Microsoft may pull the plug on Elmo.
In a slick two-minute trailer from David Fincher, the director of “The Social Network” and “Fight Club,” a young boy is stolen from his home, turned into a surgically enhanced supersoldier known as “Master Chief,” then set loose to battle hordes of evil aliens.
The splashy preview isn’t for Hollywood’s latest major motion picture. It’s part of the elaborate build up to the release of “Halo 4,” the latest installment of Microsoft’s blockbuster videogame for the Xbox 360. When it debuts on Tuesday, the game, in development for four years, could easily end up bigger than most movie releases. Its predecessor, “Halo 3” sold $300 million worth of copies in the first week following its 2007 release.
Microsoft is pulling out all the stops to ensure that every male under 45 in America knows “Halo 4” is on its way. In partnership with PepsiCo, there will be Halo-themed Mountain Dew and Halo Doritos. Boys can wear Halo Axe deodorant while playing a Halo version of Risk.
A Southern California start-up is attempting to sell a game console to challenge more expensive devices from the likes of Sony Corp., Microsoft Corp. and Nintendo Co.
Boxer8, founded by game industry veteran Julie Uhrma, has developed Ouya, a console about the size of a Rubik’s Cube that connects to a television and comes with a controller for playing games. The company hopes to make games less expensive and easier to distribute.
Microsoft Corp. plans to boost the number of outlets offering its subscription plan for the Xbox, an effort to attract more users by lowering upfront costs of acquiring the game console.
The company, which had previously only made the offer available through 17 of its own stores, plans to extend its $99 offer—which combines a Xbox 360 and Kinect motion sensor with a two-year service contract—to all U.S. Best Buy Co. stores and a “select” grouping of GameStop Corp. stores.
Microsoft said it still regards the program as a pilot, adding that the stores will offer the deals to a limited number of users for a short period. If there is enough interest in the program, it may once again expand, the company said.
Sony Corp. considered but ultimately rejected a download-only plan for its next videogame console, people familiar with the matter said, opting to include an optical disk drive rather than break with decades-old industry practice.
The Japanese electronics maker’s flirtation with dropping the optical drive underscores the rising importance of online networks in the videogame industry, which allow console users to download games, television shows and music without the need for disks or cartridges.
A hacker stole the names, birth dates and possibly credit-card numbers for 77 million people who play online videogames through Sony Corp.’s PlayStation console, in what could rank among the biggest data breaches in history.
Sony, whose gaming network has been offline for six days, disclosed Tuesday that an “illegal and unauthorized intrusion” between April 17 and April 19 resulted in the loss of a significant amount of personal information that could be used in identity theft.
The PlayStation Network is used by owners of the company’s game machine to play against one another, chat online and watch movies streamed over the Internet. Sony warned users the intruders may have accessed billing addresses, purchase histories and account information for their children.
Fueled by fast Internet connections, online-gaming services have become global social hubs for tens of millions of people who spend hours competing and cooperating on fantasy quests, combat missions and other activities. People across the globe pay monthly fees to play online-computer games like “World of Warcraft.” Most titles for the PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Corp. Xbox 360 have online components.