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- 11/20/14--05:39: _HBO Go arrives on t...
- 11/20/14--10:42: _Atari: Game Over no...
- 11/20/14--11:43: _Telltale's Game of ...
- 11/20/14--12:41: _Xbox One reportedly...
- 11/20/14--13:27: _Three new indie gam...
- 11/20/14--14:52: _Getting crusts-on w...
- 11/20/14--17:03: _Halo: The Master Ch...
- 11/21/14--06:16: _Official Smosh app ...
- 11/21/14--06:36: _Xbox Live Gold memb...
- 11/21/14--13:19: _#IDARB for Xbox One...
- 11/22/14--07:22: _Limbo is coming to ...
- 11/22/14--12:03: _Here are five reaso...
- 11/22/14--17:08: _Tonight's weekend T...
- 11/23/14--11:11: _Sunset Overdrive av...
- 11/23/14--11:42: _Codes for Limbo rol...
- 11/20/14--05:39: HBO Go arrives on the Xbox One
- 11/20/14--10:42: Atari: Game Over now available on Xbox Video and consoles
- 11/20/14--13:27: Three new indie games are coming to Xbox One tomorrow
- Thomas Was Alone - Xbox One - 465.46 MB - $10.99 - Xbox Store
- Pier Solar and the Great Architects - Xbox One - 2.29 GB - $14.99 - Xbox Store
- 11/20/14--14:52: Getting crusts-on with the Domino's app for Xbox One
- Addressed a number of issues that resulted in extended matchmaking times and low matchmaking success rates.
- Made a number of updates to how matchmaking progress is communicated to the player. With this update, you'll see better, more frequent and more informative status updates throughout the matchmaking flow – so "Players Found" for example, will be displayed to let players know where they are in the matchmaking process instead of simply wondering if it's going to connect.
- The improved matchmaking flow is as follows:
- Searching for more players
- Players found
- Finalizing matchmaking process
- Connecting session
- Made an update to ensure that parties stick together when returning from the post-game carnage report
- Prevented the ability for players "kick" other players from matchmaking games
- Made an update to ensure that the Roster correctly displays the "searching" UI rather than "My Game Session" while searching for players
- Removed the possibility to boost ranking through a custom games exploit
- Made an update to ensure that players cannot get stuck in the matchmaking screen during map voting
- Made an update to ensure that the "Connecting to your game" message no longer incorrectly displays in the lower right of the screen during gameplay
- Made an update to the "team creation" phase that allows players to be grouped by team
- Made an update to prevent players from seeing the "connection failed" dialogue if disconnected during the map voting screen
- Improved roster / matchmaking lobby stability
- Made improvements to the accuracy and stability of the "Game Session Details" UI
- Improved version compatibility
- Improved emblem and nameplate behavior to ensure that they do not reset to default (especially after game sessions)
- Corrected career stats that did not update uniformly across different profiles in multiple titles
- Improved Forge map display names in Theater
- Corrected various medal inconsistencies across titles
- Made updates to the attainability of various achievements, including "Goat Roped,""Monopolized,""You're Joking," and "Devastating."
- Improved Halo: CE career stat tracking
- Resolved scoring and time HUD reset and display issues
- Made an update to ensure that rival emblems are displayed correctly
- Improved consistency and reliability of shot registration
- Improved headshot hitboxes
- Fixed an issue where respawning players could momentarily appear at their death location
- Made an update to ensure that the match ends when the entire opposing team quits
- Improved fall damage consistency (specifically in regards to uneven surfaces)
- Improved Halo: CE menu and loading screen stability
- Improved consistency with multikill rewards
- Made an update to improve post-game carnage report accuracy for Halo: CE FFA games
- Updated default language settings
- Made an update to ensure that the team color shown in pre-game lobby matches in-game
- Improved a variety of networking issues to allow for improved consistency between host and clients in peer to peer matches
- Improved a variety of networking issues to allow for improved gameplay consistency
- Made an update to service tag functionality, allowing for service tags to appear for all players
- Improved the post-game carnage report to correctly display team color
- Made an update to ensure that the match ends when the entire opposing team quits
- Improved "original" medal icon functionality in split-screen
- Improved host migration functionality
- Corrected "headshot" stat tracking
- Addressed a crash that occurred with the Scarab skull
- Addressed art errors that occurred on the opening cinematics for "Uprising" and "High Charity"
- Made an update to prevent players from gaining achievements in Forge
- Improved Forge item display names
- Resolved text overlapping issues
- Improved split screen stability
- Made an update to resolve the notorious "-1th" scoreboard text
- Improved lobby functionality to address players not being able to reconnect to the party leader after completing a match
- Improved host migration functionality
- Corrected vehicle and weapon thumbnails in the "Tools of destruction" table in the post-game carnage report
- Addressed a dedicated server issue that caused gameplay physics issues on Stonetown
- Improved split-screen party functionality to ensure that players are not directed to a broken lobby screen after completing a game session
- Improved Forge mode stability
- Made an update to King of the Hill scoring to prevent multiple hills from counting down at the same time
- Improved Shrine objective spawn points
- Improved King of the Hill and Ninjanaut mode stability
- Addressed an issue where controller vibration could persist during the pause menu
- Improved Race mode respawn zones
- 11/21/14--06:16: Official Smosh app joins Al Jazeera on Xbox One
- 11/22/14--17:08: Tonight's weekend Twitch stream: Pinball FX2 and GTA V for Xbox One
- South Park Pinball (Pinball FX2) – Xbox One – 104 MB – $4.99 – Xbox Link
- 3 for Xbox One
- 3 for Playstation 4 (US)
- 2 for Playstation 4 (Europe)
- 5 for Steam (to be given out during the Grand Theft Auto portion of the stream)
- Monday, November 24: Kalimba from Press Play
- Saturday, November 29: Outlast from Red Barrels Games
- 11/23/14--11:42: Codes for Limbo rolling out now to Xbox One early adopters
HBO Go is now available on the Xbox One. The app gives you access to all of HBO's movies and series, all in a brand-new package for the Xbox One. Just select a category from the sidebar menu, and you're off.
To activate HBO Go, you'll need to go to HBO's activation website and enter the code that the Xbox app gives you. Importantly, the Xbox One is not listed as one of the compatible devices. Select Xbox 360, then enter your code, and you should be all set. HBO Go does, of course, require an HBO subscription through your cable provider.
What do you think of HBO Go on the Xbox One? Let us know in the comments.
Atari: Game Over, is now available on Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Xbox Video. The documentary chronicles Atari's role in the demise of gaming in North America in the 1980s. The film is available for free.
As part of the release, an Atari: Game Over app is available on the Xbox One. The app contains the entire movie, along with scene-by-scene commentary from documentary director Zak Penn. The app can be installed directly from the Xbox Store on the Xbox One.
Will you be watching Atari: Game Over? Let us know in the comments.
Source: Major Nelson
Telltale Games has not only released the first teaser trailer for its upcoming episodic game series Game of Thrones, but it has revealed that the six-part series will feature voice acting by some of the members of the HBO television cast.
"While you'll get to control five members of House Forrester in your story, the series will have you interacting with characters you already know and love (or hate) throughout the season, including Tyrion Lannister performed by Peter Dinklage, Cersei Lannister performed by Lena Heady, Margaery Tyrell performed by Natalie Dormer, and Ramsay Snow performed by Iwan Rheon."
Telltale stated that other unnamed cast members of the TV series will appear in future episodes. The first episode, Iron from Ice, is currently scheduled to debut sometime before the end of 2014 for the Xbox One, the Xbox 360 and PC, among other platforms. What other Game of Thrones TV cast members would you like to see appear in the game series?
Source: Telltale Games
A new report says that sales of the Xbox One are catching up to the PlayStation 4 in the UK. Figures from that country's GfK Chart-Track state that Microsoft's game console has outsold Sony's machine, in terms of sell through from retailers to consumers, for the past three weeks in the UK. It has also recently broken the one million unit sales milestone in that country since it launched nearly a year ago.
This news comes as Microsoft has been highly aggressive in its marketing of the Xbox One ahead of the holiday season, including new bundles for a white version of the console with the game Sunset Overdrive and the 1 TB version bundle with Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Microsoft announced on November 12 that it has sold nearly 10 million Xbox One consoles to retailers worldwide and added that "Xbox One led generation 8 console sales in the US for the past two weeks."
Will the Xbox One turn out to be the final victor in the current console war?
This week is a huge one for everyone that is a part of ID@Xbox. Earlier this week they launched Never Alone and Jackbox Party Pack, and today they announced that three more games will be dropping tomorrow for Xbox One. The games are Thomas Was Alone, Pier Solar and the Great Architects, and The Pinball Arcade.
Thomas Was Alone
The first game coming tomorrow, Thomas Was Alone, isn't a new game at all. The game first launched as a flash based game back in 2010 and has since made its way to mobile devices and consoles. Thomas Was Alone is an immersive puzzle platformer that is driven by its narration.
The game is about "friendship and jumping" as Thomas and all of his proportioned friends try to overcome levels. Each shape will have its own unique personality and capability, so the shapes will have to work together to jump and overcome obstacles before arriving at the point of exit.
Pier Solar and the Great Architects
Next up we have Pier Solar and the Great Architects. Development of the game began as a Sega Genesis homebrew project but ultimately became something very special. Pier Solar is about three best friends; Hoston, Alina, and Eddesot. These three friends are on a journey to seek out a rare herb to cure Eddesot's stricken father.
The games plot is said to become even larger as the story unravels and becomes more focused on the Great Architects. Pier Solar is a love letter to the JRPG genre, and when it released on other platforms earlier this year it was widely accepted with raving reviews.
The Pinball Arcade
Lastly, The Pinball Arcade from Farsight Studios will be releasing tomorrow as well. Unlike Pinball FX, The Pinball Arcade focuses on allowing their users to play faithful recreations of classic real-life tables. The game is free-to-play and will have more than 25 tables available to purchase when it launches tomorrow, with more to come down the line. Some of those tables include Ghostbusters, Medieval Madness, and Twilight Zone.
Which game are you going to scrape pennys for?
This week Domino's Pizza jumped into the world of Xbox One applications. Or in the UK and Republic of Ireland it did, at least. It's not the first time a pizza delivery app has been available on a games console, but Domino's latest joins its apps for Windows, Windows Phone, iOS and Android.
So, while we're waiting on it getting out into a few more countries we've fired up a British console and gone for a test order. All in the name of, er, science. Or something.
Anyone who's ever used the Domino's app for Windows will feel right at home immediately. It's pretty much a carbon copy and it's everything you'd expect from a good Xbox One app. Big, bright images, bold text and an ultimately enjoyable experience. When you consider how tough to navigate Domino's own website can be it's amazing how much quicker you can order your food through your Xbox.
One of the coolest features though has to be the Pizza Tracker. Once you've chosen your food and paid for it you get Domino's live tracker to follow the progress of your order. And you can snap it alongside whatever else you're doing on your Xbox One until the knock on the door.
So if you're in the UK or Ireland and building up to a heavy gaming session this weekend, know that you can feed yourself with ease! If you've not checked it out yet, go ahead and grab it for free from the Xbox Store.
Update: As of 7 pm ET, the MCC patch is now available and comes in at 1437 MB in size. Thanks, Thomas W., and others!
The game launched last week but has had severe matchmaking issues for the majority of players. A patch was scheduled for yesterday but was delayed until today (11/20). Today's patch should alleviate all issues that resulted in extended matchmaking times and low matchmaking success rates. Plus there's a bunch of fixes for the different campaigns and a few UI tweaks.
Here's your full changelog for today's update going out to Halo: The Master Chief Collection on Xbox One:
Halo 2: Anniversary
We're looking for today's patch update to Halo and really, really hope it works out. It's a great franchise, and it hasn't been fun trying to find games the past week. Plus I think we still have a multiplayer Twitch stream to do with you all once it works!
See you online!
Source: 343 Industries
Two new apps have just landed on Xbox One, following Atari: Game Over which we covered yesterday. Owners of Microsoft's video game console will now be able to download official apps for both Smosh and Al Jazeera English.
The former is a popular YouTube channel, which produces not only humorous videos but also cartoons and music videos, while Al Jazeera is a top respected source of breaking news, in-depth stories and updates. Combined with the Domino's app for Xbox One, gamers have more entertainment and access to stories and world coverage all while enjoying a slice of meaty goodness.
Check both apps out on your Xbox One and let us know your impressions in the comments.
If you haven't experienced Sunset Overdrive's Awesomepocalypse yet, Microsoft is giving you the chance to get just a little taste of the action. Starting tomorrow at around noon Eastern Time, Xbox Live Gold members will be able to play Sunset Overdrive for free for 24 hours on their Xbox One.
Players will have access to the full game for that time. Everything from the main story to the side missions to the eight-player Chaos Squad co-op mode. And if you're still undecided about Sunset Overdrive, be sure to read our review.
So will you be taking a trip to Sunset City, or did you already dive into the action? Let us know in the comments.
Source: Major Nelson
#IDARB or It Draws a Red Box Is easily my most anticipated ID@Xbox game of the year. Developer 'Other Ocean' describes the game as a "chaotic 8-player eSport jumping jetpack future arena ball game that is as inspired by Bomberman, Smash Bros., and NBA Jam." That said, the game is constantly changing and evolving as Other Ocean crowd-sources ideas from passionate users.
Xbox One owners will be able to download #IDARB sometime before the end of the year. In the meantime, we interviewed Mike Mika, game designer at Other Ocean. Mike spills the beans about a new #IDARB feature, the history about Other Ocean, and even shares some moving words about the recent Atari dig that he attended.
Mike, it's a pleasure to meet you. Can you tell us a little about your background and what you do when you're not making games?
I've been making games professionally now since 1994. My first games were created in the 80s on an Apple II and the Commodore 64. I really can't think of a time that I wasn't making games or fantasizing about it. By third grade, I had these "design documents" (Stacks of drawings) of games I wanted to make.
I would send them to every game company I could find an address for. Atari and Activision were the only people who would engage, and both so differently. Activision would send me design notes and information on what I needed to learn to become a programmer and all kinds of encouragement, and Atari would send me order forms for their games in appreciation and suggest I become an arcade game distributor and work with the "Atari Team." And to be honest, I wanted to do that, too.
When I'm not making games, I do family things. My kids give me an excuse to bring out all my old toys and watch cartoons.
Tell us about Other Ocean and how you ended up there.
Other Ocean is a distant relative to a company called Digital Eclipse, which was started, I believe, in 1991. Digital Eclipse made its mark as the creators of the first commercial emulation of classic games, with Defender, Robotron, and Joust for the Macintosh. They came in these really cool cardboard arcade-game-shaped boxes that now fetch a pretty penny on-line.
I joined just before the release of the Game Boy Color, in, I think, 1998. I was moonlighting with Andrew Ayre (CEO Other Ocean and previously of Digital Eclipse) on a few Game Boy games while still working at Next Generation game magazine. Finally, I pulled up anchor and moved over to Digital Eclipse full time and worked on a bevy of Game Boy games, Game Boy Advance, PlayStation, etc. We were known for original game designs based on movie and television properties and our experience in bringing classic games to modern platforms. Those were some pretty crazy times!
We eventually became Backbone Entertainment after a merger with a company called ImaginEngine. And not too long after that, we formed Foundation 9, a large collective of great game studios around the world. I left that company for a brief stint to help launch a mobile studio after Steve Jobs eloquently painted the picture of what the App Store would be on the iPhone.
That company, NGMoco, was amazing – we were in a position to create a lot of firsts for mobile and I loved it, but it was also a startup and very grueling at a time that my wife and I were expecting our daughter. So that holiday I ran into Andrew, and we were like "Let's get the band back together!" He had arranged to take one of the Backbone studios with him when he left Foundation 9, and I joined Other Ocean and that's sort of how it all came together. In many ways, Other Ocean is Digital Eclipse. We have a lot of the same people and the same inspirations.
How did #IDARB come about?
Way back in January of this year (2014), I started doodling with the game engine we used in a previous game. I wanted to get back to programming, and I hadn't done it for a while, and I also wanted to work on something that I could share. Most of the games we work on need to be shrouded in secrecy and coordinated with a marketing team, etc. I also was missing the old school way I used to make games with my friends. So I started by doing what I've always done and created a box that I could control. It was red, and I had it standing and jumping on some platforms.
I posted an image of it and basically said "It draws a red box" and asked what I should do with it. I hoped maybe a couple of my friends would chime in or I'd get a few weird ideas, but I didn't expect the engagement to be so rich and fascinating. The sheer volume of response since that tweet was insane. I decided pretty much that night that I was going to try and put in every idea that I could and use it as a way to find what the game was going to be.
What's the story of you guys joining ID@Xbox?
I've known and worked with Chris Charla for a long time. He's always been a huge advocate of independent games, way before there was even a term for it. We'd worked on games together, and he's always envisioned the day that small studios and teams could produce games and go straight to market on a console.
He called me around the same time that I was posting the progress of our game and was like:
"Did you sign the NDA I sent?""No.""YOU HAVE TO SIGN IT I NEED TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT SOMETHING."
He filled me in on what they were planning to do with the Xbox One, and asked me a lot of questions, and then asked if I'd be interested in bringing the game over. In fact, I think it was Chris who actually first used the acronym #IDARB. At this point, I was still just doing this for fun at night, but once he sent over the hardware, we were pretty excited just to see if we could get it up on the Xbox.
It took about a week, and we reported our progress, and the now christened ID@XBOX team offered an incredible opportunity to feature the game at GDC in two prominent locations. We suddenly saw the effect of a marketing and publishing titan strap on the rockets and the game, now only really a few weeks old, was standing toe-to-toe with Titanfall on the show floor. That was pretty surreal.
Other Ocean has developed a lot of licensed games, plus a few unique ones like Duty Calls and Dark Void Zero. What's it like to collaborate with fans on #IDARB and receive so much praise from the press?
I've only experienced this once before in my career, and it was for a game called Death, Jr. that we made for the PSP. It's incredibly rewarding. The fact that we can talk about the game during development, and make changes without having to go to a small committee who often times has its hands tied and is limited by the constraints of a license or IP. You can really see the difference.
Everyone in the studio has contributed to #IDARB and their motivation comes from a place of true excitement to be working on it. We have a lot of fun with the game, and we still, after all these months, love to play the game. It really is a simple game, and I feel really fortunate to be working on it. I hope the fun we are having shows through, because I really do believe that your attitude during the development of a game inevitably affects the mood and enjoyment [potential] of the game itself.
Speaking of the collaborative process, have you received any particularly weird suggestions from fans?
Surprisingly, most suggestions were very thoughtful. Some throwaways like "Put in Leland Yee selling rocket launchers to children" would show up, and we'd actually take a stab at some of those ideas. (For the record, we had to remove Leland Yee for legal reasons, but he was in there for some time!)
The last time the public saw #IDARB was back at Gamescom. What are some things that have changed or have been added since then?
We added a lot since then. We have a song editor now that enables players to create victory songs for their teams, and a logo editor to create logos. We have over a dozen recipes to unlock via achievements. Real world food recipes. They were contributed to use my some awesome game industry folks like Jeremy Hoffmann and Abbie Heppe. Also, Caitlin Oliver gave us this amazing teriyaki chicken recipe. She's the world record holder for arcade Splatterhouse.
How does it feel to have industry veterans like Tim Schafer and the staff of Giant Bomb not only support your team, but even agree to be featured in the game?
It feels like collusion? It's actually really awesome that we have an "industry" that is still small enough to be filled with all of your friends and that those people can support you when you are small and don't have the means to get the word out.
We will never be Activision or any of these larger companies, and we will never be able to out-market those guys. But when people like Tim, Brad, Jeff and the rest of the crew give you some of their valuable time to help promote you, it's a bit humbling and amazing.
What are you most proud of with #IDARB?
That something I got to make and play with all my friends turned out so damn fun.
You participated in the recent Atari dig. How did you enjoy that experience and discovering the truth behind the urban myth?
When I was just out of college, I created one of the first "homebrew" Game Boy games. I reproduced my favorite game as a kid, Yars Revenge. (It later was officially released). While I was hacking away at the game, a friend of mine said he saw Howard posting on some forum, and he nabbed his e-mail address. This was still early internet days.
On a whim, I emailed him and told him what I was up to. He wrote back! And he said he was actually going to be in the town next to mine in the next week. We arranged to meet up and he told me the whole story, from the early days of his career, where and what he was doing then, and he gave me so many insights into the development of Yars and ET. He was such a nice guy and he encouraged me to finish the game, gave me some critique, and then told me that the best games he's ever worked on built "complexity from simplicity." I would write him every once in a while, and he would write back with advice and words of encouragement.
When I moved to California, I looked him up and featured him often in Next Generation magazine. He was always hilarious and upbeat. But I could also sense a little bit of regret. He never outright said it, but you could always tell that the burden of being blamed for ruining something he really cared about and loved, the game industry, haunted him. He'd joke about how he would work with Tod Frye, the creator of Pac-Man for Atari (Another game often blamed for the demise of the game industry), at other companies after Atari and they'd tell people, jokingly, that they were the two people who could destroy the game industry again.
To me, the idea and notion that ET destroyed a game industry was just lazy. I had the game as a kid, and so did a lot of my friends, and we all played the hell out of it. So when the documentary came around, I had no idea what the story was going to be, or what other people were going to say, but when it came time to discuss the quality of ET and the talent of its creator, my pent up instinct kicked in.
I remember later thinking about how I might be the only guy in the documentary who felt that way, and I might seem crazy. But I really believed it, and it was exciting to see my friend Ernie Cline also come onboard, who I knew felt the same way, and then Seamus Blackley, and all these people I've worked with come to Howard's defense.
Then to hang out with Howard at the dig site – it was pretty emotional. Here's this guy who was an amazing mentor to me, and supporter of my career, and now it was his moment. He was surrounded by fans, family, and friends when that bucket came up. And to see him finally let out that pain as people cheered. I think the demon was exorcised at that moment.
Other Ocean recently hosted a launch party for #IDARB coinciding with the premiere of the Atari: Game Over documentary. How did that go?
It was a nice cap on a really busy year. The best part was that it felt like a reunion of all of my old Backbone coworkers and partners and all my friends. It was weird too because there were people like Lorne Lanning there supporting us. HOW THE HELL DOES THAT HAPPEN? He my hero! My Daughter's kindergarten teacher even showed up!
Does the launch party mean the game has "gone gold"? If so, what's the expected release date?
I think we are literally days away from a big announcement if all goes well. I wish I could say more! I think everyone will be happy.
Microsoft has confirmed that Limbo, the critically acclaimed indie game that was first released for the Xbox 360, will be coming to the Xbox One. Folks who bought the Xbox One early will be able to download the game for free when it is released.
The news about Limbo's Xbox One release came in a message to the console's early adopters on its dashboard today, which we have confirmed after seeing the same message on our own console following tips from our readers. No other details about the Xbox One Limbo release have been revealed, including a release date.
Developed by Playdead, Limbo is a black-and-white 2D side scroller game centering on a small boy as he tries to find his sister while solving puzzles and avoiding monsters and traps. The game was first released for the Xbox 360 in 2010 and was later released to other platforms. Playdead is currently working on its second game, Inside, which will be an Xbox One exclusive when it debuts in 2015.
Thanks to Nic and Greg for the tips!
One year ago today, Microsoft launched the Xbox One in 13 markets around the world, including the US. While we thought that Microsoft's third game console was an excellent gaming machine as well as good video playing device in our extensive review back in December, the truth is that the Xbox One is a much better product 365 days later.
In fact, a case could be made that Microsoft has worked much harder to make the Xbox One a better buy than Sony has done with the PlayStation 4, which launched a week before Microsoft's machine. In this article we offer five reasons why the Xbox One is better than it was a year after its launch.
The price is lower
This is the most obvious reason, but it's a pretty important one. Microsoft started selling the Xbox One with the Kinect sensor for $499 in the US. That's on the high end in terms of launch prices for previous consoles, and $100 more than the price of the PlayStation 4.
Since the launch, Microsoft has been pretty aggressive in offering the Xbox One as a better value than the PlayStation 4, especially since its sales started to go down after the holiday shopping season of 2013. It started with a bundle that included the game Titanfall for the same price. Later, it started selling a version of the console without the Kinect add-on for just $399. While some people were disappointed that Microsoft had abandoned their strategy of offering the Kinect for every Xbox One, the truth is that most game developers were not using the hardware anyway, so it made solid business sense to give consumers an option to get the console without the Kinect sensor.
More recently Microsoft has offered a bunch of bundle deals for the Xbox One, including a white version with Sunset Overdrive and one with a 1 TB hard drive and a free copy of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. The last big marketing push is a temporary $50 price cut on all Xbox One consoles, including the bundles, until January 3, 2015. While it's possible Microsoft will go ahead and keep selling the console at their current lower prices afterwards, we wouldn't bet on it, so now might be a good time to get the Xbox One for yourself.
Microsoft has released a ton of firmware updates since launch
If you bought an Xbox One on November 22, 2013, you know that you have seen an unprecedented amount of software updates for the console since then. Microsoft has been working hard to add features to the Xbox One that were not available a year ago.
Microsoft recently listed what's been added to the Xbox One since its launch, and it's pretty extensive. Some of the highlights include a new Friends section, a new Achievements app, being able to purchase digital Xbox One games from your smartphone or PC, and a new media player. All of this shows that Microsoft is committed to making the Xbox One a better console and those updates will continue in 2015 (screenshot support has already been promised).
The Xbox Live Gold subscription is a better value
A year ago, the value of an Xbox One Gold subscription was, well, poor. Yes, you had to get it in order to play online multiplayer games, but it was also needed to access the many streaming media apps for the console, including Netflix, Hulu and more. Many people wondered why Microsoft was adding another subscription price for accessing apps that were available on other consoles without that extra price.
Thankfully, Microsoft saw the light and eliminated the Xbox Live Gold requirement for watching those apps in June. Even better, signing up for the service gave Xbox One owners at least one free downloadable game each month starting in June, which certainly makes the subscription worth it in the long run.
Xbox One has a bigger variety of apps
Speaking of those streaming media apps, there are a lot more to check out on the Xbox One since it came out a year ago. Apps like Plex, Comedy Central and most recently HBO Go have been added since the launch. Other apps that were part of the launch have since been updates, such as Twitch, which can now let owners stream their gameplay experiences live to anyone on the Internet.
Heck, you can even order non-gaming items via the Xbox One, such as the GoPro app and the recently launched Domino's Pizza app (just in the UK for now). All in all, there's a ton of things to do on the Xbox One for both the gamer and non-gamer.
The games are much better now
While there were a couple of solid Xbox One launch games, such as Dead Rising 3 and Forza Motorsport 5, nothing really stood out. That's all changed now. Microsoft has a library of titles for the console that, in our humble opinion, beat the PlayStation 4 in terms of variety and quality.
It actually began earlier this year with the release of Titanfall, but the Xbox One's library of titles, both first and third-party, has improved greatly in the last few months. From Forza Horizon 2 to Sunset Overdrive to Project Spark to Halo The Master Chief Collection, the Xbox One first party lineup is pretty impressive, and that's backed up by great indie games from the ID@Xbox division like Strike Suit Zero, Super Time Force, and many more. The third-party lineup is excellent as well, with recent releases like Destiny, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and more.
Let's not forget the cool EA Access service which is exclusive to the Xbox One. It launched a few months ago and lets users play from an ever growing list of full Electronic Arts games for one low monthly fee.
As good as the Xbox One game lineup is right now, it will likely be even better at this time in 2015. In a recent podcast interview, Xbox division leader Phil Spencer indicated that there are so many great games coming for the console in the fourth quarter of 2015 that Microsoft will likely have to move some of them to early 2016 so the marketplace isn't flooded with content. That's an excellent problem to have, however and it bodes well for the console's prospects for the future.
Let us know what you think
These are just my opinions. Do you agree? Or do you think the Xbox One isn't doing as well as it should be, and why? Please let us know in the comments.
Every weekend, Windows Central streams an Xbox One game on Twitch for one hour and gives out free games to the cool people who join us during the stream. We took last weekend off from streaming because I was all kinds of sick with a cold. But I'm almost over the cold, so this week I'm back, baby!
Tonight at 8pm Central (9pm Eastern, 6pm Pacific), we'll be playing not one, but two games! To start with, we'll knock some balls around in Pinball FX2. See the recently released South Park tables in action, plus several more! After that, it's time for at least an hour of Grand Theft Auto V's campaign.
We want you guys there, chatting along. So we're giving out Pinball FX2 "South Park Pinball" codes for Xbox One, Playstation 4, and Steam! Just follow me on Twitch.tv/Eastxtwitch, watch along, and participate in chat for your chance to win. You can also watch the event right here live or after the fact.
Watch live video from EastXTwitch on www.twitch.tvTip: If watching the stream in another window, close this one to avoid audio echoes.
Pinball FX 2
Pinball FX2 is less an individual game and more a pinball game platform. The Xbox One game itself comes with one table for free. Players can purchase a huge variety of additional tables and table packs. These tables are all original creations from Zen Studios, not adaptations of real-life pinball machines. They vary in subject matter from original themes to licensed properties such as Marvel Superheroes and Star Wars.
The latest table pack, "South Park Pinball" includes two tables: "Super Sweet Pinball" and "Butters' Very Own Pinball Game." We'll play these kick-@$$ tables (and several more) tonight to help you decide which tables your collection needs.
Grand Theft Auto V
The final AAA Xbox One release of the year certainly deserves some Twitch loving from us, so that's what we're going to do! I'll dip into the beginning of the GTA V campaign and check out the Xbox One version's newly enhanced graphics and features.
Stay tuned in the next week or so for our full review courtesy of Mobile Nations' own Richard Devine.
We'll be streaming Pinball FX2 for one hour and Grand Theft Auto V for at least another hour, starting at 8pm Central (9pm Eastern, 6pm Pacific). During that time, we'll be giving out a total of 10 "South Park Pinball" codes:
To enter, just follow me at Twitch.tv/Eastxtwitch and tune in during the stream. You can watch the stream right here in this post, but you need to actually participate in the stream chat to have a chance at winning. We'll deliver codes to the winners via Twitch message (PM) during the stream. No code begging!
What's the best way to experience Twitch? If you don't have a PC, you can get the Xbox One or Xbox 360 Twitch app and watch from the comfort of your couch. Or grab the unofficial app Livegaming for Windows Phone. It has plenty of great features, including the ability to chat along with your fellow viewers. Unfortunately you'll have to add our channel to your favorites from the Twitch website, outside of the app.
I'll be available for a few minutes before and after the stream if you have any questions or just want to say hi. If you enjoy the stream, I'd love for you to tune in to future streams. For now, we'll do one every weekend, with a few non-contest streams throughout the week.
Want to know what's next for Windows Central's weekly Twitch streaming contests? Here's the schedule for the rest of the month:
Mark your calendar and tune in those days for your chance to win each game on Xbox One (and sometimes other platforms)!
Come back here after the show to see the list of winners.
Xbox Live Gold members are getting more Sunset Overdirve action, with the game available to them at a lower price. While the 24-hour trial of the game is now over, Gold members can now purchase Sunset Overdrive at a 15 percent discount.
The discount is only available through midnight PT, or 3am ET. A 15 percent discount will bring the normal price of $59.99 down to around $51. If you have an Xbox Live Gold membership, and you've been wanting to pick up this game, now is a great time to do it.
Will you be getting Sunset Overdrive at a discount, and did you play the trial? Let us know, and leave your thoughts in the comments.
Source: Major Nelson
Xbox One early adopters should be receiving codes for their free copies of Limbo. It was announced yesterday that the acclaimed Playdead effort would be coming to Xbox One, given away to early adopters as a thank you. The game is not yet available for purchase for other Xbox One owners.
Limbo was originally release in the summer of 2010. You control a silent protagonist through an eerie black and white world. It's a side-scrolling game that has you solving puzzles, avoiding traps, and outsmarting enemies. Playdead is currently working on their next game, Inside, set to debut on the Xbox sometime in 2015.
Thanks to George B. for the tip!