Original Xbox Controller Coming to Xbox One

Xbox co-founder Seamus Blackley has officially confirmed that the original Xbox controller is going to be making a comeback for the Xbox One. Affectionately (and unofficially) nicknamed the Duke, the first ever controlled for the Xbox quickly became legendary among gamers for its sheer size, feeling a little more like a steering wheel than an actual console controller. After its release with the first Xbox back in 2001, the unwieldy and slightly ridiculous controller was slimmed down over the next few years, slowly becoming a much more reasonable size.

It’s time for a little nostalgic game-playing, though, as Xbox co-founder Seamus Blackley has now revealed that the Duke will be making a comeback – presumably in time for the 2017 holiday season. The remake will include a few improvements, of course, but the announcement has been met with some good-natured amusement (and more than a little nostalgia) as gamers remember how cumbersome the Duke really was.

Related: Xbox One X Scorpio Edition: What’s Different Explained

The annoucement came on Blackley’s Twitter, where he posted an image of the controller with the caption “#NewDuke has gone to tooling and is approved by @Xbox THIS IS HAPPENING!” He confirmed in another tweet that there would be some changes to the new model, but it would have “the same old feel,” and also tweeted a video of his mock-up for the new model with the caption: “I can finally show my miserable OLED mockup. #DUKE #XBOXE3 everyone should thank @Hyperkin @XboxP3 @Shpeshal_Ed.”

The new controller is being made by Hyperkin, who also took to Twitter to tell gamers to keep an eye out for pre-orders, although no specific release date has yet been announced. These tweets confirm only that Microsoft has approved the return of the Duke, and that it has gone to tooling.

Xbox fans are left wondering what the unspecified “improvements” are going to be, with the addition of bumpers seeming to be a necessity for many recent games. Other improvements reportedly include a nine-foot breakaway cord, and the fancy new screen was shown off to good effect in Blackley’s video – although this short clip does not show what the full capabilities of this screen will be. The addition of the screen does help explain why anyone would need such a massive controller again, as it will presumably be able to do some pretty cool (and helpful) things for the player. However, there is no doubt that part of the reason the Duke is back is to capitalize on the nostalgia factor, as gamers who originally owned the massive piece of hardware will enjoy feeling like they’ve returned to the early days of Xbox.

The remodeled Duke is predicted to be in stores for the holidays.

Source: GamesRadar

There’s an update hitting the Xbox Insider Alpha Ring, squashing more nasty bugs

Microsoft is issuing an update to the Xbox’s Alpha Ring (and part of the Delta ring) to fix a few bugs.

As we head towards the public launch of the 1710 Xbox One update, Microsoft is working hard to polish the new dashboard and its features on the Xbox Insider Program. This latest build fixes issues with the new USB camera functionality, Games & Apps, and much more.

DETAILS

OS version released: rs3_release_xbox_dev_1710.170920-1900

Available: 6:00PM PDT 9/22 (1:00AM GMT 23/9)

FOR PREVIEW DELTA:

  • This update will be available to a select subset of Preview Delta participants (not all of Preview Delta will receive the update).
  • This update may become available and mandatory to selected Preview Delta participants at different times than those listed above.
  • Not all selected Preview Delta participants will receive the update at the same time.

FIXES:

Games & Apps

  • Fixed an issue which sometimes caused games to crash or fail to launch.
  • Fixed an issue which sometimes caused errors when launching games while downloading in the background.
  • Home Fixed an issue which could sometimes cause the dashboard to load to a black screen when resuming from connected standby.
  • USB Camera Enhanced error messages for USB camera issues.
  • Profile Fixed an issue which prevented scrolling sideways in the Welcome and Social tabs.

Game Hub

  • The focus should no longer get stuck when navigating between tabs in Game Hub. #
  • The tab buttons in Game Hub no longer have a black glow.
  • Light Theme Resolved visual contrast issues in messaging, the entertainment twist, and the Mixer twist.

KNOWN ISSUES:

  • Backgrounds Setting a background from recent achievement art does not function.
  • Blu-Ray Player 3D Blu-Ray content may not correctly play in 3D.
  • Sign-in When using Arabic or Hebrew language and signing in with a profile using the “Lock it down” security preference, the sign-in screen which requests Microsoft account e-mail address and password is distorted. This does not affect the profile if it is set to use the “Ask for my passkey” or “No barriers” security preferences. Workaround: Set the console to use another language, sign-in, and set the profile’s security preference to “Ask for my passkey” or “No barriers”. Alternatively, you can still type in your password as normal using the virtual keyboard though the screen is distorted.
  • Netflix When using Hebrew language, Netflix fails to launch. A fix for this issue will be available soon.

The 1710 update should drop some time around October 2017, as its name suggests. New avatars, game gifting, and more should be on the way in coming builds, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Motorola Has Fallen | The Stute

It’s 2005. Your mother’s Motorola RAZR is state of the art in the world of pink engineering. By 2007, 130 million RAZR phones had been sold. It was featured in Lost, Top Gear, Burn Notice, and other notable TV shows and movies at the time due to its popularity.  Motorola had gained ground on Nokia, the leading phone manufacturer at the time, which meant the landscape was much more diverse than today. Nokia had the largest market share at 35% and Motorola was in second place with 21%. They had momentum to build on.

Then, the unthinkable happened. Apple, which made iPods and computers, released a product no one expected: the iPhone. Existing phone manufacturers were stunned at the level of polish and user friendliness offered by the entirely new experience. Well, maybe they did in private. Publicly, many companies released statements that are now just plain embarrassing. Steve Balmer, the CEO of Microsoft at the time, said “There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share.” The CEO of Nokia said they would not change their thinking or approach. The CEO of Palm said, “We’ve learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone. PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in.”

Motorola stayed quiet and just kept their tears inside, I suppose. They already had smartphones on the market that were being outclassed immediately.  Their first two smartphones came out in 2003, although they were hardly ‘smart.’ The Motorola Q was the smartphone best fit to compete with the iPhone at the time. It ran a terrible Windows mobile operating system and had no touchscreen support. Basically, it was nothing like the iPhone and a poor competitor.

It was two more years until Motorola had a more worthy competitor: the Motorola Droid. The Droid had been made in partnership with Verizon to compete directly with the iPhone. It had a touchscreen and a slide out keyboard to give people the best of both worlds. At least, that was the idea at the time. It ran a very early version of Android that was still not up to par. By this time, Motorola had lost market share all the way down to less than 5%. They had not responded fast enough to the new market pressures put on by Apple.

In early 2011, Motorola split into two separate companies. The first, called Motorola Solutions, kept all the profitable areas of their business, including police technologies, radios, and other commercial needs. Motorola Mobility was the second, and it was strictly their phone business and all its misfortune. By 2012, Motorola held just below 2% market share. They had one good thing going for them though. Google purchased Motorola Mobility and their entire patent portfolio for $ 12.9 billion that year.

Google’s purchase brought some excitement to the fans of Motorola’s Android devices. The Moto X, released in 2014, was one of the best smartphones of the year. Motorola was making competitive devices under Google, but they were not gaining market share. Then, it all fell apart. In late 2014, the remainder of Motorola Mobility was sold off to Lenovo for only 2.91 billion. Google had kept all the patents to itself and dumped the rest.

Present day Motorola Mobility is only kept alive by the ‘Moto by Lenovo’ branding to appeal to western customers. Almost all the staff that were part of Motorola have been let go and the devices Lenovo has been putting out under this branding is underwhelming.  It’s truly disappointing that the stellar devices Motorola was working on in 2014 could not have continued, as a continuation of those devices might have brought them back into the game. Instead, we all watched as they slowly died. Motorola Solutions lives on, but their legendary phones are now just a thing of the past.

Four Halo games now playable on Xbox One via backward compatibility

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Seeing strange fonts on your Xbox One? Here’s why.

Don’t worry, your Xbox One isn’t broken – that mangled text is part of the localization process. Here’s what it means and its use in Xbox development.

Microsoft has recently begun ramping up development on the upcoming fall update for Xbox One, which is set to deliver a wave of new features across the console. Among these changes is a reworked user interface influenced heavily by the company’s “Fluent Design System,” delivering a system-wide overhaul aiming to deliver new texture and depth the experience as a whole.

As the update approaches its final release, a select subset of users can now get hands-on with an in-progress version of the operating system, via the Xbox Insider Program. However, as new features begin to appear, you may have noticed some strange fonts throughout the Xbox One dashboard. And as ugly as they may seem, these play a role in development across the Xbox OS.

What causes strange fonts in Xbox Preview builds?

In Xbox Preview builds, Microsoft adopts a technique known as “pseudo-localization,” to test foreign characters and how they interact with the user interface. By exchanging various characters and symbols for similar counterparts, this allows developers to test how different types of text are displayed and prepare for localization, without going to the effort of translating into multiple languages. Essentially, this is a fake form of translation used in the development process, before actual translations begin.

How pseudo-localization works is relatively straightforward and achieved by finding characters from foreign languages and exchanging them with similar characters in English text. Although its implementation can vary, Microsoft uses a pseudo-localization language that’s relatively easy to read at a glance.

Why use pseudo-localization in Xbox Preview builds?

Although a universal font is used across a majority of the Xbox One OS, due to the nature of different alphabets, variations in text can be expected with different languages. Whereas a new section of the dashboard may look great with a traditional English alphabet, when switching to a language with vastly different characters, the flow of a design can change.

If switching to different alphabets, text can expand and contract, depending on the type and number of characters used. And with the addition of Arabic and Hebrew in the fall update (the first right-to-left languages for the OS) text direction is another factor to consider. All of these can result in drastic changes in vertical and horizontal positioning, which can lead to truncated text and other visual errors to hinder the user experience.

Here’s an example of strings produced through pseudo-localization, similar to those seen as a part of in-progress versions of the Xbox One OS. As shown, text can vary between the two display types, with several different traits to consider.

This is how text may look in an Xbox Preview build, following pseudo-localization

Tћïƨ ïƨ ћôω ƭèжƭ ₥ᥠlôôƙ ïñ áñ Xβôж ÞřèƲïèω βúïℓδ, ƒôℓℓôωïñϱ ƥƨèúδô-ℓôçáℓïƺáƭïôñ

By emulating these changes through pseudo-localization, formatting errors can be quickly spotted and corrected. This helps to find and solve glaring issues earlier in development and prevents potential delays when the true translation process is underway. Furthermore, this can all be tested by an English speaker.

Pseudo-localization also ensures unwanted English text isn’t hard-coded into the source code, to prevent strings from not altering between language switches. This makes it clear that English resources are being loaded due to your language preferences, rather being a fixed aspect of the OS.

When an Xbox update finally rolls out to the public traces of pseudo-localization are removed from the OS. However, as an Xbox Insider, these are one of the several byproducts of development you’ll see in preview builds. With the need to test localization, this is something that can’t be disabled but provides a peek behind the curtain at Xbox development.

For more information on the upcoming Xbox One fall update, make sure to take a look at our complete breakdown of changes so far.

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)

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Microsoft and Sony are collaborating to make the PS4 and Xbox One compatible for ‘Minecraft’

If you own a PlayStation 4 game that’s also on the Xbox One, like
“Overwatch” for instance, there’s no way to play it with your
friends across platforms. The game is more or less identical on
each console, and it’s an online multiplayer game.
You should be able to play it with whoever, on
whatever platform they’re playing it on, but you can’t.

You might be thinking to yourself, “Yes, and it’s always been
that way.” And you’d be right! But just because it’s always been
that way doesn’t make it logical. Microsoft is
attempting to change that standard by making the massively
popular “Minecraft” playable with friends across platforms.


minecraft nintendo switch
“Minecraft” got a major update on Wednesday known as
the “Better Together” update. It unifies all platforms of
“Minecraft,” with the exception of Nintendo Switch (coming this
winter) and PlayStation 4.

Nintendo

And Microsoft is succeeding, sort of. With its “Better Together”
update,
announced earlier this year
and now live, “Minecraft” can be
played with friends who are on mobile devices, Xbox One, PC, and
even VR headsets like Samsung’s Gear VR and Facebook’s Oculus
Rift. 

Notably, two major platforms are missing from that list: Nintendo
Switch and PlayStation 4. 

Incredibly, “Minecraft” on Nintendo Switch will actually be added
to this list “by the end of the year,” Microsoft’s “Minecraft”
lead Matt Booty told us in an interview this week. PlayStation 4
is less certain, but Microsoft is actually working with Sony on
making it happen.

“Sony is a good partner, and they are working with us on this,”
Booty said.

That’s a pretty major change from what we heard earlier this
year.

“You should probably ask them,” Xbox leader Phil Spencer
said in an interview with Business Insider in June
, when
asked about why the PlayStation 4 version doesn’t work with other
platforms. He added, “I don’t mean that to be snippy. We’ve shown
our intent on what we want to go do. And I’d love for ‘Minecraft’
players to get to play ‘Minecraft.'” 


MinecraftMicrosoft

It sounds like, since June, Microsoft and Sony are discussing
making that happen.

“I know that Sony has taken some heat in the press, and they are
working with us on this,” Booty said. “I feel good that we’re
gonna work this out. If we all take the angle that we should do
what’s best for players, that guiding principle will lead us
to the right decision and we’ll work it out.”

Of course, just because “Minecraft” is able to play nice across
platforms doesn’t mean that, say, “Overwatch” is going to
suddenly work across platforms. Booty sees “Minecraft” as helping
to build a foundation for future collaboration.

“The way these things work is that somebody always has to go
first,” he said. “It helps to work out the specifics with a
particular game and figure that out.”

In this case, “Minecraft” is being used as the first attempt to
bridge Xbox One and PlayStation 4 players. In a few years, you
could be playing games like “Call of Duty” or “Battlefield” with
your friends on whatever platform they’re playing the game
on. 

In the meantime, Microsoft and Sony are at least working on that
functionality. The major hurdle of two competing companies simply
getting together and discussing how to make such a thing work has
already been overcome. Now, it’s just a measure of working out
logistics.


Xbox vs PlaystationChristian Petersen/Getty
Images

“Those consoles need to understand how to respect each other’s
settings,” Booty said. “It’s just a matter of figuring out
how to make that work. We want to be really careful that we don’t
just open this and get into a situation, particularly with
‘Minecraft,’ where we’re not respecting all the parental
controls.”

There’s no word on when cross-play between Xbox One and
PlayStation 4 is coming to “Minecraft” — there isn’t even a
guarantee that it’s going to happen — but Booty’s openness about
the process and his passion for making it happen provide some
hope:

“We think that ‘Minecraft’ — given its deeply cross-platform
nature and the wide range of devices where it’s played
— is a great opportunity to figure this out. We’re probably gonna
hit some roadblocks along the way, but if we stick to what’s good
for the player, hopefully we can fix the platform challenges.”

“Hopefully” is right.

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.

As ‘Minecraft’ Better Together rolls out, PlayStation is still a no-show. Here’s why.

The process of unifying all most Minecraft players under a single version of the game has officially begun.

The “Better Together” update is now rolling out to Windows 10, Gear/Oculus VR, Xbox One, and Android/iOS versions of the game. Nintendo’s Switch will join that lineup before the end of 2017. Earlier Mac/Windows-friendly Java versions of the game and the newer 3DS version won’t ever get the update.

Still, there’s a notable absence from this lineup: PlayStation 4.

Sony’s console has been missing from all announcements to date regarding Better Together. It’s not difficult to understand why: Microsoft owns the Minecraft brand, and the PlayStation is in direct competition with Xbox.

Back in 2016, Microsoft took the first step toward enabling cross-console play — something that’s never before been an option — for any game developed to support it. It was a surprise announcement that Sony greeted (publicly, at least) with ambivalence.

Now, Minecraft is about to knock down the walls separating Xbox and Switch players, and Rocket League will offer the same when it launches for Nintendo’s latest console. Sony’s deafening silence on the topic of PlayStation cross-play with Xbox continues, but still… there’s reason to be hopeful.

That’s the position held by Matt Booty, VP of Microsoft Studios, who expressed confidence that Sony would board the Better Together train — eventually — during a recent interview.

“Sony is a good partner and they are working with us on this,” he said. “We would probably like it to happen a little bit sooner, but I feel positive about being able to make this work.”

Booty went on to explain that it’s not a technical hurdle at this point. As many in the gaming space noted earlier this week — including Booty himself — Epic Games’ Fortnite temporarily opened up to PS4/Xbox One cross-play, due to what the studio called a “configuration error.”

For players on the outside, it seems like a no-brainer, right? Just switch the thing on and let people play together. But it’s not quite that simple when you’re talking about two gaming consoles with their own, unique operating system and policies. 

Even something like parental controls, a feature that both consoles share, is wired differently on each platform. Getting all of those systems to play nice, Booty explained, is where the business of it all gets tricky.

“Imagine if somebody is playing on console XYZ and they want to play multiplayer with somebody on an Xbox, those two consoles need to understand how to respect each other’s parental control settings and how to respect each other’s chat filter settings,” he said. 

That’s just one example. There are loads of similar issues that Microsoft and Sony need to work through, from the legal text you see when you boot up the game to the way each machine handles routing for online play. It’s all the “wiring and plumbing” you don’t see, as Booty phrased it.

It’s easy to arch an eyebrow at Sony for its non-committal approach to cross-console play, but to be fair: It was Microsoft that opened the door. And to get this up and running, Sony essentially needs to get on board with the idea of having Xbox Live “wiring” coded into certain PlayStation games.

“Somebody’s always got to go first, and it helps to work out the specifics with an actual game and figure that out,” Booty said, speaking primarily as an agent of Minecraft… but also as an executive at the company that owns both it and the Xbox brand. 

“I think that’s also part of the role of the first-party, is for us to get in there and figure out how to make these things work. And that can lead the way to generalize it to all games across the platform.”

With Sony specifically, Booty took care to point out — several times during our chat, in fact — that the PlayStation gatekeeper isn’t actively working against this process. This isn’t a “console war” in action.

“I think it’s easy to overpolarize this,” he said. “Sony, we’re meeting with them right now. We’ve got ongoing meetings. And I’m pretty confident we’re going to figure out a path to bring the same level of functionality to PlayStation that we have with Nintendo, and I want to be respectful [of Sony’s concerns]. I think the responsibility is on us to sort those out … and be good partners.”

More importantly, Booty added, both companies are looking to a single guiding light as they sort through these problems: You, the player.

“The approach that we take is: what’s going to be right for the players in all this,” he said. “I think that helps us rise above some of the friction that might exist between the various ecosystems.”

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