Microsoft has officially announced HoloLens 2, kicking off Mobile World Congress (MWC Barcelona). The company’s flagship ‘mixed reality’ headset is making a comeback – packed with AI smarts, processing power, new and improved visuals, and increased ergonomics for a comfier fit. Let’s hope all that tech equates to a more convincing AR experience this time around. Augmented reality has been at the forefront of Microsoft’s Mixed Reality platform ever since the introduction of the first pre-production HoloLens kit launched in 2016. The first-gen unit’s postage stamp area of effect was rather disappointing at the time, but Microsoft is promising a “greatly increased field of view” with its second gen design. But there is a caveat. Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 will cost $3,500. If you hadn’t guessed from the price tag alone: this isn’t a consumer device. While the first-gen device was teased with a little Minecraft … [Read more...] about Microsoft announces HoloLens 2 amid employee outcry over military contracts
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It looks like Microsoft will soon reveal an unprecedented partnership with Nintendo. According to a Direct Feed Games report, Microsoft is working on making its Xbox Game Pass subscription service available on Nintendo Switch. The service will reportedly rely on Microsoft’s xCloud game streaming tech to stream Xbox One games to Switch consoles everywhere through a dedicated Xbox App. Xbox Game Pass has, of course, been exclusively a non-streaming service where subscribers are able to download and play games freely for the duration of their subscription. However, with Microsoft’s game streaming ambitions, most notably through the same xCloud tech, it’s easy to imagine the Xbox Game Pass label expanding to encompass both. Game Informer has corroborated this information with its own sources, adding that an announcement is expected sometime this year. Direct Feed’s report also reveals that Microsoft is working on making some of its published games available on … [Read more...] about Microsoft is bringing Xbox Game Pass, Ori and the Blind Forest to Nintendo Switch – reports
Intel has a new graphics driver available, but it's a bit different than previous versions and comes with a pretty big warning—be careful if rolling back to a previous version, or you could mess up your system. More on that in a minute.The latest driver is the first to support Microsoft's Windows Modern Drivers, also called a Universal Windows Driver (UWD). What this essentially means is that Intel is embracing Microsoft's Universal Windows Platform (UWP) framework for its current and future graphics drivers. These consist of single packages that can be installed on any compatible Windows device, be it a PC, 2-in-1 laptop, tablet, or whatever."Microsoft is changing the way that hardware drivers work on the Universal Windows Platform (UWP), Windows 10 (and later), and Microsoft Windows Server 2019 (and later). Hardware running on these operating systems can use Windows Modern Drivers (also known as Universal Windows Drivers - UWDs). Note that Microsoft requires the use of Windows … [Read more...] about Intel embraces Microsoft’s Universal Windows Platform for future graphics drivers
It's no coincidence that less than one week after Google announced Project Stream, Microsoft has broken cover with more details on its own streaming platform, dubbed Project xCloud. The core idea behind both platforms is the same - and very familiar to longer term readers of this site. Rather than buy a console and play games on it, titles are hosted on the cloud instead. The user has a basic client device that beams input commands over the internet, with video and audio streamed back. The concept is simple - Netflix for games - but the application is somewhat more challenging. Prior attempts at getting this to work have fallen flat but Microsoft, Google - and other unannounced players - reckon that the time is right for the technology to work. Microsoft's announcement trailer shows key first party Xbox franchises - Forza, Gears of War and Halo - running on tablets and smartphones. These are low-power devices incapable of running games of this complexity but what they do have in common … [Read more...] about Project xCloud: can Microsoft make a streaming platform that works?
Microsoft announced today that it has acquired PlayFab, a "complete backend platform for live games" that is used in more than 1200 games, including Killing Floor 2, Pathfinder Adventures, Battletech, and Planetary Annihilation. The company described the move as "an important step forward for gaming at Microsoft" and said that it will help make the creation of connected games more accessible for smaller-scale developers. PlayFab is a premade platform that provides a range of online services and analytics that enable developers "to focus on building great games instead of backend technology," the company said on its blog. The technology will compliment Microsoft's Azure cloud-based server infrastructure, which currently has servers operating in 42 locations around the world. "Our platform of scalable game services, game analytics, and LiveOps tools are helping more than 3,000 studios progress from shipping static software to creating games that scale gracefully and … [Read more...] about Microsoft purchases cloud gaming platform PlayFab