This should come as a shock to absolutely no one: Ubisoft's action/hacking game, Watch Dogs was the best selling game in North America for the month of June, according to data released by NPD Group this week. The open-world action game managed to beat out Mario Kart 8 and Minecraft on PS3 and Xbox 360. UFC came in third, with FIFA 14 placing a respectable fifth on the charts.
Microsoft announced that Xbox One sales in the US in June were twice as much as they were in May thanks to the retail release of the Kinect-less bundle.
"Since the new Xbox One offering launched on June 9, we've seen sales of Xbox One more than double in the US, compared to sales in May," said the firm in an announcement late Wednesday afternoon.
The figures are based on "internal data based on retail calendar and sold through numbers" from Microsoft.
According to this Bloomberg report, Microsoft is planning to cut a number of jobs in its Xbox division as part of an overall restructuring plan. Two anonymous sources familiar with the situation have told Bloomberg that overall cuts could end up being the biggest number of layoffs since 2009 when the company laid off 5,800 employees.
Microsoft has updated the Xbox One this week to offer game trials, something it had been lacking and was frequently requested by Xbox One users. On Xbox 360 you can download trials of Xbox Live Arcade titles and play them to decide whether you want to buy them. This simple feature has not been available on Xbox one until now. Users have complained in the past that some ID@Xbox releases have been denied a larger spot on the Xbox One store, only visible at launch in the New Releases section.
Microsoft has denied a report coming from Digital Spy claiming that the company planned on canning the Xbox One's ability to double as a development kit for developers who want to create games for Xbox One. The report is based on comments made by the Xbox Advanced Technology Group's Martin Fuller, who said the company has no plans to implement the previously announced feature.
A select number of current Xbox 360 users have received an offer from Microsoft via Xbox Live offering them a $75 credit if they purchase an Xbox One from any retailer. How Microsoft is choosing which customers receive this special offer is unknown as of this writing. The promo appears on users' Xbox 360 dashboards and says that it's only for Microsoft's "very best customers."
The offer is for selected Xbox 360 owners in the United States, Canada, and the UK.
Sony Computer Entertainment president Andrew House said during a presentation at the Develop conference today that the company changed its 2013 E3 script at the last minute because of fan reaction to various missteps by Microsoft on a number of issues - particularly its stance on used games. House emphasized that it never changed its policies in response to Microsoft but it did tweak its E3 press conference presentation to highlight the PS4's strengths.
According to this pre-order page on the Microsoft Store, the Kinect for Windows v2 Sensor will be available for Windows PC users on July 15. One of the curious things about the page is that it lists the motion sensing camera technology for $200. That's about half the cost of buying an Xbox One without a Kinect. Hopefully this will not be the price when it releases the standalone retail version of the device sometime this fall for Xbox One.
Last week we asked readers, "Should Microsoft Bother Selling Xbox One's Kinect Separately?" The majority of those who voted in last week's poll believe that separating the Kinect from Xbox One and selling it as a spate purchase of around $100 is a good idea. Around 48 percent of you said that it was a good idea. Around 39 percent of you said "let it die," showing that being cynical is always an option.
Stephen Toulouse, the former policy and enforcement director at Xbox Live, is once again representing the Microsoft brand with his new job as director of Community Engagement on the upcoming Gears of War game for Xbox One. Toulouse actually joined Black Tusk Studios awhile ago, according to what he wrote on his personal blog.
Microsoft has revealed the Xbox One and Xbox 360 'Games With Gold' titles that will be free to Xbox Live Gold subscribers in July. Starting Tuesday, July 1, Xbox One players will be able to download Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition, replacing June's Halo: Spartan Assault. Max: The Curse of Brotherhood will remain free for another month for Xbox One users.
Xbox 360 owners will get Gotham City Imposters will be available from July 1 until July 15. On July 16 it will be replaced with BattleBlock Theater, which will be free until July 31.
Microsoft says that it will still introduce the Family Sharing feature it detailed when it initially announced the Xbox One and the new feature-set for Xbox Live on the platform. When it was announced Microsoft said that Family Share gives users the ability to share a game library among up to 10 family members. In June of last year Microsoft removed the feature alongside some of its more controversial requirements for the console like internet connection requirements and region-locked software.
Microsoft revealed that the Xbox One will finally be released in Japan this September with right around 29 games available for purchase at launch. The Xbox One's Japanese launch lineup will include a number of North American titles like Call of Duty: Ghosts, Dead Rising 3, and Crimson Dragon, along with Strider, Titanfall, and Murdered: Soul Suspect.
Forget about retail sales - which current console from Microsoft, Sony, or Nintendo is the most popular on social media state-by-state? According to real estate blog Movoto, Microsoft's Xbox One is the most popular based on data culled from Facebook "likes" by state.
Around 22 states had a larger fan count for the Xbox One, compared to the PS4’s 19 states. Not one state went for the Wii U.
Sony claims that nearly a third of current PlayStation 4 owners owned a Wii or an Xbox 360. Around 31 percent of consumers who bought a PlayStation 4 had an Xbox 360 or Wii but not a PS3 in the last hardware generation, PlayStation's American VP of marketing John Koller told Kotaku in an interview conducted at E3.
The data Koller was citing comes from a new research study - the origins of which are not revealed. Koller also said that as nearly 17 percent of people who have bought a PS4 didn't own a console at all in the previous generation.
Last night at Sony's E3 press conference the company announced that Grand Theft Auto V would be coming to the PS4 in the fall. What the company did not mention (and why on earth would they?) is that Rockstar's latest title in the hit series would also be coming to the Xbox One and - yes, finally - the PC.
"Grand Theft Auto V for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC will take full advantage of the power of new generation systems to deliver the ultimate open-world experience," said the studio in an announcement last night.
Head of Xbox Phil Spencer opened Microsoft's E3 Xbox briefing to talk about nothing but games. Microsoft avoided talking about sales numbers, upcoming Xbox Live features, and entertainment; focusing exclusively on all the games coming out by year's end and 2015 and beyond. The company spent its 90 minutes talking about and showing games through sizzle reels and live action demos. The company also focused on many of its core franchises coming out this year.
Reminder: You can watch the biggest E3 press conferences on Twitch, starting at 9:30 am PST (that's 12:30 pm EST) with Microsoft's big E3 event.
Later today Electronic Arts will host its press conference, followed by Ubisoft, and then way later in the evening Sony will host its event for the show.
Microsoft announced that a handful of new entertainment apps will be making their way to Xbox One very soon. The company said that it will bring, HBO Go and other on-demand content services from Comedy Central, Encore, FX, MTV, Starz, Syfy, USA Network, VH1, ABC, Showtime Anytime, and the Disney Channel. Other entertainment apps on the way include Crunchyroll, MLG, Vine, Vevo, and Epix.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says he has no intention of selling the Xbox business.
"I have no intent to do anything different with Xbox than we are doing today," Nadella told reporters at the Code Conference in California this week, according to The Verge.
Microsoft has announced the pricing and SKUs that it will offer when it launches the Xbox One in Japan on September 4. Two bundles will be available to Japanese gamers on September 4: one with the Kinect bundled in for 49,980 yen ($490) and one without the motion sensor device for 39,980 yen ($392).
Xbox One controller compatibility for Windows PC is nearing public release, according to a reply from Microsoft's Larry Hryb on a NeoGAF thread about the topic.
"Soon. Very soon," Hryb (AKA Mjr. Nelson) said, replying on a NeoGAF thread about when the necessary drivers would be made available via Windows.
Microsoft said back in August of 2013 that Windows support for Xbox One's peripheral would arrive sometime in 2014.
During a conference call last night to discuss the latest quarter's results, games retailer GameStop said that it is seeing a greater interest in Xbox One since announcing the new Kinect-free SKU. Microsoft announced last week that it would roll out an Xbox One SKU that did not include the motion sensing camera technology and that it would be $100 cheaper at $399.
During the call last night, GameStop president Tony Bartel said the company is seeing "stronger demand" for the Xbox One since last week.