Meatheads with Chainsaw Guns 5 (aka Gears of War 5) to be Showcased at E3 2019

Microsoft is pretty much going to have E3 2019 to themselves, so they better make the best of it. So we’re going to get treated to some Gears of War 5 stuff at the Xbox press event on June 9.

Look. I like Gears of War. I was 26 when the the original was launched, kicking off the franchise. I was a big dumb meathead back then, so the game really resonated with me. 14 years later, I’ve blossomed into my dad bod, so I cannot really relate to these characters anymore.

I do like the idea of playing as Kait Diaz this time around. Playing as the same old meatheads with guns was getting stale. Also Kait is a badass and smokeshow, so bonus.

Fact: Badass and Smokeshow

[Source: Twitter]

You’ll Be Able to Play Every Xbox One Title on Project xCloud

Microsoft has gone all in when it comes to backwards compatibility on the Xbox One and this will continue into the next generation and Project xCloud.

According to the official Microsoft Xbox Wire news site:

“There are currently more than 1,900 games in development for Xbox One, all of which could run on Project xCloud. Developers creating those games continue working normally – building with the tools they have – while we do the work to make their games accessible to the broadest set of players possible.”

All of this, of course will run off of Azure tech, which Sony will apparently be using for their streaming services as well according to the recently announced strategic partnership with Microsoft.

If you as me, I’m not sold on this whole streaming feature yet. I’m a cynical old school gamer who fears change.

However, if you give me the best of both worlds, letting me play locally but give me the option to stream when the conditions are optimal, then you have my attention.

[Source: Xbox Wire]

Google Announces Game Streaming Service

Shazam! Err, Stadia!

Google has officially opened up their kimono and unveiled details of their game streaming service Shazam. The next generation of gaming is getting interesting.

Google bills the service as revolutionary gaming platform which users can play AAA video games across all kinds of screens, without the need of a dedicated console, physical media, or even downloading a game. If you have a device that has the Chrome browser, you can stream Stadia games.

Google promises that the Stadia service will stream games in 4K resolutions at 60 frames per second in HDR with surround sound if you have an internet connection over a 25 Mbps. If your connection is slower, Stadia will decrease resolution or FPS to compensate.

Users can use third party wired controllers, but Google will also be releasing a dedicate controller to accompany Stadia. The controller connects directly to the data center hosting the game rather than your local device. Google claims this improve performance. I reckon the idea is that this is one less relay point, to avoid the dreaded input lag that has existed in previous attempts to stream games from a data center (cough, PlayStation Now, cough).

Of course, the Google Stadia is going to be a direct competitor to gaming stalwarts like Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft.

Microsoft has already tipped their hand that they are looking to a future of cloud gaming with Project xCloud. Microsoft is envisioning a future where you have dedicated hardware at home for gaming with uncompromising performance, but giving gamers the option to game from anywhere on the cloud via a web connection and mobile device, like an iPad or iPhone.

Phil Spencer

A leaked internal memo from Xbox boss Phil Spencer indicates that things may get very interesting come summer time, as he attempts to rally the troops.

“We just wrapped up watching the Google announcement of Stadia as team here at GDC. Their announcement is validation of the path we embarked on two years ago..

Today we saw a big tech competitor enter the gaming market, and frame the necessary ingredients for success as Content, Community and Cloud. There were no big surprises in their announcement although I was impressed by their leveraging of YouTube, the use of Google Assistant and the new WiFi controller.

But I want get back to us, there has been really good work to get us to the position where we are poised to compete for 2 billion gamers across the planet. Google went big today and we have a couple of months until E3 when we will go big.

We have to stay agile and continue to build with our customer at the center. We have the content, community, cloud team and strategy, and as I’ve been saying for a while, it’s all about execution. This is even more true today.

Energizing times.

Phil”

E3 may very well turn out to be interesting this year. Who doesn’t love watching two big tech behemoths get into a massive pissing match?

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 to Forgo Traditional Single Player

According to a report from Polygon,  anonymous sources with knowledge of the title’s development status claim that Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 will not include a traditional single-player story mode. This will mark a first for the franchise, as all previous titles shipped with a single-player campaign.

According to the sources, the project was behind schedule and the only way that developer Treyarch could hit the October 12 launch date was to forgo the single-player story mode. This may lead to some speculation that perhaps a story mode could be “patched” in later.

Running parallel to this story is a rumor from Call of Duty fan site CharlieIntel stating that is has information from sources close to Activision that Raven Software has been onboarded to develope a battle royale mode for the Call of Duty: Black Ops 4.

Activision has responded, of course with an obligatory “We don’t comment on rumor and speculation. We look forward to revealing Black Ops 4 on May 17.”

[Source: Polygon]

[Source: CharlieIntel]

 

 

Plenty of Xbox One Backwards Compatible Games Are Coming Down the Pike

Microsoft has some goodies planned for April that includes new backwards compatible titles as well as enhancements to existing games for the Xbox One X.

First off, if you need a Red Dead fix prior to the Red Dead Redemption 2 launch in October, you are in luck. Microsoft will be releasing a visual upgrade to the original Red Dead Redemption on April 17. This certainly is welcome surprise.

Microsoft will also be giving a bit of a face lift to some fan favorites as well, including DarksidersGears of War 2Portal 2Sonic Generations, and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. And if that wasn’t enough, eight new original old school Xbox games including The Elder Scrolls III: MorrowindJade EmpirePanzer Dragoon Orta and SSX 3 will be added to the backwards compatibility list.

Finally, on April 26th, old school Star Wars games take center stage, as eleven titles will be added to the backwards compatible list, including the original Battlefront titles, Jedi AcademyJedi StarfighterKnights of the Old Republic II and Republic Commando.

If Microsoft has done one thing right with the Xbox One, supporting backwards compatibility with a constant flow of worthwhile games is one of them.

EA to Fix Battlefront’s “Broken” Progression System Next Week

For those holding out on picking up EA’s Star Wars: Battlefront II due to its pay-to-win progression system, you are in luck.

Posted on EA.com, EA is promising a new patch called the “progression update,” which promises that Star Cards and all other items that impact gameplay will only be earned through actual gameplay. How novel?

Below is a statement from EA:

“Since release, we’ve been hard at work making changes based on your feedback to create a better game for all our players. Today, we’re happy to announce that the Star Wars™ Battlefront™ II Progression update, which includes a complete re-design of the in-game progression system, will begin rolling out on March 21st. There are also some additional changes coming to the cosmetics in the game, but we’ll get to that in a bit… 

With this update, progression is now linear. Star Cards, or any other item impacting gameplay, will only be earned through gameplay and will not be available for purchase. Instead, you’ll earn experience points for the classes, hero characters, and ships that you choose to play in multiplayer. If you earn enough experience points to gain a level for that unit, you’ll receive one Skill Point that can be used to unlock or upgrade the eligible Star Card you’d like to equip.

You’ll keep everything you’ve already earned and unlocked. You will keep all of the Star Cards, heroes, weapons, or anything else you have already earned. What you have earned will still be available to use with this update regardless of how much or little progress you have already made. 

Crates no longer include Star Cards and cannot be purchased. Crates are earned by logging in daily, completing Milestones, and through timed challenges. Inside of these crates, you’ll find Credits or cosmetic items, such as emotes or victory poses, but nothing that impacts gameplay.

Starting in April, you’ll be able to get appearances directly through in-game Credits or Crystals. The first new appearances are coming soon, meaning you’ll be able to grab new looks for your heroes and troopers directly by using either Credits (earned in-game) or Crystals (available to purchase in-game and through first-party stores). If you’ve ever dreamed of being a part of the Resistance as a Rodian, your chance is right around the corner.

These changes are a major step as we continue to improve the core of the game and add new content. And there’s a lot more to come. In addition to continued balance patches, we will also add a number of modes to Star Wars Battlefront II in the coming months, offering several standout, brand-new ways to play. Some of these, like the recently released limited-time Jetpack Cargo, are radically different than anything you’ve experienced in the game before, and we’re excited to surprise you with what we have planned.

The Star Wars Battlefront II Progression Update releases on March 21, with more content rolling out in the following weeks. We’re truly excited for the future of the game, and we would be honored if you would join us on this journey.”

This is quite a departure. After a tremendous amount of negative feedback from fans during the title’s initial launch back in November 2017. EA walked back some pay-to-win aspects, but stated that revamped versions would be rolled out again in time.

However, that was before  lawmakers in Belgium and the U.S. got involved, claiming that the game’s paid loot creates were a form of gambling.

The “Progression Update” is scheduled for release March 21.

[Source: EA]

 

 

Activision Officially Announces that the Next Call of Duty with be Black Ops 4

It’s not a matter of if Activision will release a new Call of Duty every year, but rather what Call of Duty will be released.

There’s been plenty of rumors and conjecture that the next Call of Duty would be a return to Black Ops, but Activision made it official today on Twitter.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is coming out on the  PS4, Xbox One and PC, and is developed by Treyarch. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is scheduled for release worldwide on October 12.

[Source: Destructoid]

Xbox Has a New Show and they Plan to Break News

 

Microsoft has announced a new show called Inside Xbox which will act as a direct to the consumer source of information. In the teaser trailer below, the show plans to be a source of breaking news, exclusive interviews, and behind-the-scenes access.

Certainly has a Nintendo Direct vibe while retaining that Xbox je ne sais quoi.

The inaugural episode will on March 10 at 12:00 PM PST.

[Source: Destructoid]

You Can Stream Xbox One Games to Your Mac Now Apparently

I’m a Mac user, and an Xbox One fan, and yet never once have I said to myself that I wanted to play my Xbox One on my Mac. Well apparently now I can play my Xbox One on my Mac if I’m so inclined, if I’m will to go through unofficial avenues.

Streaming from your Xbox One to a Windows 10 machine has been around since 2015, but if you had a Mac, you were S.O.L. However, if you are willing to part with $10 you can give  OneCast a try. Just so you know, the app is completely unofficial and Microsoft can either shut them down or buy out the company out right.

OneCast claims that the app supports 1080p video, easy set up and low lag. They also state that you can use an Xbox One wireless controller connected via USB or Bluetooth.

[Source: OneCast]