Xbox One’s final batch of backward-compatible games released; Too Human free

Xbox One backward compatibility batch revealed. This is it.

Xbox One will be ending its backwards compatibility soon, and Microsoft has released the final batch of supported games. The list will add a total of 23 new games to the backwards-compatible list, alongside 8 games that’ll be getting Xbox One X enhanced updates. Just quickly glancing at the list brings some nostalgic memories to … Read more Xbox One’s final batch of backward-compatible games released; Too Human free

Change your Xbox gamertag to the name you’ve always wanted

Get the name you've always wanted.

Hate your gamertag on Xbox Live? Hate no more! Microsoft will be expanding how its current gamertag system naming process works. Players will be able to soon pick any name they want, similar to how Steam and Discord currently work. There will be a display name tied to an account name. The display name can … Read more Change your Xbox gamertag to the name you’ve always wanted

Minecraft Earth: Explore Minecraft at “life size” in real life

minecraft earth

Minecraft Earth is a new game coming out to mobile phones made by Microsoft. The game features augmented reality (AR) and was revealed over the past couple of weeks. They officially announced it yesterday during the Minecraft decade celebration, alongside their sales numbers of over 176M copies. Minecraft Earth is the next entry into the … Read more Minecraft Earth: Explore Minecraft at “life size” in real life

Minecraft at 176M copies sold; Best-selling game of all time?

Minecraft sales

Minecraft has now sold over 176M copies across all platforms worldwide. Microsoft and Mojang have come together to announce the staggering numbers of their blocky adventure game. Over the last 10 years, the game has sold 176M copies now. Minecraft took the world by storm when it was in its peak, and even though interest … Read more Minecraft at 176M copies sold; Best-selling game of all time?

Diskless Xbox One S confirmed for EU, 1TB, $250 USD

Xbox finally rolls out the diskless version.

The all-digital Xbox One is happening, after much speculation and rumors, it’s now unveiled. Microsoft has been under covers recently and over the last few months, fans have been talking about a new Xbox One that has no optical drive. Thus, it’s called an all-digital Xbox One. The console has no disk drive to shove … Read more Diskless Xbox One S confirmed for EU, 1TB, $250 USD

343 has no plans to include Halo 5 for The Master Chief Collection on PC

The Halo MCC for PC won't have Halo 5 packaged at this point.

343 Industries has no plans to bring Halo 5 to the lineup for The Master Chief Collection on PC. During an Inside Xbox session, 343 was there and announced that they’ll be bringing over The Master Chief Collection to the PC. And Halo reach would also be part of that lineup of games that’ll be … Read more 343 has no plans to include Halo 5 for The Master Chief Collection on PC

Microsoft’s Wireless Display App lets you stream your PC to your Xbox One

This app lets you stream to your Xbox from your PC.

As Sony has the Sony PlayStation Remote App, Xbox One now has the Wireless Display App. This thing will let you stream your PC to your Xbox One, so it’s kinda like Sony’s streaming app in reverse. Microsoft already lets you stream from your Xbox One to your PC, so this app lets you do … Read more Microsoft’s Wireless Display App lets you stream your PC to your Xbox One

March Games with Gold list revealed – 3450G

Games with Gold revealed for March.

This month’s games with gold for Xbox subscribers has been released. But let it was actually released a few days ago as far as part of and what’s the titles are still accurate to today. The only difference is that Adventure Time Pirates of The Enchiridion replaces the Cobalt game that was previously speculated. The … Read more March Games with Gold list revealed – 3450G

Halo Wars 2 and Halo Wars: Definitive Edition will be free this weekend for Xbox Gold subs

Halo Wars free.

Xbox Gold subs will get access Halo Wars: Definitive Edition and Halo Wars 2 for free this weekend. You can play a whole weekend of the Halo multiplayer games for free this weekend. The free weekend starts on Sunday, February 24 at 11:59 PT. You’ll be able to play the game throughout the weekend. And if you … Read more Halo Wars 2 and Halo Wars: Definitive Edition will be free this weekend for Xbox Gold subs

Get the original Crackdown for free on Xbox One

Get the original Crackdown for free on Xbox One 1

Grab yourself a free copy of the original Crackdown for Xbox this week. microsoft is giving away free copies of Crackdown which was releasd on the Xbox 360 originally for the whopping price of $0. There’s no requirement to get yourself a copy other than to simply sign in to your account and snag one. … Read more Get the original Crackdown for free on Xbox One

Microsoft patents new trigger designs for Xbox One controller

Microsoft patents new trigger designs for Xbox One controller 2

Patents coming from Microsoft are now suggesting that new features and improvements to the Xbox One controller may be in the works. Even though this has nothing to do with the Xbox 2 or the PS5 both speculated to release in 2020, Microsoft isn’t done playing with the Xbox One yet. After seeing an original VCR … Read more Microsoft patents new trigger designs for Xbox One controller

Xbox Game Pass getting trio of titles next week

Xbox Game Pass getting trio of titles next week 3

Xbox Game Pass will be getting three more titles in the coming week.

The first game is The Gardens, which is already available today. The game is developed by The Voxel Agents and is a positively-received puzzle game which was previously available on PS4 and PC.

The next game is Mutant Year Zero, which drops on Tuesday, December 4. It’s a strategy game similar to XCOM in some ways and comes from The Bearded Ladies Consulting Team and is set to roll out on PC and PS4 on the same day. It’s a weird strategy game that has anthropomorphized animals and humans in the same universe.

The last game of the trio is Strange Brigade, which comes on Thursday, December 6. The game is a co-op game from Rebellion, which also made the Sniper Elite and Alien Vs. Predator games.

Game Pass is Microsoft’s library of all-you-can-play games currently with over 100 AAA and indie titles. The library includes all first-party games on launch day and many other popular games including Forza Horizon 4, Sea of Thieves, Halo 5: Guardians, Hitman, and State of Decay 2. Games are rotated but can be played as much as you want for a flat rate of $9.99 per month.

This service has been speculated to be coming to the PC eventually, but details are sparse.

Microsoft releasing (another) Xbox One refresh Spring 2019; Disc-less, $100 cheaper

Microsoft releasing (another) Xbox One refresh Spring 2019; Disc-less, $100 cheaper 4

A report released earlier today claims that Microsoft is working on a new disc-less Xbox One console in 2019 by Thurrott. This would be the third console refresh for the Xbox One so far, with the original being the Xbox One, followed the Xbox One S, then the Xbox One X. Do we really need that many refreshes? Why not just make the next-gen Xbox and compete with the PS5, which has already garnered some attention with its (finally) backward compatible emulation.

There hasn’t been any solid confirmation regarding this from the big M, but the report details show that the console will release sometime next year and not allow users to insert any physical discs into the Xbox. Microsoft is also releasing a new “disc to digital” program that allows users to turn the physical discs magically into a digital format. Well, not actual magic is involved in the process. It’s just swapping a code at specific retailers.

Why would Microsoft be doing this when they could just release the next Scarlett console? The report states that they want to lower the price of a new console by $100 due to no disc drive. But would people still want to buy this current-gen when they can go next-gen? We’ll have to see.

The report also states:

“The company also has a revised Xbox One S SKU that is targeted for later in the year that focuses solely on cost reduction but does feature a disc-drive for those who still prefer the traditional way to buy your games.”

Microsoft still hasn’t decided on whether Scarlett will come with disc drives or not, but a decision will be made “shortly.” right now, the disc-less Xbox One will arrive Spring 2019 and is already in production according to the report. Then again, we haven’t heard news from many other media outlets so this could be a dud entirely. We’ll find out soon enough.

Source: DualShockers.

Subnautica confirmed for PS4; Xbox One gets a full release (V1.0)

Subnautica confirmed for PS4; Xbox One gets a full release (V1.0) 5

Subnautica has been confirmed for the PS4 and the release date has been announced in a news post on the game’s official page. While PC and Xbox One owners can already experience this amazing title, PS4 players have been shut out- until now.

Subnautica has garnered plenty of media attention and received positive praise for its gameplay, which is mainly an underwater survival game. The game has players finding themselves in an alien world after escaping from a sinking ship with an escape pod.

Players then have to explore, collect, build, and attempt to get rescued with the game’s storyline. The game is a survival game at its core with a basic storyline that tells the lore of the game and is mostly communicated via radio transmissions.

Although the game isn’t an endless exploration title, it sure does feel like it when you’re playing it for the first time. As you wander farther from your pod, you’ll start to encounter some deep underwater caves and creatures that lurk where light can’t even shine. You’ll have to build up the tech tree in order to explore dangerous areas.

Subnautica has been received plenty of positive feedback for being a game that’ll immerse you into its world and is plenty scary with its creatures- even though it’s not regarded as a horror game. There have been many content updates from the developer (for free) Unknown Worlds Entertainment based on community feedback.

The game is currently only available for PC, but PlayStation owners will be able to snag a copy of Subnautica next month on December 4, 2018. Developer Unknown Words Entertainment said they plan for this release date given that no delays take place:

“We’re very confident we will hit December 4th, but we can never be 100% sure of any date, ever. Game development is a wild ride. Unexpected issues could still cause a last minute delay. If something happens, we will keep you updated.”

Subnautica for PS4 will be available digitally on the PS Store and on physical disks for collectors. North American players should see discs in major retailers on the release date. European players will have to wait for just a tad for the physical disc to be released on December 7, 2018.

The game will also get the much-anticipated Below Zero standalone expansion at a later date for the PC. As for the Xbox One and PS4, it’s currently unconfirmed whether or not the expansion will be rolling out on the platform.

Subnautica is currently released as a full game for PC and in early access for Xbox One. The PS4 and Xbox One will both be getting a physical disc or digital download on the same date- December 4, 2018. Xbox One owners will get a full update to the full 1.0 release on launch day. PS4 owners will get the complete game.

The developer is also “super excited” about this upcoming console game release for PS4:

“This is going to be Unknown World’s first console release. We are traditionally a PC game developer. So we are super nervous, and super excited. We are thankful to Panic Button & Gearbox Publishing for working with us to bring Subnautica to PlayStation.”

PS4 players can now get immersed in the horrifying, yet beautiful experience that is underwater with Subnautica. If you haven’t played the game before and want to check out some more details, you can head over to Steam. The game retails for $24.99 at the time of this writing. Xbox One owners can get it on the Microsoft Store for the same MSRP. PS4 players will likely pay the same price (or get a steep discount on launch, as the dev is known to do).

Here’s the official post from Unknown Worlds:

“The wait is nearly over. Subnautica is coming to PlayStation 4 on December 4th, 2018. You will be able to buy Subnautica digitally or on a physical disk. If you are in Europe, physical disk sales will start three days later, on December 7th.

Want a reminder on launch day? Sign up to the Subnautica Playstation newsletter, and we will email you the moment Subnautica is available.

It’s important we be honest about dates. We’re very confident we will hit December 4th, but we can never be 100% sure of any date, ever. Game development is a wild ride. Unexpected issues could still cause a last minute delay. If something happens, we will keep you updated.

This is going to be Unknown World’s first console release. We are traditionally a PC game developer. So we are super nervous, and super excited. We are thankful to Panic Button & Gearbox Publishing for working with us to bring Subnautica to PlayStation.

Thank you to everyone that pushed us to release on PlayStation. Your tweets, emails, and other messages were instrumental in bringing about the decision to bring Subnautica to consoles. We are grateful for your patience as we have navigated the unfamiliar waters of PlayStation development.

Come launch day, we will need your help to spread the word that Subnautica is available on PlayStation. If you want to share the news, follow @SubnauticaPS on Twitter, Subnautica Playstation on Facebook, and sign up to the Subnautica Playstation newsletter.

– Unknown Worlds

PUBG on Xbox One is free for a limited time

PUBG on Xbox One is free for a limited time 6

With the rumor that PUBG will be appearing on PS4 in December and with Xbox’s XO18 event on Saturday, November 10, the once most popular battle royale game is now free on Xbox One.

The game is free to download for a limited time, which is perfect for players who were always tempted to buy the game on console but couldn’t decide between console and PC. With a normal price tag of $29.99, the game is now absolutely free to download. And keep forever.

PUBG on Xbox first released on September 4 with the V1.0 game update, but was previously available as early access or “game preview” ever since December 2017.

The weird part is that even though a smash hit like this is free, there has been no news from PUBG or Xbox yet making the announcement. But if you go to the Xbox Store, the game is listed as free for a limited time. This likely has to do with the “big PUBG news” announcement that’ll take place at XO18 this weekend- alongside the PUBG on PS4 rumor.

With the battle royale market being so fiercely competitive, this could be a marketing attempt to pull more players back to the game. Although it’ll likely never reach its former glory, there’s still a decent playerbase.

Fortnite, which is king in sheer number of players, is already free to play and always has been with no disadvantageous microtransactions. This is probably why the game took off. And Blackout mode from Call of Duty is another competitor that does battle royale to the extreme, but it comes with a hefty one-time payment of $60 ($45 at Target on Black Friday).

XO18 will take place this Saturday and the major announcements will roll out. Stay tuned for details and coverage of the panel.

Get the game free on the Microsoft Store right now for a limited time only.

Sunset Overdrive may be coming to PC; ESRB rating confirmed

Sunset Overdrive may be coming to PC; ESRB rating confirmed 7

While the majority of Microsoft first-party titles are on Xbox One and PC, Insomniac Games’ Sunset Overdrive is one of the few titles that never made it to the PC. Xbox One owners are just fine with the decision, but PC players are missing out on one of the more popular titles published by Microsoft.

However, the third-person wacky shooter may be finally coming to the PC. Gematsu reported earlier today that Sunset Overdrive has been rated by the ERSB for PC. The game was rated M for Mature, just like on the Xbox One- which is to no surprise.

While ratings leaked from Taiwan and Korea are often duds, an ESRB rating is basically confirmation that Sunset Overdrive will show up for the PC eventually in some way, form, or shape. A PC version was rated by the Korean Game Ratings Board back in May which only further solidifies the event.

Insomniac Games’ recent release Marvel’s Spider-Man has shattered sales records, so porting the game from Xbox One to PC may be a safe bet for their next project to keep the momentum going. They also may be bringing other Marvel games to consoles and PC. Many PC players haven’t experienced the Microsoft-published Sunset Overdrive yet, and when it comes to PC, they will. Even if it’s limited to the Microsoft Windows Store, players will likely be picking up a copy.

We’re not sure when Microsoft will unveil the PC port but hang tight for an announcement. Microsoft is holding XO18 soon, and that’ll be a perfect place for an announcement. They’ve recently revealed that they want to bring Xbox Game Pass to PC, their $9.99 a month library of rotating games which has fared well on Xbox One. Considering that Sunset Overdrive is part of the library, it wouldn’t be surprising to see it becoming available on the PC.

Sunset Overdrive is currently available for the Xbox One. You can check it out on Amazon. Or if you prefer to play the game with a ton of other titles, you can grab a Game Pass from Amazon.

 

This post contains affiliate links where barrelrolled may receive a small commission upon sales. (This helps us feed our writers the good brand of ramen noodles rather than the generic, store brand.)

New titles coming to Xbox Games Pass; Sniper Elite 4, Sheltered, and more

New titles coming to Xbox Games Pass; Sniper Elite 4, Sheltered, and more 8

Microsoft has now announced a new batch of games which will be coming to Xbox Game Pass to start off the month. Xbox Game Pass is a subscription-based program that offers a rotating library of games for $9.99 a month. You can think of it as the Netflix of Xbox.

The most noteworthy title coming soon is Sniper Elite 4– which is the most recent entry in the series which was released just last year in 2017. The other games are indie skateboarding game Olli Olli 2 XL Edition and the post-apocalyptic game Sheltered. Lastly, Rise and Shine and Grip: Combat Racing will be the final additions.

Microsft has said that these titles won’t be the only game hitting the program as they have some hidden surprises to reveal during XO18, which will be shown off in a special edition of Inside Xbox during XO18.

This is a lot of good news for Game Pass, as it’s obvious Microsoft is trying to promote the program aggressively. With special entry offers and even rumors that they’re incorporating the service for PC gamers, it must be very profitable. Though we’re not sure when this will take place, we can keep our eyes peeled for an announcement at XO18.

Microsoft’s Game Pass may be coming to PC

Microsoft's Game Pass may be coming to PC 9

Microsoft recently had a conference call for its Fiscal Year 2019 Q1 earnings. A transcript from the call at SeekingAlpha noted something pretty exciting for PC gamers who want to get a piece of the action. Satya Nadella, an employee at Microsoft, said that “bringing Game Pass to the PC is going to be a big element of that.”

The Xbox Game Pass is a subscription service that allows players to pay $9.99/month and get unlimited access to a rotating library of games. The service has added in new game monthly, and many of them are console exclusives. Players also get all first-party titles on launch day as part of the payment plan.

Eurogamer reports that Game Pass may be on PC soon enough. The transcript reads:

“So given that structural position, we are going to make sure that we keep increasing the strength of the community. You see that already with Minecraft going to all platforms and that increasing the intensity of the community and you’ll see us do more of that. Obviously, bringing Game Pass to even the PC is going to be a big element of that.”

The program has been very successful since its debut on June 1st this year, and it seems like a good move to move it to PC to capture more of the market. But questions like what games? PC games only? Does it include console games? And will it be a separate version compared to the console version? Hopefully, we’ll see some answers to these burning questions as we get more details regarding the news.

Kingdom Hearts III will be playable (again) at XO18

Kingdom Hearts III will be playable (again) at XO18 10

Microsoft just announced that one of the biggest upcoming third-party games will be presented at XO18 next month. The game none other than Square Enix’s Kingdom Hearts III, which will have its own presentation and show and will be playable for all those in attendance at the event. Attendees will be able to play a working copy of Kingdom Hearts III at the event.

The announcement came yesterday via the Xbox Mexico Twitter account. Fans weren’t that surprised, as the news was expected since Kingdom Hearts III has been playable at every major convention ever since E3.

Kingdom Hearts III will release next year on January 25th for PS4 and Xbox One. XO18 launches next month with a special episode to show it off planned for November 10th on Xbox’s own program- Inside Xbox. Maybe we’ll finally see some more details about the game’s storyline at the event next month. Sit tight for updates.

Tropico 4 and Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy added to Xbox One Backward Compatibility list

Tropico 4 and Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy added to Xbox One Backward Compatibility list 11

This month will ring in two new titles for the Xbox One Backward Compatibility list. The two titles are pretty random and have no logical reasoning behind them- at least from a consumer’s perspective.

Usually, when games join the list, there’s some logic to it. For instance, last week’s additions were the entire Crysis series going backward compatible on the Xbox One. And the week before that, the older Tomb Raider games were added.

But this week, Xbox gets Tropico 4 and LEGO Star WarsII: The Original Trilogy. If either of these games tickle your fancy, you can now play them on your Xbox One as they’re the newest games to join the party of backward compatible games.

LEGO Star Wars II joins the LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga, which was already part of the list and makes no logical sense. Tropico 4 marks the first Xbox 360 era Tropico game that’s been added to the Xbox One.

Regardless, Microsoft has been coming through with its Xbox One Backward Compatilbity list, which is leagues ahead of Sony. This may be why Sony is filing for backward compatibility via emulation for the next-gen PS5.

 

 

Xbox One October 2018 update; New Avatars, Dolby Vision, Alexa support

Xbox One October 2018 update; New Avatars, Dolby Vision, Alexa support 12

The latest update for Xbox One is a huge one. Microsoft’s latest October 2018 update for the Xbox One is headlined by the return of Xbox Avatars with a new look and style.

The update went live today and introduces the “new Xbox Avatars.” This update was supposed to be launched last year since it’s been in development ever since the reveal at last year’s E3 conference. Microsoft has delayed the release and started a beta program with Xbox Insiders this June. Now, the update is live and ready to deploy.

So, let’s get to the details.

Players can now easily customize themselves with an expanded take on personalization. Your new Avatar will show up on your profile pages, feed, community posts, and pretty much anywhere you can make yourself show up. You can also switch back to the original Avatars if you don’t like the new ones- AKA Xbox 360 Avatars.

The new Avatars offer plenty of customizations such as a variety of body types, clothing, and gender-neutral selections. People with disabilities can also represent themselves with the use of prosthetics and such. Naturally, skin hair, clothing, and accessories can all be customized indivually to the player’s choice- all the way down to the color of the object. Players can also buy themed merchandise from popular games like Halo in the Avatar Store.

Besides Avatars, the new update also adds support for both Cortana and Alexa for voice control. This means you can ask Amazon’s Alexa to launch a game or shut down the Xbox. Players who use Amazon devices can now integrate it with their Xbox if they’d rather use Alexa over Microsoft’s Cortana.

Another feature is the awesome support for Dolby Vision. The update can be used for Xbox One X and S, but only for streaming apps, not 4K Blu-Rays. Right now, you can test out Dolby Vision in video apps like Netflix (if you have the right 4K HD plan). However, other apps will soon support the same update.

Lastly, there will be a special offer for players interested in Xbox- Microsoft will give a free Amazon Echo for players who buy select Xbox One S or X bundles at Amazon. This offer is limited to US residents only.

This is a huge update and adds a lot of improvement to the overall capabilities of Xbox’s online service and gives it the boot over Sony’s limited feature set. PS4 can only support HDR to HDR10 standards. Though, Sony has been making headlines recently with the ability to finally change PSN usernames and backward compatibility for the PS5.

Source: Polygon

Halo Infinite won’t be covered at X018: “Nothing currently planned”

Halo Infinite won't be covered at X018: "Nothing currently planned" 13

Microsoft’s X018 event takes place next month. It’s an event where they’ll step out and announce a variety of projects, reveals, and other goodies that fans will undoubtedly get hyped over. The event takes place during a special episode of Inside Xbox.

Fans have been speculating that there will surely be some Halo Infinite news during the show- the fourth game in the long-running Halo series that dates back to the original Xbox. If you’re one of them, you shouldn’t hold your breath. A tweet from 343 Industries Director of Community, Brian Jarrard, they have absolutely no news to reveal during the event, or is just covering up the news?

He said this in a tweet replying to a fan, saying that there’s “nothing currently planned for X018.” Jarrard did, however, mention about when and where they’ll end up giving out the news about the next Microsoft exclusive- just not at X018. So Halo fans, don’t get trigger finger primed just yet.

You can see the tweet here:

Halo Infinite’s reveal at E3 was one of the features of the entire presentation. Microsoft hasn’t really said anything else about the game since then. Then again, what if Jarrard is just covering up the excitement at XO18? We’ll find out.

Stay tuned for coverage.

Forza Horizon 4 promo event in Australia goes all out

Forza Horizon 4 promo event in Australia goes all out 14

Xbox Austraila is giving players the chance to play video games on a huge screen. To be exact, they’re giving players the chance to play on a movie screen, but limited to just one AAA game- Forza Horizon 4.

They announced all of the details regarding this earlier this week:

“Xbox is celebrating the launch of Forza Horizon 4 in Australia with a real-world Forza Horizon Drive-in Cinema!

For one night only, we are giving fans the chance to be amongst the first in Australia to explore the fourth addition to the open-world playground racing series. This event promises to be part car show, part game experience and part cinema.

Start your evening with a GamePlay session to trial the game or watch game demonstrations on the big screen, played live from a Forza McLaren 720S! Check out some demonstration vehicles from our partners at McLaren and Porsche and visit the OMEN Rig for some additional GamePlay opportunities. Then grab some food or movie snacks available for purchase from the Forza Diner, before settling back into your car for a screening of the award winning 2015 Action film Mad Max: Fury Road.”

Fans of the series will be the first in Australia to play through the game in a real-world Drive-in Cinema. Players will be able to play the game in a movie theater for one night only. They’ll be able to watch game demos live from a Forza McLaren 720S complete with food, movie snacks, and beverages followed by a screening of Mad Max: Fury Road.

Ben Penrose, Art Director for Playground Games, will also be at this event to answer fan questions. The event takes place at the Skyline Drive-In Blacktown on Septemeber 7th in Blacktown, Australia. Entry is $20 with a car and additional riders cost 410 per person. The game will release October 2nd for PC and Xbox One.

More details can be found here.

Microsoft explains why they bought Ninja Theory

Microsoft explains why they bought Ninja Theory 15

At this years’ E3 showcase, Microsft made some big announcements regarding the fact that they acquired five new developers. One of them happens to be a new team called Playground Games, based in Santa Monica and are best known for their Forza Horizon games. They also bought Compulsion Games (We Happy Few), Undead Labs (State of Decay), The Initiative, and Ninja Theory (Heavenly Sword).

This was pretty big news because although they’re not huge companies, they’re still pretty significant in the titles they’re known for. Seeing how Ninja Theory is now an in-house developer, people got excited about the future game lineup from this developer. Head of Microsoft Studios Matt Booty talks about the reasoning behind buying a studio like Ninja Theory in a recent interview:

“When you think about our existing content as it relates to Game Pass… you can see that we’re fortunate to have some really large franchises, with Halo, Gears of War, Forza, Minecraft, Age of Empires… these are all well-established franchises.”

“I use the world franchise deliberately, because these games are typically multi-platform, they have a presence off of Xbox, they have millions of players and iterations of the game going back a decade or more.

“An amazing thing about Ninja Theory is that it is very clear that the studio orbits around ideas and creativity, and the characters, storytelling, and settings really come first for them. That just meshes really well with our desire to provide our players, especially those in Game Pass, with content that is new, unique, has variety, and sits outside of the stuff we are doing with our bigger franchises.”

The main reason is Game Pass, which is Xbox’s subscription service aside from their Gold Service for online play. Game Pass allows players to unlock over 100 indie and first-party titles for just $10 a month with unlimited play. New games are always added and older games are rotated out. Some third-party titles are also in the mix- even some AAA titles like DOOM.

Alexa and Cortana integration slightly different than planned

Alexa and Cortana integration slightly different than planned 16

Microsoft’s Cortana and Amazon’s Alexa can now communicate and interact with one another. The collaboration between the two virtual assistants was announced in 2017 and was originally planned to be released in the same year. After some delay, it’s now possible to have them talk to each other.

Microsoft showed off how the integration would work at its Build conference earlier in 2018. The feature rolled out on the 15th of August and it seems to be a little different from what was demoed at the conference. Cortana devices (PC, Xbox, the exclusive Harman Kardon speaker) can launch Alexa by saying “Hey Cortana, open Alexa” to switch the user over to Alexa, which allows the user to shop, ask for the weather, and so on.

The opposite interaction on an Alexa to Cortana can be activated by saying “Alexa, open Cortana” which will launch Microsoft’s VA to launch your to-do list, check your calendar, or even check your emails.

Over time, we can expect that improvements will shorten the incantation users must say before interacting with the other device. If an Echo device would simply let you speak directly to Cortana and a Windows PC directly to Alexa without the switch, it’d be a lot more convenient for users without needing to affix the VA’s name.

After all, users need to say the name of the device they want t interacts with anyway- so why bother going through more hoops just to switch.

There have also been rumors that Windows PCs may ship with Alexa support in the near future.

Souce: ArsTechnica

Image: Amazon

Classic Skype is being killed off; Users need to upgrade to new Skype

Classic Skype is being killed off; Users need to upgrade to new Skype 17

Skype has long been the go-to VoIP program and now has a confusing distribution. You have the Classic client which dates back to the days before Skype was bought by Microsoft. And then you have a modern version which is the one equipped on today’s computer by default. Microsoft hasn’t really pushed for universal development across its Skype apps across all platforms- Windows, macOS, Linux, and mobile.

Just last week they’ve released a new version of the application which allows for some new features.

It can now allow video chat with screen-sharing in full HD up to 1080p with a maximum of 24 people at once. It also allows @mentions and chat alerts with full file sharing up to 300MB of content. It’s also easier to find historically shared files with a built-in gallery like a phone’s album.

Microsoft also plans to add integrated call recording, read receipts, and fully secure audio and video calls. They’ll also be adding support for the NDI API to allow Skype to be used as an audio/video source on streaming platforms like Twitch.

In August of this year, they’ll be ending support for the Classic version. Users will be forced to upgrade in order to continue using Skype. Perhaps this will speed up development now that they just need to focus on one platform rather than two. Some features are way overdue.

 

Surface Go announced – Get pricing, specs, and details

Surface Go announced - Get pricing, specs, and details 18

Microsoft announced the newest member of the Surface line of computers- the Surface Go.

After many weeks of rumors, speculation, and leaks, it’s about time that the tech giant went ahead and confirm the news. The latest attempt before the Surface Go was the Surface 3, which was a budget tablet but didn’t really take off. The Surface Go is likely what the Surface 4 would’ve been if the same branding was used.

Let’s talk specs.

The Surface Go features a smaller screen compared to the Surface Pro. It has a 10” 1800 x 1200 display and an Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y (two core, four thread Kaby Lake CPU). It also has only 64GB of storage via eMMC. It’s pretty much a weaker version of the Pro. It’s even got a reduced battery runtime at 9 hours.

But all this makes it a lot more affordable- it’s priced at $399 for the base model versus $799 for the base Surface Pro.

Besides the specs, it still has all the same Surface design elements. It’s got the variable kickstand, 8MP rear 5MP front cameras, Windows Hellow facial recognition, Surface Connect magnetic charging dock and port, 10-finger multitouch display with Surfcae Pen support. It even still has the microSDXC card reader and 3.5mm headset jack with a USB 3.1 gen 1 Type-C port. Because it has a samll size, it’ll accompany new smaller Type Covers and won’t work with the Surface Pro fittings. A new Surfaece Mobile Mouse will be launched for it if you need an external pointer.

The target demograhpic remains the same- professionals ans students. With a more affordable model of hte Surface line, it can compete with mid-priced laptops and gain more exposure for the Surface products.

Preorders for the Go will offer two hardware variants at four price points available in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Switzerland, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Poland, Taiwan, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Malaysia, and Thailand.

At $399, you get the base model which has 4GB RAM/64GB eMMC storage and Windows 10 Home. For an extra $50, you get Windows 10 Pro. For $150 etra, you get 8GB RAM/ 128GB SSD.

The Surface Go Type Covers are also available at $99 or $129 for the fabric-covered Alcantara materials. The pointer is $24.99. Hardware is due on August 2, 2018.

Later on, the Surface Go will include LTE and 256GB SSDs. It seems like Microsoft is trying to expand to the educational market with the lower price point- making it easier for students to afford the device and utilize its capabilities to the fullest. It’d be a shame to let it go to waste at this price point.

Image via Microsoft.

Source: ArsTechnica.

Microsoft is developing technology to automate retail stores

Microsoft is developing technology to automate retail stores 19

A recent report from Reuters states that Microsoft is looking to fight Amazon and compete in the retail space. The computer giant is working on a new technology that removes casheres and checkout lines in stores that’s very similar to Amazon’s tech used in its Amazon Go brick-and-mortar retail space.

Microsoft’s technology allows customers to place items in their carts and tracks it. It’s unknown how it works exactly, but the company has already shown it off to some retail giants like Walmart. It’s rumored to be linked to the Kinect for Azure project, which was detained at Microsoft Build in May which adds to Kinect’s capabilities and also includes a computer power and sensor device with a camera that can detect depth and spatial presence, such as tracking movement of customers’ hands when they grab an item.

Selling this tenchoology in order for stores to compete with each other is like shelling shovels to the gold diggers. While Microsoft and Amazon don’t compete directly in the retail store world, they’re definitely direct competitors in the cloud computing space, with Amazon taking the lead.

This technology is designed to help other retailers compete with Amazon as they expand into the physical world. Retailers who want to use this tech and adopt it have a better chance to compete with Amazon Go, which is currently run automatically without cashiers and lines. It’s expected to launch new stores in San Francisco and Chicago.

 

Microsoft announces new Surface Pro devices, Andromeda, HoloLens, and next Xbox

Microsoft announces new Surface Pro devices, Andromeda, HoloLens, and next Xbox 20

Microsoft will have some pretty neat future hardware, as their plans have been leaked so we can all ogle at what we have in store.

In 2019, there’s a new version of HoloLens codenamed Sydney. The documents hint that it’ll hit the market for developers and possibly commercial availability also. it’ll be a lot cheaper than the current version, lighter, more comfortable, and with an improved display. It’ll also likely use a sensor package from Project Kinect for Azure announced at the Build developer conference last May and include the newer, second-gen holographic CPU.

Next, Microsoft’s pocketable two-screen device named Andromeda is supposed to hit the shelves in 2018. It’s a product in its own market which will define a new hardware form factor. Like the Surface Pro, it’ll be a completely different piece of hardware that’s currently not in existence. It’ll have to offer similar appeal to the Surface Pro and be able to be widely used at the same time.

There’s also a new line of Surface Pro devices with codenames Carmel, Libar, and Andromeda as mentioned already. Carmel is the next device in the like of the Surface Pro. It’ll feature new Intel CPUs as Intel is refreshing their mobile processors later this year. The two CPUs in question are codenamedWhiskeyy Lake and Amber Lake- with power consumptions of about 15W and 4.5W, respectively.

Lastly, the next Xbox was confirmed to be in development and is due for release in 2020 with the codename Scarlett. It’ll likely be a family of devices rather than a single piece of hardware that keeps backward compatibility for games, as that’s what Microsoft has a history of doing. It’ll also likely just be a faster version of the current Xbox One X- to put it simplified.