Fun for Every Father: Connecting through Xbox One and Windows 10

By Maddie Murray
Happy Father's Day! With technology constantly coming out with the latest and greatest in new games and graphics, it's no wonder dads are developing a love for gaming just like their tech-savvy kids. Now, new Xbox games top the wish lists of fathers across the nation, and what better way to spend a day fully dedicated to him than trying to beat his high score!
Just in time for the holiday, Microsoft Xbox boss, Phil Spencer, announced this month that Microsoft is providing easier ways to connect with people on Xbox Live through new features "Clubs" and "Looking for Group". He also rolled out the new features on Xbox Live coming to Xbox One and Windows 10, all in his annual presentation at the E3 stage talking about the future of gaming at Microsoft.

phil spencer

"Throughout the week, we celebrate all that is great about gaming – the gamers, the creators, the characters and stories, and everyone responsible for an industry focused on FUN" says Spencer. "It’s about the spirit of connection, competition and achievement amongst a group of like-minded friends, and we feel a responsibility as a team to build and protect that experience for everyone while offering more choices in how they play, who they play with, and the devices they play on."
He then goes on to explain Gaming for Everyone, a new project TEAM XBOX has been working on.
"We saw the opportunity for the industry and felt compelled to do more to make gaming an inclusive environment that embraced everyone. We fundamentally believe that what we build for our fans and the way we show up – inside and outside the walls of Microsoft – is a reflection of who we are. We designed the program to reflect the core values we have as an organization and believe that the program could result in positive change – not only in our workplace but in the products we build for the gamers we serve."


He talks about the past of Xbox, and how they "haven’t always facilitated fun and gaming for everyone," but the Xbox Team has never wavered in their goal of trying to get better. "Everyday. We continue to listen to our fans and make Xbox a place where everyone is welcome, respected and supported," says Spencer. "I’m incredibly excited about what the future holds as we put all of our products through the lens of reflecting the diversity in our audience and inclusion, support and choice for all gamers"
So this Father's Day, whether you're spending it together or across the nation, with help from new features at Xbox, family members who share a love of gaming will never be truly apart.


Happy Father's Day from all of us at Managed Solution!
Learn more about Phil Spencer's work with Xbox One here.
sources: blogs.microsoft.com[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Gifts for the many varieties of gamer in your life

By Devin Coldewey as written on techcrunch.com

For the mainstream gamer

Does your gamer just want the latest AAA games in the coolest series, but maybe hasn’t had the chance or cash to pick them up?
Dishonored 2 has garnered nearly unanimous accolades as a worthy follow-up to the original: a highly enjoyable and well-crafted stealth action title with a lot of (optional) stabbing. (PC performance issues ought to be ironed out by the time this is received.)
Watch Dogs 2 improves on the original with a less-grimdark story, bigger world, and lots more options to create chaos using your choice of hacking tools and automatic weapons. Anybody who sunk a lot of time into the GTA series will find this right up their alley.

For the cerebral gamer

Does your gamer like to use their synapses instead of their reflexes? (Or would you rather they did?)
The Witness is at once one of the simplest and most sophisticated games I’ve played in years — it caused me to doubt my own brilliance constantly, and my own sanity more than once. Not for those easily deterred or frustrated.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided may give you guns and fisticuffs, but you can also navigate its labyrinthine levels (and timely, if sometimes overreaching plot) with stealth and careful planning. It’s not a game to rush through, and the cerebral gamer will appreciate that.

For the competitive gamer

Do you often hear your gamer screaming “Oh my god! Get on the objective!” or “I need a heal!” or other strange utterances?
Battlefield 1 isn’t as different from the other war games as it would like you to think, but it’s still great fun and a nice break from the relentlessly modern multiplayer shooters we’ve had for years. The last time taking a zeppelin down was this much fun was probably Red Baron.
Titanfall 2 improves on the original’s combination of mechanized and on-foot combat in every way, with a tightly crafted single player campaign (a pleasant surprise) and Titanfall’s signature asymmetric multiplayer.

For the Overwatch gamer

Specifically, does your gamer say things like “We don’t need two Widowmakers!” or “Mei is bae”?
Millions play Blizzard’s mega-hit Overwatch, but comparatively few can bring themselves to pay for the “loot boxes” that contain cool skins for their favorite character and other bonus content, and come at an excruciatingly slow pace from in-game progress. You can’t gift boxes directly, but a Battle.net gift card will surely not go unappreciated.

For the intense gamer

Does your gamer like visceral experiences and in-depth combat?
DOOM is a fun and frantic return to form for the series, alternating between very fast-paced action and careful exploration. It doesn’t take itself seriously, instead focusing on the thrill and satisfaction of movement and power.
Shadow Warrior 2 combines slick combat with piles of loot, dozens of weapons, and levels that are different every time you play. It’s rough around the edges and the humor is juvenile to say the least, but the core gameplay is a blast. Fun for co-op, too, so buy a copy for yourself if it sounds fun.
Bonus: The inscrutable, terrifying, and bargain-priced Devil Daggers will take any overconfident intense gamer down a notch. Personal guarantee.


For the indie gamer

Does your gamer disdain the biggest releases, opting instead for titles created by a handful of people in Denmark?
Inside is a haunting, beautiful, and incredibly well made puzzler/platformer that tells a powerful story without speaking a single word. Warning: Despite appearances, it can be quite quite brutal!
Owlboy, ten years in the making, is a loving throwback to the days of the wide-ranging retro action-adventures like Super Metroid and Symphony of the Night. Anyone looking for a throwback will be well served by this passion project.
Bonus: If they didn’t already get it, Stardew Valley is a must-have.

For the world-dominating gamer

Does your gamer like to think about ways to take over the planet?
Civilization 6 is the only thing such a gamer needs right now. If they already have it, buy a copy for yourself and play with them. Beware: Civ games are notorious time sinks, so be ready to squander hours at a time.

For the disaffected Minecraft gamer

Does your gamer love to dig and build, but is getting tired of digging and building in the world of Minecraft?
Dragon Quest Builders is a surprisingly successful marriage of the blocky construction gameplay of Minecraft with the usual Dragon Quest adventuring. It hits a note Minecraft clones often fail to, and makes harvesting and building things its own reward.
Terraria and Starbound started as very Minecraft-like games in 2D, but have each evolved into their own unique experiences with loot, bosses, and secrets — though you’ll definitely be doing a lot of digging and building too. They’re both excellent games with active communities, so pick whether you like to go far above or deep below the surface, buy a couple copies, and go exploring.

For the role-playing gamer

Does your gamer appreciate stories that take upwards of 30 hours to complete?
Final Fantaxy XV is — apart from the remake of FFVII — probably the most anticipated title yet in the long-lived JPRG series. Whether it can live up to its years of hype we’ll soon find out, but we’re sure it’s going to be epic and at least pretty awesome, and everyone will want to play it anyway.
Tyranny is in the “Western” style of RPG, but brings freshness to the venerable genre with an unusual story that makes the player’s actions more than trivial. Hard moral decisions ahead, but for people who like playing evil or chaotic characters, this game will be a
Bonus: Persona 5 is… not coming out until April. But people are already going nuts and early reviews of the Japanese version are effusive. It’s going to be amazing. Full disclosure, I’m mainly putting this here so someone in my family will see it and buy it for me.


Get in-depth with the future of game development at Microsoft

By Alex Teodorescu-Badia as written on blogs.windows.com
At GDC Europe 2016, the Microsoft developer platform team is excited to showcase the technologies we’ve been working on to make both game development and gaming better on Windows 10. Not only are we bringing games from our partners to play on the show floor, but we’ve also set up a hands-on area with workstations, where developers can engage 1:1 with Microsoft experts and get a free in-depth consultation on topics like Visual Studio, UWP, Unity, Azure gaming services, Windows Store, and Xbox. In the article below, we’re going into more depth into what gaming technologies are being rolled out as part of Windows 10 Anniversary Update this summer, and how Microsoft envisages the future of game development across Windows devices. You can also stay connected with us at future events or online on our game developer site.
Game development has come a long way since the first game of Tic-Tac-Toe appeared on a vacuum tube display in 1950. At Microsoft, we’ve been engaged in making game developers more productive for several decades, with the release of the Windows Games SDK in 1995 as only one example. Starting with the launch of Windows 10, and with the ongoing release cycle that moves away from monolithic OS releases, our vision for game devs has included constant integration of customer feedback to improve the developer experience. Moving forward, our developer platform and tools investments reflect this commitment.  Combined with our broad vision of enabling developers to maximize their reach across devices with the Universal Windows Platform (UWP), we are building our vision future of game development on Windows devices – PCs, tablets, Xbox consoles, and HoloLens.
The way Microsoft is approaching the process of integrating customer feedback is by listening to developers’ needs and pain points, and constantly doing original research to come up with better ways to address them. This articles goes into depth on our key initiatives to make Windows game development better, what we’ve learned from that process over the years, and where our roadmap will lead us, starting with the release of Windows 10 Anniversary Update in August 2016. We are happy with the rapid embrace of Windows 10 by gamers, with over 45% of Steam users on Windows 10 as of July 2016, but understand that we need to remain responsive and engaged with this passionate audience.
When we were thinking about how to talk about our goals for game development tools on Windows 10, the conversation kept circling back to what we, many of us being software developers ourselves, expected from our dev environment. Together with asking game devs what they want, this has been our north star throughout: making sure game developers never having to ask themselves if Windows 10 is really the best possible dev box for creating PC games. This question informed how we’re thinking about building the over-arching goals we’ve set for ourselves: openness & community, power & capability, and finally engagement & reach.
Openness & Community
From the release of the new UWP technologies on Windows 10, our long-term vision has been to build a truly inclusive, open gaming ecosystem that spans device families and offers a great experience for all gamers, and an easy way to reach all of those customers for game developers.
In Windows Anniversary Update, a lot of the promise of openness is being realized. One concern that had previously been raised for the ease of selling and distributing UWP applications to users without using Windows Store, whether it’s a free download, or distributed through your own or a third-party online storefront. It’s clear that in prior Windows 10 releases, it wasn’t as intuitive to install UWP games obtained outside of Windows Store for many users. The end user had to either run a PowerShell script to install the certificate and install the game, or even type a command directly into PowerShell. Users were at times confused by certificate errors, or by the perception that sideloading games wasn’t the best way to install something. What we’re calling the “App Installer” is a pre-installed tool in Windows Anniversary Update that handles easy app installation: this enables a user to double-click any .appx or .appxbundle for straightforward installation, without the need for scripts or commands.
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Just open Explorer and find your .appx or .appxbundle file, double-click, tell App Installer about your app, click Install, and that’s it. For advanced users, be aware that the game you’re installing needs to be trusted by your device, which safeguards against malware and other issues: this means that if you’re installing a developer or enterprise app with special rights/permissions, you need to have the signing certificate on the device you’re installing on. And unlike random .EXEs downloaded from the Internet, the App Installer specifically calls out what capabilities your game needs, such as accessing your Contacts.
We also keep openness in mind when building the Windows Store experiences on PC, which has traditionally been – and will remain – a rich, vibrant ecosystem, with competing and complementary platforms that allow developers to fully express their creativity, building and selling their games in any way they want. We are acutely aware that bringing games to market through Windows Store, for instance, needs to be a smooth, friction-free experience that gets out of the developers’ way whenever possible, but empowers them with tools and insights to improve their game experiences. Thinking about Store openness means having an easy onramp to sell your PC game in Windows Store: there’s no complicated account management process, requiring you to speak personally with someone at Microsoft to sell in Windows Store: simply create an account on Windows Dev Center, upload your content, and you’re ready to target the hundreds of millions of devices running Windows 10 today.
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As Dev Center is evolving, we are adding new features and capabilities all the time, we roll them out first to the free Dev Center Insider Program. Recent dev-centric features added to the program were for instance targeted push notifications, allowing you to create custom notifications to send to specific groups of users only, for instance based on specific criteria you define, or bulk IAP management to avoid having to make submitting individual updates for each purchase.
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As we roll out Windows Store to additional device families, we’re evolving the experience to where your games will be able to reach more gamers. With that in mind, we realize that many game developers have existing Windows games (Win32) that they’d like to bring to Windows Store. We are helping those developers with the Desktop Bridge, a set of technologies that game developers can use to convert, enhance and extend their games.
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The bridge enables you to take your existing Windows game and convert it using the Desktop App Converter. After conversion, you will have a UWP app package (.appx or .appxbundle), which targets Windows 10. If you choose, you can then add UWP APIs to extend your game with Windows 10-specific functionality. To bring your existing game using the Desktop Bridge to Windows Store, please let us know.
Finally, we understand that games are often best played with others, and that game developers look for simple, powerful ways to plug into social gaming ecosystems to give their games staying power and build lasting communities. We are very proud of the success of Xbox LIVE, which has nearly fifty million monthly active users playing with and against each other, sharing gameplay videos, building clubs and making new friends. We’ve tried to make it as easy as possible to integrate LIVE into your games, including on Windows 10: the ID@Xbox program offers a simple sign-up process for getting access to the right Xbox APIs to reach those tens of millions of gamers.
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Being part of ID@Xbox also gives game developers easy access to some of the most exciting gaming features we’re rolling out in 2016: Play Anywhere and Cross-Device Play. With Play Anywhere, participating game developers can make their game available on Windows 10 and Xbox One with the purchase of a single SKU, ensuring that your customer has your game playable on all of their gaming devices. Their progress is saved, and they can continue seamlessly from where they left off, including their game add-ons. Cross-Device play takes the promise of seamless gaming to another level: participating developers can enable play between different platforms, including Windows and Xbox One, in their games, reaching the widest audience of gamers and building the biggest possible community.
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We are incredibly excited to see where game devs will take this, and what they’ll be building – IDARB, the first game to leverage the cross-device functionality is a great preview into what the future holds.
Power & Capability
The biggest reason why we talk about device families when we address game developers is because our goal is to build the best possible platform & APIs for each type of device, which in itself has multiple types – which make up the device family. A mobile experience, for instance, can come in different screen sizes and power levels, but shares commonalities around input method, rotation, and so on. Similarly, a desktop PC can have integrated graphics and limited RAM, for instance, but will usually have a mouse & keyboard connected. Consoles are often experiences at a ten-foot distance, with the resulting concerns around input mechanisms, UI display on screen, etc. Yet game developers will often want to target multiple device types without having to rewrite substantial chunks of code. The biggest challenge has been to accommodate device-specificity without requiring that ground-up rewrite, even when leveraging middleware and game engines that do a lot of heavy lifting.
This was the pain point we had in mind when building the Universal Windows Platform, enabling developers to write once and target multiple device families. Each device type needs code tailored to its unique capabilities. UWP provides that guarantee – both the core APIs that are available on every Windows device, and then unique APIs that are accessed conditionally depending on the device the code is run on. For game developers looking to target desktops, laptops, tablets, Xbox, and Windows Holographic, UWP will provide the seamless scalability requires on each device family.
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Features are lit up by device type, presenting a differentiated, appropriate experience: if your UWP game is run on a tablet, for instance, it seamlessly adapts to touch controls and rotation, for instance. The same applies to UI and controls – UWP layout panels allow for tailoring across many screen sizes & resolutions.
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The same applies to input handling – UWP games support universal controls that handle any input, such as mouse, keyboard, touch, pen, and controller (such as the Xbox controller). Scaling across displays and input modalities is only the beginning, however: UWP provides the building blocks for ensuring your game truly leverages the full capabilities of the multi-device family paradigm. Cloud services power your game no matter where the game’s users are, and game developers can build notifications to follow their user across Windows devices.
2016 is a big year for proving out the multi-device promise of UWP for game developers: the first huge block was the availability of Dev Mode for Xbox One, allowing any owner of a retail Xbox One console to start developing UWP games on their Xbox immediately. Coming soon, game-centric features from the Xbox Store will start appearing in the Windows Store, with the eventual combination of both stores into a single cohesive experience on Windows devices. Looking ahead, the announcement of Project Scorpio in 2016 also showed that developing for UWP is a straight path to deployment devices: creating UWP games today ensures compatibility with new Microsoft hardware initiatives.
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Another peek at the future of game development on Windows was the introduction of DirectX12 on Windows 10. The best way to think about DirectX 12 is that it allows many gamers’ PC hardware to not just talk better to each other internally, squeezing out graphics performance out of existing GPUs and CPUs, but that it’s a technology that allows game developers to write closer to the metal than ever before. CPU and GPU performance is significantly increased, partially by reducing API overhead and by increasing overall efficiency.
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Also in the graphics category, gamers and developers alike also asked us for broader support for core gaming features in UWP that they expect from classic Windows games. In May, Microsoft rolled out UWP support for AMD’s Freesync™ and NVIDIA’s G-SYNC™ in Universal Windows Platform games and apps, as well as unlocked frame rate support.
The last puzzle piece for capability is the support for Universal Windows Platform and Windows 10 in the most popular and powerful game development tools around, as well as their integration into the overall UWP ecosystem. Unity is a great example of a popular game engine integrating support for UWP, with easy creation of new UWP projects built into the interface. In turn support for new Unity projects is easily accessible from Visual Studio, with VS tools for Unity natively supported in Unity and both tools bundled in a single installer.
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Similarly, recognizing of the popularity and power of Unreal Engine and game developer demand, Microsoft developed and released the source code of a UE4 fork with UWP support on GitHub in July, providing a clear development path to UWP for the most popular game development engines on Windows and game consoles.
Engagement & Reach
One of the biggest pain points we keep hearing from game developers isn’t necessarily around coding itself, but rather in how to reach an audience. The gaming market is getting crowded, with huge backlogs, tons of sales, and overflowing merchandising surfaces in online stores. Getting attention is getting harder all the time. Our goal is to ensure game developers have an end-to-end go-to-market pipeline that can maximize both the reach of their game, and engagement with potential customers. Unfortunately, this is often the least sexy part of making games, especially for indie devs, but crucial to driving developer success on a platform.
The first step is to make your game available in as many markets as possible; Windows Store is currently accessible in over 240 markets world-wide – knowing how to correctly engage with all of those potential customer is crucial. The advances promotional approaches available or coming soon to Windows Store are a result of listening to game devs’ long-running concern about how it’s sometimes very challenging to gain visibility, merchandising space or any kind of exposure when selling their game online.
  • Reach gamers directly inside Windows: UWP games can send notifications and Live Tile updates to segments of your users directly from Dev Center. This helps connect your users directly with new offers, features, updates and other news.
  • The promote your app feature is available in many markets, allowing developers to target regionally-relevant ads with localized content
  • New community ads are a mechanism to share unused ads-in-games space to promote each other at no cost
  • With Facebook Install Ads, devs can choose the type of user they want to reach, and deliver relevant ads directly to acquire & engage them. In addition, the Facebook Audience Network (SDK) allows devs to monetize through Facebook ads in Windows Store apps – more info coming later this year
Just as important as promotion and merchandising is your ability to understand what gamers are doing inside your game, and engaging with them in a way that deepens your game’s lifecycle and staying power. Some of the UWP development tools we offer are:
  • The new feedback API allows gamers to provide more targeted feedback/reviews about your game, giving you the ability to solicit feedback about a flight or version, prompt customers for their opinion on a specific feature or level, and more
  • Improved usage reports give you better insight into how customers are using your game
  • App Health reports that go deeper into what’s happening with your game, including crash event breakdowns, failure logs, debugging tools, and a lot more
  • Improved A/B testing for UWP games – by creating different experiences and rolling them out to different user segments, you can run experiments without modifying or republishing your game
Looking Ahead
So what does the future for game development on Windows devices look like? Above all, it’ll end up being even more about the gamer than today. The reason why the gaming market is rapidly getting crowded is because gamers are a passionate group of fans, and why many of us got into the gaming industry in the first place. For game developers, we think this means a couple of things:
First, attempts to limit game developers’ creativity or the desire of gamers to explore new types of games aren’t going to work, and shouldn’t be attempted. Success in this business means empowerment. The Windows gaming ecosystem can’t be locked down, and will defend itself against attempts to do so. For Microsoft, this means a commitment to preserving the open nature of the PC platform by making UWP as open as Win32 applications in terms of distribution, installation, and commerce.
Second, gamers want to play their content wherever they are, and where the game modality makes sense. If someone has both a console and a PC (or tablet with a connected controller), they usually don’t want to double-dip. But making a SKU available in multiple places will unquestionable deepen the gamer’s engagement with the product. We talked a lot about ‘scaling gracefully’ to the device the game finds itself on, and in the long run we will find that gamers are going to be expect their games just “be there,” a lot like what we’re seeing in music and video services.
Third, game development is undergoing massive changes right now to make it clear that it really is for everyone. Gamers have always come in all shapes and sizes, but not all of them have always felt that the culture was for them, even if they enjoyed gaming. This isn’t just about diversity in audience but also about inclusion in design. We’re incredibly aware of many gamers’ desire to have gaming become more accessible and welcoming.



By Mollie Ruiz-Hopper as written on news.microsoft.com
Today at gamescom, Lenovo unveiled two Windows 10 desktop PCs built for you to game and experience virtual reality anywhere you go: the IdeaCentre Y710 Cube and IdeaCentre AIO Y910.
While many gamers dedicate rooms for their battle stations, about half are playing beyond the confines of a desk. The minimalist designs of both PCs, combined with Windows 10, give you top-of-the-line performance virtually anywhere.

The IdeaCentre Y710 Cube with Windows 10

Ideal for gamers who want to stay competitive no matter where they play, the IdeaCentre Y710 Cube comes with a built-in carry handle for easy transport between gaming stations and a new, compact cube form factor weighing only 16 pounds.
The IdeaCentre Y710 Cube allows you to handle 4K gaming, VR and high-quality streaming with massive computing capabilities in real time, as well as multitask between editing a spreadsheet and streaming a movie. With Windows 10 and the Xbox app, you can stream Xbox games from your Xbox One to your Windows 10 PC. For even more control in your favorite games, the Cube also comes with the option of an integrated Xbox One Wireless receiver, including an Xbox One wireless controller.
Other features include:
  • Powered by Windows 10
  • Integrated Xbox One Wireless receiver supports up to eight Xbox One controllers simultaneously
  • Up to NVIDIA’s latest GeForce GTX 1080 graphics
  • Up to 6thGen Intel Core i7 processor
  • KillerDoubleShot Pro Wi-Fi reduces in-game lag
  • Up to 32GB of DDR4 RAM
  • Up to 2TB HDD (hard disk drive) or up to 256GB SSD (solid state drive) storage
  • Available with option to bundle with Lenovo YSeries Gaming Mechanical Keyboard and Precision Mouse
Price and Availability:  The VR-ready IdeaCentre Y710 Cube with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 starts at $1,299.99, available starting in October 2016.1 For more information, visit Lenovo.com.

The IdeaCentre AIO Y910 with Windows 10

The slim, compact, VR-ready IdeaCentre AIO Y910 gives you the most powerful gaming experiences in a size that fits nearly any battle station. Built entirely within a 27-inch Quad High Definition (2560×1440) borderless display, it cuts down on the clutter of hardware and cables, without cutting down on game performance.
As both a VR-ready PC and a high-end desktop, it offers all the features you need as a great personal gaming powerhouse, family PC or entertainment center. With Windows 10 and the Xbox app, you can stream Xbox games from your Xbox One to your PC and also have access to the productivity apps of Microsoft, such as Microsoft Word, Outlook and more.
Other features include:
  • Powered by Windows 10
  • Easily detachableback panel allows for one-step access to the AIO’s core components
  • Ultra-thin display featuring 144Hz refresh rate and 5ms response time
  • Impeccable sound with Twin 5W HarmanKardon stereo speakers
  • KillerDoubleShot Pro Wi-Fi reduces in-game lag
  • Up to NVIDIA’s latest GeForce GTX 1080 or AMDRadeon RX 460 graphics
  • Up to 6thGen Intel Core i7 processor
  • Up to 32GB DDR4 RAM
  • Up to 2TB HDD or up to 256GB SSD
Price and Availability:  The VR-ready IdeaCentre AIO Y910 with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 starts at $1,799.99, available starting in October 2016.1 For more information, visit Lenovo.com.
Lenovo’s newest gaming desktop designs, the IdeaCentre Y710 Cube and the IdeaCentre AIO Y910, together with Windows 10, are perfect for exploring virtual reality anywhere you go. Exact specifications, prices, and availability will vary by region. Visit Lenovo.com to learn more about today’s news!



Minecraft comes to VR today with Windows 10 Edition beta

By Darrell Etherington as written on techcrunch.com
Minecraft is now ready for its virtual reality debut: The update for the Minecraft Windows 10 Beta that adds VR support is available today. It’s a free update for people who already own the Windows 10 Edition Beta version of the game, but you can also get on board if you purchase the beta edition now.
There’s support for windows and mice, if you’re good enough at operating those without being able to see them, but there’s also support for the Xbox One controller, which you can use either plugged in via micro USB on Windows 10, or in tandem with the wireless Xbox One Controller for Windows adapter.
Microsoft says they’ve done a lot to ensure a range of players with a range of systems can get the most out of their VR experience, thanks to VR-specific customization options designed to maximize performance or help increase player comfort. Early impressions from people with preview access seem to enjoy what Mojang and Microsoft have put together for this, however, so go check it out if you have the necessary kit.



Pokemon Go is 'gold' for our HoloLens, says Microsoft's CEO

Satya Nadella waxes hopeful that the Pokemon Go boom will translate into increased interest in Microsoft's augmented reality headset.


By Ry Cist as written on www.cnet.com
As Pokemon goes, so goes augmented reality.
That's the hope, at least, for Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. He told CNBC that the hugely successful Pokemon Go app, which has millions of people chasing down monsters on real-world streets using their phones, is a phenomenon that spells good things for his company's augmented-reality headset, the HoloLens.
"I think it's fantastic to see these augmented-reality applications getting built, because the best thing that can happen when you're creating a new category is for applications that are these killer apps, whether it be game or in the industrial scenario, to get invested in," Nadella said.
Microsoft has already made a point of demonstrating the potential for gaming in augmented reality, with impressive HoloLens demonstrations that transform living rooms into combat zones and that bring the world of Minecraft to your coffee table.
Pokemon Go, meanwhile, has reinvigorated enthusiasm for Nintendo among both gamers and investors, even as it had developer Niantic Labs scrambling to address privacy concerns that the game unleashed.
Nadella was speaking alongside Jeffrey Immelt, the CEO of General Electric, who agreed that the Pokemon craze -- just barely a week old -- is a clear indicator of the potential for augmented reality to break through. Beyond gaming, both Immelt and Nadella expect augmented reality to have a transformative effect on industry in the coming years.
"I'm not a great gamer, so I can't really say how much that's worth -- but the industrial applications of this are going to be billions of dollars of productivity," Immelt said.



Pokemon Go to get more Pokemon, trading, and customizable PokeStops

By Darrell Etherington as written on techcrunch.com
Pokemon players will eventually be able to fill out their collections via trades, which is very good news for people eyeing region-specific Pokemon like Australia’s Kangaskhan from the other side of the world. Niantic CEO John Hanke revealed at a San Diego Comic Con panel that Niantic is indeed working on adding trading (and new training features) to their game, as well as customizable PokeStops and more Pokemon from later generations of the Nintendo franchise. He also said Niantic is thinking about adding the ability to breed Pokemon, too.
One of the most interesting things Hanke discussed that we might see implemented soon are custom PokeStops. The idea, as described by Hanke, is that players could get alternate items that would function like Lures (which you add to PokeStops to attract more Pokemon to the area), but that would change the Stops in different ways. Hanke suggested, for instance, than an object could turn a PokeStop into a healing location, essentially making it a temporary PokeCenter. You could also imagine items that help a PokeStop attract a certain type of Pokemon, like an all-electric Lure, or something that sets what kind of items the PokeStop provides to trainers that activate it.


New Pokemon are confirmed to be on their way, too. Currently, only the original 150 Pokemon included in Pokemon Red/Blue are present in Pokemon Go for trainers to catch, but Hanke told the panel that the company is “looking forward to finding interesting ways” to incorporate Pokemon “beyond first generation” into the Go realm. It sounded like Hanke didn’t have any very specific timeline on when this would happen, or what it would look like – though his wording did suggest the introduction of other Pokemon won’t be as straightforward as batch updates with entire subsequent generations added.
Hanke also briefly mentioned that trading features are currently being developed. Trading has been a feature of Pokemon since the original generation of games, and it makes sense for Go: You’ve likely already had the experience where you’ve doubled up on some kind of Pokemon while out with a friend and wish you could just swap with them for something you need to get a different one to evolve. Breeding, too, is another Pokemon series staple, which makes sense as a more targeted way to generate Eggs for players to hatch.
Training improvements could be welcome, too. So far, the only way to improve Pokemon in Go is by catching others of the same kind and exchanging them for seeds, which you use to power up a basic CP stat. Fighting your own team’s Pokemon at team-owned gyms is also called ‘training’ in game, but essentially just nets you some experience and improves the gym’s power ranking. A better training mechanic that gives you alternate ways to improve your existing Pokemon would be very welcome.
The main reveal of new stuff for Pokemon Go at SDCC was putting actual faces to the silhouettes of team leaders in the game. Valor, Mystic and Instinct are headed up by Candela, Blanche and Spark, so now we’re not just blindly following some shadowy figure. But the roadmap is far more interesting, even if we have to wait “months” or even “years” per Hanke’s projected timeline for new Pokemon, and likely around the same for any other new features.



Pokémon Go Brings Physical, Data Security Threats to Your Company

By Wayne Rash as written on www.eweek.com


NEWS ANALYSIS: The wildly popular phone app from Nintendo now has more users than Twitter and is causing concern where gamers randomly show up in search of Pokémon characters.
WASHINGTON—There already are signs at the National Holocaust Museum and at Arlington National Cemetery asking visitors not to play the Pokémon Go mobile augmented reality game while they are there.
There are reports that some of our nation's lawmakers were seen playing Pokémon Go on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. There have been several armed robberies here of Pokémon Go players by criminals who used the game's features to attract users, who were relieved of their smartphones and other valuables.
But the Pokémon Go phenomenon is not specific to Washington. It has become an international craze to the point that it's now the lead story on some television network news programs. To some extent, the game, which has been available for only a week, seems fairly harmless and even seems to have some benefits—it's getting people outside to walk around in search of Pokémon characters.
But for your company Pokémon Go has a more sinister side. The game has a huge potential as a cyber-security risk, malware vector, safety hazard, on-the-job time-waster for your employees and a waste of your company's computing resources. Worse, the game may become a gateway into your company's data stores and it can introduce malware that spreads within your network.
According to Chester Wisniewski, senior security advisor at Sophos, Pokémon Go brings threats from two different areas to people who play the game. If those people are your employees, they can bring those threats into your company. One of the most insidious is the fact that a spinoff of Google's parent company Alphabet is the force behind the game and is handling the location and points-of-interest data for the game.
Niantic Labs uses Pokémon Go to gather information about its users so they can play the game successfully, but the company also has the ability to use that information for other purposes. "It's an app that's designed to track you," Wisniewski pointed out. "Alphabet knows where you're at," he said.
Problems at Niantic Labs have added to the security issues with Pokémon Go. Wisniewski said that because of the company's scalability problems, millions of users are forced to download the app from third-party Websites, where some of the software contains malware along with the game.
One version of the malware, called DroidJack, is able to gain access to anything on your Android phone, including all of your email, your contacts and your text messages. In addition, this malware can access your keystrokes, on-board microphone and camera.
So far this malware doesn't affect versions of Pokémon Go for iOS devices and it doesn't affect versions from the Google Play store, but because the app is only available in five countries, users elsewhere have to go to third-party sites. However, even users in places where the official download of Pokémon Go are available apparently are downloading it from third-party sites, either because their Android devices don't work with the Play store or because of performance issues.
Either way, the malware is a significant problem, especially for employees who keep critical or proprietary information on their phones where Pokémon Go or the malware can find it. But that's not the only threat to the enterprise.
John Reed, senior executive director for Robert Half Technology, warns that games such as Pokémon Go can hurt productivity if employers aren't careful about its use. "Any productivity loss would be on a case-by-case basis—sometimes mobile games can create a false sense of urgency for users, but employees can find a balance between their responsibilities and entertainment," Reed said. He noted that allowing the use of games such as this during downtime, such as lunchtime and breaks, can actually encourage creativity.
But then there's the other side of security, which is keeping people out places where the public isn't allowed to wander. The New York Times has reported an influx of people in its building in search of game characters. Several federal buildings in Washington have reported visitors entering because of the game, rather than because they were on government business.
The problem with a game that's exploded in popularity in the way Pokémon Go has is 'people and companies not involved with the game don't know what to expect. In addition to the privacy concerns, the potential for malware and the problem of physical intrusions, people are simply showing up out of nowhere and then leaving in response to the game.
One action companies can take, Wisniewski said, is to set policies for what apps can be run on mobile devices that also contain company data. He suggests making it a requirement that only apps obtained from the app stores of the phone company can be used. Neither Apple's App Store nor the Google Play store allow malware-infested apps, and while there have been occasional problems, it's still a safer way to get apps than finding them in the wild.
And while you're setting mobile app policies, it's also probably important to require security software for mobile devices as a way to reduce the likelihood of malware infections that can threaten your network's integrity.

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