Windows Phone 7.5 Xbox Controller


Windows Phone just keeps getting better and making itself more important to Microsoft’s ecosystem, as well as introducing itself to new potential users. Today brings the announcement of another great addition:

The Xbox Companion App

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This is a Windows Phone app that will allow you to Find, Learn & Control media on your Xbox console directly from your Windows Phone device!!!

The app isn’t yet available but Ben over on the Windows Team blog has had a play with the beta and gives us some great insight:

  • Finding Content: Just like on your Xbox, the Xbox Companion gives you instant access to the Xbox LIVE Marketplace catalog of games, movies, music and TV shows. I used it to search “Featured Content” and pulled up the X-Men: First Class.
  • Learn more about what you’re watching, listening to, or playing: Once I found the movie and touched the movie tile, the Xbox companion app took me to an info page that has all the related details about. And the content is really rich, too – for example, when I swiped to the “cast” page and touched an actor’s name, like star James McAvoy, I was taken to other movies starring him. From there, I could easily learn more about the other movies, their cast, etc. It’s an infinite road of interactive content.
  • Control & Play: Once I selected the content and hit play, the Xbox Companion flips into “controller mode” in which I could navigate my Xbox, or control video playback of your video. The best part here is that controls are virtually instantaneous – easily as fast as using my controller or a TV remote.

This is going to be pretty amazing in so many ways. It will make interacting with the Xbox much easier and also quite futuristic – which is always good! This coupled with the just announced Xbox TV is going to cause a radical shift in the way that people view the Xbox 360 console…no longer just for gaming but a true centrepiece of the living room, a real multimedia hub for the home.

The only reason I have EVER looked on enviously at a PS3 is for the LOVEfilm streaming and now we’ve got that, plus a whole bunch of other services so a real stake in the heart for Sony!

The other side to this is this will surely get the millions of Xbox users looking at Windows Phone devices in a whole new light too. Maybe it doesn’t have a few of the apps you’re used to on your iPhone…BUT IT CONTROLS YOUR XBOX!!! Smile

Microsoft unveil Xbox TV


Microsoft’s Xbox 360 console has been steadily increasing the various things it offers over the last couple of years adding things such as Twitter, Facebook, Last.FM, Sky in the UK, Netflix in the US. There have been rumours for a while now of “Xbox TV”, with Microsoft adding more TV stations, channels, providers to the console and making it more of a media hub and today is the day of reckoning.

Microsoft have announced a crazy awesome set of partnerships for Xbox media including:

UK

There are some awesome additions there…the one’s I’m most excited about are LOVEfilm & BlinkBox. Streaming movies online is something that I really like the idea of but just can’t quite be bothered to set up the necessary infrastructure to use my PC to get it to the TV! Smile LOVEfilm, for those that don’t know, is like an English version of Netflix (pre-Qwikster!) where you can rent physical DVD’s and games and also stream films online. However I haven’t really been able to make use of the streaming functionality so this will hugely increase my interaction with LOVEfilm and improve the ROI of my subscription!

There are a few sites there I haven’t heard of before, so it’s good to see Microsoft going for a broader range of services…things such as MUZU & VEVO which are centred around music videos for example.

Other services include HULU, but only for the US & Japan and YouTube is simply listed as “Available in 22 markets” so hopefully the UK will be one!

This is a huge leap forward for Microsoft and the Xbox, and with a number of the providers integrating Kinect into the menus etc. this will keep the Xbox as the leading console for a LONG time to come Smile

The list in it’s entirety is:

• ABC iView – Australia
• AlloCiné – France, Germany, Spain, U.K.
• Antena 3 – Spain
• Astral Media’s Disney XD – Canada
• AT&T** – U.S.
• BBC – U.K.
• blinkbox – U.K.
• Bravo – U.S.
• BSkyB** – U.K.
• Canal+* – France, Spain
• Channel 4 – U.K.
• Channel 5 – U.K.
• CinemaNow (Best Buy) – U.S.
• Comcast – U.S.
• Crackle – Australia, Canada, U.K., U.S.
• Dailymotion – Available in 32 markets
• EPIX – U.S.
• ESPN** – U.S.
• Facebook** – Available in all 35 Xbox LIVE markets
• FOXTEL** – Australia
• GolTV – Spain
• HBO GO – U.S.
• Hulu – Japan
• Hulu +**– U.S.
• iHeartRadio (Clear Channel) – U.S.
• Last.fm** – U.K., U.S.
• LOVEFiLM – Germany, U.K.
• Manga Entertainment – U.S.
• Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment/Real Sports – Canada
• MediaSet – Italy
• MSN with MSNBC.com – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, U.K.
• MUZU.TV – France, Germany, Italy, Spain, U.K.
• Netflix**– Canada, U.S.
• Rogers On Demand Online (RODO) – Canada
• RTVE – Spain
• SBS On Demand – Australia
• Syfy – U.S.
• Telefonica – Spain
• Televisa – Mexico
• “The Today Show” – U.S.
• TELUS** – Canada
• TMZ – U.S.
• Twitter** – Available in all 35 Xbox LIVE markets
• UFC – Canada, U.S.
• Verizon – U.S.
• VEVO – Canada, U.K., U.S.
• VimpelCom** – Russia
• Vodafone Portugal** – Portugal
• YouTube – Available in 22 markets
• ZDF – Germany
• Zune** – Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain

* Xbox LIVE Gold membership and/or other subscriptions/fees required. Kinect
functionality varies by feature, provider and region. ** Denotes existing
partners on Xbox LIVE available today

Halo Reach “Noble” Map Pack


Halo Reach, Microsoft’s super successful final instalment in the Halo series has a new map pack. – Noble.

From the 30th of November, 800 Microsoft points will get you:

  • 7 new achievements, worth a total of 250 gamer score points
  • 3 new multiplayer environments

What are these new worlds? Find out below…

Tempest

Though we may never fully understand these devices, it is not our nature to leave ancient stones unturned.”

This abandoned shoreline facility bends both sea and sky to an unnatural purpose, but the ground itself has quickly become another all too familiar battlefield. Though the two opposing symmetrical bases may never reveal their ancient purpose, both now offer makeshift shelter and access to strategic routes perfectly suited for small and large scale skirmishes alike. Tempest supports 8 – 16 players and offers a variety of modes including Free for All, Team Slayer, Team Objective and Big Team Battle. Tempest also provides players with a huge Forge palette, allowing them to create new custom map variants that can be shared with the community-at-large.

Tempest_001

Anchor 9

“Orbital dockyards provide rapid refuelling and repairs for a variety of UNSC vessels.”

Within the confines of this low orbit dry-dock, UNSC craft undergo rapid repair and rearmament in support of the enduring war effort.  But for the small squads of infantry who now fight over the mirrored interior hallways and open central hangar bay, this platform no longer provides any safe harbour – whether the close quarters combat is occurring inside or out of its artificial gravitational field. Anchor 9 allows 2-8 players to face off in game variants including Free for All, Team Slayer and Team Objective.

Anchor9_003

Breakpoint

“ONI officials believe the data buried within this artefact is key to our survival.”

Atop this icy precipice, the Invasion continues. These modular archaeological labs were never intended to withstand such a large scale onslaught of Covenant military power, but the information being extracted here may prove vital to humanity’s survival. In response to the imminent Covenant threat, UNSC ground and air assets have been deployed to bolster entrenched Spartan countermeasures. This dig site must yield salvation, or it will become a grave. Breakpoint offers multiplayer mayhem for 8-16 players, and supports the Invasion and Big Team Battle game variants.

Breakpoint_003

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