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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 - Ozzie Mejia
Mode 7 may be preparing to hit the gridiron, but they haven't forgotten their original top-down strategy game, Frozen Synapse. The developer is bringing the game's Red DLC to the iPad version today, adding in co-op play and a slew of other additions.
Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia
It's Wondercon weekend! And I'm celebrating by spending today cosplaying as Clark Kent and searching tirelessly for the weekend's best PC download deals. Because there are plenty of deals to be found and this is as good a weekend as any to enjoy them!

Mode 7 is offering up Frozen Synapse to Steam users for a free weekend. Green Man Gaming is offering up different deals each day for the next couple of days, including some great discounts on Thief and Kerbal Space Program. Amazon has Borderlands content on sale. GameFly Digital has the best Tropico 5 pre-order offer to date, with their 20% coupon working on top of the free Port Royale 3 promo. And Get Games still has their primo pre-order deals on games like Watch Dogs and Alien Isolation. All this and more after the break!
Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia
Sony is surprising many of its users with a sudden flash sale, offering discounts on a number of digital games for PlayStation 3, Vita, and PSP. Many of the games on sale are PS2 and PS1 classics, however, there are also some more recent games on the docket, including Retro City Rampage, Braid, and Tokyo Jungle. The sale is expected to last through the end of this weekend. The full list of titles can be found after the break.
Shacknews - Steve Watts
It's taken a while, but Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition is now available on Android devices. It costs $9.99 (with some DLC that costs extra), and can run on any Android 4.0 or later.
Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia
Skullgirls Encore has welcomed in all sorts of female combatants since its 2012 debut, but Lab Zero's fighting game is about to receive its first male combatant. And he can probably make his own theme music! The musical monstrosity known as Big Band will make his debut on Tuesday on PS3 and PC, free for a limited time.
Shacknews - Andrew Yoon
Earlier this year, we showed you Concursion, a game that attempts to blend five genres together in one. Players will have to switch between platforming, space combat, hack-and-slash action, aerial exploration, and Pac-Man-like mazes as rifts instantly switch players between the genres.
Shacknews - Andrew Yoon
Cel Damage HD is coming to PS3, PS4, and Vita on April 22 for $9.99. As promised, it will support Cross-Buy across all three systems.

Originally released on Xbox and GameCube, the car combat game includes the original six characters, three game modes, and 13 arenas, albeit with HD graphics. The PlayStation 4 version adds four-player split-screen as well.
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