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Countering comments from Nomura Equity Research, other analysts tell us that selling off the Xbox business would be "beyond stupid"
Rumors have pointed to Microsoft evaluating a majorrestructuring of the company, and along with the report came interesting commentary from Nomura Equity Research analyst Rick Sherlund who said that Microsoft should sell off its Xbox division. Just how likely is this scenario, and does it even make sense?
Certainly not now, not right before the company is looking to launch the Xbox One, independent analyst Billy Pidgeon told GamesIndustry International. "I don't think this scenario is likely at all. I can't see the upside of a deal like that for Microsoft or for a potential buyer at any time, but particularly before the Xbox One launch such a move would be beyond stupid," he said.
Wedbush Securities' Michael Pachter doesn't think it's quite as ludicrous, but he doesn't see a great advantage to spinning off Xbox either. "I don't think there are many synergies with the core enterprise software business at Microsoft, so I see little benefit in their being combined and little detriment if they were to split up. There is synergy with Skype, so as long as those were packaged together, I think Xbox would be fine as a standalone company," he said.
Microsoft is sort of caught in a tough spot between brand perception and financial reality. As a brand, Xbox is actually very helpful to the company. It's not very helpful for Microsoft's bottom line, however. "It is simply too unwieldy to try and sell an entire game system hardware and software business...they would have trouble coming to terms with a potential buyer and more likely just exit the game business entirely" David Cole
"I think the Xbox division would probably get a better valuation by itself than it is in the current conglomerate form of Microsoft as Xbox is outgrowing the sluggish Office and Windows divisions. That being said, I think it is very unlikely that Microsoft would spin it off. The idea that another company like Samsung would acquire that spun off Xbox division is even less likely. Xbox is the only thing that has investors excited about Microsoft, so it makes little sense to divest of the division," explained Asif A. Khan, CFO of Virtue LLC.
"There have been a number of calls for Microsoft to break itself up over the years, and so far they are still the giant tech behemoth that has languished below $40/share since the tech wreck of 2000. While I agree with Rick Sherlund that Xbox will most likely never materially effect Microsoft's earnings, it provides an intangible positive sentiment around the company. This goodwill should not be discounted as immaterial, and I sincerely doubt Microsoft will take the innovative Xbox division for granted."
While some investors may like the idea of spinning off Xbox, at this point Microsoft is just too committed, noted DFC Intelligence's David Cole. In fact, Cole thinks Microsoft would be better off just exiting the games business than to try and sell the Xbox division.
"Microsoft's forays into more consumer oriented products have generally been seen as a drag on the rest of its business. The Xbox has been a success from a consumer perspective but not so much financially. Now Microsoft has to start from scratch with a new game system that could be a drag on earnings. Meanwhile other Microsoft consumer forays have not done as well as Xbox," he said.
"I think the possibility of them selling to another company is unlikely. It is simply too unwieldy to try and sell an entire game system hardware and software business. My thought is they would have trouble coming to terms with a potential buyer and more likely just exit the game business entirely. But I don't see that happening anytime soon assuming they go ahead and launch the Xbox One. I think they are committed for at least the next few years."
There is an alternative scenario, however, which could satisfy investors and benefit Microsoft. Microsoft could essentially establish a new Xbox subsidiary, Khan said.
"One thing Microsoft could do is spin off the Xbox division as a subsidiary, akin to Dan Loeb's proposal for Sony Entertainment. This would allow the market and investors to value Xbox separately from Microsoft. Microsoft would not divest the Xbox division in this scenario, and would benefit from the potential capital appreciation of Xbox being a separately traded subsidiary. An example of this in the technology sector today is EMC's stake in VMWare. EMC owns 80 percent of VMWare, but both EMC and VMWare trade on their own in the public markets. Microsoft definitely has some options when it comes to their corporate structure, but the idea of completely divesting of the Xbox division or selling it to a competitor seem like the last two things they should consider."
Investment firm Wedbush Morgan has suggested the PlayStation 4 will retail in the US for $349, significantly lower than the PS3's starting price of $599.
In an E3 preview note to investors Michael Pachter, analyst at the company, estimates that the PlayStation 4 has a bill of materials at around $275, while Microsoft's Xbox One costs around $325. As such, Wedbush is expecting the new Microsoft console to cost $399. "If the Wii U's popularity does not improve by the end of the year, many third-party publishers may pass on producing games for the console"
But while Microsoft's new hardware may be priced higher initially, it's also more likely to be available at a subsidised price to the consumer through a subscription contract from a broadcast, cable or ISP provider.
"We believe the ability to watch live TV from a cable, telco, or satellite set-top box through Xbox One could entice an MSO to drive subscriptions through a subsidised box in exchange for a multi-year contract. The 'always connected' requirement for the Xbox One likely means that a broadband connection will be required, suggesting to us that ISPs may have an incentive to offer a subsidy as well.
"In addition, Microsoft could conceivably subsidise the Xbox One through prepaid Xbox Live Gold subscriptions (as it has done on a limited basis in the past) or premium Skype functionality as well. Similarly, Sony could subsidise the PS4 through prepaid PlayStation Network subscriptions, but unlike Microsoft, it does not have a history of doing so," he added.
Looking at Nintendo, Pachter suggested the company needs to prove to consumers at E3 that it has an enviable line-up of titles for the rest of the year.
"Nintendo risks losing additional share to its console competitors if the quality and volume of content available for Wii U does not pick up markedly in the near-term.
"In addition, if the Wii U's popularity does not improve by the end of the year, many third-party publishers may pass on producing games for the console. We note that EA recently announced that it had no Wii U games in development, and it remains a possibility that the publisher will abandon the platform entirely. Should other third parties follow EA's lead, the Wii U could be relegated to a first party only platform."
While all eyes will be on the new console generation, Wedbush Morgan is also expecting a round of price cuts on the current generation technology. The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 are likely to have another $50 shaved off their prices, with the Wii dropping to $99. As well as a Vita price cut from Sony, there's also the possibility that Nintendo will try and boost Wii U sales with a $50 price cut or new software bundle.
With every generation of consoles, there comes a time when the price of a new box is cheap enough, and used machines are plentiful enough, that console hackers pull out all the stops before the next generation arrives. For the Xbox 360, that time is now, and with no PS1-like hardware revision on the horizon, it looks like [jhax01]‘s custom Xbox 360 laptop might be the smallest Xbox casemod we’ll see for a very long time.
[jhax01] was inspired by the work of [Yung Jeezus] and [AllYourXboxNeeds]‘ YouTube channels and decided to craft his own custom enclosure for an Xbox
x360ce SVN r724 is compiled. Xbox 360 Controller Emulator (a wrapper library that translates the xinput calls to directinput calls) which allows your controller (GamePad, Joystick, Wheel, ...) to function like an Xbox 360 controller on a Windows PC. For example it allows you to play Grand Theft Auto (GTA) game with Logitech wheel.
A new version of the multi-system emulators RetroArch (formerly known as SSNES) is released for Windows, XBOX, WII, PS3 and XBOX360.
SSNES is called RetroArch from now on, and ´libsnes´ is called ´libretro´ from now on.
What is RetroArch?
RetroArch is a modular multi-system emulator system that is designed to be fast, lightweight, and portable. It has features few other emulators frontends have, such as real-time rewinding and game-aware shading.
What platforms does it support?
RetroArch sets the standard on cross-platform portability right now.
Linux (x86 and x86_64)
Mac OSX (PPC/Intel) Playstation 3 (PS3 SDK/PSL1GHT (WIP))
Xbox 1 (XDK)
Xbox 360 (XeXDK/Libxenon)
Why is it special?
Right now RetroArch is unique in that it runs the same emulator cores on multiple systems (such as Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PC, etc).
For each emulator ´core´, RetroArch makes use of a library API that we like to call ´libretro´.
Think of libretro as an interface for emulator and game ports. You can make a libretro port once and expect the same code to run on all the platforms that RetroArch supports. It´s designed with simplicity and ease of use in mind so that the porter can worry about the port at hand instead of having to wrestle with an obfuscatory API.
The purpose of the project is to help ease the work of the emulator/game porter by giving him an API that allows him to target multiple platforms at once without having to redo any code. He doesn´t have to worry about writing input/video/audio drivers - all of that is supplied to him by RetroArch. All he has to do is to have the emulator port hook into the libretro API and that´s it - we take care of the rest.
Supported game / emu cores
Libretro port is: A Nintendo Entertainment System / Nintendo Famicom emulator.
Arrested recently for selling early dev kits of XB1, and unveiling parts of the system last year
Now SuperDAE is out on bail, and reports claim his freedom was fast, because of his 'deadman switch' on a FTP vault of secrets regarding Microsoft's new XBOX ONE console
We have all read the stories about SuperDAE trying last year to sell off a couple of Durango dev kits, the early models of the XB1, and then later on spilling out a ton of information regarding the 'insides' like 'specs' of number of cores, size of ram, long before Microsoft had their big event, and because of that, Microsoft was hunting SuperDAE down, and even raided him, and now recently arrested him, but this is weird the story turns weird, it seems SuperDAE has an deadman switch on his FTP server, and if he is not given a free pass, all of Microsoft's secrets regarding the XB1 will spill out into the massive world of the 'net, forever out there for fellow hackers and users.
So, scene ONE is now finished, Henry (aka) DaE is now on bail (step 1 to being a free man), but will Microsoft play hardball and throw him to lions of the court for Justice even though he gave the local police and FBI an ultimatum, either let all this XBOX ONE information leak totally, or let him become a free man with no charges.
Stay tuned for the next scene of 'THE HOSTAGE' playing now in an American Corporate Boardroom, and coming soon to your 'net!
It shaped smartphone gaming in the early days of the App Store. Today, it's available on nearly every capable mobile device. It may even be lurking at your local arcade.
Next month, a Kinect version of Lima Sky's runaway hit, Doodle Jump, could be coming to Xbox Live Arcade, according to a recent Australian ratings classification and evidence uncovered by self-proclaimed Xbox Live Marketplace watchdog, "Lifelower."
The Australian Classification Board confirms Smoking Gun Interactive as the developer behind the upcoming Doodle Jump for Kinect. Lifelower, meanwhile, has obtained boxart and a gallery of purported screenshots, suggesting that the game is nearing completion. Lifelower expects the game to launch near the end of June at 400 Microsoft points.
A Kinect adaptation of Doodle Jump was first announced back in 2011 when creator Lima Sky outlined its plans for expansion after surpassing 10 million paid downloads on mobile platforms. We've reached out to developer Smoking Gun Interactive for more information.
Microsoft, by way of private domain registrar service MarkMonitor, has registered a handful of domains related to the Halo universe, Fusible reports. The addresses, HaloSpartanAssault.com, Halo-SpartanAssault.net and similar other variants were all registered within the last few days, and while Microsoft's name is not explicitly attached to any of the related whois reports, the behemoth company has historically used MarkMonitor to claim sensitive URLs in the past.
As of press time, the newly-registered domains do not resolve or redirect to any websites, Halo-themed or otherwise. If we had to guess, which we absolutely donot, we'd wager that Halo: Spartan Assault is the name of an Xbox One football game set in the Halo universe, running on the NFL Blitz 2000 Gold Editionengine.
Did you know that the new Xbox One operating system is so in love with multi-tasking that it will allow you to glue a pair of apps together on the dashboard so they always launch simultaneously? So, let's say that every time you want to play FIFA 14 you also want to phone your mum. Now you can!At least, that's what I thought for a few seconds when I was reading the ad copy on theXbox One website earlier. "Pin your favorites to your home screen," it says. "Best of all, jump between apps instantly, or snap them side by side to do two things at once." You can see where I went wrong - it's just talking about Snap mode, not dashboard glue - but you can also see how I misread it. (By being an idiot.)Not that Xbox One needs my help being confusing. The biggest question mark remains over game ownership - specifically what rights we have to resell the games we buy. Microsoft has made it clear (in a fashion) that we're being sold licences, not games, and that you can log in on any Xbox One unit and access the games you've licensed. But it also claims to have a way for us to resell licences - in stores and/or online - that it will talk about later. Lucky us!Some have suggested this licence-based approach is an attempt to stymie piracy, the implication being that less piracy will lead to more game sales. Others have noted that it might reduce the impact of used game sales on sales of new games. But surely gaming isn't the only medium facing these conditions? This week I thought I'd look up what happened to other artforms when they faced similar situations.
Nickelodeon released an iPad app with full episode streaming back in February, but now an update has opened things up to the iPhone and iPod touch as well. Version 1.1 also promises more music videos and less crashing, among other tweaks. However, if you have an agreeable cable or satellite provider, then the ability to watch video on-demand is the headliner. There are a few episodes available without logging in, but subscribers to DirecTV, Time Warner Cable, U-verse, FiOS, Bright House Networks, Cablevision, Hawaiian Telecom, Suddenlink and RCN will get the most mileage. Of course, if the kids (or, adult Big Time Rush fans, whatever works) prefer to watch their TV on TV, they may prefer the Xbox 360 app -- like Windows 8 and other platforms, the current app brings mostly clips and other tidbits -- that's on the way. Varietyindicates it will hit the console June 25th, but, despite its post-E3 launch, its Xbox Onelaunch plans are "not determined." There's a quick video preview embedded after the break, or you can hit the source link below and grab the free app for yourself.
I recently labelled a specific element of Xbox One a PR gaffe.
Certainly, to not answer the biggest questions some have had about the new Xbox since the start of the year is a mistake.
Reacting with silence – or rubbishing reports as ‘inaccurate and incomplete’, as Microsoft did to an MCVuk.com piece – doesn’t help.
Many have said to me since last Tuesday that it has escalated. That a runaway ‘Xbone’ meme train, driven by the Call of Duty dog gif and fuelled by retweets of that amusing ‘TV-TV-TV-sports!-TV’ viral video, sums up the challenge Xbox now has.
I don’t quite agree.
Sure, the attempt to offer a glimpse and leave thoughts hanging as we await the games at E3 didn’t quite go to plan – the press has filled the void with concerns, more questions, and gags.
But the cynical commentators trying to be one of the cool kids at the back of the bus will have to start doing their homework eventually.
Retailers, despite the obvious questions which Microsoft has promised to answer, have high hopes for Xbox One.
And they say customers are similarly excited.
Will all that in mind, I can’t help but think that the short time between the first Xbox reveal and the E3 stuff means the scorn is washed away quicker, and the mob will move on the minute a fresh target appears.
A lot of people got very exciting earlier when MCV reported that FIFA 14 on Xbox One is up for pre-order for £90 on Amazon. The same article also pointed out that Xbox One pre-orders are currently priced at £599.
Now, in no way was this article saying that MCV believes FIFA 14 will retail for £90 or that Xbox One will retail for £599. Obviously not, because both of these things are highly unlikely.
Are placeholder pages on retail sites completely without meaning? Should they be 100 per cent disregarded? Some MCV readers clearly think so. Us? We know better than that.
William Hill is clearly giving the reports a far greater sense of gravity, however. The betting specialist is currently welcoming bets at 8/11 that the Xbox One will retail at over £500. It’s offering evens on it costing less than £500.
It’s also offering 8/11 on FIFA 14 costing £60 or more and evens at it costing £59.99 or less.
"As things stand, no one knows how much the console will cost let alone the games,” William Hill spokesman Joe Crilly stated. “But we reckon there is every chance that they will be a lot less than some sites are predicting."
Had we read any outlets ‘predicting’ that these prices are accurate we’d wholeheartedly agree, Joe.
'If Microsoft has figured out a way to tax used games, then we should get paid too,' says Zelnick
Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick says his company should get a cut of any money Microsoft makes from used games on the Xbox One.
The report from Develop's sister-site MCV is that the Xbox One will be able to play used games, but that Microsoft will get a cut of all sales.
It is unclear if this cut is the activation feeMicrosoft says it requires for users to transfer a used game to their Xbox Live account. According to Gamespot, the Take-Two boss told an audience Cowen Technology, Media, and Telecom Conference that if this is true, his company wants its fair share.
“There's no question that if Microsoft has figured out a way to tax used games, then we should get paid, too. It's hard to imagine why they should and we shouldn't," Zelnick said
'Microsoft has been focused elsewhere up until now,' says Double Fine boss
It’s critical for Microsoft to reach out more to indies to convince them to develop games for the Xbox One, says Tim Schafer.
Speaking to Edge, the Double Fine boss said that up until now, Microsoft had focused its attentions elsewhere, and explained that it was critical for the computing giant to begin talking to indies given the plethora of other avenues and platforms open to developers.
Schafer cited the likes of Steam and mobile as platforms that had proven profitable for indies, and that, as far as Double Fine goes, it doesn’t need to go through the “arduous” process of finding a publisher just to release a title on a certain platform.
He added that while Microsoft had seemingly yet to make a big move in the space, Sony had already reached out to Double and asked for its opinions on the PS4 and what developers would like to see on the console.
“Sony has reached out to us and asked us our opinions about what we’d like to see with new platforms and they’ve been really good with indies - allowing them self-publish and entering into partnerships and stuff like that,” said Schafer.
Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick expects the highly anticipated Grand Theft Auto 5 to sell an astounding 18 million units in its first year.Will GTA5 set the world on fire, or make a monkey of Take-Two?
The executive made this estimate at today's Technology, Media and Telecom Conference, as reported by financial services company The Cowen Group.Evidently, Grand Theft Auto 4 sold 25 million units to-date, and the current-gen console install base is now three times what it was when that game launched. While Zelnick didn't say exactly how many pre-orders GTA5 had, he noted that it's been doing "very, very, very, very, very, very well." That's six "very"s, which I like to think is some subconscious homage to Terry Cavanagh's VVVVVV, but almost certainly isn't.When asked about the rumoured used game tax that Microsoft - and possibly Sony - could use to limit the spread of the second-hand market, Zelnick replied that such a tax could represent a highly profitable source of revenue, but this could have negative implications for GameStop. The Cowen Group's report noted that GameStop accounts for nearly half of new game sales on PS3 and Xbox 360 in the US, so if the retail chain struggles, this could potentially lead to fewer new games being sold as well.
If you're eager to get up close and personal with the Xbox One, this is probably the closest you'll get before its release this holiday season.
The model was created using Sketchfab, and can be rotated on its x-axis. It's not an "official" Microsoft model, but it's based on the many promo shots of the console released since its unveiling, so it looks pretty authentic.
Check it out below. Click on the embed for a larger version.
Check out our definitive Xbox One guide. http://www.computerandvideogames.com...nteractive-3d/
To read more of the post and Download, click here!
Minecraft was the best selling Xbox Live Arcade game in the UK last week. Again.
The game has been at the top of UK XBLA charts for 19 of the 21 weeks this year. It's pretty much dominated the XBLA charts for 12 months.
Elsewhere, Far Cry: Blood Dragon remains at No.2, while Worms 2: Armageddon reaches tenth place.
XBOX LIVE ARCADE CHART (UK)
Week Ending: May 19th
1. Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition – Microsoft
2. Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon – Ubisoft
3. Terraria: Xbox 360 Edition – 505 Games
4. Trials Evolution – Microsoft
5. Battleblock Theatre – Microsoft
6. God Mode – Atlus
7. Monaco: What's Yours Is Mine – Majesco
8. The Walking Dead – Telltale Games
9. Castle Crashers – Microsoft
10. Worms 2: Armageddon – Team 17
Critics attacked the reveal of Xbox One last week for a lack of games, too much TV content, and mixed messages on pre-owned.
But despite the backlash, UK retailers have rallied behind the new device. Buyers told MCV this week that they believe Microsoft will prove its gaming credentials at E3, dispelling concerns from fans.
But the High Street insists the platform holder must listen to the negative feedback it has received.
“I feel Microsoft was unfairly slammed by some commentators for not providing enough information. I'm sure they were keeping their powder dry for a game-packed E3 press conference,” said Green Man Gaming chief Paul Sulyok.
“It gives them time to listen and take note of consumer feedback around pre-owned games, pricing, always-on connectivity, Kinect information privacy and regionally relevant services among others. I think the console war will go in favour of the platform that listens to the consumer, publisher and retailer."
The buyer at one of the UK’s biggest games chains said: “Everyone need more clarification. But if Microsoft and suppliers want a cut of profit from pre-owned, then I can understand that.
“Ultimately, I believe Microsoft has shared its vision for the lifespan of the console and now must concentrate at gamers at E3. Otherwise they may lose them to a company in blue.”
And away from the forums, wider consumer reaction has been generally positive too, retailers claim. The console has topped pre-orders lists, with Blockbuster announcing that Xbox One is its fastest pre-ordered product in its 24 year history.
“We have been inundated with pre-order and product information requests from consumers since the reveal last week,” said Grainger Games sales director Phil Moore.
“We are confident that Microsoft have gamers backs and will produce a system that supports the video games market as a whole for many years to come.”
Commercial marketing director for The Hut, Sarah Jasper, said the firm “had an overwhelming pre-order response. We expect it to be a living room staple.”
ShopTo CEO Igor Cipolletta added: “Despite negative comments about the pre-owned model that has not been officially announced, consumer response has been extremely positive in terms of pre orders. And for the consumers that didn't like what MS has shown so far, they have placed a pre-order for the PS4 so we have an increase on both machines with Xbox One leading this week.”
But all retailers agree that Microsoft must try to win over disgruntled gamers when its press conference rolls around, or risk losing ground at launch.
“We look forward to seeing the games and some cutting edge innovations at E3,” said Sainsbury’s games boss Gurdeep Hunjan.
And the MD of indie chain Games Centre, Robert Lindsay, concludes: “Consoles need to evolve from pure gaming machines if they are to compete with the wide range of devices now available.
“At the same time they must keep gaming at their core and that’s the challenge.
“Microsoft has built up a strong relationship with core gamers. This could be undone very quickly if they don’t listen to their feedback which so far has been lukewarm at best.”
A lot rests on Microsoft's pre-E3 press conference, which takes place Monday, June 10th.
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