The Xbox One’s Pre-Order Premium Edition Bonuses

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Microsoft has just released some juicy details regarding the pre-order bonuses of the Xbox One (X1). Those who start pre-ordering today until availability ends will receive quite a bountiful prize. The premium “Day One” edition of the Xbox One will include a second controller (which will be a limited edition controller), a token code to unlock Day One achievement, a premium packaging, and custom decal. In addition, there will also be exclusive DLC available for a few of the big triple AAA exclusives announced yesterday. Ryse: Son of Rome will get an exclusive multiplayer map and sword with bonus attributes. Forza Motorsport 5 – Access to four cars tuned to the top of their class. Kinect Sports Rivals – Exclusive sporting equipment that separates your Champion from the rest of the world. Dead Rising 3 – Exclusive Frank West and Chuck Greene Tribute Packs with bonus attributes. This premium edition will be available to those who reserve the console at specific retailers such as Best Buy and Amazon, among others.

Microsoft notes that this will only be available in limited quantities. For those who want to save money by getting an extra controller, as well as a slew of other great swag, reserve yours today. Lastly, the most interesting aspect is the addition of a “Day One achievement”. The X1 will now have system level rewards available that sometimes will no longer just revolve around games. Meaning you could possibly get an achievement just for going into certain apps on your console, or watching a certain amount of Netflix movies, etc. For Achievement hunters, this will truly be a tantalizing thing. For more news on anything E3, stay tuned to GamersXtreme!

Microsoft Putting Up Extraordinary Amounts of Money for Xbox One Exclusives

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Well it is has become abundantly clear that Microsoft is serious in their gaming content for the Xbox One. Perhaps more focused and determined than with their current home console. It has been reported by Microsoft that they are prepping to invest around $1 billion in the development of exclusive games for the Xbox One. Don Mattrick and Phil Spencer discussed Microsoft’s strategy for first-party development in an issue of Xbox magazine. The entertainment focus of the Xbox One reveal event led to widespread accusations that the company had neglected the gaming and gamers. However, Mattrick stated that the true imagination the console was built on was completely for gaming as their prime objective. And those who are writing off the console as merely a super charged Netflix machine, will seriously be underestimating the console. In two weeks time, they are confident that all will change their minds very quickly. “We just ran through our release slate and counted the number of exclusives, and looked at the amount of money that we’re spending and the deals that we have, exclusive windows and, I think, candidly, people are way, way under-indexing how hard we’re punching.”

Even before the unveiling show on May 21st, Microsoft pressed the idea that its E3 presentation would be focused on games, but it did reveal that it has 15 exclusive games ready for the Xbox One’s first year, including 8 brand new IP’s.”There are great hits, there’s innovation, and there are world class creators plugged in,” Mattrick continued. “You know, I keep track of it all, and I hope everyone here does, we kind of look back at all the different years and at what we shipped, how many units have sold. There’s a lot of hyperbole about things, but I think we’re going to deliver.” I’d say its going to be quite an interesting E3 giving the amount of money Microsoft seems to be investing in their exclusive gaming ventures. The proof will be in the pudding come June 10th.

A New Generation for Xbox is Coming

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Microsoft is set to announce “a new generation of Xbox” at its Redmond, WA campus on May 21st. It seems a press invite was received today by most media outlets regarding this event. The invitation apparently came from Don Mattrick stating, “Don Mattrick and the Xbox team invite you to the Xbox campus for a special unveiling.” Fear not non-press people, as Xbox owners on Microsoft’s official e-mail list received emails stating that the event will be streamed live on Spike TV, as well as through Xbox Live itself.

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It is worth noting that this event comes just weeks before E3, meaning the build up should now work positively, just as it has since Sony’s unveiling a few months back. Some are speculating that this “new generation” reveal is going to be a show dedicated to displaying the next-gen games in action rather than unveiling the system, just as Sony had done. The lack of official word from Microsoft on their next console is troubling to me. Considering the latest rumors are pegging it at an expensive price point and not being able to support 360 games is a big flaw in my opinion. However, nothing is official as of yet. Stay tuned, because the next couple of weeks are sure going to be an exciting time for gamers.

Forza Horizon DLC Is “Heavy And Free”

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Talk about an update! The Forza Horizon Club Expansion Pack is now available on Xbox LIVE as a free download! Turn 10 and Playground Games have announced that this free DLC will feature more than 1000 brand new challenges, plus ten new achievements worth 250 points, and two brand new bonus cars. There will be new challenges for every single car in the game. Certain ones focus on speed, such as racing through a speed camera zone as fast as you possibly can. Others will focus on your driving abilities with specific stunts such as drifting, burnouts, smashing objects, or flying through traffic at high speeds.

Additionally, there are new location-based challenges that encompass the entire open world of Colorado. Taking road trips will rack up skill points, while exploring Red Rock’s winding dessert roads. Most of the challenges can be completed with the on-disc car inventory, but there are some that will require the past downloadable car packs. Lastly, the new DLC features a classic 1956 Ford F100 and the 1995 RUF CTR2, which are both sweet addittions to an already truly expansive garage for Forza Horizon.

First “Free-to-Play” Xbox Live Game Creating Quite a Show of Support

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Happy Wars was released a little over four months ago, promoted as a “free-to-play” game. In that time, they managed to get 800,000 gamers to download it and play. As of this month, there has been more than 2 million adopters of it. The developer Toylogic stated today that between December of 2012 and March of 2013, there was a jump in over one million players. This is a phenomenal success for a title that uses very simplistic gameplay. While the main game is free, gamers can opt to purchase “happy tickets” with real money in order to upgrade their characters equipment and customize their appearance. However, if you do not wish to invest real money, there is another route you can go. Players can unlock new equipment and such for free by unlocking “happy stars” through normal game play.

Thankfully, Toylogic has announced that a “major” update for Happy Wars has been released. This includes a new Special Match mode, bringing with it new multiplayer rules. Also, there will be additional customization slots. Finally, the new Happy Wars addition raises the level cap for items from 10 to 15. Happy Wars supports simultaneous play for up to a whopping 30 players! Teams of fifteen vs fifteen must strike their opponents’ stronghold while simultaneously protecting their own.

Happy Wars was the the first free-to-play game for Xbox Live, but its not the last thankfully. Signal Studios’ third-person role-playing game “Ascend: New Gods” will also be available through the platform for free when it launches this spring. Be sure to check out GamersXtreme for more news on that, and future free-to-play games on the Xbox 360.

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The Walking Dead Kicks Off Xbox Live’s Daily Deals

Hey everybody, now’s the time to check out the VGA’s game of the year, The Walking Dead. For a limited time on Xbox Live, at a very low price of $10, you can purchase episodes two, three, four, and five. Even more fantastically is that Episode one is being offered completely FREE! Check below to read Major Nelson brief statment on this.

“Hey Folks Major Nelson here as previously reported, the first episode of The Walking Dead is now completely free. If you get that taste and want some more, all subsequent episodes are $2.50 (200 MSP) each. That means you can spring for every episode for a total of $10 (800 MSP), or finish out the season if you haven’t yet.”

I can say after playing the first episode, it is quite a unique and amazing experience to play. Be sure to keep checking Xbox Live daily deals for more amazing offers!

For more news on this or any other topic, be sure to keep it locked onto Gamers Xtreme, and as always “Game On!”

Over 15 New Apps Coming to Xbox LIVE This Week

Well its a great time to own an Xbox 360! This week, Xbox Live will receive quite a plethora of apps. Below is a brief description of some of the apps coming to North America this week.

1. All3M

This app displays your Live account and shows you your worldwide standing in the online community based on your gamer score, while making fun interactive menus.

2. Ameba TV

This app lets you post blogs and share them, as well as viewing your friends’ blogs. Upload your photos and make your blogs more vibrant using pictographs.

3. CrunchyRoll

This app lets you watch over 600 shows featuring Anime & Drama’s, all are available just one hour after TV broadcast

4. Deezer

This app lets you take music to a new dimension. Deezer is a fresh way to discover, love, share and listen to all the music you want, ­­anywhere and anytime.

5. Flixster

The #1 app for movie reviews, trailers, and showtimes for across the country

6. GameTrailers

This essential app helps you covers the latest content from Gametrailers.com including game previews, trailers, reviews, as well as episodes from the hottest game-based web series.

7. IndieFlix

IndieFlix is a an online movie service that curates and brings independent films to the mainstream, allows movie lovers to Tag Now Watch Later beginning with this year’s top film festivals and ultimately including all major destination film festivals around the world.

8. Machinima

Machinima is the well known premier online network providing entertainment for the gaming culture, showing game trailers, gameplay videos and tips, video game reviews, first looks, and original series created in video games.

9. Maxim

Maxim+ magazine has all the great content of the print issue with MORE photos, MORE video and MORE interactivity! Content available through the app includes behind-the-scenes looks into the magazine’s “sexiest photoshoots,” original comedy, and sports-related vide

10. MTV

Browse and view tons of video clips, photos, blog posts and play trivia contests from your favorite MTV shows.

11. Popcornflix

Watch hundreds of free streaming movies.

12. The CW Network

Check out the newest way get free full length episodes and instantly go social by connecting to your favorite CW shows. Stream your favorite CW Network shows all becoming available the day after it was broadcasted.

13. CNET

The CNET app allows you to check the site’s product reviews, technology shows, and event coverage.

14. Karaoke

The karaoke app features a library of more than 8,000 songs spanning numerous genres, including pop, rock, country, hip-hop, and others. Songs will be available by streaming, with no download required. Though the app is free to download, players will need to redeem Microsoft points for full access to the song library. Microsoft has not announced pricing plans as of yet.

15. SkyDrive

SkyDrive lets users view their saved content like photos and video through the Xbox 360.

[Source – Major Nelson]

New Xbox Live MyAchievements Program a Ruse?

You may have heard recently that Microsoft updated its Xbox Live Rewards program to offer gamers discounts on content from the XBox Live Marketplace. It’s a nice idea, but in my opinion, a complete ruse on Microsoft’s part. I’ll explain that in a moment.

Here’s the meat of the deal: After signing up for the rewards program, if you earn at least 3,000 GamerScore on your account, you reach the first tier of the program, “Contender”. This unlocks a gift to be sent to you during your birth month. Reach 10,000 GamerScore and you’re a “Champion”, which unlocks the previous reward in addition to a permanent 1% discount on all purchases through Xbox Live Marketplace. And finally, if you reach the lofty heights of a 25,000 GamerScore, you become a “Legend” and that previous 1% discount gets bumped up to a 2% discount.

Now, that sounds like a good deal at first, especially since signing up is free, and come on, who doesn’t love discounts, right?

But the problems lie mainly in the logic and the fine print of the program. Let’s tackle the latter first. This is straight from Microsoft’s Rewards Program page:

** You must have and maintain an eligible Xbox LIVE Gold membership and the applicable Gamerscore for the appropriate tier by the first of every month in order to be eligible. Limit:Up to 30,000 Microsoft Points can be earned per account for the entire Offer Period. Please see Terms and Conditions for details.

Not surprisingly, the fine print is more confusing than the rest of the page. The near-top of the page mentions rewarding players for the “years they’ve been earning GamerScore”. So instantly, this would seem to appeal to early-adopters or the most hardcore of core gamers. But what about those who fall below the Contender bracket?

And here is where the ruse lies: in order to get that kind of a GamerScore, somebody is going to have to play a lot of games, and therefore, buy a lot of games. The average retail game can have, at most, 1000 GamerScore to earn, with an added max of 750 GamerScore for DLC. Without taking DLC into consideration, you’ll need to earn all the achievements in at least 25 games, for a measely birthday gift and a 2% Market discount. Let’s say somebody has to buy those games to get there – that’s around $1500 assuming they’re full-priced retail games.

[EDIT] And let’s break down that discount a bit while we’re at it. I’m going to give a few sample items you can buy on the Marketplace, how much they cost before the 2% discount, and afterwards.

Avatar costume (complete): 320 MS Points. After discount: 313.8 Points.

Avatar Prop: 80 MS Points. After discount: 78.4 Points.

Geometry Wars Evolved: 400 MS Points. After discount: 392 points.

Borderlands 2 Season Pass: 2400 MS Points. After discount: 2352 MS Points.

Now consider the fact that you buy MS Points in bundles, and the smallest denomination you can purchase is 400. In order to accrue enough discounts to have earned 400 MS Points for free, you’d need to buy 250 props, 63 Avatar costumes, 50 copies of Geometry Wars Evolved, and 9 Borderlands 2 Season Passes. If you only got up to the 1% discount, you can double those amounts.

Most of you probably realize this is the sort of thing you earn while just enjoying your games normally. And this is just an added plus for Achievement hunters, who will be doing whatever it takes to boost up their GamerScore anyway. But what about those people who might actually fall for this? Sure, we could say they deserve it, but do we really want Microsoft to succeed at pulling the wool over their customers’ eyes? They’ve been toying with the idea of rewarding gamers based on GamerScore since the Achievement system was first introduced; is this a simple cop-out just so they can say they did it?

Either way, this rewards program is just too little, too late. Their original rewards program is a nice gesture to loyal Xbox fans, but this new addition just feels like an empty addition. Hopefully the program doesn’t prompt tons of uninformed gamers to waste money on games they probably otherwise wouldn’t have bought.

Special thanks to videogamer.com for covering this new program.

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Xbox Live Experiencing Outages, Microsoft “Working to Resolve the Issue”

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Microsoft has reported on its Twitter feed this morning that Xbox Live is experiencing technical difficulties. The posts date the event occurring late this morning. The outage includes services on the Xbox 360 as well as the Xbox.com web site.

Microsoft is making use of its Twitter and Service Status pages to keep customers informed on Xbox Live’s status. Xbox Support assures users that they’re hard at work on a fix, and will provide an update soon. The status page is much less encouraging, and lists a simple canned response: “We are aware of the problem and are working to resolve the issue,” Microsoft wrote on the Status page. “We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and thank you for your patience.”

We’ve reached out to Xbox Support for the cause of the outage; stay tuned as we are updated with further information.