All posts by Mike Nelson, Xbox Wire Editor

E3 2018: Gaming for Everyone, a Conversation with Phil Spencer – Xbox Wire

E3 is always an incredible time to come together to appreciate the breadth of creative energy that abounds in our industry and to celebrate what’s ahead for gamers. At this year’s E3 Coliseum series, Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox sat down with Tina Summerford, Head of Programming at Xbox, to discuss Microsoft’s approach to gaming, his perspective on E3 and to hear why the industry has a responsibility to make gaming for everyone.

Other topics discussed during the panel were the unique games Xbox is looking to bring to the ID@Xbox program, insight into the creation of the Xbox E3 2018 Briefing, from matching thematic elements to creating an engaging experience, and the creation of the Xbox Adaptive Controller. The discussion also included insights from Phil on his conversations about gaming with CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, his appreciation of and participation in the gaming community. Spencer also took a variety of questions from the audience, ranging on bringing more games to Xbox created by Japanese developers and growing the Women and Gaming initiative.

You can watch the full interview with Phil Spencer above from the E3 Coliseum.

E3 2018: Gaming for Everyone, a Conversation with Phil Spencer – Xbox Wire

E3 is always an incredible time to come together to appreciate the breadth of creative energy that abounds in our industry and to celebrate what’s ahead for gamers. At this year’s E3 Coliseum series, Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox sat down with Tina Summerford, Head of Programming at Xbox, to discuss Microsoft’s approach to gaming, his perspective on E3 and to hear why the industry has a responsibility to make gaming for everyone.

Other topics discussed during the panel were the unique games Xbox is looking to bring to the ID@Xbox program, insight into the creation of the Xbox E3 2018 Briefing, from matching thematic elements to creating an engaging experience, and the creation of the Xbox Adaptive Controller. The discussion also included insights from Phil on his conversations about gaming with CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, his appreciation of and participation in the gaming community. Spencer also took a variety of questions from the audience, ranging on bringing more games to Xbox created by Japanese developers and growing the Women and Gaming initiative.

You can watch the full interview with Phil Spencer above from the E3 Coliseum.

Modern Family’s Nolan Gould Joins Xbox Live Sessions to Play Fortnite Battle Royale on December 21

Hope everyone is getting ready for the upcoming holidays and has a great list of Xbox games they hope to receive! Xbox Live Sessions is back this week with Nolan Gould, widely recognized for his role as Luke Dunphy on “Modern Family.” He’ll join the interactive livestream hosted on the Mixer Xbox Channel on Thursday, December 21 at 7 p.m. PT to take on Fortnite Battle Royale.

Nolan loves gaming and he can’t wait to play Fortnite Battle Royale, the free 100-player PvP mode of Fortnite that drops players on a giant map where the last one standing wins. It combines Fortnite’s unique building gameplay and intense PvP combat for a totally unique and fast-paced battle royale experience. Be sure to tune into the livestream for the chance to submit questions to Nolan as well as win special prizes. This episode of Xbox Live Sessions will be hosted by Microsoft Studios Community Manager, Rukari Austin.

Don’t forget to tune in Thursday, December 21 at 7 p.m. PT on Mixer and keep it locked to Xbox Wire for news on future episodes of Xbox Live Sessions. Happy holidays to all!

December’s Xbox Game Pass Update Brings Gears of War 4, Darksiders, Mass Effect and $1 Game Pass for Limited Time

Hello, fellow gamers! Welcome to your action-packed December Xbox Game Pass update.

In addition to over 100 great games already included in your Xbox Game Pass membership, we’re excited to share the addition of yet another seven games starting December 1. Titles including Gears of War 4, Darksiders: Warmastered Edition, Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter and more! Plus, tune in to Mixer on December 1 and watch our favorite streamers get hands-on with the latest additions to the Xbox Game Pass catalog.

But first, stop the press! For a limited time between November 17 – 27, you can start your Xbox Game Pass membership for $1! That’s right, get instant access to over 100 great games on Xbox One for just $1. We’re so excited to bring this offer to our fans during the Xbox Black Friday sale, and with holidays just around the corner, there has never been a better time to jump into Xbox Game Pass.

Also in time for the holidays, we’ve released a much-requested feature from our fans: the ability to gift Xbox Game Pass. Fans can now give the gift of over 100 games to those that matter most. Just head over to the Xbox Game Pass Store page and select “Buy as Gift.” You just need to know the gamertag or email address of who you’d like to gift to. It’s that simple!

Starting December 1, we also say 안녕하세요 (Hello!) to our fans in Korea, as Korea becomes Xbox Game Pass’ 40th market, and underscores our ongoing commitment to give fans all over the world more options to diversify and expand their library of games.

Now let’s learn more about the new games coming to Xbox Game Pass in December:

Gears of War 4
December brings a big list of holiday gifts for Xbox Game Pass members, and the first out of the box is Gears of War 4, the latest installment in the critically-acclaimed third person shooter franchise from The Coalition.

Now, with the complete set of Gears of War titles included with your Xbox Game Pass membership, there has never been a better time than this holiday to become immersed in the story of the Fenix.

Jump into campaign solo or co-op and take on the role of J.D. Fenix, son to Marcus Fenix and Anya Stroud, as you and your band of Outsiders confront the Coalition of Ordered Governments, battle the impending Swarm, and unravel the mystery of Marcus Fenix’ last 25 years. And that’s just in the single player campaign – there is more excitement to be found in multiplayer or Horde mode. As an added bonus, The Coalition is kicking of December with a double XP incentive.

Darksiders: Warmastered Edition
Also headlining December is Darksiders: Warmastered Edition, THQ Nordic’s third person action adventure journey based on the lore of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. You play the horseman War, and you are tasked with venturing out from The Scalding Gallow to explore and discover new lands, weapons, enemies, and abilities. The Endwar has begun on Earth, inciting a great battle between angels, demons and man. Only War can break the Seventh Seal and finally restore order to the realm.

And don’t forget, Darksiders III is coming to the Xbox One family of devices in 2018, so if you’ve been curious about Darksiders but have never played it before, now is a prime opportunity to use your Xbox Game Pass membership and see what all that buzz is about.

Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter
Friends and family unite this December to solve the thrilling mystery of Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter, brought to you by BigBen Interactive. The legendary detective is back with five cases to investigate, as well as a host of additional personal, professional, and moral hurdles to overcome along the way. Use your detective powers to collect all the evidence and solve each puzzle as you bring peace and security back to the streets of London.

This War of Mine: The Little Ones
Xbox Game Pass gets another diamond in the rough this month with This War of Mine: The Little Ones, a civilian-based perspective on the Bosnian War, developed by 11-bit studios and published by Deep Silver. This War of Mine is equal parts strategy and survival, requiring you to take on the role of a bystander to war and scavenge for resources, ration supplies, and try (oft unsuccessfully) to avoid the perils of war. This War of Mine is a demanding game covering a very sobering topic, and one you are not likely to forget anytime soon.

Casey Powell Lacrosse 16
If you’re a sports fan, fun times await this month with Casey Powell Lacrosse 16. Lacrosse is a fast-paced, action-packed sport requiring keen strategy and tactical precision and CPL 16 delivers pace and excitement reminiscent of the real thing. If you’re new to Lacrosse, jump into the Lacrosse Academy to develop and polish your skills. From there, play pickup in Quick Match (solo or competitive multiplayer) or start your sure-to-be-illustrious journey in career mode. Are you a fan of customization? With CPL 16, create your own characters, build your own teams and forge your LAX dynasty from the ground up.

Mega Man 10
Did we mention we love Mega Man? The adventure continues in Xbox Game Pass in December with Mega Man 10 joining the catalog. Mega Man 10, the last and final installment in the legendary platforming saga, allows you to assume the role of either Mega Man or Proto Man and take on classic boss battles with Blade Man, Chill Man, Sheep Man, and more! Mega Man may seem fun and simple, but it can be a very challenging test of your skills. Struggling with your stealth? Play through the main story or jump into Challenge Mode, where you can polish your abilities in 88 different mini-games. There’s never been a better time to join the action and defeat the evil Dr. Wiley!

Mass Effect
We are beyond excited to bring Mass Effect to Xbox Game Pass on December 1! One of the greatest single-player action RPGs of all-time, Mass Effect is a true classic that has aged extremely well. In Mass Effect, we follow the story of Commander Shepard, a 22nd century soldier assuming the tiny little mission of… saving the entire universe from a super race of ill-intentioned, mighty mechs. Choose from six different classes and level-up your character as you seek out and complete combat missions, resource gathering expeditions, and other side quests. Winner of multiple awards, Mass Effect is an incredible experience that we highly recommend you make time to check out in your journeys through the Xbox Game Pass catalog!

With over 100 great games, for just $9.99 a month, plus new games added every month, Xbox Game Pass is your ticket to endless play. Thanks for reading December’s Xbox Game Pass update, and don’t forget, you can start your Xbox Game Pass membership for just $1 between November 17 – 27.

For all the latest Xbox news, keep it locked to Xbox Wire. Until next month, game on!

Xbox One S: Buy a Bundle and Choose a Game for Free for a Limited Time

When you purchase any Xbox One S bundle you can choose a bonus game like Star Wars Battlefront II. And take advantage of promotional pricing also, with bundles starting at $249, available at GameStop and other retailers.

Own the Xbox One S Forza Horizon 3 Hot Wheels Bundle (500GB), featuring a full-game download of racing favorite Forza Horizon 3 including the best-selling Hot Wheels expansion, and choose a bonus game for only $249! Drive, explore, and race all over Australia in more than 350 of the world’s greatest cars, and experience the highest rated, best-selling racing franchise of this generation.

Or, discover the mysteries of Ancient Egypt with the Xbox One S Assassin’s Creed Origins Bonus Bundle (1TB), and choose an additional game! Unravel the origin story of the Assassin’s Brotherhood, then master the art of destruction in the intense close quarters confrontations, team play, and explosive action of Rainbow Six Siege.

Choose from several titles as your bonus game, including Star Wars Battlefront II, Forza Motorsport 7, and Madden NFL 18.  With Star Wars Battlefront II, embark on an all-new Battlefront experience from the bestselling Star Wars HD game franchise of all time. Become the hero and play as a fearless trooper, pilot a legendary starfighter, fight as your favorite iconic Star Wars character, or forge a new path as an elite special forces soldier through an emotionally gripping new Star Wars story.

And with Xbox One S, you get the best value in games and entertainment. Xbox One S has over 1,000 games including the biggest blockbusters, most popular franchises, and games you can only play on Xbox One. Access all of your favorite entertainment through apps like YouTube, Netflix, and more. Play with your friends near and far, use your apps, and enjoy built-in 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and 4K video streaming.

Plus, enjoy 100 additional games right out of the box with a free month of Xbox Game Pass. Whether you’re playing games, watching your favorite shows or streaming gameplay, Xbox One S delivers brilliant graphics with HDR technology, premium audio, and fast, reliable online gaming with friends.

Head to Xbox.com to purchase a console from participating retailers including Amazon, Target, GameStop, Best Buy, Walmart.com, and Microsoft Store. This promotion ends Saturday, November 18 at 11:59 p.m. PST.

Xbox One X: Explaining 4K, HDR, Supersampling and More

As we continue to roll up to the release date of Xbox One X on November 7, you’ve no doubt heard us talking a lot about feature terminology: 4K, High Dynamic Range (HDR), supersampling and others. Just a few weeks ago, Major Nelson sat down with Albert Penello to cover many of your questions about Xbox One Enhanced, what that means, and how game developers look to harness the power of Xbox One X. It’s a great piece and we highly recommend you check it out.

The simple fact is that all your games will look and play better on Xbox One X. Yes, your picture will look sharper on a 4K screen. Yes, your brights are brighter and more detailed thanks to HDR. Xbox One X will still deliver faster performance, better loading times, and greater framerates — these are all features Xbox One X will bring into your living room regardless of your TV.

Today we’d like to take a trip back down terminology lane, just to keep everything fresh in your minds and perhaps educate a few more of you about these buzzwords you’re seeing today — because you’re going to keep seeing them in the months and years to come — and we’re here to help.

Xbox One X Explaining 4K Article Image

What is 4K?

Simply put, it’s a higher resolution than that of a 1920×1080 (1080p) television, coming in at a crisp 3840×2160 (2160p). This means any supported television programming or game can run at a higher resolution than the previous standard of 1080p, so you have an even sharper and more detailed picture.

Xbox One X is the only console that can deliver the crisp and clean 4K resolution for your supported games, streaming video, and when pairing a 4K screen with the built-in Ultra High Definition (UHD) Blu-ray drive, you’ll get cinema-like picture quality in your living room.

Bonus: you can sit even closer to your 4K television screen than your 1080p display before the image starts to break down. But be warned: your parents will still be upset with you if they catch you sitting that close to the TV.

Xbox One X Explaining 4K Article Image

What is UHD, 4K UHD, Ultra HD, and Others?

It’s kinda the same thing as 4K. They both play in the same high-resolution ballpark, but the term UHD and other variants of it is used largely with consumer brand televisions. So, if you see one of those labels on a television, you’re still getting a 4K television. It’s just that different manufacturers are choosing to go with their own terminology over others, thus creating a great deal of confusion.

What is HDR?

This is money. While higher resolution is great and gives us a sharper, clearer picture when playing games, it’s HDR that really helps with emersion thanks to deeper colors — blacks and whites in particular — and a rich contrast allowing for greater detail in all parts of the image. Obviously, it’s easier to see this effect rather than describe it, but I’ll give it a shot.

When looking at a bunch of thick clouds against a bright blue sky, imagine not being able to make out the shading they make upon one other. You’ll wind up with giant flat white objects floating in the sky. Now add the shading element back in, making it easier to see the shapes and bulbs of clouds floating in the sky. That’s essentially what HDR brings to your games and movies, a greater level of contrast to objects, helping you see a better distinction between brightness, shadows, shading, and more of those subtle bits of an image you may have been taking for granted all this time. HDR makes images look more natural, more detailed, and more realistic.

Xbox One X Explaining 4K Article Image

What is Supersampling?

If there’s one thing I’d love for you to take away from all this information is this: a 4K screen is not required to play great games on Xbox One X. Your games will still look and run much better on Xbox One X than any other console on the market regardless of your television and that’s thanks to supersampling. Supersampling also helps to reduce “jaggies” around the edges of objects and other staircasing-like effects

Think of supersampling as the cousin of upscaling. Instead of taking a lower resolution image and blowing up (creating a distortion) like upscaling’s effect, supersampling takes a high-resolution image and scales it down to your television’s native resolution — be it 720p or 1080p — to bring all the information that Xbox One X is pouring into its games and beaming to the screen.

But supersampling is more than just resolution as any Xbox One X Enhanced title running on at 1080p television is still taking advantage of the power of the system. That makes your draw distance better, greater special effects, and everything else that’s running under the hood of the world’s most powerful console.

Xbox One X Explaining 4K Article Image

Yes, a 4K screen will deliver a sharper and clearer image, and HDR will bolster the light and dark features of your game, but supersampling does an effective job of letting you play your games best on Xbox One X regardless of your screen.

What is Xbox One X Enhanced?

This is a term to let you know that the game developer has tapped into the power of Xbox One X. It means faster loading times, higher resolution textures, higher framerates — but it’s up to the developer to decide the best way they want to utilize that power.

So, when you see Xbox One X Enhanced mentioned on your favorite game’s product page or game box, it means there has been some special care taken to utilize the Scorpio engine. We recommend following up for more info on our recently launched Xbox One Enhanced site that has a deep dive on this feature.

Xbox One X Explaining 4K Article Image

How do I know if the Xbox One X Enhanced game updates are on my console?

By the time Xbox One X launches on November 7, some of your favorite games may still be getting ready for the Xbox One X revolution. The best way to know when Xbox One X Enhanced Updates are ready is to keep an eye on those game’s social media channels and official sites — they’ll be one of the first to let you know there is an update available. You can also check out our Xbox One X Enhanced Games list found here, which will be updated daily.

On the console, if you have Automatic Updates on, your console should update when new versions are available on the service. To see which games have been updated, go to My Games and Apps, then My Games, and filter for Xbox One X Enhanced — if the game is listed in this section, it has been updated. If the game is not included in the Xbox One X Enhanced section under My Games and Apps, the game update is either not live yet, or you haven’t installed the update. If the update hasn’t been installed yet, the fastest way to update it is to launch the game – you can only play online when you have the most recent version of the game available.

If you don’t have Automatic Updates turned on, go to Updates to check for the latest available game updates. You can also sort “My Games and Apps” by “Last Update” to see a list of recent updates.

Xbox One X Explaining 4K Article Image

We hope this article helped bring a new level of understanding to some of the terms you’ve been seeing lately. We honestly can’t wait for you to play games on Xbox One X so you can see the difference for yourself, and perhaps come up with a better analogy about HDR than cloud shapes.

Play Madden NFL 18 Free This Weekend on Xbox One

The spectacle of Madden season is in full swing, and the virtual gridiron awaits you this week. Starting Thursday, October 19 at 9:00 p.m. PDT and going through to Sunday, October 22 at 11:59 p.m. PDT, you’ll be able to get hands on with the best-looking Madden NFL ever.

All Xbox players will have a chance to try the offline features of the latest edition of the storied franchise, including Longshot, Madden NFL’s first ever cinematic and playable story mode where your decisions lead forgotten prospect Devin Wade on his pursuit to hear his name called in the NFL Draft.

Madden NFL 18 Screenshot

Xbox Live Gold members can team-up with their friends to play Madden Ultimate Team (MUT) Squads online for 3 vs. 3 match-ups. Or even relive some of the best weekly games from the NFL in Madden 18’s Play Now Live feature. This allows you to use live updates containing the latest rosters, custom commentary, and up-to-date stats from NFL.com.

During the free trial weekend, Madden NFL 18 will also be on sale for 33% off, enabling you to carry over all your progress earned in the trial. So, grab a copy and see if you have what it takes to rule the gridiron!

In addition to the Madden 18 trial, this weekend marks the first head-to-head championship in the Madden Competitive Gaming Series, as four online contenders go head-to-head against four challenger event winners for the right to be crowned the Madden 18 Classic Champion. It’s high stakes with $100,000 prize purse at play. You can tune-in and catch the Madden Classic Live from Burbank this weekend on Mixer starting Friday, October 20 at 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. PT with finals on Saturday, October 21 from 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. PT.

Destiny 2 Available Now on Xbox One

Everything you loved about Earth is gone. Yes, even puppies. Now it’s time to strike back against the Red Legion and its leader Ghaul in the highly-anticipated Destiny 2, available today on Xbox One.

Discover an arsenal of weapons and new combat abilities, reunite humanity’s scattered heroes, and fight back against the Red Legion to reclaim our planet. You’ll journey to mysterious, unexplored worlds of our solar system, and customize your character’s weapons and armor with all-new gear, and collect loot. Did I mention loot? There’s tons of it.

Video for Destiny 2 Available Now on Xbox One

With a rich cinematic story-driven campaign, multiple game modes on a quest for epic loot, and intense competitive multiplayer, Destiny 2 is shaping up to the be-all, end-all shooter this Fall. Don’t miss out and pick it up today on Xbox One.