Xbox One’s big Windows 10 update arrives on November 12th

27 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Console wars: Predicting this holiday season’s gaming winner.

To coincide with the fall season, Vince Shuley’s outdoor lifestyle column is switching gears for the next few weeks with The Insider, bringing you the latest in digital entertainment, TV, video games and interviews, with a local focus.Microsoft’s Phil Spencer has just announced that the new Xbox One experience will be coming to all Xbox One owners on the 12th of November, just two weeks from now.

This week, the company that charged into home entertainment hardware with Xbox in 2001 is looking to regain its dominance in the industry with the latest edition of its storied Halo franchise. “I think that Halo has the DNA to have the global impact that Star Wars does,” said Bonnie Ross, head of 343 Industries, the studio responsible for the lucrative franchise, in an interview Friday. “But you have to think in decades.” It won’t be an easy feat for Ms. After almost a decade of faithful service, the era of the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 has now passed making way for their successors, the Playstation 4 and Xbox One. This new experience has been trialled for a while now to a select group of users who have enrolled in the Xbox One’s Preview Program to help Microsoft squash bugs and refine different features. Nintendo has been quietly observing from the sidelines with the Wii U, which, besides having a dedicated cult following (myself included), has been a failure when compared to previous Nintendo products like the Wii and the 3DS. The increasingly fast pace of change in the technology and entertainment industries has spawned fierce competition for giants such as Microsoft, and gamers hungry for innovative experiences don’t hesitate to take their complaints to social media when their expectations aren’t met. “The biggest change is in the overall business model and how consumers are experiencing entertainment,” explained Ms.

This new upgrade promises to provide faster performance, an improved gaming experience, vertical scrolling instead of horizontal (which takes longer to get to items), and expanded social features. Ross, who sees big opportunity in her belief that “everyone is a gamer.” She credits Apple and the iTunes Store for obliterating the stigma previously associated with the lifestyle: “It’s not just a small subsection of people in their basements.” The Halo franchise itself is worth $4.6-billion (U.S.), with more than 65 million games sold across 15 titles, and spans a variety of entertainment channels, including comics, novels and toys. The Xbox One and PS4 have now been on the market for two years, both systems have broken the drought of games that plagued their initial launch and last week there was an industry-wide price drop.

While a feature film and a prime-time television series have been scrapped, for now, dramatic radio plays and both animated and live-action video miniseries have helped build the mythology of the Halo universe, which is set 500 years from now and features interplanetary rebellion, aliens and superhuman warriors. You can now pick up a brand new console for between $399 and $449 (depending on what game it’s bundled with it) and there are launch-day bundle offers for the big upcoming releases like Halo 5: Guardians (out today) and Star Wars: Battlefront (out Nov. 17). To play the new Halo, which hits shelves on Tuesday and was developed internally and exclusively for Xbox One, fans who don’t already have the new console will have to get one. Microsoft is taking another step in the right direction and getting Windows 10 on virtually every device including PCs, tablets, Xbox One, Windows Phone, tablets, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

But while Microsoft is not publicly announcing sales of the platform, Phil Spencer, who runs the company’s gaming division, admitted earlier this month that Sony has “a huge lead.” In July, the Tokyo-based company revealed it had sold 25.3 million PlayStation 4s since the console launched in November, 2013, a week before Xbox One hit shelves. We got away with it for 2014 and most of 2015, but if the industry wants to be pushing the limits of what video games can do, developers need to be able stretch their legs with more powerful hardware. The problem with developing games for cross platform (both old and new systems) is that both the graphic and gameplay potential of the games is impeded.

Reviewers were quick to point this out with Ubisoft’s Watchdogs, where the PS4/XBox One versions were simply the same game with a slightly slicker paint job. Ubisoft — being the blockbuster AAA publisher that it is — wanted to sell as many copies a possible so they had to dumb down the game in order to reach the vast 360 and PS3 install base. With Cortana, Xbox One will still be navigable via generic voice commands that users have become used to such as, “Xbox record that!” and “Xbox Pause” but Cortana will now bring a more varied functions to the console that can complete all the tasks asked of her in the same way she does on a Windows PC or mobile phone.

Like rats leaping from the sinking Conservative ship captained by Stephen Harper, console gamers have been abandoning Microsoft in droves in favour of Sony. Today, with the explosion of mobile gaming and virtual reality on the horizon, the way people play games and their expectations of them have fundamentally changed. Microsoft reneged both those decisions and now actually has a stronger list of exclusives (like Gears of Wars: Ultimate Edition and Halo 5) than Sony, so it all comes down to which corner of the ring you want to throw your pay cheque at. Attendees at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in June got a chance to experience a Halo 5 demo using Microsoft’s augmented reality system, HoloLens, which is expected to be released next year. Over the last several weeks, Microsoft has unveiled a slew of bundles, ranging from its high-end Elite Bundle, which will go for $499, to cheaper options like its The Lego Movie bundle for $349.

Halo 5’s Warzone mode, for example, allows for 24 players to play with and against each other in a virtual space in what can be described as a multiplayer mayhem extravaganza. “There’s always going to be a place for fantastic, single-player experiences,” added Mr. Microsoft reasons that offering its game console, a controller, and at least one game to consumers will ultimately prove more popular and provide a deal no competitor can match. “This holiday, Xbox is offering unmatched value and choice for gamers with a diverse mix of bundles starting at $349,” the company said in a statement last month. “The holidays are just around the corner and with more Xbox One options this year, there’s never been a better time to buy.” Console wars have been going on for years, and they can get bloody when stakes are high. Doing so, he said, fundamentally changes the game. “It becomes this social bonding experience between friends adventuring together throughout the course of the story,” he said.

Designers from 343 were brought in by the Windows development team to help with the design of Cortana, the digital assistant embedded in recent Microsoft operating systems, because, said Ms. Nadella understands that game developers have intimate relationships with their consumers and it’s something he is spreading throughout the company. “With gaming, people don’t need us.

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