Microsoft Planning to Give Out Names, Locations of Xbox Users to Game Publishers

In a disturbing turn of events, Microsoft’s new commitment to transparency has given some Xbox owners a bit of a fright. Though the company intended to explain more about what sort of data it collects (and subsequently gives out) from its players, many would likely have preferred to be kept in the dark.

GameSpot recently reported on a new intiative by Microsoft to be more open about the kind of data its collects and distributes. While good on the surface, things quickly took a turn for the worse after they revealed exactly what they could be sending to game and app publishers. Namely, a person’s name.

In addition to more standard information like games played, play style, or time in an app, Microsoft could also be sending a player’s country of origin and age range, as well as anything else included in a person’s Xbox Live profile. This would include their real name if this is something a person has chosen to enter.

Why a publisher would need this information or what they would intend to do with it isn’t known at this time, mainly because Microsoft claims they don’t know, either. In their statement on the matter (automatically displayed when a person logs into Xbox Live for the first time since the update), the company claims that it does not control what a publisher may do with a person’s information after they have given it to them, which doesn’t exactly breed confidence.

In addition to simple information, though, a person’s social data is also up for grabs, including “interactions and communications” with other players. Whether this means only written messages or that the Xbox One will now be recording everything a player says over the microphone is not known.

As bad as this may sound, there is a way to avoid it from happening. In both a person’s gaming console and through their account login on Microsoft’s webpage, players can choose to revoke access to their information, preventing it from being given out to publishers. By doing this, your data will hopefully be protected from any prying eyes.

Xbox Party Chat app now Released for Android and iOS

After teasing the Xbox 1 community with a beta back in December of 2017, Microsoft has now fully released the Xbox 1 mobile party chat app for both iOS and Android devices.

The app’s main purpose is to create a way to communicate with your Xbox Live friends even when you are away from your home and your Xbox 1. The app supports both texting and voice chat features, but is also a central hub for all of your gaming needs.

Microsoft saw an opportunity to create more than a texting and calling app when they decided to release their app. Tons of features have been added since it’s initial beta release and more are sure to come.

The app is not limited to chat functions either. With the new Xbox app you can see what games your friends are currently playing, you can watch footage of game-play and other content, and even buy games from the Xbox Live Marketplace on the go.

The app can also interact directly with your Xbox 1 gaming console while you are at home. If you install the app on your smartphone, you will be able to almost entirely control your console from the palm of your hand. Everyone has been watching Netflix or a movie on their Xbox only to set the controller down a little too fast and suddenly you are rewinding your show. Eliminate this problem by using your phone as a remote control for your Xbox’s media hub.

It’s not just the media hub you are able to control with your smartphone. You will be able to use your phone as a keyboard, preventing the need to buy expensive accessories. Navigation is made simple with the Xbox app, allowing touch controls to navigate all of your menus.

Whether you’ve missed online gaming invitations because you were away from your console, or just would like to have an alternate way to talk to your friends, head over to the iOS or Android stores and pick up the Xbox app for free.

Microsoft Game Pass Launching June 1, Trial Available Now for Xbox Live Subscribers

Microsoft on Wednesday announced a release date for Xbox Game Pass, a subscription program that enables players to pay a monthly fee in exchange for access to over 100 games. The service will roll out to all Xbox players on June 1 and cost $9.99 per month.

 

Those who already subscribe to Xbox Live were given an added bonus: early access to the service along with a 14-day free trial.

 

Xbox Game Pass boasts a healthy lineup of popular Xbox One games, including Halo 5: Guardians, Gears of War: Ultimate Edition, NBA 2K16, and Sunset Overdrive. To get up to and past the 100 game mark, Microsoft has also dug into its library of backward-compatible Xbox 360 games for the service. Popular Xbox 360 releases included in Xbox Game pass include all three titles in the BioShock trilogy, all Xbox 360 Gears of War titles, Fable III, and XCOM: Enemy Within.

 

Microsoft has long been looking for ways to differentiate itself from Sony’s PlayStation 4 offerings, and Xbox Game Pass appears to be another attempt. The service is aimed at expanding the Xbox One’s customer base by lowering the cost of entry for a new console buyer. Instead of having to buy hardware and then plunk down additional cash to purchase games, a player can subscribe to Xbox Game pass and instantly have a catalog of over 100 games for the Xbox One. Add to that the fact that Xbox Live subscribers receive at least four free titles (two Xbox One and two Xbox 360) every month, and Microsoft’s plan to become a budget-friendly console comes into focus.

 

While Xbox Game Pass in its current iteration is comprised mostly of older Xbox One and Xbox 360 titles, the service could one day serve as the launch home for brand new games.

 

“[Subscription services] might spur new story-based games coming to market because there’s a new business model to help support their monetisation,” said Xbox head Phil Spencer in an interview with The Guardian.

 

Spencer’s goal is for Xbox Game Pass to become as ubiquitous as Netflix, and for it to spur the creation of new, experimental content in much the same way the streaming video service has.

 

As Game Pass finds its legs, we’ll see whether or not it can live up to that vision.

 

New Microsoft Service Will Give Subscribers Access to Over 100 Video Games

Microsoft has just announced that they’re working on launching a new subscription-based service that will work in a way similar to Netflix, but instead of bringing movies and TV series, it will deliver more than 100 video game titles when launched this spring.

 

According to a press release from Microsoft, the new service will be called Xbox Game Pass and rotate through a variety of games for the Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PCs running Windows 10. The monthly fee will be $9.99. Obviously, gamers can’t expect to get instant access to the latest releases that go for as much as $80 in stores. However, information provided by Microsoft shows that it will include many of the major titles that were recently released, such as Halo 5: Guardians and NBA 2K16.

 

The games offered through the service remain accessible to members for as long as they keep renewing their monthly subscription. Microsoft is planning to allow players who cancel their subscription to permanently buy some of their favorite games at a 20 percent discount.

 

While a similar service called PlayStation Now is offered by Sony, Microsoft’s main competitor in the gaming console industry, Xbox Game Pass has some elements that give it a clear advantage. Sony’s service may offer a slightly bigger selection of game, but it comes at a higher price tag of $19.99 per month.

 

Unlike PlayStation Now, Xbox Game Pass will let players download full games to their consoles, thus eliminating any worries about Internet speeds and connectivity issues affecting the gaming experience. Even though the service hasn’t been made available to the public yet, a select few gamers have the chance to try it out right away. They’re members of Xbox Insider, a program letting gamers try out new titles or gaming services before their official launch dates. The pre-release version isn’t guaranteed to be fully functional and only features a limited number of titles. Comments from those who tried it have been quite positive so far, with many showing optimism that Xbox Game Pass will offer an interesting selection of games when launched.

 

Microsoft has Cancelled One of Its Highly Anticipated 2017 Games

There is bad news for anyone looking forward to living out their dreams of finally becoming a dragon-rider. Slated for a 2017 release as a Xbox exclusive, “Scalebound” was set to put you in the shoes of Drew and fight along side his dragon companion, Thuban, in the world of Draconis . This ambitious action RPG, developed by PlatinumGames, promised a beautifully rendered world with an unique combat system allowing you to issue commands to your dragon friend. A few of these included various abilities ranging from breathing fire on enemies to destroying certain targets within the game’s environment with the press of a button. Over the past two and a half years, a ton of gameplay videos has excited gamers world-wide with their enticing footage causing many to jump on the hype train and eagerly await the game’s release date.

 

After several delays, since its debut at E3 2014, and a plethora of signs pointing to the dreaded “development hell” many games fell victim to over the years, it was announced Jan. 10 that the game is no longer heading to xbox and is effectively cancelled.

 

A spokesperson from Microsoft contacted online gaming site Kotaku and other press outlets saying, “After careful deliberation, Microsoft Studios has come to the decision to end production for ‘Scalebound.’ We’re working hard to deliver an amazing lineup of games for our fans this year, including ‘Halo Wars,’ ‘Crackdown 3,’ ‘State of Decay 2,’ ‘Sea of Thieves’ and other great experiences,” devastating fans and confirming the rumors of cancellation that surfaced in the weeks prior.

 

This is, without a doubt, a blow to the developer; however, with critically acclaimed titles such as the “Bayonetta” series and the “Neir” series, this will not be the last time we hear from PlatinumGames.

 

Microsoft Cancels Exclusive Action Game Scalebound

Microsoft has revealed that Scalebound, one of the biggest upcoming games from Xbox has been annulled. Published by Microsoft, the game was scheduled for launching on both PC and Xbox One.

 

The Development of Scalebound

 

Scalebound had risen to head several lists of the “Most Anticipated Games” and formed a section of top titles set to hit Microsoft’s console besides Sea of Thieves pirate game, strategy title Halo Wars 2,and Crackdown 3 the open-world action game.

 

Reports from Eurogamer indicate that last fall, a number of key members of the game’s development team were compelled to step away for a month from the project due to what was described as project’s heavy workload pressure. When they came back, project Scalebound was behind schedule and it was decided not to proceed with the game.

 

The Future of Scalebound

 

Fans of Scalebound will now have to sit tight and see whether the game’s original developers will opt to proceed with this video game separately from the current Microsoft partnership.

 

Even though Platinum has received critical acclaim for lots of their video games over the years, mainstream success has tended to always elude them. It is not clear whether the Scalebound project could still be carried on under the supervision of Platinum Games studio. It is hoped that Nier: Automata will help in keeping Platinum Games afloat as they seek pick up from this blow triggered by the Microsoft cancellation.

 

Conclusion

 

Scalebound has been under development for over 4 years, being developed by Platinum Games, the Japanese studio that is best known for their fast-paced action titles such as Vanguish and Bayonetta. The cancelation of such a highly promoted AAA game after 4 years of development is already been viewed as being an unprecedented move by industry experts, but to have the footage of its existence removed is particularly odd.

 

Big Expectations for Microsoft at E3 2016

Over the past few years Microsoft has gone a long way in getting people excited for their major announcements at E3. It is expected that they will have a press conference on Monday morning in which they will announce two new consoles. One console will be a lightweight version of the Xbox One. The other is currently called Scorpio, and it is said to be a more powerful next gen console.

There are also rumors of an Xbox streaming stick or device that allows players to stream their games with very little set-up. Video game streaming has become a major cultural trend and every major company is developing new ideas in that realm.

Microsoft apparently wants to link the consoles to PC games a bit closer. Rumor has it that Cortana, the Windows 10 voice-activated system, might be utilized in this new set-up.

In recent years, Sony has been beating Microsoft in sales and most agree that Sony games are of a higher quality. Microsoft appears to be under quite a bit of pressure. There is a belief that if Microsoft doesn’t have a big announcement, there could be an internet backlash.

The walls between PC and console continue to crumble. Xbox One exclusive games will be released simultaneously on PC. It is rumored that Halo 5’s campaign mode might be playable on PC.

This year’s E3 is looking to be a crucial event for Microsoft as far as public perception goes. It will be interesting to see if they can deliver.