16 ways to play: SmartGlass support for Xbox One doubles the controller cap

With the new Xbox this November, Microsoft's bringing a new iteration of SmartGlass to iOS, Android, and Windows Phone devices. And with said new iteration comes promised SmartGlass ubiquity. Microsoft GM and SmartGlass team lead Ron Pessner told Engadget as much in an interview this week on all things SmartGlass for Xbox One. You'll need to download a new (still free) SmartGlass app to your Smart device of choice come launch day (the new app won't function with Xbox 360, just the One).

Up to 15 of your best friends can bring their Smart devices over and...well, nothing just yet, but the Xbox One will support 16 Smart devices connected at one time (double the connected controller cap). Just imagine the possibilities for virtual canasta! Okay, not so thrilling, but the potential for games like Monopoly or Dungeons & Dragons is evident. Or maybe something more like Spaceteam?

Pessner also promised that the connectivity between Smart device and console is "three-and-a-half times faster" on Xbox One than with 360 (depending on your home wireless setup), and the first time "only takes about four seconds." And while on the go, the SmartGlass app can be used for mobile shopping, allowing a game or other piece of content to be purchased and made available when you get home. Pessner wouldn't go into specifics, but he told us, "We definitely want to make sure it's a seamless process for customers and they're able to find a piece of content regardless of where they are -- the web or the SmartGlass app -- and being able to have that content ready for them to play when they return to their Xbox One." The remotely queued content will show up as pinned to your Dashboard when you get back to the console, available to play immediately.

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Xbox One is here to help, all you have to do is ask

Xbox One is here to help, all you have to do is ask

All game developers publishing on Xbox One will have to submit information to Game Help, a function on Microsoft's new game console that aims to fundamentally change the concept of user manuals. Developers submit a "help manual" to Microsoft, which then converts said manual into contextual in-game help, either on-screen or via SmartGlass."You can access this in a couple of different ways," Microsoft general manager Ron Pessner told Engadget. "In front of your console, you can say, 'Xbox: Help!' and then it will appear on the console. Or in SmartGlass, you can click on the Help icon and then it will just tune into exactly what you're doing and present the right help content for you."

This applies across the rest of the console as well, including Internet Explorer and even the system's settings. You can say, 'Hey, I'm in Internet Explorer, where are my settings?' Okay, well, here's where you are. Or how do I add a contact? Or how do I add a friend? Or how do I do Game DVR clips? We think this is gonna apply not only to games and game help, but also to applications on the system as well as the system itself," Pessner said.

Beyond the standard uses, it can be integrated into gameplay directly. Should a cheeky developer decide to make a joke at the gamer's expense for needing help, that's possible. Pessner stressed that the functionality isn't intended to dumb down games, nor is it an auto-play system. "We've been very thoughtful about how this is implemented or what's possible," he said. At very least, it'll serve to add another layer in our already thorough list of Xbox commands.

For more on SmartGlass for Xbox One, head right here!

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Xbox Live Rewards revamped with loyalty ‘punchcards’ and local currency payouts

Xbox Live Rewards revamped with loyalty 'punchcards' and local currency payouts

As part of its march toward the Xbox One's arrival, Microsoft has relaunched the Xbox Live Rewards service -- and it looked to your coffee shop for inspiration. Just as your local barista punches a tab toward that next free coffee, completing Redmond's MyPunchcards will net you Rewards Credits. Complete the current cards by Halloween and you'll get 5,000 credits ($5) for buying five map packs and 3,000 credits ($3) for renting five movies or TV episodes. As before, you're rewarded for re-upping your Xbox Live Gold subscription and referring friends, and each time you amass 5,000 Credits, they're converted to your local currency and deposited to your wallet. What's more, if you're impatient and have at least 1,000 credits in the bank, you can request an early payout. So much for saving for a rainy day.

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Via: Joystiq

Source: Xbox Live Rewards

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Let the god games begin: 22cans’ Godus beta available on Steam Early Access September 13th (update: iOS and Android release dates)

Let the god games begin 22cans' Godus beta available on Steam Early Access September 13th

A collective effort pulled back Curiosity's curtain early this summer, and now it's nearly time to play god. On September 13th, 22cans and Peter Molyneux will make the beta release of Godus, the studio's latest "experiment" in god gaming, available via Steam Early Access for PC and Mac. The early release will cost eager overlords $19.99 and allow them to "sculpt every inch of a beautiful world," and, of course, destroy those worlds in multiplayer battles with other virtual gods. The Kickstarter-backed nod to Molyneux's Populous reached its funding goal in December of last year with the promise of PC, Mac and mobile compatibility and continued his focus on the video game as social experiment. Final release details are still under wraps but you can see an updated trailer after the break.

And for more Molyneux, check out our interview from E3 2013.

Update: We had a chance to catch up with Molyneux following his keynote at PAX and, among other things, he revealed release dates for iOS and Android versions of Godus: October 31st (Halloween) and November 14th (Day of the Colombian Woman), respectively.%Gallery-slideshow77099%

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Source: 22cans, Steam

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EA COO Peter Moore: ‘We don’t ship a game at EA that is offline’ (video)

EA COO Peter Moore 'We don't ship a game at EA that is offline just doesn't happen'

Electronic Arts is a mainstay in the game industry. From early days on the PC, pre-game consoles, to its current role as one of the world's largest game companies, the EA name's been synonymous with gaming. To stay in such a position, the publisher's had to adapt to changing trends in gaming, as games moved from home PCs to game consoles, and now to the internet. The next console generation is no exception, with EA promising two of its largest franchises -- Battlefield and FIFA -- for the launch of both Xbox One and PlayStation 4 this holiday. And that's to say nothing of EA's investment in a nascent game studio composed of the people responsible for the Call of Duty franchise, Respawn Entertainment -- a pretty major coup considering that those folks previously worked at EA's main competitor, Activision.

It's with all this in mind that we sat down to speak with EA Chief Operations Officer Peter Moore at Gamescom 2013, not long after Moore held press attention captive in an hour-long presentation. He said his company's current dedication to online functionality in its games is unmatched: "We don't ship a game at EA that is offline," he told us, an echo of his competition's claims about the next generation of game consoles. Head below the break for a lengthy discussion with Moore on all things gaming in 2013.

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Ubisoft isn’t afraid of mobile gaming, sees a bright future in Wii U and Oculus Rift

Ubisoft's Alain Corre

Ubisoft's Alain Corre isn't worried about the rise in mobile gaming. On the contrary, Corre, who heads up the company's overseas operations, seems to welcome the uptick in iOS and Android gamers and not resignedly, either. "What we like in mobile gaming is that it's bringing a lot of new people to games," he told us. "Which for us is very good because it's a teaching thing and... at one point, some of them will feel a bit limited with the scope of mobile games and they'll want to experience something different in gaming." Whether it's the limitations of the casual genre or outright boredom, Corre's confident a chunk of these new gaming converts will seek out home console or PC experiences. Something more along the lines of a Watch Dogs or Assassin's Creed, perhaps. And with the advent of the next-gen, the timing for this gaming initiation couldn't be better for Ubisoft.

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Project Spark lets you build the game, add character with Kinect (eyes-on)

Project Spark lets you build the game, add character with Kinect eyes on

Here at Gamescom -- as you might expect -- you're gonna see a lot of games. Not all of them are finished, but even the beta versions come with complex worlds, and shiny new physics engines. Amongst all of these creations, jostling for our attention, was something a little different. Something we heard about back at E3 initially, and something we've been itching to see in action ever since -- Project Spark. We made sure we got to have a look at how it works, and some of the new features. So, click past the break if you want to know too.

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Plantronics’ $130 Rig gaming headset hones in on the mobile gaming crowd

DMP

We've known Plantronics to craft solid PC gaming headsets and now, separate from the GameCom series, its new Rig package aims to appease gamers on every platform. The stereo headset itself features a slim profile with circumarual earcups that fold flat and it connects with two included cables: one features a boom mic, while the other packs an in-line remote and mic for smartphones. The heart of the setup lies within a wired mixer, which'll let you hook up your cellphone, gaming rig (computer or console via USB and Toslink) and the headset simultaneously.

Aside from a slider that lets you adjust the balance of game and chat volume (à la Astro's Mixamp), you can answer phone calls and re-route the mic as necessary at the press of a rocker switch. What's more, game audio (including chat) can be mixed into your headset during calls and visa versa via a second balance slider. Lastly, you'll have a choice of three EQ profiles, including a bass boost for extra wubs. Rig will hit retailers in the fall for $130, and we're told future products under the moniker will drop beyond that. Full press release after the break.

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Source: Plantronics

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Sony’s DualShock 4 coming in ‘Magma Red’ and ‘Wave Blue’ at launch in Europe, North America to follow later

Sony's DualShock 4 coming in 'Magma Red' and 'Wave Blue' at launch in Europe, North America to follow later

Colors! Who doesn't love colors, right? Well, if you were planning to snag a PlayStation 4, you'll be happy to hear that the console's DualShock 4 won't be available solely in black. As has been the case with previous generation PlayStations, Sony will be offering different color variations of its DualShock controller, this time in "Magma Red" and "Wave Blue." Both models will be available when the PS4 launches in Europe and in North and Latin America later in the year, where they'll cost £54 and $59, respectively. So, don't worry, it looks like you'll be able to add a bit of hue to your next-gen gaming sessions.

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