Would Cross-Platform for PUBG Work With PC and Xbox One? I Played Against PC Players Using an Xbox One Controller

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, with 10 million copies sold so far, is one of the biggest video game releases of the year. The fact that Microsoft managed to score publishing rights for the console release on the Xbox One is a big coup. So how does the PC game translate for consoles? I recently got a chance to play PUBG with an Xbox One controller against PC players. While I didn’t get any Chicken Dinners, I have some thoughts about the new control scheme and what it might mean for cross-platform play.

Just to be clear, Microsoft didn’t confirm cross-platform for PUBG, but given Microsoft’s hard push for the feature, Brendan Green’s enthusiasm for it, and the fact that keyboard and mouse controls are heavily rumored for the Xbox One, I think it’s worth investigating.


Winner, winner

Even if cross-platform functionality never comes out, PUBG is one of the most popular PC games currently available and soon console-only players will get a chance to experience the carnage. And that’s primarily who this preview is for. Since Xbox One controller support has only been available for the PC version of the game for about a month, you might be a console player who’s been hearing about PUBG for months but haven’t played it. So if you’re looking forward to playing it with a controller this preview is for you.

Likewise, during my playtime with PUBG at an Xbox One X preview event I was told that I was playing against PC players so maybe you’re interested in reading about what a potential match might look like between a mouse-and-keyboard player and a controller user?

The answer isn’t as dramatic as you might think.


PUBG

So, PUBG on an Xbox One controller how did it feel? It felt like how a third-person shooter might feel on a controller but with the exception of maybe having just barely enough buttons for all the possible actions.

Running and firing controls were all par for the course with the left and right triggers pulling up aim and fire respectively, and character movement and camera movement dictated by the two control sticks. The D-Pad let me cycle through the various weapons and items I picked up, while the option button brought up a map.The left bumper let me switch to first person mode and the right bumper let me cycle through the camera perspective. Oh and of course there were the lettered buttons of which Y let me reload, B let me crouch, A let me jump, and X let me interact with weapons and items. That also doesn’t mention that clicking the control sticks let me lean and sprint.

It’s a pretty standard control scheme, but PUBG is a game that requires a lot of input and it took a while to memorize the Xbox One controller’s setup. Some mishaps happened along the way of course like in the initial stages of the game where players are aboard a large carrier airplane and must choose when to parachute out onto the murder island. On the plane, I pulled up my map to flag a suitable location to jump to, however no matter which buttons I pressed, none of them seemed to let me set a waypoint on my map. Then I accidentally pressed the X button and out I went without a location to go to.

I’m not saying the controllers are confusing, but it did feel a little cluttered at times. I’m sure when I spend more time with it, the inputs will become like second nature. But I did find myself fumbling with my weapons at key moments of my first game, and when split second decisions determine life-or-death, chicken dinners or hunger, there’s no room for mistakes. Especially mistakes like accidentally cycling to a pistol when you wanted the smg and getting shot dead while flipping through weapons. I placed 63rd that round.

The next game was a lot faster but that’s because I made the mistake of jumping into a car. I again accidentally pressed the wrong button but this time while driving at high speeds, jumping out and injuring myself. A nearby player picked me off and I placed 82nd that time.


Map of the PUBG Gamescom Invitational

PUBG is a high-stakes, relatively fast game. 100 players jump from a plane and land on a massive island level. Armed with nothing at first, players must scavenge the island looking for weapons and armor, while trying to fend off attacks from any potential enemies. Then there’s the blue circle which starts shrinking, killing any unfortunate soul that spends too long outside of its boundaries. The circle will continue to shrink and players will continue to die until you’re the last one standing. Pretty simple right?

The beauty of PUBG lies in the fact that victory is determined by two factors: luck and skill. While controllers won’t determine the former factor, the latter can be affected by what you use to play, or at least it could. During my time at the preview event I happened to watch one incredibly tall San Francisco-based games journalist make it to rank 2 before getting cornered and killed in the game’s final stretches. So really, you can win using a controller though I personally never got far enough to see if it all came down to mouse and keyboard vs. gamepad that determined who would ultimately win a chicken dinner.

Still, I don’t think it would be the end of the world if Microsoft and Blue Hole decided to let Xbox One PUBG players and PC players fight it out against one another, especially in a game as determined by luck as much as it is skill. While it’s probably fair to say that at towards the end game the great equalizer is skill, the Xbox One controller won’t necessarily determine the victor. Especially if Blue Hole is looking into ways that might overcome the differences between mouse-and-keyboard and gamepad controls like they say they are.

As one of the hottest games of the year, and the Xbox’s big exclusive (rumors are that it will be timed or in a limited capacity), PUBG might be the perfect petri dish to test competitive cross-platform play. Personally, I think it’s a functionality worth pursuing for the both of them.

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Call of Duty: WWII will run at 4K with HDR on Xbox One X

Details on Call of Duty: WWII’s Xbox One X enhancements have quietly emerged, promising both 4K and HDR on the console.

Call of Duty, one of the largest shooter franchises of today, is returning to its roots later this year with a new World War 2 themed title. Unsurprisingly named “Call of Duty: WW2,” the game moves away from recent trends in the series, by abandoning near-future warfare in favor of a historical setting.

As a part of a marketing deal with Sony, the game’s publisher, Activision, has been keen to promote PlayStation 4 (PS4) versions of the game. This has left few details on what to expect from the rival release on Xbox One – let alone the enhancements in store for the upcoming Xbox One X. However, following a recently updated listing from UK retailer GAME (via charlieINTEL), specific details on Xbox One X enhancements have surfaced.

For many titles launching with visual upgrades on Xbox One X, box art designs are being reworked to highlight these features. Icons for both 4K and High Dynamic Range (HDR) have been spotted on the latest retail packaging, indicating these upgrades will be available at launch on the console. Amidst a close marketing deal with Sony is comes as no surprise Activision has remained quiet leading up to the Xbox One X launch, however, this should be a welcome sight for those picking up the device this November.

In the months since its unveiling Activision has highlighted a slew of changes in the pipeline for Call of Duty: WWII – most notably a shift toward “boots on the ground” combat. When paired with new single player mechanics, multiplayer tweaks and the return of Nazi Zombies, the game is making one of the most inventive games (at least for Call of Duty) in some time.

Are you looking forward to these Xbox One X enhancements? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

A complete list of ‘Xbox One X Enhanced’ games (up to 4K, HDR)

See at Amazon See at Xbox Store

ID@Xbox’s Chris Charla offers devs tips on

This summer the inaugural batch of Xbox Live Creators Program games arrived on the Xbox Store, and ID@Xbox director Chris Charla seems legitimately psyched about it.

“There’s a lot of devs today who got their start on XBLIG (Xbox Live Indie Games] and XNA,” he told Gamasutra during a recent Xbox event.

“And so the moment — whether it’s 2 years or 5 years or whatever — when we’re at GDC and somebody’s like “how did you get your start? Oh, Creators Program’….that’s gonna be the best. And I have no doubt that it’s gonna happen.”

He’s right about the pivotal role XBLIG and XNA played in many devs’ careers; they told us as much a few years ago, after XBLIG and XNA were put to rest. He may prove right about the Creators Program having a similar impact, but it seems today’s devs face a more crowded and competitive market than when XBLIG debuted in 2008.

For the moment, Creators Program games can be big fish in a small pond. When we talked to Charla earlier this month there were only 30 Creators Program games on the Xbox Store, and they were all grouped together under their own store category: the Creators Collection.

This walls them off from the rest of the marketplace, but if someone does choose to peruse the Creators Program games there’s a decent chance they’ll look at most of them. As more Creators Program games come to the platform, that chance will drop and discoverability may become an issue; Charla says Xbox hopes to counter that somewhat by introducing some degree of automated curation of Creators Program games.

“I think what you’ll see eventually is that, in the same way we have categories here on the front page like Coming Soon, New Games, Top Rated, et cetera, we’ll have the same kind of programmatic curation in the Creators collection as well,” he said. “Right now, with only 30 games in it, you don’t really need those categories because you can scroll through and see everything in a few seconds. But as more games come in there, we’ll work on doing some programmatic curation in the store as well.”

However, he demurred when asked about whether or not the company plans to do any promotional events for Creators Program games, a la the Indie Games Uprising events XBLIG devs organized years ago in an attempt to promote their work.

Simple things you can do to help your game stand out

So what can devs do to help their games stand out amid everything else on the market?

“Obviously, have a cool game, right,” said Charla. But that’s not something we can help with, at Xbox. The number one piece of advice I can give a developer today is to focus, relentlessly, about a thousand times more than you think you need to, on your store text, and on the screenshots and video that accompany your store text or game details page on Xbox and presumably also on Steam, on PlayStation, on Switch, and every place else.”

 

“The number one piece of advice I can give a developer today is to focus, relentlessly, about a thousand times more than you think you need to, on your store text, and on the screenshots and video that accompany [it].”

The number one mistake devs make when selling their games, according to Charla, is to wait until they’re tired and burned out at the end of a project to create their store pages.

“They’re really tired — making video games is really hard — and then they get to the point where they need to upload pictures for their game, and they literally hit the screenshot key six times and upload those six pictures. So their start menu, their options screen, right when the game starts and nothing’s happening….and those pictures are not compelling to customers!”

“So the number one piece of advice I’d give is, make sure those pictures that accompany your game are the most compelling and evocative screenshots of your game possible,” Charla continued. “Maybe it’s a giant explosion, maybe it’s a beautiful vista, but make sure that first screenshot is as much your game in a nutshell as humanly possible. Because you want to have great box art, and when a player gets into your details page, you want to make sure what they see is so visually cool, and the text is so compelling, they hit the ‘Buy’ button.”

Beyond that, Charla also reminded Xbox devs to try and create store pages that are attractive and enticing to poeple who are sitting 8-10 feet away from a TV screen, rather than being right up against a PC monitor.

“Please understand that on Xbox, players are usually sitting quite a distance away from the TV when they play. So make sure you’re making that box art at a size and scale that will resonate in a living room experience,” he said.

“So that just comes down to composition and size of images and things like that. Just think about that. Even if it means printing out tiny little boxes of images or text and taping them to your TV and sitting back down. Just make sure it reads well at that scale, vs. you know, the 24-inch scale of a PC monitor right in front of your face.”

As it turns out, Charla also has some strong feelings about what people are reading when they look at your game’s store page. All too often, he said, devs who self-publish their games wait until the last minute to think about their store page text — which can lead to confusing, long-winded, or otherwise off-putting copy.

Instead, Charla recommends devs try to “get that promise of your game across in the first two sentences.”

“I would focus on what the game is gonna feel like, vs. backstory, you know. Say ‘this is a compelling roguelike shooter’ not ‘10,000 years ago, Lord Azimundus blah blah blah.’ Show it to your friends, read other people’s, see what works,” he said. 

As we wound down Charla acknowledged that a lot of this advice is fundamental, but reiterated that it’s all based on the most common mistakes he sees devs making when they self-publish to a storefront like Steam or the Xbox Live Creators Program. In the rush to finish, promote, and launch your game, it’s often the simplest and easiest tasks that fall by the wayside.  

“I feel bad giving this kind of advice because it does seem obvious,” Charla added, in closing. “But I think it’s advice you need to internalize before you’re so deep in production that you’re just like…..I need some words so I can ship my game. And you don’t think about it or proofread it, you just write it and hit send.”

Minecraft’s cross-platform update is now available on Xbox, PC, and mobile

Minecraft has been available on tons of different devices in the past. Now, Microsoft is finally bringing all those platforms together with the “Better Together” update, which is rolling out today for Xbox One, mobile devices, and Windows 10 PCs. The Nintendo Switch is still set to get the Better Together update, too, although that’s been delayed until later in the winter.

The update essentially takes the different versions of Minecraft that have been available on PC, Xbox, iOS, and Android, and consolidates them into one master version, with the same features, functionality, and content no matter where you play. That means that the console versions of Minecraft on Xbox One (and eventually, the Nintendo Switch) will now run the same version of Minecraft as PCs, mobile, and VR, built on what Microsoft calls the Bedrock Engine.

But the biggest advantage to creating a single version of Minecraft across all these platforms is that cross-play will be possible between Minecraft games. This means that you’ll be able to play Minecraft on your PC with a friend playing on an Xbox, while your buddy joins in from their Android phone. Microsoft is calling this the first time a game has offered cross-play across all these platforms, and with the addition of the Nintendo Switch to the mix, Minecraft could be one of the first true platform-agnostic titles, which is an incredible thing.


You may notice that the PlayStation 4 is glaringly absent from that list. That’s because Sony has — once again — decided to sit out on cross-platform play, an unfortunately familiar refrain from the company this console generation. Similar issues have come up with Rocket League, and most recently Fortnight, which accidentally enabled Xbox One and PlayStation 4 cross-play before pulling the feature. Sony has offered numerous explanations for avoiding cross-play in the past, including citing concerns of protecting children online, but given that the console still has a considerable competitive lead when it comes to users and sales, it’s unlikely that it will be budging on that issue anytime soon.

In an interview with Engadget, Microsoft Studios CVP Matt Booty commented, “We just flat-out couldn’t get those two completely in sync,” in regard to getting Minecraft cross-play with the PlayStation 4. Although, he noted that Microsoft is continuing to talk with Sony on the issue.

Also missing are the Mac and Linux versions of Minecraft, which will continue to exist alongside the original PC version as the renamed Java Edition for now. It’s supposed to continue to receive updates and get them along a similar time frame as the Bedrock Engine version.

That said, the unified Bedrock Engine version will be the canonical Minecraft title moving forward, with the original PC title and older console-specific versions getting appended “Edition” names like Minecraft: Wii U Edition and Minecraft: Java Edition to tell them apart from the core Minecraft title.

Mum’s anger after Argos Xbox glitch sees store refuse to honour £90 sale

DEAL OR NO DEAL?

Corey Cunningham, 10, was thrilled when his mum spotted a great deal on the Minecraft Xbox One, but it ended in bitter disappointment

A SCHOOLBOY, 10, has been left devastated after spending his birthday money on an Xbox One only for Argos to cancel the order and bump the price up by more than £200.

Corey Cunningham was thrilled when his mum spotted a great deal offering the Minecraft Xbox One on sale through the retail giant for just £89.99.

Corey Cunningham, 10, loves playing computer games with his brother

Emma Watkin

Corey Cunningham, left, loves playing computer games with his brother

Corey's mum Emma said he was devastated when Argos cancelled the order

Emma Watkin

Corey’s mum Emma said he was devastated when Argos cancelled the order

But 12 hours after placing the order mum Emma Watkin received an email saying it had been cancelled due to a pricing mistake.

Mum-of-six Emma said: “I just assumed that was the price. I had Corey with me, he had his birthday money and I said ‘we will get this’.

“It went through and we got the confirmation.

“Corey was happy, really excited and everything – that was it as far as I was concerned.”

But at 7pm that evening Emma was forced to deliver her keen gamer a damning blow as Argos refused to honour the advertised price.

She added: “I got an email saying your order has been cancelled due to a price error and I had a really disappointed little boy.

“He likes playing on his computer, he likes the Xbox and plays with his brother.”

Corey pictured with his siblings thought for 12 hours he would be getting an XBox One

Emma Watkin

Corey, right,  pictured with his siblings thought for 12 hours he would be getting an Xbox One

Corey's mum slammed Argos for disappointing her son

Emma Watkin

Corey’s mum slammed Argos for disappointing her son

The gamers were hoping to grab a bargain special edition Mincraft Xbox One

Minecraft

The gamers were hoping to grab a bargain special edition Mincraft Xbox One
Xbox One S Minecraft Limited Edition crashes Argos website after price

Emma said she struggled to explain to the 10-year-old why he wouldn’t be getting the console.

She added: “If you say something with Corey he has it in his head and it has to be that way. He likes things to be a certain way.

“He’s absolutely devastated. He was like ‘well I want it’.

“It’s £350 I can’t afford to make that difference – he’s just really disappointed.

“He just could not get his head around it. His money has gone but he’s not going to get the games.

“If it’s a price error I get it a little bit, but do not just send an email saying your order has been cancelled. If it was for me it would have been acceptable, it’s because it’s for my little boy.”

Emma filled out a customer survey and asked for someone from the store to contact her, but as of yet has heard nothing.

When contacted by Sun Online an Argos spokesperson said, “Due to a technical error this product was temporarily displayed with the wrong price. We contacted customers individually to explain and apologise for the confusion. We’re sorry for the disappointment this caused Corey.”

Hundreds of bargain hunters crashed the Argos website after it accidentally listed a Minecraft Xbox One S at £89.99 rather than £300

PA:Press Association

Hundreds of bargain hunters crashed the Argos website after it accidentally listed a Minecraft Xbox One S at £89.99 rather than £300

The price of the console has now been increased to £349.99

Emma Watkin

The price of the console has now been increased to £349.99

Sun Online revealed last Thursday how the pricing error had crashed Argos’ website with hundreds of customers potentially left disappointed.

The store’s site crashed  for several hours after marketing agency PTM Media flagged up the price on its Facebook page “Extreme Deals, Bargains, Discounts”.

PTM Media director Daniel Dalley said: “We posted the offer on our Facebook page – which has more than 60,000 followers – and we know that thousands of people clicked on it.

“We estimate around 200 to 300 people may have actually managed to buy one for this price.

“By the time I had got into the office this morning I decided to try to redeem the offer myself, but when I tried to get on the Argos website it was completely offline.”

Daniel said these errors are known as “retailer glitches” and are often caused by employees incorrectly entering prices.

He said: “We see this quite often with lots of online retailers.

“Some will honour the deal, others won’t. It all depends on each particular websites terms and conditions.

Last week the retailer confirmed all wrongly priced orders will be cancelled and apologised to customers “inconvenienced by the technical error”.

The website’s, terms and conditions state under point “4.3 a” what the website does when it comes to pricing errors.

It reads: “If we discover an error in the price of goods ordered or reserved, we will inform you as soon as possible (e.g. prior to the goods being dispatched or in store prior to the collection of good).

“We will provide you with the option of reconfirming your order at the correct price or cancelling it. If we are unable to contact you we will treat the order as cancelled.

“If you choose to cancel and have already paid for the goods, you will receive a full refund.”



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Xbox One X setup: Here’s what you’ll need to get the best performance

The new Xbox One X can deal in 4K and HDR video and produce Dolby Atmos and DTS:X sound. It’s a potential AV powerhouse, but only if you set it up properly. Here’s how to maximise its audio and video to help you create the best-ever gaming experience at home – and it could even give you a competitive advantage. 

How to maximize the sound quality of an Xbox One X 

Forget surround sound – all hail the new era of object-based audio and verticality. 

Games will soon ship with soundtracks specially encoded in Dolby Atmos and/or DTS:X, which stretch the surround sound concept to new levels – literally – with audio also coming from above. And, of course, the Xbox One X can handle both of those new formats. 

Is there a helicopter up there? Or a sniper? Only those with the correct audio gear will know for sure. Whether you go for a soundbar, AVR and a home cinema, or a pair of headphones, audio immersion awaits.  

The Yamaha YSP-5600SW is a soundbar with built-in Atmos functionality

Soundbars & all-in-one systems

Since Dolby Atmos is all about channels at different heights as well as directions, the idea of boiling that concept down into a soundbar seems like a classic case of space-saving convenience over core quality. However, there are some clever products out there. The best so far is the Yamaha YSP-5600SW, a Dolby Atmos-enabled (and, soon, DTS:X) sound projector that uses 46 speakers to create a 7.1.2 system. In what’s fast becoming a standard feature on flagship soundbars, others spatial sound-compatible examples include the LG SJ9, Pioneer Elite FS-EB70, Onkyo SBT-A500, Samsung HW-K950 and Sony HT-ST5000

If you want to go beyond a soundbar to ensure you do actually get height channels by physically installing them above your display, go for an all-in-one- home cinema package like the Onkyo HT-S5805 (though in this category there are surprisingly few to choose from). 

The Denon AVR-X2400H is a receiver capable of outputting a Dolby Atmos to a set of speakers.

AVRs

If you go for separates then you need to find a Dolby Atmos and DTS:X-ready AV receiver to put at the centre of your system, and then add speakers. All the usual AVR brands are on board with Dolby Atmos, and from mid-range to flagship. So you can go for something like the Denon AVR-X6300H or Onkyo TX-RZ3100 for a mind-bending (and very expensive) 7.2.4-channel home cinema system. Or you can head down the ranges and spec the Sony STR-DN1080, Onkyo TX-SR444 or Denon ‪AVR-X2400H to create a 5.1.2 system. 

The Definitive Technology BP9080x has an integrated ‘height module’ that adds verticality to your surround sound.

Elevated speakers

You could then use existing speakers, adding two front height channels using any two satellite speakers (or specialist Atmos products like the KEF R50, Klipsch RP-140SA or Onkyo SKH-410 installed in an elevated position on the wall, or you could consider installing two in-ceiling speakers like the Monitor Audio CT165 or Polk Audio V60

However, there are also some nice ‘bipolar’ tower speakers around that combine upward firing speakers with normal front-firing ones, such as the Pioneer S-FS73A, Klipsch RP-280FA and Definitive Technology BP9080x

Headphones can provide a cheap alternative to expensive Atmos speakers thanks to Dolby’s virtualisation technology.

Object-based headphones

Not many people have the space or the budget to spec join enormous Dolby Atmos-compatible home cinemas. Cue Dolby Atmos for Headphones, a more personal, more affordable and possibly the most effective implementation of Dolby’s new virtual surround sound format. It’s about placement of audio around you, and the good news is that you can use any pair of headphones. 

The catch is that you’ll have to pay extra for an Atmos license to unlock the functionality. 

If that sounds like too much effort to you and you’re in the market for a new headset anyway then Plantronics has an exclusive Atmos partnership, which means that you get an Atmos license in the box alongside its RIG 400LX, RIG 600LX and wireless RIG 800LX headphones.

But if you’ve already got a nice headset that you like to use, then we’d recommend just paying for the Atmos license. 

The Xbox One X will produce 4K HDR video.

How to optimize the video output of an Xbox One X 

When it comes to picture quality, the Xbox One X is all about 4K and HDR. The two new cutting-edge video features are worth preparing for, even though not all games will include both. 

4K, also called Ultra HD, consists of 3840×2160 pixel resolution which amounts to four times more pixels than Full HD. 

HDR, meanwhile, is all about massively increased colour definition, and increasingly it goes hand-in-hand with 4K on modern TVs and home cinema projectors. It’s now almost impossible to buy a 4K TV that isn’t compatible with HDR. 

That said, a lot of cheaper sets try to claim that they’re HDR without meeting the full HDR spec. Make sure your TV is able to hit a peak brightness of 1000 nits (if it’s LCD, the requirement for OLED is a more moderate 540 nits), and also check that it supports 10-bit color. These two features will mean it’s properly specced for HDR10, which is currently the dominant HDR technology. 

A second, more advanced, HDR specification called Dolby Vision is also available on more premium TVs, but since the Xbox One X doesn’t support the standard you won’t see any benefit with the console. 

Equally as important when choosing a display to get the best out of an Xbox One X will be to find one with as minimal input lag as possible; the sweet-spot is around 10ms. 

LG’s W7 OLED TV handles Dolby Atmos.

4K HDR TVs

Since the Xbox One X outputs 4K resolution, you should buy a 4K resolution display. You still have to choose between OLED and LED (and that includes QLED) when it comes to display technology, and you should also try to find a display with the lowest input lag. 

None of these choices are easy to make. OLED TVs have unbeatable contrast ratio and black levels, but they tend to have slightly more input lag than LED TVs. 

Samsung’s TVs tend to be rated well for minimal input lag – it’s an area they have certainly concentrated on – with screens like the Samsung QE65Q9FAM a candidate. 

However, if money is no barrier, LG’s W7 OLED TV is unique in that it deals in Dolby Atmos via its included 5.0.2 soundbar. It’s also vastly improved in the input lag stakes. 

Sony’s VW285ES projects in 4K

If you wants to take advantage of the 4K resolution the Xbox One X is capable of spitting out, then you’re going to need to maximise the size of the display area. And unless you’re able to afford a 75-inch TV, a projector is your best bet. 

4K projectors are still expensive, but Sony’s upcoming VW285ES – due in November – effectively halves the cost of native 4K projection (it will sell for around $4,999). It supports HDR, as do the more affordable JVC DLA-X5000 and Epson EH-TW7300, though both of these upscale into 4K rather than produce it natively. So, for now, 4K projection is still a rich man’s hobby. 

Full HD televisions still benefit

The above advice should help you get the most out of the Xbox One X, but it’s worth noting that even if you still use a standard Full HD set with the new console you’ll see a benefit thanks to the way the console will ‘super-sample’ the extra detail down into a Full HD set. 

But if you want to squeeze every bit of performance from the new machine then it might be time to take a look at your entertainment center and work out if anything needs to be upgraded. 

Xbox bandits have preliminary hearing



Three men accused of robbing another man at gunpoint of his Xbox in July made an appearance together Tuesday in Solano County Superior Court for a preliminary hearing.

Rosendo Vazquez-Ortiz, Edwin D. Martinez, 18, and Anthony L Rivera, 18, are each charged with first-degree robbery. Only Martinez and Rivera remain in custody, however.

In his testimony Tuesday, Fairfield Police Officer Pavel Del Monte recalled responding to the July 20 robbery, in which he was dispatched around 7:30 a.m. to a report of a brandishing of a firearm at Allan Witt Park, located in the 1700 block of West Texas Street.

While en route, Del Monte was notified by another officer that a suspect vehicle had been stopped roughly two blocks away, on Woolner Avenue, east of Beck Avenue.

Inside the vehicle, a two-door BMW, were the three co-defendants, with Vazquez-Ortiz as the driver, Martinez in the passenger seat, and Rivera in the backseat. Upon arriving at the Allen Witt Park parking lot, Del Monte interviewed the alleged victim, who claimed he came to the park that morning with the intention of selling his Xbox to someone he met on the cell phone app, OfferUp.

In his interview with Officer Del Monte, the alleged victim described seeing the two-door BMW with the three males inside pulling up, and the man in the back seat (Rivera) getting out to look at the Xbox, before agreeing to purchase it. Rivera then allegedly walked away with the gaming system and pulled a firearm out and pointed it at the seller, Del Monte said.

“You better give him the Xbox,” Martinez reportedly told the alleged victim, while Vazquez-Ortiz laughed, according to discussions in court. After the trio left with the Xbox, the victim was able to memorize the license plate of the BMW and called the police. The three co-defendants were arrested and booked into Solano County Jail following the traffic stop just before 8 a.m.

The men will be back in court at 9 a.m. Oct. 3. Martinez remains in Solano County Jail with a bail amount of $55,000, while Rivera is being jailed for $210,000.

Vazquez-Ortiz remains out of custody after posting bail.

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Nintendo Switch games news – SHOCK new Xbox One crossover, as Halo comes to Switch | Gaming | Entertainment

Microsoft has managed to get the Halo franchise on Nintendo Switch… but there’s a catch.

Master Chief will be appearing as part of the Halo Mash Up Pack in the Nintendo Switch version of Minecraft.

It’s all thanks to the Better Together Update, which enables cross-platform play between Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Windows 10, Android, iOS and more.

As Eurogamer points out, this will include DLC like the Halo Mash Up Pack, which is currently available on Xbox One and Xbox 360.

Microsoft addressed cross-platform DLC in a recent Better Together blog post, admitting that while it is open to the idea, some content packs would require permission from different platform holders.

Presumably this means there’s still a question mark over the Mario Mash Up Pack appearing on other consoles.

“Custom skins are awesome, and we know you love them!” reads a Microsoft post.

“Getting them to work on consoles requires some work on the platform holders’ side to enable things like this. We’re working with them to get everything in place to enable this in a future update.”

The Better Together update is the biggest Minecraft update ever.

Currently in the beta phase, it will launch with 34 new features, and is getting close to a final release.

Sony is the only major platform holder that hasn’t signed up to the Better Together update.

Sony’s Jim Ryan recently defended the decision for PS4, PS4 Pro and PS Vita not being part of the cross-play.

Speaking to Eurogamer, he said: “We’ve got to be mindful of our responsibility to our install base. Minecraft – the demographic playing that, you know as well as I do, it’s all ages but it’s also very young.

“We have a contract with the people who go online with us, that we look after them and they are within the PlayStation curated universe.

“Exposing what in many cases are children to external influences we have no ability to manage or look after, it’s something we have to think about very carefully.”

Microsoft to accelerate growth in gaming as Xbox leader Phil Spencer joins senior leadership team – GeekWire

Microsoft executive Phil Spencer speaks at the GeekWire Summit in 2015.

As part of a strategy to accelerate its gaming business across the company, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella today named Xbox leader Phil Spencer to its senior leadership team.

Spencer, who joined Microsoft nearly three decades ago, was previously a corporate vice president leading the Xbox team. He’ll continue to oversee Xbox-related projects, but his new title is “executive vice president, Gaming at Microsoft.” Spencer will report directly to Nadella.

“In this role, Spencer is accountable for leading Microsoft’s gaming business across all devices and services,” Spencer’s new bio reads. “With his team and game development partners, Spencer continues to push the boundaries of creativity, technical innovation and fun across gaming genres, audiences and devices.”

Microsoft’s gaming arm will continue to share resources with the company’s Windows and Devices Group; there will be no changes to the financial reporting segments.

Spencer was named head of Xbox in March 2014, just after Nadella became CEO, replacing previous leader Marc Whitten. Spencer led the launch of both Xbox One S and Xbox One X and has also helped drive growth for Xbox Live, which now counts 52 million monthly active users.

The promotion, announced today in an email to employees from Nadella, signifies Microsoft’s intention to grow gaming beyond its Xbox business — with Windows 10, esports, Mixer, etc.

In a company-wide memo sent in June, Nadella outlined five core customer solution areas that he wants employees to prioritize. They include modern workplace; business applications; applications and infrastructure; data and AI; and gaming.

Another memo sent to employees by Microsoft executives a few days later detailed a shift in the company’s consumer and commercial businesses; it also noted how gaming is growing across all its device types thanks to the rise of esports, game broadcasting and mixed reality.

Microsoft recently rebranded the Beam streaming service it acquired last year as Mixer and integrated it into Xbox. Mixed reality is also a big area of emphasis for the company, with the HoloLens device and a series of other headsets made by Microsoft partners that are set to debut later this year.

Separately, Microsoft also announced today that its Enterprise Mobility and Security team (EMS) will move from Cloud and Enterprise to the Windows and Devices Group. Its new team name is Enterprise Mobility & Management, which will be led by Brad Anderson, a corporate vice president who previously led EMS.

Phil Spencer Expects PUBG To Be Very Big on Xbox for Many Years; Says He’s Incredibly Happy for Bluehole

PUBG (PLAYERUNKNOWN’s Battlegrounds) is without a doubt the hottest game on the market, setting sales records almost every week since its launch on Steam Early Access.

Just this weekend, PUBG became the top game ever on Steam when it comes to concurrent users with over 1.3 million players logging online at the same time.

With this kind of numbers being pulled off, Microsoft’s agreement with Bluehole to bring the game to Xbox One first this Holiday season definitely feels more important and everyone is starting to wonder whether PUBG can enjoy the same level of success on Microsoft’s console.

Earlier today, Head of Xbox division Phil Spencer said on Twitter that he expects a similar success to bringing Minecraft to console and that PUBG will be “very big” on Xbox for many years to come. He also added in a subsequent tweet that having gotten to know the folks at Bluehole, he’s incredibly happy for them to have this success.

Spencer also chimed in on other Xbox related topics. For example, he commented on Black Desert Online, another Korean made game (by Pearl Abyss) that’s coming to Xbox One later this year, with no official word on a PlayStation 4 port as of yet.

On the topic of upcoming backward compatibility additions, Fable Anniversary should be available soon, according to Spencer, who also regrets that the wishlist feature isn’t available yet in their store and would like to see something like 1v100 again.

He has apparently played a lot of Destiny 2 lately, which prompted a user to ask whether the game will have 4K and/or HDR support on the Xbox One X after all, as nothing has been announced yet. Spencer couldn’t really answer that question but he did say that Microsoft has a great working relationship with Bungie, which sounds promising.



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