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How Cortana made the leap from Halo to Windows Phone

Posted by Andru Edwards Categories: Cell Phones, Features, Microsoft

Microsoft Cortana

Curious about how Cortana made her way from assisting Master Chief in Halo over to helping you out on Windows Phone? During a sit-down with Microsoft's Marcus Ash, he spoke to us about what it took to get Cortana just right on Windows Phone and to be seen as a legitimate competitor to Apple's Siri.

First, the Cortana logo was the first thing Microsoft has to get right. Originally, they didn't want a physical representation. The thought was that people could think it was creepy if it is "too human." They also didn't want it to be like Clippy, the infamous character from Microsoft Office that was hated by many. It was also decided that Cortana couldn't be just a voice, since it wouldn't feel the same.

Initially, Microsoft tried to use the Xbox Live avatar idea, but that was odd due to everyone having the female Cortana voice. Then they started playing around with the circle. A circle can stretch, bounce, and transform. They also tried triangles, diamonds, hearts, and the ability of letter the user choose any of these. At the end of the day, the circle next to Metro on the start screen looked good, so that was what Microsoft decided on. The next issue was that a simple circle isn't iconic, and is hard to brand. That's when the Windows Phone team met with the Halo team at 343 Industries.

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Microsoft announces Halo 5: Guardians for 2015

Halo 5 guardians

Microsoft has officially announced the next entry in the Halo series in Halo 5: Guardians. Exclusive to the Xbox One, Halo 5: Guardians will star Master Chief as he begins a new journey, which was previously teased at E3 2013.

"Halo 5: Guardians" is a bigger effort than "Halo 4." That applies to the content and scope of the game, as well as the technology in what’s now a brand new and more powerful engine. Certainly there are some core elements carried over from prior games, but we’ve invested a huge effort in retooling our tech to take full advantage of the Xbox One’s hardware and ecosystem to create worlds and experiences worthy of next-gen.

You can bet that 343 Industries will take full advantage of Microsoft's Xbox Live cloud infrastructure--but probably not too much Kinect integration. I'm sure we'll know much more at E3.

Read More | Xbox Wire

Rumors say Halo 2 Anniversary edition set for 2014, Halo 5 delayed to 2015

Halo 5

Back in 2004, Microsoft released what many believe to be the best in the Halo series: Halo 2. Ten years later, and the rumor mill is buzzing with anticipation of a Halo 2 Anniversary Edition announcement, with the hope that it'll arrive on the Xbox One in full high definition glory later this year. The rumor originated on NeoGAF. If true, it does seem to throw a wrench into the previous plans, where Microsoft has promised to release Halo 5 in 2014. Microsoft likes to spread out Halo releases, so if a Halo 2 reboot is set for 2014, it wouldn't be hard to believe that Halo 5 would be pushed back to 2015, resulting in much disappointment. We'll update when we hear more.

Read More | NeoGAF

7 hot holiday gaming gifts for 2012

XBox 360 4GB Kinect Bundle

Now that Thanksgiving is over, the holiday shopping season is in full swing. Video games are always a hot item, with kids and adults alike wanting to get in on the action. We've put together eith different video game-related gifts that you pick pick up for your loved ones this holiday season, and we did our best to find something for everybody, starting with the Xbox 360 4GB Kinect holiday bundle. If you know someone who doesn't yet have an Xbox 360, then this is the one to get. They get the Kinect accessory included in the box, along with Disneyland Adventures and Kinect Adventures, two fun games. You can pick this one up for $249.99. Read on for the rest of our list!

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2012 Holiday Gift Guide: Halo 4 Limited Edition

Halo 4 Limited Edition

Halo 4 launched today, and is downright amazing. If there's a gamer in your life who didn't already pick this one up, do them a favor and grab them a copy of this Limited Edition version, because this one is good enough to make it into our 2012 Holiday Gift Guide. What sets the Halo 4 Limited Edition apart from the standard version? Well, a lot. Read on, but just remember that these are going to go fast. We don't expect to see the Limited Edition version in stock for more than a few more days:

  • Spartan-IV “Recruit” In-Game Armor
  • Spartan-IV “Prime” In-Game Armor Skin
  • Assault Rifle “Prime” In-Game Weapon Skin
  • “Prime” In-Game Emblem
  • Xbox LIVE Avatar “Recruit” Armor
  • Cryo-Tube Xbox LIVE Avatar Prop

Click to continue reading 2012 Holiday Gift Guide: Halo 4 Limited Edition

Read More | Halo 4 Limited Edition

Xbox 360 Halo 4 Limited Edition console bundle now available for pre-order

Halo 4 Xbox 360 limited edition pre-order

Remember that Halo 4 Limited Edition Xbox 360 console we told you about the other day? Yep, it's real, and it's now availabe for pre-order. The console will sell for $399.99, and will be released on November 6, 2012. You get the Xbox 360 console that decked out in Halo 4 artwork, along with two wireless controllers with artwork as well. The green LEDs are swapped out for blue, and the console has custom sounds from the Halo world. The actual Halo 4 game is also included. Pre-order it now at Amazon.


Halo 4 limited edition console bundle leaks

Halo 4 Xbox 360 limited edition bundle

Microsoft is set to release an exclusive Halo 4 console bundle alongside the release of the next major Halo title.

  • Exclusive design: Limited-edition, one-of-a-kind console was custom designed by the Halo 4 developer, 343 Industries, and Xbox 360.
  • Two custom Halo 4 wireless controllers: With rotating D-pad and blue LED lights.
  • Halo 4 Standard Edition game
  • Exclusive sounds: Hear actual Halo 4 in-game sound effects when console is turned on and when the eject button is pushed.
  • 320 GB hard drive
  • Custom downloadable content: Unique armor skin, unique weapon skin, unique emblem, matching avatar armor, and unique avatar prop.
  • Black Xbox 360 headset

Details of the console were accidentally posted on the Microsoft Store, and have since been pulled, but not before the details above, along with images, were saved. We assume this one will sell for $399 this fall. We've got an image of the controller after the break.

Read More | Xbox Forums

Video: 5 minutes of glorious Halo 4 gameplay footage from E3

Halo 4 trailer

In addition to the Halo 4 trailer from this morning's Microsoft E3 2012 Media Briefing, we've also got the full gameplay video as well. In the trailer, which you can view after the break, you get over 5 minutes of content showing off new enemies in the Halo world, and new abilities for Master Chief. 343 Industries looks to be off to a great start with its new Halo trilogy. Halo 4 will be available on November 6.


Watch the Halo 4 live-action trailer

This morning during its E3 2012 Xbox 360 Media Briefing, Microsoft brought us the first Halo 4 full-length trailer, and it's a thing of beauty. If you didn't catch it, we've got it for you above. Great stuff. Halo 4 hits stores on November 6, 2012.


Microsoft Xbox 360 E3 2012 Media Briefing Live Coverage

Posted by Andru Edwards Categories: Features, Microsoft, Video Games

E3 2012 xbox 360 media briefing

Microsoft's E3 2012 Xbox 360 Media Briefing kicks off this morning at 9:30 AM PDT, and we're here to bring you the news as it happens. Keep it locked here for our live coverage of the event, which is set to kick off with Halo 4, with a new Gears of War title to debut, and the secretive SmartGlass feature as well!

Click to continue reading Microsoft Xbox 360 E3 2012 Media Briefing Live Coverage


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