Microsoft had a lot to say for itself at this year's E3, outing a host of new hardware, games and features. Well, it turns out that Redmond held back some big announcements for its Gamescom event in Cologne, Germany.
One big reveal came in the form of DVR for over-the-air TV. Set to launch in 2016, the feature will allow users to record live over-the-air TV to an external hard drive linked up to their Xbox One.
Once shows are recorded, it will be possible to stream them to Windows 10, iOS and Android devices in the home, as well as download them to Windows 10 phones, PCs and tablets, so you can catch up on TV when you don't have an internet connection.
The latest Xbox fizzled as the all-purpose home entertainment hub Microsoft originally envisioned (the Kinect that was an integral part of that vision is no longer bundled by default with the console), but being able to use the system as a DVR could be a step back in that direction – and one that doesn't depend on the reliability of wonky, inconsistent hands-free gestures.
Backwards compatibility was easily Microsoft's biggest E3 announcement, and now the company has used Gamescom to provide some new details about the service. It's set to launch for all users in November this year, with 100 Xbox 360 titles available to play at launch (though we still don't know exactly which ones), along with hundreds more scheduled to be added down the line.
Sony has some backwards compatibility of its own, in its cloud streaming PS Now service, but the ability to pop an Xbox 360 disc into the Xbox One could be a big advantage for Microsoft's system. Call us crazy, but we think more than a few customers are going to love being able to continue playing their old purchases on their newer console.
There was also some new hardware on show in the form of an updated Xbox Chatpad for the Xbox One. Similar to the older version for the Xbox 360, it clicks onto the bottom of an Xbox One controller. The accessory is designed to make it easier to communicate with friends, while providing one-click access to screenshots and game recording. It'll be compatible with both the company's current generation console and Windows 10 PCs, and is set to launch November 3 for US$35.
You might remember the Xbox Elite Controller that was announced back at E3. Microsoft took the opportunity at Gamescom to provide a few more details about the pricey new gamepad, showing off the button mapping feature, as well as the ability to set thumbstick sensitivity trigger points and adjust rumble motors.
Up to 255 controller profiles can be created and stored in the cloud, and you can load two into the controller's memory to switch between via physical toggle. The Xbox Elite Controller is set to launch in October for $150.
It wasn't all about features and hardware at Gamescom from Microsoft – there were also plenty of Xbox One games on show as well Of particular note were the release dates for Remedy Entertainment's Quantum Break (scheduled to arrive April 5, 2016) and Scalebound (Northern Hemisphere Fall 2016), as well as the outing of strategy sequel Halo Wars 2, which is being helmed by Total War developer Creative Assembly. It will arrive on both Xbox One and Windows 10 Fall 2016.
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