Shacknews - Steve Watts

While the Xbox One turning on with the sound of your voice made for an impressive stage presentation, it didn't take long for the Internet to notice: doesn't that mean it's listening all the time? Today, in a bevy of new information that also included online checks and game licensing, Microsoft attempted to put fears at ease with more detail about the new Kinect's privacy settings.

In a detailed announcement, Microsoft stated that you'll personalize your Kinect during start-up. That will let you pick which settings are on from the start, and you can turn the sensor on, off, or pause it. When the Kinect is off, Microsoft says, it's only listening for the command "Xbox on," but you can disable that feature as well. When the Xbox One is in use, Microsoft is careful to note that it's not recording or uploading any conversation. Finally, you can use other inputs if you just want to turn off or pause the Kinect.

Concerning personal data, Microsoft claims that nothing will leave your Xbox One without explicit, expressed permission. It uses examples like a fitness game measuring heart data or a card game that views your face to determine the strength of a bluff.

This is all much more specific than the information we heard late last month, which simply promised privacy settings without going into detail.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Almost as soon as the Xbox One announcement ended, we started hearing contradictory tales from Microsoft regarding the system's connectivity requirements. The last two weeks have apparently given the company a chance to get its messaging straight, as it finally clarified today just how often the system needs to check in.

As confirmed on the official site the system will require an online check-in every 24 hours on your primary console. If you're accessing your game library on someone else's system, that window gets narrowed to every hour. The page warns: "Offline gaming is not possible after these prescribed times until you re-establish a connection, but you can still watch live TV and enjoy Blu-ray and DVD movies."

This is similar to what Phil Harrison told Kotaku, which apparently let the cat out of the bag early. Microsoft quickly told Polygon he was merely describing "potential scenarios."

More mundane details include the recommended connection speed (1.5Mbps), and the ability to sign in and install games from your friend's house to play them there. That's certainly convenient, but the one-hour check-in time might make it less welcoming.

Shacknews - Steve Watts
Steam announced a new "Family Sharing" feature today, and is accepting beta applications to test it. When it launches fully, close friends and family will be able to play one another's games, while still earning their own achievements and saving their individual progress through the cloud.
Shacknews - Steve Watts

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PlayStation Plus October free games include Batman: Arkham Asylum, DriveClub and more

Sony has finally unveiled its free game lineup for October for its PlayStation Plus subscribers. This month, the company will, for the first time, be offering three free titles of games that are making their debut on the PlayStation Network. So without further ado, let’s run down who gets what this month.

The Sims 4 getting free content starting today

The spooky October update brings out the dead. Meaning that dead sims can now return as ghosts and become welcome members of the household. Ghost sims have all the attributes they had when they were alive and special animations depending on how they died. Dedicated players might even find a way to fully resurrect their lost sims.

Destiny 1.0.2 patch now available to improve engram system

Destiny's legendary 1.0.2 patch is now live across all platforms bringing with it changes to the Engram system that makes it a little easier to get the gear Guardians rightfully deserve. Guardians who now hand in purple engrams will start receiving legendary or better gear, which will make breaking the soft level cap Bungie put in place a little bit easier.

Shacknews - Steven Wong

It has been more than four months since Harmonix successfully funded its Kickstarter campaign to bring the 2003 cult classic game Amplitude back, updated for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 consoles. Ryan Lesser, Creative Lead on the game provides a first look at how the game is shaping up. The demonstration video reveals some of the music and updated gameplay features fans can look forward to as development marches forward.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Movie-goers sometimes express annoyance with Hollywood's lack of original ideas, and those people should probably stop reading this story now. Threshold Entertainment has announced it is working with The Tetris Company to develop a live-action movie based on Tetris.


The Wall Street Journal reports that Threshold CEO Larry Kasanoff sees it as a "very big, epic sci-fi movie." He suggested that it won't be "a movie with a bunch of lines running around the page" and said they're not "giving feet to the geometric shapes." So far, the film does not have a director or cast attached, and it seems to be in the early development stages. 

Kasanoff himself was the producer behind Mortal Kombat and Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. His company Threshold is known more for its licensed theme park rides based on Star Trek and the Justice League, though Kasanoff says he's open to developing Tetris in a similar way. "We certainly have the canvas for location-based entertainment based on the epicness." 

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Pix the Cat, the snake-like puzzle game for PlayStation 4 and Vita, is slated to release on October 7.

Developer Pastagames revealed the date on the PlayStation Blog, along with a look at a new game mode: Nostalgia. This mode replaces all of the visuals and music with a look and sound reminiscent of early black-and-white era animated cartoons and ragtime melodies. Your cat wll need to collect ducklings and avoid falling over the edge

“Pix the Cat’s Nostalgia Mode gave me the opportunity to have fun adapting the charming old-fashioned touches from the classic black and white cartoons of the 1920s," said lead artist Hervé Barbaresi. "The challenge with this skin was to make you forget that you are controlling a video game character on a tiled grid. We have worked and re-worked the image filters (grain, B&W pulse, glitches, dirt and scratches…) to create a look which really evokes the simple yet sophisticated feel of those old cartoons."

The Vita version of Pix the Cat was announced as part of October's PlayStation Plus line-up today as well.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Just yesterday, Nintendo displayed its snazzy 3DS themes that are due to hit in October. Not to be outdone, Sony has shown off themes coming to Vita tomorrow.

The system software update v3.30 will let you personlize the Start and Home screens, along with app icons and background music. A few non-game themes will be available from the start: Crystal, Four Seasons, Stitching. Game themes featuring Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Tearaway, and Freedom Wars are on the way. Both game and non-game themes will be available for purchase on the PlayStation Store.

The update will also add Trophy rarity stats, and the ability to send event files to friends to set up game dates.

Shacknews - Daniel Perez

Zen Studios is best know for their Zen Pinball series. The development studios has been creating note-worthy virtual pinball tables for several years now, and today, the company has announced they’ll be creating a table inspired by South Park.

Details for South Park Pinball are still developing as Zen Studios announced its existence with a simple image in a post on the company’s official blog. The image features Stan, Kyle, Cartman, and Butters looking in horror as a giant pinball has crushed their friend, Kenny.

The pinball also serves as a way to tease the upcoming table as South Park Pinball can be seen in the ball’s reflection. If you squint really hard, you could probably make out the overall layout of the table. If you rather not squint, then we suggest you hold off until Zen Studios releases more information sometime in the coming weeks.

Shacknews - Daniel Perez

Destiny's legendary 1.0.2 patch is now live across all platforms bringing with it changes to the Engram system that makes it a little easier to get the gear Guardians rightfully deserve. Guardians who now hand in purple engrams will start receiving legendary or better gear, which will make breaking the soft level cap Bungie put in place a little bit easier. The same goes for blue engrams, although the chance to receive a Legendary piece of gear has been increased.

Other improvements Bungie has made to Destiny in today’s patch includes the addition of blue and purple engram drops for completing daily and weekly heroic missions as well as the Vanguard: Tiger Strike Playlist. Tweaks to the Crucible have also been made that include reducing the time limit on certain maps and lowering how often some maps come up in certain playlists.

For full patch notes, head on over to Bungie's official website.


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