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  (Source: i.i.com.com)
R2 Studios has been working on technology that distributes and displays digital media on TVs

In an attempt to broaden its Xbox business, Microsoft has acquired a Silicon Valley startup that will bring new digital patents to the table.

Microsoft got its hands on id8 Group R2 Studios Inc., better known as R2 Studios, which launched in 2011 by entrepreneur Blake Krikorian. The startup specializes in entertainment and automation technology, and recently released an app that allows your smartphone to control your home's security system and thermostat.

R2 Studios has been working on technology that distributes and displays digital media on TVs, which can be beneficial to Microsoft's Xbox business. Xbox has been slowly working its way up from just being a video game console to also providing content from services like Netflix and Comcast.

According to The Wall Street Journal, R2 Studios was also talking with Apple and Google for possible deals.

The amount that Microsoft paid for R2 Studios is unknown.

Last month, Xbox Live subscribers lost access to the Cloud Saved Games feature, which allows gamers to store saved games online and pick them up later on a different console if they'd like. The outage lasted anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of days. Microsoft compensated for the outage with a free month of Xbox Live to all who were affected.

Source: The Wall Street Journal



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a bit off-topic
By GulWestfale on 1/3/2013 9:58:54 AM , Rating: 1
will consoles still be around in 5 years? i can already hook my phone or tablet to my TV with a cable, and soon, miracast or something like it will see widespread adoption (i think the nexus 4 already has support for it).

so why would i need a console in a couple of years, when i can play my game wherever i go, and plug it into a big screen wherever i am? isn't something like a nexus 7 hooked up to a TV similar to a nintendo wii U, except that the nexus 7 probably has more processing power?

i'm not dissing consoles here, i'm just wondering how MS, sony and nintendo can see a future in the current business model.




RE: a bit off-topic
By Motoman on 1/3/2013 11:06:14 AM , Rating: 5
The simple answer is "yes."

Phones are no replacement for a real console, with real controllers, with games designed for vastly better hardware than can be had in a phone, and of course nowadays with body-motion sensors and such.

Games will always be played on consoles, on PCs, and on phones/tablets. There will always be distinguishing features on each platform, because each platform has fundamental differences. None of them are ever going to "go away."


RE: a bit off-topic
By Schadenfroh on 1/3/2013 11:27:11 AM , Rating: 1
With the shift of game development focus to "casual games" to attract a wider demographic (aka non-traditional gamers), graphics are becoming less important when compared to intertwining the game with social media and dumbing it down as our society marches towards Idiocracy.

Phones / tablets are perfectly capable of using bluetooth console controllers, connecting to HDTVs via HDMI adapters, and playing the latest Angry Birds or Farmville.


RE: a bit off-topic
By Motoman on 1/3/2013 11:53:11 AM , Rating: 3
Yes, but there will always be significant population who still wants to play Halo XVII and COD: Mutant Nazi Alien Invasion 48.

Ergo, there will always be those kinds of consoles as well.

Otherwise, the Wii wouldn't have simply outsold all other consoles in the last generation, but no one would have bought anything but the Wii.


RE: a bit off-topic
By MrBlastman on 1/3/2013 12:21:00 PM , Rating: 2
There will also always be a need for a strong gaming PC, too. At least for the foreseeable future.

Try running Falcon 4 BMS or DCS A-10 on a console. I dare you. It ain't gonna happen. Nor will it on a phone or pad.


RE: a bit off-topic
By Motoman on 1/3/2013 12:28:43 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, which is why my OP here stated that there would always be consoles, PCs, and phone/tablet gaming. Because each one has distinct characteristics that the others don't.

Personally, with both an XBox 360 and a Wii in the house, all that ever gets played around here is PC games anyway. Unless we're having friends over, in which case the Wii gets played. The XBox may as well be a paperweight.

<typed as I'm also playing Fantasica on my phone>


RE: a bit off-topic
By MrBlastman on 1/3/2013 12:56:15 PM , Rating: 2
I skipped the 360 and PS 3 completely. I have a Wii... but... well, it mostly gets used to watch Netflix (we have a tube, hardly ever watch tv and when we do, it is PBS via antenna).

I must admit though, I have succumbed to one modern-gen console game on my PC--Dark Souls. I can't put it down. Probably because it is far more old-school than it is modern (Metroid 1/Zelda 1) with PC-level depth to it in a few ways. But, alas, I am playing it on my PC--using a 360 controller, but PC nontheless.


RE: a bit off-topic
By ClownPuncher on 1/3/2013 1:10:36 PM , Rating: 2
That game is hot.


RE: a bit off-topic
By Mitch101 on 1/3/2013 2:23:54 PM , Rating: 3
Hasnt anyone heard of Microsoft SmartGlass?

Microsoft's SmartGlass brings Xbox 360, tablets and phones together
http://www.nbcnews.com/technology/ingame/microsoft...


RE: a bit off-topic
By Mitch101 on 1/3/2013 3:08:38 PM , Rating: 3
Also R2 was not just about home automation.

R2 Studios has been working on ways to display content on televisions, which could coordinate with Xbox's focus of adding TV entertainment to its gaming console.

The next generation of X-Box is rumored to also be a DVR but I wouldn't be surprised if it also streamed content to mobile devices even over the internet kind of like a media server.


RE: a bit off-topic
By mcnabney on 1/4/2013 9:14:56 AM , Rating: 2
There isn't a technical challenge to getting TV on a console. The challenge is prying the content away from the vertically integrated companies that control it. Acquiring R2 isn't going to help with that.


RE: a bit off-topic
By Motoman on 1/3/2013 7:40:08 PM , Rating: 1
No.


RE: a bit off-topic
By ammaross on 1/3/2013 6:00:17 PM , Rating: 2
"Phones / tablets are perfectly capable of using bluetooth console controllers..."

*cough* except the hobbled bluetooth implementation of iDevices *cough*

But who buys an iDevice and expects to get a broad range of capabilities?


RE: a bit off-topic
By Motoman on 1/3/2013 7:41:17 PM , Rating: 2
...wait what? It has the bigger geebees right? And it's the best phone there is.


RE: a bit off-topic
By ClownPuncher on 1/3/2013 11:26:10 AM , Rating: 2
That's fine for light duty casual games.


RE: a bit off-topic
By red.foxx15 on 1/3/2013 12:14:01 PM , Rating: 2
I dont think we will ever fully move gaming over to our cell phones. While they currently have the power to handle these (for example i play GTA Vice City on my phone) Nothing becomes more annoying then in the middle of doing a mission receiving a phone call. Because so much has become so integrated with our phones, each feature seams to interrupt the previous. This is why i still use portable gaming devices.


RE: a bit off-topic
By half_duplex on 1/3/2013 2:01:57 PM , Rating: 2
LOL, yes, in a few years the wonder that is Android Phone will also replace our gaming consoles...


RE: a bit off-topic
By ViroMan on 1/3/2013 4:42:42 PM , Rating: 2
I believe that you are partially right. There will no longer be "consoles" it will be your personal media device of choice a.k.a. phone. If the game you want to play needs more "power" to play that game then it simply wirelessly hooks up to a processing station/server such as your PC or perhaps something built specifically to do processing for everything in your house that communicates with it.

Your media device hands off the application to run on the server while your media device becomes the controller/display(unless you switch to TV viewing in which case the server communicates to the TV as well).

The above suggested situation can happen with today's technology.


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