Next Xbox One system update for preview members ads a ton of cool features

Microsoft is rolling out an update to its Xbox One preview members in this next version and here’s a full list of what to expect.

Game DVR for PC games – The Game bar lets you record game clips of your favorite Windows games. With an upcoming Windows Insider update (build 10061 or higher), you will be able to record game clips for Windows PC games* using the new Game bar available on Windows 10. To bring up the Game bar, press Windows + G. Click the “Record that” button to save the last 30 seconds of gameplay, or just press Windows + Alt + G. Additionally, you can manually start and stop recording a game clip by clicking on the “Record” button on the Game bar or pressing Windows + Alt + R.

The length of a recording, including the maximum length, can be changed in Settings > Game DVR in the Xbox app. There are also a few key settings within the Game bar itself. Get started by turning on “Record game clips and screenshots” in the Xbox app.  Once enabled, there are options for background recording, video and audio quality. After enabling game DVR, you may need to sign out of Windows 10 and back in for the Game bar to appear.

  • Screenshots – Take screenshots of Windows PC games by pressing Windows + Alt + PrtScr. Just as with Game DVR, you can also do this by clicking the “Screenshot” button on the Game bar.
  • Live Tiles – The Xbox tile on your Windows 10 start menu can now welcomes you back, showing off your gamerpic and letting you know when you have new messages and activity alerts. To turn this on, go to Settings > General > Live tile.
  • Avatar app – A new app is available in the Windows Store to customize your Xbox avatar’s appearance and outfit your avatar with a vast collection of items. In the Xbox app, click the icon for your profile or your friends’ profiles to see their Xbox avatar. You can download the Avatar app from the Store on Windows 10. Also, there is a new Avatar sub-forum on the Xbox Feedback site, here.
  • User profile – You can see another gamer’s bio, location, reputation, tenure, and other information in the more info page, including their animated avatar. You can also view their showcase items, including favorite achievements or game clips they added to their profile on their Xbox One.
  • Real name sharing – Similar to the features we brought you in the March update on Xbox One, you can now choose to share your real name on the Xbox app with all of your friends or with everybody. Click on the “…” at the top of your profile page, then choose Name sharing settings to view and update these settings.

In addition to keeping you connected to your games and friends, we’re giving you even more control over the Xbox experience on Windows 10.

  • Xbox One Now Playing and media controls The games and apps you’ve used most recently on your Xbox One are now displayed when you connect the Xbox app to your console. You can also use the Xbox app to pause, fast forward and rewind.
  • Live TV streaming and PIP (picture in picture) support – For preview members with an Xbox One Digital TV Tuner (in 16 European countries and Australia) or a Hauppauge 955Q TV Tuner (available in the U.S. or Canada) attached to their Xbox One, you can now stream live TV within your home from your Xbox One to Windows 10 PC running the Xbox app. This feature is also available in Xbox One SmartGlass on Windows 8 PCs, Windows Phone 8, iOS, and Android devices.  The OneGuide on mobile devices now also provides PIP (picture in picture) support, so you can continue to stream and watch TV while you are using the OneGuide.
  • Xbox controller drivers – The drivers for Xbox controllers are now included with Windows 10, so you no longer have to download and install controller drivers on Windows 10.

The Xbox app will automatically update to the April preview version when it becomes available in the Windows Store. Once you receive the update, your version number should be 4.4.9014.0 or higher. You can verify the version number of the Xbox app in Settings.

Xbox One and SmartGlass updates

The Xbox team continues to work hard to bring the many fan-requested features on the Xbox Feedback site to Xbox One and Xbox One SmartGlass, with the following items being available to preview members this month:

  • Over-the-air TV for the U.S. and Canada – Earlier this month, we announced the preview for an Over-the-Air Tuner for the U.S. and Canada.  With this preview update to Xbox One, a new screen has been added after the initial channel scan to show a sorted list of channels and channel logos so you can tell what channels you receive. You can also choose to scan again from this screen, if you want to move your antenna and give it another try.
  • Power on and off from Xbox One SmartGlass – The beta versions of the Xbox One SmartGlass apps for Windows, Windows Phone and Android will be updated to let you turn your Xbox One on and off. (Your device does need to be on the same home network as your console.) This feature request has more than 4,000 votes on the Xbox Feedback site. The beta versions can be found in the respective stores by searching for “Xbox One SmartGlass Beta.”
  • Wireless Display appWith more than 2,000 votes, Miracast support will be enabled on Xbox One for preview participants later this week, so you can mirror the experiences on Windows PCs (for example, Surface 2, 3, or 3 Pro; Lenovo X1 carbon; Dell Venue 8), Windows Phone 8, and some Android devices (e.g. Samsung S5, Nexus 7, Motorola Droid) that support non-protected Miracast connections. Try the Wireless Display app to cast photos stored on your phone to your Xbox One, or to stream non-protected video content from your PC to your Xbox.
  • User-selectable power mode – The team here at Xbox is also altering the initial setup experience on Xbox One worldwide to enable you to select your preferred power mode. Instant-on enables you to use the “Xbox on” voice command and receive background updates to console, game and app updates. Energy-saving mode is a low power state that requires you to press the Xbox button on your console to start up your Xbox One. For additional information, see this post on Xbox Wire.
  • Voice messages – The ability to send and receive voice messages from the Xbox One messages app continues in preview this month. Also, the ability to create a voice message while in a party chat will be enabled and support will be added for third party headsets.

This update will soon be live and for those of you  running the Windows 10 preview it’ll be even more interesting as Microsoft loads up the Xbox app with features.

Source: Microsoft

Xbox One April System Update brings Party Chat improvements, What's On & more

Xbox One system update for the month of April is now rolling out to all users. This update contains improvements to party chat, addition of game hub links as well as What’s On for users in the U.S., U.S., Canada, and the UK.

Voice messaging and dedicated servers for party chat will remain in Preview mode until Microsoft fine-tunes the back-end systems.

Here is the full breakdown of what’s included in this system update:

  • Party chat improvements – Over the past few months, we’ve added additional icons and notifications within the party chat experience to help you understand your connection and microphone status. This month, party chat is being improved with troubleshooting guidance for Xbox One owners. The party app will help you get your microphone enabled and show you when privacy settings or networking issues are blocking communication with particular party members.
  • Game hub links – In February, we introduced game hubs where you can be the first to get news on upcoming updates, featured game clips, behind the scenes content and more. With this update, you can more easily discover game hub content from activity feed items. You’ll see activity feed items when any of your friends follow a game, and you’ll also be able to get back to a game’s hub from activity feed posts related to the game – including feed items about the game’s achievements, game clips and screenshots. Finally, we’ve added a link to game hubs from the game’s page in the achievements app.
  • Achievement notifications – Achievement notifications today display the achievement name and the gamerscore you just earned. With tonight’s update, you’ll also see the achievement’s description in the notification so you know what you did to earn this achievement without having to open the achievements app.  Based on feedback from preview program members, we increased the time that an achievement notification is displayed and we also made some performance improvements to make loading the achievements app from a notification faster.
  • What’s On – The What’s On area is now available for Xbox One users in the U.S., Canada, and the UK. In it, you’ll find links to popular videos, games, movies, TV shows, game broadcasts and clips, along with Trending TV shows if you have configured OneGuide for your Xbox One console.

Source: Xbox Wire

Best Buy offers a free Lumia 635 with Xbox One Halo: TMCC bundle for only $349.99

Nokia-Lumia-635-PhoneHero_InvariantCulture_DefaultBest Buy is offering a pretty incredible deal this week which is hard to pass up. As of now, you can purchase a 500GB Xbox One bundled with Halo: The Master Chief Collection and a no-contract Lumia 635 tied to AT&T for only $349.99. You can of course unlock the device if you choose to use it with another carrier.

Just the Xbox One deal with Halo: The Master Chief Collection is a fantastic deal, but a free Lumia 635 is like a cherry on top. Even if you’re planning on sticking around with your existing smartphone, having a spare Lumia 635 is a great MP3 player replacement and can even be used a standalone offline turn-by-turn GPS thanks to the Here maps app.

It’s a fantastic budget smartphone on it own with a 4.5 inch display and is running Windows Phone 8.1 and will be updated to Windows 10 later this year.best buy lumia 635To use this promotion, simply go to this Best Buy page and follow the instructions and add the Xbox One bundle and the Lumia 635 to your cart. You’ll notice that it will be priced at $0.00 when you check out and shipping will be free on both items.

Source/Image credit: Neowin

Microsoft releases two Halo 5: Guardians trailers, game to be released October 27, 2015 #HUNTtheTRUTH

halo-guardians-spartan-lockeMicrosoft has recently published two very interesting trailers, with alternate endings for the upcoming Xbox One shooter game Halo 5: Guardians. The trailers are latest in 343 Industries’ viral marketing push for the game, called “#HUNTtheTRUTH”.

In the first trailer, we see Spartan Locke roaming around in a destroyed city talking about how Master Chief betrayed the human race. Near the end of the clip, Locke finds Master Chief, wounded on the ground in front of a large statue of himself. Locke is getting ready to execute Master Chief and as he points the gun towards him says sarcastically, “all hail the conquering hero, the one who’s supposed to save us all, but now I must save us…from you.”

The second trailer, shows an alternate ending to the story where the roles have reversed and Master Chief roams the ruins of the large city and finds Spartan Locke wounded on the ground, in front his statue. The clip ends with Master Chief preparing his gun to finish off Locke as he says “you’ve completed your mission, Spartan Locke, mine is just beginning.”

Both trailers confirm the much-anticipated game will be released on October 27, 2015.

Trailer #1

Trailer #2

Source: Microsoft/YouTube

Xbox One April Update (Preview) – Cross-platform voice messages, Party Chat improvements

Microsoft is now releasing the second wave of the April Xbox One system update to the Preview program participants. This update is in addition to the Party chat improvements, Game hub links, and updates to the Achievement notifications that rolled out on March 20th as part of the initial April update push.

The second update brings voice messages, dedicated servers for party chat and “What’s on” feature is being expanded to UK and Canada. Below is the list of updates that are now available to the Xbox One Preview members.

Today’s update/2nd wave:

Voice messages – Xbox One preview program members will be able to compose and playback voice messages in the messages app when snapped on Xbox One. Quickly and easily record audio to send to your friends or others through your snapped messages app accessed through a simple quick double tap of the Xbox button. Additionally, voice messages can be exchanged between Xbox 360 and Xbox One consoles.

Dedicated servers for party chat – We’re enhancing party chat with dedicated chat relay servers that will enable Xbox One owners that may have historically had NAT issues to party chat more reliably. Parties where players are unable to form direct peer-to-peer connections for party chat will automatically leverage dedicated server infrastructure to relay traffic. This service is only enabled for parties where one or more members are previewing the April system update.

What’s On – The Xbox engineering team is continuing to experiment with the What’s On area, which highlights popular videos, movies, TV shows and game broadcasts. We’re continuing to test different experiences for preview members in the U.S. and this month, the preview of this feature is being expanded to Canada and the UK as well.

March 20th update/1st wave:

Party chat improvements – Party chat is being improved with troubleshooting guidance for Xbox One owners. The Party App will help you get your microphone enabled and show you when privacy settings or networking issues are blocking communication with particular party members.

Game hub links – Members can more easily discover game hub content from activity feed items. You’ll see activity feed items when any of your friends follow a game, and you’ll also be able to get back to a game’s hub from activity feed posts related to the game – including feed items about the game’s achievements, game clips and screenshots. Finally, we’ve added a link to game hubs from the game’s page in the achievements app.

Achievement notifications – With this preview release, you’ll also see the achievement’s description in the notification so you know what you did to earn this achievement without having to open the achievements app. If you do choose to open up the notification to see the achievement details, we’ve also made some performance improvements to make loading the achievements app from a notification faster.

Source: Major Nelson

You can now add MP3s and many more file types to OneDrive for streaming

xbox-musicIt has been a long time in the making, but OneDrive music streaming is finally ready to go. As of now, you will be able to store all of your local MP3s on OneDrive. This will allow you to stream music with Xbox Music app on any of your Windows devices running on Windows 8.1.

This feature will support MP3, M4A (AAC), and WMA file types. In addition, you will not need to have an Xbox Music pass to use this feature, but for those who do own one, Microsoft will honor them with 100GB free of OneDrive storage.

It’s worth noting that even though Xbox Music is available for iOS, Android and Windows 8, the streaming features are not available to these OSs. It’s also worth noting that Apple charges $24.95 for a similar service, so this is definitely an advantage to the Microsoft side.

There will be a limit of how many songs one can store, and that limit is set a 50,000. This service is available in the US, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

 

Microsoft gives away Halo: The Master Chief Collection for free in a new Xbox One $349-bundle

XboxOne_Console_HaloMCC_US_ANL_RGB_920x540Microsoft is about to give Xbox One sales a big shot in the arm by giving away for free Halo: The Master Chief Collection as part of the newly announced bundle.

The first-person-shooter was off to a rocky start as the developer, 343 Industries, struggled since launch to patch bugs that have turned away many die-hard Halo fans.

Now that most, if not all, major issues have been fixed, Microsoft alongside its developer partner want to offer fans an olive branch by giving away the entire four-game Halo collection for Xbox One for free in a bundle. Starting this month, fans world-wide will be able to pick up this great deal at local retail stores and online.

The going price for the console (without Kinect of course) and the game is $349 in the U.S. Halo: The Master Chief Collection Bundle will come with digital access code that will let you download and experience “the Master Chief’s complete story through four free Halo games: Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Halo 2: Anniversary, Halo 3 and Halo 4” according to Microsoft.

“Halo: The Master Chief Collection allows fans to play all 45 campaign missions, plus more than 100 multiplayer and Spartan Ops maps, in 1080p at 60fps. The bundle also comes with access to the new live-action digital series from executive producer Ridley Scott, Halo: Nightfall.”

Source: Xbox Wire

Spencer says Microsoft working with Sony & Nintendo to prevent future DDoS attacks

xboxIt was around Christmas time last year when Xbox Live and PSN experienced major outages lasting several hours. Gamers were left in the dark as both Microsoft and Sony’s multi-player networks were brought down in a series of vicious denial of service (DDoS) attacks, allegedly by a group calling themselves the LizardSquad. The tech companies just did not or could not act fast enough to stop the attack and revive their servers.

Reports say some of the hackers involved got arrested in the UK since then, but the damage was already done. Fear and unease has been seeded deep inside many gamers but Microsoft wants to look at this as a “learning experience”. Many were left wondering, just how such big corporate systems can be brought down by a couple of individuals sitting in their parent’s basements?

Well, it appears that Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo are now working together and conversations on this important topic are indeed happening.

Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer revealed in a recent interview with Game Informer that he has had talks with Microsoft’s main gaming rivals where the companies shared learning experiences and tried to find ways to work together in an effort to provide gamers with a more reliable and stable playing platform. By tackling the problem collectively, as an industry, they have a better chance at being successful.

“I don’t think it’s great when PSN goes down,” Spencer says. “It doesn’t help me. All it does is put the fear and distrust from any gamer that’s out there, so I look at all of us together as this is our collective opportunity to share what we can about what we’re learning and how things are growing. Those conversations happen, which I think is great.”

Spencer also adds “Our commitment to Xbox One customers is to make sure our service is robust and reliable.”

Watch the full Microsoft GDC event here

gdc 2015Microsoft had a big showing at this year’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco as they talked about the future of gaming on Windows 10 and Xbox One. During the event, Microsoft announced a new cross-buy system which lets gamers purchase a game once and have the ability to play it across all of the Windows devices. In addition, they talked about the significant impact DirectX 12 will play for Xbox One and PC gaming along with many more intriguing features.

For those of you interested in watching the full Microsoft conference, it’s now available in its full 48-minute glory for you to watch at your leisure. With all of the Windows 10 related features announced, it’s definitely an event worth watching for gamers.

Here’s the full video below

Source: MSDN

Microsoft shows how they'll bring gaming to Billions with Xbox and Windows 10

Win10_Xbox_Devices_PrintMicrosoft has held their keynote earlier today at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco and have announced some pretty interesting things Xbox and Windows 10 related. 

Microsoft’s vision of Windows 10 is starting to become clear to both developers and consumers, and with the new universal app platform, Microsoft is pushing with full force to achieve the goal in attracting as many developers as possible to create experiences for the Windows ecosystem. 

Here is what Microsoft announced today at GDC:

  • Xbox Live SDK Available for Windows 10: In January, we announced our commitment to bringing Xbox Live to Windows and today we announced that the Xbox Live SDK for Windows 10 is currently in the hands of managed partners to create new games. Soon it will be in the hands of a broader set of developers. This SDK will provide access to the vast majority of Xbox Live services currently available on Xbox One, under a shared set of APIs, integrated with the Windows Store. We are also committed to making Xbox Live accessible to all game developers, regardless of size, which is why we’re introducing a new tier of Xbox Live that is designed to allow any developer to engage with the Xbox Live community.
  • Windows Universal App Platform: Windows 10 brings together one core operating system, one application platform, one gaming social network, one store, and one ingestion path across all Windows PCs, Tablets, Phones and Xbox One consoles – that’s more than 1.5 billion people. With the Universal App Platform, any developer can create a single project to target multiple devices. It will be easier than it has ever been to bring content to PCs, tablets, phones, Xbox consoles, and future Windows 10 devices like Microsoft HoloLens. Developers will be able to do this and more when Windows 10 is available this year.
  • Windows Store: With the Windows Store, Microsoft is committed to delivering best-in-class scenarios for gamers and game developers. For developers, the promise of one store across devices means they will now have the ability and flexibility to deliver content across PCs, console, tablets, and phones, easily and quickly. Similarly, by enabling new experiences such as cross-buy, developers now have more flexibility on the features they deliver to gamers across Windows devices.
  • Universal Development Center: The Universal Development Center is the developer portal to building and delivering games to the Windows Store. It provides fast, lightweight game submission and update capabilities within the developer’s direct control, as well as access to key metrics to understand their game’s performance. Improvements in platform, tools, and Xbox Live services, while reducing overhead of publishing, will foster more compelling game content and a richer, more engaged gaming community.
  • DirectX 12: DirectX 12 enables PC developers to have a new level of power and control and is a single API developers can access across Windows devices. As shown with Fable Legends running on Unreal Engine 4, there has been a 20% improvement in performance. And as announced today, Epic is creating Unreal Tournament using Unreal Engine 4 running on DirectX 12, which sets a new bar for visual fidelity in PC gaming.
  • Accessories: All wireless Xbox gaming accessories will be designed for and supported on both Xbox One consoles and Windows 10 PCs moving forward. Later this year, we’ll be delivering a Wireless Adapter that will let you use current Xbox controllers and future devices wirelessly on your PCs.

Source: Xbox Wire