Microsoft Merges PC and Xbox, Kiddle Causes Controversy… [Tech News Digest]

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Microsoft unifies its gaming platforms, Kiddle coddles kiddies, Sony kills off PlayStation TV, Reddit 3016 takes a look at the future, and Gerard Butler answers questions sourced from Google.

Microsoft Brings Xbox Games to PC

Microsoft is seeking to unify the PC and Xbox into one gaming ecosystem, with games released in the future working on both platforms. In addition to this, Xbox hardware will become more PC-like, with hardware upgrades available to those who want them. These two things combined represent a massive gamble for Microsoft.

Essentially, Xbox games will be Universal Windows Applications (UWAs) — see here if you’re confused — meaning they will also work on Windows on PC and (if the hardware is up to it) on tablets and smartphones too. As for the hardware, Microsoft wants to break away from the traditional console cycle which keeps everyone using the same machine for several years before the next one is released.

As Phil Spencer, head of the company’s Xbox division, stated:

“In other [consumer technology] ecosystems you get more continuous innovation in hardware that you rarely see in consoles because consoles lock the hardware and software platforms together at the beginning and they ride the generation out for seven years or so. We’re allowing ourselves to decouple our software platform from the hardware platform on which it runs.”

The problem with this is that console gamers are console gamers for a reason. If they wanted to continuously upgrade their machines in order to play the latest and greatest games they would be PC gamers. Microsoft may want the Xbox One to behave more like a PC, but there is little evidence the average console gamer wants anything of the sort.

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Kiddle: The Search Engine for Children

Kiddle is a new search engine aimed at children. Powered by Google safe search, but with no official affiliation with the Internet giant, Kiddle aims to give children a better way of searching the Web. Unfortunately, not everybody is happy with what words and phrases are being blocked.

As reported by BBC News, LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transsexual) search queries are blocked, even though lots of children turn to the Internet for information on these issues. The people behind Kiddle claim they “cannot guarantee the safety” of such searches. “Sex Education” has been blocked for the same reasons.

Kiddle seems, on the surface at least, like a good idea, but it has its limitations, especially as it’s subject to the idiosyncratic beliefs of its moderators. Parents would be better off creating their own sanitized version of Google based on the words and phrases they themselves deem inappropriate.

The PlayStation TV Is Dead

It looks as though the PlayStation TV, a micro-console designed to help you game in any room in your house, is dead. Sony has discontinued shipments to the United States and Europe, and the device is slowly being phased out in Japan. Sony has issued a statement on the matter, saying:

“PS TV shipments were terminated at the end of 2015 in SCEA [Sony Computer Entertainment America] and SCEE [Sony Computer Entertainment Europe]. Shipment is still continuing in SCEAsia (as of the end of February, 2016), and we have nothing to announce regarding the timing of termination.”

We can only assume sales were so low that Sony felt the need to kill PlayStation TV just one year after launch. Why? Because fewer people than Sony expected were interested in gaming in rooms other than the one their PlayStation 4 was in. The PS Vita has also sold well, further curtailing demand for this particular product.

What Will Reddit Look Like In 3016?

Reddit is a website you will either love or hate, but it’s one of the tent-poles of the modern Internet, whether you like it or not. However, have you ever wondered what “the front page of the Internet” will look like in 1,000 years? No, neither have we, but we know a guy who has.

Blair Erickson spent four years creating a version of Reddit as it could appear in 3016. Called Reddit 3016, it’s filled with futuristic takes on the companies, celebrities, and stories of today, offering a wry look at what’s popular on Reddit in 2016 through the eyes of someone from the future.

It’s a phenomenal undertaking, with working links and everything. However, Reddit doesn’t seem too keen on being parodied in this way, as all references to Reddit 3016 are being purged from the site. Which suggests a thin skin I have never previously associated with Reddit top brass or the moderators who do their bidding.

Gerard Butler Answers Google Queries

And finally, if you’re any kind of celebrity you’ll have a presence on Google. Hell, even a lot of us proles do thanks to a lack of making sure we’re keeping things as private as we should be doing. And if you’re a Hollywood A-lister, Google can throw up some extremely interesting questions.

Take Gerard Butler, for example, who, keen to promote his new movie London Has Fallen, gave an interview in which all of the questions were set by Google Search. Or, more specifically, by the common questions people type into Google. So, we now know he’s alive but not Irish, amongst other things. [H/T Wired]

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Do you like Microsoft plans to unify the PC and Xbox One? Do you like the idea of Kiddle? Do you have any interest in the PlayStation TV? What will the world look like in 3016? Does your name elicit any strange Google Search results?

Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.

Tech News Digest is a daily column paring the technology news of the day down into bite-sized chunks that are easy to read and perfect for sharing.

Image Credit: Cathy Smith via Flickr

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