Starting today, Xbox Live Gold Members who don’t have an Xbox One yet can start building their library of Xbox One games directly from Xbox 360 by taking advantage of the Games With Gold program. You have always been able to do it this via the web and my monthly Games With Gold posts. But now, on your Xbox 360 console head to the special Games With Gold section from the link on the home page of the console and you can ‘purchase’ it there.
Earlier this week, Russ Pitts posted the second part (here is Part 1) of his look at the history of Xbox Live. Having worked on Xbox since 2003, I can say that this is one of the most comprehensive pieces I have ever read about LIVE. After reading this, I realize how lucky I was to be a part of this amazing history. Enjoy the read. I know I did.
The Xbox app on Windows 10 has an updated version available starting today. Our goal is to continue to provide monthly updates of the Xbox app, to collect feedback and ideas from our community. There are a few small updates this month with more to come going forward.
You will automatically get updated to the February version of the Xbox app, when it becomes available in the Store (Beta). Once you receive the update, your version number should be 2.2.1502.02017 or higher. You can verify the version number of the Xbox app under Settings. The following features have been updated this month:
• Top Navigation Bar. The smiley face can be used to send feedback about the app to the product team, get access to forums for the Xbox app, and you can now rate the Xbox app.
• Friends. The user experience for Friends has been updated so that you now see Suggested Friends under a Suggestions header at the top of the Friends list, with a See all button to browse the entire list of VIPs on Xbox and People you May Know. Additionally, you can now start typing in the Friends search box to instantly find specific friends.
• Settings. Small fit and finish items were added to the settings page.
Today, we’re pleased to share the news of a relationship with the newly announced Sling TV, which is backed by DISH. Sling TV is an over-the-top, television service that will deliver live sports, lifestyle, family, news and information channels, Video-On-Demand (VOD) entertainment, and the best of Internet video for $20 per month.
What’s more, as the first gaming console where Sling TV will be available, we’re excited to announce that all Xbox Live members will get an exclusive extended free trial for one month at launch.*
Here’s a list of some of the offers being offered by your favorite retailers you won’t want to miss. These deals are only valid for online purchases and are subject to change at the retailer’s discretion.
Meijer: $50 off Xbox One Assassin’s Creed Unity Bundle or Xbox One Assassin’s Creed Unity Bundle with Kinect, plus a free Xbox One game of your choice
Newegg: $50 off Xbox One Assassin’s Creed Unity Bundle or Xbox One Assassin’s Creed Unity Bundle with Kinect, plus a free 12-month Xbox Live Gold subscription and a $20 Newegg gift card
*$50 off any Xbox One console or bundle. Offer valid Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014 through Saturday, Jan. 3, 2015 at participating retailers in the U.S.
Here are some other special holiday deals available at select participating retailers in the U.S. and through Xbox Live to help you check off the rest of your shopping list:
Save $20 on Sunset Overdrive and Forza Horizon 2 on Xbox One until Sunday, Dec. 28 at participating U.S. retailers
Save $10 on Kinect Sports Rivals, Dead Rising 3, Ryse, Zoo Tycoon or Forza Motorsport5on Xbox One until Sunday, Dec. 28 at participating U.S. retailers
For Xbox fans worldwide, save 25 percent on Destiny and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare on Xbox One through Xbox Live from Tuesday, Dec. 23 to Wednesday, Dec. 31
For Xbox Live Gold members worldwide, save 25 percent on The Crew and Far Cry 4 holiday bundle through Xbox Live until Monday, Dec. 22
Deals for Xbox 360 and Xbox Video will also be available until Wednesday, Dec. 31 through Xbox Live. Be sure to check out all the holiday offers and additional deals at your local Microsoft Store, participating retailers or on xbox.com.
With the next system update coming in June, we’re thrilled to announce two of your most-requested features will be here soon: external storage support and real names for identifying your friends.
Since our launch of Xbox One last year, we’ve been hard at work to continue making Xbox One the best destination for all your gaming and entertainment experiences. Because of the way we’ve designed the Xbox One platform, we’ve been able to continually improve the product for you with a more regular cadence of system and app updates. Your feedback for what you want most has been our guiding light for these updates, and will continue to be as we work to bring the fan-favorite features you want most.
Real names and external storage support are just the beginning for June. With this update, Xbox Live is being improved in a number of ways as we announced last week. You will also be able to take advantage of great new SmartGlass features, including OneGuide and Universal Remote Control, select an account for automatic sign-in, and for Xbox One owners in Canada and Europe, get access to OneGuide and more TV, SmartGlass and voice features.
Easily Increase Games Capacity with External Storage Support
It couldn’t be easier to increase your storage capacity of games and apps with the external storage support features we’re bringing in June. Your Xbox One system will soon support up to two external hard drives at once. Simply plug in your 256 GB or larger USB 3.0 external hard drive and once formatted, copy and move games, apps and game add-ons to increase your storage capacity at home.
This is also a great way to take your content to a friend’s house and get straight into a game directly from an external drive. You’ll need to sign in to Xbox Live if you’ve purchased your content digitally or insert a disc to verify your game ownership when you take your content on the road. The great benefit here is there’s no need to wait to re-download your game and all the DLC. With external storage support in June, you can also choose to copy full games and all of the associated content in one easy step.
Real Names Makes it Easier to Identify Friends
With Xbox One you can have 1,000 friends and infinite followers, but as these lists grow it can become increasingly more difficult to remember the people you know by their gamertag alone. Now with real names feature you can recognize people on your friends list and more easily discover people you already know who are on Xbox Live.
Most importantly, we heard your feedback that to make this most useful you need full control. You’ll be able to share with all your friends, a subset of your choosing, friends of friends or none at all. The choice is yours. Also, your name doesn’t show up in games, and you can change your settings any time from your profile and when adding new friends.
SmartGlass Provides Access to full OneGuide and Universal Remote Control, Pin Reordering and More
We’ve made a ton of changes to your SmartGlass app for Xbox One. After getting great feedback from our SmartGlass beta, we’re thrilled to be bringing the entire OneGuide experience and Universal Remote Control to SmartGlass. Now in supported markets you can view all of your TV listings on your SmartGlass device and set and view your favorite channels and app channels on your smart phone, tablet or PC. With the Universal Remote Control, you can also easily switch channels, set new recordings and select and control recorded content from your DVR. Another great companion feature now in SmartGlass is pin reordering. With the touch of your finger you can easily organize your pins in categories or favorites based on your preferences and have those changes refresh to your console.
Other improvements to SmartGlass will help you stay current on what you and your friends are up to, even when you’re away from your console. We’re bringing hero stats and activity feed front and center, and adding more ways for you to compare achievements via SmartGlass whether you’re on a friend’s profile or viewing a game from the activity feed. Just like on the console, you can choose to get notifications on your smart phone, PC or tablet when a favorite friend signs into their console or starts broadcasting a game. For many devices, you can even choose to start watching the broadcast wherever you are.
Expanded TV and OneGuide Soon Available in More Markets
The TV and OneGuide features we began sharing with select Xbox Live members in April will be available in June to everyone in Canada, UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy. The update will bring OneGuide, alongside Favorites and App Channels, for people in these markets who have their TV connected to Xbox One via HDMI-in. Additional features in these markets include Kinect voice commands for controlling your set-top box and other AV equipment. We’ve also updated TV and OneGuide settings to provide better power management and control of your devices and improved compatibility with more devices.
New Gold Membership Benefits, Access to Apps for All and More
With this update, you’ll find a new hub in Xbox One for exploring all of the great benefits available to Xbox Live Gold members, including Games with Gold and Deals with Gold. Also, with the Xbox Live Gold changes announced last week, shortly after the Xbox One system update becomes available in June all Xbox Live members will be able to access popular gaming and entertainment apps without a Gold membership.
Finally, we’ve made it possible for you to choose an account for automatic sign-in on your Xbox One – another much-requested feature from fans like you.
Coming soon, these features will be available to members previewing Xbox One system updates as they help us work through final improvements. This system update will become available to the full Xbox One community in June. We look forward to hearing what you think and keep the feedback coming.
Today we’ve announced the list of projects slated for the Xbox Originals program. Including details on the documentary that was behind this weekend’s discovery of the Atari E.T. games in a desert landfill. Starting this June, you’ll have more reasons to love your Xbox: Xbox Originals – premium dramas, comedies, documentaries, animation, unscripted shows, and live events. Available only on Xbox 360, Xbox One, and other Microsoft devices, every Xbox Original will offer interactive capabilities, as well as unique interactive features customized on a per-show basis, making it a one-of-a-kind entertainment experience you won’t find anywhere else.
“Halo” television series The “Halo” television series is a groundbreaking original series based on the award-winning “Halo” franchise. Award-winning filmmaker, director and producer Steven Spielberg will executive produce the live-action TV series, created in partnership with 343 Industries and Amblin Television.
“Every Street United” “Every Street United” is an unscripted series of eight, thirty-minute episodes and a one-hour finale, featuring legendary soccer players Thierry Henry and Edgar Davids, focused on the global search for soccer’s most gifted and undiscovered street stars scouted across eight countries (United States, England, Argentina, Spain, Brazil, the Netherlands, Ghana and South Korea). The series culminates this July in a 4v4 street game finale in the shadow of the World Cup in Rio de Janeiro.
Each episode will feature unique and incisive narratives about the grassroots street stars and the communities that shaped them. Industry veteran and eight-time Emmy-Award winning producer, director, writer and editor Jonathan Hock (“Streetball,” “30 for 30: The Best That Never Was”) is directing the series. Emmy-Award winning producer Mike Tollin and Mandalay Sports Media are executive producing. Professional soccer luminaries, Henry and Davids, will serve as coaches for the 4v4 street game in Rio. “Every Street United” will premiere in June 2014. All episodes will be available through Xbox Video for Xbox One, Xbox 360, Windows 8 (PC and Surface) and Windows Phone 8.
Bonnaroo Xbox owners around the globe can experience the magic of the 13th annual Bonnaroo music and arts festival with a live concert destination on Xbox Live Friday, June 13 through Sunday, June 15, 2014, brought to viewers in partnership with Superfly Presents. With the Bonnaroo app, fans can enjoy live music like never before, with a virtual experience featuring the best performances, multiple stages, biggest artists and amazing SuperJams, and explore this year’s lineup to see the best of Bonnaroo’s past with exclusive performances. Fans can also join the conversation with fellow virtual-Bonnaroovians and get connected to their friends and the festival. Xbox is the exclusive broadcasting partner for Bonnaroo and the only location to get all of the interactive features.
“Signal to Noise”/“Atari: Game Over” Xbox is creating a new six film documentary series, “Signal to Noise,” (working title) with two-time Academy Award winning producer Simon Chinn (“Searching for Sugar Man” and “Man on Wire”) and Emmy winning producer Jonathan Chinn (FX’s “30 Days” and PBS’s “American High”), through their multi-platform media company, Lightbox. The series will expose little known stories of how modern technology has radically altered the way we interact with our world.
The first installment, “Atari: Game Over” (working title), explores the fabled Atari mystery, dubbed “The Great Video Game Burial of 1983.” As the legend goes, the Atari Corporation, faced with overwhelmingly negative response to the E.T. video game, disposed of millions of unsold game cartridges by burying them in the small town of Alamogordo, New Mexico. Fuel Entertainment took an interest in the legend, and in December 2013, with help from local garbage contractor Joe Lewandowski, acquired the exclusive rights to excavate the Alamogordo landfill. Fuel Entertainment then brought the opportunity to Xbox Entertainment Studios. The team will head to the landfill in question to determine if the story is true, interviewing a cast of characters related to the game and its mystery along the way. “Atari: Game Over” is directed by writer/director Zak Penn (“X-Men 2,” “Avengers,” and “Incident at Loch Ness”). It will air exclusively on Xbox One and Xbox 360 in 2014.
“Humans” “Humans” is a bold new drama co-produced with UK broadcaster Channel 4. Award-winning UK production company Kudos (“The Hour,” “Utopia,” “Broadchurch”) will produce the hour-long, eight-episode series, which will share a premiere broadcast window on the Xbox platform and Channel 4 in the UK in 2015.
Executive produced by Jane Featherstone (“Life on Mars,” “Broadchurch”) and Derek Wax (“The Hour,” “Sex Traffic”), and written by British writing team Sam Vincent and Jonathan Brackley (“Spooks,” “Spooks: The Greater Good”), “Humans” is an English-language adaptation of Sveriges Television and Matador Film’s acclaimed Swedish series, “Real Humans.” “Humans” is set in a parallel present where the latest must-have gadget for any busy family is a ‘Synth’ – a highly-developed robotic servant eerily similar to its live counterpart. In the hope of transforming the way they live, one strained suburban family purchases a refurbished synth only to discover that sharing life with a machine has far-reaching and chilling consequences. Casting for “Humans” will begin in May 2014, and production will commence later this summer.
“Halo” digital feature 343 Industries and Scott Free Productions are creating a “Halo” digital feature to be released later this year. The project will be executive produced by Ridley Scott and Scott Free TV President, David Zucker. Sergio Mimica-Gezzan (“Battlestar Galactica,” “Pillars of the Earth,” “Heroes”) will direct.
Projects in Development
“Deadlands” Xbox Entertainment Studios has committed to a script based on the successful pen-and-paper role playing game created by Shane Lacy Hensley. “Deadlands” is a genre-bending alternative history of the Weird West, filled with undead gunfighters, card-slinging sorcerers, mad scientists, secret societies, and fearsome abominations.
“Extraordinary Believers” Xbox Entertainment Studios is developing an innovative, hybrid stop-motion show dubbed “Extraordinary Believers” (working title) with Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, creators of the Emmy-Award winning “Robot Chicken,” the longest running stop-motion show on television. The executive producers on the project are Seth Green, Matt Senreich, and creators/writers/executive producers are Eric Towner and John Harvatine IV.
“Fearless” “Fearless,” (working title) is an unscripted series currently in pilot production starring Paul de Gelder, an Australian Navy bomb clearance diver and shark attack survivor who takes on an adrenaline-fueled quest to aid individuals who risk their lives to make the world a better place. “Fearless” will be produced by Australia’s International Emmy-Award winning production company, Cordell Jigsaw Zapruder (CJZ).
“Gun Machine” Xbox Entertainment Studios acquired the rights to “Gun Machine,” a hardboiled detective thriller based on the New York Times bestselling novel by Warren Ellis. Ellis will executive produce with Brett Conrad (“The Killing,” “Sons of Anarchy,” Netflix’s upcoming “Marco Polo”) who has signed on to write the pilot script about a detective tracking a serial killer who is tied to a mysterious collection of guns used in infamous New York murders.
Untitled JASH Comedy/Variety Half Hour In this unique comedy format developed by Xbox Entertainment Studios with JASH (a comedy collective founded by Sarah Silverman, Michael Cera, Tim and Eric and Reggie Watts), the biggest names in comedy will showcase the people that make them laugh. Each week, a different comedian will host/curate a show featuring new and unsung talent, in various video formats. Sarah Silverman will host the pilot episode and Daniel Kellison (“Late Night/Late Show with David Letterman,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” “Crank Yankers”) will executive produce. The series has a pilot commitment and will begin shooting in June.
“Winterworld” Xbox Entertainment Studios and IDW Entertainment are co-developing a limited event live-action series based on Chuck Dixon and artist Jorge Zaffino’s seminal graphic novel series “Winterworld,” in which our world has been encased in ice from pole-to-pole. The surviving humans have formed tribes that war, enslave and trade with one another in an effort to survive the infinite winter. Ted Adams and David Ozer from IDW Entertainment, and Rick Jacobs and Dave Alpert from Circle of Confusion (“Walking Dead”) will executive produce.
Call of Duty: Ghosts’ first DLC, Onslaught, arrives this Tuesdayonly on Xbox LIVE. Nightfall is part of the Onslaught package, the first of four Extinction episodes. Take a look:
More on Nightfall: At a remote facility in the Alaskan wilderness, the shadowy Nightfall Program has been researching the origins of the “Alien” threat. When the scientists lose control, a small team of elite soldiers must retrieve the intel, exterminate hordes of hostile creatures, and survive a three-story tall terror unlike anything they’ve faced before.
To view the entire Onslaught package, including its multiplayer maps and the Maverick dual-purpose rifle, click here.
We’ve got so a lot of stuff on sale for the US Thanksgiving Holiday so we thought we’d start today. We’ll also have more deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday that you’ll see further down this post. Since Xbox Live has moved to local currency for Xbox Live Game store purchases, I’ve just included the percent off for each offer. Check your local version of Xbox.com or your Dashboard for pricing in local currency. More on Xbox.com.
I’ve seen a few questions about how the Party System will work on Xbox One. I had Steve Dolan, whose team works on the Party System (and more), write up the below guest blog post about how parties work and how they are better on Xbox One.
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Hi, my name is Steve Dolan and I’m the program manager responsible for the multiplayer and achievements experience on Xbox One. Like most of you, I’m stoked about the new wave of online titles coming in the next year. Here is how we’re going to make it easy to party up and play these great games on Xbox One.
Always a Party
When playing online games on Xbox One you’re part of an Xbox Live party. When you go to your friends list you’ll see your party right there at the front that shows the game your party is playing. You’ll also see all your friends’ parties, making it quick and easy to see who is playing online and who to join. Of course, just like Xbox 360, you’ll be able to set if your party is joinable or if it’s invite only.
Joining a Game
If you see the perfect match and the party is open, you can simply join if there is room for more players in the match, and the game thinks you’re a good fit using Smart Match (in terms of skill , playing style, etc.) you’ll be offered a slot automatically. If the game is full, you can check out other games, TV and apps while you wait for the game to open up – go work on your “Killer Instinct” moves, watch your friends’ Upload videos or check out your favorite Twitch personality while you wait for a slot to free up. When more players can be added, you’ll receive a notification and have a limited amount of time to accept. Just say “Xbox, join” or use your controller to accept the match.
Parties, Smart Match and the Party Scout
Two of my favorite features are parties and Smart Match. Now, when you combine these features together you get a new super power we call Party Scout. Imagine you’re watching Netflix and your friend sends you a party invite. You accept and start chatting about what you want to play. Your friend tells you about a new “Forza Motorsport 5” challenge that involves playing online matches. You both decide that sounds like fun and that s/he will set up the online party. They launch “Forza Motorsport 5,” find the right playlist for the challenge and kick off matchmaking. You can keep rolling in Netflix while matchmaking runs, additional players are found and all the networking tests are performed. Only when your match is ready will you get the “match found” notification. You can then accept the match and launch right into your online game.
Snap Your Party
Of course, we want to make it simple and easy to manage your party, invite more people and see who is in party chat all without having your game go off-screen. Sounds like a perfect time to use the Snap app. When you want to, the Party app can be snapped along the right side of the screen while you play or, if you want your full screen, you can dismiss it and have it run in the background.
Time to Party Up
There you have it. On Xbox One, online gameplay is always a party, anyone can set up as a Party Scout and when your match is ready you’ll be notified so you can easily jump into a game. If you want to join your friends in a game, you can join their party.
I’ve been working at Xbox in one way or another since 2002. As always, I’m humbled by all the dedicated, talented and frankly amazing people that create the hardware and games for you, the fans. Even more so, I’m floored by your passion and drive to push us to deliver delightful experiences.
Immerse yourself in the chaos of all-out war. This weekend, Battlefield 4 multiplayer is open to everyone (Xbox Live Gold & Silver members) on Xbox 360. Test your skills this Saturday, Nov 16th beginning at 3PM PST by playing against DICE LA, creators of the upcoming Battlefield 4 Second Assault, available first on Xbox One.
Ready to get started? Here is how to play:
1. Send a friend request or invite to the listed gamertags.
2. Be ready to play at least 30 minutes before the event starts. Don’t forget your headset, so you can ask those burning questions about the game.
3. If you receive a game invite, get ready to Game with Developers!
Please join me in welcoming Jeff Rubenstein to my team. Jeff has been in the industry for a quite some time, but many of you may know him from the great work he did while at Sony. While you’ll see Jeff at various community events, and posting occasionally here on my blog, he’s also working on additional community driven programs that we’re not ready to announce yet. In the meantime, I asked Jeff to write a short blurb to (re?) introduce himself to the Xbox Community so he can jump right in and get started:
I’m beyond thrilled to be joining the Xbox team at such an exciting time for the industry. During the interview process, I was taken with how passionate and positive everyone is about gaming, and in how highly they value customer opinion. Especially important to my decision to join the team is the way Microsoft has demonstrated a willingness to listen to the community – and act on what it hears – quite clearly as of late.
I’m also hoping they’ll let me play Titanfall.
Little known fact: I’ve actually known Larry since he helped me on a story I wrote for the Orlando Sentinel back in 2007. We’ve stayed in contact ever since, and his vision on using social media to interact with gamers has been a key influence on my career. Joining Major Nelson’s team is an awesome opportunity, and I look forward to working closely with you all. See you soon!