Microsoft Studios Archive

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Minecraft celebrates its birthday with free skins

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It was Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition's third birthday last Saturday and to celebrate they decided to give fans a gift straight from the heart. Players on both Xbox 360 and Xbox One will be able to get in on this sweet birthday gift action. Until May 17, the first and second birthday pack, as well as a brand new skin pack will be free to download. The new skin pack showcases some veteran Mojanstas and a few other extras also make an appearance. This is the first time these birthday packs have been available on Xbox One so be sure to snatch them up while they are still free. They will still be available after May 17 but will return to their normal cost of a dollar.

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Happy Wars (Xbox One) accidently released early; urgent notice by developers

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Some players were lucky enough to get their happy on a little early yesterday. On Thursday, April 9 at 5:00 pm PST/8:00 pm EST, Happy Wars for Xbox One was accidentally released for the general public to download. As a title slated to launch in spring, the timing was typical of a new release, and it became available at the same moment Tower of Guns was put on the marketplace for sale. However, Happy Wars for Xbox One being available for download without advertisement or announcement felt too good to be true, and indeed it was.

After 4-5 hours of being available, the game was pulled from the marketplace for a very good reason.

ToyLogic has shared an important announcement via Facebook that playing Happy Wars on Xbox One will break save data on the Xbox 360 and will make that version unplayable. The studio plans on fixing that issue with the next title update for the Xbox 360 and advises in the meantime that gamers started the One version stay away from playing the 360 version.

XBLA Fans reviewed the Xbox 360 release here, and great things are expected from the Xbox One version. For now, fans will need to wait a little bit longer for a proper release.

Source: Happy Wars Facebook

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Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast and Furious review (Xbox One)

Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast and Furious was developed by Playground Games and published by Microsoft Studios on Xbox One and Xbox 360. It was released March 22, 2015 for free and will remain free until April 10, 2015 when it will begin costing $10.

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When I first heard about Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast and Furious I was blown away by the fact that the power of advertising had reached this point. A limited-time free game to promote both an upcoming movie and a six-month-old game was completely mind boggling to me. But the sheer brute force of advertising that is apparent is actually quite irrelevant. All that really matters was if Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast and Furious was any good. And to be blunt, my mind was quickly put to ease about the game's quality and soon focused on the task on hand: finishing sets of races to unlock the next new and shiny car.

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Ori and the Blind Forest review (Xbox One)

Ori and the Blind Forest was developed by Moon Studios and published on Xbox One by Microsoft Studios. It will be released on March 11, 2015 for $19.99. A copy was provided for review purposes.

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If I'm ever asked sum up Ori and the Blind Forest in just a few words, I'll undoubtedly describe it as beautiful, sorrowful, thought-provoking and magical, but it's also a game which offers a stiff challenge that stretches across a vast and diverse range of environments and offers a lot of replay value. In fact, I'd have to say that Ori is one of the best games I've played in a long time and it may even be one of my favourite games ever, despite belonging to a subgenre of platform games of which typically I'm not a fan.

Although Ori is basically a platform game with RPG-lite elements, it features a system of advancement through the unlocking of new and different abilities – double jumping, air-dashing and so on which in turn allow access to previously unreachable areas. This style of game is traditionally likened to Metroid and Castlevania, but due to its graphical leanings and wonderful musical score, Ori is perhaps most alike to Dust: an Elysian Tale among its peers.

As a reviewer, I'm duty bound to tell you what genre a game belongs in, or how it looks and how long it is, but the truth is that Ori is one of those special kind of games that works hard to set itself apart (and boy does it succeed) because almost everything comes together perfectly to create a tight and eminently enjoyable experience which allows it to sit aside from similar games and perhaps even redefine the accepted norm.

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MINECON returns this July with two-day London event

Minecon 2015, the Minecraft Convention

Minecrafters, get ready to build your best Big Ben, because you’re headed to London. Mojang announced earlier this week that its Minecraft convention, MINECON will be held July 4-5 at the London Exhibition and Conference Centre in London, England.

After taking a year off in 2014, MINECON is back, and it sounds like it will be bigger than ever. With 10,000 tickets up for grabs, the convention will feature panels, contests, tournaments and other events including a yet-to-be-announced performance at a July 5 show.

Tickets will go on sale sometime in the month of February and will be released in two batches of 5,000 each. The exact date of ticket sales will be announced within the next two weeks. Upon purchasing tickets, you will also get access to discounted hotel rooms in the London area.

Mojang will begin taking submissions for "MINECON Agent" volunteers next week. Selected agents will be given notice before tickets go on sale.

Source: Mojang

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The Simpsons coming to Minecraft in February

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The residents of Springfield will come to Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition and Minecraft: Xbox One Edition next month. Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie, as well as 19 other fan-favorite characters, will spring to life in the game (albeit in a bit more blocky form than before). Bringing together these two gigantic properties felt like a natural fit to Head of Xbox Phil Spencer as well as Twentieth Century Fox executive Roz Nowicki, who explained that the partnership combines the best of both worlds and how, “like The Simpsons, Minecraft is a true cultural phenomenon embraced by people of all ages, from every corner of the globe.”

The Simpsons pack will release for Xbox 360 and Xbox One in late February of this year for $1.99.

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XBLA Marketplace sees multiple game delistings before year end

XBLA Fans Newsbits

Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year to everyone!

Unfortunately, it also comes that time when games may disappear from the marketplace for any number of reasons and is usually assumed as licenses expiring.

On December 30, 2014, Eastern Standard Time, the following games were removed from the Xbox Live Arcade Marketplace:

1. WRC Powerslide. Original release date: March 8, 2013.
This game wasn't out for very long and never saw a XBLA sale. It was also a member of the games in that event in September of 2013 involving foreign countries.

2. Marvel vs. Capcom Origins. Original release date: September 26, 2012.
This game was announced for removal at the end of the year by Capcom ahead of time. While it is sad to see it go, at least it wasn't a surprise.

3. Battle: Los Angeles. Original release date: March 11, 2011.
This game was a movie tie-in released around the same time the movie was released with very little fanfare. It has been around for some time and has gone away as quietly as its arrival.

There are more delisted games from December 30, 2014 below. Continue to find out.

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Mojang officially part of Microsoft family

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It's official: Mojang is now a part of Microsoft. The news was tweeted by Xbox head Phil Spencer, who welcomed the developer as the newest member of Microsoft Studios. Back in September rumors of the acquisition starting making the rounds, and were later proven true when Microsoft announced they were purchasing the Swedish indie studio for $2.5 billion. Now that the acquisition is complete, Microsoft officially owns Mojang and their hit game Minecraft. In a recent interview Phil Spencer talked with IGN about the future of Minecraft, stating he wanted to "meet the needs and the desires" of the community.

Source: Twitter

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Project Spark exits beta

project spark launch

After almost a year in Beta on PC and an Xbox One Beta stretching from March through October, Project Spark has finally hit the big time. The game-maker provides a framework to customize experiences down to the smallest details and to share the resulting games with the world. In addition to using a controller, players also have the ability to interact with the game via Smartglass and Kinect. Not interested in being a creator? You can still check out the hard work that everyone else is putting in.

The base game is available as a free download, with plenty more content packs available for various prices. Microsoft even announced at E3 2014 that they'd be bringing back Rare's Conker character in a future pack. Even with the barebones kit, people have been replicating things like Limbo and building Fable-esque adventures.

If you'd like to know more but aren't interested in actually downloading the game yet, check back soon for an XBLA Fans Twitch stream.

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Killer Instinct coming to retail

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Get ready to break some combos: the Xbox One exclusive fighting game Killer Instinct is getting a retail release. Killer Instinct: Combo Breaker Pack comes loaded with content from Season One, including all eight fighters. Jago, Sabrewulf, Glacius, Thunder, Spinal, Sadira, Orchid, and Fulgore will be ready to fight right off the disk. Getting the game will also prepare you for Killer Instinct Season 2, as it includes a bonus code for the upcoming fighter TJ ComboCombo Breaker Pack hits store shelves September 23 for $19.99, and KI Season 2 will begin later this year.

Source: Xbox Wire

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