Sony Moves a Step Closer to Its Game Vision

Standard

More than a decade ago, the Sony Corp. executive credited as the “Father of the PlayStation” predicted that one day videogames wouldn’t require a console, because the hardware would eventually “melt” into a network that linked players together. All they would need, Ken Kutaragi said, is a display and a controller.

The Big Game Battle

Standard

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.

Apple’s Retail Secret: Full Service Stores

Standard

Steve Jobs turned Apple Inc. into the world’s most valuable technology company with high-tech products like the iPad and iPhone. But one anchor of Apple’s success is surprisingly low tech: its chain of brick-and-mortar retail stores.

A look at confidential training manuals, a recording of a store meeting and interviews with more than a dozen current and former employees reveal some of Apple’s store secrets. They include: intensive control of how employees interact with customers, scripted training for on-site tech support and consideration of every store detail down to the pre-loaded photos and music on demo devices.

Microsoft’s New Xbox Girds for a Smartphone Battle

Standard

Microsoft Corp. will unveil its new Xbox on Tuesday. What’s underneath the hood of the latest videogame console represents a multiyear odyssey of trying to figure out how to keep the machine “cool” in the age of smartphones and tablets.

Since the last Xbox debuted in 2005, Microsoft has produced multiple prototypes for a new console and experimented with different technologies for it, said people familiar with the matter. The company has looked at streaming games from far-away servers to the latest Xbox; sending recorded videos of game exploits on the Web from the console; and including various television technologies, these people said.