Weekend Roundup: Microsoft launches Xbox One in London, Apple and Google scam customers and Bitcoins skyrocket in value

Xbox One has lift off

If you were in Leicester Square last night and found yourself bathed in an eerie green glow, tailed by zombie cheerleaders and stared confusedly at a Roman legionnaire brandishing his broadsword at a gaggle of terrified tourists, don’t worry, your sanity is sound. Microsoft celebrated the imminent launch of its Xbox One console with a lavish party in the centre of London with special performances from Sway, Katy B and Plan B alongside appearances from celebrity guests like Andros Townsend and Emily Atack.

Despite an electric atmosphere to begin with, the event itself was riddled with technical faults including failed VTs and a disorganised schedule. Standing still for two hours in unfriendly November weather was also an uncomfortable experience for even the most hardy Xbox fan, with the crowds visibly shrinking as the evening went on.

Still, we reviewed the Xbox One console and have declared it a real triumph. It’s not just a gaming machine, but a comprehensive entertainment hub that allows you to voice control your TV, music, and Blu-ray as well. With the tagline “This is not next generation. This is a new generation,” Microsoft has begun paving the way for game consoles to become true all-in-one entertainment centres.

And you can get your hands on one today.

Apple and Google under fire for 'scamming' customers 

It was a bad start to the week for Apple and Google, who were left with a lot of explaining to do after a watchdog uncovered a more than 1,000 per cent mark up in price for extra storage on their tablet ranges.

Describing the revelation as “scandalous”, Which? revealed that whilst flash storage can be bought for £5.95, those who fork out for a 32GB iPad Air will be paying £80 more in a sky-high price hike.

Electronics giant, Amazon, was also found guilty of the practice, charging £40 for the storage increase on its Kindle Fire HDX 8.9.

However, many tablets, just like Apple’s iPads, have a sealed design that makes it almost impossible to install new hardware. It means that it is impossible for customers to bulk up their storage capacity with the cheaper option of microSD cards.

Apple and Google declined comment.

Bitcoin value skyrockets

If you hadn’t heard of Bitcoins a month ago, you almost certainly will have now. The virtual currency has been consistently in the headlines, with everyone and their tech-savvy granny debating their value, security and overall morality.

Well, this week a US Senate Committee was told that the virtual currency is legitimate by the FBI, and Bitcoins have suddenly surged in value.

The BBC reported that the currency rose to over $600 [£372] earlier today in advance of a Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing that was debating the digital money. Meanwhile, the intensity of recent media coverage also helped Bitcoins snowball in value; having stood at $200 [£124] at the end of October they clocked in on the 18th November at $619 [£384].

The committee will now look at the “promises and risks” that Bitcoin could provide for the “government and society at large” and will seek counsel from a number of stakeholders and experts on the currency, including representatives from the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange commission.