When Windows Phone 8 was released way back in October last year, much was made of the relationship prospective Windows Phone 8 purchasers would have between their mobile and their PCs. Since then, nothing much to that side of things has materialised, but yesterday that all changed.
Galactic Reign was teased by Microsoft last October, but there was no mention of platforms, nor was there a release date, but yesterday the game quietly slipped into both the Windows 8 Store and the Windows Phone Store as an Xbox Live title. Microsoft used to always announce upcoming Windows Phone games well in advance, but they haven’t done so much of that recently, and it seems crazy that such a huge milestone for the OS was released with so little fanfare, but hey, at least it’s here now.
As you might have guessed from its name, the game is a sci-fi strategy number. You have to find the right balance between spaceships and weapons and hope your fleet is good enough to beat your opponents, and we won’t go into too much detail here, but there’s a single player mode with 60 challenges and a multiplayer side of things where you battle people online. There a bunch of Xbox achievements to aim for as well.
It’s great to finally see a game which bridges the Windows Phone 8/ Windows 8 divide. With the multiplayer game, you can play with different hardware to your opponent, i.e. it doesn’t matter whether you use a PC, Windows Phone or Surface. Galactic reign will cost $4.99 for Windows 8 or for Windows Phone 7 and 8. The best bit of all? You only need to purchase one version to have access to it on both platforms.
Source: Windows Phone Central
Recently we’ve seen new Chromebook models from Acer, Samsung and more recently Lenovo, and a spec sheet discovered on HP’s site shows that they too are throwing their hats into the cloud-based computing ring. The PDF states that the 14″ 1366 x 768 Pavilion Chromebook is capable of running for 4 hours 15 minutes on a charge, and the remainder of its hardware appears reminiscent of a mashup between Acer’s C7 and Samsung’s Series 3, with the C7’s 1.1GHz Intel Celeron 847 processor coupled with 16GB of solid state storage as found in the Samsung model. The whole package weighs in at 1.8kg and it features 3 USB 2.0 ports and an HDMI port, although a disc drive remains absent. There is no word on when we will see this hitting store shelves, but another major Windows manufacturer beginning Chromebook production is bound to cause shivers in Redmond.
Not long after releasing its new Series 3 Chromebook, Samsung has announced a new version of its Series 3 Chromebox desktop computer powered by Google’s Chrome OS. While the new Chromebox has an all-new plastic shell, the hardware is identical to the previous iteration, with the same 1.9GHz Intel Celeron CPU, 4GB RAM, 16GB solid state storage and wide array of USB ports. While online Chrome OS retailers such as Currys PC World and Amazon do not appear to be stocking the device at the time of writing, a Chrome Story reader claims he was able to buy one from PC World in Bristol at the same £279 price tag as the earlier iteration, suggesting that widespread availability for cloud-loving desktop users is not too far off.
As Microsoft prepares to unleash Windows 8 upon the world tomorrow, a number of launch events are scheduled around the world, but the largest of them all takes place in New York this afternoon. We’re expecting to hear news of Surface and Windows, while numerous new high-profile applications for the Windows Store are likely to be unveiled. For all the news as it happens, join us right here for all the news as it happens.
All times are in BST
This event is now finished
15:30 Let’s do this.
15:40 While we wait for things to kick off, why not watch our Windows 8 overview?
16:08 Just a few minutes to go now…
16:09 Plenty of time to get some beef Hula Hoops.
16:16 We should be live now. If you want to watch along with us then the kind folks at Microsoft have provided a stream.
16:19 Starting with a video: The World Is Ready.
16:21 Steven Sinofsky is up, talking about building on the success of Windows 7.
16:22 They’ve sold over 670,000,000 licenses.
16:23 2PB of data added to SkyDrive every month.
16:24 Now talking about the advances in technology since Windows 95 came out.
16:25 Windows 8 is reimagined for the next billion users.
16:26 Windows 8 will be available at 12:01am tomorrow in every time zone.
16:27 8 was built on the foundations of 7.
16:28 Cold boots on new PCs in 10 seconds.
16:29 1,240,000 hours of testing in 190 countries.
16:30 Designed for touch and to be alive with the activity that matters most.
16:31 1,000 devices have already been certified for Windows 8.
16:32 There will be new Ultrabooks today, with some sporting touch screens.
16:33 Moving on to the Windows Store, officially opening today.
16:34 Hundreds of new apps every day, with the rate increasing each day.
16:35 231 markets for the store. Largest app selection at opening of any app store.
16:36 Now we have Windows
Retweet RT, featuring Office 2013.
16:37 Windows RT currently supports over 420,000,000 peripherals, including mice, keyboards and printers.
16:38 Now there’s an advert featuring Best Coast and guitars.
16:39 Mike Angiulo and Julie Larson-Green on stage to demonstrate.
16:41 They’re just taking a look at the core. I think we did that better, but they’re not doing too badly.
16:44 The desktop is now even better. Run it side by side with Store apps.
16:45 Now talking about SkyDrive and Windows Phone.
16:47 They’re showing off the HTC 8X, a Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 (with stylus!) and an Acer Aspire S7 Ultrabook.
16:49 Touch notebooks start at just $499/£400.
16:51 “So many apps.”
16:52 Showing off Hulu with snapped email. Into the Wikipedia app (via Store) with the video still playing. Search is universal.
16:53 Julie’s using Urbanspoon now. Sharing is easy, and now exploring NY with Bing Travel.
16:55 Jetpack Joyride is available on Windows 8. Goodbye productivity.
16:56 Now they have the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga, Dell XPS tablet and Samsung Ativ Tab.
16:57 Swapping now to the Asus Vivo Tab RT and Microsoft’s own Surface which gets a rapturous applause.
16:59 Ballmer alert.
17:00 He’s looking intense and talking about the benefits of a Microsoft account.
17:01 Biggest Windows ever with ARM and tablets included.
17:05 New Office “works great with a stylus”.
17:06 Great support from media outlets for apps. IE10 sites can be pinned.
17:07 MSN is the first site to be designed for Windows 8 and IE10.
17:08 SkyDrive is great for documents, while Outlook and the new Skype app are great for communication.
17:09 Rich entertainment experience with the Xbox brand, including free streaming music.
17:10 “Windows uniquely gives [businesses] the tools they need.”
17:11 Similarities to Windows Phone are positive – with live tiles, Microsoft Accounts and SkyDrive. More on that on Monday.
17:11 He said developers. Be warned.
17:12 Ballmer on 670,000,000 Windows 7 PCs: “That’s a very large number, even in the world of very large numbers.”
17:13 “Windows 8 PCs really are the best PCs ever.”
17:14 “Windows 8 brings together the best of worlds: PC and tablet; work and play.”
17:15 And that’s a wrap.
17:15 A whole load of uniformed people went on stage, music started playing and the lights dimmed. I can’t be the only one that was scared of a dance there.
17:15 And that’s all folks! We’ll be back on Monday for the Windows Phone and Android events!
17:16 Thanks for joining us!
After not too long a wait, Bethesda has graced us with yet more dragon vampire killing fun in the form of the first DLC pack for our best game of 2011, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, best known as the source of repetitive internet jokes which have prompted numerous angry blog posts. Under the title of Dawnguard, this add-on not only gives an extra 6 hours of gameplay but also makes a number of slight additions and improvements to an already great game.
On the whole, Dawnguard’s storyline is not fantastic but it’s still a good addition to one of the best games out there. The quests are fun, with a good mixture of murder, carnage and even the occasional puzzle, the new characters are interesting and in all honesty fun to interact with and, most importantly for an RPG, the storyline is good. My major complaint with Dawnguard is the fact that there is no variety in what you have to do. Just like the rest of Skyrim, each quest is simply run here, kill/steal/Fus Ro Dah this, come back, repeat, and while this can be fun for short periods, I found that after about an hour of gameplay I began to become bored. It would have been nice for a Bethesda to make at least a little differentiation between Skyrim and Dawnguard, but alas no.
While the main storyline is at worst disappointing, the rest of the DLC is far superior. There are numerous minor changes to the general gameplay which make the whole experience feel much better than it did before. My favourite addition is that of horseback fighting, as nothing feels better than charging through battle, firing slow motion arrows from the back of your horse. This, along with dragon bone weapons, werewolf and vampire perk trees and other such improvements makes for a significant improvement for an already superb game.
Overall, Dawnguard is decent. While the storyline and quests are not what they could have been, everything else that comes along side the questline makes Dawnguard in my eyes worth the money, despite the high price tags. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Dawnguard is available now for 1600 Microsoft Points (£13.71) from the Xbox Marketplace and for £13.99 on PC via Steam, while Bethesda is said to be ‘not satisfied yet‘ with Dawnguard’s performance on PlayStation 3, and have decided to hold back its release until they can ensure that it will not worsen users experiences in the Skyrim world.
Since its initial launch way back in 1997 on the OG PlayStation, the ToCA Touring Cars series from Codemasters has remained a favourite of racing fans for its unrivalled realism and graphical prowess. To coincide with each new generation of console the series has undergone a pair of major revamps, first to ToCA Race Driver and then to 2008’s Race Driver: GRID. In the 4 years since the latest iteration was released to unanimous critical acclaim, rumours have constantly swirled regarding the development of a sequel. Codies staff have been quoted as having mentioned it on numerous occasions since 2009, and CEO Rod Cousens told Eurogamer in late 2010 that DiRT and GRID games would have alternating release years, starting with DiRT 3 in 2011. Despite all this, details have been relatively scarce, but that all ends now.
With a trailer posted on YouTube, Codemasters finally confirmed the existence and title of GRID 2. The guys over at GamesRadar have had a chance to play it and put together a massive preview, and they have confirmed that street racing is in and destruction derbies are out, as crash-lovers have DiRT Showdown for all that stuff. Also, and possibly most irritating, the helmet camera is no more as constructing car interiors would push the current-gen consoles beyond their limits. While this is a disappointing omission, GamesRadar also reports that there is a lot of new science and possibly even a Ferrari license involved, so Codies seem to be more than making up for it.
The game is set to launch on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 during 2013, and you can watch the début trailer below.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yKCS8B6_SA]
Codemasters is famed for its racing simulations such as the Colin McRae Rally (now DiRT) and Race Driver series, but the company seems set to take an uncharacteristic shift towards the arcade style with the announcement of F1 Race Stars. Designed as a spin-off to their Formula 1 series, Race Stars provides motorsport with a Mario Kart-esque twist, gifting gamers officially licensed F1 properties with a multitude of power-ups and circuit modifications along with caricature graphics. The game is set for release across PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC in November this year, while F1 2012, the latest simulation entry to the franchise, is still looking forward to a September 21st launch.
Watch the F1 Race Stars trailer below.
Since they were announced back at CES in January, people have been heavily anticipating the launch of Vizio’s first range of Windows PCs. Famed in the States for low priced TVs with unbeatable value, the company unveiled an all-in-one, a notebook and a pair of
Ultrabooks thin-and-lights at the trade show, but remained coy on release dates, pricing or exact specifications until today. In a press release that can be found below, the company revealed a few more details, including that pricing for all 3 ranges would begin at just $898 (£578), and that all of their computers would run on Intel’s latest Ivy Bridge chips with a clean installation (i.e. zero bloatware) of Windows 7. The AIO will come in both the $898 24″ model and an $1100 27″ model, and both come with USB 3.0, Nvidia’s latest Kepler graphics architecture, up to a 1TB HDD paired with a 32GB SSD for boot and 1920 x 1080 displays. The thin-and-lights both come with integrated Intel graphics and a 7 hour battery life, with the $898 14″ model coming equipped with a 1600 x 900 panel, while an extra hundred dollars will get you a 15.6″ model with a 1080p display. The $898 notebook is internally identical to the larger thin-and-light, but in exchange for the added girth you get an as yet unspecified Nvidia Kepler GPU. Pre-orders for all models are live at a number of American retailers right now, but don’t get your hopes up for a UK release, as Vizio has yet to release any of their bargain bin products outside the US of A.
Design, Power and Entertainment Reign Supreme in VIZIO’s Incredibly Sleek and Sophisticated, Premium PC Line Unveiled Today
Irvine, CA – June 15, 2012 – VIZIO, America’s #1 LCD HDTV Company*, announced today the availability of its highly anticipated line of innovative personal computers designed to work hard and play hard. By combining its entertainment know-how with the unmatched power of the latest Intel® Core™ processors, VIZIO intends to set a new standard for the Windows® experience. The premium line, which consists of the VIZIO Thin + Light, Notebook and All-in-One PC, was created to break through the clutter present in the mainstream market and prove that power, design and entertainment can flawlessly co-exist in a PC.
Similar to its entrance into the HDTV category nearly a decade ago, VIZIO took careful inventory of the needs and wants evident in the PC space. The result is a sophisticatedly handsome PC line that meets the productivity and power standards consumers expect, while delivering the entertainment and design differentiators they desire. Calling on its HDTV background, VIZIO developed the PCs with contrast, image quality and viewing angles top of mind, giving PC users an experience only HDTVs could previously deliver. Combined with an NVIDIA® Kepler™-Class GeForce GPU, the brilliant HD display of the VIZIO PCs makes watching movies, gaming and streaming TV shows more enjoyable than ever. Deep and resonate SRS Premium Sound HD™ serves as an ideal complement to stunning image quality but can also stand alone, allowing music junkies to immerse themselves in rich, custom-tuned audio.
Understanding the impact aesthetics have on experience, VIZIO also focused heavily on design. Manifested beyond a few sleek bevels, VIZIO’s purposeful design decisions and premium materials culminate in a line of PCs that rival the status-quo. From the die-cast aluminum neck with its hidden hinge, premium wireless keyboard and wireless touchpad of the All-in-One, to the anodized aluminum unibody construction with precision CNC detailing of the Thin + Light and Notebook, VIZIO took every detail into account, creating top-quality work and entertainment fixtures like no other.
“PCs haven’t always been made with design at the forefront. While customers want an elegant, multi-purpose device capable of executing tasks and flawlessly delivering entertainment, some PCs still look like mundane work machines,” said Matt McRae, Chief Technology Officer, VIZIO. “VIZIO is passionate about innovation, design and the user experience. We listened to consumers and created a line of PCs that deliver on productivity but are also uncompromisingly clean, stylish and sophisticated.”
Optimized to deliver power, mobility and familiar ease of use, VIZIO PCs ensure a fast and immersive best-in-class consumer experience. To that end, VIZIO and Microsoft® worked together to build an optimized system image that includes the Microsoft Signature experience for Windows 7 PCs to deliver a great experience for customers, from out of box to support. Every VIZIO PC also includes Microsoft Security Essentials to help guard against viruses and spyware with no renewal fees and 90 days of Microsoft technical support.
“We’re pleased to be working closely with VIZIO as it debuts in the PC category,” said Steven Guggenheimer, CVP OEM Division, Microsoft. “VIZIO has a strong reputation of providing consumer innovation and entertainment experiences, and it’s great to see the company using Windows to help deliver premium experiences on PCs.”
Designed to tackle any task a user needs to accomplish, VIZIO PCs are powered by 3rd generation Intel® Core™ processors. Providing an extra performance boost, the efficient Intel® Core™ processors are capable of handling a multitude of jobs, allowing users to multi-task with ease.
“We know how important it is for VIZIO to have its PCs deliver best in class performance,” said CJ Bruno, Intel VP, GM Americas. “VIZIO has repeatedly shown its ability to deliver leading technology to its customers and we are thrilled that 3rd generation Intel core processors will power VIZIO’s latest computing innovations. We think people will be amazed by the stunning visual experiences in these new systems, from the beautiful all-in-one to the slim, stylish and responsive Ultrabook™ device.”
VIZIO All-in-One: Starting at $898
Elegantly combining a powerful PC with features similar to a television, the VIZIO All-in-One PC offers an unparalleled entertainment experience**. With a stunning 24″ or 27″ Full HD 1080p display, included subwoofer for 2.1 surround sound audio with SRS Premium Sound HD™ and dual HDMI® inputs for connecting cable boxes and game consoles, the VIZIO All-in-One PC delivers serious entertainment.
The premium wireless keyboard, wireless touchpad with multi-touch gesture support, remote control and subwoofer with integrated power supply makes the VIZIO All-in-One PC easy on the eyes. Crafted from genuine, top-quality materials with design advancements, these machines challenge the very notion of what a PC can be, making it the ideal fixture in a bedroom, design studio, kitchen, dorm or swanky boutique.
For the ultimate in entertainment, consumers can use the display of their VIZIO All-in-One PC even when the computer is off, plugging in up to two HDMI® sources to enjoy cable or satellite programming, gaming and other HD offerings.
VIZIO Notebook: Starting at $898
The VIZIO Notebook delivers remarkable power in a beautifully portable profile. Stylish and light, the aluminum construction provides solid durability not possible when using cheaper plastics. With an impressive 15.6″ Full HD 1080p display, performance-tuned audio with SRS Premium Sound HD™ and a long-lasting battery, the VIZIO Notebook is an all-day, on-the-go, multimedia powerhouse.
The sleek, seamless surface of the VIZIO Notebook boasts beveled edges and a slip-free, soft-touch underside. The machine’s slim profile is made possible by an anodized aluminum unibody construction that lends itself to strength and durability. Smart innovations include a concealed passive heat venting that pulls in cool air to reduce the need for bulky, noisy and unnecessary grills and fans.
VIZIO Thin + Light: Starting at $898
Part of a new class of Ultrabook™ devices inspired by Intel, the VIZIO Thin + Light is an ultra-responsive, ultra-sleek and long-lasting portable PC. This powerful machine boots up in seconds and packs enough battery to stay up and running all day.
With a 14″ HD+ or 15.6″ Full HD display and a razor-thin design made possible by a durable, anodized aluminum unibody construction, the VIZIO Thin + Light is sleek enough to take anywhere and easily outperforms notebooks twice its size.
Entertainment enthusiasts will appreciate the HD resolution, stellar picture quality with wider viewing angles and SRS Premium Sound HD™ of the Thin + Light, allowing users to enjoy their content on-the-go or tap into the full-size HDMI® outputs to put entertainment on the big screen.
For more information on VIZIO PCs visit VIZIO.com. Consumers can also find the new PC line at key retailers such as Walmart, Amazon.com, Sam’s Club, Costco, Target and Microsoft Store.
E3 is just around the corner, so we thought we’d give you a peek at some of the stuff that we’re looking forward to this week.
The Last of Us
The Last of Us is the latest title from Naughty Dog, famous for the Uncharted and Jak & Daxter games. This PS3 exclusive is set in a post-pandemic world destroyed by a plague, and players take control of Joel, a ruthless survivor, and Ellie, a brave young girl, as they try to survive across America. Think Dead Island but better.
Lara Croft is back, and she’s determined to get her crown back as queen of action games.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Dawnguard
Skyrim came out late last year to almost universal acclaim, including our own game of the year award. Now, Bethesda is set to give us more information about the recently-announced Dawnguard DLC.
Lego Lord of the Rings
Lego games are always awesome, and the minifgure take on Lord of the Rings promises to be no exception.
The Hitman series returns with death, death and even more death.
The Testament of Sherlock Holmes
Despite being an obvious attempt to cash in on the ongoing Sherlock fever, this LA Noire-esque detective game seems intriguing.
Far Cry 3
The Far Cry series returns to an isolated island, and this time you get crazier the longer you stay there.
Assassin’s Creed 3
With a new protagonist and a new continent, AC3 promises to be epic, but can it differ enough from its predecessors to make gamers happy?
Have we missed anything? Let us know in the comments, and get ready for the biggest week of the gaming year. E3 here we come!