How Microsoft (Probably) Envisions Xbox Hardware Upgrades

With all the talk about Xbox One hardware upgrades and their universal platform, it’s important to really understand how Microsoft is approaching this problem. While some commentators are viewing their change in strategy as a shift to a PC-like ecosystem, a deeper read of Microsoft’s statements reveals a more Apple iOS-like approach.

Traditionally, consoles have come out generation by generation, with the latest one supplanting the next. In order to play the latest and greatest games, one would have to buy the latest console and playing games from previous consoles required the previous console. Microsoft is planning to change this with the Xbox One, allowing for hardware to advance within a console generation, with backwards and forwards compatibility. This allows users to keep playing their old games as well.

In order to get the backwards and forwards compatibility between games and consoles, Microsoft is using their UWP (Universal Windows Platform) to build UWA (Univeral Windows Applications). This is possible because the Xbox One is fundamentally a customised PC, and some think that a new hardware upgrade is easily done due to the simple architecture and uniform software. The concern though is that like PC systems, the variants of  Xbox One’s become like another PC and will suffer from fragmentation in features and performance, losing the traditional console benefit of one hardware platform to target.

In my view tough, Microsoft is pushing a similar yet distinct path from PC, more akin to iOS. With iOS, Apple has several concurrent iOS devices generations with different hardware. However, all my applications work on most iOS devices, with older iOS devices using older versions of the application if necessary, with fewer features. This is even simpler for the Xbox One as there will still probably only be 2-3 hardware variants, easy enough to target and optimise for. Just like with iOS applications, UWA games can scale to the hardware neatly, with each console variant using the resources (physics effects, resolution, texture quality) best suited to it and compiled at the time of installation.

With UWA, it will take minimal effort to ensure old games run on the new console hardware and any failure to optimise is covered up by the improved hardware. To run new games on older consoles, developers simply use fewer models, less complex physics, lower resolution and lower quality textures. However, the overall gameplay should remain the same and the overall experience the same. The ability to play purchases bought for a previous console removes the sting of rebuying games when the console is replaced.

As always with Microsoft, their statements and PR side of things are never as clear as they need to be. Hopefully, Microsoft will be able to implement their plans well and the future where console gaming libraries are just like Steam will finally come to pass.

Xbox One Hardware Upgrades Could End Console Generations

Xbox Chief Phil Spencer has revealed that he is considering the introduction of hardware upgrades for Xbox One, as part of its “Universal Windows Platform” program, which aims to unify Microsoft’s console with PC platforms, in a move which could spell the end of future Xbox generations. Speaking to Polygon, Spencer explained that Microsoft sees the PC as a platform of innovation for gaming, and so the company wants to shift the Xbox into that sphere.

“We see on other platforms whether it be mobile or PC that you get a continuous innovation that you rarely see on console,” Spencer said. “Consoles lock the hardware and the software platforms together at the beginning of the generation. Then you ride the generation out for seven or so years, while other ecosystems are getting better, faster, stronger. And then you wait for the next big step function.”

“When you look at the console space, I believe we will see more hardware innovation in the console space than we’ve ever seen,” he added. “You’ll actually see us come out with new hardware capability during a generation allowing the same games to run backward and forward compatible because we have a Universal Windows Application running on top of the Universal Windows Platform that allows us to focus more and more on hardware innovation without invalidating the games that run on that platform.”

Spencer sees the unification of various platforms as a boon to those who want to play older games, too, as the PC ecosystem, and relevant upgrades, would support broader backwards compatibility.

“We can effectively feel a little bit more like we see on PC, where I can still go back and run my old Doom and Quake games that I used to play years ago but I can still see the best 4K games come out and my library is always with me,” he said. “Hardware innovation continues while the software innovation is able to take advantage and I don’t have to jump a generation and lose everything that I played on before.”

More Titles Added to Xbox One Backward Compatibility

Microsoft has announced that another ten Xbox 360 games has been added to the list of those that are backward compatible with Xbox One, the most exciting of which is the middle entry in CD Projekt RED’s epic RPG trilogy, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings. The company has also revealed that it is eschewing monthly releases of future backward compatibility additions, choosing instead to make them available the moment they are made compatible.

“[T]he Xbox Engineering team will start to pilot a new way to launch Xbox One Backward Compatibility titles,” the Xbox Wire blog post reads. “Starting today, we’ll release titles as they become available, rather than a set monthly launch date. What this means for you is that you won’t have to wait to find out the latest titles; we’ll release whatever is available, when they’re available, once each title has received the engineering and publisher stamp of approval.”

The Xbox 360 games that have been added to the Xbox One Backward Compatibility list are:

The above titles are all available for Xbox One from today.

Halo Reach Performs Poorly on Xbox One

Microsoft stunned attendees during this year’s E3 expo with the shock announcement that backwards compatibility was coming to the Xbox One at no additional cost. In contrast to this, Sony has decided to charge for digital PlayStation 2 titles and offer PlayStation 3 emulation via a paid streaming service. It’s extremely unlikely for Sony to master PlayStation 3 emulation through traditional avenues due to the cell architecture’s complex nature.

One of the Xbox One’s most popular releases is Halo: The Master Chief Collection which contains Halo 1, 2, 3, and 4. Sadly this collection is devoid of Halo Reach as the story doesn’t center on the chaotic exploits of Master Chief. Despite this, Halo Reach recently gained approval to work on the Xbox One without the need to purchase an Xbox 360. Unfortunately, there are a number of user complaints regarding the game’s performance suggesting it frequently dips to around 10 frames-per-second. One disgruntled user said:

“We need to talk about the HALO Reach port to XBOX ONE. It’s unplayable! I’m getting 10-20 FPS whereas my 360 runs it at a smooth 25-30 FPS… This is unacceptable, I even set my XBOX ONE to run in 720p, but nothing changed!”

Another player had a similar experience and proclaimed:

“What the hell? UNPLAYABLE.is this going to get fixed or what? Why advertise backward compatibility of you can’t even actually play the game?”

Microsoft has acknowledged the current performance problems and issued an official statement which reads:

“We’re aware some users are experiencing issues playing Halo: Reach via Xbox One backward compatibility. The Xbox engineering team is currently looking into the issues and are working to address them.”

Some of you might remember the buggy emulation on the Xbox 360 which made older games unstable or difficult to play. At least Microsoft is looking into the performance problems and hopefully they should be rectified soon. On the other hand, it’s vital for Microsoft to ensure each game runs properly before giving it their seal of approval.

Is backwards compatibility a feature you often use?

New Xbox One Experience Now Available – What to Expect

If you’re an Xbox One gamer, then you’ll no doubt have heard that there is a major update for the consoles OS today. The new update, known as vaguely as “New Xbox One Experience” will bring a lot of changes to the dashboard, as well as some cool features that I’m sure many of you have been waiting for.

“NXOE starts rolling out after 3:01am ET/ 12:01am PT November 12th. Back Compat titles will be playable or start to appear in your collection (for digital purchases) after 3:01pm /12:01 pm (Noon) PT on Thursday” said Xbox Spokesman, Major Nelson.

The entire rollout will begin for everyone globally, so there’s no sitting around waiting for your time slot on a download. Of course, what this does to Microsoft’s servers at that time, remains to be seen, but I’d expect some slower downloads and advice that some people wait before updating just to be sure things are going smoothly.

Here’s what Major Nelson had to say on how to get the update.

HOW TO GET THE NEW XBOX ONE EXPERIENCE?

If you use the Instant-on power mode (available via Settings – Power & startup), your Xbox One will take the update in the background when you put your console into Connected Standby mode.  As this is a global rolling launch, consoles in Connected Standby will be updated at various times throughout the day based on your time zone.

If your console is in Energy-saving mode, your Xbox One will not automatically download and install the update. To initiate the download and update process, you can go to Settings – System to manually check if an update is available and choose “Update Now”.

Note that all Xbox One consoles will receive a prompt for a mandatory update on November 23rd if they have not yet updated to the New Xbox One Experience.

  • Learn more about system updates on Xbox One here
  • Learn more about the New Xbox One Experience system update and build here.
  • Starting 3:01am ET/ 12:01am PT November 12th, access the Xbox.com support team’s knowledge base regarding known concerns here.

WHEN WILL YOU GET IT?

Team Xbox will begin the rollout of the New Xbox One Experience after3:01am ET/ 12:01am PT November 12th.

Not everyone is going to get it at the same time.  Depending on the time zone you are in, as well your Xbox One console settings, you may get the New Xbox One Experience at a different time than your friends.

Regardless of when you receive the New Xbox One Experience system update, the Xbox One Backward Compatibility feature will begin rolling out starting at 3:01pm/12:01 PM (noon) PT on November 12th.  To start playing your Xbox 360 games on Xbox One after this time, refresh your Game Collection to see your pre-purchased, digital Xbox 360 titles from theBackward Compatible title list in your ready to install queue or simply insert the disc for a supported Xbox 360 title and download the game to start playing it on Xbox One.

What can I expect in this new update?

The new OS for Xbox One will integrate more with Windows 10, bringing a completely redesigned interface, faster navigation, the ability to join parties, add friends, check messages and more without leaving your game and so much more.

  • Faster performance
  • Improved game experience
  • Vertical scrolling allows faster access to activities and content
  • Expanded social content and engagement

The Guide, game hubs, social interactions and more have been improved, as well as a new community area which has been added. There’s a new and improved store, One Guide and updated apps too.

The biggest update, however, is that Xbox 360 backwards compatibility is rolling out with this update too.

“Now you can play a growing number of your Xbox 360 games on Xbox One at no additional cost. With over 100 titles slated for this fall, and hundreds more in the months to come, Xbox One is now the best place to play your Xbox 360 games.”

  • Keep your game saves, game add-ons, achievements, and Gamerscore
  • Enjoy the advanced features of your Xbox One like Game DVR, Screenshots and Windows 10 streaming
  • Play multiplayer with your friends no matter which console they’re on
  • Xbox One Backward Compatibility works with disc-based and digital games

If you’ve downloaded and tried the update today, feel free to leave a comment and let us know what you think about this major update.

Xbox One Backwards Compatibility Game List Revealed

Since it was revealed back in June that Xbox One would be introducing backwards compatibility for Xbox 360 games, Xbox fans have been anxious to know which games would be included when the function goes live later this month. Larry ‘Major Nelson’ Hryb, Director of Programming for Xbox Live, has unveiled the first 104 titles that will be compatible upon launch this Thursday (12th November).

The full list is as follows:

  • A Kingdom for Keflings
  • A World of Keflings
  • Alien Hominid HD
  • Assassin’s Creed II
  • Asteroids & Deluxe
  • Banjo-Kazooie
  • Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts
  • Banjo-Tooie
  • BattleBlock Theater
  • Bejeweled 2
  • Bellator: MMA Onslaught
  • Beyond Good & Evil HD
  • Blood of the Werewolf
  • BloodRayne: Betrayal
  • Borderlands
  • Call of Juarez Gunslinger
  • Castle Crashers
  • CastleStorm
  • Centipede & Millipede
  • Condemned: Criminal Origins
  • Crazy Taxi
  • Deadliest Warrior: Legends
  • Defense Grid: The Awakening
  • DiRT 3
  • DiRT Showdown
  • Discs of Tron
  • Doom
  • Doom II
  • Dungeon Siege III
  • Earthworm Jim HD
  • Fable II
  • Fallout 3
  • Feeding Frenzy 2: Shipwreck Showdown
  • Gears of War
  • Gears of War 2
  • Gears of War 3
  • Gears of War: Judgment
  • Golden Axe
  • Halo: Spartan Assault
  • Hardwood Backgammon
  • Hardwood Hearts
  • Hardwood Spades
  • Heavy Weapon
  • Hexic HD
  • Ikaruga
  • Jetpac Refuelled
  • Joy Ride Turbo
  • Just Cause 2
  • Kameo: Elements of Power
  • LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game
  • LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga
  • Lode Runner
  • LUMINES LIVE!
  • Mass Effect
  • Metal Slug 3
  • Metal Slug XX
  • Might & Magic Clash of Heroes
  • Mirror’s Edge
  • Missile Command
  • Monday Night Combat
  • Monkey Island 2: Special Edition
  • Monkey Island: Special Edition
  • Splosion Man
  • Mutant Blobs Attack!!!
  • N+
  • NBA JAM: On Fire Edition
  • NiGHTS into dreams…
  • Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising
  • Pac-Man: Championship Edition
  • Pac-Man: Championship Edition DX+
  • Perfect Dark
  • Perfect Dark Zero
  • Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds
  • Pinball FX
  • Plants vs. Zombies
  • Prince of Persia
  • Putty Squad
  • R-Type Dimensions
  • Rayman 3 HD
  • Sacred Citadel
  • Sega Vintage Collection: Alex Kidd & Co.
  • Sega Vintage Collection: Golden Axe
  • Sega Vintage Collection: Monster World
  • Sega Vintage Collection: Streets of Rage
  • Shadow Complex
  • Sonic CD
  • Sonic The Hedgehog
  • Sonic The Hedgehog 2
  • Sonic The Hedgehog 3
  • South Park: The Stick of Truth
  • Super Meat Boy
  • Supreme Commander 2
  • Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas
  • Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas 2
  • Torchlight
  • Toy Soldiers
  • Toy Soldiers: Cold War
  • Tron: Evolution
  • Ugly Americans: Apocalypsegeddon
  • Viva Piñata
  • Viva Piñata: Trouble In Paradise
  • Wolfenstein 3D
  • Zuma

Hryb suggests that further titles will be added in good time, and Microsoft is soliciting votes for your favourite Xbox 360 game not yet included in the above list.

Don’t Expect Any HD Remasters From EA Anytime Soon

The Xbox One and PlayStation 4’s limited game library has resulted in a wealth of remastered titles to bridge the gap while exclusives are being developed. It also seems like a cogent strategy to produce games on a budget and offset the profits to make expensive new triple-A titles. However, in an interview with IGN, EA CEO Peter Moore said:

“Remakes, because of who we are, and this broad portfolio of intellectual property…you add all that together, I don’t know where we find the time to do remakes, […] We’re a company that just likes to push forward.”

“For a lot of companies, remakes are a way to drive revenue. It’s sub-cost, it’s an IP that’s there, you can remaster, and that’s great. We don’t do that here. I don’t think that’s ever been in our culture.”

While some people would love to see a remake of classic EA titles like Mass Effect, I understand his point-of-view. Remakes can provide an improved experience, but it’s still the same core game as before. Additionally, as a PC gamer, the idea of paying for a resolution boost and slight texture enhancements seems extremely poor value-for-money. I rather major publishers work towards new and exciting IPs instead of relying on older games.

Peter Moore also weighed in on the issue of backwards compatibility and said:

“In the old days, backward compatibility was to convince your mom to buy the new console — not that you were ever going to use it, […] Once you got it? Those things went in the drawer, or on eBay.”

This line of thinking does have some credence, but I believe consumers are more driven to purchase a new console if they know their existing library can utilized. If a console doesn’t contain backwards compatibility, it psychologically makes the purchaser feel they have to spend more on the latest games to be thoroughly entertained.

What do you think of HD remakes?

PlayStation Now Officially Launches in The UK

The PlayStation 4’s lack of backwards compatibility has caused a headache for Sony in transferring their existing customer base to the latest system. Clearly, the technical complexities when shifting from the Cell architecture to X86 makes backward compatibility an arduous task. Additionally, pressure has been applied in recent months after Microsoft announced backwards compatibility during their E3 conference. As a result, Sony heavily relied on HD remasters to entice their core demographic to purchase the PlayStation 4.

However, it seems the solution could revolve around the PlayStation Now streaming service. In its original form,  Sony outlined individual pricing for certain PlayStation 3 titles depending on the rental period. The base prices were a complete shambles and horrifically overpriced. For example, you could purchase a pre-owned copy of Deus Ex: Human Revolution for the same cost as streaming the game for 48 hours. Thankfully, Sony has finally acknowledged how absurd the pricing model was and decided to offer the entire PlayStation now catalogue for £12.99 per month.

In theory, this fee could be used to access PlayStation 1, PlayStation 2, PSP, PS Vita, and eventually even PlayStation 4 titles. As internet providers enhance the network bandwidth of the lower-tier broadband packages, streaming will become a more convenient alternative. I love the idea of accessing so many classic PlayStation games from Gran Turismo 2 to Persona 4. Ideally, I’d like to see the service integrated into other non-Sony devices like a streaming box or Windows-based PC.

Do you think the £12.99 price is reasonable?

Thank you Eurogamer for providing us with this information.

New ‘New Xbox Experience’ Patch Notes Revealed

The ‘New Xbox Experience’ for Xbox One, offering a redesigned user experience, is getting a new patch, which will be made available to select members of the Xbox Preview Program, eventually rolling out to all members, according to Mike Ybarra, the Director of Program Management for Xbox. The update (th2_xbox_rel_1510.151003-2016) fixes a number of reported problems, including issues with WiFi dropout when connecting an external hard drive and system update failures.

Thanks to reddit user pizzatarian, we have the full list of updates included with the new patch:

FIXES:

  • WiFi with External HD: Some users had reported WiFi would stop working with an external hard drive connected. This issue has been resolved.
  • System Update failing: Users reported slow or failing system updates will notice this issue is not present with this update.
  • Sign-in: Previously, international accounts may have had issues signing in. This has been resolved.
  • Upload Studio: A new version is available for New Xbox One Experience Preview members. This will update separately from the system update, and will be available after 6PM PT.
  • Performance and UI Improvements: Various performance and UI tweaks have been made in the update to fit and finish.

KNOWN ISSUES:

  • Please carefully review the known issues below for details on all currently known issues.
  • Remember to report any issues you discover via the Report a problem feature or in the forums!

FEATURED FEEDBACK OPPORTUNITIES:

We have seen great response to our new quests so far! If you are just joining the New Xbox One Experience Preview, or you haven’t taken them yet, be sure to give them a spin. Be sure to check out the Preview Dashboard app for more details on these quests:

  • Can You See It? This quest will ask you to try out the new guide and let us know if it appears properly on your TV.
  • OneGuide on NXOE: All about the new OneGuide area on the New Xbox One Experience Dashboard. Tell us what you think!
  • Quest available in the following locales: US, Canada, UK, Germany, France, Mexico, Brazil

KNOWN ISSUES:

General System Issues:

Black screen upon boot:

  • Your console may start up with just a black screen.
    • Workaround: Hard reset the console.

Sign in:

  • You may be unable to sign in to Xbox Live.
    • Workaround: Hard reset the console.

Snap Center:

  • When YouTube is snapped, it may share input with the home screen.

Voice Commands:

  • Global speech overlay is missing suggestions
  • Global speech overlay is missing contextual commands
  • Voice commands will not currently work for Guide tabs (Party, Messages, Friends, Notifications, etc)

HDMI-In:

  • You may experience a black screen when using a device via HDMI-in, even if this device is not a cable or set-top box.
    • Workaround: Run through the initial TV set-up and configure for a TV provider even if you don’t have a TV provider.

My Games & Apps:

  • My games & apps collection may crash if switching quickly between Apps and Queue or Games and Queue.

Automatic Downloads:

  • Content purchased from Xbox.com will not automatically download to the Xbox One console. This feature is planned to come later.

Notifications:

  • Friends may not receive game toast notifications.

Season passes:

  • In a small number of cases, users with season passes may find that they aren’t recognized by the game.
    • Workaround: Uninstall your other season passes and re-install the season pass you wish to use.

Community Twist:

  • Currently this area is not fully populated with content and is missing large sections of the user experience. Activity feed content also may not be actionable and items on the trending items second level screen have not been fully tuned. As Preview moves forward content and features in this area will light up.

Xbox One Media Remote:

  • When resuming from connected standby the Xbox One media remote may fail to send commands; a hard reset resolves this.
  • The buttons for media playback will not work (rewind, play, pause, fast forward, skip back, stop, skip forward). The directional and center “select” button will function as normal.

USB TV Tuner:

  • If you have a USB TV Tuner plugged into your Xbox One console, Windows and Windows Phone SmartGlass devices will crash when attempting to connect to the console. To avoid this, you can switch to the Xbox App on Windows 10 or reset your TV settings and avoid setting up the USB TV Tuner.

Racing Wheels:

  • Racing wheels cannot be used to navigate home or system dialogs.

Game and App Issues:

  • Titanfall: Titanfall may fail to connect to Xbox Live.
    • Workaround: Hard reset the console.

Skype:

  • Skype currently will not function if used in the background.

NFL Live App:

  • When playing videos in the NFL Live App, the screen may dim after a short period of time.

Apps not launching: Certain apps may fail to launch.

  • WWE
  • Showtime Anytime
  • Every Street United
  • Overdog
  • BlinkBox
  • TWC TV
  • Upload Studio
  • UPlay

Apps with video issues: The following apps will launch but videos or streams will not play.

  • SyFy
  • USA Now
  • Bravo Now
  • MLB

Games not launching: Certain games may fail to launch.

  • Xbox Fitness
  • Pinball FX2
  • The Crew
  • Monopoly

Live TV Issues:

Cable/Satellite STBs:

  • Cable/Satellite set top box compatibility is not yet at parity with the Xbox One Previous experience. Please continue to report video playback and audio issues using the Feedback app to help us improve the experience. HDMI troubleshooting steps:
    • Go Home and press the menu button on the OneGuide app to quit, then restart it.
    • Unplug and re-plug the HDMI-in cable from the Xbox, ensuring it’s seated securely in the port.
    • With the Xbox One turned on, pull the power cord on the cable/satellite box, wait a few seconds, and plug it back in.
    • Press and hold the power button on the front of the Xbox One to perform a hard reboot of the console.
  • Dolby Digital surround sound will not work for Live TV.
  • Favoriting is not currently supported for App channels.
  • The “Xbox Snap TV” voice command does not work. You can snap TV via voice command by saying “Xbox Snap OneGuide” or choosing OneGuide from the Snap Center.
  • The OneGuide pin doesn’t function. You can launch OneGuide using the app, voice commands, or from the OneGuide twist.
  • You may experience a stuck frame streaming TV to the Xbox App. You can enter OneGuide or resize your window to restore video playback.
  • The media transport controls do not work when streaming TV to SmartGlass and Xbox app clients.
  • When resuming from connected standby the Xbox One media remote may fail to send commands; a hard reset resolves this.
  • You may be unable to use voice commands to navigate in Live TV.

Xbox App/SmartGlass Issues

SmartGlass and Xbox App Live TV/OneGuide:

  • You may experience issues connecting to Live TV or OneGuide when connecting to the console with SmartGlass.
    • Workaround: Set your SmartGlass connection to auto connect, quit the app, and restart. If the issue persists, hard reset the console.

SmartGlass Functionality:

  • Basic SmartGlass functionality is now available including gamepad navigation, touch navigation, remote text entry, media playback control, and companions for apps and games. Other features such as two-finger touch panning, media companions, and power on/off will not function in this build.

The ‘New Xbox Experience’ patch will be included in the much-anticipated November update, bringing with it Xbox 360 backwards-compatibility.

Image courtesy of Polygon.

Xbox One Set for Huge November Update

Mike Ybarra, Director of Program Management for Xbox, has unveiled the forthcoming November update for Xbox One, and it is set to usher in some big changes, including the much-vaunted Xbox 360 Backwards Compatibility feature.

On the Xbox blog, Ybarra details the updated key features for “a completely re-imagined Xbox One”, which includes a redesign of the home screen, a refined Guide, and more detailed Community section. Ybarra lists the most “impactful updates” as:

  • Play your Xbox 360 games on Xbox One. At launch you’ll be able to play over 100 Xbox 360 games on Xbox One with hundreds more in the months to come. This includes the added benefit of Xbox One features including screenshots, streaming, and game DVR – for your favorite Xbox 360 games. You can even play multiplayer with friends still using their Xbox 360.

  • A new Guide lets you quickly access essentials with just one button press to save time spent weaving in and out of apps. You can access the Guide from Home by pressing left or double tap the Xbox button on your controller to instantly overlay the Guide. You can access Friends, quickly start a Party, get to Settings, see System Notifications, view your Messages, and more from Home or without leaving your game. These are the top tasks Xbox fans do most often, so we focused on making them faster and easier to get to without disrupting your game.
  • We’re redesigning Home to make it faster and easier to get to the things you love. We’re introducing a faster and easier interface to provide access to games and apps you’ve recently used. At launch you’ll be able to more easily share your achievements and game clips with the Xbox Live community, see whether your friends are playing the same games and get one-click access to Game Hubs to get news and updates directly from the developers and community themselves.
  • We’re introducing a new Community section to make Xbox One more social.Based on your feedback, this section is optimized to help you tap into what other gamers are doing on Xbox Live and directly contribute to the conversation happening within the Xbox Live community. Check out what your friends are up to or keep track of the games you follow in the redesigned Activity Feed. Explore the new Trending section to view the most popular posts from players on Xbox Live.
  • The revamped OneGuide will be your single destination for TV, movies and video apps. From OneGuide, you can see a list of current trending live TV shows with the most viewers at that moment on Xbox. TV listings will now come up instantly and in full-screen, and we’ve added a picture-in-picture mode for TV so you can browse for other things to watch without missing what’s happening in your show. We’ll highlight a selection of the most exciting new movies, TV shows and deals from across the apps on Xbox One and the new App Channels area will show you the latest movies, TV shows and videos highlighted by the apps you care about.
  • We’re optimizing Store to help you quickly find the content you want. To the right of OneGuide, you’ll find the new and improved Store with features including four easy to explore areas – Games, Movies & TV, Apps, and Music – and a new vertical gallery view to bring more listings at a glance. Browse through intuitive categories like Staff Picks, New Releases, Top played, Top rated, Coming Soon and Recommendations to discover new games, apps, and entertainment for your Xbox One.

Xbox Preview members that opt-in will gain early access to the November update, with those most active at providing feedback being prioritized first.

Thank you Xbox Blog for providing us with this information.

Windows 10 and DirectX 12 Come to Xbox One in November

Xbox One will be getting Windows 10 sometime during November and, along with a new dashboard and interface, the console will be able to utilise the power of DirectX 12. Microsoft made the announcement at Gamescom 2015 in Cologne, Germany.

The console will be ditching the modified DirectX 11 it had been running in favour of the latest iteration which, in conjunction with Windows 10, will be focused on delivering greater speed, plus cross-platform compatibility. DirectX 12 will bring improved graphics and performance in-game, and increase the resources available for future developers to exploit the system’s hardware. The update will also introduce Cortana integration for Kinect users.

If you are a member of the Microsoft Xbox One Preview program, however, you will be able to update to an early build of Windows 10 and DirectX 12 for Xbox in September, a whole two months before the general public, as a beta tester.

Microsoft also announced that Xbox 360 backwards compatibility will be coming to Xbox One during the same month, giving owners access to over 100 games from the previous iteration of the console, boasting improved textures and lighting, with hopes that the catalogue will expand with time, and DVR support will be made available sometime next year.

Thank you TechSpot and Windows Central for providing us with this information.

July Update Will Change Xbox One Forever

The latest Xbox One update from Microsoft will not introduce any immediately noticeable changes, but it will help redefine the current-gen console in its battle against Sony’s PlayStation 4: backwards compatibility. The July Xbox One Update, announced by Larry “Major Nelson” Hryb, Director of Programming for Xbox Live, will prepare the machine for Xbox 360 backwards compatibility, coming this Autumn.

Hryb’s statement reads:

Later today Xbox One owners will be getting a system update. This update prepares for game streaming to Windows 10 (launching July 29th) and our upcoming Backward Compatibility feature launching in a few months. There are no new user-facing features in this release as the team focuses on the New Xbox One Experience that will be available later this year.

The move gives the Xbox One a big advantage over the more popular PS4, which does not allow previous-gen games (on disc) to be played on it, and with Sony stressing that it has no plans to introduce the feature.

Though users who implement the Xbox One’s Instant-On feature will have the update installed automatically, consoles using Power Saver mode need to manually download the July Xbox One Update. It prepares the console for the real game-changing revision due in the last quarter of this year, introducing backwards compatibility and Windows 10 features.

Thank you GottaBe Mobile for providing us with this information.

Sony Surprised by Xbox One Backwards Compatibility; Will It Come to PS4?

Microsoft shocked the gaming world by announcing at E3 that backward compatibility for Xbox 360 games would be coming to Xbox One, with none being more shocked that console rival Sony.

When asked for his reaction, Shuhei Yoshida, Head of Sony Worldwide Studios, told EuroGamer, “It was surprising.”

“I didn’t think it was possible. There must be lots of engineering effort. They talked about 100 games, but what kind of games will be included? Is it smaller games or big games? We don’t know.”

Though the initial run of Xbox 360 games compatible with the Xbox One will be limited, and only Xbox Preview members will have access to the function until its full launch this Autumn, the range is promised to expand over the next few years.

Yoshida then went on to dispel any notion that backwards compatibility could make it to PlayStation 4, saying, “PS3 is such a unique architecture, and some games made use of SPUs very well. It’s going to be super challenging to do so. I never say never, but we have no plans.”

I’m sure the Xbox One’s architecture is equally “unique”, but it seems Sony are more keen to push forward with the unreliable PlayStation Now streaming service, which allows owners to play PS3 games on the console, though they have to pay for games that they already own.

Thank you EuroGamer for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of GameSpot.

Microsoft Just Announced the Ultimate Feature for Its Xbox One Console

If you were about to throw away your Xbox 360 game collection because you upgraded from an Xbox 360 to the latest Xbox One, don’t do that just yet. Microsoft’s Phil Spencer just announced at E3 that they will be making its latest Xbox One console backwards compatible with Xbox 360 titles.

Phil said that Microsoft’s aim is to bring as many games as possible to their latest console, giving users access to one of the biggest “library” of titles available on the market. The compatibility has been announced to work with both online and retail copies, having Microsoft roll out 100 titles this holiday season. However, Microsoft plans on adding 100 more later on, so keep your favourite Xbox One discs dust-free and ready for action.

There have been a lot of HD remakes cropping up since the Xbox One hit the market, but Microsoft looks like it wants developers to focus on new titles instead of just reviving old ones. This news may not sit well with developers who’ve already planned an Xbox One remake of their title, but Microsoft seems to be marking users as top priority as of late. The feature is said to already be available for Xbox Preview program members, so if you’re one of the lucky ones, give it a try and see how it goes.

Thank you TechCrunch for providing us with this information