Microsoft took an age to reveal the extent of their support for independent developers on Xbox One, but after a few awkward and embarrassing weeks, they finally unveiled the ID@Xbox scheme that gives indie studios large and small the opportunity to get onto the platform - with every console capable of functioning as a dev kit.
Developers from "more than fifty" countries have now signed up to the scheme, from Canadian Capy Games to Japanese Comcept, Dutch Vlambeer, German Crytek and British Born Ready Games and Team 17. Double Fine rubs shoulders with tiny teams like Zeboyd Studios and one-man outfits such as Jamie Fristrom's Happion Labs, who's working on a crazy gravity defying platformer.
FINALLY. Microsoft were the driving force behind getting indie games into the living room last generation, so it's about time they got involved.
Let's take a look at Xbox One's upcoming indie champions: both in terms of what they've previously developed, what they've confirmed and what they're probably working on.Click here to read more...
Following its November 22nd launch, I've been thoroughly enjoying the Xbox One as both a console and an entertainment centre. A seriously solid launch lineup, alongside a surprising degree of convenience and downright fun provided by Kinect, makes it a seriously nifty bit of living room kit I'm thrilled to own.
But it's not finished yet. "A fairly strong start, but one that needs to be built upon and soon," I wrote in our full Xbox One review.
The Xbox One is very much a work in progress, with numerous features either missing or in need of serious improvement. Various aspects of the interface and user experience require ironing out in swift patches - to the extent where the community have rallied around a new feedback site to voice their constructive criticism. Microsoft is apparently taking this feedback to heart, and hopefully plan to use their much-vaunted cloud service to deliver some quick updates in the very near future.
So with both references to our exhaustive hardware review and Xboxfeedback.com, it's time to discuss what we want from the first few rounds of patches, and partake in some constructive criticism of our own.
The Xbox One controller can squeeze an enormous amount of active play time out of a single set of Duracells, thanks in part to Kinect's effortless power-saving mode. But on the flip-side, there's no way to tell how much juice you have left short of digging out a battery tester.
Just... why? Come on, this is pretty basic stuff. While you're at it, Microsoft, cloud-based thumbstick inversion settings might be a good idea.Click here to read more...
We've been front and centre on a madcap rollercoaster ride ever since Microsoft publicly unveiled the Xbox One back in may. Following that abysmal debut event we've had twists and turns aplenty, policies corkscrewing wildly and new controversies to plunge into on a weekly basis.
None of that matters now, because the end product is currently sitting in over a million lounges worldwide. Having lived with Microsoft's entertainment system for the best part of a week, it's high time to deliver our official launch verdict.
At its best, when Xbox One and Kinect conspire to revolutionise the way you interact with your games and lounge entertainment, it genuinely feels like the future. But there's still work to be done right here in the present.
Xbox One makes a single overriding first impression. "Whoa. It's huge."
Hailing from the land of Super-Sized burgers and SUVs, the Xbox One is the biggest console Microsoft has ever released, a chunky obsidian monolith that dwarfs even the original Xbox. You'll have to clear a huge amount of space on your shelf or A/V cabinet to house its whopping 33.3cm x 27.4cm x 7.9cm bulk, which must be laid flat.
Luckily its half-and-half styling helps to break up the outline of the case, an optical illusion that makes the system appear smaller than it actually is, while it's intended to sit at the very nerve centre of your living room anyway. The Xbox One's understated design will grow on you once embedded within your existing A/V setup, exuding a sense of real power while not distracting the eye, though its glossy surface is a magnet for fingerprints and small scratches if you're not careful.Click here to read more...
Xbox One was released into the wild last week, kicking off the start of Generation Eight here in the UK. Some of us jumped on board from day one and are getting to grips with the new console, others are holding off, while many are instead placing their bets on a certain other bit of kit coming out this Friday. You know the one I mean. The slanty one. Regardless, the internet is awash with pundits and players weighing in on what the Xbox One can (and can't) do.
However, there are a few fun little features, tips, tricks and asides that you might not know about Microsoft's new entertainment system... ten of which I've now rounded up for your eager delectation ahead of our full hardware review.
If you've got an Xbox Live Gold membership - let's face it, if you bought an Xbox One at launch, you probably do - you can download and use the Xbox Fitness app for free until December 2014 (not next month - thanks Late!). This neat tool can detect your heart rate as you follow on-screen workouts from celebrity instructors, perfect for burning off a few pounds.
Speaking candidly, I'm just amazed it managed to identify me as human after trying out the P90X workout, which reduced me to a quivering mass of wheezing blubber within seconds.Click here to read more...
Platform: Xbox One
Developer: Double Helix
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Killer Instinct isn't what you'd typically call "free to play," and that's bloody marvellous.
See, us hacks were quick to mislabel Xbox One's debut fighting game after its E3 showing, but we eventually learned that things were slightly more nuanced than just "F2P." Killer Instinct is free to download and offers a single character, acting like a demo that lets us learn the ropes and get to grips with the mechanics, before deciding exactly how much we'd ideally like to spend. Fancy unlocking everything? That's fine. Want to choose your favourite fighters and save your pennies? No problem. In a launch lineup where microtransactions have wormed their way into the unlikeliest of places, this is a much-needed beacon of consumer choice.
Never mind all that, though, because I'm also delighted to report that the oft-inconsistent Double Helix have outdone themselves and delivered... shock horror... an undeniably good game. Their first, in fact, at least since MX vs ATV. Killer Instinct is ferocious, tactical and deep - and as brutal as you'd expect from Rare's beloved fighter. Though unfortunately it's not quite finished yet.
Click here to read more...
After securing over a million day-one sales worldwide, the Xbox One is already set to beat the Wii U's lifetime UK sales total in less than seven days on shelves.
The Wii U is set for a reasonable Christmas, and boasts some truly outstanding games... but this is a somewhat embarrassing state of affairs considering that Nintendo's console has been available for an entire year. As Satoru Iwata famously likes to say: please understand.Click here to read more...
Now that I've spent a long weekend tinkering with my shiny new Day One Xbox One, I'm scurrying to get to grips with its launch lineup and plan to fully review the system by Wednesday. Though we're receiving the biggest games in a trickle and I won't push out a review without playing them for an appropriate amount of time, we'll get through them as and when.
I'm having an absolute blast with the new system, mainly thanks to Kinect actually delivering on almost all of Microsoft's promises and filling me with a sense of childlike wonder every time I command it to perform an action. It's wonderful, convenient and feels like a truly futuristic next-gen experience that's soon to become second nature. In fact, I caught myself talking to my PC earlier.
However, it's already clear that a worrying trend has sneaked into Microsoft's launch lineup, both in terms of the biggest box games and downloadable Xbox Live Arcade titles. Microtransactions. Xbox One has put its little in-game purchases front and centre at the very start of its life... and without putting too fine a point on it, we're worried that this could set two rather nasty and dangerous precedents going into the next generation if Microsoft doesn't throttle back - and follow one shining example from the unlikeliest source.
Click here to read more...
How do you improve on what was, for many gamers, the definitive console controller of a generation?
Such was the challenge facing Microsoft as they threw hundreds of millions of Dollars into research and development over the last few years. A woefully poxy D-Pad notwithstanding, the Xbox 360 controller was a masterpiece of form and function, an ergonomic delight that provided countless hours of comfortable convenience.
Though I'm still fighting off sleep deprivation to bring you a full Xbox One hardware review and launch title verdicts, we're well-placed to pass judgement on the new peripheral, having spent plenty of time with it both before and after launch.
In short? It's lovely.
Click here to read more...
Kinect isn't just a gimmick any more. Well, I suppose it is, but it's a damn good one nonetheless. Xbox One's powerful depth sensor is capable of automatically recognising us, our profiles and even when we put down our controllers; tracking our movements and keeping us in frame during Skype calls. Plus, if you outstretch an arm and clench your fist, you'll discover that the Minority Report dream is almost here.
However, by far our favourite thing about Kinect is its microphone, which lets us control the Xbox One using simple words and phrases. It's powerful, enjoyable and feels a bit like helming our own videogame starship. You'll need to say the exact phrases, though, the words of power, in order to navigate your new console without touching a controller.
So here, dear reader, is an exhaustive list of voice commands to show off to your friends today.
Bear this in mind: If you see text written in green, chances are that you can read it aloud to perform an action. Also, after successfully performing a voice command, Kinect keeps listening alertly for a few seconds (an icon appears in the top-right corner of the screen) so you don't necessarily have to say "Xbox" each time to get its attention.Click here to read more...
The next console generation begins today, friends. My Xbox One has just arrived, meaning that it's time for me to spend an entire day bunking off work to play with it...
...wait, what? Make an unboxing video? Really? With this face?
Fine, Matt. Fine. FINE.
So here's the contents of an Xbox One: Day One Edition FIFA 14 package, liberally scattered over a sofa by a fat guy wearing devastatingly handsome patent leather gloves. Apologies for the light level, though, since it played havoc with the detail. I'm not unboxing it again.Click here to read more...
The Xbox One launches worldwide tomorrow. It seems like it's been more than a handful of months since Microsoft's widely derided initial reveal. We've had u-turns aplenty and constant mixed messages, but is the Redmond company bouncing back at just the right time? There are still so many questions to be answered, not to mention a few niggling technical issues that Microsoft could probably have done without, and there's still the matter of that price point... but can the Xbox One's rather impressive launch lineup make up for that?
I've made no secret of the fact that I pre-ordered an Xbox One. Perhaps I subconsciously can't say goodbye to eight years of Gamerscore, but Microsoft's console has managed to capture my imagination despite the truly horrendous reveal event back in May.
The launch lineup plays a major role. I'm not expecting any legendary games for the ages here, but unlike the usual shelf-fillers, Microsoft have secured an open-world zombie game, zoo management sim, first-party racer and other varied delights you'd rarely expect from a brand new console. There's also a spiritual successor to Panzer Dragoon, one of my favourite franchises of all time, though it's a bit cack by all accounts. Seethe. Still, Titanfall's coming, which makes me very happy indeed.
And then there's Kinect, which looks set to turn the basic user experience into a futuristic playground. I can talk to my console. I can command it to dominate my entire AV system with its IR-blasting functionality. I can access my entertainment, friends list and games collection with a few well-chosen words, a prospect that might become old hat in a few days, but fills me with genuine childlike excitement nonetheless. Kinect may have missed the dream of Minority Report on Xbox 360, but I don't mind skipping straight to the Starship Enterprise on Xbox One.
My only major concern about the Xbox One, save that it seems to be tougher to develop for than the PS4 and the fact that Microsoft needs to get their rear in gear regarding indie development, is that it probably isn't an "All In One" entertainment system. Without proper media streaming (why isn't it a Windows Media Extender? WHY?!!) or proper TV guide support in the UK, it feels more like a middle man that squats between your television and the TV content you already watch and pay for. We'll know the truth of it soon enough.Click here to read more...
There's one day to go until the Xbox One launches and the next console generation officially starts here in the UK. Well, after everyone downloads the great big day-one patch, that is. Your new console will effectively just be the world's largest paperweight until you've pulled down nearly 2GB of data, so naturally, getting it will be your first port of call. Everyone's first port of call.
As a precautionary measure, Microsoft has made the update available to pre-download on PC, meaning that it can then be installed by USB. Then called it the "emergency offline update" just to freak us all out. Details below.
UPDATE: Microsoft has taken the site offline, stating that too many people were pre-downloading what was only intended to be an emergency measure. It's never too late for one last U-turn, eh?Click here to read more...
The Xbox One controller is a sumptuously comfortable if conservative piece of kit (barring awkward bumper placement - hopefully we'll get used to that), but Microsoft spent “hundreds of millions” of Dollars experimenting with truly bizarre concepts before settling on the final design. If the R&D division had their way, we might have been able to hear, smell or even see the action projected onto the walls and floors.
Wait, smell the action? Could that ever have been a good idea? Most games have at least one sewer section, after all...Click here to read more...
According to Sony and Microsoft, the PS4 and Xbox One both have the best launch titles of all time and everything is fantastic forever.
Paraphrase? Me? Surely you jest. Either way, we've got the quotes below, along with some
facetious ribbing commentary.
'Games With Gold' is coming to Xbox One in 2014, Microsoft PR man Larry Hryb tweeted today, meaning that Xbox Live Gold members will be able to download a rotating selection of software for free. Though that's literally the only details we have and will have until next January at the earliest, this announcement is more important than you might think.
See, Microsoft are aware that the playing field is changing as the next console generation fast approaches, and that Xbox Live Gold has to evolve in order to compete with Sony's PlayStation Plus service. But can it evolve fast enough?Click here to read more...
Your games. Your entertainment. Your sports. Your television. Your sports television [that joke was old five months ago - Ed].
It's all yours, all in one, on Xbox One. A new video documentary shows off how Microsoft's upcoming console will automatically recognise players and show them a personalised home screen, along with some predictable last-minute posturing. There are only eight days to go, so you can hardly blame them.Click here to read more...
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Xbox One's Kinect sensor is capable of an extraordinary level of fidelity and resolution, down to recognising facial expressions. Theodor Diea, international product manager for Just Dance 2014, explained to us that Ubisoft have actually experimented with a range of ways to take advantage of this enhanced accuracy - including some bizarre achievement rewards.
Put down your beer bongs for a second, frat boys, and pay attention to this new flurry of Xbox One videos. Within, we'll see a deeply dysfunctional couple have their lives ruined by Kinect, an American footsportsballman suffering from serious denial and - to provide the balance - a deeply informative video from the SkyDrive team that shows photo and video sharing on the new console.
There's even a flash new 'reveal' trailer, which I've embedded above.Click here to read more...
This week on Game Buzz, Matt and Jon expose themselves as the enormous Xbox fanboys that they are; we ask if Call of Duty: Ghosts is actually any good; we have a chat about why not even a cool half million can tempt us back to GTA Online; we ask if Nintendo is doomed under Iwata after his wishy-washy response to an investor grilling; and we ponder upon Square Enix's realigned focus on F2P and mobile.
Parental Advisory: We've tried to keep it as conversational and informal as possible, and you should be warned that there may be some instances of strong language.
I'm so up for the Xbox One's dashboard experience... in theory. I love th eidea of properly being able to Minority Report-swipe around the menu, instantly command Kinect to do my bidding, have it simply recognise me as I walk in the room and bring up my own custom, bespoke homepage filled with content that I love.
Dear God, that sounds awesome!
It kind of looks awesome too, as the video below from Yusuf Mehdi and Marc Whitten demonstrates. I want it. I want it in and around my face. And house.Click here to read more...