The New Xbox One Experience is almost here – and we’ve got an exciting video of the improved Xbox One Store to share with you! As you’ll see in the video clip above, I recently sat down with Partner Group Program Manager for Xbox One, Richard Irving to talk about a few of the changes and updates we’ve got in store for… well, the Store!

There’s a ton to discover in the New Xbox One Experience, and all of the games you already own will be ready and waiting for you. But when you’re ready for more, quickly find the games and content you want in the optimized Store. As you land on the Store from Home, you’ll notice it expands into four easy to explore areas – Games, Apps, Movies & TV, and Music. A new vertical gallery view inside the Store brings you more listings at a glance. You can browse through categories like Featured, New Releases, Most Played, Top Rated, Coming Soon, and Recommendations to help you find new things to play, interact with, watch, or listen to.

You’ll also notice that the Store has gotten a big quality-of-life upgrade: It’s much faster and easier to navigate, and requires fewer clicks to get to the stuff you care about. The new Store menu for each section is streamlined, allowing you to get to add-on content quickly, plus redeem any codes you may have.

On each game’s page within the Store, we’ve reorganized everything to focus on the information that our fans want when making their purchasing decisions. All of the content for all of the games in the Store is front-and-center, from add-on content to videos and bundle items. Browse some more and you’ll be able to see active Twitch broadcasts for a game, popular screenshots and videos that players have created, and – of course – access each title’s Game Hub, so that you can check out the latest updates on your favorite games directly from the game developers, and see which of your friends play the game. You can also compare Gamerscore, Achievements, and other game stats with your friends.

Like the rest of the New Xbox One Experience, the revamped Store is coming on Nov. 12. Check out the video above for the full rundown, and stay tuned – we’ve got a lot more to share with you between now and launch!

For a closer look at the New Xbox One Experience’s Home and Guide, check out this post and video; for a view of the new Game Hubs, check out this one.

With the New Xbox One Experience just 8 days away, now is the perfect time to take a closer look at one of its coolest features – Xbox One Backward Compatibility. This awesome feature gives Xbox One owners the ability to play Xbox 360 games on their console. Xbox One is the best place to play Xbox 360 games, whether you’re playing them for the very first time or finishing games you’ve already started. Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with FLitz from Smosh Games to dive deeper into what fans can expect when Xbox One Backward Compatibility rolls out starting 12 November.

FLitz has some great questions for me on topics ranging from where to find the full library of Back Compat games, how Xbox 360 saves will work, and a quick way to take screenshots of your Xbox 360 Games. So, if you’re dying to know more about Xbox One Backward Compatibility and don’t want to wait until it launches next week, watch the video.

The New Xbox One Experience is just around the corner, and those who have not experienced it in Preview will be able to experience it officially starting November 12. Faster navigation and a more social experience are at the heart of what is our biggest Xbox One update yet. Today, we’re giving you a peek at the New Xbox One Experience’s redesigned Game Hubs, with a video walkthrough I did with Partner Group Program Manager for Xbox One – Richard Irving. We’ll also highlight improvements to Achievements and the new Community section.

Now, Game Hubs themselves have been part of Xbox One for a while, but we’ve re-imagined them from the ground up, to bring everything you want to know about a game into one place. For starters, our new Game Hubs are always at your fingertips: The Game Hub for each game in your recently played games list is just a button press away, enabling gamers frictionless access to contextual game information.

You can also follow your favorite games to receive updates and posts from the game developer, which will be delivered right to your Activity Feed. This makes it much easier to stay up-to-date on what’s going on with your most-played games. You can also quickly see which of your friends play the games that you own, and join them in a Party or multiplayer session, right from the Game Hub. And you can even view the community’s most popular Game DVR clips and screenshots for each game. We’re pretty thrilled with all of this improved social connectivity; our mission with the new Game Hubs is to make it as easy as possible for you to keep current on your favorite games, and easily find friends to play them with.

We’ve also crafted an improved Achievements experience. All of your Achievements are viewable straight from each Game Hub – along with stats on how you’re doing in a given game, with stats such as time played, game progress percentage, overall Gamerscore, and lots of game-specific stats. You can also quickly check a variety of leaderboards to see how you stack up against your friends, and compare your Achievements progress with them.

Last but not least, to the right of Home, you’ll find the Community section. Community helps drive a more social Xbox One experience with the Xbox Live community. This includes posts from your friends, updates on games that you follow, and access to your activity feed – so that you are always current on the friends and games you care about.

For more details, check out the video above. We can’t wait for you to see the redesigned Game Hubs, Achievements, and Community sections when the New Xbox One Experience hits on November 12!

Larry Hryb @majornelson

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Hey Xbox fans, we want to reward you for your loyalty! As a thanks for collecting “The greatest games lineup in Xbox history”, Xbox Live Rewards will give you up to 60,000 Rewards Credits!

Xbox Live Rewards

If you aren’t already a rewards member, sign up here. It’s free.

Then, go to the Xbox Store on your Xbox One or on the Web and buy or pre-order one of these exclusive, digital games: Halo 5: Guardians, Gears of War: Ultimate Edition, Forza Motorsport 6, Rise of the Tomb Raider, or Rare Replay. You’ll earn between 3,000 and 6,000 rewards credits for each of the five titles you purchase up to 25,000 rewards credits!

Rare Replay – 3,000 Rewards Credits

Gears of War: Ultimate Edition – 4,000 Rewards Credits

Forza Motorsport 6 – 6,000 Rewards Credits

Halo 5: Guardians – 6,000 Rewards Credits

Rise of the Tomb Raider – 6,000 Rewards Credits

As an added bonus: if you buy all five titles, you’ll get an additional 35,000 Rewards Credits for a total of 60,000 rewards credits (a $60 value)!

These reward credits get converted into your local currency and are deposited to your Microsoft account where you can use them to enjoy more blockbuster digital games, game add-ons, or the latest movies & TV shows.

Already purchased one or more of these titles from the Xbox Store? Individual games purchased prior to October 27, 2015 are not eligible to receive the credits awarded for each individual title. However, as a token of our appreciation for being a loyal customer, we will give you retroactive credit for games purchased between June 16, 2015 and October 27, 2015. That means if you are an Xbox Live Rewards member and purchase all five titles between June 16, 2015 and January 7, 2016, you will earn 35,000 bonus rewards credits.

Click here for more information about this offer. Or, for the complete list of terms and conditions for this offer, click here.

Earlier this month we announced availability of the Xbox One with Kinect Bundle featuring an Xbox One 500GB console, Kinect for Xbox One and full-game downloads of Dance Central Spotlight, Kinect Sports Rivals and Zoo Tycoon. Starting today, the Xbox One with Kinect Bundle will be available for a special, limited-time promotional offer of $399 USD / $449 CAD / $7,999 MXN in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

The Xbox One with Kinect Bundle is available at Microsoft Store and other retailers including Amazon, Best Buy and Target.

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Already have an Xbox but thinking about grabbing Kinect? Standalone Kinect for Xbox One units will also be available for a special, limited-time promotional offer of $99 USD / $109 CAD / $1,999 MXN in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

The Standalone Kinect for Xbox One is available at Microsoft Store and other retailers.

This is a great time to experience the greatest games lineup in Xbox history, including Kinect favorites where you can jump right in. Nearly half of Xbox One owners are using Kinect today, and across the Xbox fan base, Kinect sensor owners are regularly among those reporting the highest level of customer satisfaction. We are also continuing to invest in Kinect, and are looking forward to launching the Cortana personal assistant on Xbox One in 2016.

Check out the best ways to get the most out of Kinect:

Voice Commands: Voice command capabilities rank consistently among the most used Kinect functions and let you experience greater convenience and control with Kinect for Xbox One. Navigate your console without lifting a finger. Instantly capture screenshots and game clips. And change TV channels without ever searching for the remote. It’s time to get the most out of your Xbox One.

Wake up your Xbox One and TV: Take command of your entertainment. Turn your console on and off by simply saying “Xbox on” or “Xbox, turn off.”

Automatic Recognition: Be recognized and signed-in automatically when turning on your console, so you can spend more time gaming.

Multi-tasking made easy: By snapping an app with Kinect Voice Commands, you can multitask the activities most valuable to you. Simply move the app to one side of your screen where it will continue to run while you do something else on the main part of your screen.

Connect with Skype and Twitch: Keep in touch with friends and family on your TV with Skype for Xbox One. You can also broadcast your gameplay live with picture-in-picture through Twitch. Just launch the app and simply say “Xbox, Broadcast”.

You are the Controller: Use your whole body and voice to control games like Dance Central Spotlight, Kinect Sports Rivals, Zoo Tycoon, and more with incredible precision.

DanceCentralSpotlight

At Team Xbox, we want to make it easy to connect with your friends on any device where you play games. This week, we’re excited to start previewing two more ways to expand your social gaming network and share your gaming content with your friends on Xbox Live.

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  • Facebook friend finder: based off of a top requested fan feature, we’re bringing two of your favorite social networks together—Facebook and Xbox Live—and making it easier than ever to find more people to play games and have fun with.

In the Windows 10 Xbox beta app (available in the Windows 10 Store here), look for the Facebook icon in the Suggested Friends area or Settings. Click it to link your Facebook account to your Xbox Live account and start seeing suggestions for friends on Facebook who you can add on Xbox Live. As your friends link their Facebook accounts to their Xbox Live accounts, you’ll see increasing numbers of Facebook friend suggestions, so be sure to spread the word!

  • Record your voice in your Game DVR clips on your PC: Windows Insider Program and Xbox beta app participants can now plug in a headset and narrate their Windows 10 game clips with their own voice using Game bar and Game DVR hotkeys.

 To turn microphone recording on or off for a gaming session, just press Win + Alt + M. Want to turn microphone recording on for all gaming sessions? Go to Game bar > Settings > Audio or Xbox beta app > Settings > Game DVR > Audio. And if you like personalizing your Game DVR hotkeys and want to customize the microphone recording hotkey, do it here: Game bar > Settings > Shortcuts or Xbox beta app > Settings > Game DVR > Keyboard shortcuts.

 Share your Windows 10 Store game clips with voice over commentary to your friends on Xbox Live through the Xbox app or any social network or sharing option on your PC.

Also lighting up in the Xbox beta app today are improvements in the way that gamers can find games and redeem codes. Our goal with these changes is to enable quicker and more relevant access to content.

  • The Store link in the Xbox beta app will now bring you to the Xbox Store—a launching point for browsing and searching for both Windows 10 and Xbox One games. The new interface allows you to see more products at a glance and brings you the latest crop of most popular Windows 10 and Xbox One games, sales and specials, plus your Deals with Gold and Games with Gold games.
  • In the Xbox One section of the redesigned Xbox Store, gamers will enjoy a persistent search box, reducing clicks between searches. Also, when you type in the name or a description of the Xbox One content that you are searching for, the search box will suggest some top matching search results.
  • Once you’ve found the content you are looking for, fans will enjoy quicker and more contextual actions. Own the content already? Click the ‘play on console’ button and kick off a game streaming session. Don’t own the content? Just click on the ‘buy’ button to purchase.
  • Redeeming codes gets easier too! Just like on Xbox One, when codes are sent to you in a message, simply click ‘redeem code’ to redeem. The ‘Redeem a code’ link in the Xbox One section of Xbox Store allows you to enter-25 digit codes right in the app as well.

Check out these new social features arriving in the Windows 10 Xbox beta app today and let us know what you think. Stay tuned for more updates coming to the beta app each month.

Just in time for the release of Halo 5: Guardians next week, we are adding a collection of Halo-themed images to the Xbox One gamerpic gallery including The Master Chief and Spartan Locke. These new images are starting to roll out over the coming days but may take some time to appear in all Xbox Live regions. To change your gamerpic, go to Settings, About Me, Customize profile, Change gamerpic (this may vary if you’re a Preview Program member with the New Xbox One Experience).

Browse the gallery and you should see the new Halo 5 images.

The new Halo 5: Guardians gamerpic images are included below:

You can download a .ZIP file containing all of the images here: Halo 5 gamerpics

Halo 5: Guardians releases 27 October and is one of the most anticipated games of 2015. Show your support with a new Halo 5: Guardians gamerpic.

I am looking forward to co-hosting the big event later this month.  Here is the press release about the event we shared today via Xbox Wire:

Xbox and YouTube team up for one-of-a-kind “Halo 5: Guardians” launch celebration

“Halo 5: Live” broadcast and global fan events commemorate biggest game launch in Xbox history.

REDMOND, Wash. — Oct. 15, 2015 — Halo fans around the world will join together on Oct. 26 to celebrate the global launch of “Halo 5: Guardians,” one of the most anticipated games of 2015. Streaming exclusively on YouTube, “Halo 5: Live,” a six-hour live broadcast, will kick off at 6 p.m. EDT on Oct. 26 and culminate at midnight when “Halo 5: Guardians” goes on sale in North America. The broadcast will feature exclusive gameplay reveals, celebrity appearances, live interviews with the 343 Industries development team and much more.

“Halo 5: Guardians” is the most ambitious addition to the $4.6 billion sci-fi franchise to date, bringing together a gripping story, deep character narrative and teamwork-based gameplay. As a mysterious and unstoppable force threatens the universe, the Master Chief has gone AWOL and the UNSC’s elite man hunter, Spartan Locke, is tasked with hunting him down. As the pursuit unfolds, players can band together in a four-player cooperative epic that spans three worlds, or challenge friends and rivals in new multiplayer modes.1

“‘Halo 5: Guardians’ is the game we have always dreamed of making, and it was important to us that Halo fans in every corner of the world could join us in an epic-scale launch celebration,” said Bonnie Ross, corporate vice president and head of 343 Industries. “Whether they tune into the live broadcast on YouTube or come out and celebrate with us in person at one of our global fan events, we hope Halo Nation will help make ‘Halo 5: Guardians’ the biggest game launch in history.

 

The “Halo 5: Live” broadcast will connect millions of fans around the world, allowing viewers to watch, comment and virtually participate in multiple launch celebrations held in key international cities. Microsoft is reinventing the traditional video game launch, inviting fans to join in the celebration, no matter where they are located. Festivities currently planned include the following:

* The world premiere of “Halo: The Fall of Reach” episode one, the new animated series that tells the dramatic tale of the origin and intrigue behind the SPARTAN program that propelled characters like the Master Chief and Dr. Catherine Halsey into the pantheon of Halo lore.2

* The first Xbox roundtable featuring the writers behind “Halo 5: Guardians” and Nathan Fillion, the voice of Spartan Buck.

* Special documentaries will get up close and personal with Halo superfans around the world, showcasing what makes Halo Nation unlike any other community in gaming.

* A lucky fan in Australia will play “Halo 5: Guardians” from a helicopter flying over Sydney, as gameplay is broadcasted via a screen suspended from a second helicopter.

* In London, iconic entertainment venue The Roundhouse will transform into a “Halo 5: Guardians” celebration, with a friendly tournament between four teams of YouTube creators and fans. U.K. fans can win a chance to attend the London event by visiting http://bit.ly/1REsmt6.

* In celebration of a Halo superfan from Japan who has played over 10,000 hours of Halo, Master Chief and Agent Locke action figurines will travel to the edge of space for the most epic Gamertag selfie.

* A Taiwanese cosplayer will bring his passion for the Master Chief to life when he collaborates with one of the hottest jewelry designers in Australia to recreate the Master Chief’s helmet with more than 30,000 Swarovski crystals. The one-of-a-kind helmet will be unveiled during the show and kick-start a chance for gamers around the world to bid on it for charity.

* In New Zealand, Halo fans will converge at the close of the Armageddon Expo for multiplayer sessions, cosplay displays and more.

* In Hong Kong, a real-life course inspired by the new “Halo 5: Guardians” competitive Arena multiplayer mode, “Breakout,” will be constructed, putting Halo fans into real 4v4 combat.

* In New York City, a special fan destination will take place at the brand new flagship store Microsoft at Fifth Ave. and 53rd St., located in the heart of Manhattan and culminating in the midnight launch of “Halo 5: Guardians.”

“Millions of our fans around the world are waiting in anticipation of the launch of ‘Halo 5: Guardians,’ so we wanted to do something special for them and launch a video game in a way that has never been done before,” said Aaron Greenberg, head of games marketing for Xbox. “We are excited to stream the ‘Halo 5: Guardians’ launch exclusively through YouTube so fans can share in a New Year’s Eve-like countdown moment together.”

Special fan events will take place at all Microsoft stores. All stores will be streaming the “Halo 5: Live” broadcast and are offering an exclusive Halo poster with a $25 purchase, early gameplay and more for the midnight launch of “Halo 5: Guardians.” Fans can also enter a sweepstakes to win a trip for two to Seattle for a tour of the Xbox and 343 studios. More information can be found on the Microsoft store Facebook page.

The full “Halo 5: Live” launch day programming lineup will be announced soon. Additional “Halo 5: Live” details can be found at https://www.xbox.com/Halo5Live.

Last week we announced a new Xbox One bundle every day of the week starting with Rise of the Tomb Raider and ending with Fallout 4. With the holidays right around the corner, I wanted to take a moment to recap each of the announcements and provide a link to each…and also give you an opportunity to win one of the new Xbox One bundles.

I have a few of these consoles to give away and starting today and ending this Friday, you can enter to win a Xbox One The LEGO Movie Videogame Bundle and some other cool prizes.

How do you enter for a chance to win?

Simple. All you have to do is leave a comment below (do not post it on Twitter that will not count) to this post answering the following question:

What new Xbox One bundle announced last week was your favorite and why?

What can you win?

Five fans will win a code for The LEGO Movie Videogame (Xbox One).

One runner-up will winner win The LEGO Movie Videogame (Xbox One) and a Lunar White Wireless Controller.

One Grand Prize winner will win a Xbox One The LEGO Movie Videogame bundle.

xbox-one-lego-bundle

What are the rules?

Leave a comment to this post with your answer. Do not @ reply me on Twitter. That won’t count!

Deadline to enter is 4:00 pm PT / 7:00 pm ET on Friday, 09 October 2015. One entry per person. Contest is open to everyone but prize availability might not be available in all regions – check the availability of The LEGO Movie Videogame in your Xbox LIVE region. Winners will be notified via the e-mail account associated with their Disqus account or Twitter (when applicable) on or about 12 October. We use the Disqus commenting system – read this if you have questions about Disqus.

Have fun and good luck!

Note: If you do not have an e-mail address or Twitter name associated with your Disqus login, you must include this information in your comment to be eligible. Any winner who does not respond to my email notification within 72 hours will forfeit the prize. For faster notification, follow me on Twitter where I can DM you if you win. Only comments received at www.majornelson.com will be considered.

UPDATE: This Xbox One The LEGO Movie Videogame Bundle Giveaway is now closed. Winners have been notified via the email address listed in their Disqus profile. Thanks to everyone who participated in the giveaway.