John Smith, Sr. Director, Microsoft Store Product Marketing, provides details about PC digital game gifting.

Last Fall, the Microsoft Store enabled gifting of select Xbox One digital games, Xbox One downloadable game content (durables only), and Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass subscriptions. This feature has been a huge hit with our fans and has made buying presents for friends and family even easier, especially around the holidays.

Today, we’re excited to announce that we have expanded digital gifting to include PC games and PC downloadable game content (e.g. map packs, skins). Further, all Xbox One games are now eligible for digital gifting.

PC Gifting In-line Image Final

Here’s how to start sending digital gifts in the Microsoft Store:

*Head over to the Microsoft Store on Windows 10, on the Xbox One family of devices, or online, navigate to the product that you would like to purchase, select Buy as Gift, and enter the email address of the gift recipient. On Xbox One, you can choose a Gamertag from your list of Xbox Live friends.

*The gift recipient will receive a code for their product along with instructions on how to redeem the code. On Xbox One, gift recipients will receive a system message with a clickable redemption button.

A few things in keep in mind as you’re gifting:

*Gift purchasers can only buy two discounted products – and a total of 10 discounted products – every 14 days. There are no limits for gift purchases made at full price.

*Gifting of Xbox 360 and Xbox original games, pre-orders, free products, and consumable downloadable game content such as virtual currency is not allowed.

*Gift recipients can only redeem gift tokens in the country or region where they were purchased.

Many PC games are available for gifting today, May 10, and all games should be available for gifting by Friday, May 11. We are hard at work on improving digital gifting, adding new capabilities as well as support for new content types. We look forward to bringing you updates on the gifting of paid PC and Xbox apps soon.

Over the years, digital gifting has been one of the top asks from our fans. Please continue to give us feedback on features you would like to see, either using the Windows Feedback Hub app in Windows 10 or using our User Voice page. Thanks!

Content: Raiders Of The Broken Planet – Wardog Fury Bundle And Hades Betrayal Bundle
Check availability in your Xbox LIVE region

Game Description: Raiders of the Broken Planet is a novel 4 vs 1 adventure where you experience both sides of the story: Team up with other Raiders, or change sides and foil their missions, fighting as an Antagonist with the enemy at your side. Experience the full Raiders of the Broken Planet epic adventure with this Ultimate Edition. Get all four premium campaigns for Raiders of the Broken Planet including Alien Myths, Wardog Fury, Hades Betrayal and Council Apocalypse, plus five incredible premium character skins for an unbeatable price!

Download Raiders Of The Broken Planet for Xbox One from the Xbox Games Store

Purchase Raiders of the Broken Planet – Wardog Fury Bundle for Xbox One from the Xbox Games Store – WARDOG FURY is a premium campaign for Raiders of the Broken Planet; a new adventure including 4 challenging 4 vs 1 missions. Play your favourite Raider!

Purchase Raiders of the Broken Planet – Hades Betrayal Bundle for Xbox One from the Xbox Games Store – Hades Betrayal is a premium campaign for Raiders of the Broken Planet. Pick your Raider, lock and load your weapons and get ready for an intense; crazy, one of a kind experience!

Product Info:
Developer: Mercury Steam Entertainment
Publisher: Mercury Steam Entertainment
Website: Raiders Of The Broken Planet
Twitter: @mercurysteam

NOTE: Supports Xbox Play Anywhere: yours to play on both Xbox One and Windows 10 PC at no additional cost.

For more information on Xbox Play Anywhere, check out this article at Xbox Wire.

It’s time to kiss Winter goodbye: the Microsoft Store Spring Sale starts today! Freshen up your gaming and entertainment options and take advantage of savings on select Xbox digital games, consoles, accessories, Xbox Live Gold, movies & TV shows, and apps for Xbox.

See the full list of Xbox One and Xbox 360 games on sale here

Save up to 65% on Xbox games

Xbox Spring Sale 2018 Key Art

There are over 450 deals on popular Xbox digital games and add-ons, and if you are an Xbox Live Gold member then you save up to an additional 10% on games. Save on popular titles like Call of Duty: WWII, FIFA 18, Star Wars Battlefront 2, Assassin’s Creed Origins, Cuphead, and Forza Motorsport 7. Discover savings on an array of Xbox One X Enhanced games, Backward Compatible titles, and Xbox Play Anywhere games! Offers on select Xbox digital games and add-ons available now through April 9.

Save on Xbox Consoles and Accessories

Xbox Spring Sale 2018 Key Art

The Spring Sale is the perfect time to upgrade to the world’s most powerful console. Buy an Xbox One X and get a free select game of your choice, including titles like Sea of Thieves, PUBG, Forza Motorsport 7, and more. Want a console, but are prioritizing price over power? Buy an Xbox One S console and save $50 plus get a free select game of your choice. Need a new controller? Now when you buy select customizable Xbox Design Lab controller or an officially licensed NFL Xbox controller you save $10 and get free shipping. Xbox console offers end April 1 and Xbox Design Lab offer ends on April 9.

Save This Spring on Xbox Live Gold

Don’t have Gold? Join now and save this Spring with three months for the price of one. Go Gold and join the best community of gamers on the most advanced multiplayer network.  Get 2 – 4 free games every month and save up to 50 – 75% on weekly Deals with Gold for Xbox One from Microsoft Store. Sign in and save before this offer expires on April 9 for this exclusive online deal. Promotional offer not valid for existing members.

Save on Apps and Entertainment

Save up to 60% on hundreds of hit movies and TV shows including “Blade Runner 2049,” “Planet of the Apes Trilogy,” “The Lego Ninjago Movie,” “Wonder Woman,” and more. From new releases to movie bundles to TV season passes, you won’t want to miss these deals, available for both Windows and Xbox. Save up to 50% on apps for Xbox like Nitrado, Dolby Atmos, AirServer Xbox Edition, and more during Spring Sale. Movies & TV and App offers apply to select movies, TV shows, TV season passes, and apps and end April 2.

Save up to 50% on PC Games

Save on select popular Windows 10 games such as Forza Motorsport 7, Hello Neighbor, ARK: Survival Evolved, and many more. Many games including Forza Motorsport 7, Cuphead, ARK: Survival Evolved, Gears of War 4, and more support Xbox Play Anywhere, meaning one purchase gets you the game on Xbox One and Windows 10 with cross save capability (PC hardware requirements may vary for games on Windows 10). PC gaming offers end April 2.

Spring Sale starts today, so visit Microsoft Store or Xbox.com to take advantage of these deals before the sale ends.

 

Adam Isgreen, Creative Director at Microsoft, shares details about the launch of Age Of Empires: Definitive Edition on Windows 10.

Welcome back to history! Today is an exciting day for us at Microsoft, as we celebrate the legacy of Age of Empires with today’s release of Age of Empires: Definitive Edition worldwide on Windows 10 PCs.

Purchase Age of Empires: Definitive Edition from the Microsoft online store

We created Age of Empires: Definitive Edition as a homage to all Real Time Strategy (RTS) fans and to PC gamers everywhere. The Definitive Edition brings back the original Age of Empires and its Rise of Rome expansion with 16 civilizations to explore and 10 campaigns to conquer. Fully remastered with beautifully enhanced graphics that support up to 4K resolution, an impressive orchestral soundtrack, brand-new narrative, major gameplay improvements, Xbox Live support for multiplayer and Achievements, the Definitive Edition brings back the original feeling of Age of Empires, but better than ever.

We’re excited to start playing the game with you, and can’t wait to show you what’s next for the award-winning RTS franchise as we work on Definitive Editions of Age of Empires II and Age of Empires III.

As we welcome new and returning players to the Age of Empires franchise, we invite you celebrate launch by joining fellow Age of Empires fans at select Microsoft Store locations for the Age of Empires Tournament to conquer other civilizations and advance your Empire to the next age. Starting March 1, join a bracket style 1-v-1 tournament at 5 p.m. local time, to win prizes and a chance to receive Age of Empires swag. Tournaments are free to join, and players can sign up at smash.gg.

Check out the Age of Empires tournaments at the following Microsoft Store locations:

We’d like to thank everyone who has already experienced the game through our Closed Beta program. We’ve been so appreciative of all the insightful feedback we received, feedback which helped us develop the Definitive Edition as it is being released today.

On behalf of Microsoft Studios, Forgotten Empires and the rest of the Age of Empires team, thank you to the fans for supporting Age throughout the years. Ready to return to history with Age of Empires: Definitive Edition? Visit a Microsoft Store near you or Microsoft.com online to play or participate in the tournament action. Hope to see you soon!

Larry Hryb @majornelson

More @majornelson on Twitter

Adam Isgreen, Creative Director at Microsoft Studios, shares details about the upcoming launch of Age of Empires: Definitive Edition, releasing February 20th on Windows 10 PC.

When we set out to create the Definitive Edition of the original Age of Empires, our goal was to deliver the best possible version of this classic, from a top notch audio-visual presentation to multiplayer to core game systems. Everything needed to be as good as you remembered it (or better!) to deliver a compelling RTS experience 20 years after its original release.

…and that took us a bit longer than we’d originally planned. But, it was important for the team to treat the Age of Empires franchise with the respect it deserves, so we took the time we needed to get features like attack-move and the improved minimap exactly right, and even added things like an in-game tech tree (how did we survive 1997 without that?) that we hope fans will love.

And now I’m happy to announce that Age of Empires: Definitive Edition is launching on February 20 worldwide for Windows 10 PCs at $19.99 USD.

For this Definitive Edition, we’ve made improvements like:

  • Completely rebuilding assets for a modern 4K presentation
  • Letting you play online with Xbox LIVE (in addition to LAN play)
  • Re-recorded the original soundtrack with a new orchestral score
  • Adding campaign narration for every mission
  • Enhancing the campaign and scenario editor, which allows anyone to make original custom campaigns for the game, by letting players easily share them with other players around the world via AgeOfEmpires.com

The above and more outline the many quality of life gameplay improvements we’ve added – all while retaining the original feel and unique gameplay that made Age of Empires so special for so many.

To celebrate this announce, we’re also opening up the multiplayer beta to more players worldwide starting January 29 so everyone can get a taste of the game for free before it launches on February 20. You can find more information on the beta and sign up for it at AgeOfEmpires.com.

We’re excited to get Age of Empires: Definitive Edition into the hands of players this February and we thank you for your patience while we put the finishing touches on it!

Welcome back to history!

Content: Raiders of the Broken Planet – Ultimate Edition
Check availability in your Xbox LIVE region

Game Description: Raiders of the Broken Planet is a novel 4 vs 1 adventure where you experience both sides of the story: Team up with other Raiders, or change sides and foil their missions, fighting as an Antagonist with the enemy at your side. Experience the full Raiders of the Broken Planet epic adventure with this Ultimate Edition. Get all four premium campaigns for Raiders of the Broken Planet including Alien Myths, Wardog Fury, Hades Betrayal and Council Apocalypse, plus five incredible premium character skins for an unbeatable price!

Download Raiders Of The Broken Planet for Xbox One from the Xbox Games Store

Purchase Raiders of the Broken Planet – Ultimate Edition for Xbox One from the Xbox Games Store

Product Info:
Developer: Mercury Steam Entertainment
Publisher: Mercury Steam Entertainment
Website: Raiders Of The Broken Planet
Twitter: @mercurysteam

NOTE: Supports Xbox Play Anywhere: yours to play on both Xbox One and Windows 10 PC at no additional cost.

For more information on Xbox Play Anywhere, check out this article at Xbox Wire.

Chris Charla, Director of ID@Xbox, shares some details on the Creators Program and introduces the first round of indie titles featured in this program.

Back in March, we unveiled the Xbox Live Creators Program. Starting today, I’m excited to announce that any developer can directly publish their games to Xbox One and Windows 10. And, the first wave of games from the Creators Program are live right now for everyone on Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs! This is an important step for Team Xbox as we continue to deliver a large and diverse lineup of games from creators big and small from around the world.

I’d like to tell you a little bit about the Creators Program, what it means for games to be available in the Creators Collection, why developers should signup, what gamers can expect, and look at some of the first games available starting today.

First, what is the Creators Program? Xbox empowers game developers large and small to create different types of games for every type of players. It’s all about offering a diverse range of games, and this program has that for sure! The Creators Program was established to enable developers to directly publish their games – any of their games – to Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs, with a simplified certification process and no concept approval required.

Developers that publish through the Creators Program have the freedom and independence to develop games that are truly unique, resulting in a collection with games that can be quirky and have varying degrees of polish, but are always interesting.

Here’s a quick look at the first titles that will be available via the program:

*Animal Rivals, Blue Sunset Games: Animal Rivals is an action-packed couch party game for one to four players. Drop into the game and fight for the Animalonia’s throne as one of the furry contenders in different mini-games and locations. Game itself presents a unique art style mixing the cartoonish looks and satire approach. (Xbox One, Windows 10)

*Block Dropper, Tresiris Games: Block Dropper is a fast paced, arcade style, 3D platformer. Try not to fall as you guide your character through the challenging single player mode or grab a friend to battle head to head in a local multiplayer Block Battle Arena. Tresiris is a small game studio based in Olathe, Kansas, who create fun and simple games with quality as their top priority. (Xbox One, Windows 10)

*Crystal Brawl, Studio Mercato: Gauntlet meets NBA Jam in Crystal Brawl, a 2v2 capture-the-flag local multiplayer game that melds fast action with MOBA-like strategy. Choose from a variety of characters with different abilities, with a notable twist: each character has a unique ability that alters the terrain. Experiment with different character combinations to uncover hidden strategies! Studio Mercato is an independent game studio based in New York City. (Xbox One, Windows 10)

*Derelict Fleet, Bionic Pony: Derelict Fleet is a fast-paced space combat game. You are tasked with defending a refugee fleet as you travel the stars searching for a new colony to call home. Bionic Pony is a small indie studio based in Tampa, FL that started making Xbox Live indie games in 2010. (Xbox One)

*ERMO, Nonostante: ERMO is a relaxing puzzle game featured with a calming and peaceful graphics. Immerse yourself in the landscapes and colors of ERMO and let you be carried away. You will learn the rules in a few seconds, but ERMO will catch you for hours. (Xbox One)

*GalactiMAX!, ONLYUSEmeFEET: In the vast darkness of space, GalactiMAX has the player shooting aliens for points to pierce the heavens in classic arcade shooter action! As more aliens are defeated, the player’s ship will increase in size and power. How big can this ship get?! (Xbox One, Windows 10)

*kubic, Pixel Envision Ltd: kubic is a relaxing optical illusion puzzle game based on M.C. Escher’s art, impossible objects and other geometric designs. The object is to construct the goal configuration from a number of pieces. (Xbox One, Windows 10)

*Space Cat!, GershGamesLLC: Shoot your way past an onslaught of enemies and bosses. Collect weapon upgrades like missiles, bombs, laser beams and much more. GershGamesLLC is a group of young hobbyists that makes for fun on the weekends. (Xbox One, Windows 10)

*Stereo Aereo, The Stonebot Studio: Stereo Aereo is an action rhythm game that is inspired by the pop-culture influences of the 80’s. You, the player, have to make sure that the mediocre space rockband Stereo Aereo, gets to their life changing concert, on time, in this comic styled sci-fi game. (Xbox One, Windows 10)

Where can you find the games? On Windows 10 the games are in the Games category of the Store. On Xbox One, the games can be found in the Creators Collection, a special section of the Xbox One Store which you can find in the Games section. Why a special section? We think it’s awesome to open up development to anyway with no barriers – no traditional certification, no “concept approval,” and no limitations. But we also listened to feedback from players, parents and developers who let us know they love the curated store experience on Xbox One. This gives us all the best of both worlds: A curated store and a fully open marketplace in the Creators Collection.

For developers, publishing games through the Creators Program is easy. First, you can take advantage of tools you’re already using; like a retail Xbox One console, the free Dev Mode Activation app from the Xbox Store, and game engines like Unity, Construct 2, MonoGame, and Xenko. Second, there are minimal barriers to the program; use a Microsoft Developer account which can cost as little as $20, download the Xbox Live Creators SDK, create your game, and then ship it through a short and simplified certification process. That’s it!

Games published through the Creators Program have access to the full set of social features from Xbox Live, including sign-in and presence, use of your Gamertag, leaderboards, access to your Activity Feed, Game Hubs, Clubs, Party Chat, Game DVR, and broadcasting on Mixer.

As an open program, Creators Program games don’t have access to Achievements, Gamerscore, or internet multiplayer. To access those features, professional developers can go through the ID@Xbox program. Of course, there’s a path for games to move from the Creators Program to ID@Xbox during development (or even after they reach the Store) if a developer decides they want to add Gamerscore, Achievements, or internet multiplayer.

While ID@Xbox was designed for professional game developers who wish to use the full set of Xbox Live features through a full certification process, the Creators Program makes publishing a game accessible to anyone. Whether they’re small or budding studios, hobbyists, makers, teachers and students, or if they’re just learning the ropes – the Creators Program is a simplified way to create and ship games to the Xbox community.

We hope players will enjoy the games in the Creators Collection. You’ll find creative games, some familiar styles, and some brand-new experiences; really, whatever these imaginative developers chose to make. Gamers can expect the Creators Collection on their Xbox One, and the Window Store on their PC, to regularly add new games as developers finish their work. And these are unfiltered games directly from the developers themselves, so your feedback is of course welcomed.

This is just the beginning. We’ll be sure to spotlight more of the diverse array of Creators Program games that catch our eyes right here on Xbox Wire. I can’t wait to see all the games that these developers will create, and of course, I can’t wait to play them. Stay tuned for more, and in the meantime, have fun!

Mike Ybarra, Corporate Vice President of Xbox Platform Engineering, discusses the next Xbox update releasing to Alpha Ring Insiders starting today. Watch the video and read his comments about the update below:

It’s an exciting day at Team Xbox as Xbox Insiders in the Alpha Ring will get a first look at the latest Xbox update. This release is the next major update for gaming on Xbox One and Windows 10 PC, and is designed to make the Xbox gaming experience more fun, personalized, and social than ever. We’ve heard feedback from our fans that they want the ability to customize Home the way they want. This new experience on Xbox One gives gamers more choice and delivers fun faster. Updates to Home, Guide and Community are available today, with updates to Avatars, Game Hubs, Profiles and more coming this fall. Windows 10 PCs will also receive updates to the Game bar and Gaming settings menu. Here’s a detailed look at some of the new features that will arrive for Xbox Insiders starting today and continuing throughout the next few months:

Customize Your Home: The first thing Insiders will notice is the new Home on Xbox One. This update is all about personalization; we’re putting the control in your hands, so that you can decide what to see when you turn on your console. The new look and feel is part of a design system called Microsoft Fluent Design; the look, feel, and movement of the dashboard has been updated to focus on speed, customization and expression—for you. Now, customize your Home screen to be uniquely yours, and view all the things you love at-a-glance. Have a favorite game or friend? Add them to Home!  Select one, press the Menu button on your controller, and select “Add to Home.”  This now creates an entire block of content that can be moved up or down—or removed altogether, should your interests or habits change. These blocks will evolve over time based on the things you like to do. For example, adding a game to your Home screen may pull in an Activity Feed post from the developer, show when your friends are playing that game online, suggest your next Achievement, and provide a quick shortcut to the Game Hub for that title. We’ll be adding additional types of content blocks in the coming months, so stay tuned for more. The team is always pushing to make the Xbox experience faster and faster. In this release, we’ve eliminated the wait between Home, Social, and My Games and Apps by consolidating them into one dashboard experience. No more splash screens means you get to fun even faster.

Effortless Guide Navigation: With this update, it’s faster than ever to switch between tabs in the guide so you can join friends, broadcast, switch between apps, and get back Home. New tab flyouts make it easier to see more content quickly, too. The new Guide layout quickly gets you to the stuff you care about, so you never miss a moment. It’s now even easier to switch between apps or get back to Home, and the new layout will enable you to quickly jump to different tabs using the left thumbstick, d-pad, or bumpers on your controller. Sign-in, Achievements, multiplayer (including parties, Looking for Group, and tournaments), People, Home and recent messages, broadcasts and captures, and a new action center (including settings) each have their own tab in the new Guide.

A More Immersive Community: Staying connected with Friends and Clubs is now better than ever. The community section has an entirely new Activity Feed layout, showing more content at-a-glance.  When looking at feed items in detail, they are presented in an immersive, full-screen view—sharing the experience just as it was captured.  Reading comments is now much easier since the comment window can be expanded to fill the screen. You’ll now be able to skim the feed quickly or lean back on the couch and walk through it in detail – it’s entirely up to you. This makes it easier than ever to stay current with the games and friends you care about. Game Hubs, Profiles, and Clubs are also refreshed to make them more dynamic and engaging than ever before.  We’re also making Improvements to Club discovery, to quickly display which Clubs you’re already a part of, and easily discover new Clubs to join.  There will also be new titles that will be coming to Arena over the next few months, soon offering even more options for tournaments powered by Xbox Live.

Game Bar Gets Even Better: On Windows 10, we’re making it easier than ever to enable or disable Game Mode on a per-game basis by putting a switch directly in the Game bar. Mixer broadcasting with the Game bar will now give you more choices on the audio you broadcast; a new settings option will let you choose to broadcast game-only audio, or system-wide audio.  We’ve also added a new Xbox Live Network Troubleshooting option to the Settings menu in Windows 10, which will help you track down connectivity issues and optimize your online multiplayer experience.

This is just the beginning of some major updates arriving for Xbox gamers later this year.  We’ll be introducing plenty of new features in the coming months across Xbox One, Windows 10 PC, Mixer, and mobile devices designed to make your gaming experiences all about you. As always, we owe some big thanks for all the fan feedback we receive and review from gamers everywhere, as well as to the invaluable members of our Xbox Insider Program for all the feedback they provide regularly. We’ll be sharing more when the update releases to more fans later this year. The team has worked hard, and we hope you enjoy these latest updates to your Xbox One experience! And of course, don’t forget to tell us what you think.