Content: ABZU
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Game Description: From the artistic mind behind Journey and Flower, ABZÛ is a beautiful underwater adventure that evokes the dream of diving. Immerse yourself in a vibrant ocean world full of mystery and bursting with color and life. Perform fluid acrobatics as the Diver, using graceful swimming controls. Linger in epic seascapes and explore aquatic ecosystems modeled with unprecedented detail. Descend into the heart of the ocean where ancient secrets lie forgotten. But beware, dangers lurk in the depths. “ABZÛ” is from the oldest mythologies; AB, meaning water, and ZÛ, meaning to know. ABZÛ is the ocean of wisdom.

Xbox Live Gold members save 15% – Limited Time Offer

Purchase ABZU for Xbox One from the Xbox Games Store

Product Info:
Developer: Giant Squid
Publisher: 505 Games
Website: ABZU
Twitter: @AbzuGame / @GiantSquidology / @505_Games

We’re celebrating the 15 year anniversary of Halo and Xbox this week and to promote the special occasion we’re adding a number of new images to the Xbox One gamerpic gallery. 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 And Xbox 15 Year Anniversary images – shown below:

You can download a .ZIP file containing all of the images here: Halo And Xbox 15 Year Anniversary

With the latest Xbox One System update, we have added Clubs as one of the many new features. I wanted to let everyone know that based on the feedback received from our Xbox Insider audience and the data collected, we have adjusted the maximum of invites each club can send and go unanswered. Most clubs won’t notice any changes. But if you are one of the few clubs that has reached that maximum, when you try to send new club invites, only a subset will be sent. The other invites will be dropped silently. To avoid hitting the club maximum of unanswered invites, ensure that:

  • You direct future members of your club to hit “Request to join” instead of sending them an invite
  • You send smaller amount of invites to only future members you know will be interested in your club

If you are in the Xbox Insider program, be sure to file feedback on this or other features as that is the best way to sent ideas/feedback to the product team.

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Clubs and Looking for Group (LFG) on Xbox Live will be launching to the broader community soon on Xbox One and the Xbox app, giving you access to more people to play with and more choice in how you play. To make sure you hit the ground running and make the most of Clubs and LFG, we sat down with two engineers on the Xbox team to share walkthrough tutorials on the features and chat about their experiences helping bring them to life.

Clubs on Xbox Live | Jasmine Lawrence – Program Manager

Q. Before we dive in, can you tell the readers a little about yourself?

A. I’ve been working on team Xbox for three and a half years. I started here as an intern on the team and came back right out of college to help launch the first Xbox One console. My Gamertag is ‘Iam Full of WIN.’ I am a very competitive Achievement hunter that spends most of my time playing puzzle platformers or indie games.

Q. So what is Clubs on Xbox Live?

A. Clubs are gamer-created and managed groups that can help you meet people and grow communities of gamers who love the same things you do. Anyone can join or create a Club, and you’ll probably see a Club for just about anything. It’s a way for gamers to connect and have fun with other people that share the same interests. I think Clubs are important because they create communities that you can go back to again and again to hang out with similar people, which makes your gaming experience even better.

Q. What was your most memorable moment working on Clubs?

A. The most memorable moment for me was when we first released to Preview and within days there were thousands of Clubs. It was amazing to see people using the feature and getting great feedback on what we could do next.

Q. What was the most challenging aspect of helping bring Clubs to Xbox Live?

A. The most challenging aspect of Clubs was scoping the feature set or picking what we would build out for the feature’s launch. There are literally hundreds of suggestions from gamers, our research team and even fellow gamers on Team Xbox on what we could do for this holiday. It was tough to pick the right ones to release for our Xbox Holiday Update.

Q. Where do you and the team see Clubs going in the future?

A. Clubs has incredible potential to change the way people play. In the future, we hope to integrate more with features like Arena and the Gamerscore Leaderboard, and provide even more opportunities for gamers to share and advertise their Clubs to friends and potential new members.

Q. Does Clubs look different from what the team originally envisioned for the feature?

A. It’s not too different from what we imagined Clubs would look like, but we have been surprised by the trends in how people have been using them. We are proud of the diversity of the type of Clubs that have been created. From the ‘Anime’ Club and ‘Awesome Screenshots’ Club, to the ‘Meeting New Gamers’ Club, people are coming together on Xbox Live and connecting to play their favorite games or share content based on their interests.

Q. Any tips for gamers using Clubs for the first time?

A. If you’re new to clubs, I would recommend checking out our Club Discovery area to find a Club based on games you are currently playing or check out the Clubs your friends are in by going to the ‘Following & clubs’ section on their profile. I’d also encourage users to make a Club that fosters the culture they want if they don’t find what they’re looking for via search. There are millions of gamers out there and Clubs is a great way to bring people together.

 

Looking for Group | Keith Kline – Program Manager 

Q. Can you share some of your background with the readers?

A. I started at Microsoft in 2000 right after I graduated from Penn State with a degree in Computer Engineering. I’ve been on the Xbox Live team for almost 10 years now, currently on the multiplayer team. My Gamertag is Kramer, which I’ve been using since the original Xbox Live beta launched. I play a lot of different game genres varying from FPS, sports, platformers and puzzle games. If it’s on Xbox Live, I’ll probably try it. One of my favorite gaming moments happened a few years ago, when I was crowned the Super Bowl champion of a Madden tournament among the Xbox Live team (32 team members played through an entire NFL season and playoffs).

Q. Can you explain what LFG is?

A. Looking for Group, also known as LFG, helps you quickly find other players that you want to game with. It’s essentially like posting a gaming “want-ad” to the Xbox community. Whether you want to Achievement hunt, play a co-op campaign for Gears of War 4, or do a daily quest, with LFG, you can set the requirements you want to get the right group together. And it works for all Xbox One games, all Backward Compatible Xbox 360 games, and a growing list of top PC games.

Q. What was your most memorable moment working on LFG?

A. I would say both the community reaction to our E3 announcement and when Preview members started to use the feature. The feedback was very positive, and seeing it used in the different ways we intended it to be used for was extremely satisfying. The stories we’ve heard from gamers who’ve had great LFG experiences are priceless.

Q. What was the most challenging aspect of helping bring LFG to Xbox Live?

A. We wanted to make sure this feature could be used for all games on Xbox Live, not just the newest and most popular games. Making it easier to group up for the latest games, while also giving gamers tools to breathe new life into their old favorites was a goal of ours. Finding that balance was difficult, but we feel the end result delivers a powerful feature on top of something most gamers are already comfortable doing.

Q. Where do you and the team see LFG going in the future?

A. Some of the things we’d like to do is acknowledge great LFG hosts, improve scheduled LFGs with more options, and give hosts access to more data when vetting applicants. But the highest priority improvements will be the ones the gamers ask for, so keep the feedback coming. The community has been great about providing feedback while LFG has been in Preview, and we’ll continue to listen and evolve LFG once it’s available broadly.

Q. Does LFG look different from what the team originally envisioned for the feature?

A. I think if you look back at the goals we had in mind when deciding to build this feature, the team did a great job of executing on that vision. Like most healthy teams, compromises and tough cuts had to be made. But I think for the most part, the final result is something the whole team is proud of and is really giving gamers a great way to find people to play with. Of course, we are not planning on stopping here, so we will continue to add features to LFG.

Q. Any tips for gamers using LFG for the first time?

A. If you are new to using LFG, I would suggest searching for an LFG to apply for rather than hosting your own. Go to the Game Hub of the game you want to play, and find an LFG that matches what you want to do. Get a feel for your experience when joining someone else’s LFG, and then use that to decide how you might want to control your own experience.

/ Larry Hryb / @majornelson

More @majornelson on Twitter

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Feedback from our fans is important to all of us here at Xbox, and one of the more popular places to give feedback is through the Xbox Preview Program. Since the program launched in February 2014, your feature requests, ideas, and millions of votes have helped shape and improve your Xbox experience for the whole community. We’re happy to share news about what’s next for the Xbox Preview Program, including some improvements and more ways for fans to help shape the future of Xbox.

The first change is that the Xbox Preview Program is becoming the Xbox Insider Program. This new name reflects how we are expanding to offer opt-in opportunities to provide feedback on Game and App Previews alongside System Update previews.

Next, we have an update to the Xbox Preview Dashboard that has been rebuilt from the ground-up based on fan feedback. A few highlights include:

  • A new name – the Xbox Insider Hub
  • Personalized to give you more relevant announcements, quests, and Insider content opportunities to get early access to select games and apps
  • A new UI, inspired by the New Xbox One Experience, makes it easier to find the right info and provide more robust feedback
  • The Xbox Insider profile card where your contributions in the program come front and center
  • Support for multiple users on a console to participate and provide feedback

We’re starting to roll these changes out today to a small number of preview members who have provided the most feedback since the inception of the Xbox Preview Program. If you have your Xbox One console in Instant-on mode and you have the Xbox Preview Dashboard app installed, then you don’t have to do anything – the app will update automatically overnight. If you want to see the changes sooner, you can check for updates by going to My games and apps, and then looking at the updates section. Over the next few weeks, all existing Xbox Preview members will get access to the new Xbox Insider Hub.

Our final change is that the Xbox Insider Program will soon be open to all Xbox users. More fans will have the ability to provide feedback directly from their Xbox One consoles. The Xbox Insider Hub will provide great opportunities to try out games, apps, and other console experiences. Note that Xbox system updates will currently be limited to those already testing them (not open to new members), as we still have a huge number of volunteers already doing a great job testing and providing feedback. For more detailed info, check out the Xbox Insider Program FAQ located here.

Whether you’re an Xbox Insider who enjoys previewing the latest Xbox One system updates, or an Insider who loves checking out the beta of the latest installment in your favorite franchise, you’ll now get to choose how to participate. We hope you enjoy the new experience. Be sure to let us know what you think by taking surveys in the Xbox Insider Hub, or on the Xbox.com forums. Thank you for participating, and know that each of you is a huge part of making Xbox a great place for all of us to play!

Content: Gas Guzzlers Extreme
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Game Description: Gas Guzzlers Extreme is a fast, furious, armed-to-the-teeth, trigger-happy shooter, shifted into top gear! Take a white knuckle ride in this crazily addictive combat racing game that features a ton of vehicles, weapons, upgrades, on-track bonuses and environments. Gas Guzzlers Extreme is an exciting new twist on the car combat experience with the addition of furious team combat battles.

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Purchase Gas Guzzlers Extreme for Xbox One from the Xbox Games Store

Product Info:
Developer: Gamepires
Publisher: Iceberg Interactive
Website: Gas Guzzlers Extreme
Twitter: @Gamepires / @Iceberg_Int

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Last month, we released Clubs and Looking for Group on Xbox Live to Preview members on Xbox One and the Xbox app (beta) to give you more choice in how you play and who you play with. Today, we’re starting to roll out even more features to Preview, including Arena on Xbox Live, special updates to Achievement Rarity and Looking for Group! Big thanks to Xbox fans for sharing your thoughts – your feedback continually inspires us to make Xbox the best place for gamers.

Now, here’s a bit more on the new features rolling out to Preview members on Xbox One and the Xbox app (beta):

* Arena on Xbox Live: Beginning today, Arena launches to Preview on Xbox One with the pilot title and legendary fighting game, Killer Instinct. During Preview, you can look forward to competing in daily Killer Instinct tournaments across Xbox One and the Xbox app (beta) on Windows 10 PC. For the initial roll out, Arena will only be accessible to Preview members through practice tournaments on Xbox One in the U.S., with plans to add additional features and expand to the broader Preview audience later in October. To start competing, all you have to do is register on the Tournament tab in the Killer Instinct Game Hub. We’re really excited about the potential of Arena and eager to hear your thoughts as we evolve it and make eSports more accessible for gamers everywhere, regardless of skill-level.

* Achievement Rarity: You might have already seen some buzz about Achievement Rarity from @XboxQwik and me. If you missed it, Achievement Rarity, a top fan request on Xbox Feedback, launched to Preview a few weeks ago. Now, you’ll be able to discover just how unique an Achievement is among players of a given game and celebrate the Achievement itself with a special notification and diamond icon highlighting it. Unlock one today and let us know how you like the new animation!

* New Looking for Group (LFG) Features: Starting today, you will be able to create LFG posts for future gaming sessions – up to seven days in advance! Additionally, based on your feedback, you can now create LFG posts directly in a Club and control who sees them: just members of the Club or everyone on Xbox Live. When creating LFG posts, you can also note what language the party will be speaking and filter your LFG searches based on the language.

* Group Messaging on Xbox Live: Last week, we launched Group Messaging on Xbox One and the Xbox app (beta) on Windows 10 PC. Group Messaging helps you coordinate and keep in touch with your friends and fellow gamers by sending a single group message to everyone in the group. You can also add people to the group and dynamically change the conversation topic. Group Messaging will soon work across the Xbox app (beta) on iOS and Android devices.

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Based on your feedback, we will continue to roll out updates to Preview in the weeks ahead. Keep on the lookout for improvements to existing features and new features – coming to gamers across Xbox One, the Xbox app (beta) on Windows 10, iOS and Android devices.

These features and more coming to all Xbox members later this year.

Enjoy the latest updates and keep the feedback coming!

Content: The Witness
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Game Description: You wake up, alone, on a strange island full of puzzles that will challenge and surprise you. You don’t remember who you are, and you don’t remember how you got here, but there’s one thing you can do: explore the island in hope of discovering clues, regaining your memory, and somehow finding your way home. The Witness is a single-player game in an open world with dozens of locations to explore and over 500 puzzles. This game respects you as an intelligent player and it treats your time as precious. There’s no filler; each of those puzzles brings its own new idea into the mix. So, this is a game full of ideas.

Purchase The Witness for Xbox One from the Xbox Games Store

Product Info:
Developer: Thekla, Inc.
Publisher: Thekla, Inc.
Website: The Witness
Twitter: @witnessgame