Microsoft has a bunch of solid deals on Xbox One bundles this year, and we think the Gears of War bundle provides the most value for the dollar making it our pick in our 2015 Holiday Gift Guide. Buying an Xbox One also nets you access to the large back catalogue of Xbox 360 backwards compatible games as well, making it an even better upgrade for Xbox 360 owners.
The bundle includes an Xbox One with 500GB storage, full-game digital download of Gears of War: Ultimate Edition, newly updated Xbox One black wireless controller with a 3.5mm headset jack so you can plug in any compatible headset, 14-day trial of Xbox Live Gold, AC Power Cable, and an HDMI Cable. You also get access to the Xbox 360 Gears of War collection if you play the game before the end of the year!
Oh, and if you wanna splurge on this one, skip the Gears of War bundle and go for the Xbox One Elite bundle instead.
The Xbox One Elite Wireless Controller is the hard-to-get gamer gift this season, earning a spot in our 2015 Holiday Gift Guide. This thing offers pro-level precision, a bevy of swappable thumbsticks and D-pads, and add-on rear paddles that can be used to duplicate or remap from buttons. Hair trigger locks let you fire faster, and the rubberized diamond grip provides a more secure and comfortable experience when using it. The components and build quality of this one are top-notch, and any Xbox One gamer in your life would love it, guaranteed.
Read More | Xbox One Elite Wireless Controller
Microsoft is set to release the remastered Gears of War: Ultimate Edition on Xbox One in just over a week, and today the launch trailer was released, bringing back the Mad World title track that was used years ago with the original. You can watch the trailer after the break, which includes all new in-game footage that shows just how great Gears of War: Ultimate Edition is going to look once it hits Xbox One consoles. The original Mad World trailer is recognized as one of the most memorable video game trailers of all time, due to its use of emotion to convey the heavy situation that the Gears would be facing.
Gear of War: Ultimate Edition is completely remastered, and runs in 1080p at 60fps, even in multiplayer. The game will be available on August 25th, and you can pre-order it now. If you don't have an Xbox One yet, there is even a Gear of War: Ultimate Edition console bundle.
The Interview, the movie release that’s been at the center of media hysteria for the past week, is now available to stream from the comfort of your home after having its theatrical release pulled. You can still catch the movie in theaters starting tomorrow, Christmas Day, but you’ll only find it in 300 select independent theaters. In order to reach the masses, Sony decided to partner with Xbox Video, YouTube, and Google Play in conjunction with its own SeeTheInterview.com site on streaming the feature into the homes of potential viewers.
As far as pricing goes, you can rent The Interview for $5.99, or buy it for $14.99. Will you be watching?
Microsoft that slashed the price of the Xbox One by $50 leading into the holiday season, bringing the price down to just $349. The new pricing applies to all Xbox One bundles, which means that you can even get the upcoming Sunset Overdrive bundle for $349, as well as the Assassin’s Creed bundle that includes Assassin’s Creed: Unity and Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag.
If you are looking for one of the bundles that includes Kinect, even those are $50 less, including the Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare bundle that features the custom-designed Xbox One console with 1TB hard drive, a digital copy of the game, and matching controller.
The promotional period for the price drop starts on November 2, and continues through January 3, 2015.
If you haven’t picked up an Xbox One yet (or, if you need an extra one for the bedroom,) next week will be a great time to buy. Microsoft is running a promotion from September 7 through 13th where buying an Xbox One at participating retailers will include any free game of your choosing that costs $59.99 or less. Yes, that includes Destiny, Bungie’s new title, which drops on September 9. That’s a nice savings, since you’ll probably want at least one game to play on your new console anyway. Speaking of which, the offer applies to Xbox One bundles as well, so if you buy the Xbox One Madden NFL 15 Bundle or the Forza Motorsport 5 Bundle, each of which already comes with a free game, you get another free game of your choosing on top of that.
Forza Motorsport 5 is going free this weekend for all Xbox Live Gold subscribers. You’ll also need an Xbox One to get in on the action, which starts at 12:01am on Friday and ends on Sunday night. During that timeframe, you’ll be able to download Forza Motorsport 5 and play it to your hearts content for the weekend, including all single-player and multiplayer content. DLC add-ons don’t come as part of the deal, but still, this is basically like a free rental.
All US residents who spend time playing Forza Motorsport 5 during the free weekend are entered to win a three-day trip to the Forza Motorsport Grand Prix Road Racing Class to be held at the Bondurant School of High Performance Driving.
So, who jumping in to Forza to help pass the time until Destiny arrives next week?
For a peek behind-the-scenes of Forza Motorsport 5, check out our video after the break.
Chris Weber is the CVP of Mobile Devices Sales at Microsoft, re-joining the company through it's purchase of Nokia, where he was in charge of global sales. He knows his way around every Lumia device, and is now aiming to make sure that Windows Phone first-party hardware is an even player at the devices table. We were able to sit down with Chris to talk about Nokia, Lumia, Windows Phone, and what changes need to be made in order to realize the success he is seeking. Check out the full interview below:
When is Windows Phone 8.1 coming out?
The answer varies by device and operator. The Lumia 630 and 635 are the first 8.1 products, launched internationally. We’re also working with our current products, and any Windows 8 phone is upgradeable to 8.1. There is currently a developer preview, but the operator version requires further testing. 8.1 is a completely different experience. Things like the background wallpaper, increased customization, and especially Cortana, which is one of the best features.
There are key differences between Cortana and similar services on other devices. It proactively learns. The other day I was flying to Moscow. The week before, it asked if it wanted me to track my flight to Moscow. There is a link that says "Do you want to know how I knew that?" Cortana looked at my calendar and started looking up flight numbers. It also has geo-fencing. You can say "Remind me that Ignacio owes me $100." I can say remind me when I send an email, when I arrive home, etc. Or "Remind me to pick up my dry cleaning" and when you get in the area, the message pops up. "Remind me to pick up milk at the grocery store” and you get the choice of having it remind you when you are near any grocery store, not just one specific one.
Back to being on the plane, I said "Remind me to download the music for guitar when I get home." It's really, really good. Flow writing, which is similar to Swype, means I can do emails faster on my phone than on the keyboard now. I got a new phone and it wasn't running 8.1 and the hunt and peck was tough!
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.
Read More | Xbox Wire
The WWE Network app is now available for download on the Xbox One console, completing its availability on all announced video game platforms. Prior to today, the WWE Network was available on the Playstation 3, Playstation 4, and Xbox 360, with the Xbox One launch scheduled to come later "this summer." Obviously, the app was completed here in early spring, and made its way to the Xbox Live Marketplace without so much as an announcement from WWE or Microsoft.
We played with the app for a few minutes, and found it to be much easier to navigate than the other game console offerings. In fact, we'd place the Xbox One version just behind that of the Apple TV when it comes to connected devices. Having already used the WWE Network on the Xbox 360, after downloading it to the Xbox One, I was able to navigate around and watch content without having to log in again, thanks to my credentials syncing over Microsoft's cloud.
Streaming quality looks great, with no initial lag or stutter. You can download the WWE Network app now.