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Xbox One Eighty Part Three: Headset

By Jeff Buckland, 8/8/2013 2:14 PM

Microsoft put together a video with Major Nelson showing an unboxing of the Xbox One, and surprise, surprise: it now includes a headset, which wasn't the case at least until a couple of weeks ago. This is the third time that Microsoft has reversed a decision regarding the Xbox One since its reveal - the first was backing off of the always-on connectivity and used games restrictions, the second was in announcing that indie developers could self-publish their games without tying themselves to a major publisher or Microsoft's own exclusivity rules, and now this third one puts a headset in the box.

But wait - Xbox One already has a microphone on the new Kinect, right, and crazy fancy software to remove the game sounds from the audio recording being pulled into the Kinect's microphone, so why do we need a headset? Let's dive in.

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John Carmack joins Oculus VR

By Jeff Buckland, 8/7/2013 9:22 AM

This is potentially a pretty big deal: Oculus VR, creators of the Oculus Rift VR device, has announced (their site went down in the news scramble) that John Carmack, co-founder of id Software and one of the biggest pioneers in game technology, has joined them and will be working at a new Dallas-based office. Some sites are reporting that Carmack has left id Software, but that's not actually confirmed, and Carmack has spent years splitting time already between id and his rocket engineering company Armadillo Aerospace. And considering that Carmack said at this year's QuakeCon that Armadillo is mostly dead and basically on life support, it's possible that he's going to be working at both places.

Update: This press release from The Redner Group I have in front of me says this: "Formerly at id Software, John is now full time at Oculus VR working on the Oculus Rift", while someone at Bethesda says, “John has long been interested in the work at Oculus VR and wishes to spend time on that project. The technical leadership he provides for games in development at id Software is unaffected.”

Update 2: Stephen Totilo at Kotaku has a quote from Bethesda: "John will spend time working out of Oculus as part of his role with them, but he will also continue to work at id." So, uh, yeah. Either he's there, or he's not, or he is a little bit.

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EverQuest Next Dazzles SOE Live

By Jeff Buckland, 8/3/2013 2:58 AM

Earlier today, Sony Online finally showed us a good chunk of EverQuest Next, the MMO they've been working on for years. Twitch has a recording of the stream done from the SOE Live event in Vegas. It's good stuff, but I do still have some doubts...

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Irrational Announces new BioShock Infinite DLC

By Jeff Buckland, 7/30/2013 9:46 AM

What was your favorite thing about BioShock Infinite? What's most memorable to you? Did the answer to either question have anything to do with the combat? If so, you'll like Irrational's first DLC, called Clash in the Clouds, which was finally announced and will be released... today. (Yep, simultaneous announcement and release.) It's only $5 which is a welcome change - 2K does usually carefully price their DLC - but after the sale of a Season Pass followed by months of silence on what the first DLC would be, I'm pretty sure plenty will be disappointed by this.

But there's more that's apparently coming later this year, and it's more of what you were probably hoping for. Just watch the trailer.

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Xbox One Eighty Part Two: Self Publishing

By Jeff Buckland, 7/24/2013 2:06 PM

GameInformer has word that Microsoft is changing their policy regarding indie games: now, like Steam on PC and Sony with their PlayStation platforms, they'll allow indie developers to publish their own games directly on Xbox One without finding a publisher or being forced to take on Microsoft themselves as publisher (who demands things like timed exclusivity - ask Fez developer Phil Fish or Super Meat Boy's Team Meat how well that went). But is this enough?

Updated: It's been confirmed by MS along with word that all Xbox Ones will also work as what those in the game industry call "devkits", which until this point, were specialized versions of the console that could run pre-release code which facilitates new games development. Now, all XB1s will have that ability. Still some issues, so click "Read more" and let's talk!

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Stone Warriors on Kickstarter

By Jeff Buckland, 7/18/2013 6:54 PM

We get lots of requests from developers trying to fund their game on Kickstarter, but I only post about the ones I really dig, and this is one I quite like: Stone Wardens. They're well short of their funding goal, but I think the mix of tower defense and action with almost an Okami-like art style is really cool. Check it out and pledge something if you're interested!

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Nintendo Blocks Smash Bros Streaming from EVO [Updated]

By Jeff Buckland, 7/9/2013 6:18 PM

It was bad enough that Nintendo started using its copyright muscle to take Let's Play video makers' YouTube money away from them - literally taking lunch money from their own fans in some cases - but today they really kicked fans in the jimmy. Fans raised nearly $100,000 for charity to make Super Smash Bros. Melee (the decade-old GameCube game, not even the latest one) the 8th main tournament game at the world's biggest yearly fighting game tournament, EVO. And Nintendo just informed the tournament organizers that they can't stream it, only 3 days from the event. As a result, the event schedule has changed to give more stream time to Persona 4 Arena and King of Fighters XIII. I'm sure that some fans of those two games will be happy to hear more tourney spots for their favorite games will be shown, I doubt they're really happy how it happened.

Update: Nintendo has relented and the Smash streams will go on. What even got them to the point of saying no in the first place, along with their previous overzealous protection of their property at the cost of fan promotion, shows that Nintendo still has a real problem with understanding their fanbase and that this might not be the last we hear of such issues.

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GTAV Trailer

By Jeff Buckland, 7/9/2013 2:57 PM

Rockstar has released a new trailer for Grand Theft Auto V. It might seem like the calm voice explaining gameplay is relatively new, but Rockstar did this in similar videos for Max Payne 3 as well. Anyway, the game looks to be chock full of the huge range of activities that GTAIV lacked (but we expected after San Andreas), all with an even more improved game engine running on current-gen hardware. They didn't really show us much regarding the size of the world, but we've heard it's bigger than the last couple of Rockstar games combined, so I'd love to see them do a trailer showing off this scale and even more locations. (It'd also fall in with their usual policy of purposely trying not to spoil a bunch of the game's features and plotlines before the release date.)

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Brutal Doom 1.9 Nears Release

By Jeff Buckland, 7/8/2013 9:00 AM

A new trailer for Brutal Doom v1.9 has been released, and a release date has been set: 8/9/2013. Which is either August 9th if the creator's in the US, or September 8th if he's in Europe. Not sure which. My favorite part of this mod is that it doesn't try to reinvent the game with high-quality 3D models, and instead uses tons of great, new 2D sprites for many new animation frames that fit in perfectly with the original art.

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Launch Libraries Ain't All They're Cracked up to Be

By Jeff Buckland, 7/1/2013 4:00 PM

Jim Sterling's Inquisition makes a great argument against large launch libraries for games. He says that mashing two-dozen games together to all be released at once creates confusion, makes the lesser-known titles disappear in the mix, and leaves publishers and console manufacturers struggling in the couple of months to follow to keep the steady stream of quality games coming.

I agree, but there's more.

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