Microsoft Confirms Xbox Series S Price After Leak

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In the Console Cold War between Sony and Microsoft, both gaming giants have been hesitant to be the first to reveal prices for their next gen consoles, releasing this fall. It appears a leak has forced Microsoft to confirm the price of their smaller, cheaper Xbox Series S: $299.

Brad Sams of tech site Thurrott posted the news yesterday, along with a YouTube video. After playing coy on Twitter, Microsoft finally confirmed the news late last night with a single image, describing the Xbox Series S as “next gen performance in the smallest Xbox ever.”

Like Sony, Microsoft is producing two different consoles for two different price points. The Xbox Series S is physically much smaller than the Xbox Series X, and looks like it removes the optical disc drive in favor of all-digital gaming. Given how well-received the Xbox Game Pass has been, the Series S could be a very popular option.

Microsoft hasn’t confirmed system specs for the Xbox Series S. But twitter user WalkingCat posted a video that revealed hardware details in what looks like a console trailer. Specs include Raytracing, 1440 resolution up to 120 fps (with 4K upscaling) and a 512 GB solid state drive.

With the cat out of the bag, expect official details, and more next-gen console news, to come sooner rather than later.

playstation 5

Sony Reveals Details For Still Unannounced PlayStation 5

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In a surprisingly candid interview with Wired, PlayStation lead system designer Mark Cerny shared many juicy details regarding Sony’s next major console release. At this point we’re only guessing that it will actually be called “PlayStation 5,” since Sony hasn’t formally unannounced or revealed it (Cerny refers to it in the interview as “the next-gen console.” The official PlayStation twitter account tweeted the Wired article, confirming the details within.

Here are the hardware details according to the interview.

  • AMD Ryzen 8-core CPU.
  • Radeon Navi GPU that supports ray tracing.
  • “Custom unit for 3D audio.”
  • Support for PSVR.
  • Solid State Drive.
  • 8K resolution support.
  • Disc-based games.
  • Backwards compatible with PlayStation 4.

Most of these are expected incremental improvements. The biggest and most noticeable upgrade is the solid state drive (SSD). Anyone who has experience using one with their PC (or externally with a console) knows how vastly you can improve load times.

In the Wired article, Cerny uses last year’s Marvel’s Spider-Man as an example of using an SSD. Not only are fast-travel load times nearly non-existent (from 15 seconds to less than 1 second) but just moving quickly through the world is much smoother. Cerny tells Wired it’s “the key to the next generation.”

Cerny confirmed the PlayStation 5, or whatever it’s called, won’t be launching this year. But there’s an excellent chance that Sony will be formally announcing the console some time later this year. Sony is not attending E3 this year (for the first time ever). Most likely we’ll see a special Sony presentation, like their recent State of Play series.

nintendo switch

Nintendo Switch is the Fastest-Selling Console of All Time

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It’s no surprise by now that Nintendo had a stellar year in 2017, thanks to the hugely successful Nintendo Switch. This week Nintendo proudly shared an impressive stat: the Nintendo Switch has become the fastest-selling home video game system in the United States. The Switch has sold more than 4.8 million units in its first 10 months of release, according to Nintendo’s internal sales numbers. The previous record holder was Nintendo’s own Wii, which sold 4 million units in the same time frame.

“Fans across the country have experienced the joy of playing their favorite games at home or on the go,” said Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo of America’s President and COO. “Now that many more people have received Nintendo Switch systems for the holidays, we look forward to bringing them fun new surprises in 2018 and beyond.”

The Switch has been bolstered by an incredibly strong lineup of first party games. Not every year gives us mainline Mario and Zelda games. Both The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey were strong contenders for Game of the Year. Nintendo revealed that 60% of Switch owners purchased Super Mario Odyssey, while 55% own Breath of the Wild. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe also surpassed 50% ownership rate.

The other big success story is the amount of third party support that has flocked to the Switch. Nintendo received a lot of justifiable flak for the lack of third party games over the last decade with the Wii and Wii U. Big developers like Bethesda, Capcom, and Ubisoft have flocked to the new console with AAA games like Skyrim, Street Fighter, and Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle. Indie companies are also developing for the Switch, porting favorites like Stardew Valley, SteamWorld Dig 2, and Overcooked.

As noted in our Most Anticipated Games list, there’s a host of games to be excited about for the Switch in 2018, including new Yoshi, new Kirby, and Bayonetta 3. And down the road there’s Metroid Prime 4 and that mysterious Switch-focused Pokémon game. Right now it’s good to be Nintendo, and even better to be a Nintendo fan.


NES Classic Edition

NES Classic Edition Discontinued After Less Than Six Months

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In less than stellar Nintendo news, the company has announced that they are officially discontinuing the NES Classic Edition.

The retro console launched last November. Since then it has been notoriously sold out and extremely difficult to find due to high demand. Additional units have been supplied sporadically in the following months, but no where near enough to meet demand, leading the console’s price to skyrocket from resellers.. But this week’s news of cancellation is a jarring shock to many who were still holding out hope.

Here is Nintendo of America’s official statement:

Throughout April, NOA territories will receive the last shipments of Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition systems for this year. We encourage anyone interested in obtaining this system to check with retail outlets regarding availability. We understand that it has been difficult for many consumers to find a system, and for that we apologize. We have paid close attention to consumer feedback, and we greatly appreciate the incredible level of consumer interest and support for this product.

A Nintendo representative told IGN that the “NES Classic Edition wasn’t intended to be an ongoing, long-term product.” This is absolutely baffling given the obvious popularity of a nostalgic console at a prime price point ($60) packed with 30 games.

The NES Classic Edition was a tiny re-production of the original Nintendo Entertainment System that helped save gaming in the mid-80s. The NES is one of the most important consoles ever made, with an impressive library of classic games. The NES Classic Edition included all the best games, from Mario to Zelda and Metroid. Nintendo grossly miscalculated the number of nostalgic fans who wanted to relive the classics in a neat little package.

Nintendo claims they have listened to consumer feedback. An optimist may hope that this means we’ll see a new version of the retro console soon, as there’s clearly still a high demand for it. We can only hope that Nintendo, a company that’s well over a century old, learns a lot of lessons about market prediction and supply and demand.