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Halo: Spartan Assault initiates operation price drop on Xbox One and Xbox 360

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Halo: Spartan Assault, originally designed for Windows phones and tablets, released mere months ago for the Xbox One and Xbox 360 but has already received a permanent $5 price drop to $9.99 on both consoles. Spartan Assault was developed by Vanguard Games and left behind the tried-and-true FPS format of the Halo franchise for the overheard camera world of traditional twin-stick shooters. Set between Halo 3 and Halo 4, you can take on 30 single-player missions or bring a friend along for the console exclusive online, co-op mode.

Check out our review for Halo:Spartan Assault and decide if the lower cost of entry makes the game more appealing, but we still suggest the free trial before committing your money.

Source: Xbox Marketplace

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Minecraft TU14 coming tomorrow

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If our Twitter feed is anything to judge by, the moment you’ve all been waiting for is about to arrive. Minecraft Title Update 14 is smashing onto XBLA tomorrow, March 26. While we’ve been hearing about the update for a while, the release date was announced suddenly by the fine folks over at PlayXBLA, Microsoft’s official XBLA site.

TU 14 brings with it a slew of new items, a massive number of features, and a whole bunch of bug fixes. You can see us get into some of the details here and here, or you can check out the full list after the break.

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Xbox One Titanfall bundle for $449.99 at Microsoft’s store

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Earlier today, Polygon noted the Xbox One Titanfall bundle is now available at $449.99 in the Microsoft store. This discount comes after both Walmart and Best Buy dropped the bundle price by $50. While some new consoles have seen price cuts relatively early on (see the 3DS and Wii-U), we shouldn’t expect this price cut to be permanent, even if it does come at an interesting point in this console war.

With the PS4 (ever so slightly) outselling the Xbox One in February, one could wonder why retailers and Microsoft are dropping the price of the Titanfall bundle so soon. Perhaps the goal is address value concerns by reducing the overall price and including a marquee pack-in title. Maybe Microsoft wants to improve the console’s software attach rates. It’s also possible this price cut is being leveraged to bolster Xbox One sales figures for the first quarter.

Source: Microsoft store via Polygon

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Chris Charla says Upload will help indie games’ marketplace visibility

Chris Charla

It’s no secret: many developers who brought their games to Xbox Live Arcade last generation were put off by the process and Microsoft’s policies. Some even abandoned the platform as a result. It may have taken a few years and a lot of complaints, but word of the indie development community’s malcontent finally made it to Microsoft, and the platform holder decided to do something about it. That something is the ID@Xbox, for which 25 games were announced last week at GDC.

So what’s different this time around? Chris Charla, the program’s director, recently chatted with Digital Spy and answered that exact question. One of the biggest complaints about XBLA was its lack of visibility. Gamers who powered on their Xbox 360s and explored the dashboard weren’t finding most XBLA games. It wasn’t the gamers’ fault, though; Arcade games were buried deeper and deeper away in the increasingly convoluted Xbox 360 menu system nearly every time it was updated. Charla, reiterating previous statements Microsoft has made about ID@Xbox, explained how indie games are now easier to find on Xbox One.

“There’s not a separate section,” he told Digital Spy. “It’s just a game is a game is a game. Games that come through ID@Xbox will be right next to games from any other publisher.”

And since all games are just that, indie games will receive access to everything AAA games do on Xbox One: Kinect, SmartGlass, Upload, Twitch recording, achievements, etc. While Charla admitted that discoverability is a continuing problem for indie games on all distribution platforms, he believes that tearing down the walls that separated such games from big budget releases on Xbox 360 is paramount to solving the problem.

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New Mighty Number 9 trailer revealed

A new trailer was recently released for Keiji Inafune’s Mega Man spiritual followup, Mighty Number 9 and boy, does it look like a lot of fun.

This great looking title was initially crowdfunded by the Kickstarter website and as a result, it features heavy input from the public including a range of additional features and modes which came about as the result of hitting over 400 percent of the original donation target. Expect this slick, tough looking game to land on Xbox 360 (and nine other platforms) sometime in April of 2015.

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Top 10 XBLA soundtracks to listen to while reading, studying or writing

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Did you know that video game music helps the brain by providing a stimulating background that doesn’t interfere with concentration? OK, I can’t prove that. I have no scientific evidence to back it up, but for some games, it seems like it just has to be true.

Xbox Live Arcade is home to some amazing games with some equally amazing music. Composers often sink days, months or even years into crafting the best musical experience for players – dedication that likely goes unnoticed, which sometimes is the whole point.

Sometimes, the best game music can serve as a stimulating background while studying, writing, reading or just doing some housework. Sometimes, you don’t want to notice the music or have it break your concentration. With that in mind, here are the top 10 XBLA soundtracks that serve as the best music to read, study, write or work to.

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R.B.I. Baseball set to return with classic feel

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Today, most console gamers are familiar with 2K Sports’ Major League Baseball series or Sony’s MLB: The Show, but with 2K Sports letting their license with the league expire, every platform not released by Sony was left without any baseball title.

Major League Baseball has stepped up to fill this void with the revival of R.B.I. Baseball. The franchise came to exist over two decades ago, yet no title has seen the light of day since R.B.I. Baseball ’95.  There was a rumored XBLA revival several years ago; however, that title never materialized in any manner.

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PS4 outsold Xbox One in February

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The start of a new console generation can be tough for new hardware, but figures NPD figures reported by Games Industry International show things are going well for both Microsoft and Sony. In February, US retail sales were up 9 percent, hardware sales up 42 percent and console sales up 60 percent — all thanks to the new consoles. The PS4 and Xbox One are neck and neck in sales numbers; while PS4 is in the lead, the Xbox One sold “over 90 percent of what the PS4 sold.” Microsoft states that it sold 258,000 units last month, 61 percent more than the Xbox 360 sold at the same point in its cycle. Assuming the numbers are correct, the PS4′s sales should stand around 286,000 units.

Naturally, increased sales in consoles lead to more sales in games. Software sales for the first four month of the consoles’ releases are 80 percent higher than the sales from the launch period of their last-gen counterparts. Unit sales from games that launched in February were down only percent% from February 2013, but dollar sales were decreased by 15 percent due to the lower selling prices of game like Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare. To no one’s surprise, the best-selling game of last month was Call of Duty: Ghosts, with Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition also able to secure a spot in the top 10.

Source: Games Industry

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ID@Xbox highlights five unique games

It feels like we’ve been waiting on game announcements for some time, but the ID@Xbox team unleashed the floodgates last week for the first wave of titles using the new independent development program. Twenty-five games were showcased at a public event during GDC providing developers a chance for direct fan interaction. The ID@Xbox team released a video highlighting five of the games: Super Time Force from Capy Games, Strike Suit Zero Directors Cut from Born Ready Games, It Draws a Red Box from Other Ocean Interactive, Spectra 8 Bit Racing from Gateway Interactive and FRU from Through Games.

Read the rest of this entry »

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New Below details coming soon

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Capybara announced via a forum post on NeoGAF that new details about the highly anticipated arcade title Below were coming soon. The forum post also states that no new info was coming during GDC, held this past week, but that some info could be found in Game Informer’s interview with Capybara, although the information from that interview was from September, so a lot may have changed since then.

Highlights from the interview include:

  • The game will contain drop-in, drop-out multiplayer, similar to that found in the Dark Souls series.
  • The game doesn’t feature one main character, instead, when you die, you will be reborn as a different character each time. The developer states that this is because the story is focused on “a lot of little characters over time working together to solve the mysteries of the world.”
  • The game is made to be tough, but not punishing. The developer mentioned that they tried to ensure the combat was fair, but the game will definitely be a challenge.

Source: Official Xbox Magazine

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