Tag Archives: Star Wars

Bing’s NFL playoff picks, Skype’s big milestone and the new Microsoft Envision event — Weekend Reading: Jan. 15 edition

Bing’s sports predictions, beautiful murals around the world and a photographer’s Great Barrier Reef adventure are just a few reasons to take a look back at the week’s news at Microsoft. We’ve rounded up some of the highlights in this latest edition of Weekend Reading.

If you’re settling in to watch some football this weekend, you may want to first check out which teams Bing Predicts expects to win. Seattle or Carolina? Kansas City or New England? You can find predictions for the divisional round matchups on Bing or using the new “Cortana! Powered by Bing Predicts” feature on Xbox and the Windows 10 app.

Bing also offers what ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Williams calls “a one-of-a-kind predictive NCAAB experience” with AreWeIn.net, a data-driven tool that predicts whether your favorite teams will make this year’s NCAA tournament.

WR bing predicts

This week Skype marked a big milestone: 10 years since it changed the way people connect with colleagues and loved ones with the launch of free video calling. To celebrate, Skype is rolling out group video calling on Android, iPhone, iPad and Windows 10 mobile — and it’s free.

Skype video calling has been used in incredible ways on various platforms and devices. Couples use it to keep in touch when they’re apart, soldiers use it to witness the births of their children, explorers in remote areas connect with classrooms of students and more. Users have made nearly 2 trillion minutes of video calls over the past decade.

What’s more, Skype Translator is now available to all Skype for Windows customers.

This week Microsoft announced a new flagship event for business leaders, Microsoft Envision, to take place April 4-6 in New Orleans. It replaces Microsoft Convergence as the premier event for execs and business leaders around the world. Registration is now open.

Attendees “can expect to gain insights, uncover solutions and build connections to help them achieve more,” writes Chris Capossela, Microsoft executive vice president and chief marketing officer.

It’s also almost time to reserve your place at Build 2016; registration opens Tuesday. The three-day developer conference begins March 30 this year in San Francisco.

For those of you who appreciate unusual art, local artists in 17 cities around the world have created stunning murals that bring new color to their communities as part of the “Designed on Surface” project. The collaboration is aimed at art that embodies the spirit of people who do great things and the places that inspire them.

Graffiti artists drew inspiration from Microsoft’s core theme, “Do great things,” and each used the latest Microsoft devices to enhance their creative process.


In the enviable adventures department, National Geographic photographer Steven Alvarez traveled light on his 10-day shoot of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef: He brought just a few Microsoft devices to capture about 10,000 photos.

The spectacular trip was part of his mission to capture the Seven Natural Wonders of the World with Lumia devices. He came away with quite a story to share, along with tips for underwater photography using a Lumia phone.

WR Alvarez

In apps this week, there’s plenty to keep you busy this winter weekend, no matter what Mother Nature has in mind. You can try liberating the world in the World War II-inspired “Panzer Geekz,” which sends you through model landscapes with combat based in toy physics and plastic destruction rather than graphic carnage.

Or put the pedal to the metal in “Smashy Road: Wanted” and go on the run from police, SWAT teams, Army jeeps and thundering tanks as you choose from dozens of different vehicles and navigate erratically changing terrain.

The latest table pack in the “Star Wars” Pinball lineup, “Star Wars Pinball: The Force Awakens,” is now available for “Pinball FX2” on Xbox One and Xbox 360, and is coming soon to Windows 10. The two-pack ($2.99 each as an in-app purchase) presents two different perspectives on the smash hit film.

“The Banner Saga,” now out for Xbox One, is a tactical, role-playing game based on quick, brutal decisions. The game’s art director and writer share how this thrilling adventure came together in an interview with Xbox Wire.

WR apps

This week on the Microsoft Tumblr page, we caught up with Sonja Rasula, founder of Unique Markets and The Unique Space, which bring the work of local designers, artisans and creatives to the public.  Her focus on quality over quantity is fostering the future of makers in the United States.


You’re now caught up on the latest news around Microsoft. See you back here in one week for our next edition of Weekend Reading.

Posted by Tracy Ith
Microsoft News Center Staff

Two new tables based on Star Wars: The Force Awakens added to Pinball FX2 for Windows 10

Two new tables based on Star Wars: The Force Awakens have been added to Pinball FX2 for Windows 10. Based on events from the movie, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, players will be able to experience unforgettable moments from the film in two action-packed pinball tables. These tables are available for purchase at $2.99 each as an in-app purchase once Pinball FX2 for Windows 10 has been downloaded to your Windows 10 PC from the Windows Store.

Here are the table details:

Table 1: Star Wars Pinball: The Force Awakens

This table follows events from the recently released Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie. Players will team up with the Resistance and fight against the First Order alongside such heroes as Rey, Finn, and Poe Dameron. It features all-new table-transforming environment mechanics that allow players to visit locations from the film and twelve action-packed story modes taking them through its most thrilling moments. Star Wars Pinball: The Force Awakens Table is an intergalactic adventure that no Star Wars Pinball fan will want to miss!

Table 2: Star Wars Pinball: Might of the First Order

This table puts players in command of the First Order, tasked with extending its power to many planets in the galaxy. Expand its rule beyond the outposts of civilization, and enforce its will in already controlled territories! Star Wars Pinball: Might of the First Order features an innovative two level playfield where players must use the special ball-lock system on Kylo Ren’s playfield to crush the Resistance, as well as the ability to control their own Star Destroyer with the help of a special magnetic upside-down ramp!

Pinball FX 2 for Windows 10

To learn more about this exciting update head over to Xbox Wire where Zen Studios, the developer of Pinball FX2 talks through the details. Download Pinball FX2 for Windows 10 to check out these newly added tables.

Celebrate the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens with apps, games, movies and more in the Windows Store

We’ve rounded up a collection of Star Wars themed free apps, games like Angry Birds Star Wars, the entire Star Wars Digital Movie Collection and music from the movies to celebrate the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens today. You can even pre-order Star Wars: The Force Awakens + Bonus right now from the Windows Store!


Pre-order Star Wars: The Force Awakens + Bonus ($14.95)

Star Wars The Force Awakens movie poster

Pre-order Star Wars: The Force Awakens today and enjoy Star Wars: The Force Awakens “Legacy” Featurette instantly.

Star Wars: The Digital Movie Collection + Bonus ($89.99)

Star Wars The Digital Movie Collection

Need to get caught up or have your memory refreshed before seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens? Then the Star Wars: The Digital Movie Collection is for you! This binge-worthy set includes all the movies in the Star Wars franchise along with dozens of bonus interviews, deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes stories and related documentary films. Buy Star Wars: The Digital Movie Collection today.


BB-8 App Enabled Droid (Free)

BB-8 App Enabled Droid

Meet BB8, your very own app-enabled Astromech Droid, controlled by this clever app – brand new to the Windows Store. He’s playful, personable, and true to the Star Wars galaxy, making him more of a companion than just this holiday season’s hottest toy. Slide your finger to guide him along, or tap into Patrol to send him off on his own. And of course, no Droid is complete without holographic messaging, which BB-8 is expert at creating from the videos you record. Once you have BB-8 home, just download this app and let your new adventures begin. Download BB-8 App Enabled Droid today for free.

Star Wars Commander (Free)

Star Wars Commander

New battle fronts, mysterious planets, a Galactic Command Center and more await you in this action-packed adventure, right alongside Star Wars heroes like Luke Skywalker and Han Solo. A galactic map helps you plan your strategy and coordinate with allies against an enemy that will test your nerves and demand your most cunning moves. May the Force be with you! Download Star Wars: Commander for free today.

Star Wars Rebels: Recon Missions (Free)

Star Wars Rebels Recon Missions

You’ve watched Star Wars Rebels on TV, now play as a favorite character and become an intergalactic hero in this action-platformer. Battle against the Empire as Ezra Bridger, dodge TIE fighters, blast Stormtroopers, and more. Then, unlock 30 more levels, take on challenges and expand a secret Rebel Haven. In-app purchases let you wield a lightsaber, fight Star Wars bosses, and drive an AT-DP, too. You have light years of adventures ahead of you! Download Star Wars Rebels: Recon Missions for free today!

Angry Birds Star Wars ($3.49)

Angry Birds Star Wars for Windows 10

This epic reincarnation of the Star Wars universe in the classic Hatfields-and-McCoys game pulls you into a battle between Rebel birds, striking from a hidden base, and the evil Imperial Pigs. Rebel spies are racing to deliver secret plans for the enemy’s ultimate weapon, the Pig Star, to the battlefront, and they need your help. You’ll have hours to perfect your light-saber skills in dozens of fun, frenzied levels. Download Angry Birds Star Wars today.


Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) ($12.99 download-to-own or listen free with a Groove Music Pass*)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Make sure to experience the soundtrack to Star Wars: The Force Awakens by five-time Academy Award winning composer, John Williams. Buy the album or listen free with a Groove Music Pass*.

The Music Of Star Wars: 30th Anniversary Collector’s Edition ($45.99 download-to-own or listen free with a Groove Music Pass*)

The Music Of Star Wars: 30th Anniversary Collector's Edition

It’s the music you know so well, and now more than 400 minutes of swelling strings, triumphant horns and dazzling percussion from Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi are given a fresh, state-of-the-art digital treatment. The genius of John Williams is evident throughout the seven CDs and a CD-ROM in this impressive set. Buy the album today or listen free with a Groove Music Pass*.

Digital Gift Cards

Have a Star Wars fanatic among your friends and family? Send them a Star Wars-themed Microsoft Digital Gift Card this holiday season so they can pick their favorite apps, games, music, movies and more for all their Xbox and Windows devices.

We hope you have fun with these Star Wars themed apps and games, as well as the movies and music from the Windows Store!

With a free 30 day trial of Groove Music Pass. Groove Music Pass sold separately and in selected markets. Catalog size and availability varies by market and over time.  

Celebrating Star Wars Day

Star Wars Day is recognized as a special day around the world each year on May the fourth. We’re helping you celebrate in a few exciting ways today, from deals on music and games to the full Star Wars Digital Movie Collection, we have you covered to help commemorate the day with your fellow Star Wars enthusiasts.

Star Wars Picture

Purchase the Star Wars Digital Movie Collection on Xbox Video and enjoy some exclusive special offers. By purchasing the Collection you’ll receive a free copy of Angry Birds™ Star Wars® and The Star Wars pinball pack for Pinball FX 2 (both are for Xbox 360 or Xbox One), as well as the R2-D2 avatar for Xbox 360. These offers are valid until June 5, 2015.

 Star Wars video image

Star Wars digital gift cards on Xbox and Windows – purchase these awesome digital gift cards online or through the digital gift card app for Windows and Windows Phone.

a new hope Star Wars gift card 2

Music – purchase The Music of Star Wars: 30th Anniversary Collector’s Edition for $34.99 (normally $45.99) through the Music Deals app for Windows and Windows Phone. This offer is good through today May 4, 2015.


Game Sales – From now until May 7, 2015 enjoy up to 66% off in app purchases on Star Wars Commander for Windows and Windows Phone and Star Wars Rebels: Recon Mission for Windows and Windows Phone. Both games are free to download.

Star Wars Commander image
Star Wars Commander

Star Wars Rebels image
Star Wars Rebels: Recon Mission

May the fourth be with you (see what we did there?) and happy Star Wars Day from all of us on the Windows Team!

Skype Translator speaks Mandarin and Italian, Build 2015 plans a road tour, Star Wars movie collection comes to Xbox – Weekend Reading: April 10 Edition

The Force is with us big-time this week: We’ve got stories about Skype Translator debuting in Mandarin and Italian, Build 2015 making a first-ever road tour worldwide, and all six Star Wars films being available digitally for the first time on Xbox Video.

Skype Translator adds two more languages, Mandarin and Italian, joining Spanish and English in the preview program. Adding Mandarin Chinese is quite a feat; it’s a “very challenging language to learn, even for Skype Translator,” noted Yasmin Khan in a Skype blog post. “With approximately 10,000 characters and multiple tones, this is one of the most difficult languages for a native English speaker to master, along with Arabic, Japanese and Korean.” Microsoft researchers and scientists in Beijing, China, worked very closely with their U.S.-based colleagues to build the recognition, language and translation models for Mandarin.

Build is doing a road trip! Build 2015, the developers’ conference April 29-May 1 in San Francisco, is sold out, but if you want to see some of Microsoft’s latest technologies and hear Build speakers in person, you’re in luck: Build is going on the road. The Build Tour, from May 18 through June 15, will come to 10 cities around the world: London, New York, Atlanta, Austin, Sao Paulo, Berlin, Mexico City, Singapore, Auckland and Sydney.

Build 2015, developers

Pay it forward by helping teach computer science to high schools students. High schools around the country are in desperate need of your computer science smarts if you’re an engineer, software developer or programmer. An easy way to connect your talent and skills is through Microsoft’s volunteer TEALS (Technology Education and Literacy in Schools) program. More than 475 TEALS volunteers across the nation now are team-teaching Computer Science 101 and AP Computer Science with classroom teachers in more than 130 schools. Applications are being accepted through May 1. TEALS founder Kevin Wang shares appreciative comments from TEALS students at a recent event.

TEALS, education, computer science

A student participates in a coding activity during a recent TEALS field trip.

All six Star Wars films are available, starting today, for the first time on Digital HD and on Xbox. Also newly available is the Netflix original series “Marvel’s Daredevil.” For Star Wars, exclusives are being offered for Xbox customers who purchase the saga on Xbox Video, including R2-D2 as an Xbox Live avatar and the action-packed Star Wars Pinball Pack for the free-to-play game “Pinball FX 2” for Xbox One or Xbox 360. In “Marvel’s Daredevil,” join Matt Murdock – blinded as a young boy but imbued with extraordinary senses – as he fights injustice by day as a lawyer, and by night as the Super Hero Daredevil. It’s Marvel’s first original series on Netflix, and is the first of four series to come.

Star Wars, Xbox

Office 365 introduced Exchange Online Advanced Threat Protection, a robust email filtering service that protects against specific types of advanced threats, including unknown malware and viruses. The system extends the protection already available in Office 365’s Exchange Online Protection. Also in Office news this week: Office Online and Dropbox expanded their ongoing partnership with integration between Dropbox on the Web and Office Online. Now you can browse, open and edit files in Dropbox online with Office Online. You can also create new files in Office Online and save directly to your Dropbox.

Our app of the week is the new Shazam, which makes exploring, buying and sharing music even easier for Windows Phone users. You can now preview favorite Shazams with Xbox Music Playbox and add your favorite songs from Shazam’s Charts to the My Shazam section. Meanwhile, if you’re just starting your taxes (*looks at self*), get some help from Mint, MSN Money and other apps, including TaxCaster, which lets you quickly calculate your estimated tax refund. If, after your tax prep, you’re not in the mood to cook for real, you can still have some fun with the game, “Toca Kitchen 2,” with some crazy new food combinations to try out. Or just let it go, and play the updated “Frozen Free Fall,” with 45 new birthday levels, three new game modes and dazzling dresses.

Shazam, Windows Phone, apps

This week on our global adventure to find people who #DoMore on the Microsoft Instagram page, we traveled to Brazil, where we met Rodrigo Rodrigues, a man of many passions. Follow us on Instagram to see his story.

DoMore, Instagram

That’s it for this edition of Weekend Reading. May the Force be with you for a great weekend, and we’ll see you next Friday!

Posted by Suzanne Choney
Microsoft News Center Staff

On Digital HD for the first time ever, the Star Wars Digital Movie Collection comes to Xbox

“Star Wars,” one of the most iconic sagas in movie history, will be available in Digital HD April 10, 2015 on Xbox Video, the digital service for new movies and next-day air TV from Microsoft. This marks the first time that the six-film saga will be available digitally, including “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace,” “Star Wars: Attack of the Clones,” “Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith,” “Star Wars: A New Hope,” “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back,” and “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.”


Starting today April 6, 2015, you can pre-purchase the Star Wars Digital Movie Collection or the individual films on Xbox Video and watch them on April 10, 2015 with never-before-seen bonus material. Now you’ll be able to enjoy the movies on Xbox Video wherever you go on your Xbox One, Xbox 360, Windows 8 devices, Windows Phone or on XboxVideo.com! Visit Xbox Wire to learn more about the exclusive incentives for fans who purchase the six-film bundle on Xbox Video.

Xbox Video is available today as a free download on Xbox One, Xbox 360, Windows 8/RT, Windows 8.1, and Windows Phone, and is also available online at www.xboxvideo.com*.

May the Force be with you!

*Xbox Video availability and system requirements: http://www.xbox.com/en-US/video/market-availability.

Rebels wanted! Star Wars Rebels™: Recon Missions available for Windows and Windows Phone

Are you ready to stand up against the Empire? Become an intergalactic hero in Star Wars Rebels™: Recon Missions, the new action-platformer mobile game, available to download from the Windows and Windows Phone Store!

Take on four free levels of battle against the Empire as Ezra Bridger, dodge TIE fighters, blast Stormtroopers, and drive an Imperial AT-MP. With in-app purchases, wield a Lightsaber™, fight Star Wars™ bosses, drive an AT-DP, and unlock 30 more levels and 50+ unique challenges. Customize and expand a secret Rebel Haven where heroes can hide out and rescue citizens. And, interact with characters like Zeb the muscle of the Ghost team, Hera the pilot, and even Chopper the grumpy Droid™.

Leap into combat and help the Rebellion.

Leap into combat and help the Rebellion.

Star Wars Rebels™: Recon Missions is available now in the Windows Store for Windows and Windows Phone.

Battle alongside your favorite Star Wars characters in Star Wars: Commander

Charge into battle on distant planets in a galaxy far, far away and lead your troops to victory in this new action-packed, combat strategy Star Wars game! Star Wars: Commander is now available free for download from the Windows Store and from the Windows Phone Store!

In the Galactic Civil War, competing forces need allies for their cause and you can choose to fight for the Rebellion who seek justice and freedom or the Empire who wants complete control of the galaxy. You can fight alongside Star Wars heroes like Luke Skywalker and Han Solo!

  • Choose your side: Will you command AT-ATs and TIE Fighters as the Empire? Or call on iconic heroes like Han Solo and Princess Leia as the Rebellion?
  • Build and defend your base: Train unique troops specific to each faction, and fortify your base with deflector shields, turrets, heavy artillery, and other defenses!
  • Lead epic battles: Strategically deploy powerful armies, units, and vehicles against enemies and players around the galaxy!
  • Form the ultimate Squad: Build strong alliances with friends and other players!
  • Travel to multiple planets and complete special missions: Play an all-new story as a valiant leader on the front lines of the Galactic Civil War.
  • Upgrade your strike team and its defenses: Strengthen your forces with multiple levels of upgrades for each unit!

You can download and play Star Wars: Commander in your choice of English, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, and Spanish.

May the Force be with you!