Microsoft is reportedly prepping a white edition of its Xbox One console for launch this October.
Reports that the company is planning on launching a white console emerged on forum NeoGaf and was subsequently confirmed by The Verge.
According to the reports, it will be the same console that was given to members of the launch team in November 2013.
Microsoft is believed to be prepping the white edition of the console for launch around October alongside the release of Sunset Overdrive.
There is also talk that Microsoft may launch a digital-only version of the Xbox One that comes without a Blu-ray drive.
Microsoft has already confirmed that it may launch a white edition of the Xbox One. When asked on Reddit whether Microsoft would launch a white edition of the console, Microsoft’s Larry “Major Nelson” Hyrb said “maybe waaaay in the future”.
Pictures of the white dev version of the console emerged in July last year ahead of the console’s launch.
The Verge added that in addition to a white version of the console coming in October, Microsoft will also release the first major update to the console in March.
According to the website, the dashboard update will bring a number of fixes to the console and Xbox Live.
Microsoft’s upcoming Xbox One will include a new reputation system that replaces the current star-based rating system on the 360. It will be designed to reward those that just play the game and are good participants while individuals that play against the spirit of the game or harass others will likely end up playing with people similar to them.
In an interview recently published by The Official Xbox Magazine, Microsoft senior product manager Mike Lavin noted the program isn’t based strictly on user-created ratings. Instead, it’ll take into account metrics like how often you are blocked or muted by other players and whether moderators have had to take action against you.
These scores are intended to be public so others will be able to see if you are a good, friendly player or a bad apple. But if you were planning to ruin another user’s reputation purely out of spite, think again.
That’s because the system doesn’t allow for such behavior partially because the score is adjusted over time and also because it actually checks to see if you’ve played against said player before you can complain about their in-game behavior. Users can still file a complaint but it won’t count for nearly as much, we’re told.
Similar systems have been tried in the past elsewhere but not on a network as large as Xbox Live. Whether or not it’ll actually be an effective measure against trolls remains to be seen considering the current star system isn’t very effective.
Unity CEO David Helgason said that the firm’s Windows Store Pro publishing add-on will be free when it is released. This means that developers who already have a Unity Pro 4 licence can port games to the Windows Store and Windows Phone 8 mobile operating system without having to pay an additional licence fee, a cost that is probably being subsidised at least in part by Microsoft, which is becoming more desperate to attract developers to its Windows Phone mobile operating system.
Helgason said, “We also announced that we’re collaborating with Microsoft to develop tools for the Xbox One entertainment system, including support for many next-generation features like enhanced Kinect gestures and recognition, multiplayer matchmaking, Smartglass and cloud stuff.
“Oh, and developers who build games published by Microsoft Studios get the tools for both Xbox 360 and Xbox One free of charge.”
For Microsoft, Unity’s support is key if it wants developers to start taking its Windows Phone mobile operating system seriously. Unity’s support for Xbox One is not much of a surprise, because after all there are only three games consoles and game developers will want to work on an engine that supports most if not all of the consoles in order to keep costs down.
Someone who claims to be a Microsoft engineer has chosen Pastebin to express his outrage against the Redmond giant’s inability to explain to consumers how the always online model of the Xbox One could have benefited them.
The angst filled note comes a day after Microsoft took a U-turn by backing off plans for the Xbox One consoles to require Internet connections and put restrictions on playing second-hand disk games after wide spread outrage among the media and gaming community and the good response to PlayStation 4 pre bookings that does not have any such restrictions.
The engineer acknowledges backlash amongst game publishers and says that the used gaming industry was killing game developers whose only source of revenue was from game buyers.
He then talks about the Family Sharing feature of the Xbox One that has now been removed after Microsoft announced a change in its policies.
The Family Sharing feature enabled Xbox One owners to share game libraries with anyone they deemed to be family, no matter where they were located. He also gives details that were not previously revealed by Microsoft.
According to the engineer, Family Sharing would only let family members access a “demo mode” of the game for between 15 mins and 45 mins, and in some cases an hour, after which it would stop and the user would be asked to purchase the full game.
He also added that Microsoft was thinking of limiting the number of times Family Sharing could be accessed for each game till it was purchased. He says that it would have generated revenue for developers and allow users to retain their progress in the game. He does mention that the feature might still be implemented at least for digitally downloaded games.
The engineer goes on to talk about another feature that Microsoft didn’t speak about, mentioning that the company was building a ‘natural social network’ with Xbox One, so that gamers could post their high scores, show off their best Game DVR moments, share what they’ve watched via Xbox TV and leave messages for others to read and respond through their account’s “home space” to without the need to use their laptops/ tablets or keyboard add-ons.
The engineer suggests that the Kinect 2.0 and Xbox One voice to text capabilities would be utilised for communication and though the network would be independent of Facebook or Twitter, there would be integration with the services. He reiterates Microsoft’s message that people who don’t prefer new add ons that make the Xbox One an entertainment consumption device should probably be happy with the Xbox 360.
Microsoft is prepared to lower the price of the Xbox One, but only if it falls behind in the race with the PS4.
That’s the opinion of Wedbush analyst Michael Patcher.
However, he doubts that it will be necessary, especially since the u-turn on its DRM policies for the Xbox One.
Speaking to investors, he said that he believes Microsoft could still emerge out on top of the next generation, despite the false start.
“Microsoft intends to offer a more robust hardware bundle than Sony will offer, and Microsoft is convinced that consumers will ultimately appreciate the value proposition presented by Kinect,” Pachter told investors.
“Microsoft has not done a particularly good job of communicating the value proposition to consumers, but today’s announcement will remove an impediment to the company’s ability to get its message across.
“We are confident that with six months of focused messaging, Microsoft can fully level the playing field with Sony, and we expect the Xbox One to sell as many units as the PS4.
However, should he be wrong and Microsoft fails to sell as well, if not better than the PS4, he fully expects the company will lower the price of the Xbox One.
“If we are wrong, we think that Microsoft is prepared to lower price next year.”
“After a one-time system set-up with a new Xbox One,” Xbox executive Don Mattrick wrote in a blog post, “you can play any disc based game without ever connecting online again. There is no 24 hour connection requirement and you can take your Xbox One anywhere you want and play your games, just like on Xbox 360.” Mattrick added that Xbox One would be region-free; any Xbox One disc would function in any Xbox One console.
Additionally, Mattrick wrote, players will be able to “trade-in, lend, resell, gift, and rent disc based games just like you do today. There will be no limitations to using and sharing games, it will work just as it does today on Xbox 360.”
This will come at a small cost — despite previous announcements, Xbox One will require that discs remain in the tray in order to play games, and players will be unable to share downloaded games. In other words, it’ll work exactly like the Xbox 360 — for better and for worse.
Before today’s announcement, things were looking bad for Microsoft. Scores of memes mocking the Xbox One were made. Public consumer polls put the PlayStation 4 ahead of the Xbox One by a wide margin. The Navy Times called the Xbox “a sin against all service members,” arguing that the console’s restrictive online policies were “a ‘showstopper’ for any service members who rely on their Xbox for off-duty diversions downrange, in the field, or at sea.”
The company had also planned a complicated license-transfer scheme that would allow Xbox One users to trade in games at approved retailers, but which would prevent them from simply allowing a friend to borrow the disc, also putting the kibosh on game rentals.
PS4 boss Shuhei Yoshida says the PlayStation‘s renewed focus on independent developers is a reaction to the industry’s widespread conservatism
Shuhei Yoshida, PS4 games boss and star of Sony‘s Xbox-teasing ‘sharing’ YouTube viral, says the PlayStation’s renewed focus on independent developers is a reaction to the industry’s widespread conservatism.
“We see big companies being more conservative, not providing fresh and exciting enough content any more,” Yoshida-san, president of Sony’s Worldwide Studios, told T3,
“It’s the small guys coming up with amazing stuff and pushing the industry forward. Last year was really the year of the indies, with Journey and The Walking Dead sweeping the awards. We wanted to make the PS4 platform easier for them to self-publish.”
Xbox One will not support self-publishing at launch and requires all developers to partner with a publisher to get a game to market. This has provoked anger among many self-financing game creators, with Oddworld Inhabitants boss Lorne Lanning declaring them “out of touch with their audience” to Eurogamer.
“It’s important to us that independent developers get monetised and recognised,” Yoshida-san continued to T3. “Many of them are not students but veterans who used to work in large studios and want to make something for themselves. It’s a big focus for us.”
The man in charge of game development at PlayStation has become something of an internet star, not just with the cheeky pot shot at Microsoft’s new DRM plans – released as soon as the PS4’s £349 price was announced – but also on Twitter.
Yoshida-san (@yosp) regularly engages with gamers and took to the social network after the PS4 keynote to further explain his firm’s policies and tech specifications. Yet the internet’s ire has not ignored even the much-liked president entirely.
“Oh yes, that’s happened a couple of times, too,” he told T3. “Sometimes people are really harsh. Many use Twitter with anonymous names, creating accounts to attack people. If you look like an enemy to those people, they attack, so it’s best not to engage. I learnt some lessons there.”