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Smite Brings the Wrath of the Gods to the Xbox One

Already wildly popular on Windows PCs, Smite ushers in a new generation of multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) on the Xbox One. Played from an over-the-shoulder, third-person perspective (unlike the top-down view of many MOBAs), Smite puts players in the guise of one of 60+ gods drawn from the pantheons of many of the world’s polytheistic traditions. Thor’s here, as is Kali, and Apollo, along with many more. Each has a unique play style and move set, and each plays as part of a team.

Smite
features several game modes, each of which favors a certain play style – but all of which build skills that are useful in all the modes. The core game mode is Conquest, which features a three-lane, traditional MOBA style of attack-and-capture gameplay. Teams of five face off against each other, with no one being allowed to have the same god as a teammate. You can play in ranked matches, or if you want to play with some buddies, you can practice in co-op mode as well. If you choose to play ranked, you’d better be on your “A” game, as ranked Conquest is the toughest and most competitive of Smite’s modes.

For those looking for a more casual challenge, Arena mode features similar five-on-five gameplay… but instead of a traditional, lane-based map, everything takes place in a big, open arena. This is far more chaotic, and rewards individual reflexes and skill as much as teamwork. On the flip side, there’s Joust mode, which is laid out similarly to Conquest – but only allows for one lane, rather than three, and slims down from five-on-five to three-on-three teams. Think of it as “Conquest Lite.”

Finally, there’s Siege mode, which is laid out like Conquest, but which features more powerful A.I. creatures that players can spawn by taking down enemy players and structures. The more destruction one team causes, the faster they get powerful A.I. allies. This game mode pushes players to fight each other sooner, rather than wandering the map, building up strength.

If this all sounds a little intimidating, don’t worry: Not only does
Smite come with a bevy of controller setups (some of which were designed by expert console gamers specifically for the Xbox One), it uses a modified TrueSkill ranking system to ensure that you won’t be pitted against players who are way above or below your skill level. Challenge is the name of the game in MOBAs – but a fair challenge is what Smite will deliver.

Best of all,
Smite is free to play. When it hits Xbox One later this year via ID@Xbox, you can download it, load it up, and start kicking divine booty!
Posted By: Xbox One Games

Sling TV Launches Today Exclusively on Xbox One; Xbox Members Get Exclusive One Month Free Trial

In January, we announced that Sling TV, the new live TV service, would be making its way to Xbox One. Today, we’re proud to announce that Xbox One is the first gaming console for which the over-the-top television service is available, and the best part is that only our members get an exclusive extended free trial for 30 days.

Sling TV on Xbox One offers the same great features our fans have come to expect, including the ability to Snap while enjoying other activities, Pin the app to your Home and use voice or gesture controls with Kinect for Xbox One. Check out the walk-through video above for a deeper look into how it all works on Xbox One.

If you’re not already a proud owner of an Xbox One, you can also head to your nearest Microsoft store or go to microsoftstore.com and receive a limited time offer of three free months of Sling TV service with the purchase of an Xbox One console (offer available in the U.S. only).
1 You can also check out a live demo of Sling TV on Xbox One at your local Microsoft store.

We got a chance to sit down with Sling TV CEO Roger Lynch to learn more about the new service and what it means to bring Sling TV exclusively to Xbox One as the first gaming console. See below for our Q&A.

Major Nelson: Tell us about Sling TV.

Roger Lynch: With Sling TV, you can watch live TV instantly without the cable company. That means you get access to the NFL, NBA and X Games on ESPN and ESPN2, plus your favorite shows like “The Walking Dead” from AMC, Adult Swim, TNT, TBS, and others. You can also explore Video-On-Demand (VOD) entertainment, as well as content from Maker Studios like Polaris+, which is coming soon.

MN: How much are people paying for Sling TV?

RL: For just $20 a month, members get the “Best of Live TV” core package with live sports, lifestyle, family and news channels, plus Video-On-Demand entertainment. Customers can tailor their experience by adding on “Sports Extra,” which gives you access to even more ESPN and big time sporting events, including the SEC Network, ESPNEWS, ESPNU, Universal Sports, Univision Deportes, beIN Sports, and part-time college sports networks ESPN Buzzer Beater, ESPN Bases Loaded and ESPN Goal Line.

Additional add-on packs available include “Kids Extra,” “News & Info Extra,” and “Hollywood Extra,” which gives you access to hit movies. Each of these add-on packs is priced at only $5 per month. Plus, Sling TV members also have access to live channels and VOD entertainment from Maker Studios, including the soon-to-be-launched Polaris+. Xbox members can try Sling TV with an exclusive extended free trial for 30 days.

MN: Why partner with Xbox as the exclusive gaming console at launch?

RL: We built Sling TV with millennials in mind, and that includes gamers. Xbox has been at the forefront of gaming and technology for years, so it made sense to bring Sling TV to the passionate Xbox user. For many millennials, Xbox One is already the center of their living room experience, and we want to reach these fans to show there’s a better way to get live TV that doesn’t require a long-term commitment, high programming costs, additional wires or hidden fees.

MN: What do you think viewers are most excited about when they sign up for Sling TV?

RL: With Sling TV, our customers get access to live TV at a low price, plus the flexibility to customize their TV experience so they can choose content that matters most to them. And, customers aren’t locked into a long-term contract like you get with traditional pay-TV providers.

MN: Anything else you’d like to share with Xbox Live members?

RL: We’d love for Xbox Live members to Take Back TV and try Sling TV today through the exclusive extended free 30 day trial. Join our journey on Facebook, Twitter, and our blog for the latest news and don’t forget to invite your friends to #TakeBackTV with @Sling.

1Offer valid from March 17, 2015 until March 22, 2015. Offer is available while supplies last. Available in Microsoft retail and online store in US only. To activate Sling TV promotion, customers are required to provide email address to Microsoft; Customers authorize Microsoft to share the email address provided with Sling TV to activate promotional account.  After free trial your credit card will be charged monthly for applicable subscription until you cancel your service. Cancel anytime on Sling.com or by calling 1 (877) 811-4788. Programming fees are charged monthly in advance and no credits or refunds will be issued for partial months after cancellation. Viewing limited to one device at a time. Must be redeemed by 4/22/15.   Microsoft Store terms apply.  Sling TV terms apply.  Not available to small business or medium business customers. Not valid on prior orders or purchases; cannot be transferred or otherwise redeemed for cash or gift cards. May not be combinable with other offers. See store associate for details. Refunds will take into account the discount. Price discount does not include taxes, shipping or other fees. All prices, fees, charges, packages, programming, features, functionality and offers subject to change without notice. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. Microsoft reserves the right to modify or discontinue offers at any time. Limit of 1 per customer.

Posted By: Xbox One Games

Xbox One March System Update: Party Chat Improvements, Screenshots and More Now Available

This month’s system update on Xbox One brings you some of the most-requested features by our fans including screenshots and improved tile transparency. We heard great things from members of the Xbox One preview program following their sneak preview and are excited to bring these great new features to everyone on Xbox One today.

Check out the list of features in the March system update that are starting to roll out tonight:

  • Screenshots New this month is a highly requested feature by our community from the Xbox feedback site. While playing a game, you can now take screenshots on your Xbox One console by simply double-tapping the Xbox button on your controller to capture a screenshot and pressing Y to save the screenshot. You can also say “Xbox, take a screenshot” to take and save a screenshot.

    The Upload app has been updated so that you can manage your screenshots in addition to your game clips. To set a screenshot as your background, go to Upload, open the screenshot full screen, press the Menu button, and select Set as background. You can also use Upload to share screenshots to your activity feed, attach them to messages, add screenshots to your showcase, share to Twitter, and post to OneDrive. Additionally, your game clips and screenshots will be shown in a new area on your profile. 

  • Suggested friends Everyone can use new friends! Suggested friends will include people you might know—so you can add more friends to game with—and top community broadcasters and clip creators—so you can get more great content in your activity feed. To find new friends, go to Friends and look for people under the Suggested friends heading or select the Suggested friends button. Or, if you don’t have a ton of friends yet, just check the Friends area of Home. 
  • Sharing your name – We’re rolling out two new ways to share your real name: with all of your friends, or to everyone in the Xbox Live community. You can also continue to share your real name with select friends or no one, if that’s what you prefer. Gamertags are still the primary method of identifying yourself on Xbox Live, but sharing your real name helps people recognize you who might not know you by your gamertag. The new name sharing options can be found under Friends > My profile > Name sharing settings
  • Party chat enhancements – We added two new icons to party chat to show each participant their own microphone status. The Kinect icon means the Kinect is being used as the mic and the headset icon means the headset mic is being used. 
  • Tile transparency – As a result of your feedback, we’re adding a setting to vary the level of transparency for your background images. To do this, go to Settings > My Xbox > Tile transparency
  • Voice search privacy – We added a new setting to share voice search data to allow anonymous collection and analysis of voice data when using Bing on Xbox to search. Go to Settings > Privacy and online safety > Custom > Share voice search data to change the setting. 
  • Report spam – The Messages app has an added option to notify Xbox when you receive spam. To report a message as spam, select it, press A on the controller, select Report, and then choose Spam.
  • Live TV & OneGuide in Australia – Support for OneGuide is now available to all users in Australia for free-to-air TV listings. Additionally, the OneGuide app will be pre-pinned for users in Australia a few days after the March system update goes live. 
  • Xbox One Digital TV Tuner in Australia – Xbox One owners in Australia can pre-purchase the Xbox Digital TV Tuner at the online Microsoft Store, Availability of the tuner is planned for March 25, 2015. 

     

More system updates with cool new features are coming your way soon, so stay tuned for more details. Keep sending us your feedback!

Posted By: Xbox One Games

Get Xbox One Plus Four Free Halo Games, All for $349

For those of you looking to pick up an Xbox One this spring, look no further – beginning in March, fans worldwide (U.S. and select markets) will be able to revisit the entire story of the Master Chief with the Xbox One Halo: The Master Chief Collection Bundle. The exclusive bundle includes a standard Xbox One console, as well as a digital download code for Halo: The Master Chief Collection – the essential Halo fan experience that features the Master Chief’s complete story through four free Halo games: Halo: Combat Evolved AnniversaryHalo 2: AnniversaryHalo 3 and Halo 4 – all for ERP $349 in the U.S.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection allows fans to play all 45 campaign missions, plus more than 100 multiplayer and Spartan Ops maps, in 1080p at 60fps. The bundle also comes with access to the new live-action digital series from executive producer Ridley Scott, Halo: Nightfall. This jam-packed offer gets you four great games in one bundle, and provides tremendous value for fans of Halo and the Master Chief.

The Xbox One Halo: The Master Chief Collection bundle is available in most regions where Xbox One is available so check with your local retailers for more details on availability.

With an unprecedented lineup of Xbox exclusives including Fable Legends, Halo 5: Guardians, Rise of the Tomb Raider and Forza Motorsport 6 plus a host of blockbuster third-party titles such as Battlefield Hardline and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt all coming this year, 2015 is shaping up to be another amazing year for Xbox fans.
Posted By: Xbox One Games

It’s Back: Rock Band 4 Is Coming to Xbox One

If you’re anything like us, you’ve been itching to get the band back together since 2010’s Rock Band 3 for Xbox 360. Well, the time has finally come: Get ready to rock out once again, because developer Harmonix is making beautiful music with publisher Mad Catz. That’s right, Rock Band 4 is coming to Xbox One later this year!

Yes, the beloved music franchise is coming to the new console generation – and it’s expanding in some awesome new ways, while still retaining everything you loved about Rock Band in the first place.

“With Rock Band 4, we’re doubling down on the energy and excitement of playing music live with your friends,” said Harmonix Chief Executive Officer Steve Janiak. “Focusing on the core experience that our fans have told us they love allows us to evolve established gameplay in meaningful ways that we can’t wait to share with everyone later this year.”

“We couldn’t be happier to be working with Harmonix and help bring the band back together for the launch of Rock Band 4,” added Darren Richardson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Mad Catz. “Harmonix possesses unrivaled passion and vision for music gaming, and we can’t wait to introduce the next-generation music platform to passionate gamers.”

More details on Rock Band 4 will emerge in the coming months, but for now you can check out the brand-new behind-the-scenes feature with Harmonix above.

Head to the official Rock Band website and sign up to be notified as soon as pre-orders start. Oh, and if you’re attending next week’s PAX East convention in Boston, you can pre-order an exclusive Penny Arcade-themed Rock Band 4 guitar at Harmonix’s booth. Heck yeah!
Posted By: Xbox One Games

The Simpsons Meet Minecraft Xbox One and Xbox 360 Editions Today

Starting today, Minecraft players can bring their favorite characters from The Simpsons to life in The Simpsons Skin Pack, the newest downloadable content for Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition and Minecraft: Xbox One Edition, available for $2.99 USD. Create your own blocky version of Springfield with the entire Simpsons family—Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie— plus 19 of Springfield Elementary School’s beloved characters from the Emmy Award-winning animated show and the longest-running scripted show in television history.

A full character list follows: 
Homer Simpson
Marge Simpson
Bart Simpson
Lisa Simpson
Maggie Simpson
Principal Seymour Skinner
Mrs. Edna Krabappel
Groundskeeper Willie
Otto Mann
Milhouse Van Houten
Nelson Muntz
Jimbo Jones
Ralph Wiggum
Martin Prince
Kearney
Dolph
Wendell
Database
Üter
Janey Powell
Superintendent Gary Chalmers
Mr. Dewey Largo
Sherri
Terri

Stay tuned for more information on
The Simpsons skin pack on other platforms.
Posted By: Xbox One Games

How The Escapists Made a Clean Getaway on Xbox One

Good news: You no longer have to commit a horrific crime and be judged and sentenced by a jury of your peers in order to experience the exhilarating rush of a good old-fashioned prison break. In fact, the all-new Xbox One title The Escapists lets you stage a great escape from the comfort of your living room couch. It’s quite a unique little game, and we recently caught up with creator Chris Davis (from The Escapists developer Mouldy Toof Studios) and production director Kel Aston (from publisher Team17) to figure out just where the heck this innovative gem of a game came from.

Xbox Wire: What was the first inspiration behind The Escapists? How did it evolve from that initial idea?

Chris Davis:
It started life as a top-down, school-themed game – a tribute of sorts to one of my favorites from the ZX Spectrum era called Back 2 Skool. It was one of the very first sandbox-style games, and I loved the freedom it gave you to mess about in a school, skipping lessons and being a menace.

I can’t remember what triggered it, but a few weeks into development, I switched the theme of the game to a prison one instead. I felt it was a more unique angle with a better endgame (escaping), so I went with that.

Xbox Wire: Have you ever been to prison? Or is the game based mostly on what you’ve gleaned from watching various television shows and movies? Any in particular that really stand out?

Chris Davis:
Nah, I’ve never been to prison! I just watched every prison-based show, documentary, and movie I could get my hands on, harvesting anything that would translate well into a game. Standouts are obviously “The Shawshank Redemption,” “Escape from Alcatraz,” and “Prison Break.”

Xbox Wire: How did you guys end up coming to the pixel art aesthetic? Was that the plan from the start?

Chris Davis:
It wasn’t really a decision as such; it’s just the way I’ve always done my game artwork. I like to keep it simple, so I can focus on the gameplay. I think Minecraft taught everyone that pixelated retro visuals still have a place in gaming.

Xbox Wire: What were the biggest challenges you guys faced in bringing the game together? How long did the project take?

Kel Aston:
The biggest challenge was the sheer amount of events and outcomes the game has to handle. You’ve got all the A.I. for guards and inmates… then there are the opinions, reactions, and player stats on top of all this, as well the tracking of the days, escape routes, items, and so on. So with this huge amount of logic and data, you need to be ultra-careful when changing things, to ensure that you don’t bring the house crashing down. We spent around six weeks getting the Gamescom demo in place, then after that, we took about five months to build the game and get it ready for Microsoft submission at the end of 2014.

I guess another challenge was taking a mouse-and-keyboard game and getting it working on an Xbox One controller. We soon found that the paper designs we had for the game weren’t as intuitive when they were in there. So we constantly iterated and usability-tested the controls throughout the project. What we ended up with is awesome!

Chris Davis:
Another challenge was knowing where to draw the line. It’s quite a unique concept, and there were a lot of additional good ideas that could have been added, but there’s a point where you have to just stop adding things and polish what you have, or the game will never be finished.

Xbox Wire: The game seems to lean toward being a Roguelike. Is it intentionally challenging in that hardcore, Roguelike way?

Kel Aston:
It is intentionally challenging although we made is easier in the last few weeks of development due to the feedback we received from usability testing. We found that people were enjoying the game without really “getting” it (for example, one player was more than happy to spend his days walking about the prison, stealing socks, flushing them down the toilet, rinse and repeat – he’d gotten to day 10 without any attempts to escape, yet he said he was having a lot of fun with the game). So, we added the tutorial and redefined some of the controls. The tutorial is pretty basic, but it shows the player that there is both an underground and vent layer, plus it covers combat and crafting – which we found were being missed by players. With the basics understood, this equips the player with enough information to go out there, explore, experiment, and have fun.

Chris Davis:
I grew up playing games that didn’t hold a player’s hand as much as they do these days. I always loved the huge sense of achievement I had from solving something myself instead of just following a pointer around. That said, we didn’t want to make it frustrating, either. It was tricky trying to achieve a balance between the two, but we seem to have found a great balance that our players love!
Posted By: Xbox One Games

Xbox One March System Update: Screenshots and Suggested Friends Now Available in Preview

Earlier this month, we added a host of new features and improvements on Xbox One and starting today, members of the Xbox One preview program will get to check out even more new features – some of which are planned for the March system update.

Check out the list of features in the March system update preview that are starting to roll out tonight:

  • Screenshots New in preview is a highly requested feature by our community from the Xbox feedback site.  While playing a game, you can now take screenshots on your Xbox One console by simply double-tapping the Xbox button on your controller to capture a screenshot and pressing Y to save the screenshot. You can also say “Xbox Take a Screenshot” to take and save a screenshot.

    The Upload app is being updated so that you can manage your screenshots in addition to your game clips. You can use a screenshot as your background, by viewing the screenshot in full-screen mode from the Upload app, then, press the Menu button and select Set as background.  In coming preview builds, you will be able to use Upload to share screenshots to your activity feed, attach to messages, add screenshots to your showcase, and eventually share to Twitter. Also, your screenshots will be visible in your profile alongside your game clips.  In the initial preview build, the sharing functions are not yet enabled, but you can start capturing screenshots and using them for your backgrounds.

  • Suggested friends With the suggested friends feature, the Friends area in home and your friends list will help you find and add friends. Suggested friends will include people you might know, so you add more friends to game with, and top community broadcasters and clip creators, so you can get more great content in your activity feed. We’re also adding a new suggested friends page to the Friends area.
  • Sharing your name – This month in preview, we’re rolling out two new ways to share your real name; with all of your friends or to everyone in the Xbox Live community. You can also continue to share your real name with select friends, or with no one, if that’s what you prefer. Gamertags are still the primary method of identifying yourself on Xbox Live, but sharing your real name helps people recognize you who might not know you by your gamertag. The new name sharing options can be found under Friends > My profile > Name sharing settings.
  • Tile transparency – We continue to listen to your feedback and are adding a setting to enable you to vary the level of transparency for your background images, go to Settings > My Xbox > Tile transparency.
  • Privacy and online safety settings – We added a new setting for sharing voice search data to create an option for you to allow collection and analysis of voice data when using Xbox – Bing to search. You can go to Settings > Privacy and online safety > Share voice search data to change the setting.
  • Report spam – The Messages app has an added option to allow you to notify Xbox when you receive spam.  You can now select a specific message, press the A button and then select Report > Spam to report a specific message as spam.
  • OneGuide for Australia – Support for OneGuide will continue in preview in Australia for free-to-air TV listings.
  • Xbox One Digital TV Tuner in Australia – Xbox One owners in Australia with an Xbox Digital TV Tuner can now use it with the preview builds of this month’s release.

Let us know what you think of this month’s preview and stay tuned for more news on Xbox One system updates.

Posted By: Xbox One Games

Titanfall gets its own limited-edition Xbox One controller

Xbox One owners can snag a limited-edition controller themed around upcoming mech shooter Titanfall, Microsoft announced today.

Designed by developer Respawn Entertainment in collaboration with the Xbox design team, the controller is designed to resemble the C-101 carbine, a weapon used by the pilots of elite Interstellar Manufacturing Corporation titans within the game.

The Titanfall Limited Edition Wireless Controller will be available for purchase alongside the game at launch. The controller costs $64.99 and is currently available for pre-order through the Microsoft Store.

In a post on his blog, Microsoft’s Larry Hryb wrote that Respawn lead artist Joel Emslie said the goal was “to create a controller that feels as if it is a piece of military spec hardware transported from the universe of Titanfall and into players’ hands.”

Titanfall will launch on March 11 in North America and March 13 in Europe. Earlier this month, Respawn confirmed with Polygon that maps will hold up to 50 combatants, including players, AI and titans.

Xboxone_wirelesscontroller_titanfall_aoc_en_xc_xx_anl_rgb

Posted By: Xbox One Games

Titanfall special edition Xbox One controller drops this March

Hey, Xbox One Day One Edition owner, we get it: you’re into special editions. So how about if we told you there’s another opportunity to own yet another piece of “limited edition” swag for your Xbox One? That’s exactly the news we’ve got today, as …
Posted By: Xbox One Games

 

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