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    Assassins Creed Black Flag

    Microsoft's Larry Hryb has shared this week's Deals with Gold, enabling you to take full advantage of some sweet discounts on a variety of items from the Xbox Store. There are deals for both Xbox One and Xbox 360 owners, so don't you dare feel left you for a single second, unless you happen to not own either console.

    Xbox One

    Xbox 360

    Picking anything up from the lists above? Let us know in the comments!

    Source: Major Nelson


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    Every week, new games are released for the Xbox One. Whether they are indie titles or AAA titles, we want to make sure they're on your radar. So get your wallet ready and clear some space on your hard drive. Let's take a look at what's coming out this week for Xbox One.

    King's Quest: A Knight to Remember

    An unlikely hero

    King's Quest: A Knight to Remember is the first chapter in this five episode re-imagining of the series of the same name that ran through the 80s and 90s. Graham is on his last leg in life and decides to share his stories with his granddaughter of when his life was full of adventure.

    You play as young Graham, who has entered himself in the knight's competition. Unlike most entrants, Graham is an unlikely candidate for a knight as he is small and scrawny. Your journey of becoming a knight will take you through some wacky adventures and introduce you to some charming characters. Fun Fact: The original games had 50-100 pages of script as the new games have 604. So if you're a fan of the originals, this should be a must buy for you.

    The game is slated to hit the Xbox One on Wednesday, July 29.

    King's Quest: The Complete Collection - Xbox Store - $39.99

    Magic Duels: Origins

    The power lies in your hands

    Magic Duels: Origins is the successor to Duels of the Planeswalker and will be a 100% free-to-play title. The game is slated to be constantly updated with downloadable content to make sure your decks are always up to date.

    Some of the game's newest features include a new deck builder experience, first-ever playable Planeswalker cards, and a new Quest system that features individual and community challenges. Magic Duels: Origins comes out this Friday, July 31.

    RIDE

    Disclaimer: I've checked multiple sources on when this game launches and it's literally all over the place. But I'm sticking to my most trusted source which says the game releases this Friday.

    RIDE is finally hitting consoles this week after months of delays here in the U.S. despite being available for a while now in places like the UK. If you haven't heard of RIDE yet, just think of it as an "arcadey" motorcycle racing game. It features tons of customization options and makes this the focal point of the game. This is definitely felt once you finally hop on your bike and hit the streets, as driving feels "floaty" and unresponsive.

    RIDE screeches onto the Xbox Store Friday, July 31.


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    Metal Gear Solid V Ground Zeros

    Microsoft will offer Xbox Live Gold subscribers four free games to download during the month of August 2015 as part of its ongoing Games with Gold program. Two of the games will be for the Xbox One and the other two are for the Xbox 360.

    For the entire month of August, Xbox One owners with Xbox Live Gold can download Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes for free. The action game was designed to be a short prologue to developer Kojima Productions's main game, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, which will be released for the Xbox One on September 1 by publisher Konami. From August 16 to September 15, Xbox One owners can also get How to Survive: Storm Warning Edition, a zombie-themed survival game from developer Eko Software and publisher 505 Games.

    Xbox 360 owners with Xbox Live Gold can download 4A Games' post-apocalypse first person shooter Metro 2033 for free from August 1-15. Then they can get the sequel, Metro: Last Light, for free from August 16-31.

    Source: Major Nelson


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    Project Spark

    Microsoft's Project Spark game creation tools for the Xbox One and Windows 8.1 were officially released nearly a year ago. Now the company wants to help super-charge the Project Spark creator community by offering a Year One Edition that contains nearly all of its previously released game content packs for one price of $49.99.

    The only content packs that are not included in the Project Spark: Year One Edition are the Conker packs, due to their different "M" rating. It also offers owners a way to get two upcoming content packs, Biome Music and Battle Stations, along with 3 free months of Spark Premium and 20 additional Upload Slots.

    Project Spark creators who have spent at least $40 in game content packs, or who have logged over 150 hours in the tools, or received over 10,000 download of their game creations, will get 3 free months of Spark Premium and 10 additional Upload Slots. Finally, anyone who is using Project Spark completely for free will be able to access five additional content packs at no cost. Microsoft says the Windows 8.1 version of Project Spark also works in Windows 10 as well.

    Source: Project Spark


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    Rise of the Tomb Raider represents one of the more controversial Xbox One exclusivity deals in recent memory.

    Xbox One is no stranger to third-party deals, picking up console exclusivity for Dead Rising 3, RYSE, Titanfall, Sunset Overdrive and others, but none struck a chord like Rise of the Tomb Raider. A quick perusal of the developer's Twitter mentions reveals a stream of vitriol from PS4 users angry at the deal, which hands Xbox One a whole year of console exclusivity.

    Square-Enix isn't blind to the criticism. Speaking in an interview with Examiner, Square Enix CEO of the Americas and Europe Phil Rogers defended the deal, which he described as being "not an easy decision".

    ..."I hope fans know that it wasn't an easy decision. I think any sort of partnership at this level is a decision that took a longtime for us to get to. The decision at a studio level, we took very, very seriously. We knew it would, in the short-term, disappoint fans."...

    Many commentators speculated that Rise of the Tomb Raider's Xbox exclusivity was intended to head-off competition from the similar PS4 exclusive Uncharted 4. UC4 has since been delayed into 2016, leaving some of us wondering whether the deal still makes sense.

    Tomb Raider's reboot back in 2012 failed to meet Square-Enix's sales expectations, despite selling well over 3 million copies in its first month. Square-Enix stated previously that Microsoft are helping fund Rise of the Tomb Raider's development. Phil Rogers elaborated further in the Examiner interview, noting that Xbox head Phil Spencer himself visits the dev team on a regular basis:

    ..."Having been working with us on previous games in a lesser sense, they've been supportive. [However], for Rise of the Tomb Raider, they've just brought this passion and belief that has really enabled us to blow people away. People should feel that about Microsoft. Their commitment to Tomb Raider is just amazing for us. [...] If you don't know, Phil visits Crystal [Dynamics] every time he's in the Bay Area. Phil is the most welcomed guest, he'll come talk to the team, play the game and [Microsoft] is a very committed organization to our properties. It just makes it that much more exciting for us."...

    Phil Rogers also noted his delight to see Tomb Raider showcased alongside Xbox heavy-hitters like Halo, Forza and Gears of War. Being featured with the best Xbox has to offer is sure to raise Tomb Raider's profile for younger gamers unfamiliar with its PS1 roots. The deal also allows Microsoft to attach a ubiquitously recognisable brand to the Xbox One moving in to the 2015 holiday season. For Square-Enix though, it's all about taking Tomb Raider to "the next level" according to Phil Rogers:

    ..."It becomes the most important thing. We're about growing our IP, this is a long-term decision. We're going to take Tomb Raider up to the next level. With Microsoft's belief, passion and sort of muscle to help us deliver, we really think this is going to be an awesome game that people will enjoy for years and years to come."...

    It seems likely that Square-Enix came away from the Tomb Raider reboot with a great deal of anxiety. The game achieved solid reviews from both fans and critics and sold millions of copies in its first month. However, the fact Square-Enix described the sales as 'disappointing' makes me wonder just how inflated the game's budget was.

    By partnering with Microsoft, Square-Enix can offset the costs of developing a triple-A sequel - which, in theory, are always higher budget than the previous title in the series, to grow in-line with fan's expectations. It's hard to gauge what form Rise of the Tomb Raider would've taken without Mircosoft's involvement, or whether or not the project would've existed at all. Maybe Square-Enix and Microsoft are buddy-buddy enough to bring me an Xbox One version of Final Fantasy XIV... maybe, please?

    What do you think? Could Microsoft's "muscle" be better spent elsewhere? Is the adverse reaction worth it for Square-Enix? Hit the comments!

    Rise of the Tomb Raider releases on November 10th, 2015 for Xbox One, early 2016 for PC and Q4 2016 for PS4.

    Pre-order Rise of the Tomb Raider for Xbox One on Amazon US

    Pre-order Rise of the Tomb Raider for Xbox One on Amazon UK

    Source: Examiner


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    Xbox One

    Windows 10 comes with the ability to stream Xbox One games to the PC, and it looks like Microsoft is now working on a reverse feature that allows you to stream PC games on the Xbox One.

    In an interview with The Verge, Xbox chief Phil Spencer revealed that such a feature was in the works, with the Xbox team currently looking to integrate mouse and keyboard support into the console:

    We understand if you're going to go PC to Xbox, we need to get keyboard and mouse working completely so you could play those games. In terms of where we want to go with our platform, those are absolutely in scope of things that we want to do.

    Given the diverse nature of PC hardware, Spencer mentioned that there are considerable hurdles to overcome before anything concrete is announced:

    It's actually a little more challenging doing the encoding on the PC side to the Xbox, but challenge is good.

    A timeline wasn't announced, but we'll let you know of any further developments as soon as we hear them. Would you guys be interested in streaming your PC titles on the Xbox One?

    Source: The Verge


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    The latest round of Forza 6 garage updates are out and for me, it's the most exciting one yet. Headlining this weeks additions are two tintop racers from one of Britain's most high-profile series. The British Touring Car Championship is the country's top saloon car series and Forza 6 will see it represented on the Xbox One for the first time with two cars.

    The first is the Rotek Audi S3 (pictured above), raced in 2014 by American, Robb Holland. The distinctive blue paint job always left this one standing out on the track and its Forza representation is about as close to the real thing as we could hope for. Holland didn't return for 2015 and has since sold his car to another driver, but it will live on in Forza.

    The other is the Speedworks Toyota Avensis, piloted by the talented youngster, Tom Ingram. Both Ingram and Speedworks have seen success in other categories of racing and are regulars in the points scoring top 15 (out of a grid of around 30 cars). The Avensis isn't going to be familiar to U.S. Forza players, but in terms of the British Touring Car Championship, it's a very special machine.

    A few years ago it was chosen as the development model for an entirely new regulation car (NGTC, or, Next Generation Touring Car). Ingram's is one of only a couple still left racing in 2015, but it's an important part of the championship's history.

    All current spec BTCC cars are turbo charged, loud and fast. These two will be joined by two other liveried Toyotas from 2014 team, United Autosports as well as Handy Motorsport. There are also a couple of World Touring Car Championship racers added in the form of the Honda Civic. As a huge fan of the series, this is one of the best things that Turn 10 could have added to Forza 6. But as ever, these two are just the headline acts. There's a wealth of other additions being made from manufacturers such as BMW, Jaguar, Bentley, Mercedes Benz and more.

    Check out the full list at the link below.

    Source: Forza Garage


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    Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is just around the corner, but it's still hard to write about without mentioning the high-profile drama between the game's creator and publisher.

    In an interview between Metal Gear Central (no relation!) and Metal Gear Solid composer Rika Muranaka, a fresh light was cast on the split between Kojima and Konami.

    Here's a quick recap: Metal Gear godfather Hideo Kojima is reportedly being let go by parent company Konami after MGSV's launch. The creator's name and production studio has been scrubbed from Metal Gear Solid V's website and box art. As a result, the high-profile Silent Hill reboot between Hideo Kojima and Guillermo Del Toro was unceremoniously cancelled. Konami has made various haphazard statements apologising for causing anxiety for the future of their most beloved franchises, but it hasn't killed the rumors.

    In the interview, Muranaka claims that Hideo doesn't enjoy a "Hollywood lifestyle" and that he is instead paid a fixed salary for the past 20 years. This is quite different from Western game publishing models, which see subsidiary and third-party devs rewarded bonuses and profit-sharing for strong sales performances. Obsidian famously missed out on a bonus for Fallout: New Vegas for failing to hit 90/100 on Metacritic, they sadly landed 89/100.

    As a result of this payment model, Muranaka thinks that Hideo Kojima has no incentive to consider budgetary concerns, stating that he "doesn't care about the money". It seems that Konami felt that his apparent lack of business sense was harming the company:

    ..."I think that's probably why Hideo got let go because uh, his business sense, you know - isn't there. He's a creator, he doesn't think about the money or budget or anything like that. So Hideo continued to keep making the game how he feels he can make it.

    [...] If he's not complete he'll keep going and that's just how he is, and the company can't afford to have an employee like that. They need to be budgeted, have a deadline and a recouping profit you know, Hideo doesn't think like that. He just wants to create."...

    Muranaka elaborated further, noting that Hideo wanted to create an entire new engine for the upcoming Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, which even draws its namesake from the popular game series. Creating the Fox Engine took longer than expected, and this led to further delays for MGSV.

    Hideo's lack of concern for profit-sharing or bonuses would be in-line with the vast amount of hidden 'Easter Eggs' and other small details Metal Gear Solid games tend to have, which always tend to outstrip similar content in other games. Adding this material probably doesn't have a massive impact on review scores or sales, but certainly costs Konami money in terms of development resources.

    I'd argue that Kojima's signature quirkiness and penchant for polish is what makes Metal Gear special, in an otherwise crowded military game space. However, there's certainly a fine line to tread between the business and craftsmanship of making video games. Triple A budgets grow forever larger as publishers and developers try to out-do themselves. Konami certainly doesn't have a console or PC franchise that can boast similar sales figures to Call of Duty, Halo or FIFA.

    Recent games released under their most popular properties, such as Castlevania and Silent Hill, have reviewed averagely at best and been bargain-bin shovelware at worst. With that in mind, it's hard to imagine Metal Gear Solid will survive without the unique (and expensive) direction of Hideo Kojima.

    Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain will release on September 1st, 2015 for Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3, PS4 and September 15th on PC.

    Source: FraggedNation (32 minute mark)


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    Groove Music for Xbox One

    Microsoft announced plans to rebrand its Xbox Music service for Windows 10 to Groove Music (actually just "Groove") for Windows 10 earlier this month. Now that Windows 10 has launched globally, it's time to also rebrand the Xbox Music app for Xbox One to the new Groove Music name.

    If you own Microsoft's game console, you should see an update available for Xbox Music to download that will rename the app as Groove Music. It looks like Microsoft is still a little confused on the branding, as they had told us previously that the service was just named "Groove" but the apps are labeled as "Groove Music". However, we have been told that the "Music" part will be dropped eventually.

    In case you are wondering why Microsoft is making this name change in the first place, the company wants to keep the Xbox brand focused just on gaming, rather than continue to use it to include music. That's also why the Xbox Video app has been rebranded as just Movies & TV for Windows 10.


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    With Windows 10 comes the brand new Xbox app that pulls Xbox One and PC closer together than they've ever been before. It's a great app, especially the Xbox One to PC game streaming portion, but there's one thing in particular it's missing.

    There's one reason to keep the Smartglass app installed on your PC or tablet. The Xbox One Store.

    Currently, hitting the Store link in the Xbox app for Windows 10 takes you to the Store on your PC or tablet. But the only games you can buy there are Windows games. Nothing for the Xbox One. No Games with Gold, Deals With Gold, new Xbox One releases, nada. You can still use the web browser if you're in front of your computer, but the Smartglass app is so much quicker.

    It's not a massive issue, but if you're one of those, like me, who seems to do more game purchasing in front of the PC than the Xbox, the new app has a gaping hole to fill. It'll no doubt get worked out down the line as all the stores merge into one, but for now, bear it in mind before you go uninstalling the Smartglass app.

    And if you need to get it back, hit the link below.

    Download Xbox One Smartglass for Windows


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    Part of the launch of Windows 10 is a new effort by Microsoft to be a bigger force in PC gaming in general. The company has released a series of videos that show how using Windows 10 will help and impact gamers, including a breakdown of how to enable Xbox One games to stream over to a PC.

    The first video is a very general clip of the highlights of playing games on Windows 10, in conjunction with the Xbox app. The second video has Microsoft's Larry "Major Nelson" Nelson chatting with Mike Ybarra from the Xbox engineering team going over the features of Windows 10's Xbox app, including the activity feed, friends lists, game hubs, game DVR and screenshot and more.

    Finally, the third video goes step-by-step on how Windows 10 users who own an Xbox One console can enable the Xbox app in Windows 10 to stream games from the console to the PC. Microsoft is working on having PC games stream to the Xbox One sometime in the near future.

    Source: Xbox (YouTube)


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    Dying Light: The Following to add a massive new map, drivable dirt buggies

    Open-world survival horror title Dying Light is getting a major new expansion, The Following. A story-based expansion, The Following will introduce some new elements to the Dying Light sandbox, including drivable dirt buggies.

    To go along with this new all-terrain vehicle, The Following will add a massive new map. Developer Techland says that the map will match the combined size of all previous Dying Light maps. For now the developer is keeping quite on story details for the expansion, but they will be giving demos behind closed doors next month at Gamescom 2015, with a public reveal soon after.

    Dying Light: The Following will be available as part of the game's season pass, which costs $19.99, as well as a separate purchase. The standalone price and the release date for The Following has yet to be announced.


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    Halo

    Microsoft plans to release the Xbox One game Halo: The Master Chief Collection in China sometime in August. It will be the first game in the long-running sci-fi first-person shooter series to go on sale in China.

    The government of China recently decided to lift the 15-year sales ban of game consoles in the country. VentureBeat reports that Microsoft's Xbox leader Phil Spencer, speaking at the China Digital Entertainment Congress in Shanghai, said that the company is making big investments in the country to boost sales of the console and its games.

    "We know this is a long-term investment for Xbox," he said. "We have teams here investing and are committed to growing this business slowly. But most importantly, we are doing it in collaboration with the industry. What is missing so far is a game developed in China, and games locally developed in China that are reaching large global audiences. Hopefully all of us together can strive for that success point. There is nothing more critical to me in bringing Xbox to China than unlocking the potential of developers here."

    Spencer also said that Minecraft for the Xbox One will be released in China, but did not give a specific date.

    Source: VentureBeat


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    Xbox Live is currently experiencing sign-in issues

    It looks like Microsoft is experiencing some issues with Xbox Live sign-ins again, with the Xbox Live service status page indicating issues across all devices, including the Xbox One and Xbox 360. It looks like the issue has been ongoing for about two hours now, but Microsoft is aware and working on a fix, stating:

    "Having trouble signing in to Xbox Live? Our team is working to get this fixed ASAP. Thanks for your patience while we get everything back to normal. We'll update you as soon as we know more!"

    So, if you're having trouble getting your game on, just sit tight and the issue should be resolved soon enough. In the meantime, might we suggest giving our Window 10 review a look while you wait?

    Source: Microsoft


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    The Top Gear departure of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May left an explosion sized hole in the TV viewing of people around the world. But the trio are back for 2016 and you'll be able to watch their new creation on your Xbox One and Xbox 360 thanks to Amazon Prime.

    The ex-BBC presenters have signed up exclusively with the online giant to produce a new show for 2016. Rumors had been flying around that it was rival provider, Netflix, that was in pole position to secure the highly sought after signatures of the threesome. So it's somewhat surprising to hear this morning that Amazon emerged victorious.

    The new show won't air until some time in 2016 and Amazon is making a big deal out of it, even offering an email sign up for more information as it emerges. We do know it'll be a car show at least, as Clarkson tweeted this morning:

    ".@AmazonVideoUK now saying I can't be their chief drone pilot. Apparently they want us to make a car show."

    Can. Not. Wait.