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ORIGINAL SOURCE

Morning all. Sick of Monday already? Because I’ve got just the thing for those start-of-week blues. That’s right – prizes. Microsoft has announced the Xbox Entertainment Awards, a competition to determine the very best games, films, TV shows and tunes on Xbox Live Marketplace. Participate in the proceedings, and you could walk away with a swanky limited edition Xbox 360, or even tickets to gamescom 2013 in Cologne, Germany.

Voting runs from today, 18th March till 26th March. The categories are below. Which lucky entertainment experience will you poke with the Finger of Destiny?

GAMES

Best Game

Best Family Game

Best Xbox LIVE Arcade Game

Best Add-on (or Consumable)

TV & MOVIES

Best TV Show or TV Series

Best Movie

Best Superhero Movie

Best Comedy

MUSIC

Best Album

Best Single

Best Artist

Best Music Video

Those who vote can enter an optional prize draw for an Xbox 360 Limited Edition Halo 4 320 GB console with Kinect sensor, a year’s Xbox Live Gold membership, 2000 Microsoft Points, games and gaming swag.

Finalists will be announced on 9th April, inaugurating a second round of voting which ends 16th April – vote at this point, and you’ll be placed in a sweepstake for a number of additional prizes, including VIP tickets to gamescom 2013. The winning games, films, shows and tracks will be crowned on 17th April.

Sold? Vote here.

You may have noticed an Xbox Live update going live in the past 12 hours. WHAT COULD IT BE? Answer: something deeply boring. According to Microsoft PR, the update is just a routine tweak under the hood.

“This is a small update to default settings that will only be visible to select users in the EU,” the statement reads. “While everyone must take this update, it should only take a few minutes to apply. We apologize for any inconvenience.”

“Relax,” Xbox EMEA’s social marketing manager Graeme Boyd tweeted at one anxious Xbox Live user. “When do we ever give you anything to worry about?” Cheeky devil. As you were, ladies and gentlemen.

Update: Somebody’s posted what appear to be specifics of the update on Wikipedia. Apparently “default settings” stands for “added new dashboard style, other security updates. Anti-Piracy 3.0, XGD 4.5 Challenge responses has been updated”.

ORIGINAL SOURCE

Saints Row 4 will release on 20th August 2013, Volition and Deep Silver have announced. The first in-game footage of the “climactic” (as in, final?) Saints Row is below. Hold onto your hats…

The footage reveals a number of new abilities and weapons, including some decidedly Supermanly flights of fancifulness. The Youtube strapline “From the Crack House to the White House” suggests that the Saints entertain a few political aspirations nowadays. Looking good, Mr President – now, if you’d be so kind as to get off the roof of my car?

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If (like Gazisdaman) you’re wondering why the game looks so much like Saints Row 3, that’s presumably because Saints Row 4 was originally a Saints Row 3 DLC pack titled Enter the Dominatrix, which was upgraded to a “fully fledged sequel” last year – mere months before THQ’s descent into bankruptcy.”When I looked at the Enter The Dominatrix expansion in production at Volition, I was blown away by the ideas and desire to expand the fiction of the franchise,” Jason Rubin told Edge in June. “I asked the team what it could achieve given more time, more resources, and a broader scope for the project. We all agreed that we wanted to play that game.” A fortnight before the announcement, Rubin had opined that Saints Row ” is capable of being a Red Dead Redemption” given enough in the way of publisher support.

Former Epic chap Cliff Bleszinski reckons Saints Row can beat GTA providing it “loses the dildos”, arguing that the franchise’s taste for toilet humour “doesn’t help industry perceptions”. Evidently, Volition’s turned a deaf ear.

What do you think?

ORIGINAL SOURCE

Spoiler: consoles and PC are not, in fact, chalk and cheese. True one works out of the box while the other requires on-going tinkering, but strip away the interfaces, peripherals and moulded casings and it’s all just plastic and silicon at the end of the day, right? According to Crytek boss Cevat Yerli, next generation consoles will have even more in common with desktops – and as a consequence, PC-centric developers will actually be “more comfortable” with the new tech than console veterans.

Crytek, you’ll be shocked to hear, ranks among the companies that stand to gain from this state of affairs. The studio’s proprietary CryEngine 3 has apparently been “next gen ready” since 2009, and Yerli claims that Microsoft’s next Xbox can’t afford to exceed its capabilities. Other beneficiaries presumably include CD Projekt, now working on The Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk 2077 for future platforms, and Total War developer Creative Assembly, which is creating a next generation Alien game.

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“I think the next console generation is going to be more a mix of the top devs – they’ll be much more PC-driven this time around,” Yerli told us in issue 97, on sale now. “In fact, I believe – oh, I can’t talk more about that. Let’s say this: PC devs will be much more comfortable than last gen console devs.”Last gen, the move from PS2 to PS3, or Xbox to Xbox 360, for many devs was back-breaking,” he explained. “But for us going to Xbox 360, we had to work backward, we had to bring down all our tech to make it happen. As opposed to finding ourselves in that situation with today’s PC… I’m already talking too much.”

Yerli went onto state that “the next gen consoles are, for the first time ever, not going to be beyond the PC generation”. This tallies with what we know of PS4, which CVG has deemed a “posh-ish PC”. Microsoft has yet to reveal specifications for its next console, of course, but you’re welcome to knock your head against some rumoured specs.

Don’t forget issue 97 – it’s a real corker, if we do say so ourselves, packed with information about The Witcher 3, Assassin’s Creed 3, Bungie’s Destiny and GRID 2, among other things. The mag’s available in shops today.

ORIGINAL SOURCE

Issue 97 is all about secret next generation Xbox games that also happen to be not-so-secret Xbox 360 games. First and foremost of these is Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag, our cover game – there’s a seven-page preview within which covers all sorts of topics, from which port you should set sail for when your ship’s ablaze, to how best to disable a man’s knee.

Bungie’s Destiny, meanwhile, leads our procession of the most distinctive, promising new IPs – Jonty’s penned a glorious six-pager which includes exclusive artworks and an interview with design director Joseph Staten. Further in you’ll find Watch Dogs, Defiance, Killer Is Dead and Remember Me.

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Our preview coverage is dominated by CD Projekt’s Skyrim-encompassing Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and GRID 2 from the motorheads at Codemasters. Both are tipped for release on the next Xbox – naturally, neither developer is prepared to comment on such tall talk, though they told us plenty of other things, like how monster hunting works in The Witcher 3 and what racing has in common with Mixed Martial Arts.Our interviewee of the month is Crytek’s Cevat Yerli, a man who can be relied upon to make provocative remarks about console hardware. On the disc, meanwhile, you’ll find demos for F1 Race Stars, Home Run Stars, Serious Sam Double D XXL and Devil May Cry.

As always, you can buy the mag online with free postage, download a copy for iPad from Apple Newsstand, or nab an Android-friendly version from Zinio. Do consider taking out a subscription – those who indulge will get a free copy of Hitman Absolution Professional Edition, which includes a DLC voucher and an artbook.

Hope you enjoy the issue.