Microsoft’s E3 2014 Press Conference Live Blog

Xbox One Console

Worried you might not be able to watch Microsoft’s E3 Press Conference live on June 9th at 12:30 pm EST? No worries, we’ve got you covered here on Gamers Xtreme! We’ll be live blogging the whole event and you, as the community, will be able to interact with us throughout the whole conference! The blog is also mobile friendly so for those of you with smartphones, you’ll be able to still catch every minute of the conference through your phone. Enter your e-mail address below to be reminded of when the event is about to go live and get involved with E3!

Xbox One Releasing November 8th?

Xbox One

An image that has been circling the internet for the past 24 hours has certainly created a buzz. An inside source at Walmart leaked the image of a shipping manifest directed to all Walmart locations. The list below clearly shows a midnight launch for the Xbox One on Friday, November 8th, just one week before the PS4.

Microsoft has stated that its next-gen console will indeed release in November, and since the PS4 is slated for November 15th, it stands to reason that Microsoft might want to get a “one” week head start (no pun intended). Up to this point, they’ve completely avoided the question of when their console would launch (aside from Holiday), while Sony gave their exact date during their Gamescom Press Conference. We will have to wait and see in the coming weeks.

Check below for the supposed shipping manifest sheet. However, take this with a grain of salt as it’s the only item listed that doesn’t state it’s “confirmed”.

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[via Kotaku]

World Premiere Unboxing Video Of The Xbox One

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Moments ago, Larry “Major Nelson” Hyrb posted the first unboxing video of the X1. In this video, the Xbox One Day One edition was shown. As we first reported several months ago, the day one edition will include a special Day One package, specially branded DAY ONE 2013 controller with chrome D-pad, and a Day One digital achievement. Of course, they will be available in limited quantities. As the video concluded, we were given a healthy list of specs and accesories that will be coming with the system on day one.

Inside the package obviously will be an Xbox One console, Kinect sensor, an HDMI cable and the power supply. They will all have a “liquid black” finish. Every piece of hardware in the box was designed in a 16:9 ratio in order to stand out. This level of precise and intricate design was intentional to contrast the X1 from its competitors. Albert Penello, head of product planning, had this to say:

“The Xbox One console is state of the art with a 500GB hard drive, slot load Blu-ray drive, IR blaster port, HDMI input and output connectors, a S/PDIF interface, new Kinect sensor port, three USB 3.0 Super Speed ports, Wired and Wireless network support and a Kensington Security Slot. Of course, what’s most important is what the console can do and if you haven’t checked out the latest product details on Xbox.com, you should.

The all new Kinect has improved gesture and voice control, 1080p color HD camera for video with Skype and a greater field of view. On-board sensors improve fidelity of the depth-sensing and low-light visibility, along with a four microphone array and IR blasting capability. The Xbox One controller offers over 40 design improvements, including a redesigned D-pad for accuracy, redesigned thumb sticks for better grip and control, new menu and view buttons, redesigned triggers and bumpers for accuracy and comfort, as well as exclusive impulse triggers for haptic feedback.

The new integrated battery compartment on the Xbox One controller blends seamlessly into the back, offering better comfort. You can play wirelessly with standard AA or rechargeable AA batteries, or via the standard micro USB port for wired gameplay. The micro USB cable will charge the batteries if you are using the Xbox One Play & Charge Kit (it will not charge generic rechargeable AA batteries). The chat on Xbox One offers 3x the sampling rate of the Xbox 360. The quality of the Xbox One Chat Headset speaker and microphone have been upgraded to take advantage of the much improved audio quality. It’s also super lightweight-only 44g-with a padded earpiece that can be worn on either your left or right ear, and a bendable, rotating mic boom. You can control mute and volume without taking your hands off the controller.

Of course, a HDMI cable, a power supply and a Quick Start Guide are included as well. When we say 4K HDMI cable, we mean it. The HDMI cable we’re including is an actual Category 2 HDMI cable, rated for 1080P, 3D and 4K, according to the HDMI 1.4 spec. The built-in wireless on Xbox 360 just supported single-band A/B/G/N @ 2.4ghz. The Xbox One wireless radio is A/B/G/N, but supports dual-band 2.4ghz and 5ghz frequencies. The console shown in the video is one of the first production units less than 20 exist in the world (and yes, this box has the 853mhz GPU). When you plug a micro-USB cable into the controller for wired gameplay, the internal radio is actually shut off, transmitting data through the wire. You can even use the controller without batteries in this mode.”

Check out the video below to get your first personalized glimpse of the X1.

[Source – Game Informer]

Mikami Intrigued by Kinect and Xbox One’s Controller Tech

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This week, Shinji Mikami discussed his interest in the possibilities of both Kinect and the rumble motors in Xbox One’s triggers. Mikami stated “If the new sensor is accurate enough to capture people’s facial expressions, then we could be able to utilize it…That’s something I’d maybe like to use at some point.” When asked why he was interested about the new rumble features on the controller, he responded “It’s a new way to touch the player. I don’t have a specific idea for that at the moment, but I should be able to utilize it,” he said. “Fingers are very, very sensitive, so it’s a good feature.” “The higher resolution graphics are good, I’m also glad to be able to use a bit more memory. The update of game content in real-time using the cloud is interesting.”

It is very exciting to hear Mr. Mikami’s interest in new technology, and to how he might use these features to implement into his future titles. The Evil Within will be marking his first venture into the next-gen systems. How he incorporates these new technological devices into the game remains to be seen, but one can only imagine how the father of survival horror games will. The Evil Within will use id Tech 5 engine, which was created by id software and was rarely used for current-generation games due to its power. When The Evil Within was announced, publisher Bethesda stated that it would revolutionize the survival horror genre and would bring back gamers that might have left after the the current state of Resident Evil. The Evil Within is expected to launch next year for the PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and X1.

[via OXM]

Crytek Assures That “Ryse” Was Misrepresented At E3, Game Will Be Much More In-Depth

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Last month, Crytek’s Ryse was debuted at E3, and at first it was received with a certain awe and amazement. Unfortunately, later on it was revealed that some of the floor demos were running on high end PC’s because the demo build wasn’t ready to run on the X1 at that point. Additionally, many had legitimate concerns over the gameplay and how in-depth or shallow this visual spectacle was going to be. On the surface, the game looked breathtaking, and beaming with next-gen power but it did seem to lack mechanically. Thankfully, Crytek has listened to the concerns and decided to address them publicly. In an interview this week, Crytek producer Michael Read went on to state the answers many gamers have been wanting to hear.

“What you’re going to see in the final game, you’re going to see various levels of difficulty from easy mode, I think up to nightmare. I don’t know if they have decided on that. What’s going to change in there is the amount of the damage that enemies are going to do to you and how accurate that you are going to do on blocking. And then of course what ties into that is execution state when you put them into that. Some of the higher archetype guys, I mean they are going to take a lot of hits to put it. We are going to throw some stupid guys in there, where it’s probably going to take two hits, especially early on in the game to get you used to the control system and how that all works. There’s a lot we should have explained. We didn’t do a good job of doing that.”

”Right now, you play the demo you have X is your hit, Y is your shield bash, A is your block, B will lead you into execution mode. [Pointing to the left triggers] So that’s for your call-outs. This will be like your focus. This [right trigger] is to throw out your pilums.”

“There are other functions in the general combat you’re going to get into. Pressing X will do your standard swing. Holding X down will do a heavier attack or heavy shield bash, for instance, with the other buttons. You also have shield bash and kick or block and kick. When you enter into an execution state, we are going to remove the button prompts that you saw in this version. And they are going to be replaced with visual and audio prompts that people are going to have to learn over time. We have like a hundred executions in the game.”

It definitely seems that the developer admitted their shortcomings on how their project was detailed and presented at E3. However, they need to reassure day one buyers that this title will be worth every bit of their hard earned money. My hope is that they will publicly release developer diaries or monthly status updates on the game’s progress as we near the fall. For more news on Ryse, stay tuned.

[Via: VG24/7]

Microsoft’s Spring Bundle On Sale, Possible Foreshadowing?

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The Xbox 360 Spring bundle was originally released back in March of this past year, and it now seems to be seeing a $50 price drop. The spring bundle includes a 250GB 360 slim with a copy of Darksiders 2, Batman: Arkham City and a 1 month subscription of Xbox Gold. The new price for this collection will now be retailing for $249.99, only through the Microsoft Store and Amazon.com. There has been no indication as to whether this will be a limited time promo, or if this will be a permanent price drop.

With this recent announcement, one cannot think that this might be a possible new price point for the Xbox 360 250GB model as this year progresses. Right now, you can purchase an Xbox 360 for as little as $199.99, however it is only a 4GB model. In short, being that this fall there will be two new pieces of hardware on the market, I feel both Microsoft and Sony will make both of their current consoles more affordable. My own belief is that the newest 360 slim model with the 250GB will permanently become $249.99 and the PS3 will drop $249.99 or possibly even $199.99 depending on the sales for this past year.

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Both companies would be wise to lower prices as both their next-gen consoles are not backwards compatible. Many gamers are going to need to have access to their last-gen systems in order to play their amazing library of what has been released in the last 8 years. As we all know, “they don’t make’em like they used to” could not be more true this generation. I have been a victim of the Red Ring of Death two times, and the Yellow Light of Death multiple times as well. With that being said, it is going to be much easier on the wallet if gamers can buy a PS3 or 360 a year from now, knowing that they will be $50-$100 cheaper than they are now.

Seamless Integration with the X1 and Skype

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Back at E3, Microsoft showed us a brief demo of how Skype was going to interact with the X1, and needless to say, it all seemed quite impressive. Today, Microsoft further discussed the integration of Skype in the console. The powerful app utilizes Kinect’s voice and gesture controls to execute on-screen actions. The Kinect 2.0 camera will be able to make Skype video calls in full 1080p. The camera also features a “wide-angle field of view”. The service will be included into the Xbox One console, allowing gamers to activate calls using just their voice aka voice commands. The Kinect 2.0 has a remarkable microphone that will be able to interpret background noise unrelated to your call and drown it out such as TV’s or radio’s playing.

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Xbox’s Yusuf Mehdi talked about Skype for Xbox One and how it will deliver the best Skype shared communications experience in the living room. “The living room is incredibly important for us, and you. It’s where the majority of your Skype conversations take place, and where you gather with family and friends.” Using snap technology, gamers will be able to video chat in full 1080p while doing various other activities at the same time on the X1. For example, players can video chat with a friend across the globe in glorious 1080p while bouncing between Netflix, Profile editing, or any other task you want to joggle while chatting. Whether you’re conducting a business conference in your living room, or just group chatting with friends, Skype seems to be bringing a worthy service to the X1 this fall.

[via Gamespot]

Microsoft Restructuring Details Official, And What It Means for The X1’s Future

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Earlier this month Don Mattrick left  his post as head of the Xbox hardware division in Microsoft for a gaming company named Zygna. Rumors reported that this was due to the impending changes and restructuring of the organization internally. Well early this morning CEO Steve Ballmer sent an email to his staff titled “One Microsoft,” in which he details the new way the company will function.The company will be now be split into a number of divisions starting from Engineering, Marketing, Business Development and Evangelism, Advanced Strategy and Research, Finance, HR, Legal, and Operations. Within engineering there will be four units: Operating Systems, Applications and Services, Cloud and Enterprise, and Devices and Studios. This is key because it is the engineering department that the Xbox One “X1” is developed in along with all properties related to that.

Mr. Ballmer’s vision for Microsoft has directly effected  the X1. Whether it is for the better or worse remains to be seen but here is what we know so far. The former Xbox divison has now been split in half and will be teams working separately on different aspects of the system. Terry Myerson, formerly head of Windows Phone, will head the Operating System unit, which includes the Xbox One’s core functions of the machine. With Don Mattrick’s leave, Julie Larson-Green is now in charge of hardware (Devices and Studios), which includes the Xbox One’s apps and so forth. Lastly, this new restructure puts Skype head Tony Bates in charge of developer relations with third parties and outside companies.

Now how does all of this business talk effect you as the gamer, and more specifically the launch day buyer of an X1. It is my belief that this is a move for the better. However it will only be for the better if all the heads of each division can work cooperatively. Terry Myerson is a well accomplished figure in the tech world and clearly has a proven success record. Starting his own web software company at 21 years old and continuing to be a true talent right up until this past year while overseeing the Windows phone he has helped the Nokia Lumia 520 become one of the most successful selling cell phones on the market today. And this is the man who will be supervising the X1’s core operating units of the console.

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Julie Larson will be the one replacing Don Matrrick’s old post as head of  hardware. She was formerly head of the Windows division after replacing the man responsible for bungling up Windows 8 this past November. Mrs. Larson is known for her communication skills and ability to work well with others, uniting people, which helped her create and oversee Office 2007 “still one of their highest rated offices to date”. She is also rumored to be the next CEO of Microsoft following Steve Ballmer’s departure in the coming years.

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Lastly you have Tony Bates now in charge of developer relations. I honestly cant think of a better person to be in charge of connecting with outside companies and developing relationships than the former CEO of Skype. A company known for connecting people around our globe. Before Microsoft acquired Skype in 2011 they had a base of about 170 million users, post Microsoft acquisition they are now at a record base of 1 billion users. Clearly there relationship has been beneficial and most likely will continue to be as Bates will now be responsible for helping the X1 post launch and beyond.

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In closing with all of this talent focusing on different aspects of one console, the cards are all in their favor. Brilliant minds coming together for one cause, and that is creating, and promoting the success of a piece of technology. This console will be debuting in an already mass populated gaming and media market. However if cooperation is not achieved then the possibilities for failure are also great. You can be the judge for yourself on how you feel the outcome will be, and how this impacts the industry, or whether this changes your mind a purchase of an X1 this November. For more news stay tuned folks.

Don Mattrick May Be Leaving Microsoft Today

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UPDATE: Don Mattrick’s move to Zynga is now official, with Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, temporarily taking over his duties. See the full e-mail below.

From: Steve Ballmer
Sent: Monday, July 1, 2013
To: Microsoft – All Employees
Subject: Don Mattrick’s Next Chapter

Zynga announced today that Don Mattrick would be its new CEO, effective July 8. This is a great opportunity for Don, and I wish him success. Don’s directs will report to me and will continue to drive the day-to-day business as a team, particularly focused on shipping Xbox One this holiday.

Since joining IEB more than six years ago, Don and his team have accomplished much. Xbox Live members grew from 6 million to 48 million. Xbox 360 became the No. 1 selling console in North America the past two years. We introduced Kinect and have sold more than 24 million sensors. We released fantastic games, and, most importantly, we expanded Xbox to go beyond great gaming to deliver all the entertainment people want — sports, music, movies, live television and much more.

In the past month, the IEB team showed for the first time here on our Redmond campus, and again at E3, how we are going to continue to transform entertainment with Xbox One. I am incredibly proud of the work and vision culminating in Xbox One.

I’m particularly excited about how Xbox pushes forward our devices and services transformation by bringing together the best of Microsoft. The consoles are incredible all-in-one devices with built-in services that consumers love, including Bing, Xbox Live, Internet Explorer, SkyDrive and Skype. And, just as important, Xbox Games, Xbox Video, Xbox Music and SmartGlass light up Windows PCs, tablets and phones.

Thank you, Don, for setting us on a path to completely redefine the entertainment industry. The strong leadership team at IEB and their teams are well positioned to deliver the next-generation entertainment console, as well as transformative entertainment experiences, long into the future.

Steve

ORIGINAL STORY: Don Mattrick, President of Interactive Entertainment at Microsoft and a prominent face in the Xbox One scene, may be leaving the company before the next-gen console even gets close to launch. Sources close to the issue say it may even happen as soon as later today, as well as the possibility that Mattrick may be moving to troubled mobile game developer Zynga, possibly in a high-level management role.

Mattrick has been at the head of the Xbox One reveal and the turbulent weeks that followed, largely centered around the console’s radical connection and security policies. Mattrick and Larry “Major Nelson” Hryb have even been seen contradicting one another when talking facts, leading some to question the direction of the company. The announcement of a “restructuring” by Microsoft last week may be a strong indicator that Mattrick’s move is likely.

Stay tuned as we continue to track this developing story, as well as the potential fallout.

Microsoft Holding “Ultimate” Xbox 360 Game Summer Sale

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Microsoft will be holding a gigantic digital game sale this week, Xbox Live director of programming Larry “Major Nelson” Hryb announced yesterday. Major Nelson listed off 32 titles in all that will be hugely discounted during this upcoming week. Surprisingly, many of the titles are only a couple of months old, and did score fairly high. Below is a list of titles being discounted this week. For more news on anything gaming, keep it locked onto GamersXtreme.org.

“Ultimate Game Sale” titles are as follows

  • Assassin’s Creed III
  • Bioshock Infinite
  • Borderlands 2
  • Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway
  • Bulletstorm
  • Command and Conquer Red Alert 3
  • Crysis
  • Crysis 3
  • Divinity II: The Dragon Knight Saga
  • Dragon Age Origins
  • Far Cry 3
  • Far Cry Instincts Predator
  • Forza Horizon
  • Gears of War: Judgement
  • Hasbro Family Game Night 3
  • Hitman Absolution
  • Kinect Sports 2
  • Left 4 Dead 2
  • Lego Batman 2: DC Superheroes
  • Lego Lord of the Rings
  • Mass Effect
  • Metal Gear Rising: Revengence
  • Monopoly Streets
  • Perfect Dark Zero
  • Prey
  • Rockstar Table Tennis
  • The Orange Box
  • Tomb Raider
  • Witcher 2
  • WWE 13
  • XCOM: Enemy Unknown

[Via: Major Nelson]