Cortana is Coming to Xbox One

Interacting with your Xbox One will be changing in the coming year, starting with the introduction of the new “Xbox One Experience” and continuing sometime in 2016 with the inclusion of your own virtual assistant, Cortana!

Not only are more folks receiving invites to check out the beta for the new Xbox One firmware, but Microsoft is gearing up to introduce the Xbox Beta App for Windows 10, too. As for the highly anticipated Cortana implementation, though, the latest announcement has it pegged as arriving sometime next year.

Cortana (named for the AI in the Halo series), is the virtual assistant that comes with Windows 10.  She’ll remind you to pick up things from the grocery store or warn you of traffic delays if you’ve got her downloaded on your phone, or just help you interact with and stay connected with friends on your Xbox One. Want to play Fallout but fear you might forget about that Raid you’ve got scheduled in Destiny in an hour? Get to enjoying yourself and Cortana will remind you in plenty of time. As for that new Xbox One Experience, Cortana will help you navigate, the Major Nelson blog claims it’s going to be worth the wait.

“As we’ve been doing for almost two years, we’re sharing early builds with our fans, so that they can try out and provide input on new features. We welcomed a limited group of preview members into an early peek at the reimagined Xbox One a few weeks ago. This weekend, we’ll be inviting in more.” – Major Nelson Blog

As for that Xbox Beta app for Windows 10, a bunch of new functionality got plugged in over the weekend, too. Party text chat joins the already implemented voice chat to give players yet anther way to communicate when they’re away from their console. You can also read and reply to messages directly from notifications now, and receive activity alerts. Also, now you have access to a menu that shows off your latest sharable content including Achievements and recorded clips, making it easier than ever to send them out to social media.

I am ridiculously excited for this. I have Cortana on my laptop and she’s fuckin’ awesome! This is a great move coming from Microsoft and Xbox. I honestly thought the Xbox One was great as it is, but it’s just going to get a whole lot better come next year!

Xbox One Backwards Compatibility List

This list of 360 games playable on Xbox One records all backward-compatible 360 and XBLA games confirmed to function on current-gen hardware. At the moment, these games are only playable by members of the Xbox Preview Program.

Microsoft announced Xbox One backward compatibility at E3 2015 and is rolling out the function starting this year. 360 discs do not play natively but trigger a download of a compatible file, while downloadable titles appear automatically.

Games currently compatible include:

  • A Kingdom for Keflings
  • A World of Keflings
  • Alien Hominid HD
  • Banjo-Kazooie
  • Banjo-Tooie
  • BattleBlock Theater
  • Defense Grid
  • Geometry Wars Evolved
  • Hexic HD
  • Jetpac Refuelled
  • Kameo
  • Mass Effect
  • N+
  • Perfect Dark
  • Perfect Dark Zero
  • Small Arms
  • Super Meat Boy
  • Toy Soldiers
  • Toy Soldiers: Cold War
  • Viva Piñata
  • Viva Piñata: TIP
  • Zuma

Microsoft has also added a specific section titled “Backwards Compatibility” on their Xbox Feedback page for the purpose of allowing users to vote on which games they may want added to the list of backwards compatible games, although this list is not a guarantee that the games will be added in the future.

Details of Nintendo’s Next System the ‘NX’

Nintendo’s next generation games system is codenamed NX, the company’s chief executive Satoru Iwata has revealed. Iwata said that the hardware project represents a “brand-new concept”, but didn’t elaborate further.

Speaking at a press conference, Iwata explained: “As proof that Nintendo maintains strong enthusiasm for the dedicated game system business, let me confirm that Nintendo is currently developing a dedicated game platform with a brand-new concept under the development codename ‘NX’. It is too early to elaborate on the details of this project, but we hope to share more information with you next year.”

It is not clear whether the new hardware represents new strides in the handheld or home console business.

However, the new platform appears to be developed in unison with a new membership (or perhaps subscription) service that will unite Nintendo’s home consoles, its handhelds, as well as mobiles and PC.

Iwata clarified that this new membership service will “encompasses the existing Nintendo 3DS and Wii U systems, the new hardware system with a brand-new concept, NX, and smart devices and PCs.”

He added: “Nintendo will be the primary party to operate this new membership service. Unlike the Club Nintendo membership service that Nintendo has been operating, the new membership service will include multiple devices and create a connection between Nintendo and each individual consumer regardless of the device the consumer uses.”

Earlier this year, Nintendo announced that it would be closing its Club Nintendo membership program by September. The loyalty program launched in 2007 and supplied free gifts to owners of the Nintendo DS, Wii, 3DS and Wii U. At the time the company claimed it was “working hard to create a new program.” It appears this new membership service will be its replacement.

Amiibo is doing better than expected

Nintendo has been caught off-guard by the success of its Amiibo line. While it hoped there would be demand for its expansion into the toys-to-life space, the company’s “expectations have been smashed.”

That’s according to Nintendo UK consumer marketing boss James Honeywell, who told MCV, “Right from the outset we hoped that Amiibo would be strong, but even our expectations have been smashed. With a unique lineup of iconic characters that are loved by so many people, it really has been unprecedented.”

There was some question of whether the market would be too crowded for Nintendo to make an impact when it launched Amiibo alongside Super Smash Bros. last year; instead, with 5.7 million sold as of February, its primary problem has been keeping less-common figures in stock.

“We hope to do a better job of satisfying these needs in the future with more stock, and, while there are always going to be some times when we can’t on certain characters, I suspect that is also part of the appeal,” Honeywell continued.

Unfortunately, for many collectors, the tracking down and collecting rare figures has proven to be an exercise in frustration.

Honeywell cites collectors’ desire to get their hands on every Amiibo available as part of the reason for the supply issues. Nintendo has previously said it won’t be able to consistently keep every figure in stock, though it will deliver additional runs of certain figures in select circumstances–something we saw with Marth, for instance.

In addition to sitting on your shelf, Amiibo serve a purpose in various games, including Super Smash Bros., Mario Kart 8, and Code Name: Steam. Check out GameSpot’s huge list of Amiibo’s!

Interview with Lizard Squad & why they brought down Xbox Live and PSN

(This interview is reposted from WinBeta.org – the link for the original post is located at the bottom of the page.)

The Convo

WinBeta verified via multiple methods, that we were in fact speaking to the core members of the Lizard Squad. A verification file can still be found on their official website by clicking here.

The conversation took place through an encrypted connection, and as their Twitter account proudly proclaims, there would not have been a chance to track them down. Instead, WinBeta took the time to ask about the group’s methodology and ideology behind the series of attacks.

Their Motivation

Lizard Squad explains that the task simply began for the laughs, but evolved into what they say is a real cause. Taking down Microsoft and Sony networks shows the companies’ inability to protect their consumers and instead shows their true vulnerability. Lizard Squad claims that their actions are simple, take down gaming networks for a short while, and forcing companies to upgrade their security as a result.

When asked why Microsoft and Sony where both targeted on Christmas day, the group explained they felt it would anger and reach the largest amount of people – more people angry calls for a greater response from the companies; others were considered, including Nintendo, but no action was taken. The group is attempting to stress the point of computer security, while also getting a few “laughs”.

Lizard Squad noted that they could take down NASDAQ if they wanted to damage the economy, but stated that it was not their goal; they jokingly refer to themselves as terrorists, but do not feel they are on that level of notorious mischief.

The Security

When asked which company was easier to bring down, Microsoft was the immediate response. They commented that Sony had recently upgraded their security, via a new system we will not mention here, which took a bit of time to work around, but that Microsoft simply had the poorest security – “almost nothing”. When asked how each company was fighting back – the group alluded to the idea that they were easily keeping the networks down.

When asked how long they would continue their series of intermittent attacks, the Lizard Squad stated that they would continue to do it until companies learned from their security issues – they were unwilling to comment on any timeframe.

The Save

Recently, KimDotCom, provided the group with a number of lifetime vouchers for Mega’s upload site as a negotiation. We spoke to the group as soon as they temporarily stopped their attacks on the networks and asked when the attacks would start up again; once again, they refused to comment on a timeframe, but did note that the attacks would be coming back.

As with most deeds in this world, it is not black and white – good or evil, it is up to us, the people, to decide whether or not the Lizard Squad is a terrorist organization or a utilitarian black angel.

 

Original article can be found here.

Lizard Squad takes credit for taking down Sony and Xbox

As promised on Christmas, hackers targeted the Sony PlayStation Network and Xbox Live, causing gamers headaches.

The Lizard Squad reportedly has taken credit for dropping Microsoft’s Xbox Live and Sony’s PlayStation Network on Christmas Eve and Christmas day. It’s not a complete surprise to hear of the cyberattacks, with the group promising them all month long. Lizard Squad used a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, with the FBI and other hacker groups reportedly targeting them.

Unfortunately, the group demanded 10,000 retweets of a message posted on Twitter, so gamers will be able to access Xbox.com, Xbox Live and other services – and regain playability on PSN.

It’s not a surprise they wanted to target the attack for Christmas day, as many gamers plug in their consoles for the first time – or hit the power switch to begin playing a new title.

Sony reveals PS4 20th Anniversary Edition

The iconic Sony PlayStation turns 20 today, and the company is celebrating with the launch of a 20th Anniversary Edition PS4 specially detailed as an homage to the console’s first version.

The main console, controller and PlayStation Camera are all decked in “Original Grey”, mimicking the body of the 1994 PlayStation. The lower console body panel, as well as the touchpad on the controller are etched with a pattern featuring the controller button symbols as well as a ‘2’ to signify the console’s 20th anniversary. There’s even a vertical stand for the console to prop it upright just like the original.

Only 12,300 numbered units of the limited edition PS4 will be available worldwide, at $499 in North America, €499 in Europe and 49,980 Yen in Japan. Pre-orders in the US and Canada open on Dec 6.

XBOX LIVE ON ITS FEET AGAIN

Xbox Live is online again after suffering an outage, with a hacker group claiming to have DDoSed its servers.

Their alleged antics left many in the United States and Canada unable to connect to the service at all, while others reported that only their friends lists were affected.

Thankfully, it appears the service is now back up, with the Xbox Live status page reporting no problems!

The group Lizard Squad took credit for the outage on Twitter, and is threatening that there is more to come and will do it again over Christmas. Unfortunately some people are just like that. The group also claimed to be behind PSN’s issues back in August.

Hacker group claims responsibility for taking Xbox offline

Xbox owners are reporting difficulties connecting to Xbox Live and a hacker group with a history of targeting online gaming services is claiming responsibility for taking the network offline.

Xbox 360 and Xbox One owners have reported that they’ve been unable to connect to Xbox Live. Consoles are responding with the 80151909 error code — it warns that an Xbox Live profile has failed to download — when users attempt to sign in. My own attempt to sign in to Xbox Live from consoles and through Xbox.com have been unsuccessful too. 😦

Microsoft’s Xbox support site doesn’t indicate their are any current issues with Xbox Live services or apps.

The hacker group Lizard Squad indicated on Twitter that it is responsible for taking Xbox Live offline. The group, which describes itself as “kings” of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, tweeted that it was preparing for a larger attack at Christmas on Xbox Live and that today was a “small dose of what’s to come.”

Earlier this year, the group claimed responsibility for a similar attack on Sony’s PlayStation Network, as well as denial-of-service attacks on individual online games like Grand Theft Auto 5, League of Legends, Destiny and more.

FTC settles ad allegations on PS Vita

Sony Computer Entertainment America has agreed to settle allegations it misled consumers about features of its PlayStation Vita handheld gaming console, the Federal Trade Commission said on Tuesday.

As part of the settlement, Sony will stop making the inaccurate claims and will give people who had purchased the device either a $25 refund or $50 voucher to buy other games, the FTC said.

Sony and its advertising company, Deutsch LA, had claimed inaccurately the console would enable consumers to play remotely and would allow them to begin a game on the PlayStation 3, then move to the smaller Vita without losing continuity, the FTC said.

In fact, most PlayStation 3 games could not be played remotely and only a few could be played cross-platform.

The FTC also said that people who bought the 3G version of the PS Vita were told that they would be able to engage in live multiplayer gaming with the device when in fact they could not.

The FTC also settled with Deutsch LA, which had urged its staffers to praise the device on Twitter without also instructing them to disclose their relationship to Sony.

Deutsch LA prepared the advertising for the launch of the PS Vita and either knew or should have known that the ads were misleading, the FTC said.

“As we enter the year’s biggest shopping period, companies need to be reminded that if they make product promises to consumers — as Sony did with the ‘game changing’ features of its PS Vita — they must deliver on those pledges,” said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.