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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 - Robert Workman

Beware The Dragon's Reach, oh noble Guild Wars 2 players. ArenaNet has announced the release of the latest update for the popular PC title, which continues the ongoing saga of The Living World.

This third episode of the second season introduces "The Dragon's Reach: Part 1", which has you battling against the growing corruptive power of Mordremoth as it spreads across Ascalon. Players who log in to the game today will be able to access this latest chapter of the series for no charge. In addition, once completed, a new side chapter in the Story Journal will appear, with a number of achievements to unlock through various challenges.

More rewards are introduced with this chapter as well, including more Buried Locked Chests that could hold new Kites, such as the Ventari Follower, the Prosperity Mine, and the Crystal Shard Kite. To get more info on this update, check out the official Guild Wars page.

Shacknews - Robert Workman

Kenji Kanno is really good at creating vehicular chaos. If you don't believe us, go check out any given game in Sega's Crazy Taxi series. It's wild, relentless racing fun as you drive customers from location to location, all within an allotted time limit.

Kanno is currently hard at work on a new iOS and Android release, Crazy Taxi: City Rush, which will debut this year. However, he hasn't forgotten about the console crowd, as he really wants to bring the series to Xbox One and PS4. So what's stopping him?

Kenno recently spoke to IGN about what's holding him back from going crazy on a new Crazy Taxi. "I don't know how old I would be when the next one came out, but there are some features I would like to add to new Crazy Taxi games, but I haven't managed to figure out how to do it yet," he said. "This is the first time I've ever told anyone. The very, very first time ever.

"There are two things I want to achieve but I haven’t yet. The first is time changing in the game, but it’s more than a simple day/night cycle. Passengers attitudes, the environments, the whole atmosphere of the game needs to change. I really want how you play the game to transition as time does. I haven’t managed to achieve that to a level I’m happy with yet, but I hope to in future.

"The second aspect is multiplayer. It’s figuring out the best way to do it, which again is something we haven’t done right yet. They’re the two points we’d like to achieve in future, but I haven’t reached the point where I’m satisfied. I’m open to feedback and suggestions!"

So, yeah, it'll be a while before we're careening through San Francisco on new systems. In the meantime, however, City Rush will make its mobile debut in the fall. Crossing our fingers for an Offspring soundtrack…

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

Shovel Knight has been one of the big hit games of the summer and a favorite around both the Shacknews offices and across Chatty. So with that in mind, the Shacknews video crew of Sam Leichtamer, Andrew Zucosky, and Joe Tirado take a moment to speak to Yacht Club Games' Nick Wozniak about their debut game, its creation, its development from a Kickstarter project to a full-blown product, what's coming in terms of future content, and much more.

And of course, they also make sure to throw in some questions from Shacknews' beloved Chatty community, as well. You can catch a slice of the interview below.

For the full interview with Nick Wozniak, be sure to visit Shacknews on YouTube.

Shacknews - Robert Workman

When Valve first introduced its Steam controller some time ago, it introduced a funky new control style that not many gamers were used to. It utilized touch pads in the place of traditional controllers, but still appeared as if it was built for comfort. Still, some folks couldn't help but feel the need for an analog stick. Well, good news, gang, you're getting one.

Although the general touch pads are still in place for the redesign of the Steam controller, an analog stick has now been added, located to the lower left of the control pad. The design, discovered by SteamDB, shows the stick fits right in with the controller's set-up.

A lot of changes have gone into the controller since the announcement, including the removal of a touch-screen and buttons added in its place, as well as a sleeker build that makes the controller easier to hold.

It still doesn't have a release date as of yet, as Valve probably has even more tweaks in mind before a final build is ready. But, still, you've got your analog stick, people. Enjoy!

Shacknews - Aaron Linde

Sledgehammer Games is going all-out to break away from the usual mold with Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. To show that, the company has released a new trailer today, providing more of the backstory for the single-player campaign.

In this futuristic tale, the world has fallen into chaos with a global terrorist attack strikes five nuclear reactors simultaneously. Crippled in strength, the nations turn to a privately funded military company called Atlas, which is run by a character portrayed by Kevin Spacey (who was introduced in a previous trailer).

Atlas does a good enough job of rebuilding the city, but as such, it also gains an immense amount of power, which Spacey's character isn't afraid to wield. How this will tie in with the game's events is still unknown, but it certainly sets the stage for the interesting battles that lie ahead.

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare drops on November 4th for Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3 and PC.

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

As competitive gaming continues to shoot off into new heights, Valve stands among its leaders. The viewer numbers for this year's Dota 2 'The International 4' tournament are in, with more than 20 million unique online viewers tuning in across various outlets, including Twitch and ESPN3. More than 2 million viewers tuned in concurrently during the event's peak.

This year's Grand Finals saw NewBee defeat the team of ViCi Gaming in what was considered to be a major blowout. The finals took place on Monday, July 21 during peak work hours, making the final viewer numbers that much more remarkable.

This was the first year that ESPN opted to dive into the Dota 2 phenomenon. The Daily Dot reported yesterday that ESPN was very pleased with its broadcast of the event and may seek to broadcast future competitive gaming events, such as those from Major League Gaming's Call of Duty league.

Shacknews - Robert Workman

It seems that pinball fans were ready to tilt with Pinball FX 2 with its planned debut this week on Xbox One, but Zen Studios has changed the game plan with a last-second delay. Relax, though – there's a good reason for this.

The publisher has announced that it has come up with a solution with Microsoft that will allow users to import their tables from the Xbox 360 version of Pinball FX 2 to the new one for no additional charge. Previously, the publisher wasn't going to offer such an option, forcing fans to buy the tables all over again.

"We will be able to implement table transfers on Xbox One starting from Pinball FX2’s launch," Zen Studios confirmed today. "Any available table on Xbox One that was previously purchased for Xbox 360 can be imported to the new version free of charge."

As a result, however, the game will not see its release this week. "We apologize to any fans affected by this delay, but we pledge to make it up to you by incorporating this highly desired feature," the company stated.

"Once again, we cannot thank you enough for your support through this process, as well as Microsoft’s, who took your feedback very seriously and worked with us to implement this feature. And again, we do apologize for the delay while we create the Pinball FX2 experience that our fans both want and deserve. We’re excited to bring Pinball FX2 to Xbox One owners, to have their previous purchases honored and transferred, and we can’t wait to share with you what we’ve got coming in the future."


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