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Xbox Game Pass Surpasses 10 Million Subscribers

During Microsoft's Q3 2020FY Earnings call, it was confirmed that Xbox Live was seeing record levels of engagement with over 90 million monthly users. On top of this, Microsoft announced that Xbox Game Pass had surpassed 10 million subscribers for the video game subscription service. Xbox Game Pass is available for Xbox One and PC giving users access to a library with hundreds of games including many large recent games such as Gears Tactics, Halo Master Chief Collection, and Shadow of the Tomb Raider. This makes Xbox Game Pass the largest game subscription service far outnumbering EA Access and Origin Access. Microsoft also noted that interest in Project xCloud the experimental game streaming service was high with "hundreds of thousands" of active users.

Microsoft Partners With Spotify in XBOX Game Pass

Microsoft today announced a new partnership with Spotify for new users of their Xbox Game Pass service. The new partnership is only open for U.S. and U.K residents, though - anyone else will have to pony up for both services, if interested. In essence, should you upgrade your existing Xbox Live subscription to Xbox Game Pass (either on PC or console), which you can currently do for just $1, you will also get access to Spotify's Premium plan for a long 6 months. Fuel for thought and whatever you feel like doing - just diving into one of the more than 100 entries into Microsoft's Game Pass, or the millions of songs available with Spotify.

CDKOffers Lets You Save Big on Genuine Software and Games

CDKOffers is a new online retailer selling genuine license keys to popular software and games, letting you save over 80% on your software costs for new PC builds. Licenses to popular software such as Windows 10 Pro operating systems and Office 2016 Professional Plus productivity suite are so cheap, that you'd rather buy new keys than hassle porting your old OEM key between motherboards. Globally-valid Windows 10 Pro OEM keys go for as less as USD $14.52, while globally-valid lifetime Office 2016 Professional Plus keys go for $36.87, which is less than half what you'd pay for an annual subscription for Office 365. While you'd on the site, you can also check out their jaw-dropping deals on game keys and in-game credit vouchers, which you can redeem on popular DRM platforms such as Steam, UPlay, Xbox Live, etc.

Buy Windows 10 Pro OEM from CDKOffers | Buy Office 2016 Professional Plus from CDKOffers

One more thing, use coupon code "TP20" for a further 25 percent off on the already discounted price!

Could Microsoft and Steam be Looking Into Enabling Crossplay Between Services?

Crossplay has become an interesting point of contention for the industry, with some very popular games and companies advocating for a unified, non-fractured player audience enjoying their games across different media consumption screens, and even gaming platforms. Microsoft has been pushing this kind of capability for some time now, launching their Xbox Play Anywhere initiative which aims to bring PC, Xbox (or both) gamers to parity - acquiring a game on one platform equals having it on both, with all game data being synced.

A new update in the Steam beta update code explicitly refers to Xbox, with an "Xbox_pairwise_id" being present, which could point towards exploration of a future feature. Microsoft adding keyboard and mouse support to their Xbox consoles, news of a new streaming-based console for Microsoft's xCloud efforts, and Steam already offering controller support are some of the little details that could make this a winning bet for both companies.

Future Microsoft Office Versions Look to be Subscription Only

A job listing posted by Microsoft is being hailed as sign of subscription-based times to come to the company's Office 365 and Windows products. Honestly, I believe this to be a matter of time - Subscription services have been increasing at an alarming rate, Microsoft has already tasted the advantages of such a model on their bottom line with their Xbox Live and Games Pass systems, and of course, there're always the ever-giant Spotifys and Netflixes of this world.

Windows and Office as a service is nothing out of the ordinary, really. The job listing for a "Product Manager, M365 Consumer Subscription - Modern Life & Devices (MLD)", which has a job description along the lines of "market a great new Microsoft 365 Consumer Subscription" doesn't come as a surprise. Going from this Office 365 consumer subscription to a Windows one is a bit of a stretch on the basis of the job posting alone, but it is in the foreseeable future for Microsoft's strategy to safeguard Windows and its updates behind a monthly payment, ensuring that one-off purchases are no longer a thing - and guaranteeing a predictable revenue stream.

Microsoft Announces Q2 2017 (Fiscal Year) Results - Beating Expectations

This afternoon, Microsoft had its earnings announcement for the second quarter of their 2017 fiscal year, beating Wall Street expectations with revenue of $26.1 billion (beating estimates of $25.3 billion), net income of $6.5 billion, and earnings per share of $0.83 (predicted at $0.79).

Microsoft has shuffled their product groups around a bit for reporting, and they now have three groups: Productivity and Business Processes, Intelligent Cloud, and More Personal Computing. LinkedIn results, when aggregated to Microsoft's subsequent earnings reports (which have been included separately due to the acquisition having been completed on December 8th 2016), will fall in the first group.

Next Gen Nintendo Console to Do Away with Optical Disc Media

Nintendo's upcoming high-performance game console, codenamed "Nintendo NX," could be the first major console in 15 years to completely do away with optical disc media. Patent applications covering the console, filed in February by Nintendo, with the USPTO, and unearthed by NeoGAF, describe a console that "is not provided with an optical disc drive." Nintendo is expected to reveal the NX some time in 2016.

This points at a new direction in which Nintendo wants to guide the console gaming industry - one in which an Internet connection is mandatory, games are bought from a centralized marketplace online, downloaded to your console's local storage (HDDs/SSDs), and played. DLCs and in-game purchases are as seamless as possible, and game progress, settings, etc., are stored on the cloud. Such a system already existed for close to a decade, with Xbox Live and PSN, but Nintendo NX will be the first platform to completely do away with optical disc media. This method could also curb piracy, since the only way your console can receive games to play is through that online marketplace.

License Agreement Confusion Causes Misinformation over Windows 10 Overreach

Over the last weekend there's been quite some misinformation doing the rounds, stating that a license agreement you agreed to before upgrading to Windows 10, allows Microsoft to remotely disable pirated software (eg: games, apps). This may have caused fence-sitters on the Windows 10 upgrade to decide to stay on older platforms, and for some to even revert to their older Windows 7 installations. It turns out, that the situation has been grossly misread.

Microsoft Services EULA is the one which states that Microsoft may "prevent you from accessing the Services, playing counterfeit games, or using unauthorized hardware peripheral devices," however, this is not the license that governs your Windows installation. It only pertains to "Microsoft Services" (Windows Store content, Xbox Live, live tiles, etc.) The license governing Windows is the MSLT (Microsoft Software License Terms), and so there won't be a case of Microsoft reaching out to disable pirated software from running on Windows.

Microsoft Releases FY15 Q4 Results

Microsoft Corp. today announced that revenues for the quarter ended June 30, 2015 were $22.2 billion. Gross margin, operating loss, and loss per share for the quarter were $14.7 billion, $(2.1) billion, and $(0.40) per share, respectively.

These results include the impact of a $7.5 billion non-cash impairment charge related to assets associated with the acquisition of the Nokia Devices and Services (NDS) business, in addition to a restructuring charge of $780 million. There was also a charge of $160 million related to the previously announced integration and restructuring plan. Combined, these items totaled $8.4 billion or a $1.02 per share negative impact. Excluding this impact, operating income and EPS would have been $6.4 billion and $0.62, respectively. During the quarter, Microsoft returned $6.7 billion to shareholders in the form of share repurchases and dividends.

The following table reconciles these financial results reported in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles ("GAAP") to Non-GAAP financial results. Microsoft has provided this Non-GAAP financial information to aid investors in better understanding the company's performance. All growth comparisons relate to the corresponding period in the last fiscal year.

Microsoft Gifts Xbox Live Veterans 10th Anniversary Special Edition Xbox 360

Microsoft's Xbox Live service is turning 10 soon, and the company plans to celebrate it by gifting some of its most loyal members with a special edition Xbox 360 console, which features a refreshing new color scheme, and "A decade of entertainment" logo printed on its sides. There's no clarity on what one has to do to be able to receive one of these, but we'd imagine only the most loyal Xbox Live members, probably with active memberships dating back years, get the console. A Kotaku reader was surprised to find one of these packages at his doorstep. He never ordered it, never entered a giveaway, and isn't affiliated with the gaming industry. If you've been a long enough active member of the service which started in October 2002, there's finally reason your subscription billing address could come handy.

Xbox 360 250 GB Sold for $99, Too

In May, Microsoft sent ripples down the gaming industry by launching a subsidized $99 Xbox 360 + Kinect bundle. The bundle included an Xbox 360 4 GB console, Kinect, and "Kinect Adventures." The company applied a similar subsidy plan to the 250 GB HDD-equipped variant of the console, priced at the same $99, but which lacks Kinect bundle. One can now get a 250 GB Xbox 360 + Kinect bundle for as low as $149. Under Microsoft's subsidy plans, full-featured consoles are sold at low prices, in exchange for customers subscribing to Xbox Live for at $15 per month for two years.

SEGA's Nights Coming to the PC

Sega is continuing to reach into its back catalog, and fans are loving it. The latest HD remaster from the house of Sonic is the Saturn classic, Nights into Dreams. The digital re-release will be available on Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network, and Windows PC this fall. The updated version adds widescreen HD graphics, as well as support for leaderboards, trophies, and achievements. The original game will be available to play in "Saturn Mode," just in case you're not fond of the sharper graphics and textures.

Microsoft Prepares a $99 Xbox 360 + Kinect Bundle, But There's a Catch

An Xbox 360 with Kinect bundle for the price of a new PlayStation 2 is simply too good to be true, but it's real, at least partially. Microsoft is adopting a new sales model for its Xbox 360 which will let customers pay just US $99 for the console (Xbox 360 4GB with Kinect), but put them on a 2 year subscription plan that costs $15 a month. The subscription would give customers Xbox Live Gold membership, and some additional streaming content from cable or sports package providers. On top of this, customers will also get a 2 year warranty cover for the console and its accessories.

With this bundle, Xbox is looking to compete with the likes of Apple TV and Roku. Why them? Because according to Microsoft, Xbox 360 is used more for content consumption than gaming. Just like with contract-bound cellphones, there is a fee for early opt-out of the subscription's 2 year period. Let's punch some numbers: Microsoft is giving you an otherwise $299 product for $99, with $15 per month over 2 years (that's $360 worth subscription). At the end of two years, you end up spending $459. In comparison, with the $299 bundle and the cheapest Xbox Live Gold option, you would be spending $420 by the end of two years. So while there is a small catch, you get to take home a nice game console with Kinect for cheap. Choose with your wallets.

Xbox 360 Kinect Dons the Union Jack

To celebrate the 2012 Summer Olympics hosted by London, Microsoft came up with a new limited edition variant of its Xbox 360 Kinect game console, which dons the Union Jack. Officially, it is called the Xbox 360 Special Edition 4 GB Kinect Celebration Pack. The pack includes an Xbox 360 4 GB console, a Kinect sensor, a wireless controller, and two games: Kinect Adventures and Kinect Sports. It also includes a 3-month subscription of Xbox Live Gold. The bundle will be priced at £249.99 (US $405.8).

Microsoft To Launch $100 Xbox Lite Before Moving to Durango

Shortly before launching its next-generation game console (codenamed "Durango"), Microsoft is said to be working on a new product (SKU, rather), called Xbox Lite. This new console will cost as little as $100. According to a source, Xbox Lite will be ARM-based, and scheduled for "late 2013 which does Arcade-style games & all the current & future media apps with Kinect (with near-mode)." What makes the rumor plausible is that ARM chips advancing faster than ever, and so is the ecosystem of casual games on Xbox Live Arcade, which don't have very high graphical detail (and hence, aren't resource-heavy). Many of these casual games, along with Kinect-enabled games, could make up the ecosystem around Xbox Lite.

Durango Out in 2013, Lacks Optical Drive: Report

Microsoft's next-generation Xbox game console, codenamed "Durango", will arrive in 2013. More importantly, it is said to completely lack an optical disc drive. The lack of a disc drive could mark a milestone in the evolution of console game distribution. Microsoft already has a high-volume digital distribution platform in Xbox Live, its significance in a post-disc console era will only increase.

This is not to say that Microsoft will completely do away with physical media, an interchangeable NAND flash-based media could also take shape, seeing how prices of NAND flash-storage has come drastically down over the past couple of years. It would be a going back to solid-state game cartridges, for home consoles. Some portable consoles use solid-state media even today.

All White Xbox 360 Kinect Starts Shipping

Microsoft started shipping a special-edition white Xbox 360 4 GB Kinect, which is a return to the console's original colors, but on its new chassis design. The bundle includes a white colored Kinect, and white colored controllers that aren't completely lifted from the classic Xbox 360 design (the back side is white instead of gray). The bundle also includes copies of Kinect Adventures and Kinect Sports, and a 3-month subscription to Xbox Live Gold. The bundle is priced at US $299.99.

Modern Warfare 3 Sets Record for Biggest Entertainment Launch

Shattering its own day-one sales records, Activision Publishing, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, announced that its highly-anticipated Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 has become the biggest entertainment launch ever with an estimated sell-through of more than $400 million and more than 6.5 million units in North America and the United Kingdom alone in the first 24 hours of its release, according to Charttrack and retail customer sell-through information.

This marks the third consecutive year that the Call of Duty franchise has set day one launch records across all forms of entertainment, something no other entertainment franchise in any medium has ever accomplished. Last year, in North America and the United Kingdom , Activision's Call of Duty: Black Ops had estimated day-one sell-through of $360 million and in 2009, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, set day-one records with estimated sell through of $310 million, according to Charttrack and retail customer sell-through information.

On November 8, 2011, millions of fans attended more than 13,000 midnight openings at retail stores worldwide. According to Microsoft, after just two days, the number of gamers playing simultaneously on Xbox Live set a new peak concurrency record.

Valve Announces Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS: GO)

Valve, creators of best-selling game franchises (such as Counter-Strike, Half-Life, Left 4 Dead, Portal, and Team Fortress) and leading technologies (such as Steam and Source), today announced Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS: GO).

Targeted for release via Playstation Network, Xbox Live Arcade, and Steam (for PC and Mac) in early 2012, CS: GO will expand upon the team-based action gameplay that it pioneered when it was launched exactly 12 years ago (CS beta 1, August 1999).

Sharkoon Announces Lightweight high-end, 3D Sound Headset for PS3, Xbox 360 & PC

CompuExpert, a division of Digital Interactive Systems Corp., today announced the Sharkoon X-Tactic SR will begin shipping August 16 in North America, and will be available exclusively from Amazon.com. The latest in the award-winning line of specially designed gaming headsets delivers the ultimate in multi-directional audio performance for maximum immersion and combat advantage, yet is incredibly lightweight for continued comfort over long hours of gameplay. Experience a whole new world of crushing explosions, screaming commands and powerful game sound output through the Sound Control Unit (SCU) with the new 3D Sound Expander.

The X-Tatic SR features Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Pro Logic II and Dolby Headphone, creating completely new sound dimensions that allow players to hear enemies approach from any direction. In addition, the SCU offers one additional connection for a second headset with 3.5mm jack, so two can enjoy excellent surround sound.

Sharkoon Announces Pair of Stereo Headsets for Game Consoles

At gamescom, Sharkoon presents two new gaming headsets: With their platform independent surround sound headset and bestselling "X-Tatic Digital," the accessory specialist introduces two new additional stereo models which are specifically designed for use on the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 gaming consoles.

The Sharkoon X-Tatic SX has a white headband, white ear cups and a light green design application to not only match the Xbox 360, but also provide direct microphone access to the Xbox console and support VoIP voice communications for the online service Xbox Live. The microphone connects through the integrated cable controller of the headset with the enclosed chat cable (3.5 - 2.5mm stereo jack) which then directly plugs into the Xbox game pad. The headset is powered through the console's USB port. Another adapter cable is provided (3.5 stereo jack into 2 x Cinch) to connect with the stereo sound of the Xbox, it is simply attached from the AV Multi Out cable of the console to the audio input of the TV device. The headset cable offers USB connection and a stereo input 3.5mm microphone plug, in which the X-Tatic SX can also be used on the PC.

Microsoft Set to Release $99 60GB Xbox Live Starter Pack Next Week

The title pretty much says it all, next week Microsoft will start selling a Starter Pack for all Xbox 360 Arcade console fan that have never gone past the casual offline gaming. The pack includes everything you need to jump into Xbox LIVE with the Xbox 360: a spacious 60GB Hard Drive, Headset, 3-month LIVE Gold subscription, and Ethernet cable. The Xbox Live 60GB starter pack can be pre-ordered now from GameStop for $99.99, with an expected U.S. ship date of November 4th. (Ed. note: The same kit should be available on or before Nov. 21st in Europe for 79€)

Microsoft Details New Xbox 360 and Xbox LIVE Service Improvements, Enables HDD Play

Based on the feedback received from the beginning of the Xbox LIVE entertainment dashboard, Microsoft said today it will be enhancing the service soon with a new update. Among the new features that will be included, one deserves special attention. Called "play from hard drive" it will allow Xbox 360 owners to copy their games from the game disc to their hard drive and also start the game from there for faster load times. The game disc is still required for piracy reasons though, but it won't be spinning after the game is started. A quick look at some of the other features you might find interesting follows below.

Microsoft Bashes British Gamer from Xbox Live for Registering with his Real Name

This story comes to prove what can happen if your name does not fit the standards. Last night, a British gamer was banned from the Xbox Live network, for registering with the RichardGaywood gamertag. From Microsoft's point of view nick names that violate the XBL policies are being removed immediately. You can't have a sexual term in you name. Yes, but what if the guy's last name is indeed Gaywood. His real full name is Richard Michael Gaywood. Do we have to change our real names so we can register and get permitted to access what we have paid for.

Xbox Live/Xbox.com Downtime on April 1st

Gamerscore Blog lets all Xbox owners know that the Xbox 360 Live service along with the Xbox.com web site will be down for routine maintenance on Tuesday, April 1, from 2-5 AM PDT (0900-1200 GMT). I don't know if this is true since April 1st is April Fools' Day, but at least be informed just in case.
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