Effective immediately, the standard 500 GB Xbox One has been given a price drop to $349 USD, Microsoft announced today. Would-be Xbox owners who still want to pay the original price, however, will again get that option when Microsoft releases a new 1 TB model of its games console for $399 on June 16 in the United States and later this month in additional “select markets.”
On top of more storage space, the new SKU will also feature a matte black finish, a USB 3.0 drive and the oft-rumored new Xbox One game controller. This new controller features retooled bumpers, the ability to receive wireless firmware updates and a new 3.5 mm headset jack that will allow gamers to plug headphones directly into their controllers.
The new console will come bundled with Halo: The Master Chief Collection for a limited time in select regions.
With the new Xbox gamepad in hand, gamers will be able to adjust headset volume, mic monitoring and in-game voice and game audio balance through the Xbox One’s Settings menu. Microsoft also said that headset audio quality will be improved and the max volume level will be increased. All previously released controller accessories will function with the new pad, including the Stereo Headset Adapter, which puts headset audio controls at players’ fingertips.
Microsoft recently announced that next month it will begin publishing original programming for the Xbox platform under the moniker “Xbox Originals.” Given the recent success of original programming by Netflix such as House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black, it’s not a surprising announcement that Microsoft is entering the same arena, especially given its marketing history of talking about the Xbox One not as a video game console, but as an entertainment platform.
The Xbox Originals programming will come to Xbox 360 and Xbox One, so people yet to upgrade won’t be missing out on the content.
The biggest show announcement is a Halo television series, for which Stephen Spielberg will serve as executive producer and collaborate with 343 Industries and Amblin Television. Additionally, Microsoft lists a Halo digital feature as well, which will be produced by Ridley Scott and directed by Sergio Mimica-Gezzan (from Battlestar Galactica, among others). These big names signal a big commitment by Microsoft to making these adaptations worthy of the franchise, and releasing them exclusively to the Xbox platform is a fantastic way to add value relative to the competition on the console front.
UPDATE: We spoke briefly with a Microsoft Spokesperson. The official comment is: “On Xbox One games are games. All games follow the same policies for achievements and Gamerscore.”
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What’s better than new Minecraft skins? Halloween-themed Minecraft skins, of course. Oh, better than that? Halloween-themed Minecraft skins for charity? No? Halloween-themed Minecraft skins for FOUR charities?
That’s exactly what’s on the table in this, the final week, of Crafting for a Cause — the Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition event where all proceeds of the limited edition Halloween Skin Pack go directly to charity. Our friends over at PlayXBLA want you to know that Microsoft, 4J Studios and Mojang have selected four great causes, to which they’ll donate the full 160 MSP ($2) value of every pack sold.
In an amazing show of support, the Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition community has already purchased over $700,000 worth of the Halloween Skin Pack in the three short weeks this event has been running, but there’s still time to donate/get-your-hands-on-these-exclusive-skins. Each skin was handcrafted by the hardworking folks at some of the best development studios around, including: 343 Industries, Twisted Pixel, The Behemoth, Climax Studios, Rare, Tequila Works, Mojang and 4J Studios themselves.
In order to whet your appetite, XBLA Fans has lovingly compiled all 55 skins into easy to digest, alphabetically ordered slides for you to peruse at your leisure. Hit the jump for the goods. If even one of these great skins catches your eye, please consider purchasing the pack for 160 MSP before it’s too late! Crafting for a cause will continue to collect contributions until Monday, November 26. You really can make a difference!
Playing through Halo Anniversary this weekend with my brother-in-law I had a very eye opening experience. After all of the PR fluff and critic reviews based more on nostalgia I found myself more critical of the quality of the updates to the original Halo: CE. I wondered why I was knocking all of these little issues I found when I was having a blast playing through a game that can still suck me in. Then it hit me: Bungie didn’t work on Anniversary, and that’s who I was comparing 343’s work against. Sure, Saber Interactive provided the new HD graphics layer and Certain Affinity developed all of the multiplayer maps, but as the primary developer 343 had the end say as to whether something qualified as Halo-worthy or not.