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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
Microsoft has been falling behind Sony in the latest console war. And in spite of the recent launch of Titanfall, the gap is only widening. Microsoft has announced it has shipped 5 million consoles to retailers, just one day after Sony announced sales of more than 7 million PS4s.
Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia
Sony Online Entertainment is putting a lot into its upcoming free-to-play zombie MMO, H1Z1. But there's no shaking the fact that it's still a zombie MMO, which is quickly becoming a crowded genre. That's why SOE is hoping to entice some potential new players by allowing them to vote on custom player servers, which will mix up the game's formula with different rules and variants.
Shacknews - Andrew Yoon
Popular Japanese vocaloid mascot Hatsune Miku is joining Lady Gaga to open her ARTPOP Ball concerts. For the unfamiliar, she s a singing synthesizer that's represented as a 16 year old girl with turquoise hair. Sega publishes numerous games starring her and other vocaloids.
Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia
Developer Piranha Bytes is taking the Risen series back to its roots with Risen 3: Titan Lords, which moves away from the last game's pirate theme and returns to a more fantasy-oriented world. Publisher Deep Silver has released a new CGI teaser trailer, offering a glimpse of what to expect from the upcoming RPG.
Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia
Sometimes death in video games isn't so much a permanent end, as it is a minor setback. Or in the case of Life Goes On, it's actually a positive step in the right direction. The debut game from Infinite Monkeys Entertainment is out now on PC and the developer has released a new trailer celebrating its key component: the often-hilarious slaughter of heroic knights.
Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia
The smoke has cleared from another month of the next-gen console wars. The month of March saw the PlayStation 4 continue to reign atop the hardware sales charts. And while overall software sales dropped 28 percent from last year, the PS4 and Xbox One both continued to sell sharply and bring in a 78 percent hardware sales increase from last year.
Shacknews - Andrew Yoon
Curses N Chaos is a new game from Tribute Games, the developer of Mercenary Kings. Today, the team revealed the first trailer for the title, and it looks exactly like what an 8-bit styled action game should.

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