TIME e3 2014

Halo 5: Guardians Multiplayer Beta Coming This December

Get ready, Halo fans: The multiplayer beta for the upcoming Halo 5: Guardians is hitting Xbox One consoles this December, just in time for the holidays.

Microsoft made the announcement Monday at E3 while unveiling The Master Chief Collection, an upcoming re-release of all major Halo titles for the Xbox One. The Master Chief Collection hits in November, and people who buy it will have access to the Guardians beta in December — along with a totally revamped tenth anniversary version of Halo 2, which will include all multiplayer maps from the original sequel to the Xbox’s most famous game.

TIME e3 2014

New Assassin’s Creed Will Have Co-Op for First Time

The next title in Ubisoft’s popular Assassin’s Creed franchise will introduce co-op to the series for the first time. During Microsoft’s E3 press conference Monday, Ubisoft announced that Assassin’s Creed: Unity will allow up to four players to create their own assassins’ brotherhood as they stealthily kill foes in Paris in the midst of the French Revolution.

Ubisoft showed off lengthy gameplay footage of the title, which will be the first in the series developed from the ground up for the next-generation consoles. The game launches this holiday season for Xbox One, PS4 and PC.

TIME e3 2014

Microsoft Re-Releasing Every Halo Title for Xbox One

Though Halo 5: Guardians isn’t releasing until next year, Microsoft is planning to tide gamers over this holiday season with a compilation of the past games in the series.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection will include Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2, Halo 3 and Halo 4 on a single package for the Xbox One. The compilation will include over 100 multiplayer maps from the previous games that can be mixed and matched in custom playlists. Halo 2 is also getting a new coat of paint for its 10th anniversary and will feature updated graphics that can be toggled on or off with the press of a button.

Buying the game will also provide access to the mutliplayer beta of Halo 5: Guardians, which launches this November. The compilation will also include a video project called Halo: Nightfall. Nightfall serves as a prequel to Halo 5 and is executive produced by Ridley Scott of Alien fame.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection launches on November 11.

TIME e3 2014

Halo 2 Anniversary Edition Hitting Xbox One in November

Microsoft announced at E3 Monday that a Halo 2 Anniversary Edition is hitting Xbox One consoles later this year as part of the Master Chief Collection, an upcoming re-release of all major Halo titles for Microsoft’s newest console.

The entirety of Halo 2 got retouched for the Xbox One, and players can switch between original and enhanced with the touch of a button. Halo 2: Anniversary Edition is also shipping with the exact same legendary multiplayer that shipped with the first Halo 2 in November of 2004.

The Master Chief Collection — and the Halo 2 Anniversary Edition inside of it — hits store shelves Nov. 11.

TIME e3 2014

WATCH: Forza Horizon 2 for Xbox One Out Sept. 30

At Monday’s Xbox E3 event, Microsoft showed off some new footage from the upcoming Forza Horizon 2, an open-road racer set in Southern Europe. It’ll run in glorious 1080p on Xbox One and feature a new dynamic weather engine for simulating real-world meteorology.

Forza Horizon 2 is set for release Sept. 30, 2014.

A version for the Xbox 360 is also being developed.

TIME e3 2014

WATCH: Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Out in November

Microsoft kicked off its E3 press conference with some action-packed footage of the hotly anticipated Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. In the video, which was actual gameplay footage on the Xbox One, a player traverses through an urban war zone and ends up making a significant physical sacrifice for his efforts.

CoD: Advanced Warfare launches on November 4 for Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS4, PS3 and the PC. Xbox head Phil Spencer said Microsoft’s consoles would receive downloadable content for the new Call of Duty first.

TIME e3 2014

Watch: Xbox Conference at E3 FULL 2014

Let the games begin!

Microsoft held its annual press conference at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) at the Los Angeles Convention. Thousands attended the over-the-top three-day expo to see the latest games and announcements from the gaming industry. Watch here for Microsoft’s FULL 2014 E3 conference at The Galen Center.

TIME e3 2014

Xbox One Just Got Cheaper

The Xbox One is getting its first price cut in the United States Monday. Microsoft’s newest video game console is now selling for $399, a $100 drop from its initial price of $499.

The price drop is the result of Microsoft unbundling Kinect, the motion-sensing camera, from the Xbox One. Microsoft had touted Kinect as an essential part of the Xbox experience, but sluggish sales forced the company to unbundle the device to lower the Xbox One’s price (Kinect is still available on its own for $100). Sony’s PlayStation 4, which also retails for $399, has been handily beating the Xbox One in sales since the start of the year.

The Xbox One already had its price slashed in Europe earlier this year. The latest cut comes as Microsoft is expected to announce a wide range of new titles for the console at this week’s Electronic Entertainment Expo.

TIME Video Games

Minecraft Creator’s New Game Is About a Horse and a Ball

Markus Persson

It's either a game about a horse endlessly pushing a ball, or an oblique, existential commentary on life itself.

Markus “Notch” Persson, the fellow most know as the creator of indie cube-building wunderkind Minecraft, has an unassuming new game to show us, and it’s about a horse.

In fact it’s called Cliffhorse, because…well, your guess is as good as mine. There’s a horse. There’s a verdant world of sorts with bumpy, mountainous topography. I suppose you could argue that’s a cliff the eponymous equine’s standing on in the shot above (“standing” — how its managing to be upright at that angle without toppling over you’d have to ask Spider-Man).

The game is Windows-only at this point, and the disclaimer reads that there’s “no guarantee of future updates.” So probably a finger in the wind. Minecraft isn’t the sort of unexpected success you easily follow with another Minecraft — unless your game’s explicitly called Minecraft 2, and then everyone winds up accusing you of being creatively cynical and opportunistic.

Not Notch, who wrote this on Twitter yesterday morning:

Note his use of the word “commercial.” That’s because he’s asking that players purchase “early access” to the game by paying for it with Dogecoin (a form of Bitcoin-like cryptocurrency).

I don’t have a Windows computer with me at the moment — the E3 vortex is just a few blocks away, like those coalescing funnels at the end of Donnie Darko — so I haven’t been able to noodle with Cliffhorse firsthand, but the idea’s that you’re maneuvering a spotted horse around a hilly, occasionally rocky island. The island has a few palm trees. And there’s a ball. A weird, giant-sized, horse-colored ball. You can gallop into the ball and knock it around, then knock it around some more. And that’s…about…it, unless the game’s hiding something, waiting for someone relentlessly thorough and patient enough to find it.

TIME Video Games

Sony Trumps Nintendo in Game-Console Sales

Sony Launches PlayStation 4 In Japan As Console Retakes U.S. Retail Lead Over Microsoft's Xbox One
Kiyoshi Ota—Bloomberg PlayStation 4 boxes sit on display at a Sony store in Tokyo, Japan, on Feb. 22, 2014.

Sony's best-selling PlayStation 4 helped the company overtake Nintendo in the past financial year

Nintendo has had a rough year. The company reported its third consecutive annual loss in May, plans to close its European headquarters in Germany and suffered a customer backlash after flagging thousands of game-play clips uploaded to YouTube.

Now, in yet another blow for the Japanese video-game giant, Sony has overtaken it in terms of game-console sales for the first time in eight years, according to Japanese business news outlet Nikkei.

Sony apparently sold 18.7 million consoles during the past financial year, whereas Nintendo sold just 16.31 million — a 31% drop from the year before.

Sony’s victory was expected following the success of PlayStation 4 and disappointing sales of Nintendo’s newest gaming console, Wii U.

But both Sony and Nintendo have taken hits in revenue over the past few years due in part to the growing prominence of smartphone gaming.

Sony suffered a net loss of $1.1 billion compared with Nintendo’s $229 million loss in the past financial year.

[Nikkei]

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