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Windows 10 free photo
Windows 10 free

Microsoft is cool with pirates upgrading to Windows 10 for free


Windows 7 and 8.1 users have one year to upgrade at no charge
Mar 18
// Jordan Devore
Microsoft is launching Windows 10 this summer in 190 countries and 111 languages, which is good to know but not all that inherently interesting. This, on the other hand, sure is: during the operating system's first year, it'l...

Xbox to indie devs: There's a place for your game on Windows 10, no matter the size

Mar 11 // Brett Makedonski
[embed]288897:57724:0[/embed] According to Charla, that's the program's ultimate goal. "The most important thing to us is to make sure that when someone turns on their Xbox One or their Windows 10 device, they have access to a really broad array of videogames," he said. "The nice thing about that is that for us at ID@Xbox, it creates a really easy, kind of north-star central goal that we align ourselves to every day which is 'Let’s make life really easy for developers.' The easier we make life for developers, the more we reduce friction to get onto our platforms, the more we make Xbox and Windows 10 a great sustainable ecosystem." That's where Windows 10 comes in, at least in the gaming space. If Microsoft wants consumers playing games on any Windows 10 device, it starts with convincing developers to put their titles on those platforms. But, Charla deals solely with indies -- a demographic that's not known for their extensive resources. Would this mean that some independent developers might be averse to the idea of over-extending themselves to too many platforms at once? Charla doesn't think so. He commented "We’re not about trying to put requirements on developers; we’re about providing options for developers. The thing with Windows 10 is that it has a huge, broad reach. That doesn’t mean you have to make your game work on phone on Windows 10, and on PC on Windows 10, and on HoloLens on Windows 10. You should make your games for the platforms, endpoints, or devices that you think it’ll succeed on. We think that including Xbox Live needs to be pretty straight-forward, and for the developers who have done it so far, it’s been pretty straight-forward. And, they’re not the biggest developers in the world, right? We think it enables developers to offer their players an interesting addition to the game." It will make for an interesting option for developers, but it's also Microsoft's vision of the future (at least for now). It's reasonable to assume that Xbox and Microsoft have a vested interest in getting as many developers as possible to philosophically buy into the program. Given that ID@Xbox helps indies publish their games, maybe Xbox will offer extra incentive to developers that release across multiple platforms. It's easy to see a scenario where these studios are offered some sort of preferential treatment, whether it be in the form of extra support or funding. However, Charla denies that this is the case. He insisted that while ID@Xbox is dedicated to decreasing the burden on developers, it's not sweetening the pot for some that are willing to help this new ecosystem thrive. Instead, that assistance is being distributed unilaterally in the form of services such as speeding up the certification process or holding showcases for the games in the program. And, now it's about giving developers options. But, one option that still won't be available is XNA. XNA is a free toolset that's aimed at developing games across several Microsoft platforms. Some notable examples of titles created with it are Dust: An Elysian Tail, Bastion, Fez, and Charlie Murder. There's talk within the development community that it'll make a return, and this new emphasis on unifying games on Windows 10 seems like the perfect time. When asked point-blank if XNA is coming back, Charla responded with a definitive "No." He elaborated "But, I think that when you think about what XNA was for, a lot of that spirit is still at Microsoft in the desire to make sure that anyone can create games for Microsoft devices, whether they’re a 150 team at a major publisher or a teenager who’s just learning how to code. We want to make sure that the Microsoft ecosystem is a place where you can make games and learn. In that spirit, XNA was a solution design for the technology that was available at the time. It was a program that was created to foster the creative spirit. We’ve always said that we want Xbox One – and by extension, Windows 10 – to be a place that isn’t just a place to enjoy great content; it's a place to create great content." Really, that's step one when it comes to creating a platform for games: make sure people want to create there. That's what ID@Xbox is dedicated to doing. Charla wrapped up the interview by saying "But, it’s important to us to support developers and to make their lives easy, and to support the spirit that anyone can make a game." By most accounts, ID@Xbox has been doing that all along. Now, Windows 10 just makes it so developers have a few more options.
Xbox interview photo
'We're about providing options for developers'
Microsoft announced last week at GDC in San Francisco that it was introducing cross-play between Xbox One and Windows 10 devices. That opens a world of possibility in ways for developers to deliver games to their audience. So...

Xbox org shuffle photo
Xbox org shuffle

Remember Kudo? He's now looking after a bunch of studios at Microsoft


Yes, yes, I've included the 'WELL BAM!' video
Mar 09
// Jordan Devore
Kudo Tsunoda, the guy who demonstrated Project Natal (now Kinect) at E3 2009, has been off working on Microsoft's crazy holographic headset HoloLens. He's going to keep at that but will also now lead a bunch of Xbox teams, i...

Windows 10 makes it even easier for gameplay videos to go viral

Mar 09 // Brett Makedonski
In our demo, the presenter chose to record footage of Goat Simulator running on Steam. Goat Simulator was selected because "[It] shipped on Steam about this time last year. The developers haven't really touched its base functionality since it shipped. It has no knowledge of Xbox One, or Game DVR and Windows 10. But, Game DVR is a feature of the Windows 10 operating system, and it's available to any game played." After just a bit of nonsense in Goat Simulator (which isn't difficult to accomplish), he recorded the clip and showed how Windows 10 saves it. "No smoke and mirrors, no magic, no special file formats. They're just 1080p .mp4s sitting in my videos folder." From there, users can either use the Xbox app on their computer to select start and end points, or they can use any video editing software to make more nuanced edits. Once the clip's suited to their liking, it can be uploaded anywhere, just like any other video. When we asked whether users will find this feature to be resource intensive for Game DVR to always be recording in the background, Microsoft responded by saying "We're working on what the performance profiles of different hardware configurations are. You're going to have best experiences with modern GPUs, but you're still going to be able to use it if you have an older system. We're going to be very upfront about whether it's on or off by default because of the performance profile of your system." But, limitations of your system aren't the only way to turn Game DVR off if it isn't to your liking. The presenter elaborated "We want to put that flexibility in the user's hands. If they say 'frame-rate is unequivocally the most important thing; I don't care how tricked out my rig is.' If they want to turn it off because that's what they want to optimize for, they're going to be able to." A decent chunk of today's gaming space is occupied by sharing unique gameplay videos on sites like reddit. Some personalities thrive on it; others are just normal players that had something wacky happen to them. Whatever the case may be, Windows 10 will make it easier than ever to get those special moments out in front of a crowd.
Windows 10 photo
'No smoke and mirrors'
The latest generation in gaming has brought with it an emphasis on sharing. Screenshots and gameplay videos can be relatively easily captured and uploaded for anyone's audience to see. It's a smart way to drive interaction --...

RIDE photo
RIDE

Take a ride with RIDE


Or just ride it out
Jan 27
// Robert Summa
As a daily rider, when I first heard a game like RIDE was announced, I got a little excited. Not too excited, but just a little. Sometimes I need a virtual motorcycle fix and that's just not easy to get in a car-dominated ra...

You saw Microsoft's crazy hologram headset, right?

Jan 21 // Jordan Devore
[embed]286513:56976:0[/embed] It's unlikely that the end consumer product will exactly match the ambition of this concept video but, even if Microsoft gets partway there with HoloLens, we're one step closer to The Future as envisioned by Hollywood. One step closer to becoming Tony Stark. What a time to be alive. Other gaming-related announcements were made during the Windows 10 event: Microsoft is working on an Xbox app with Xbox Live-style social functionality and Achievements. Sure, why not? We'll be able to stream Xbox One games through our local network to a Windows 10 PC or tablet. "[M]any Xbox One accessories will work interchangeably on the console and PC (with more on the way)," says the company. Xbox One's recording/editing/sharing Game DVR software will be a part of Windows 10 "whether [you're] on Xbox Live, Steam, or other services." Fable Legends will release on Xbox One and Windows 10 simultaneously and the game supports cross-platform play. (Remember Shadowrun 2007?) This represents "just the first of the major game franchises from Microsoft Studios coming to Windows 10." DirectX 12 is a Windows 10 exclusive. My graphics card just got another wrinkle. Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 users can upgrade to Windows 10 for free for the first year. And finally, Cortana -- she's here to stay as a personal assistant. Yay?
Holograms! photo
HoloLens, DirectX 12, and actual Microsoft Studios games on PC
Earlier today, Microsoft held a Windows 10 event. My stream kept dying, but I posted about the Battletoads shirt worn by head of Xbox Phil Spencer during his segment about gaming. Much of the event was uninteresting or irrele...

Battletoads shirt photo
Battletoads shirt

Nice Battletoads shirt, Phil Spencer


The head of Xbox is fashionable, as always
Jan 21
// Jordan Devore
During Microsoft's Windows 10 livestream this morning, Xbox boss Phil Spencer showed up to talk about what he knows: games. Fable Legends is headed to PC with DirectX 12 and cross-platform play with Xbox One, which is nice and all, but did you see Phil's shirt? That's Battletoads alright. The time is now.
Bitcoin photo
Bitcoin

Microsoft now accepts bitcoin for Windows and Xbox purchases


Trendy
Dec 11
// Brett Makedonski
We get it; you're a hip cat. You got some of those bitcoins to your name. You also have a Microsoft account for purchasing content from the Windows and Xbox stores. The latter isn't so much because you're cool; it's because o...
Windows 10 photo
Windows 10

Microsoft is skipping right to Windows 10


'One product family, with a tailored experience for each device'
Sep 30
// Jordan Devore
The guy's face in the thumbnail says it all. Microsoft has announced the name of its follow-up to Windows 8 and it's, uh, Windows 10. Yeah, really. The new operating system is meant to run on all sorts of devices -- whether ...
AR-K–Chapter 2 photo
AR-K–Chapter 2

AR-K–Chapter 2 is a sequel to a game I bet you didn't play


Well, maybe you did, I don't know
Jul 14
// Brittany Vincent
AR-K –Chapter 2: The Girl Who Wasn’t There- is the sequel to point-and-click adventure game AR-K –Chapter 1-. I'm willing to bet you haven't played it, but the brainchild of Gato Salvaje Studio is now availa...
Microsoft photo
Microsoft

Bill Gates would support spinning off the Xbox division if CEO Nadella wanted to


Same goes for Bing
May 05
// Jordan Devore
Asked about the possibility of spinning off Microsoft's Bing and Xbox divisions, founder, technology advisor, and board member Bill Gates said he doesn't foresee a division of either business unit from the company. "Well, we'...
Windows photo
Windows

Windows Start Menu slated to return in the near future


Just like starting over
Apr 24
// Brittany Vincent
In a marked change of pace for typical Windows releases, Terry Myerson, head of Microsoft’s Windows and Xbox software division, demonstrated a prototype build of a hybridized Start Menu. Combining the classic function ...
Windows photo
Windows

Microsoft has a 'renewed focus' on PC gaming


Uh huh
Mar 21
// Jordan Devore
Microsoft hasn't given up on PC gaming -- that's what Microsoft Studios corporate vice president Phil Spencer believes, anyway. "A renewed focus on Windows and PC gaming inside Microsoft is definitely happening," he said thi...
Hearthstone photo
Hearthstone

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft launches for PC, Mac


More versions on the way
Mar 11
// Jordan Devore
The beta period for Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft has come to a close, which means the full release is upon us. Like, now. Blizzard's free-to-play card game has launched for PC and Mac. An iPad version of the title is comin...
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Foiled is another head game fueled by fencing


Thrust and rush
Feb 21
// Conrad Zimmerman
Last weekend, I dropped in on IndieCade East to have a look at some of the new games being shown off. Foiled is one such game and I can't get it out of my mind. Designed by first-time developer Gabe Cuzzillo, it puts two...
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Dawn of the Plow is a cute little snowplowing game


For mobile and desktop
Jan 28
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Dawn of the Plow is an adorable little snowplowing game for PC and mobile. The game sees you as a snowplower, and your goal is to simple clean up snow off the streets. You have to keep your approval rating up, and screwing a...
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Steam leak reveals BattleBlock Theater, Killing Floor 2


Plus Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate HD, Happy Wars, and more
Jan 07
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Another Steam database leaked occurred tonight, and it's revealed quite a few games that may see a future on Valve's platform. Xbox Live Arcade exclusives BattleBlock Theater and Happy Wars are potentially coming to the PC. P...
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Continue?9876543210 follows a failed, dead game character


From the maker of Skrillex Quest
Jan 05
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Continue?9876543210 is the latest from the mind that brought us Skrillex Quest. Developer Jason Oda hopes that his new game "the first great cerebral indie game of the year following in the foot steps of Gone Home, Papers Pl...
Microsoft's Threshold photo
Microsoft's Threshold

Rumor: 'Threshold' update will unify Xbox One and Windows


All the worst parts combined
Dec 03
// Joshua Derocher
ZDNet claims that Microsoft is working on an update to unify the Xbox One, Windows 8, and Windows Phone. This update, code-named Threshold, could be coming out in Spring 2015, and it will offer a common app store for all thre...
Xbox photo
Xbox

Microsoft CEO hopeful could be looking to sell Xbox


1. Take the chair 2. Sell Xbox 3. ???? 4. Profit
Nov 08
// Abel Girmay
With longtime Microsoft CEO Steve Balmer stepping down, new leadership could mean big changes. According to Bloomberg, one such change could mean selling off Bing and Xbox, should the former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop take the jo...
Microsoft photo
Microsoft

Microsoft starting to look at core games for Windows


'...we've lost our way a bit in supporting Windows games'
Nov 06
// Jordan Devore
Microsoft moving away from Games for Windows Live turned out to be quite the crowd-pleasing move, but the lack of games coming out on PC from the company has been nothing short of disappointing. "I think it's fair to say that...
Windows 8.1 photo
Windows 8.1

Microsoft is rolling out Windows 8.1 this week


This kind of has to do with games
Oct 18
// Chris Carter
Microsoft has started rolling out an update for Windows 8 (an OS 17% of Steam users have, according to Valve), appropriately titled "8.1".The Windows 8 Metro Interface (which I barely use) has been enhanced, and more personal...
Surface 2 photo
Surface 2

Microsoft shows off Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2


Pre-orders open tomorrow morning
Sep 23
// Jordan Devore
Microsoft has announced the latest iterations of its tablets -- the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 -- and they're launching October 22, 2013 for $449 and $899, respectively. The devices will debut in 22 markets including the Uni...
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EndWar is back ... as a free-to-play browser game


You were probably excited for a second there
Sep 10
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Remember EndWar? Well it's coming back as a free-to-play browser game for Windows and Mac. You were excited for all of one second. To be honest it doesn't look that bad at all for a browser game. I mean visually at least. G...
PC photo
PC

Games for Windows Live Marketplace closing soon


I didn't even realize it was still open
Aug 16
// Jordan Devore
The Xbox.com PC Marketplace, which is where you can go to purchase Games for Windows Live titles, you non-existent person, you, is about to shut down. Microsoft has set its closure for the very near future: August 22, 2013. "...
Microsoft photo
Microsoft

Microsoft hires former Steam boss for Windows gaming


A sign of good things to come, perhaps?
Aug 14
// Jordan Devore
Microsoft has snatched up former Valve employee Jason Holtman to work on "making Windows a great platform for gaming and interactive entertainment," reports GamesIndustry International. While at Valve, he was involved with de...
Unity photo
Unity

Unity announces support for all Microsoft platforms


Pledges ongoing support for Kinect, SmartGlass, and the cloud
Jun 27
// Jordan Devore
Announced today at the Build Conference in San Francisco, Microsoft and Unity are partnering to bring the Unity game engine to all Microsoft platforms, including Xbox 360 and Xbox One. Unity Pro 4-licensed developers can save...
Skulls of the Shogun photo
Skulls of the Shogun

Skulls of the Shogun gets a price drop on all platforms


Xbox 360, Windows 8, and Surface prices all dropped
Mar 01
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Have you played Skulls of the Shogun yet? Why the hell not!? It's pretty awesome, and a blast to play. Well for those of you who have yet to pull the trigger, good news! Skulls of the Shogun just received a price drop. The Xbox Live Arcade version is going for 800 Microsoft Points ($9.99), and the Windows 8 and Surface versions are $6.99 now. The Windows Phone version will remain at $4.99.
Myo photo
Myo

Play videogames with a gesture control armband


Interact with the digital world in a whole new way
Feb 28
// Taylor Stein
Controllers and keyboards are standard tools in every gamer's repertoire, but what if I told you that a high-tech armband could be the next step in control interface evolution? Built by Canadian start-up firm Thalmic Labs, th...

The launch line-up: Xbox Games on Windows 8

Feb 04 // Dale North
Rocket Riot 3DDeveloper: Codeglue Before I get to anything else, if you somehow haven't heard of Rocket Riot 3D before, I have to mention the background music. It's hilarious! The song's vocals sing about the game, making the crazy bombing action that much more nuts. This pixel-y, arena-based shooter has you blasting around freely with one thumb on the tablet, while flinging rockets and other projectiles with the other, just like you'd expect with a twin-stick shooter. Or, attach a mouse/keyboard or Xbox 360 controller if you'd like. It's an expanded, upgraded version of the Xbox 360 release, and it's a lot of fun. My memory isn't what it used to be, but I think it looks better than the original with its new visual effects. The Windows 8 version adds 24 new levels, taking the total to over 100. Skulls of the ShogunDeveloper: 17 Bit Studios This amusing/weird strategy game just dropped for Xbox 360, so if you're playing it, this Windows 8 version would make a perfect companion version with its cross-platform saves and resumes. Speaking of cross-platform, asynchronous play is supported for this game across Xbox 360, Windows Phone and Windows 8. As we said in our review, this is a solid SRPG where you'll play as an undead samurai, commanding an undead army for revenge's sake. This game does away with your standard tactical grid, using circle-of-movement fields instead. For the tablet version, it's nice to poke at and drag units over using a controller. I like this portable, easy controlling version a lot. Hydro Thunder HurricaneDeveloper: Vector Unit HYDRO THUNDER! While a new version of this water racing franchise will never fully compare to the loud, crotch-vibrating original arcade cabinet, hitting the waves is always a good time. Hydro Thunder Hurricane looks respectably nice on Windows 8, but the gameplay experience feels more like a mobile game and less like the splashy, tight turning console one I loved so much. ilomilo+Developer: Southend Interactive This cute game had my face buried into the tablet most despite having played it before. The puzzle action it offers is just as cute as it was on Xbox Live, but it somehow comes off as more impressive on a tablet. The touch control scheme is sufficient, but I found myself longing for buttons and a stick after a bit.  The "+" in the title means that the Windows 8 version adds new levels, chapters and cubes. Pinball FX 2 Developer: Zen Studios The tablet version of Zen Studios' XBLA hit game looks really great on the small(er) screen. And with the tablet turned sideways, it's like carrying around a little portable pinball machine. This version also fully supports all leaderboards, and a four-player/one device multiplayer option is now available. They're working on more tables for the Windows 8 version, too.  Adera Developer: HitPoint Studios The find-the-hidden-thing graphical adventure type play of Adera didn't speak to me, but it's really the perfect kind of game for a touchscreen device, and I could see fans of that type having a good time with it. It sure looked great running on this Asus Vivo.  The game's chapters come by way of episodic releases, and cloud save/resume is available across Windows 8 and Windows Phone devices. A nifty spectator mode lets other Windows users watch in and provide hints for the game's puzzles. The Gunstringer: Dead Man Running Developer: Other Ocean Interactive This runner moves from Kinect to Windows 8, adding touchscreen and tilt controls for tablets, or mouse and keyboard for bigger rigs. I'll tip my cowboy hat the game for its presentation and use of skeleton outlaws, but gameplay is clunky and very mobile-ish, taking some of the fun out of it. Reckless Racing UltimateDeveloper: Pixelbite Mobile top-down racing game Reckless Racing HD gets an upgrade for Windows 8, adding leaderboards, multiplayer invite support and more. From a gameplay standpoint, this plays exactly like it would on a mobile phone, so don't go in expecting a console-like experience. Other launch titles: 4 Elements II Special Edition -- Your tween girl is going to love this item hunt game Tap Tiles -- Mahjongg, but in 3D space, with cubes that you can rotate Toy Soliders Cold War -- Army men come to life in a strategy game Windows 8 Microsoft casual launch titles: Microsoft Mahjong -- Supports cloud saves, leaderboards and achievementsMicrosoft Minesweeper -- Adds touch control and a new Adventure modeMicrosoft Solitaire Collection -- The loneliest game everWordament -- Popular Windows Phone competitive word search tournament  
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Windows 8 launch line-up listed
We had a chance to take the launch line-up of Xbox games on Windows 8 for a spin this past week. These games are available for play on any Windows 8 or Windows RT device, including laptops and tablets. I played them all ...


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