April is here, and it comes with a feature-packed update to Xbox One. We unveiled some of these new features on the premiere episode of Inside Xbox last month (and I did a walk through of the features on Inside Xbox episode 2). This month, we’re announcing that they’ll become available to Xbox One owners around the world over the next few days. Here’s a quick rundown of what to expect:

Video & Display

We’ve added a bunch of new video features we hope you’ll enjoy, starting with Auto Low-Latency Mode (or ALLM for short). Auto Low-Latency Mode enables the family of Xbox One devices to notify your display when you’re playing a game, so a TV that also supports ALLM will know to switch to its low latency video mode. Many displays refer to low latency mode as “game mode.”

Gamers will also enjoy the newly introduced support for variable refresh rate output to AMD Radeon FreeSync and FreeSync 2 compatible displays. AMD Radeon FreeSync is a form of variable refresh rate which helps to reduce input latency and minimize display stuttering, delivering a buttery-smooth visual gameplay experience in your favorite games. The entire Xbox One family of devices will work with FreeSync-certified displays. Xbox One S and Xbox One X will also support high dynamic range with AMD Radeon FreeSync 2.

In addition, Xbox One X and Xbox One S now support output at 2560 x 1440 (1440p) resolution for games and media. With over a million and a half more pixels than 1080p, this resolution offers even more choice between Full HD and 4K displays. This feature should be especially appealing to Xbox One owners who use a 1440p display for PC gaming. Media apps can now add an option for 1440p output for on both Xbox One X and Xbox One S.  Developers can also now enable games to run at native 1440p resolution on Xbox One X.

You can enable all these video options from the Settings menu on your Xbox One.  Just navigate to “Display & Sound,” then “Video Output.” Note that you’ll only be able to turn on these settings if your TV or monitor supports them.

Streaming & Captures

This month, we’re also introducing a new Mixer Interactive feature called Share Controller. Mixer streamers on Xbox One can now share control of their game with a viewer on Mixer.com. Just turn on the “Share Controller” toggle from the Broadcast & Capture section in Guide and your viewers will be able to share control through a virtual controller in their web browser, or by plugging a physical controller into their PC.

You can also now start Mixer broadcasts from anywhere on Xbox One, making streaming easier than ever. If you decide to switch games or exit to the dashboard, your viewers will see a pause animation until you jump back into a game. You will also see a pause animation on your broadcasting status bar on your screen.

In addition, you can now share captured screenshots and clips directly to Twitter, after authenticating your account, from the Broadcast & Capture tab of the Guide. Shared captures will now display and play directly in your Twitter feed instead of showing up as a link. We’ll also help you get your content discovered by suggesting a hashtag for the title of the game. Want to follow clips shared by Xbox gamers? Track clips with the #XboxShare hashtag!

Xbox Insiders have seen this option for a while, but now everyone can choose to switch between light and dark themes on your Xbox One based on the time of day. You can also personalize your theme to automatically transition from dark to light based on sunrise and sunset in your location. We’ve also added a new high-contrast light theme option, which makes on-screen elements easier to see.

Audio & Ease of Access

Based on fan feedback, we’re making additional improvements to Narrator on Xbox One. Narrator volume can now be adjusted independently from system audio volume. We’ve also introduced a new input learning mode to the Narrator menu. With input learning mode enabled, the Narrator on Xbox One will say the name of whatever button you press on an attached input device. High contrast light theme and narrator options can both be adjusted in the Ease of Access menu in Settings.

If you love to stream music while gaming, you will be happy to hear that you can now selectively balance game audio against background music within the Guide. Simply navigate down to the app that is playing background music in the Guide. Press “A” to open a new flyout with additional music controls, including a new slider that will allow you to adjust the balance of background music and game audio.

We’ve also made audio enhancements in the Xbox One dashboard itself. System sounds on Home and in the Guide have been completely revamped to support spatial audio, so the audio cues from your surround sound system will match the actions you see on-screen.

Apps

The Microsoft Edge browser on Xbox One has been updated to a more modern look and feel. Enhancements to history and favorites make it easy for you to get back to your favorite sites. Other new features include tab muting, read aloud and autofill. You can also now download and upload pictures, music, and videos from Microsoft Edge on Xbox One; your downloaded content can then be browsed with the File Explorer app.

Clubs, Game Hubs & Tournaments

Community tournaments are now available directly in Game Hubs for supported games. This means you no longer need to own or be the admin of a club to create a tournament.  To get started, open the Game Hub for a game that supports tournaments.  Head to the “Multiplayer” tab and select “Community tournaments” then choose the option for “Create tournament.”

Club feeds have also gained new filters to show you “what’s new,” “what’s hot” or “top posts.” Additionally, you can now lock the comments on your feed posts across clubs, Game Hubs, and Community, so the only person in control of the narrative is you.

If you’re a club owner or admin, you can now filter invitation requests based on several criteria, including Gamerscore, play time, reputation, Xbox Live Gold status, and recommendations from club members. Club invitation filters will persist until the administrator changes them, so if you set or edit club invitation filters, they will still be there the next time you sign-in.

In addition to all these new features on Xbox One, a subset of users may also see additional experimental features that we didn’t mention here. These features are only enabled for a portion of the Xbox audience to gauge interest and collect feedback.

Many of our Xbox Insiders have already had the chance to play with these features. If you would like to join them, getting started as an Xbox Insider is easy! Just download the Xbox Insider Hub app on your Xbox One or Windows 10 PC and select your desired ring. Visit the Xbox Insider blog here for release notes.

Will Tuttle, Xbox Wire Editor In Chief, shares details about what Xbox has planned for E3 2018.

Here at Xbox, we’re hard at work getting ready for the big show. We’ll be kicking things off with our annual Xbox E3 2018 Briefing, which you can watch live beginning on Sunday, June 10 at 1 p.m. PDT. During the briefing, you’ll have a chance to check out everything from in-depth looks at previously-announced games to trailers for our unannounced titles coming in 2018 and beyond. You can watch the Xbox E3 2018 Briefing live beginning at 1 p.m. PDT on Sunday, June 10 on the official Xbox Mixer Channel or on the Mixer app for Xbox One and Windows 10.

This year, on Mixer, the Xbox E3 2018 Briefing will be offered in six languages: English, German, French, Italian, Spanish (LATAM), Portuguese (LATAM), and includes support for English Closed Captions. To select an alternate language, click the “cog” button within Mixer to view the available list. We’re excited for more fans all around the world to join in on the Xbox E3 2018 Briefing festivities.

You’ll also be able to catch a live stream of the briefing on other streaming services, which we’ll be announcing soon, as well as on the big screen at your local Microsoft Stores.

This year will mark the first year that our hot new show, Inside Xbox, will be airing during E3. Inside Xbox: Live @ E3 will air Monday, June 11 at 3 p.m. PDT and will feature a livestream full of exclusive announcements, game demos, interviews, giveaways and more. We’ll also be streaming live on Mixer every day throughout E3 2018 starting from Tuesday, June 12 through Thursday, June 14, so keep an eye out for our full schedule coming soon.

Finally, if you’re in LA during E3 week, we’ve got something even bigger for you: more details on Xbox FanFest: E3 2018! As we announced last week, you can win a chance to be one of the 400 lucky people to experience Xbox FanFest from June 10 to June 11, or win one of 1,000 brand-new Xbox Briefing-Only Fan Tickets. All winners will be able to enjoy the Xbox E3 Briefing in-person.

Today at 12 p.m. PDT, we’ll be launching the Xbox E3 Fan Event Submission Site, where you can submit your name for a chance, via random drawing, to win a ticket (or tickets, if you choose to add a guest) to Xbox FanFest or a Briefing-Only Fan Ticket. After your submission, you’ll need to keep an eye on the random drawing dates, then watch your email inbox once the winners have been chosen.

Amongst other things, fans who win one of the Xbox FanFest tickets will get:

  • Early Check-in: Private check-in and admission to a Fan Rally prior to the Xbox E3 Briefing on Sunday morning.
  • Briefing Access: Experience the Xbox E3 Briefing in-person.
  • Epic Moments: A “can’t miss” Xbox community event Sunday afternoon.
  • Exclusivity: Early access to Xbox’s hottest exclusives and biggest blockbuster games.
  • Meet Xbox: Meet and talk with some of gaming’s top developers, leaders and influencers.
  • Our Secret Gear Backpack: Full of amazing surprises.
  • A Custom Jersey: Since Xbox fans deserve the best apparel to show off their fandom!

Head on over to the Xbox E3 Online Experience for more information, as well as full rules and regulations, on Xbox FanFest: E3 2018.

Stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks, as these are just a few of the activities Xbox has planned for E3 2018!

For more details about Xbox At E3 2018, check out Xbox Wire.

Tara Theoharis, Manager at Xbox US Events, shares details about PAX East going on this weekend in Boston, Massachusetts.

Xbox and Mixer are heading to Boston for PAX East this week, running April 5-8, 2018. If you have a PAX East badge, you’ll get the opportunity to play new Xbox games for the first time, interact with streamers through Mixer, and meet some of your favorite developers. Not able to make PAX East in person? Our biggest event will be streamed to you live on Mixer, and the Xbox Most Powerful Gamers Sweepstakes on the official @Xbox Twitter channel is open to everyone. Read on for all the information you need!

Xbox Booth
Booth #13019

Experience Xbox One’s largest, most diverse games lineup in the Xbox booth! Try your hand at nine different titles available to play, including Sea of Thieves, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Ashen, Below, DayZ, and for the first time ever: State of Decay 2. The Xbox Booth will be open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. local time from Thursday through Sunday and is only available to PAX East badge holders.

Sea of Thieves Lounge
Booth #15033

Visit the Sea of Thieves Lounge presented by Chips Ahoy! to relax, recharge your devices, and enjoy some Chips Ahoy! cookies. While there, take a selfie with our Sea of Thieves statue, try your hand at the State of Decay 2 claw machine, and pick a game from the Xbox Game Pass vending machine. The Sea of Thieves Lounge will be open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. local time from Thursday through Sunday and is only available to PAX East badge holders.

Mixer Booth
Booth #: 15019

Stop by the Mixer booth in Hall A to meet some of your favorite Mixer streamers, catch HypeZone LIVE, and win a chance to score some sweet Mixer swag! Not able to attend in person? You can also watch all the HypeZone Live content over at Mixer.com/HypeZoneLIVE. For more information about Mixer at PAX, please see their blog post or find them on social media using #MixerPAXEast.

Xbox Live Sessions: PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds with deadmau5 and Brendan Greene
Saturday, April 7
1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. EST
Main Theater and mixer.com/xbox

Electronic musician deadmau5 and PUBG Creative Director Brendan Greene (PlayerUnknown) will be joined by Xbox Live’s Major Nelson to play PUBG live in front of fans at PAX East. Fans at home can tune in to watch and submit questions on mixer.com/xbox and twitch.tv/xbox. An autograph session will follow. For more information on deadmau5 at PAX East, visit this Xbox Wire post.

The Xbox Most Powerful Gamers Sweepstakes

Whether you’re at PAX East or tuning in from home, you have the chance to win everything you need to become one of our Most Powerful Gamers. Four winners will receive either a State of Decay 2, PUBG, Sea of Thieves, or Ashen custom Xbox One X console created by Hydro74, plus a Samsung 55” QLED 4K Television, an Elite controller, one year of Xbox Game Pass, and one year of Xbox Live Gold.

How do you enter? Follow @Xbox or @XboxCanada on Twitter and retweet one of their tweets mentioning the sweepstakes, including #PAXEast #XboxSweepstakes. The sweepstakes run from April 5-8, 2018 and are open to anyone from the United States or Canada. Click through for the Official Rules.

Visit the Xbox US Events website for more information on PAX East. For more Xbox news, follow @Xbox and @XboxWire on Twitter.

If you didn’t get to watch the debut of Inside Xbox, or maybe you want to see it all again – Will Tuttle, Editor in Chief of Xbox Wire, has put together a great recap.

Earlier today, we launched our new monthly series Inside Xbox. This was the next step on a path we’ve been traveling for many years, one that pulls back the curtain on Team Xbox and celebrates our games, our features, and our fans like never before. The inaugural episode was jam-packed full of everything you could want from a show like this, including the latest on highly-anticipated games like Sea of Thieves and Far Cry 5, exciting news from our friends on the Xbox Game Pass team, the debut of new console features, and much more. So, without further ado, let’s take a closer look at some of the biggest news coming out of this month’s episode of Inside Xbox.

Xbox Update News

The Xbox Engineering and marketing teams were on-hand to debut several brand-new features coming to Xbox later this Spring. Highlights of this segment included:

*Antal Tungler from AMD announced that Xbox One S and Xbox One X will support variable refresh rate on AMD Radeon FreeSync displays. Freesync technology helps get rid of tearing and stuttering while gaming, enabling the display and Xbox One to work together to create a smooth and seamless gaming experience. Freesync allows for a supported TV or monitor to synchronize its refresh rate with your console.

*‘Share to Twitter’ will allow you to share clips and screenshots that will be viewable in-line, directly on your Twitter feed. This new feature will also automatically place that screenshot or video into your Twitter media library, as well as suggest hashtags, such as the game title.

*Xbox One will also begin supporting Auto Low Latency Mode on supported TVs later in 2018, including select models from Samsung. Auto Low Latency Mode will recognize when a game is being played and automatically switch your TV to a low-latency mode. This will enable you to continue using some of your TVs video processing options while you’re watching a movie or Mixer stream, but be comfortable that any post-processing will automatically be turned off when you switch back over to a game.

*The Microsoft Edge browser is also getting an update on Xbox One. The browser now looks and feels more like Microsoft Edge on Windows 10. You can also download and upload files, including pictures and videos, directly to your Xbox One or attached storage device. For example, if you find a great picture online that you’d like to use as your Xbox One background, you can download the image with Microsoft Edge and set it as your custom background.

*Share Controller on Mixer was announced. Mixer streamers on Xbox One will be able to share their controller directly with viewers on Mixer.com. Once shared, a viewer on their PC can help control the experience with either an on-screen virtual controller or with a physical controller connected to the PC. This is available now for testing on the Xbox Insider Alpha ring.

Sea of Thieves

Executive Producer Joe Neate confirmed two updates for Sea of Thieves based on fan feedback from the Closed Beta and Scale Tests.

*The respawn system has been updated based on player feedback. Now, if you perish after your ship is sunk you will respawn on a new ship, away from the scene of your watery demise.

*You can now favorite Pirate characters when selecting your pirate from the character carousel. This will allow you to refresh your options during character selection and still retain the option of choosing the Favorites character from before.

Larry Hryb and Lydia Ellery had the chance to talk with Rare Studio Head Craig Duncan and Sea of Thieves Executive Producer Joe Neate about the original inspiration for Sea of Thieves, how that has manifested itself in the final game, and how that purpose has bonded players together.

Sea of ThievesLarry and Lydia also spoke with lead designer Shelley Preston and art director Ryan Stevenson about the game’s design philosophy. The team went in-depth on the importance of natural design and the sense of discovery that permeates the game.

The Quest

The end of the episode marked a curious entry, with the forging golden bananas and mysterious URL. Adventure awaits on web and land, calling to all Sea of Thieves fans to band together to tackle the mysteries and challenges ahead. One thing is certain. Someone is going to walk away with that gold banana bunch.

PixArk Release Date

Navin Supphapholsiri from Studio Wildcard was on-hand to not only show off the vibrant, friendly and procedurally generated survival game PixArk, but also revealed the release date from the much-anticipated survival title. PixArk will be available on March 27.

Based on Studio Wildcard’s popular Ark: Survival Evolved, PixArk takes a more colorful, accessible approach to the survival genre, allowing you to not only harvest resources, hunt dinosaurs, and craft gear, but also build outlandishly creative bases. This includes a Creative Mode, which allows you to build freely, without restraint or worrying about the survival-based-gameplay.

Games, Games, and More Games

Jeff Rubenstein and Larry Hryb talked to Nico Bihary from Microsoft Studios for a full update on all things PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, including a recent major update to the game, where it’s going from here, and why Chicken Dinners are so darn tasty.

At a recent event for Far Cry 5, Larry got the chance to chat with Drew Holmes, the game’s lead writer, and actor Greg Byrke about bringing the franchise’s latest unsettling antagonist to life.

Xbox Game Pass

The team also revealed that Xbox Game Pass will bringing eight new games into the fold in April, including the critically acclaimed Cities: Skylines. This city-creation simulation puts the fate of your own dream metropolis in your hands, letting you manage the cities infrastructure, various districts, utilities, healthcare, emergency responders and much more. This is first of eight Xbox Game Pass reveals for April, so stay tuned to Xbox Wire for more info as it becomes available.

Thanks to everyone who tuned in! We hope you enjoyed the show and we can’t wait to tell you all about next month’s episode in a few weeks.

[ 💬 Larry Hryb ] @majornelson

More @majornelson on Twitter

James Boehm, Co-Founder of Mixer, talks about their new partnership with Hi-Rez Studios and their hit title SMITE.


We’re excited to announce today a new partnership with Hi-Rez Studios to bring both the SMITE Pro League (SPL) and SMITE Console Series (SCS) exclusively to Mixer viewers. More than 25 million people have played the hit battle arena game SMITE. Over 25 million people have played the hit battle arena game, SMITE. The 2018 SMITE World Championship was viewed by over 4 million people worldwide. This sweet Mixer milestone aims to break all the records and make SMITE season 5 the best yet.

The highly anticipated Season 5 of the SMITE Pro League (SPL) kicks off on March 20 with Rival going head-to-head with NRG esports, starting at 1:00 pm EST on Mixer.com/SMITEGame – the only place to catch all of the best Smite Pro League and Smite Console Series action. For details on the new changes coming to SPL in 2018 and more information on the Spring Split, check out the Hi-Rez announcement right here.

This partnership also includes the SMITE Console Series (SCS), open to all Xbox players from North America and Europe, for a chance to win exclusive prizes weekly. The SCS Season 5 kicks off on March 5th with all of the coverage only at Mixer.com/SMITEGame and will continue every Monday at 1 PM EST. For more information on how to participate, check out the full announcement on SCS Season 5 from Hi-Rez.

SMITE Pro League broadcasts will implement Mixer’s unique co-streaming technology to bring fans more camera angles, perspectives and views. This multicast experience enables you to customize your viewing experience by choosing supplemental feeds that enhance the main broadcast.

The addition of SMITE Pro League and SMITE Console Series continues our successful esports partnership with Hi-Rez. We previously shared that the Paladins Console Series was an exclusive series on Mixer, broadcasted live every Saturday and Sunday starting at 12 p.m. EST on mixer.com/Paladinsgame. If you can’t catch the action live, be sure to check out the VODs on the channel!

Aaron Greenberg, GM of Games Marketing for Xbox, shares some info on the success of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, currently available in Xbox Game Preview.

Since PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) launched on Xbox One through the Xbox Game Preview program, it’s been awesome to see the excitement and passion on display from the Xbox community. Whether you’re streaming in the HypeZone on Mixer or battling for a chicken dinner with your squad, players on Xbox are helping build and improve the game on console. Today, PUBG Corp. and Xbox are excited to share that through the end of 2017 the PUBG community on Xbox One has already grown to over three million players. Thank you for your incredible support!

The team at PUBG Corp. is determined to continue to improve the in-game experience for PUBG’s growing and active community and have already released four updates since the game’s launch in Xbox Game Preview on December 12. You’ll continue to see regular updates roll out for PUBG on Xbox One such as this week’s addition of first-person support for solo, duo, and squads gameplay and the team is just getting started, with more updates planned that include additional game optimization and the new Miramar map – keep up-to-date by visiting PUBG Corp’s official forums.

For players just getting started, there will be a Tips and Tricks segment on Mixer at 3 p.m. PST on January 16 to share tips on inventory management and showcase UX shortcuts and features on the Xbox One controller. This is part of an ongoing series to help new and existing players jump in and start earning their chicken dinner. Be sure to stay tuned to Xbox Wire and Major Nelson for all the latest news on PUBG for Xbox One – see you on the battleground!

Purchase PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (Xbox Game Preview) for Xbox One from the Xbox Games Store

For more information about Xbox news and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds – check out Xbox Wire.

Will Tuttle, Xbox Wire Editor in Chief, shares some of the biggest moments in 2017 for Microsoft and the Xbox team.

During E3 this year, we showed the biggest and most diverse Xbox games lineup ever. Many of those games are coming in 2018, and as gamers we cannot wait to share them with fans. Among Microsoft Studios exclusives games are new IP like Sea of Thieves (launching March 20), deep gameplay in fan-favorite franchises like State of Decay 2, and the explosive return of a celebrated franchise to Xbox with Crackdown 3 – all releasing on Xbox One and PC. That’s in addition to all the great ID@Xbox and cross-platform games (more on that below), and as well as other unannounced surprises to come.

As we prepare to step into the new year, it’s a great time to reflect on our favorite gaming moments of 2017 on Xbox and PC. We released the world’s most powerful console Xbox One X with the largest games lineup in Xbox history, including more than 1,300 titles and over 220 exclusives. Among those were incredible 2017 releases from Microsoft Studios, third party publishers and innovative independent developers, with over 85 specifically enhanced to take advantage of the power of Xbox One X. We also offered new ways for gamers to access content, interact with spectators and participate in the game development process.

The excitement capped recently with The Game Awards, where Forza Motorsport 7 took home Best Sports/Racing Game, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds won Best Multiplayer Game, and Cuphead snagged three awards, including Best Independent Game.

Join us as we look back at our top 10 games moments of 2017.

  1. The World’s Most Powerful Console Launches

Reception to Xbox One X has been incredible and we’re so grateful for our fans. One of the things we’ve enjoyed most is seeing how developers are taking advantage of the world’s most powerful console, with 4K Ultra HD, HDR, Dolby Atmos and other exciting features and improvements. Xbox One X truly is the best place to experience games with many enhanced games available and more adding support as we move into 2018.

  1. The Biggest PC Game of 2017 Comes Exclusively to Console on Xbox One

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds took the gaming world by storm in 2017. Over 25 million players experienced PUBG on PC and console fans got a shot at winning their own chicken dinners with its exclusive release on Xbox One as part of the Xbox Game Preview program last week. The reception from Xbox fans has been phenomenal with over one million copies sold in the first 48 hours alone. Through the Xbox Game Preview program, fans get to be a part of the development process, and PUBG on Xbox One will continually receive content updates including the new desert map, Miramar, optimizations, and more exciting stuff in the months ahead.

  1. Xbox Game Pass Opens up a New Way to Play

Launching Xbox Game Pass was a big moment for Xbox this year. Giving fans more options to diversify and expand their library of games, as well as discover new experiences has been important to us, which is what we set out to achieve with Xbox Game Pass. We have been excited by the amazing fan reaction and engagement with Xbox Game Pass, which gives unlimited access to over 100 great games on Xbox One.

  1. Xbox is the Best Place to Play Multi-Platform Games

This past year, we worked with fantastic publishers and developers across the industry to make Xbox the best place to play their games. Players responded by playing more than 1,870 third-party games for over 12 billion hours. The Xbox community demonstrated how Xbox Live is the fastest and most reliable gaming network by logging in more than 3.7 billion hours in multiplayer across games from our partners. This has inspired our partners to enhance over 80 Xbox One X games with any combination of benefits like faster loading times, higher resolution textures, HDR support or steadier framerates. We’re looking forward to a great 2018 full of new games and even more Enhanced games with our players and partners.

  1. Forza Motorsport 7 Sets a New Bar

Throughout the years, Turn 10 Studios has worked hard to push the award-winning Forza franchise to new heights, and the pinnacle (so far) was this year’s Forza Motorsport 7 – a game built from the ground up to showcase native 4K gaming at 60 frames per second on Xbox One X. It was an honor bringing the community the most comprehensive, beautiful and authentic racing game ever made. In September alone, more than 7.9 million unique players raced in the Forza community. Next up is the Xbox One X Enhanced version of Forza Horizon 3 coming January 15, and we’ll have more exciting news in the months to come.

  1. Original Xbox Games Join Backward Compatibility Collection

One of the big highlights this year was bringing Original Xbox classics into the Xbox One Backward Compatibility program. Compatibility is important to Xbox, to developers and their games, and our community. In 2017, we added 136 Xbox 360, 13 Original Xbox and seven enhanced Xbox 360 titles, which helped contribute to the more than 400 titles available today and 740 million hours of Backward Compatible games played to-date.

  1. Independent Developers Drive Innovation

Every year, we look back at all the great games released by independent developers around the world, and 2017 was a banner year for great independent games. First off, we launched the Xbox Live Creators Program in August and it’s already flourishing with more than 100 games playable on Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs today. And ID@Xbox continues to be the home for creativity, innovation, and just plain rad games. From console exclusive Cuphead to Thimbleweed ParkWhat Remains of Edith Finch to Aer, or Fortnite to Tacoma, and favorites like Ark, Smite, Warframe and Rocket League ID@Xbox has fast become a super relevant way for independent developers to bring their creations to the Xbox One and Windows 10 community. With Deep Rock Galactic, Battlerite, The Darwin Project, Black Desert, Full Metal Furies, Robocraft, Below and hundreds of others in the pipeline for 2018, 2017 may get a run for its money!

  1. Minecraft Becomes First Game Ever to Unify Players on PC, Mobile, and Console

2017 was a year focused on breaking down barriers for Minecraft. With the release of cross-device multiplayer in the Better Together Update, Mojang and the Minecraft team brought tens of millions of Minecraft players together on the game they love where they want, when they want and on the device they want. In 2018, Minecraft players can look forward to cross-device multiplayer on Nintendo Switch, a whole new world of under-the-sea adventures with the Update Aquatic, a spiffy new graphics engine powering the Super Duper Graphics Pack, and more.

  1. Mixer Unlocks New Interactive Streaming Experiences

For the Mixer team, 2017 was about community growth and innovation. We welcomed a ton of new streamers, expanded our existing communities and added new ones, and made huge investments in new features like 4-person Co-Streaming, Mixer HypeZone and our new mobile app for iOS and Android that make Mixer the best place to stream and watch for console, PC, and mobile gamers alike. Seeing communities, creators and game developers unite around new experiences on Mixer has been incredible – Telltale Games using “Crowd Play” enables the audience to control story decisions, for example, or developers using new means of interactivity in Minecraft, The Darwin Project, Death’s Door and more. 2018 will bring even more interactive games as well as new capabilities for streamers.

  1. Reinvesting in Age of Empires

Celebrating the 20-year anniversary of the Age of Empires franchise with the community at gamescom this year was epic. We announced Age of Empires IV there, which has long been on many fan wish lists. Add that we are partnering with Relic Entertainment, one of the best RTS developers in the world, and there is a lot to look forward to with the storied PC franchise. It’s just the beginning, as Age of Empires: Definitive Edition launches early next year, and Definitive Editions of Age of Empires II and Age of Empires III are planned in the future.

  1. The SteamVR library comes to Windows Mixed Reality

The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update brings mixed reality to your PC this holiday season, and along with it a catalog of over 2000 of the most popular VR games available with SteamVR. Windows Mixed Reality headsets don’t require any external cameras or sensors, and set up in just minutes so you can enjoy the immersive action of the top VR games available today, along with all of the apps in the Microsoft Store.

On behalf of the entire Xbox team, thank you to all Xbox fans. You are what makes gaming on Xbox great and the motivation that drives our team. 2018 is going to be an amazing year, and we can’t wait to share it with you.

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out your own personal Xbox Year-in-Review to see how you gamed in 2017. Happy holidays!

Jerome Holman, Senior Program Manager on Mixer Mobile Apps, discusses the new Mixer App, available today.

Just months ago, we announced we were rebuilding the Mixer app for Android and iOS. Since then and with the help of our community, we’ve built the best version of the app to-date, and are excited to announce it’s available for download today on Android and in the coming days on iOS.

Complete with a new code base to enable faster updates than ever before, we’ve redesigned the new app pixel-by-pixel to offer a more consistent Mixer experience across devices. From beta through to launch, we’ve focused on improved discoverability, new personalization options, and Mixer interactivity. You’ll notice this new functionality, designed to immerse you in your streamers’ experiences, wherever you are!

We’ve also added several new features: push notifications, tap-and-hold video previews, and an introductory first-run video to help you get acquainted with what’s new. With a Mixer experience optimized for mobile, stay connected with the streams you love.

Download the current version of iOS and the receive the new update soon!

Push Notifications: New notifications mean you’re always in the loop and connected at all times — especially when you’re on the go. Get notified when your favorite streamers go live. Follow your favorite streams directly from your phone or tablet.

Easier Navigation: Whether you’re looking for something new or something you’ve been watching for a while, new “Trending,” “Following,” and “Profile” tabs get you there quicker. Tap-and-hold on the home page to see a quick video preview. You’ll notice improved discoverability thanks to an enhanced search algorithm. The “Trending” tab now shows the top streams based on viewer count.

Enhanced Stream Page & Player settings: Tailor your viewing experience to fit your needs. Within the app, select your stream video quality, toggle through chat and audio, and easily share the stream you’re watching with friends.

In addition to the new features above, below is a refresher of all the great functionality we’ve improved upon during the beta period:

  • Featured streams at the top with auto previews
  • Trending Games spotlighted on your home page
  • Search history added below the search bar
  • A new Following tab, with LIVE and recommended streams
  • New indicators to help you easily find streams using Interactive, Co-streaming, and FTL
  • An improved Profile page with links to your channel, your level, and your sparks
  • Improved filtering for Trending broadcasts
  • Improved Chat complete with Viewer list, whispers, and basic mod featuresIn the new Mixer mobile app, you’ll sign-in with your Microsoft account. Learn how to create a Microsoft account here. Also to note, Apple has updated the app rating to 17+, which may impact iOS users.With thorough testing and tons of positive fan feedback, we’ve tweaked and tailored the Mixer mobile app just as you’ve requested. Here’s to the Mixer community for sharing thoughts on what a mobile streaming app means to you! Keep the feedback coming!

Welcome to Mixer. Streaming is better this way.