Xbox Games Pass Expanding to PC with Over 100 Games

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Two years ago Microsoft launched Xbox Game Pass as a Netflix-like subscription service for Xbox One. Now that service is being expanded onto Windows PC. The service is still called Xbox Game Pass, and will include a large library of digital games through multiple PC stores including the Microsoft Store and Steam, as well as discounts on purchases.

“As the creators of Windows, we have a unique responsibility to ensure we’re investing in experiences that benefit players everywhere, while respecting the PC community’s preference for an open, highly customizable platform,” writes Phil Spencer, head of Xbox. “Xbox Game Pass for PC will give players unlimited access to a curated library of over 100 high-quality PC games on Windows 10, from well-known PC game developers and publishers such as Bethesda, Deep Silver, Devolver Digital, Paradox Interactive, SEGA, and more.”

Over 75 developers and publishers will bring their games to Xbox Game Pass for PC, including recent studios acquired by Microsoft like Obsidian and InXile.

The most interesting news is that these games won’t be limited to Microsoft’s own Microsoft Store, often considered one of the weakest digital stores on PC. Spencer confirms more than 20 Xbox Game Studios games will launch on Steam, including Gears 5. No mention of other PC stores like GOG or Epic Games Store, but Spencer teases “other stores on PC” they are working with. Microsoft will continue to support cross-platform play between Xbox One and select Windows 10 PC games.

More details on Microsoft’s growing PC support and Xbox Game Pass will be announced at the Xbox E3 2019 press conference on Sunday, June 9. Spencer has recently confirmed 14 Xbox Game Studios games will be shown.

Save on Last Gen Games with the Xbox Backward Compatibility Sale

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The Xbox Backward Compatibility Sale returns this year with even more discounts on original Xbox and Xbox 360 games. Over 200 games from previous Microsoft consoles have been steeply discounted up to 75% on the Microsoft and Xbox digital stores.

Every game on the sale can be played on the Xbox One via the Backwards Compatibility Program. If you’re using the same account, you’ll even keep your old game saves, achievements, and Gamerscore.

The sale includes many high profile games and series, including the first Red Dead Redemption, the Gears of War series, Halo series, the Fable series, the BioShock series, and several LEGO and Call of Duty games.

If you have an Xbox One but haven’t looked into the Xbox 360’s impressively deep library, this sale is a great place to start. We’ve highlighted some notable games below:

  • Dragon Age: Origins ($3.74)
  • Fable 3 ($9.99)
  • Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning ($4.99)
  • Mass Effect 2 ($5.99)
  • Mass Effect 3 ($5.99)
  • Red Dead Redemption ($9.89)
  • Shadow Complex ($7.49)
  • Spec Ops: The Line ($5.99)
  • XCOM: Enemy Within ($7.99)

Note that many games in the sale have since been remastered and released for modern consoles, such as the BioShock series with BioShock: The Collection, the Halo sereis with Halo: The Master Chief Collection, and the Borderlands series with Borderlands: The Handsome Collection and Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition.

Several last gen games have been enhanced when playing on Xbox One X, such as Red Dead Redemption and Splinter Cell Blacklist. The enhancement expands color, pixel count, and resolution.

The Xbox Compatibility Sale ends May 27.

Microsoft

Head of Xbox on Fighting Online Toxicity: “Gaming Is for Everyone”

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Executive VP of Gaming at Microsoft and Head of Xbox Phil Spencer published a blog on promoting inclusivity and online safety in gaming. These are areas which gaming has notoriously struggled as its emerged into the realm of a billion dollar mainstream media empire. The blog, titled “Video games: A unifying force for the world,” details commitments made by the Microsoft team to combating toxic behavior and supporting safety features.

“This widespread embrace of gaming and its global communities have turned video games into the world’s leading cultural industry, bigger than movies or music,” writes Spencer. “But it also comes at a time when digital life includes a growing toxic stew of hate speech, bigotry and misogyny.”

To that end, Spencer outlines three areas Microsoft is focusing on:

  1. Proactive and vigilant in regards to online harassment. “We will identify potentials for abuse and misuse on our platform and will fix problems quickly. We are also intent on expanding the composition of our safety team so wide-ranging perspectives can help us identify future safety problems and solutions.”
  2. Content moderation and safeguards. “We will make it easier for parents and guardians new to console and PC gaming to discover and create Child or Teen accounts. This year, Microsoft Stores rolled out a series of family workshops to help parents understand the tools available to them on console and PC, and this summer we are launching Gaming Summer Camps offering young gamers new ways to explore life skills and practice healthy habits that can be used in gaming and everyday life.”
  3. Work with other companies to improve online safety. “Multiple teams working in areas like moderation, user research, data science, and others are already aligning with industry partners to share insights, and best practices in areas of safety, security and privacy.”

Spencer encourages other companies to join in establishing a proactive stance in making gaming a more accessible and inclusive community.

minecraft

Microsoft Exclude’s Minecraft Creator from 10th Anniversary Event

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Microsoft is hosting a ten year celebration event on May 17 for seminal game Minecraft. A spokesperson from Microsoft told Variety that Markus “Notch” Persson, the original creator of Minecraft and founder of game studio Mojang, has been purposefully excluded from the event due to his past comments. “His comments and opinions do not reflect those of Microsoft or Mojang and are not representative of Minecraft,” the spokesperson told Variety.

Persson famously sold Mojang and Minecraft to Microsoft in 2014 for $2.5 billion. He has not been actively involved in the game’s development since.

In the past several years, Persson, who currently has 3.7 million twitter followers, has broadcasted several controversial and frankly abhorrent opinions and views regarding politics, race, gender, and sexuality, and even full-blown conspiracy theories.

The most recent Minecraft update quietly removed any mention of Notch in the loading screens, though his name is still present in the credits as the original creator. Many fans of Minecraft, upset with Notch’s behavior, have elevated digitally-created vocal artist Hatsune Miku as the creator of Minecraft, thanks to a viral tweet.

Minecraft was originally released in 2011. To this day it’s one of the most popular games of all time, especially for younger kids and teens. It’s the second best-selling video game of all time, behind Tetris. As of last year Minecraft boasted over 90 million active players.

Minecraft is available on every console and platform, and is even used as a teaching tool in schools.

sea of thieves

The Holidays Bring Gilded Gifts to Sea of Thieves

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Microsoft’s multiplayer pirate game Sea of Thieves is celebrating the holidays with a seasonal event called Gilded Gifts. The event adds new Gilded Voyages, which can be claimed as a free gift from the Pirate Lord. The Gilded Gifts event runs through the the first week of January 2019.

Four advanced voyages are presented, each tied to a different Trading Company, but players can only choose one. Your options are: Gold Hoarders, Order of Souls, Merchant Alliance, and Athena’s Fortune. You can only select the last one if you’ve reached Pirate Legend status.

Gilded Voyages are much more challenging and must be completed in a single session, so be prepared when you decided to tackle it. Completing a Gilded Voyage gives substantial rewards to gold and reputation.

Sea of Thieves is currently in the middle of its fourth content update, Shrouded Spoils. A fog now blankets much of the ocean, providing ambush opportunities. Enemies are more ferquent and more dangerous, including more skeleton forts and ships, and rampaging sea monsters like the Kraken and Megalodon. Loot has also become more juicy, whether by defeating sea monsters or shattering Mermaid Statues, and ship customization has been expanded.

Sea of Thieves is available for Xbox One and Windows 10 PC. It’s rated T for Teen for Crude Humor, Alcohol, and Violence.