Tag Archives: season

Gears 5 breaks records as biggest launch for any Xbox Game Studios game this generation – Xbox Wire

Thanks to the incredible support from our fans, Gears 5 kicked off the Holiday season strong – attracting over three million players in its opening weekend and setting new records for Xbox Game Pass with the biggest launch week of any Xbox Game Studios title this generation. The performance easily doubled the first week’s debut of Gears of War 4 and made Gears 5 the most-played Xbox Game Studios title in its first week since 2012’s Halo 4. First week performance includes the four-day early access period beginning Friday, September 6, which was exclusive to Gears 5 Ultimate Edition and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members. On the PC, Gears 5 has nearly tripled the performance of its predecessor, becoming the biggest-ever launch for Xbox Game Pass for PC, and Xbox Game Studios’ best-ever debut on Steam.

On Tuesday, Gears 5 expanded into worldwide general availability with the launch of Gears 5 Standard Edition at retail, as well as new Xbox One X and Xbox One S console bundles. For PC fans, Gears 5 is included in a three-month Xbox Game Pass for PC membership bundled with the purchase of select AMD Ryzen™ processors and AMD Radeon™ graphics cards.

Described as “one of the best and most versatile action-game packages in recent memory” by IGN, the game is a hit with critics and fans alike, and enjoys a Metacritic user score of 8.7, the sixth best of any Xbox One game. The excitement extends to the PC version as well, with Digital Foundry declaring, “it fills every desire that I want for the PC version of a game.”

Gears 5 has also received special attention for its commitment to representation and accessibility. Accessibility features include full controller remapping, single stick movement, Xbox Adaptive Controller support, narrated UI and menus, improved subtitles, and more. It was the first AAA game to receive a perfect score from CanIPlayThat.com, “A Deaf/Hoh accessibility masterpiece.”

For more information on the Gears of War franchise, stay tuned to Xbox Wire or follow Gears on Twitter @gearsofwar.

Go to Original Article
Author: Microsoft News Center

Free Back to School PD: Join our Microsoft Learning Consultants for online webinars |

Looking for great ideas and time savers for Back to School? We are pleased to kick off the season with these free webinars – just the right thing to help get you motivated for the new school year.

To join our free webinar series, pick a class that interests you most and join live with the links and dates provided below, or access the recording of a webinar you might have missed. These webinars are hosted by educators and tailored for educators just like you.

We look forward to chatting and learning with you soon.

Upcoming Webinars include:

AppExchange in Salesforce a slam-dunk for Detroit Pistons’ workflow

The NBA season recently ended, and teams are already preparing for next year, with the draft done and free agency about to begin. While most in the league are awaiting the latest decision of superstar LeBron James, all 30 NBA teams are trying to get better for next season.

The same is true for team business departments, which work behind the scenes to better market and sell to NBA fans. Accomplishing that requires a flexible workflow and software that can help departments run smoother and solve problems that arise.

It’s with that in mind that the Detroit Pistons — one of the more successful franchises in NBA history — uses Salesforce and the AppExchange in Salesforce to better run its business.

Angie Hight is CRM director for the Pistons, working with other business departments in the organization to use Salesforce to solve workflow and efficiency problems.

“I started here five-and-a-half years ago, and I was doing outreach to let others know we have this tool that we can help with,” Hight said. “Somewhere along the line, that has shifted to where they are coming to us now.”

‘It was an old-school process’

Professional sports leagues were among the first industries to adopt the use of analytics and intelligent software to look for difference makers on the field or court, and that same mindset is continuing to flood into the business side of sports.

“We use business intelligence tools to do analysis for data that comes into different systems in the organization,” Hight said. “The biggest area that data is coming from is Salesforce. It’s not just the sales team; it’s in finance and community relations and other departments.”

Salesforce AppExchange screenshot
AppExchange screenshot

With most departments plugging into Salesforce, Hight said she is often inundated with questions from department heads on how to get more out of Salesforce or solve a processes challenge. That’s when Hight turns to the AppExchange in Salesforce.

“We have no internal developer here,” Hight said. “There are times we’ll get a request to build something out that we can’t do, and that’s when we’ll go to the AppExchange in Salesforce.”

One such problem that Hight and the Pistons solved using the Salesforce AppExchange revolved around group night promotions for ticket sales. Previously, the sales department would print out paper flyers, delivering them to various local businesses to distribute or to companies to allocate to their employees.

“It was an inefficient way to get to the customer, and the customers had to fill out that paper sheet with their name and credit card information and send it back,” Hight said. “It was an old-school process. They knew they could sell more tickets with a more automated process, but they didn’t know how to do it.”

Hight perused the AppExchange in Salesforce and ultimately found a form-creation tool that not only attacked the sales department group ticket problem, but it also found uses in other departments.

A multitude of applications

Evaluating the tools to find the best one is challenging, but it’s easier and more accessible to find.
Angie HightCRM director, Detroit Pistons

While Hight and the Pistons have had good luck finding tools in the Salesforce AppExchange, the experience isn’t seamless — mainly due to the explosion of third-party applications that are built on the exchange.

“The only thing that takes me some time is the sheer quantity of applications out there and available,” Hight said. “It’s growing. Five years ago, I’d type in ‘Forms’ and get three tools back. Now, I get pages.”

The trial and error of finding a specific tool can also be frustrating, but with the capability of using the tool in a sandbox in Salesforce AppExchange before licensing, it eases the concern of costs somewhat.

And Salesforce has worked to address the quantity and search difficulties on its AppExchange with better curation and stronger ranking of trusted applications.

“Evaluating the tools to find the best one is challenging, but it’s easier and more accessible to find,” Hight said. “But it’s a longer shopping excursion than it was. They’ve done a good job sorting it — if you’re looking for help within HR or finance, it’s easy to get that. But sometimes what you’re looking for doesn’t fit into a bubble like that.”

The AppExchange in Salesforce is integral to the idea of a Salesforce ecosystem. Salesforce and its partners will generate $859 billion in revenue by 2022.

Celebrate the Season of Giving with Xbox

This holiday season is all about giving. Whether you’re giving time to loved ones, giving gifts to family and friends, or giving your stomach more food than it can handle, Xbox wants to make it easy to play together and give together. From December 21 to January 4, you can join Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Live Gold for $1 each! Also, you can share your love of gaming by gifting an Xbox Game Pass membership.

Not only are we giving our fans great deals, we have a great opportunity for the Xbox community to give back to kids across the world. Xbox is partnering with GameChanger to make a difference for children in hospitals. For each Xbox Game Pass membership purchased or gifted from December 21 to January 4, Xbox will donate $10 of Xbox Game Pass to hospitals around the world through GameChanger.

Here at Xbox we believe in accessibility, diversity, and inclusion. We also believe that our passionate and awesome community of Xbox fans love to make a difference in people’s lives. That is why we are incredibly excited and humbled to team up with GameChanger this holiday to positively impact the lives of children facing life-threatening illnesses. Over the past several years, Microsoft has partnered with GameChanger and other organizations to place hundreds of thousands of Xbox consoles in hospitals around the world with the goal of providing entertainment to hospitalized children. Now we want to give our great community a chance to get involved as well.

Play 100+ Games for $1

Get your first month of Xbox Game Pass for $1 and spend your holiday with unlimited access to over 100 Xbox One and Xbox 360 games on the Xbox One family of devices. With new games added every month, there is always a new adventure waiting for you. All purchases benefit Season of Giving with Xbox. You must be signed in to get this offer (not available for existing members).

Go Gold for $1

Get your first month of Xbox Live Gold for $1! Go Gold for exclusive savings and join the best community of gamers on the most advanced multiplayer network. All purchases benefit Season of Giving with Xbox. You must be signed in to get this offer (not available for existing members).

Already own Xbox Game Pass or Xbox Live Gold?

Here’s how you can still get involved with the cause! Give the gift of 100+ games this holiday season by gifting Xbox Game Pass at full price. Also, you can add additional time to your Xbox Game Pass or Xbox Live Gold membership at full price.

For every Xbox Game Pass or Xbox Live Gold membership you buy or gift, Xbox will donate $10 of Xbox Game Pass to hospitals around the world through Season of Giving with Xbox.

Let’s play together & give together to bring joy to hospitalized children around the world. We hope we can make it a bit easier to make a difference this holiday season. Thank you for reading and have a wonderful end to the year.

Take your first step towards the Imagine Cup with the Big Idea Challenge

Take your first step towards the Imagine Cup with the Big Idea Challenge

The 2018 Imagine Cup season is underway, and we are thrilled to announce the Big Idea Challenge! Pitch your world changing Imagine Cup idea and your team could win $3,000 USD, and technical resources to take your idea to the next level!

  • $3,000 USD – 1st Place prize
  • $2,000 USD – 2nd Place prize
  • $1,000 USD – 3rd Place prize
  • Judge feedback on project submission – Top 10 teams
  • $600 in Azure credits – Top 50 teams

Student developers around the world are asked every year to pitch their projects to investors, partners, customers, publishers, and even potential teammates. It’s how you share your vision, how you persuade people that you don’t just have the right idea, you’re also the right team to make it happen. Every winning pitch has a solid project plan to back it up. Want to win the Imagine Cup and get your project funded? Judges will want to know the why and the how you plan to bring your project to market.

How can you get a head start on the Imagine Cup? Create a three-minute pitch video as well as a project plan document and let us know what your Imagine Cup idea is all about. Your entry will be reviewed by a team of judges who will score it on a number of different criteria as described in the Official Rules. We’ve got plenty of resources to get you started: Take a look at winning Imagine Cup pitches as well as how to build your project plan, both should help you feel confident in taking that first step!

Start your journey today by registering for the 2018 Imagine Cup and submitting your solution to the Big Idea challenge from your account page by January 31st, 2018; winners will be announced in February. Don’t wait; 50 teams will win, and your Big Idea could take home $3,000 USD!

Pablo Veramendi
Imagine Cup Competition Manager

Winter is here: Season 7 of ‘Game of Thrones’ now available in the Windows Store – The Fire Hose

In the seventh season of “Game of Thrones,” new alliances are forged and old enemies meet each other on the battlefield, but the Night King and his terrifying army of the undead threaten all of Westeros from the North.

As the season begins, Daenerys Targaryen – accompanied by her Unsullied army and emboldened by Dothraki/Ironborn allies and her lethal trio of dragons – has finally set sail for Westeros with Tyrion Lannister, her newly appointed Hand. Jon Snow has consolidated power in the North after his conquest of Ramsay Bolton and the return of Winterfell to Stark control. In King’s Landing, Cersei Lannister has successfully seized the Iron Throne.

Buy a season pass and watch every episode of this season of “Game of Thrones,” available now in the Movies & TV section of the Windows Store.

Also, keep up with what’s hot, new and trending in the Windows Store on Twitter and Facebook.

Tags: Movies & TV, Windows Store

Azure Black Belt Networking and Security Presents Microsoft Networking Academy – Fall 2017

Welcome to this new season of our networking, and now security, webinar series! We’re hoping that this show will be helpful in delivering valuable content for anyone who’s looking at starting to consume information about the Azure cloud, or developing their cloud connectivity deeper with Azure.

A Microsoft Network Academy (#MNA) session is taking place every 4 weeks, on Fridays, this fall. It is open to customers, partners and Microsoft employees who want to learn more about Azure Networking, including ExpressRoute, Virtual Networking, and security — such as how to plan and design their connectivity to the Microsoft cloud, as well as the various security elements surrounding Azure.

MNA will typically be delivered in two formats, depending on the episodes, partner-focused sessions, and deep dive sessions. In both formats, there will be an open Q&A session at the end, where customers can “ask the experts”. Content and partner speakers will vary for each session, but the general agenda is as follows:

Partner-focused sessions

  • Azure Networking fundamentals (10 minutes)
  • Deep dive topic of the week (15-20 minutes)
  • Partner spotlight of the week (15-20 minutes)
  • Q&A

Deep dive sessions

  • Introduction (5 minutes)
  • Deep dive topic of the week (35-45 minutes)
  • Q&A (10 minutes)

We will post the agenda in advance on this blog, and to our interested viewers, you can join a distribution list by sending an email to [email protected] with the subject-line “Join Microsoft Networking Academy List”. We will email you a reminder and the agenda in advance for the upcoming sessions.

We are kicking off this new season on Friday, September 22nd, 2017.

Join the Skype Meeting and make sure you don’t miss out on future sessions by adding this the series to your Outlook calendar. You can also download ICS (that’s a recurring event – don’t miss out on them, and if you can’t make it, decks and recordings will be posted below).

Here are a few links for your convenience:

Episode #11 : September 22nd – What’s new in Azure Networking and Security since this summer

  • Quick introduction and announcements (new team member!) 
  • What’s new with Azure Networking
  • What’s new with Azure Security
  • Ask the Experts Q&A!
  • Links to the deck and video recording on Channel 9 will be posted here.

Episode #12 : October 20th – Agenda to be confirmed

  • Agenda to be confirmed – but we’ll likely be discussing Ignite content… stay tuned!
  • Links to the deck and video recording on Channel 9 will be posted here

Episode #13 : November 17th – Agenda to be confirmed

  • Agenda to be confirmed.
  • Links to the deck and video recording on Channel 9 will be posted here

Episode #14 : December 15th – Agenda to be confirmed

  • Agenda to be confirmed.
  • Links to the deck and video recording on Channel 9 will be posted here

We’re open for feedback!

Feel free to send us your feedback, comments, and suggestions at [email protected]

-Your Friendly Azure Networking and Security Black Belt Team.

Save up to 65 percent on movies and TV shows with the Windows Store’s Labor Day Sale – The Fire Hose

Save up to 65 percent on hit new releases, movie bundles and TV season passes with the Labor Day Sale in the Windows Store, which runs now through Sept. 4.

You’ll find deals on titles such as “Kong: Skull Island,” “Logan” and “Fear the Walking Dead.”

Find these and much more in the Movies & TV section of the Windows Store.

Also, keep up with what’s hot, new and trending in the Windows Store on Twitter and Facebook.

Athima Chansanchai
Microsoft News Center Staff

Tags: labor day, Movies & TV, Windows Store

AI harnesses nature to fly motor-less glider, mixed reality web series debuts and back-to-school apps go on sale – Weekend Reading: August 18 edition – The Official Microsoft Blog

The end of August is vacation season and—while many Microsoft employees are currently away from their desks and computers—the company continues its drumbeat of exciting news. Join us for this edition of Weekend Reading and learn recent highlights from Microsoft far and wide.

Speaking of late summer, it was in the the searing midday heat of the Nevada desert that Microsoft researchers recently tested a system that uses artificial intelligence to keep a sailplane (a type of glider) in the air without using a motor.

The complex AI system, which can identify things like air temperature, wind direction and areas where it isn’t allowed, autonomously finds and catches rides on naturally occurring thermals, similar to how many birds stay aloft. The work is a testbed for AI technologies in unpredictable environments.

A new web series called “Making mixed reality” celebrates developers, designers and artists using Windows Mixed Reality to create apps and experiences.

The series debuted Wednesday with a conversation with Lucas Rizzotto, an award-winning mixed reality creator, technologist and designer. Rizzotto has two HoloLens apps in the Windows Store: MyLab, a chemistry education app, and CyberSnake, a game that incorporates spatial sound and holographic burgers.

Every successful company will become a digital business in the near future. But not every company making that attempt will find success. Why do some companies fall short in their digital transformation efforts?

The three primary factors for failure include modernizing only the business applications, data centers or network infrastructure and then stopping, writes Anand Eswaran, corporate vice president of Microsoft Digital, Services, and Success on Microsoft Transform. “…You have to rethink everything from how we work and the future of customer experiences, to products and business models,” Eswaran writes.

Microsoft has acquired Cycle Computing, a leader in cloud computing orchestration, to help make it easier than ever for customers to use High-Performance Computing (HPC) and other Big Computing capabilities in the cloud.

“For too long, Big Computing has been accessible only to the most well-funded organizations. At Microsoft, we believe that access to Big Computing capabilities in the cloud has the power to transform many businesses and will be at the forefront of breakthrough experimentation and innovation in the decades to come,” writes Jason Zander, Microsoft Azure corporate vice president.

If you’re getting ready for fall classes and activities, the Back-to-School Discounted Apps Collection in the Windows Store has some great deals. They include 20 percent off Complete Anatomy in-app purchases, 30 percent off Stagelight in-app purchases and 50 percent off Movie Edit Plus Pro Windows Store Edition.

This week on the Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages, we featured Sky Yi. Sky is a middle school student who wrote a letter to Brad Smith as an assignment for one of his classes. Upon receiving the note, Brad traveled to the middle school in Nevada to surprise Sky. This letter reminded us about the power of education and, as everyone is heading back to school, we’re celebrating the sharp students and dedicated teachers whose passions for learning empower us all.

Thanks for joining us for Weekend Reading. Check back next Friday for another round-up of the week’s top events.

Thomas Kohnstamm
Microsoft News Center Staff