Phil Spencer, Head of Gaming at Xbox, discusses a major update to the Xbox Game Pass program. Details below:

When we launched Xbox Game Pass in June 2017, we knew we wanted to craft a service with gamers in mind. That meant a diverse, expanding library of over 100 games and counting, matched with one monthly price and unlimited access to download and play full-fidelity experiences.

We’ve been blown away by the incredible response. Following launch, we heard from fans around the world who wanted Xbox Game Pass in their country. In September, we expanded globally and Xbox Game Pass is now available to fans in 40 countries. We’ve also continued to expand the catalog with new games added to the Xbox Game Pass library every month, so there is always something new to play.

We know our fans value having a variety of games to play at a low monthly price. We’ve also heard from fans that the ability to play new blockbuster games in Xbox Game Pass is important. So we’ve continued to explore new ideas to make this possible.

Today, we’re excited to announce plans for a major expansion to Xbox Game Pass that underscores our commitment to deliver our fans the ultimate gaming subscription service.

Moving forward, we plan to release all new Xbox One exclusive games from Microsoft Studios into Xbox Game Pass on the same date as their global release. This means that when Sea of Thieves launches on March 20, it will be included in Xbox Game Pass to all members.

This plan to bring new games timed with their global release into Xbox Game Pass not only includes announced titles like Sea of Thieves, State of Decay 2, and Crackdown 3 but future unannounced games from Microsoft Studios including new iterations of our biggest Xbox One exclusive franchises such as Halo, Forza and Gears of War, on the same day they launch.

Our fans have also asked for more choice in the subscription offerings available for Xbox Game Pass. As part of today’s library expansion, we are also pleased to announce that we are working closely with our retail partners, such as GameStop, to offer a 6-month Xbox Game Pass subscription card for those fans who look for a variety of ways to purchase and enjoy new games and services. The 6-month Xbox Game Pass subscription card will be available at select retail partners for $59.99 beginning March 20. By working closely with retail partners, Xbox Game Pass will have valuable ambassadors in popular destinations for gamers to discover new and exciting games and enjoy community.

With the addition of more great games, new blockbuster releases and a new subscription offer, we are giving fans more choice and value in how they discover and enjoy games – purchase games for their permanent library or play through Xbox Game Pass for one low price.

We’ve only scratched the surface of the opportunity this new model brings to the industry and what we can deliver to our fans. We firmly believe Xbox Game Pass will be a catalyst to create new opportunities for game developers and publishers to innovate in the way games are developed and delivered, leading to entirely new ways to play.

We’re truly humbled by the incredible response we’ve received to date for Xbox Game Pass, and we look forward to offering an unprecedented choice and value with Xbox Game Pass this spring and beyond.

Phil Spencer
Twitter: @XboxP3
GT: P3

Joe Neate, Executive Producer at Rare, posted news about the Sea of Thieves closed beta coming 24-29 January. Read the story below:

Happy New Year, everyone! We’re back working hard on Sea of Thieves after the holidays and a December chock-full of announcements. We revealed March 20 as our launch date and made a star of an unsuspecting chicken with a swashbuckling trailer, kicked off pre-orders, revealed how you progress through the world of Sea of Thieves, and showed off our haunting Limited Edition controller. All that and we hosted our biggest ever Technical Alpha play session last month.

All hands are now back on deck here at Rare as we sail toward launch. We’ll have plenty to share, show off and celebrate before then, but we’re beginning 2018 with the announcement of our upcoming Closed Beta dates.

The Sea of Thieves Closed Beta will run from 12 p.m. GMT on January 24 to 8 a.m. GMT on January 29 (4 a.m. PST on January 24 to 12 a.m. PST on January 29), which gives pirates a full five days of sailing, shanties and shenanigans. We’ve crafted a bespoke experience for Closed Beta players that offers a true taste of the pirate life and a great chance to get your sea legs ahead of March 20! We won’t be testing the full game during this Closed Beta phase: we want to keep a good selection of things up our sleeves for players to discover at launch. So get your calendars out and get those dates pencilled in!

The Sea of Thieves Closed Beta will be accessible to anyone who joined the Sea of Thieves Insider Programme before December 1, 2017, and anyone who pre-orders the game. If you’ve already pre-ordered the game and want to find out how to download the Closed Beta client, visit our website.

One final thing: the Closed Beta will not be covered by an NDA, so players can stream, create videos, share clips, take screenshots or do anything else that their wonderful minds can come up with. Some of our favourites will no doubt be shared on Sea of Thieves’ social channels and website. I know a lot of players will be excited by this announcement – I am too! If you missed out on the Insider Programme, pre-order now to ensure access to the Closed Beta!

Want to be among the first to know when we have more news to share? Make sure you follow us on social media and keep an eye on Xbox Wire and the official Sea of Thieves site.

Joe Neate, Executive Producer at Rare, revealed the Sea of Thieves Limited Edition Xbox Wireless Controller today plus shared some info about Sea of Thieves, now available for pre-order and releasing March 20, 2018.

Pirates are nothing without the right tools, so we’re also happy to announce the Xbox Wireless Controller – Sea of Thieves Limited Edition so you can fight, sail and loot in style. The controller features a deep purple translucent design, adorned with laser etched barnacles, one treasured golden trigger and haunted by a mysterious glow-in-the-dark skull. The Xbox Wireless Controller – Sea of Thieves Limited Edition is now available for pre-order for $74.99 USD and ships globally in all Xbox One markets on Feb. 6, 2018.  The controller comes with the exclusive Ferryman Clothing Set for your Sea of Thieves character, a 14 day Live Gold trail, and a 14 day Game Pass trial at no additional cost.

For more information about Sea of Thieves and the Xbox Wireless Controller – Sea of Thieves Limited Edition, check out Xbox Wire.

For aspiring pirates new to the adventure, Sea of Thieves is a new type of multiplayer game where players take to the high seas on epic voyages to unravel puzzling riddles, engage in ship-to-ship battles and discover the treasure of a lifetime. Grab your crew and journey into a unique shared world where each pirate is a real player with their own intentions and goals.

Pre-Order Sea of Thieves

Pre-Order Xbox Wireless Controller – Sea of Thieves Limited Edition

While March 20, 2018 can’t come soon enough, we wouldn’t have gotten here without the loyal support of our awesome community. From the fantastic feedback received during the Technical Alpha to support during shows and conventions, Sea of Thieves is a testament to the incredible fans who have invested in this world with us. We look forward to your continued support as we sail toward release and beyond.

For the latest on Sea of Thieves and news on closed beta dates, stay tuned to SeaOfThieves.com in the lead up to March 20, 2018. We can’t wait to share more soon!

Content: Sea Of Thieves
Check pre-order price and availability in your Xbox LIVE region

Game Description: You may pre-download this game, but it will not be playable until release date (03/20/2018 – 3:00 AM).

Packed to the seams with sailing and exploring, fighting and plundering, riddle solving and treasure hunting, Sea of Thieves has everything you need to live the pirate life you’ve always dreamed about. Set in a glorious world of exotic islands, hidden treasures and dangers both natural and supernatural, Sea of Thieves immerses you in a new type of multiplayer action. Whether you’re adventuring as a group or sailing solo, you’re bound to encounter other crews – but will they be friends or foes? And how will you respond?

Pre-order Sea of Thieves and you’ll receive the exclusive Black Dog Pack (containing stylish clothing and items with unique, spectacular designs) as well as a chance to join other pioneering pirates in a Closed Beta ahead of the game’s worldwide launch on March 20th, 2018!

Xbox One Pre-Order FAQ

Larry Hryb🎮🎙📺 @majornelson

More @majornelson on Twitter

It’s almost time for gamers to descend upon downtown Seattle once again for PAX West! The convention, running from September 1 through September 4, is one of the largest gaming events in North America, and Xbox has something for everyone planned throughout the weekend. Read on for details on the gameplay and activities you’ll find in our booth, multiple panels, Mixer streams, and PAX West sweepstakes.

Xbox Booth
North Hall, 4th Floor, Booths 403, 411, 417

Experience Xbox One’s largest, most diverse games lineup in the Xbox booth! There will be 13 different titles available to play, including Forza Motorsport 7, Assassin’s Creed Origins, Sea of Thieves, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Super Lucky’s Tale, Dragon Ball FighterZ, Cuphead, and so much more. You’ll also get the opportunity to go hands on with our newest and most powerful console: the Xbox One X!

In addition to games, try your hand at the Super Lucky’s Tale Claw Machine, take a picture in the Minecraft Experience, design a custom controller with Xbox Design Lab, learn more about Game Pass and Xbox Live, and see the Xbox One X up close. The Xbox Booth will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday through Monday and is only available to PAX West badge holders.

In addition to the activities found in the Xbox Booth, you can meet with Xbox employees and learn about some amazing non-profits in the Diversity Lounge, and sign up to test new Xbox products at the Microsoft User Research booth in the Skybridge Lobby!

Mixer
North Hall, 4th Floor, Booth #425

Come meet some of our most influential partners and streamers at the Mixer booth! We’ll have two streaming pod stations decked-out in high-tech PC and Xbox gear, where our partners will be streaming from the Mixer booth on the PAX West show floor. There will be a “fan zone” behind the streamers as well, so attendees can engage with and be a part of the streaming action!

The Mixer team will also be streaming a steady flow of developer interviews, gameplay from some of this year’s most anticipated titles, including other unique content via our streaming living room at center stage, and via our mobile camera crews walking the PAX West floor.

Can’t make it to PAX West in person? No problem! Watch all the action happening at PAX West via mixer.com/mixer. And don’t forget to stop by the Mixer booth to sign up for your Mixer account and to secure the first ever Mixer Pinny Arcade pin!

Xbox PAX West Panels

Come hear from members of the Xbox team at a variety of panels at PAX West. Check them out below!

The Evolution of the Gaming Industry: Fresh Voices in Gaming

Friday, September 1
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Sandworm Theater (Sheraton, Level 2)

The gaming industry has evolved a lot over the years as new and emerging voices are calling for change and the industry is beginning to listen. Join Xbox’s Gaming for Everyone team as they host a discussion with industry influencers who are working to make gaming fun for everyone.

Helping Others Level Up: How Gaming Supports Healthcare

Friday, September 1
4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Sandworm Theater (Sheraton, Level 2)

Video games and virtual reality have incredible therapeutic potential within the hospital environment. In this panel, including Aaron Greenberg, you’ll learn how games can be used to support the healing process, and how YOU can make a difference at your local hospital.

Streaming 101: Starting Your Quest

Saturday, September 2
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Hydra Theater (Grand Hyatt, Level 1)

Every streamer has to start somewhere. Seasoned streamers share the tools you need to begin your journey into the world of livestreaming. Join Mixer as we go over how to set up your channel, choose the right moderators, and go live with style.

Major Nelson Radio

Saturday, September 2
3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Wyvern Theater (Westin, Level 4)

We’ve been here since the beginning of PAX in the mid 2000’s. Over a decade later we’re still being allowed in. Quick, come see this live show before someone figures our scam out! Join Larry Hryb, Xbox LIVE’s Major Nelson, lollip0p, and JEF United as we record an episode of the award winning officially unofficial Xbox-centric podcast Major Nelson Radio LIVE in front of you, our studio audience. It will be an hour of awkward audience participation, Xbox prizes, guests, and maybe some fun. Maybe.

Details here!

Git Gud Ally: Beyond 101

Saturday, September 2
3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Hippogriff Theater (Grand Hyatt, Level 1)

Design, development, and community folks across Xbox, Mixer, and Gaming for Everyone go beyond Inclusive 101 and share the exciting projects and initiatives they’re working on. The panel will discuss what their work means for you and what kind of dialog needs to continue to create the best inclusive experiences for gamers. This is a moderated panel with a focus on Gaming for Everyone followed by audience Q&A.

PAX Xbox Design Lab Sweepstakes

PAX West Controllers Image

Enter for a chance to win one of 10 Xbox Design Lab controllers, influenced by some of our favorite games. Xbox Design Lab allows you to create your own personal controller from over a billion different color combinations, metallic finishes, and rubberized grips. Check it out and design your own controller at xboxdesignlab.xbox.com.

There are two ways to enter:

  • Take a photo of your favorite Xbox Design Lab controller in the Xbox booth and share via Twitter using #XboxPAX #Sweepstakes. Don’t forget to follow @Xbox while you’re at it!
  • Follow @Xbox on Twitter and retweet one of their tweets mentioning the sweepstakes, including #XboxPAX #Sweepstakes.

You have until September 4 to enter. The contest is open to anyone from the US or Canada. Click through for the Official Rules.

It was a busy day preparing the Xbox booth for gamescom, one of the world’s biggest video game trade show events featuring over 800 exhibitors and 500,000 visitors from 50 different countries. I wanted to share some of the news and stories from today in this recap.

Earlier today, I teamed up with @AceyBongos to do a livestream of the Xbox booth. If you didn’t catch the stream you can watch it below:

 

The Xbox Wire posted a few stories related to gamescom and the titles that will be shown off in the Xbox booth. You can read them here:

Looking Back and Looking Forward at gamescom 2016

Thoughts from the Sea of Thieves PC Design Lead

Celebrating Three Years of ID@Xbox

Halo Wars 2 Comes to Europe: Thoughts from Creative Assembly

Gears of War 4 Showcased in Glorious 4K at gamescom

Forza Racing Championship Series Week 1 Results

If you’re attending gamescom and you want to try and get one of the 200 tickets to attend Xbox FanFest: gamescom 2016, you can find all of the details here. We’ll have more news stories, livestreams and other surprises over the next few days, so keep checking back here or follow me on Twitter so you don’t miss any of it.