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Microsoft

Would you buy an Xbox One Slim?

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Microsoft, Xbox One, Xbox One Slim

Would you buy an Xbox One Slim?

With only three weeks to go until E3 2015, all eyes are on the big three console manufacturers to deliver and the rumour mill is spinning out of control. Plenty of hot-button reports have emerged regarding Microsoft in particular, who likely smell blood in the water after Uncharted 4 and Zelda's delay and will probably attempt to capitalise on their upcoming lineup. With a Gears Of War remaster all but confirmed, there's certainly a lot to look forward to.

One of the most pervasive rumours this time around, however, is that they'll announce or at least hint at a new Xbox One model designed to be slimmer, cheaper and more competitive than its bloated predecessor.

Our E3 2015 prediction coverage begins in earnest next week, but whether or not these rumours have any basis in reality, they do pose an interesting question. If Microsoft did bring out an Xbox One slim, would you actually buy it? What would it have to offer and cost to tempt you off the fence? What features would it have to provide and cut out?

Would you buy an Xbox One Slim?

Image courtesy of Dave Nunez.

Let's explore the possibilities and then open the floor to the jury: you.

Click here to read more...

It's on: Sony & Microsoft lock down their E3 plans

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
E3 2015, Microsoft, Sony

It's on: Sony & Microsoft lock down their E3 plans

Prepare for a late night and some fierce competition, boys and girls, because Microsoft and Sony have finally locked down their E3 schedule.

Click here to read more...

Screw Candy Crush, here are five obviously superior games for Microsoft to bundle with Windows 10

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Candy Crush Saga, Microsoft, Windows 10

Screw Candy Crush, here are five obviously superior games for Microsoft to bundle with Windows 10

We're delighted that Windows 10 will ship with a free version of Solitaire, Hearts and Minesweeper, but Microsoft raised a few eyebrows by announcing what else will be included. Namely: Candy Crush Saga.

"As an added bonus, Candy Crush Saga will automatically be installed for customers that upgrade to or download Windows 10 for periods of time following the game launch," read the post on Xbox Wire. Though it will support full cross-compatibility with the iOS and Android versions, which is nice, we can't help but feel that it isn't the best fit for Microsoft's new operating system (especially given King's shameful track record of cloning and trademark trolling).

Indeed, considering that they've acquired some serious first-party talent over the years, we can't help but feel that it's a bit of a waste. Just off the top of our head, surely these games would make a lot more sense.

Project Spark

Screw Candy Crush, here are five obviously superior games for Microsoft to bundle with Windows 10

Project Spark is free-to-play. It lets you create, download and play a host of games in a multitude of genres, essentially acting as a game design suite and download client all rolled into one. It's cross-compatible with Xbox One, including the DLC. Conker's in it. All Project Spark really needs is more publicity, some interface tweaks and better support, which surely would benefit from a massive influx of new players and a Windows 10 redesign.

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Beyond The Screen: Microsoft’s HoloLens is the game changer for video games

Author:
Carl Phillips
Category:
Features
Tags:
AR, Augmented Reality, Gaming articles, HoloLens, Microsoft, Unity, VR

Beyond The Screen: Microsoft’s HoloLens is the game changer for video games

VR headsets, or more specifically the Oculus Rift, have really kickstarted (pun intended) the imaginations of developers. All of a sudden, the VR dream that was laughed off as too geeky and incredibly 80’s is now seen as a real next step for immersion in not just games, but exploring virtual spaces. You only have to look at the reactions from our former editorial overlord Matt, and my fellow writers Jonathan and Brendan to see how impressive an experience it can be.

The thing is, while I think it is absolutely a step in the right direction I have always considered Augmented Reality to be the future, and it’s why Microsoft’s HoloLens has had me intrigued since its announcement. This is because, as gamers, we have been trapped behind those screens for so long, our TV’s and monitors being windows to virtual worlds that we can only peer through. VR headsets have changed that, but while it is absolutely impressive to have your view changed, in my mind it is like poking your head through a hole in the ceiling – you can look, but without a larger hole (or, more specifically, specialist equipment) you can’t do anything but look around.

With AR though, you’re bringing the virtual world to yours in a way you deem appropriate, and that’s why the HoloLens could change everything.

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£25 Microsoft Gift Card for only £19.85

Author:
BuzzDuraband
Category:
Deals
Tags:
cdkeys, Microsoft, Xbox gift card

£25 Microsoft Gift Card for only £19.85

It is honestly like free money! The CDKeys daily deal is offering a £25 Xbox Gift Card for only £19.85

Remember to visit their Facebook page to grab that 5% discount code to grab the gift card at this price.

Also make sure to bookmark our cheap Xbox Live Gold & Xbox Live Gift Cards guide for all the latest, up to date pricing.

Xbox 360 Rock Band Sale

Author:
BuzzDuraband
Category:
Deals
Tags:
Microsoft, Rock Band 3, Xbox Live

Xbox 360 Rock Band Sale

In addition to the recent Deals With Gold sale we informed you of it appears Rock Band 3 and various DLC has managed to strum its way into the Spring Sale.

DLC

Also on offer from 10th April will be Rock Band Blitz down from £9.99 to £4.99 (£3.99 Gold)

Credit to CAL23 on HUKD for the find.

Games in the classroom: Minecraft will be given to all Northern Ireland secondary schools

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
Microsoft, Minecraft, Mojang

Games in the classroom: Minecraft will be given to all Northern Ireland secondary schools

There's no denying that Minecraft is one of the most important -- very likely the most important -- games of the last decade. A hit with gamers young and old, it encourages creativity, collaboration and creation in ways that few videogames have ever managed to accomplish.

It also has major potential for edutainment, which Microsoft and the government of Northern Ireland have finally managed to tap into in a brave new initiative. Minecraft is to be made available to every post-primary school in Northern Ireland as part of a ground-breaking project devised by CultureTECH, Northern Ireland’s innovation festival, with funding from the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure.

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UK retailers reignite the Xbox One price war - is it time to take the plunge?

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
Console bundles, Microsoft, Xbox One

UK retailers reignite the Xbox One price war - is it time to take the plunge?

In the market for an Xbox One bundle, but haven't taken the plunge? You're in luck, as UK retailers have launched a new ridiculous price offensive against Microsoft's console today, bringing the price down to £299.99 and below for a huge range of competitive bundles in an effort to undercut each other.

It's a brutal and cut-throat war that matches even some of the Black Friday deals, and there's only likely to be one winner.

Us.

The Game Collection launched the first salvo when they knocked Xbox One price down to £279.95, but Currys wasted no time in raising the stakes with an insane £329.49 for an Xbox One Kinect  bundle with an extra controller and a year of Xbox Live Gold thrown in!

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Are Microsoft taking PC gaming seriously again? - Windows 10 presentation impressions

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Cross-platform play, Microsoft, PC games, Remote Play, Windows 10, Xbox One Games

Are Microsoft taking PC gaming seriously again? - Windows 10 presentation impressions

We got our first proper look at Microsoft's plans for Windows 10 yesterday as the Redmond company unleashed a barrage of new information. For us gamers, it seems that Microsoft have a real opportunity to bring console and PC gaming together in a very real way,  and to make the hideous mess that was Games For Windows Live a distant memory.

But are they up to the task? Here are some of our thoughts following the Windows 10 presentation...

Carl

Are Microsoft taking PC gaming seriously again? - Windows 10 presentation impressions

After reflecting on yesterday’s presentation, I can’t help but feel that it wasn’t quite the “for PC gamers” presentation it was meant to be. Sure, there were some handy features that were mentioned, and the free upgrade to Win10 for Win 7 & 8 users is a fine gesture, but it just seems like every time they were about to seal the deal and blow us away they’d remind us that the real gaming experience was over on Xbox One. Sure, I’m exaggerating the situation a bit, but it really came across as Win10 devices being a companion to the Xbox One, for gamers at least.

That’s not to say that there wasn’t some good stuff to talk about, so let’s start with the positives. The built-in DVR functionality in Win10 will no doubt please those wanting to share their magical gaming moments with the internet. That said, unless there’s an ability to do live recording and/or streaming I can’t imagine content creators making it their tool of choice. With just a 30-second memory it’s more like SnapChat for gaming, but with less exhibitionism. Well, possibly. Don’t quote me on that.

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7 Ways to Stop Hackers Ruining Your Christmas Gaming

Author:
Brendan Griffiths
Category:
Features
Tags:
Hackers, Microsoft, PS4, PS4 games, PSN, Sony, XBL, Xbox One Games

7 Ways to Stop Hackers Ruining Your Christmas Gaming

Moronic hackers have once again screwed over gamers by hacking into PSN and Xbox Live just in time for one of the busiest times of the year. Sure, the hackers think they're punishing the big companies, or 'sticking it to the man', but in fact, they're affecting regular folk who want to enjoy a bit of online gaming with friends over the holidays before heading back to work. Let's face it, Destiny is more useful as a coaster when offline. Rather than list the painful punishments we wish on the hackers, we've come up with seven things to do with your consoles that the hackers can't interfere with.

Have a few massive games to hand

There are some bloody huge games out there that don't require any online connectivity at all. In the post nuclear war scorched world of Fallout these outages will be nothing more than a blink of the eye. Fallout 3 will absorb well over 100 hours of your life on the long road to a Platinum Trophy. I can't think of any other game you'll want to play for so long despite the HUGE number of glitches and crashes. Fallout: New Vegas isn't quite as buggy, but if you're after something a bit more modern to play though the downtime though, we'd seriously recommend giving Dragon Age: Inquisition a go. It's a bit bloody good.

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The Xbox One Bundle Barrage: Microsoft aren't desperate, it's just good business

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Microsoft, Xbox One

The Xbox One Bundle Barrage: Microsoft aren't desperate, it's just good business

The Xbox One has been crushing it this Christmas. Phil Spencer's plan was brilliantly simple -- release some great games, cut the price and the gamers will come -- and seems to be working like a charm. Retailers fought tooth and nail to offer the best bundles over Black Friday and beyond, while only today we posted about an insane Xbox One bundle deal with 6 AAA games (thanks again to preparationiskey @ HUKD!). It's great to see a big company move so quickly and even better to see them moving in the right direction too.

And yet, according to plenty of folks out there in internet land, this is somehow a bad thing.

Microsoft are desperate. Microsoft are losing money. Microsoft have gone mad. Microsoft are pathetic.

No. Let's get some perspective here.

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Get Sunset Overdrive on Xbox One for just £27 from Tesco

Author:
Carl Phillips
Category:
Deals
Tags:
Action Games, Games deals, Insomniac Games, Microsoft, Xbox One Games

Get Sunset Overdrive on Xbox One for just £27 from Tesco

And here's yet another voucher-code-based-bargain, this time for Sunset Overdrive. The saving may be only a few pounds, but it's the lowest price we've seen for this one.

  • Click here to buy Sunset Overdrive on Xbox One for £27 from Tesco
  • Voucher Code: TDX-FXRT

In our review, Jon said that Sunset Overdrive's "infectious energy, breathtaking traversal, silly weapons and violently colourful playground make for a brilliant way to blow off steam." In other words, it's Insomniac getting back to doing what they do best - bringing the fun.

Halo: MCC's Thanksgiving update massively improves matchmaking speed, but adds weird new issues

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
343 Industries, Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Microsoft, multiplayer, Updates, Xbox One Games

Halo: MCC's Thanksgiving update massively improves matchmaking speed, but adds weird new issues

Will it hold once America wakes up?

Halo: The Master Chief Collection's matchmaking is an object of shame, embarrassment and ridicule, both for 343 Industries and us reviewers. The fortnight since launch saw Halo's new guardians apologies, grovel and make all the right noises, but fixes were slow and stumbling, especially following a massively-hyped patch last week that addressed practically everything EXCEPT the state of matchmaking.

However, in the wee small hours of last night (UK time), 343 quietly slipped out another Halo: The Master Chief Collection update weighing in at 523MB. With few hopes and low expectations, I summarily download the file and tried it out.

Ooh. Hey. Whoa. I don't want to jinx anything, but from what I've experienced post-update, this unassuming new patch actually makes an enormous impact. Sadly, it also sometimes does something weird and stupid just to keep us on our toes.

Halo: MCC's Thanksgiving update massively improves matchmaking speed, but adds weird new issues

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Get Sunset Overdrive on Xbox One for just £32 from Tesco

Author:
Carl Phillips
Category:
Deals
Tags:
Action Games, Insomniac Games, Microsoft, Sunset Overdrive, Xbox One Games

Get Sunset Overdrive on Xbox One for just £32 from Tesco

If you're an Xbox One owner who enjoyed some free time with Sunset Overdrive over the weekend and want more, this deal from Tesco is certainly worth a look. It's not a part of the Black Friday shenanigans, but it sure feels like it, beating the next cheapest deal by around £5.

In our review, Jon said that Sunset Overdrive's "infectious energy, breathtaking traversal, silly weapons and violently colourful playground make for a brilliant way to blow off steam." In other words, it's Insomniac getting back to doing what they do best - bringing the fun. Thanks to waaqii @ HUKD!

Xbox One: A Year in Review - Spencer the Saviour

Author:
Staff
Category:
Features
Tags:
Microsoft, Phil Spencer, Sunset Overdrive, Titanfall, Xbox One, Xbox One Games

Xbox One: A Year in Review - Spencer the Saviour

The Xbox One has its first birthday tomorrow, and so we took the chance to cast our eyes back over the first twelve months of Microsoft's latest console to reflect on how it's performed after a rocky release, in a year where there's been a personnel change at the top and the competition has raced ahead to an early sales lead. Has the Xbox One managed to turn things around?

Jon

Phil Spencer bared his fangs and proved his mettle this year.

The new head of Xbox inherited a disaster in the making. Don Mattrick had totally sabotaged the Xbox brand, rolling out an insanely expensive media centre with functionality most devices and smart TVs already made obsolete, packing an admittedly excellent peripheral that nobody really wanted, stacked to the gunwhales with microtransactions and controversial  features. The Xbox One sold modestly well on the strength of its fanbase, some decent launch titles and Titanfall, but it soon became apparent that the bloated "entertainment system" was a sitting duck as Sony and even Nintendo started pulling ahead. Spencer faced an impossible situation.

Xbox One: A Year in Review - Spencer the Saviour

There's only one thing you can do in an impossible situation. Triage. Save what you can, then let everything else burn.

What followed was a ruthless, desperate and frankly magnificent campaign of revisions, U-turns and scorched-earth decisions as the new guard dismantled Mattrick's monstrosity into a console that might actually sell. Kinect was thrown under the bus. The RRP was hacked down to undercut the PS4, margins be damned, followed by some ludicrous bundles. Xbox Live Gold was declawed, and permanent free games were rolled out. Firmware updates weren't delivered annually, they were delivered every single month come what may.

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Xbox One turns One this week, Microsoft gives away celebratory tat

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Deals
Tags:
Microsoft, Xbox One

Xbox One turns One this week, Microsoft gives away celebratory tat

It's nearly been one year since the Xbox One launched, and what a year it's been. A £429 entertainment system became a £329 console in less than twelve months, and we've had a front row seat on a seriously wild ride. To celebrate, Microsoft are giving away some digital tat!

Well, perhaps that's a bit harsh. Everyone will get a free rental of Halo: Forward Unto Dawn (which is on Netflix, oops), a gamer picture, some backgrounds, a PC wallpaper and... no, it's fair. Every Xbox One owner will be entered into a DLC prize draw, which is nice, though us Europeans don't get to win the physical rewards and bundles.

Nevertheless, this shouldn't diminish what the Xbox One has accomplished this year: turning a bloated box on the rocks into a fierce affordable and attractive console with a fantastic games lineup. We'll run our Xbox One Year In Review piece soon, and for now, why not mug up on our Xbox One Christmas Buyer's Guide?

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Microsoft started the bloodiest price war in console history

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Microsoft, PS4, Sony, Xbox One

Microsoft started the bloodiest price war in console history

I've never seen a price war like this before.

Sure, console manufacturers and retailers tend to sling together a few bundles ahead of Christmas and Black Friday, but usually it's a token effort intended to make the most money from put-upon parents, Christmas presents and stocking fillers before the big January sales. Often we even see prices go up to grab as much Christmas cash as possible, and false savings instead of real discounts.

Now, however, Microsoft has broken the rules and started a console bundle price war of monstrous proportions, where there's only likely to be one winner.

Us!

Microsoft started the bloodiest price war in console history

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Halo's matchmaking is broken - here are some fun things to do while you wait

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
343 Industries, Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Microsoft, Xbox One

Halo's matchmaking is broken - here are some fun things to do while you wait

Do I ever feel like an idiot. After refusing to give Halo: The Master Chief Collection a score last week because the matchmaking was untested, I finally got online over the weekend once 343 flicked the switch, successfully tried out the delayed netcode and awarded the game top marks.

Job done. Mission accomplished. Only problem being that the matchmaking then fell to pieces almost immediately!

343 have been working around the clock to fix these problems and many gamers are reporting huge improvements. Unfortunately, I've personally found that the experience has worsened following yesterday's server-side updates, with some crazy wait times and the occasional loading screen freeze. So thank goodness The Master Chief Collection has four massive campaigns to keep you going, packed to the gunwales with fun stuff to try! Here's a sampler (obviously there are minor spoilers ahead):

Track Down The Secrets & Easter Eggs!

Halo's matchmaking is broken - here are some fun things to do while you wait

The Halo franchise is absolutely stuffed full of secrets to discover. Here are just a few of my personal favourites from the last 13 years.

That's just the tip of the iceberg. Happy hunting, and be sure to share!

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PSA: Xbox One November update out now - here's what to expect

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
Firmware updates, Microsoft, Xbox One

The Xbox One November Update is now live and should have automatically installed itself onto your console as you read this sentence. You'll be able to mess about with the new features when you get home, but before then, here's what to expect from the latest Xbox One firmware update and the functionality that has been added to the user experience.

Custom Backgrounds

This is the main event. A new option has been added into the Xbox One settings menu -- My Xbox -- which allows you to personalise your Xbox One with some new backgrounds. You can either select a block of solid colour (boring!), or more helpfully, any of the 1080p achievement artworks that you've unlocked, tarting up the user experience as well as showing off your prowess to any mates who stop round for a local multiplayer session.

Next year Microsoft plans to add screenshot functionality, which will let you capture and display your own backgrounds directly from the games you play.

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COMMENT | Xbox One has the better games lineup for the second Christmas running

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Forza Horizon 2, Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Microsoft, PS4 games, Sony, Sunset Overdrive, Xbox One Games

COMMENT | Xbox One has the better games lineup for the second Christmas running

But will it make a difference?

Shoppers are girding their wallets for Black Friday, consumers are readying themselves for the Christmas crunch. Which console is it to be this Christmas? PS4 or Xbox One? Is the Wii U still alive? Which console has the better games?

I'll deal with the Wii U later, what with Nintendo's console having a clear advantage (and the first-party games to back it up) after launching a year earlier, and being utterly irrelevant in terms of a mass audience and the big third-party releases of the winter. That said, if you're choosing a platform based on the single best game of the year so far, buy a Wii U. It's the Bayonetta 2 machine. I'm biased, but if you love games, you'll do it.

Elsewhere, though, choosing a console become far more difficult. We'll go into greater depth in a massive comparative buyer's guide towards the end of the month, but for now let's talk about the games.

COMMENT | Xbox One has the better games lineup for the second Christmas running

When the PS4 and the Xbox One launched last year, we tipped the Xbox One as having the more attractive Christmas lineup. Microsoft's console simply had more variety, more interesting exclusives, and it's a position that I still standby. In fact, throughout the whole of this first year, I think it's safe to say that the Xbox One has had the edge in terms of marquee exclusives.

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