Microsoft Promises Backwards and Forwards Compatibility in the Next Generation – At Least for Awhile

Xbox Game Studios head Matt Booty (hee hee) promises that Series X games will be playable on the Xbox One, at least for couple years.

In an interview with MCV, Booty (hee hee) promises that your Xbox One won’t be totally obsolete when the Series X is launched

“As our content comes out over the next year, two years, all of our games, sort of like PC, will play up and down that family of devices.

We want to make sure that if someone invests in Xbox between now and [Series X] that they feel that they made a good investment and that we’re committed to them with content.”

MCV

No doubt there is going to be a significant hit to visuals and framerate on these “forward compatible” games, but it’s cool that gamers will have the option.

[Source: MCV]

Microsoft is Relaunching and Expanding Xbox All Access

Xbox All Access was one of the best deals that doesn’t get much attention. The all inclusive service essentially allows you to lease a console for a monthly fee. To sweeten the pot, you also get access to Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass. It really is a no brainer, but the concept is so foreign for console gamers that it doesn’t get much traction. In the end, it’s like getting a console if you sign up for Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass.

I’m pretty open to new ways of gaming, jumping on to digital disruption very early, and even I was weary of “leasing” a console. However, Microsoft is sweetening the pot yet again.

Microsoft

This is a crazy good deal, and I may sell my Xbox One X and use the funds to subsidize the cost of the program. Early adopters who are eyeballing Project Scarlett can upgrade after making 12 payments, provided you have good enough credit.

[Source: Microsoft]

No More Xbox Exclusives on Competitor Consoles, Unless They’re Xbox Games Pass—Maybe

Earlier in the week, Xbox boss Phil Spencer put the kibosh on future Xbox exclusives appearing on competitor’s hardware. However, Ben Decker, head of gaming services at Xbox, mentioned that they will always be open to getting Game Pass on as many platforms possible.

“You know, we would like to see Game Pass on all platforms ultimately and I think that is a long term goal. We don’t have any specific plans today, but we would love to see Game Pass really go everywhere.”

Ben Decker via Gamereactor

Interesting turn of events. Since many Xbox exclusives appear on Game Pass, then in a way they could end up on other consoles.

[Source: Gamereactor]

Microsoft Announces That Xbox Exclusives Will Remain Exclusive to Xbox…What?

According to a Gamesindustry.biz post, Microsoft has no immediate plans to release exclusive Xbox games on other consoles. Instead, Microsoft will focus on its own platforms.

I’m a simple man, so perhaps I was confused by what ‘exclusive’ actually means.

Okay, so I’m not a total dumbass. Anyway in statement to Gamesindustry.biz, Microsoft did clarify:

“The past year has been an exciting time for us as we have more than doubled the internal creative teams making up Xbox Game Studios. As these new studios transitioned in, we were aware of some existing commitments to other platforms and will honor them. However, going forward these new studios will focus on making games for our platforms. We have no plans to further expand our exclusive first party games to other consoles. We continue to believe deeply in cross play and progression of games with the right flexibility for developers to insure a fair and fun experience.”

Gamesindustry.biz

Microsoft has been releasing titles like Ori and the Blind Forest on Switch as well as Minecraft on multiple platforms. A new generation of consoles is coming into view and Microsoft has been acquiring studios. I’m not surprised that Microsoft wants its investments supporting its own interests.

[Source: Gamesindustry.biz]

Gears 5 Horde Mode Has Evolved into Something Different and Welcomes in a Bit of Halo

Microsoft has been dropping some news at Gamescom this year. Nothing groundbreaking, but there was interesting Gears 5 stuff.

In particular Horde Mode in Gears 5 is pivoting into the realm of hero shooters. Each character now will a unique ability. Kait for example, can cloak while JD can request an air strike, Marcus can inject himself with dynabol and roid-rage until he cries… probably.

Also announced at the Xbox conference is a Halo: Reach character pack for Gears 5.

Halo fans will recognize Spartans Emile-A239 and Kat-B320 from Halo: Reach, who will also have their own unique abilities in Horde Mode. Space Meatheads fighting along side with Space Marines. MASS HYSTERIA!

[Source: Microsoft]

First Blair Witch Game Trailer is Creepy—Has Very Good Boy

Back in 1999, a friend and I snuck into The Blair Witch Project because it was sold out. It was a groundbreaking film at the time and worth the risk of getting caught and thrown out of the theater by an angry usher. The movie was sufficiently spooky, but the shaky camera footage made me want to puke. Hopefully the video game version wont induce any motion sickness.

Developer Bloober Team released a gameplay trailer and things are looking suitably dark and scary. Also, there is a very good boy and NOTHING BETTER HAPPEN TO HIM.

I’m really digging the candy bar cell phone. Adds a nice touch and ties the game to the same era as the movie.

Blair Witch launches August 30.

[Source: Bloober Team]

Xbox Dumps Cortana—Updates to Home Screen UI Underway

Microsoft announced that changes are coming to the Xbox One’s user interface.

First off, the home screen will be getting a face lift. Secondly, Cortana is being dumped. Cortana is going to need to pack her bags and find some place else to go. She’s a strong, brave, and independent AI so she will be fine, you’ll see.

Cortana being strong, brave, and independent.

Other than Cortana getting kicked to the curb, the updates to the home screen UI are welcome change.

“The Home on Xbox One is the first thing you see when you turn on your Xbox One, and we want to deliver an easy and seamless experience for you to navigate your console. We’ve heard your feedback and have continued to iterate on Home to get you into your gaming experiences faster and keeping more of your content front and center. With today’s update, we’re experimenting with a streamlined user interface.

With this new experimental Home design, the first thing you’ll notice is we’ve removed the Twists from the top of Home in favor of separate buttons that launch your gaming experiences. The goal is to let you jump into Xbox Game Pass, Mixer, Xbox Community and Microsoft Store quicker than ever. We’ve also shifted things around to make more room for your recently played titles.”

Microsoft

Xbox Insider members already have access to the new UI. The new UI will be rolled out to everyone this fall.

[Source: Microsoft]

Xbox Sales Are Down 48%—Mass Hysteria Ensues

Microsoft had a recent investor call and the news was not so rosy on the gaming front.

Gaming revenue declined 10% (down 8% in constant currency) with Xbox software and services revenue down 3% (down 1% in constant currency)

Microsoft

Of course, this pales in comparison to the below:

Source: Microsoft (Hey Xbox Live users grew!)

Shit balls that is bad. Of course, the Sony fanboys are gloating and Xbox fanboys are making excuses.

As always, it’s something in the middle. The Xbox One has always struggled against the PS4 since Don Mattrick shit the bed at launch. However, Phil Spencer has turned things around, setting up the next generation.

Speaking of next-gen, Microsoft has whipped their dick out and pretty much revealed what is in the works, so a decline in current hardware sales is to be expected.

Microsoft is also shifting their approach, to be more services centric, than hardware first, even though they claim that the Xbox Scarlett will be a force to be reckoned with. Microsoft is concentrating on multiple fronts, hedging their bets on what the future of gaming will be.

With that said, holy shit, a 48% drop is HUUUUUUGE. Hope Spencer and company have plan in place, because they have their work cut out for them.

[Source: Microsoft]

Gears 5 Devs Reveals Sweet Looking Arcade Mode

Gears 5 looks like it’s coming along nicely. Today, a first look of ‘Arcade’ was released, which is a new type of versus multiplayer, which looks mighty nice.

We are excited to reveal your first look at Arcade, a brand new type of Versus experience for all types of players. This ultimate jump-in / jump-out mode brings hero characters, each with their own distinct abilities and weapon upgrades, to Gears 5 Versus players.


Arcade Deathmatch is just the beginning, where two teams of five race to be first to 50 kills. This promises to be unlike any Gears TDM you’ve ever played!

Microsoft

I’ve cooled on the Gears franchise over the years, but I’m legitimately excited for Gears 5.

Gears 5 is set to launch September 10.

[Source: Microsoft]

Microsoft’s Xbox E3 Game Line-Up is So Big It’s Gonna Make You Puke

Not Phil Spencer

Phil Spencer is going to be talking about GAMES, GAMES, GAMES at Microsoft’s E3 press conference this year.

As I mentioned, Microsoft has a real opportunity to steal the show. Hopefully they don’t fuck it up.

[Source: Twitter]