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!

This Weeks Xbox Deals with Gold & Spotlight Sale

Here are this week’s games and add-on deals on the Xbox Games Store. Discounts are valid now through 01 June 2015.

XBOX ONE

Content Title Content Type Discount %
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Digital Pro  Xbox One Game 33%
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Gold* Xbox One Game 17%
Scream Ride Xbox One Game 33%
Alien Isolation Xbox One Game 60%

Please note: prices and availability are subject to change and may vary by region. Deals with Gold are valid for Xbox Live Gold members.

*Valid for Xbox Live Gold and Silver members.

XBOX 360

Content Title Content Type Discount %
Modern Warfare 2  Games On Demand 50%
Modern Warfare Games On Demand 50%
Call of Duty: World at War Games On Demand 50%
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Games On Demand 17%
Alien Isolation Games On Demand 60%

Please note: prices and availability are subject to change and may vary by region. Deals with Gold are valid for Xbox Live Gold members.

New music, achievements and skins for Minecraft

When most players begin their Minecraft adventure there aren’t many looks to choose from… you only get to play as  Steve – the most famous minecrafter in the world, and has excellent stubble.

But Steve doesn’t really represent the diversity of the Minecraft playerbase. So they’re giving all players the opportunity to play with an Alex skin instead. She brings thinner arms, redder hair, and a ponytail. She actually looks a bit like Jens from certain angles.

Players on all consoles will get the Alex skins pack for free this Wednesday.

Simpsons

Playstation players are getting another skin pack this week. The Simpsons, and a bunch of their their closest friends, enemies, and acquaintances are on the way. Download it starting Wednesday!!

Xbox 360 users get extra achievements and bonus tunes!

Until now, Minecraft: Xbox One Edition has included more achievements than 360 Edition. This update will add 30 new achievements to the Xbox 360 version of Minecraft, boosting the potential gains to a smooth 1000G.

Also, a bundle of new music tracks are coming to Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition. After this update there’ll be more of C418’s plinky plonky goodness in-game. Nice. What is your favorite in-game Minecraft track? I really like “Are we there now” which is much thanks to my son because he is always playing it and making Steve dance to it! 🙂

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.

December Xbox Games for Gold

The holiday season is upon us, and Microsoft has announced the last Games with Gold for 2014. As part of the Xbox Live Gold program, subscribers will get access to one Xbox One game, and two Xbox 360 games in December. It has been a bit disappointing to only see a single Xbox One game available for the last several months, but Microsoft has started to ramp up their Deals with Gold as well.

XBOX ONE
WORMS BATTLEGROUND

This month’s Xbox One game is Worms Battlegrounds which was developed by Team17. This game came out on May 30 of this year for both the PS4 and Xbox One, and is a turn based strategy game based on the Worms series which debuted in 1995. Worms Battlegrounds has gotten mixed reviews, with a 70 Metascore and 6.6 User Score on metacritic. Worms Battlegrounds will be available starting December 1st, and normally retails for $24.99.

“Worms™ Battlegrounds brings friends and families together in the noble pursuit of self‐improvement, world domination and exploding sheep. Worms™ Battlegrounds is the biggest and best Worms™ game to date – more worms, larger landscapes, more dynamic water, more weapons and more customization items than ever before. It features beautiful high definition 3D visuals (but still retains the classic 2D gameplay) with new lighting effects, new features to help users interact socially, exciting additions to improve the single player experience, and more of everything a Worms fan could want.”

XBOX 360
THE RAVEN: LEGACY OF A MASTER THIEF

The first Xbox 360 game, available December 1st to December 15th, is The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief from The Adventure Company. This is a three episode point and click adventure game set Europe in the 1960’s. Only the first episode, which normally retails for $9.99, is available this month as part of Games with Gold. Episode 1 received a 74 Metascore and 6.9 User Score on Metacritic. If you like a good mystery, this may be a game you will enjoy.

“The Raven – Legacy of a master thief is a thrilling crime adventure in three episodes from the creators of “The Book of Unwritten Tales“. Full of twists and turns, it immerses you in both sides of the story, combining thrill-of-the-chase whodunit with the risk and reward of a heist story.”

 

SSX

The second game for the Xbox 360 is the snowboarding game from EA Canada, SSX. This version of the SSX franchise was released in February 2012 to generally positive reviews. As you can guess, players control a snowboarder and can take part in the World Tour mode, or Tricky mode. There is a substantial soundtrack included with this game as well to keep you entertained. SSX received a 82 Metascore and 6.5 User Score on metacritic, and normally retails for $19.99. SSX will be available from December 16th to December 31st.