Earlier this week Microsoft announced that it would delay the launch of its next-generation console in eight European territories to "as soon as possible in 2014." Those countries include Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and Switzerland.
In an "Ask Microsoft Anything About Xbox One" feature over at IGN, Microsoft revealed another change of heart related to its upcoming Xbox One console: it doesn't have to be plugged into the Xbox One if you don't want to use it. This revelation came from Microsoft's Marc Whitten. In two sections about Kinect, Whitten explained what the different states of having the Kinect motion sensing and voice recognition technology turned on and off will mean:
On this week's show we talk about the continued neglect of the Wii U by third-party developers, the right and wrong way to put together a crowd-funding campaign for a game, the latest news on the Xbox One, and the results of last week's poll on GamePolitics. Download Episode 64 now: SuperPAC Episode 64 (1 hour, 20 minutes) 74.3 MB.
No one at Microsoft would be foolish enough (at this point) to deny that the messaging on Xbox One's various features has been muddled. Since the E3 press conference in June where it took so much heat for all of its policies that seemed to be anti-consumer, Microsoft has made a serious effort to turn things around. Microsoft has done this by changing its stance on everything from indie games requiring a first- or third-party publisher, and the Xbox One having to be always-connected, to tossing out its system for managing used games.
Yesterday Microsoft confirmed that only Xbox Live Gold subscribers would be able to use the new Game DVR feature on Xbox One. No one was shocked by that news, given the current structure of Xbox Live and how it limits features of those not willing to pay for the service.
On this week's show hosts Andrew Eisen and E. Zachary Knight talk about the latest Tropes v. Women video, the Boob Jam, Australia's plan to make all upcoming consoles region free, the Xbox One's ability to stay on for ten years, the new community-policed Xbox Live system, and a whole lot more. Download Episode 63 now: SuperPAC Episode 63 (1 hour, 13 minute) 56.7 MB.
Yesterday Microsoft took the wraps off two new initiatives for Xbox Live that - it hopes - will make it a better community to be in. One is called One is Enforcement United, which lets XBL subscribers weigh in on if particular content violates Microsoft’s terms of service. The second is Xbox Community Level, which lets players "gain levels" and earn prizes by making positive contributions to Xbox Live.
According to this Eurogamer report, the next free games to be released on Xbox Live as part of Microsoft's Games with Gold Promotion will be the open-world future-leaning action game Crackdown, and the zombie survival game sequel Dead Rising 2.
In Episode 61 of the Super Podcast Action Committee, hosts Andrew Eisen and E. Zachary Knight talk about the First Amendment, if Microsoft will cooperate with the government to allow access to the Kinect's various features (for the purposes of spying on us), Forza 5 requiring a 'day one' update, and a whole lot more. there's even some talk about Howard the Duck, LEGOs, the new Avengers movie, Hank Pym, Comic-Con and more. Download Episode 61 now: SuperPAC Episode 61 (1 hour, 10 minutes) 64 MB.
Forza 5, one of several first-party launch titles for the Xbox One, will require consumers to connect online at least once before it can be played. If users buy the game and refuse to connect to Xbox Live for -what we assume is - a title update - then the game will not be playable at all. A developer working on the game confirmed the news with IGN.
According to an announcement on Microsoft's Xbox Live Rewards website, the incentive program for Xbox Live is going to be revamped in September. Most of the changes have to do with the program doling out MS Points. With MS Points going the way of the dinosaur soon in favor of real-world currency, this is not an unexpected announcement.
Microsoft encourages Xbox Live Rewards members to return to the website on September 1 for more details on the revamped program.
You can find the full statement below:
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer detailed a sweeping restructuring plan in an internal email to employees. In the memo Ballmer said that Microsoft will be organized by function within four groups: OS, Apps, Cloud and Devices.
Update: Microsoft tells Kotaku that UK dashboard beta testers will receive refunds for any money lost related to the exchange of MS Points into real cash. Microsoft calls the pricing changes an "error."
Polytron's Phil Fish announced via Twitter recently that he will finally patch a long standing bug on his Xbox Live Arcade title FEZ. Last week it came to light that - earlier in the year - Microsoft had ditched its policy of charging developer tens of thousands of dollars to do title updates beyond the one free title update they would get after publishing a game on XBLA. Fish lashed out last week at Microsoft because that same policy kept him from providing fans with a fix for a nasty bug. Now all that seems to be water under the bridge.
Speaking to the Reddit community, Larry 'Major Nelson' Hryb said that he was sorry that fans were disappointed that the first free game for July in Microsoft's Games for Gold program was Defense Grid. Fans expected to receive Halo 3 or Assassin's Creed 2 - which were announced as games being given away free as part of the program during E3.
Update #2: It looks like no one will replace Mattrick, according to a memo obtained by Kotaku attributed to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Instead of replacing Mattrick, all of Mattrick's subordinates in the division will now report directly to Ballmer.
Larry Hryb announced via his blog this morning that Defense Grid: The Awakening will be given away for free this month as part of Microsoft's “Games With Gold” program. Beginning today until July 15 Xbox Live Gold subscribers can download the game for free to their Xbox 360's. The Games for Gold program will give away two free games a month until the launch of the Xbox One. Other upcoming games include Assassin's creed 2 and Halo 3.
Fez creator Phil Fish has criticized former co-publishing partner Microsoft for doing what he considers "nothing" to help sell his game on Xbox Live Arcade. Fish took to Twitter yesterday to complain about Microsoft's lack of support for him and his game and gave no quarter in his harsh criticism:
Microsoft is no longer charging developers and publishers a fee for updates according to multiple sources speaking to Eurogamer. Apparently, Microsoft made the change to its policy on updates earlier in the year. Prior to that change any updates after the one free update publishers were entitled to cost developers "tens of thousands of dollars."
Microsoft will spend $700 million on a new data center in West Des Moines, Iowa - according to the Des Moines Register. The data center is the result of a deal with the Iowa Economic Development Authority Board, which has approved through the state $20 million in tax credits for the computing giant for what has been named ‘Project Mountain’.
In Episode 57 of the Super Podcast Action Committee, hosts Andrew Eisen and E. Zachary Knight talk about several GamePolitics polls, Microsoft's decision to pull a 180 on its various Xbox One policies, Cliff Bleszinski's public comments about the whole thing, and a whole lot more. Download Episode 57 now: SuperPAC Episode 57 (1 hour, 16 minutes) 69.5 MB.
The official Xbox Live website reveals that on the 1st and 16th of every month Xbox Live gold subscribers can expect a new game. While Microsoft has not said why it suddenly started handing out free games to Gold members, some believe it is the company's way of competing with Sony's PlayStation Plus subscription model which hands out freebies every month. Whatever the reason for these free giveaways, it's tough to badmouth a promotion where people get full free games - even if they are slightly dated...
Speaking to Polygon, Microsoft has confirmed that the required Xbox One launch-day patch is not tied directly to offline functionality. Before consumers can start using the system they will have to download a "day one" update.
More details have been revealed on the new Xbox 360 consoles that have been released to retail outlets today. The newly redesigned console comes in three SKUs: a 4GB model, a 4GB model with Kinect included, and a 250GB model.
The 4GB vanilla option will cost $200, a 4GB with Kinect included will cost $300 and the 350 GB Xbox 360 will cost $300. We assume that these newly designed models will eventually replace older models on the market now.
Microsoft held its Electronic Entertainment Exp Xbox One press conference today, finally showing off some of the games that will ultimately make or break its system as it goes head-to-head with Sony's PlayStation 4 later this year. The most notable news coming out of the event is when the console will be released and how much it will cost consumers when it hits retail.
Blizzard announced this morning that Diablo III will be released on the PlayStation 3 on September 3, 2013. The company also revealed that an Xbox 360 version of the game has been in the works for quite some time and will release on the same date. Both games will be released simultaneously in the U.S., Canada, Spanish-speaking Latin America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.
A Russian coder and hacker known only as "Barabus" has ported Ska Studios popular "M" rated XBLA action game The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile to the PC. But before you celebrate, this PC version of the game is not an official port and doesn't exactly have the blessing of Ska Studios founder James Silva. It is basically pirated version of the game.
Barabus defends his action by arguing that the developer of the game should have made a PC port himself and that by not doing so is "not very nice."