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Dragon Age: Inquisition has Kinect voice commands a la Mass Effect 3

BioWare is building Dragon Age: Inquisition with voice controls via Kinect on Xbox 360 and Xbox One, similar to the voice commands in Mass Effect 3, Creative Director Mike Laidlaw told Xbox The Official Magazine.

"We're expecting that Xbox 360 and Xbox One editions will ship with a Kinect-enabled voice command feature, just like Mass Effect 3 did," Laidlaw said.

BioWare is also planning to use SmartGlass in some way, Producer Cameron Lee said: "It needs to make sense, of course. But we want Inquisition to be an experience you can take with you everywhere - to work, the commute home, the living room, bed."

Laidlaw also revealed that Dragon Age: Inquisition won't feature any character DLC because it would have to be partly on-disc, and BioWare doesn't want to inspire criticism from fans.

"Because of how deeply enmeshed in the system companion characters are, we can't just add them on the fly – part of them has to be shipped on the disc," Laidlaw said. "Which has led to criticism that we're forcing people to pay for content they already own. It's not the case, but we've decided this time to not go that route. There will be no DLC party members."

Kinect Sports Rivals review: The crowd goes mild

Kinect Sports Rivals looks like a mobile game for the new, hit reality sports show that all of your friends will be watching, according to its prime time commercials. The game is crowded with bright colors, an excitable narrator, a hard-ass trainer, prompts to buy perks for your character and ads for State Farm.

It differs from a tie-in mobile game in a couple of important ways: It's on the big screen and is designed to use Xbox One's Kinect for every interaction. The entire game can be controlled with voice and hand motions, in theory. That theory breaks down if your pets are running around and confusing the Kinect as you play, or if your friends all want to sit on the couch behind you, or if you happen to be 10 years old, like my little brother, and miss important instructions among all the banter and color explosions.

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New Kinect for Windows nixes Xbox logo, adds power supply

The second iteration of Kinect for Windows revealed by Microsoft this week features a few changes. While it looks nearly identical to the motion-sensitive camera for Xbox One, its glowing Xbox logo power indicator has been replaced by a simple dot, plus the word "Kinect" is now on the hardware's top panel.

Additionally, the second version of Kinect for Windows requires both a hub and separate power supply to operate. The hub includes ports to connect to the sensor, power supply unit and USB 3.0 output to the user's PC. While the power supply will vary by region, it supports voltages that range in 100–240 volts. Microsoft didn't offer a release date for the new version of the PC Kinect hardware.
[Image: Microsoft]

Microsoft quietly drops subsidized $99 Xbox 360

Microsoft discontinued its subsidized $99 Xbox 360 with Kinect bundle in July 2013, the console manufacturer confirmed with the Wall Street Journal. The low-cost console was introduced in May 2012 and required a two-year Xbox Live commitment of buyers at a rate of $14.99 per month. The bundle worked out to be roughly $60 more than the closest option, a $299 4GB Xbox 360 console paired with two years of Xbox Live Gold as separate purchases.

"This program was intended to be a pilot experiment from the start, and Microsoft routinely adjusts the mix of offers available to its customers and this change was simply standard business practice," Microsoft spokesman David Dennis said. He added that the subsidized Xbox 360 option was for "squeezing the last 10 to 15 percent out of the potential market."
[Image: Microsoft]

Now Playing: February 24 - March 2, 2014


Hide your valuables, Thief is on the loose this week ...

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[Image: Square Enix]

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Now Playing: February 17-23, 2014


Use lightning-fast moves to mow down enemies this week with Strider...

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[Image: Capcom]

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Kinect Sports Rivals gets pumped for April showdown


The finish line is finally in sight for Kinect Sports Rivals, after Microsoft announced the Xbox One game hits North America on April 8. Rare's collection of sporting mini-games comes to Australia and New Zealand on the same day, while Europe signs up on April 11.

Kinect Sports Rivals was an Xbox One launch game originally, but Microsoft delayed the motion-control showpiece to give Rare a little more time to spruce it up. In the meantime, a "preseason trial" has been available since launch, letting players take to the waves for free with the wake racing mini-game.

The full Rivals experience adds tennis, bowling, soccer, target shooting, and climbing, as showcased in a new trailer. Going by the video, there's something of a Hunger Games vibe to the whole thing, what with the rival teams and their fancy pants get-ups. True, it doesn't look as violent as Suzanne Collins' dystopian YA sensation, but you never know.
[Image: Microsoft]

Now Playing: February 10-16, 2014


Find out the beginning of Ellie's story this week with The Last of Us - Left Behind...

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Xbox One update: Battery life and storage space are mysteries no more

Xbox One Battery Indicator
Microsoft has scheduled an Xbox One system update for February 11, harnessing the computational power of its next-generation system to display real-time data on electrochemical energy expenditure within tethered input devices. So, yes, the controller battery life indicator is coming back, as seen above.

Though the controller's electrical endurance is one of the Xbox One's more successful features, it's also one of two oddly obfuscated bits of information. The other is also being addressed in the Xbox One's space-age update, which allows you to see how much room your games and apps are taking up on the 500GB hard drive. The lack of direct management options was one of the criticisms in our review of the Xbox One.

Microsoft says apps (like Netflix) and games (like Tomb Raider) will now be split into separate lists, queues, and restrooms. You'll also be able to better manage download and installation queues, and use a USB keyboard if you want a mechanical sound to go with the beeps and boops of text entry.

Xbox's Chief Product Officer Marc Whitten says the update has "lots of behind-the-scenes updates for developers," along with improvements to stability and Kinect voice command recognition. Whitten teases more information to come on "several new features we believe Xbox fans will love," including a hypnotic suggestion module.

The February 11 update will be followed by another on March 4, meant to prepare the system for Titanfall.
[Image: Microsoft]

Now Playing: February 3-9, 2014


Get in touch with your inner wolf this week with The Wolf Among Us - Episode 2: Smoke and Mirrors...

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Your body is a wonderland in Kinect platformer 'Fru'



Fru is two platformers in one game, with one layer of the world shown clearly on the screen, and another layer uncovered within the silhouette of a player's body as it moves in front of the Kinect camera, in real-time. The silhouette world offers new platforms, enabling players to reach the exit door in each level (with a little hopping, ducking and contortion).

Fru comes from a collection of indies during Global Game Jam 2014, which prompted developers to create games with the theme "We don't see things as they are, but as we are." The team had 48 hours to create the game, and Fru ended up winning the judge and audience awards in the NHTV Breda Global Game Jam competition. If you have a Kinect hooked up to your PC, you can download Fru right here.

Game Designer Mattia Traverso – previously of indie documentary game Riot and IGF 2012 student finalist One and One Story – tells Joystiq that he hopes Microsoft notices Fru so the team can expand on the idea.

"We definitely have plans to bring this to the next level," Traverso says. "We are starting to work on it to make it an actual, full game and I am contacting Microsoft right now to see what we can do .... Right now we are trying to give it some visibility, to show the big M that this project is actually something interesting that people like."

Now Playing: January 27 - February 2, 2014


Let the kill streaks pile up this week in Call of Duty: Ghosts - Onslaught...

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Now Playing: January 20-26, 2014


Join the Special Ops against the undead this week in Dead Rising 3 - Operation Broken Eagle...

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Now Playing: January 13-19, 2013


Cut your way through the Louisiana bayou this week with the fully remastered Assassin's Creed: Liberation HD...

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Now Playing: January 6-12, 2014


Welcome to the New Year, now Don't Starve on the PlayStation 4...

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NASA's robot pairs Oculus Rift with Xbox One's Kinect


NASA's jet propulsion lab has been experimenting with interesting ways to control robots. Case in point: marrying Oculus Rift with Kinect to control a robotic arm.

By using the Oculus Rift for head-tracking and first-person view, and by using the Xbox One's new and improved Kinect sensor for gesture controls, NASA scientists can manipulate physical objects. The implication is that this could be a viable control option for robots off in space – or as an impressive means to get a soda from the vending machine in the NASA break room.

Now Playing: December 16-22, 2013


An all-new story of survival starts this week with The Walking Dead: Season 2...

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Metareview: Fighter Within

Ubisoft evaluating Kinect online multiplayer for Xbox One's The Fighter Within
There are games so bad that even trying to review them is a paradox. We simply couldn't do it with Ubisoft's Xbox One Kinect game Fighter Within. At least Aliens: Colonial Marines was sport. Fighter Within is... well, is it possible for a publisher to put out product just for the trolololol?
  • Games Radar (40/100): "Boring fighters, advanced attacks that are horribly imprecise to pull off, and a paper-thin solo campaign add up to a disappointing slog that feels like a punishment"
  • IGN (27/100): "And that's when Fighter Within is working properly. The second it tries to do anything more elaborate, like throws or finishing moves, it trips over its own shoelaces and falls flat on its face."
  • Edge (20/100): "Here is a game that, through its abject brokenness, sets the Kinect cause back considerably, a knockout blow for this style of game before the next-generation of camera-controlled play has even started."
  • Game Informer (10/100): "Fighter Within is garbage. It fails to operate on any level, and the content isn't deep enough to be fun even if everything worked."
  • Eurogamer (10/100): "Ubisoft should be ashamed of itself for trying to peddle more of this nonsense. And Microsoft needs its giant cyborg head examined for thinking this is a great way to show off the capabilities of its new hardware. "

Now Playing: December 9-15, 2013


Become a puzzle master this week with Peggle 2...

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Liveblogging the Spike VGX 2013

It's that time of year again. Spike's VGX 2013 video game awards, previously referred to as the VGAs, begin at 6pm ET (3pm PT, 11pm GMT) and we'll be covering the spectacle in force. Join us here for all the news live as hosts Joel McHale and Geoff Keighley, along with their lineup of guests, highlight the video games of 2013.

Joystiq will also enable its seldom-used second screen experience functionality throughout the show. While tuning into the liveblog here, you can open this link on another device and watch the VGX 2013 show along with us. Let's do this!

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