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Is Microsoft working on two new Xbox One consoles?

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Microsoft’s Xbox One has been playing catch up to Sony’s PlayStation 4 since the start of the current console generation in 2013. This kind of fall from grace from Microsoft is unexpected given the Xbox 360’s previous dominance over the PS3.

Many critics say the biggest flaws of the Xbox One boil down to two things: It’s underpowered compared to Sony’s video-game console; and, it’s big as hell.

It’s true that the Xbox One is much larger than the PS4, party because Microsoft wanted it to have better heat tolerance than its predecessor, especially after last generation’s “red ring of death” fiasco. It’s also true that the modern Xbox is lacking on the performance front, with games like Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, Destiny, and Metal Gear Solid V all running better on the PS4, which has a faster graphics processor.

Microsoft is well aware that many gamers aren’t big fans of its console, and the company is hoping to fix the problem before it’s too late. A new report from Kotaku claims Microsoft will launch a cheaper and slimmer Xbox One before the end of 2016.

And in 2017, it will be releasing a more powerful version of the console. Kotaku said the 2017 Xbox One, codenamed “Scorpio,” will have an upgraded GPU capable of supporting Facebook’s Oculus Rift. To that end, Microsoft is also rumored to be pursuing a partnership with the makers of the popular VR headset.

These latest developments look to keep the console maker in step with Sony’s future plans involving PlayStation VR and PlayStation Neo, a better version of the PlayStation 4 Sony has been reportedly working on.

Could a new Xbox One be Microsoft’s new lease on life? Will 2017 be the year of the Xbox? These questions, and more, will likely be addressed at Microsoft’s E3 press conference on June 13.

So, what are your thoughts on a potentially cheaper and slimmer Xbox One and an Xbox One refresh? Sound off in the comments below.

Gaming

Nike, Paul George unveil PlayStation-themed shoes

Features extra goodies for PS4 owners

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Basketball shoes are a way for fans to show their love for the game. However, Nike’s new shoes show appreciation for a different kind of game — the video game.

Sporting a PlayStation logo and a load of other gamer goodies, the PG2 is Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George’s latest collaboration with Nike. His second signature shoe with the sneaker company boasts both his twin loves — basketball and video games.

George, who previously played for the Indiana Pacers, is no stranger to collaborations with the gaming world. Last year, the star was featured on the cover of NBA 2K17, when he was still donning the blue and gold. In the same year, he also launched his first shoe, the PG1, which sported a cameo of his 2K17 render.

The PG2 shares a similar design with the PG1, particularly its traditional look compared to the standard bootie design today.

The shoe exudes a dark blue with black accents look. It shows off the PG brand and PlayStation logos on the right and left tongues, respectively. Mimicking the PS4’s DualShock controllers, both logos light up and pulse when activated by buttons. The lighting mechanism contains a 150-hour non-removable battery.

The shoe’s lace locks are painted red, green, blue, and pink to look like the iconic PlayStation symbols. The actual symbols themselves highlight the patented leather on the shoes’ sides.

Also, Sony lent its PlayStation Galaxy theme to the shoes’ sock liner and midsole. Splotches of red, purple, and blue accompany the Nike swoosh on the midsole. Meanwhile, the sock liner dons the stellar theme.

PlayStation gamers will also enjoy a digital goodie bag after purchasing the shoe. A PlayStation Network barcode on the right shoe unlocks access to a dynamic Paul George theme on the PS4. It will also unlock a surprise that George and designer Tony Hardman are keeping under wraps until its launch.

The PG2 PlayStation shoes will hit stores on February 10 at a modest US$ 110. Paul George himself debuted the shoes at the Thunder’s 24-point blowout win against the Cleveland Cavaliers last January 20.

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Gaming

Nintendo Labo transforms Switch using cardboard and creativity

Fun for kids and adults alike!

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You really have to hand it to Nintendo for truly maximizing the capabilities of their consoles. The latest creation comes in the form of Labo, which can make your Switch even more fun to play with using just cardboard.

Set to become available by April 20, Nintendo Labo is a DIY set that lets you build everyday tools that are fully compatible with the Switch’s main body and Joy-Con controllers. There are two sets to choose from: a Variety Kit that’ll retail for US$ 70 and a Robot Kit that’ll cost US$ 80.

Those may seem a little pricey and too close to the cost of an actual Switch when combined, but wait till you see Nintendo’s first trailer for Labo:

It’s a dream come true for fans of the Switch and DIY enthusiasts! The video shows off some of the creations you can make, including a functional 13-key piano, fishing rod, and motorbike. Those and more are part of the Variety Kit.

For those who want to unleash their inner mecha, the Robot Kit looks even more appealing. If the trailer turns out to be accurate, you can place yourself right into the action with a backpack mount, visor, and straps for your hands and feet. Again, these are mostly made of cardboard, making it all the more appealing and fun to play with.

Of course, paper alone isn’t enough to get these new games to run. Software will be bundled to complete the experience, as well as step-by-step instructions that are child-friendly and allow kids to learn how to build on their own.

Those lucky enough to reside in New York City or San Francisco can attend a three-hour Nintendo Labo Studio hands-on event on February 2 to 3 or March 2 to 4, respectively. You’re gonna have to bring a kid aged six to 12 to participate, however, according to the website’s rules.

For an additional US$ 20, you can also purchase a customization set loaded with sticker sheets, stencil sheets, and cutesy tape to modify your designs. All these seem like only the start of what Nintendo has planned for the future of the Switch, and we can’t wait to see more!

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CES 2018

Hyperkin remakes the Game Boy for 2018

Will cost less than $100

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The hunt for nostalgia drives a lot of the new releases in the gaming industry. Years to decades after their launch, beloved games and consoles are getting remasters and rereleases. The Game Boy will be the latest blast from the past to hop on the nostalgia train.

Nintendo, however, isn’t responsible for this trip down memory lane. Gaming peripherals company Hyperkin takes on the challenge of bringing the classic portable gaming machine back to life.

The very first Game Boy was released back in 1989. The handheld console would go through several versions until the Game Boy Micro in 2005, when it would bow out to the Nintendo DS. Because of its proficiency, the DS (and recently, the Switch) overshadowed the legacy created by the GB family.

Last year, the company has remade the NES, SNES, and Famicom home consoles into repackaged Classic Editions. The new editions would usher in a clamor for more retro consoles. It was only a matter of time before Nintendo got around to the Game Boy once again.

Hyperkin beat them to it. At CES 2018, they announced plans to release an updated version of the Game Boy that features optimized hardware and compatibility with the original games from before.

Called the Ultra Game Boy, the new console is made from aluminum, allowing for more durability than the original. The layout mimics that of the first, but includes an additional dial for backlight brightness. (Until the Advance SP, the original GB family had no backlighting.)

The Ultra GB also features a built-in rechargeable battery that boasts six hours of usage. Connectivity includes a USB Type-C port for charging and audio-out ones.

The catch? Unlike Nintendo’s re-released consoles, Hyperkin’s Ultra GB won’t come with a built-in suite of games. Owners will have to blow into their old collection of cartridges to play anything on the console.

Hyperkin hopes to launch the Ultra Game Boy by this year. It will come with a price tag that runs around the US$ 100 margin.

SEE ALSO: 5 must-have Nintendo Switch games that aren’t Zelda

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