An anonymous reader writes "Legendary DIY gaming guru Ben Heck has given a new interview in which he talks about the Access Controller, his modular controller for consoles that lets disabled gamers play with one hand, and how he plans to update it for the next generation of consoles: 'I'm sure I will. At the very least people are going to want the accessibility controllers I build...People have already asked about them for the next-gen consoles, and that was at E3. When I was there, the thing I looked at the most was the controllers. The Xbox One looks pretty similar to what we have at the moment, but they finally fixed the D-pad.'"
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Craefter writes "It seems that the Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset caught the attention of investors after its showing at E3 this year. Spark Capital and Matrix Partners were able to push $16 million at Oculus VR in the hopes that the product will live up to the hype. The HD unit looks a bit more slick than the ski-goggles-with-a-tablet-glued-to-it prototype, but the device would look even more appealing if the next-gen consoles would commit to supporting it. (We all know how well the PS3's 'wave-stick' did as an afterthought.) That said, major titles like the 9-year-old Half-Life 2 and the 6-year-old Team Fortress 2 are getting full support for the device. Hopefully some developers are looking into support for the Oculus Rift as a launch feature, rather than an addition years after the fact. IA bit like the EAX standard from Soundblaster. That worked out well too."
symbolset writes "In the wake of a disastrous E3 product reveal Microsoft has purportedly distributed a confidential internal 100-point 'FAQ' for the Xbox One that reads like it's from the Ministry of Truth. It was of course immediately leaked on pastebin. Kotaku has the story and an amusing online poll. In the discussion below make sure to line up the FAQ entries with the AC comments for extra 'Informative' moderation."
An anonymous reader writes "Now that E3 has wound down and the big product announcements are out of the way, its time to take a step back and look at the culture represented by the giant gaming show. 'The presence of scantily clad women hawking games and gizmos seemed in particular contrast to a report released this week by the Entertainment Software Association, which organizes the gaming industry's annual trade show. It found that 45 percent of the entire gaming population is now women, and women make up 46 percent of the most frequent game buyers.' While there are fewer 'booth babes' than in earlier shows (and while some are trying to bring balance by adding 'booth bros'), the conference organizers are happy to let exhibitors make their own policy. By contrast, the Penny Arcade Expo forbids 'booth babes,' a controversial but widely lauded stance. A recent article in Kotaku about this year's E3 notes, 'For every confident cosplayer who might do the job at a con, I am seeing dozens of companies trying to sell me hundreds of women. They are not drawing my attention to the content of their games, or to their tactics or techniques. They are drawing my attention to thigh-high boots, to low-cut shirts, and, frankly, to the hard work of a really expensive bra. So much of what I see here at E3 is aimed directly at the lizard hindbrain of a 13-year-old boy. But you have to be 18 to get into the show, and it's nominally for industry professionals. Perhaps someday we—men and women alike—can all be treated like the grown-ups we theoretically are, and be trusted to judge a game by its content... not its double-D cover.'"
Tackhead writes "E3 is turning into Bizarro World this year. Sony has not only promised that the PS4 will support used games without an online connection, they trolled the Xbox folks hard with this Official PlayStation Used Game Instructional Video. Compounding the silliness, and hot on the heels of the political firestorm surrounding Donglegate, Microsoft went for rape jokes during their Xbox presentation." Similarly, onyxruby writes "The Verge covers how Sony has crafted policies explicitly to make the PS4 consumer friendly to the public. They make the case that the PS4 will be superior in nearly every way [to the Xbox Next] by not requiring an Internet connection, not restricting used games, supporting indie developers and selling for $100 cheaper than the Xbox One." And if you're interested in the guts rather than the policies or the politics, Hot Hardware has a comparison of the internals of both of these new offerings.
Alsee writes "Center of flaming controversy across the Internet and here on Slashdot for claiming to travel 'Directly Downwind Faster Than The Wind, Powered Only By The Wind, Steady State' (DDWFTTW), the Blackbird is now up for auction on Ebay. It has been certified by the North American Land Sailing Association and Guinness World Records to have reached 2.8 times wind speed directly downwind and was subsequently modded to also achieve more than double windspeed directly upwind. It has been the subject of an MIT physics paper and was included as a model problem in the International Physics Olympiad, yet many still argue it would violate the laws of physics. Let the bidding (and debate) commence!"
Today at a press conference leading up to E3, Microsoft unveiled its next-gen games/entertainment console, the Xbox One. Their stated goal for the Xbox One is to have a single device provide "all of your entertainment." One of the big changes is increased support for voice and and gesture input. You can turn the console on by voice, and it will recognize you and automatically login. Swiping to the side with your hand will browse through menu pages, and saying "Watch TV" will bring up the TV app very quickly. The same with music, internet, and movies. The new console also supports multitasking — for example, while watching a movie, you can bring up your web browser in a side panel and surf the web at the same time. There is also a built-in TV listings app that responds to channel names — saying "Watch CBS" will switch to CBS without giving it an actual channel number. By this point, you're probably asking: does it play games? Yes. Hardware specs: 8-core CPU/GPU, 8GB RAM, a Blu-ray drive, a 500GB HDD, USB 3.0, and Wi-fi Direct. (They didn't provide the CPU frequency, instead saying it had 5 billion transistors.) The Kinect sensor got an upgrade: 2Gbps of data capture has finer skeletal visibility, can detect minor orientation changes in hands and fingers, and can even calculate your balance and weight distribution. The new controller looks slightly bigger, and is designed to play well with Kinect. They've also updated Smartglass, the remote control software that runs on mobile devices, but they didn't explain much about it. The new Xbox Live will have 300,000 servers powering it, up from 15,000 this year — though, of course, no details were provided about server specs. The console will have native game capture and editing tools — essentially, a game DVR. Saved games will be stored in the cloud, and they have new matchmaking capabilities that operate in the background. Update: 05/21 17:50 GMT by S : Halo is getting its own live-action TV show, for some reason. They'll be collaborating with Steven Spielberg. Microsoft is also partnering with the NFL for live broadcasts and interactive experiences, such as split-screen Skype chats and fantasy league updates. Xbox One will be out "later this year." No price information. it will not be backward-compatible with Xbox 360 games.
An anonymous reader writes "The new Xbox is almost here and the details appear to strongly suggest 'always on' is the way forward. We all know that this is an artificial requirement and certainly there are plenty of people on all sides of the table. To paraphrase the user 'tuffy' who commented on this issue at Ars Technica recently; if you're trying to sell 'always online' as a feature of the future, there needs to be some benefit for me the customer. There is not one. Or, rather, there is no sign yet of any actual clearly compelling reason why any end user would support this limitation to their purchase. So, what's the best way to express this? Spend your money on an Ouya? Contact the Xbox team? These are all valid options but they also lack visibility. What we need is a way that could help actually quantify the levels of discontent in the gamer community. Maybe E3 attendees could turn their backs in protest like some did during Thatcher's funeral procession. Or gamers could sign some useless petition. What do Slashdotters think? Is the upcoming Steam box a reasonable plan? As a gamer, I'm of two minds about the whole thing. I really don't like it but I may roll over eventually and join the herd because I could get used to it. Then again part of me is rankled by this slow erosion of access to me and my data."
MojoKid writes "Intel recently revealed a number of details regarding future Atom and Xeon processors and proposed server rack-level enhancements to improve efficiency and ease upgrades. The company will soon refresh its Xeon and Atom processor lines with new products manufactured using Intel's 22nm process node, which offer improved performance per watt characteristics and expanded feature sets. In total, Intel revealed details of three new low-power, Atom-branded SoCs for the data center, all coming in 2013. Intel is also updating the Xeon E3, E5, and E7 product lines. The Atom processor family will see new SoCs based on designs codenamed Briarwood, Avoton, and Rangeley, while the more powerful Xeons will be updated with Haswell, Ivy Bridge EP, and Ivy Bridge EX-based designs. Xeon E3s will leverage the increased graphics performance of Haswell to improve performance in multimedia-related workloads, like HD video transcodes. OHaswell-based Xeon E3 processors will also offer improved performance per watt over existing Sandy and Ivy Bridge-based designs and Intel will offer Xeon E3 processors with TDPs as low as 13 watts, approximately 25% lower than the prior generation."
When the Wii U was released at the end of last year, Nintendo got a head-start on the long-awaited new generation of video game consoles. Now, Sony has announced a press conference for February 20th that is expected to unveil the PlayStation 4, codenamed 'Orbis.' This will precede the announcement of the Xbox 360's successor, codenamed 'Durango,' but that too will likely be announced by E3 in June. Specs for development kits of both systems have leaked widely. The two systems both use 8-core AMD chips clocked around 1.6 GHz. Durango has 8GB of DDR3 RAM, while Orbis has 4GB of GDDR5 RAM, though Sony is trying to push that up to 8GB for the console's final spec. Reports also suggest Sony is tinkering with its controller design, going so far as to add a "Share" button to let people exchange screenshots and recordings. Developers indicate the systems are very close in power, though Sony's system currently has an edge. With the upcoming announcement of the PS4, the big-three console makers will kick off a new round of direct competition. They'll maneuver to one-up each other with the most powerful hardware and the slickest software. However, they'll also hope the release of three major consoles in rapid succession will help to anchor a part of the games industry that no longer enjoys the dominance it once did, thanks to threats from mobile.
identity0 writes "According to Japan Probe, Hiroyuki Nishimura, the founder of 2ch.net, has been charged with drug offenses by Japanese police over a forum post made on 2ch in 2010. He is not even accused of making the post, but of failure to have moderators delete it. The post apparently discussed drugs. 2ch.net (also called 2channel) is Japan's biggest forum, with over a million posts a day, of which the post in question was one. The site inspired image board 2chan.net (but is not directly related to it), which spawned copycat English site 4chan.net. More info at Slashdot Japan, if you can read Japanese."
MojoKid writes "E3 is well underway in Los Angeles, and Microsoft has already made a major splash with its 'SmartGlass' technology, game demos, and its announcement that a Kinect-powered version of Internet Explorer will debut on the Xbox 360. This is a marked change from last year, when Kinect was the unquestioned centerpiece of Microsoft's display and the company's demos focused on how Kinect-powered games used your full body as a controller. Kinect is in the interesting position of having sold extremely well while failing to move the bar forward in any of the ways Microsoft projected in the run up to its launch. Scroll through the ratings on Kinect-required titles, and the percentages are abysmal. Kinect's biggest problem is rooted in ergonomics. Gamepads with buttons may be crude approximations of real life, but they're simple and intuitive. They're also flexible — a great many games have conditional scenarios that allow the same button to perform different functions depending on what's going on within the game. Pure Kinect games don't have a simple mechanism to incorporate these features, and there's no easy way around them. The motion-controller's most enduring features may ultimately be its capabilities outside the gaming sphere."
An anonymous reader writes "John Carmack, co-founder of id Software, is using his spare time to develop a modern virtual reality headset. After purchasing such a device last year, Carmack became frustrated with how slowly the technology has progressed over the past twenty years. So, he decided to push it forward himself. PCGamer reports that he's been showing off his prototype behind closed doors at E3 this year, and has an interview with him about the problems with VR and the technical challenges he needs to overcome. They even get a look at the prototype itself, which is currently held together with duct tape."
MojoKid writes "When it comes to Star Wars, the gaming industry has a long history of cranking out titles of uncertain quality. For every brilliant title like Knights of the Old Republic, we've seen several clunkers and a few outright failures like Republic Heroes. LucasArts demonstrated a new Star Wars game at E3 this week, Star Wars: 1313 and despite the brand's uneven history, folks are cautiously optimistic. The 1313 moniker refers to a specific level of Coruscant which is a haven for criminals, bounty hunters, and crime lords. You take on the role of a bounty hunter looking for information on an unspecified criminal conspiracy who descends to 1313 in search of data. This will likely be the first Star Wars game to be rated 'M' for mature, and it focuses on the seedy underbelly of the universe."
chrb writes "Nintendo has announced that its new Wii U console will feature a social network called the Miiverse in which users can video chat, see what others are playing, share game content and swap tips." And with a nod to Zawinski's Law, "The redesigned Wii U GamePad features dual sticks, a touch screen that supports finger and stylus interaction, motion and gyroscope sensors, and the ability to act as a TV remote. The Wii U GamePad has its own dedicated Web browser and can share images and video to a TV so that everyone can enjoy the shared content."
donniebaseball23 writes "Microsoft recently confirmed that it's not going to be talking at all about its next Xbox, codenamed Durango, at this year's E3, instead keeping the focus on Xbox 360. Forbes columnist Chris Morris explains that Microsoft likely doesn't have games to show for the system yet — and why should they take the focus off Xbox 360, which currently has a lot of momentum? Ultimately, though, the decision not to show the next system 'could have a ripple effect on the rest of the industry,' he says. And by pushing Durango's unveiling back a year, 'Microsoft could find itself going head to head with Sony in a battle of features, even if the machines don't hit shelves at the same time.'" The latest rumor is that an ARM-based Xbox 'lite' is planned for 2013, with a true successor to the 360 coming some time after that.
itwbennett writes "Microsoft dropped a bomb yesterday: they won't be showing new hardware this year or 'anytime soon.' Microsoft told Kotaku that '2012 is all about Xbox 360.' Meanwhile, Bloomberg's mysterious sources are saying that Microsoft 'may show the successor to its Xbox 360 in June 2013 at the E3 conference and put it on sale that same year.' This would 'be a fast journey from announcement to launch,' says Peter Smith, 'but it'd mean we'd still get a new Xbox for holiday 2013, which is about the earliest anyone has expected it to arrive anyway.'"
Intrepid correspondent Timothy Lord writes, "I talked at SXSW with Kari Hale of League For Gamers, an organization started just a few months ago by Red 5 Studios founder CEO Mark Kern. (Kern was also team lead for World of Warcraft.) League for Gamers shares some of the goals of groups like the EFF and EPIC, but — as you might guess from the name — is tightly focused on the world of gaming. The group owes its existence to SOPA; the money used to start it up had initially been budgeted for Red 5 Studios' appearance at the most recent E3, but E3 sponsor's Entertainment Software Association's support for SOPA led Kern to withdraw from the show. Kari gave a quick rundown of the origins of the League, what it hopes to accomplish, and what sorts of efforts it's so far undertaken."
crookedvulture writes "Desktop and notebook users have been enjoying chips based on Intel's Sandy Bridge architecture for more than a year. Now, workstations and servers can get in on the action with the Xeon E5-2600 series. These Sandy Bridge-EP Xeons offer up to eight cores, 20MB of cache, and a truly staggering amount of I/O bandwidth. Unlike their consumer-grade counterparts, the new chips feature more advanced power management and the ability to deposit incoming data packets directly into the CPU's cache rather than going through main memory. They also plug into LGA2011 sockets, requiring an upgrade to the new Romley-EP platform. No fewer than 17 models are available, with prices falling between $200 and $2000 and TDPs ranging from 60-150W." The summary is slightly incorrect -- the Xeon E3 series has been out for the workstation market for quite a while (sporting graphics cores on the models ending in -XXX5 too).
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Forbes: "Nintendo started the mainstream push into glasses free (autostereoscopic) 3D gaming with its Nintendo 3DS system earlier this year. While sales were decent for the device, the price point, hardcore focus and lack of killer app games have failed to replicate the mainstream success of Nintendo DSi. But a strong E3 with top-tier 3D games ... should help attract a broader audience to the device, especially once Nintendo offers a price cut. While some have called 3D phones gimmicky, these devices are already commonplace in Asia. And with an influx of new 3D phones entering the market this year, coupled with the Nintendo 3DS, Jim Cameron recently [said] he sees these glasses-free devices as being key for the adoption of 3D TVs in the homes. He said autostereoscopic 3D games will be the entry level for most people to 3D. While the technology for big screen glasses free 3D is still further away, small devices like 3D phones and Nintendo 3DS will show off the technology."