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Powerstar Golf goes free to play

Powerstar Golf Stroke

Xbox One launch title Powerstar Golf is now a free-to-play game, reports Eurogamer. Users first noticed a free version of Zoë Mode’s cartoonish golf title on the Xbox Games Stores yesterday before the media picked up the story.

Of course, it may be more fair to refer to Powerstar Golf as “free to try” rather than free to play. Much like how Killer Instinct only offers one rotating playable character at a time for free, Zoë Mode’s title is not being offered to gamers for free in its entirety. Microsoft describes the free version of Powerstar as “a selection of events including a hole from every course.” Free to players will have access to stroke or match play and will be able to accumulate experience, credits and gear, all of which will be savable.

Players wishing to access more of the game’s content will have to purchase four packs (Emperor’s Garden, Burning Sands, City Park and Rocky Ridge) for $5.99 each. Since Powerstar Golf originally released at the $19.99 price point, buying all four packs separately will set gamers back more money than it would have previously cost them to outright purchase the game. Thankfully, those who wish to gain access to the full suite can alternatively do so by purchasing all four packs simultaneously for $19.99.

The previously announced free DLC pack, Coyote Canyon, is also now available.

Source: Xbox Games Store via Eurogamer

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Xbox One maintains cumulative software sales lead in the U.S. *updated*

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Last month was a big month for the Xbox One, as Microsoft reported that April’s NPD Group results showed the Xbox One continuing to sit on top in life-to-date software sales. Driving these sales was a game that was not available on any other next-gen console, Titanfall. Popular XBLA title Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition finished fourth.

As usual, Xbox One did not come out on top in console sales, trailing behind Sony’s PlayStation 4. However, life-to-date the Xbox One has more cumulative software units sold than any other eighth generation home console. In its first six months on the market, the Xbox One sold over 76 percent more units than the Xbox 360 did during its debut. Microsoft hopes that sales of the Xbox One will grow even faster with the release of the $399 Kinect-less version releasing on June 9. Continue reading for more highlights and statistics from the NPD Group report.

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Max: The Curse of Brotherhood now available for Xbox 360 and PC

Max

Originally released for the Xbox One, Press Play’s Max: The Curse of Brotherhood has finally leaped onto the Xbox 360 and PC after a short delay. The game, a sequel to 2010’s Max & the Magic Marker, is a puzzle platformer that also utilizes the aforementioned magic marker drawing component. It received good marks on its initial release, and this expansion to other platforms is welcome news for fans of the series and genre.

It is available now for download on Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC for $14.99.

Source: Polygon

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Worms Battlegrounds wiggles onto Xbox One in late May

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Worms Battlegrounds is making its way on to Xbox One via digital download on the May 30, 2014. Hard copy discs will be available at certain retailers as well. Worms Battlegrounds will be the among the first titles to be released under the ID@Xbox program. The classic worms franchise is back for it’s next gen debut, and the list of updated features promises for some fun and interesting scenarios. Check out the features listed below, might be a fun game to pick up over the Memorial Day weekend.

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Minecraft coming to Xbox One in August

MinecraftImproved

It’s official. Minecraft Xbox One Edition will be released in August for $19.99. In addition to “significantly bigger worlds” and better draw distances than the Xbox 360 version, Xbox One Edition will allow Xbox 360 Minecrafters to import their Xbox 360 saves, as well as most DLC skins and texture packs.

The upgrade path from Xbox 360 to Xbox One mirrors what we have seen with select titles on PS4: if you own the PS3 version of a game, you can upgrade to the PS4 edition for a small fee, usually $10. Minecraft Xbox One Edition takes a similar approach, offering users the option to upgrade for $4.99. This applies to both the Xbox Live Marketplace digital copy and the retail disc version. Sweetening the deal even further, players will have an entire year from the release date to upgrade to the Xbox One edition. Full details list is inside.

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Xbox One Dashboard controller navigation to be made easier

Xbox One Dashboard Games

For anyone who has spent significant amounts of time with the Xbox One, it’s clear the user interface was designed with a Kinect in mind. In light of the recent announcement that beginning next month customers will be able purchase the Xbox One without a Kinect (the systems that ship without the peripheral will get a $100 price drop), the console’s user interface is now in dire need of better support for controller-only operation.

Xbox Marketing Lead Yusuf Mehdi is well aware of this. In an interview with Engadget, he states the Xbox team is actively looking to “find ways to give you some of those shortcuts and make some of the things that we have with Kinect easier with the controller.” Mehdi continues, “You can expect to see us do a bunch of things over the coming months to make the experience easier and easier, even if you don’t have a Kinect.”

The phrase “coming months” makes it sound like a deployment of the new, more controller-friendly Dashboard is unlikely before E3, but hopefully we see it before the end of the summer.

Source: Engadget

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Xbox One June update brings external storage and real name support

Continuing with its stated goal of giving gamers what they’ve been asking for, Microsoft announced today that the Xbox One’s June system update will add functionality for external storage support and real names for friend identification.

Once the update arrives, Xbox One consoles will support up to two external USB 3.0 hard drives, provided the drives are at least 256 GB in size. This move will allow users to increase their storage space from the standard 500 GB available on the console’s internal drive. After plugging in a compatible drive, players will be asked if they wish to format it and given the option to make it the default device.

In addition to storing more Xbox One content simultaneously, external drive support will give gamers the ability to drop full games, downloadable content and apps onto external drives and take said drives on the go for usage on a friend’s console. Content can either be saved directly to external drives or copied over to them from the internal one. Digital content stored on external HDDs can be accessed on other consoles once the user has signed into Xbox Live. For retail games, the disc will have to be inserted in order to verify ownership.

Speaking of friends, real name support is aimed at making it easier for users to immediately identify who is who on their friends lists as those lists continue to grow up to 1,000 names in length. Microsoft is cognizant of the privacy concerns this move could potentially raise. The console holder will give each gamer the ability to choose whether all friends, some friends or no friends see their real name. Settings can be changed at any time and real names will not appear in-game.

Microsoft originally planned to support real name usage on launch day but ended up delaying the feature. Competitor Sony has supported actual names since launch on its PlayStation 4 console.

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Halo Mash-Up Pack for Minecraft

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Anyone who has ever wanted to explore a Blood Gulch made entirely of blocks or guide Master Chief through their Minecraft worlds is soon going to have those opportunities available to them, as the Halo Mash-Up Pack will add a variety of Halo-themed content into Minecraft. It even features many iconic musical tracks from the popular shooter franchise. In total, the pack will feature 40 character skins and a complete pre-built world, so eager explorers can jump right down into the action, with many popular Halo locations built into a world specifically designed to make use of the new content.

Source: PlayXBLA

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Minecraft Xbox One Edition to have larger worlds

minecraft_xbox_one_distance

4J Studios is hard at work on the Xbox One edition of Minecraft, and it looks like their next-gen port is going to be a lot bigger. They’ve released screenshots on Twitter comparing the draw distances on the Xbox One (above) and the Xbox 360 (below). Being able to see farther into the horizon is nice, especially when you’ve got so much more of the world to see. 4J tweeted that it is currently trying out a world size that is 36 times bigger than that of its predecessor. Wow. With much larger worlds and the ability to transfer save filesMinecraft: Xbox One Edition is shaping up to be one huge upgrade.

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Source: Twitter via Total Xbox

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Invisible Inc. preview: Reading ahead

Invisible Inc. KOed Guard

Even when they’re right in front of your face, you can’t see words written in invisible ink without “decoding” them. It’s appropriate then that you can’t see what’s right in front of your face in Klei Entertainment’s Invisible Inc. without first performing what amounts to in-game decoding work.

The game’s PAX East demo places the player in a room of some evil corporation or another’s building. In the room is a pair of controllable secret agents who are equipped with skills and equipment to furtively navigate their way past guards and turrets and to the top of the building. We don’t get to see what’s at the top, but Klei explains that at the top of buildings will be the culmination of “multifaceted” objectives. Several floors must be accessed and information and/or keycards obtained along the way before ultimately cracking a computer core or something of the sort.

“The main objective of each floor is to get to the next floor,” says Klei’s Matthew Marteinsson, “but there will be some objectives that you can complete along the way. And there’s different things you can find, like documentation for your player. We give a bonus for exploring the whole floor. You get more credits the more you explore, you get credits for not having killed anybody. So those sort of things that you can…do if you want to do.”

Klei wants players to explore the buildings they enter as much as possible. To do that, we’ll have to get out of that room we started in. Invisible Inc. is turn-based, and each room’s floor consists of tile grids. Moving agents across tiles costs movement points, of which naturally come in limited supply per turn. Once I’ve moved the agents as far as I can towards the room’s exit door the unseen enemy takes its turn, scurrying about performing unseen actions in the surrounding blacked-out rooms. Well, not entirely unseen. The game shows dotted lines and arrows indicating where the bad guys are moving in the darkness.

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