Summer Game Fest Demo Event Features 70+ Unreleased Xbox Game Demos

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As part of Geoff Keighley’s Summer Games Fest, Microsoft is running a special event this week, the Summer Games Fest Demo Event. The event runs from July 21 to July 27, and features over 70 demos of upcoming Xbox games.

Unlike most game demos, these demos are pulled from unreleased, and in many cases, unfinished games, and will only be available this week.

Demos include indie JRPG Cris Tales, action-RPG Hellpoint, the Destroy All Humans remaster, and Raji, an action-adventure game set in ancient India.

“Many of these demos are early, and some are for games that won’t be out for quite some time,” writes Glenn Gregory, Sr. Product Marketing Manager at Xbox. “We’ve never done this before; what that means is that you’ll get to experience these games early – some way early – which is awesome, but you should also note that these games will continue to evolve and be polished as they near release. In other words, think of these as akin to ‘show floor demos’ and not necessarily indicative of the final product.”

Developers are encouraging users to provide feedback via social media and official game websites. A full list of all free demos can be found in the press release linked above. The Summer Games Fest Demo Event ends July 27.

In related news, the Xbox Games Showcase will air on July 23rd at 9 am Pacific/12 pm Eastern.

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.

darwin project

Survive With a Buddy in New Duo Mode for Darwin Project

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Indie Canadian developer Scavengers Studio has officially added two player co-op to their Battle Royale survival game, Darwin Project. Darwin Project is still in Early Access on Steam and Xbox Games Preview. Duo Mode has been added to PC, but still forthcoming on Xbox.

Darwin Project has seen a number of updates since its Early Access launch last month. Most recently is skill-based matchmaking, which should hopefully make for higher quality matches and not pit newbies against veterans.

“Players just starting out in the arena should still have a fighting chance, especially on Steam where some inmates have been practicing since the Closed Alpha days and have reached brutal levels of skill,” writes Simon Darveau, creative director, in a blog post. “It’s important for us that Darwin Project be as welcoming as possible, and to motivate new players to continue improving and refining their techniques, we want to avoid placing them in the same match as highly experienced players when possible.”

The update is live on both PC and Xbox, and Scavengers Studio explains it’s an algorithm system that will improve over time.

The special egg hunt Easter event is also going on this week, ending Friday, April 6. Players can find decorated eggs scattered around the arena. Collect enough and they can unlock frighteningly garish egg and rabbit-themed hats.

Darwin Project launched in March via Steam Early Access and Xbox Game Preview. It features a 10-person arena, with a Show Director helping or hindering players, and unique live-streaming integration. It’s due to officially launch later this year.