twitter account
- Follow the Gear Live Twitter account
- On Twitter, post this tweet about our contest: “Hey @gearlive hook me up with a Halo: Reach Multiplayer Beta code please! http://bit.ly/haloreachbeta” (Click here to tweet this now)
That’s it! You must be following the Gear Live Twitter account, because we will be sending the codes to the winners on Twitter via DM, and if you aren’t following, we can’t DM you. Simple as that. Again, we’ve got a bunch of these, so you have a good chance of walking away with a code! We will start choosing winners this afternoon.
Microsoft’s Fusion Labs just announced a new product that they are doing in partnership with Facebook, called Docs for Facebook. Built on Microsoft Office 2010, Docs for Facebook is seemingly a play by Microsoft to take some of the cloud-based office suite share away from Google Docs. You’ll be able to create and share documents with friends on Facebook, control privacy settings, and with a click of a button, open the documents in your native Office software on your PC or Mac. That’s all well and good, but do you know many people who’ve been clamoring for the opportunity to add their boss and co-workers as Facebook friends, just so they can share documents with them on the popular social networking site? Yeah, us either.
If you want to get in on the action, hit the link below.
Read More | Docs for Facebook
Just a quick heads up about that 64GB Zune HD that we were all excited about the other day - looks like it’s on sale, just a couple of days early. It’s supposed to come out on Monday, but we’ve seen it selling today. You can pick up a 64GB Zune HD for $349.
Hey Zune owners, head up—the Zune 4.5 update has just gone live, and it’s ready for you to suck down from Microsoft. As a refresher, here’s what you have to look forward to:
- Smart DJ integration on Zune HD
- Picks on Zune HD (personalized recommendations based on your listening habits)
- Browse the Zune Marketplace on TV when you dock your connected Zune
- Expanded video codec support, reducing need for transcoding
Of course, there are likely a bunch of bug fixes and all that to make things feel mo’ better. In addition to all that, the new 64GB Zune HD will be available in a week!
No, this isn’t the most exciting story about mobile devices this weekend, but we’ve gotta hand it to Microsoft for listening to the masses on the whole Windows Phone 7 Series branding. It was too long, there was no simplicity, and frankly, it made no sense. Rather than stubbornly sticking with it, they’ve heard our cries, and Windows Phone 7 Series is now simply known as Windows Phone 7 from here on out. This doesn’t change the hardware or software in any way, mind you, it’s strictly a branding change. A smart branding change.
Sure, it’s only about six months too late, but Microsoft is finally ready to let a 64GB Zune HD loose, and it arrives on April 12. You’ll be able to purchase one from the Zune Originals site, as well as Amazon, Best Buy, and all the regulars for $350. Ordering from Microsoft directly lets you choose from platinum, black, blue, red, green, purple, and magenta colors.
The 16 and 32GB Zune HD models will each see an immediate $20 price drop as well.
Heads up, all you Xbox 360 owners that are constantly feeling the pinch when it comes to hard drive space - Microsoft has finally released the 250GB Xbox 360 hard drive as a standalone device! Previously, you were only able to get the drive with the purchase of one of the many special edition consoles, like Modern Warfare 2 or Final Fantasy XIII. The 250GB hard drive can be purchased now, and costs $129.99.
Read More | Xbox 360 250GB Hard Drive
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