Dear Xbox Live Members,
Every year, I get the opportunity to author a letter to you – the amazing community of Xbox Live – to describe some of the cool new features coming to our service. This is one of my favorite jobs during the year: the opportunity to really talk about the great work the team is doing, and connect it with what we’ve learned and what we’ve heard from you.
Over the past several years, we’ve documented the growth of Xbox Live here – from the addition of parties and avatars, to our many entertainment partners, to unified voice-search and Xbox SmartGlass. And since the launch of Xbox 360 in October 2005, members have logged more than 72 billion hours on the service. That’s nearly 8.3 million years!
I remember when we switched on Xbox Live in 2002. At work, watching the service, and playing in real time as our first gamers joined. I knew it was going to be an amazing ride, and it is exciting to see how far we have come.
Like that day, today is special. With the launch of Xbox One, we have the opportunity to redefine our experience on Xbox Live. The innovation and changes coming this year is based on the feedback from our great community. Here’s a glimpse of what’s to come with the new Xbox Live service.
- New Level of Cloud Integration: With our expansive Azure powered cloud backing Xbox Live, everything is more convenient and accessible.
- All of your games and entertainment to be stored and saved on Xbox Live, so you can instantly access them anytime, from any Xbox One.
- You do not have to wait for a system or application updates. Xbox One will always be up-to-date and ready for you – wherever you left off.
- Developers can take advantage of the 300,000 servers backing Xbox Live when we launch this fall to build immersive worlds.
- Expanded Achievements: The all-new achievements system for Xbox One is no longer confined to a single game. We want gamers to be rewarded for skill, participation and time-based challenges. Plus, developers can take advantage of the power of Xbox Live to continue to grow and expand their achievements over time allowing more opportunities for dedicated players to build up their score. And your hard-earned Gamerscore will carry over from Xbox 360.
- Smart Match: We completely reengineered matchmaking for a new generation of gaming. Smart Match expands options for game creators to match players based on skill, language and now reputation. Best of all, you no longer have to wait in lobbies while a match is found. And asynchronous matchmaking means you can play a game, watch TV or listen to music while Smart Match finds your perfect match, then you can jump in instantly.
- Social: Xbox Live on Xbox One brings you all new ways to record, edit, share and broadcast epic gaming moments directly on your TV, including:
- Game DVR: Amp up your bragging rights with Game DVR by capturing your highlights. Gamers can also use Game DVR content to provide real-time help for friends.
- Upload Studio: What better way to show off your greatest gaming moments than by adding a little flare. With the new Upload Studio you can add voice over, skins, slow motion and other awesome features to your recorded clips, then share them out and compare to your friends’ creations.*
- Twitch: We are excited to announce that Twitch is coming to Xbox One as a built-in, experience, allowing you to easily broadcast your games in real-time or to take on an interactive spectator role leveraging chat functionality as you view content from multitudes of other streamers. With Twitch on Xbox One, any gamer can be a broadcaster.*
- Richer SmartGlass Experiences: Xbox SmartGlass for Xbox One allows you to turn your console on and off, adjust volume, manage your TV set-top box and Blu-ray, and integrates with Xbox One so you can search the programming guide without interrupting your current activity. Xbox SmartGlass also gives you full control over your game to start a game, launch multiplayer, view achievements, see real-time progress updates during gameplay, receive in-game tips, purchase Add-ons and more.
- Xbox OneGuide: Now you can navigate and watch live TV without switching inputs. Your Xbox Live Gold membership includes access to the OneGuide, where you get TV and entertainment that’s tailored for you, discover what’s trending with the Xbox community, and use your voice to search by network or name. You can also always know when your friends are online and ready to play your favorite game, even when you’re watching TV.**
- Conversational voice: We’ve completely reengineered Kinect to take full advantage of the new Xbox One architecture. The new Kinect is more precise, more responsive and more intuitive. And voice commands and controls are now more conversational, making it easier to find and enjoy your games and entertainment.
We listened, and we know you want even more out of your Xbox Live service. So I’m happy to share with you some great changes coming with Xbox One.
- Transactions Using Local Currency: You told us you want the ability to purchase games, movies, apps and entertainment in local currency, so we are excited to announce that as part of the fall 2013 update, we are moving away from Microsoft Points. All transactions will now take place using local currency, also known as money!
- Xbox Live Gold: We are bringing the Xbox Live Gold membership from Xbox 360 to Xbox One starting at the same $5 per month for a one-year membership, and now anyone in your home can access many Xbox Live Gold benefits on your Xbox One at no additional cost. Your primary Xbox Live Gold membership also travels with you to any Xbox One system. Xbox Live Gold offers a premium interactive entertainment service on Xbox One that spans across games, TV shows, movies, music, sports and more.
- Skype: Skype for Xbox One changes the way you keep in touch with friends on your TV. With your Xbox Live Gold membership:
- You will get Skype group video calling, currently a Skype Premium experience. No matter where your friends and family are, you can bring up to four of them together on your TV from the comfort of your living room. And, if you use Skype on either a Windows or Mac, you’ll benefit from group video calls when you sign into Skype there too.
- Reputation: Your new Xbox Live Reputation plays a prominent and valuable role rewarding healthy participation while reducing troublemakers and cheaters. A unified system across Xbox Live and all of your games allows for you to have much more control over who you play with while giving you new and exciting ways to get even move involved in your community.
- Games with Gold: Beginning in July, we will release two free games per month to Xbox Live Gold members on Xbox 360. This includes favorites like “Halo 3” and “Assassin’s Creed II.” And it starts right now, with the download of “Fable III,” yours to keep on Xbox 360.***
I could not be more excited to share this news about Xbox Live on Xbox One. As a system, Xbox One offers a completely new architecture, creating the most social, immersive and connected experience yet. And as a service, Xbox Live has never been stronger, and remains the best place for multiplayer gaming with your friends.
Launching in initial markets around the world November 2013 and continuing to launch in additional regions over the following months, Xbox One will be available starting at $499 (MSRP). To reserve your Xbox One systems today, visit www.xbox.com for participating retailers.
We have the best gaming community and we look forward to taking this next step with you together.
See you on Xbox Live,
Gamertag – Notwen
*Available for supported games
** Xbox OneGuide live TV features available initially in the U.S.
***“Games with Gold” free games offer available 6/10/13-12/31/13 for qualifying paid Gold members only. Xbox 360 games (selected by Xbox) available for free download from Marketplace only during specified half-month window; available games may vary by country. Some titles may only be available for download by account holders 18+. Kinect and/or hard drive required for some games. See xbox.com/live
Tiffany "CeissaDesiste" Toms
Long time female gamer who has been playing all genres since the Atari 2600 and Commodore 64 days. Freelance Graphic Artist, Web Designer, Beta Tester, and studied one year of Game Design. I play games on PC, PS4, PS3, Wii, 3DS, Xbox 360, PSVita, and Android. Freelance Writer, Reviewer, and News Editor/Asst. Director for Anjel Syndicate since the site launched! Part time employee of a major video game retailer.