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Xbox Head Says xCloud On Xbox Series X Makes Sense Because It Gets People To Try More Games

Microsoft has announced that its game streaming tech, Project xCloud, will be part of its plans going forward with the Xbox Series X. In a new interview, Xbox head Phil Spencer says that putting the tech to work on consoles just makes sense for discoverability, based on the data it’s seen both with xCloud testing and its Game Pass service.

“The xCloud scenario on a console makes a ton of sense,” Spencer told IGN Unlocked. “One of the things we’re seeing in xCloud today, in the preview, is we watch people sample games. We see that in Game Pass already, even on console. We call it the ‘hummingbird effect.’ People are just willing to try more games, but obviously you have download times. So on xCloud you definitely get people who are sampling a lot more games, and I think that’s healthy for our industry. I want more different kinds of games played, more creators found, more new favorite games.”

He also noted that in the tech preview for xCloud, players can go from watching a trailer to streaming a game almost seamlessly–a feature idea also touted by Google when it detailed its Stadia service. Spencer said that’s also a boon to discoverability.

Though Spencer’s comments tie together xCloud and Game Pass in a philosophical way, the company hasn’t detailed how or if the two services will work together. It may be that Game Pass subscribers will also be able to use the streaming tech to jump into games more quickly, which would make sense with Spencer’s comments about how the two serve similar goals.

The interview also touched on how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the company, the price point and power level for Series X, and the upcoming console’s launch line-up.

Xbox Series X And Xbox One News

  • Xbox One Games With Gold For April 2020 Revealed
  • Xbox Series X Release Date Listed On Xbox Site, But Microsoft Says No Announcement Yet
  • Xbox Series X: Full Specs, Target Performance, And More Revealed
  • Xbox Series X: Release Date, Specs, Price, And Everything We Know

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News

Xbox Series X Controller Uses AA Batteries, Because User Preference Is Split Even

The new Xbox Series X controller, like its predecessors, will use AA batteries instead of a rechargeable battery that is found in PlayStation’s DualShock controllers.

Xbox partner director Jason Ronald told Eurogamer that the Xbox audience is split nearly evenly when it comes their preference between AA batteries versus a built-in rechargeable battery. Sticking with AA batteries for Xbox Series X is an effort to please both camps, as people can still buy a rechargeable battery pack for the controller, Microsoft said.

“What it comes down to is when actually talking to gamers, it’s kind of polarizing and there is a strong camp that really want AAs,” Ronald said. “So just giving flexibility is the way to please both [sets of] people… You can use a rechargeable battery pack and it works just like it does on the Elite, [but] it is a separate thing.”

The team at Xbox also spoke about some of the small changes they made to the new Xbox Series X controller. Senior designer Ryan Whitaker said the existing Xbox One controller is already designed to be suitable for the 5th to 95th percentile of hand sizes, and the new design improves that range on the lower end. The new design is aiming to support the 3rd to the 95th percentile, and these two percentile points actually represents “hundreds of millions of people,” Whitaker said.

“And so just by slightly shrinking some areas of the controller, we found that we can actually reach a lot more people and at the same time make it more comfortable for everyone,” he said.

Microsoft didn’t change the controller design radically for the Xbox Series X because people generally like it and are used to it. “They’ve got a lot of muscle memory in there,” Whitaker said.

The corners on the bumpers have been rounded to “increase accessibility,” while the bumpers and triggers both now have a matte finish instead of gloss. This was a practical change as well, as the new matt finish should help people maintain their grip when they get sweaty, Whitaker said.

The full report is incredibly in-depth and fascinating, covering more about the design of the Xbox Series X controller and the console itself.

The Xbox Series X, which launches this holiday, comes with a new controller. However, the console also supports existing Xbox One controllers and games through backwards compatibility.

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PC

Xbox One Games With Gold For April 2020 Revealed

While April’s PlayStation Plus freebies for PS4 leaked early, Microsoft’s Games with Gold lineup announcement arrived at basically the latest possible moment. As always, the newest batch of four games will be staggered across the month, with the first two games unlocking tomorrow, April 1. Xbox One users get to keep Games with Gold free games in their library as long as they have an active Xbox Live Gold or Game Pass Ultimate subscription.

Slightly Mad Studio’s 2017 racing sim Project Cars 2 will be free throughout the whole month of April. Project Cars 2 features a staggering collection of more than 180 vehicles to choose from and 140 tracks across 60 locations. The realistic sim earned a 7/10 in GameSpot’s Project Cars 2 review for its fine-tuned physics, dynamic weather system, and sheer variety of racing formats, which includes off-road contests with rallycross cars.

Xbox 360 title Fable Anniversary is also up for grabs on April 1. A remastered version of the original entry in the Microsoft series, the action-RPG also earned a 7/10 in GameSpot’s Fable Anniversary review. While the original Fable never truly lived up to its pre-release hype, it’s still a fun game that’s worth checking out if you’ve never visited Albion. Fable Anniversary will be free for subscribers through April 15.

Come mid-month, members will be able to pick up Knights of Pen and Paper Bundle and Toybox Turbos. Knights of Pen and Paper bundle includes both of the well-received games in the series, which feature gorgeous pixel art and interesting turn-based combat. Meanwhile, Toybox Turbos is a top-down tabletop racing game with 35 customizable vehicles and 18 zany tracks.

Subscribers still have until April 15 to snag the excellent platformer Shante: Half-Genie Hero, one of March’s Games with Gold freebies.

Xbox Games with Gold for April 2020

Xbox One

  • Project Cars 2 (April 1-30)
  • Knights of Pen and Paper Bundle (April 16-May 15)

Xbox 360

  • Fable Anniversary (April 1-15)
  • Toybox Turbos (April 16-30)

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News

NieR Automata Heads To Xbox Game Pass This Week

During yesterday’s NieR related Livestream, Square Enix announced that 2017’s highly acclaimed NieR: Automata will be heading to Xbox Game Pass on April 2, 2020. Coming only to the console side (sorry PC players), this version will be the “Become As Gods” edition that includes all of the post-release DLC. That’s a really solid deal for anyone that hasn’t yet tried the game.

It seems like Square Enix is gearing up for a heavily NieR featured year. Along with this Game Pass announcement, there’s the news about a remaster of the first NieR title and a brand new mobile installment in the series. Coming to iOS and Android devices, NieR: Re[in]carnation continues Square Enix’s tradition of making nonsensical names for all of its series.

None of that really concerns Automata, though. Originally pegged as a PS4/PC exclusive, news of the title making the jump to Microsoft’s ecosystem was a pretty big deal. Japanese developers have typically avoided the Xbox brand since it doesn’t do well in Japan. Towards the end of the Xbox 360/PS3 era, a lot of publishers didn’t even bother releasing 360 ports in Japan despite western audiences getting them.

That Square Enix took the chance and put NieR on Xbox is just a sign of how much it is willing to support its IPs.

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News

5 great non-gaming Xbox One apps to use during lockdown – Reader’s Feature

A reader suggests five Xbox One apps that aren’t games but may be just as useful for getting through self-isolation.

While Microsoft’s Xbox One is a gaming console it still has its fair share of amazing apps and during a tough crisis you most certainly will want to unwind and relax during the difficult times ahead. The Xbox One offers a great multimedia experience and can provide hours of entertainment even when you are not playing a game and are looking for something to enjoy with the whole family. Here are five great Xbox One apps that you should give a try and will find useful to have installed.

Mixer

One of the best live streaming apps out there, which offers you the chance to sit back and enjoy various live streams of games that are currently popular; as well as some other classic games, along with the ability to earn sparks and level up in streams. You can use sparks to support various streamers you like, so when you are ready you can choose what sparks to use and when. It is a fun way to not only support other streamers, but you can also make yourself more visible to people also watching the stream. Also, with the live talk and radio shows it’s a great experience to be able to watch other non-gaming livestreams that the whole family can enjoy. You can also livestream gameplay yourself and enjoy interacting with a great, supportive community.

Twitch

Although similar to the above-mentioned app, Twitch does offer other gaming streams and has some cool features different to Mixer. It’s a great second alternative to use if you cannot find any livestreams of the games you want to see and also has its fair share of great streamers. For example, Sizzsars and Oxiegrog, two of my favourites, along with some impressive streamers who help make this streaming service a fun alternative place to come to. With streamers also offering live shows and radio stations it’s a great way to enjoy this app and relax.

YouTube

Full of great video content and incredible creators, with a good search feature, this app will also seek out other video creators similar to each other and list them on tabs for you to see what’s available, without the need to spend hours searching for them. You are also able to watch livestreams as well, which ensures that you can log in, sit back and enjoy this apps’ great features.

Microsoft Edge

Although the app has a few unfixed issues it still is a great way to quickly browse any website directly from your Xbox and is also a great way to look at websites you enjoy from the comfort of your console, as well as being used to access email services. It’s a handy way to quickly check emails without the need to switch on your PC all the time and also allows you to access services online that require you to log in via the website. It is also a great way to access the Internet from your TV and console.

Skype

This app is especially useful for those on Xbox One who would like to talk to their families while in quarantine. The app allows video and voice communication as well as allowing multi-conferencing, ideal for people to talk with each other directly from the Xbox One or for those on other systems. The app comes in handy for people who want to keep in regular contact and is a brilliant way to talk with loved ones while they and themselves are in quarantine. Skype can also be used to make phone calls, another handy feature.

While dealing with a pandemic these are great ways for Xbox One owners who want to take a break from playing games to get more enjoyment out of their gaming system and help cope with the coronavirus outbreak.

By reader gaz be rotten (gamertag)

https://youtube.com/watch?v=NJwnLdAfl3o%3Fversion%3D3%26rel%3D1%26fs%3D1%26autohide%3D2%26showsearch%3D0%26showinfo%3D1%26iv_load_policy%3D1%26wmode%3Dtransparent

The reader’s feature does not necessary represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.

You can submit your own 500 to 600-word reader feature at any time, which if used will be published in the next appropriate weekend slot. As always, email [email protected] and follow us on Twitter.

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Mobile

See Xbox One's Free Games With Gold For March While They're Still Available

Each month, Microsoft offers up some free games to all Xbox Live Gold (and Game Pass Ultimate) subscribers–just one of the perks of entering its ecosystem. Microsoft revealed the newest lineup of free games, and as usual, it includes two Xbox One games and two Xbox 360 games. With March 2020 being half-over, however, one of them is no longer available.

Telltale’s Batman: The Enemy Within for Xbox One is available for the entire month. We also have two games available for a good while. Shantae: Half-Genie Hero, which will be up for grabs until April 15. Joining it is the well-liked Xbox 360 Sonic game, Sonic Generations; you’ll be able to download that until March 31. As usual, both of March’s free Xbox 360 titles are backwards-compatible with Xbox One.

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 for Xbox 360, however, is no longer on the docket. It was only available from March 1-15.

An Xbox Live Gold membership costs $10 a month, while a Game Pass Ultimate subscription–which includes all the benefits of Xbox Live Gold along with access to the Xbox Game Pass library–runs for $15 a month. Microsoft recently confirmed that Halo Infinite will be available on Game Pass for Xbox One and the company’s upcoming Xbox Series X console.

This month’s Xbox Games with Gold freebies aren’t the only free games available this month. Check out our updated roundup of all the free games you can claim for free right now.

Xbox Games with Gold for March 2020

Xbox One

  • Batman: The Enemy Within (March 1-31)
  • Shantae: Half-Genie Hero (March 16-April 15)

Xbox 360

  • Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 (March 1-15)
  • Sonic Generations (March 16-31)

Xbox Series X And Xbox One News

  • Xbox Series X Release Date Listed On Xbox Site, But Microsoft Says No Announcement Yet
  • Xbox Series X: Full Specs, Target Performance, And More Revealed
  • Xbox Series X: Release Date, Specs, Price, And Everything We Know
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News

Games with Gold April Free games: Good Xbox Live news ahead of 2020 reveal

Xbox Games with Gold subscribers, it's not long now until Major Nelson brings you the news you're probably waiting for.

Another selection of free Xbox One and Xbox 360 Games are coming soon and you'll be able to download them for nothing as part of your existing Xbox Live subscription.

We assume those reading this have an Xbox Live subscription, after all, it's fairly essential if you want to play games online with your friends. In fact, some games require it.

For instance, Call of Duty Warzone is free, but you still need Xbox Live in order to play.

March's selection of games was alright, but there's no denying that despite offering more, Xbox's offerings compared to PS Plus has been pretty dire since the turn of the new year.

So, with April in gamers sights, let's hope Microsoft brings their A-game to help make all this self-isolation a bit more bearable.

As with any month, Xbox don't signpost when they announced their free games selection. Although it does appear as though the Microsoft team have been generally waiting until the end of each month in recent months to announce their plans.

It used to be that Microsoft's Major Nelson, the Director of Programming for Xbox Live, would unveil the new games on or around the 20th of the month.

But now, it's closer to the last few days of the month.

And with only 6 days to go until the start of April, (and two days being the weekend) we shouldn't have to wait too much longer to find out when

  • Borderlands 3 DLC Release Date: Download news for Guns, Love and Tentacles

Regardless of how late Xbox leave it, there are only six days left in the month, so it won't be long before we learn what games are available throughout April.

However, ahead of the big announcements, there's an excellent Xbox Live deal you can grab right now if your subscription is running low or set to lapse shortly.

So if you're sub is about to lapse, now might be a perfect time to head over to ShopTo, who are selling a 12 month Xbox Live Gold subscription for £39.85.

That's a 20% discount on the standard price of an Xbox Live 12 month subscription, which would normally cost £49.99.

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    News

    Is Minecraft shutting down? Rumours sparks panic among players

    Minecraft is one of the biggest games of the past decade, arguably the biggest game if we really wanted to put a fine point on it.

    And let's be honest, the game has never been better, not least after introducing cross-play with PS4, Xbox and PC at the end of last year.

    That's on top of the fact that only in October, at Minecraft's big Minecon event, Mojang and Microsoft revealed the next big Minecraft update coming to the game.

    But the Minecraft Nether Update wasn't 2019's only big Minecraft news, because Minecraft Earth also launched, bringing a new form of augmented reality sandbox game to android and iOS devices.

    So it seems especially odd to see rumours circulating this morning suggesting that the increasingly popular series was not just in trouble and but potentially shutting down in on December 21, 2020.

    So do the millions of fans of the game around the globe have anything to worry about? Is Minecraft really shutting down? Here's everything you need to know to set you straight (don't worry, it's good news).

    Is Minecraft shutting down in 2020?

    Thankfully no, the developers Mojang have no intention to shut down the Minecraft servers in 2020

    According to Polygon the rumours surrounding Minecraft shutting down appear to have originated from a prank site known as Channel45news.com.

    "This prodigious rumor appears to come from prank site Channel45news.com, which published a “story” that was picked up by a major search engine and promoted alongside legitimate outlets in its news feed." Polygon explains.

    The full post from the website reads:

    "Mojang has announced on their Twitter that Minecraft will shut down their servers on December 21st, 2020. The founder, Markus Alexji Persson, known as “Notch,” says that he feels like 11 years was enough for the game’s period and it should say it’s farewells and leave the stores when the end of 2020 hits, according to his interview. Minecraft became a smash hit and took over Fortnite in half a month in popularity. It has been gaining more and more players the more days that passed on, and when the clock strikes midnight and when the day reaches the 21st of December of 2020, the game will say its goodbyes and thank them for the memories they gave and received for more than a decade."

    However, we pray that most who bother to click on the site will not be fooled because there's a ruddy clown on the sidebar with a sign that reads "You got owned".

    We doubt many will know, but the Channel45news domain is specifically designed to let users generate false headlines to be shared online.

    Despite the clearly rubbish website enough people appear to have been duped into thinking the game was actually shutting in 2020 and shared the information in kind with others on social media.

    But if you really want some clarity on the situation, Microsoft community manager Helen Zbihlyj has also tweeted to put any rumours to bed, telling readers:

    “Minecraft is NOT stopping, Mojang is NOT closing.”

    So there you have it. Minecraft isn't shutting down in 2020 .

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    • Minecraft
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    News

    FIFA 20 DOWN: FUT Server status news as match creation is disabled

    FIFA 20 is down currently with FUT Ultimate Team on the blink for all PS4, Xbox One and PC players.

    The problems started earlier this evening and seemingly only got worse.

    This culminated in EA Sports pulling the plug on FIFA Ultimate Team, with EA's support account for the game, 'FIFA Direct Communication' telling followers on Twitter:

    "Hi everyone, FUT match creation has been temporarily disabled while we investigate a connectivity issue. Stay tuned to this thread for more updates."

    Those trying to access the service are likely seeing a message that resembles the following:

    "Entering a match has been temporarily disabled, we apologize for the inconvenience and expect match entry to be re-enabled soon. Please try again later."

    At present, there's been no indication of what is causing the issues nor when Ultimate Team will come back online.

    You might think that having addressed users at around 9pm the issues might be solved, but two hours later it appears players across all platforms are still locked out.

    There's equally been no further word from the FIFA Direct Communication twitter account.

    More to follow.

    This is a breaking news story and is constantly being updated with new information as it becomes available.

    Please refresh the page regularly to get the latest updates.

    Reporters working on dailystar.co.uk will be working to source the latest information, reaction, pictures and video related to this story.

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    News

    Overwatch Echo Release Date: When does Echo come out on PS4 and Xbox One?

    Overwatch's latest hero, Echo, is the 32 to be added to the game and based on what Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan has said, she will also be the last before Blizzard releases Overwatch 2.

    Echo has been teased for going on two years ago and debuted at BlizzCon 2018 in a cinematic with McCree and Ashe..

    The robot is a creation of robotics expert Mina Liao, who for those who dive deep into the game's lore, will know as one of the founding members of Overwatch.

    At present, the only way players can experience Echo is through the Overwatch PTR, a public test realm where Blizzard can fine tune the character before the hero is released to the wider player base on PS4, Xbox One and PC.

    However, having been released last week, Echo has already been nerfed once so it's clear that the devs might have their work cut out to make this evolutionary next step that bit more balenced.

    With this in mind, many might be wondering, exactly when is Echo going to be released? Let's try to give you some guidance and work out when you'll be able to start playing as Echo on PS4 and Xbox One.

    When is the Overwatch Echo character release date?

    Some players believe that Echo could be released on March 23, based on cryptic 'date' shown in a previously tweeted image related to Echo.

    You can see this in the tweet above.

    Whilst it's quite possible that Echo could release on March 23, this would be rather unprecedented, with most new characters spending at the very least one week in PTR before being released.

    However, a more realistic timescale suggests that the character could remain in testing on the PTR for at least three weeks.

    Most recent heroes have required roughly three weeks of testing before hitting the main game.

    It's also especially important to get Echo right, with the character being one of the more unique heroes we've seen added to the game.

    Echo's ultimate is called Duplicate and effectively allows players to turn into an enemy hero for 15 seconds at full health.

    This makes Echo an especially tough character to counter. Coupled with her flying abilities – which have already been nerfed once since releasing – we suspect there's going to need to be some careful tweaking to make the character balanced for a full release.

    Realistically, we think it could be until April 9th before we see the character introduced into the full game.

    Of course, should this change, or if Blizzard provides any further info, we'll be sure to update the page letting players know.

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