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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 - Steve Watts
Just as Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn rolls out to PlayStation 4, Square Enix has announced that it has surpassed 2 million registered accounts worldwide.
Shacknews - Steve Watts
Minecraft is heading to retail on PlayStation 3 soon, marking one more plank for the wildly popular block-building game. Mojang announced today that it will hit May 16, and the disc release will include all the additions from the recent update 14.
Shacknews - Steve Watts
Marty O'Donnell, the composer behind the Halo series and the upcoming Destiny, says he has been let go from Bungie. The studio itself later confirmed the termination and released a statement to wish him well.
Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia
Though most League of Legends players jump into the game to play against friends or against human competition, even the most experienced users need some practice. And preferably, that practice would come in a non-competitive, non-venomous environment. While AI bots have normally helped in this area, they'd all-too-often behave like bots, which is something Riot has changed in a recent update.
Shacknews - Steve Watts
Blizzard teased us with a Canadian release a few weeks ago, but now Hearthstone on iPad is available for the rest of North America. This joins the recent news of the Curse of Naxxramas expansion, which is set to hit PC and iPad simultaneously.
Shacknews - Steve Watts
Tales of Hearts R, a Vita remake of the DS game originally released in Japan in 2008, appears to be coming to America. GameStop briefly showed a listing for the RPG as a retailer exclusive, to come out sometime before the end of the year.
Shacknews - Steve Watts
If you ve ever felt ashamed of games you ve picked up but never played, at least you can rest assured you aren t alone. A study into Steam playing habits has found that more than a third of all games purchased through the service have never been loaded up even once.
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