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    Minecraft

    In a major surprise, Telltale Games announced today it was teaming up with developer Mojang to create Minecraft: Story Mode, an episodic game series that will be released sometime in 2015 that's based on Mojang's hugely popular sandbox game.

    Telltale Games states:

    Set in the world of Minecraft, the series will feature an original story, driven by player choice. It will not be an add-on for Minecraft, but rather a separate stand-alone product that will premiere in 2015 on consoles, computers and mobile devices. Telltale's game series will mix new characters with familiar themes, in an entirely original Minecraft experience, inspired by the Minecraft community and the game that continues to inspire a generation.

    Telltale has two episodic games, also based on established media franchises, that have recently launched their first episodes: Game of Thrones and Tales from the Borderlands. Mojang's own announcement about the game confirms it will be released for Xbox consoles and the PC, among other platforms.

    Source: Telltale Games


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    Xbox One TV Tuner

    A few days ago we opened up a quick pre-holiday contest for our European readers to win an Xbox One TV Tuner courtesy of Windows Central. Thanks to everyone who entered and as promised we've closed it down and selected one lucky winner at random.

    So, drum roll please...

    The winner is: JNeail

    Congratulations and keep an eye on your inbox as we'll be in touch soon to arrange shipping!


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    Pandora Xbox One

    Microsoft continues to add to the library of apps made for the Xbox One console. Just a few days after it added the Khan Academy and Popcornflix apps, four more apps have been launched: Pandora, Vevo, Bravo Now and Telemundo Now

    Here's a quick look at each app:

    • Pandora. Great music discovery is effortless and free with Pandora on Xbox One. Just start with the name of one of your favorite artists, songs, genres or composers and we will do the rest. It's easy to create personalized stations that play only music you'll love. Pandora for Xbox One is available to Xbox Live members in in the United States.
    • Vevo. Vevo offers the largest collection of premium official music videos. Start watching your favorite music videos and catch daily video premieres by downloading Vevo for Xbox One today. Discover exciting new music videos, original shows, and live music performances from your favorite artists. Vevo on Xbox One is available in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States.
    • Bravo Now. Bravo Now is your one-stop destination for full episodes and video from all your favorite Bravo shows. Just sign in with your TV service provider login information and you are ready to watch your favorite Bravo programs whenever you want. Bravo on Xbox One is available in the United States.
    • Telemundo Now. Watch full episodes of the best Telemundo Novelas, Shows and Specials as well as exclusive content like interviews, behind the scenes and more! For the best viewing experience log in with your TV provider's user name and password. Telemundo Now on Xbox One is available in the United States.

    Source: Xbox Wire


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    GTA Online

    Grand Theft Auto Online has a ton of free holiday content available for all Xbox One owners. Most of the new items, including new cars and weapons, are available permanently, while some of the more festive things, like snowfall in San Andreas and holiday masks, are only around until January 5. On top of the new items, Rockstar is also kicking off a #FestiveSurprise holiday photo contest with a big $1 million prize in in-game cash.

    The update also includes the ability to own a third property and a handful of other new features. Here's all of the holiday goodies you'll be getting in the latest update.

    • Homing Missile Launcher and Proximity Mines
    • San Andreas snowfall
    • A friendly snowball fight
    • Holiday pajamas
    • 'Ugly' Christmas sweaters
    • New scarves, hats, masks
    • Hot Rod Christmas Ratloader
    • Slam Van
    • Massacro and Jester sports cars
    • Holiday Special Crate Drops
    • Firework Launcher and Firework rocket ammo

    How many of you guys are playing GTA Online? Are you going to give the photo contest a try?

    Source: Rockstar


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    Microsoft is preparing for its Halo 5: Guardians multiplayer closed beta test for the Xbox One, and starting tonight it will let folks go behind-the-scenes of the making of the beta in a six-part documentary video series, called The Sprint.

    The series will be shown exclusively on the Halo Channel app. Here's a look at the schedule for the documentary:

    • Episode 1: Balance - Premiering Thursday, December 18 @ 7:00 p.m. Eastern time, 4:00 p.m. Pacific time: The 343 Industries pro team gives their final feedback on "Truth," an homage to the Halo 2 map "Midship," which will be included in the Halo 5: Guardians Multiplayer Beta.
    • Episode 2: Give & Take - Premiering Friday, December 19 @ 7:00 p.m. Eastern time, 4:00 p.m. Pacific time: The art team discovers that some of the ideas they have don't quite meld with the layout set forth by the level designers. With time running out, what compromises must be made?
    • Episode 3: Prophets - Premiering Saturday, December 20 @ 7:00 p.m. Eastern time, 4:00 p.m. Pacific time: With the map "Truth" well on its way to completion, the art team must shift their focus to the remix map "Regret," which presents a massive undertaking in and of itself. Will there be enough time to finish it before the deadline?
    • Episode 4: Breakout - Premiering Sunday, December 21 @ 7:00 p.m. Eastern time, 4:00 p.m. Pacific time: The Halo 5: Guardians multiplayer design team invites Halo pros to the studio to offer feedback that could shape the future of the competitive experience.
    • Episode 5: Shutdown - Premiering Monday, December 22 @ 7:00 p.m. Eastern time, 4:00 p.m. Pacific time: The Halo 5: Guardians multiplayer design team buckles down to make sure every detail of the upcoming Multiplayer Beta is firing on all cylinders.
    • Episode 6: Gold - Premiering Tuesday, December 23 @ 7:00 p.m. Eastern time, 4:00 p.m. Pacific time: The Halo 5: Guardians multiplayer design team begins to wrap up production on the public beta... but not before getting a little friendly competition in to celebrate another milestone.

    Folks who have purchased Halo: The Master Chief Collection for the Xbox One will be able to play the Halo 5: Guadians multiplayer beta when it begins on December 29.

    Source: Xbox Wire


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    Halo 5

    If you happen to be a member of the Xbox One preview program, you will be getting a chance to play the multiplayer beta for Halo 5: Guardians before the vast majority of folks. Microsoft will begin to send invites to preview members to play a version of the sci-fi first person shooter beta test on Friday.

    Microsoft says that Xbox One testers will be emailed two codes for them to download and play the Halo 5 beta. It states:

    "The first code allows you to download the Beta to your console, and the second code is a small download that grants you access. You will need to redeem both tokens on your Xbox One console or on Xbox.com to participate in the early access period for the Halo 5: Guardians Multiplayer Beta. Be aware that redeeming one token will not allow you to participate; both are necessary."

    The test will run for Xbox One preview members from Friday to Sunday, December 19. It will contain content from the first week of the Halo 5 beta, which will officially begin on December 29th for everyone else.

    Source: Microsoft, Via: The Verge


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    Murdered Soul suspect

    Microsoft continues its Countdown to 2015 Deals campaign with Murdered Soul Suspect, which can be yours for just $16 on Xbox One. While the price and availability will vary depending on region, it's the perfect time to bolster your Xbox One game collection.

    The deal is even better if you're on the Xbox 360 as you'll enjoy a larger discount on the same title for today only. For those not familiar with the title, players have to essentially solve their own murder, working out the identity behind the killer and piecing together clues.

    Source: Major Nelson


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    Retailers offering last-minute holiday deals on Xbox One consoles and games

    Several retailers are offering last-minute deals on the Xbox One and related game bundles. The deals are available at most major retailers, including Amazon, Best Buy, GameStop, and Walmart. They are also available at Microsoft Stores and the Microsoft online store. All Xbox One promotions are on top of the existing $50 off deal for the console and bundles.

    Several retailers are offering a deal on the Assassin's Creed Unity Xbox One bundle, which includes an Xbox One and a copy of Assassin's Creed Unity. Amazon, Best Buy, GameStop, and Target will all give you a $50 gift card with your purchase of the Unity Bundle. Toys R Us is offering the bundle with a free Xbox One controller. You can grab the Unity bundle from Meijer with a free Xbox One game of your choice, while Newegg will give you a free 12-month Xbox Live Gold subscription and a $20 Newegg gift card.

    There are also a number of deals on Xbox One games through retailers, as well as Xbox Live, such as $20 off Sunset Overdrive or Forza Horizon 2. Microsoft said that deals will also be making their way to the Xbox 360 and Xbox Video via Xbox Live through December 31.

    Source: Xbox Wire


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    Activision has released a trailer for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare's upcoming Exo Zombie mode. The mode, the first chapter of which debuts in January, is story-based, and features voice work from Bill Paxton, John Malkovich, Rose McGowan, and Jon Bernthal. The four star as untrained, unprepared employees of the game's fictional Atlas private military contractor. Exo Zombies will launch on Xbox platforms first.

    Exo Zombies is a cooperative experience that will have you facing off against waves of zombies powered by mechanical exoskeletons. The exo suits augment their physical abilities, letting them jump higher and hit harder. The multi-chapter season of Exo Zombies comes with the Advanced Warfare season pass, and the chapters will launch throughout 2015. The season pass also includes new weapons and content for Advanced Warfare's competitive multiplayer mode.

    Source: Call of Duty


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    Halo 5

    Check your messages on Xbox Live because you just might have your access code for early access to the Halo: 5 Guardians beta. Yesterday Microsoft announced that those in the Xbox One Preview program would be getting access to an early beta of Halo 5 this weekend from December 19 through December 21. Those codes are now rolling out to gamers in the Xbox One Preview program.

    Microsoft has said codes would begin rolling out today at 12 PM PST through Xbox Live. And that they're slowly going out. Reports on Reddit and Twitter have users claiming their code for the Halo 5 beta. Well technically, you're going to get two codes from Xbox Live.

    The first code will be used to download the Halo 5 beta to your console, while the second code grants you access to the beta.

    Don't sweat if you can't play the beta this weekend, since you'll have an opportunity to play the full beta which runs from December 29th through January 18th. The beta over the next few days only contains content from the first week of the Halo 5: Guardians beta while the full beta will have 7 maps, 3 game types and more weapons over its three week run.

    Important note from Microsoft:

    "Please note that these tokens are intended solely for your personal use as a Preview participant. Any attempt to sell, give away, or trade these tokens will have consequences, up to and including removal from the Preview program and exclusion from future participation."

    Please don't share your codes, kids. And don't ask for anyone to share. You can however drop your Gamertag into the comments below if you're not already in the Xbox One Preview program and wish to be invited by someone who is already a member. This way you won't miss out on future betas like this one.

    Did you get your code yet? See you online Spartans. And if you see GeneralSham on your team this weekend you're guaranteed a win ;)

    Source: Microsoft


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    Halo: The Master Chief Collection offers freebies to make up for mistakes

    After encountering bugs and hiccups at launch, Halo is making it up to loyal gamers with some freebies. For those who have played Halo: The Master Chief Collection since launch through today, December 19, a number of in-app goodies will be given for free along with a 1-month Xbox Live Gold membership.

    343 Industries says that if you've been a loyal gamer since launch, you'll get:

    • 1 Month of Xbox Live Gold
    • Exclusive In-Game Nameplate
    • Exclusive In-Game Avatar

    Additionally, Halo will also give out:

    • Halo 3: ODST Campaign – Development has just started on the campaign for Halo 3: ODST, which will be available within Halo: The Master Chief Collection, and upgraded to 1080p resolution, running at 60fps. It will be available for free to anyone who has played Halo: The Master Chief Collection since launch (11.11.14) through today (12.19.14).* Thanks to our friends at Bungie for creating the original "Halo 3: ODST" campaign.

    • "Relic" Halo 2: Anniversary Multiplayer Map – Available via a free content update to Halo: The Master Chief Collection, we will reimagine the fan-favorite map "Relic," fully remastered and running at 1080p resolution and 60fps. We chose this map based on its suitability for Slayer and Objective modes and its ability to support teams of varying sizes. And you can trust that Certain Affinity will tune and tweak the map to make it even better than you remember.

    343 Industries will rollout a content release update soon that will add 10 episodes of Spartan Ops for Halo 4 as well as fix other lingering issues.

    Source: Xbox


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    Metro Redux

    Microsoft continues its Countdown to 2015 Deals campaign today with Metro Redux Bundle, which can be yours for just $33.16, a 33% savings, on the Xbox One. The bundle contains graphical revamps of the two previously released first person shooters, Metro 2033 and Metro Last Light.

    Xbox 360 owners get two games with price reductions for today only. Metro: Last Light is priced at just $10.19 while Saints Row 4 is available for only $11.89 today.

    Source: Major Nelson


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    Project Spark

    Project Spark, the game creation tool from Microsoft that was officially released in October for the Xbox One and Windows 8.1 platforms, now has nearly 100,000 user-made levels to download and play, according to an update from the Team Dakota development team.

    The update, written by Project Spark team member Rahul Sandil, stated:

    "It turns out, a lot of creators made a lot of things. The community changed us, our approach and our ultimate Project Spark experience in so many ways. We knew Project Spark would be a boon to creators and players. But we never could have guessed how many different kinds of experiences the community would make with our tools. There are games, movies, sculptures, fan art, assemblies, homages, experiments, tutorials, starter kits, modular kits, prop kits… and that only covers half of the creations! These creations were consumed with gusto by our amazing player community with more than 8 million downloads of UGC levels."

    Project Spark now has quite a few official Content Packs to download for creators to use in their levels and more are planned for 2015. However, before the year ends, Team Dakota will launch one more Content Pack. Sandil says:

    "Our next content for creators is the Epic Artist World Builder Pack. This pack, to be released on December 30, unlocks the ability to tint your terrain, make your terrain textures move and scale, set physics on your terrain and turn on and off terrain rendering properties. This pack will also increase your ability to record custom animations with Kinect from 1 to 10 minutes. We want to put more creation tools in the hands of our community and this is one of those packs that does just that."

    Source: Project Spark


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    Strider Xbox One Twitch

    Every weekend, Windows Central streams an Xbox One game or two on Twitch for 1-2 hours and gives out free games to the cool people who join us during the stream. Last week, we streamed Sixty Second Shooter Prime and Nutjitsu and dished out codes to 10 lucky viewers.

    Tonight at 8pm Central (9pm Eastern, 6pm Pacific), we'll be playing Strider from Capcom! We want you guys there, chatting along. So we're giving out five Xbox One codes for Strider, plus several Playstation 4 and Steam codes!

    Update: The stream has ended. Congratulations to tonight's winners! Everyboy who missed the stream, continue reading to see an awesome replay.


    Watch live video from EastXTwitch on Twitch

    Strider

    Capcom released an arcade game called Strider in 1989. The game impressed with its flashy sword-based combat, wall climbing and no-gravity sections, and huge mechanical bosses. The next year, Capcom created a completely original Strider game for the 8-bit NES. The NES game starred the same character, Strider Hiryu, who later appeared in the Marvel vs. Capcom series.

    In 2014, developer Double Helix teamed up with Capcom to make an all-new Strider for Xbox One and 360, as well as other platforms. The new Strider combines elements from the arcade and NES games (plus Strider 2) into a single action-packed Metroidvania-style platformer. With superfast gameplay, wonderful music, and tons of futuristic areas to explore, Strider is a fantastic modern take on the classic series.

    Strider Xbox One

    The Contest

    We'll be streaming Strider for 90-120 minutes tonight, starting at 8pm Central (9pm Eastern, 6pm Pacific). During that time, we'll be giving out a total of 12 game codes:

    • 5 Strider for Xbox One
    • 4 Strider for Playstation 4 (US)
    • 3 Strider for Steam

    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.

    Strider Xbox One

    Contest schedule

    Want to know what's next for Windows Central's weekly Twitch streaming contests? Here's our upcoming schedule:

    • Saturday, December 27: Warframe from Digital Extremes - Play along with us during the stream!
    • Saturday, January 3: Defense Grid 2 from Hidden Path Entertainment
    • Saturday, January 10: Chariot from Frima Studio
    • Saturday, January 17: Flockers from Team17
    • Saturday, January 24: The Golf Club from HB Studios

    Set a recurring alarm on your phone and tune in those days for your chance to win each game on Xbox One (and sometimes other platforms)!

    Strider Xbox One

    Winners

    Congrats to tonight's winners!

    Xbox One

    • MI11lon
    • T3kn0thugz
    • bratticus182
    • Julianodorneles
    • babalabon

    Playstation 4

    • ucfknighthood
    • Rann7878
    • Afalcon90
    • Donut0770

    Steam

    • cgluch
    • cecilkilmer
    • Rann7878

    Thanks to Capcom for providing tonight's prizes! Thanks also to our Twitch stream moderators Kalelcanfly, Tylerh1701, and DerekDoesIt for moderating our streams and giving away the prizes!


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    Stick it to the man

    Microsoft is today offering discounts on a variety of indie games, as part of the company's Countdown to 2015 Deals campaign. According to a new post published by Microsoft's Harry "Major Nelson" Lybb, today's deal will include the following indie titles on Xbox One and Xbox 360:

    Xbox One

    Xbox 360

    Be sure to head to Microsoft's website for the deals to check out what's available each day and beyond.

    Source: Major Nelson