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

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

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.”

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



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

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

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