Posted on

Microsoft reveals Xbox One backwards compatible games

Backwards compatbility may very well have been the feature that won Microsoft E3 2015, and after a long five months the promises that they made are finally coming to fruition.

Xbox Live’s Major Nelson and Head of Xbox Phil Spencer revealed exactly which Xbox 360 will be available on the Xbox One November 12.

“At Xbox, we believe that gaming is universal and should be enjoyed by everyone, everywhere. Our philosophy since launching Xbox One two years ago has been to put gamers at the center of everything we do and create the best, most seamless gaming experience possible.” – Mike Ybarra and Larry Hryb

104 games — mostly first party games — will be part of the initial launch. The majority of the games are not particularly major titles or among the top titles that gamers were clamoring for in the Xbox Live uservoice community reach-out initiative by Microsoft.

Instead the biggest name titles include Just Cause 2, Fable II, Fallout 3, Mirror’s Edge, Super Meat Boy, and all of the Gears of War games. There is an extensive collection of Xbox Live arcade games as well.

While the selection isn’t particularly bad, there are still many gamers that are reasonably disappointed that even Halo: Reach will still be a ways away. Reach, Halo Wars, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Bioshock, Bioshock 2, Bioshock Infinite and Skate 3 are among the big name games that are “on the way.”

Call of Duty Black Ops 2, Red Dead Redemption, and Skyrim were the top three requested titles and nothing was mentioned regarding future compatibility with these titles. It’s certainly possible that Microsoft simply has been given the go-ahead from Bethesda or Rockstar to release their games again through backwards compatibility.

Still, backwards compatibility is here, and it’s a major bonus for the console struggling to compete with the PS4 in European and Asian markets. Microsoft is continuing to re-invent it’s image and inticing previous-gen gamers with a few more games with the added media features of the Xbox One (game streaming, screenshots, game DVR) can’t hurt.

Are you happy with the games included in backwards compatibility?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...
Posted on

Making sense of Microsoft’s recent controversial news

As of late Microsoft and the Xbox division have had some controversial news surrounding them.

Here’s a quick recap of what’s happened and a reasonable thought process making Microsoft’s decisions seem less crazy.

First is a major change to Xbox Live’s staff —

Eric Neustadter, one of the guys who made Xbox Live awesome serving as an architect for the platform left Microsoft.

Over his 14+ year career, most notably as Xbox Live’s main architect, Neustadter was a great asset making Xbox Live what it is today, but the online service has been running generally smoothly since the Xbox 360 and the platform has been stable enough where those around him can continue to keep the service at a high quality level without Neustadter being around.

Yeah, Microsoft has had some DDoS problems and other minor issues, but the Xbox Live service is generally reliable — plus free games are always cool, eh? (Except you Pool Nation FX.)

Next issue!

For the entire life of Xbox Microsoft has always reported and measured the success of their consoles through sales numbers and the amount of consoles shipped.

Friday it was revealed that Microsoft would be taking a different approach — using Xbox Live subscribers to measure success.

Microsoft’s decision to use Xbox Live membership rather than sales is said to be done to measure “active users.” People that have turned on their consoles and signed in within the last month are the only ones included in that metric. It’s done primarily because Xbox 360 sales are declining with the new generation in full swing and showing active users makes them look better. (The only thing gripe I have is that they could still just show Xbox One sales specifically instead of packaging it in with the 360.)

What else?

A little less than a month ago, Phil Spencer commented saying that Xbox doesn’t need to catch the PS4 to be considered a success.

This is technically true considering the Xbox has objectively been a success from Microsoft’s stand point. They make a f*** ton of money from it and it’s generally viewed positively by those that play on it. From a financial perspective it kind of makes less sense though to be okay with stagnating, but Spencer is definitely correct saying they’ll be okay if they aren’t ahead of the PS4 by the end of this console generation.

Posted on

Microsoft looking at Xbox Live memberships rather than consoles sales for success metric [Poll]

For consoles today the constant battle in market share is often what most people look to when analyzing which company is doing the best. The current status is pretty clear with Sony’s Playstation 4 taking a decisive lead over the other consoles of this generation — the Xbox One and the WiiU.

But Microsoft is shying away from the physical console sales to determine whether they are successful or not. Instead, the company will look at Xbox Live memberships to decide if they’re continuing to make progress as a major player in the console gaming industry.

The decision to switch to online subscriptions probably won’t affect the general gaming consensus that the PS4 is winning the race, but it seems a tad suspicious that Microsoft is going ahead with the switch just as the overall revenue for Xbox fell at the same time the revenue from Xbox Live went up.

And the news that Xbox Live revenue is on the rise while Xbox console shipments is stagnating is not surprising — especially for a Q3 report in 2015. Xbox 360 consoles are declining as it nears its 10 year birthday and Xbox One sales stagnate for gamers electing to wait for the holiday season for buying a $400 console.

Regardless of the decision, Xbox Live should be the cash cow for Microsoft with digital gaming on the rise. It grew by 6% revenue-wise with a 28% increase in its userbase (now at 39 million). The quality of the platform is what makes the Xbox One at all stand out against the PS4’s superior hardware and measuring the active users gives a more realistic idea of who uses their consoles.

But still with Sony and Nintendo still using shipments as their major success metric it will seem a bit odd when Microsoft shows off users rather the consoles shipped every quarter. It’s unclear whether the company will continue the quarterly reporting of console sales — or how often they’ll report them.

Do you like Microsoft using Xbox Live as a metric for success?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...
Posted on

UPDATES: Sony releases statement on PSN and Xbox Live issues; PSN service slowly recovering

Update: 10:00 pm Saturday

I am now able to sign into PSN on my PS4 as well as my PS3. So I recommend all PSN users to try signing on and if problems persist, keep checking the @AskPlaystation page on Twitter for official updates.

Update: 5:00 pm Saturday

After three days in the dark from a DDOS hacker attack, Sony has issued a statement on the takedown of their online network. Many Playstation Network and Xbox Live users are still experiencing connectivity and functionality issues.

Catherine Jensen, vice president of Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) Consumer Experience, offered the following statement at 12 pm ET:

“The video game industry has been experiencing high levels of traffic designed to disrupt connectivity and online gameplay. Multiple networks, including PSN, have been affected over the last 48 hours. PSN engineers are working hard to restore full network access and online gameplay as quickly as possible.

From time to time there may be disruptions in service due to surges in traffic, but our engineers will be working to restore service as quickly as possible.

If you received a PlayStation console over the holidays and have been unable to log onto the network, know that this problem is temporary and is not caused by your game console. We’ll continue to keep you posted on Twitter at @AskPlayStation and we’ll update this post once the problems subside.

Thanks again for your patience.”

Early Friday morning, the @AskPlaystation page on Twitter had reported that PS3, PS4 and Vita services were “gradually coming back online” but that report proved futile as the day progressed.

 

Xbox Live is back online since late Thursday and has finally returned to normal status on the Xbox Live Service page.

The XBL Service Status page is showing core services and social/gaming up and running smoothly as of 6:30 pm ET Saturday.
The XBL Service Status page is showing core services and social/gaming up and running smoothly as of 6:30 pm ET Saturday

Meanwhile, I can say that my Playstation 3 is working with some services working better than others. Sign-in on my PS3 is working fine and I can access all apps (Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, IGN, etc.), as well as the Playstation Store. But online multiplayer, although functional, is a bit sluggish.

On the other hand, I am still unable to sign into PSN on my PS4.

Stay tuned to Pixelpine for further updates. Playstation owners keep checking the @AskPlaystation page on Twitter for updates.

Friday, Dec. 27 9 pm ET

After a frustrating Christmas for gamers that saw the shutdowns of PSN AND Xbox Live, Xbox owners saw a little bit of relief as the core services for Xbox Live were restored but are still limited due to the amount of users trying to access the servers. Meanwhile, Playstation’s support page on Twitter offered a somewhat dismal message to its followers, stating there is “no ETA” for when services will be back up and running.

Lizard Squad, the presumed hacker group that claimed credit for the attacks, tweeted out around noon Friday that the attacks were over:

Since then, both Microsoft and Playstation have been working effortlessly (or so they say) to fix the issues plaguing their respective networks. Both companies took to Twitter to inform console owners of their progress.

PSN and Xbox Live responses?

Although both companies have acknowledged the vast complaints and problems that have been reported, neither company has verified the culprit behind the attack. This may be that they are still unsure (not likely) or that they do not wish to concede that they have suffered another cyber attack. Xbox Live was supposedly taken down earlier this month by the same hacker group using denial-of-service attacks.

Many questions on the minds of gamers that have not been able to play their newest games is, why? And the indirect answer from Lizard Squad: denote the incompetence and injustice of Sony and Microsoft’s programming.

This type of statement from the hacker group seems to be defending their actions as righteous and intended to teach the corporations a lesson. But at the same time, the cyber-vigilanteism is also harming millions of innocent users that just like to play games.

Stay tuned to Pixelpine for more updates.

Posted on

PSN and Xbox Live receive hacker attacks and outages for Christmas

More repercussions for Sony; Microsoft along for the ride

Around 3:00 pm on Wednesday, Playstation and Microsoft users began experiencing problems accessing their respective online services, Playstation Network and Xbox Live. Log-in and content purchasing problems and online multiplayer issues were among the most complaints on the PSN and Xbox Live outages.

Lizard Squad, an anonymous hacker group that has previously attacked PSN back in August and earlier this month, has laid claims to this Christmas gift on Twitter:

The hacker squad tweeted out prior to the initial attacks that they were preparing for something big:

After Sony Pictures Entertainment was attacked last month for its controversial upcoming picture The Interview, which centers around the assassination of North Korea leader Kim Jong-Un, Lizard Squad promised another “Christmas gift” if the company released the movie.

After an initial delay, Sony began distributing the movie Thursday in a little over 300 theaters across the United States, and managed to pull in $1.04 million. The movie is also available online.

Xbox Live, which began offering The Interview on demand, was targeted by the hacker group as well. Lizard Squad offered a hint on Twitter on Wednesday of the impending trouble:

On Thursday, reports were flooding the support pages of both Xbox and Playstation for answers as both were experiencing problems. And once again, Lizard Squad had a bit of fun mocking gamers who were attempting to access the PSN and Xbox Live networks on Xbox One and PS4.

Stay tuned to Pixelpine for updates.

Posted on

Xbox One’s November update | Custom backgrounds, improved profiles, twitter integration and more!

Microsoft keeps the fan-requested upgrades coming in their November update for the Xbox One.
Microsoft keeps the fan-requested upgrades coming in their November update for the Xbox One.

Microsoft continues churning out great additions with their upcoming November update to the Xbox One.

It doesn’t seem like the story ever changes for Microsoft. Their support and response to fan-feedback is unparalleled and this new update just emphasizes that even more.

Some of the most requested features from fans — custom backgrounds, vastly improved profiles, and improved TV features as well are being incorporated into the console in next month’s update.

A bit more personalization certainly is nice to have, and the custom backgrounds will give players the ability to choose the art of any unlocked achievement or their personal profile color as a replacement for the original black homescreen backdrop.

The custom backgrounds was originally teased by Phil Spencer in a TiC podcast and it is coming earlier than his hints even suggested. It seems we’ll have to wait at least another month for the screenshot feature that Spencer also promised though.

The profile details return to that of the Xbox 360’s profile system with a bio and location available again to keep the social aspects of the console growing as well.

In regards to social growth the Xbox One will now have Twitter integrated directly into the UI. Sharing your own recorded game clips directly to Twitter is now a possibility. This addition complements the feed which in itself is very similar to twitter. It should not be all too surprising to see Twitter continue to grow on the console and no one should rule out posting directly to twitter from the feed.

Full list of updates below per majornelson’s blog:

  • Show Who You Are – Some of the most requested features being released this month include the ability to customize your Xbox One background and showcase and share some of your favorite achievements and game clips.
    • Custom Backgrounds – The #1 fan-requested feature is making its initial debut for preview members. For the first time, each account on your Xbox One can have a customized background. You can choose a custom color or achievement art as your background on Xbox One, with more customization options coming down the road.
    • Gamer Profile – You can now share your location and bio as part of your profile. You can set these options on your Xbox One console and use Xbox One SmartGlass to browse to other people’s profiles and check out their showcase items. Additionally, you can now select a set of showcase items that are displayed when other gamers look at your profile on an Xbox One console. You can use Xbox One SmartGlass or Xbox One console to add or remove up to six game clips or achievements that will be displayed in a carousel format.
    • Tweet about your Favorite Game Clips – You can now share your favorite Xbox One game clips with your followers on Twitter. Use the Share button on any game clip you have created and select Twitter to compose the Tweet.
  • A New Way to Watch TV – With new Live TV and Twitter integration, you can discover new shows to love and see what people are saying on Twitter about shows in real-time.
    • Live TV Trending – Starting today for preview members in the U.S., Canada and the UK, a new tab will be available in OneGuide that displays the top 20 most watched TV shows, with the list filtered down to the shows that are currently available to you based on your OneGuide settings. The Live TV Trending list is updated by the minute, so you can easily discover shows that are popular with other viewers. The Trending tab in OneGuide is updated to display Twitter – Live TV trending first and Xbox – Live TV Trending second. You can tune to a specific show by pressing the A button.
    • Twitter TV Trending – New this month in preview, you can see what Live TV is trending based on the highest number of tweets. Twitter TV Trending will initially be available to preview members in the U.S.
    • Xbox TV Trending – The Trending tab in OneGuide is updated to display Twitter trending first and Xbox – Live TV Trending second. Xbox – Live TV Trending is based on the number of Xbox One owners currently watching that show in each country, pulled from anonymous data collected at a national level.
    • Tweets in MiniGuide – See the actual tweets for the Live TV shows in real time and quickly find the Twitter #hashtag to join the conversation.
    • Recents and Favorites in MiniGuide – MiniGuide has been updated to include your favorite TV channels in a combined Recents and Favorites area and MiniGuide can now be activated via voice by saying “Xbox Select – MiniGuide” while watching TV.
  • Store improvements and SmartGlass updates – We are also excited to roll out these cool features:
    • Store improvements – The Store pages on Xbox One have been improved to enable you to more quickly browse and find content. The navigation buttons were moved to the far left so you can find them easier. You can also more quickly find game add-ons, perform store specific searches and recommendations are more prominently displayed. Finally, store categories have been standardized so you can easily see the top items in each query at a glance.
    • Friends’ Game Activity on SmartGlass – You can now see a list of your friends that have played a given game within the Xbox One SmartGlass experience.
    • Games with Gold & Deals with Gold on SmartGlass – For gamers with an Xbox Live Gold subscription, you can browse “Free Games with Gold” and discounted content with Gold and initiate download of the content to your Xbox One console from your mobile device.
    • SmartGlass Store Improvements – We added a new section for Apps to make it easier to find and download apps for your Xbox One, as well as adding a Coming Soon filter for Games and Add Ons to make it easier to see upcoming Xbox One releases sorted by anticipated release date.
  • Internet Explorer updates – There are a few improvements Internet Explorer available this month:
    • Snap IE – From the Address Bar in Internet Explorer, you can now easily snap from a full screen experience and move Internet Explorer into snap mode.
    • Featured sites – Now, Internet Explorer will show a number when something is newly-added to featured sites. Newly-added sites will also display a badge until you launch them or seven days have passed since the site was added to the Featured list.
  • Updates to the Preview dashboard app – We’re gamifying the Preview dashboard. Here are some new features we are adding:
    • My Stats – If you are in the Preview program, you will now earn points for providing feedback, including points for completing Quests, Surveys, Quick Poll questions, and rating the update. These will be shared in the Preview dashboard under My Stats. The more points you get, the more you level up, and the more rewards you’ll earn. Keep checking back for special bonus point opportunities.
    • Leaderboard – We’re also adding a leaderboard that shows how you stack up against your friends based on the points you have earned. If you don’t have friends in the Preview program, we’ll show how you stack up against others in the program. Keep checking back – more things are coming to the My Stats page soon.

For a hands on look, check out the video below –

MajorNelson.com