Kantar’s latest smartphone market share report sees Windows Phone dip below 1% in the U.S.

Kantar has released its monthly report on the smartphone market for the three months ending in November 2016, and things continue to look down for Windows Phone. Compared to the same period in 2015, Windows Phone’s share of the market decreased across the board. Perhaps most notably, Windows Phone’s share of the U.S. market in particular dipped below 1%, dropping to a 0.8% share from 2.3% during the same period the year prior.

Kantar reports that the biggest drops occurred in Great Britain and Italy, which saw declines of 7% and 5.2%, respectively. Meanwhile the 5 European countries tallied together ended up seeing an overall decrease of 4.1% compared to the same period a year ago.

Windows Phone has been on a steady decline for a while now, and that’s likely to continue as Microsoft winds down its Lumia production and switches focus to whatever the next big thing could be.

If you’re interested in more, you can check out Kantar’s full report, and let us know your thoughts in the comments!

 

 

[Source:- Windowscentral]

The Walking Dead: A New Frontier Episode 1 & 2 Review

The Walking Dead: A New Frontier Episode 1 & 2 Review

Episodes 1 and 2 of The Walking Dead: A New Frontier improve upon the series’ existing formula, offering an emotionally trying story and a new coat of gameplay polish.

The Walking Dead: A New Frontier is Telltale Games’ third core series entry to its take on the long-running graphic novel. Gamers who have played any of the prior iterations of the franchise will find that A New Frontier is familiar territory, following the same general formula of decision-making and emotional upheaval, but with enough tweaks to make the game feel a bit fresher than prior entries.

The Walking Dead: A New Frontier hands the reins to a brand new main character, Javier. Doing so was probably a risk, since players have become quite invested in the story of Lee and Clementine, dating back to the very first season of The Walking Dead. However, the hand-off is arguably a success, with Javier emerging as a likable guy who’s just trying to do right by his family in the walker apocalypse, while still retaining enough character flaws to be relatable.

Thankfully for series veterans, Clementine has a strong presence in the first two episodes of the game. Players are allowed to use their saves from season 1 and 2 in order to create a custom Clementine, or they can use a story generator to make decisions regarding her character development. As a result, Clementine is still the same girl players have come to know and love, although she’s become hardened from the events between the end of Season 2 and the start of A New Frontier. The Walking DeadA New Frontier fills in these gaps with frequent flashbacks, also uncovering the fate of baby AJ, and Kenny or Jane, depending on who Clementine was last traveling with.

During these flashbacks, players take control of Clementine, but for the remainder of the game, Javier is the sole playable character. It allows for a bit of nostalgia for series veterans, but also helps to provide balance to characters’ capabilities. In season 1 and 2, the main character was often tasked with performing an action while the remaining NPCs stood around being generally useless. Here, Clementine often feels like an extension of the main character, even though she’s generally not controlled by the player. She often engages in actions while Javier is busy with something else, moving the story along and making it feel less like everyone except for the main character is helpless and utterly relying on the main character to do everything.

The basic gameplay in The Walking Dead: A New Frontier is nearly identical to the entries to the series that have come before it, but it’s been tweaked enough to feel more fluid and enjoyable. This is due in part to the fact that the game is primarily set four years after the beginning of the outbreak, so surviving characters are more skilled in survival and combat. As a result, combat is fluid, quick, and satisfying, although it does still essentially boil down to reactionary button mashing and point-and-click shooting segments.

In addition, the main character tends to spend less time slowly wandering around an area inspecting objects and talking with people to progress. While there are still plenty of opportunities to thoroughly examine and discuss everything should the player so choose, this process has been made less tedious. There’s less backtracking, and the areas players can explore are smaller and partitioned off so finishing a task takes less time.

Visually, The Walking Dead: A New Frontier has received a bit of an upgrade since Season 2 and Michonne’s three part mini-series, probably due in part to using the new game engine it and Telltale’s Batman both use. Although the game still sticks to a cel-shaded style to emulate the appearance of the graphic novels, lighting and textures have more depth now, giving characters a more three-dimensional appearance. Characters facial expressions are a bit more subtle this time around, too, which is an improvement over the sometimes over-the-top reactions that were prevalent in Season 1 and Season 2.

In terms of story, The Walking Dead: A New Frontier is just as harrowing as fans of the series have come to expect. Javier, his family, and Clementine are thrown into a series of events involving an antagonist group referring to itself as The New Frontier. Although the tension is palpable between characters prior to The New Frontier appearing on the scene, events quickly take a turn for the worse from their involvement, leading to some of the most shocking moments the game has to offer. Unfortunately, each episode clocks in at around an hour, leaving very little time to explore the motivations driving The New Frontier.

Overall, The Walking Dead: A New Frontier is off to a solid start. Fans of the series will definitely have plenty to enjoy here – and emotionally suffer through – and players who found the game to be too clunky and slow previously may appreciate this entry more. While The Walking Dead: A New Frontier doesn’t radically change the gameplay formula Telltale Games has developed, it keeps what worked all along and fine-tunes it further to create a genuinely enjoyable – albeit brief – gaming experience.

 

[Source:- Gamerant]

 

Battlefield 1: Electronic Arts Reveals Sales Prediction for the Game

Battlefield 1: Electronic Arts Reveals Sales Prediction for the Game

Video game publisher Electronic Arts officially reveals its post-launch sales predictions for the forthcoming World War I inspired shooter Battlefield 1.

According to Electronic Arts’ latest earnings report for Quarter 1 of the Financial Year 2017, the publisher’s chief financial officer Blake Jorgensen revealed it has projected Battlefield 1 sales after launch will be “slightly under” what the first-person shooter franchise usually does on an annual basis. Even with that being the case, EA is confident that Battlefield 1 has the potential to go beyond its prediction.

Within Electronic Arts’ most recent financial report, Jorgensen explains the standard figures for the series, and holds out hope for Battlefield 1 to live up to the hype behind it, especially considering the fact that it was an E3 2016 Games Critics Award Winner. Regarding the potential for the title’s sales at the moment, though, the EA CFO said, “We’ve told people that typically a Battlefield title does about 15 million in a year. Our guidance is slightly under that and we hope that that excitement builds and it’ll go through that number, but for now it’s slightly under that number.”

Also found within Electronic Arts’ Q1 FY2017 earnings call is the mention of how the company believes Titanfall 2 will fare in the market upon release. As for the Respawn Entertainment-developed game, Jorgensen said that the first entry in the franchise sold a little over 7 million units, and the second installment should do better, saying, “We think it’ll do more than that, but it’s probably closer to 10 million than it is to 15 million as built into our guidance.”

Taking Electronic Arts’ sales expectations into account for both Battlefield 1 and Titanfall 2, one can consider its stance on the issue to be somewhat conservative, at least for theWorld War I shooter. For instance, not long after DICE and EA put forth the former title’s official reveal trailer, fans quickly caused the footage’s popularity to surge, giving itover 1 million likes on YouTube in just a few short days, and setting the groundwork for it to become the most liked trailer of all time on the global video-sharing website.

Furthermore, while Battlefield 1 and Titanfall 2 share launch dates that are three weeks apart, EA has said it’s not concerned about releasing them in the same year, let alone that close to one another. Bearing this particular positive outlook in mind, it’s a wonder why Electronic Arts is setting its expectations for Battlefield 1‘s sales to be lower than what has typically been expected out of the franchise in the past.

One possible reason as to why Electronic Arts is dialing back its projected estimates for how many units Battlefield 1 will move is due to the fact that Activision’s Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare drops just two weeks after the DICE-developed shooter does. Of course, while it’s fashionable to dish out hate for the Call of Duty franchise in online forums, comments sections, and message boards, it’s a given that the series is a sales juggernaut, so it’s conceivable that EA has observed the possibility of more fans gravitating toward Infinite Warfare. At any rate, it will be interesting to see how well each of the aforementioned titles make out once they go on sale later this year.

 

[Source: GR]

Why Microsoft won’t hit 1 billion Windows 10 installs

Why Microsoft won't hit 1 billion Windows 10 installs

At last year’s Build conference, Windows and devices chief Terry Myerson announced one of those “bold ambitions” that Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella is so fond of: “Within two to three years of Windows 10’s release, there will be 1 billion devices running Windows 10”.

That wouldn’t be just upgrades or even new PC sales; it would include Surface Hub, Xbox One, the upcoming HoloLens and Windows Mobile phones

Shifting goalposts

Talking to investors when Microsoft announced its most recent financial results, Nadella pointed out that Windows 10 has had the fastest adoption rate of any version of Windows (helped no doubt, by the free upgrade offer), but admitted “given changes to our phone plan, we’ve changed how we will assess progress”. Microsoft will now report not just how many devices have Windows 10 installed, but in active use, and 2018 is no longer the target.

A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed that to TechRadar. “Windows 10 is off to the hottest start in history with over 350 million monthly active devices, with record customer satisfaction and engagement. We’re pleased with our progress to date, but due to the focusing of our phone hardware business, it will take longer than FY18 for us to reach our goal of one billion monthly active devices. In the year ahead, we are excited about usage growth coming from commercial deployments and new devices – and increasing customer delight with Windows.”

 

 

Surface Hub was delayed for some months. It took longer than expected to ramp up the brand new factory Microsoft was building in Portland, but they’re shipping now. Xbox One sales dropped in Microsoft’s most recent financial results, but it’s already announced theXbox One S and Project Scorpio.

HoloLens isn’t on sale yet, but businesses as well as gamers are interested in the promise of mixed reality. But having taken a long, hard look at the smartphone market and the rise of local phone makers in China and India who are taking share from Apple and Samsung alike, Microsoft seems to have decided not to compete in the budget smartphone market where the bulk of device sales are made.

With no new phones from Microsoft so far this year (and only a few new models from the OEMs Microsoft is now relying on), phone revenue in their latest financial results was down 71%, and sales have dropped 57% from the previous year.

Microsoft seems to be doing better at bringing Office 365 to iOS and Android than on shifting its own mobile devices.

It’s not that Microsoft is abandoning phones entirely; Terry Myerson confirmed at Build this year that Microsoft is “fully committed” to phones and plans to “do some cool things with phones” but for 2016, they’re important but they’re not the focus that PCs and Xbox and HoloLens are, because they’re not the right place to reach a lot of customers.

The anniversary update to Windows 10 Mobile certainly improves the platform, but it still has a number of rough edges (the previously impressive shape-writing keyboard and Wi-Fi have both been problematic in recent builds).

Bigger in business

Until those new cool things come along, where Windows Mobile is most likely to prove popular is with large businesses like BT, Telefonica and Delta who want to buy phones that they can run the same apps on that they’re building for Windows 10. That’s a reasonable market, but it’s not the same as the huge consumer market for phones.

IDC analyst and VP Al Gillen agrees that phone sales are an issue. “Without a meaningful contribution from Windows Phone, Microsoft won’t get to one billion Windows 10 devices until 2019 or 2020. We project the total to be at about 700 million units by the end of Microsoft’s Fiscal Year 2018, when the company had hoped to get to one billion.”

But it’s not quite such bad news for Microsoft as it might sound. While the shift to smartphones and tablets that we’ve been seeing for several years continues, PC sales are also higher than was predicted (and sales no longer include PCs that qualify for the Bing promotions Microsoft had been using to reduce Windows licence prices). Fewer PCs are being sold, but the drop is less than IDC expected; between April and June 2016, 62.4 million PCs were sold worldwide.

 

 

[Source: Techrader]

Turok 1 and 2 Remastered Coming to Xbox

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In a tweet to a fan, Night Dive Studios confirms that the remastered versions of Turok: Dinosaur Hunter and Turok 2: Seeds of Evil are making their way to Xbox.

Before ARK: Survival Evolved exploded on the scene, gaming’s premiere dinosaur hunting games were Turok and Turok 2: Seeds of Evil. Many gamers look back on those titles with fond memories, and now it looks like fans of the games will have a chance to go down memory lane, as Night Dive Studios has confirmed that both Turok and Turok 2 are coming to Xbox.

The versions of Turok and Turok 2 making their way to Xbox will likely be ports of the remastered Turok games that were released for PC late last year. The remastered Turok titles available for PC boast improved graphics and other enhancements when compared to the original releases, but it remains to be seen if the Xbox ports will have any additional content.

It’s also unclear what Night Dive Studios means when the company states that the Turok games are coming to “Xbox.” Perhaps this means that the titles are being released on both Xbox 360 and Xbox One, as opposed to just releasing on the latter. Moreover, it doesn’t appear as though the remastered Turok games are coming to PlayStation 3 or PlayStation 4 at this time, which seems a little odd. However, it opens the door to the possibility that Microsoft has pushed for the remastered Turok titles to be console-exclusive or timed-exclusive to the Xbox brand.

turok dinosaur hunter bow drawn

In our Turok: Dinosaur Hunter remaster review, we pointed out that the game feels a little antiquated by today’s standards, and it seems unlikely that particular issue will be addressed with the Xbox port. However, maybe Turok is set to make a gaming comeback after 2008’s failed reboot attempt, and the ports of the remasters are paving the way for that.

It would make sense, considering Night Dive went a similar route when bringing the System Shock series back from the dead. The company started the effort by releasing a System Shock 2 remaster, which was followed by a remaster of the original System Shock not long after. It was then that System Shock 3 was announced, so perhaps by bringing the remastered Turok titles to more platforms, Night Dive is prepping an announcement for a new game in the series.

Regardless, Xbox One owners with nostalgia for the Turok franchise will likely appreciate the remastered games making their way to the system. Hopefully PlayStation gamers aren’t left out of the mix as well, however, as it would be nice to see the Turok franchise make a comeback on as many platforms as possible.

The remastered Turok games are already available for PC, but the titles don’t have a release date on Xbox just yet.

 

[Source:- Gamerant]