Xbox

It’s a light week for Xbox console game releases, with the only new retail title being FIFA 14 World Cup Brazil on Xbox 360. Not too exciting unless you’re a diehard football/soccer fan and buy more than one FIFA per year. But that doesn’t mean Xbox One and 360 gamers don’t have other new stuff to play…

The highly anticipated latest entry in Ubisoft and RedLynx’s Trials series, Trials Fusion has just arrived on both Xbox consoles as a downloadable title. Fans of Trials’ obstacle courses and super hard gameplay will lose many hours to Fusion. Meanwhile, PopCap and EA’s Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare has just received another free update and new Achievements on both consoles! Details after the break.

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What games are you playing this weekend on your Xbox One? If you’re looking to pick up a new game you might want to check out Strike Suit Zero. It’s a new game that came out a few days ago on the Xbox One. Strike Suit Zero is especially notable for being the first game to make its way onto the Xbox One through the ID@Xbox program. That’s the invite-only program to get independent developers and their work on the Xbox One. Let’s check out Strike Suit Zero.

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Microsoft has donated $10,000 towards tiger conservation efforts thanks to Xbox Zoo Tycoon players. The challenge was originally put to players to pick the charity they wanted to work towards, and after picking the Sumatra tiger, the players released 1000 tigers into the wild in-game. Microsoft’s $10,000 donation to the Sumatran Tiger Survival Program will help reduce the number of tigers killed, displaced, or snared.

Good on Xbox players for reaching the game goal, and good on Microsoft for taking the initiative on this program. Any Zoo Tycoon players here take part in the event?

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Last week was a slow week for Xbox console releases, but not this week. The Xbox One gets three new releases: Kinect Sports Rivals from Rare and Microsoft Studios, LEGO The Hobbit from Traveler’s Tales and Warner Bros., and the downloadable Strike Suit Zero: Director's Cut from Born Ready Games. Strike Suit Zero is the very first ID@Xbox game to reach the market!

The week is no less special for Xbox 360, either. Microsoft’s still-popular previous-gen console gets several new games of its own: the long-awaited Titanfall, LEGO The Hobbit, Max: The Curse of Brotherhood, and a new episode of The Wolf Among Us. Not too shabby!

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Microsoft is not resting on their laurels when it comes to gaming as new features have been announced for the Xbox 360 and Xbox One. Ironically, they’re unique features to each system, so hopefully you still have both of them.

First up is the Xbox 360, which is gaining an official GoPro app to view a curated channel of GoPro videos. GoPro has become the defacto source of stomach nauseating point-of-view videos, often featuring extreme sports. It’s hard to fathom how much the mini-camera system has changed our experience in watching people perform wild and crazy stunts in such a short time. Now, you’ll be able to watch all the latest right on your Xbox 360.

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Microsoft plans to roll out new shows with its Xbox TV studio. According to Bloomberg, Nancy Tellem is heading up the game with six series lined up, including the thriller Humans which is set to go live in 2015. It's going to be a difficult road for the software giant with the likes of Netflix and Amazon both producing original content to win the hearts (and wallets) of consumers. Tellem, who was part of the team that debuted the likes of ER and Friends, plans to separate Microsoft from the competition by adding interactive experiences.

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The Xbox One has experienced a handful of price cuts since the next-gen video game console from Microsoft launched last year. The latest deal we're seeing is over at US retailer Target, which has the console listed for $449. This price is identical to what we saw at Best Buy and Walmart, but with this deal you'll also be getting Xbox Live for 12 months.

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Plex coming to Xbox One

One of the cooler announcements from BUILD this year was the support for universal applications — software that can run on more than one Windows-powered device. It appears that Plex, the popular fork of the XBMC project, is going to take advantage of this and is coming to the Xbox One. Want to hear even better news? Since the Xbone can't yet run these apps, a stand-alone version is also coming as soon as it is ready!

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You can control your Xbox One with so many modes of input. Use the Xbox One controller, use Kinect or use the Xbox One SmartGlass app on Windows Phone. The phone app is great and we have no major complaints, but that doesn’t mean Microsoft isn’t innovating. The company has just pushed out a beta version of SmartGlass for Windows Phone. The app gives you a sneak peek at new features coming. Let’s check it out.

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Just ahead of Build, Microsoft has previewed a new update to SmartGlass which pulls in all of the OneGuide functions to your mobile. That means you’ll be able to flip through what’s on TV, change the station, and use your device as a TV remote (including powering your set on and off). These features are only rolling out to select Live members in Canada, the U.S., and Europe for the time being.

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Microsoft has tapped Phil Spencer the new Head of Xbox. In his new role, Spencer will oversee all Xbox-related projects, including Microsoft Studios, along with Xbox Live, Music, and Video. A 25-year Microsoft veteran, Spencer has led Microsoft Game Studios since 2008. Spencer says he will use what he has learned, particularly over the last year with the launch of the Xbox One, to build a great team around the Xbox brand.

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We don’t talk about Red Stripe Deals much anymore, but next week’s sale game is too hot not to celebrate. Major Nelson has just announced that the Windows Phone and Windows 8 versions of Halo: Spartan Assault will go on sale for $1.99 from April 3-9. The tablet and phone versions of Spartan Assault usually go for seven bucks apiece, making next week the prime time to scoop one or both of them up.

Halo: Spartan Assault is a twin-stick shooter based on the popular Halo franchise. Microsoft really seems to be pushing the game right now. The Xbox One and Xbox 360 versions have just dropped to $9.99 each (probably permanently), and the Steam version of the game will debut next week as well. More details after the break!

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If you are a fan of Crytek and their creations, then you should be excited for the launch of their Warface Open Beta. Crytek is the brilliance behind games such as Crysis and RYSE: Son of Rome; they take advantage of their high-tech CryEngine to bring life-like and realistic graphics to the screen. Warface is another take on the common shooter, but powered by the company's insane graphics engine, and of course we cannot forget to mention that it is free to play.

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