Posts Tagged ‘microsoft’

Why to Wait to Buy a New Xbox One

Posted: December 4, 2013 by Areeb Fazli in Technology
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Compared to just about every new, modern-day living room device, the new Xbox One is a gargantuan device.  When just about everyone else in consumer electronics went svelte, the Xbox One went huge. The Xbox One is 60% larger than the Sony PS4 which doesn’t need a power brick, 35% larger than its 360 “Slim” predecessor.

Versus the Xbox 360, the games definitely looked and played better. I played Battlefield 4, Call of Duty Ghosts, and Assassin’s Creed IV, games that should have the highest visual quality.

The number of games available for the Xbox One is incredibly low.  As of today, there were 22 games, not listing the “special” 3 duplicates, listed in the U.S. Xbox One Game Store.

TV Control

Microsoft has invested a lot of money in TVs over the last 20 years, spanning from initiatives like Microsoft TV to Windows Media Center to  Mediaroom, which was just sold to Ericsson.  You would expect Microsoft to get TV and set top box interaction right. I can change cable channels via the Xbox controller or, when it works, through voice.

Voice Control

The Kinect voice command and control was improved, but it’s far from perfect.  Apart from initiating voice commands, one needs to “say what they see” which is supposed to improve the hit rate by limiting the dictionary size.  What I was really hoping for more natural voice control like Google Voice Commands.  Microsoft has been working on voice command and control for decades and we should expect and get more.

Better Off Waiting

As I reflect on my purchase, I am glad I got the chance to experience the Xbox One from a more academic, analyst approach, but I definitely have a personal consumer buyer’s remorse and am considering returning my unit. My gaming-addicted son got bored as well due to the lack of games, which speaks even bigger volumes to me.  Please do not confuse my assessment with what I think the Xbox One today could become in the future. I truly believe that Microsoft will address all the shortcomings I have outlined above within the year and I think the value proposition will be a lot better.  But for this round, unless you just feel cool telling your friends you just got the latest Xbox One, I’d strongly consider sitting this one out.

Chromebooks have become a whole lot more appealing lately as they begin to promise longer battery life, better performance, and continue to come in at surprisingly low prices. And this week, Chromebooks got even more exciting with the announcement of the Acer C720P. The C720P may be the second touchscreen Chromebook, but it’s a full $1,000 less expensive than the first one. To see just what the latest batch of Chromebooks has to offer, we’re taking a look across four of them to see which delivers the most value for its price.

Microsoft says you can’t play Call of Duty or Age of Empires on a Chromebook, and that’s fair enough. But you’re not going to enjoy playing Call of Duty on those sub-$250 Windows laptops that Microsoft highlights on its Chromebook vs. Windows laptop page, either. There may never be a Microsoft Office for ChromeOS, but there’s a pretty good version of it available on the web courtesy of Microsoft itself. You can’t do Skype, but Hangouts isn’t bad either. There’s no iTunes, but if you’re online, the Spotify web app works just as well as the desktop app.

This time, the company is targetingChromebooks, Google’s cheap ChromeOS-based, web-centric laptops.

Acer’s C720P Chromebook is certainly the most exciting of the four recent machines. For those interested, its touchscreen gives it a clear edge over competitors — and without raising the price by much.

The C720P’s biggest price competition actually comes from Acer itself: if you’re looking for the least expensive of the recent Chromebooks, that would be a stripped-down version of the C720, which is almost identical to the C720P but lacks a touchscreen. For $199.99, you can get nearly the same specs as the C720P with a major discount. Both include an 11.6-inch display at 1366 x 768, a processor from Intel’s Haswell family, and 2BG of RAM. The only other big differentiator is that the C720P includes an SSD with twice as much storage — 32GB — though both include 100GB of Google Drive space to make up for that low total anyway.

Both the good and the bad news is that the specs on most of these Chromebooks are incredibly similar — often almost identical. That should let you make a decision based on small differences in pricing or just your preference in style without having to worry about making major tradeoffs when moving from one to the next. None of the options appear to be perfect just yet, but for machines that cost less than $300, they’re getting closer than most probably imagined they would.

Titanfall: The Future of Online Gaming

Posted: December 1, 2013 by Areeb Fazli in Games
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Fast-Paced Future Warfare –  In Titanfall the advanced warfare of tomorrow gives you the freedom to fight your way as both elite assault Pilot and agile, heavily armored 24’ tall Titans. Titanfall rethinks fundamental combat and movement giving players the ability to change tactics on the fly, attacking or escaping depending on the situation.

The Future of Online Multiplayer Action –  The game is entirely multiplayer, in a new experience that combines fast-paced online action with the heroic set piece moments traditionally found in campaign mode. The intersection of the two is a big part of what gives Ttianfall its iconic identity.
The Visionaries that Defined Gaming for a Generation are back!— Founded in 2010, Respawn Entertainment was formed by Vince Zampella and Jason West, former co-founders of Infinity Ward and two of the co-creators of the multi-billion dollar franchise Call of Duty™ They are building on their pedigree and taking a new approach to game design and creating an all new universe with Titanfall.

Titanfall is releasing exclusively for Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC in March, 2014, and will never make its way to the PlayStation 4.

And while Titanfall will always be a Microsoft exclusive, EA said that any potential sequels could possibly be coming to PS4.

Titanfall releases March 11, 2014 in North America, and March 13, 2014 in Europe and Australia.