Microsoft’s Xbox strikes back at Nintendo TVii with R2 acquisition

microsofts xbox strikes back at nintendo tvii with r2 acquisition smartglass

Microsoft continues to expand its home entertainment empire. The Xbox 360 is already positioning itself as the set top box of the future, growing its base of video and television apps at an increasing rate—Xbox Live saw 40 new entertainment apps released in December alone. Even though Windows 8 hasn’t yet connected with audiences, it’s positioned to link the world of Xbox console and PC for an all-encompassing home entertainment business. The Xbox 720 may be more than just a hub for entertainment in the home, though. Based on Microsoft’s latest corporate acquisition, it could be an interface for all home appliances.

The Wall Street Journal (via Venture Beat) reported on Thursday that Microsoft acquired the startup id8 Group R2 Studios for an undisclosed amount. The purchase ended a small scale bidding war for the company between Apple, Google, and Microsoft.

Those tech giants wanted R2 for its home automation technologies, as well as the patents related to them. Blake Krikorian, founder of streaming media tech company Slingbox, opened R2 Studios for business in 2012 moving into the realm of smartphone and tablet apps that control various appliances. R2 released just one app as an independent company, R2 Control for Creston, which turns handheld devices into remote controls for any Creston automation system. (Creston creates systems for controlling lighting, heat, etc. in homes and businesses.)

According to the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft wants R2 first and foremost for the Xbox brand, likely to enhance the nascent Xbox Smartglass. More people would probably use Xbox Smartglass if it could control their home entertainment set up and even the lights in their living room rather than just showing them an IMDB page for movies rented from Xbox Video.

Microsoft’s interest in R2 and its patents is only logical. The video game console business has already started to push beyond content. Nintendo’s new Wii U console is a prime example. The GamePad’s most innovative feature is arguably its dual service as both game controller and television remote. The combination of television control, the fledgling Nintendo TVii service unifying both streaming and live television access, and game remote gives the Wii U great prominence in a family living room. With Microsoft’s grand designs on competing (or partnering with) cable companies, R2’s tech will likely be a key component of the next Xbox. 

Computing

'World's best gaming processor'? We put Intel's new i9 through the ringer

Intel has launched the first Core i9 for the average gamer. Despite some controversies around its release, it’s the fastest gaming processor we’ve yet tested.
Gaming

Have problems with your Xbox One? We have the solutions

The Xbox One has evolved over the years, but so have its problems. Thankfully, we have solutions for some of the console's most enduring problems, whether you're experiencing issues with connectivity or your discs.
Deals

The best Nintendo Switch deals and bundles for October 2018

Looking to score Nintendo's latest hybrid console? We've smoked out the best Nintendo Switch deals right here, including discounts on stand-alone consoles as well as bundles that feature games like Fortnite and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Gaming

The hottest Nintendo Switch games you can get right now

The Nintendo Switch's lineup started off small, but games have steadily released as the console continues through its second year. Here are the best Nintendo Switch games available now, from Super Mario Odyssey to Fortnite.
Smart Home

LG’s Colosseo smart sofa is the comfiest piece of tech in your home

LG has partnered with Italian furniture brand Natuzzi to produce the Colosseo, a connected sofa with five custom scenarios to provide maximum comfort for watching TV, reading, or just relaxing.
Gaming

Who needs a sharpshooter when you have our 'Fortnite' shooting gallery guide

Fortnite season 6, week 4 challenges are here and with it comes the shooting gallery challenge. We show you where to find the shooting gallery locations and what kind of guns to use.
Product Review

Huawei’s monster Mate 20 X makes the Galaxy Note 9 look small

The Huawei Mate 20 X has a 7.2-inch screen, but is surprisingly manageable to hold, yet still a little too big to carry around. Huawei’s pushing the phone’s ability as a mobile gaming handheld, challenging the Nintendo Switch.
Gaming

Rockstar Games employees defend work culture following controversy

Rockstar Games employees have taken to social media to speak out about working conditions following the controversial comment about 100-hour work weeks made by co-founder Dan Houser in an interview.
Home Theater

They’re not just for gaming: Watch Blu-rays on the Xbox One S and Xbox One X

While the Xbox One S and Xbox One X boost the visuals of your games, they also can pull double-duty as Blu-ray players, but there's a bit of set up needed. Need help? Here's our guide on how to watch Blu-rays on the Xbox One S and X.
Gaming

More days gone: Sony moves zombie exclusive ‘Days Gone’ to April

Sony has delayed the PlayStation 4 exclusive Days Gone to April. It was previously bumped from a 2018 release window into February, 2019, but Sony Bend apparently needs more time to add polish.
Gaming

Annual game releases are boring. Try a quirky indie game for the PS4 instead

While big budget games rely on practical innovation, indie games dive head first into new, unexplored territories. If the quirky and unusual appeal to you, take a look at our list of the best indie games on PS4.
Gaming

Here's where Xur is and what he has for wares this week in 'Destiny 2: Forsaken'

The weekly vendor in Destiny 2: Forsaken always brings Exotic weapons and armor, some of the toughest loot to find in the game. Here's everything you need to know to track down Xur: Where he is, when he shows up, and what he's stocking.
Gaming

‘Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’ adds Black Market system to dress up your soldier

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 added the Black Market system to PS4 today, giving players new ways to unlock and acquire additional customization items, such as outfits for Specialists.
Computing

In 2018, the rivalry between AMD and Intel has become more interesting than ever

When it comes to selecting a CPU for your PC, there's no shortage of chips for you to choose from. With Ryzen, Threadripper, and Core i9 CPUs though, the AMD vs. Intel argument is muddier than ever.