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

 

 

Will Halo and a $50 price drop this holiday season cause a turning point for Xbox One?

halo 3

In the U.S., Microsoft’s Xbox One has been outsold by Sony’s PlayStation 4 since the beginning of 2014.  When comparing to the previous generation of the console race, an interesting turn of events occurred as the U.S. was Xbox 360’s territory and with the current crop of consoles things are slowly changing, but Microsoft won’t give it up so easily.

Their answer this holiday season is a $50 price drop, Halo: The Master Chief Collection, and to a lesser degree a timed exclusive on multiplayer content with Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.

Halo has always been the trademark of the Xbox, and is considered by many the sole reason Xbox is still around today.  There are many Halo fans which exclusively play Halo and haven’t upgraded to an Xbox One yet, and when looking at Twitch streams, many are still playing Halo 3. With  the release of Halo: The Master Chief Collection, this will have a big impact on these gamers a be a reason to upgrade, especially with a $50 discount in effect for the Holiday season.

According to VGChartz, when looking at U.S. sales figures there are almost 44 million Xbox 360s and around 3.7 million Xbox Ones sold. While just over 26 million PlayStation 3s and around 4.8 million PlayStation 4 consoles are sold.  The gap between the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 is rather significant, and when looking at sales of the current generation machines, it tells two possible tales.

Either that many Xbox 360 gamers are still waiting to upgrade, or that many of them are converting over to the PlayStation 4.  If I had to take a guess, I’d say that many of them are still waiting to upgrade to an Xbox One, and the absence of Halo is a big reason that they’ve waited so long. That’s not to say that some of them haven’t converted over to Sony’s console, there are certainly converts, but I would say it’s minimal compared to the amount waiting for a reason to upgrade.

Microsoft is relentless to outsell Sony this holiday seasons and hopes to create a turning point in the console race, and releasing Halo: The Master Chief Collection can certainly make this a possibility on U.S. soil. However, nothing is certain and with such a stumble the Xbox One had around its launch and initial pricing, it has caused a shift in the console market as well as general perception, and that is definitely hard to overcome but the gap in sales between the two makes this a strong possibility.

This holiday season will be a time where we will witness the importance of the Halo franchise and see how much power it still holds in the gaming industry, as well as its potential to cause a turning point in this console race. It’ll be a very interesting time to follow console sales, and if the past is any indication, we can expect Halo to be a blockbuster success and move many consoles.

Watch Conan O'Brien Review Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare – Hilarious!

conan-cod-advanced-warfare-reviewLate night comedian Conan O’Brien is known for his show but part-time he’s a huge gamer and loves to do release-day reviews, with a bit of humor. Have a look below as Conan reviews Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.

COD: Advanced Warfare For Xbox One & Cross-Platform Companion App Now Available

imageToday is the day many Call of Duty fans have been waiting for – COD: Advanced Warfare is finally here and can be bought in most retail locations or downloaded digitally for Xbox One through Xbox Store.

Also, as of now you can get the Special Edition Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare Bundle which includes a custom-themed console and controller that complements the game. The Special Edition console in the bundle also comes with a 1TB hard-drive and is now on sale for $449, including the game.

Additionally, Activision has released the companion app to go along with the game – it is available on Windows/Windows Phone, iOS & Android as a free download. The mobile experience allows gamers to chat with their clan-mates as well as manage the clan and player profile.

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Here are some key companion app features:

Clan Wars
Clan Wars give you and your friends the opportunity to join up and compete against other clans of similar size and skill for control of positions on the in-app Clan War map.

The winning clan in each 8-clan war receives exclusive in-game loot. This loot is used to customize your operator in Advanced Warfare Multiplayer and is only available in Clan Wars. Clan War loot is a signal to your opponent in any match that you and your clan are a cut above.

The War Room
The War Room is where you and your Clanmates manage your overall clan experience. You can see active and upcoming Clan Wars, your Clan War history, and your clan’s top contributors.

Emblem Editor
In Call of Duty®: Advanced Warfare, your emblem is a unique representation of your multiplayer Operator or your Clan. The Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare app has a full emblem editor that can be used to create a custom clan emblem or player emblem that is synced to the emblem editor in-game.

Call of Duty Advanced Warfare Game Description:

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, developed by Sledgehammer Games, harnesses the first three-year development cycle in franchise history. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare envisions the powerful battlegrounds of the future, where both technology and tactic have evolved to usher in a new era of combat for the franchise. Delivering a stunning performance, Academy Award winning actor Kevin Spacey stars as Jonathan Irons – one of the most powerful men in the world – shaping this chilling vision of the future of war. Power Changes Everything.

COD: Advanced Warfare For Xbox One & Cross-Platform Companion App Now Available

imageToday is the day many Call of Duty fans have been waiting for – COD: Advanced Warfare is finally here and can be bought in most retail locations or downloaded digitally for Xbox One through Xbox Store.

Also, as of now you can get the Special Edition Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare Bundle which includes a custom-themed console and controller that complements the game. The Special Edition console in the bundle also comes with a 1TB hard-drive and is now on sale for $449, including the game.

Additionally, Activision has released the companion app to go along with the game – it is available on Windows/Windows Phone, iOS & Android as a free download. The mobile experience allows gamers to chat with their clan-mates as well as manage the clan and player profile.

unnamed

Here are some key companion app features:

Clan Wars
Clan Wars give you and your friends the opportunity to join up and compete against other clans of similar size and skill for control of positions on the in-app Clan War map.

The winning clan in each 8-clan war receives exclusive in-game loot. This loot is used to customize your operator in Advanced Warfare Multiplayer and is only available in Clan Wars. Clan War loot is a signal to your opponent in any match that you and your clan are a cut above.

The War Room
The War Room is where you and your Clanmates manage your overall clan experience. You can see active and upcoming Clan Wars, your Clan War history, and your clan’s top contributors.

Emblem Editor
In Call of Duty®: Advanced Warfare, your emblem is a unique representation of your multiplayer Operator or your Clan. The Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare app has a full emblem editor that can be used to create a custom clan emblem or player emblem that is synced to the emblem editor in-game.

Call of Duty Advanced Warfare Game Description:

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, developed by Sledgehammer Games, harnesses the first three-year development cycle in franchise history. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare envisions the powerful battlegrounds of the future, where both technology and tactic have evolved to usher in a new era of combat for the franchise. Delivering a stunning performance, Academy Award winning actor Kevin Spacey stars as Jonathan Irons – one of the most powerful men in the world – shaping this chilling vision of the future of war. Power Changes Everything.

Get Xbox One, Titanfall AND COD: Advanced Warfare OR Sunset Overdrive – all for $374 in the U.S. [CORRECTED]

xboxone-deal

Correction – As of Nov 2, the Assassin’s Creed Bundle will become available for $349. The Sunset Overdrive bundle is available right now for $349. The Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Bundle is also discounted by $50 however, the price will be $449 instead of $349 as reported here (the COD bundle is pricier due to the 1TB hard drive it ships with). This bundle will be available for sale as of Nov 3. Thank you to user rudero for pointing this out.

This week’s Deals With Gold promotion features Titanfall price being cut by 50% along with Titanfall Season Pass being offered at 67% off for the Xbox One. The deal runs now through November 3rd and is available for Xbox Live Gold & Silver members world-wide.

Perfect timing for Microsoft to announce the Titanfall price reduction as we have just learned that the company is on a major discount streak in an effort to boost holiday sales by slashing an additional $50 off Xbox One consoles and Xbox One special edition bundles starting on November 2nd – however, only in the U.S. for the time being.

This means on November 2nd and 3rd, the two promotions will overlap in the U.S. and you can get an Xbox One Bundle (such as Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Bundle or Sunset Overdrive Bundle w/White console) for $349 which includes its respective game and on top of that you can get Titanfall for only $25 for total cost of $374 plus tax.

Promotions like these are certain to boost the sales of Xbox One in the U.S. where PlayStation 4 has dominated the console war so far. Microsoft is bent on Xbox One winning this holiday season by offering compelling price cuts like these and it’ll be interesting to see the sales impact of such deals.

Xbox One users can now pre-download Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

CoD-AW-Defender-Under-the-Bridge-jpgCOD fans will be thrilled to hear that as of today, you can pre-order & pre-download Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare on your Xbox One. “You can be among the first to use cutting-edge exoskeleton abilities and an advanced arsenal of weapons by pre-ordering and pre-downloading Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and powering up your exoskeleton early, starting on Nov. 3” according to the Xbox team.

Microsoft is offering the following Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare game bundles (starting at $59.99) which are now available for pre-order globally through the Xbox Store on the console or online at store.xbox.com:

Xbox One Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Day Zero Edition, available starting today for $59.99 includes the standard game, Day Zero early access, double XP on Nov. 3, two custom weapons, and the Advanced Arsenal custom bullet brass exoskeleton and EM1 Quantum directed energy weapon.

Xbox One Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Digital Pro Edition, available starting today for $99.99 includes the standard game, Season Pass, Atlas Gorge bonus multiplayer map, Atlas Digital Content Pack, Day Zero Early Access, double XP on Nov. 3, Two Day Zero custom weapons, and the Advanced Arsenal.

This is how pre-order and pre-download works for Xbox One (via Xbox Wire)

When a title becomes available for digital pre-order in the Xbox Store, select “Pre-purchase” to buy and download the game. You will be charged the full amount upon transaction and may use any supported payment method, including an existing Microsoft account balance or credit card. The game will download, along with any updates issued before the release date, so the game is up-to-date and ready to play. Then, when the game is officially released to the Xbox Store, timed with local launch availability, simply go to the game in My Games & Apps, go to your pre-pinned tile, or say “Xbox, go to Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare” to start playing. Titles will be available after midnight local time on the release date in your corresponding country, though some countries with multiple time zones will align to one release time.

Similar to other digital downloads, you will need a consistent Internet connection to download a pre-ordered game and your Xbox One will need to be turned on or in connected standby (Instant On) mode. Of course, you can check the download progress at any time in your download queue, My Games & Apps, or on the game details page. And if you have multiple games loading simultaneously, you can prioritize titles, pause, and resume downloads in your queue.

Source: Xbox Wire