Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft’

Week in Tech: DirectX 12 And Faster PC Games

By Jeremy Laird on March 20th, 2014.

It’s not a huge surprise. But it is interesting. Microsoft has lifted the lid on its latest graphics API, DirectX 12. And the big news isn’t a fancy new rendering technology. The big news is better performance. Just like AMD’s Mantle API, DX12 promises to reduce CPU loads when playing games by as much as 50 per cent. Intriguingly, DX12 is coming to the Xbox One and phones, too. Which brings us to the really good bit. It looks likely your existing graphics card will be compatible with DX12. And that includes Nvidia GPUs… Read the rest of this entry »

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That Was Quick: Steam Boss No Longer At Microsoft

By Nathan Grayson on February 13th, 2014.

Whoops, looks like Microsoft’s Ken Lobb neglected to tell me something. Shortly after publishing our interview from D.I.C.E.’s red carpet wherein I specifically mentioned the hiring of former Steam director of business development Jason Holtman as a sign that Microsoft was embracing PC gaming, I received an anonymous tip that he was no longer with the company. One quick LinkedIn check later and, yep, he’s out. That, um, doesn’t bode well.

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Microsoft Really, Really Is Into PC This Time, Apparently

By Nathan Grayson on February 11th, 2014.

RPS’ D.I.C.E. Red Carpet Mean Pants Hard Question Corner returns! Honestly, I’ve been pushing for an interview with Microsoft about PC gaming for ages, but the titanic purveyor of Xs and bones has been less than receptive. Fortunately, the red carpet is nice in that there is, for roughly five minutes, NO ESCAPING. So Microsoft partner creative director Ken Lobb approached, and I lobbed every question about Microsoft’s latest (and five millionth) re-dedication to PC gaming I could think of. His responses were vaguely promising, but I’m obviously still skeptical. Here’s what happened. 

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Microsoft Has A New Boss, Tragically Not Called Mike O’Soft

By Alec Meer on February 4th, 2014.

First there was the nerdly Gates, then there was the terrifying Ballmer, and now there is Satya Nadella. What will be the brand new CEO of Microsoft’s ‘thing?’ Perhaps he’ll present keynotes dressed in a lion-themed onesie. Perhaps he’ll have the Windows Vista logo branded onto his chin in order that the company never forgets its past mistakes. Perhaps he’ll cry softly throughout board meetings. Or perhaps he’ll be quietly capable and manage to set the great, barnacle-clad ship Microsoft back on course after its triple-whammy of big commercial wobbles, Windows 8, Windows Phone and the Surface RT tablet*. Perhaps he’ll suddenly make the company interested in PC games again. Or perhaps he’ll oversee some new version of Windows so misjudged that Steam OS finds it has an open goal.

Who knows? But change for a company that, outside of its consoles, has been facing an uphill battle for home computing relevancy of late, is in principle a good thing. And hey, who’da thunk it: he only scores two out of three in Middle-Aged White Guy CEO bingo. Progress of a sort!
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Oh Project Spark Beta, Why Are You Windows-8-Only?

By Nathan Grayson on December 4th, 2013.

Microsoft’s PC gaming track record has become turgidly tarnished in recent years, but I must admit that Project Spark looks and sounds extremely enticing. It’s a game and world creation and exploration tool – an infernal imagination engine to dive into whether you want to craft games of multiple genres, play other people’s whimsical wonderments/abominations, or something in between. Basically, think PS3 sidescrollamabob LittleBigPlanet but much more versatile, or Garry’s Mod without all of G-Man’s notoriously, er, charming faces. But of course, the soon-to-enter-beta experiment is a Microsoft product, so it’s Windows-8-only. Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh.

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Microsoft Still Loves You, Will Bring First-Party Games To PC

By Graham Smith on November 8th, 2013.

Don't use

“I think it’s fair to say that we’ve lost our way a bit in supporting Windows games,” says Microsoft Studios VP Phil Spencer in an interview with Shacknews. “But we’re back.”
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Titanfall PC Release Same As Xbox, No Windows 8

By Nathan Grayson on October 30th, 2013.

Today you may have felt a slight aftershock from a downright seismic shift over in console land. You know that Titanfall man/robo-shoot/parkour everyone (including yourself) can’t stop making enthusiastic word-gurgles about? Well, it’s no longer a timed Xbox exclusive. Now it’ll always stomp around in Microsoft’s impossibly green pastures, and Sony will just have to hope the numerically confused giant doesn’t lock down a potential sequel as well. But what about little old us? Are we out of luck as well? Turns out, nope, we’re a-okay. I got in touch with Respawn in fear of potential delays and arbitrary requirements for Titanfall’s PC version, and the developer quickly put my worries to rest.

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Rumour: MS Streaming Tech Puts Halo 4 On PC

By Craig Pearson on September 27th, 2013.

Stream this
Each game rumour I hear gives me the urge to return to a previous life. To look at me, you wouldn’t have known that I was capable of such deception, but I led a dual existence for so long that I’m still not sure where he ends and I begin. He was someone else before we were joined, and he’s been someone else for the past few years, but I was probably him for the long – oh no, he’s waking up. Quick! Hide your secrets! Lock the gadget chest! You mustn’t let him – [squelchy sounds, ruffle of clothes, the room darkens]. Hello, Readers. The Spy is happy to make your acquaintance. Would you like to know about how Microsoft has Halo 4 running on a PC?
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IT LIIIIIIIIIVES: GFWL Perma-Closing Next July

By Nathan Grayson on August 20th, 2013.

Not for long

HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY.

Ahem. Sorry. Let me briefly activate my brain’s cyborganic professionalism implant. Bleep bloop. OK then. So the news that Microsoft’s much-reviled game service/malignancy Games For Windows Live is well and truly finished isn’t actually all that surprising. It’s much appreciated – don’t get me wrong – but the writing was already on the wall, given that Games For Windows Marketplace’s days are already very, very numbered. Unfortunately, GFWL’s impending date with the young but exceedingly prolific Server Reaper presents a few game-unfriendly complications.

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Contradictory Headlines, Pt 2: Msoft Hires Ex-Steam Boss

By Nathan Grayson on August 16th, 2013.

Hmmm. Well, OK then. So remember how Microsoft is closing down its increasingly irrelevant PC games marketplace once and for all? I would hope so. We just posted about it, like, an hour ago. (Apologies to the rather sizable goldfish portion of our audience; that comment was insensitive.) Well, you’d think that plus a very overt focus on Xbox One would imply total abandonment of our hotrod tech hive art house sector of the gaming industry. But in a legitimately shocking twist, you’d be wrong. Microsoft just hired former Steam director of business development Jason Holtman for one reason and one reason only: “to make Windows a great platform for gaming.”

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Contradictory Headlines, Pt 1: GFW Marketplace Closing

By Nathan Grayson on August 16th, 2013.

Good riddance, sweet prince

Games For Windows Live – Microsoft’s heinous piece of burdenware that dragged down even the best of games – hasn’t been much of A Thing for a while, but some vestiges remain. Like the human appendix and pretty much every part of a platypus, however, they don’t really serve a purpose anymore. So the Games For Windows marketplace, which you may remember from such hits as that time they halfheartedly turned it into a Steam clone and that other time it got vomited back into existence by an Xbox? Come next week, it’s history.

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Hanging With The Project Spark Developers

By Craig Pearson on August 12th, 2013.


A quick eye prod at the Steam Hardware Survey shows me that the stupid, hateful, and barely useable Windows 8 is the second most popular OS on there. 13.34% of those that responded to the survey use it. For you precious few (actually a healthy chunk), I have arranged a treat: a look at Project Spark. Microsoft’s really rather charming attempt to do a Little Big Planet-esque and Gameglobeish build your own game thing, is the only thing I’ve ever seen that made me want to have access to Windows 8. As Adam showed earlier on, the community has already cloned plenty of games and genres to show the platform’s capabilities, and now it’s the developer’s turn. Thirty Imperial Minutes of tools and tips are below.
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Community Service: Project Spark’s Alpha

By Adam Smith on June 13th, 2013.

Good morning. I’ve just returned from the humble pie and hat emporium with a couple of items I picked up for lunch. You may recall that in between all the XBone exclusives and cars, Microsoft announced a game called Project Spark, which is coming to Windows 8 as well as the Kinected console. It’s a flexible game creation suite, similar to Gameglobe, Little Big Planet and my personal favourite in the genre, Klik & Play. The game will rely heavily on community contributions, making it possible to download anything from entire worlds to individual AI routines, but I queried the apparent use of community downloads during the onstage presentation and in the video below. I was wrong!

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