September 05, 2014, 6:12 AM —
If you've been on the fence about buying an Xbox One, next week might be a good time to take the plunge. From September 7-13 if you buy an Xbox One from 'participating retailers in the US' (and Microsoft isn't listing who they are; I assume most of the big chains) you can get your choice of an Xbox One game for free. The deal also applies to bundles. So you could pick up the Xbox One Madden 15 bundle for $400 and then get Destiny for free. At that point you're essentially getting the Xbox One hardware for $280 (since the two games are valued at $120).
You can get more details at Xbox Wire. Microsoft is clearly serious about taking market share back from Sony; deals like this one are a potent incentive to get gamers to upgrade/sidegrade to the Xbox One.
And to entice existing owners, Microsoft introduced a new program that lets Xbox Live Gold members play a game for free for an entire weekend. It starts this weekend with Forza 5. You can download and play the entire game from now (it actually started yesterday) until Sunday at 11:59 PST.
I'm hoping this is just the first in a regular schedule of free-play weekends for Xbox Live Gold. It's a system familiar to and enjoyed by Steam users. Maybe Sony will get a clue and stretch out their one hour trials to something a little bit longer.
Speaking of Sony, we actually have some Sony news this week. If you've been considering getting a Playstation Vita to work in tandem with your PS4, you might want to hold off a bit. Sony has announced that its new Z3 series of phones and a tablet will support Remote Play, just like the Vita does. You'll need to pair a DualShock
3 4 (aka Playstation 3 4) controller with your device for this all to work (and Sony will offer a mount to help with this), but I'd argue you could wind up with a better experience than Remote Play on the Vita since you'll have a controller with 4 shoulder buttons. (When you do Remote Play with the Vita two of the shoulder buttons are 'emulated' via the rear touch pad, and to me at least it feels kind of clunky.)
Engadget has a quick look at the Xperia X3 Tablet and they seem to like it. You'll be able to use Remote Play on these devices starting in November. Of course the Vita does more than just facilitate Remote Play, but if that is your primary reason for considering one you might want to wait a few months.
Yesterday when I was talking about Samsung's Gear VR I touched briefly on the idea that the device would probably be cheaper than an Oculus because the optics are in the phone. That was pure speculation on my part because we don't know the price of the Gear VR or the consumer model of the Oculus Rift.
On Wednesday Eurogamer posted a conversation it had with Oculus co-founders Palmer Luckey and Nate Mitchell at GamesCom. It's a good read and I encourage you to click through and take it all in, but one point touched on was the price of the consumer version of the Rift. Mitchell said they were targeting the $200-$400 range. That's a pretty big range, and Luckey added that it would be as cheap as possible.
Enthusiasts will buy a Rift no matter the cost but to gain anything close to mainstream acceptance I think they need to get it closer to $200 than $400; granted as with any new technology the price will drop over time.
I'm curious to know if my readers are interested in VR and if so, how much would you pay for a visor?
Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.