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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 - Andrew Yoon
Sonic Boom is yet another reboot of Sega's classic mascot. Developed by Big Red Button, the upcoming Nintendo exclusive features redesigned characters and a tie-in cartoon. It's being created specifically for the western market.

Oddly, the game is using CryEngine instead of Sonic Team's Hedgehog Engine, used in games like Sonic: Lost World. Sega producer Stephen Frost explained that Crytek's engine was a better fit because "you associate CryEngine with lush, tropical, beachy things. These are also things with which Sonic is associated, so they work together."
Shacknews - Steve Watts
With an impending Disney Infinity crossover announcement, it seems like a good time to take a look back at a small Star Wars Easter egg that appeared in the last game. By collecting each and every one of the 29 characters, you could swing around one of the most iconic sci-fi weapons in pop culture, the lightsaber.
Shacknews - Steve Watts
State of Decay will be getting its Lifeline downloadable content shortly, but that's far from the end for the series. With a multi-title deal with Microsoft, Undead Labs founder Jeff Strain says they have more ambitious plans ahead--including yet another indication of multiplayer in State of Decay.
Shacknews - Andrew Yoon
The Arkhamverse is expanding into animation. Batman: Assault on Arkham has Batman once again going against the Joker. However, for the first time in the Arkhamverse, he's facing off against the Suicide Squad, a team of villains who undertake black ops missions for the US government in exchange for shortened prison sentences. In the Arkhamverse, Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Killer Frost, Black Spider, King Shark, and Captain Boomerang are all members.
Shacknews - Andrew Yoon
It appears many of you are heavily invested (financially or just interested) in Chris Roberts' Star Citizen. With more than $42 million raised so far, the crowdfunded space game has certainly captured our attention.

Cloud Imperium Games showed off a new demo at PAX East, and fans captured much of its proposed gameplay--like dogfighting--on video. If you haven't seen it yet, or simply want to see it again, you can do so right after the break.
Shacknews - Andrew Yoon
Naughty Dog has lost yet another high-profile employee, following the departures of Uncharted creative director Amy Hennig and Uncharted PS4 director Justin Richmond. Nate Wells, art director of The Last of Us, has confirmed that he too has left the house of Drake.
Shacknews - Steve Watts
Bandai Namco has confirmed rumors that Tales of Hearts R is coming to the west, but the publisher apparently jumped the gun and pulled its video announcement. Regardless, the word seems to be out, and the Vita RPG is due this winter.
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