In this week’s news, Microsoft releases the preview version of an Xbox Family Settings app, Amazon’s foray into the hero shooter genre flops upon launch, and a company led by former HTC head Peter Chou announces plans to launch a new virtual reality headset later this year.
Microsoft teases new app that lets parents monitor screen time
Microsoft this week released a preview version of the Xbox Family Settings app, which manages what, when, and how children play on Xbox consoles. Engadget notes that the app can set time on a day-to-day basis, restrict communications with other players, set content filters, and even allow children to lobby for more screen time. The Verge points out that while many of these features aren’t new, the app is a much more convenient tool to manage play time than Microsoft’s current web portal. CNET speculates that the release of the app is a response to growing concerns over children’s screen time, especially as COVID-19 lockdown laws force children to play inside more than ever before.
Amazon’s big gaming launch flops
Despite launching just last week, Amazon Game Studio’s first AAA title, Crucible, is being labeled as a flop, writes Forbes and Kotaku. Although it’s free-to-play on Steam, Crucible has already come and gone from the top 100 charts. Business Insider goes in-depth about the game’s statistics, noting that only two days after launch fewer than 5,000 people were playing at any given time. The article continues to explain that for a “premium” game these statistics would be poor, but for a high budget, free-to-play title such as Crucible, they are unimaginable. PC Invasion writes that while the game shows promise, the execution just isn’t there and until several issues are fixed, Crucible will not find the audience Amazon is looking for.
XRSpace announces bold vision for upcoming headset
XRSpace, a company led by former HTC head Peter Chou, plans to launch a new virtual reality headset later this year. Dubbed “Mova”, the headset will include 5G support, a hand tracking interface, and an expansive virtual world called “Manova”. VentureBeat comments that the COVID-19 crisis could be VR’s moment to take off, and applauds the strategic timing of this announcement. GamesIndustry.biz states that the 64GB Oculus Quest, which also offers hand-tracking, is almost $200 cheaper than Mova, however, and that the price difference may end up being too much for XRSpace to compete with. TechRadar echoes this sentiment, noting its skepticism of the grand promises seen in the official trailer. Mova is priced at $599 and will enter the market in Q3 2020.