Xbox One "Hardcore" Controller rumored to be announced at E3 2015

xbox-one-controller1Microsoft is apparently working to improve how serious gamers can enjoy playing their favorite games. Rumor has it that the company is currently developing a “hardcore” version of its controller and they’re aiming to announce it at this year’s E3 event.

The current controller that ships with the Xbox One is a compelling upgrade over the Xbox 360 controller – it’s more sturdy and accurate, but it looks like Microsoft has perhaps gathered a lot of feedback from hardcore gamers who want something even better.

Although Xbox One is still trailing PlayStation 4 in terms of sales, Microsoft’s gaming console has made some serious strides with record-breaking 2014 Black Friday & Christmas sales. The main factor was of course the massive price cut and bundle deals as Microsoft sweetened the deal for many looking to upgrade their aging Xbox 360/PS3 consoles.

This could be a great opportunity for the software company to further solidify its relationship with gamers who were originally somewhat shunned as Microsoft wanted to appeal to more casual users with all the entertainment features their new console launched with.

Source: Neowin

Microsoft confirms they're working to bring Xbox gaming to HoloLens

Win10_HoloLens_Hardware_WebToday was a big day for Microsoft at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco where the head of Xbox Phil Spencer confirmed that Microsoft is working to bring Xbox games the futuristic HoloLens headset introduced earlier this year at the Windows 10 event.

“Gaming and entertainment is going to be critical, to introducing consumers to such a radically new experience” said Spencer. He also revealed that Microsoft-owned development studios are actively working on bringing captivating gaming experiences that go beyond what the company demonstrated at their January Windows 10 event. Spencer also noted that eventually, the doors will open to 3rd party developers.

Microsoft posted a press release today, affirming what Spencer said at the event, saying:

“While there are going to be many uses and industries that take advantage of Microsoft HoloLens and everything that holographic computing has to offer, gaming is a huge opportunity.”

The Redmond software giant believes in their futuristic holographic computing technology and is investing a lot of time and money into making it as perfect as it can be before it’s released to the public. It will be rather interesting to see how this vision of re-invented augmented reality plays out. Having 3rd party developers on board will be crucial to its success weather it’s for gaming or any other purpose.

Via: The Verge

Microsoft demos Universal Windows 10 apps on Xbox One

mwc universal apps xbox one
Photo credit: The Verge

Windows 10 will be the most significant release of Windows for Microsoft in terms of scale and importance to the overall brand. The key aspect of the OS is that it will scale across a vast array of device types while sharing one common app store and one set of app development tools.

We know that that the Xbox One is running on the Windows 8 core and that Microsoft will be bringing Windows 10 and Universal apps to the gaming platform.  Today, the software giant’s technical lead for Universal apps, Kevin Gallo demonstrated some of this at Mobile World Congress.

Gallo demonstrated an app designed to run across phones, PCs, and Xbox One, which he used as an example to show the broader message with Universal apps, the scaling and concept behind such a strategy. Microsoft didn’t mention when developers would be able to start developing Universal apps on Xbox One, but we expect Microsoft to release all of the details at Build this April.

This is certainly going to be an exciting time for the Xbox community as their device will soon become a much more capable machine and provide a seamless software experience with their existing Windows devices. We look forward to hear how Cortana implementation would work with Xbox One, as this also remains an area which Microsoft failed to address but one of high expectations.

Source: The Verge

Microsoft gives us a first look at the Windows 10 Universal app platform

unversal appsThere’s been a lot of emphasis on Universal Apps with Windows 10, and the idea is for these apps to work across a wide array of devices running Microsoft’s latest OS. Today at Mobile World Congress, Microsoft took some time to reveal how this will all work.

It’s all quite simple. It would mean developers can build an app that works on all of Microsoft’s devices using one set of tools, whether it be IOT devices, phones, tablets, PCs Xbox, and even the new Surface Hub.

Microsoft’s Kevin Gallo explains what the software giant is trying to achieve with the following:

“As we built the universal app platform, we set out to ensure that all Windows developers would equally benefit from this one core. The platform enables a new class of Windows universal apps – apps that are truly written once, with one set of business logic and one UI. Apps that are delivered to one Store within one package. Apps that are able to reach every Windows 10 device the developer wants to reach. Apps that feel consistent and familiar to the customer on all devices, while also contextually appropriate to each device’s input model and screen size. The new universal app platform completes our developer platform convergence by providing you with the ability to finally create one app that can run on mobile, desktop, console, holographic, and even IoT devices.”

universal apps spartan browserOne of the really interesting things about Universal Windows 10 Apps is how they can adapt to the type of hardware you’re running. This is an important part in achieving the best possible experience for every device type as the same app will look slightly different as the screen size of different devices typed varies.

“Windows 10 will determine, at runtime, how the customer is interacting with your app and render the appropriate user experience (e.g. on a laptop with a touch-screen, an app fly-out control will provide larger touch-targets if tapped with touch, as opposed to clicked with a mouse).

Microsoft is really leveraging Cortana in Windows 10 and further integrating her capabilities into Windows 10 apps. Some benefits of this integration feature the ability for Windows 10 apps to show up in Cortana search results

As if these features aren’t alone good enough, Microsoft is also making it easy for developers to repackage web apps as Universal apps.

Windows 10 will make it easy for you to create a Windows app that packages your website for publishing to the Store. Once installed, your website can update and call Universal APIs from JavaScript, creating a more engaging user experience.

Microsoft will focus heavily on Windows 10 and its Universal app platform this April at Build conference, and judging by how fast it sold out, there’s definitely a lot of interest from developers in this Windows 10 story.

Source: Microsoft   

Microsoft is offering a 12-month Xbox Live pass for only $39.99

Microsoft is now offering a 12-month Xbox Live Gold pass for only $39.99. That’s a $20 discount off the regular price and you can get it as a digital download or buy the physical copy of the pass. The latter would be a good idea if you’re buying it as a gift for someone.

This deal is available at both online and physical Microsoft stores and it’ll enable you to play online multiplayer games and offer you the ability to use the party chat system. This pass will of course work with both Xbox 360 and Xbox One.

xbox live gold dealOne of the other benefits of having an Xbox Live Gold is the monthly promotions Microsoft throws in with the “Games with Gold” program offering a number of free and discounted games every month. This month’s free games are Rayman Legends on Xbox One, and Xbox 360 owners will be able to get Tomb Raider and Bioshock Infinite.

Source: Microsoft Store

Xbox One March update is a big one and brings the long-awaited screenshot feature and much more

Microsoft’s Larry Hryb has just announced the March update for Xbox One and it’s a big one.  It brings the long-awaited screenshot feature, suggested friends and a heck of a lot more.  This update will start rolling out to Xbox One preview members as early as tonight.

Screenshots – While playing a game, you can now take screenshots on your Xbox One console by simply double-tapping the Xbox button on your controller to capture a screenshot and pressing Y to save the screenshot. If your Xbox One is equipped with a Kinect, you can also say “Xbox Take a Screenshot” to take and save a screenshot.

Upload App – The Upload app is being updated so that you can manage your screenshots in addition to your game clips. You can use a screenshot as your background, by viewing the screenshot in full-screen mode from the Upload app, then, press the Menu button and select Set as background.

Suggested friends – With the suggested friends feature, the Friends area in home and your friends list will help you find and add friends. Suggested friends will include people you might know, so you add more friends to game with, and top community broadcasters and clip creators, so you can get more great content in your activity feed.

Sharing your name – We’re rolling out two new ways to share your real name; with all of your friends or to everyone in the Xbox Live community. You can also continue to share your real name with select friends, or with no one, if that’s what you prefer. Gamertags are still the primary method of identifying yourself on Xbox Live, but sharing your real name helps people recognize you who might not know you by your gamertag.

Tile transparency – We continue to listen to your feedback and are adding a setting to enable you to vary the level of transparency for your background images. Go to Settings -> My Xbox -> Tile transparency.

Privacy & online safety settings – We added a new setting for sharing voice search data to create an option for users to allow collection and analysis of voice data when they use Xbox – Bing to search.

Report spam – The Messages app has an added option to allow you to notify Xbox when you receive spam. You can now select a specific message, press the A button and then select Report -> Spam to report a specific message as spam.

OneGuide for Australia – Support for OneGuide will continue in preview in Australia for free-to-air TV listings.

Xbox One Digital TV Tuner in Australia – Xbox One owners in Australia with an Xbox Digital TV Tuner can now use it with the preview builds of this month’s release.

Source: Major Nelson

How cool is this?! Halo Master Chief modular motorcycle helmet coming this summer!

halo-master-chief-motorcycle-helmet-necaFor hard-core Halo fans who happen to own a motorcycle, this is a dream-come-true. This July, the National Entertainment Collectibles Association (NECA) promises to start selling the Limited Edition Halo Master Chief replica headgear that is also a DOT-approved modular motorcycle helmet. The helmet will come in all sizes ranging from small to x-large and will have all safety features that you’d expect from a motorcycle helmet. There is no word yet on pricing or what the final product will look like (as this is just a concept) but we’ll keep you posted.

Product description on reads:

“From the award-winning Halo video games, this detailed replica of Master Chief’s headgear is also a DOT-approved modular motorcycle helmet! Master Chief Petty Officer John-117 is a central figure at the forefront of the war against the Covenant and rumored to be the lone survivor of the declassified SPARTAN-II project. This limited edition helmet has a convenient modular design with glove-friendly opening mechanism and full list of features.”

Exterior Features:
• Convenient modular design
• ABS shell with matte UV-protective clear coat
• Front air intakes reduce shield fogging; rear exhaust vents keep head cool and dry
• Reflective shield with UV protection
• Double D-ring nylon chin strap with snap secure
• Game-authentic deco

Interior Features:
• Contoured center pad with a design that allows heat to dissipate from the top of the scalp
• Dual-layer EPS cheek pads for a firm, comfortable fit
• Center pad and cheek pads are removable and washable
• Soft, moisture-wicking material
• Eyeglasses friendly interior

Additional Features:
• Meets or exceeds DOT standards (FMVSS 49 CFR 571.218)
• Nylon drawstring helmet bag included
• Available in S (55-56 cm), M (57-58 cm), L (59-60 cm), XL (61-62 cm)
• Limited edition

Read more:

Microsoft is preparing a major Xbox One app push with Universal Windows 10 apps

Win10_Xbox_Devices_PrintWindows 10 is set to become a truly universal OS across all of Microsoft’s platforms and it will soon start to make its way into the Xbox One. According to The Verge, Microsoft is planning to open up the Xbox One in a big way as the Universal app strategy starts to take place.

The software giant will fully unveil its plans on how app development on the Xbox One will work at their Build developer conference which runs from April 29 to May 1, and it’s expected that the company will also allow developers to turn a retail Xbox One into a development kit. Microsoft is expected to “publish an SDK preview in May alongside the retail to dev kit switch,” according to the report.

With the SDK preview becoming available in May, developers will be able to start building apps in the summer timeframe. In November, Microsoft will switch over to Universal apps which will start to significantly  increase the number of apps available on the platform. This means that apps written for the Xbox One will use the new Universal app SDK as Xbox One gets updated to Windows 10, and developers will be able to target any Microsoft device and deliver tailored experience to all users.

Apps currently written for the Xbox One are restricted to a very small group of developers but this new program will open up the possibility to everyone. In addition, Xbox One apps will now be able to run in the background, allowing music to be played while playing a game.

The Xbox One is already a state-of-the-art entertainment box, but with it being open to development in such a way, it will grow significantly in this regard.

Source: The Verge

Xbox Ultimate Game Sale starts tomorrow with up to 80% off many titles

ultimate-xbox-one-game-saleMicrosoft is kicking off the Ultimate Game Sale this week that will bring serious discounts to a wide range of Xbox One & Xbox 360 games. This is the largest such sale since this past Black Friday.

Deals will start on Wednesday February 18 and run the full week through February 24th. Discounts on games are extended to both Xbox Live Gold and Silver subscribers, although Gold members will get the games at much better prices. Some titles are discounted by up to 80% of the MSRP. Here is the full list from Major Nelson. As you can see, it certainly pays to have Gold membership.

Xbox One

Content Title Content Type Gold Discount Silver Discount
Alien: Isolation Xbox One Game 60% 50%
Alien: Isolation Season Pass Add-On 60% 50%
Angry Birds Star Wars Xbox One Game 80% 75%
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Xbox One Game 33% 33%
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Digital Pro Xbox One Game 25% 20%
Costume Quest 2 Xbox One Game 67% 60%
Destiny Xbox One Game 33% 33%
Destiny Digital Guardian Xbox One Game 25% 20%
Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved – Digital Xbox One Game 50% 40%
Forza Motorsport 5: Racing GOTY Edition XboxOne Game 40% 33%
Kinect Sports Rivals Xbox One Game 80% 75%
Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris Xbox One Game 60% 50%
Lara Croft: Temple of Osiris & Season Pass Xbox One Game 60% 50%
Limbo Xbox One Game 60% 50%
Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor Xbox One Game 40% 33%
Monopoly Family Fun Pack Xbox One Game 33% 25%
NBA Live 15 Digital Edition Xbox One Game 85% 75%
Pro Evolution Soccer 2015 Xbox One Game 50% 40%
Sniper Elite III Xbox One Game 80% 75%
Styx: Master of Shadows Xbox One Game 75% 67%
The Crew Xbox One Game 33% 25%
The Crew Gold Edition Xbox One Game 33% 25%
The Telltale Games Collection Xbox One Game 50% 40%
Trials Fusion Deluxe Edition Xbox One Game 60% 50%
Trials Fusion Season Pass Add-On 67% 60%
Watch_Dogs Xbox One Game 60% 50%

Please note: prices and availability are subject to change and may vary by region.

Xbox 360

Content Title Content Type Gold Discount Silver Discount
Alien Isolation Games On Demand 60% 50%
Alien: Isolation Season Pass Add-on 60% 50%
Batman: Arkham City Games On Demand 75% 67%
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Games On Demand 50% 40%
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Games On Demand 33% 25%
Dark Souls Games On Demand 75% 67%
Dead Island Riptide Games On Demand 75% 67%
Destiny Games On Demand 33% 25%
Devil May Cry 4 Games On Demand 75% 67%
Dragon Age 2 Games On Demand 75% 67%
Far Cry 3 Games On Demand 50% 40%
FIFA 15 Games On Demand 50% 40%
Fight Night Champion Games On Demand 80% 75%
Forza 4 Season Pass Add-on 75% 67%
Forza Horizon Rally Expansion Pack Add-on 50% 40%
Gears of War 3 Games On Demand 75% 67%
Gears of War 3 Season Pass Add-on 80% 75%
Halo 4 Games On Demand 60% 50%
Injustice: Gods Among Us Games On Demand 75% 67%
Just Cause 2 Games On Demand 75% 67%
LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham Games On Demand 40% 33%
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes Games On Demand 67% 60%
Mass Effect Games On Demand 80% 75%
Metro 2033 Games On Demand 80% 75%
Mirror’s Edge Games On Demand 80% 75%
Mortal Kombat Games On Demand 75% 67%
Pro Evo Soccer 2015 Games On Demand 50% 40%
Saints Row The Third Games On Demand 75% 67%
Skate 3 Games On Demand 75% 67%
SoulCalibur V Games On Demand 75% 67%
South Park: Stick of Truth Games On Demand 50% 40%
State of Decay Arcade 75% 67%
Terraria Arcade 80% 75%
The Orange Box Games On Demand 75% 67%
Watch_Dogs Games On Demand 60% 50%

Please note: prices and availability are subject to change and may vary by region.

Upload Studio 2.0 for Xbox One brings redesigned UI and slew of new features

Xbox One’s Upload Studio is one of the most popular features on the console as millions of clips have been recorded, edited and shared since the app first launched.

Based on community input, Upload Studio has now received a major update that brings the following new features and improvements and rounds off the app version number to 2.0.

– Redesigned interface with new navigation & options
– Create videos with up to 15 clips plus new run-time maximum of 30 minutes
– Access to editing features such as transitions, title cards, intros, effects, splashcreens, and templates
– Add text and voice overlays to any clip within your video

Also take a look at Major Nelson’s video (above) for more info and in-depth look at the updates.

Source: Major Nelson