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First Xbox Live game for both Windows Phone and Windows 8 quietly released

galactic_reign2When 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.

galactic_reign3As 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

HP Pavilion Chromebook leaked through spec sheet posting on HP site

HP Pavilion Chromebook

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.

Via The Verge
Source HP

Samsung reveals reboxed Series 3 Chromebox for £279

Chromebox

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.

Via Engadget
Source Samsung

Microsoft Windows 8 launch liveblog

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!

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Dawnguard review

 

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.

 

Codemasters finally confirms much-anticipated GRID 2 with début trailer

 

 

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]

Source YouTube