Wednesday 16 September 2009

Microsoft's Xbox 360 gets Modern Warfare 2 makeover


 MaTiCa    16 Sep : 17:49
 None    Misc

Given the outstanding critical and consumer reputation amassed by Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, you’d be forgiven for thinking its upcoming sequel, Modern Warfare 2, wouldn’t need to rely on the peddling of retail gimmicks to help it fulfil its status as a flagship shooter and potential Game of the Year.

Given the outstanding critical and consumer reputation amassed by Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, you’d be forgiven for thinking its upcoming sequel, Modern Warfare 2, wouldn’t need to rely on the peddling of retail gimmicks to help it fulfil its status as a flagship shooter and potential Game of the Year.

However, with publisher Activision/Blizzard already offering up fully functioning nightvision goggles with the game’s expensive Prestige Edition, software giant Microsoft has this week revealed a special Modern Warfare 2 edition of its popular Xbox 360 console.

Revealed at a press event in Los Angeles, the limited edition black Xbox 360 stands above existing versions of Microsoft’s platform thanks to a whopping 250GB hard disk drive and specific custom Modern Warfare 2 detailing.

Expected to hit retail in the United States this coming November 10, the Modern Warfare 2 bundle also includes two black wireless game controllers, a black Xbox 360 wireless headset, a composite A/V cable (Unfortunately no bundled HDMI), and a standard version of Infinity Ward’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 videogame.

Priced at a tempting $399 USD, the limited edition Xbox 360 also comes with a one-month Gold subscription for Xbox Live and a free trial with home entertainment specialist Netflix.
SOURCE: The Tech Herald
[Submitted by MaTiCa]

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Tuesday 15 September 2009

Microsoft Bing adds visual search


 MaTiCa    15 Sep : 13:10
 None    Misc

By Maggie Shiels

By Maggie Shiels
Technology reporter, BBC News, San Francisco

Software giant Microsoft has introduced "visual search" to its Bing search engine to try to further set itself apart from market-leader Google.

The new feature will allow users to browse results using pictures instead of text.

Visual search will initially concentrate on four main areas: travel, health, leisure and shopping.

"The whole concept is that the world of search is going to change," said Microsoft's Yusuf Mehdi.

"There will be a more graphic way people will search, and it will pivot how people search," said Mr Mehdi, the firm's senior vice president of online services.

'Search battle'

Microsoft unveiled the beta, or test version of the feature, at TechCrunch 50, a conference being held in San Francisco for start-ups to pitch their ideas to investors.

"Competition breeds innovation and this nice little battle between Google and Microsoft is having a huge benefit to consumers," said investor Ron Conway, who has previously put money into Google, PayPal and AskJeeves.

Microsoft launched Bing in May and promoted it as an improvement over Google's "10 blue links" for tasks like shopping and travel.

New figures by net analysts Nielsen said that Microsoft's share of U.S. searches rose to 10.7% in August while Google remained dominant with 64.6%. Yahoo, in second place, was used for 16% of searches.

In late July, Microsoft and Yahoo Inc. signed an agreement to work together to better take on Google. It still has to pass anti-trust scrutiny.

At the launch, Microsoft claimed "Visual Search" allowed users to conduct certain searches faster than the "traditional image search" offered by rival Google and other search engines.

In a blog post, the company said a study it conducted found that consumers can process results with images 20% faster than text only results.

"It's like searching through a large online catalogue," Microsoft said.

As users enter search terms, a link at the top of the first page of results allows users to "visualise" what Bing has found.

Clicking on the link displays a gallery of related images.

'Money maker'

At the moment only a small number of topics will return a visual display. These centre around popular categories like entertainment, famous people, shopping and sports.

"I think in those isolated cases it's going to work very well and those are the areas where there is a lot of money," Don Dodge, Microsoft's director of business development told BBC News.

"There is a lot of advertising money for shopping, for travel and so on. So not only is it a better user experience but it's a better business model too," said Mr Dodge.

Even though the TechCrunch conference targets start-up companies which come to have their ideas evaluated by a panel of experts, Microsoft agreed to have the group rate its new product.

"This is a good paradigm but should be implemented in areas where the user needs images to get into what he's looking for," said Yossi Vardi, an angel investor known for investing in software, energy and mobile companies.

The panel was also jokingly asked if they would be interested in investing in the product and the company behind it.

"Bing has a real flair and, depending what you think of Microsoft, it is a great surprise," said Jason Hirschhorn, chief product officer for MySpace.com.

"The brand and interface its fun and tactile. Yusuf, you have my cheque," he joked.

SOURCE: BBC News
[Submitted by MaTiCa]

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Pirates Foiled by Deliberate Glitch in Batman: Arkham Asylum


 Christo [PCD]    15 Sep : 01:16
 None    Misc

Pirate posts help request for "glitch" in official Edios forums ahead of games launch

Pirate posts help request for "glitch" in official Edios forums ahead of games launch

PC games are some of the most pirated software out there, as players look for ways to get the game they want without having to pay the $50 asking price most new games demand.

Eidos, the publisher behind the PC version of Batman: Arkham Asylum, has introduced a deliberate glitch into the game to catch and foil pirates who try and crack the game to play without paying. One person who pirated the game, and was brazen enough to post a help request on the official Edios forums, ahead of the games actual launch mind you, has brought the glitch to the surface.

A poster going by the handle Cheshirec_the_cat posted in a thread requesting help with a problem in the game. The poster wrote, "I've got a problem when it's time to use Batman's glide in the game. When I hold , like it's said to jump from one platform to another, Batman tries to open his wings again and again instead of gliding. So he fels down in a poisoning gas. If somebody could tel me, what should I do there."

An Edios admin going by Keir responded to the thread before it was closed writing, "The problem you have encountered is a hook in the copy protection, to catch out people who try and download cracked versions of the game for free. It's not a bug in the game's code, it's a bug in your moral code."


[Submitted by Christo [PCD]]

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