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November 25, 2013

Microsoft Acknowledges Xbox One Disc Drive Issue

Xbox One

After months of waiting, gamers on Friday finally got their hands on Microsoft's Xbox One, but not everyone was happy with their new console.

Since the next-generation system went on sale this past Friday, a number of early adopters have reported problems with the disc drive. Some say the drive is making loud noises when they insert a disc, while others say the console isn't reading their discs at all.

Many users have taken to YouTube to document the problem (below). After inserting a disc, you can hear loud, unpleasant grinding and clicking noises, and in one case it appeared the disc wouldn't even go into the system at all.



November 23, 2013

Microsoft Moves More Than 1 Million Xbox Ones on Launch Day

Xbox One Launch Date

Microsoft sold more than one million Xbox One consoles in the first 24 hours of availability for the next-generation game console, the company said Friday.

"We are humbled and grateful for the excitement of Xbox fans around the world," Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of marketing and strategy for Microsoft's Xbox, said in a blog post. "Seeing thousands of excited fans lined up to get their Xbox One and their love for gaming was truly a special moment for everyone on the Xbox team. We are working hard to create more Xbox One consoles and look forward to fulfilling holiday gift wishes this season."

Microsoft called the general release of the Xbox One in 13 worldwide markets the "biggest launch in Xbox history."

The company said the console was sold out "at most retailers," but promised it was "working to replenish stock as fast as possible to meet the unprecedented demand from our customers."

Microsoft also offered some eye-opening stats which gamers have generated in less than 24 hours on some titles available at the launch of the eighth-generation gaming platform, which ties into the company's Xbox Live network:

So far, according to the company, Xbox One users have:

  • Killed more than 60 million zombies in Dead Rising 3
  • Driven more than 3.6 million miles in Forza Motorsport 5
  • Completed more than 7.1 million combos in Killer Instinct
  • Defeated more than 8.5 million enemies in Ryse: Son of Rome
  • Earned more than 43.3 million Fit Points in Xbox Fitness


November 20, 2013

Windows Phone, Xbox One to Share Video Store, Currency

Halo: Spartan Assault Windows Phone 8

The Xbox One is coming, and Windows Phone is getting a little bit of juice from it.

Microsoft announced today that Windows Phones will soon be able to download and play TV shows and movies from the Xbox video store, as well as use Microsoft dollars (the former Microsoft Points) to buy things in the Windows Phone store.

More "three-screen" games will come, too, with Windows Phones getting more Xbox Live-compatible and Xbox-extending games. Call of Duty: Ghosts, for instance, has a companion app that runs on Windows Phone.

"We've already started doing some three-screen games," said Todd Brix, general manager of the Windows Apps and Store at Microsoft. "Skulls of the Shogun was one of them. There will be experiences like Smart Glass to enable the phone to be a mirror [of the Xbox One] and Photobeamer, which sends photos to any device with a screen that's connected to the Internet."

Windows Phone has always had a relationship with Xbox, but they've been more like cousins than siblings. The two systems use the same Microsoft Account login, and Windows Phone supports and adds to Xbox Live avatars and gamer profiles. The Xbox Smart Glass app lets you use your phone as a remote control or secondary screen for an Xbox, but it isn't a Windows Phone exclusive - it's also available on iOS and Android.



November 19, 2013

Microsoft Plans Surface, Xbox Black Friday Deals

Microsoft Black Friday

Microsoft is getting in the holiday spirit with some Black Friday discounts of its own.

Redmond will offer its 32GB Surface RT tablet for $199, down from $349. The 64GB version will also be on sale at $379, a $20 discount. The newer Surface 2 begins at $449, while the Surface Pro 2 starts at $899.

A Windows 8-based Dell Inspiron 15z touch-screen laptop, meanwhile, will be $399, a $450 discount. The 15.6-inch device, which can be upgraded to Windows 8.1 for free, runs an Intel Core i5 processor, 6GB of memory, and a 500GB HDD.

Microsoft will also have a number of game discounts. For those who can't spend $499 on the new Xbox One console, a 250GB Xbox 360 Stingray will be $199.99, down from $300. Stingray is the redesigned Xbox 360 unveiled at E3, which has a design similar to the Xbox One, with a shiny, rectangular black profile. The 4GB Xbox 360 with Kinect, meanwhile, will be $179.99, down from $249.99.

Redmond will provide discounts on a number of games for its consoles, including Call of Duty: Ghosts for $39.99 (Xbox 360) or $49.99 (Xbox One), down from $60. Grand Theft Auto 5 will be $33.99, while Battlefield 4 will be $38.99, also down from $60.

Other popular games getting a price cut include Madden 25 ($24.99), Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag ($33.99), and FIFA 14 ($24.99). Skylanders Swap Force for Xbox 360 will also be $38.99, as will Disney Infinity, while Minecraft will land at $9.99.

Microsoft will also offer $15 off Skull candy earbuds, bringing them down to $9.99. Expect deals on Beats by Dr. Dre equipment, too.

Redmond also plans to drop the price on the Samsung Ativ Book 5 ultrabook, and several Windows Phones, including the Nokia Lumia 1520 and 1020 for AT&T, and Lumia 520 off contract for AT&T, though prices have not yet been revealed.



November 11, 2013

Microsoft Shows Off SkyDrive on Xbox One

SkyDrive on Xbox One

Microsoft today provided a sneak peek at the SkyDrive experience on the upcoming Xbox One, which will tie your photos and videos more closely to Redmond's new gaming console.

"Starting on November 22, when the new console becomes available, SkyDrive on Xbox One will provide a seamless, beautiful experience for you to kick back and enjoy photos and videos in your own personal collection, or those shared with you," Microsoft said in a blog post.

SkyDrive on Xbox One will bring everything you've stored in the cloud to your TV. But it will filter out content that doesn't translate well to the screen, so you won't have to flip through Excel spreadsheets or work documents to get to photos of your latest vacation.

Navigate SkyDrive on Xbox with your voice ("Xbox: Go to SkyDrive") or the console's controller. Microsoft will download and show a 1080p thumbnail as you browse images, but when you zoom (using the controller's right trigger), the Xbox One downloads a higher-resolution version.



October 3, 2013

IDC: PS4 to Outsell Xbox One Over Holidays

Xbox One vs. PlayStation 4: Upcoming Consoles Compared

This holiday season, gamers are more likely to unwrap a PlayStation 4 than an Xbox One, according to new predictions from IDC.

The research firm this week forecast that Sony's next-generation console will "edge out" Microsoft's Xbox One in sales over the holidays. The prediction was based on a variety of factors, most notably the PS4's lower price point.

The PS4 will hit store shelves in North America on Nov. 15 for $399, while Microsoft's Xbox One launches on Nov. 22 for $499. While it's $100 more expensive, Redmond's option comes bundled with the new Kinect.

IDC's predictions coincide with a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll, which found that more U.S. shoppers are eyeing the PlayStation 4 than the Xbox One. More than a quarter of the almost 1,300 people surveyed said they are likely to purchase Sony's upcoming PlayStation; only 15 percent chose the Xbox One.

Meanwhile, IDC also predicted that worldwide game console shipments will be up in 2013 for the first time since 2009. The firm predicted that the number of game console bundles shipped worldwide in 2013 will be "marginally higher" than the 2012 total of approximately 33 million bundles.



October 1, 2013

Access Xbox Live Gold for Free This Weekend

Xbox Logo

Attention, Xbox 360 players: Microsoft is offering one weekend of free Xbox Live Gold, in an effort to entice more gamers to subscribe to the top-tier experience.

Mark your calendars for Oct. 4 through 6, when the entire Gold catalog of entertainment, apps, and multiplayer gaming will be available to anyone and everyone at no charge.

The promotion will go live in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Portugal, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the U.K., the U.S., and Vietnam.

Microsoft will unlock Gold in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico from Oct. 11 to 14, while Japan gets the golden treatment Nov. 7 to 10.

From Oct. 1-15, meanwhile, Microsoft will offer Xbox Live Gold users Might & Magic Clash of Heroes for free, while Halo 3 will be available at no cost between Oct. 16-31. Both usually retail for $14.99.

Go online to find more Games with Gold details — like when you can download various complimentary titles.



September 8, 2013

Leaked Video Shows Off Working Xbox One UI

Xbox One Controller

Interested in checking out what the new Xbox One dashboard might look like? Tough. Unless you're a journalist that's been invited to take a sneak peak at Microsoft's plans for its upcoming console, you've likely only seen a screenshot or two of the new Xbox UI.

Until now, that is.

Making the rounds on the Web is a new video that's allegedly been leaked by a participant in Microsoft's closed beta test of the new UI. Which is to say, some internal Microsoft employee – or friend thereof — is likely going to be in a wee bit of trouble for posting a YouTube video that shows off the new Xbox One dashboard in full, working, animated order.

The UI itself looks and functions a bit like the standard ol' tiled Metro interface – er, the interface formerly known as Metro – within Windows 8. Panning to the left within the dashboard currently pulls up more tiles, whereas jumping to the right pulls up the Xbox One's main categories for content: Games, Movies & TV, Music, and Apps.

Accessing elements like the Xbox One's settings, messaging system, achievements, and downloaded apps like Internet Explorer and Skype (to name a few) happens via the pinned tiles littered on the Xbox One's main screen and the "overflow" area of-sorts to the primary screen's left.



September 4, 2013

Xbox One Arrives on Nov. 22 in 13 Markets

Xbox One Launch Date

Microsoft will release the Xbox One on Nov. 22 in 13 global markets, the company said Wednesday. The follow up to the Xbox 360 will be made available on the Friday following rival Sony's Nov. 15 North American release of its own next-generation game console, the PlayStation 4.

The Xbox One will initially be made available in Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States, with "many more markets to follow in 2014," Microsoft said in a post on its Xbox Wire site.

The release date has some significance for Microsoft—the software giant launched the Xbox 360 on Nov. 22, 2005.

"We are humbled and gratified by the tremendous interest in Xbox One from game fans everywhere. We have sold out of our pre-order supply in the U.S. faster than at any other time in our history and we are on path to have the biggest launch of an Xbox ever. We look forward to celebrating with millions and millions of gamers this holiday," Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of marketing, strategy, and business for Microsoft's Xbox unit, said in a statement.



September 3, 2013

Xbox One to Offer Double the Controller Support

Xbox One Controller

Microsoft's Xbox One console will support up to eight wireless controllers, allowing twice the number of players to play simultaneously than is possible with the current Xbox 360.

The software giant's next-generation console is expected to go on sale in November, when it will compete with Sony's upcoming PlayStation 4, also set to arrive in time for the holidays.

The Xbox One, now available for pre-order from Microsoft and select retailers, will initially ship as a special "Xbox One Day One Edition" for $499.99. That package includes the console, a Kinect sensor, an Xbox One chat headset, an exclusive achievement, special-edition packaging, and one commemorative, redesigned gamepad.

Additional Xbox One controllers will cost $59.99 and can also be pre-ordered, Microsoft notes on its Xbox landing site.

The redesigned controller "features over 40 improvements to the award-winning Xbox 360 wireless controller," according to the company. In addition to support for up to eight gamepads, among the changes are new vibration or "rumble" motors in what Microsoft calls the Impulse Triggers, which "provide precise fingertip feedback bringing weapons, crashes, and jolts to life for a whole new level of gaming realism," the company said.