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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
While it may not have won the top prize at Games for Change, one of my favorite games from this year's showcase is The Migrant Trail. Inspired by The Oregon Trail, players choose to play as either migrants or the Border Patrol agents patrolling the desert. Migrants must stock up on gear and try to survive the harrowing journey, while managing their hunger, thirst, and health.
Shacknews - Andrew Yoon
VR is attracting a lot of attention--and money. While Virtuix, developer of the upcoming Omni VR treadmill, may not have been acquired by Facebook like Oculus, it's raised quite a bit of money from investors. The company announced $3 million of seed investment--far more than the $1.1 million they raised on Kickstarter.
Shacknews - Steve Watts
The Venn diagram for people interested in playing The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and watching The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is basically just one circle. It's hard to imagine anyone playing the game without also checking out the movie, and GameStop is capitalizing on that notion with a special day to give away movie tickets with purchase of the game tie-in.
Shacknews - Steve Watts
Minecraft is already on PlayStation 3, and coming to PlayStation 4 and Vita. If you're already dreading rebuilding your palatial estate and complex machinery brick by solitary brick, though, take heart. Mojang says it's planning to let you transfer content from PS3 to PS4, and possibly even to Vita.
Shacknews - Steve Watts
Soulcalibur: Lost Swords launched yesterday, but apparently is so broken that many are finding it unplayable. Bandai Namco is working on a solution, and says the technical issue has "delayed the launch" even as the game remains available in the PlayStation Store.
Shacknews - Andrew Yoon
Expedition is the first map pack for Titanfall, due next month. One of the levels included in the upcoming premium DLC is War Games, based in a virtual world where Pilots compete in simulated environments of Angel City.

A big focus for the new map is to encourage wall-running. Colored force fields are placed throughout the level and even feature arrows "to help guide players where we wanted them to run," Respawn Entertainment explained. Ultimately, they want to "help encourage players that haven't embraced this new way of traversing maps."
Shacknews - Andrew Yoon
The May line-up for PlayStation Plus has been detailed, and it includes (as usual) one new PS4 game, and a variety of awesome PS3 & Vita games. Noteworthy additions include Skullgirls Encore and Limbo.

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