The crew of OceanGate’s Titan submersible gets set for a dive of Titanic proportions. From left are Karl Stanley, Petros Mathioudakis, pilot Stockton Rush and Joel Perry. (OceanGate Photo) set a deep-diving record last week when a crew of four rode inside the Everett, Wash.-based company’s Titan submersible to the Titanic-level depth of 3,760 meters (12,336 feet) in the Bahamas. , which served as a test run for this summer’s trips to the wreck of the Titanic, marked the first time a non-military submersible carried more than three people to that depth, OceanGate said. “This dive was another important step toward deep-sea exploration to more people and places,” OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, who served as Titan’s chief pilot for the trip, . “We are developing technologies and designing submersibles and infrastructure that is making underwater exploration more accessible than ever before.” OceanGate said it took two hours for Titan to descend to the ocean floor, outside Little Harbor near Great Abaco Island in the Bahamas. Accompanying Rush on the ride were Joel Perry, president of OceanGate Expeditions; Karl Stanley, owner of Roatan Institute of Deepsea Exploration; and Petros Mathioudakis, field technician for 2G Robotics. Titan’s crew members spent an hour capturing 4K video imagery and testing 2G Robotics’ underwater laser scanner as they surveyed the ocean floor. The imagery and data will serve to calibrate the submersible’s instruments for the , about 2,000 miles north of the Bahamas in the Atlantic Ocean. The test missions in the Bahamas serve to demonstrate the safety of the composite-hulled submersible, which is equipped with sensors and a to ensure hull integrity during every dive. A representative from Lloyd’s Register validated last week’s dive. Titan crew members are silhouetted inside the submersible during their deep-sea dive in the Bahamas. Click on the picture to watch the video. (OceanGate via YouTube) OceanGate Expeditions has scheduled a series of dives to the 107-year-old Titanic shipwreck from June to August. Titan can carry up to five people at a time down to the site. The teams will including researchers and diving experts as well as mission specialists who are paying more than $100,000 each to take part in the adventure. Mathioudakis said the dive was a “life-changing experience.” “It was incredibly exciting to be part of this record-breaking crew,” he said. “The dive provided hands-on experience ahead of the Titanic expedition, and the information we gathered throughout the dive will help streamline how we capture data, perform scans and catalog data while at sea this summer.” Other crewed submersibles , but none of those deep-sea craft could carry more than three people at a time. The Deepsea Challenger, which took filmmaker James Cameron to the , could accommodate only one person. OceanGate plans to check in on the Titanic wreck repeatedly to document the condition of the debris field with a series of high-resolution, 3-D virtual renderings. Only a few spots remain for mission specialists on this year’s series of dives, and applications are already being taken for the 2020 season via the website.
The Xbox One X. (GeekWire Photo) In a fiscal year littered with firsts, Microsoft’s gaming division hit a new high water mark. RELATED: The division, which includes Xbox hardware, Xbox and software and services, revenue from games made by Microsoft as well as other studios, generated more than $10 billion in annual revenue for the first time. In the fourth quarter, revenue grew by a whopping 39 percent over the previous year to reach $2.29 billion. “In gaming, we are pursuing our expansive opportunity — from the way games are created and distributed to how they are played and viewed, surpassing $10 billion in revenue this year for the first time,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said on a call with investors Thursday. “We are investing aggressively in content, community and cloud services across every endpoint to expand usage and deepen engagement with gamers. The combination of Xbox Live, Game Pass subscriptions and Mixer are driving record levels of growth and engagement.” Microsoft is in a battle with Nintendo and Sony in the competitive gaming market. Microsoft’s banner year compares to a similarly strong performance, while Sony’s industry-leading gaming division put up big numbers once again. Nintendo, whose North American headquarters is just down the road from Microsoft’s Redmond, Wash., struck gold with the Nintendo Switch this year. The smash-hit console for its fiscal year ending in March, up 105 percent from the year before. Sony, with the PlayStation 4, is the and its financials reflect that. For the year ending in March, the company’s Game and Network Services division and $1.6 billion in profit for the year, more than any other part of the company. Xbox Live subscriptions actually declined this quarter, from 59 million in Q3 to 57 million, but that figure is still up 8 percent over a year ago. Microsoft’s streaming service last month, up from 10 million six months ago. Mixer, which on its one-year anniversary, competes with Twitch, the Amazon-owned streaming service that has more than . Microsoft is coming off the release of its newest and most powerful console, the Xbox One X, last year. In June, an eventful E3 conference saw Microsoft announce the and creation of a new one. The company also revealed that it is and a is on the way.