Overnight at MWC in Barcelona there was two interesting tidbits of news related to the Xbox 360. Yes, it is still alive and well and given the game incompatibility between it and the Xbox One, you can expect they will be around for a long time to come. The first bit of news was the announcement of a new Xbox 360 Preview program. This, like the one for the Xbox One, will bring preview (beta) bits to the console. Invited customers will be able to sign up directly from their Xbox 360. Starting this month invitations will be sent out and you can sign up. What this not however is Windows 10. While Microsoft is saying more changes are coming later this year to the 360, there is no indication whatsoever that it will be updated to Windows 10 like the Xbox One will be once it is released. Could that change? Of course, but frankly I don’t see it happening given the emphasis and focus on the Xbox One platform.
Today’s 12 Days of Deals promotion at Microsoft is another great, budget friendly offer. Today you can get an Xb0x 360 4GB console with 2 free games in store or 1 free game online for an incredible $149.99. These will go quick! That is $30 off the regular price of the Xbox 360 plus the $49.99 game value makes it a great deal.
Without a doubt one of my favorite games in my twenties was Age of Empires. I spent hours playing this game and in fact at one point, my entire startup company on Friday’s would have an AoE tournament. When Microsoft announced that Age of Empire Castle Siege was coming to Windows and Windows Phone earlier this year, I was ecstatic but also had my concerns about it living up to my memories. I can say now after a few weeks of playing, it lives up to expectations.
The game play in Age of Empires Castle Siege is outstanding with great graphics, smooth scrolling and a truly universal app for both Windows and Windows Phone. Having played the game for a few weeks now I can say that you won’t be disappointed, especially if you are an old AoE player.
Earlier this morning I posted the Press Release from Microsoft on the Xbox 360 update that is coming tomorrow. In that announcement was a brief mention of a new app for Windows Phone, Xbox Companion. I did a little searching and found a great article over at WPCentral and the original content over at Major Nelson.
Basically, here is a brief run down as Major Nelson stated on his site:
Xbox Companion search powered by Bing. Search the unified Xbox catalog for movies, TV shows, music, games and apps using the Windows phone. View a detailed unified results page across all content providers. You can see recently played games and apps and browse the Zune video catalog
He has also posted several screenshots from the app so you can get an idea of what it will do and how it will look. Over at WPCentral they have a video of things in action as well so be sure to check both sites out.
Check the Marketplace tomorrow for this app while your Xbox is updating!
REDMOND, Wash. — Dec. 4, 2011 — A revolution is happening in the living room. Xbox 360 is transforming how you enjoy TV entertainment and is giving you the power to control it with your voice. The next generation of TV entertainment begins with the announcement by Microsoft Corp. of the launch of an all-new Xbox 360 experience including the first group of new, custom applications from world leading TV and entertainment content providers on Xbox LIVE.
“A new era in entertainment begins where all your entertainment is together in one place — your games, movies, TV shows, music and sports,” said Don Mattrick, president of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. “With this update, Xbox 360 system owners will experience Kinect voice control integrated with Bing search, making your TV and entertainment experiences more social and personal than ever.”
“Microsoft has just built and delivered it: A single box that ties together all the content you want, made easily accessible through a universal, natural, voice-directed search. This is now the benchmark against which all other living room initiatives should be compared,” said James McQuivey of Forrester Research in “Engaged TV: Xbox 360 Leads The Way To A New Video Product Experience,”* Sunday, Dec. 4. “…with more than 57 million people worldwide already sitting on a box that’s about to be upgraded for free, Microsoft has not only built the right experience, it has ensured that it will spread quickly and with devastating effect.”
WPCentral is reporting that the new Xbox 360 update is expected to drop on your console on December 6th, several weeks ahead of Christmas. Why is this important and what does it have to do with Windows Phone? A lot actually.
The new update will bring the Metro UI to Xbox 360 , giving Windows Phone users a familiar look and feel. It is optimized for Kinect of course and brings a host of new services to the system. One that I’m looking forward to is FoxSports in Australia… so I can watch Footy! (That’s rugby everyone).
Wpcentral has the complete rundown of what to expect on this update