Titanfall Release Date Announced: March 11, 2014

The official Titanfall announcement is below. The $249 collector’s edition seems like a ridiculous amount, but for folks who are into badass statues, I guess it’s a bargain?


We are happy to announce that Titanfall will be landing on store shelves for Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PC beginning March 11, 2014 in North America and beginning March 13, 2014 in Europe.

Electronic Arts announced today that Titanfall™, the debut game from acclaimed independent videogame developer Respawn Entertainment, will be landing on store shelves beginning March 11, 2014. Already the winner of more than 80 coveted awards from critics around the world, Titanfall is winning over fans with its thrilling, dynamic first-person action gameplay featuring elite assault pilots and agile, heavily-armored, 24-foot titans. Crafted by one of the co-creators of Call of Duty and other key designers behind the Call of Duty franchise, Titanfall delivers a brand-new online experience that combines fluid, fast-paced multiplayer action with heroic, set-piece moments found in traditional campaign modes.

“Since we revealed the game in June we’ve been absolutely blown away by the reaction to Titanfall,” said Vince Zampella, a Co-Creator of Call of Duty and Co-Founder of Respawn Entertainment. “The feedback we’re getting from fans around the world is fueling our team as we head towards March and motivating us to deliver an experience that lives up to the hype.”

In addition to the standard edition of the game, the Titanfall: Collector’s Edition (SRP $249.99), will include an exclusive collectible 18” hand-crafted titan statue with diorama and battery-powered LED lighting, a full-size art book featuring more than 190 pages of rare concept art, and an exclusive full-size schematic poster of the Atlas titan.

Set in the near future on a distant frontier torn apart by war, Titanfall drops players in the middle of a conflict between the Interstellar Manufacturing Corporation (IMC) and the Militia. The action is rapid and varied – featuring parkour-style wall running, massive double jumps and the ability to hijack titans. The freedom to shift back and forth between pilot and titan allows players to change tactics on the fly, attacking or escaping depending on the situation and extending the action vertically to new heights.

Titanfall will be available for the Xbox One all-in-one gaming and entertainment system from Microsoft, PC and Xbox 360 videogame and entertainment system on March 11, 2014 in North America, and beginning March 13, 2014 in Europe. Join the conversation on Twitter® at twitter.com/titanfallgame and #Titanfall, or on Facebook® at facebook.com/titanfallgame.

The Seven Biggest Upcoming Console MMOs (IGN.com)

I get that MMOs want to extend their reach to add console gamers. For real MMOs (especially MMORPGs), that market segment is virtually untapped. However, I don’t see consoles replacing my mouse+keyboard experience. FFXIV:ARR is a good example of that, especially when looking at tanks. Almost all of the tanks that struggle with positioning that I’ve run with have been console gamers (or just new to the dungeon).

For MMOs like Defiance and those that offer first person views, the overall game would probably be similar between consoles and PCs, but communication will always be substantially behind on consoles and only a small percentage of gamers are using Ventrilo, RaidCall, or other VoIP software.
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As long as video game consoles have had internet connections, enterprising studios have been creating massively multiplayer games for them. Early notable efforts include Sega’s Phantasy Star Online in 2001 and Everquest Online Adventures in 2003.

Still, despite these groundbreaking games, there’s no denying that for most MMO experiences, PC gaming has always been where it’s at. Until now, at least.

Sony’s Playstation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One are more PC-like than ever, and now talented AAA console development teams are finally wrapping their heads around how to create persistent online worlds and long-term character growth. As a result, next-gen might be the era that console MMOs finally come into their own. Below are the hottest console MMOs, both launched and upcoming, that you should be sure to keep on your radar.

Note: It’s still up in the air whether some of these titles will truly feel like traditional MMO experiences when they launch. The lines are blurring. Massive battles with hundreds of concurrent players might not constitute an MMO if the world isn’t persistent. A persistent world might not be an MMO if you can only explore it with small, controlled groups. However you define an MMO, these games are all, at the least, MMO-like experiences worth your hype and attention.

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn

PC, PS3, PS4
After a notoriously poor launch, Square-Enix doubled down on FF XIV, relaunching the game a full three years later, to critical and commercial success. It’s arguably one of the biggest turnaround stories in video game history.

Somewhat lost in all the headlines was the “small” detail that the relaunched game released not just for Windows, but on Playstation 3 as well, with a Playstion 4 version coming in 2014. The console version is fully playable with just a controller thanks to a completely revamped UI, or players can just plug a keyboard and mouse. FF XIV is the highest-profile MMORPG currently available on consoles and is an easy recommendation for console gamers.

DC Universe Online

PC, PS3, PS4
DCUO launched on PC and PS3 in 2011 to so-so reviews and managed to amass only a modest player base. But Sony Online Entertainment stuck it out, continuing to gradually improve and expand on the superhero MMO. The game gained notable momentum after switching to a freemium business model 10 months after launch.

The game makes excellent use of the DC universe via top-notch voice acting, an active, ever-expanding story, and hundreds of famous and not-so-famous characters and locations from the DC Universe. DCUO is tuned to get players to the level cap and into endgame content as fast as possible, making it a great MMO for superhero nerds to download and try out.

Planetside 2

PC, PS4
Sony Online Entertainment’s massive PC FPS hit Planetside 2 is due out on the PS4 later this year. Many were skeptical about Planetside 2’s massive scale and free-to-play model, but after trying it out for themselves, most came away believers. The payment model never gets in the way, and vehicular and on-foot warfare is always raging, with thousands of players all vying for territory control at once. Thanks to a solid class system and a steady stream of unlockables, Planetside 2 should have something for everyone when it hits PS4.

Destiny

PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
For how much we know about Halo developer Bungie’s ridiculously ambitious “persistent world shooter” Destiny, there’s an awful lot we still don’t know. Bungie itself has refrained from actually calling the game an MMO, for starters. Instead, the game provides players with a feeling of constant connection via seamless matchmaking that all happens in the background, with other players entering and exiting your game world on-the-fly.

Destiny’s emphasis on dynamic world events and “loot drops” also contributes to its MMO feel. Players will be able to socket and customize their weapons with powerful items dropped from foes. Dynamic events will help keep the world of Destiny fresh and keep players on their toes. We’ll have to wait until 2014 to find out just how MMO-likeDestiny truly ends up feeling.

The Division

PS4, Xbox One, PC
When a man-made pandemic collapses civilization, ruthless gangs vie for power in the ruins of New York. Sounds like a good setting for an MMORPG to us! Like Destiny, at this point we still aren’t sure how genuinely MMO-like Ubisoft’s dystopian FPS/RPG hybrid The Division truly is. But what has been revealed looks extremely promising.

Players are plunked into The Division’s unforgiving game world with three days’ worth of food and supplies. From there it’s up for you to explore and scavenge what you need, leveling up your character RPG-style along the way. Although solo play is an option, The Division includes extensive options for player-run clans and groups as well as drop-in/drop-out multiplayer, encouraging and rewarding players who team up and work together to tame its persistent, dynamic online world.

The Crew

PC, PS4, Xbox One
Like Destiny and The Division, just how MMO-like Ubisoft’s persistent world racing gameThe Crew truly is still isn’t known. But what we’ve seen so far is extremely promising. The arcade-style racing action takes place across the entire United States. A condensed version of it, sure… but still. Racing from Seattle to Miami in a seamless online/offline game world filled with hundreds of racing challenges? Yes, please!

The game will seamlessly and constantly fill your game world with hundreds of other real world players, giving the game its “MMO” label. You can party up to compete in races or cooperative events like taking down a single superpowered opponent. Yes, almost like a raid.

Elder Scrolls Online

PC, Mac, PS4, Xbox One
Elder Scrolls Online, in development for six years, is finally nearing its 2014 release window. Set 1000 years before the events of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the game’s major claim to fame is that it takes place across the entire continent of Tamriel. Not just a single country or region like all the other modern single player Elder Scrolls games.

Early impressions were mixed, wih many describing the game as a World of Warcraft clone set in the Elder Scrolls universe. While that’s still a plenty exciting concept on its own, many gamers wanted more. Thankfully, Zenimax Online listened. The game now has a first-person mode, a new Skyrim-like UI, further refined storytelling and plenty more tweaks that truly allow the game to feel like Skyrim with (thousands) of friends.

Plenty more!

The seven games above aren’t the only ones to keep in mind, but they’re probably the highest profile console MMOs in the works. Other upcoming console MMOs include:

War Thunder: A freemium flight sim MMO that’s been making waves on Steam. Due out for PS3 and PS4 in November. Watch the gameplay.

Warhammer 40K: Eternal Crusade: Not due out until 2015, this MMO based on the classic sci-fi license is slated for release on PC and both Xbox One and PS4. Read the news.

World of Tanks: Wargaming.net’s notorious PVP-heavy tank combat game has been available on Xbox 360 since this summer. Read the news.

Phantasy Star Online 2: Sega’s PSO sequel is out now on PC and Vita… in Japan. A US release date hasn’t yet been announced. US Release News?

Dragon Quest X: Like PSO 2, Square Enix’s Dragon Quest MMO hit Wii and Wii U in Japan last year to critical acclaim. But a US release is still up in the air. Watch the epic trailer.

Xbox One to Ship With Faster CPU (GeekWire.com)

Not exactly a shocker here, but Xbox’s CMO announced that the Xbox Ones in full production are going to ship with faster processors. Any publicity is good publicity, right? Feels a bit cheesy and gimmicky that they’re doing this. After all, every game for the Xbox One was developed using the original ~10% less powerful CPU.

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Xbox One now in full production with improved CPU performance

xboxSo far, so good for the Xbox One.

Xbox chief marketing officer Yusef Mehdi just spoke at the Citi Global Technology Conference and said Microsoft is now in full production for the Xbox One and producing in mass with plans still on for a November 2013 launch.

About one month after improving the GPU clock speed, Mehdi added that Microsoft just made another technical boost by upgrading the CPU performance to 1.75 GHZ from 1.6 GHZ.

Mehdi wouldn’t reveal a launch date — the PlayStation 4 comes out Nov. 15 — but did say that the system is “really going to shine.”

“This will be the biggest launch we’ve ever done by a wide margin in terms of units shipped at launch,” Mehdi said.

Mehdi also had some interesting insights on the Xbox One policy reversals, the $499 price point and how the Xbox business will change with Microsoft’s big re-organization. Stay tuned for more.

Gamescom 2013: Live Streams and Product Announcements

Much like with other gamer and tech conferences around the world, Gamescom has tens of thousands of participants, all clamoring to play test their favorite upcoming games, see new tech, and be clued in on the latest product announcements from companies such as Microsoft, EA, and Sony.

Here are a few of of the livestream sites available to participate (in a long distance kinda way) in Cologne, Germany’s gamer fest, along with VG 24/7’s laundry list of what’s what and who’s who for Gamescom 2013.

Sony’s PS4 @ Gamescom

Engadget’s Coverage

IGN’s EA and Sony Coverage

EA’s Live Coverage

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It’s that time of year again, when the gaming press descends on Cologne to check out the biggest games the industry has to offer and ruin their colons with meat. Pat, Sam and I will be there all of next week to play the games, attend the showcases and speak with the developers.

To re-cap everything that we’ll be seeing at the show, I’ve compiled this handy guide to make sure you don’t miss a conference or title. (Note: we will be hosting Sony and EA’s streams in separate pages on the big day, so be sure to check back Tuesday!)

First up…

The conferences:

EA: Tuesday, August 20 – 3pm UK / 4pm Europe / 7am Pacific

We know that EA is bringing at least Titanfall, Battlefield 4, Need for Speed: The Rivals, FIFA 14 and Command & Conquer to gamescom following the publisher’s blog on the matter.

The publisher has made a bit of noise about The Sims 4, which it said will be revealed in full at gamescom, and our money is on an appearance during the EA conference itself.

We’re also expecting to hear more about Dragon Age: Inquisition at the show following its big reveal in this month’s issue of Game Informer, but we’ll find out at the show.

Sony: Tuesday, August 20 – 6pm UK / 7pm Europe / 10am Pacific

Sony has already confirmed that its gamescom event will focus on PS4, and we’re hoping to hear a solid release date for the console during the show. UPDATE: Looks like that will happen, yes.

There’s also the little matter of this rumoured PS4 and PS Vita bundle that may or may not make an appearance. Steph and I recently called round some retailers to ask if it was a real bundle and they had no clue what we were talking about, so it seems unlikely.

It seems likely that games like Killzone: Shadow Fall, inFamous: Second Son, Driveclub, The Order: 1886 will be there in some form although we can’t say for certain yet. We’re still waiting for that LittleBigPlanet 3 announcement too.

Who and what?

Microsoft: Xbox One will be the company’s big focus at gamescom and if rumours are to be believed Microsoft’s presence will yield at least one new game announcement. Gamers seem to think it’s either Crackdown 3 or Fable 4. Truth be told we have no idea yet.

Crackdown’s agility orb logo was spotted during Microsoft’s Xbox One reveal back in May and Phil Spencer has been harping on about it a lot lately. Could this be the elusive, mystery game?

Microsoft’s stance on self-publishing was also pegged for discussion during gamescom before details on the reversal were leaked ahead of time. Microsoft’s Marc Whitten confirmed that the company would issue more details on the policy in Cologne.

Were also hoping to hear more on the Xbox One release dates, which may or may not go down at some point during gamescom. With the console out before year’s end and a TGS announcement unlikely, this is the best place for Microsoft to drop a date on us.

Game-wise we’re hoping for Dead Rising 3, Kinect Sports: Rivals, Project Spark, Forza Motorsport 5, Ryse: Son of Rome, Killer Instinct and more, but we’ll have to wait for the gamescom’s doors to open to find out more.

Nintendo: The Japanese giant makes its return to gamescom this year with a suite of Wii U and 3DS titles on the public show floor. On Wii U Nintendo will bring, “Pikmin 3, The Wonderful 101, The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD, Sonic Lost World, Wii Party U, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Super Mario 3D World, Wii Karaoke U, Mario Kart 8.

On 3DS Nintendo will be giving fans a chance to play Pokémon X and Pokémon Y, Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy and The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. It’s a strong showing from the company which is something of a bounce-back after last year’s no-show.

Ubisoft: While the company isn’t holding its usual conference at gamescom this year, it is promising to bring a new next-gen IP to the show. Current rumours suggest it’s Child of Light by Ubisoft Montreal. There’s also these Fighter Within domain registrations to consider.

Seeing as the publisher isn’t holding its own pre-show event, you can expect this reveal to go down at Sony’s conference. We’re none the wiser on what it is, although we can also expect showings from Watch Dogs, Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag and The Crew.

Square Enix: Final Fantasy is a big focus for Square this year. The company recently spilled details of its Gamescom 2013 showing, which will give the public plenty of hands-on and demo sessions to look forward to.

We know that Thief, Murdered: Soul Suspect, Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn, Final Fantasy X & X-2 HD Remaster, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy 13, Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX and Deus Ex: The Fall will be there. There’s no word on Final Fantasy 15 however.

Activison: Blizzard has confirmed it will announce something to do with Diablo 3 at the show, which we’re going to guess will be news on the first expansion or something about the PS4 build.

We’re also expecting to hear more about Call of Duty: Ghosts multiplayer following its big August 14 reveal and of course we’re hoping to get another glimpse of Destiny on the show floor.

Konami: Sorry Metal Gear Solid 5 fans, only Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 and PES 2014 are playable at this year’s gamescom, but that’s still something to get excited for.

Bethesda: The company has confirmed that The Elder Scrolls Online will be playable at gamescom and we wouldn’t be overly-surprised if Wolfenstein: The New Order and The Evil Within were to rear their heads at some point too.

Deep Silver: The publisher will bring it’s newly-announced MOBA Dead Island: Epidemic to Cologne, and Wasteland 2 developer inXile has confirmed it will bring the game to the show floor.

Other games we’re hoping will be at the show, but haven’t been confirmed at the time of writing:

  • Batman: Arkham Origins
  • Eve Online
  • Dark Souls 2
  • Dust 514
  • Half-Life 3 (totes jokes yo)
  • Hawken
  • Hotline Miami 2
  • Payday 2
  • Mad Max
  • Space Hulk
  • Star Citizen
  • War of the Vikings
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
  • World of Tanks Xbox 360
  • WWE 14

No-shows:

  • Capcom

Elder Scrolls Online: Ask Us Anything at QuakeCon 2013

Although the big reveal at QuakeCon 2013 for me was the 30-minute solo and group dungeon play over on Twitch, ESO also has a nice “Ask Us Anything” from the event that covers death penalties, “mob glow”, LFG tool, teleporting to friends, and a couple lore questions.

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Last week’s live gameplay stream at QuakeCon created a lot of excitement—and plenty of new questions about The Elder Scrolls Online. Check out our answers to some of them here.

We had lots of fun presenting our very first gameplay stream last week, which included a dungeon run and a close look at ESO’s combat. If you missed it, you can still enjoy the full replay. After the stream, you had lots of new questions, and we’ve selected some to answer right here. Are you wondering about something in ESO? Send us an email atcommunity@elderscrollsonline.com and we may feature your question in an upcoming Ask Us Anything. Enjoy!

Which level were the monsters in the QuakeCon stream compared to the characters? I saw them cutting through their enemies quite easily, but the health bars went up and down a lot. Did some monsters hit that hard and is healing that effective, or did your characters have that little health? – By Andrew Markton

Fungal Grotto is a level 12 – 15 dungeon. I believe we had two level 13 characters and two level 16 characters in our party during the stream. Since players can put points into health, magicka, or stamina, it’s likely that some characters’ health totals were lower than others. However, what you saw is a pretty good indication of health fluctuation and the need to heal when taking on a dungeon.

Will there be an option to turn off the glow around enemies? – By Nate Collins

Yes, you will be able to turn it off. I will say that the glow is much more apparent when you’re watching than it is when you’re playing. It’s very effective at helping with target selection, and you may find it useful in some situations, but it’s up to you whether to enable it.

You said that my armor will degrade when I die. Can I repair it, or do I have to pay an NPC? – By Jen Hauser

We have repair kits for repairs in the field, and you can visit an NPC to have all of your gear repaired.

I noticed the compass in the stream. Does it replace the mini-map or is it another option? If it does replace it, will it show more than points of interest, like guild and group members or enemies? – By Karen Tengart

The compass will replace the mini-map. Actually, this is a good example of how we use information from our beta tests. When we had a mini-map, we noticed many testers felt like they should just follow quest markers, and they were less inclined to explore. This ran counter to our intent of being a game that emphasizes exploration. When we introduced the compass, players became much more likely to explore and less likely to just “follow the quests.”

As for putting group members on the compass, we’re trying to avoid having too much clutter on the compass. We do have in-world indicators for group members, though, which are proving to be very effective.

When a class says nothing about the playstyle of another player, how will the dungeon finder still allow me to look for healing or damaged focused players? – By Tommy Reed

Players will pick the role they think they can best perform when they sign up to find a group.

So many mudcrabs—where did they all come from? I am confused. – By John Raighley

Only Lorkhan knows, and his secrets died with him.

How much of the footage and animation we saw on Twitch is finalized? – By Tom Gregor

We’re polishing everything in the game, and that will continue as we head towards launch. First-person mode, which you saw quite a bit of in the video, is one of our more recent additions, and you can expect to see improvements to it as we continue development.

Will the transportation system—and especially porting to group mates—work in PvP, too? If so, how many “safe” locations are in Cyrodiil? – By Pete Jameston

The fast-travel system is very different in Cyrodiil. We don’t want to have battles where each side can instantly transport in reinforcements, assuring no clear winner. You will be able to fast travel to points clearly secured by your alliance. That said, with the size of Cyrodiil, I will say that mounts are a pretty good thing to have.

Is the instanced loot random for one person or will everyone receive the same item / crafting component / amount of gold? – By Jean Despar

Instanced loot is random per person.

Can you explain the equipment and skills from the gameplay stream a bit more? Which armor did he wear? Which skills did he use? – By Mira Yump

Nick was playing a ranged DPS Templar for most of the session. He was in a combination of light and medium armor, going for protection and an increase in the efficacy of his magic use. His alternate weapon set was dual-wielding. Nick was able to heal himself and the group as sort of a backup healer, even though he only put one or two skill points in his healing line. The spear you saw and “light” abilities are signature abilities of the Templar. The spear knocks enemies back as it damages them, and the bright ball of light applies a damage-over-time effect and a snare. Nick also had some weapon abilities he used, depending on the weapon type he was currently wielding.

Gina played a Sorcerer using sword and shield and wearing heavy armor. Rich was a Nightblade in light armor who helped keep the party alive with a restoration staff, and Eric chose a dual-wielding Dragonknight with medium armor.

Hello, I am wondering if other Daedric Princes are in the game (besides Molag Bal), since I am a big fan of Mehrunes Dagon. – By Austin

Yes, there are definitely other Daedric Princes. Sheogorath comes to mind … [AuA disappears in a cloud of butterflies.]

Microsoft Backpeddles On Kinect Requirement for Xbox 360 (Kotaku.com)

Is it just me, or has Microsoft back-peddled on just about everything that made it unique from the PS4 launch? DRM was in, then out. Mandatory logging-in and gaming online at least once every 24 hours. That’s now gone. The Kinect is always on, always listening. But…you can turn it off because you thought that was creepy. And now? The Kinect is mandatory for every Xbox One to work. Except for now you can turn it off completely and it doesn’t impact any Xbox One functions. Le. Sigh.

Did Microsoft really get all of this so wrong at the start or did the “backlash” on the interwebs really scare them into changing their ways?

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Kinect No Longer Mandatory For Xbox One (But Will Still Come With It)

Another backflip? Back in May, Microsoft said that you’ll need have the motion-sensing Kinect plugged in at all times in order for your Xbox One to function, but now they’re reversing course once again.

“That said, like online, the console will still function if Kinect isn’t plugged in, although you won’t be able to use any feature or experience that explicitly uses the sensor,” he said.

Asked just how “off” the Kinect can be, Whitten answered totally off.

“You have the ability to completely turn the sensor off in your settings. When in this mode, the sensor is not collecting any information. Any functionality that relies on voice, video, gesture or more won’t work. We still support using it for IR blasting in this mode. You can turn the sensor back on at any time through settings, and if you enter into a required Kinect experience (like Kinect Sports Rivals for instance), you’ll get a message asking if you want to turn the sensor back on in order to continue.”

This is yet another entry to add to the list of stunning reversals in Xbox One policy made by Microsoft over the past few months. In June, Microsoft switched course on Xbox DRM, and they’ve flipped on all sorts of other policies since then.

UPDATE: And here’s Microsoft senior exec Albert Penello, posting on NeoGAF about the flip. (Bolded emphasis mine)

We still believe in Kinect. We aren’t interested in splitting the development base. The more demos I’ve seen, the more I’ve used it – the more impressed I am. The team feels strongly about Kinect, and I hope we’re able to prove that when you use it.

We also have a ton of privacy settings to allow people to turn off the camera, or microphones, or put it in a state just for “Xbox On” and IR blasting – there will be a lot of user control for that.

The thing we all understood, and hence this change, is that there are some scenarios where people just may not be comfortable. We wanted people to be 100% comfortable, so we allow the sensor to be unplugged. And clearly the “it dropped” scenario is possible.

The most obvious thing is watching a DVD/BD, or streaming a movie, or HDMI pass-through, your experience isn’t impacted (except you miss voice and IR blasting)

There is no “gotcha”, but obviously, if there is a game that REQUIRES Kinect (like Rivals), or something where Kinect IS the experience (like Skype), those won’t work.

That said, for people who have privacy concerns there are user control settings, which we believe are great.

Xbox One Live Sub Required to Use DVR (IGN.com)

This is unfortunate, but I guess not completely surprising. As I won’t be using the DVR features, it won’t affect my gameplay experience much.

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An Xbox Live Gold subscription  is required to use Xbox One‘s DVR game-capture and video sharing functionality. Gold members will also have access to Skype and Smart Match multiplayer matchmaking, of course, as online play requires a Gold subscription.

Xbox Live Gold’s one-year membership costs $60 in North America, and Xbox 360 users’ existing Gold accounts will unlock access to Skype, DVR, Smart Match, and more when Xbox One releases this November. Currently, Xbox Gold members can get Crackdown for free on Xbox 360.

Xbox One’s DVR captures clips at 30 frames per second in 720p, Microsoft recently told IGN. For more on how Xbox Live works on Xbox One, check out IGN’s detailed wiki guide. Will you upgrade to Gold for game capture and sharing capabilities, or are you an existing member looking forward to the features? Let us know in the comments below.

Xbox One: Trying to Ban Jerks (IGN.com)

It’ll be interesting to see how quickly “accidents” happen with the rating system and innocent players start turning up with an “Avoid Me” title. That said, in theory at least I think this system is pretty great! I would love to have something like this on the MMORPG front so I know when I enter a dungeon whether or not to be worried about loot ninjas, harassment, etc.

IGN offers two 90-second videos to help explain the details of Xbox One’s Reputation System.

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Xbox One Reputation System Has Cheats and Jerks in its Sights

Microsoft has outlined in greater detail its recently revealed reputation system for Xbox One, explaining the specifics of the new system in an Xbox Wire post penned by Microsoft’s Michael Dunn, program manager on Xbox Live.

“If you don’t want to play with cheats or jerks, you shouldn’t have to,” writes Dunn. “Our new reputation model helps expose people that aren’t fun to be around and creates real consequences for trouble-makers that harass our good players.”

Your reputation score will ultimately see you slotted into one of three, colour-coded groups: “Good Player” (green), “Needs Improvement” (yellow), or “Avoid me” (red). Where you sit on this spectrum will be reflected on your gamer card.

“The more hours you play online without being a jerk, the better your reputation will be; similar to the more hours you drive without an accident, the better your driving record and insurance rates will be,” explains Dunn. “Most players will have good reputations and be seen as a “Good Player.” The algorithm is looking to identify players that are repeatedly disruptive on Xbox Live.”

“We’ll identify those players with a lower reputation score and in the worse cases they will earn the “Avoid Me” reputation. Before a player ends up with the “Avoid Me” reputation level we will have sent many different alerts to the “Needs Improvement” player reminding them how their social gaming conduct is affecting lots of other gamers.”

Dunn goes on to assure players the reputation algorithm is sophisticated enough to recognise when it may be being abused, confirming you will not be penalised for a few bad reports.

“Even good players might receive a few player feedback reports each month and that is OK,” writes Dunn. “The algorithm weighs the data collected so if a dozen people suddenly reporting a single user, the system will look at a variety of factors before docking their reputation.”

“We’ll verify if those people actually played in an online game with the person reported – if not, all of those player’s feedback won’t matter as much as a single person who spent 15 minutes playing with the reported person. The system also looks at the reputation of the person reporting and the alleged offender, frequency of reports from a single user and a number of other factors.”

“This system will continue to evolve and get better as we track the feedback we get from players and titles, plus add more consequences for the jerks.”

Xbox One’s Kinect Used in Many Ways (Xbox.com)

Xbox Ones’ new Kinect is 10x more powerful than its predecessor. That’s a pretty extraordinary leap in less than three years. The Xbox news blog post goes on to outline some of the features the MS Cloud will offer along with some possibilities of a second screen.

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How Game Creators are Using the Power of Xbox One

Xbox One will usher in a new generation of games, and at Comic-Con International: San Diego, developers from some of the most celebrated gaming studios in the world gathered to show fans how they’re doing just that. Featuring talent from Rare, Ltd., Turn 10 Studios, Microsoft Studios and Capcom Vancouver, the panel focused on how teams are leveraging the unique abilities of the console to create experiences that enhance and evolve the way games are played.

Advanced Graphical Fidelity

A new generation console means new generation graphics fueled by faster, more powerful hardware.

Josh Bridge, Executive Producer on “Dead Rising 3,” used their vision of a nightmarish zombie apocalypse to demonstrate the level of visual fidelity that the Xbox One allows them to achieve. Zombies can be dismembered with anatomically gruesome realism. Each shard of broken glass is governed by its own set of physics and will react differently depending on how you smash through a window. The vast sandbox world of Los Perdidos is larger than “Dead Rising” and “Dead Rising 2” combined, and is populated with detailed buildings that can be fully explored.

And of course, “Dead Rising 3” is capable of supporting hordes of zombies on screen at a single time – a far cry from the handful that pushed the Xbox 360 to its limits last generation.

“One of the big things we wanted to do with the Xbox One’s increased horsepower was to push the reality of the world and make it more believable and tense,” said Bridge. “Zombies are the enemy this time, so why not make it look good?”

A More Powerful Kinect

According to Nick Burton, New Technology Development Lead at Rare, Ltd. working on “Kinect Sports Rivals,” Xbox One’s Kinect sensor has ten times the power of its predecessor. It can register a fingertip from three meters away, a feat that was impossible last generation, and its wider field of tracking means it can register more players and at closer distances.

“Kinect Sports Rivals” is using Kinect’s advanced technology to provide a new layer of precision and depth of mastery. No longer will vague gestures be enough to secure victory – every subtle movement is registered in-game and impacts performance. How hard you twist your wrist while revving the throttle of a jet ski affects its acceleration and your exact hand placement can mean the difference between success and failure in rock climbing.

Rare is also developing brand-new gameplay features, like “Kinect Sports Rivals’” Champions. If you stand or sit in front of the new Kinect sensor, it can capture your facial structure, hair, skin color, body composition and even expression, and build a remarkably accurate virtual athlete – your Champion – in seconds.

The new Kinect can also make basic gaming tasks more convenient. For instance, Ken Lobb, Creative Director at Microsoft Studios and one of the founders of the original “Killer Instinct,” explained how Kinect’s ability to identify players makes switching profiles and preferences on Xbox One seamless.

In fighting games, players like to map their buttons all over the controller, Lobb explained. So when playing “Killer Instinct,” once you make a profile and set your preferred button configuration, Kinect will instantly recognize when you’re holding the controller and map the buttons accordingly, even if it’s in the middle of a match.

“It seems kind of simple,” said Lobb, “but its super awesome once you see it in play.”

Gameplay Enhanced by the Cloud

The future of online gaming on Xbox One will be better than ever. As Xbox’s Major Nelson previously shared, matchmaking will be faster and smarter, factoring in numerous variables, such as player reputation, spoken language and skill, to ensure you’re consistently paired with players who fit your preferred style of play.  If you’re tearing up the competition in “Killer Instinct,” you’ll be pitted against only the best. If you enjoy racing against aggressive players in “Forza Motorsport 5,” future matches will be tailored accordingly.

However, being connected to the Internet on Xbox One is not just about playing with other gamers anymore. In “Forza Motorsport 5” Turn 10 Studios will use the Internet to aggregate race data from players all around the world to breed a new type of opponent that consistently learns and evolves – Drivatar.

“It [Drivatar] watches the way you play and the cloud [Xbox Live] takes all this data and data from the entire community and builds an opponent with no set or finite number of variables,” said Dan Greenawalt, Creative Director on “Forza Motorsport 5.” “It creates variables based on what it saw the community do and trains your Drivatar to drive just the way you do.”

Sharing your favorite gaming moments with friends is an experience that Xbox One is bringing to life with Game DVR and Upload Studio. Whether you’re online or off, your Xbox One can record your most epic gameplay moments, so when you nail that game-winning headshot you’ll automatically have that footage available to edit into a highlight reel.

At EVO 2013, one fan went undefeated for hours in “Killer Instinct” until at long last the best player on the “Killer Instinct” development team was able to defeat them. Using Game DVR, they were able to record the best parts of the highly competitive set of three matches. With Upload Studio, they were able to quickly turn it into a stylized video clip that could be shown off locally, like during a panel at Comic-Con, or broadcast through Xbox Live for the world to see.

If you want to share gameplay footage immediately without editing it, Xbox One also supports that. Simply say “Xbox record” at any time and the console will record what happens next for you to send to your friends or upload to the Internet.

The Possibilities with an Enhanced Second Screen

In “Dead Rising 3,” the Xbox SmartGlass Companion is integrated in both the gameplay and fiction. Nick Ramos, the game’s lead character, will discover a transmitter that will allow an in-game character to actually call you on your real-life mobile device with information, advice and even unique missions. Alternately, you can also use SmartGlass to set waypoints, view maps and call in military aid, like weapon drops and deadly airstrikes.

“You don’t have to use it, but it adds a lot,” said Josh Bridge. For example, the team found that Xbox SmartGlass opens up the possibility of two-screen couch co-op. While playing “Dead Rising 3” in the Capcom Vancouver office, Bridge’s colleagues would often pick up his mobile device and assist him with navigating through the city or finding new weapons.

“Ryse: Son of Rome” showcased a different way to use Xbox SmartGlass. Microsoft Studios and Crytek are creating an Xbox SmartGlass Companion that mirrors the game’s user interface and lets players manage every aspect of their “Ryse: Son of Rome” experience on their mobile device.  Whether it’s comparing stats or watching Achievement guides, customizing your multiplayer character, or reading the latest community updates, everything is accessible through your mobile device by tapping into Xbox SmartGlass.

Justin Robey, Producer on “Ryse: Son of Rome,” also revealed that multiplayer games in “Ryse: Son of Rome” can be set up using Xbox SmartGlass, even while playing a different title. If you’re playing “Dead Rising 3,” you can use Xbox SmartGlass to begin matchmaking in “Ryse: Son of Rome,” so your multiplayer session will be ready and waiting without ever having to take a break from the action.

From powerful hardware that can bring worlds to life, to the gameplay enhancing possibilities of Xbox SmartGlass, the features discussed at Comic-Con and more are available to all developers working on Xbox One titles. They are fundamental parts of the Xbox One tool box, and as games like “Ryse: Son of Rome,” “Forza Motorsport 5,” “Dead Rising 3,” “Killer Instinct” and others have shown, developers are already taking advantage of these opportunities to create gaming experiences unlike anything seen before.

Xbox One launches this November.  A release date, said Major Nelson, will be revealed later this summer.

Remaining Places to Pre-Order Xbox One & PS4? (DigitalTrends.com)

Four of the biggest names in console sales (Best Buy, Amazon.com, GameStop, and Toys R Us) are already sold-out for both the Xbox One and the PS4. So where does that leave you, especially if you’re looking to pre-order either/both as a present for end-of-year holidays? It appears you  have five remaining options, plus buying directly from either company. Read on!

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If you are hoping to pre-order a PlayStation 4 or an Xbox One, you might want to hurry. All around the country, major retailers are listing the consoles as “sold-out,” leading up to what is looking more and more like a shortage on launch day. That may be good for Sony and Microsoft (and their stock prices), but it’s bad for a consumer hoping to get their hands on what are shaping up to be two of the hottest items this holiday season.

… you may have to go a little deeper down the rabbit hole of online shopping…

With stores like GameStop and Best Buy both listing Sony and Microsoft’s consoles as sold out, you may have to go a little deeper down the rabbit hole of online shopping leading up to the as yet unannounced launch dates. The PS4 is listed with a generic release date of December 31 (in other words, sometime this year), while the Xbox One is listed by several retailers as November 27. Whatever the exact dates, expect them both to release before the yearly shopping Super Bowl that is Black Friday, which this year lands on November 29.

Sony and Microsoft are still hoping to meet all launch day demands, although that probably isn’t going to be possible. At the moment, several stores are still accepting pre-orders but you should expect stock to disappear quickly. We’ll try to keep this list updated throughout the coming months, but don’t be surprised if the stores below sell out, and soon.

(If you find that a store on this list has changed its status to “sold out,” please let us know and we’ll update it accordingly. We’ll also add more stores in the weeks to come.)

Both Systems

Fry’s Electronics: The national electronic giant is not offering in-store pickups, but it will ship to you. You will need to pay shipping, so factor that into your budget. There is also a limit of one PS4 and Xbox One per household.

Kmart: The PS4 and Xbox One are both available for pre-order, and both are available for free shipping. As with most retailers, there is a limit of one per household.

Sears: Although not generally thought of as an electronic store, Sears has both the PS4 and Xbox One for pre-order, along with all the accessories and launch day titles announced. Free shipping is available, and there is a limit one per household.

Walmart: Walmart is the largest video game seller in the world, so you can expect two things: one, they will have a huge allotment from both Sony and Microsoft; two, they will likely sell through their pre-orders quickly. You can also add a three-year warranty, which isn’t quite as comprehensive as Target’s (it doesn’t cover accidental damage beyond wear and tear), but it is cheaper at $44 and lasts a year longer. It is also offering free shipping. No limit on the number of units you can buy.

PlayStation 4 Only

Sony StoreSony’s own store is offering the PS4, of course, along with free shipping and no apparent limit on the number of units you can pick up. You can also finance directly through Sony.

Xbox One Only

Microsoft StoreYou can purchase an Xbox One from Microsoft’s own store, and that also extends to the Xbox 360′s dashboard. If you are an Xbox 360 user, just connect online and look for the Xbox One icon, and you can pre-order directly from there. Free shipping, and a limit of one per household.

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