We're also giving away a copy of Quantum Break to one lucky commenter! Simply leave a reply and join the discussion for a chance to win.
Every week, I give my take on some of the biggest Xbox news, rumors and talking points in one handy post every weekend. You can also rely on this weekly column to catch up with all the latest game releases.
Welcome to the latest edition of This Week in Xbox One News.
Phil Spencer discusses Halo on PC, mouse and keyboard support and more
Microsoft's annual developer conference revealed reams of new features and services for the engineers building Windows 10 apps this week, but there were plenty of announcements for Xbox One owners as well. Xbox head Phil Spencer took the stage at Build 2016 for the first time, and he sat down with Game Informer and others to discuss a broad range of topics.
On the subject of Xbox One games hitting PC, Phil Spencer said that he had no plans to tell Microsoft Studios devs to target both platforms, and it would depend on whether the games made sense on either platform:
"Our intent is where genres and creative makes sense in both spaces, that we'll put the game in both spaces, and you see us doing that already. But I don't want to make it some kind of artificial mandate because I think we end up with Franken-game that really wasn't meant for a certain platform because some suit said, "Hey, everything's got to run on both platforms," you end up with something people don't want. You should expect it when it looks like a game belongs on both platforms, but I wouldn't go so far as to say it's a mandate for the studio."
Phil went on to apply that logic to Halo 5, stating that the game was designed from the ground up for console play, implying that Halo on PC would have to be designed with that platform in mind:
"Halo 5 was shipped as a console game, if we're going to [bring Halo to PC] moving forward then we're going to plan on both platforms. In terms of Halo FPS on PC, I think there is a ton of opportunity for us right now, but I don't want to get in a world where we're looking back. It doesn't mean there is nothing there that would never end up on PC, but I would much rather look forward."
On the matter of mouse and keyboard support, Phil Spencer put concerns about competitive cross-play to rest, emphasizing that he'll never force someone who is using a controller to compete against someone using mouse and keyboard:
"I want to be clear on this one – I will never force someone in our games, who is playing with controller or mouse and keyboard, to play against somebody with a different control scheme. Mouse and keyboard rotation speed is faster than controller."
He went on to say that mouse and keyboard support, and cross-platform play would be an option only where it made sense, such as co-operative play:
"If you and I are playing a co-op game together […] there's no reason you and I can't go through a [Destiny] Strike, for example, you on mouse and keyboard, me on controller playing together, and we should be able to talk to each other. [...] This is about putting tools in the hands of smart creators to make decisions on when it makes sense and when it doesn't make sense."
Spencer then went on to discuss Cortana integration, known to be coming this summer with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update (in addition to background music). "Hey, Cortana" will replace the "Xbox" voice command Kinect owners use today. Phil Spencer also noted that by plugging the Xbox One into Cortana, the console will gain all of Cortana's current conversational abilities, including weather reports and so on. Cortana will also be able to provide help inside games by showing GameDVR clips from the areas you're stuck. It could be a huge feature for punishing games like the upcoming Dark Souls 3.
"The semantic understanding of whether what's happening on Live… "Hey Cortana, is Mike online right now?" It goes through and considers, "He probably means, Mike Ybarra? Yes. What's he playing right now? Okay. Join his party." My ability to go back and forth with Cortana and understand both the context implied, and we've looked at games with things like, "Hey Cortana, how do I get through this level?" We know what game you're playing. We know what character you are. We know where you are in the game from Achievements and the mapping of what's happening in the frame, so we're actually going to able to say, bring up all the game DVR clips of the area where you are and say, "Here's how other people have completed the level you're on."
Phil Spencer also discussed how Tim Sweeney's recent Universal Windows Platform fears forced them to place a heavy emphasis on openness in their speeches. He also explained Xbox Ones as dev kits, noting that he expects the platform to be used more for apps than games at this point, as the best tools for game development still come via the dedicated Xbox One dev kits, rather than the UWP dev mode. He did, however, state that we could see UWP games too, sooner rather than later.
Phil Spencer also discussed some bits and pieces about t-shirt choices, and Killer Instinct in the full interview. Check it out on GameInformer.
For our full Build 2016 coverage, head over here.
Mass Effect: Andromeda tech demos leaked?
In a surprise evening Twitter leak, Mass Effect Andromeda tech demos appeared on YouTube, courtesy of TakarGaming. The video seems to show a reel of demonstrations for the upcoming space epic Mass Effect Andromeda, complete with some special effects tech, jet pack gameplay, and an early look at the game's UI.
While leaks of this nature are often dubious (particularly when posted on April 1st), serial leaker shinobi602 added some legitimacy to the video, calling it early portfolio reel footage. Either way, expect more information at E3 2016!
The Division's raid-like Incursions outlined
Ubisoft Massive is plowing ahead with Tom Clancy's The Division, describing the first of two free content updates that'll bring end-game raids and tons of other new content.
The first Incursion is called Falcon Lost and takes place in an underground water treatment facility that the fascist Last Man Battalion uses as a base. Players will need to achieve a gear score giving them a level 31's strength equivalent to attack the Incursions hard mode. Challenge mode, naturally, will require even higher level gear.
"An Incursion is a PvE end-game activity for a group of four players at max level. Incursions require preparation and coordination as they are extremely challenging. The first incursion will be available in the first free update. More Incursions are in development."
Falcon Lost will ask players to play more strategically, utilizing voice communication and co-ordination to see victory. Incursions have no checkpoints, meaning that if the party wipes you need to start over. There are no limitations on the number of times you can replay an Incursion, meaning you can claim new loot on repeated runs. It should provide a PVE alternative for those who don't enjoy the frenetic nature of the PVP Dark Zone, which has become a war zone following a recent patch to incentivise conflict.
New daily quests and side objectives will also be added, and with the new gear scoring system, players will be able to break the game's hard level 30 cap and earn new talents and bonuses in the process. Patch 1.1 will also add new gear sets, which will provide additional bonuses.
The Dark Zone will also pick up new supply drops that aren't contaminated, meaning that once they've been looted, they can't be stolen by players who kill you. Players will also be able to trade items by dropping them for others to retrieve.
Patch 1.2, titled Conflict, will arrive sometime after this month's Incursions, adding new PVP features and another raid. After that, you'll need to pick up The Division's season pass or buy future updates separately as DLCs, which should help fund the game's continued support.
For more information, check out the stream recording over here.
Giveaway – Quantum Break for Xbox One and Windows 10
To celebrate the launch of Quantum Break, we're giving away another pre-order code for Remedy Entertainment's upcoming time-abusing blockbuster!
Quantum Break follows the exploits of Jack Joyce, endowed with the power to manipulate time due to a physics experiment went wrong. Time itself is unraveling which sees Jack, his allies and the nefarious Monarch Solutions locked in a battle for the future.
Join the discussion in the comments for a chance to win Quantum Break, which also comes with a Windows 10 key, Alan Wake and all of its DLC for Xbox One and Xbox 360.
Congrats to SurrealSonicus! Check back next week for another giveaway!
ICYMI - Some of Windows Central's biggest Xbox articles of the week
- Review: Quantum Break
- Hitman Episode Two: Sapienza debuts April 26
- Xbox head says he's not a fan of launching 'Xbox One and a half'
- Saints Row IV added to Xbox backwards compatibility list; Dead Space comes to EA Access
- Halo 5 adds Warzone Turbo mode until April 4, new maps and more coming next week
- Xbox 360 owners with Xbox Live Silver can play online for free from April 1-3
- Unannounced BioShock Collection for Xbox One rated by the U.S. ESRB
- Windows 10 UWP apps from Hulu, NASCAR, Dailymotion and Nickelodeon coming to Xbox One
- Microsoft's Phil Spencer talks about why Halo 5 likely won't be coming to Windows
- Final Fantasy XV will be hitting Xbox One on September 30
New Xbox One game releases for the week ending April 3rd, 2016
WRC 5 eSports Edition - Racing - Bigben Interactive
"Find all the cars, all the drivers and all the official rallies of the 2015 FIA World Rally Championship in THE racing simulation standard."
Adam's Venture: Origins - Action & Adventure - SOEDESCO
"Embark on a bold adventure in Adam's Venture: Origins. Set in the roaring 20's, in Adam's Venture: Origins you will explore ancient ruins, and recover mysterious artifacts. Together with your trusted accomplice Evelyn, you will have to outsmart the evil Clairvaux company."
Organic Panic - Platformer - Last Limb
"Organic Panic is a super-kooky platformer with totally destructible environments and dynamic fluids. The incredible physics uses the 'DAFT Engine' (Destructible And Fluid Technology) making for unique and diverse gameplay; wood floats and burns, lightning conducts, ice, is slippery and melts, water douses fire, rubber's bouncy, acid disintegrates."
PLATINUM DEMO – FINAL FANTASY XV - Role Playing - Square Enix
"PLATINUM DEMO — FINAL FANTASY XV whisks players away to a fragmented dreamscape, introducing an original story with a few unique twists. Join young Noctis and his magical guide as you explore the fantastical world of his dreams."
Sébastien Loeb Rally EVO - Racing & Flying - Milestone S.r.l.
"Play SLR EVO and experience real rally! More than 186 miles of faithfully-reproduced track and 58 cars which have made rally history! From legends of the past, such as the Stratos and Celica, to jewels of the modern era, like the Citroën DS3 and C4."
Active Soccer 2 DX - Classics, Sports & Recreation - The Fox Software
"Active Soccer 2 DX is an exciting top-down arcade football game providing a fast-paced arcade experience, implementing amazing playability and responsive easy-to-learn/hard-to-master controls."
Resident Evil 6 HD - Action & Adventure - Capcom
"Blending action and survival horror, Resident Evil 6 is a dramatic horror experience that cannot be forgotten. Now in high definition, the game offers multiple characters, including fan favorites and new faces, along with solo and co-op modes and new challenges for players, different from any other in the Resident Evil franchise."
Killer Instinct: Season 3 Ultra Edition - Fighting - Iron Galaxy / Microsoft Studios
"The Ultimate Season 3 Bundle! Get early access to fighters! Includes 8 new fighters - including Rash from Battletoads, Arbiter from Halo, Kim Wu, and Tusk! Includes VIP Double XP Booster, 8 retro costumes, accessory sets, bonus retro character colors, and 18,000 KI Gold (limited time only). Rash, Arbiter, Kim Wu, and Tusk available now - all other content to be released over the season."
R.B.I. Baseball 16 - Family, Sports & Recreation - MLB
"Make the play with your favorite Major League Baseball team and win the World Series! R.B.I. 16 features enhanced lighting and graphics, revamped defensive AI, an improved batting system, and the ability to sim through games in Season mode."
And that's a wrap!
This week I've been wrapping up some obsessive Quantum Break playing; hunting collectibles, secrets, and driving myself insane over the plot's maddening implications. If you haven't already, check out my full review over here.
What have you lovely people been playing this week? Let us know below!
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The first two Snapdragon 7c PCs are here, and they start at $299 with LTE
Along with a slew of announcements for the education market this week, Microsoft debuted the first two PCs to be powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 7c platform. Both are targeted at the education market, and they bring LTE for as little as $299.
Need a laptop with a Thunderbolt 3 port? Every PC here deserves a look.
Looking for a new laptop that has Thunderbolt 3 ports? Well, you're in luck, as we've rounded up what we think are the best Thunderbolt 3 enabled laptops available to buy today.
Windows 10 build 19546 arrives for Fast ring with graphing calculator
Microsoft pushed out another new Windows 10 Preview build for Windows Insiders on the Fast ring today. This build brings the build number up to 19546, and it includes a new graphing mode for the Calculator app.
Best Xbox Game Pass games for January 2020
Pick up the best Xbox One games included with an Xbox Game Pass subscription.