One of Xbox Live’s creators has left Microsoft

24 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Hands-on impressions of the Microsoft Xbox Elite Controller.

We’re just a few days from the launch of Halo 5: Guardians, but one of the people responsible for ensuring that blockbuster will have a robust network for online multiplayer has left Microsoft.Last week, we got a confirmation from Valve that the Xbox One Wireless Adapter for Windows would enable gamers to use their Xbox One controllers wirelessly on a Steam Link and Steam Machine device.

When Microsoft launched the original Xbox in 2001, the oversized console shipped with a similarly enormous controller, half-lovingly and half-mockingly dubbed “the Duke” by fans. Eric Neustadter, also known as “e” on Xbox Live and the director of that network’s architecture, revealed on Twitter that today was his last day with the company.

While with Microsoft, Neustadter helped guide the creation and development of Xbox Live as a premiere online gaming service, and he helped grow it to more than 39 million monthly active gamers. Clearly, this means that Microsoft has 39 million people logging onto Live, but it doesn’t indicate in any way how many of those are paying Gold members. But even if you want to start primarily single-player games like the new Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, which only just launched today, you’re probably not able to do so because those games require a connection to online servers. “Hey Xbox members, are you having issues signing in to Xbox Live? And now, Xbox Live is widely considered the industry standard for multiplayer and social services in the game space, and Sony has since cloned many of its features for the modern incarnation of PlayStation Network.

The D-pad was definitely improved and the addition of rumble to the triggers gave a nice kick, but the shoulder bumpers felt mushy and were difficult to hold down. And unlike its competitor, Sony’s vastly improved DualShock 4, it still required a separately purchased (and clunky) headset adapter to use earphones. We’ll post another update when more information becomes available.” As always, it’s important to remember that these situations do not affect every gamer equally. But Microsoft has been responding to criticisms and earlier this summer released an updated version that greatly improved the bumpers and added a 3.5 millimeter headphone jack, so an adapter is no longer required.

Now they’re taking things to the next level with the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller, a first attempt to woo the competitive gaming market with a high-end product – and it might be the single greatest controller I’ve ever held in my hands. For example, back in July, we wrote that Microsoft sold 1.4 million Xbox consoles during the three-month period comprising the company’s fourth quarter. The plastics feel smooth, and the rubberized grip in the back provides enough friction to help you keep the gamepad secure without having to squeeze it. Microsoft confirmed 2.4 million Xbox systems were sold during its fiscal Q1 of 2015, and if we’re down 17 percent year-over-year, then that puts total Xbox sales at approximately 1.99 million if all things are equal.

Neustadter claims that his “e” was the first gamertag ever created for the platform, and he was a regular co-host on the Major Nelson Radio podcast. There are three sets of analog sticks: a textured concave pair, taller concave ones, and a smooth convex set, so you can find the perfect match, or even mix them up. Microsoft Corporation is a public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through … read more » There are also two different d-pads: a standard cross and a faceted circular disc, which is perfect for performing sweeping motions in fighting games like Killer Instinct. If you check the responses to his announcement tweet, you can see dozens of people from in and outside of the industry expressing their disbelief — and that only happens when your persona is inextricably linked to something you created.

The dip in sales jives with what the monthly report from industry-tracking firm The NPD Group from the last several months that claims Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 sales have plummeted when compared to 2014. Each trigger also has its own hair trigger lock, and a quick flip of the switch shortens the travel of the triggers, which lets you fire faster in shooters, for example. I never would have thought that modern-day controllers needed more buttons, but the placement of the paddles – and the ability to customize them to perform any function – is an absolute game-changer.

An early, alleged Black Friday sales leak from Dell claims that the company will offer an Xbox One bundled with the sci-fi shooter Gears of War Ultimate, an extra controller, and postapocalyptic role-playing game Fallout 4 all for just $300. It may not sound like a big deal, but the paddles are so perfectly placed and require such a slight press to register that it just feels great in practice, and after a week of extended use, it makes it really hard to go back to the standard controller. The app saves a seemingly endless number of configurations in the cloud, and you can store two profiles directly on the controller and change them with the flip of a switch.

For instance, you could have a shooter setup saved as profile one and a completely different setup for driving games as profile two, and go back and forth depending on what you’re playing. The app also includes suggested configurations for games such as Gears of War: Ultimate Edition and Forza Motorsport 6, with the promise of more for upcoming games.

So it’s a super-solid, extremely customizable controller that plays great, but here’s the catch: All of these premium features come at a very premium price. Instead of having their natural state and a state you have to force them into with your finger, these buttons now feel like they have two distinct states and you simply engage the one by rolling your finger over it. More casual players probably wouldn’t know what to do with half of the features that the Elite offers anyway, so it’s hard to recommend to everyone, especially at that price. But for those who want control over every aspect of their controller or hardcore gamers who are into the competitive scene, the Elite seems like a solid investment.

A lot of the credit for that has to go to Scuf, which holds the patent for a lot of this tech and design, but Microsoft’s engineers did not screw anything up. You get what you pay for, and with the Elite’s super-solid construction and endless customizability, you’re getting arguably the best controller on the market. I also tried other cords on the Elite, and its port is equally responsible for that secure connection, which is yet another testament to its build quality. And keeping with the theme that this thing feels amazing, a part of me really likes switching to a new game that may benefit from a different setup because it is so satisfying to pull the sticks off and feel the magnet slurp on the new one. I suppose if you do, you may want to take advantage of the included controller carrying case when you’re not using it to ensure parts don’t go missing.

When I play first-person shooters, I like to have all four paddles on the back along with the standard thumb stick on the left along with the extra-tall thumb stick on the right. And I just feel like maybe, if I’m going to spend $150 on a controller, I want the official one that is also going to get all the support from Scuf as well. I don’t know if it’s going to make a huge difference for me, but that’s just a perk for me on top of all the other things I love about Microsoft’s new controller. That’s no longer an option, which means I have to remember to hit the weird sync button on the side of my Xbox One every time I get done playing PC games.

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