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Microsoft is bringing some new major changes to the Xbox Onewith the Fall update, including voice-assisted support from Cortana and a new dashboard layout--but speed is their top priority.
"Brand new Xbox One User Interface experience that will be going out this fall and is really focused around speed and getting to things faster," Xbox's Richard Irving told GamingBolt at E3 2015. "Our design point of the new Xbox experience is speed and making all of the things you do on Xbox Live, both in and out of the game much faster."
As an Xbox One owner myself I can attest that the console's menus can be sluggish. Firing up an app or starting up Snap Mode can take a bit, meaning you'll sometimes miss that perfect moment you wanted to record.
After 15 years of black-market gaming, China has opened up a new door to the bustling video games industry by scrapping its restrictive ban on games systems. The country's Ministry of Culture states that hardware titans like Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo can not only sell but also manufacture video games consoles anywhere in the country.
This new legislature is a huge win for console-makers, as they have free reign to tap the Chinese market. Last year the Chinese government made a similar reversal with the launch of the Xbox One in the region, but console-makers were bound by unfavorable restrictive policies. To sell their consoles in China, console-makers had to agree to specific rules like being told where manufacturing facilities could be placed, gaining approval from regulation officials, and have every individual console inspected before being sold.
The Microsoft Xbox One has greatly suffered while trying to sell its Xbox One and keep up with the Sony PlayStation 4, handily outsold in the United States, Europe and Japan.
It's been a difficult battle that Microsoft is taking seriously, and there have been moments of relief - like after the holidays, when gamers could purchase several Xbox One gaming bundles.
"This progress, as well as the excitement we generated at E3 - with Xbox exclusive gaming content and backwards compatibility - demonstrates the building momentum that exists with the Xbox ecosystem," said Amy Hood, CFO at Microsoft, while speaking during a recent financial call.
It looks as if the Xbox One's hot new backwards compatibility feature isn't actually so new after all. In fact Microsoft might have planned to include it before the console was even released, despite Don Mattrick's "backwards compatibility is really backwards" antics.
A very interesting snippet has surfaced as part of an Xbox Wire interview with Xbox's Director of Program Management, Mike Ybarra. "The Xbox Engineering team spent over three years making backwards compatibility a reality," reads the line in question.
Over three years? Wait, that doesn't exactly add up. Since it originally released November of 2013, the Xbox One will only turn two this November, so a round of quick math will reveal that Microsoft had indeed banked on backwards compatibility before the system was released on store shelves. Even with that extra forethought and planning, the Xbox team hasn't had an easy time tackling the feature.
The Microsoft Xbox One may not be able to steal all momentum from the Sony PlayStation 4, but is giving Microsoft plenty of reasons to celebrate. During Q4, Microsoft sold 1.4 million Xbox 360/Xbox One systems, a massive increase from the 1.1 million sold year-over-year - but Microsoft declined to break down sales for the Xbox 360 and Xbox One.
It looks like the Xbox business is giving Microsoft increased optimism with the looming launch of Windows 10, with Xbox console sales, revenue, and Xbox Live transactions all increasing. In addition, the company's gaming division saw 27 percent year-over-year growth, and plenty of upcoming video games look appealing.
"Xbox platform revenue increased $86 million or 10 percent," according to a Microsoft report. "[That was] driven by higher volumes of consoles sold, offset in part by lower prices of Xbox Ones sold. Xbox Live transactions revenue increased $205 million or 58 percent, reflecting increased users and revenue per user."
The addition of backward compatibility for the Microsoft Xbox One likely played a part in massive Xbox One sales during the month of June. The company saw a 51 percent year-over-year bump when compared to June 2014, and there was a massive sales boost of 79 percent during E3 week.
In addition to a new controller, game titles and other content to look forward to - Microsoft introduced backward compatibility, so gamers will be able to play their Xbox 360 titles on the Xbox One. Microsoft CFO Amy Hood said the Xbox platform has built momentum in part because of backward compatibility and exclusive games that will be available in time for Christmas.
"June was a good month and I think backwards compatibility matters," Spencer said via Twitter. "Lots of 360 owners deciding when to make the jump, big focus for us."
Now that Microsoft is just over a week away from the launch of Windows 10, the company has just enabled game streaming from Xbox One owners to Windows 10-powered PCs and tablets. Not only that, but the company is also delivering improved features to the Xbox app on Windows 10 in the coming days.
Anyone who owns an Xbox One and a Windows 10-powered PC or tablet can play all of their games from their console on their PC, all by going to your Xbox One and then 'Settings', then 'Preferences' and then 'Allow game streaming to other devices'. Once you've done this, it will install the latest version of the Xbox app on your PC or tablet.
Once you open the Xbox app on your Windows 10 device, go to Connect and then '+Add a device', and you'll then have to select your Xbox One console. Once you have a Xbox 360 or Xbox One controller hooked up to your PC, you'll be close to being connected to your Xbox One. From here, you'll need to go to 'Home' and then 'Recently Played' to select a Xbox One game, and then select 'Play from Console' to start your streaming session. Voila; you're not playing Xbox One games on your PC!
With Sony winning the current-gen console race in terms of both performance and sales of the PlayStation 4, Microsoft reportedly has a trick up its sleeve to boost performance on the Xbox One later this year, according to the developer behind The Technomancer, Spiders.
Spiders' CEO, Jehanne Rousseau, a French game studio, said that Microsoft will soon be boosting the CPU performance on the Xbox One, something that will help developers meet their targeted performance goals. When GamingBolt talked to Spiders' CEO recently, Rousseau explained how the studio will squeeze additional performance out of the Xbox One for their upcoming Mars-based, post-apocalyptic RPG, The Technomancer.
Rousseau said: "We are not using it yet but this is only a matter of time! This is very interesting for us to have access to this processor. We will use it to do a part of our computations to smooth the frame rate. In fact we designed our new engine to be very flexible about the number of processors. With mainly in mind the numerous PC designs, but this will also be useful for this 7th processor".
It looks like the latest rumor has Nintendo releasing its next generation 'NX' console in July 2016, but here's the clincher: it will reportedly be slower than the PlayStation 4.
Nintendo's NX console will reportedly enter manufacturing in October, with DigiTimes reporting that Nintendo will begin pilot production on NX by October "at the latest". If this happens, we should see Nintendo do a huge reveal at E3 2016 in June next year. Once the production starts, other manufacturers will join in on the production process, which will definitely help.
But it's the hardware inside of the NX console that will have people talking, where rumors claim that the NX will only be as powerful as the PS4. Considering the new consoles aren't that powerful, this will be a huge disappointment. But, Nintendo could squeeze 1080p 60FPS out of its games if the hardware is juiced up, especially when compared to the Wii U.
It looks like Sony is continuing to dominate consoles sales, where according to the latest sales data from VGChartz, Sony has eclipsed Microsoft by nearly 100%.
Sony has racked up 23.2 million sales of its PlayStation 4 console, while Microsoft trails behind severely with just 12.8 million. Nintendo is actually not doing too badly, with 9.7 million Wii U consoles sold to date. If we shift over to monthly numbers, Sony continues to smack Microsoft around, selling 617,578 consoles while the Xbox One saw just 272,955 sold. Nintendo on the other hand didn't have a bad month, with 141,426 Wii U consoles sold.