Microsoft to dive deeper on gaming between Xbox One and Windows 10 PC's on March 4 at GDC 2015

xbox gdc15During the Windows 10 event last month, Microsoft showed off how gaming across the PC and Xbox One will work and demonstrated cross-platform play between the two with the upcoming Fable game.  This gave us a vision which to go by, but it raised many questions that still remain unanswered as this new capability has left the gaming world intrigued.

This year’s Game Developers Conference is taking place in San Francisco from March 2-6th. During the event on March 4th, head of Xbox Phil Spencer will dive deeper into this topic of cross-platform gaming between the Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs.

“At GDC 2015, Xbox will share new tools and roadmaps with developers for creating games on Windows 10 devices. On March 4th at 11:00 PT, Spencer will host a presentation about developing games across the Microsoft ecosystem – from Windows 10 PCs, to Xbox One consoles. As the session will be open to GDC attendees only and seating is limited, it will be made available later that day on Xbox Live, YouTube, Channel 9, and here on Xbox Wire.”

This event will not be live streamed, but it will be available later in the day on Xbox Live, YouTube, and on Microsoft’s Channel 9.

Source: Xbox Wire

Sony trims further and sells-off its "SOE" division, which will now also make Xbox games under new ownership

Sony online entertainmentSony has officially sold its online gaming subsidiary, Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) to a third-party investment firm called Columbus Nova. SOE will now be known as Daybreak Games, and its president John Smedley has just tweeted today about his excitement on making Xbox games.

sony SOE tweet2 sony SOE tweet

Today, we are pleased to announce that we have been acquired by Columbus Nova, an investment management firm well known for its success with its existing portfolio of technology, media and entertainment focused companies. This means that effective immediately SOE will operate as an independent game development studio where we will continue to focus on creating exceptional online games for players around the world, and now as a multi-platform gaming company. Yes, that means PlayStation and Xbox, mobile and more!

Columbus Nova is said to provide more resources to the team previously known as Sony Online Entertainment. This will improve upon their existing IPs as they embrace a new multi-platform world that includes the addition of Xbox and mobile games.

Sony Online Entertainment has churned out some intriguing and successful MMO games, with many titles under their belt.  The first-person shooter “PlaneSide“, the hugely successful “EverQuest” role-playing franchise, “DC Universe Online” and the recent zombie-themed “H1Z1”.  There is a possibility that some of these titles make their way to the Xbox platform, specifically H1Z1.

Sony’s financial woes have caused for trimming of the company in order to reach profitability. We have seen the start of this trimming with Sony’s decision to sell-off its PC business last year, along the spinning-off of their TV division. A few weeks ago, Sony’s CEO Kaz Hirai reported that it’s considering even getting out of the smartphone business, which is acknowledgment that the company is in a dire financial situation at the moment.

Sony’s PlayStation 4 is definitely selling extremely well, and is handily outselling its rival Xbox One.  However, everything the company executes with the console is critical, as there isn’t much room for error that could cause financial strain impossible to reverse.  Sony surprised everyone with its success of the PlayStation 4, it would be a shame that the company’s financial troubles destroy the success of this console.

Source: SOE, & John Smedly on Twitter

Amazon Deal: Xbox Live 12 Month Gold Membership for $39.99

xbox-live-gold-membership-cardAmazon is now offering Xbox Live 12 Month Gold Membership for only $39.99. Regular price for Xbox Live Gold subscription is $59.99 so through this deal you can save a cool $20.

When you purchase the subscription through Amazon, you will get an Online Game Code you can enter into your account page on your Xbox 360 or Xbox One. Amazon is currently only offering this discount to customers located in the U.S. and who have a U.S. billing address. We’re not sure for how long this deal is active so act quick if you’re thinking of renewing soon or trying out the service for the first time.

Here are some benefits of being a Gold subscriber:

“With an Xbox LIVE Gold membership, take your Xbox 360 online to play Kinect and controller games with friends wherever they are. Instantly watch HD movies, TV shows and sports, and with Kinect, your voice is the remote control. Not sure what to play or watch? Quickly find new movies, songs or games with your voice. Even use your phone or tablet as a second screen to control and interact with what you’re watching. Plus, now you can explore the web on your TV with Internet Explorer for Xbox.* Entertainment is more amazing with Xbox.”

Click here to check out this great deal on Amazon.com

Xbox One controllers getting firmware update to improve time to power up & connect

123Microsoft is rolling out a firmware update for Xbox One controllers to address many complaints about the time it takes to power on the controller and connect to the console. Currently it takes about 4-5 seconds to do so and this firmware update will decrease that time by around 2 seconds.

The same update also promises to fix some controller stability issues.

The firmware fix is scheduled to roll out to all users in February as part of the monthly system update, but for now Xbox Preview Program participants can get these fixes early by updating Xbox One controller(s) with the latest preview build OS version 1502.150120.

If you’re part of the Xbox Preview Program, here is how to update your controller firmware:

– Connect a controller to your Xbox One with a USB cable. Keep any headsets connected to the controller.

– Connect to Xbox Live.

– Press the Menu

– Go to Settings > Devices & accessories. Select the controller.

– If you have multiple controllers attached, you can select Buzz – which will cause the selected controller to vibrate.
Then select Update to download the new firmware to the controller attached via the USB cable, and the screen will show the Updating controller … progress screen

– When you see the Controller updated screen, press ‘B’ to go back to the Devices & accessories main page

– Reselect the controller, the Firmware version, should now be: 1.2.2236.0

Source: Major Nelson

Microsoft sells 6.6 million Xbox consoles in fiscal Q2 2015, but revenue was down 20%

en-INTL-PDP-Xbox-One-Console-5C5-00001-LargeMicrosoft had a stellar holiday season that resulted in record sales for its Xbox One console. According to Microsoft’s fiscal Q2 2015 earnings report, the company managed to sell a total of 6.6 million Xbox consoles, which is 4.2 million more than in the previous quarter.

In addition, the majority of those sales were next generation Xbox One units without Kinect as Microsoft ran an aggressively-priced promotion in an effort to boost its presence in living rooms and win back the gamer segment who were migrating towards Sony’s PlayStation 4.

Even with strong holiday figures, the over-all revenue from the Xbox business was down a whopping 20% on the quarter. This decline is driven largely by the unit price cuts and the decline in Xbox 360 sales as customers opted for newer consoles with lower margins.

This scenario seems to be the case of “short-term pain, long-term gain” as it is crucial for Microsoft’s next generation console to replace its predecessor so the company can benefit from increased revenues from first and third party games in the future. Game publishers are more willing to create compelling content and exclusive titles for platforms with significant market share and Microsoft’s strategy in this field will pay off sooner or later.

Via: Microsoft

Microsoft brags about its Xbox One games line-up in new trailer

Halo multiplayerMicrosoft had a pretty incredible holiday season with the Xbox One ending 2014 off with a high note. Not only were there many exclusive titles released for the platform, but with a price drop of $50 it handily outsold the PlayStation 4 in the U.S. making the sales gap there irrelevant.

The software giant is certainly proud of the sheer amount of exclusive titles and content they were able to provide for their audience of gamers in 2014, but 2015 is set to be an even bigger year for the platform.  In celebration, they’ve put together a trailer showcasing the biggest Xbox One games in 2014 and some that will make their way in 2015, as well as some praises they have received from major publications.

 

Microsoft announces a $50 Xbox One price cut promotion in the US starting tomorrow

en-INTL-PDP-Xbox-One-Console-5C5-00001-LargeMicrosoft dropped the price of the Xbox One down to $349 as a temporary promotional offer before the holiday season and was set to go back to $399 on Jan.3 2015.  Gamers and industry analysts applauded this move as it created a better value as it would give Microsoft a chance to shorten the sales gap between its console and the rival PlayStation 4.

Due to the price drop and bundles available throughout November and December, the Xbox One performed extremely well in retail, breaking sales records and outpacing its rivals by significant margins.

However, Microsoft kept their promise and increased the price back up to $399 on January 3 2015.  Many thought Microsoft was just bluffing and would keep the price at $349.99 permanently, but it wasn’t the case.  In a surprising turn of events, they have just announced the following below:

“Building off a record-setting holiday, we are excited to announce a new promotion in which fans in the U.S. can buy an Xbox One at a special price of $349, starting tomorrow, January 16, from their preferred retailer,” said Mike Nichols, Corporate Vice President of Marketing for Xbox. “We are thankful for all the excitement for Xbox One this holiday and proud to offer more fans the amazing games lineup, Xbox Live gaming community, and continual innovation that Xbox One fans have come to enjoy.”

That’s right folks, you read it right, the Xbox One is yet again receiving a $50 price cut, but it’ll only be in the US.   They’re calling it a promotion again, so this may not be permanent, but it wouldn’t surprise us if they made it permanent while eventually slashing the price everywhere else as well.

Source: Xbox Wire

Microsoft Wins Emmy for Xbox One's TV-On-Demand & Media Center Capabilities

untitledYes, you heard it right – Microsoft has won an Emmy thanks to the multimedia capabilities its Xbox One gaming and entertainment console offers. Last Thursday at the 66th Annual Technology & Engineering Emmy Awards in Las Vegas, the prestige prize was given to the Redmond tech giant for the Xbox One’s television-on-demand and media center functions. The award is for

The Emmy Award for Television Enhancement Devices has previously been awarded to the likes of Apple, Roku and Sony, but this year Microsoft has impressed the audiences with Xbox One’s interactive voice-controlled TV Guide and a large assortment of TV and entertainment apps such as Comedy Central, Crackle, CW, ESPN, Fox Now, GoPro Channel, Hulu Plus, Machinima, MLB.TV, Major League Gaming, MTV, NBA Game Time, Netflix, NHL Gamecenter Live, SlingTV, Starz Play, Syfy Now, TED, USA Now, Verizon FiOS, VH1, Vudu, the WWE Network, and YouTube. More and more experiences are regularly added to the console giving the users even more entertainment choices.

Microsoft says they are “in good company with the likes of fellow award recipients Apple, Roku, Sony, and TiVo – and we’re proud to be awarded this honor by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.”

Source: Xbox Wire

Microsoft and Ford unveil Ford GT as Forza Motorsport 6 featured cover car

Monument_Logo_Horizontal_BlackFord, Microsoft and its Turn 10 Studios have jointly unveiled a new partnership today at the 2015 North American International Auto Show which will bring the Ford GT ultra-high performance super-car to the cover of Forza Motorsport 6, launching exclusively on Xbox One.

The all-new Ford GT looks very impressive and promises to give a boost to any racing fan’s adrenaline whether it be on the road or in  game. The 600-horesepower beast will come with an ultra-efficient EcoBoost engine, advanced aerodynamics and lightweight carbon fiber construction for better handling. It will hit the dealerships late in 2016.

As for  Forza 6 , there will be additional Ford super-cars available for racing. The vehicle lineup is said to also include Shelby® GT350 Mustang and the F-150 Raptor. This game series is one of the highest-rated racing titles to be released on modern consoles and will feature industry-leading next-generation graphics and simulation engines.

“It is an honor to share this historic moment with Ford and celebrate the legacy of the GT by making it the featured cover car of ‘Forza Motorsport 6,’” said Phil Spencer, head of Xbox. “We’re thrilled to have the unique opportunity to announce ‘Forza Motorsport 6’ the day the car debuts – on one of the biggest stages in the automotive industry – and we can’t wait to share more details on the game later this year.”

Forza Motorsport 6 game-play will be unveiled at E3 in June. Turn 10 Studios’ creative director Dan Greenawalt is extremely excited about the technology that will bring next-generation racing simulation to Xbox One, adding “Just as Ford has pushed the boundaries of car technology in GT, ‘Forza Motorsport 6’ will embrace that spirit of innovation as our most technically advanced racing simulation to date – offering a fun and realistic automotive experience for both car lovers and gamers.”

DISH-owned Sling TV launching on Xbox One with one-month free trial offer

XboxOne_SlingTV_Logo MashupEver since Microsoft’s next-generation console launched in late 2013, the Xbox team has been hard at work bringing the best gaming and entertainment experiences to Xbox One users. With it’s broad inter-connectivity capabilities, the console has slowly but surely evolved from the gaming-only machine to a central home-entertainment hub the whole family can enjoy.

Last year the team has added countless TV apps and today Microsoft has announced a new, exclusive partnership with DISH network-backed over-the-top television service, Sling TV. Through this partnership, Xbox One users will get to enjoy live sports, lifestyle, family, news and information channels, Video-On-Demand (VOD) entertainment, and the best of Internet video for $20 per month.

Sling TV is contract-free, no-obligation service with no additional hardware requirements. As a subscriber you will get access to channels such as ESPN, ESPN2, TNT, TBS, Food Network, HGTV, Cartoon Network, and Disney Channel.

As an added bonus, all Xbox Live members will be able to sign up for an exclusive extended one month free trial of Sling TV services once it is available in a few weeks.

“Xbox is onboard as the first gaming console where Sling TV will be available,” said Bassil El-Khatib, vice president of Sling TV. “We created the live Internet TV service for millennial consumers underserved by the pay-TV industry. One of the keys to reaching this audience is being on the devices they use, and we know millions of consumers are turning on their Xbox every day to access content they love.”

“We’re thrilled to partner with Sling TV as they bring this exciting new service to life, and we look forward to launching the Sling TV app on Xbox One in early 2015 as the first gaming console where the service is available,” said Mike Nichols, Corporate Vice President, Marketing for Xbox. “We’re committed to bringing great entertainment options to gamers and our relationship with Sling TV is an important milestone in that journey and in offering more choices to our Xbox fans.”

Source: Xbox Wire