Introducing the Xbox One S

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It may be hard to believe that it’s nearly 3 years since the Xbox One released. Before that, my 360 had been replaced by the Slim version with a shiny gloss finish, far quieter noise output (remember those fans and the disc drive on the original?!) and a built in wireless adapter. The first gen Kinect also had a dedicated port but remembering back to that, maybe the less said the better – I still have the theme to Disney’s Kinect Rush in my head!

And so there is little surprise that at this weeks’ E3, the Xbox One S was showcased and, as you can see from the header picture, has a bit of a redesign. Firstly, the dimensions are considerably smaller, approximately 40% in terms of physical space being used up by the current behemoth. The colour change to white with the right side gloss finish being replaced by a textured mesh-look (fan intake on either side) should stop those fingerprints being so apparent for those that love perfection. All the ports on the back are condensed down alongside the move of the left hand USB, sometimes less-than-handy for your charging output, being moved to the the front of the console instead. And for those that have missed the option for keeping your console in the vertical position, a stand is also included – pictured below.

Xbox One S Console Vertical Right Angle

What about hardware changes? Well, as with any “updated” versions of the console don’t expect your games to look any better, but there are some worthwhile additions. But let’s start with a subtraction in that the big “power brick” is no more – cheers all round #highfive! Without spamming this article with loads of screenshots, the unboxing below shows that we no longer have to make space for that black brick of doom, and regular noise with the integrated fan that came with it. If you’re wanting a 4K video output for your TV the S includes this too and, considering you’d be lucky in purchasing a 4k blueray player for under £100, the current RRP of £299 for the 500GB Xbox S (£349 for the 1TB, £399 for the 2TB) could be attracting more than us gamer types. The new controller is also including the popularity that the Lunar version has introduced with the textured backing for additional grip.

If you’re a fan of the Kinect though, you’ll have to look into a usb adapter as it’s not included in the newer version. Whether it was just to keep it as small as possible or if it’s another visible step to the Kinects’ demise only time will tell, but it’s not news that the backtrack on how good it is, how it should be and with the lack of Kinect features in newer games could see the end of voice commands until it gets that much better.

What may also put you off is that this is NOT the Scorpio console, due to be released next Fall. Although the specs on the Scorpio are minimal (addition of being VR ready) with it being only a year after the official release of the Xbox One S may deter many on having to buy a third console within the space of four years.

http://www.xboxoneuk.com/xbox-one/news/introducing-the-xbox-one-s/

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XCOM 2 Release Date for XB1

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Turn-based games are a niche market and one that can be difficult to break into with new game concepts; many may revel in nostalgia at the Final Fantasy Series or catching them all in Pokémon. But XCOM has an eclectic mix of futuristic sci-fi with the more classic pew-pew of guns and special abilities that come with their class selection that may just get your strategic juices going.

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Earlier today the official Twitter account (above) has formally publicised the upcoming “deployment” to the Xbox One on September 6th 2016 so if you’re missing a little strategy in your life you may want to check out the official website to read up on what the game’s all about. It’s still shooting and blowing stuff up like many a Triple A game these days but it may require a little more forward thinking than going all-guns blazing – though please do have a go at doing just that!

For those that have been smashing the sequel to the hit turn-based tactical game XCOM released in February this year on the PC, it may not be a surprise that the are many upcoming DLC’s to expand 2KGames’ success with XCOM2. These will surely in turn come to the other platforms too, either after initial release or maybe as part of Day One DLC, but so you get the latest development of the game so far, their latest VT is below.

XCOM 2 Release Date for XB1

 

COD: Infinity Warfare CEO Response

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(http://www.xboxoneuk.com/xbox-one/news/cod-infinity-warfare-ceo-respons/)

It’s time to go Gladiator style on the new Call of Duty game after the thumbs up – or should we say number of thumbs down (dislikes) – of the Infinite Warfare reveal trailer beckoned a question from an investor to the Activision CEO during a recent conference call. The trailer, which has a record number of dislikes, doesn’t seem to be phasing the CEO, Eric Hirshberg, who is actually staying positive that the fan base is so responsive:

“First of all, you’ve gotta love the passion of gamers. This is an industry like no other. And we love that our fans treat this franchise like its their own and have such strong points of view about it. There just aren’t many entertainment franchises on Earth that can generate the type of passion that Call of Duty can. That’s a good thing.”

 

Hirshberg went on to comment on the split in the COD player base between those of us (*cough, me*) that prefer the old-skool historical battles over the futuristic-ness of all the games since BLOPS2:

“Secondly, of course we know that there are people in our community who are nostalgic for the boots on the ground style gameplay, and that’s why we made Modern Warfare Remastered. But we also have millions of people in our community who want to have new innovative experiences in the game each year, and Infinite Warfare is going to deliver that.

And the good news is is this year we found a way to deliver both in one package while keeping our community together.

And while of course we see the passionate opinions online we also look at other measurements and the fact is, although its very early, the preorders are off to a very strong start. Views of the reveal trailer are up. And in fact the number of likes per view on the Infinite Warfare reveal trailer are also the highest we’ve ever seen.”

He also commented that a similar initial reaction was seen when Black Ops 2 was revealed yet it was the most successful game in the franchise to date with the remaster being released with the game this November.

Let us know what you think – will you want to see more micro-tanks running around the battlefield and pew-pew lasers or were you hoping for some “boots on the ground” so to speak? Until then, the reveal trailer is below.

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Spreading my writing

Well, trying to keep my writing up I have made a small contribution to the Xbox One UK page, which is pretty cool. Will be making regular writings on the news over there with the first on the link below!

Fallout 4 has Mod Support incoming!

But fret not – Timlah and I are in the process of writing a bigger piece on one of our all-time life-changing games. Did you think I had got through them all?! Of course not!

Stay tuned!

The Quest of Twitch

I guess it’s easy to become one of those starry-eyed gamers who dream of becoming a type of celebrity – being successful in the world of streaming games for others to watch. In my limited experience, anyone seems to be able to do it! Granted, there are those that engage, who are professional players, who are enjoyable to watch – but there are others which I seem difficult to understand why they have well, any number of viewers while I may play alone for a few hours with regular twitter notices to a big Zero.

Yes, this is a little moan, probably because I’ve been ill today and I’m exhausted but there does seem to be a lot to learn. So much in fact that I simply don’t know where to start! With work and family time is limited on how much I can invest in learning and creating but I know it’s something I have to do. It’s just I don’t necessarily know where! I know to build a community. I’d like to think that I could stream and play reasonably. But where to begin!

So that is my quest for the next few weeks; to find out more, to educate myself by trying to read more into this alien world which, looking from the outside, seems so simple to crack. But simple it certainly is not!

A little moan, a short topic for today before I sleep and dream of…something.

I would welcome feedback though – so please do let me know what you have found successful! Gn.

My First Video on The Division – Skill Power

Well, it’s my first so I have finally lost my video-creating virginity.

In self-reflection, I know I need to improve the sound, the phasing, transitions…yeah everything.

But if you want to know how Skill Power in the game effects abilities and how, in my opinion, important this primary attribute will be for any role you play, check out the video below. Please like, share, comment and let me know what’s missing – that is, if my voice doesn’t put you to sleep before the end of the video!

The Division – My Experience

I’m a lover of games. Especially the MMO type that The Division is undoubtedly categorised in. But there is never a “perfect”game and with that in mind I’m going to review the many hours I have currently spent within this post-apocalyptic city that never sleeps.

 

So many of you reading this probably had the chance of playing the beta over the beta weekend (Jan-Feb 2016) and have a good idea of your own – whether you like it, if you are going to pre-order, if you’re going to cry yourself to sleep every night until the 8th March. I won’t go over the basics but I the quick lowdown for those who aren’t already clued up: There’s a Virus that kills the majority of the population (AT LEAST of New York, we have no idea beyond) and you are/were a Sleeper Agent that takes up controlling the carnage that follows the pandemic. Open world, levelling system, loot, pvp; you get the drill.

So what was it that kept so many people hooked over this beta weekend? Well it mixes two of the biggest gaming genres; shooters, which in this case is primarily third-person when not scoped, and MMORPG’s (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game). It’s not the first of its kind with an avalanche of comparisons to Destiny, but it’s taken out the majority of the science fiction and added a heavy dose of potential reality which I guess connects better with some people.

That, and the game is absolutely stunning to look at. The new graphics engine – Snowdrop – just brings so much realism to the game, from dynamic surfaces which gradually change in colder/warmer spells of weather to reduced sigh in snow storms – the stills above were taken on my run around the Dark Zone at the beta and on the Xbox One too – whether the graphics had been reduced a lot or not, it’s still eyewateringly, pants-tightening good. Yes, I stood at a bus stop taking in the view and atmosphere.

What we could play was limited, but it did what it needed as a beta, showing us a glimpse into the base of operations development, character progression, mission difficulty scaling and of course, the Dark Zone leveling and combat system. What it gave us was everything we hoped while teasing us as being the tip of the iceberg (no cold-weather related pun intended) into what the full game release will entail.

MMO’s are my real passion, and what makes the great from the good is I guess the same in many games, how immersive the game is and how much it pulls you into the character you play. From the cutscenes to the small details – a couple arguing in an apartment window, a mother holding her baby in another – it made you see the world from the characters’ eyes which became more your own.

Impartiality is a key part of my day job but for this game, I really do hope the hype continues into the open beta, the game release and the future of the game as a whole.

Some pistol-whipping fun to see you out…