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  1. Newly disclosed Xbox Easter egg has remained hidden for nearly 20 years How many more secrets are lurking on the OG Xbox? In brief: Microsoft’s first home game console, the Xbox, launched way back in November of 2001. More than 24 million units were sold worldwide before Microsoft officially discontinued the system in 2006 to focus on its successor, the Xbox 360. Nearly 20 years later, the console is still hiding secrets that gamers somehow never managed to stumble across. Kotaku was recently contacted by an anonymous source that worked on the original Xbox. The person shared an Easter egg that, to the best of their knowledge, has remained undiscovered for almost 20 years. It’s nothing groundbreaking, mind you, and the leaker even said they didn’t expect it to be found unless the source code leaked or someone reverse-engineered the Dashboard, but it’s still pretty remarkable that none of that has happened yet. To activate the egg, fire up an original Xbox follow these steps: Go into “Music” and insert an audio CD. (A short album will take less time.) From the Audio CD screen choose “Copy,” “Copy” again, then “New Soundtrack.” Delete the default soundtrack title and replace it with (no quotes) “Timmyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!” (That’s the letter “y” 26 times. No need to count; just fill the entire field and replace the last one with a “!”.) Sit a spell. Enjoy the sounds of the hard drive stealing the disc’s essence. When ripping completes, back out to the main menu. Choose “Settings” and then “System Info.” You should now see a new screen listing members of the “Xbox Dashboard Team.” The trick replaces the standard contents of the “System Info” screen with a new listing that shows the names of the Xbox Dashboard team. Like I said, it’s not groundbreaking, but neat nevertheless. Kotaku further confirmed that this “is not the final secret hidden within the original Xbox” that Seamus Blackley referenced in 2017. Yes. An there's an Easter egg than nobody has noticed as far as I can tell. — Seamus Blackley (@SeamusBlackley) September 26, 2017 The publication reached out to Blackley for clarification, who said the egg he has in mind involves the Xbox’s boot animation. When asked if controller inputs were needed to trigger it, he said “Nope, it doesn’t. But I’m tempted to say it does. But no it doesn’t really. At all. For sure. I’m pretty sure at least.” Source: Newly disclosed Xbox Easter egg has remained hidden for nearly 20 years
  2. IO Interactive may be working with Xbox on an exclusive fantasy RPG, codenamed 'Project Dragon' More games for the Xbox. What you need to know IO Interactive recently started building a new team for a new IP. We've received evidence that this game could be in partnership with Xbox. The codename right now is "Project Dragon," and is in the early stages of development. Source: @Klobrille on Twitter Recently, IO Interactive of Hitman fame spoke to GameIndustry.biz about spinning up a third team to support a new IP that was something "different" for the studio. And we may know a bit more about what it is. A few months ago, I received information that Microsoft and IO Interactive were in talks for a new fantasy RPG, dubbed Project Dragon. While it's too early to share any sort of gameplay details — the final product may look wildly different than the initial pitch — what's on paper thus far sounds incredibly ambitious, and represents a completely new direction for IO. Source: Windows Central via IO Interactive On IO Interactive's website, various job listings are live for multiplayer positions in IO's Swedish studio. And indeed, we've heard that this Dragon project is a connected-world RPG, set in an entirely new universe. One of the job listing PDFs on IO's website specifically refers to the team being "Dragon," adding credence to the information we've recieved. Previously we discussed how Microsoft is working with several third-party partners as part of its Xbox Global Publishing effort, with the aim of bringing more exclusive high-quality games to Xbox consoles, and indeed, Xbox Game Pass. Microsoft's Q3 2021 quarterly earnings report detailed record revenue for their gaming efforts, specifically citing hardware sales and Xbox Game Pass subscriptions as key growth drivers. If Microsoft is indeed the publisher of IO Interactive's upcoming game, it joins a growing number of reasons to be excited about future games heading to Xbox. IO Interactive recently released Hitman 3 to widespread praise, and is also working on a video game based on the James Bond universe, dubbed 007. As with all rumors, take it with a pinch of salt until we get official word from either IO Interactive or Microsoft. And of course, anything can happen between now and launch. This game in particular sounds like it could be years away, as it's still in the very early stages of development. One thing is for sure, though — if IO is able to hit anywhere near what I believe has been pitched, I for one am very excited indeed. Source: IO Interactive may be working with Xbox on an exclusive fantasy RPG, codenamed 'Project Dragon'
  3. A first look at playing Steam PC games on Xbox with mouse and keyboard You can stream PC games from Steam in the Edge browser Microsoft’s new Chromium-based Edge browser is coming to Xbox soon, and the company has now added all-important mouse and keyboard support that will pave the way to stream PC games to Xbox consoles. Xbox testers in the Alpha Skip-Ahead ring are now able to access this new version of Edge and try out a mouse in the console version of the browser for the first time. I’ve been testing this new support over the weekend, and I’ve even managed to play some Steam PC games on my Xbox. Despite a few obvious bugs here and there — as this is very much an early beta browser — it works as expected. I’ve been able to write documents using Word online, type messages into Discord chats, and even play some Krunker or Quake JS through the browser with a mouse and keyboard. Basic mouse navigation, scrolling, and right-click all work here just fine. Krunker on an Xbox with mouse and keyboard. Where things really get interesting is when you consider what this will mean for the future of streaming games to an Xbox through a browser. I’ve been able to successfully stream PC games from Steam to an Xbox through the browser and use a keyboard and mouse attached to the Xbox to play them. I’ve played Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Death Stranding, DOTA 2, and a bunch of other PC games that simply aren’t available on Xbox right now. I’ve been able to do this using Parsec, which is essentially a remote desktop app that lets you stream what’s on your PC to a browser. It’s not the most ideal experience on the Xbox right now, as the virtual keyboard appears when you click, and latency / connectivity isn’t always the best, but it’s a good example of what’s possible with this new mouse and keyboard support. Microsoft’s head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, has already recently committed to bringing full PC games to the Xbox through the company’s Xbox Cloud Gaming (xCloud) service. You can remote-control a PC using Microsoft Edge on Xbox. We don’t know exactly when those PC games will arrive on xCloud, as right now, Microsoft is only currently publicly testing Xbox games via the browser using either a controller or touch controls. This new Edge browser with full mouse and keyboard support simply opens up a lot of opportunities for the Xbox to access games that aren’t typically available on the console. That even includes accessing Sony’s PC ports like Horizon Zero Dawn, Days Gone, and more if you stream them to the browser. For now, we’re waiting on Microsoft to finalize this Edge browser and make it available to all Xbox owners, and for services like Nvidia’s GeForce Now to stop blocking Edge so the dream of playing PC games on Xbox consoles is a step closer to reality. Source: A first look at playing Steam PC games on Xbox with mouse and keyboard
  4. New Xbox update brings Game Pass recommendations and Suspend games feature A new Xbox update is available today on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S consoles, bringing improvements for Xbox Game Pass and game downloads. After installing this update, Xbox Game Pass subscribers will notice new game recommendations and collections in the Xbox Game Pass hub on the console. The “Because you played” section will offer a curated collection of games based on your gameplay history, and there’s also a a new “Play with friends” section showcasing Xbox Game Pass games your friends are currently playing. Subscription services like Netflix have done a great job at recommending new content to watch to subscribers, and maybe Microsoft can do more here in the future by introducing a like/dislike system for Xbox Game Pass games. The second new feature coming with this update is the ability to suspend active games to improve download speeds for your games installing in the background. On Xbox Series X|S consoles, suspending a game won’t prevent Quick Resume to work, meaning that you can still jump right back into your game after suspending it. Last but not least, Microsoft has recently brought back achievements to the Xbox app for iOS and Android, but more improvements are coming later this month. "Starting today, select gamers can check out monthly leaderboards to see how you rank against your friends. We’ll also be adding the ability to view achievements on game detail pages to help track your progress," the Xbox team said today. Source: New Xbox update brings Game Pass recommendations and Suspend games feature
  5. Undertale finally launches on Xbox this week Toby Fox’s 2015 RPG joins the Xbox Game Pass library on Tuesday Nearly six years after it originally launched, Undertale makes its debut on Xbox One and Xbox Series X via Xbox Game Pass on March 16. The indie role-playing game from Toby Fox will have “a few Xbox-specific enhancements,” publisher 8-4 Ltd. announced on Monday. “We know it’s been a long time coming, but we’re extremely excited to finally be bringing Undertale to Xbox players the world over,” 8-4’s John Ricciardi said in a post on Xbox Wire. Undertale debuted on Windows PC and Mac in September 2015, and two years later was joined by a console port to PlayStation 4. A Nintendo Switch version followed in 2018. Ricciardi said Xbox version of Undertale will largely resemble the one available to PC players through the Microsoft Store. “There are a few Xbox-specific enhancements designed to make for a more comfortable time for those playing on a home console,” Ricciardi said. “Because of these, progress and save data between the two versions are unfortunately not compatible.” Undertale, a 2D RPG well known for its soundtrack and numerous classic gaming motifs, was widely hailed during its original launch, and later earned several nominations from the British Academy Games Awards, the DICE Awards, The Game Awards, and the Game Developers Choice Awards. A scene from Undertale. Image: Toby Fox/8-4, Ltd. Source: Undertale finally launches on Xbox this week
  6. Bethesda officially joins Xbox family, some exclusives planned for the future Only a day after news arrived of regulatory approvals, the combining of ZeniMax Media with Xbox has been made official by Microsoft. The Xbox ecosystem now has eight more first-party game development studios, them being Bethesda Game Studios, id Software, ZeniMax Online Studios, Arkane, MachineGames, Tango Gameworks, Alpha Dog, and Roundhouse Studios. While the heads of the two gaming giants did not make any new game-related announcements today, they did share separate blog posts regarding the journey so far and teasers about what's to come. "With the addition of the Bethesda creative teams, gamers should know that Xbox consoles, PC, and Game Pass will be the best place to experience new Bethesda games, including some new titles in the future that will be exclusive to Xbox and PC players" said Xbox Head Phil Spencer. This is probably hinting towards upcoming experiences like Starfield and The Elder Scrolls VI being Microsoft-platform exclusives. Bethesda's Pete Hines had this to share regarding the merger: "As we’ve all shared, the expectation is that Bethesda Softworks and our studios will continue as we have in the past, just with more support and resources than we’ve ever had before. Obviously, Game Pass has been an important initiative for Xbox, and we’ll be working on putting even more of our games into Game Pass than ever before. Beyond that? Stay tuned, we’re just getting started together." Finishing the announcements off, Phil Spencer added that the Xbox Game Pass subscriptions are expanding later this week with another round of Bethesda games, with more details coming soon. Source: Bethesda officially joins Xbox family, some exclusives planned for the future
  7. New Microsoft Edge hits Xbox One, Series X/S with latest Insider update The new and improved Microsoft Edge hits Xbox consoles for select testers. What you need to know Microsoft has debuted the latest iteration of its Microsoft Edge web browser on Xbox consoles. The new Chromium variant of Microsoft Edge supersedes the legacy EdgeHTML version of the browser, with end-of-support status for the desktop client slated for later this month. The new Microsoft Edge is now available to Alpha Skip Ahead Xbox Insiders, with a broader public rollout expected over the weeks ahead. Microsoft has debuted its all-new Microsoft Edge browser on Xbox consoles, providing a long-awaited refresh to the web experience on Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S devices. The new and improved Edge saw its PC overhaul last year, stemming from plans unveiled in 2018 to rebrand and rebuild the app. It's currently available to a subset of Xbox Insiders and on track to replace the aging legacy Microsoft Edge widely available today. The new Microsoft Edge delivers a new look and feel, switching the inbuilt browser from EdgeHTML to one based on the open-source Chromium Project. The engine changes hugely improve compatibility and usability in most instances while also adding new features previously unavailable with the now-abandoned legacy Edge browser. Its Xbox arrival marks the latest expansion of the app, available for testing through the bleeding-edge Alpha Skip Ahead ring, which provides the earliest access to future updates. Source: Windows Central Source: Windows Central Microsoft Edge returns with all the core benefits and features seen with previous platforms, albeit fine-tuned for Xbox and living room usage. The user interface comes tuned around controller input, with mouse and keyboard support currently absent. Skip Ahead testers who install the latest Xbox system update will automatically find the new Edge in their apps library. The new Microsoft Edge hits Xbox with an important end-of-support date fast approaching the legacy Microsoft Edge desktop app. The company hopes to transition users to the latest app by March 9, 2021, at which point legacy Edge security updates will be discontinued. While infrequent among countless games and apps, web browsing remains crucial to Xbox consoles. The new update looks poised to keep its current Xbox family updated with the latest available version of the browser, headed into the latest Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S generation. Source: New Microsoft Edge hits Xbox One, Series X/S with latest Insider update
  8. Minecraft Dungeons for Xbox and PC announces its next DLC, 'Flames of the Nether,' and free update coming February 24 Minecraft Dungeons is heading to the Nether in what could be its biggest update yet. What you need to know Minecraft Dungeons is a co-op focused ARPG spin-off of Minecraft from Mojang Studios. The game continually adds more content through DLC expansions, with three already out. The fourth expansion will be the biggest yet and takes Minecraft Dungeons to the Nether alongside a free update. Six new missions, new gear, enemies, pets, cosmetics, end-game content, vendors, and more are all here. Source: Mojang Studios | Twitter Minecraft Dungeons is starting the week with a huge announcement: the next Minecraft Dungeons DLC is Flames of the Nether, and it's coming this month alongside a massive free update. After tons of speculation, teases from the Minecraft Dungeons team, and sneak peeks at Minecraft Live, it's finally official. Minecraft Dungeons is heading to the Nether. The Flames of the Nether DLC launches for Minecraft Dungeons on February 24, 2021. Heroes, things are heating up! Flames of the Nether DLC is being served hot on February 24 – we’ve also cooked up one of our biggest free updates ever! Learn more about Dungeons’ first interdimensional adventure ↣ https://t.co/3r5UBjzuN9 ↢ pic.twitter.com/rZv9nNuZdg — Minecraft Dungeons (@dungeonsgame) February 8, 2021 Flames of the Nether will include a ton of new content for Minecraft Dungeons and should be the biggest DLC we've seen yet. This means six new missions, instead of the usual three, featuring biomes from Minecraft's the Nether Update, weapons, artifacts, gear, mobs, cosmetic skins, and the Baby Ghast cosmetic pet. However, there will also be an equally ambitious free update launching alongside Flames of the Nether that adds Ancient Hunts, which are procedurally-generated end-game missions. These missions offer nearly infinite replayability for players in exchange for some of the most powerful gear and equipment in the game. You can also earn Gold from Ancient Hunts, which can be used at the new Piglin Merchant that will set up shop in Camp. Finally, Apocalypse Plus mode will be getting some new changes and additions. You'll probably be able to buy Flames of the Nether by itself, but it'll also be included in the already-available Season Pass, which includes the Howling Peaks DLC, Flames of the Nether DLC, and the next two DLCs after that, which will likely go underwater and to the End. We've been waiting for Minecraft Dungeons to go to the Nether ever since we found the remnants of a Nether Portal hidden in the Camp, and one of the biggest things Minecraft Dungeons was missing in comparison to other popular ARPG titles was the existence of true end-game content. Flames of the Nether should fix both of these problems. Fortunately, we truly don't have long to wait, as Flames of the Nether and its free update hit Xbox, PC, Switch, and PlayStation on February 24, 2021. To get the most out of Minecraft Dungeons and its co-op features, invest in one of the Best Headsets for Xbox Series X|S, with some of the best built-in mics and audio quality you can find. Source: Minecraft Dungeons for Xbox and PC announces its next DLC, 'Flames of the Nether,' and free update coming February 24
  9. MLB The Show 21 Announced for Xbox and PlayStation MLB The Show 21, the latest instalment of the PlayStation-exclusive baseball series from Sony first-party developer San Diego Studio, has been announced for both PlayStation and Xbox consoles. Launching on April 20, it will be available across both generations, with PS4/Xbox One versions retailing at $59.99 USD/£59.99 GBP and the next-gen versions at $69.99 USB/£69.99 GBP. The advent of a new platform for the game also means cross-platform play and cross progression has been introduced, meaning MLB The Show 21 players can carry progression between both PlayStation and Xbox platforms, as well as play multiplayer with all players on both console families. Further new features will be revealed as part of a series of six Feature Premiere streams, starting in March. Another reveal will be held on February 3, which will show off the Collector’s Edition of the game. While you’ll have to wait until then to find out what is inside the more premium edition, the PlayStation Blog does suggest that only the Collector’s Edition will feature a free next-gen upgrade. “There will be no standard edition upgrade path from current gen to next gen,” says the article from Ramone Russell, game designer at developer San Diego Studio. “If you are interested in having access to the game on both current and next gen platforms, please wait for more info about the collector’s edition.” While the regular edition is the only one to be shown so far, the artwork does show off this year’s cover athlete: Fernando “El Nino” Tatis Jr. This won’t come as a surprise to some fans, as the cover - as well as the Xbox version - was leaked last week. To see how the series has fared recently, take a look at our MLB The Show 20 review. Source: MLB The Show 21 Announced for Xbox and PlayStation
  10. Xbox controllers still use AA batteries because of a long-standing agreement with Duracell The Duracell-branded Xbox One controller from 2018 totally makes sense now WTF?! When practically everything has a built-in rechargeable battery these days, it is somewhat odd that the Xbox Series X|S controllers are powered by two AA batteries. Microsoft does have an Xbox rechargeable battery pack users can buy separately, and the Xbox Elite Wireless 2 sports an internal power cell. However, the standard gamepads have come with replaceable batteries since going wireless with the Xbox 360. Why? According to remarks made in a recent interview with a Duracell executive, Xbox controllers always come with replaceable batteries due to a long-term deal between Microsoft and the "Copper-Top" company. Duracell UK's Marketing Manager Luke Anderson told Stealth Optional that "there's always been this partnership with Duracell and Xbox." Essentially, Duracell has agreed to provide Xbox with batteries indefinitely, presumably for the exposure it provides. The idea is that when players replace the controller's batteries, they are much more likely to replace them with the same brand. But the agreement goes beyond the controllers. "[The deal is] for [Duracell] OEM to supply the battery product for the Xbox consoles and also the controllers' battery," said Anderson. He added that this agreement has been going on for "a while" and will continue for the foreseeable future. It seems a strange claim that Microsoft would allow itself to be strapped into a long-term deal like this, considering all of its competitors use internal rechargeable batteries. Tag the person you love deeply, trust fully, and play @Xbox games with constantly. #XboxElite pic.twitter.com/zcYbI2haYQ — Duracell (@Duracell) November 9, 2018 MCV Develop reached out to Microsoft for an explanation and received the following statement: "We intentionally offer consumers choice in their battery solutions for our standard Xbox Wireless Controllers. This includes the use of AA batteries from any brand, the Xbox Rechargeable Battery, charging solutions from our partners, or a USB-C cable, which can power the controller when plugged into the console or PC." Microsoft's statement indicates that its decision to use AA batteries was "intentional," rather than being dictated by some deal. However, when pressed further, the spokesperson would not confirm or deny whether the company had or has an agreement with Duracell. However, all the evidence points to a partnership existing. Aside from Anderson's claims and Duracell double-As being the default choice in Xbox controllers, the two companies have cross-promoted on multiple occasions, including an Duracell-branded Xbox controller and the "marriage proposal" tweet from the Copper Top's official Twitter account (above). Source: Xbox controllers still use AA batteries because of a long-standing agreement with Duracell
  11. The Future of Xbox Isn't Just a Console With the Xbox Series X on the horizon, Microsoft’s head of videogame hardware sees a future where consoles may no longer be front and center. Xbox boss Phil Spencer says the idea that “the hardware you bought keeps us from being able to play together seems totally foreign in today’s world.”Photograph: Christian Petersen/Getty Images Microsoft and Sony will launch the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 later this year. While their hardware improvements are hard to argue with, they’re arriving in an unprecedented era of media consumption: Netflix on iPhones, Kindle on tablets, Spotify on PC, all three interchangeable on each piece of hardware. As videogames follow that same path, the primacy of the specced out console itself seems increasingly in doubt. After all, tweens who play Fortnite already know that everything can be a console. It’s a vision Xbox itself is championing. Yet at the dawn of a new era of consoles, it’s hard not to wonder whether these mega-powerful boxes we plant in our living rooms will even exist in 10 years. Despite its massive push for the Xbox Series X, Microsoft is hedging its bets that a decade from now more and more gamers will be taking a “no gods, no masters” approach to where and how they play. Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, thinks whether consoles will exist in 10 years is the wrong question to ask. “In the long run, to me, it’s a question about the viability of the television,” said Spencer last week in an interview with WIRED. “There’s this calculus, this chess match we’re playing,” says Spencer. “It’s no longer checkers.” Spencer’s chess match isn’t against Sony or Nintendo; it’s against the ever-changing trends in how two billion gamers worldwide consume media. When the Xbox Series X arrives in stores later this year, it will become a part of Xbox’s chimera approach—alongside its cloud gaming service, Project xCloud, and Xbox Play Anywhere—to capture gamers wherever they are. With xCloud, you’ll pay a currently undefined subscription to stream AAA games onto your mobile phone and tablet. With Xbox Play Anywhere, you can buy, say, Forza Horizon 4 and play it on both Xbox One and Windows 10 on PC. “We're going to be focusing on the player and the devices that they have that fit in their lifestyle,” says Spencer. When the Xbox Series X launches, it will be the console maker’s most powerful game machine yet. For the specs fetishists, it’s got a custom processor that’s four times more powerful than the Xbox One’s. It will support up to 120 frames per second and its GPU can handle an enormous 12 teraflops of GPU performance. For those uninterested in teraflops, some exciting features: “quick resume,” which lets players suspend and return to games almost instantly, and an exhaustive library of backwards-compatible games. There’s no price tag attached to it yet, though. (The Xbox 360 launched at $400 and The Xbox One was $500.) Customers will be paying for an oblong black box that smoothly runs high-end games with an easy-to-use user interface and satisfying quality of life features—all of which may get outdated in a couple of years should Xbox launch, say, a Series Y. For years, Xbox has been chipping away at the historical borders delineating how we play games. It was an early champion of cross-play—when gamers can play online games together across consoles—for games like Minecraft and Rocket League when Sony in many cases was not. (Once, in 2017, when Sony accidentally turned on Fortnite cross-play between PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, Spencer tweeted, “I would have liked to see them leave it on.”) You were a PlayStation person, and you meandered around their walled garden, where you played the games exclusive to the PlayStation console. Or you were an Xbox person, and you lived in the walled garden next door. “This world where the hardware you bought keeps us from being able to play together seems totally foreign in today’s world,” says Spencer, describing “walled gardens” as “such a 1990s construct.” (There’s arguably more in it for Xbox to want to tear down those boundaries; for a lot of gamers, Sony’s plot of land has more appealing exclusive games.) Spencer recalls some backlash from “traditional console purists” when Xbox decided to start simultaneously shipping first-party games on PC and console a couple years ago. For them, he explained, “A console comes out every five years: I take my old hardware and I put it and all of the games in a cardboard box and go put that in a closet. And I buy all new games for this new piece of hardware. And that's the way a console should be.” Today, consoles aren’t the most popular way to play games; phones are. The image of the mobile gamer is changing a lot as the years ago on, too, from an idle mom poking away at Candy Crush to a dedicated teenager headshotting opponents in PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. As Xbox moves further into markets like Africa and India, Spencer theorizes that populations who typically enjoy entertainment on mobile devices and tablets aren’t going to buy a television and a gaming console to plug into the wall. They’re going to want to play Sea of Thieves on hardware they already own. Sure, it may not be a perfect experience. (Until 5G rolls out, cloud gaming will suffer from issues around bandwidth and latency.) But movies, television, and music are all becoming more and more device-agnostic. Why not games? “You and I might watch Netflix. I don’t know where you watch it, where I watch it, but we can have conversations about the shows we watch,” says Spencer. “I want gaming to evolve to that same level.” Then, of course, there’s the PC, a piece of hardware that Microsoft already looms large over with Windows. A cheap gaming PC can cost just a little more money than an Xbox. It can run a huge range of videogames, including those never released on Xbox, and if you’re really in love with the Xbox controller, it takes a couple of seconds to plug one into your USB port. In any case, Xbox’s famous Game Pass—a great deal on dozens of games for $5 a month—is available on PC, too. A cheap PC probably won’t run games nearly as well as an Xbox Series X, and definitely doesn’t have the same brand charisma. So why isn’t an Xbox just a PC in your living room? “To some people, it is,” says Spencer. “Other than people whipping out a keyboard and mouse and composing an email, a lot of what happens on our console is similar to what happens on a PC.” Relative to a PC, though, Spencer says that what Xbox needs to do is “have a UI that works on a television, an input mechanism that works on a television.” Spencer paints the Xbox Series X and the “game anywhere on stuff you have” pitches as complementary rather than cannibalistic. “I don’t think it’s ‘hardware agnostic’ as much as it’s ‘where you want to play,” he says. Which makes sense: The more ways to play, and the more services Microsoft provides, the more repeatable revenue flowing into Microsoft’s coffers. After the hype around the Xbox Series X cools down and the hardware-content singularity approaches, it’s possible that many of the people opting to play Xbox games will do so on everything except the Xbox. It seems fair to ask whether this generation of dedicated consoles will be the last. “I like watching TV. I like playing games on TV. It's where I play most of the time,” says Spencer. “I think there will be—for a long time—a world where people want to play on a television, and we're committed to that and we will deliver great console experiences. I don't think Xbox series X is our last console. I think we will do more consoles to make that great television play experience work and be delightful.” And if not, well, the company still has options. “The nice thing about being in a company the scale of Microsoft is we're able to make bets across a lot of those fronts and we're not really dependent upon any one of those individual kinds of businesses or relationships to succeed,” says Spencer. The Future of Xbox Isn't Just a Console
  12. Xbox Lockhart rumors intensify as references to console are found in Windows 10 code More fuel on the fire – perhaps we’ll hear something official from Microsoft soon? (Image credit: Microsoft) Project Lockhart is referred to in some Windows 10 code libraries, it has emerged, pouring more fuel onto the fire of the rumor that Microsoft has a second digital-only next-gen console in the works. The theory is that this second Project Lockhart console would sit under the top-end Xbox Series X as a more affordable alternative (Xbox Series S?) for those happy to have a lesser spec machine, but it’s still unclear as to whether this is Microsoft’s plan, or indeed what Lockhart might actually be. What we know now is that it’s something to do with the Xbox, given that references to ‘Xbox-Lockhart’ have been discovered by a security researcher and posted on Twitter. TitleOS found the references – with there being five in total – in System32 library files for Windows, and they were present alongside mentions of ‘Xbox-Anaconda’ which is the codename for the Xbox Series X, as IGN (which spotted the tweet) reports. Of course, this hardly proves that Microsoft has a lower-priced spin on its next-gen Xbox in the pipeline, but it is at least another indication that such a project might really exist. Sooner – or later? As we’ve heard before from Windows Central, the disc-less console is apparently already in the home testing phase, meaning those who work on the Xbox team are playing around with it outside of the office. Again though, we have to be somewhat careful around these rumors, and even if Lockhart is coming, we still don’t know if the time frame might be later, rather than sooner. After all, Microsoft released the Xbox One S some three years after the original Xbox One emerged, and while it’s unlikely that there would be such a gap this time around, the point is that both next-gen consoles might not launch that close to each other. As we’ve speculated in the past, there could be a year or so gap between them (assuming that Lockhart comes to pass at all, of course). Previously the rumor mongers were hoping to hear something about Project Lockhart in May, but that didn’t happen – however, presumably if the alternative console is in the picture for the near future, we’ll hear something official about it soon enough. Until then, all we can do is wait, and keep our budget-conscious fingers crossed. Xbox Lockhart rumors intensify as references to console are found in Windows 10 code
  13. For some time now, we’ve been hearing rumors that claim Microsoft is planning to release two consoles side-by-side in the next generation: the already-revealed Xbox Series X, and the less expensive (and notably unconfirmed) Xbox Series S. Reports about a pair of consoles have been circulating since before Microsoft even announced the Xbox Series X, but Microsoft has kept its lips sealed on that rumored second console. At this point, the Xbox Series S has to be one of the worst-kept secrets in gaming. Even though Microsoft hasn’t talked about the Xbox Series S officially, references to the console were spotted in early August on packaging for an Xbox One controller – an official Xbox One controller, no less. Fast forward to today and we’re seeing yet another reference to the Xbox Series S on a first-party Microsoft product. Twitter user BraviaryBrendan (via Eurogamer) published images of a Game Pass Ultimate trial code that references Xbox Series S directly. “Includes Xbox Live Gold and unlimited access to over 100 high-quality games on Xbox Series X | S, Xbox One, and Windows 10,” the code card reads. At this point, it seems safe to assume that the Xbox Series S is indeed a real product, because this seems way beyond a mere typo. In a follow-up tweet, BraviaryBrendan says they purchased the controller directly from Microsoft, so it’s possible that these cards were made in advance of a planned Xbox Series S reveal that was ultimately delayed, but the cards were shipped with controllers anyway. At the end of it all, it really feels like we’re closing in on an Xbox Series S reveal, but when that will happen is anyone’s guess. Time is running out though, as Microsoft has committed to a November release for the Xbox Series X. We’ll keep an eye out for more information, so stay tuned for that. Source
  14. How Microsoft's CEO, Xbox head say they won't screw up Bethesda In an interview, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Xbox head Phil Spencer discuss further acquisitions, how to keep making hits and what happened with TikTok. Microsoft may be known as a business software giant, powering most of the world's PCs and building backroom technology and tools. But it's also spent more than $10 billion buying development studios behind some of the most popular video games in the world. To Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, it's all about the future of software. Though not known as a gamer himself, Nadella's made big bets on the video game industry, buying Minecraft maker Mojang for $2.5 billion shortly after he was named CEO in 2014. Then he bought five more studios in 2018, including role-playing game maker Obsidian, known for the space adventure The Outer Worlds and the well-received South Park: The Stick of Truth. In 2019, it bought Double Fine, maker of adventure game Psychonauts. What's driven him is a belief that interactive entertainment will be a key technology in the next 10 years and that gamers who use Microsoft products expect the company to make titles like those made by the studios he's bought. "You can't wake up one day and say, 'Let me build a game studio,'" Nadella said in an interview after the company announced its $7.5 billion cash purchase of ZeniMax Media, which owns several industry-leading game developers, including Bethesda Softworks and Id Software. "The idea of having content is so we can reach larger communities." That's why Microsoft will consider buying even more video game companies in the future, he said, and why it continues to invest in its Xbox Game Pass subscription service. "Content is just the incredible ingredient to our platform that we continue to invest in," Xbox head Phil Spencer said in that same interview. "This doubles the size of our creative organization." Microsoft's purchases mark the most dramatic ways the company is looking to build up its Xbox brand. They also give the company more games to field in what's increasingly become a hits-driven business. Competitor Sony is known for a range of homegrown series, from the post-apocalyptic thriller The Last of Us to the treasure-hunting game Uncharted to the action series God of War. Its upcoming game Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales will headline the November launch of the PlayStation 5, priced up to $500. The Xbox team, meanwhile, is best known for its Halo and Gears of War space war series, and its Forza racing games, none of which will headline the launch of its $500 Xbox Series X. "Microsoft now doesn't need another major content/IP acquisition," wrote analysts at Cowen in a Monday note to investors. Growing offering While Microsoft may be home to some big hit titles, many gamers have said the company needed to up its game, particularly when compared with Sony. "A look at the two companies' 2018 exclusives roster makes for grim reading, at least for Xbox fans," gaming site Polygon wrote in 2018. Gamers will see a noticeable difference with Bethesda, Spencer said in the interview Monday, noting that the company's games will be offered on Microsoft's Xbox Game Pass subscription service the same time they hit store shelves. They'll also be available through Microsoft's xCloud video game streaming service, which allows people to play games over the internet similar to the way they stream movies from Netflix. "This is a huge investment in games that they're going to get to play," he said. Spencer also said Bethesda will run semi-independently, in an effort to keep the company building the games that brought it success in the first place. "It is about the culture of those teams," he said. "They're not about becoming us." It's also why game companies will continue to be on Microsoft's radar. "We'll always look for places where there is that commonality of purpose, mission and culture," Nadella said, noting that the Xbox team has worked with ZeniMax companies including Bethesda since the first Xbox was released in 2001. "We will always look to grow inorganically where it makes sense." Rethinking TikToK Bethesda isn't the only consumer product acquisition Microsoft's been involved in over the past couple months. The company also made a bid to buy TikTok, the rapidly growing China-based social network built on memes and short videos. The app, which has been downloaded more than 2 billion times around the world and counts more than 100 million users in the US, is at the center of a political battle between the Chinese government and President Donald Trump. Nadella said TikTok's parent company, ByteDance, approached Microsoft to attempt to create a company that would be fully owned by Microsoft. Over the course of the past few weeks, the company was part of a shifting public acquisition process, dictated at times by Trump, who threatened to ban TikTok from US app stores over undefined national security concerns. Trump said he wouldn't ban the app if it's purchased by a US company, and for a while it seemed Microsoft would be the one. On Sunday, though, Trump announced that he's approved a deal in which it appeared business software maker Oracle and retailer Walmart would take stakes in a new company, called TikTok Global, though some uncertainty remains. "It's not something I recognize, and it's definitely not the deal I bid on," Nadella said. "The deal has obviously changed a lot since then." But if Microsoft had won the acquisition, Nadella said, it would have been part of what he sees as the company's efforts to expand its software. "I don't start each day thinking I want to become somebody else," he said. "I start each day by saying, 'How can I do a better job of doing things that come to us naturally?'" And that's why he tried to buy TikTok and why he did buy Bethesda. Discussion at Cnet's sister site GameSpot Here Source
  15. Imported next-gen consoles are already available for pre-order in China, says Apptutti's Daniel Camilo Both the Xbox Series X/S and the PlayStation 5 have now been revealed, with their respective prices, launch line-ups and release dates disclosed. The world is ready for next-gen -- except, perhaps, for the biggest gaming market in the world, China. But is that really the case? Xbox and PS5 coming to China? While Microsoft has not publicly addressed the issue yet, Sony did mention China in its recent PlayStation 5 showcase when the release date and prices were announced -- "PS5 launch date for China is still under exploration and will be announced at a later date" could be read in small print when the launch dates for the rest of the world were displayed. That the PS5 and the Xbox X/S wouldn't be available in China at the same time as other major markets doesn't really come as a surprise, as I explained in a previous article. While both the PS4 and Xbox One (and Nintendo Switch) have been officially launched in China with specifically targeted, region-locked machines, they arrived in the market years after being released elsewhere. Tight regulations and licensing issues for entertainment media and content in the country are the main reasons for that. While the official versions of the consoles are available, they could never realistically challenge the appeal and availability of imported hardware, which largely outsells the licensed versions in this case. Imported consoles and games are easily available on e-commerce platforms like Taobao -- the biggest e-commerce platform in China -- and most console gamers in China simply acquire what they need there. Pricing isn't even an issue, as even these "smuggled" products generally match officially recommended prices for other markets, in particular the US and Hong Kong. This is the part where I always feel the need to emphasize just how easy and common it is to find and buy imported games in China (that do not have a publishing license to be commercialized). By using Taobao, or other commonly used online platforms, one can order a physical edition of a game in the morning and still have it delivered in the same day, if ordering from a store in the same city. There's nothing "shady" or secretive about it. Taobao is the de-facto online platform to buy virtually anything in China, and one simply needs to type the names of whatever games or consoles, and they will likely show up with detailed information displayed. PS5 and Xbox Series X/S are already everywhere in China While both Sony and Microsoft are not yet ready to release their new consoles in the country, Chinese consumers already have plenty of choices available to get their hands on the machines very soon after the official release elsewhere. For both the Xbox Series X and S, most sellers are accepting a 500 Yuan deposit (roughly US$ 73), while for the PS5 with the blu-ray player, the deposit is usually 1000 yuan (US$ 147), with 500 Yuan also being the current standard for the digital-only version. Some games are also easy to find already, and all sorts of accessories are either becoming available for pre-order, or will very soon. Where exactly will the consoles come from? Mostly from Hong Kong and Taiwan, but also from Japan, the US and other territories. It's hard to say as there is no clear authority tracking imported games and consoles sold in China -- simply because it would be virtually impossible to track, considering its not-legal-but-nobody-really-cares status. One thing is certain: a considerable amount of hardware will be diverted from other markets into China. Countless traders are making sure of it, as I write this. Will it have an impact on China's console market? What this all means in practice is that the console market in China will remain as it is. Meaning, imported consoles and games will be the primary choice for most consumers, and once (if!) the consoles are actually launched in China, it will be already too late, just as it was for the Xbox One, PS4 and Switch. By then, millions of consoles will be in Chinese households already, and whatever officially launched models may come, they will more likely than not have very strict restrictions, at the very least for the number of games available. Since all console games in China are required to have a publishing license subject to the regulator's approval, a huge proportion of games don't stand a chance of being officially launched due to their content -- violence, gore, politically sensitive themes and/or references, paranormal and religious themes, and gambling mechanics are just some of the issues that could prevent a title from getting a license to be published in China. As long as Chinese authorities don't effectively crack down on imports being sold online, China will continue to have most games and consoles available to interested consumers -- minus, of course, the official marketing and distribution support from the companies producing these products. Daniel Camilo lives in Shenzhen. He is the overseas business developer for Apptutti, a specialist in publishing games in China. Source
  16. Microsoft announces the August 2020 Xbox Update with more UI changes Today, Microsoft is announcing the August 2020 Xbox Update, and it's available now to Insiders. A lot of what's new includes part of the UI that we're going to see on the Xbox Series X. Indeed, both the Xbox One series and the upcoming generation both run the same Windows 10-based software, so a new UI for the Series X means a new UI for the Xbox One. First up is improvements to the Guide, which you can see in the image above. Like previous updates to the Guide that we've seen, it's meant to be cleaner and easier to read. At the top, you'll see Home, My Games & Apps, and the things you were recently doing, and of course, you can customize what you see. There are also buttons at the bottom now for things that you might not be accessing all the time, but are still important. There's a new notifications inbox, which can be opened by clicking the button on the bottom of the Guide. It combines messages, alerts, and more into a notifications feed, and it's coming to all of the Xbox apps soon. There are some minor improvements to Parties and Chats with text previews, and there are individual volume controls for each Party member. Microsoft is also adding tips and tricks in the guide, which are meant to make it easier to use for those using an Xbox console for the first time. There's a new activity feed look. Everything should show up as the same size now, so you don't have to guess how your content is going to show up in the feed. Microsoft also said it made a bunch of other improvements in other areas. The August 2020 Xbox Update is coming to the general public soon, but there are a few other features that are exclusive to Xbox Insiders for now. This mostly includes the rest of the Xbox Series X UI. The whole look and feel for the Xbox Series X should roll out to Insiders this month, and that includes all Xbox apps as well. Profile themes are on the way, and you'll be able to sign into multiple Xbox devices at once. Microsoft announces the August 2020 Xbox Update with more UI changes
  17. Microsoft’s second next-gen Xbox reportedly set for August reveal Might be named the Xbox Series S ‘Xbox Series S’ concept. jiveduder on Reddit A leaked Microsoft document recently hinted at the company’s second next-gen Xbox, and now rumors suggest it will be fully revealed in August. Eurogamer reports that Microsoft had originally planned to unveil the console, codenamed “Lockhart,” in June. Microsoft has now reportedly moved these plans to August, and Eurogamer claims the console will be named the Xbox Series S. Microsoft has been working on this second cheaper next-gen Xbox console for months. A Microsoft document, leaked last week, shed some further light on the company’s plans. Microsoft’s Xbox Series X devkit, codenamed “Dante,” allows game developers to enable a special Lockhart mode that has a profile of the performance that Microsoft wants to hit with this second console. While we’ve been reporting this performance includes a slightly underclocked CPU, The Verge has seen additional documents that suggest Lockhart will actually have the same speed CPU as the Xbox Series X. The Lockhart console will also include 7.5GB of usable RAM, and around 4 teraflops of GPU performance. The Xbox Series X includes 13.5GB of usable RAM and targets 12 teraflops of GPU performance for comparison. If the reports are accurate, Microsoft could choose August to unveil this second next-gen Xbox alongside pricing for the Xbox Series X. This second console is designed as a more affordable option, with 1080p and 1440p monitors in mind. Microsoft would have to detail some type of pricing alongside its Lockhart reveal, and it’s reasonable to assume it will be heavily tied to the Xbox All Access subscription. Xbox All Access is currently priced at $19.99 for an Xbox One S All Digital Edition subscription that includes Xbox Game Pass Ultimate (Xbox Live and Xbox Game Pass). Microsoft is also bundling its Project xCloud game streaming technology into Xbox Game Pass later this year, so a subscription next-gen Xbox console could be appealing to those who don’t need the more powerful Xbox Series X option. Microsoft’s second next-gen Xbox reportedly set for August reveal
  18. Leaked Microsoft document hints at second next-gen Xbox The document mentions multiple Project Scarlett consoles Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge Microsoft has been planning a second, cheaper and less power next-gen Xbox console. Codenamed Lockhart, it’s designed to take most of the key next-gen improvements found in the Xbox Series X and provide them at a lower price point for gaming at 1080p or 1440p. A newly leaked Microsoft document, posted on Twitter, includes references to this Lockhart console and multiple “Project Scarlett consoles.” Project Scarlett was the name Microsoft originally used to reveal its Xbox Series X console before it was officially named. Rumors had suggested two next-gen consoles under the broader Project Scarlett plans: Anaconda and Lockhart. Microsoft has etched an anaconda snake into the Xbox Series X mainboard, but the company has never publicly discussed its Lockhart plans. The leaked document also mentions a Lockhart profiling mode. Sources familiar with Microsoft’s Xbox plans tell The Verge that this special Lockhart mode is part of the Xbox Series X developer kit. The devkit, codenamed Dante, allows game developers to enable a special Lockhart mode that has a profile of the performance that Microsoft wants to hit with this second console. We understand that includes 7.5GB of usable RAM, a slightly underclocked CPU speed, and around 4 teraflops of GPU performance. The Xbox Series X includes 13.5GB of usable RAM, and targets 12 teraflops of GPU performance. Developers will be able to use this Lockhart mode to test their games against this performance profile and do validation checks. Microsoft is expected to position its Lockhart console for 1080p or 1440p gaming, two of the most popular resolutions used by PC gaming monitors currently. The leaked Microsoft document mentions multiple Project Scarlett consoles. While Microsoft hasn’t acknowledged Lockhart, the codename can also be found in the company’s Xbox One operating system, alongside references to Anaconda and Dante. We understand this second next-gen Xbox console will launch alongside the Xbox Series X providing Microsoft doesn’t cancel it at the last minute. Lockhart will likely be named “Xbox Series S,” which explains why Microsoft trademarked the “Xbox Series” branding. This second Xbox console will be key to Microsoft’s pricing strategy for the next generation of consoles. The company has already committed to introducing its Xbox All Access subscription for the Xbox Series X, a bundle that includes a console, Xbox Live, and Xbox Game Pass for a monthly fee. “Xbox All Access is going to be critical to both our launch for Xbox Series X as well as just the overall generation,” said Phil Spencer, Microsoft’s Xbox chief, in a Game Lab Live keynote earlier this week. Microsoft currently offers an Xbox One S All Digital Edition subscription for $19.99 a month that includes Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. It’s reasonable to imagine that this Lockhart console will be offered in a similar way to entice people into Microsoft’s subscription offerings. Microsoft is also bundling its Project xCloud game streaming technology into Xbox Game Pass later this year, in yet another effort to bolster its subscription service. Leaked Microsoft document hints at second next-gen Xbox
  19. The November 2020 Xbox Console Update is rolling out today Today, Microsoft is rolling out the November 2020 Xbox Console Update, which is available for the entire Xbox One family of consoles, as well as the newer Xbox Series X|S. There are a bunch of new features, many of which are exclusive to the new generation. If you're a fan of the dynamic backgrounds on the Xbox Series X|S, there's now more of them. They're still exclusive to the new generation. Microsoft says that some of the six new designs are homages to previous generations. There's now a tag in the Guide to let you know if a game is using Auto HDR. If you're unfamiliar, Auto HDR is basically upscaling SDR content to HDR. Now you'll be able to tell when it's happening. There's a new X|S badge to games that are optimized for the new generation in My Games and Apps. You can also filter to only see optimized games. One new feature improves the setup experience, and that lets you add family members. This is for those already using Xbox family settings. You can finally pre-install new games that are coming to Xbox Game Pass. Obviously, you still have to wait to actually play them, but now you can pre-install like you would be able to if you purchased the game. And finally, Microsoft is adding the ability to enroll Xbox Series X|S consoles in the Xbox Insider Program. The November 2020 Xbox Console Update is available now. The November 2020 Xbox Console Update is rolling out today
  20. (Bloomberg) -- Sony Corp.’s PlayStation 5 and Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox Series X haven’t hit stores yet, but the video game console showdown has already begun in the online black market. Demand for the PlayStation 5 on resale websites is outstripping that of the new Xbox, and shoppers are paying more to get their hands on the first run of products, market research shows. The vibrant market for scalpers offers a preview of next month’s contest when the two rival game companies will release their new consoles to a global audience with a seemingly endless appetite for home entertainment. In the U.S., consumer spending on video game hardware, content and accessories is at record highs. The pandemic triggered a surge in players and engagement through the spring and summer months, at times depleting inventory of the current generation of consoles, according to research firm NPD Group. The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S and X, the first major console releases from Sony and Microsoft in seven years, are among the most highly anticipated gadgets of the holiday season. Spending on games over the holidays is expected to jump 24% from last year. “Units will be tough to find,” wrote Mat Piscatella, an analyst at NPD. Pre-orders for the new consoles went live in September and sold out at most retailers almost immediately. A chunk of the inventory was snapped up by scalpers to sell at sizable markups on EBay Inc. and other websites. Both products are highly coveted, but demand is steeper for PlayStation 5 pre-orders by various measures. There are more listings on EBay for the new PlayStation than the Xbox Series X, according to ShelfTrend, which tracks activity on the auction website. More than 9,300 PlayStation pre-orders have changed hands since September, almost double resales of the new Xbox, the research firm said. The average number of bids on each PlayStation auction on EBay was 17.8 compared with 12.3 for the new Xbox, according to data from MarkSight, another market researcher. Microsoft and Sony have provided optimistic guidance to investors for their upcoming game consoles. Each recently described demand as “very strong.” Scalpers have seized on the buildup of anticipation for the new products by driving up prices. PlayStation 5 pre-orders sell for an average price of $871, while the Xbox Series X goes for $720, MarkSight said. The average markup is 59%, the firm said. When they go on sale in early November, the high-end version of the new PlayStation and Xbox will sell for $500. That’s assuming you can find one in stores. Source
  21. TOKYO/CHICAGO/STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Think Michelangelo vs Da Vinci. Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. Batman v Superman. Another epic rivalry is rejoined this week when Sony and Microsoft go head-to-head with the next generation of their blockbuster video-game consoles. Sony, whose PlayStation 5 (PS5) takes on Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and Series S, is widely viewed as being in pole position to capitalise on a pandemic-driven boom in consumer spending that has buoyed the $150 billion video game industry. The Japanese company’s deep bench of games and broader fan base - it has sold over 100 million PS4s, winning the battle of the previous generation - should see it retain its edge over its American archrival, according to industry experts. “People who own Xbox tend to buy the new Xbox, while people who own PlayStation tend to buy the new PlayStation,” said Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter. Yet the industry is changing and cloud gaming is on the rise, allowing games to be streamed without bulky hardware. This could curb console sales in coming years, analysts say, a shift that could benefit Microsoft. The two consoles - the first to be released by the two companies for seven years - are eagerly awaited; the Xbox will go on sale on Tuesday, and the PS5 two days later in core markets, costing about $300 to $500 apiece. The race to order the devices in advance actually began weeks ago, though blink and you might have missed it. Pre-orders of Sony’s PS5 sold out within minutes on many retail sites, for example, frustrating fans. Julian Mercado, 17, managed to reserve a PS5 from Walmart.com WMT.N just minutes after pre-orders started on Sept. 16, knowing he'd be up against a legion of gamers. “It’s exactly like shopping on Black Friday,” said the high school student from Dallas, who has been playing video games with his dad since he was five. “You show up early, you walk away with something good. You show up too late, you’ll walk away with nothing.” PLAYING IN A PANDEMIC Sony might have the edge, but the stakes are high for the Japanese company. Its gaming business is its biggest cash cow; in its fiscal 2019 the division, which includes hardware, software and services, brought in close to a quarter of its roughly $77 billion group sales and nearly 30% of its $7.9 billion operating profit. Microsoft does not break out the results of gaming, though it's a smaller part of its business than for Sony. It also does not disclose hardware sales but the current Xbox One is estimated by analysts to have sold 50 million units. For the other big hardware player, Japan's Nintendo, sticking to consoles is paying off with it hiking forecasts last week following elevated demand for its Switch. The PS5 will retail at $499.99 or $399.99 for a digital-only version, while the Xbox Series X will sell for $499.99 and the lower-spec Series S for $299.99. About 5 million PS5s are forecast to be sold this year, versus 3.9 million of the new Xboxes, according to media research firm Ampere, with combined sales expected to be higher than the previous generation. PlayStation v Xbox sales forecasts “The pandemic is expected to transform the U.S. holiday shopping season,” said Jason Benowitz, a senior portfolio manager at Roosevelt Investment Group. “Playing from home has become a way for some to safely socialize.” Sony’s games depth is supported by in-house studios behind exclusives such as “Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales”. By contrast the new Xbox, say games experts, will lack killer launch titles, with the latest in its flagship “Halo” series pushed back to next year as the pandemic hits development. Cloud gaming growth could hand the U.S. software giant an advantage in coming years, though. Although both companies have moved to offer services, Microsoft has been more aggressive. Its Xbox Game Pass subscription service has grown rapidly; it offers more than 100 titles including brand-new games and has over 15 million users. Sony has been reluctant to make its hottest titles available on services like PlayStation Now, fearing this could cannibalise sales of big-budget games. ‘DEMAND OUTSTRIPS SUPPLY’ The pandemic, while fuelling some demand, has also constrained Sony and Microsoft’s production, according to industry experts, who see shortages stretching into 2021. “Demand will outstrip supply so there’s going to be some people who won’t get a-hold of the console when they want to,” said Piers Harding-Rolls, director of Ampere’s games research. Sony has announced that retailers like Walmart, Best Buy and Target will sell the PS5 exclusively online when it launches on Nov. 12, to prevent people from camping outside stores during a pandemic. Walmart stands to sell as much as $1.1 billion worth of new consoles by the end of January, according to Wedbush. It dominates the U.S. market along with GameStop GME.N, each with a roughly 30% share, while sales of consoles at Target and Best Buy comprise about 15% apiece, the research firm said. Target said it was working closely with its vendors to secure enough inventory. Some shoppers who had reserved consoles told Reuters that Target had said they may receive them days after the launch date. Walmart said it would start selling the new consoles at launch but declined to comment on whether it would have enough stock to meet demand. Best Buy also declined to comment on whether it would be able to meet demand, while GameStop did not respond to requests for comment. For DeAnthony Thicklin, a casino attendant who reserved his PS5 on Target.com in September, the priority is to get their hands on a console on the launch day itself. The 25-year-old offered some advice. “Have all your card information set up so the only thing you have to do is click,” he said. “Don’t hesitate. Be quick.” Source
  22. Xbox’s CFO, Tim Stuart has stated that future Bethesda games (after Ghostwire Tokyo and Deathloop) will come to other platforms, such as PS5, but release first on Xbox and PC or be better on those platforms. Reporting from VGC confirms that Tim Stuart said that this would be the case at the Jefferies Interactive Entertainment conference, which took place last week. Stuart highlights that “What we’ll do in the long run is we don’t have intentions of just pulling all of Bethesda content out of Sony or Nintendo or otherwise. But what we want is we want that content, in the long run, to be either first or better or best or pick your differentiated experience, on our platforms. We will want Bethesda content to show up the best as — on our platforms.” He then goes on to say: “Yes. That’s not a point about being exclusive. That’s not a point about we’re being — adjusting timing or content or road map. But if you think about something like Game Pass, if it shows up best in Game Pass, that’s what we want to see, and we want to drive our Game Pass subscriber base through that Bethesda pipeline. So again, I’m not announcing pulling content from platforms one way or the other,” Stuart continued. “But I suspect you’ll continue to see us shift towards a first or better or best approach on our platforms.” This is great news for fans of Bethesda titles who are looking to play the game on PS5, but it does raise questions about how well these games will be optimised for Sony’s new console. For example, they might have fewer bugs and glitches, but the experience might also not be fine-tuned for the new console, and features like DualSense haptic feedback and adaptive triggers, which are prevalent in Deathloop, may not be implemented at all. However, we are still a while away from this becoming a reality, with Starfield likely set to be the first game released for Xbox or PC first. Source
  23. You should be able to stream Xbox games to your TV soon Microsoft is in the early phases of rolling out its xCloud streaming service on mobile devices, but TVs are the next logical step. In an interview with The Verge, Xbox chief Phil Spencer has revealed we’ll likely see an Xbox app appear on smart TVs over the next year. “I think you’re going to see that in the next 12 months,” said Spencer, when asked about turning the Xbox into a TV app. “I don’t think anything is going to stop us from doing that.” Spencer previously hinted at TV streaming sticks for Microsoft’s xCloud service last month, and this latest hint suggests we might see similar hardware or an Xbox app for TVs during 2021. Microsoft is currently working on bringing xCloud to the web to enable it on iOS devices, and this work would naturally allow xCloud to expand to TVs, browsers, and elsewhere. Microsoft was previously working on a lightweight Xbox streaming device back in 2016, but it canceled the hardware. Microsoft has been testing the idea of streaming and TV sticks ever since the company originally demonstrated Halo 4 streaming from the cloud to Windows and Windows Phones all the way back in 2013. Microsoft’s xCloud service. While Microsoft might be pushing ahead with xCloud, it certainly has no plans to abandon consoles or hardware. “I don’t think these will be the last big pieces of hardware that we ship,” says Spencer. Instead, Microsoft sees a future where there’s a hybrid of local hardware and cloud hardware. “When we think about xCloud, which is our version of Stadia or Luna, I think what it needs to evolve to are games that actually run between a hybrid environment of the cloud and the local compute capability,” explains Spencer. “It’s really a hybrid between both of those.” How this hybrid plays out could mean we see Xbox Series S and X consoles getting access to xCloud soon. This could allow players to try a game quickly before they fully download it from Game Pass, or possibly even stream a demo of a game before purchasing it. Microsoft also has plans to integrate xCloud into Facebook Gaming in the future, so we’re clearly going to see a lot of changes to xCloud soon. We still don’t have full details on Microsoft’s plans for Xbox TV apps, but the company did partner with Samsung earlier this year for xCloud. Microsoft is also planning to upgrade its server blades to the more capable Xbox Series X hardware at some point in 2021. Source
  24. Microsoft releases the Xbox June 2020 Update Microsoft is releasing its monthly update for the Xbox One family of gaming consoles today. The features in the Xbox June 2020 Update center around the idea that more and more people download games via services like Xbox Game Pass, Xbox Live Gold, and EA Access. Microsoft is adding new overlays and badges for those three subscriptions. As you can see from the image above, the gamertag has an 'ULTIMATE' badge next to it, indicating that that user is an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscriber. The games shown have an overlay that reflect that they're part of Xbox Game Pass. This is all meant to make it easier to manage the digital content that you subscribe to. The other big new feature is verification of official Clubs. Since the feature was first introduced in mid-2016, a lot of official Clubs have started up, but there have also been a lot of fan-made Clubs. Now, you'll see a verified checkmark, just like the ones on Twitter, for official Clubs. Microsoft only told Xbox Insiders what they were testing in version 2006 six days ago. Now, most rings will move onto version 2007, and it will presumably be another few weeks before Insiders get to know what new features to look for. Microsoft releases the Xbox June 2020 Update
  25. Windows NT 3.5 and original Xbox source code leaks The source code for Microsoft's original Xbox gaming console and Windows NT 3.5 has leaked, as spotted by The Verge today. The report also confirms that the Xbox leak is authentic, including the Xbox Development Kit, emulators, internal documents, and the kernel. The kernel on the original Xbox console is based on Windows 2000, and the source code for that was leaked way back in 2004, something that Neowin exclusively reported on. Apparently though, this new leak was already being distributed among the enthusiast community for some time, which means that the source code leak isn't going to help in getting the kernel and Xbox OS up and running on emulators. According to the report, out of over 900 Xbox games, only about 40 of them have been able to run on emulators. And while Microsoft has its own emulation on Xbox One consoles, there are just over a dozen games supported for that. Sadly, it seems that at least for now, this leak doesn't mean that you can fire up your old Xbox games on newer hardware. Apparently, the Windows NT 3.5 source code is for a near-final build, and Microsoft wouldn't comment on it. You can go and look through the source code, although it's probably not as exciting as the original Xbox, since we've already seen source code leaks for both newer and older versions of Windows. Source: Windows NT 3.5 and original Xbox source code leaks (Neowin)
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