For two decades, the default web browsing experience in Windows has been Internet Explorer. Over the years, Microsoft’s home-built browser became bloated, insecure, confusing to use, and just plain hated by many users. A lot of people turned to alternatives, such as Google Chrome, as a result. With Windows 10 (check out our full review here), Microsoft went back to the drawing board and scrapped everything it had done so far with Internet Explorer. It built an entirely new browser from scratch, one that would shed all of the baggage of Internet Explorer and offer a modern, fast web browsing experience for Windows users. That browser is Edge.
Edge comes with Windows 10 out of the box. And I should say up top that Internet Explorer also…
The Google Translate app is about to get a lot more powerful. In an update released today, Google is adding dozens of new languages to some of the Translate app’s most powerful features, and smoothing out the app to make it friendlier to slow connections. In particular, the update makes Translate’s visual translation features significantly more powerful, letting mobile users translate 37 languages via photo, 32 via voice, and 27 through real-time video.
Today’s changes are updates to two features added to translate back in January: a real-time video translation feature called Word Lens and a conversation feature that translates bilingual speech in real-time. The Word Lens feature lets you point your phone’s camera at a sign or any other…
XCOM 2 is wearing its PC pride on its sleeve. The upcoming strategy game is a confirmed PC exclusive, with creative director Jake Solomon previously stating that the game couldn’t have been made in the same way on the current generation of consoles. We recently spoke to Solomon about why PC was the natural home for XCOM 2, as well as finding out more about how developer Firaxis is planning to support mods and the modding community.
GameSpot: You’ve previously stated that XCOM 2 is a PC exclusive because it was the only platform that could help you realise your goals for the game. Can you give us more detail on what those goals are, and in what ways consoles couldn’t achieve them?
Jake Solomon: Our first goal is to make a great XCOM game. A game about loss and overcoming obstacles, with intense combat and a strategic component that feeds cleanly into that. We looked at what people were asking for in terms of making XCOM: Enemy Unknown more replayable along with the new elements we wanted, including procedural levels, new skills, new enemies, more customization and modding. When we saw what it meant to implement all of these elements into the game, we knew we had our work cut out for us. Our studio has its most experience building strategy games on PC, and we needed to take advantage of that core expertise and focus on making the very best XCOM we could on the platform we knew the best.
How early in the development process did you realise PC-only was the way to go?
We came to that realization early in development. It’s something we feel strongly about and have stuck with since
Having said that, what are the chances that we see XCOM 2 on Xbox One and PS4 someday, perhaps in a modified form? Or even mobile platforms?
Right now we’re really focused on the PC version. We’re enthusiastic about the possibility of other platform versions, but making the best XCOM for PC is what we’re working on right now.
Given that maps are procedurally generated, how is XCOM 2 telling its story? Will “story missions” have their own pre-made maps? What kind of events can we expect to encounter that will escalate that story?
We do have some story beats within the game, in that you have milestones to guide your progress. Some of those story moments have specific level assets, but they can appear within the context of a procedurally-generated level, which means you’re never going to see the same key items in the same map from game to game. We’ll have more to say about the story; I just don’t want to be the spoiler, yet.
We saw the concept of personal, physical sacrifice for mechanical or genetic upgrades in Enemy Within. Will that carry over into XCOM 2 at all? Perhaps in the option to upgrade soldiers with the DNA and genes of your alien oppressors to create hybrids?
In our story, the XCOM project never really got off the ground, and never so much as slowed the alien invasion. This is true for most people’s games of XCOM: Enemy Unknown–they resulted in a loss, especially the first time around. Narratively, this lets us have players start out as the ultimate underdog. But it also means XCOM never got around to messing with genes and giving people mechanical limbs.
How is Firaxis planning to support the game post release? Does it plan to support the community and promote mods to highlight the better creation?
Improved support for modding was one of the pillars of the design of XCOM 2. And a lot of the changes we’ve made to the game are designed to open up more systems to modders. We also plan to offer modding tools and Steam workshop support.
Civilization has benefited immensely from a talented and long-standing mod community, and the Long War mod team has done incredible things with our game despite it not being super mod-friendly. I’m confident giving the community proper modding tools is going to result in some fantastic mods.
If we do release content after launch, I hope players would be interested in what we were offering.
Is there a worry that the availability of mods may impact any DLC plans?
I don’t think that mods or post-release content are an either-or proposition. If we do release content after launch, I hope players would be interested in what we were offering. Again, Civilization has had both mods and DLC, and players seem happy with those options.
Will the more popular tweaks and changes made by community be rolled back into the main experience, if they’re deemed as beneficial?
When we make changes to our game, we generally look at it in the context of the unmodified game. It’s possible that we’d come across the same solution as a modder, but we usually don’t start with a mod and then look at how we would incorporate that into the game.
Valve allows mods to be monetised, and this is an area publishers and developers are exploring. Are there any plans to allow people to sell mods?
Like I mentioned above, modding is a big pillar for XCOM 2 and we’re excited to be supporting Steam Workshop and offering more tools, but we can’t confirm any plans for paid mods at this time.
Windows 10 has a lot to live up to. Microsoft has made a lot of promises about it. And oddly enough, we’ve heard most of them before, with Windows 8. Both were designed to acknowledge and embrace mobile and mobile apps, work well on touchscreens as well as laptops, and form the basis of a new phone platform. But there’s a big difference between them: Windows 10 actually does all those things.
Nintendo has reported an increase in sales and operating income for the three months between April and June 2015.
The company reported sales for the quarter were $730 million, which is an increase of 20 percent compared to the same period last year. Nintendo’s operating income, meanwhile, was $9.2 million, which is also up on the $76.5 million for the same period last year.
According to Nintendo, Splatoon, which it says “contributed to vitalizing the Wii U platform,” and “favourable sales” of its Amiibo figures contributed to the company’s improved performance.
For the Wii U, Nintendo is aiming to “maintain the performance of already-released titles with strong sales potential by introducing additional download content,” as well as relying on titles such as Super Mario Maker, Star Fox Zero and Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash.
The line of available Amiibo “will continue to expand,” and at the same time Nintendo is aiming to “stimulate demand from owners of the Nintendo 3DS by releasing the NFC Reader/Writer accessory.”
Smartphones applications were also mentioned as an expected new source of revenue.
Quirky team-based Wii U shooter Splatoon has sold 1.6 million unites worldwide, Nintendo has revealed.
In an earnings report for April to June 2015, the platform holder said the game “enjoyed a good start” and the Nintendo will “strive to further enhance the sales towards the year-end season.”
According to the information provided, sales of Splatoon in Japan reached 490,000 units, while the rest of the world accounted for 1.1 million units.
“With respect to Wii U, Splatoon, which was released globally in May and gathered attention, marked 1.62 million units in sales and contributed to vitalizing the Wii U platform,” Nintendo said in a statement.