Microsoft executive Julia White demonstrated the company’s amazing language-translating hologram using HoloLens at the Inspire partner conference. You read that right, a life-like hologram that can speak another language in the person’s own voice. No post production trickery was used, just existing mixed reality and neural text-to-speech technologies. Read more for the video and additional information.
Photo credit: Windows Central
Project xCloud aims to bring console quality gaming to phones and tqblets, but let’s face it, using a touchscreen controls just won’t cut it, especially for FPS games. Sure, there’s systems like AdaptControl which can adapt to the ‘drift’ typically occurring when using virtual on-screen controls, but touch-based emulation of traditional gaming controls like D-pads, buttons and joysticks aren’t responsive enough. So, Microsoft has been working on prototype Xbox mobile controllers for smartphones that attach to each end. Read more for additional pictures and information.
A new Microsoft Flight Simulator game is coming to PC (Windows 10) and Xbox One platforms through Xbox Game Pass in 2020. In the announcement trailer, we get a preview of a variety of flyable planes, including small two-seaters to massive 747s, complete with satellite data, thanks to Microsoft’s Azure engine, which brings the world to life, including real-world locations like the pyramids at Giza as well as the Seattle Space Needle. Read more for a flight test video and additional information.
Slated for release in Q4 2020, Microsoft’s Project Scarlett will use a semi-custom AMD Zen 2 processor architecture with Radeon RDNA architecture, and GDDR6 memory, which is plenty of power for 8K graphics, real-time ray tracing and even 120 frames per second gaming performance. Say goodbye to loading times, this console will utilize SSD storage that doubles as virtual memory to for blazing fast performance. “We’ve created a new generation of SSDs. We’re using the SSD as virtual RAM,” says an Xbox representative. Read more for another video of Xbox’s Phil Spencer on the new console, another picture and additional information.
Facebook AI engineers Sean Vasquez and Mike Lewis have discovered a way to take robotic sounding text-to speech systems to the next level, producing lifelike audio clips generated entirely by machine. Called MelNet, this AI-powered system reproduces human intonation and can do so using the same voice as real people, like Bill Gates. Think of this as deepfakes, but for audio instead. Read more for a few examples and additional information.
Microsoft officially launched its Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription today ahead of the company’s E3 press conference. At $14.99 per month, users gain access to Xbox Live Gold as well as Xbox Game Pass for both Xbox and PC. How good of a deal is Ultimate? Well, considering that Xbox Game Pass for PC / Xbox costs $4.99 / $9.99 respectively as well as Xbox Live Gold for $9.99 per month, that is a combined total of $24.97 per month. Read more for a Microsoft press conference livestream direct from E3 2019 and a link to where you can buy it now.
Meta Threads, a clothing company which hosts top styles from influencers and esports teams, has partnered with Microsoft for their second generation of Xbox apparel, launching June 11th during E3 2019. The pieces found in this line highlight both athletic and technological influences, all the while maintaining an urban stylish tone to create functional modern clothing for gamers everywhere. “Working with a team as talented as Xbox has made the creative development process an incredible experience. Gaming remains a dominant force in pop culture and our goal is to capture the lifestyle beyond just the screen, bringing it into our fan’s every day lives. We are excited to announce our second collection with Xbox at E3 and are looking forward to future projects,” said Steve Nabi Co-Founder and President of Meta Threads. Read more for a video, additional pictures and information.
Microsoft Inc. has teamed up with the makers of Axe body spray (Lynx in markets outside the US) to release a line of Xbox-branded personal care products that include a body wash, deodorant and shower gel. “Lynx Xbox is a fresh scent of pulsing green citrus, featuring top notes of kaffir lime and winter lemon, aromatic herbal middle notes of mint and sage, and woody bottom notes of patchouli and clearwood. Containing a range of natural essential oils, the Xbox Lynx range comes with a sleek new look and features a body spray, deodorant, and shower gel,” according to the official description. Unfortunately (or fortunately), it will be exclusive to Australia when it launches in July. Read more for an Xbox One X extreme drop test video with a $1,900 Samsung parachute and additional information.
Similar to the original game, Minecraft Earth focuses on building structures, gathering resources, crafting and exploration. Unlike the original game, players can now build augmented reality structures in collaboration with other players, gather resources through tapping on “tappables” in the in-game map, and access “Adventure” which may be a puzzle or a specific task, or a virtual location with hostile entities to defeat. These quests reward players with in-game currency, while collaborative construction is completed on “build plates”, and players can share copies of their completed structures. Plus, Earth features a progression system with levels and experience points. Read more for the first live augmented reality demo straight from WWDC 2019.
Minecraft Earth is coming this summer, and it won’t cost you a penny, but it does require one thing, a smartphone. Microsoft wants to take the Pokémon Go concept to the next level, and players will “collect resources, fight mobs, and gain experience points” – and the game can be played in co-op mode with friends. It’s scheduled to be released this summer. Read more for the official trailer.