Matt Salsamendi, Co-founder and Mixer Engineering Lead, discusses Mixer – the next generation live game streaming service.

Hello! I’m Matt, one of the co-founders of Mixer and engineering lead on the platform at Microsoft.  Huge welcome to all of you new visitors who are checking out Mixer today for the very first time.  We think we have something pretty special here, and are excited to share it with you.

Those of you who are already a part of our community….you’ve probably noticed a lot of changes today, starting with the name.  Today marks a big evolution of our interactive live-streaming platform and a new name for the service: Mixer.  But, more than just the name, we’re launching several of the features that you all have been asking for.  Features that will unlock a whole new world of possibilities for social streaming, and help viewers find the content they’re looking for across the service.

Why the name change? This was a tough decision, and not one that we made lightly.  But, it was something that we decided on as a team.  We believe so much in the power of the platform and want to grow it in every major market around the world.  Unfortunately, that wasn’t something we could do with the Beam name.  We chose Mixer as our new name because it represents what we love most about the service….how it brings people together.

It brings people together through the core experience and “special sauce” that our fans already know and love: the ability to not just watch streams, but to also interact with streamers and play together in near real-time. In other words, Mixer is livestreaming that’s actually LIVE, compared to the 10 – 20 second latency you typically get on other platforms. What’s more, viewers can actively participate in what’s happening on screen instead of just watching from the sidelines. With Mixer, you can influence everything from quest selection to tools to movement, mixing it up with your favorite streamers to create a new kind of gaming experience. The Minecraft team is experimenting with the interactivity that Mixer offers as a possibility for official game integration. And, some Minecraft community members have already created interactive experiences using this technology that allow viewers to do things like spawn in zombies or change the weather.

This gets to the heart of what Mixer means for us. We want to empower gamers and everyone who wants to share their passion – whatever it may be – to create and share more easily than ever before across PC, console and mobile. Mixer represents our vision for the next generation of multiplayer – watching and participating alongside your friends in gameplay streaming from anywhere in the world.

Crowd Play from Telltale Games

One fantastic example of interactivity in action is from our friends at Telltale Games.

Ever wondered what it’d be like to play a game with a dynamic interactive story where hundreds or thousands of other people are voting on a player’s choices? Well, Telltale Games has designed something truly unique. Their “Crowd Play” feature in “Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series,” “The Walking Dead: A New Frontier” and “BATMAN: The Telltale Series” allows an audience to choose what happens at story moments and determine the trajectory and outcome of the adventure.

They’ve already debuted games on the big screen in theaters and at gaming conventions where hundreds of fans have lined up to help vote on decisions from their mobile devices. In the online space, this type of “live audience” interaction is only possible on a service without latency issues since it’s important that the dialogue and gameplay feel smooth and natural. What’s especially exciting is that Telltale plans to bring this unique type of massive online player participation to streamers and players around the world in all their future projects.

We’re thrilled to see developers and community members using Mixer’s interactive tools in such creative ways and can’t wait to see what other imaginative ideas creators will bring to life building on our Interactive 2.0 development kit.

 New Innovations for the Next Generation of Streaming

The Mixer service is built directly into the Guide on Xbox One and Game bar on Windows 10 to make it super easy for anyone to start streaming their gameplay.  Anyone can share their gameplay with friends, or start building out an audience, in just a couple of clicks, and with no extra software required.

Today, we’re excited to start rolling out several new features that will unleash a whole new world of possibilities for streamers to interact and engage more deeply with their audiences, and for viewers to find the content most relevant to them:

*Co-Streaming Launches Today

. Starting today, we’re launching the first built-in cooperative streaming experience on a streaming platform where up to 4 streamers can combine their streams into a single viewer experience. Co-streaming enables multiple channel streams to be displayed on a single Mixer page. You and up to three other friends can deliver a stream that combines separate stream sources into one shared “split-screen” view, including a centralized chat experience. Co-streaming is available now for everyone. And in the coming weeks, Xbox One users will be able to invite friends to join a co-stream directly from the Guide. Co-streaming doesn’t require streamers to play the same game or even do the same activity, and you can join a co-stream with friends who are streaming from different types of devices. Four friends can broadcast a co-op session of “League of Legends” or “PLAYERUNKNOWN’S Battlegrounds,” and then just as easily stream a remote live-band jam session or play a multiplayer board game with their viewers. Viewers don’t need to flip back and forth across different streams to view the same group of streamers – they can watch all the action in one place, while enjoying all the innovative interactivity that Mixer offers.

*Mixer Create Beta Launches on Mobile Devices (iOS and Android). Mixer Create is a new mobile app that enables self-broadcasting, and we’re kicking off the beta today (available publicly on Android, and through Apple’s TestFlight service by invite only). Soon thereafter, we’ll add the ability to stream live gameplay from your mobile device as well. The ability to broadcast gameplay on-the-go opens up entirely new social gaming possibilities. In the future, you could imagine streaming Pokémon Go on your mobile device, through Mixer, and hunting with viewers! Once mobile gameplay streaming launches, you’ll be able to join a co-stream with friends who are broadcasting on PC, console or other mobile devices.

*Channel One. Channel One is an always-on, moderated channel of content that lets you see what’s happening across Mixer. We’ll highlight a wide variety of content, including big title releases, livestream events, tips and tricks, esports updates, and more. There’s always something new on Channel One, and it’s a great “first stop” for new visitors to see what’s out there and get acquainted with our service.

*Mixer Page on the Xbox One Dashboard. Launching today to Xbox Insiders, the new Mixer page on the Xbox One dashboard will feature some of the most unique, popular and engaging streams that are broadcast on Mixer, curated by our dedicated team. We’ll showcase the huge variety of diverse, creative content from our streaming community and allow viewers to easily find content relevant to them. And it’s a great way to see what many of our awesome Mixer partners are up to.

We’re also committed to making Mixer the premier place to watch Xbox at E3 June 11-15.  Today, we’re excited to announce that Xbox will be broadcasting the E3 briefing in 4K Ultra HD, with a special edition Mixer 4K broadcast for those with a 4K A/V setup ready to go.   And, there will be some special digital bonuses for those watching and signed in on Mixer.  Be sure to create your account in advance so you don’t miss out on any of the fun.

We hope you enjoy these new features. Be sure to let us know what you think on our feedback forums!

Mixer NYC Studio

Another exciting announcement today is the introduction of the Mixer NYC Studio. Located at the flagship Microsoft Store in New York, the Mixer NYC Studio is a digital production studio designed for live audience, competitive and community gaming events. The state of the art facility includes broadcast capabilities to bring gaming and esports events held on the store’s 5th floor to fans globally through Mixer, as well as serve as a destination for gaming fans to experience next-gen interactivity as players, creators and viewers, in an array of events at the center of Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.

The studio is outfitted with professional-grade gaming stations, a control room that supports 2D and 3D graphic effects, a digital audio system bringing arena, concert sound quality, full interactive lighting control, an LED video wall, shoutcaster desks and player lounges, along with stage, audience and commentary setups.

Check out Mixer.com/MicrosoftStore for the latest Mixer NYC Studio events, streams and how to join.

A Mixer Celebration

Finally, we invite you to join us in celebrating Mixer’s launch with a full day of livestreaming fun at mixer.com/mixer! We will be kicking off the festivities at 11 a.m. Pacific Time today with a livestream from the Microsoft campus where we’ll share more details and demo all the great new features that are launching. Immediately afterwards, the Mixer NYC Studio will host a gaming marathon that continues throughout the day, featuring a variety of streamers competing for bragging rights in a multi-genre esports gauntlet including Forza Motorsport 6, For Honor, Rocket League, Gang Beasts and Overcooked. Plus, Microsoft Store locations will be celebrating today’s launch with Forza Motorsport 6 tournaments, giveaways and more.  At 6 p.m. PT, co-founder James Boehm will be hosting a Co-streaming Partner Spotlight where he’ll be playing, co-streaming, chatting, and answering questions alongside many of our amazing Mixer partners.  The celebration concludes with Mixerworks, an interactive fireworks show that begins at 9 p.m. PT and showcases how Mixer’s interactivity truly works by allowing you to create the display.

Thank you to all our fans for your support in making Mixer such an engaging and welcoming community. And for all the new visitors today, please let us know what you think.  You can reach us at @WatchMixer or at www.mixer.com.

See you on the streams!

-Matt

Mike Ybarra, Head of Platform Engineering at Xbox shares some news about the Windows 10 Creators Update – rolling out today.

Last year, we set out to make Windows 10 the best version of Windows for gaming. Today, PC gaming gets even better for Windows 10 gamers everywhere. With the release of the Windows 10 Creators Update, we’re delivering built-in game streaming and interactivity with Beam, game performance improvements with Windows Game Mode, and a unified destination to customize your system settings for your Windows 10 gaming experience. Here’s a look at the new features rolling out today, which we announced and released for Windows Insiders earlier this year:

*Built-in Beam game streaming: We’re committed to making great gaming experiences that unify players across devices, and with the release of Beam on Windows 10 today following its console release last month, we’re doing just that. Beam is the easiest and most interactive way to stream your gameplay on Windows 10. Simply press the Windows key + G while playing your game to bring up the Game bar, and you’ll find we’ve added a broadcast icon to launch Beam – no extra software required. This gives everyone the opportunity to show their creativity as a game broadcaster. And it gets better. Thanks to Beam’s low latency technology, Beam streams have less than a second of delay, enabling streamers to engage and interact with their viewers in near real-time. What’s more, Beam enables streamers to incorporate interactive features such as animation and sound triggers right into their stream. The ability to manage your Beam broadcast and interact with fellow gamers on chat will appear as overlays. For more on Beam, check out our Beam Week posts on Xbox Wire here.

*Game Mode: With Game Mode, it’s our goal to provide a better and more consistent gaming experience on Windows 10, by dedicating more system resources to your game. The initial release of Game Mode works best when your PC is experiencing resource contention. In other words, when your PC is working hard to run your game and possibly other concurrent software, Game Mode can help manage system resources more efficiently and optimize them for gaming. What’s more, Game Mode works for both Win32 and UWP games. To enable Game Mode, pull up the Game bar (Windows key + G) and click on the Settings button. There you’ll be able to opt the running game into using Game Mode. And the Creators Update is just the first milestone in our commitment to Game Mode and Windows 10 performance improvements for PC gaming.

*More Games supported by Game bar: In the Windows 10 Creators Update, we now support Windows Game bar in full screen mode with over 80 of the most popular PC games. You can also now manage this feature in the new Gaming section of Windows Settings. Look for “Game bar”, and make sure that “Show Game bar when I play full screen games Microsoft has verified” setting is checked. A regularly updated list of supported titles is available here.

*Gaming section in Windows Settings: Inside the main Windows System Settings, a new section has been added: Gaming, identified with the Xbox logo. This new section unifies your gaming settings into one easily accessible location. At the launch of the Creators Update, you’ll see four initial settings options: Game bar, GameDVR, broadcasting, and Game Mode.  Note that Game Mode may then be turned on or off for specific games using the Game bar (Windows key + G).

Thanks to all the fans for their constructive feedback on our Windows 10 gaming features.  We sincerely appreciate our Windows Insiders who are gaming with us and sharing their input. While we’re happy to now share the new gaming experiences in the Creators Update, we’re already deep in planning for the future. So, keep the feedback coming, or if you’re not with us on the Windows Insider Program, join us! Finally, if you haven’t seen the full view of features releasing alongside the Windows 10 Creator’s Update starting today, head over to the Window Blog for more details!

 

Mike Ybarra, Head of Platform Engineering discusses new features coming to the broader Xbox One community starting today. Read the details below:


We’re excited to announce that we are shipping new features to the broader Xbox One community today. This is a big release, and includes Beam streaming, an updated Xbox experience with the new Guide, home improvements, and much more. One major goal for this release is to make streaming your Xbox gameplay even easier. And by updating the navigation of the Xbox console through the new Guide, we’re aiming to put the features and experiences you love the most right at your fingertips. For our PC gamers, or anybody who loves to create and play, check out this post on the Windows Blog to learn about the gaming updates coming with the Windows 10 Creators Update on April 11.

Here’s a detailed look at some of the top new Xbox Live features rolling out to Xbox One today, which we announced and released to Xbox Insider earlier this year:

*An updated look at Home: One of the first things you’ll notice with this update is a new look for Home on Xbox One. We made these changes to simplify the UI and increase overall system performance. To do that, we’ve optimized for speed and are prioritizing the most valuable content for your games. Now, you’ll see a smaller icon for the game with options to dive deeper into the community surrounding the game, as well as the ability to interact with your Club or find Looking for Group posts, view your Achievements and more. If you do not have a custom background set, you’ll see that the updated Home also spotlights the game you’re currently playing by featuring hero art as your Xbox background.

*Faster and more intuitive Guide: The next thing you’re likely to notice is that the Guide has been updated. With one press of the Xbox button on your controller, you can now pull up the newly enhanced Guide as an overlay on the left side of your screen. No matter what you’re doing, the new Guide experience puts the features and functionality that you use the most right at your fingertips. The first page of the Guide is designed to get you to the content you care about most, including your Games and Apps, Home, Store, your recently launched applications, the latest Games and Deals with Gold for Xbox Live Gold members, and your top Pins. If you have music playing in the background from any number of apps, you can access the controls directly from the Guide, enabling you to control play, pause, rewind, fast forward, and manage volume controls. Finally, you’ll be able to capture screenshots and record video with a simple press of a button. And in the GameDVR menu, you now have easier access to capture gameplay and to modify your options – when recording, you’ll see in the menu overlay that it lasts up to 5 minutes and within the Guide, you can also ‘Record this’ for up to 10 minutes.

*New way to multitask: In addition to adding a new start page to Guide, we’re also evolving the way gamers multitask on Xbox One. To simplify discoverability and to make it easier to get to the things you care about most, our multitasking features were designed with the new Guide in mind. We’ve added a new achievement tracker that is active based on the game you’re playing, and allows you to select and follow multiple achievements in an overlay, all while you’re playing. Cortana will also appear as an overlay on your screen, allowing you to set reminders and alarms, access Party controls, and play music with simple voice controls.

*Watch, chat and interact with Beam on Xbox One: now stream your Xbox gameplay directly from the Guide on your Xbox One, with the ability to manage your Beam broadcasts and interact with fellow gamers on chat overlays that appear on your screen. If you’ve never tried to broadcast your gameplay before, this is the easiest way to get started as you don’t have to download any extra software – Beam broadcasting is built right into your Xbox One. Once you start streaming, Beam makes it easy to connect and engage with your viewers no matter where they are. You’ll also find the new Beam viewing app in My Games and Apps, which lets you watch, chat, and interact with your favorite game streamers in near real-time. To learn more, check out our Beam article.

*Enabling Xbox One to be more accessible for everyone: We felt it was important to enable Xbox One to make gaming experiences more accessible. Take for instance our new Copilot feature, which allows two controllers to act as if they were one. This will help make Xbox One more inviting to gamers who can benefit from playing along with another person, more fun for families by adding cooperative controls for any game, and easier for players who need unique configurations to play. We are also adding new enhancements to Magnifier and Narrator, as well as giving more options over audio output and custom rumble settings on a controller, which was previously reserved for the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller. You can find these accessibility options, and more, in Settings > Ease of Access.

*Screen time limits (Xbox One):As we strive to offer the most comprehensive and customizable family features possible, we want gamers of all ages to feel safe and secure when using our platforms. That’s why we’re bringing the family timer feature to Xbox One as screen time limits, updated for today’s digital family. Parents familiar with screen time limits for Windows 10 will find a similar set of controls for Xbox One. Set daily time allowance and limits for each child—your Xbox One will pick those limits up and enforce them whenever the child is signed in. To set up screen time limits, head over to microsoft.com/family, sign in with your parent account, and select “Screen time” for your child’s account. You’ll be able to turn on and set Xbox One and PC screen time limits separately for each child.

*Blu-ray player bitstream passthrough: The Blu-ray disc player on Xbox One now supports bitstream passthrough, which allows your receiver to decode audio natively. All bitstream formats are supported, including newer ones like Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. This feature will light up later next week.

Over the past few months, we have been targeting hundreds of improvements across the board. Many thanks to the feedback from the members of our Xbox Insider Program. Be sure to keep letting us know what you think at Xbox feedback. As we’ve said, this is just the beginning – be on the lookout for more great features. The team has worked hard and we hope you enjoy the updates to your Xbox One experience! And don’t forget that there are also great PC gaming updates coming as part of the Windows 10 Creators Update on April 11 (for more information on the Windows 10 Creators Update, check out this post from Yusuf Mehdi, Corporate Vice President, Windows and Devices Group).

 

Chris Charla, Director of ID@Xbox, shares some news for Xbox Developers and gamers at GDC 2017. Check it out below:

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I love the annual Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. I just love it; the games, the people, the energy – GDC is one of the things that just makes you feel great about being in the game industry. It means so much to me personally, and also professionally as a proud member of Team Xbox.

For the Xbox team, GDC is among the best times to highlight new games – and there are some awesome new titles coming this year to Xbox One and Windows 10 PC through ID@Xbox – and it’s also a great place to catch up with new developers and old friends, listen to their feedback about all corners of Xbox, and also share a few pieces of news we hope fans will enjoy.

We have a few major developments to announce at GDC that bring new opportunities for game creators and awesome updates for players – and here’s how.

Introducing the Xbox Live Creators Program

Xbox is kicking off things this year by announcing the Xbox Live Creators Program, which empowers anyone to rapidly publish Xbox Live-enabled games on Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs, in a totally open way. With the Creators Program, anyone can integrate Xbox Live sign-in, presence, and social features into their UWP games, then publish their game to Xbox One and Windows 10. This means their title can see exposure to every Xbox One owner across the Xbox One family of devices, including Project Scorpio this holiday, as well as hundreds of millions of Windows 10 PCs, and millions of folks using the Xbox app on mobile platforms.

The Creators Program offers a straightforward way for developers to address a huge audience across Windows and Xbox One, with minimal additional development time. An important element is that developers can continue using the tools they’re already using today to create UWP games. Game engines with “out of the box” support for UWP games include Construct 2, MonoGame, Unity, and Xenko. The program works with retail Xbox One consoles, so you won’t need a dev kit to get started. For developers who want access to more Xbox Live capabilities and to gain additional development and marketing support for their game, they can enroll in the ID@Xbox program – even after their game ships.

On Windows 10 PC, games from the Creators Program will be available in the Windows Store. Xbox One offers players a more curated store experience, so games from the Creators Program will appear in a new, distinct Creators games section in the Store. This gives the best of both worlds – the curated store experience console players know and expect, and the opportunities that a totally open store experience offers as well. I’m stoked to see what developers create and offer the Xbox community with the Xbox Live Creators Program!

Starting today, we encourage developers to download and start using the Xbox Live Creators SDK at https://developer.microsoft.com/games/xbox/xboxlive/creator, where they can learn all the details of the program. The Creators Program is currently in preview, so the program will pilot with a select group of developers initially. We will be opening store publishing submissions to all developers soon.

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First Look at Xbox Game Pass

We’re continuing our commitment to give gamers more options to diversify and expand their library with games they love. Announced just yesterday, Xbox Game Pass is a new gaming subscription service that gives you unlimited access to more than 100 Xbox One and Xbox 360 backward compatible games on Xbox One – all for $9.99 USD per month. With great games from top industry publishers such as 2K, 505 Games, BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment, Capcom, Codemasters, Deep Silver, Focus Home Interactive, SEGA, SNK CORPORATION, THQ Nordic GmbH, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Microsoft Studios, and more, there’s something for everyone to enjoy and you will always find something exciting to play across all genres.

One of the best things about Xbox Game Pass is that you can discover and download titles directly on your Xbox One. That means continuous, full-fidelity gameplay without having to worry about streaming or connectivity issues. In addition, all Xbox One games in the catalog – and related add-ons – will be available to purchase at an exclusive discount for Xbox Game Pass members, so you can make them part of your permanent library.

For developers and publishers alike, this is a new way to reach customers. Before the program rolls out to the broader community later this spring, we’ll be testing Xbox Game Pass with select members of the Xbox Insider Program with a very limited number of titles. If you’re in the Alpha ring of the Xbox Insider Program, you can expect to see the program on your dashboard labeled as Xbox Game Pass Alpha Preview (Test Catalog).

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Developers Getting to Know Beam

Beam is awesome. It’s fast, low-latency, interactive game broadcasting and it’s changing the way people can play, watch, and participate. In a world where the amount of people watching game streams rivals the audience of many prime-time TV networks, Xbox is making it easier and quicker to stream than ever before. We’re making Beam a feature of Xbox One and Windows 10, meaning anyone can be a game broadcaster with no extra software required.

What’s more, on Beam interactivity is about more than just the audience being able to chat with game broadcasters. Streamers can set up interactive buttons that do a range of things such as trigger on screen effects, music, in-studio lighting or even impact what is happening in the game itself. Building on this, today we shared preliminary details of the Beam Interactivity 2.0 SDK with developers – coming in March, this SDK will make developing interactive streaming features much easier and enable a wide range of new design scenarios. More details about this SDK will be published on the Beam blog and detailed in the Beam-specific GDC talk tomorrow. We’re excited about the growing list of developers who are signing up to build their games to integrate Beam in cool new ways and look forward to sharing more in the future.

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Next Up for Windows Game Mode

Another new PC gaming feature we’ve seen lots of excitement around is Windows Game Mode. Last year, we set out to make Windows 10 the best Windows ever for gaming. With Game Mode, we’re taking a step forward to make the gaming experience on Windows even better. Game Mode aims to optimize your Windows 10 PC for an improvement in overall game performance, meaning increased framerates and increased consistency with some games. We’ve also added a new gaming section to your Windows System Settings, identified with an Xbox logo, to further improve your PC gaming experience. This is where you’ll find settings for Game Mode, Game bar, GameDVR and broadcasting as we begin to consolidate settings for gaming in this unified location where PC users are accustomed to accessing their settings. We’ll be sharing more on Game Mode and other Creators Update features in the weeks ahead.

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ID@Xbox Bringing More Xbox Play Anywhere Titles

We introduced the Xbox Play Anywhere program at E3 last year, the simple idea of owning a game and it being available to play on Xbox One and Windows 10 PC – one game, one price, two platforms. Along with having access to a single game on both platforms, players can start playing on one platform and pick up where they left off on another, and their saves, game add-ons, and achievements all travel between their devices. Xbox Play Anywhere already supports 10 titles, and another 16 have been announced to be coming soon, including new ID@Xbox titles being announced or demoed at GDC this week such as Full Metal Furies, Ooblets, Snake Pass, and RUINER, with more are on the way.

Gaming for Everyone

At GDC 2017, we’re continuing our work to make sure games are fun for everyone, and to make sure underrepresented voices are heard, by once again sponsoring and hosting events for Women in Gaming, Blacks in Gaming, Latinos in Gaming, LGBTQ Gamers and Gaming Accessibility. 2017 will mark the 17th year for the Women in Gaming Luncheon, the 12th year for the Blacks in Gaming Green Room, the second year of the Latinos in Gaming networking event and the first year for the LGBTQ in Gaming networking event. Additionally, Xbox is a Gold-level sponsor of the IGDA Game Accessibility Conference as well as the sole sponsor for the new IGDA Foundation’s Next Gen Leader program focused on retaining diverse talent in the industry. As we did last year, the ID@Xbox team will be honoring some independent developers who are using their craft to build awareness about some very important issues at the Independent Game Festival awards tonight – we hope you’ll tune into the IGF stream to learn more!

It’s going to be another amazing year for Team Xbox, and there’s still a lot more to come. Even more amazing independent games will come through ID@Xbox, we’re working hard to bring Arena and professional- and player-created tournaments to Xbox Live, and tons of new social features are in the pipeline. At GDC 2017 our message is clear: more games, new developer opportunities, and big new features for console and PC gamers. We believe providing the best tools for developers results in creativity, and more creativity results in the best games and gaming experiences for players. I can’t wait to see what happens next!

majornelson. 🅻🅰🆁🆁🆈 ☁ 🅷🆁🆈🅱 @majornelson

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It’s a big update week for Xbox One and PC gamers who are part of the Xbox and Windows Insider Programs. Starting later this week, these gamers will see and experience new features from the Windows 10 Creators Update on PC, with additional features expected to hit console soon after. Earlier this week, select Insider members saw new features such as the updated Home, Guide, and refreshed multitasking for Xbox One. The next update includes some big new additions for PC gamers, with a few more features releasing for Xbox One owners soon. These new features are releasing to a subset of Insiders starting tomorrow, with more Xbox and Windows Insider Program members receiving these in the coming weeks.

Here’s a look at the new features reaching select Xbox and Windows Insiders coming this week:

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  • Built-in Beam streaming (Xbox One, Windows 10 PC): Beam is the easiest and quickest way to stream gameplay, and it’s part of Insider builds coming later this week on your Windows 10 PC, with Xbox One functionality releasing to preview soon. For the creators out there, we wanted to make it easier for you to start your live game streams without any delays so you can quickly connect and engage with your viewers no matter where they are. On Beam, streams have under one second of delay; using our brand new streaming protocol dubbed “FTL”, you can interact with livestreams as if you were in the same room as the caster. What’s more, any stream can incorporate simple interactive features such as sound boards. Coming later this week on Windows 10 PCs, you can start Beam broadcasts by pulling up the Game bar — Windows key + G. And coming soon on Xbox One, you can also begin streaming directly from inside the Guide. The ability to manage your Beam broadcasts and interact with fellow gamers on chat will appear as overlays.

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  • Game Mode (Windows 10 PC): Last year, we set out to make Windows 10 the best Windows ever for gaming. With Game Mode, it’s our goal to now take things a step further to make the gaming experience on Windows even better. Our vision is that Game Mode optimizes your Windows 10 PC for an improvement in overall game performance. The upcoming Windows Insider build represents the first step on our journey with Game Mode. To enable Game Mode for your Win32 or UWP game, pull up the Game bar (Windows key + G) and click on the Settings button. There you’ll be able to opt the running game into using Game Mode. We’ll have additional details about Game Mode to share throughout Insider testing, so stay tuned.

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  • Gaming section in System Settings (Windows 10 PC): Later this week, inside the main Windows System Settings, a new section is being added: Gaming, identified with the Xbox logo. When this update releases, you’ll find settings for Game bar, GameDVR and broadcasting in this new Gaming area, with Game Mode coming in a future update. We’re also beginning to consolidate some system and user settings for gaming in this unified location, where PC users are accustomed to accessing their settings. We’ll continue to develop and deploy Gaming settings over time, as we continue to gather gamer feedback.

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  • New Cortana gaming enhancements (Xbox One): In the coming days, we’re adding additional Cortana updates to enhance your gaming experience even more, such as voice controls for Party commands and using Cortana to play music. We’re streamlining the UI and improving things behind the scenes to make your experience better. In case you missed it, we also added for select Xbox Insiders a few new Cortana updates to Xbox One earlier this week, including setting reminders. Now, by using a simple command such as “Hey, Cortana, remind me to start the Destiny Strike at 7 p.m.,” gamers can ensure they never miss out on a match with friends again.

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  • Screen time (Xbox One): Parental controls are a huge priority for us at Microsoft, as we strive to offer the most comprehensive and customizable family features possible so gamers of all ages feel safe and secure when using our platforms. That’s why the family timer we know and love is coming to Xbox One as screen time, updated for today’s digital family. Parents familiar with screen time for Windows 10 will find a similar set of controls for Xbox. Set daily time allowance and limits on the web for each child—your Xbox will pick those limits up and enforce them whenever the child is signed in. Screen time for Xbox One will be available soon. To prepare, head over to microsoft.com/family, sign in with the account you use for Xbox Insider access, and make sure your children’s accounts are all set up as a part of your family. When Xbox screen time is available, you’ll be able to manage it there.

That’s all for this week, but like we’ve said over the past few weeks, there’s plenty more to come for gamers on both Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs. There’s more with Beam, Arena, and new social features, just to name a few. We look forward to your feedback as you test out these new features and we’ll keep you posted as more are readied for Insider releases.

Today, we’re beginning to ship the first wave of Xbox One features for the Creators Update to the Xbox Insider Program members. As Mike Ybarra shared last week, the Creators Update is packed full of new features for gamers who play on Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs – in fact, we’re targeting hundreds of improvements across the board, noticeable by gamers and under the hood. Today’s update will start rolling out to a small subset of gamers, with the rest of the Xbox Insider Program receiving these features in the coming weeks.

For gamers, the Creators Update is about performance, people, competition and streaming – getting you to the things you care about most as quickly as possible. Today, that will mean a faster Xbox One experience than ever before, connecting you with the applications, games, and of course, friends, that you enjoy most. Check out the updated Home and learn how the newly-designed Guide works and is meant to simplify your experience. There’s lots more, too. As part of our commitment to enhancing gaming for everyone, we’re opening up new accessibility options to ensure great experiences for all gamers when playing on Xbox.

Here’s a look at the new features reaching Xbox Insiders today: 

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  • An updated look at Home: One of the first things you’ll notice is a new look for Home. Through the Insider program, we’ve received feedback from Xbox One gamers that the UI can be complex and for certain tasks, can require too many button presses. Our goal is to simplify the UI and increase overall system performance, and that starts with updating Home based on what you care most about for the games you play. To do that, we’ve optimized for speed and are surfacing to you the most valuable content for your games. You’ll notice the main tile for what you’re currently playing has changed. Now, you’ll see a smaller icon for the game and a few options to dive deeper into the Game Hub, interact with your Club or LFG for that game, view your Achievements, and more. The updated Home also celebrates the game you’re currently playing with hero art in the background when you’re not using a custom background. 

updated-guide_xbox-one

  • Faster and more intuitive Guide: The next thing you’re likely to notice is that Guide has been updated. With one press of the Xbox button on your controller, you can pull up the newly enhanced Guide as an overlay on the left side of your screen, no matter what you’re doing. With the Guide, we’ve added new features and functionality. You’ll notice that there’s a new start page. This page is designed to get you to the content you care about most, including your games and apps, Home, Store, your recently played games and apps, and your top Pins. It also features quick access to your media controls when playing background music.

achievement_xbox-one

  • New way to multitask: In addition to adding a new start page to Guide, we’re also evolving our multitasking system. To simplify discoverability and to make it much quicker to get to the things you care about most, our multitasking features will also be designed to work well with the new Guide. In addition to quick access to music, screen shots and GameDVR will be one button press away. You can bring up Guide and press “X” or “Y” on your controller to record your favorite gaming moments. We’ve also added a new achievement tracker which allows you to track your favorite achievements and play at the same time. The new Guide is also where you will be able to broadcast instantly to Beam when we roll that out to Insiders in the next couple of weeks.

cortana_xbox-one

  • Cortana gaming enhancements: There are a series of new Cortana updates to make your Xbox One smarter. In this update, you can set reminders and alarms so you don’t miss gaming sessions. In the coming weeks, we will be releasing more Cortana updates to enhance your gaming experience even more as well as continued performance and reliability updates.

system-update_xbox-one

  • Improving system updates: Our goal with system updates is that you never have to worry about them again, and to make it clearer when a system update is available. To enable this we are updating the interface so the steps are easy to understand. We’re also going to enable every Xbox One owner to keep their console, games, and apps up to date independent of which power mode they have chosen. 

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  • Enabling Xbox One to be accessible for everyone: One important area for us with this release is to enable Xbox One to be able to be used and played by everyone. Take for instance our new Copilot feature which allows two controllers to act as if they were one. This will help make Xbox One more inviting to new gamers needing assistance, more fun by adding cooperative controls for any game, and easier for players who need unique configurations to play — whether that is with hands apart, hand and chin, hand and foot, etc.. We are also adding new enhancements to Magnifier and Narrator, as well as giving more options over audio output and custom rumble settings on a controller, which was previously reserved for the Xbox Elite Controller. You can find these accessibility options, and more, in Settings > Ease of Access.
  • New spatial audio output settings for developers: To enable more immersive experiences for Xbox One, we have added a number of audio output features in Settings. If you are a developer on Xbox One, the new settings will allow you to add Dolby Atmos for Home Theater, Dolby Atmos for Headphones, and Windows HRTF support to your streaming media application or game. For Xbox One owners, hang tight and soon you’ll be able experience even more incredible audio on your console.
  • Blu-ray player bitstream passthrough beta: The Blu-ray disc player on Xbox One now supports a beta of bitstream passthrough, which allows your receiver to decode audio natively. All bitstream formats are supported, including newer ones like Dolby Atmos.

This is the first series of updates, and there’s more to come. Beam, Windows Game Mode, Arena, updates to Cortana, and plenty more are on the way. Thank you to gamers and Xbox fans near and far, for your continued support—and above all else—for sharing your thoughts and feedback that enables all of us at Xbox to continue giving back.

 

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Mike Ybarra, Head of Platform Engineering for Xbox gives an update on a number of features coming to Xbox One and Windows 10. Read the story here:


2017 is going to be a monumental year for gaming at Microsoft. Whether you play on Xbox One, a Windows 10 PC, your mobile phone, or anywhere you sign-in with Xbox Live, we’re going to make your gaming experiences easier, more social, and better with innovative hardware and software features throughout the year.

We’re focused on feedback from our fans and innovative, new ideas from our engineering teams that will enhance gaming on the Xbox One and will make Windows 10 the best operating system for PC gaming. In October, as a part of the Creators Update, we announced that Beam, gamer-created tournaments, and other fan requested features would be coming. We’re kicking off 2017 by introducing some of these features next week, with more updates to share in the coming months.

These updates are about four key themes: Streaming, Performance, People, and Competition. We’ll make it easier to stream than ever before, by making Beam a feature on Xbox One and Windows 10. We’ll improve the performance of your PC games through the all new Windows Game Mode. And we’ll release Arena on Xbox Live, where you can play in organized tournaments or create your own, making eSports available for everyone.

Instantly stream to Beam on Windows 10 and Xbox One
We’re building Beam as a feature of Xbox One and Windows 10, making Beam one of the easiest and quickest ways to stream your gameplay.

Beam will connect to your Xbox Live account, making it easy to stream your favorite games to Beam and your Xbox Live community. No extra software is needed and viewers anywhere will be able to watch your streams and interact with your broadcast. On a Windows 10 PC, press Windows + G to pull up the Game bar and click the broadcast button to start streaming. On Xbox One, you can start streaming with one button press from inside the Guide.

Increased performance in gaming
Our goal is to make Windows 10 the best Windows ever for gaming. With the Creators Update, we’re introducing a new feature called Game Mode. Windows Insiders will start seeing some of the visual elements for Game Mode this week, with the feature being fully operational in builds shortly thereafter. Our vision is for Game Mode to optimize your Windows 10 PC for increased performance in gaming. This is a big update for Windows; we’re looking forward to Insiders getting their hands on this new feature for further testing, and we’ll have much more to share on what it is and how it works soon, so stayed tuned.

In addition, every Xbox One will see an update coming to the Guide that will make it faster to complete common tasks. Through one press of the Xbox button on your controller, you’ll be able to pull up the newly enhanced Guide as an overlay on the left side of your screen no matter what you’re doing. In addition, we’re rebuilding the most popular multitasking experiences for speed and ease of access. For example, you’ll be able to start recording your GameDVR clips, adjust your recording length, and access your captures directly in the Guide. We’ll also add a new Achievement tracking overlay, Gamerscore Leaderboard, a new Cortana design, and controls for background music, making these features easier and use.

Better ways to find, stay in touch, and share with your gaming friends
We’re improving the ways you can stay in touch with friends on Xbox Live by making it easier to connect with people you care about on other social networks. We’re also adding updates to the Activity Feed, so you can connect and share more with your gaming friends. With additional improvements to Clubs and Looking For Group (LFG), like better moderator tools for Clubs and the ability to share LFG posts in your feed, we’re making it even easier to seek out players for any game on Xbox and Windows 10, and join communities of gamers like you.

You define the rules of competition
New tournaments are coming to Arena on Xbox Live, including those from professional tournament organizers like ESL and FACEIT. And starting with “World of Tanks” and “Killer Instinct”, you’ll be able to create your own Arena tournaments, with more supported titles coming over time. Once your tournament is created, you can invite your friends and members of your club can see it and join. And when the tournament ends, the results will be automatically recorded so you can share them on Xbox Live and across your social networks.

As part of the Creators Update, we’re just getting started. We have a few surprises on the horizon and more features to share with you soon. Get excited, stay tuned, and see you on Xbox Live!

Mike Ybarra
Gamertag: Qwik
Twitter: @XboxQwik

The Game Awards 2016 live show will air today – Thursday, December 1, 2016 – 5:30p to 8:30p PT – from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, CA and streamed on a number of platforms and apps including Xbox Live, which means you can watch it on your Xbox One and Xbox 360.

game-awards

Besides watching The Game Awards 2016 on your Xbox One or Xbox 360, it will also be streamed on Beam as well as these channels:

YouTube Live

Twitch http://www.twitch.tv/thegameawards

Facebook live video

Twitter Live

Snapchat

The Xbox One stream of The Game Awards 2016 will include a couple of interactive features you can participate in while watching the broadcast using the free Xbox Live Event interactive app (XLEi app), including the opportunity to vote on the nominated titles you think are going to win the category (more details below) as well as the chance to take advantage of the flash sales being offered for many of the nominated titles.

Predict The Game Awards 2016 winners

  • Before the nominees of each category are announced, grab your controller and make your prediction from the on-screen list.
  • Think fast! The quicker you predict the right answer, the more points you get when the winner is announced.
  • Points are tallied to a community leaderboard and the top ten gamertags will be showcased during the broadcast.
  • Plus, you can check out your personal stats along the way.
  • At the end of the show, we’ll announce the champion and reveal their gamertag as part of the broadcast.

For more information about the show including a look at the nominations, check out the official website here. There are some great titles representing each category, and we’re pleased to see a few of our titles made the list, including:

Best Sports / Racing Game
Forza Horizon 3

Best Action Game
Gears of War 4

Best Multiplayer Game
Gears of War 4

Best Fighting Game
Killer Instinct Season 3

If you’re not able to watch The Games Awards 2016 on Xbox One, I’m posting a list of all of the associated deals here. These special offers are available for all Xbox Live members and are only available through 04 December, so take advantage of them while you can.

Xbox One Deals

Content Title Content Type Discount Notes
Battlefield 1 Xbox One Game 33% 1 – 4 DEC
Battlefield 1 Deluxe Edition Xbox One Game 33% 1 – 4 DEC
Battlefield 1 Ultimate Edition Xbox One Game 20% 1 – 4 DEC
Gears of War 4 Xbox One Game 40% 1 – 4 DEC
Gears of War 4 Ultimate Edition Xbox One Game 25% 1 – 4 DEC
Titanfall 2 Xbox One Game 40% 1 – 4 DEC
Titanfall 2 Deluxe Edition Xbox One Game 40% 1 – 4 DEC
NBA 2K17 Xbox One Game 30% 1 – 4 DEC
NBA 2K17 Legend Edition Xbox One Game 35% 1 – 4 DEC
NBA 2K17 Legend Edition Gold Xbox One Game 40% 1 – 4 DEC
Dishonored 2 Xbox One Game 17% 1 – 4 DEC
EA SPORTS FIFA 17 Standard Edition Xbox One Game 40% 1 – 4 DEC
EA SPORTS FIFA 17 Deluxe Edition Xbox One Game 40% 1 – 4 DEC
EA SPORTS FIFA 17 Super Deluxe Edition Xbox One Game 30% 1 – 4 DEC
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege Xbox One Game 50% 1 – 4 DEC
Overwatch: Origins Edition Xbox One Game 33% 1 – 4 DEC
DOOM Xbox One Game 50% 1 – 4 DEC
DOOM Digital Deluxe Xbox One Game 50% 1 – 4 DEC
DOOM Season Pass Add-On 40% 1 – 4 DEC
XCOM 2 Xbox One Game 35% 1 – 4 DEC
XCOM 2 Digital Deluxe Edition Xbox One Game 40% 1 – 4 DEC
LEGO STAR WARS: The Force Awakens Xbox One Game 30% 1 – 4 DEC
LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens Deluxe Edition Xbox One Game 35% 1 – 4 DEC
Battlefield 1 – Titanfall 2 Deluxe Bundle Xbox One Game 40% 1 – 4 DEC
Dark Souls III Xbox One Game 20% 1 – 4 DEC
DARK SOULS III – Deluxe Edition Xbox One Game 20% 1 – 4 DEC
The Witness Xbox One Game 33% 1 – 4 DEC
Firewatch Xbox One Game 40% 1 – 4 DEC
INSIDE Xbox One Game 33% 1 – 4 DEC
Oxenfree Xbox One Game 50% 1 – 4 DEC
Overcooked: Gourmet Edition Xbox One Game 33% 1 – 4 DEC
Hyper Light Drifter Xbox One Game 33% 1 – 4 DEC
The Banner Saga 2 Xbox One Game 20% 1 – 4 DEC
Killer Instinct: Season 3 Ultra Edition Xbox One Game 50% 1 – 4 DEC
Forza Horizon 3 Xbox One Game 25% 1 – 4 DEC
Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 – Digital Exclusive Xbox One Game 35% 1 – 4 DEC
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Blood & Wine Add-On 25% 1 – 4 DEC
Mafia III Xbox One Game 30% 1 – 4 DEC
Mafia III Deluxe Edition Xbox One Game 35% 1 – 4 DEC

Please note: prices and availability are subject to change and may vary by region.
These special offers are valid for all Xbox Live members.

Whether you’re attending The Game Awards 2016 in person or watching it via a live stream, I hope you enjoy the awards presentation for some of the best games of 2016, plus world premieres, musical performances and other surprises Geoff Keighley and crew have planned for the audience.