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Xbox One X: How Turn 10 Helps

Sharing collective experience with other game developers is a hallmark trait for Turn 10 Studios, developers of the recently released Forza Motorsport 7. Having now worked with the Xbox platform for more than a decade, the studio’s vast experience in working on Microsoft consoles has extended to the PC gaming space in the past couple of years with the award-winning Forza Horizon 3, and Forza Motorsport 6: Apex, a free proof of concept demo on Windows 10 developed to help test drive (no pun intended) on a scalable, powerful platform like PC.

Thanks to that experience, the team was able to effectively prepare for gaming in 4K, 60 frames-a-second with a framework in place for development on Project Scorpio (later Xbox One X) once specs started to come into focus. Thanks to these years of development, Turn 10 has developed a very close working relationship with the console platform team.

“As a first party studio, a lot of our job is to make sure that the platform we’re developing games on is also a great platform for other game studios to make games on,” explains Chris Tector, Studio Software Architect at Turn 10. “We really believe that, at our core, that’s what we’re trying to do — enable other studios to make great games. Because that means we’ll have great games to play, and we’ll also be shipping great games in an incredible ecosystem. It’ll be, everybody making the best Xbox game they could possibly make, and that’s something we take pride in.”

Turn 10 Feature Key Art

The first time the studio showcased this working relationship was at GDC in 2014. At that conference they showed off ForzaTech running on PC with an alpha version of Direct 3D 12. With that demo, they proved out that it was possible to get more of a console programming model on the PC.

“We really felt like that was going to move things forward for developers on the PC, but also be able to bring a lot of console titles over to the PC,” says Tector. “It was something that we could do that would really help again with that whole platform, and really help all developers along.”

Turn 10 also worked closely with the hardware teams, helping push improvements over to the console platform, and helping them understand what requirements they needed as developers.

“We told them if you want to prove out things, or stress test, or push the limits what the hardware can do or what the new hardware ought to be able to do,” explains Tector. “We’re able to provide our titles as a way of stressing that.”

It was at this point when the studio began to scope out what that next generation of gaming could be like, and found themselves in a great position to help influence the hardware requirements they needed to develop games at a very high frame rate and at exceptionally high resolution.

Turn 10 Feature Key Art

“The goal from the beginning was to be able to deliver the Xbox One era of games, but at 4K,” explains Tector. “And that didn’t mean just us (Turn 10). We were already at 1080 (resolution), we had been since the beginning of the generation and not a lot of developers were able to get there for whatever reason. They may have had other kinds of features they were going after, but for us, native resolution, 60 frames-a-second; it’s always been really important for us.”

That performance high-water mark is a lofty one, one that Turn 10 doesn’t balk from. Proving out 4K gaming was an important goal for the studio — and they wanted to make sure other developers could get there too. So, they worked on proving out ways they could capture what was going on the console (graphically), and let them scale out the graphics processing unit (GPU), which components to use, memory bandwidth… Creating a model that simply says, “Hey, we got this game running on an Xbox One. Will it be able to get to 4K on an Xbox One X?”

The team began to build out and provide gameplay on Forza that covered a wide spectrum of settings, from 720p all the way up to 4K, looking at different levels of texture filtering, geometric complexity, and tweaking a variety of features like anti-aliasing. Anything that would let them prove out their model to those looking at Scorpio in the early days, that 4K console gaming is an achievable reality and one that can be here soon. And Turn 10 can be here to help make it happen. The real proof came to Turn 10 earlier this year when the base model of the Scorpio was delivered to them.

Turn 10 Feature Key Art

“We had one of the platform graphics guys comes over and he had a box full of parts,” Tector says. “And he dumps them out on the desk, a motherboard, and hard drives, all hooked up with random cables and loose on the desk. But it’s a Scorpio… and it’s running! And then we get the title ported to it in literally two days.”

The team had prepared a special room in-house at the studio, planning for their guest to stay with them for weeks. But it turned out it was not needed since they were done in just a few days to get the whole game up and running. Not only was it running, it was running fast.

“Not like the first time we ran it on an Xbox One which was not too pretty, and not running fast,” explains Tector. “This was running like, the full of ForzaTech and it was running at 60 (fps), and it was running at 4k. We were just like… we were stunned. We were surprised. But it was an awesome feeling as well because we could then go out to our team, ‘Look, we had done all this work, we proved out this model, it’s going to have this level of performance, we’re going to be able to deliver this as a title.’”

Turn 10 Feature Key Art

It was there, it was real, and Turn 10 could show people how to get it done.

“That reality sank in for the team, and it just created this wave of like, ‘Well that means we can do this, and we can do this…’ and that was all open because not only were we running at 4k and at 60, and you know, all of those things that we wanted…. and we had headroom left over.”

Xbox One X is slated for retail release later this year on November 7, and we can’t wait to play this next generation of games thanks to the shared, collective wealth of experience that Turn 10 has provided to both developers and hardware engineers alike.

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Next Week on Xbox: New Games for October 9 – 15

Welcome to another edition of Next Week on Xbox! The holiday gaming season is fast approaching and that means our most-anticipated games of the year are making their way to Xbox One. And with Halloween only a few weeks away, it’s also the perfect time to serve up a couple of spooky titles this week, like the survival horror game The Evil Within 2 and the creepy Decay: The Mare. On the more epic fantasy scale, we’re booking our tickets to return to Mordor and continue the fight against the Dark Lord himself in Middle-earth: Shadow of War. Read on for details on these games and more to find out what’s Next Week on Xbox!

Middle-earth: Shadow of War Screenshot Games
  • Xbox Play Anywhere Title

Talion and Celebrimbor return in Middle-earth: Shadow of War and aim to forge armies, conquer fortresses, and dominate the land of Mordor from behind enemy lines. With the return of the award-winning Nemesis System powering the unique stories of your followers, in addition to taking on the full power of the Dark Lord Sauron and his army, this epic new story in the ever-expanding Middle-earth saga is one you don’t want to miss. And as an Xbox Play Anywhere title, one purchase gives you a copy on both Xbox One and Windows 10.

Raid: World War II Screenshot Games
Take on the role as one of the four misfit members of the Raid gang — Sterling, Rivet, Kurgan or Wolfgang — to shoot, blast, and steal your way through Europe at the height of World War II. With class-based gameplay and authentic weapon customizations, take down the German war machine in this exciting four-player co-op shooter.
Danger Zone Screenshot Games
Welcome to the Danger Zone, a virtual crash testing facility where you’re tasked to survive a variety of challenging and deadly scenarios. With real-world vehicle physics with explosive gameplay, your goal is to cause as much explosive and creative damage as possible.
Shiny Screenshot Games
You are the robot Kramer 227 and you must find a way to harvest enough energy to rescue your fellow robot friends before their planet of Aurura crashes in the sun. Gather energy, share with your friends, and escape a dire situation across 20 extensive platforming levels.
Decay Screenshot Games
In this psychological horror game, you play as Sam, an addict who has found himself in the metal institution Reaching Dreams. Hoping to kick his habit and sort his life, something goes terribly wrong and he becomes lost in an endless nightmare.
Evil Within 2 Screenshot Games
Detective Sebastian Castellanos has lost it all. But when given a chance to save his daughter, he must descend once more into the nightmarish world of STEM. From mastermind Shinji Mikami, The Evil Within 2 is the latest evolution of survival horror where horrifying threats emerge from every corner as the world twists and warps around him. Will Sebastian face adversity head on with weapons and traps, or sneak through the shadows to survive? Prepare to enter a frightening world filled with anxiety-inducing thrills and disturbing moments.
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This Week on Xbox: October 6, 2017

We know you’re busy and might miss out on all the exciting things we’re talking about on Xbox Wire every week. If you’ve got a few minutes, we can help remedy that. We’ve pared down the past week’s news into one easy-to-digest article for all things Xbox! Or, if you’d rather watch than read, you can feast your eyes on our weekly video show above. Be sure to come back every Friday to find out what’s happening This Week on Xbox!

Forza Motorsport 7 Now Available Worldwide on Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs
Today is the day! Get ready for the thrill of motorsport at the limit. Gear up for the most comprehensive, beautiful and authentic racing game ever made. Forza Motorsport 7 is here, available worldwide today on Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs, in three different versions. Standard Edition – This edition features the full version of the game running at a silky-smooth 60 frames per second… Read more

Xbox One X: What It Takes to Build a Console
Peanut butter and jelly. Shaq and Kobe. Master Chief and Cortana. If there’s anything we’ve learned during our short time on this planet, it’s that collaboration is the driving force of creation (and tasty sandwiches). We recently heard from Bryan Sparks, Senior Designer, Microsoft Device Design Team, and Leonardo Del Castillo, GM of Xbox Devices Console Development to learn… Read more

Free Play Days For All Key Art Hero Image

Play Star Wars Battlefront II Open Beta During Free Play Days For All Weekend
We believe games are more fun with friends. Starting Friday, October 6 at 1:00 a.m. PDT to Monday, October 9 at 11:59 p.m. PDT, you can play online in any game you own with your friends for free during our Free Play Days For All weekend on Xbox One and Xbox 360 — Xbox Live Gold membership not required. There’s more! If you’re looking for a new multiplayer experience… Read more

Bringing Middle-earth: Shadow of War to Life in 4K
Next week Middle-earth: Shadow of War will launch on Xbox One and Windows 10 as an Xbox Play Anywhere title, sending us back to Mordor to fight all manner of orcs and other fantastically evil creatures. But it’s this Fall when the Xbox One X hits store shelves that we’re most looking forward to our return to Middle-earth. Not only has the game grown in scope from the 2014 classic… Read more

Assassin's Creed Origins Hero Image

Assassin’s Creed Origins: Using All of Bayek’s Tricks in the Nile Delta
Like no other game in the series so far, Assassin’s Creed Origins will push you to use every tool and tactic at your disposal as you hunt for the secret society known as the Order of the Ancients. In our case, this was something we realized during a quest in the latest preview demo, set in the Giza Plateau and in the Nile Delta — both of which looked beautiful running on Xbox One X… Read more

New Xbox One S Assassin’s Creed Origins Bundles Launch October 27
Step back in time and discover the beginning of the Assassin’s brotherhood with two new Xbox One S Assassin’s Creed Origins Bundles (1TB and 500GB) launching October 27. Experience a new way to fight by using powerful weapons to protect Egypt from epic enemies, while exploring the Great Pyramids and uncovering lost tombs across a vast and unpredictable land… Read more

Dishonored: Death of the Outsider Tips Hero Image

Dishonored: Death of The Outsider Tips & Tricks
Hey, Xbox gamers! The Tips & Tricks team is here with 5 tips for Arkane Studios’ latest game, Dishonored: Death of The Outsider. Death of the Outsider is a standalone DLC that takes place a few months after the events of Dishonored 2. You play as Billie Lurk: Daud’s most trusted assassin… that is, until her betrayal in The Knife of Dunwall DLC. Now, Billie’s out to find Daud… Read more

Party-Based Dungeon Crawler Battle Chasers: Nightwar Available Now on Xbox One
When people see Battle Chasers: Nightwar for the first time, they’ve got a lot of questions. Is it a Diablo-style dungeon crawler? Is it more of a party-based tactical RPG? Is it action or turn-based? The short answer is: all of the above. It’s a bit of a hybrid. But understanding all the nuances of our strange brew, and why we made the choices we made, requires… Read more

theHunter Call of the Wild Hero Image

Taking on Big Game in theHunter: Call of the Wild on Xbox One
Here at Avalanche Studios and Expansive Worlds, we are incredibly excited to bring theHunter: Call of the Wild to Xbox One. It’s the first venture for theHunter franchise into the world of gamepads and comfortable couch gaming and we can’t wait for you to take a stroll in our virtual worlds. A lot of you have been asking to get the game on Xbox One and now it is finally here… Read more

Gears of War Pro Circuit Season 2 Announced with new expected prize pool of $2,000,000!
Xbox, Gears of War Esports, and The Coalition are proud to announce Season 2 of the Gears Pro Circuit for Gears of War 4. Gears players from around the world can compete in marquee live open events for a starting $1,000,000 in cash prizes. With the addition of new regional events and grassroots tournaments, plus crowdfunding through Esports Supporter Packs… Read more

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Play Star Wars Battlefront II Open Beta During Free Play Days For All Weekend

We believe games are more fun with friends. Starting Friday, October 6 at 1:00 a.m. PDT to Monday, October 9 at 11:59 p.m. PDT, you can play online in any game you own with your friends for free during our Free Play Days For All weekend on Xbox One and Xbox 360 — Xbox Live Gold membership not required.

There’s more! If you’re looking for a new multiplayer experience to try during the Free Play Days For All event on Xbox One, the Star Wars Battlefront II open beta also runs for free from Friday, October 6 at 1:00 a.m. PDT to Monday, October 9 at 11.59 p.m. PDT.

Honestly you should play the Star Wars Battlefront II even if you’re not actively looking for something new — it’s going to be spectacular and one of the largest ever distributed by EA. So, be sure to get started with your download as soon as possible. During the multiplayer beta, you’ll have the chance to try Arcade Challenges against AI foes, try your hand in the multi-stage Galactic Assault mode, and team up with your squadron of friends in Starfighter Assault.

Star Wars Battlefront II Hero Image

Plus, everyone who plays the beta will receive a specially curated Founder’s Crate filled with goodies as a thank you from the developers, including credits, an exclusive emote for Darth Maul, and a rare trooper Star Card to give them a head start in battle.

If that’s not enough, tune into Mixer (including Mixer Channel One) or watch on your Xbox One during the whole weekend to watch some of our top streamers livestream the Star Wars Battlefront II open beta. There will be lots of sci-fi movies as giveaways to viewers, so come hang out. It’ll be a great time!

As a reminder, these offers are only available from October 6 – 9, so log on your Xbox One or Xbox 360 now to get in on the action. For more details on Free Play Days For All, visit Xbox.com.

Star Wars: Battlefront II arrives on Xbox One on November 17, but don’t forget with EA Access you can jump in early beginning November 9 in the EA Access Play First Trial and save 10% if you decide to buy the whole game only on Xbox One.

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Xbox One X: What It Takes to Build a Console

Peanut butter and jelly. Shaq and Kobe. Master Chief and Cortana. If there’s anything we’ve learned during our short time on this planet, it’s that collaboration is the driving force of creation (and tasty sandwiches).

We recently heard from Bryan Sparks, Senior Designer, Microsoft Device Design Team, and Leonardo Del Castillo, GM of Xbox Devices Console Development to learn about their creative collaboration process behind the world’s most powerful gaming console: Xbox One X.

To hear them tell it, the story is a fascinating one. In that, the engineering and design teams executed on the development of Xbox One X with a clear and specific goal from the outset — deliver True 4K Gaming in a small form factor design — and endeavored to work together to make that dream possible without compromising on their vision. And the end result is tremendous.

Xbox One X Feature Image

Kickstarting the Process

As you might imagine when one sits down to create the world’s most powerful gaming console, the engineering and design teams would face a lot of questions: How do you make the systems work with each other? How can we make it compact? What’s the expression of Xbox One X? How does it tell a story just by the way it looks?

While these were all great questions the team looked to tackle early on, the most critical that they all agreed to land on was that this was going to be “True 4K Gaming” at its heart, and this is what was going to drive the architecture of the system.

The Scorpio Engine is designed, at its core, to be the most powerful system-on-a-chip for game consoles that has ever been created. Everything about it was designed to be compatible with Xbox One (and Xbox One S). And to make that happen, it was clear that nearly every component that was to be housed in the system was going to have to be custom built. That left the team with a lot of freedom of how it could design the system around things like optical drives, hard drives, and memory components.

Xbox One X Feature Image

“If you start with a bag of parts, how does that turn into a product?” explains Del Castillo. “We needed a direction, and floor planning directions, to lead the architecture around what the motherboard will look like, what will the chassis look like. And for that you lean on the design team.”

The Design of a System

“Whenever you start a new design project, it’s this blank canvas and you start feeding ideas and constraints,” explains Sparks. “Eventually, you see this thing start to form as you work through the process.”

When creating the design of the system, the team knew all those parts had to come together in one cohesive unit. They knew it was going to be part of the growing Xbox One family of devices, and wanted to take all the feedback received on the design of Xbox One S that the community loved.

Xbox One X Feature Image

“The other part of our vision is what would embody this product,” Sparks continued. “We envisioned this monolith (“2001: A Space Odyssey”). Whenever you see it in the film, it was a signal to the audience that it was the next phase of advancement. So, we kept that as a design goal: Xbox One X is the next point of advancement.”

“We did not want Xbox One X to be any larger than Xbox One S, which was a huge ask as we were putting 40% more power into it. And this is where we knew we had to work with Leo and the engineers to make that happen.”

Fitting into Place

As the engineering team continued to look at the overall intent of the design, for which there was a lot of collaboration between the two teams, they begun to lay out the components like the motherboard, and determined how memory would route to the system and be arranged. The iteration continued to the point where they found it would make the most sense to have the motherboard fit on the “ceiling” of the console, and placing the optical drive and hard drive on top of one other to create the optimum stacking height of the system.

Xbox One X Feature Image

The other benefit of having the motherboard on the ceiling is that there would not need to be any venting on the top space of the console, keeping the clean, monolithic form the design team was looking to achieve.

The other intent was to ensure the power supply would live internally, just like Xbox One S — it’s not much larger, but it is nearly 40% more powerful. To continue with the efficient design (getting these parts into a small form factor) they placed the power right behind the optical drive. In turn, this allowed them to keep all the ports on the back of the system in nearly same place as Xbox One S so that when you’re upgrading to Xbox One X, set up would be as simple, yet familiar, as possible.

Keeping Cool

With so many components, and with a system nearly twice as powerful as Xbox One S, there’s sure to be a lot of heat moving through the chassis that needs to be exhausted. This was initially tackled where a heat sink would work as a base with a radiator, and then with a stacked fan on top of it. The problem with that approach is it created a lot of added height to the system.

Xbox One X Feature Image

“When you’re trying to scale that amount of power into the Scorpio engine, it wasn’t going to be a feasible approach to achieve the size we wanted to do,” says Leo. “We got innovative and looked at other tech we could use and created a vapor chamber heat sink, like what you’d find in high-end PCs and graphic cards, and we believe this is the first time it’s being used in a consumer electronic.”

The vaper chamber heat sink is fascinating. It’s hollow, filled with water, and there’s a vacuum that draws upon that water to help move the heat to the radiator fins and thus into the air. Leo’s team looked like they solved how to keep temperatures lower than normal, but there still needs way for that air to move through and out of the system.

The result is a custom centrifugal fan assembly with ducts and propellers that are custom built just for Xbox One X. This helps move air out of the system and keep all the components cool, including the power supply. In fact, the team built the fan assembly in a virtual space and ran empirical models to continue refining the design, helping to pinpoint any “hot spots” in the console’s components before laying down the silicone needed to create the fan housing.

Xbox One X Feature Image

The team had found a solution to move air out of the system — but how would the design bring air in to Xbox One X?

“This is where concurrent engineering comes into play,” explains Sparks. “We’re working back and forth between the functional realities of the engineering process and the design intent. And this is where we get to play off each other.”

Part of this play was figuring out which components were prioritized to get access to the air flow first, and that came back to the Xbox One S design, with its short-side venting detail to allow air into the console box. But the design team wanted to figure out how to upgrade that expression from the bold hole pattern from Xbox One S.

Xbox One X Feature Image

“Where we landed was grabbing the vent pattern from Xbox One S and miniaturizing it as much as we could to where it was just barely manufacturable. Which was no easy ask. It was another thing we had to innovate,” says Sparks.

And to do just that, the engineering team realized they would have to create a new tool to answer the growing number of asks from the design team: 5-sided unibody with a top-housing, zero draft, thousands of tiny pins to make the perforation pattern, and super thin walls.

“But we were able to do it! Probably making the most innovative and complex injection molding tool we have ever made,” proclaims Sparks. “We did all of this to give the outside appearance of this console the same level of precision of the work we’ve been putting into the inside.”

Putting it All Together

The guts for Xbox One X are all placed on the table, making it hard to imagine how these will snap into the small form factor of Xbox One X. Leo picks up each piece one at a time and easily starts to put it all together, like some sort of awesome jigsaw puzzle, continuing to talk through and explain the logic behind the layout of the components in such a snug form-fitting design. Even when placing the hard drive into the system, Leo takes the time to explain how such a basic component has also received some special attention.

Xbox One X Feature Image

“As for the hard drive, the mechanical components are pretty much standard,” explains Leo. “We do work with our manufactures to optimize firmware performance specifically for our product. To preserve that performance, we have to take a great deal of care when it’s mounted.”

To solve for this the team created a custom mount for the drive to dampen the vibrations that would be carried through the chassis, as too much vibration would compromise the performance of the drive itself. Especially since the optical drive and hard drive will be living on top of each other inside the system.

Leo then grabs the fan assembly and fits it snug over the vaper chamber heat sink, the power supply drops in above the motherboard, and the ducts from the assembly all naturally snap right into place.

Xbox One X Feature Image

“Every single component and where it’s placed is critical,” explains Leo. “Start moving holes around or components, even a millimeter, it can cause interference to other products. So, it’s necessary for the engineers to be working on the design concurrently. There’s no staging like, ‘First we design a motherboard, then we’ll design a chassis around the motherboard…’ If we did that we’d wind up with a sub-optimal product.”

The Finishing Touch

“For Xbox One S we developed a brand-new color called Robot White and that did a great job of embodying what Xbox One S was, which was a bold, approachable console,” explains Sparks. “For Xbox One X, we had a different goal in mind. We wanted a color that would embody the power that was encased inside this console.”

Interestingly, after all the combinations of color to design, Sparks and his team landed back on black, specifically Infinite Black, finding that a deep, rich, neutral black was a color that worked well with the simple design of Xbox One X.

Xbox One X Console Feature Key Art

However, since the design of Xbox One X is between two separate housings, and not wanting to lose the slight shift or overhang, Sparks and his team felt the housing design could get lost being all the same color.

“What we did was, create a fine top housing texture that almost looks like it’s painted, and on the bottom housing we pushed on a heavy texture, so the final part looks really, really, matte,” says Sparks.

The effect is very noticeable as you look at the console in different shades of light and how it seems to move elegantly around the system, refracting differently to help draw attention to the top and bottom housings of the system. There’s also a bit of an inspiration from the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller as well, bringing some of the textured grip from those controllers to the base of the unit.

Xbox One X Feature Image

And if there was a one more thing moment to be had, it was showcasing Xbox One X in its vertical form, harkening back to that original design intent goal of a monolith, calling to this as the next moment in the story of Xbox.

“All these details, and this work, and all this refinement lead us down the track of creating, in my opinion, the best console we have ever made,” says Sparks. “We didn’t build this for us; we built this for the gamer. The gamer wins in this scenario. They get the best console we could possibly create.”

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Gears of War Pro Circuit Season 2 Announced with new expected prize pool of $2,000,000!

Xbox, Gears of War Esports, and The Coalition are proud to announce Season 2 of the Gears Pro Circuit for Gears of War 4. Gears players from around the world can compete in marquee live open events for a starting $1,000,000 in cash prizes. With the addition of new regional events and grassroots tournaments, plus crowdfunding through Esports Supporter Packs, the total prize pool for Season 2 is expected to reach $2,000,000.

Players in North America, Latin America, and Europe can earn “Gears Pro Points” by competing in regional MLG GameBattles.com online ladders and in weekly tournaments. Players can also earn Gears Pro Points through grassroots and community-run approved tournaments and Microsoft Store LAN events. Gears Pro Points qualify teams for seeding and travel coverage to the international open LAN events taking place every 2 months between December 2017 and December 2018.

This season’s exciting Gears Pro Circuit features both major and minor open LAN events in the following locations, open to all players around the world:

Date Location Partner Prize Pool (USD)
Winter 2017 USA MLG $250,000 minimum
January 26-28 Mexico City, Mexico Gamelta $150,000 minimum
Spring 2018 North America TBD $150,000 minimum
Spring/Summer 2018 North America MLG $250,000 minimum
Summer/Fall 2018 Mexico Gamelta $150,000 minimum
Summer/Fall 2018 North America TBD $150,000 minimum
Fall/Winter 2018 North America MLG $250,000 minimum

*All locations and dates subject to change.

With the postponement of the Mexico City event to January (from the original date of October), the Gears Esports team is proud to present an additional series of sanctioned events in the Fall for Gears Pro Points and cash prizes.

Gears Esports Fall Regionals – 24 Team 5000 Series Pro Point Events
Date Location Partner Prize Pool (USD)
November 11-12 New York, NY, USA Microsoft Store $20,000
November 11-12 Corona, CA, USA CMG $20,000
November 11-12 London, UK EGL $20,000
November 11-12 Mexico City, MX Gamelta $20,000

In addition, we are proud to announce several new community tournaments with some in new cities and regions:

Date Location Partner Starting Prize Pool (USD)
October 20-22 Madrid, Spain Xbox Spain Fan Fest $5,000
November 25-26 Sydney, Australia ESL $10,000 AUD + Winning Team Travel to MLG Fall/Winter 2017 Major
Spring 2018 Birmingham, UK Insomnia Festival $10,000 minimum
TBD Brazil Gamelta TBD
TBD Italy Xbox Italy TBD
TBD France Xbox France TBD

*All locations and dates subject to change.

More community and regional tournaments will be announced and funded through to December 2018.

We are also excited to announce significant funding increases for travel coverage for this season’s Gears Pro Circuit based on Gears Pro Points rankings. Latin America events will see a big increase to the Top 8 North American teams, Top 8 Latin American teams, and Top 3 European teams all receiving travel coverage. North American Minor events cover the Top 8 North American teams, Top 3 Latin American teams, and Top 3 European teams. MLG Major events will cover the Top 8 North American teams, Top 4 Latin American teams and Top 4 European teams.

Season 2 will also see the return of Gears Esports Supporter Packs that help provide prize pool crowdfunding to events and support the expansion of the regional community events. Gears Esports will continue to collaborate with popular esports team organizations to bring their brands into cosmetic digital in-game content that fans can wear and equip. This season also sees the addition of a Preferred Partner program for major esports organizations. Organizations can qualify for financial incentives based on audience size, participation, and regional representation. Organizations can also work with the Gears Esports team to raise the visibility of their brands in additional content planned for Season 2 such as our new reality series, event content and profile features, in-game promotions and on social media.

Weekly Gears Fight Nights broadcasts will return live from the MLG Studios in New York, featuring weekly Pro Circuit online tournament finals with teams from around the world. These weekly broadcasts will continue to feature both pro and amateur teams and special prizes for viewers.

Season 2 of the Gears Pro Circuit has already officially kicked off in September with Gears Pro Points activity via MLG online tournaments and ladders. For more information on how to participate in Season 2, check out this information page here.

For more detailed information on the Gears Pro Circuit and Gears Esports, please visit www.gears.gg. You can also follow us on Twitter @EsportsGears and @GearsofWar and on Facebook at /GearsofWar.

We’re proud to present the largest ever Gears of War Esports program and can’t wait to see all the pro and amateur teams from around the world compete in Season 2!

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Forza Motorsport 7 Now Available Worldwide on Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs

Today is the day! Get ready for the thrill of motorsport at the limit. Gear up for the most comprehensive, beautiful and authentic racing game ever made. Forza Motorsport 7 is here, available worldwide today on Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs, in three different versions.

  • Standard Edition – This edition features the full version of the game running at a silky-smooth 60 frames per second. Players can collect over 700 Forzavista™ cars including the largest assortment of Ferraris, Porsches, and Lamborghinis in any racing game. With over 30 world-famous environments and tracks featuring dynamic weather and race conditions that change every time you return to the track, no two races are the same.
  • Deluxe Edition – the Deluxe Edition includes the full version of the game, VIP membership ($20 value), and both the Hoonigan and Fate of the Furious car packs.
  • Ultimate Edition – This edition is for the Forza fan wanting it all. In addition to the content in the Deluxe Edition, Ultimate Edition owners will have access to the Forza Motorsport 7 Car Pass ($30 value).

And with Xbox One X coming Nov. 7 even more players will get to experience gorgeous graphics in native 4K, at 60fps and HDR.

We’d like to thank everybody who has experienced the game already by downloading the free “Forza Motorsport 7” demo, being a part of the Early Access period, or joining us at our launch and preview events this past weekend. We’re thrilled to hear such positive feedback so far, with IGN calling the game “drop-dead gorgeous” and GamesRadar+ noting that it “blows everything else out of the water.” As the community grows, we look forward to hearing what even more players think.

Forza Motorsport 7 Launch Event at the Petersen Museum

On Saturday, Sept. 30 the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles played host to over five hundred Forza fans who came out to play the Forza Motorsport 7 early, admire the museum’s amazing collection, and meet members of the Forza team including championship-winning drivers Tanner Foust and Josef Newgarden who served as technical advisors on the game.

The event was broadcast on interactive livestream (see the replay on Mixer) and featured head-to-head racing with Tanner and Josef, a drift demonstration of the Forza-exclusive 2003 Hoonigan Holden Commodore Ute by Hertrech “Hert” Eugene Jr, an unboxing of the SCUF Forza Elite Collector’s Edition controller inspired by the Porsche 911 GT2 RS and an interview with “Climbkhana” star Ken Block.

Thank you to our fans, partners, and members of the LA area automotive community for making this a day to remember.

Reach Out Worldwide and Game4Paul

We were honored to design a custom Xbox One S console modeled after Paul Walker’s first car from The Fast and the Furious which was signed by members of the cast and raffled off this weekend during the third-annual Game4Paul.com event hosted at the Microsoft Lounge in Venice, CA.

The livestream event (see replay on Mixer) helped raise over $150,000 for Reach Out WorldWide, a disaster relief nonprofit founded by Paul Walker with the purpose of providing quick and efficient relief to those who need it most in the chaos after a natural disaster.

The stream featured a look at The Fate of the Furious Car Pack for Forza Motorsport 7 and a surprise appearance by the only surviving 1995 Mitsubishi Eclipse created for the original 2001 movie. In an amazing coincidence, the car belongs to a LA-area Forza Motorsport fan who bought the car as a cast-off movie prop while still in high school. Once he learned about the event he jumped at the chance to reunite the car with Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez and others from the Fast family for the first time in sixteen years.

Ready to race? Purchase the Forza Motorsport 7 UltimateDeluxe or Standard Editions online now. See you on the track!

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Next Week on Xbox: New Games for October 2 – 8

Hello and welcome to Next Week on Xbox! A great variety of titles are hitting this week, like the refined version of the RPG classic Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen, the endless-wave, sci-fi inspired shooter Let Them Come, and the Battle Royale classic The Culling 1.0 will graduate from the Xbox Game Preview program! Read on for further details about these games and more and come back next week for another edition of Next Week on Xbox.

theHunter Screenshot Games
Go hunting in a beautiful open world teeming with life, from majestic deer and awe-inspiring bison, down to the countless birds, critters and insects of the wilderness. In addition to its rich single-player experience, theHunter: Call of the Wild offers unique multiplayer options – co-op and competitive – for up to 8 players.
Mystik Belle ScreenshotGames
Trouble is brewing at the Hamore School of Witchcraft, and the only freshman witch-in-training Belle MacFae can put things right. As Belle, you must seek out the three crucial ingredients of the Walpurgisnacht Brew, which means investigating the school’s colorful 2D landscapes in a quest that combines elements of nonlinear exploration-based action-platformers and class object-oriented adventures.
Let Them Come Screenshot Games
You are Rock Gunar, mercenary gun for hire with alien blood on his hands. Twitchy trigger fingers and focused battle tactics are the order of the day as you take on this ultimate survival mode challenge to wipe out every alien on this ship. You will die — a lot — but sheer brute force plus cool ammo and weapon upgrades will help you take these vermin down, one wave at a time.
Dragons Dogma Screenshot Games
The critically acclaimed action-RPG Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen combines exhilarating and deep combat with the freedom to explore the huge open world of Gransys. Choose between nine different classes, embark on your own adventure, and use the deep combat system to wield devastating skills and magicks to take on fabled monsters. Includes all DLC, making this the ultimate version of Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen.
Mable Void Screenshot Games
Drop into the retro-futuristic world of Marble Void! A 3D Platformer inspired by old school platformers, Marble Madness, Marble Blast Ultra and the 80’s. Pilot your Marble through puzzles and skill based obstacles to complete stages. With 3 tiers of difficulty and mini games, Marble Void is easy to pick up and play, yet tough to master! Moving platforms, switches, teleporters, gravity modifiers, kill spheres and more await you in 40+ stages of varying difficulties. Great for all ages!
N++ ScreenshotGames
This is the long-awaited sequel to the legendary N+, rewritten from scratch to be bigger, better, and more beautiful in every way. N+++ is a fast-paced, momentum-based platformer about darting around obstacles, narrowly evading enemies and collecting gold in a beautiful minimalist landscape.
Inversus DeluxeGames
Inversus is a negative-space shooter up to four players. Movement is constrained to opposite colors of a black and white grid. Each shot flips tile colors to block, trap, and close in on the enemy. Both online and local couch play are supported. The competitive mode pits you against other players; single-player and co-op have you face endless waves of enemies together as you fight for the highest score.
Jydge Screenshot Games
Build your own cybernetic JYDGE and eradicate crime in the never-sleeping megacity of Edenbyrg. Create your own play-style by augmenting your JYDGE, modifying your Gavel rifle, and choosing fearless companions to suit the tasks at hand.  
The Culling Screenshot Games
In a remote arena, 16 contestants have 20 minutes to explore, scavenge items, craft weapons, build traps, hunt, and kill each other. Face to face, mano a mano, this is Battle Royale in its most brutal form. That means only one will be crowned the winner.
Bulb Boy Screenshot Games
An intuitive horror adventure about a boy with a glowing head. Inspired by Machinarium and Gobliiins, you’ll solve puzzles, defeat wicked monsters, and reveal Bulby’s abilities to unfold a twisted tale. Ohhh… And don’t forget to save your Grandpa-raffin and Mothdog from the frightening darkness.
Iron Wings Screenshot Games
Take down the Nazi aerial menace across a rich campaign of missions, each with numerous objectives and enemies as well as side objectives in this World War II air combat game. Work with your partner to assign objectives together in order to succeed.
Zombie Party Screenshot Games
Go on a time traveling adventure, or delve deep into procedural dungeons full of gold, loot, and secrets! Upgrade your guns with mods and artifacts, find magic spell runes, potions, items, melee weapons, unlock 50 characters to play as, discover 150+ unique guns and weapons, launch teddy bears that explode into fire, blow up your friends with heat-seeking missiles, and get to the final zone to kill the Dance King.
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Introducing Xbox Assist: Personalized Customer Support

Within Xbox Customer Experience and Support, our goal is to make gamers happy and to help them get the most out of their Xbox experience. Whether it’s discovering new ways to play, learning tips for maximizing the features you already use, or finding help when something goes wrong, the new Xbox Assist app has you covered.

Xbox Assist is personalized to help you optimize your Xbox experience for the games you play and the way you play them. You’ll find guides to new features, how-to videos, suggestions for features that might be valuable to you and a lot more. You already know there are many ways to play with Xbox, and Xbox Assist will help you find and take advantage of even more.

On top of getting the most out of your Xbox, Xbox Assist will provide personalized notifications and tips based on system, service and account status.  For example, Xbox Assist can prompt you to take advantage of unclaimed benefits such as free game downloads; explain how to automatically download games so you can start playing as quickly as possible; remap buttons on your Elite controller so that you get the most out of it; and notify you if you are running out of storage space.  Xbox Assist also enables you to easily browse support content and launch troubleshooters for common issues, directly from your console. And you’ll be able to check the status of Xbox Live services and know what’s going on with the features and services that matter to you.

Xbox Assist is currently available in preview for select Xbox Insider rings and releasing broadly later this Fall as a replacement for Xbox Help. With the upcoming release of Xbox Assist on the Xbox One family of devices, including Xbox One X, you will have personalized help content and tools on a console-friendly experience, right at your fingertips.

Outside of Xbox Assist, we’re also happy to share that, in partnership with the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk, Xbox support for Accounts and Billing is now available in American Sign Language (ASL) for Xbox gamers in the United States with hearing loss or who are deaf.  This new offering is integral to the spirt of Xbox in that it displays our dedication to all Xbox customers and helps ensure we’re making Xbox a place where all gamers can have fun and enjoy their Xbox experience.  To learn more about ASL support, check out this video starring Oscar-winning actress Marlee Matlin and visit the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk. To videophone us for American Sign Language support in the United States, call 1-503-427-1234 Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 5pm (PST).

These are just a few of the projects our customer support teams have been working on to improve our fans’ experiences, and we’re looking forward to sharing more new features with you in the coming months.

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Speedrunners Love Splasher, Available Now on Xbox One

It all began at the Stunfest Festival, an arcade gaming event for which a lot of players, fighting game pros and speedrunners, save the date each year. It was not only the perfect place to organize a massive playtest session, but we also met the godfathers of the French speedrun scene: speedrunners Realmyop and Prospere. So we asked them to talk about their collaboration with the Splashteam for making Splasher a speedrun friendly title.

Realmyop: I met Romain during a French video game festival. We played the demo a lot, talked about Splasher and we agreed on the great opportunity provided by the game in terms of speedrunning.

Prospere: Splasher is made of the best 2D platformers, and for me it was very natural to work on integrating a whole speedrun system inside the game. It’s simple: today I can’t imagine a good arcade platformer coming up without any descent “competitive” features.

Splasher Screenshot

Realmyop, the “88 miles per hour” guy, has built a team with speedrun experts Prospere, Twyn and Kilaye. These dudes speedrun games for more than a decade, and incarnated the perfect crew to help us. Some of them even made a lot of speedrun on the last Rayman Origins and Legends platformers, games I’ve worked on too!

Realmyop: Our main goal was to make the game “Speedrun Friendly”, we were not there to tell how to build the levels, the gameplay mechanics, or the graphics and sounds. We wanted the speedrunners to feel at home but also welcome newcomers to the genre.

Prospere: Speedrunning games have always been a niche thing, with their own patterns, dedicated websites and unofficial leaderboards … it’s an underground community. But I think It’s about time that a wider audience get introduced to this very cool kind of eSport.

Splasher Screenshot

It’s not easy to achieve this goal, and there is a lot of parameters to work with. First because the speedrun is a way of playing that requires special tools. Realmyop and the runners shared a lot of precious advices during our collaboration.

Realmyop: In many games, there is no timer and most speedrunners are using external tools to time their runs. Even worse, sometimes the timer is buggy and can’t be used as what the speedrunners call the “in-game time.” So, our first work was to build an accurate stopwatch, useful for speedrunners which provides rigorous information at the right time. We took our inspiration for the stopwatch from metrics used by the speedrunning community such as “splits.”

Prospere: Splasher is our second speedrun design mission, right after last year’s indie hit Furi. It was a great experience to work with Romain, and seeing our features integrated in the game a couple of days right after our meetings. The cool thing is that we took time to iterate a lot, with a very reactive and passionate developer, and the results were there.

Splasher Screenshot

As long as we’re adding and tweaking these speedrun essentials into the game, we also started to design different modes, or let say different ways of speedrunning Splasher. We had to ask ourselves this question: What are speedrunners used to see?

Realmyop: We worked on what speedrunners call “categories.” For example: most games can be played in two main categories, “Any%” and “100%”. There is way more categories, every game can be different and the categories are made by the speedrun community. In Splasher, we tried to anticipate the categories that could be played, and we implemented 3 of them directly in the game.

Prospere: As our knowledge of the game was increasing with time, we were able to tell “this path is slightly better than this one”, “here you can optimize by doing this or that” etc. We were the high end playtesters, haha.

What speedrunners are used to see, and comfortable with, was not our only concern because attracting neophytes was part of the plan too.

Realmyop: All racing games are using Time Attack to record best times and some are even using medals as a reward to get the players to play again and again the same track to improve their time. Using this mechanic, we pioneered a full run of the game, and coupled it with the more typical achievements.

And building a community around the game was also something we were willing to do.

Realmyop: One important thing is the community, you need to follow it, to listen to it and stimulate it. We’re still following the runners and their progression, we’re always surprised by the performances and seeing gamers being so dedicated.