Xbox

Microsoft is going to let die Zune

RIP-zune

This week there were several rumors about Zune and the Marketplace. We had also changes on Zune and Marketplace that more or less confirming the upcoming death of Zune as we know.

First, Microsoft removed the Windows Phone app section from Zune. Now we cannot look into the Marketplace for apps anymore (read more at 1800PocketPC).

The second news is regarding the music marketplace, which is realized via Zune. Microsoft is rumored to deactivate it, too. Instead of this, Microsoft will launch a new music service, codenamed “Woodstock”. The Woodstock festival was part of a revolution back in time, and the codename suggests there are big changes.

This is what we know right now, regarding to the verge:

  • the service will not require any browser plugins
  • deep Facebook integration with sharing and group playlists.
  • scan and match function, based on your existing music collection.

Microsoft is said to give us a preview at this year´s E3. Microsoft will launch this service on all of their upcoming platforms, including Xbox, Windows Phone (Apollo) and Windows 8. The verge states also that the service will be extended to the rivaling platforms.

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Yesterday, just one day after the news were showing up, MS_nerd told us via twitter that Microsoft and Spotify are “sitting in a tree”. This makes me believe that the upcoming service will use Spotify as content provider (Spotify lets third party apps easily use their service via an API). I guess there will be a special announcement regarding this.

As we still do not know more details, I can´t tell you whether Zune Pass subscribers will be able to use their service any longer as well whether current Spotify can profit from this.

Only one thing is for sure: Zune Pass will definitely not come to us German users.

source: the verge

Posted by msicc in Microsoft, Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox, 0 comments

Skype is also coming to Xbox!

xbox-live-skype

Microsoft runs a strategy: “three screens, one experience”. One of those screens is of course Xbox.

Last year, Microsoft bought Skype. Naturally, we expect Microsoft to release Skype on all platforms. Recently we learnt that Skype is coming to the Web and also Windows 8. Today we received news that they also will port Skype to Xbox Live.

According to their job posting, Microsoft has just founded the London Skype office as well as the team. So we all will have to wait a good time until Skype is available on Xbox.

If you know how to develop for Xbox, this might be your great chance to enter at Microsoft.

I will keep you informed as soon as I got new information.

source: enConnected

Posted by msicc in Microsoft, Xbox, 0 comments

New rumors about the next Xbox generation

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Today some new rumors have been leaked how the next could be equipped.

The gamer news site VG24/7 has learned from their sources that the Xbox 720 has been confirmed for a Christmas 2013 release.

The site reports further that the next Xbox will have a Blue-ray drive.

Xbox 720 graphics will be powered by two GPU´s.  VG24/7 thinks it will be an equivalent to AMD´s 7000 series GPU. The GPUs will be set up to work independently from each other.

When it comes to the CPU, the rumors were not as exact as the data before. It will be a four or six core CPU. One of the cores is exclusive to the Kinect and one to the Xbox OS.

The Kinect is rumored to be built into the console instead of an extra device. To protect content from  piracy, a permanent internet connection is needed.

The above information were collected at the Durango summit in London, which was held at the end of February.

Durango is the codename for the next Xbox generation.

As always, I take this information for what they are: rumors. They sure sound like an incredible piece of hardware.

Posted by msicc in Xbox, 0 comments
Help Microsoft to improve voice control on your Xbox

Help Microsoft to improve voice control on your Xbox

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Yesterday Microsoft released another Xbox app. It seems this app has been launched worldwide.

The app is named “Voice Studio”, and its goal is to improve the voice recognition and control of our Xbox.

Microsoft is rewarding you

Nice: Microsoft is rewarding you for your help with some Game Points. Check the achievements below:

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A walk through the app:

Before we are starting our little tour, I have to say the text in the screens is German (as my Xbox´s default language is German). I will explain all screens to you, so please don’t mind this. First I want to show you the  startup screen:

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After loading has finished, you have to choose between a new or an existing profile. If you (of course on the first start) make a new profile, you have to declare some details about your person:

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The name of the player cannot be changed. This is a good move, as it keeps the results anonymous. You have to declare: age, gender, country, state and your own language. Second step is to tell the app something about the room: WP_000481

You have to declare: type of speakers, size of the room, which kind of room (in my case it is the living room) an which kind of flooring you have. Now your Xbox will do some sound tests based on the settings you made. Once this is done (about one minute), you will be able to choose one of the 8 text sets:

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After choosing a category, Xbox tells you where your have to go to in your room to speak the test. During the whole test there are some background sounds. The app is now showing you some sentences and words you have to speak:

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This sentence means: “crabs can achieve an age of three up to twelve years.” The red lights on the side are signalizing you, that your speech is recognized by the app. Once you finished all sets, your track will be saved. This takes some time:

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Once the saving is done, your track will be uploaded to a Microsoft server:

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Depending on you internet connection, this may take several time.

Now it is your turn!

The more users are helping with this little app, the more improvements can be done by Microsoft. So download the app, and help Microsoft by only speaking with your Xbox!

Posted by msicc in Xbox, 0 comments
Happy Birthday, Xbox!

Happy Birthday, Xbox!

Today Microsoft´s gaming console, the Xbox, turns 10 in Europe!
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To celebrate this anniversary, Microsoft launched an interactive timeline on their British Internet page.

After you added your birthday (works also without being logged in), you can take a virtual tour through Xbox´s history:

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As you can see above, there are several statistics at the bottom of the page:

  • Total Gamerscore
  • Total Consoles sold
  • Live community size

You can have a look for yourself here: http://www.xbox.com/en-GB/xbox2001-2011

Posted by msicc in Xbox, 0 comments
The force is with Microsoft at CeBIT 2012

The force is with Microsoft at CeBIT 2012

As I wrote in an earlier post today, Microsoft demoed some Kinect games on CeBIT. Also Darth Vader was there with some storm troopers to support the demo of the game “Kinect Star Wars”. The Force is with Microsoft!

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My colleague is a huge Xbox fan, and loves especially the Kinect games. He could not leave the possibility to play Kinect Star Wars. Thanks to him and his open mind, I am able to share this video on the game with you.

If you are on my Windows Phone app or on a mobile browser, click here to watch the video.

The gameplay is very realistic, and I am sure there will be also gadgets like laser swords in future to give the game an even more realistic character.

The release of the game is in April, you can watch now what you will get if you buy the game.

May the force be with you!

Posted by msicc in Xbox, 0 comments
My review of a year with Microsoft and a to-do-list for 2012

My review of a year with Microsoft and a to-do-list for 2012

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With the end of the year just around the corner, I want to take a look back to an amazing year for me as a Microsoft fan. There were certainly ups and downs, but over all it was a great year – as user and also as developer.

I do not want to take any numbers – there are already dozens of post where the numbers were discussed, so I guess we don´t need to get another post about this. I will tell you how the year felt for me.

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First we got a look into the future at the CES. With the CES we received a first view on Microsoft´s new strategy: Metro over all devices. We saw a first preview of Windows 8 with a Metro design part, but still have to wait for more information until Build in September, which was a specific event for Windows 8 (codename for now). The most appreciated news was the SoC-technology (System on a Chip), which will be supported by Windows 8. Also there were some Kinect improvements, as well as an updated version on Microsoft Surface. And finally Microsoft announced the NoDo-features like Copy&Paste.

The NoDo-Update came for Windows Phone. Well, as I got an unlocked HTC HD7 at this time, this was no real problem for me. I forced the update (thanks to the guys who found out this little trick), and that was it. This changed only little things. The carrier locked phones had to wait a bit longer, as the carriers were still in testing. The update seems also to do not well with some Samsung Phones, so there was always bad critics for the update process.

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Ok, Back to February and to the Mobile World Congress. MS gave us a first preview on the Internet Explorer 9, and compared it to the iOS-Safari. It was clearly the better one. But as always Microsoft also made us sad, as we had to wait until Windows Phone Mango. Finally we got also the first note that Windows Phone will receive Multitasking capabilities. And then there was the big bang of Nokia joining the Windows Phone game.

At the same time I made my fishing license. After I got approved for it, I wanted to download some fishing apps. But there wasn´t even one at this time. I thought by myself, ok, give them some time, they will come.  The first time I was on the water I needed a special knot, luckily I was on a place where I got an internet connection. But it was annoying to not have an app for it. So I decided to learn the Windows Phone development.

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Back at home, downloaded the tools, and found out that at Channel 9 is a Beginner series for Windows Phone Development. I stepped through to all the videos, and after 2 month or so (due to my primary work it took that long) I started to develop my fishing knots application. I learned a lot more while I was coding this application, but the basics I learned helped me a lot to get started.

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While I started with my own WPDev-Story, in April Microsoft held his annual MIX-conference. This was the first time for me, that it was not only from a user part from interest, but also from a developer part. We received an updated SDK, which was an huge step towards Windows Phone Mango. Microsoft announced 1500 new features which we developers can take advantage from with the new Windows Phone Mango release. User will get over 500 new features. The Kinect SDK expanded to Windows, with some really cool projects to use with. And last but not least Microsoft released the final Beta of Silverlight.

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The rumours were also going wild for Microsoft to buy Skype. Well, finally in may Microsoft and Skype announced that the rumours were true.

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Until now, a awesome first half of the year. Then in June, the annual E3-Games convention started. Microsoft introduced a bunch of new games, like Fruit Ninja Kinect, Forza Motorsport 4 as well as Family Titles like Disneyland Adventures for Kinect or Once upon a Monster for Kinect. My kids where as excited as I was, there was only one big error: We had a Xbox, but no Kinect. This was one reason I wanted a Kinect like never before. Well, Santa (aka my wife, 1000 kisses for her) solved this little problem for me a few days ago. Also some titles for Windows Phone were announced, sadly not all of them where released until now. We also were introduced to the new Xbox Dashboard and the new bunch of features like Voice commands. Microsoft released also Kinect fun labs, which is a portal to some awesome Apps for Kinect like Build a Buddy or Kinect Me!.

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In July Windows Phone Mango got RTM-status, followed by a special developer beta. I enjoyed the beta, and all on my primary work were jealous about the fact I had mango before them.

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After a calm summer, in September Microsoft revealed Windows 8 and released to Windows Phone Mango Update. Together with the new Xbox Dashboard, Microsoft revealed its “3-Screens”-Strategy.

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With new Windows Phone Hardware it steps forward, Nokia launched also finally their first Windows Phones. More and More must-have Smartphone-apps came to Windows Phone, such as Navigon or Whatsapp. Microsoft´s own advertising system launched in other countries like Germany and some other European countries.

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Well, also my Blog made a change. With all that Metro-stuff around me, I am now addicted to this design. A hosted blog on WordPress was no longer good for me, so I registered msicc.net and host it on my own. I found a good designer who has experience with themes for WordPress, and he made this fantastic metro design for me. It is currently still a work in progress, as there will be a mobile metro theme as well as some other features.

Microsoft released also some of their services on the other smartphone platforms iOS and Android. MS is a software company, and this step is more than logical for me. Some features are also after exclusive to Windows Phone, so it does not really hurt.

It was an amazing year, but there were also some disappointing things: Microsoft stated that Skype will launch on Windows Phone this fall, then by the month of December. Sadly it is still missing. We tried to force Microsoft to release it via twitter or Facebook, but there was and is not statement when we will get it on our Phones. Also Photosynth, launched on iPhone and promised for a launch with Mango, is still not here – without comment from Microsoft.

I really hope Microsoft will really work with the feedback we provide trough their programs on userchoice.com to improve the overall experience on Windows Phone, Xbox and Windows.

Still there are a lot to-dos for Microsoft for 2012:

  • release Skype as an app
  • built in Skype into Windows Phone
  • Make all Bing features available outside the US
  • improve the Xbox-Live-Game-Submission on Marketplace
  • continue to get more devs on their side to provide Windows Phone apps
  • more marketing for Windows Phone and the experience
  • improve Windows Phone with the newest technologies like NFC, dual core CPU´s
  • open even more APIs to us developers
  • make TellMe simply better than Siri on iOS, including opening to developers
  • shorten the time between announcement and release btw. increase betas to more customers
  • release Zune-Pass in more countries. This is still a huge advantage over the other platforms as it is built in!
  • gain more partnerships for content on Xbox, Windows, Windows Phone
  • release more features in small updates to the Windows Phone platform to compete with the others, instead of releasing only one major update
Posted by msicc in Bing, Dev Stories, Microsoft, Windows, Windows Phone, wpdev, Xbox, 0 comments
XBOX Live Update is coming today – Germany Edition

XBOX Live Update is coming today – Germany Edition

Major Nelson announced via his blog the new Xbox Dashboard Update.

I will focus this post on what we will get here in Germany.

First, I will show you some shots of the new Dashboard:

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As you can see, it is very metro-inspired and integrates into Microsoft´s Metro Design language.

Here are the special functions which were announced to launch worldwide:

Signals

signalsSignals allow you to your Xbox LIVE friends and Facebook contacts communicated that you would like to like to play a particular game online. On the other hand it works as well: one of your friends play a game that you play a note makes you point out, so that you can play with the same.

 

Cloud

cloudIn the future you can to fall 360 ®, which is connected to the Internet from any Xbox to your player profile. This means that you no longer need to copy your profile on a USB storage device, if you want to play on a different Xbox 360. You log in you simply on Xbox LIVE and play go!

 

 

 

Facebook

facebookIt is now even easier to tell all your Facebook friends that you have set a new record or a tricky success played freely. Cool thing: you do not even have to leave the running game to post such messages.

 

 

Here are the Movie-services, which will be launched with the update. Click the image to go to each service´s site.

With Sky Go you can enjoy the movie offers of Sky Germany. You will need a Gold membership as well as a subscription with Sky.

 

ZDF

ZDFmediathek for Xbox. The famous video portal of ZDF from the PC.  The ZDF is a state television in Germany.

 

Stream a wide range of movies now directly through your Xbox! LOVEFiLM members with a loan package of 7.29€ or more can choose from Germany’s largest film selection and top movies directly look at no extra cost.

 

 

 

You can watch YouTube as well as MSN Germany´s videos on your Xbox.

Daily motion offers the latest content by independent content providers and premium partners. Thanks to use of the most advanced technology, we offer top quality and videos in HD, which a quick and easy-to-use online service can be used. Copyright violations are automatically reviewed and filtered.

MUZU.TV offers almost 80,000 music videos and songs of the world’s most famous artists. Music of the stars of today and tomorrow, all news and interviews of your favorite artists.

The easiest way to select movies. And the coolest anyway. Simply watch trailer, determine seasons, see stars. For each film, there are user ratings, FILM launches criticism and press review. With FILM STARTS your get the fun guarantee cinema evenings!

But that´s not all at least! If you have a Windows Phone, you will get the XBOX Companion app! This is a remote app for the new Xbox Dashboard. Check some Screenshots here or check this article.

The Update will appear today on your Xbox.

I will do some reviews in the next days after the update, stay tuned folks!

Posted by msicc in Windows Phone, Xbox, 0 comments
XBOX will be your media central and you or your Windows Phone the controller!

XBOX will be your media central and you or your Windows Phone the controller!

Awesome News today from Microsoft. Microsoft managed to collaborate with about 40 TV-Partners worldwide to bring Live TV on your Xbox.

All major Countries are listed, so the US, UK, Germany, Italy, France… For a full list check out winrumors.com.

 

To give you a shot about what we will get soon to our Xbox, check the official video:

Together with KINECT, the new Xbox-Live Dashboard which is scheduled for mid November to integrate Bing and Voice Control, you have a full media central in your living room.

 

Awesome Gadget (Check also in the video): The XBOX Live Companion App. This App will let you control your Xbox  right from the Phone. Some features are:

  • Find content on the Xbox Live Marketplace
  • Learn more about the content (artists, etc.)
  • Control & Play as your normal TV control.

 

For me these awesome stuff could not be launched soon enough. Stay tuned, as I will keep you for sure informed if there are any news on this.

Posted by msicc in Microsoft, Windows Phone, Xbox, 0 comments

E3 Roundup IV: My favorite Games

Hi everybody, now I want to take a closer look to the Games announced at E3 which rely most to me/my family.

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Let´s start with Forza Motorsport 4:

First let´s spot the official E3 Trailer:

Top features include the following:

Platform-defining graphics. “Forza Motorsport 4” sets a new graphical standard for the racing genre. Featuring dramatic Hollywood-style camera effects and an all new lighting engine, “Forza Motorsport 4” creates an unparalleled, dramatically realistic graphical experience — all running at a silky-smooth 60 frames per second.

Xbox LIVE showpiece. “Forza Motorsport 4” is making racing more social than ever. Create a Car Club and build the ultimate dream team of drivers, tuners and painters from the “Forza” community. Share your custom cars and dominate the other clubs. With the all-new Rivals Mode, play against your friends whether they are online or not by challenging them for bragging rights and rewards in a variety of different game types.

 

Industry-leading innovation with Kinect. Autovista Mode brings the automotive experience comes to life. Walk around the car in a virtual showroom, crouch down to look at the details, or open the doors and hood using the power of Kinect. Immerse yourself with Kinect Head Tracking, which pans the camera view based on how you naturally look into the corners when you’re hard charging. Take the virtual wheel with Kinect as you sit on the couch with your friends and family — no controller required. You can even take advantage of Kinect voice control to easily navigate the game’s menu.

More of what you love. With more than 80 manufacturers, the most in any racing game available today, “Forza Motorsport 4” features unrivaled diversity and more of the cars you love. The all new World Tour Mode boasts new tracks, unending choice and hundreds of hours of gameplay as you travel the globe with your favorite car. With the most accurate physics engine, cockpits and damage on every car and assists that allow even the most casual player to race, “Forza Motorsport 4” redefines the genre.

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Check out also this video of the Gameplay in Action:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Now we are heading over to KINECT Star Wars :

Here´s the Trailer:

Kinect Star Wars brings the Star Wars Universe to life like never before. Harnessing the controller-free power of Kinect for Xbox 360, Kinect Star Wars allows fans to physically experience training as a Jedi, using the Force and battling with a lightsaber. Using full body motions, players can live out the ultimate Star Wars fantasy, no controller required.

Details, Details, Details

· Enter the Galaxy. True to the Star Wars you know and love, stunning visuals transport you into the Star Wars Universe, complete with iconic characters, vehicles, ships, droids and much more.

· Use the Force. Drawing on iconic moments from the motion pictures, Kinect Star Wars allows to you to enter the Star Wars Universe to experience a wide variety of physical play.

· Customize your training. Experience the breadth of the Star Wars Universe as you wield a lightsaber and train to be a Jedi master, become a champion Pod racer, master the Force, pilot iconic ships and Speeder Bikes, and much more.

· Join forces. Share the Force with friends through co-op, competitive and duel modes. Easy jump in and out lets a second player join in instantly on the Jedi action.

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And of course also here is a Gameplay Video:

 

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Sesame Street once upon a Monster:

My daughter saw the video of this game and wanted to play the game right from the start. So here are some information about this game.

It is an uplifting and funny, family adventure game playable on Kinect for Xbox 360. Players join favorite Sesame Street characters Elmo, Cookie Monster, Oscar, Grover and all new characters as they discover a long lost children’s book titled Once Upon a Monster.

Every activity is designed to be fun played by oneself, but even more fun with a family member or friend. Drop in/out co-operative gameplay is ideal for parent-child or child-sibling co-play.

Players develop a personal and emotional relationship with the monsters in the world and are motivated to help them solve their problems and make their world a better place. Through social and emotional curriculum guided by Sesame Workshop, the non-profit educational organization behind Sesame Street, players discover how to make new friends, learn cooperation and empathy, solve problems, face fears and appreciate similarities and differences…to name a few lessons.

A variety of entertaining and intuitive activities enable young kids to play easily with natural controller-free motions using Kinect for Xbox 360.

Players can engage in fun and physical activities such as monkey-see-monkey-do, playing instruments, flying, and running obstacle courses.

Sesame Street Once Upon a Monster_Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment_SeedPlanting Screenshot_Embargo June 6, 2011 Sesame Street Once Upon a Monster_Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment_GrowDance Screenshot_Embargo June 6, 2011Sesame Street Once Upon a Monster_Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment_Puffalope Screenshot_Embargo June 6, 2011 Sesame Street Once Upon a Monster_Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment_Seamus Screenshot_Embargo June 6, 2011

So here is the trailer:

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Let´s get over to Dance Central 2:

Now you’re getting multiplayer dance battles, a campaign mode and an improved Break-it-Down mode! DC2 will come with music from Usher, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, La Roux and many many more.

Stay tuned and watch the official trailer:

I want to mention for ending my post two Arcade Games.

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Let´s start with Street Fighter III – Online Edition.

Almost everybody knows the Street Fighter Series.

What we will get is a high quality Fighting Game. A really cool feature will be post-to-YouTube of your attacks/fights.

So here is the Video:

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The last Game I want to talk about is Fruit Ninja Kinect.

Slicing your fruits now comes to another level. We all sliced the fruits on our (Windows) Phones with our fingers. But no you will turn into a real Ninja!

You will slice the fruits with your body:

FNKscreen3 FNKscreen7FNKscreen8 FNKscreen9

I really can´t wait to play this game. If you are now also hot to slice the fruits, enjoy the trailer:

So that´s it Folks, my favorite Games of E3.

Greets

MSicc

Posted by msicc in Microsoft, Xbox, 0 comments