Apps & Games

Microsoft Clarifies XBox Restrictions

Confusion followed botched rollout

In preparation for the Nov. 22 release of the Xbox One, Microsoft has released a “Get the facts” section on its official Xbox website to clarify misconceptions about the console – probably caused by the company itself when it released the details of the One, then changed its mind because of public outcry against some of the restrictions.

So to make it clear, once and for all, you don’t have to be online to play Xbox One games, you will be able to buy games on disc and you will be allowed to give, share, trade in, resell and rent Xbox One games.

Other salient points:

  • You can record that epic battle with a boss with the One’s Game DVR so you can lord your victory over your friends.
  • A single Xbox Gold membership covers gaming on both the 360 and One, and you can log into your account on a friend’s machine and access all your downloadable games, preferences and apps.
  • You can suspend and resume games.
  • Through advanced artificial intelligence technology, games can learn to play like you or your friends, so you can still play when you or they are offline.
  • You can use the free Xbox SmartGlass app for Windows 8, Windows Phone, Android and iOS to use your tablet or smartphone to extend, enhance and control your Xbox One experience.
  • The console comes with Skype, Netflix, Hulu Plus, ESPN and more apps, so you can switch between games and entertainment – or watch both simultaneously.

I’m sure that PlayStation will be coming out with a similar list before its release Nov. 15. I’ll keep you posted.

 Bits & Pieces

  • Former Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello says game makers need to institute variable pricing to make it more affordable. They’ll make up the monetary loss by selling more games, he adds.
  • Say cheese! A new smartphone app called SpyMeSat will let you know when spy satellites and unclassified imaging satellites are overhead and might be taking your picture. Warning: Classified imaging satellites from all countries are not included.
  • Bradley Hasbro Children’s Research Center is testing an interactive software game developed to help children with peanut allergies better manage allergy symptoms, handle social situations and learn how to avoid dangerous foods.
  • Some free-to-use computer games might be trojan horses from North Korea. Once activated, the malware takes control of the computers and uses them to launch cyber attacks against South Korea. In June, North Koreans used 100,000 infected computers to attack Incheon International Airport. Owners of the infected computers had no idea their computers were involved.
  • The Ubuntu Touch, a new smartphone operating system featuring Ubuntu Linux, has arrived and the reviews are, at best, mixed. It’s difficult to install and it won’t work well on tablets yet. But if you are a Linux fan, you’ll love it.
  • A Munich developer has created an interactive video game that reenacts a day of hiding in the life of Anne Frank, with the aim of teaching millennials about the Holocaust.
  • People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has created a controversy with its new protest game, playable at PETA’s website, called “Pokemon Red, White & Blue.” The game features bloody, scarred Pokemon in battles against an overweight McDonald’s customer who tries to eat them, villainous butchers and a sinister Ronald McDonald. Overkill?

Maria Welych, who was technology editor at The Post-Standard for five years, is director of marketing and public relations at the Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology. She can be reached at [email protected]

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