Microsoft Tagged Articles RSS Feed | Microsoft RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Xbox Live Gold’s Price Hike Reversal is a Big Win For Players, But Reveals Microsoft's Endgame Sun, 24 Jan 2021 11:58:34 -0500 Henry Stockdale

You’ve likely seen by now that Xbox Live Gold was getting a price hike. Confirming the news on Friday, Microsoft said the move came after a periodic assessment, one meant to examine what value the service offered.

We’re used to seeing small price increases with services like these, but no one expected Microsoft would outright double it, raising an annual subscription from $60 to $120 for almost no increased benefit. Unless you count Microsoft adding an extra game to February’s Games With Gold lineup, which I’m not. Not really.

Understandably, many Xbox Live Gold subscribers and Xbox users, in general, were not happy.

To start with, the timing for the price increase was incredibly poor. We're in a pandemic and many of us are struggling financially. Such a price hike, especially one so considerable, doesn’t sit well — and that's put politely.

It can be argued that there are more important things than video games to consider in times like these, but more people than ever are gaming. It's helped connect friends and families for decades, making online multiplayer one of the few avenues we currently have for social interaction. We shouldn't be expected to spend more money for little gain.

By comparison, the price hike made the PlayStation equivalent of Xbox Live Gold — PlayStation Plus — look more appealing; a PS Plus membership remains at $60 and offers complimentary games every month. That's not to mention some free-to-play titles have always been and remain available to play online without a membership, something Microsoft has perhaps not just considered, but something Microsoft has just now implemented. 

Sure, Microsoft’s move wouldn’t have affected existing 6-month or 12-month subscriptions, but monthly subscribers and new subscribers would have borne the brunt of this increase. At a time when Microsoft only recently launched the Xbox Series X|S  and, again, doing so in a worldwide pandemic  it was an ill-timed, self-defeating move.

To see the company immediately reverse this planned increase so quickly was unexpected. Considering retail cards for Xbox Live Gold carrying the new prices were printed, it doesn’t seem like this was some type of stunt either.

On top of reversing the price hike, Microsoft revealed that free-to-play games would no longer require a Gold membership. It's a huge improvement when you consider games like Fortnite don’t have this type of gatekeeping on PC, Switch, or PlayStation.

So why did Microsoft risk putting themselves at such a disadvantage? It clearly wasn't the need for a quick influx of cash, considering they could afford $7.5 billion for Bethesda last September. 

The goal is clear, as it has been for years, and it all revolves around Game Pass.

Microsoft have made a tremendous push for the games subscription service these last few years, also offering Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass in one package, Game Pass Ultimate, a package that would have remained unaffected by the price increase, staying at $14.99 per month.

By guaranteeing Day-One access to their first-party lineup via Game Pass, any short-term losses are and would be minimized by long-term investment. 

Once players sub to the service, it becomes much easier to persuade them about Game Pass’ enduring value because of its catalog of games. By hiking Gold’s annual pricing to $120, Microsoft could have persuaded more players into joining Game Pass, especially since the monetary gap was to be so small compared to what it had been. 

After all, it's only a little increase, right? What’s $60 for an additional subscription and access to more than 300 games and xCloud access? On paper, it's a shrewd move. In practice, right now, it's something.

The biggest point, though, is this: We’d have had less real choice between services when it comes to Xbox consoles if Microsoft had gone through with the increase, and there wouldn’t have been much way around it.

I’m pleased to see Microsoft have changed their minds here; it's a clear win in the battle against anti-consumer practices. But it shouldn’t have happened at all, and certainly not right now.

Ultimately, it's Microsoft's goal to sign as many people onto Game Pass as possible; with big games like Halo Infinite getting delayed, that's what’s keeping them going. But perhaps there's another way to do it without alienating a large group of the playerbase. 

Update: Microsoft Will Not Increase Prices for Xbox Live Gold Subscriptions Fri, 22 Jan 2021 14:02:10 -0500 Henry Stockdale

Update 1/23/21: Microsoft released a statement today saying that they will not increase subscription prices for Xbox Live Gold. The reversal comes after Microsoft announced yesterday that it would make changes to the price of Xbox Live Gold subscriptions (as seen in the original story below). 

In an update to the original Xbox Wire post announcing the price increase, Microsoft said: 

We messed up today and you were right to let us know. Connecting and playing with friends is a vital part of gaming and we failed to meet the expectations of players who count on it every day. As a result, we have decided not to change Xbox Live Gold pricing.

We’re turning this moment into an opportunity to bring Xbox Live more in line with how we see the player at the center of their experience. For free-to-play games, you will no longer need an Xbox Live Gold membership to play those games on Xbox. We are working hard to deliver this change as soon as possible in the coming months.

If you are an Xbox Live Gold member already, you stay at your current price for renewal. New and existing members can continue to enjoy Xbox Live Gold for the same prices they pay today. In the US, $9.99 for 1-month, $24.99 for 3-months, $39.99 for 6-months and $59.99 for retail 12-months.

Thank you.

Original Story:

Rumors have been circulating since yesterday that Microsoft were planning to increase the cost of Xbox Live Gold. As spotted by VGC, redeemable cards for 6-month memberships at $60 had been found, what amounted to a 50% increase on the original price of $40. Releasing a statement several hours ago, Microsoft have now formally confirmed this price increase is happening. 

The increase won't affect everyone, however, and it appears to mostly affect new subscribers, who now face yearly memberships of $120. Existing subscribers won't be affected, and Microsoft have outlined how this will work:

  • If you’re an existing online 12-month or 6-month Xbox Live Gold member, there’s no price change. If you choose to renew your membership, it will renew at the current price.

  • The price of a 1-month Gold membership is increasing $1 USD and the price of a 3-month membership is increasing $5 USD or the equivalent amount in your local market.

  • If you’d like to upgrade your Gold membership to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate your remaining Gold time will also convert directly to Ultimate (up to 36 months). For example, if you have 11 months of Xbox Live Gold now, and you upgrade to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, those 11 months convert to 11 months of Ultimate at no additional cost.

Likely aware of the backlash this will bring, Microsoft are offering to convert Xbox Live Gold memberships to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate at no additional cost, up to 36 months. 

At the same time, they've also confirmed February's Games With Gold lineup will include five games as opposed to the usual four. Both make a welcome bonus here but seem unlikely to smooth things over in the long run with new adopters. We'll keep you posted on any further developments, so stay tuned to GameSkinny as this situation unfolds.

Xbox Series X Backwards Compatibility Includes "Thousands" of Games Thu, 28 May 2020 13:01:09 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Microsoft revealed some new Xbox Series X details this morning, expanding on what we know about XSX backwards compatibility and how the XSX enhances older games. Some of those involve bringing HDR to older games, doubling the frame rates so they run better than ever, and making cloud saves more accessible.

The news comes from an Xbox Wire post by Xbox Series X Director of Program Management Jason Ronald.

Ronald says the same team that worked on backwards compatibility for the Xbox One is working on the Xbox Series X, and:

With more than 100,000 hours of play testing already completed, thousands of games are already playable on Xbox Series X today, from the biggest blockbusters to cult classics and fan favorites.

Ronald estimates an additional 100,000 hours of playtest time for backwards compatibility before the XSX launches later this year.

All these games will reportedly run better than ever, thanks to the Xbox Series X's custom processor, powerful GPU, and custom Solid State Drive. There's no boost mode or downclocking required, load times will be shorter, and games can hit their maximum framerates with enhanced visual quality.

One reason for all this is a feature the Xbox Advanced Technology Group added to the platform that implements HDR (high dynamic range) in older titles. The Xbox Series X team is also working on features that let players "double the frame rate of a select set of titles from 30fps to 60fps or 60fps to 120fps."

Since this is all handled in the console itself, Ronald says developers don't  have to do anything extra for their games to take advantage of these features.

Finally, Ronald also mentioned the Xbox Series X's quick resume feature, where you can hop between games without closing applications and losing progress, will apply to backwards compatibility games as well.

This news is just the latest in a series of Xbox Series X announcements leading up to Microsoft's big first-party Xbox Series X games reveal in July. When we'll find out what the Xbox Series X price is remains to be seen, though. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Xbox Series X news as it develops.

Microsoft Could Set Low Xbox Series X Price Point to Get Ahead Tue, 12 May 2020 12:39:22 -0400 Josh Broadwell

A recent episode of Geoff Keighley's Bonus Round podcast featured Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter's and former Microsoft VP and EA COO Peter Moore's predictions for the Xbox Series X price. Even though they're only predictions, it's worth taking note because roughly six months out from next-gen console release dates, that's basically all we got.

VG24/7 first picked up on Pachter's and Moore's comments, which follow Bloomberg's recent predictions of the PlayStation 5 price.

Pachter and Moore say Microsoft could undercut Sony by charging $400 for the Xbox Series X, with Pachter also believing Sony will end up around the $500 range for the PS5. Whatever happens, both analysts say Microsoft has the advantage of waiting Sony out with its price decisions.

What both companies are going through right now is "how much can we afford to lose in the first 12 to 18 months? What is our attach rate of software to hardware? ... 'What are we willing to do in year one, two and three to hit 10 million."

According to Moore, Microsoft is in a place to say it can afford to lose a bit. Stock prices are currently high, he says, so the company could easily afford to subsidize the first 10 million console units to get ahead of Sony. That assumes investors are OK with the idea, which could raise some eyebrows and lower stock prices.

But it's all speculation until one side blinks and forces the other's hand. Pachter says it could be November until we finally know one way or the other, which is a timeframe we're inclined to believe since we only know what the PS5 has inside and what the controller looks like. Also, note that November is just a guess here; Pachter and Moore aren't offering inside information related to that tease from earlier, and the PS5 probably isn't coming out any earlier.

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Xbox Series X price news as it develops, and check out the original story on VG24/7 if you're interested.

Inside Xbox: First Look at Xbox Series X Games Thu, 07 May 2020 12:32:38 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Xbox Game Studios just held an Inside Xbox that gave us our first look at a handful of Xbox Series X games. Head of Microsoft Studios Matt Booty took a few moments to address what's going on with Microsoft Studios, reconfirming more news on Xbox Series X first-party titles will be coming in July.

After another lovely glimpse at what we hope is the console's power-on theme, we were reminded all these games are optimized for the XSX. Everything has been captured in-game, so it faithfully represents what we can expect in the final product.

Here's what was shown off. 

Assassin's Creed: Valhalla

The last thing shown during the presentation was perhaps one of the more anticipated titles: Assassin's Creed: Valhalla. As has been mentioned before, AC: Valhalla will support Smart Delivery on the Series X, meaning you'll be able to pick up an Xbox One version and have it upgraded to an XSX version for free should you buy the next-gen system later.

In the gameplay trailer, seen above, we saw churches, longhouses, wild landscapes, and Stonehenge, plus lots of axe throwing. You'll need to raid settlements for support, forge alliances, make tough choices with England's broken kingdoms, and take over fortresses to cement your foothold in England.

Much as we heard from Sony's PlayStation 5 discussion, one big feature of next-gen hardware for games like AC: Valhalla is removing load times and helping players remained immersed in the experience. There's an added bonus of designing worlds without load buffering areas, too.

Though that's about it for what Ubisoft discussed and showed, we're looking forward to learning more in the future.

Yakuza 7

Following Yakuza's roaring entry on Xbox Game Pass, we got our first look at the upcoming Yakuza 7, aka Yakuza: Like a Dragon, and oh boy, was it good. Ichiban's quest for redemption and revenge takes him across a range of environments and a number of huge setpiece fights against yakuza bosses. Somehow, it looks more over-the-top than ever before, and it's set to be an Xbox Series X launch title.

Bright Memory: Infinite

The first game shown was Bright Memory Infinite from Playism. It's a fast and brutal first-person shooter in an Eastern setting. There are guns, armor, swords, strange powers, and super-fast cars in road-rage scenes. Bright Memory Infinite was developed by just one person, built from the ground up. It's the pseudo-sequel to Bright Memory: Episode 1 on PC (Steam). 

Dirt 5

Codemasters' Dirt 5 showed off slick cars and even slicker courses. Absolutely gorgeous environments meet hectic, faced-paced racing antics. It's a Smart Delivery game, too, so it'll be coming to Xbox One as well, complete with a deep story, Troy Baker, and Nolan North. What more could a racing fan ask for? 


Next up was Scorn. It's a Game Pass title set in a strange alien universe. Expect plenty of atmospheric wide shots, probably some body horror, and a decent dose of mystery as you journey to revive the husks of what looks to be your creepy alien comrades.


Deep Silver and Fishlabs showed off another Smart Delivery game: Chorus. It's a sci-fi space shooter centered on the feats of a famous fighter tasked with upholding a civilization — until that civilization decides she hasn't met their expectations.

Madden NFL 21

We knew EA was putting out a new Madden game, and they announced Madden 21 for Xbox Series X during the event. It wasn't so much a feature trailer — that's probably coming during EA Live next month — as it was a look back at how the series has evolved. But we're excited to see what Madden 21 has to offer nonetheless.

It's apparently not a straightforward Smart Delivery title, either. According to a report from The Verge, EA said you'll have to purchase the Xbox One version by December 31st, then upgrade to the Series X version by March 31st, 2021. It's not too surprising, since EA hinted at its own stance on Smart Delivery in its recent investor relations call, a program separate from the Microsoft Smart Delivery plan.

Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines 2

Sarah Bond, head of Xbox Partnerships, broke in to announce Microsoft has hundreds of publishers working on games slated for launch sometime in the console's first year, including big hitters like Capcom, Bethesda, and Bandai Namco.

What we saw first, though, was an incredibly creepy trailer for Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines 2 from Paradox. It's the holidays, and someone's rocking around the Christmas tree — with a bunch of hideous puppets that may or may not have been alive once. Expect plenty of seduction, gang warfare, blood, blood, more blood, and maybe some dances to classic big-band tunes as well.

Call of the Sea

Next up was Call of the Sea from Raw Fury, a colorful mystery game set on a paradise island that's too good to be true. It's about a woman journeying through grief and finding her own identity after losing a partner, while also attempting to uncover what it was that led to his death.

The Ascent

Then we had The Ascent, a dystopian shmup set in a cyberpunk world. Corporate greed runs rampant, and workers are basically slaves. A ragtag band of heroes groups together and tries to bring justice to the world, in a world where justice means basically destroying everything in your path.

The Medium

Another Game Pass title shown off was psychological horror game The Medium. We don't really know what it's all about, but it gives off some strong Rosemary's Baby vibes and is set for a Holiday 2020 release. One thing we do know, though, is that the music comes from Silent Hill composer Yakira Yamaoka and more news is on the way.

Scarlet Nexus

Bandai Namco gave us a first look at another Smart Delivery title, Scarlet Nexus. Set in a futuristic, post-apocalyptic world, you deal with "The Others," which is a race of strange beings only you and your group of Psionic Warriors can fight with psychokinesis. It's sort of like a more anime Astral Chain meets God Eater, and we're really quite fine with that.

Second Extinction: Reclaim Earth

Yet another world-premiere and Smart Delivery game is Second Extinction: Reclaim Earth from Systemic Reaction. Second Delivery is also a post-apocalyptic title, but instead of weird aliens, you fight mutant dinosaurs across a range of beautiful, deadly open environments.


As mentioned, there's a lot more to come both from the Summer Game Fest and Microsoft itself. Stick with GameSkinny for more Xbox Series X and next-gen news as it develops. We'll have more on these games in the future! 

Inside Xbox April 7 Roundup: Everything Announced and Revealed Tue, 07 Apr 2020 20:37:18 -0400 Mark Delaney

The latest edition of Inside Xbox aired today, and if you missed it, fear not. We've got you covered with a roundup of everything that was shown.

After a greeting from Phil Spencer wishing everyone well in the time of COVID-19, the announcements came rapid-fire. With several new Xbox Game Pass titles announced, DLC for some of the year's latest games, as well as deep looks at what's new and upcoming in the suddenly busy Xbox Game Studios space, there's a lot to go over.

Here's everything announced at Inside Xbox for April 7, 2020.

Inside Xbox Roundup April 7: Everything Announced and Revealed

Obsidian's Grounded Gets a Game Preview Launch Date

While we need to keep waiting a few months before we get our hands on the Honey-I-Shrunk-The-Kids-like (that's a genre, right?), Obsidian did drop by the stream to show off the game's story mode, which included several hints of a looming threat besides the ants and spiders that suddenly outsize you in the survival game.   

Obsidian also revealed when players can start digging into the dirt  literally  of Grounded. It hits Xbox Game Preview on July 28. Previously, the Xbox team has hinted that Xbox Insiders will get an even earlier preview too, though if that remains the plan, they didn't touch on it today.

Major Nelson Chats Xbox Series X with Developer Jason Ronald

The tech and spec nerds had their fill once more as Larry Hryb was joined by the Xbox Series X Director of Program Management, Jason Ronald, whose wisdom was said to be as vast as his beard is long, for an in-depth discussion about what all those fancy Xbox Series X specs will mean for games.

Ronald praised features like ray tracing and the solid-state drive while gameplay b-roll showed us the differences in games like Gears 5 and even Minecraft, where you may be surprised how much ray tracing seemed to make a difference.

Major Nelson himself also emphasized that players can bring their existing external hard drives right over to Series X, even as Microsoft would still love if we all bought their proprietary "storage expansion cards" they've made in partnership with Seagate. 

Xbox Game Studios Recap

The foursome of hosts then shifted to briefly reflect on the year so far for Xbox Game Studios, reminding players that Ori and the Will of the Wisps, State of Decay 2: Juggernaut Edition, and Bleeding Edge are all available now and are a part of Xbox Game Pass.

The hosts then showed off some glimpses of what's to come for XGS, including Minecraft Dungeons on May 26 and Forza Street migrating to mobile platforms on May 5. If you missed the earlier reveal, the team also emphasized the free educational content available in Minecraft, which may help in our new age of homeschooling. For the adults in the room, Gears 5 is free to play through April 12.

New to Xbox Game Pass

As always, if Xbox is presenting, you can expect new Game Pass titles to be announced. Inside Xbox introduced several more to both Xbox Game Pass for console and the PC beta. For those playing with mouse and keyboard, you can expect Football Manager 2020, Stranger Things 3: The Game, and Mistover to land "soon." Console subscribers meanwhile will get to play January's Journey to the Savage Planet very soon. It hits the library on April 9. Next week, the comedic metroidvania also gets its first major DLC, titled Hot Garbage

As for games coming to both platforms, there are a few more. Physics playground Human Fall Flat, retro-RPG Alvastia Chronicles, and the next installment of Kiryu's adventure, Yakuza Kiwami all hit Game Pass "soon."

Lastly, for players in South Korea and Japan, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscriptions will soon be available for the first time. Those players can look to sign up beginning one week from today, April 14.

Gears Tactics Deep Dive

Though console players will need to wait until later this year to try Gears Tactics, we're just a few weeks from its April 28 launch on PC. That means it was time to see a lot more of the game, and so we did.

In today's reveal, we got a heavy dose of gameplay, including some Gears touches that keep this from being an XCOM clone (like lancer chainsaw executions, of course).

We also learned more about the story, like that it stars Kait Diaz's father, Gabe, in a story that exists as a "pre-sequel" to borrow a term from Borderlands, taking place between Marcus' original trilogy and The Coalition's revival.

In case you were hoping to learn "five badass things" about Gears Tactics, Xbox has gone and made that video for you. 

New Project xCloud Titles

It's not just Game Pass that grew larger today. The library of free Project xCloud games increased by three courtesy of EA. Players who are streaming via Android or the limited testflight on iOS can now find Unravel 2, The Sims 4, and Dragon Age: Inquisition all available to play right away. 

ID@Xbox Spotlight

More games made their debut during today's stream, including several indies making their world debut or sometimes just their Xbox debut. That includes the Hotline Miami series coming to Xbox for the first time ever as the Hotline Miami Collection. Even better, it's available now.

Other indies that got the spotlight include Atomicrops, which is similar to if Stardew Valley was hit by a nuke and irradiated the farmland, as well as The Last Campfire, the next project from Hello Games. While the former got a gameplay reveal trailer, the latter received a much deeper dive of its own, complete with developer commentary. 

Xbox Game Bar for PC Updates

While not the most exciting news of the afternoon, PC players will enjoy updates to Xbox Game Bar, including full integration from Razer and Split, making playing and especially streaming games to an audience even easier. Major Nelson stressed that while these apps are now built into the Xbox Game Bar, players can run their original apps if they still prefer to do so. While the update is scheduled for later this year, those who want to preview the features can sign up at

Sea of Thieves' Next Major Update

We're never more than a few weeks away from the next huge Sea of Thieves update, so Inside Xbox closed with an expansive look at what's all to come in the second-anniversary update named "Ships of Fortune."

Players have the ability to join trading companies of their choosing as emissaries for brand-new questlines with new cosmetics to unlock. A fifth trading company, the combat-centric Reaper's Bones, now sails the seas too, and across the board, all companies have received new level caps which should entice even the most seasoned Pirate Legends to find their sea legs once again.

Arena mode has been given a major overhaul, making it so combatant ships now fight for a single chest at a time. Players can also revive their allies within a short window of time too. For those who don't mind spending real money on the game's pets, cats finally make their way to the game with the update, joining the already present birds and monkeys. Sorry dog lovers. Keep waiting.

Executive Producer Joe "Three Sheets" Neate tried teasing one more big secret, but he was cut off in a fun scripted moment. Like all updates for the game, Ships of Fortune will be free. It launches on April 22.  

From top to bottom, that's everything Major Nelson and company brought to the unconventional work-from-home Inside Xbox stream for April 7. What are you most looking forward to playing? 

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more on Xbox, its lineup of games, and everything Xbox Series X as it breaks. 

Xbox Series X Release Date Might Be Closer to Thanksgiving Wed, 18 Mar 2020 16:35:04 -0400 Josh Broadwell

We got a lot of PlayStation 5 news today, but games industry personality Geoff Keighley let slip some potential Xbox Series X news as well. Keighly drew attention to the Xbox Series X website for a roughly half-hour window when it showed Microsoft's next-gen console would be launching Thanksgiving 2020, and not holiday 2020 as Microsoft originally stated. 

There was some confusion over whether the information was legitimate at first. The U.S. Microsoft site did show the information, as did a number of others like the U.K. site, the Irish one, and the India site.

After about thirty minutes, though, Keighley was back on Twitter and mentioned his sources said there were no changes to the anticipated Xbox Series X release date.

Not too long after, Xbox's Director of Programming, Larry Hryb, said the information was just an error, and Xbox is committed to a holiday 2020 launch date. 

However, a November Xbox Series X release date would make a lot of sense. Historically, Xbox systems release in November:

  • Xbox launch date: November 15, 2001
  • Xbox 360 launch date: November 22, 2005
  • Xbox One launch date: November 22, 2013

So, despite the reversal, we could very well see the Xbox Series X launch sometime around Thanksgiving 2020 after all.

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more next-gen console news as it develops. Meanwhile, check out what we know about the Xbox Series X so far, including:

Series X Expandable Storage Will Be a Bit Different Than Previous Gens Mon, 16 Mar 2020 17:10:58 -0400 Ty Arthur

More news keeps landing for the upcoming new Xbox Series X console from Microsoft. Outside of the recent reveal of the system's official specs, a surprising development about how players can expand hard drive space.

The Series X comes standard with 1TB of space, although that may not be as much as you think due to the increasing size of new games with larger graphics files.

Although the console may be moving forward several hardware steps, there will also be a blast from the past that may not be great news for everyone. This unexpected reveal comes courtesy of a Digital Foundry deep-dive into the console's hardware from top to bottom.

Users won't be able to use HDDs, SSDs, or microSD cards directly to play Xbox Series X games if you run out of space with the included 1TB drive. Instead, the Series X will utilize custom SSDs with proprietary heat sinks included. In other words: memory cards.

Digital Foundry's video indicates these will be Seagate branded drives.

While we don't have any prices yet, we know that existing 1TB Seagate drives for Xbox One cost between $169 and $214. Certain other NVMe SSDs (which these would be) go for between $75 and $300.

While the Series X contains USB ports, those are included for backwards compatibility to connect Xbox One devices. Users will be able to plug in a USB memory stick and store games, but they will only be able to play backwards compatible Xbox One games from that drive. 

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more info on the release of the Xbox Series X coming soon. 

Full Specs for Xbox Series X Revealed by Microsoft Mon, 16 Mar 2020 16:33:14 -0400 GS_Staff

In a new blog post, Microsoft has revealed the full specifications for its upcoming next-generation console, the Xbox Series X. While the new platform is certainly more powerful than current consoles like the Xbox One, PS4, and Nintendo Switch, its power isn't laser-focused on dramatically improved graphics. 

Instead, the team behind the Xbox Series X is focused on using the system's improved power for a multitude of things alongside better graphics, such as increased performance, more realistic lighting effects via hardware-accelerated raytracing, and faster load times.

We also now know what those expansion ports on the leaked Series X are used for. According to reports, those will be used for external storage cards. 

Here are the full specs per Microsoft: 

CPU 8x Cores @ 3.8 GHz (3.6 GHz w/ SMT) Custom Zen 2 CPU
GPU 12 TFLOPS, 52 CUs @ 1.825 GHz Custom RDNA 2 GPU
Die Size 360.45 mm2
Process 7nm Enhanced
Memory 16 GB GDDR6 w/ 320b bus
Mem. Bandwidth 10GB @ 560 GB/s, 6GB @ 336 GB/s
Internal Storage 1 TB Custom NVME SSD
I/O Throughput 2.4 GB/s (Raw), 4.8 GB/s (Compressed, with custom hardware decompression block)
Expandable Storage 1 TB Expansion Card (matches internal storage exactly)
External Storage USB 3.2 External HDD Support
Optical Drive 4K UHD Blu-Ray Drive
Performance Target 4K @ 60 FPS, Up to 120 FPS

Sebastien Nussbaum, Corporate Vice President and Senior Fellow, Semi-Custom Products and Technologies​ at AMD said in the blog post:

Xbox Series X is the biggest generational leap of SOC [System on a Chip] and API design that we’ve done with Microsoft, and it’s really an honor for AMD to be a trusted Microsoft partner for this endeavor.

The Xbox Series X is going to be a beacon of technical innovation leadership for this console generation and will propagate the innovation throughout the DirectX ecosystem this year and into next year.

One thing Microsoft wanted to prioritize with the Series X was running games at high frames without compromising fidelity. That means the Series X will reportedly be able to run games at 4K 60fps from launch, and it will support up to 120fps, though the post does not clarify at what resolutions. 

The Quick Resume feature we reported on earlier this year was mentioned again, but details remain sparse. We do know that players will be able to switch between "multiple games with the press of a button," but we don't know how many games will be supported at once.

The blog post references "three to four" games, but not whether Quick Resume will support that many. However, game states will be stored on the system's SSD.  

Backwards compatibility was also highlighted again. It doesn't just mean that you'll be able to play Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Xbox games on the Series X. You'll also be able to bring over your saves and progress, as well as use old Xbox accessories with the Series X. The blog post didn't dive into what the latter meant or which accessories might be compatible, but it's sounding like all of them can be used moving forward at this current point in time. 

Specifically, though, the Microsoft blog post says that games from previous generations will see some upgrades with the Series X, "including improved boot and load times, more stable frame rates, higher resolutions and improved image quality."

Smart delivery was also mentioned again but remained relatively light on details. We do know that Gears 5 will join Cyberpunk 2077 as one of the first games to adopt the capability, meaning if you buy Gears 5 on Xbox One, you'll be able to upgrade to the Series X version for free. 

You can read the entire blog post here. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more on the Xbox Series X and next-gen consoles as it breaks. 

Project xCloud Takes Bite Out of iPhone, But It's Currently a Small One Thu, 13 Feb 2020 15:46:43 -0500 GS_Staff

Microsoft's Project xCloud has already been available on Android devices for a few months, but it's just now making its way to Apple devices. The iPhone testing period began today, and it's already full up. 

As of writing, those testing xCloud on iPhone only have access to Halo: The Master Chief Collection. While Android users have access to more than 80 games across multiple genres, Apple's a bit more draconian in its policies, forcing Microsoft to jump through a few extra hoops. 

Unfortunately, you won't see the likes of Borderlands 2, Gears 5, Just Cause 4, or State of Decay 2 on iOS. At least not yet. 

Through a post on the official Microsoft blog, Major Nelson said that "to comply with App Store policies, the preview experience on iOS may look and feel different for those who have been testing on Android." He goes on to outline the differences, including that "the iOS TestFlight preview ... does not include Xbox Console Streaming (Preview) at this time."

Further, the testing client is only available in the United States, the U.K., and Canada. Some 10,000 registrants were chosen to participate in the iOS test, and it appears that Microsoft may cycle out some participants to include new testers as the period moves on. There is no word when that may happen, or when more spaces will open. 

Back in November, we were able to go hands-on with the Android version of Project xCloud, and we were smitten by it. Our Mark Delaney said: 

The dream of next year, playing stuff like Cyberpunk 2077 and Halo Infinite wherever I may be, is coming to fruition — and fast. I'm already starting to feel old when I tell my seven-year-old how good he has it, and how back in my day, handheld games would never look or play like they do now.

While Project xCloud has been steadily expanding, and Nvidia's GeForce Now seems to be impressing in its early days, Google Stadia has faced backlash for its sluggish growth three months after launch. Though our initial thoughts were mostly positive, Google has stumbled in delivering new experiences to the platform, even if it did just announce five new games. 

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more news and info on Project xCloud as it develops. 

Xbox Series X "Bold" Reveal Just the Start of Microsoft's Next-Gen Strategy Tue, 11 Feb 2020 14:21:21 -0500 Josh Broadwell

Xbox Head Phil Spencer recently appeared on an episode of Gamertag Radio, summarized by GameSpot, talking about various Xbox Series X factors, such as its development progress.

Aside from speaking positively about Microsoft's next-gen console, he also mentioned the team is adopting a new strategy for competing with Sony in the next console generation.

That strategy started with the Xbox Series X reveal during 2019's The Game Awards, a reveal method hitherto unprecedented for Xbox. And Spencer wasn't originally convinced it would work.

We made the decision ... the decision was actually really pushed forward by one of our marketing leads, and she's awesome, and she just stood up in a room and she said, "We should go do something bold. Something we've never done before."

Despite his reservations, Spencer was convinced Xbox needed to do something different to stand out again, especially with Sony dominating the market during the current — and soon to be previous — console generation. He recognized it was a big risk since the reveal could have easily flopped, but Xbox won't be afraid of risk in the future.

... every decision we make between now and launch, we're trying to think about things in a different way. Some of them we'll get right. Some of them we won't.

But we're definitely not going to be meek. We're going to bold in what we're trying to go do.

The Xbox Series X is on track for a holiday 2020 release, assuming rumors of hardware manufacturing delays thanks to coronavirus remain rumors. Currently, the Xbox One is manufactured in Shanghai, China. 

While there's still much more to learn about the Series X, we do know that it will be backwards compatible with Xbox 360 and Xbox One games. With Game Pass already making strides to include more and more games available on launch-day for both console and PC, Microsoft is poised to enter next-gen swinging. 

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Xbox Series X news as it develops.

Will VR Come to the Xbox Series X? Phil Spencer Plays Coy Tue, 11 Feb 2020 11:49:03 -0500 Josh Broadwell

Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox, recently appeared on an episode of Gamertag Radio. He spoke about a variety of subjects, including how important virtual reality is for the Xbox Series X and clarifying his previous comments about low VR sales.

Basically, VR isn't incredibly important for Xbox right now, and "if somebody was waiting for us to bring out a VR headset for Series X, at the launch or something, we're not going to do that."

That's mostly because of how challenging it is to successfully implement VR. Spencer said it requires more effort than just plugging in an extra peripheral, and the team's resources are focused on other projects related to the Series X.

One of those is probably the extensive testing Spencer himself is involved in, along with plans for some big marketing changes in the next console generation. On top of that, there's likely a lot in the pipe we don't yet know about. 

Still, this doesn't mean we'll never see VR on Xbox Series X.

"I hope it's something that's so important that it would be a no-brainer for us to go and support it" Spencer told the Gamertag team.

Hopefully, Spencer talking more about the focus on Xbox moving into the next-gen is a sign we'll be getting more information on both the XSX in the near future. We know Sony is planning something soon. 

Whatever the case may be, stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Xbox Series X and next-gen console news as it develops.

Xbox Series X Development "So Far Ahead" of Previous Consoles Tue, 11 Feb 2020 11:18:05 -0500 Josh Broadwell

We've known for a while that Xbox Head Phil Spencer is actually gaming at home on an Xbox Series X system. And now we know why outside of the obvious reasons. 

Spencer was a guest during a recent episode of Gamertag Radio, summarized by GameSpot, and he explained the point of taking home a console early. Apart from enjoying the clear benefits of the improved hardware in the Series X and its increased performance, it's a prime opportunity to test the system and offer valuable feedback to the development team.

The tweet announcing his new home setup was, Spencer said, partly in recognition of the team's stellar work up to this point:

Relative to the Xbox One.... we are so far ahead in terms of when we have take home [consoles] and this thing being in the home.

... the team has just done such incredible work to get us into a position where this far ahead of launch we're actually at home and I can actually use it as a primary console.

It also lets Spencer test the Series X's backwards compatibility.

Microsoft has said the Series X will support all Xbox One titles and the same Xbox 360 titles the Xbox One plays. They aren't all performing quite as expected at this point, but that's no surprise given the Xbox Series X release date isn't until holiday 2020. Still, Spencer says "tons" of them work perfectly already.

Despite improved performance, though, Spencer previously said the goal isn't releasing a number of Xbox Series X exclusive titles right when the system launches. We have an idea of some titles that will end up on the XSX, like Rare's wonder-filled new title Everwild and some Ubisoft promises — but that's about it.

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Xbox Series X news as it develops.

Inside Xbox Coming April 16, Promises Rage 2, Pre-E3 News, and More Thu, 11 Apr 2019 11:36:41 -0400 Josh Broadwell

The next Inside Xbox presentation is set for April 16 at 5 p.m. EDT, according to a new Xbox Wire blog post, and it promises a wealth of new information, along with pre-E3 news.

Xbox Wire Editor-in-Chief, Will Tuttle, says the episode will last an hour.

One of the focal points of the presentation will be the upcoming Anniversary Update for Sea of Thieves, which also features in the "Road to E3" trailer provided with the Xbox Wire blog post.

In an extra bit more Sea of Thieves news, Tuttle mentioned that thanks to high demand from fans, the Ebon Flintlock will be making its way back to the game, though he didn't mention when.

However, he also promised exclusive Rage 2 footage in the upcoming presentation, new details about the game, a look at the Warhammer Chaosbane beta, and "exciting Game Pass news."

On top of that, there will be some backwards compatibility news and additional announcements Tuttle says are being held back for the presentation as well.

Rage 2 is getting a special tie-in with the presentation. Those who watch the Xbox Live presentation via Mixer while logged into their Microsoft account will receive a unique avatar item for the game.

Rage 2 is one of the year's more anticipated titles. It's a follow-up to 2011's Rage, developed by Bethesda. The game divided fans and critics with its seemingly bland presentation and overall lack of content, among other things.

However, early Rage 2 impressions suggest id Software and Avalanche have taken note of those problems and provided a more seamless world full of content — and vehicles.

Those interested in watching the April 16 Inside Xbox livestream can do so in a variety of ways. Along with viewing it on Mixer, it can be seen on Twitter, Facebook, Twitch, and YouTube.

Top 20 best Xbox 360 Backwards Compatible Games (So Far) Thu, 02 Aug 2018 13:33:26 -0400 Joseph Ocasio


Mass Effect 2


It's no secret that the original Mass Effect was one of the best role-playing games of its day. However, it hasn't really aged well. Mass Effect 2, however, has aged like fine wine.


The gunplay is improved over the original, the story is much more action packed, the characters are incredibly developed and complex, and it still has some of the best art design in all of gaming. 


Mass Effect 2 is the reason why I play video games -- and I'm not the only one who feels that way. Mass Effect may be dead, but legends like Mass Effect 2 will always live on.




Was there a game we missed?  If so, leave a comment below and let us know why. With so many games, it's easy for us to miss one or two of them.


Gears of War 3


The original Gears of War reinvented third-person shooters back in 2006, but the last game in the original trilogy was the one that perfected it.


Gears of War 3 takes everything you loved about the original series and pumps it up to 11. With great gunplay, amazing set pieces, and touching moments that will make even the manliest man tear up, Gears of War 3 is the pinnacle of the series. 


Red Dead: Redemption


After GTA IV, Rockstar took somewhat of a left turn, releasing a game that surprised everyone: Red Dead: Redemption.


Implementing the gameplay that made GTA so great, and using a setting such as the Old West, was one of the best idea's the developer has ever had. Along with an improved combat system over GTA IV and a compelling story of betrayal (and an ending that may make you cry), Redemption still remains a fan favorite and we can't wait to get our hands on the upcoming sequel.


Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker HD


With many fans playing Metal Gear Solid 3, a few may have been lost with some of the characters introduced in Metal Gear Solid 5. 


If you aren't familiar with characters like Paz, Kaz, or Huey, MGS: Peace Walker HD will catch you up. Along with the trademark storytelling that the series is known,  this entry in the series was the "blueprints" to what would eventually become MGS 5's excellent gameplay. That alone is worth checking this one out.


Dead Space 2


The original Dead Space was an excellent mixture of Resident Evil 4 and Event Horizon. Combining the backtracking, tension, and gunplay of the former with the ideal location of a spaceship in the middle of nowhere, Dead Space created something special.


The sequel expands upon this by allowing players to explore the blood-drenched floors of the space station, Sprawl. Dead Space 2's narrative may be a bit less interesting than the original, but truly great gameplay, excellent tension, and outstanding production make this a horror classic.


Alan Wake


If you love Steven King or Twin Peaks, then you'll probably love Alan Wake. As the eponymous character, you'll be shoved into a shifting, real-world nightmare as you puzzle out the secrets of an otherworldly town while attempting to rescue your wife from supernatural forces.


Mixing eerie storytelling and a creepy atmosphere (with the unique use of light as a combat mechanic and excellent gunplay), Alan Wake is one of the 360's more under-appreciated games.


Oh, and did I mention you can it for free if you buy Quantum Break?


Assassin's Creed


The original Assassin's Creed help start the open-world trend that many games still attempt to capitalize on, even other franchises that Ubisoft owns. It may feel old when compared to later installments and it can get extremely repetitive, but its core exploration-based gameplay and level design is still strong.


It also has a world that no game has ever been set in and an engaging story that still holds up after all these years. With the series exploring prequels in its latest installments, it's worth going back and seeing where it all began. 


Batman: Arkham Origins


Batman: Arkham Origins gets a bad rap for not doing anything different with the formula that it's predecessors laid out -- and that's true. Despite that, it tells a great Batman/Joker story, has engaging combat, and has some of the best boss fights in any video game.


Arkham Origins may only be available on disk, but it shouldn't be missed for Bat-fans craving more time in the Arkham-verse.


Deus Ex: Human Revolution


After years of hibernation, Deus Ex finally returned with Human Revolution. By allowing players to choose a specific gameplay style (either guns blazing or sneaking about), this excellent RPG managed to capture the original's spirit while not being afraid to try different things.


Human Revolution also managed to tell an intriguing story of government conspiracy and revenge. The sequel may be better in nearly every way, but this adventure is still an unforgettable tale that's worth experiencing. 




Grand Theft Auto's debut on last-gen machines may not be its best installment (the driving is still a pain in the ass), but the changes it made to story and gameplay, as well as the inclusion of multiplayer that's even more addictive than GTA Online, makes this one of the series' best installments.


Nikko's story of revenge still holds a place in many people's hearts, as it is easily the most grounded and relatable story in a GTA game. Top that with the same open world gameplay that's made GTA a household name and you've got yourself a winner.


Beyond Good and Evil HD


Technically an HD version of an Xbox game, Beyond Good and Evil HD still counts as it's the only way to play this classic game on consoles.


Jade's adventure has touched many gamers in the years since the game's release, and it still holds up with its solid mixture of gameplay types. With a sequel currently in development, it's the perfect time to replay this cult classic adventure.


Splinter Cell: Blacklist


After the action focused Conviction, Ubisoft listened to fans and was able to tailor Blacklist to what many players wanted: the ability to choose their own style of play.


By combining the gameplay mechanics and urgency of the previous game and the slower and more methodical style of Chaos Theory, Blacklist was able to cater to both newcomers and long-time veterans of the series.


It's shame that Sam hasn't been around in while, but his recent appearance in Ghost Recon: Wildlands gives us hope for a comeback. 


Hitman Absolution


Hitman Absolution took some risks with the typical gameplay of the long running series. While some changes, like more linear sections, didn't work so well, its change to a more Grindhouse style of storytelling and inclusion of the instinct meter were welcomed.


Absolution also contains some of the series' best kills, such as switching BBQ sauce with Gasoline. It's easily Hitman at it's most cinematic and most accessible -- more so than any title in the series.


Call of Duty: Black Ops 2


There's little doubt that Call of Duty is a defining franchise. But Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 did a lot of different things with the franchise -- and they payed off.


From the ability to make choices that changed the game's story to a futuristic setting and a villain that's actually intimidating, Black Ops 2 made for the best CoD game since the original Modern Warfare.


Not all additions, like Strike Force missions, are winners, but it's still a game that's worth playing. 


Sonic Generations


Probably the last Sonic game both critics and fans can agree on was good (well, except for the recently-released Sonic Mania), Sonic Generations let's players relive some of Sonic's best memories in new ways, while also acting as a great tribute to the entire franchise.


With classic Sonic platforming action and fast paced modern Sonic gameplay, it's still a great title that only has one crime: being too short. 


Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon


Do you love the 80's? Do you love shooting dinosaurs and neon-psychedelic henchmen? Then this version of FC3 just what you've been looking for. You even get to go around shooting baddies with Robocop's gun!


However, the 80's love doesn't stop there. Blood Dragon is so drenched in 80's nostalgia that it's the Ready Player One of video games. It may be short, but Blood Dragon still has the classic Far Cry gameplay, just colored in a retro vibe. And that ain't half-bad.




Another Platinum Games title that many didn't pick up when it was first released, Vanquish has one of the best campaigns in shooter history, an excellent sense of speed, and wonderful slide mechanics that other shooters tried to implement, but did so with varying results.


It may be a little on the short side, but it still works thanks to great gameplay, a wonderful visual aesthetic, and Platinum Games' trademark over-the-top set pieces. Give this one a shot. 




Though it was thought to just be "that game that came with the Halo 3 beta," Crackdown quickly gained a large fallowing thanks to its open-world gameplay, gripping character abilities, and one of the best radio sidekicks of all time.


Thanks to Xbox One X, Crackdown looks and plays even better than before. It can even run at 4K if you have the capability.


Long story short, you'll want to check out this classic Xbox game before it's third installment comes out next year.




Though her heart and sequels may be with Nintendo these days, and her first adventure has started showing a few signs of age, the original Bayonetta still offers plenty of hack and slash action that will please fans of action games and the hack and slash genre.


Bayonetta has some of the craziest boss fights in gaming history, and its battles are fierce (your thumbs will definitely get a workout). If you love character-based action games like Devil May Cry (but crazier), you owe it to yourself to check this one out.


Lost Odyssey


As one of a few JRPGs Microsoft produced to generate interest in the Xbox 360 in Japan, Lost Odyssey is a game that many fans of the genre overlooked.


Created by famed JRPG maker Hironobu Sakaguichi and his team at Mistwalker studios, Lost Odyssey does a lot of things right. While using basic frameworks from other games in the genre, Lost Odyssey still works thanks to its strong characters, excellent art design, and a functional combat system. 


If there's one thing the Xbox One has over the PS4 and Nintendo Switch, it's backwards compatibility. Sure, the PS4 has its streaming service (PlayStation Now) for playing PS3 games, but the relatively high price and often fuzzy visual quality isn't as consumer friendly as people may want it to be. And, of course, the Switch doesn't have Virtual Console, so ... 


Playing old games on your current system without having to pay some kind of Netflix-like membership is a much better alternative -- and it does a better job of helping the medium retain its physical history, too. 


With more than 300 titles currently getting the backwards compatibility treatment on the Xbox, picking only 10 games wasn't good enough. For this list, we're looking at 20 of the best Xbox 360 games you can play on your Xbox One right now.


There are only two caveats. One, the games in question can't be available in the form of a remaster -- so don't expect the Halo series, the original Gears of War, Burnout Paradise, etc) as they can be played on Xbox One with numerous improvements. And two, we're only looking at one game per franchise.


With that said, let's get started.

Is Microsoft About to Buy EA, Valve, or Sega? Mon, 12 Mar 2018 15:00:33 -0400 Andrew Krajewski

Rumors have been circulating for a while now about Microsoft acquiring major publishers and developers to strengthen their exclusives lineup. Furthermore, Microsoft is sitting on a pretty pile of cash (more than $130B) and is inclined towards spending it. Because of this large sum of money, many fans in the gaming community have speculated and expressed hope for the acquisition of a company the size of EA, Valve, or Sega. So let's take a closer look at these companies and make some predictions of our own.


A Mass Effect Andromeda character awaits combat

Currently the company everyone loves to hate, EA is an intriguing option for acquisition. EA could definitely benefit from the good will Xbox has garnered. EA access, which is currently exclusive to Xbox, would be great bundled in with Xbox Game Pass. It would be a good way to grow the audience for the various EA sports games like FIFA and Madden while still providing profits through Ultimate Team, in addition to growing the Game Pass library with AAA games. Microsoft is also bright enough to make sure these sports games aren't made exclusive, but we could still see IPs like Mass Effect or even Anthem have some sort of exclusivity. EA also owns a ton of "dead" IP, especially on PC, that Microsoft could revive in their effort to bring more games to their platforms. It would definitely be exciting to see how EA could change under the Microsoft banner.


This acquisition isn't as realistic as the former, but it still holds intrigue. Valve is a cash cow that any company would be happy to acquire. Gamers are tired of waiting for the next Half-Life or Portal, and Microsoft could provide the extra little push needed to bring forth something. Valve also dabbled in console gaming with the Steam Machine, though it didn't achieve its desired success. With a solid infrastructure like Xbox's, and Microsoft's emphasis on play anywhere titles, Steam could have the hardware it has always wanted. 

Gordon Freeman with the Half-Life logo

I don't see this one happening anytime soon, though. Valve seems perfectly happy with the money it's currently making. Also, all the garbage that clutters up Steam's store would need to be pruned to make Valve's platform more desirable to a company like Microsoft, which does a decent job of keeping its store relatively trash-free.


Sega isn't the biggest moneymaker in the business, but at the right price, Microsoft won't shy away. Sega provides Microsoft with two key assets they are lacking: some clout in the Japanese market, which Microsoft could definitely use, and Sonic. Now, Sonic games are definitely a topic of contention, but Sonic himself is a great mascot, and people care about mascots. Besides Mario, there aren't many mascots as popular as Sonic the Hedgehog; that's definitely worth something. 

It's also worth mentioning that Microsoft considered purchasing Sega in the past before deciding not to. It's understood that the deal didn't go through back then because Sega didn't have the firepower to compete with Sony. Now with the console war climate becoming more amicable, Sega might be a welcome addition to the Microsoft family without the pressure of keeping the platform afloat.

Final Takeaway 

All three of these companies have great IPs and unique qualities that could benefit Microsoft. EA would be fun to see because of the volume of games they produce every year. Sega has a tremendous Legacy, and Valve would bring in a ton of money. While these acquisitions aren't likely, that doesn't mean we can't dream. With the cash Microsoft has on-hand, it'd be nice to see them acquire somebody. 


What are your thoughts? Would you like to see Microsoft acquire these companies?  Who else should Microsoft look into bringing on board? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, and be sure to stick around GameSkinny for more content like this.

9 Xbox One Titles That Should Get X Support Tue, 06 Feb 2018 15:28:05 -0500 Joseph Ocasio


Batman: Arkham Knight


The last of the Arkham Trilogy, Arkham Knight delivered a satisfying conclusion to the series with the same great combat and stealth that the series is known for, the best depiction of Gotham City in any digital form, and the Batmobile for the same added pleasure. That said, it was still prone to slowdown and screen tearing. However, all screen tearing seems to be removed for games while running on Xbox One X. Batman's world may be dark and gloomy, but with the benefits of HDR and 4K resolution, it could look even more spectacular. 




If you have a game that you'd like to see updated for the X that wasn't featured here, leave a comment down below.


Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain


As the last of the original MGS series, Metal Gear Solid 5 went out with a bang. While some fans lament the fact that it was missing an important chapter, it was still an amazing game in both gameplay and open-world design. While a patch was made for PS4 Pro, it did very little. With the power of the Xbox One X, we could, at the very least, see an improvement to resolution, seeing as how it's still locked at 900p on Xbox Consoles. 


Deus Ex: Mankind Divided


Deus Ex continues to have some of the most interesting settings in modern gaming. Its dark, neo-noir world may have borrowed a few things from other noir fiction, but it's distinctly its own creation. Mankind Divided continues this trend, with its unique depiction of Prague. While the 4K and HDR would be nice, it'd be more interesting to see if we could get an option of better frame rate, similar to what we got in Rise of The Tomb Raider. Deus Ex started its life on PC, so it would be interesting if we could get either the visual quality or frame rate to match Mankind Divided's PC version in some way. 


Gears of War: Ultimate Edition


Gears of War 4 already saw a patch for the X that allowed for improved textures and visuals as well as the ability to play at 60FPS, so it makes sense that this graphical remake should receive the same treatment. With its improved cut-scenes, beautiful artwork, and bleak world building, it would be interesting to see one of the most influential games of all time get that same treatment. Gears of War 3 saw an update for Xbox One X, so it would make sense that we'd get to see Marcus and Delta Squad's first adventure in 4K and at 60FPS for the campaign.


Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered


It's still hard to deny how influential the original Modern Warfare was to online gaming. Its tight, close-quarters map design and RPG Perk System helped reign in a new dawn of online shooters. That's not even mentioning its excellent campaign, which features some of the most iconic moments in gaming. Wouldn't you want to see this in 4K? 


It's a bit shocking that Infinite Warfare received an X patch but not Modern Warfare Remastered, especially since MWR was originally locked to an $80 version that had both of them. So, why not do both? MWR already supports PS4 Pro, so it'd be a mistake for it to never get an update on Xbox's newest machine.


Dragon Age: Inquisition


Before Mass Effect Andromeda tarnished Bioware's good reputation (whether you liked it or not), there was still hope when Bioware released Dragon Age: Inquisition. Taking all the feedback that fans had with Dragon Age 2, Bioware created a game that balanced the storytelling and scope of the first Dragon Age with an improved version of the sequel's combat system. Inquisition's gorgeous art design and powerful effects were limited to only 900p on the Xbox One version (though it does run better than the PS4 version), so having it in 4K and HDR would help bring Bioware's last great RPG to life. 


Halo: Reach


Yes, this isn't an Xbox One game, but seeing how Gears of War 3, Fallout 3, Assassin's Creed, and even the original 360 version of Halo 3 have gotten a bump in improvements, it would be interesting to see how Bungie's last and, arguably, best game would look with X enhancements. Better lighting and a steadier frame rate would help this 2011 title stand tall, and with no word on if this title will ever get a remaster, we just have to hope that 343 Industries won't miss out on letting us play this fantastic prequel to the Halo franchise with Xbox One X improvements. 


Grand Theft Auto 5


It's one of the best-selling games of all time, so why wouldn't Rockstar want to put Michael, Franklin, and Trevor in 4K? GTA 5 was already a great-looking game on 360 and PS3 when it first came out, and when it was later ported to current-gen systems in 2014, it looked even better. So imagine how it would look in 4K? GTA 5 on Xbox One has already seen frame-rate improvements on Xbox One X, but it still would be nice to see some improved textures and a better drawing distance. Rockstar may be working on Red Dead 2, but that doesn't mean it can't have any of its other studios working on it. 


Sunset Overdrive


Released only a year after the Xbox One's Launch, Sunset Overdrive sadly didn't live up to the what Microsoft was expecting in terms of sales. That being said, it's still an absolute joy to play, with the same wacky guns and clever humor that Insomniac games has become known for with its Ratchet and Clank series. Even though it only runs at 900p, Sunset Overdrive's colorful, mayhem-filled world exudes so much personality and would benefit even more with a bump in resolution and HDR.


With the arrival of the Xbox One X, games are getting huge updates for Microsoft's powerhouse machine, from looking even better by taking advantage of 4K and HDR to playing better with improved frame rates for each title. Even if you still have an old 1080p TV, it's been proven that games like Halo 5 and Gears of War 4 are benefiting from the higher tech. Third-party titles, like Rise of the Tomb Raider and Dishonored 2, have also been updated with enhancements that make already-great games look and sound better -- and there's more to come. 


With more all that extra horsepower, it'd be interesting to see what other Xbox One titles would benefit from getting this treatment. Here are just 9 games that would be even better by getting an update for the X. 

Preorder Sea of Thieves and Get Your Fair Share of Loot Mon, 22 Jan 2018 15:17:37 -0500 Nicolas Entrabartolo

Yarr, it's time for some premium loot! Sea of Thieves doesn't come out until March 20th, but that shouldn't stop you from looking for exclusive treasure in the meantime. Here is what you should know for a fair chance at loot!

Microsoft is not offering a limited or collector's edition of Sea of Thieves, but you can order a limited-edition Xbox controller, decked out in all the pirate loot you could desire. This controller is to be released separately from the game itself on February 13th this year. But if you do preorder the game, you'll receive exclusive in-game items in the "Black Dog Pack" and access to the closed beta.

Sea of Thieves is a new multiplayer game developed by Rare and produced by Microsoft Studios, taking an action-adventure route to the exploring genre. You'll travel or battle with other players for treasure and booty on the high seas, and you'll command ships, brave perils, and unlock your inner pirate with exploration and tactics.

Sea of Thieves is to be released on PC and Xbox One. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Microsoft and Sea of Thieves news!

Microsoft May Be Making the Xbox Elite Controller Even Better Fri, 19 Jan 2018 12:00:10 -0500 Alberto C.

The Xbox Elite controller that launched in 2015 appears to be undergoing an upgrade after images of the supposed product were leaked through Chinese website Baidu.

The likelihood that such a project is ongoing, about which Microsoft itself has denied to comment, has increased since The Verge dug into the topic. In doing so, they uncovered supporting evidence of the upgrade, including a patent filed by Microsoft in December that appears to match the functionality of the controller itself based on the leaked images.

Claimed innovations associated with the new controller include: a USB-C port, a built-in battery pack, adjustable thumbstick tension, three-level hair trigger locks, Bluetooth support for Windows 10, longer key travel, a quickswitch between three-preset profiles, and more durable grips.

The original Xbox Elite Wireless controller, released in October 2015 and purchasable for $150 USD, included interchangeable thumbsicks, d-pads, programmable paddles, and hair-trigger locks among other features. The controller was then enhanced by the Xbox Accessories App, which allowed for the creation of customizable profiles for different games and also different play styles within the same game itself.

Without any official word from Microsoft itself, the best chance for official confirmation now is to wait until 2018's E3, the expo where the original controller was first announced.

Microsoft Is Bringing Back Fable Thu, 18 Jan 2018 13:53:32 -0500 Nilufer Gadgieva

Two years after the shutdown of Lionhead Studios, Microsoft is bringing back the nostalgic, long-awaited Fable as an Xbox One exclusive. It has designated the task to British developer Playground Games, who was also behind Forza Horizon 3. According to Eurogamer, Microsoft is said to have been inspired by none other than the PS4 exclusive Horizon Zero Dawn, more for its single-player, open-world concept than anything else.

While it's still in early development, with Playground Games having hired more than 200 people to work on the game, it's been said to be an open-world, story-driven RPG. Thus, the hype is growing among fans everywhere.

The Fable series became something of a hit back in 2008, when Microsoft released Fable II through the hard work of Lionhead studios, and it went on to become one of the biggest RPG bestsellers for Xbox 360. Although it had been a rather plot-less, incoherent game, what it lacked in story it made up for with the fantastic world in which players found themselves.

Unfortunately, Lionhead Studios was closed down by Microsoft in 2016, while the developers were knee-deep in Fable Legends and conceptualizing Fable 4. Rumors from Kotaku UK claimed that Microsoft had refused to sell the rights of the franchise to potential big-name investors of the studio, and therefore shut it down, canceling both projects abruptly.

Now it seems Microsoft wants to do some good for the Xbox One community, and what better way to achieve that than by bringing die-hard fans back to the platform to explore Albion once again.