Archive

June 21st 2013, 8:29 pm PT

RIP David Dreger

David Dreger (known by many as his Gamertag Knuckles Dawson) went missing last month. Tonight his family confirmed that his body has been found.

I first learned of David right after the Xbox 360 launch when he set his personal goal of getting an Xbox 360 achievement every single day. I was impressed with his passion and commitment and I had the pleasure of having him as a guest on my podcast when I met him at PAX in 2006 to discuss his daily quest. You can listen to the interview I did with him here. It begins approximately 59 minutes in.

David went on to write for  Xbox 360 Fanboy (which was a subset of Joystiq). He then went on to work with the great folks over at Achievement Hunter. I always enjoyed seeing David at industry events, and I along with my colleagues send thoughts and prayers to his family.

If you would like to leave a message for his family, visit this Facebook page

 

June 21st 2013 at 8:29 pm | Xbox 360, Xbox Live | 90 comments

June 11th 2013, 6:47 pm PT

Xbox One Smart Match

Earlier today I chatted with Chad Gibson, Principle Group Program manager for Xbox Live Gaming features and Mike Lavin, Sr. Global Product Marketing manager for Xbox Live on our live E3 broadcast. They outlined how the new Smart Match feature works on Xbox Live. Last week, before E3, I had a long conversation with Micheal Dunn from our team who leads the development on the new Smart Match system. I asked him to sum up what his team is putting together for all of us

Asynchronous Matchmaking

I’m Micheal Dunn, Program Manager on Xbox Live Services. I love how console games and especially co-op games bring people together to “spend quality time.” It’s great to play with friends and family online, but it’s fun sometimes to try a new “bar” so to speak and meet new people to play with online. I’ve met people from all over the world while playing on Xbox Live.

We all have better things to do than wait for people to show up to play a game. It would be great if I could start up the flight sim game, see if anyone is online to play, put in my play request and then switch to something else while I wait for people to show up. That is what Smart Match on Xbox One allows people to do. It makes it easy for a title to create a match request and then “untether” me so I don’t need wait in the title while the match search is processing. I can switch to reading a quick social blog or watch a viral video and when the match is ready Xbox One tells me to pull me back into the title to play.

The new Smart Match service allows titles to change their match model from traditional peer-based host searching for players typical in Xbox 360 to now completely untethered cloud-based. The example I gave was for a low population title like a flight sim game, but there are also great results for the more popular shooter and sports titles too.

You will be able to launch a popular shooter or sports title and see the “typical wait time” for different online game modes. For example, imagine a match area for a quick match] that might have a wait time of 1 minute, and then another match area in the title for “match by downloadable content (DLC)” with typical wait time of 7 minutes. Chances are you’d never wait in a game for 7 minutes to play online, you’d just make do with “quick match” and lowest common denominator DLC. With Xbox One titles, you can instead pick the longer “match by DLC” option if you please, see it might take 7 minutes to find a match that night, and switch to another task while Smart Match in the cloud is searching for you. You end up with a much more enjoyable match result since you get to play with people with similar DLC versus just the lowest common denominator levels in the base title. You get to make the most use the latest map or car you just bought to keep the game play fresh and interesting, versus just going into quick match with the same options every night.

With Beacons in Xbox 360 you could set a toast to tell other friends of your desire to play a specific game online. Smart Match on Xbox One goes way beyond that to help you tap into the full player population for a title, versus just the friends you know, and means you skip waiting in a match search screen in the title. This is a true departure from consoles that don’t have a way to switch between tasks quickly. Plus over time Smart Match empowers Xbox One titles to unlock many more ways to play online without the penalty of segmenting the available pool of people each night to match with. This same pattern depending on the title can include player attributes to search for such as very specific skill or social elements like spoken language or even people of similar age. You will see lots of new play styles open up for online play as titles start to experiment more with match types, without you needing to be stuck waiting for players to show up.

With Xbox One, I’m looking forward to putting in my match request in for a super special online play style or specific DLC needed for a play mode, then kicking back and letting Xbox Live do the work to find me a good person to play with while I practice my mad skills. Here’s an example of playing Ryse and then getting a match ready toast to jump into Killer Instinct online play that was shown in Monday’s E3 presentation.

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Reputation
You can usually tell a family member to stop crunching on corn chips in your ear or yakking on the cell phone while they play with you. With a stranger you meet online it doesn’t always turn out that way though. Sometimes you meet someone online that decides it’s cool to hum Top 40 songs as they go through a match or sometimes meet someone that can’t seem to avoid swearing at everything that #$%^ happens to them. The majority of Xbox Live players are polite online and know how to socially adjust to the people they are playing with, but there are some bad apples you run into that just seem to like to cause trouble. With Xbox One we’ve built a new social reputation model to help expose people that aren’t fun to be around, and also create real consequences for those few bad apples that continue to harass our good players.

Sometimes it’s hard for strangers to know what “polite” means with different social norms and backgrounds, and even harder when you aren’t in the same room face to face with someone. You have few social cues to rely on, and typically a stranger sees no real reason to listen to your complaint about their behavior. We all care a lot about behavior on Xbox Live and player feedback options in Xbox One allows you to help educate those who don’t seem to follow good social gaming norms. We simplified the feedback mechanism also to be less of a “survey” and more direct feedback options, even linking things in like block or mute player actions into the feedback model.

All of the feedback from player’s online flow into the reputation service to evaluate a players online social reputation. The more hours you play online without causing others to have a horrible time the better your reputation will be, similar to the more hours your drive without an accident the better your driving record and insurance rates will be. Most players will have good reputations and be seen as “green” good players you’d enjoy playing with. Even those good players might receive a few player feedback reports each month and that is OK. Xbox Live is looking to identify players that are repeatedly disruptive on Xbox Live. We’ll identify those players with a lower reputation score and in the worse cases they will earn the “avoid me” reputation. Looking at someone’s gamer card you’ll be able to quickly see their reputation.

Smart Match sees their Xbox Live rep too and when a person’s social reputation gets low enough the service will only match those low reputation players with similar low reputation players. This gives them the benefit of playing with people just like them. Ultimately we want to help encourage good behavior between strangers. By the way, before a user ends up at this extremely low reputation level we will have sent many different alerts to the user reminding how their social gaming conduct is affecting lots of other gamers. The chart includes examples of the reputation score that will be seen in the gamercard.

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This reputation system will evolve as we track the feedback we get from actual players and titles, plus add more consequences for bad apples that we want to stop #$%^ crunching on corn chips in your ear. All you need to do is block or report players that are abusive, cheat, or causing various amounts of non-fun mayhem and their social reputation will reflect that. We’ll keep the good friendly players together with other good friendly people, and keep a seat for the bad apples in their own special place. Our team and I built this for all of you and we hope you like it!

June 11th 2013 at 6:47 pm | Xbox Live, Xbox One | 904 comments

June 11th 2013, 11:22 am PT

Watch our Xbox @ E3 Live Show this week

 The hosts of Xbox @ E3 – LIVE coverage from the show

(From L to R  @aceybongos @MorganWebb @MajorNelson Tina Wood @kpereira  @Jessica_Chobot
@blairherter  and @theblairbutler)

We’ve rounded up some familiar faces in the gaming industry to join me for our "Xbox @ E3" Live Coverage that will happen this week. Sign into Xbox LIVE on your console and join us Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of this week for a live one-hour show each day from the show floor. During each hour we’ll take a closer look at some of the announcements, interviews with developers, game play and more.

Show Day Time Where watch
Xbox @ E3 – LIVE coverage from the show June 11 7p – 8p ET Xbox LIVE (Silver and Gold)
Xbox @ E3 – LIVE coverage from the show June 12 7p – 8p ET Xbox LIVE (Silver and Gold)
Xbox @ E3 – LIVE coverage from the show June 13 7p – 8p ET Xbox LIVE (Silver and Gold)
  Click for local time  

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June 11th 2013 at 11:22 am | E3, Events, Xbox 360, Xbox Live, Xbox One | 707 comments

May 31st 2013, 2:11 pm PT

How to watch the Xbox E3 2013 Media Briefing

E3 is almost here, so I wanted to let you know how you can watch the Xbox E3 2013 Media Briefing show
“Xbox: A new Generation of Games Revealed.”

Watch the main event live at 12:30p ET/9:30a PT/16:30 GMT via the live global stream that will be available on Xbox LIVE and Xbox.com. If you are in the US or Canada, you can also watch the broadcast on Spike TV. 
The show will be 90-minutes and be presented without commercial interruptions.

The full show will be available later in the day for viewing via video on demand on Xbox.com and Xbox LIVE.

PLUS That Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I’ll be hosting a live one-hour show from the show each day. During each hour we’ll take a closer look at some of the announcements, interviews with developers, gameplay and more.

Show Day Time Where watch

Xbox: A new Generation of Games Revealed

June 10 12:30p – 2p ET Xbox LIVE Xbox.com &
Spike TV (US/Canada)
Xbox @ E3 – LIVE coverage from the show June 11 7p – 8p ET Xbox LIVE (Silver and Gold)
Xbox @ E3 – LIVE coverage from the show June 12 7p – 8p ET Xbox LIVE (Silver and Gold)
Xbox @ E3 – LIVE coverage from the show June 13 7p – 8p ET Xbox LIVE (Silver and Gold)
  Click for local time  

Update: Here is a trailer showing some of the hosts I’ll be working with for the Xbox @ E3 shows

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May 31st 2013 at 2:11 pm | E3, Events, Xbox 360, Xbox Live, Xbox One | 637 comments

May 16th 2013, 8:00 am PT

Xbox Delivers for Core Gamers with Machinima and more

We roll out new entertainment experiences on Xbox LIVE on a weekly basis all over the globe, bringing you movies, television, sports and music week after week and offering something for everyone in the family. But this week, we’re going back to our roots and highlighting experiences for our core Xbox gamers.

We launched Machinima a few weeks ago—our first app to launch in all 41 Xbox LIVE markets—and the download rate has been overwhelming. In fact, after only two weeks on Xbox LIVE, it’s already one of the fastest adopted Xbox Live entertainment apps of the last 12 months.

A few key features integrated in the Machinima app include:

  • Easy access to the latest videos and content in the Machinima Network
  • Easy access to Machinima’s library of original programming
  • Facebook Integration that allows users to connect to the app and their social profile to view content
  • Exclusive content only available on Xbox 360

Download the Machinima app and join some of the top brands in the gaming industry that are available on Xbox—including Twitch, IGN, GameSpot, CNET, Revision3 and GameTrailers and more.

May 16th 2013 at 8:00 am | Xbox Live | 37 comments

May 14th 2013, 6:00 am PT

Twitch App Comes to Xbox

Today, we’re launching one of the most asked for apps on Xbox LIVE: Twitch.

Twitch is one of the largest platforms for the live streaming of games, with more than 800,000 people streaming gameplay and over 34 million people watching online at Twitch.tv. And now, with the Twitch for Xbox LIVE app, Gold subscribers in the U.S. will have access to 300 of the most popular streams from the service. Users can view top channels by popularity or individual game and the dashboard features curated channels, tournaments and shows happening now.

In addition to launching the app today on Xbox 360, Twitch will also host an exclusive broadcast following the May 21st #XboxRevealed event next week. I’ll moderate the broadcast live at 3p ET/12m PT live via the new Twitch app on Xbox 360 and also online at www.twitch.tv.

Check out the app today by downloading it from the Xbox LIVE Marketplace and tune in next Tuesday for the live broadcast.

May 14th 2013 at 6:00 am | Xbox 360, Xbox Live | 135 comments

April 30th 2013, 10:27 am PT

Machinima Launches Worldwide on Xbox; Golden Gods Awards Streams Live

What do Alice Cooper, Metallica, LeBron James, and “Mortal Kombat: Legacy” have in common? They’re all coming to Xbox! Between Machinima launching in every Xbox LIVE market around the world, the inspirational animated series “The LeBrons: Season 2” launching on Xbox Video, and the Revolver Golden Gods Awards show streaming live via our Events Player, there are some really cool new things to check out this week. Additionally, if you’re a fan of electronic dance music (or EDM as it’s more commonly known) you’ll enjoy new details about our partnership with OneBeat Labs.

Machinima

Machinima (All Xbox LIVE Markets)
Today, the No. 1 entertainment destination on YouTube, Machinima, comes to Xbox 360* across all Xbox LIVE markets. The first app to launch worldwide on Xbox, Machinima gives you an easy, all-access pass to watch episodic narrative series like the extremely successful “Mortal Kombat: Legacy” and “Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn”, live streams, gameplay videos, and original content, including weekly and daily shows such as fan favorites “Sanity Not Included” and “How to Annoy People.” As the top global online video destination for young males, you won’t want to miss downloading the Machinima app and getting instant access to all of your favorite Machinima channels, including the main “Machinima” channel, which is one of the largest YouTube channels, “Machinima Realm” focusing on fantasy and role-playing games, and “Machinima VS“ covering the world of competitive gaming, just to name a few. Machinima speaks directly to the gaming audience and beyond, providing a destination to watch your favorite content in the comfort of your living room, or any location you choose. With Machinima on Xbox, you can also share videos directly from the app to Facebook. Check it out and download from the Xbox LIVE Marketplace now.

Golden Gods Awards Show Live on Xbox LIVE

Golden Gods Awards Show Live on Xbox LIVE (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, German, Italy, Mexico, Spain, the United States and the United Kingdom)

The 5th annual Revolver Golden Gods Awards Show in Los Angeles is back with some of the biggest names in hard rock and heavy metal. Planning to tune in and turn up the volume? You’re in luck. Xbox LIVE Gold subscribers around the world** will be able to stream and rock out to the show live right from their Xbox 360 this Thursday, May 2. Watch heavy metal favorites Metallica, Halestorm, Stone Sour and more perform live. See Rob Zombie receive the award that embodies the spirit of hard rock and metal, the Golden God Award and Metallica receive the iconic Ronnie James Dio Lifetime Achievement Award. The show starts at 8 p.m. PDT. You can also watch the “Black Carpet” pre-show special starting at 7 p.m. PDT and catch glimpses of legends like Gene Simmons, Marilyn Manson and Alice Cooper.

By tuning into the Golden Gods Awards Show on Xbox LIVE, you will have access to unique second-screen Xbox SmartGlass experiences where you can:

  • Check out the award nominees in categories like “Best Drummer,” “Comeback of the Year” and “Most Metal Athlete”
  • Participate in online polling during the show
  • Learn more info on winners as they’re announced live
  • Watch backstage interviews with artists on your tablet or smart phone while live performances are blasting from your TV
  • Discover additional information on presenters, like Fozzy frontman and WWE pro-wrestling legend Chris Jericho and others

The Xbox LIVE stream will also run a dedicated Twitter feed across the screen using the hash tag #XboxGoldenGods so that the Xbox community can make its voice heard and weigh in on all the action in real time. The “Black Carpet” kicks off at 10p ET/7 p PT on Thursday.

The LeBrons Season Two

The LeBrons Season Two (United States)
The hit animated web series “The LeBrons” is back with season two, and will be exclusively available on Xbox 360 in the U.S. via Xbox Video starting Friday, May 10th. Watch new episodes each week and a handful of trailers through August 31st, and listen to the original music soundtracks for seasons 1 & 2, all found in the dedicated “The LeBrons” hub located in the TV & Video section of the dashboard. “The LeBrons” is a family entertainment show that provides positive life messages to today’s young adults and is co-executive produced by LeBron James, Maverick Carter and Believe Entertainment Group Co-Founders Dan Goodman and William H. Masterson III. In the meantime, here’s the latest trailer of Season 2 of “The LeBrons.” Check back next Friday for the first episode.

OneBeat App

We’re working with our friends at OneBeat to bring one of richest cultural experiences today exclusively to Xbox—Electronic Dance Music (EDM). We’ll have more details to share next month, but know that we we’ll soon be launching the OneBeat app for Xbox 360 which will bring some of the richest, and most integrated, interactive entertainment experiences from the Global EDM Industry right into your living room. The OneBeat app is a one-stop shop and portal for EDM artists and fans and will connect fans by enabling content sharing across Facebook. At launch, you can check out the calendar of events, artist information, event details and even ticket sales.

*Xbox LIVE Gold subscription and/or additional subscriptions/fees may be required and sold separately. Kinect functionality available with select Xbox LIVE content and varies by feature and country. For additional details and availability, see http://www.xbox.com/live.

**Golden Gods will be available to Xbox LIVE Gold subscribers in the Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, German, Italy, Mexico, Spain, United States, United Kingdom

April 30th 2013 at 10:27 am | Xbox 360, Xbox Live | 20 comments

April 24th 2013, 10:01 am PT

#XboxReveal

On Tuesday May 21st, we’ll mark the beginning of a new generation of games, TV and entertainment. On that day, we’ll be holding a special press event on the Xbox campus and we invite you to join us via the live global stream that will be available on Xbox LIVE and Xbox.com. If you are in the US or Canada, you can also watch the broadcast on Spike TV.

On that day, we’ll share our vision for Xbox, and give you a real taste of the future. Then, 19-days later at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, we’ll continue the conversation and showcase our full lineup of blockbuster games.

We are thrilled to pull back the curtain and reveal what we’ve been working on.

A New Generation Revealed
Xbox Campus, Redmond WA
Tuesday, May 21st @ 1p ET/10a PT/17:00 GMT

Follow me on Twitter where I’ll share updates leading up to the event.

Xbox Reveal on Xbox.com

April 24th 2013 at 10:01 am | Events, Industry, Xbox 360, Xbox Live | 627 comments

April 23rd 2013, 2:46 pm PT

The CW Comes to Xbox

CW_3

Today, The CW app on Xbox 360 connects you with your favorite CW shows, from full episodes to previews and interviews, and is unique in that it will offer next-day episodes free with your Xbox LIVE Gold subscription, no cable subscription or membership required.* Tune in to watch your favorites like “The Vampire Diaries,” “Supernatural,” “Arrow” and “Beauty & the Beast.”

In addition, The CW is taking advantage of the second-screen opportunities offered by Xbox SmartGlass to create a content-rich, interactive and integrated experience that will bring “The Vampire Diaries” to fans in an entirely new way. As viewers tune into The CW app on Xbox this Friday for the latest episode titled “The Originals,” they can access an exclusive Xbox SmartGlass experience that will provide exciting new content via their smartphone or tablet not available to any other viewers. Experiences and content that can only be discovered using the Xbox SmartGlass experience includes:

  • A map that follows the characters through town, revealing events throughout the town’s history
  • Biographies of each character
  • Legends and lore of New Orleans and the world of “The Vampire Diaries”

There will also be a giveaway via Facebook for custom “Vampire Diaries” and “Supernatural” Xbox 360 consoles, so download The CW app from the Xbox LIVE Marketplace today and be sure to check out “The Originals” episode this week!

*Xbox LIVE Gold subscription and/or additional subscriptions/fees may be required and sold separately. For additional details and availability, see http://www.xbox.com/live.

April 23rd 2013 at 2:46 pm | Xbox Live | 30 comments

April 23rd 2013, 12:46 pm PT

Pizza Hut on Xbox; Gold Unlocked for Select Sports Apps this weekend

Check out the latest apps launching this week on Xbox LIVE and the details behind this weekend’s Gold unlock for some of our sports apps.

Sports 3_NBA Game TimeSports 1_ESPN
Sports 4_UFCSports 2_MLB.TV

Xbox LIVE Gold Unlocked for Select Sports Apps (United States, Canada)
It’s that time of year when sports on TV is at a yearly high and this weekend, we’re really excited that several popular sports apps will be unlocked from Gold from April 25 – 28 for Xbox LIVE subscribers in the U.S. and Canada. More details below.

ESPN: Start the weekend with full live coverage and highlights of the NFL Draft and sports around the world on ESPN.**

MLB.TV: Watch over 50 free MLB games with MLB.TV and personalize the experience by selecting your favorite teams. No MLB.TV subscription required!

UFC: Gear up for the big UFC 159 PPV matchup of Jones vs. Sonnen by watching all 7 fight stories for free.**

NHL GameCenter: Enjoy highlights, recaps, and clips from the best of the NHL as teams jockey for position leading into the NHL Playoffs.**

NBA Game Time: Enjoy highlights and recaps of first round coverage of the NBA Playoffs throughout the weekend.**

If you already have a subscription to any of these sports packages, this weekend is the perfect time to try it out on your Xbox. Love NHL GameCenter but can’t stand watching it on a tiny computer screen? Now’s the time to check it out on the big screen. Want to take your NBA fandom to the next level? Try it on Xbox and with SmartGlass on your phone or tablet for the second screen experience you’ve been missing.

Pizza Hut (United States)

Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut is launching the first-of-a-kind ordering app, allowing Xbox LIVE members in the U.S. to purchase pizza, wings, pasta and more from Xbox 360. The full menu, including new products, can be ordered from the Xbox LIVE dashboard and operated using an Xbox 360 controller or hand gestures and voices commands via Kinect for Xbox 360. Hungry? Customers who download and place an order through the Pizza Hut app by May 6 will receive 15 percent off their purchase.

Here’s how it works:

Set up an account: Download the Pizza Hut app via the Xbox LIVE Marketplace

Browse full menu: Cruise through the complete list of menu offerings to score delicious pizza, pasta and wings from your local Pizza Hut

Get local deals: Offers in your area pop up on the home screen for great deals on all your Pizza Hut favorites

Build custom pizzas: Scroll through the app to build a customized pizza

CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada (Canada)

CBC HNIC

CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada keeps you connected to the game you love with Xbox.* Watch live games and stay up-to-date with special in-game features designed especially for you. We’ve got you covered even if you miss a game with near instant 3-minute highlight packs after the game and a Weekly Top 5 that helps you talk about the great save, amazing goal or hard-hitting action. CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada on Xbox is a new way to enjoy the traditional game.

Hulu PLUS Update (United States, Japan)

Hulu Plus TU

Hulu Plus* becomes more kid friendly with a new discovery experience for kids. In addition to “Shows You Watch” and “Most Popular” categories, parents can search movies and TV shows by age group. Also check out the three new “Twists” for Kids, Latino and Trailers with improved discovery and content.

*Xbox LIVE Gold subscription and/or additional subscriptions/fees may be required and sold separately. For additional details and availability, see http://www.xbox.com/live.

**Additional cable or service subscription required.

April 23rd 2013 at 12:46 pm | Xbox Live | 23 comments

April 23rd 2013, 10:38 am PT

One Week Left in the “Play To Earn” program

Only one week to get in on the hot arcade action this month with Play To Earn from Xbox Live Rewards.  How close are you to completing all three challenges?  To help you out, we’ve got some great games on-sale in our  Deal of the Week promotion. Head over to Xbox.com to get started.

April 23rd 2013 at 10:38 am | Xbox Live | 19 comments

April 19th 2013, 6:48 pm PT

Using Microsoft Two-Factor Authentication with your Xbox LIVE account

Earlier this week, it was announced that your Microsoft Account Gets More Secure. Every gamertag on Xbox LIVE is backed by a Microsoft Account (MSA), so this is great news for our customers who choose to enable this security feature to help keep their accounts more secure. I’m excited to see this feature enabled and I’ve already done this on my own account.

For those of you who have enabled TFA, you’ll need to make one change to how you interact with your Xbox.

If you’re downloading your profile or you choose not to have your password saved on your console, you will be prompted to enter your “Microsoft account password.” It will look like the screenshot below. Instead of entering your MSA password, you’ll need to enter an App password.

Xbox Password Dialogue

Getting an App password is simple:

  1. Log in to https://account.live.com
  2. Click on “Security info” under “Overview”
  3. Click on “Create a new app password” under “App passwords”
  4. Enter your app password in the password field

That’ll look like this screenshot:

MSID Account Info

 

That’s it! Enjoy your (even more secure) gaming on Xbox LIVE!

April 19th 2013 at 6:48 pm | Xbox 360, Xbox Live | 54 comments

April 18th 2013, 5:49 pm PT

Free Xbox LIVE Gold Weekend for US, Canada Latin America and Japan

If you’ve always wanted to check out the latest entertainment experiences on Xbox 360, now is your chance. Starting tomorrow (Friday April 19) morning at 10am ET/ 7:00am PT, we’re unlocking Xbox LIVE Gold in the U.S., Latin America, Japan and Canada* throughout the weekend until 1p ET/10am PT on Monday, April 22nd.

All Xbox owners in these regions, regardless of their current Xbox LIVE subscription status, will have access to online multiplayer gaming, Video Kinect, and our entire catalog of entertainment apps.* Here are few of my top recommendations to check out:

  • “Hemlock Grove” – the new Netflix original series premieres on Friday, with the full run of episodes. It’s the perfect weekend for a marathon viewing.

  • Xbox Tournaments with Virgin Gaming – try out a free-to-enter tournament with “EA SPORTS™ FIFA 13,” “NBA 2K13,” “EA SPORTS™ Madden NFL 13” and “EA SPORTS™ NHL® 13.”

  • “Call of Duty Black Ops II” – with weapons double XP for a limited time.

  • “Borderlands 2” – Try out this special Golden Key Code: KTW3T-ZXXS5-JBSJF-5FJT3-6TB9X
    To redeem, at the Borderlands 2 Main Menu, select Extras, then SHiFT Code. Hurry though, this will only be available throughout the Xbox Live Gold Unlock weekend. See
    Gearbox for assistance.

  • “Assassin’s Creed 3” and “Far Cry 3” – with double XP for a limited time
    .

Get your marathon entertainment and gaming fix now and let me know on Monday all the new things you tried.

*Free Gold Weekend will take place on Xbox Live from 7:00 A.M. Pacific Time on April 19, 2013, to 10:00 A.M. Pacific Time on April 22, 2013. Open only to Free (Silver) members in the 50 United States or Washington, D.C. Broadband required; carrier fees apply. Additional subscriptions and requirements also apply for some Xbox Live features. Deal of the Week and early access to demos not included. See www.xbox.com/live.

FAQ:What if I am not in the US, Canada, Latin America or Japan? Where is my Free Xbox LIVE Gold Weekend?
A: UK and Europe had one in March that other regions did not have.
Free Xbox LIVE Gold Weekend vary by region, check your local version of Xbox.com for details.

April 18th 2013 at 5:49 pm | Xbox 360, Xbox Live | 36 comments

April 16th 2013, 10:10 am PT

Flixster Launches on Xbox LIVE

One of the most popular apps for movies is now on Xbox LIVE. Today, Flixster* is available for Xbox LIVE subscribers in the U.S., bringing your favorite Flixster features to your TV. Flixster lets you buy and rent thousands of popular movies, check out show times at your local theater and access the latest fresh or rotten movie scores from Rotten Tomatoes.

The Flixster app also gives you access to your UltraViolet movie collection on your Xbox.

With Flixster for Xbox LIVE you can:

  • Buy or rent standard and high definition movies
  • Browse current movie listings in theatres near you
  • Peruse new and upcoming DVD releases
  • Watch high quality movie trailers
  • Access movie details, including film posters, synopses and Rotten Tomato scores
  • Easily sort and watch movies from your UltraViolet movie collection
  • Navigate using voice and gesture controls with Kinect for Xbox 360

Download the application for free from the Xbox LIVE marketplace now and get watching!

Screenshots of the app are on my Flickr

*Xbox LIVE Gold subscription and/or additional subscriptions/fees may be required and sold separately. For additional details and availability, see http://www.xbox.com/live.

April 16th 2013 at 10:10 am | Xbox 360, Xbox Live | 72 comments

April 12th 2013, 10:44 am PT

Xbox SmartGlass Update Arrives on More Android Devices

We’re rolling out an Xbox SmartGlass update to Android devices this week with new features and design updates. The power of companion scenarios continue to come to life in new ways with Xbox SmartGlass, enabling your PC, tablet and smartphone to connect to your Xbox console in an intelligent way.

Highlights include:

Support for 10-Inch Android Tablets– Access Xbox SmartGlass on even larger screens and portrait mode, including 7- and 10-inch tablets running Android 4.x.

Activity Browser Link – Open a web browser from within the Xbox SmartGlass app for even more interactivity.

Expanded Messaging – Xbox LIVE members can now use Xbox SmartGlass to both send and receive messages from their Xbox LIVE friends.

‘Awake’ State – You no longer have to worry about your device going to sleep while running Xbox SmartGlass.

Streamlined Design – New design updates bring a more streamlined, easy-to-use experience to Xbox SmartGlass, including a simplified activity launch screen, removal of excess text and addition of clearer instructions on the controller screen.

The update is available in all markets with Xbox SmartGlass, and can be downloaded from Google Play store today.

Update: The latest SmartGlass update is now also available on Kindle Fire HD in select markets*.
Visit Amazon Appstore to download today.

April 24 Update: An update for iOS was released

 

*The latest SmartGlass update is available on Amazon Appstore in the following markets: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea (South), Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, U.A.E., U.K., U.S.

*Xbox LIVE Gold subscription and/or additional subscriptions/fees may be required and sold separately. Kinect functionality available with select Xbox LIVE content and varies by feature and country. For additional details and availability, see http://www.xbox.com/live.

April 12th 2013 at 10:44 am | Xbox Live | 25 comments

April 9th 2013, 3:53 pm PT

Xbox Video Awards launch today

Today, voting begins for the first ever Xbox Video Awards, available in the U.S., Canada and Australia. Fans will have the chance to vote over the next few weeks via the Xbox LIVE dashboard and Facebook promotional page for the following categories:

Xbox LIVE Dash Voting
•    Favorite Comic Book Movie
•    Favorite Fright
•    Favorite Vampires
•    Favorite Future Vision
•    Favorite Bromance
•    Favorite Video Game in a Movie/TV Show
•    Favorite Tough Guys

Facebook Voting
•    Favorite Use of Archery
•    Favorite Use of Zombies
•    Favorite Bawdy Entertainment
•    Most Egregious Level of Testosterone
•    Favorite Animated
•    Favorite Use of Facial Hair

Also as part of the awards program, JJ Abrams will take questions from you during the voting process, so don’t miss his answers on Facebook. For more information, stay tuned for updates on the LIVE dash, Facebook and Xbox.com.

April 9th 2013 at 3:53 pm | Xbox 360, Xbox Live | 21 comments

April 9th 2013, 12:54 pm PT

Netflix Update Readies “Hemlock Grove”

This week, the Xbox community will notice an app update for Netflix rolling out across all regions where the service is currently offered. This update will include performance improvements and a newly designed “Netflix Originals” landing page, offering viewers a look at the very latest in original programming from Netflix, including the highly anticipated “Hemlock Grove,” slated to launch April 19. “Hemlock Grove” comes from director Eli Roth (“Hostel”) and is a chilling supernatural series based on Brian McGreevy’s novel.

*Xbox LIVE Gold subscription and/or additional subscriptions/fees may be required and sold separately. Kinect functionality available with select Xbox LIVE content and varies by feature and country. For additional details and availability, see Xbox.com

April 9th 2013 at 12:54 pm | Xbox 360, Xbox Live | 48 comments

April 8th 2013, 11:15 am PT

Xbox Tournaments with Virgin Gaming coming this week

Xbox Tournaments with Virgin Gaming offers free-to-enter tournaments for top games from leading publishers and is only on Xbox 360. The exclusive app, available this week in the U.S., U.K. and Canada, allows Xbox LIVE Gold subscribers of any skill level to play in free-to-enter tournaments with the opportunity to make their way up the daily, weekly and monthly leaderboards to win their share of $100,000 cash.
Starting this week, participate in tournaments for popular games including “EA SPORTS FIFA 13,” “NBA 2K13,” “EA SPORTS Madden NFL 13” and “EA SPORTS NHL® 13,” with many more titles to come.

Tournament gameplay is easy to join, fun and accessible to all styles of gamers, from the dedicated pro to the casual Xbox player. Download the app from Xbox LIVE and register for a Virgin Gaming account to start playing the free-to-enter tournaments this week—existing Virgin Gaming members will not need to register for a new account, but they will need to activate their existing account here.

Practice now, because in the coming months Xbox Tournaments with Virgin Gaming will be rolling out tons of new features, like cash-play gaming, leaderboards and epic tournaments, along with more titles and will become available in more countries around the world.

*Xbox LIVE Gold subscription and/or additional subscriptions/fees may be required and sold separately. Kinect functionality available with select Xbox LIVE content and varies by feature and country. For additional details and availability, see http://www.xbox.com/live.

April 8th 2013 at 11:15 am | Xbox 360, Xbox Live | 52 comments

April 5th 2013, 1:32 pm PT

Official Statement on what was said yesterday

I wanted to give you the official Microsoft Statement regarding some comments you may have seen yesterday::

"We apologize for the inappropriate comments made by an employee on Twitter yesterday. This person is not a spokesperson for Microsoft, and his personal views do not reflect the customer centric approach we take to our products or how we would communicate directly with our loyal consumers.  We are very sorry if this offended anyone, however we have not made any announcements about our product roadmap, and have no further comment on this matter."

As frequent readers of my blog know, the moment we have news about our products I will be sharing all the details I can.

April 5th 2013 at 1:32 pm | Xbox 360, Xbox Live | 659 comments

April 4th 2013, 7:20 pm PT

Watch the Call of Duty Championship finals on Xbox LIVE

This weekend, 32 of the best teams in the world will battle for their share of the $1 million in prize at the Call of Duty Championship, presented by Xbox.  Watch the live championship finals on Xbox LIVE and get a world premiere, behind-the-scenes look at “Mob of the Dead” – from the forthcoming “Call of Duty: Black Ops II Uprising” map pack available April 16. 

It all starts this Sunday at 6pm ET/3pm PT on the Xbox 360 dashboard.

Visit CallofDuty.com/eSports for more information.

Edit: Clarified that the finals are being carried on Xbox LIVE this Sunday.

   
   

April 4th 2013 at 7:20 pm | COD, Xbox Live | 26 comments

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