Microsoft posted its first quarter financial results for its current fiscal year, revealing that it raked in $18.5 billion in revenue for the three-month period ending on September 30th. The numbers represent a 16 percent increase in revenue compared to the same period a year ago. Microsoft also reported overall net income of $5.24 billion, a year-over-year increase of 17 percent.
It looks like Microsoft has decided that its free giveaway program for Xbox Live Gold subscribers is here to stay for the foreseeable future. Microsoft announced via its official Xbox blog that the Games with Gold program will continue on as a permanent fixture.
"Today, as part of the 'Week of Xbox Live,' we're excited to announce that we are making Games with Gold an ongoing benefit for Xbox Live Gold members on Xbox 360," the team wrote in a blog post.
That machine that you put your pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters into to get more manageable currency from will soon spit out Xbox Live Gold memberships or cash you can use on Microsoft's online gaming platform. Rixty is partnering with Microsoft to bring Xbox Live codes wholesale to a number of other currency platforms, including Coinstar and Great Lakes Scrip Center's gift card retailer, the companies announced today.
Almost 50 percent more online console gamers prefer using the Xbox 360 and Xbox Live than playing online using the PS3 and PlayStation Network, according to new data released by retail research firm NPD Group. The data comes from NPD Group's 2013 Online Gaming report, which was highlighted by Microsoft today for obvious reasons. Of course it should be taken into account that the NPD report only tracked online game players in North America and not in other regions like South America, Asia, and Europe.
Microsoft Studios corporate vice-president Phil Spencer says that "it makes a lot of sense" that a symbiotic ecosystem exist between Xbox One and the Windows-based PCs. In an interview with AusGamer, Spencer was asked if Windows 8 and Xbox One could host cross-platform play between their respective platforms.
"I'm not allowed to leak things," Spencer replied, "but I think what you're talking about makes a lot of sense."
An Advertising Age report highlighted by NeoGAF unearthed over the weekend has thrown some gasoline on a story that surfaced earlier this year about how Kinect could be used to improve the monetization of Xbox One customers.
In an Interview with Destructoid Microsoft senior director of product planning and management Albert Penello said that Xbox One Game DVR clips will only be shareable on Xbox Live at launch.
Jinni has inked a multi-year agreement with Microsoft to enhance entertainment discovery on Xbox video game and entertainment systems including the Xbox 360 and the upcoming Xbox One releasing in late November. Jinni is described by its creators as a "taste-and-mood based engine" that enables entertainment discovery using "content genetics" and an understanding of user preference analytics.
Microsoft has revealed the two free games Xbox Live Gold subscribers will get in September as part of the Games With Gold program. The Games With Gold Program hands out two free games each month - one in the first half of the month, and a second in the latter half of the month. The games are only available within those time frames, so if you don't get them when they are available then you miss out.
Microsoft has renamed the "Xbox Live Marketplace" on Xbox.com to the "Xbox Games Store," putting the name in line with other marketplaces the company runs - like "Windows Phone Store." The Xbox Games Store is still located at marketplace.xbox.com (at least for now), and now groups titles by platform, with sections for Xbox One, Xbox 360, Mobile and Web games.
If you own an Xbox 360, have an Xbox Live Gold account, and happen to be a Time Warner Cable subscriber, then you'll be happy to hear that the official application for Microsoft's console is now available for download. The app allows Time Warner Cable subscribers to access live television programming via their Xbox 360. The app was announced in June by both companies.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will retire within the next year, the company announced today. A special committee and Ballmer will help hand pick a successor. The committee is headed up by lead independent director John Thompson and includes chairman of the Board Bill Gates, chairman of the Audit Committee Chuck Noski and chairman of the Compensation Committee Steve Luczo.
An update to the Age of Empires Online support page on Xbox.com - that went live yesterday and was quickly removed - indicated that Games for Windows Live services will be discontinued on July 1, 2014. The page also revealed that Age of Empires Online would be shut down at right around the same time.
The deleted entry from the site:
Earlier this week Microsoft announced that it would delay the launch of its next-generation console in eight European territories to "as soon as possible in 2014." Those countries include Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and Switzerland.
In an "Ask Microsoft Anything About Xbox One" feature over at IGN, Microsoft revealed another change of heart related to its upcoming Xbox One console: it doesn't have to be plugged into the Xbox One if you don't want to use it. This revelation came from Microsoft's Marc Whitten. In two sections about Kinect, Whitten explained what the different states of having the Kinect motion sensing and voice recognition technology turned on and off will mean:
On this week's show we talk about the continued neglect of the Wii U by third-party developers, the right and wrong way to put together a crowd-funding campaign for a game, the latest news on the Xbox One, and the results of last week's poll on GamePolitics. Download Episode 64 now: SuperPAC Episode 64 (1 hour, 20 minutes) 74.3 MB.
No one at Microsoft would be foolish enough (at this point) to deny that the messaging on Xbox One's various features has been muddled. Since the E3 press conference in June where it took so much heat for all of its policies that seemed to be anti-consumer, Microsoft has made a serious effort to turn things around. Microsoft has done this by changing its stance on everything from indie games requiring a first- or third-party publisher, and the Xbox One having to be always-connected, to tossing out its system for managing used games.
Yesterday Microsoft confirmed that only Xbox Live Gold subscribers would be able to use the new Game DVR feature on Xbox One. No one was shocked by that news, given the current structure of Xbox Live and how it limits features of those not willing to pay for the service.
On this week's show hosts Andrew Eisen and E. Zachary Knight talk about the latest Tropes v. Women video, the Boob Jam, Australia's plan to make all upcoming consoles region free, the Xbox One's ability to stay on for ten years, the new community-policed Xbox Live system, and a whole lot more. Download Episode 63 now: SuperPAC Episode 63 (1 hour, 13 minute) 56.7 MB.
Yesterday Microsoft took the wraps off two new initiatives for Xbox Live that - it hopes - will make it a better community to be in. One is called One is Enforcement United, which lets XBL subscribers weigh in on if particular content violates Microsoft’s terms of service. The second is Xbox Community Level, which lets players "gain levels" and earn prizes by making positive contributions to Xbox Live.
According to this Eurogamer report, the next free games to be released on Xbox Live as part of Microsoft's Games with Gold Promotion will be the open-world future-leaning action game Crackdown, and the zombie survival game sequel Dead Rising 2.
In Episode 61 of the Super Podcast Action Committee, hosts Andrew Eisen and E. Zachary Knight talk about the First Amendment, if Microsoft will cooperate with the government to allow access to the Kinect's various features (for the purposes of spying on us), Forza 5 requiring a 'day one' update, and a whole lot more. there's even some talk about Howard the Duck, LEGOs, the new Avengers movie, Hank Pym, Comic-Con and more. Download Episode 61 now: SuperPAC Episode 61 (1 hour, 10 minutes) 64 MB.
Forza 5, one of several first-party launch titles for the Xbox One, will require consumers to connect online at least once before it can be played. If users buy the game and refuse to connect to Xbox Live for -what we assume is - a title update - then the game will not be playable at all. A developer working on the game confirmed the news with IGN.
According to an announcement on Microsoft's Xbox Live Rewards website, the incentive program for Xbox Live is going to be revamped in September. Most of the changes have to do with the program doling out MS Points. With MS Points going the way of the dinosaur soon in favor of real-world currency, this is not an unexpected announcement.
Microsoft encourages Xbox Live Rewards members to return to the website on September 1 for more details on the revamped program.
You can find the full statement below:
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer detailed a sweeping restructuring plan in an internal email to employees. In the memo Ballmer said that Microsoft will be organized by function within four groups: OS, Apps, Cloud and Devices.
Update: Microsoft tells Kotaku that UK dashboard beta testers will receive refunds for any money lost related to the exchange of MS Points into real cash. Microsoft calls the pricing changes an "error."