Microsoft reports increase in games revenue

Microsoft published a financial report today for its last quarter showing an 8% increase in games revenue. …

from Gamasutra News

Nintendo Switch Exclusive Kirby Game Features A Weirdly Buff King Dedede

The Nintendo Switch has gotten off to a resoundingly positive start, working its way up to being the fastest-selling console in the US, Europe, and Australia ever. 2017 was filled with AAA and indie titles for the console, but for 2018 Nintendo has been much more secretive about what software to expect. But one game we did get to check out recently is Kirby Star Allies.

Like previous Kirby games, the focus of Star Allies is the titular pink puff mascot who has the ability to swallow up enemies and absorb their powers. But Star Allies take the cooperative gameplay further than previous games through the use of special co-op abilities. In the gameplay clip above, you can watch us take on some four-player cooperative challenges and fight a weirdly buff King Dedede.

Kirby Star Allies is a Nintendo Switch exclusive that’s set to release on March 16 worldwide. And for more games on the way to the console, you can check out our complete list of 2018 Nintendo Switch exclusive in our feature here.

from GameSpot

Xbox One X Helps Boost Hardware But Game Sales Fall In Microsoft’s Latest Quarter

Microsoft today reported earnings for its latest quarter ended December 31–and the news is good for the company’s Xbox gaming division. Total revenue rose by $303 million (or 8 percent) to $3.9 billion. The uptick in sales was driven in part by the launch of the Xbox One X in November. Microsoft has not disclosed a sales number for the console but it did sale the Xbox One X launch helped Xbox hardware revenue rise 14 percent.

Xbox games also sold well during the quarter, with software and services revenue jumping by 4 percent. This growth was attributed in part to better Xbox Live revenue, but offset in part by lower game sales due compared to the same period last year.

No Caption Provided

Xbox software and services combined revenue increased 4%, primarily due to Xbox Live revenue growth. However, this was offset in part by a decrease in game sales revenue compared to the same period last year.

Microsoft also updated the latest Xbox Live active user figures; during the quarter, Microsoft recorded 59 million Xbox Live active users; this covers Xbox 360, Xbox One, Windows PC, and other devices. This is up nicely from 55 million during the same period last year. An “active” user is someone who has logged into Xbox Live over the past 30 days.

Overall, across all divisions, Microsoft reported revenue of $28.9 billion for the quarter, which is up 12 percent. Operating income came in at $8.7 billion, an increase of 12 percent.

Microsoft is holding an earnings call right now where it will discuss these results and answer questions from analysts. We’ll report back with more information if anything noteworthy is discussed.

from GameSpot

Marvel Movie Boss Weighs In On When X-Men Will Join The Cinematic Universe

When rumors started swirling that the Walt Disney Company was considering buying 21st Century Fox–and with it, the movie rights to the X-Men franchise–many Marvel Cinematic Universe fans could barely contain their excitement. At long last, the potential of integrating the X-Men into the MCU seemed possible.

Now with the acquisition actually happening, you might be wondering about the likelihood of Wolverine or Professor X showing up in Avengers: Infinity War as a special surprise. According to Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, though, fans shouldn’t hold their breath.

No Caption Provided

Speaking to Vulture, Feige claims that the plans for the next several movies are already in motion, and the deal between Disney and Fox isn’t even finalized at this point. With that in mind, his team hasn’t even started figuring out where any new characters would fit into the MCU. “We’re not thinking about it. We’re focusing on everything we’ve already announced,” he says. “If and when the deal actually happens, we’ll start to think more about it. Until then, we have a lot to do.”

As it stands, Feige is putting his attention on the next five MCU films, which will take the company through the middle of 2019 and the end of Phase Three. After that, following the fourth Avengers movie, it’s expected that there will be some major changes to the franchise of films. While nothing has been officially stated, some of the MCU’s stars are believed to be moving on.

That’s the major finishing line Marvel Studios is looking to cross at this point, as Feige says, “I’m hoping to deliver on everything we’ve promised thus far.”

Still, should the acquisition become finalized, weaving the X-Men into the MCU is bound to happen. When it does, you can likely expect Marvel to treat it with as much care as it does the rest of its movie superheroes.

“For years, predating the history of Marvel Studios itself, people asked me about superhero fatigue and if it was a fad or a phase,” Feige says. “I say, if they’re all different, if they’re all special, nobody will get tired of these things before we at Marvel Studios will, since we live and breathe these things 24 hours a day. You make films like Thor: Ragnarok, like [Spider-Man:]Homecoming, like Guardians of the Galaxy, certainly like [Black] Panther, and the upcoming Infinity War to keep it interesting and change it up. And we will continue to do that.”

The next MCU movie, Black Panther, hits theaters on February 16. Meanwhile, Deadpool 2 is the next film in the X-Men franchise heading to the big screen. It premieres on May 18.

from GameSpot

The Best Anime To Watch On Netflix

What To Watch

More and more anime, as well as anime-inspired movies and series, are making their way to Netflix. Originals like Castlevania and the live-action Death Note movie join classic series and upcoming ones on the service, and it can be tricky to know which ones you should binge and which you should let be.

While there’s a lot of great anime on Netflix, there are some you should prioritize. Click forward to see all the best series you can stream right now.

Death Note

If you haven’t seen it yet–or if you thought the Netflix’s live-action Death Note was interesting and wanted more–now’s the time to watch this classic crime series. Light Yagami, a brilliant high school student and son of a police chief, finds the Death Note, a notebook with the power to kill anyone whose name is written in its pages. The mysterious killer is dubbed “Kira,” and a top detective known only as “L” is given the task of tracking him down.

The series is known both for its fantastic cat-and-mouse dynamic and as a great show for people who haven’t seen much anime. It has things like shinigami (gods of death) and a distinctly Japanese style, but it’s not the capital-A Anime with big fight scenes and a lot of yelling that you might imagine when you think about anime.

The Devil Is A Part-Timer

The devil’s on the run from the hero of Ente Isla, a world he’s trying to conquer, and he ends up in modern day Tokyo. In order to survive, he gives himself a human form and…starts working at a fast food restaurant called MgRonald’s. Naturally, there are some shenanigans to be had. This is one of the lighter shows on this list and is great if you’re looking for a fantastical comedy to watch when you want to relax.

Devilman Crybaby

Don’t be fooled by the generous gore or flashy orgy scenes; Devilman Crybaby is a solemn, pensive look at what it means to be human. Based on the Devilman manga from the ’70s, Devilman Crybaby follows Akira, an extremely empathetic teenager who is prone to crying at the suffering of others. When his childhood friend Ryo comes to town, he informs Akira that demons will return to earth, and that there’s a way for the two of them to save humanity. Devilman Crybaby stands out thanks to its classic-looking animation and phenomenal direction, with layers of meaning to dissect long after you’ve finished the tenth and final episode.


If you’re looking for action, suspense, and something a little darker, try Durarara! Set in Tokyo’s Ikebukuro district, Durarara follows a newcomer to the area as well as a gang of dangerous individuals and a headless motorcyclist who runs in underground circles. There’s a lot going on, but the episodes switch between different perspectives with a narrator giving context. Durarara is popular for its supernatural-meets-gang-violence style and superb animation. And no, the name doesn’t mean anything.

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

If you’re in the mood for a modern classic, look no further than Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. It follows the brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric, who embark on the one forbidden act of alchemy: human transmutation. Thanks to the alchemic Law of Equivalent Exchange, Edward loses his right arm and Alphonse his physical body. What follows is a search to find their humanity, a mentally scarring scene involving a dog, and one of the finest endings known to anime.

Note that while the original Fullmetal Alchemist is also on Netflix, Brotherhood is the recommended version, since it follows the manga much more closely and is considered the ideal adaptation.

Gurren Lagann

Gurren Lagann is an absolute classic and a must-watch for any anime fan. Made by Gainax, the studio behind Neon Genesis Evangelion, Gurren Lagann is about friendship, believing in yourself, and giant mechs that fight each other. It’s action-packed and silly and, despite some weird pacing in spots, is quite the adventure.

One of the coolest things about the series is how it transitions from a hole in the ground–all of humanity lives underground to protect themselves from the dangers of the surface world–to something entirely different by the end, yet still a cohesive whole.

Kill la Kill

After watching Gurren Lagann, your next series should be Kill la Kill. It was made by Studio Trigger, an offshoot started by former Gainax staff, and has the same larger-than-life feel and wacky action in a new world–not unlike FLCL. Be warned: It’s about clothes that have special powers, and those powers are usually activated by making the outfit a lot more revealing. But trust me, it makes sense in the end.

Little Witch Academia

Also by Studio Trigger, Little Witch Academia is a feel-good show about young girls studying to become witches. It stars Akko, a girl who’s struggling at the academy due to her non-magical background–until she finds an artifact that once belongs to the witch who inspired her in the first place. It’s cute and great to watch when you want something a bit more relaxed.

One-Punch Man

If you grew up watching shonen series like Dragon Ball Z, you’ll appreciate One-Punch Man’s comedic take on the genre. Saitama is the ultimate hero; he can defeat anyone with only one punch. But because of that, he’s pretty bored with being the hero, preferring to get excited about sales at the grocery store instead of defeating the latest supervillain. It’s funny but also an interesting look at what happens after you accomplish your goals, and its theme song goes hard. Plus, season 2 is coming up soon!

Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Remember Sailor Moon? Puella Magi Madoka Magica is kind of like that, except much sadder. It’s a twist on the magical girl genre and explores the power of hope over pure despair. The eponymous star Madoka has the opportunity to make a wish with a familiar called Kyubey–any wish, he says, and he can grant it, but she must fight evil in exchange. What wish would be worth the cost?

Puella Magi Madoka Magica has a fantastic, haunting soundtrack and is only 12 episodes, but maybe don’t binge it if you don’t want to cry a lot. Don’t worry, though; believe in hope.

Rurouni Kenshin

The lead character in Rurouni Kenshin is a placid soul named Himura. And despite carrying a sword on his hip, the blade is sharpened on the wrong side; a move to ensure he won’t inadvertently take a life, even in self-defense. However, one part comedy and one part drama, Rurouni Kenshin truly stands out when Himura’s righteous instincts push back against this mindset.

Himura’s present attitude is a result of him rejecting his past as a legendary assassin. But violent ex-samurai seeking fame and power at the cost of innocent lives cross his path on a regular basis, forcing his hand. Himura’s left no choice but to rekindle his smoldering aggression to protect the innocent, and though he typically manages to rid evil without resorting to murder, the show craftily keeps the question lingering in the air: will he kill to protect those he loves at the cost of his own humanity?

The 95-episode show on Netflix is a great starting point for anyone interested in the series, but once you connect with Himura’s plight, do seek out the OVAs, dubbed Samurai X. Those episodes tell of the disturbing childhood that lead to Himura’s violent middle years–though they unfortunately aren’t on Netflix.

Tiger & Bunny

Tiger & Bunny is a fun look at what would happen if superheroes were commercialized the way modern sports are. Each hero’s costume is branded to a NASCAR-level extreme (with actual brands). While this may sound off putting, the show’s tongue-in-cheek nature winkingly pulls it off. The story offers a great buddy duo of the veteran Hero Wild Tiger and new up-and-comer Barnaby (Bunny), and while it show starts with a far more comedic edge, the action eventually picks up when the show’s villains come into play.

Your Lie In April

Your Lie in April is a heartfelt story about Arima Kousei, a prodigal pianist whose career is derailed by a traumatic event. However, a chance encounter with Kaori Miyazono, a free-spirited violinist, reignites a passion he thought had long faded.

What makes Your Lie in April interesting is, for the most part, it doesn’t focus on the romance between Arima and Kaori. Instead it explores their complicated personal issues and uses these to bring them closer in a way that feels natural and authentic.

from GameSpot

Intel and AMD Say Their Next CPUs Will Not Have Spectre And Meltdown Security Issues

Ever since Google’s Project Zero unveiled security issues inherent in CPUs from Intel and AMD (to some extent), manufacturers have been scrambling to patch up the problem software-side. These mitigations have had varying degrees of success; Microsoft administered an emergency Windows security update, while Intel had to retract an early version of its own patch. As Intel and AMD look toward the future, both companies’ CEOs have promised to take care of Spectre/Meltdown on hardware level with their next generations of processors.

During an investors conference call, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich stated, “We’re working to create silicon-based changes to future products that will directly address the Spectre and Meltdown threats in hardware. And those products will begin appearing later this year.” Krzanich also went on to say that the vulnerabilities won’t impact sales. No details were given as to which “future products” he was referencing, but it’s rumored that Cannon Lake or Ice Lake (9th generation) could be out by the end of the year, which would fit the time frame Krzanich referenced.

On AMD’s side, CEO Lisa Su had something similar to say: “Longer term, we have included changes in our future processor cores, starting with our Zen 2 design, to further address potential Spectre-like exploits.” AMD was confident in their CPUs being virtually free of the security exploits when the news initially came out, but fact that the company came out to say its next generation will be free of the problem speaks to the broad impact of Spectre and Meltdown are having. AMD still has Zen+ CPUs set to release in April this though, and Zen 2 chips aren’t due out until 2019.

Aside from next generation CPUs to overcome the recently discovered Spectre and Meltdown issues, both chip manufacturers are shaking up the PC hardware market in other ways. At CES 2018, Intel and AMD announced a partnership to bring Radeon RX Vega tech to integrated graphics for Intel Core CPUs in laptops. AMD is also set to launch Ryzen CPUs with Vega integrated graphics next month. For more details on the security exploits, check out our breakdown of the five things you should know about Spectre and Meltdown.

from GameSpot

Get a job: Armature Studio is hiring a Graphics Engineer

Texas-based Armature Studio is seeking a Mid to Senior level Graphics Engineer to join it on exciting, high visibility projects for a variety of platforms and utilizing various engines. …

from Gamasutra News